Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"Better Than a Hallelujah"

God loves a lullaby
In a mothers tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

God loves the drunkards cry,
The soldiers plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah.

The woman holding on for life,
The dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes

The tears of shame for what's been done,
The silence when the words won't come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

Better than a church bell ringing,
Better than a choir singing out, singing out.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A shout out to my small business owner friends!

Today is your day!

March 29, 2010, today, is National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day.

From http://www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/March/mpboday.htm

National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day celebrates small business owners. These individuals spend countless hours nurturing and growing their young enterprises. The workload demands, and lack of a hired staff, often translates into long and late hours, and many missed family and personal events. But, all in all, they love what they do. After all, they are their own boss.

New businesses have always been a vital, yet not fully appreciated, part of the U.S. economy. On they retail side, they bring different and unique products to the marketplace. They provide stellar and personal service support. When you call, you are more likely to get a real, live person. And unlike big national chains, they know their products. They are outstanding performers in niche markets. In manufacturing, they create many new concepts and ideas, making them creators of new products.

Celebrate National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day by showing your support....shop their stores today, and everyday.

And if you want to show your support for some of my favorite small business owners, check them out:

Red Clover is a precious boutique co-owned by a fabulous high school friend, Leah Lancaster. There are some precious locally owned boutiques in Savannah that I adore, but social worker here needed a place where I could feel trendy and find something special, but not have to babysit 4 nights a week after the day job. Insert Leah. These clothes, shoes, jewelry are ADORABLE and AFFORDABLE. And being in there is like having your own personal shopper. Leah and her partner Tu have a great eye for what will look good on you, so go in and you will come out feeling like the trendy, cute gal you are! http://www.shopredclover.com/

Brownie-Goose is a true mom and pop business, run by another high school friend, Amy Norris. Back in the day, she was the girl who had be laughing through Latin class. Seriously, if a girl can make declining nouns and translating Romulus and Remus fun, you know she's got some creativity flowing. And flow it does. Those of you with children NEEEEED to see her stuff. She hand sews and embroiders the most fun, ecclectic, original outfits for your babes. Trust me, your little girl will not be wearing the same dress as anyone in her pre-school class in a brownie-goose original! http://browniegoose.blogspot.com/

Savannah Jacks is another in home business by another SVA alum. (Can we say Go SAINTS!). Kristen is a good friend who married a good friend who has a great little boy named Jack. Her website is full of the most beautiful low-country gifts. Here in the south, we LIKEY the monogram. And Kristen can put your initials on anything that will sit still for 30 seconds. So go see her, and get a unique, southern prize for your bridesmaids gifts, your mother's day gifts or just a "because it's finally spring" gift! http://www.savannahjacks.com/

Melbelle Art is owned by former Alpha Delta Pi presidente extraordinaire Melissa. Having lived in the Pi house with Mel for years and worked under her, I was forever seeing her create something beautiful for a friend. I so often wish I had a talent like this, to be able to create a unique, love-filled gift. But for my friends, you get my love via Target. Sorry. Stop by Mel's website and get a cute, original gift for one of the 200 friends you have who are pregnant or who would just love something pretty in their house. http://melbelleart.blogspot.com/

Just for Baby and More is a precious baby boutique in Savannah owned by an old friend from the Blessed Sacrament days, Jan Welsh. Jan is such a fire cracker and she will keep you laughing while you peruse top of the line furniture and gear. Whether you want the Moby Wrap (she sold me by wrapping it around me herself complete with steroid baby doll), a BOB stroller, or a cute thingy that you wrap over the handle of the carseat to make toting steroid baby around more comfortable, she has it all. Her baby furniture is to die for and the clothes...well...if we knew what we were having my husband would be in mega trouble. Jan's daughter Casey helps run the place and is great too. Stop in for the best in baby gear and gifts!

Expectations can be your stop on the way to Just for Baby in Savannah. Owned by, gasp, another St. Vincent's alum and big sister of one of my best high school friends, it's apparently THE place to go for dressing the bump. Admittedly, I have not been into Jenn's store yet but Elizabeth tells me it's great and I know she has dressed some of Savannah's cutest pregnant mamas. Jen just gave birth to her 4th baby!!, little Brennan, and usually has one of her sweet babes in the store with her. She knows all too well the complexities of looking cute while growing bigger by the minute  nanosecond. http://www.shopexpectationsmaternity.com/

So to all of my small business owner friends, thank you for making me feel talentless and unmotivated :) But I do admire all your work and hope to see you soon!  Really though, small businesses are vital to our economy and should be valued and appreciated! Patronize away...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

One last fling before the baby swing

I have discovered the answer to all of my problems. I have found the key to peace in my heart and joy in my marriage. It did not come from watching Gandhi or from a deathbed conversation with a patient. It came from Florida. From a little retirement community beach near Naples. Marco Island, I will always love you.

Before we got married, our travel goal for this year was to take a volunteer trip to somewhere outside of the U.S. That is still high on our list of hopes but pregnancy threw a wrench in a few plans for the year. I originally said I did not want a "baby-moon" because I wanted to enjoy a nice malibu and pineapple on a beach with my abdominal muscles in tact. But we realized that we do not know what the next year will bring. We don't know how long this babe will be nursing nor to we take for granted a perfectly healthy entrance into the world. So, we decided to make a date for one last fling before the baby swing. And I'm oh so glad we did.

We were offered a quaint little efficiency condo on Marco Island, which was perfection, since R was thinking Naples. Thanks to R's Amex card, we had a free flight to use up. So for the bargain price of one airline ticket and some new 'beach worthy' maternity clothes, we were off to South Florida. The winter there has been as crazy as it's been here so I got lots of use out of Caroline's black wrap and some questionably tight yoga pants but I didn't care. I got time away with my husband, at the ocean, with pancakes and fried shrimp and maybe a tiny sip of his margarita. Oh do I miss margaritas...

R and I were certainly not disconnected and I am blessed with what I feel is a healthy, faith-filled and loving marriage. But I can admit that I am a much more relaxed, happy wifey sans 2 hour commute, sans Grady, sans schizophrenic Atlanta winter. We both agreed that as much as possible (calling all grandparents!!), we need to get away and just have time with each other. The week was a fresh breeze, wrapping us up in the love we knew was there but was felt all the more strongly in a couple days away from the real world.

So to my sweet friends, if I happen to maybe complain that I want to wring a certain fabulous husband's neck at any point in the next year, please refer me back to this blog. And then offer to dogsit, babysit, and lend us your grandma's condo :)

**Thanks to Jill and James for driving to see us. Saturday night was a blast and while my photography skills need honing, it was nice to share a gorgeous sunset with precious people!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Help

Okay-so today's post was scheduled to post last week during baby-moon but I'm apparently still stupid with blogger. Anyway, my sister-in-law recommended this book and after two pages, I knew I'd be blogging about it. My high-school friend/sorority sister/newly found internet friend Amy http://www.amysnorris.blogspot.com/ beat me to the punch. But, alas, it was too good, too important of a book not to do my own quick review.

Please. Just go buy it. Read Amy's review above. She does it justice. You will fall in love with the characters. You will fall in love with Stockett's ability to show the untold dynamics of white families with black help in their homes in the 1960's south. You will fall in love with the love you can feel between the children and the precious ladies who raise them (usually the maids, not their mamas). You will both grieve such a terrible time in the history of the south, and celebrate the courage and tenacity and beauty of those who fought for change. You will see white families who loved and valued their help and black families whose stories speak so much of society then and society now. And, as Amy says, you will think a little differently about how you raise your babies. I don't know if being 'color-blind' truly exists, or even should exist, to be honest. But I do know that this book made me love and appreciate all that is alike and the smaller things that are different between the amazing, amazing characters in this book. Read it. I'll mail you my copy if you want it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

just grace.

R and I are still newlyweds. But when you factor in a pregnancy that happens in your newlywed time, you start counting things in dog years. So, while we are still new to this game, I can't really remember a time without him. And while I'm most always able to stop and feel gratitude for this person, some days I am more in tune than others to the true blessing that he is.

Pregnancy for me was an unexpected blessing. Not unexpected as in "surprise!" but unexpected as in, 'didn't think it would happen to me, and if it did, would take lots of work/medical help.' So any fear that we didn't wait long enough was quickly assuaged by excitement that infertility was not going to be our cross, at least for baby number one. What was a surprise was how much of a roller coaster this ride would be.

Now, no one has ever accused me of being mellow, even-keeled, relaxed, any of the words describing a non-crazy person. On a good day, I meet at least a few criteria for psych inpatient care. But throw in all the things that come with pregnancy and HOLY. COW. I could go over to http://www.momsarehuman.com/ and talk all day long about this process. But suffice it to say, this has been the most arduous, challenging blessing I've ever had. I would say that the most consistent challenge is the emotional pendulum. I do blame the poor babe and the hormones helping him/her bake in there. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when little bit is born and I can't blame her anymore. Maybe I'll move on to post-partum hormones as my scapegoat. Anyway, on any given day, my moods and emotions run all over the map. And who gets to try to keep up with that?  Yep. Him. The boy. The boy who I was smart enough to marry. If you have some extra prayer time...

Now I'm not minimizing how difficult this time can be for people. I will happily take my fair share of leeway and justification for my mercurial emotions. But my husband is the type of man who lives to make me happy. He lives to ensure that his home is well-cared for, from the yard to the gutters to the looney woman who lives inside. I just simply don't make it easy on him. Last night was no different. I was kind of heinous. It was one of those 'splinter' days where a number of small, seemingly mild issues stick in your side and by the end of the day, you feel like you've landed on a cactus. I will allow that I was justified in being frustrated about some of those things. Others, well, they didn't quite deserve the attention I gave them. Regardless, by evening, I was a cranky overweight pregnant woman.

Let me tell you how my husband handled that. First, he tried reason. (Then he realized who he was dealing with and smartened up.)  Then he tried avoidance, letting me stew and get over it. When I walked in to give a bad attempt at a mea culpa, he listened and tried to be supportive. But I was clearly not finished stewing so I stormed off to try to sleep away both my justified and unjustified anger. Then, sweet boy asked if I wanted to read scripture. And I yelled. The HORROR of my husband suggesting we get back to our Lenten practice of reading a chapter of the Bible each night. You would have thought he suggested taking a run or painting ourselves red, something totally ridiculous. I slammed a door and said I didn't need to read scritpure. (Yes, the picture of your two-year-old having a tantrum over "not being tired" is appropriate. )  Sweet boy proceeds to open the Bible and begin reading chapter 6 of Mark as I finally break down and sob because (... = breaths during sobs)  "no...thing....fits....me...I ... am ... huge...and I don't want to spend any more money on maternity clothes and I feel huge and ugly and I just want to feel cute and look like the cute pregnant girl instead of the huge pregnant girl and I'm so thankful for this baby and when I think about the life inside me I feel beautiful but then I try on the work pants that fit last week and they don't fit this week and .... insert more breathless sobs. And he keeps reading. Calmly, soothingly, he read the sad story of John the Baptist's beheading and by the end of chapter 6, I was much less of a lunatic. I hugged/latched onto my husband and told him thank you and let the heavy crying eyes send me off to sleep.

As if this weren't enough, this morning I was leaving early to meet a friend for breakfast. I hugged him while he was sleeping and again, said how sorry I was that I was such a mess last night. His response. "Babe, we've talked about this. That's what grace means. You don't have to apologize again." He rolled over, told me my perfume smelled good, and was back in la la land. There was no drawn out drama, no held grudge, just grace.

The smartest decision I've ever made was to marry that boy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Want a new post, nothing interesting brewing...

A few months before our wedding, I wrote a post entitled "Damn it." http://surrealgrace.blogspot.com/2010/02/damn-it.html  It was about a girl my age who lost her life to AIDS. I will actually always remember it because a few weeks later my dear friend Fr. Tim sent me a card saying he had said a Mass for this patient. I remember thinking that this girl's life was marked with suffering, abuse, addiction, and indignity but in her death, thanks to a loving priest, she was renewed. She left the earth with dignity regained and wounds healed. Anyway, that was the last post before our wedding and at our rehearsal dinner, I was reminded by folks that, for weeks,  I had left a post up called "Damn it." Today, my most recent post was a letter to my mom and quite frankly, my pride has me wanting to put something else up so that all my flaws as a daughter are not the first sight on this blog. The problem is, I have nothing even remotely blog worthy to write. The only thing I can think of is to throw some positivity on here about things to come in the next few weeks. As I grow larger and larger and the heartburn gets more and more ridiculous, I'll hopefully return to this post to be reminded of the joys in our lives this March 2010. So in no particular order, things to be excited about.

  • thursday, Ross and I leave for a little baby-moon in south Florida. Because of amazing friends, we have a condo to borrow, a babysitter for our pup, and a place to park my car for the weekend. My very great husband also booked a sailing trip since I finally nixed the pregnant girl on jet ski idea.
  • today, I will come home to a new front door, new porch posts and a room full of baby furniture. While spending money (other than at target or tjmaxx) makes me cringe, I am excited about home improvement 2010.
  • Target (see above) came out with a new maternity line that is precious. Since they usually only carry 3 different maternity items, I have dresses on hold at 3 stores and anticipate a slightly extended lunch break. The best part is that mom gave me target gift cards last weekend! Yah mom!
  • When I came in today, my office mate had my desk full of PEZ candy. This more than made up for the 45 minutes I sat on a 12 mile stretch of 75 this morning. (p.s. the only tidbit of negativity as that my love affair with Atlanta is O.V.E.R. )
  • Ross and I were asked to be the Godparents of a lovely girl who lives at the Gift of Grace. This is special to me as I have known her since she came to the U.S. from the Ivory Coast a few short months ago and her heart is so amazingly beautiful. I am so pumped about Easter Sunday !
  • my little brother texted me today, wanting to go out with Ross and I next week. One of the better parts of this gargantuan city is having our siblings close, esp this one, who I've missed so much! I've said it before, and it's true- Patrick is definitely the glue in our crazy family!
  • In four months, we should be a family of 3. Four months seems sooo quick! (remind me of this in 2 months when I'm even more of a roly poly).
  • In less than two months, I get a girls weekend with my college girlfriends, the ladies who walked with me through all of the early 20's ups and downs. I cannot wait to hug their necks. They taught me the word fellowship and I am so flipping blessed by them.
  • Have begun praying about a few things that I am very hopeful about including a friend getting pregnant,  finding a name for baby Ninness if he is a boy, job opportunities outside of Atlanta and an end to heartburn!
Back next week with pictures of beautiful San Marco Island, Florida! 75 degree temps, here we come!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Moms are Human

Hello friends,

This week is the final week of a contest that could win you a $150 target giftcard and goodies from some of our favorite artists- Amy from Brownie-Goose, Leah from Red Clover. The contest is to write a letter to your mom, be it funny, sarcastic, loving, cheeky. As many of us become mamas, we are realizing how good most of us had it. And while I am one of the esteemed :) judges of this contest and can't enter, I felt something the other night that I wanted to write to my own mom. If you can use $150 to Target, send in a letter. http://www.momsarehuman.com/p/dear-mama-contest.html. Deadline is St. Patty's day next week. So, to my own crazy, beautiful mother...

Dear Ma,

This week I cried. (insert mom saying ‘what else is new Keri?’ ) But I didn’t cry for the usual reasons, like being tired or feeling like a whale or Izzy still not being back on Grey’s Anatomy. I cried because I was a bear to you. Last week, and a month ago, and five years ago, and every day from age 12-17, and lots of days before that, I was a bear to you. I do not remember being slapped as a child and wonder what kind of super-human self-control you had. I do remember going through my childhood thinking I knew something. For as long as I can remember, I have been telling you what to do. Sometimes, this has been under the guise of real social work knowledge, or daughterly advice. But mostly, this has been pure, run of the mill arrogance. I don’t quite get how you raised such a ‘know-it-all’ of a daughter. I blame you. And I pray for a boy because I have one heck of a load of karma coming my way if this is baby is named Mary Kate.

I hesitate to get too personal on this blog sometimes but one of the things I remember ‘advising’ you on, as the professional nine-year-old that I was, was how to get involved and how to make friends. I have tried pushing you into committees, groups, bible studies. I remember thinking, ‘why isn’t this easier for you? It’s simple, just call someone.’ So fast forward 20 years, and I am having some major realizations. For the first time in my life, I do not have a “set” group of friends near me. I don’t have 4 committees and a day planner packed full of activities that effortlessly give me a niche. I am, for the first time in my life, without a “place.” In its place is a range of emotions from vulnerability to loneliness and just plain feeling like a looooser. Being slightly smart enough to take my own nine-year-old advice, I have sought out new opportunities and new people but have been floored at the humility that takes. I basically have to say “Hi. My name is Keri. I am new to this little suburb and I am looking for friends and maybe a play group for my baby. Please be my friend.” I am gagging a little now.

I recently came home from a very precious friend-of-a-friend’s home for dinner. It was a blessing of an evening (note to self, invite more people to dinner. After learning how to cook dinner.) I really enjoyed spending time with this friend and her husband and realized how much I missed fellowship. But as we got into the car, I began thinking, ‘she has tons of friends. It was sweet of her to invite us but I’m sure they don’t need more friends.’ I remembered hearing you say something similar, about lots of sweet folks having their set groups of friends already and that being your deterrent. You and I are very alike in never wanting to push ourselves on anyone or impose on their lives. I was talking to Ross and I realized how self-righteous I have been. I have always assumed that it was sooo easy to make a new friend, find a new place. I thought back through the past 15 or so years, years when I was blessed to never really be without a ‘place.’ I didn’t struggle terribly (more than the average pre-pubescent pimply child) with friends and didn’t spend too many weekend nights alone (though the ones I remember were brutal.) But as I think back, I realize that all those networks were built in. Being a cheerleader meant having things to do during football season. Being on student council meant having meetings after school and retreats. Joining a sorority meant having 40 people in a pledge class with me. Being a part of a larger church meant having small groups built into the fabric. The story is the same- I never had to work for it. I never had to humble myself to find a friend. This year is the first year I have not had a ready-made group. Some of that is intentional- wanting to slow the heck down and not join every committee in town. I wonder if I slowed down too much because obviously I have too much time to think on my hands.

Ma, the point is, I am sorry. I am sorry for assuming that finding a ‘group’ was oh so easy, that making decisions for your child was a piece of cake, that parenting was simply a matter of sticking to your guns. I was and am still, an idiot. I thought I knew everything. And now, thanks to the little lesson growing inside me, I realize I didn’t know a danged thing.

I wonder also if a mama’s favorite time in life is when her own child becomes a parent. I hope that today is the first day of the gazillions where you feel vindicated, where my own journey as a parent teaches me that I am quite the baboon and teaches me that you were waaay smarter than I ever told you.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Why a salad costs more than a big mac"

If my husband had a nickel for everytime I said that a cheeseburger cost the same as an orange, well, we could buy a lot more oranges. I have used this argument to explain the high rates of poverty in poor families and have long been frustrated by this trend.  It doesn't make sense on first glance. Food costs money, if you are poor, you should be thinner, since you don't have the money for food. In areas of the third world, yes. In the United States, not so much.

There are a zillion soundbites about this but the information is similar. From 2003-2007, obesity rates in the U.S. leveled off to some degree, except among the poor. In that time period, obesity rates among those below the poverty line went from 39% to 44.8%. Nearly 1 in 2 poor kids in America is overweight. Mississippi is hardest hit.  http://myhealth.ucsd.edu/healthnews/healthday/100302HD636504.htm

I've always had my non-academic, non-scientific opinions about why this is, but THIS makes sense. And it pisses me off.

Why wouldn't meat and dairy (i.e. cheese and burger patties) cost less? The federal government is basically paying for its production! The FDA says that a bulk of our food should come from fruits and vegetables, and yet we can barely even see the dot on the subsidy list. We are not paying as much for McDonald's because the government is absorbing most of the cost to produce it! AAAHHH.

I am not, nor have I ever been poor. The Missionaries of Charity have taught me not to necessarily see this as a blessing, knowing the fruit and beauty that can arise out of different forms of poverty, but it's just not been the cross I have had to bear yet. I will say that I have never been hungry and am grateful for that.

However, we are budget conscious in the Ninness family. I use coupons where I can (ever seen a coupon for carrots, or red peppers??) and we shop at different places for different deals. We have a pseudo-farmers market next to our house and buy most of our fruits and veggies there. But what we save in price, we sacrifice in longetivty. They are discounted but are usually short of shelf-life at this point. And we all know how quick I am to snack on anything healthy! The point is, I am aware of our budget when I'm walking down those aisles, and I know well the temptation (that I usually give in to) to buy the granola bars instead of the grapes. Bear with me for the horn tooting here, but I am an educated woman, without great financial strain, a decent knowledge of nutrition and no major struggles with weight. And I  find paying for and then, gasp, actually eating the healthy foods a challenge. If I struggle with this, please explain to me how I take a single mother of four, working 2 jobs at minimum wage, who has been raised on and knows only how to prepare high calorie, dense foods (that also feed the most people for the least amount of money), and convince her to stock her pantry full of fruits and veggies??

Okay- sorry Ross- soapbox over. But if any of you have any suggestions, other than writing members of the agriculture committees in Congress, of ways to advocate on this issue, I'm happy to hear!

**thanks to "Mrs. 2nd Lieutenant" for the topic"

Monday, March 8, 2010

A boy and his mama

As a mama to what I'm sure is a baby boy (a baby boy who kicked me for the first time last night- did I mention that !! : ):) , I am touched by something that happened at Grady today. While I was in the elevator, I saw a man who looked familiar and could not place him. I ignored the inner filter telling me to mind my own business, and I'm glad I did. The man I saw was dressed to the nines. He wore a hat and carried a briefcase. He walked without a limp, without any tremors, without any evidence of illness. He wore cologne, and something about an older gentleman wearing cologne makes me smile. His cheeks were full and his smile, well, healthy. He could have been a guest or family member or even one of the devil consultants walking the hospital. But I knew I knew him. I knew him...before.

And when he told me his name, complete with big, healthy smile, I nearly fell over. We'll call him Ronnie. I just looked at my very thick file on him and see that I last saw him in November 2008. 15 months ago Ronnie could not walk. He could not talk. His mother was helping nurses change his diapers. He had an ostomy, his bodily fluids collecting on a pouch on his abdomen. He could only motion with his eyes what he wanted. His AIDS was so advanced that his cheeks were sunken in and his eyes fading. We waited many months for a spot in a less-than-stellar nursing home. During that time, I came to know and love his mother. Ms. B called me every morning to tell me she was 'on her way up' to see 'her boy.' The nurses and I could set our clocks by her, despite her 45 minute morning drive. We knew she would come every day, but she called anyway. She needed us to know that this patient, this boy, this man, was her baby boy. She needed everyone to understand that he had a story before he got AIDS and that he WOULD have a story during his fight with this disease. And I do believe he received better care because none of us wanted to see what that precious lady would do if any one of us let up on our game.

So, 15 months ago, I sent Ronnie and his mama to a nursing home. Every week she would call me and give me updates. She needed to know that someone besides her was cheering for her son. I listened to her and was happy to help her in her quest that her son be known. She fought for him like I've never seen anyone fight. She fought with him when he wanted to give up and fought with us when we suggested end of life care. I believe her words were "like hell you will" (refer him to hospice). And while some families are just unable to see the truth of their loved one's diagnosis, we were all inclined to believe her. She knew her boy.

Well, she knew her boy and one day, I hope I will fight and advocate for my child the way she does. Because she was right! He is now working for the CDC and has regained much of the dignity HIV took from him. He laughed and said, "the last time you saw me, I was in diapers." Well, yes Ronnie, you were in diapers, but that didn't change for one second the man you are, the man you were before and the man you are now. And today, when I see a patient who looks like the end is near, I will listen more closely when they tell me there is more fight left in them. I will listen more intently to their family who know this is not quite the end. I am so glad this mama fought for her boy. And I know, the first chance I get to fight for my boy, that I will. Because this world is oh so much better with Ronnie in it for a little while longer.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thursday's Top Five...

reasons why I'm a happy little social worker.

**addendum, placed Friday morning but it happened Thursday night. Thursday was, indeed, a very good day.

1a. Little M kicked me last night, like real, karate kid kicks. M kicked in the same place and each time I wondered if it was just indigestion or some other stomach rumbling, little bit kicked again! I have felt some movement here and there, but never a certifiable kick/punch/jab- whatever it was. So, my aunt Dori told me to record everything. Thankfully for anyone reading, I don't record everything. But this one needed it. March 4th, 2010, this new mama felt her baby kick for the first time. And despite my husband's disdain for the sport of soccer, well, I always did like Mia Hamm :)

1b. .my husband went on a little shopping trip to Coscto for very important new bedding. Like- life changing new bedding. And not for us or for little baby, for Monty boy.  Translation: if puppy sleeps well, mommy sleeps well.

2.  Tomorrow I get to see this soldier for the first time in six months.   While I greatly, greatly miss the soldier on the left, we have 1/2 of our family servicemen back home safe. Am beyond thankful to God . I am also happy because the same said soldier is at home and will be helping our mom recover from some surgery. (See number 3.) Him home safe is better than any medicine for her (well, maybe not morphine, but definitely better than percocet!)                                                                       

3. This lady came out of surgery with flying colors. I get to see her tomorrow, too. As much as I stated my very loud opinion in opposition of this surgery, I'm hopeful that mom gets what she wanted out of this deal, a lack of pain and numbness in her arm (hurt her neck at work). And I'm very grateful that she is doing well enough to go home today. I know she will be happy to have all 3 of her little gremlins under the same roof this weekend. Why do I feel like the weekend may feel like an episode of Survivor ?

4. When I come home from a weekend with my siblings and mom, this, as well as it's accompanying pieces, will be in the baby's room. I will come home. To a crib. in a room. for my baby. No, definitely don't believe it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010



to help with this 
well, actually, they called me, to get to HIM
but seeing as how he works way up north, and how I work 10 minutes from them, and how I am the very arrogant daughter of a mechanic, I said, I can jump off your van. My only concern was the way the sisters park their van in their very narrow, steep driveway and my ability to get my car around it. But, rather than having R drive south, I figured I should try first.

So, success numero uno. I did get my car around their van. Good thing, because the exact same model car could NOT get around it this morning, even after ripping off a part of the SIDING of their HOME. Sister attributes it to my 'getting angles.' Sister is deluded (all respect due here).

Success numero dos. Despite making sparks with the cables (sorry little baby) and the 20 tries it took to 'angle' my car close enough to the van, we were able to finally stretch the jumper cables to fit.

Problem numero uno. Each time I put the cable on their battery, their car alarm went off. Loudly. And the three pair of ears under the hood are now ringing.

Success numero tres. Common sense finally kicks in and I realize I have to shut off the car alarm with the key. Again, sorry little baby.

Problem numero dos. Despite all my 'mechanic's daughter tricks/ suggestions from my husband, the car won't turn over.

Okay, so we realize the van has been dead for three days now and either the battery it totally kaput, or it's another problem. One of the patients in the house, who may or may not have experience dismantling cars, begins yelling at me that it's the starter, not the battery. In my hope that this is not the case, I turn the car over again while Sister MJ holds the phone for Ross to hear the sound. He thinks battery too and while I'm inclined to believe the one with the criminal record, my optimism chooses the less expensive vehicular problem.

So we decide we will take the battery out of the car and take it in to recharge. Ross tells me he can't see under their hood and to use 'common sense' in figuring out how to dismantle it. Now it's not Sister who is deluded. If I were smart, this is where I would have handed my camera to one of the patients to begin taking pictures of the big, pregnant lady and the two nuns under the hood of a mini-van trying to extract a battery.

After many different wrench changes (these nuns have a rocking tool box), with one of us holding a flashlight, as we are now doing this in the dark, we get the positive cable unscrewed. The negative one, well, well. After 30 or so attempts, I take my turn again, leaning preggo belly over the hood and the sisters start saying the Memorare. This is a beautiful prayer and it makes me smile that while I am trying not to yell expletives at the screw that WILL NOT COME LOOSE, the sisters and I are now begging for Mary's intercession :) "Don't cuss now, don't cuss now" keeps going through my head. It worked, thankfully.

As we are about to give up, I am walking down the driveway to stretch out for a second. And then, like any good Christian girl, I see two cute, non-threatening-looking boys walking down the street to a bar and decide to pick them up. They hesitate to walk over to crazy pregnant woman, but I ran across the street and start laying on thick the "Mother Teresa's nuns, AIDS patients' story when I realize one of them is a Grady resident. And then I simply use blackmale, threatening to never help him discharge another patient. It works, and the two, sweet 'frat-looking' boys trudge up the driveway, I'm sure disappointed that they are not having their pint at Hand-in Hand. After asserting that they 'are not really good with cars' (if you saw them, you'd know, these are precious silver-spoon kind of boys), thankfully their pride and testosterone kicked in and with one swoop, they un-loosened the stupid bolt. Insert really annoyed nuns and pregnant lady. We thank them and send them on the way to their ladies with a promise to expedite all his patients out of the hospital.

So, today Ross has the battery and will soon be taking it to Sears. And hopefully he will be the one taking it back dowtown to re-insert into the van. Because I'm prrrrety sure I can't get through another Memorare without cussing.

Oh the memories we create....