Sunday, June 29, 2008

A 9 year old's take on death and dying

Kaylea has been in limbo for the past 2 days just like the rest of us. We all have been waiting by the phone for news on Auntie H. We all could hope for a miracle; but, knew that the end was probably very near. There has been a lot of talk about death and dying around our house. The phone has been ringing more than normal and Kaylea has watched me jump to get it each time.

Though Kaylea talks, a lot; she isn't one to share what she is thinking when she is sad. I have to try to start conversations that will engage her and give her a chance to say what is bothering her. Over the past few days, Kaylea hasn't said a lot about how she is feeling about losing Auntie H. We have talked about how sad everyone is and how hard this is on Kaylea's cousins (Auntie H's grandchildren). We have talked about Auntie H going to heaven and getting to see all of her loved ones that died before her. We have talked about Auntie H being in a better place and not having to live with pain any longer.

Kaylea is dealing with our family's loss very well. I often worry about her, though. She has dealt with a lot of loss in her very short life. In 2004 she lost Aunt Thelma (her Great Great Aunt), Uncle Papaw (her Great Uncle), Nana (her Great Grandmother), Uncle Eddie (her Uncle) and Aunt Grace (her Great Great Aunt). Now, she has lost her Aunt Helen. Hopefully, she is coping as well as she appears.


Out of the mouths' of babes

Kaylea after being told Auntie H had passed away:

K: Man, my life sucks!
Me: Why do you say that?
K: Because all of my ancestors are dying!

Bub and I had to remind her how many of her ancestors (such a grown up word for such a little girl) were still alive. She seemed to get some comfort in that.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Look Out Boys....She's Gonna Be Dangerous!

Kaylea got her third stripe on her white belt last night. The next step is being promoted to a "Yellow Belt" Way to go, Baby! Mommy and Daddy are proud of you!!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Art Camp

Some of you may remember me Blogging about the art classes Kaylea was taking during the school year. Well, when school ended, so did the classes. It just so happens that her Art teacher is also an Art teacher with the school system in Knox Country, and she likes her summer break just as much as the kids. Hey, I don't blame her!

Lucky for Kaylea that Ms Jackie has Art Camp during the summer. She does two sessions, each being a week in length. Currently, we are mid-way through the first session and Kaylea is loving it. She has made colored tissue paper; clay figurines; a recycled materials project; and who knows what else. I will make sure to post pictures of the final projects.

Our next session will be in July and Kaylea can't wait. She is already making sure that she will be able to continue her art classes in the Fall. How can I say no?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer Project #1

I love to cook. Of course, I suppose I come by it quite naturally. Both of my grandmothers were fabulous cooks and my mom is a great cook, also. Now, none of my cooking role models were 5 star chefs. Oh no, they were/are just good ole down home country cooks. So, naturally, I don't make fancy schmancy kinds of dishes. I am more into dishes that are easy to make and taste great, too. I make a lot of casseroles, one-dish meals and slow-cooker meals. If I had to define my cooking style by comparing it to Food Network shows, I guess it would be a cross between Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee and Paula's (Deen) Home Cooking.

Luckily, Kaylea and Bub are really good about trying new things and generally like whatever is put down in front of them. Most of the time, I don't have a recipe to go by when I am preparing a dish; I tend to make it up as I go. Just like my grandmother passed her love of cooking to my mom and my mom passed it to me, I guess I have successfully passed my love of cooking on to Kaylea. Almost daily she asks if he can help me cook and is always wanting to chop, stir, mix and prepare. Because she has this interest and often will request that we make certain dishes, I decided it would be a good idea for us to make a cookbook for her with all of her favorite dishes. Originally, I thought about typing the recipes on the computer, but I really wanted to personalize this project a little more.

Then, one day, I found this:

It is a blank cookbook that you fill in yourself. It is divided into standard cookbook chapters like Breakfasts; Appetizers; Soups & Breads; Sides & Salads; Main Dishes; and Desserts. Then each page has a place for the Recipe Name; Ingredients; and Directions.

Now, Kaylea and I have a big summer project. We are going to be cooking up all kinds of items and she will decide which are "keepers" for her cookbook. Then, I will write the recipes in her cookbook and give her my own little helpful tips and serving / meal suggestions.

I know after my Nana died and I started looking through her cookbooks, I found several handwritten notes on the pages giving tips and suggestions for the recipes. These notes were a treasure to find and I wouldn't trade the cookbooks for anything. It is almost as if Nana knew that one of her grandchildren would be reading her recipes after she was gone and she didn't want us to mess them up.

Hopefully, when Kaylea moves out and begins cooking meals in her own kitchen she will enjoy reading all of the notes that I am leaving for her..

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Prayers, Blessings and Gratefulness

This morning started like all others have this summer. Kaylea and I slept in and once awake, I meandered to the computer to fire it up and check the e-mail. Little did I know that I was about to read something that would be heart breaking and scary for both Kaylea and me.

You see, Sunday evening one of Kaylea's friends from Girl Scouts was involved in a head-on collision here in town. She and her mother were transported to UT Hospital where they are still recovering. Kaylea's friend received a broken wrist, a broken pelvis, a lacerated liver and a laceration across her abdomen that required 20 stitches. This little girl is only 9, the same age as my little girl.

The mother has undergone 2 surgeries since being admitted, one for her broken ankle/heel/leg and the other to put a metal plate in her broken arm. Oh, and she has a broken pelvis, also.

When I told Kaylea about the accident she immediately asked if we could go to the hospital to visit her friend. Kaylea was very concerned for her friend and asked many questions about her injuries. I emphasized that the little girl was recovering, but Kaylea was so concerned that while I was in the shower, she got on the computer to look at the e-mail herself. Afterwards she copied the web address for our local newspaper, which was included in the e-mail we received, and went to that web page to read more about the accident. I guess she was afraid I might be trying to "sugar-coat" the details for her.

We went to the hospital this afternoon and took her friend a balloon, magazines and a book. I don't think either of us were prepared for what we saw when we entered the room. The little girl was laying there hooked up to a lot of machines with a feeding tube in her nose. She was whimpering and moaning from the pain she was enduring. As she breathed, a rattle was coming from her chest, due to the fluids that were collecting. Her father was at her bedside holding her hand and trying his best to comfort her.

My heart broke at that moment. You see, not only is she Kaylea's friend, but she is probably one of the sweetest girls I have ever had in one of my classes at school. She always has a smile on her face and a bounce in her step. A truly kind hearted little angel that would do anything for anyone. Today, though, she was not herself, naturally.

Kaylea was very quiet while we were in the hospital room. Her friend did ask her to hold her hand though. I think Kaylea was very apprehensive because she was afraid of causing her any more pain. The little girl's father repeatedly thanked us for coming to see his daughter. He looked very tired and I could see the worry in his face. I can't imagine what he is going through. His wife undergoing 2 surgeries and his little girl in critical condition. I'm quite sure he hasn't slept much, if at all, since Sunday.

I couldn't help but think about this family's tragedy and realize that it could have just as easily been my family. Me going through the 2 surgeries; Kaylea in critical condition; and Barry trying to keep things together. I travel the same road where the accident happened. Kaylea and I are always together in the car, and normally Barry is not with us. It is hard to believe how our life could be changed in mere seconds. I think everyone likes to believe that they are invincible and nothing bad will ever happen to them. Accidents such as this really slap you back into reality.

Kaylea and I have both been a little quiet today, which is definitely not normal for us. There has, also been a whole lot more cuddling and one-on-one time. We cooked dinner together and played cards while things were finishing up. The TV wasn't on and we really got to enjoy each others' company. Then when we sat down for dinner, Kaylea said our normal blessing and then added a little prayer for her friend and her parents.

Please say a prayer for this family. They are hurting in so many ways right now and they need all the support they can get. Also, please take a moment to thank God for your happy, healthy and safe children. I know I have and will continue to do so.

******Since this has affected Kaylea and me in such a profound way, this post will be placed on both our blogs, My Crazy Little Mixed Up World and Curiously Kaylea. Sorry for the duplication, but I felt it was worthy of repeating.******

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Memory Like An Elephant - or maybe like a Kaylea

As I was reading Jamie's latest post at Blonde Mom Blog I was reminded of classic Kaylea story. I am so sorry that I forgot to post this one sooner. It is an oldy but goody.

As you know, I play BUNCO. I have been very fortunate to meet such a great group of girls and have the opportunity to cut-up and laugh with them each month. We always have a blast on BUNCO night and I especially like it when it is my turn to play hostess. Being the hostess involves me planning a menu and choosing some type of cocktail that complements the food and/or theme of the evening. Well, last year as I was preparing for the big night I was feverishly running all of my last minute errands which included picking Angel up from the groomers and going by the liquor store to get the libations needed for the cocktail du jour. When I got to the liquor store I told Kaylea to stay in the car with Angel and I would run in and out very quickly. I made sure that I had parked right in front of the store and I locked the car doors and told her not to open them for anyone but me. As promised, I was in and out very quickly and I went home to finish preparing for the party. All of this was so uneventful that, honestly, I didn't give any of it a second thought.

Well, let's fast forward oh, say, 6 months or so. Auntie M took Kaylea with her to pick Lulu and Mabel up from the vet. On the way home, Auntie had to stop at the grocery store to get something for dinner. Because it was the middle of summer, Auntie didn't want to shut the car off for fear that the dogs would overheat. So she pulled into the fire lane and parked without turning off the vehicle. She told Kaylea she was going to leave the car running and lock all of the doors and for Kaylea to stay in the car with the dogs. She warned Kaylea not to open the doors for anyone but her. Then Kaylea replied in a "yeah, I've heard all of this before" tone in her voice and said, "It's ok Aunt Missy. Mom ALWAYS leaves me and Angel alone in the car when she goes to the liquor store."

Imagine my shock when my sister came home and asked me to explain that one!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

From the day Kaylea was born, I knew that Bub was going to be the best dad any little girl could want. I remember waking from one of my many naps the night following Kaylea's birth and seeing Bub sitting in a chair with Kaylea sleeping on his chest. At that moment I saw my husband as a totally different person. Not only was he my husband; now, he was a Kaylea's father, as well.

He was always so attentive to her every need. He would bounce her on his shoulder in the evenings when she would get colicky. He would get up in the middle of the night to give her a bottle. He would wake up with her in the early morning hours and play with her while letting me sleep. He would play games of peek-a-boo; they would spend lots of time watching fishing; and normally Bub would engineer some type of stuffed toy pyramid which would mesmerized Kaylea for hours.

As Kaylea has grown, their relationship has not changed too much. Bub still plays with her and they love nothing more than camping out in the living room when I have BUNCO night. They play ball in the yard, jump on the trampoline and have Super Soaker wars.

In the future, as Kaylea becomes a young woman, I am sure their relationship will change. Kaylea will begin to have boyfriends and will become more interested in shopping and talking on the phone than rough housing and playing in the yard with her Dad. There is something, however, that I know with all certainty; Kaylea will always be a daddy's girl and Bub will always be there for her the same way he has for the past 9+ years.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Time to Redecorate

Yes, Kaylea and I got tired of the old diggs and decided to spruce things up a bit. We hope you like the new look.

I will say, however, had I know how time consuming this effort was going to be, I probably would have stayed with the same ole same ole.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig...

...well sorta. We made it home from HHI on Saturday about 4pm. It was a pretty uneventful trip. I will say that the car was a lot quieter on the way home. I think the silence was a combination of depression and exhaustion.

When we got home SJ's parents and sister were waiting at our house; SJ was very excited to see them. I hadn't mentioned before, but SJ dealt with a bit of home sickness while we were gone. She had a rough time in the beginning, but eventually she got over it. I just have one question, though. Why is it that home sickness is at its worse in the evenings? SJ would be fine in the mornings and throughout the day; around 4pm each afternoon she would get weepy. Just something I found curious.

After we arrived home, we didn't have much of a chance to rest. We went to my family reunion Sunday and Kaylea and I have been camping with Memommy and Mr. Jimmy in Townsend ever since. So, even though we are "home" we are not home.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Savannah Smiles

Savannah was just as great as we last left it. I must say, however, it was very HOT!!! We all thought we were going to melt right there on River Street.

We took Auntie M's auto tour of Savannah. This consisted of us in one car, them in another car and speaker phones being used to communicate. Hey, what can I say? We are thrifty and it was HOT!!!

After our tour we walked down River Street and did a little shopping. Kaylea and SJ just HAD to have new shirts and chocolate gelato, although not in that order. Then all of the us girls got tattoos at the market. Finally, we ended our trek down River Street at Wet Willies. The girls enjoyed their Weak Willies, while the adults sipped on something a little stronger. The slushies were quite refreshing because it was sooooo HOT!!!

Next we were off to Tybee Island to climb the lighthouse and eat dinner at The Crabshack. By the time we got to the lighthouse we all had decided that a climb to the top was pretty much out of the question - you know, because it was HOT!!! I guess it was a good thing that we had made that decision because they sold the last tour tickets about 20 minutes prior to us arriving. We did, however, get to take some pictures of the lighthouse and snoop around in the gift shop. (Now, that's MY way to tour a lighthouse!)

Dinner at The Crab Shack was awesome. We sat outside amongst the palms and palmettos looking over the water and enjoying some fresh seafood. Well, Bub, Auntie M, Vickster and I enjoyed fresh seafood. The others decided to be land lubbers. While we were waiting for our meal the girls got to feed the alligators and SJ got to talk to her mom and dad while they looked at her on another Webcam. I think the only thing that could have made dinner any better would have been a big air conditioner. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention; it was really HOT!!!

We ended our day with the girls taking pedi-cab rides through Savannah. The pedi-cab drivers, or should I say peddlers, told them some ghost stories and pointed out some of the things that the tours don't include. Overall, a good time for them.

I guess the day was a hit. Everyone had fun and hopefully the girls learned a few things. Now, we are off to the pool and beach for our final day of vacation. I'm really going to miss this place, EVEN THOUGH IT IS SOOOOO HOT!!!!

Now you see why SJ and Kaylea just HAD to have new shirts.

Us girls getting our tattoos.

Tybee Island lighthouse - that's a lot of steps!

No, this isn't the alligator they fed.

Another tasty meal - seafood, YUMMO!

I guess we weren't the only ones that were HOT!!! At least we weren't advertising it, though ;)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Another Fabulous Day

We had another great day. It started with The Salty Dog and ended with putt-putt. In between there was a whole lot a frolicking in the sun. This is the life!

A picture that needs no explanation.

Man was is HOT! The coolest part was SJ getting to talk on the cell phone with her mom while her mom could look at her on the live webcam.

Shouldn't the sign say, "Birds will take a finger off if given the chance!"

Too much fun playing in the waves. Sorry folks, that is as close as you will EVER come to seeing me in a bathing suit.

SJ and her Sandman. She's from Indiana and does what she knows best. Heck, I think their snow just melted about a month ago.

Kaylea and SJ in the stocks.

I know, it looks like Auntie M made a hole-in-one, but don't let her fool you. She was just striking a pose for the camera.

Kaylea loves her cousin, SJ!

Today we are off to Savannah and Tybee Island. There should be lots to tell when we get back.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sun, Surf and Fireworks

How better to end a beautiful day at the beach than to watch fireworks over the palm trees?

Kaylea and SJ waiting for the show to begin.

Palm trees and fireworks - amazing!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Day In Charleston

Yes, we all had fun in Charleston. I don't think Kaylea and SJ were really "into" the History lesson that accompanied the Carriage Tour. Go figure, a 9 & 10 year old bored by History. (psst...I was kinda bored, too. I just won't tell them.) They did, however, think it was cool to ride in the carriage and they loved the horse, so I guess that portion of the trip was not a total loss.

Later, we went to Battery Park - or as the locals say - Batree Park. There were lots of statues of REALLY old people that they had never heard of. But they liked climbing on the cannons and connon balls.
The girls, also, enjoyed the market. Kaylea bought a little sweet-grass basket. She was so excited when she found one that she could ACTUALLY afford.

Overall, we had a good day and one that the girls will remember. Today we are off to the beach again. Yea, more sand dollars!!!!

SJ with the biggest french fry known to man. Aaron's Deli really knows how to make 'em!

SJ, Kaylea and Me as we waited for our carriage tour.

Kaylea and SJ taking a ride on the cannon.

Kaylea and SJ in front of a statue of a really old person. I don't think they noticed he was wearing nothing but a fig leaf, a sword and a shield.

All our beauties posing. From top to bottom: Miss C, Vickster, SJ, Kaylea

Monday, June 2, 2008

Fun In The Sun

Yesterday we spent the day at the beach. Finally, Kaylea and SJ were able to not only see the ocean, but play in it, also. We found lots of Sand Dollars, flew a kite, splashed in the water and built a nifty sandcastle. We hope you enjoy the pics.

Kaylea and SJ on the beach.

SJ with her sand dollars. She was the first to make a find.

All the girls playing in the sand. L to R: Miss C, SJ, Vickster, Kaylea

Well folks, today we are off to Charleston for a carriage tour, lunch at Aaron's Deli and a stroll through the market. More pictures will follow.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Let The Fun Begin!

Yes, by looking at our nifty countdown clock, you can see that our happy little family is at the beach. The week that had been "FOREVER" away is finally here.

Our "little" group is not so little, though. We are actually closer in appearance to one of those polygamist families with all the youngins. The happy family consists of Mr. Bob, Auntie M., Miss C (Mr. Bob's 16 year-old daughter), Vickster (Auntie M.'s 18 year-old niece), Bub, Me, Kaylea and SJ (Kaylea's 10 year-old cousin). I'm sure people look at us and try to figure out which kids belong to which adults. Oh well, "Keep em guessing." That's our family motto.

We arrived at Hilton Head yesterday afternoon after the longest car trip known to mankind. I'm quite sure that Kaylea and SJ thought we were taking them to the far side of the moon, as opposed to the beach. Heck, they probably think we are just pulling their leg at this point and they are somewhere in Idaho. You see, we haven't actually seen the ocean, yet. Yesterday when we got here, we had to unload and unpack, then there was dinner to eat. After dinner the girls went swimming in the pool while Auntie M and I went to the grocery store to buy all of the needed supplies for the condo. So, like I said, we could be playing a mean trick on them right now, and they would never know it. "Trust us, girls. We are at the beach. We promise."

Needless to say, we don't have any pictures to post, yet. But stay tuned; there will be some appearing shortly. Now, since I didn't come to the beach to sit in front of a computer and blog, I am going to excuse myself and go get ready for a day of fun in the sun!

Catch ya later!