Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pizza Day

I surprised Keith with a card this morning that read something like " Do you remember when we were kids and how excited we were when we found out it was Pizza Day in the cafeteria and how that was the best day of all school lunch days? With you every day is Pizza Day..."


But it's true. Because I am human and an idiot most of the time, I have often taken this wonderful creature that I am married to for granted. He is not perfect but he's pretty darn close. He cooks better than me, he does just as much as I do around here and he works hard for our family. He is funny and silly and serious and smart and dedicated and forgets to send birthday cards and leaves his shoes lying around. He is reserved and quiet and playful and loud. He is an honest and caring father and he puts up with me.

That last characteristic is not to be overlooked or taken lightly, folks. He puts up with me and that's no easy task I tell ya. I am forgetful and lazy and I procrastinate like nobody's business. I am goofy and talk too much and never meet a stranger...often forcing him to test his patience in any social setting. I am moody and emotional and stubborn as all get out. Living with the Katie is no cakewalk, I assure you.

Yet he does it willingly. Sometimes he even acts like he enjoys it.

In a couple weeks we will be celebrating fifteen years of him being tied down with a nutcase...I mean, we will be celebrating our beautiful marriage. And to do so, we will be renewing our vows to each other in a simple ceremony with family here at our home.

Sounds like he's going to sign up for a few more years of living in an insane asylum. Guess perpetual Pizza Day is worth a little crazy every now and then, huh?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Cellophane Christmas

I'm about to let you see right through me.

I'm struggling a bit this Christmas. Before I go further, please let me clarify that I know and embrace the reason for the season...and am blessed way beyond measure. But, as I sit here at almost one o'clock in the morning listening to the howling wind whipping through the trees out back, I can't help but feel a bit melancholy.

For starters, I've missed my Mom a lot more than usual this year. Maybe that has something to do with this feeling. I have tried in numerous ways to channel her and see Christmas through the eyes of the child Katie. I bought the can of "Deluxe Hard Candy" that she had around at Christmastime and I downloaded the entire Beach Boys Christmas album and blared it while I cooked today. She had a way of making this holiday special and I fear I have not done that for my children. I didn't have an orange to put in the toe of the boys' stockings and there's no ceramic Santa or brass angel candle thingy that I put out year after year like Mom did....will I ever be able to make lasting memories for them like she did for me?

Then there's the whole Santa thing with Daniel. Uggg. I feel tears well up in my eyes as I think about him going to sleep for the first time not dreaming of Santa's sleigh making it's way to our house sometime during the night. For the first time since we've been parents, there is no plate of cookies with a note for Santa on the counter. (ok, full fledged tears streaming now...) Daniel knows the truth now and Jacob--at a cranky age 2 when we put him to bed after dinner--is too young to understand the whole cookie/Santa tradition. Could I have somehow kept Daniel believing for another year or two by weaving tales of magic and mystery or did I do the right thing following my instincts and sharing the truth upon his demand and questioning? I'm not sure...but I do know it feels a little strange having one old enough to not believe and one too young to know the difference.

There is one thing I know for sure, though. My family is together. And we are safe and healthy and blessed far beyond what we deserve. There may not be cookies and a note for Santa waiting in the morning...but by dawn's early light there will be two pajama-clad boys clammering to open presents regardless of how they got under the tree.

As parents, we sometimes struggle wondering if we are doing the very best job we can. I am sure my Mom dealt with these same feelings from time to time. And as I sit here in the wee hours of a stormy Christmas morning, I can't help but feel her here with me telling me to take it one day at a time and to cherish every moment I have with my kids.

I think I'll take her advice. Merry Christmas everyone.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Note to Self: Carry Kleenex at All Times

I hadn't expected to cry at church this morning.

Actually, I was looking forward to an uplifting service about the Christmas story and the wise men and the manger and the star of Bethlehem. You know, all very familiar and Christmas-week-worthy topics to preach on. Our service today was quite unusual. And, as effective as it was at teaching me about fear and our need for God's protection, it was something simple that happened as I walked into church that had such a huge impact on me.

As Keith and the boys and I made our way along the winding sidewalk to the entrance to the children's section, a family of 6 walked in just before us. A Mom and Dad with 3 children most likely biological and 3 of varying ages that looked to be of Ethiopian heritage. The oldest, a tall lanky teenager, carried a tattered Bible in his left hand as he reached to open the door for us with his right. His smile would light up a room and he was definitely not short on manners. He interacted with his younger siblings--both by blood and adoption--with the familiar banter of any typical American family.

It warmed my heart.

And then, when we began to sing a familiar Christmas carol during the service, I thought about our close friends and their quest to bring home two children from Ethiopia. The acoustic strains of Silent Night playing softly in the background allowed my thoughts to drift off to a foreign country where a girl named Mary--age 9-- and a boy nicknamed Mel--age 6--are going about their daily routine...most likely unaware of how their lives will change in a matter of months. For across an ocean awaits a home filled with warmth and love, parents whose hearts are open wide with anticipation and a little brother who, at 17 months is barely speaking, utters their names with a grin and a giggle.

Suddenly and quite unexpectedly, I was overcome with emotion. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I imagined Mary and Mel along with David, Amy and Isaac, sitting in a similar church service next Christmas...a family of five born of prayer, persistence and more than a healthy dose of divine intervention. Christmas being such a time of family and fellowship, I couldn't help but compare it to my own adoption journey and the pain I felt the Christmas before we brought Daniel home. We had his picture on our refrigerator just like David and Amy have their's posted. And in those quiet times...those Silent Nights...when all seems at peace, I imagine the Watsons yearn to share the magic of this holiday with their soon-to-be children on the other side of the globe.

And before you know it, they will.

Because pretty soon, there will be a family of five with a range of beautiful skin colors walking together into church like they had never been apart and two more orphans will experience the warmth and acceptance that only a family can offer. It may be a long time before my friends have a true "silent night" with a house full of children...but those nights will certainly be a little sweeter and, more importantly, filled with an overflowing abundance of love.

Merry Christmas Mary and Mel. We can't wait to meet you.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


this morning i was going on about something to my husband. something important and lifechanging like how i wanna make a cute homemade lunchsack for daniel to take lunches in like that one blogger did or how i want to sew or something.

keith just shook his head and walked off muttering "i love you."

"what was that?" i asked.

"i just love you," he said.

"why?" i asked.

"because you're you."

now that was kinda sweet.

i think?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Momma's Words Ringing in My Ears

My Mom would have a field day with my life right now. She was always looking for a cause...something to champion or dig into. She would roll up her sleeves and give me a good talkin to right now for sure.

You see, she used to tell me all the time "you need to slow down." Boy, would she be chomping at the bit to preach to me right now. It feels like I have been going non-stop for as long as I can remember and I'm actually tired folks. T-I-R-E-D.

Since Tuesday I have flown to Austin, Texas, toured hotels non-stop, flew from there to Jackson, Mississippi and did the Mississippi Toys for Tots drive at Toys 'R Us then rented a car and drove to Tuscaloosa arriving 2 minutes after kickoff for the LSU game. Was too tired to drive back to Nashville afterwards so D and I got a room and made it home today.

I will be in town all this week and will try to resume a normal work and home routine. I will buy groceries and cook meals and play with my kids and my hubby and my pets and....and....soak it all in.

That is, until Tuesday morning when I itch to put a stop to the monotony. :)

Yes Mom...I hear you. I'll try to slow down. Sigh......

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Hairbrush for a Microphone was Just the Beginning...

Anyone who has known me for a quarter of a nanosecond knows how much I love music. I listen to music while working, driving, eating, sleeping...pretty much if I am breathing you can bet there will be music in the background. That's why one of my favorite blogger's post on music got me to thinking about my own obsession with...the Power Ballad.

Folks, just reading some of her favorite tunes transported me back to 1986, Brandon Mississippi, last bedroom on the left--yep, that's me with the big poofy bangs. One note of a gutwrenching love song and I'd kick into video mode. Suddenly, hairbrush (a.k.a. microphone) in hand, I am standing at my window gazing longfully out looking for the love of my life as I sing the tormented lyrics of whatever sappy song happened to be on at the time. It was very Debbie (I mean DEBORAH) Gibson,you know-- only without the record deal or millions of dollars.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, music. If there was one thing at which I was a master...it's The Mix Tape. With two fingers (to press Record and Play at the same time, of course) and my trusty tape recorder, I could transform any ol' cassette into a Torturous Tape of Longing and Heartache. I'd make sure it had the right balance of "I-love-you-but-you-love-her-instead" and "why-don't-you-love-me-anymore-cause-you-know-I'm-gonna-love-ya-forever-or-at-least-until-Prom" songs on there. And, when I was finished, I had a treasure trove of angst right there at my fingertips...ready to be blasted the next time he didn't call. Just think what I coulda' done with iTunes at my disposal y'all. I'm just sayin.

So this got me thinking of my favorite ballads from back in the day. There are simply too many to choose from. But, if you were forcing me by gunpoint to compile some some songs onto the Ultimate "Yank-Young-Katie's-Heart-Out-So-She-Can-Pretend-To-Film-A-Video" Mix Tape, these would have to be some of my picks (in no particular order, mind you):

1)All Outta Love(Air Supply)-- just the words "lyin alone with my head on the phone" qualifies this as one of the great anthems of love and longing. Air Supply was always good for a good cry or moment of lying on my bed, pillow snuggled under my chin staring at HIS photograph. You know the one. The one you put in the perfect frame...the frame just small enough to block the girl he took to Homecoming instead of you. Yeah, that one.

2)Never Gonna Let Ya Go-- (Sergio Mendes) Oh yes. Not only do I know every word of that song to this day, I know it was sung by Sergio Mendes. I so need to go on one of those know-the-lyrics shows! "I was as wrong as I could be, to let ya get away from from me..." Yes. I would of course think that this was being sung about ME...cause the boy was always missing me as much as I was missing him, right? RIGHT? Yeah, I was delusional enough to think so, too.

3)When She Danced--Love Theme to Stealing Home (David Foster/Marilyn Martin)-- This song was not a huge hit on the radio but oh my lands was it one of my favorites. My sister and I could sing this song word for word and identify with its theme of coulda been/shoulda been but not-the-right-time love. This song still gets me..."can you go back in time to a place in your mind to the one knew a part of you that you just couldn't find...?" Uggghhhh.

4)Open Arms (Journey...like I even needed to tell you that)-- need I say more. The first 5 notes of this song take me into the arms of a slow dance like no other song on the planet. Best love song ever. Ever.

5)When I'm With You" (Sherriff)-- I am sure I was always off-key singing this jewel but I didn't care. It was love. I was torn up. It simply didn't matter. What mattered was that he hear me singin it as I drove by his house with the windows down. Did I just put that in print?

6)I'll Be There For You (Bon Jovi)-- how can you not like this song?

7)Makin' Love Outta Nothin' At All (Air Supply)-- one part of this song requires a car window down and belting it out "I can make the runner stumble, I can make the final block, I can MAKE EVERY TACKLE AT THE SOUND OF THE WHISTLE, I CAN MAKE ALL THE STADIUMS ROCK..." Oh, you never belted that part out? Well, I did. :)

8) The Search is Over (Survivor)-- roller skates. my sister. an expertly choreographed performance in our carport captured on video. And no, it will not end up on You Tube...not as long as there is breath in this body.

9) Anything from the Chicago 1982-1989 Album. Hard Habit to Break? You're the Inspiration... classic rip-your-heart-out songs!

10)And how could I get to number ten without some Richard Marx, peoples? Hold Onto the Nights? Right Here Waiting? Any song that opens up with "Oceans apart, day after day..." I mean come on! Course, I was never oceans apart from my crushes but I could easily twist that into "subdivisions" apart...or "Three rows of desks apart in Algebra II..." Hey. You do what it takes. This is heartache we're talkin about.

So...there you have it. Just Volume 1 of 2,200 Mix Tapes I would compile if given the chance. So, what song rips your heart out?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Next Time I'm Hookin' Up the Disco Ball

There was a feeling in the air that was unmistakeable. Electric. Unbridled anticipation. Oh yeah, folks. The excitement was palpable. The boys trudged, I mean RACED out to the HotMommaMobile ready for a day of fun and frolic at school all kicked off with a ride in the sweetest ride in four counties...yeah, you guessed it...Momma's Morning Party Van.

It's the hottest ticket in town.

Once the doors of that Honda Odyssey come to a close, it's on like Donkey Kong. First there is the ritual of finding JUST THE RIGHT SONG to kick things off. Not too peppy, certainly not a ballad...no, it must have just the right beat to set the mood. This morning, folks, we hit the proverbial jackpot of songs. "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" by Michael Jackson. Do you remember that song? Oh my goodness, we were jammin' and singin and butchering lyrics left and right. It was fantastic.

"Wanna be startin' somethin, gotta' be startin' something, say you wanna be startin somethin, gotta be startin' somethin... (insert expertly choreographed hand motions here) too high ta get over (yeah yeah) too low ta get under (yeah yeah) you're stuck in the middle (yeah yeah) and the pain is thunder....."

And just when I thought we had done a fine job butchering the lyrics "you're a vegetable...you're a vegetable...somethin somethin..you're like a buffet...you're a vegetable..." I get home and look up the lyrics and that is EXACTLY what he is saying. What's the fun in that?

I digress.

After the ideal get-ya-in-the-mood kickoff came the next MMPV tune. The Police were singing "De Do, Do, Do, De Da Da da..." Perfect lyrics for Jacob to chime in. He's always saying Da Da Da ANYWAY so...take it Jacob! De do, do,do, de da da da...that's all I want to say to you..." It was a group effort for sure.

As with every good thing, it had to come to an end. The boys securely dropped off at their academic destination of choice, I quietly drove back to the house already missing my singing partners.

It was Momma's Morning Party Van at her finest and no doubt a fun way to start the day.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

From Religious Persecution to the Cosmos...All Between Church and the Taco Place

It's not very far. The drive from church to a local shopping area. Maybe 10 minutes TOPS. But, in that 10-minute span this morning, our seven-year old son managed to ask a litany of questions that spanned from astrophysics to religious persecution. My mind is still reeling. I grabbed a spare scrap of paper and jotted them down as he shot them at us from the back seat. Are you ready? Fasten your seatbelt and hold on. I give you...Daniel's Questions in a Ten-Minute Window of Time:

1. Did some guy in Russia ask you a lot of questions about being parents like they did before you got Jacob?
2. Why do some people attack Jewish people?
3. Can you tell people about God in Russia?
4. If people on the same Army team retreat and go down the wrong road can the bad guys still attack them?
5. Is 60 minutes the same thing as counting to 60 sixty times? (yeah, think hard about that one.)

and now.....ladies and gents....we continue our questioning with an intent focus on all things outer spacey:

6. Can planets move around anyway besides in circles?
7. Are the cold planets the reason we have nighttime? (Do what??)
8. Is it true that there are other living things besides humans in space?
9. Did you know that in space you can die if you get too close to the tip of the sun cause it will melt your ship?
10. Why don't the planets close to the sun just burn up?

need I remind you this is in a TEN-MINUTE SPAN, folks.... I needed ten minutes just to GET STARTED THINKING ABOUT number 5...

11.Why are there some planets with nothing on them, Mom, cause that doesn't make sense.
12. How do meteors hit the Earth when it really doesn't happen that often?

HELP ME. Of course, I am very happy to have a healthy, inquisitive child. But Momma's brain felt like a pile of Jello once we reached our destination. I did my best to answer as many as I could; however, I forgot to brush up on my knowledge of all thing astrological before heading out for services this morning.

I will be prepared next time. I'll fire back with ratios and calculations so precise that he will be struck down with awe at the unexpected intelligence of his Momma. Course, that'll just lead to more questions.

I am so in trouble.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

From Glue Sticks and Meltdowns to Fireballs in the Sky: What a Difference Eight Hours Makes

Yes. I was one of "those." One of the parents that waited until the night before school started to purchase school supplies. Call me crazy but I fed the kiddos, loaded 'em up into the trusty Hot Momma Mobile and headed to Wal-Mart with my lengthy 2nd grade school supplies list in hand. In my defense, I had tried the night before to purchase one of those nifty "we-bought-it-all-for-ya-and-wrapped-it-in-shrink-wrap" box thingies at the school but they only accepted cash. The two dollars in my wallet didn't quite cover it, so off I headed to our Nation's Largest Superstore.

I can tell ya it only goes downhill from here, folks.

You see, Daniel had some Gummi Lifesavers. And he gave one to Jacob. And once you give one of anything to my 20-month old human garbage disposal, he is gonna whine and moan and crawl out of his skin until he gets another...and another...and we were in that mode as we entered the gates of Hell (otherwise known as the front entrance of Wal-Mart).

After successfully negotiating my cart with a monkey climbing half-in, half-out while Daniel thrust every school supply bearing a Transformer in my face, I made it to the rows of blue bins containing the requisite materials common to most area schools. I looked like I was on a timed shopping spree as I moved from bin to bin tossing glue sticks, erasers, markers and crayons in as fast as I could to avoid an impending toddler meltdown. But, alas, I was too late.

"Sit down, Jacob."

"Sit down on your bottom right now. Jacob. Sit. DOWN." I try once again to fasten the black seat belt around his waist but it would not latch.

"Jacob. Momma said SIT DOWN"

SCREEEECH! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa........... one pack of glue sticks overboard.

The back arches. The screeches continue. But I must get ziplock bags which are clear across the store. They might as well be in Wyoming. I'm just sayin.

My spawn are obviously tired of being in the store and their Momma is about to reach her saturation point. As we take a shortcut through the clothing section to get over to the ziplock bags, the devil disguised as my toddler grabs every piece of clothing we pass and yanks it to the floor.

"No touch, Jacob. Jacob, no touch! Daniel will you pick up that shirt for me?"

Are they going to ban my child from the 2nd grade if he doesn't produce a box of Ziplocks? I weigh my options and decide to forge on. Ziplocks in hand, I trudge up to the backed up checkout lines with Jacob now in the main part of the buggy throwing items overboard as if he is in a rowboat taking on water. We finally check out, make it to the car and proceed home.

I recount that story because, just a short eight hours later, I looked upon that same child...the child I had declared publicly on aisle 14 was the Spawn of Satan...and wondered how I was ever blessed enough to be his mother.

You see, a friend of mine had told me about a meteor shower that would be happening sometime overnight. Always one to try and not miss those type events, I set my alarm for 2:22 (a nice even number) and crawled into bed. I then realized that I indeed need my sleep with it being Daniel's first day of school so I caved, changed the alarm and went to sleep.

"Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa". My child's cries, as always, awoke me with a startle. I looked at the clock "3:07am." The meteor shower! I retrieved my child from his crib and went out on the front lawn. The air was only slightly crisp with a warm breeze as I surveyed the sky full of stars above me.

And then I began to sing. "Delta Dawn, what's that flower you have on? Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?" The song I sang to Daniel and the song that my grandmother used to sing me to sleep slowly lulled my child into a light slumber. Suddenly, a ball of fire shot across the sky and caused me to jump slightly. I had been watching the little streamers of shooting stars but the three fire blazing streaks that I witnessed within minutes of each other were amazing, breathtaking even.

And then it all came full circle for me.

Parenthood is made up of the nerve-bruising, patience-testing, character-building experiences like I had had had in Wal-Mart that evening tempered with the soul-soothing, faith-restoring, mind-easing moments like I was having on my lawn at that moment. Children test our limits and work our nerves and make us wanna pull our hair out at times; however, there are always gonna be those moments when it seems like it's all worth it. Every trial. Every tantrum...all seemed worth it to me as I glimpsed into Jacob's baby blues as he soaked in the wonder of the night sky above him.

It was a magical moment indeed and one this momma will never forget.

Monday, August 10, 2009

It Was All Romantic-Like...Well, Until the Death and Tragedy Part

We are planning a trip for our upcoming 15-year anniversary in January. My inlaws have graciously agreed to keep the kiddos the week after Thanksgiving so that's when we are going to take our trip. Because it is in the dead of winter, our choices for a pleasant temperature locale are somewhat limited. Yes, we can do the whole snowbound thing somewhere but we were thinking more warm weather...so a cruise was something we've been researching.

Researching cruises is just about the most hair-pulling-out thing I have ever undertaken. There are the cruise line websites, then every discount cruise website known to man. Cheapcruises, Discountcruises, Romance at Sea, Sail 'n Rail, Luxury or barefoot, blah blah blah blah blah. (Yes, I understand that using "blah" repeatedly in a sentence would make my college english professor's skin crawl but sometimes you just gotta. Anyhoo...where was I?)

So, we found a ship we really like. It's a Holland America ship called the Eurodam-- and yes, I feel like I'm cursing every time I say it. But the rooms. Which kind of room do we want? There are as many types of rooms as there are types of cruises and Keith was outlining them all to me via Instant Messenger. It went something like this: " what do you think about the Superior vs. the Deluxe room. One is....<> and the other is.... knowing full well unless you tell me it's the size of a football field I have no idea what 350 sq. ft looks like. NONE.

As I have looked--and some of you cruise veterans out there may have a strong opinion about this--I just don't see the value in paying the Average Per Capita Income per Family in some U.S. States to have a balcony on a cruise ship. The entire ship IS a balcony...there is so much to do onboard, I doubt we will be spending much time on a balcony when we could stand anywhere on the boat and look out at the water.

I'm just sayin.

So, now to the romance part. When Keith got home from work today he said, "you know you are right about the whole room type thing."

I said, "I am? Why is that?" Of course, I was thinking he would make some reference about why we wouldn't have much TIME to spend out on a balcony (wink, wink) or...that we would be so busy standing on the bow like Leo and Kate that we wouldn't miss it. Oh no. No, no, no.

"Because," he said, "the first class passengers on the Titanic were still just as dead as the third class passengers."

It just doesn't get more romantic than that, folks.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Big Brother TLC

My youngest loves water of any kind. With that knowledge, I took the spray bottle of water that I was using as I ironed this morning and sprayed a light mist over his head as he walked by. He loved it and giggled as if he were at a high-dollar waterpark. Several more times, he intentionally walked by and paused, looking up at me with an anticipatory, almost sheepish, grin.

:: squirt, squirt ::

:: giggle, giggle ::

Then, he realized the highlight of his morning was about to occur. He heard Daniel's footsteps bounding down the hall. His big brother was awake! Momma's Water Warehouse of Fun was suddenly of no concern. He had to get to his "bubba." In his haste, he took off and proceeded to have both little feet fly straight up in the air as he slipped and fell on the water-sprayed slick tile floor.

THUD! And what a thud it was. That little noggin plunked right down on the floor and out came a scream followed by tears. (yes, Mommy felt horrible)

But suddenly, Daniel rounded the corner. I picked Jacob up and he took off again, a little slower this time but with an eager swagger nonetheless, and bounded into a now-squatting Daniel's arms. He then laid his head on Daniel's shoulder and they embraced for a sweet good morning hug...

...as my heart melted in a puddle on the already wet floor below.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Two Posts in One Day?

I know! It's like a bonus post! Well, I'll let you read it before deciding if it's any kind of bonus at all.

I am lonely, y'all. I am not sure if this working at home thing is for me. No, I cannot believe those words are even coming out of my mouth. This was a dream of mine. Flexibility. Freedom. Well, those I do have but I am also a people person. And working all day with no interaction besides the occassional phone call is next to maddening. I haven't gotten to the point of talking to telemarketers but folks I've come close!

My dream was simple. Manage my day to where I throw in a load of laundry, clean something, check my email, work on important projects and then have a scrumptious meal awaiting my more-than-deserving hubby when he gets home. I'm having a hard time not chuckling as I type that.

It's not that I don't have enough work to keep me busy. That couldn't be further from the truth. It's just that I stare at a computer all day. That is the extent of my interaction. I have been picking about my addiction to Facebook but, y'all, I'm really not kidding. Some days, that is the extent of my contact with the outside world. Just being to say "hi" to someone...even on the web is better than the silence or the iTunes songs I have played over and over for background noise.

OK. Enough pity party. There are plenty people who would kill to work steps from their bedroom. I shall put on my big girl panties and come up with a schedule or something to make it feel more like an office rather than a computer I never get away from...day or night. I will embrace the freedom that I have and make the most of being blessed with employment period.

Right? Right. Now....anyone wanna do lunch? LOL

5 Subscribers, Really?

A friend of mine recently commented that I have 5 subscribers to my blog. WOW. And here I thought I was all alone doing the writing equivalent of talking to myself. Thank you for tying a knot in the end of the rope and hanging on you 5 dedicated people. I am back. I think. Don't hold me to that...but I sure am gonna give it my best.

I have missed using this as an outlet of expression. No, I never really say anything too outlandish and I am not usually one to spark a huge debate on here. But that's fine, too. I just like jotting down my thoughts and having a place like this to do so is comforting.

So I shall try once again to get my "blog on."

Maybe I'll be at 7 subscribers by year end. We can all dream, can't we?

I Did Survive

(sung to the tune of "I Will Survive")

First I was afraid, I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live without my phone in sight
Then I spent a couple nights that really proved me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to carry on

And now I'm back, in cyber space
I just logged in to see who mighta missed me in this place

I shoulda changed my Facebook status
A better pic for all to see
If I'd known for just one second
Who'd be checking in on me

Oh but I....I did survive
A bunch of hours, no technology
And I managed to stay alive

Now I've got so much work to do
And maybe lots of cookin' too
But I did survive...I can survive....Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh


Friday, July 31, 2009

Like Detox...and How Crazy is That?

If you have kept up with my blog through the past 7 or 8 months, I thank you. I also wonder if you might be just "one card shy of a deck" as they say because there hasn't been anything to read on here but your loyalty and dedication impress me to no end.

Hello, my name is Katie and I am addicted to Facebook. There. I said it. I wish I could explain it...but I can't. I am a people person to the core. And I guess having 24/7, at-your-fingertips access to what's going on in the lives of people that you know is, well, intoxicating. I love knowing the second that a friend finds out they got a promotion, or they are worried about test results or their kids are driving them batty or that they just made a scrumptious dinner. I can't help it.

In that same vein, I love sharing my day with others. Perhaps it's the fact that I work from home and have no social interaction with anything but my pets during the day...who knows? But being able to type "Katie is going to grab some lunch" feels like I just shouted into the next cubicle or looked over at my favorite coworker to let them know where I'm going. Yes, it sounds a bit crazy but if it helps a people-person working alone not go insane, well then by all means.....

I am, however, going to attempt something this weekend that for some might be a no-brainer. For some without an addiction to social networking or technology, what I will attempt to do is natural. I am going to go camping and I am leaving the computer and the cell phone at home.


Yes. You heard me correctly. No status update of "we're almost to Chattanooga." No letting everyone know that I am about to go make smores with my boys. Nope, I am going to have to function without updating the general public on my every move. How will I ever make it through? Folks, I only wish I were kidding.

But here's what I WILL do. I will focus on spending the day at a children's museum with our good friends. I will soak in every moment of wide-eyed curiosity the boys have as we move from exhibit to exhibit. I will focus on the stars as we camp in the woods...and the sounds of the crickets...and the giggles of my children as the too-burnt part of the marshmallow drips onto their hands. I will somehow go to sleep without telling everyone I am doing so and wake up and cook breakfast over a campfire...and it will all be just fine.

And then, as soon as I get back to civilization (a.k.a. laptop and phone within reach) I will tell you all about it. Cause I know you will have been hanging onto your seats to find out what I've been up to. :) OK, so maybe not...but I can at least pretend, huh?

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Has anybody seen me?

If found, please contact me immediately.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Blessed Indeed

We don't mean to alarm you but.....

These are never words you want to hear when spoken by a medical professional in reference to your child. Such were the words I heard at the Emergency Room Wednesday evening as Jacob laid limp in my arms, skin pale as the thinnest paper, eyes half glazed.

The doctor, seated to my left in a crisp set of forest green hospital scrubs, spoke matter-of-factly as he outlined the tests they wanted to perform on Jacob. Because his fever had spiked to 104.5 and miniature convulsions shook his little body, he wanted to run a battery of tests including bloodwork, urine sample, xrays as well as get fluids in him ASAP.

It had already been quite a day and my body was feeling the effects of the stress. Keith had flown to Pittsburgh that morning as I drove like the wind to get back into town from a business trip to Atlanta. Jacob had been picked up from daycare by a good friend and had been vomiting and lethargic. No matter how fast you drive, you seem like you cannot get to your child quick enough when they are ill. Upon my arrival, Jacob proceeded to show me the color of the popsicle he had eaten by throwing up down the front of my shirt. I rushed him to Urgent Care and, after 30 minutes of waiting, a nurse came to the waiting room, took his vitals and asked me to take him to the NEAREST Emergency Room...nearest? My Momma-stress-meter jumped a couple notches as I tried to drive as safely, but as quickly as possible.

Now settled in the ER and trying to figure out how to keep a 7-year old entertained, update my husband in Pennsylvania as well as hold the limp biscuit of a child in my arms...I suddenly felt a bit overwhelmed. They had moved us into a large operating-type room so that they could "see better to work" and the cacaphony of buzzing, beeping, whizzing and whirring was a bit unsettling. On either side of us were trauma cases such as puncture wounds, dislocated shoulders, heart attacks... and, in the middle of it all was a hospital bed with a Mom cuddling a little feverish boy and another boy propped in a makeshift "chair bed" watching the Disney Channel. The contrast was glaring.

Throughout the evening, a team of nurses and doctors would poke, prod, and examine Jacob to get to the source of his fever. I could not have been more proud of my child. His arm taped securely to an immobilizing board, he would utter an occasional whimper but then drift off into another light sleep. Since he was resting in my arms, I took this rare moment to absorb the physical beauty of my child. His soft reddish blond hair slightly tussled from all the commotion, his long soft eyelashes seemed to stretch on to forever and the sweet pout of his perfect little lips...I was amazed at how serene he appeared while undergoing such a traumatic situation for someone his age.

As the hours wore on, I realized how lucky I was to be in that place. It made me acutely more sympathetic to parents of children with serious illnesses. It made me appreciative of the good health that my family is blessed with and how we have not had to endure any major medical crises of late.

But, more than that, it made me fall in love all over again with the two gentlemen whose company I got to share that evening. Both of my boys were troopers in their own right. One--a patient older brother whose curiosity of the scenes around him reminded me of myself at that age--and the other...a brave toddler clutching tightly to his Momma and a green teddy bear given to him by one of the nursing staff.

And, as I drove home around 11pm that night, I counted those blessings...each and every one...as two of the loves of my life dozed safe and sound in the back seat. I thanked God for sweet nurses and soft lighting and purple popsicles. I thanked Him for saving the lives of those on either side of the curtains around us and for the fluids that had slowly brought my child back to his normal self. But most of all, I thanked Him for giving me yet another day to be the Mommy of my two beautiful boys.

I am blessed indeed.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Scattered, Smothered and Covered With a Smile

As I walk through the first glass door, I look to see if she is there. Indeed, she is. And, without fail, her contagious smile brings one to my face as well.

Ms. Shirley is the hostess at the Waffle House I have been frequenting lately. In all my vast Waffle House experience, I have never known them to have a person whose sole job it is to greet customers, help them find a seat and make them feel welcome. But, that is Ms. Shirley's job and boy is she good at it.

Each of the times I have spoken to her, I have had at least one of my boys in tow. Shirley loves on them as if they were her own grandchildren (of which she has five). She is always dressed so nicely...in her black pants and jacket, lacey white top underneath and bright yellow Waffle House name tag bearing her name. Her makeup and hair done just so, she is a welcome site each time I visit.

The Waffle House is one of those places that you either love or you don't...and I happen to love it. I can order just what I want (this morning a Fiesta Omelette) just the way I want it (hold the tomatoes, please) and there is something about those booths and the behind-the-counter action and the occasional country lovesong pouring out of the jukebox... there's really no place like it.

But...what makes the experience even better is the friendly smile of a nice lady named Shirley. A lady who, by just doing her job, somehow makes it feel like home.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sliced Tomatoes and "Co-Cola"

It's so easy to think about my Mom today and all the ways she made my world a better place to be. But who was responsible for shaping her into the person she became? Frances Lightsey...a.k.a. my MeMe.

MeMe was the quintessential Southern lady. Prim and proper to the core, she always boasted perfectly coiffed hair and a never-chipped red nailpolish always adorned the tips of her dainty fingers. She was quite a bit older than other grandparents I knew (she'd be 102 this year!) but she had a sparkle about her that was unmistakable.

Meme could always be found in the kitchen standing with one arm behind her back because of lower back pain.... but she didn't let that stop her from whipping up her famous chicken spaghetti or from serving sliced tomatoes at EVERY meal(quite possibly the reason I do not like them today!). She and my grandfather George were very much in love and I cherish memories of him stealing a kiss as he'd breeze through on his way to do yardwork or tinker in the garage.

If I close my eyes, I am transported back to the kitchen of their little 700-sq. ft house in Robertsdale, Alabama with its freshly-mopped white linoleum floors and the smell of perfume and cooking spices mingling in the air. MeMe is sitting on a stool at the kitchen counter gently dropping salted peanuts into her little glass bottles of "Co-Cola"...

Frances Lightsey was an interesting lady brimming with grace, intellect and love. I only wish that I would have had a little more time with her to fully appreciate what a complex and intriguing woman she was.

But, as I take time to reflect today and think about my own journey down motherhood's path, I cherish each and every memory I have of my grandmother and will never take for granted what a special role she played in my life.

Monday, May 04, 2009

A Brotherly Love

I can see it in his eyes. They sparkle and come alive when he spies him entering the room. It is clear that our almost 18-month old child is utterly and completely, totally and undeniably infatuated with his older brother.

With an age difference of 6 years, I did not expect such a bond to develop between the two at this age. But it is there. From fighting over the last goldfish in the box to wrestling and giggling on the floor, these two have become fast bosum buddies.

Jacob, our youngest, wants nothing more than to copy every movement, every breath of his big bro Daniel. As soon as Daniel dares walk down the long hallway to his bedroom, Jacob is right on his heels...running at a full sprint as fast as his little toddling legs will allow. His body gyrating back and forth as he speeds in hot pursuit, it is clear he is on a mission...to follow in Daniel's footsteps at any cost.

It really is the sweetest thing I've ever seen.

I am sure as the years go by, there will be more and more ways that he will get on his brother's nerves as he tries hard to emulate his every move. But for now, there is still a sweet tenderness, a newfound friendship being nurtured that warms a momma's heart and stirs in me images of giggles in the night, flashlight escapades shared under bedcovers and adventures that only brothers can share.

But for now, I will sit back and enjoy watching what I hope will be a very special relationship develop. They may not be close in age and they may not even be related by bloodline...but none of that seems to matter. It's a brotherly love we've got goin....and nothin could be finer.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Stunning Revelation in the Land of Cardboard Pizza and Costumed Rodents

I returned from a weekend trip to find my 7-year old son gushing about all of the activities he had been involved in over those few days. But I wasn't ready for the stunning announcement he made as he danced around the living room:

"Mom! You won't believe this! Chuck E. Cheese is a RIP-OFF!"

I whirled around to see if he had suddenly developed a high fever. Perhaps he had contracted a disease from the bite of a rare type of mosquito that had him speaking words without his knowledge? Surely this could not just be the level-headed observation of a child who's greatest love has been the glowing lights of that particular mouse house for years.

Suddenly the sound of skee ball and the ding dinging of electronic whizzerbang game thingies reeled through my mind.

"But...but...you LOVE Chuck E. Cheese?"

What was I doing? Was I trying to talk him out of this newfound revelation? Of course as a parent I had known that cardboard pizza and paying $732.00 in tickets for a pencil eraser was a bit of an overpriced experience...but this from the mouth of a mere babe? I had to get to the bottom of it.

"Why is it a rip-off?" I asked.

He quickly responded in a raised, almost frantic, voice. "Well! You know how you go there and you work so hard to win all those tickets??? It's not worth it! Just to get one little itty bitty prize on the bottom shelf costs like...like...FIVE HUNDRED tickets, Mom! It's a rip-off I tell ya!"

Sweeter words have never been spoken.

Friday, March 13, 2009

2200 Days...

My Dad called on this the anniversary of Mom passing and, in all his Georgia Tech mathematical prowess, mentioned that it had been nearly 2200 days.

Twenty-two hundred? Is that even possible? (the irony of my favorite number being 22 was not lost on me, either.)

But 2200 days?

In the six years since I lost my Mom, my life has been a steamroller of change, growth and a grab bag of emotions. I have moved three times, started my own business and have become a Mom to two beautiful children. Some days, it is hard to grasp that she wasn't a part of those oh-so-important events in my life.

But she was.

Pat Trotter possessed many talents...but one she was particularly known for was sewing. She could take a scrap of fabric and fashion out of it a stuffed animal for a new baby, a skirt for a school dance or a throw pillow for my bed. She could take needle and thread and solve the worlds problems--or, at the very least, whatever dilemma I might have had that day.

So, when I think about my life and how it has all woven together, I very clearly see her small but strong hands stitching together the person I have become.Stitch by stitch, her influence on my life appears to me daily in the smallest of ways. It is in the good morning song that I sing to my oldest son or the way I love the smell of fresh towels from the dryer. Her presence is there as I stick a note in my son's lunch or when I stir spaghetti sauce on the stove. It's in the way I love to see vacuum marks appear on the carpet or the music I dance to as I pick up some toys.

Has 2200 days erased any part of the influence that woman had on my life? Not at all. In fact, I believe it gets stronger as time goes on. She taught me to appreciate the little things in life...the dance of a raindrop on the patio table outside and the magic of a blank sheet of paper and a bright-colored marker in my hand. She taught me to listen to the words of a song...not just the music and to dance and to laugh and to love to the fullest.

I'm missing you today, Mom. But I thank you for carefully weaving together the woman that I am. Because the woman that I am can only hope to be the mother that you were to me for 32 years.

I love you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Secret Service Agents, Cheese Samples on Pretzel Sticks and a Scary Twinkie Cowboy

All I wanted was a roast, people. Really.

Our new grocery store, Kroger, opened today. The sign out front read "Grand Opening." Hmmm, the inner bargain shopper in me immediately thought "deals"...so off I go. There are some discounts that are just not worth it, folks.

First of all, this is no normal grocery store. This was a department store/shopping mall that happened to have some canned goods and frozen items. As I passed through the front doors, I was pelted with a flurry of "WELCOME!!!'s" and was handed a stack of flyers, entry forms, sales ads.


Juggling my paperwork, I grabbed a shopping cart and proceeded among the stream of shoppers who were, like me, trying to find their way into the store. At every turn, there was a sample station which clogged the aisles--making it nearly impossible to pass. I'm sorry, but I do not have it in me to wait in line for a thumb-sized morsel of Sara Lee pound cake but apparently I am alone in that thought.

There was the world's largest Chiquita Banana display (I kid you not, it was printed in one of the flyers), the bed and bath department, and the picket-fenced in area near the greeting cards with adirondack chairs and a double-decker fountain. A fountain?

What intrigued me the most was the enormous amount of FBI/Secret Service-looking corporate employees...all clad in crisp black suits and wearing walkie-talkie-earpieces as if guarding the life of the President himself.

"Aisle 4B. Roger that." Roger that? What in the world is happening in Aisle 4B? Did a jar of pickle relish break or is a peace treaty being signed?

It's anyone's guess.

Every single check-out lane was open with perky cashiers chirping happy thoughts and wishes and inquiring about my experience. As anyone who has known me for 5 minutes is aware, I am ALL about some customer service. But even this was over-the-top for me.

I am just waiting for the time when I can come in, try to find a buggy that does not have a leftover drink cup in it, find my way to the meats without exchanging pleasantries with a costumed character and then wait in line for the cashier in the only lane that is open.

That's when it will really feel like a true trip to the grocery store should.

That is, after I sit for a spell next to the fountain reading magazines.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's a Miracle, A True Blue Spectacle...

OK...sorry for the Barry Manilow song lyrics title...it's seriously what gets stuck in my head when I think about the fact that my 14 month slept in his crib for ELEVEN HOURS last night without waking. Woo hoo!!!

I know in my absence I haven't been updating you on the situation that is my child's penchant for waking at 2:30am and REFUSING to go back to sleep unless he comes into our room. Before you jump all over me :) I TRIED. I've rocked the child for hours. I've slept on the floor next to his crib. I've held him and paced the floors...antyhing to get him back in his bed. No dice.

BUT! Alas, we may have turned a corner!Last night,he slept from 7:15pm to 6:30am. In his OWN BED. Which effectively means that Momma neither had a foot in her back nor a finger up her left nostril. Both of which can make for a less-than-restful night's slumber.

It's a miracle...11 hours in his own bed. Woo hoo. Let us pray this is a NEW phase we're in.


Friday, February 06, 2009

Reflections on Your Seventh

I thought about something as I woke this morning
That you have now been on this Earth seven years
With five of those years being spent in our family

But that is entirely untrue

Like we've always talked about
You were born in my heart instead of my tummy
And my heart knew you
And loved you
Long before your time here on Earth

And seven years ago I have no doubt
My heart smiled on this day
Knowing my son had come into this world
And that is the day our journey began
Our journey to find each other...

Flesh and blood do not always a bond make
But you, my child, are a reflection of me
We are one in the same you and I
Our determination and, yes, stubborness
The spark of mischief in your eye
So reminiscent of my own

Your competitive nature so familiar to me
And your humor and your laugh
Always desiring to be among friends
You are a delight to me child
You are a piece of me, of my heart
And on this, your seventh year,
I celebrate all that you are...

...every wiggly, goofy, determined, loving, stubborn,
funny, frustrating, sweet and wonderful ounce of you.

I celebrate you today.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

One of Those Times

I've written before about those little nuggets of time that make life just a little more than ordinary. These seem to pop up when you least expect it--making them all the more special.

I did not expect to have one of these moments as I waited for the bus with my son Daniel this morning.

Because it's so cold outside, I offered Daniel a drive down to the end of our long driveway so he could be warm while he waited for his bus. He eagerly accepted the offer. So, clad in my PJ's, we scurried to the car, cranked it up and and made our way down to the road.

As soon as we came to a stop, one of my favorite songs came on. If you haven't heard it, "I'm Yours" by Jason Marz is an upbeat, almost reggae-like song and, before I knew it, Daniel and I were bobbing our heads and singing along.

This may not seem like an earth-shattering, hallmark-card kind of moment but it was that and more. Because I got to spend a few precious moments with my son...not nagging him to brush his teeth or do homework, not getting onto him for throwing his basketball in the house...no this was just Daniel and Mommy time. We sang, we laughed and simply had a ball. When Bon Jovi's "I'll Be There For You" came on next I even taught it to him in sign language (cause it's the only song I know in sign language thanks to an old boyfriend). Capping it off with a stellar air drum solo just as the bus pulled up, he kissed me goodbye and hopped out of the car.

I watched my child climb onto the big yellow bus and then I put my car in reverse and slowly backed up the driveway. We had done more than just wait on his school bus. We made a memory he and I....a memory of head bobbing and air drumming and laughing together.

Those are the times I live for.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Remembering Di...

No, not Lady Diana. Di was the name I called my grandfather...my Mom's father. Meme and Di. They were, without doubt, the most special grandparents I could have ever asked for. And today, Januray 6, 2009, would have been Di's 100th birthday.

It's hard to believe.

If ever there were a grandfather that possessed that perfect combination of charm and goofiness, tenderness and playfulness, it was George Lightsey. To me, he was even a tad mysterious. Mainly because of...the garage.

Out in their backyard in Robertsdale, Alabama there was a single car garage that was part storage, part Voyage of Discovery for my sister and me. The smell was musty and damp with the occassional scent of motor oil wafting through the air. On the back wall was a collection of old license plates--mostly from Alabama--arranged in tidy rows. They were situated just above the small Frigidaire that contained our favorite treat...the little colored sugary drinks with the aluminum foil lid. In fact, that was usually our first stop after arriving at their house for a visit.

Along the left side of the wall hung a row of dried out ghourds...very mysterious with their bulbous shapes and the strange shadow dances they made on the wall in the late afternoon sun. Clearly, the garage and the contents thereof made Di seem like a man of mystery and intrigue. I am sure he would have relished the title.

Di was also quite playful at the dinner table-- much to the dismay of my oh-so-prim and proper grandmother. When we'd eat spaghetti, he'd let a long strand hang out of his mouth before turning the "cranks" (his ears) to suck in the piece leaving a neat row of excess sauce on his upper lip. With one swift lick, he'd sweep it off his lip with a dramatic sound effect as my sister and I giggled in appreciation.

He'd tell jokes and stories and even get down opn the ground and play Fisher Price people with us in the pretend "town" that Jenny and I established between the above ground roots under the big ol' magnolia tree out back.

All of these memories are recollections of a granddaughter of her grandfather. But, as I look back now as a grown woman, I see the love he poured into my grandmother. He treated her like a princess and made sure she was pampered on a daily basis. Their love was a love that surpasses the boundaries of time because the sweetness of it still resonates with me til this day.

My grandfather passed away when I was in the seventh grade and my grandmother, his wife of over 50 years, died 11 short month later. He may not have lived to be 100...but all the memories I haveof that sweet man will always live on in my heart.

Happy Birthday, Di.