Friday, April 30, 2010

Some times it really hits me...

Yesterday John Henry had 4 teeth pulled by an oral surgeon. He and I went together and we enjoyed some fun conversation and joke telling while we waited. John Henry loves all things military and he schooled me on the best weapons for several specific missions and told me every "You might be a Redneck if..." joke that he could remember. He chatters when he is nervous and he was quite nervous. However, Steve told him to be brave, so John Henry was trying HARD to be very brave.

Thankfully, the oral surgeon and staff were wonderful with him. They used numbing cream on his IV site prior to insertion and laughing gas to relax him. He woke up 45 minutes later and was groggy and numb, but remembered only nice people telling him to go to sleep.

On the way home, he had a mouth full of gauze and kept trying to ask me something. I heard "Was I.......", but I couldn't understand the rest and he started trying to draw in the air. He drew "d-r-" and I guessed "drink". We did this several times and we both became quite frustrated. I finally pulled over and found him some paper and a pencil. He wrote,"Was I brave?" spelled in all caps.

Sometimes, it really hits me. My child has dyslexia and he struggles still. He was trying to spell in the air, but he still doesn't know which way the lowercase letters face. We really have tried so many different interventions, special programs, etc... But here is the truth.

He will always have dyslexia.

But he will also always be smart, funny, and creative. And minus 4 teeth.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Where did Lizzie get her curls?

Sitting at lunch today a conversation was had by Sam, Paul, and me.

Sam-Remember when you brought Lizzie home for the first time?
Me-Yes, she was so tiny.
Sam-We were playing Lego Star Wars and you came in the big red truck and opened the garage door and there she was.
Paul-She was really little and her hair was straight.
Sam-Yeah, she didn't look like she does now.
Paul-Yeah, her hair is all curly now. Why is that?
Sam-I rubbed her head so much when she was one and then it started coming in curly.
Paul-I think she got it from Aunt Dootsie.
Sam-Nah, she got it from ME!
Me-What about me? I had curly hair.

They both stare at me in silence.

Sam-You have long black and blond hair, Mom.
Paul-It's nice, but it's not curly.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Weekend of field trips and cub scouts

Steve had vacation this week. I planned a little mini-vacation around a cub scout campout in Georgia and we had a very nice time.

First, we loaded up and headed out Friday afternoon for Auburn. We found Chewacla State Park much like we'd left it as AU students all those years ago. It was quiet and pleasant and the kids had a great time making a fire, eating supper outside at the picnic table, and just hanging out.
Saturday morning, we lit out for Tuskegee University and the George Washington Carver Museum. We studied him last year and never got around to this field trip. Well, it was worth the effort to get there. Such a nice small museum that reinforced so much of what we learned. I was surprised how much John Henry remembered from our study. The little boys were simply thrilled to learn the GWC invented the sweet potato pie!

Sam starred at the sign and pie incredulously and said,"I thought Nana invented sweet potato pie! How did SHE know GWC?"

We met a really nice man who was named William Carver something-after GWC. He was GWC's godson and had once worked at the museum for pay, but now just volunteered. He told us that at his birth, GWC gave his mother $2.00 to invest for him. His father bought chickens with the $2.00 and sold the eggs, then bought more chickens and a pig, and on and on till he had enough money to buy the boy LAND! Amazing, huh?

After a nice lunch, we wound our way through the Georgia countryside and met up with our fellow cub scouts at the Rock Ranch to camp out in covered wagons! It was quite a sight! The kids enjoyed a hay ride, a playground, petting zoo, and just running around in the grass. That night an astronomer came and brought a telescope and allowed the boys to see the moon, Saturn, and other celestial things. Paul and JH loved it, but he lost Sam about well into the second hour. Lizzie fell asleep in my lap by the fire and we all enjoyed sleeping in the wagon bunk beds.

Then, after a nice visit and more playing, we headed out for The National Infantry Museum. It was amazing. First-class museum and right up JH's alley. I let all the boys test their skills at the firing range (laser pointed machine guns) and they all did well. They also dressed up like soldiers and enjoyed all the museum exhibits.

Then we drove to Wind Creek state park and enjoyed another campfire and hot showers in the bath house!

Next morning, we toured Horseshoe Bend on the way home and really enjoyed that park, too. We had a picnic nearby and then loaded up for home.

It was nice to get home, but we all really enjoyed ourselves. The boys appreciated the field trips more than seatwork in school, so we'll have to do that again sometime soon!

Friday, April 16, 2010


Karate is different from soccer. When they played soccer, I sat and watched every practice. We practiced at home. I was invested in their games. I cheered for them, cringed when they messed up, and encouraged them to be good sports even when they lost.

When the boys started karate, I took them to the lessons and waited for them to be done. I can't really watch them and keep Lizzie occupied, so I just did the latter. They seemed to be enjoying it. I picked up bits and pieces of the lingo, heard reports if one boy or another was required to sit for any reason during training, but mostly, my responsibility was to wash the uniforms and get them to lessons on time. I did that! To me, karate was EASY! I could even drop them off and run errands! WOW! Love karate!!

I knew there was testing required for advance to the next level. Let me be more specific.... I knew the date of the testing! I knew they had to be there early that night and I knew I had to pay an extra fee for them to test.

Every day during school time, I send them out on the patio and tell them to practice their karate routine and work on karate stuff. It is a time for me to read to Lizzie. If it were not for that, I wouldn't ask them to practice. I only watched them once and made note of the fact that Paulie was turning the wrong direction a lot. I spoke to him about it and he and John Henry worked on this together.

Okay.... I'm telling you I didn't do anything for karate. I've been feeling like I was taking the easy way out by doing karate vs spring baseball!

BUT.... last night was testing. I washed and IRONED their uniforms and had them there early. I got there and realized that all the other parents and some grandparents were sitting in the training room waiting with cameras. This was for sure a different day. I called Steve and he came over. Thankfully, Lizzie was visiting her grandparents and we were able to sit for the whole hour!

Testing was a HUGE deal. Instructors were brought in from other dojos, the children were watched the whole time (not just during routines), they were all required to do every punch, block, kick, and routine they knew.... in front of the whole bunch of us. They were called out individually to spar and they were expected to sit at attention when waiting for others. It lasted an hour. I got more and more nervous. I realized I had 3 little guys working REALLY hard to pass this test. I realized I'd done NOTHING to help and I realized my middle guy was still turning the wrong way sometimes. I realized my 6 yr old was expected to do the exact same things (and just as well!) as my 11 yr old. Uh-oh.

I also realized that this was one of those times when I sent them out and they had to do it for themselves. There was really no helping them. It was up to each one to get the job done. Plus, did you know that good effort and not giving up counts more than turning the wrong way!

Well.... 3 white belts went in to the dojo and 1 hour later....

3 YELLOW belts came out.

I could NOT be more proud. John Henry also received the award for Perfect Stance (still NOT sure what that means) and he gets an extra patch on his belt. He takes this very seriously and is in it for the long haul. He wants black belt and he can see it closer now! His form is impeccable and he looks great doing his stuff. But, I was most proud that when he realized his friend did not pass on to the next level, John Henry comforted him and tried to make him feel better.

Paul turned the wrong way once, but he never gave up. He kept going and threw those punches hard and tight. He kicked high and blocked low. He did GREAT!! And he did show great effort and concentration and he showed amazing restraint. If you knew Paul, like I know Paul.... you'd know that last night was a real victory for Paul. He likes to be perfect and even though he knew he wasn't, he never gave up during his routine.

Sam was amazing. You know how they say little dogs don't realize they are little. They will try and fight bigger dogs! Sam is like that. He had NO concept that what he was attempting to do was anything too hard for him. He did it all. He sparred, he punched, he kicked, and even when his opponent was 3 heads taller than him, Sam never let it bother him. That boy has confidence! But, I was MORE proud when John Henry's name was called before his and Sam jumped up and clapped, "Hey, that's MY brother!!" and when Paul's name was called (again before his) and he clapped and yelled,"Congratulations, Paul! That's my other brother!" Then when his name was called, he ran up, bowed like a samari warrior and then high-fived his way back to his seat! He also comforted a friend who did not pass his testing.

Testing again in 3 months. I'll be more prepared next time, but it really won't matter, will it??

Sunday, April 11, 2010


This is a talk I am going to give about Steve's grandmother. She died before any of our kids were born, but they all "know" her through our stories of her. She was a unique and wonderful person. I need to figure out how to scan a picture to add to this, but you get the gist of it.

I am NOT a public speaker and I’d rather sing an entire concert of someone else’s words than to try and do this!!! But, here I am. And the only reason I agreed is because Memaw was a very special person to me and I am doing this in her honor.

As you know, I am married to Steve. He is a 3rd or 4th generation Trussville-ite. He is the first born son of Gene and Pat and the first grandson of George and Jean . He was loved and cherished by his grandparents and he in turn, loved and cherished them.

I am going to tell you a few things I learned from Steve’s grandmother....

1. Be true to yourself.

I know that a lot of people say this, but Memaw lived it. Here she is in her infamous Christmas skirt. She wore it every year and it was completed by her signature bright red lipstick. Memaw was her own person and she lived however she wanted and honestly did not care in the least what you or anyone else thought about it! When I was working full-time, On occasion, when Steve was out of town, I would go over to her house on Monday nights and watch a TV movie with her. One evening, I grabbed some takeout and headed over to her house. I found her sitting in her living room in her favorite chair crocheting and watching TV. When I’d gotten in and unpacked the food, I had a moment to actually look at her.

She was wearing a shower cap, an old work shirt of Pawpaw’s over a red TUBE top, a pair of skin tight blue & white seersucker shorts, and jelly shoes. Upon closer inspection, I realized that she had some oily substance on her hair. Little teeny droplets were leaking out from under the cap. I had to ask. “What’s that on your hair?”

“Mayonnaise,”she said..... “I hear that if you put mayonnaise on your hair, it will condition it and make it real soft! So, I decided to try it.”

“How long have you had it on?”

“Oh all day!”

Pause....... I had to ask something else.... “So, what did you do today?” (besides put mayo on her head, I meant!)

“Oh, I took Uncle Ollie to Captain D’s., and.... (Did you go IN? I choked???) Of course... she said! “Let’s see, I had copies made at the library, got the rent from the Merle Norman building, and..... “ she named 2-3 places she’d been to in Trussville that day, while I sat slack-jawed wondering how many people she’d interacted with today while MAYONNAISE was dripping from under her shower cap! But, you know... she did NOT care what those people might have thought. Her hair needed conditioning and she had lots of places to go!

2. Take care of others.

Memaw took care of lots of people. She took care of her mother, her children, her husband, her brother, and countless others. She took care of her grandchildren and adored them all. It was just her nature to care for others.. her gift. She even took care of people long distance. Once she asked me to go with her to see her youngest son, Bobby. Bobby, his wife, Robin, and two little girls lived in Chattanooga. She’d talked to him and decided that they were young, stressed parents in need of some good home-cooking and a visit from grandma. Pawpaw was still walking, but confused easily and she wanted a driver and helper with her. Enter me.

She cooked pots full of food and she packed it all up and had Pawpaw ready to go early that morning. We drove to Chattanooga and arrived on Bobby’s doorstep about 11am. While I helped Pawpaw, she walked in the door and yelled,”HI!” Poor Robin screamed, “MEMAW!!” and dropped something. Memaw had not called them, nor even mentioned she might be “dropping in” and bringing lunch. I was mortified. MY family calls. MY family makes appointments with each other! My family takes care of each other, but Memaw was in a class by herself. She was full-contact hospitality. She cooked, she visited, she laughed and cried with you and she loved with abandon.

3. See the good in every situation.

Memaw lost her father when she was only a child.

When her mother remarried, Jean was left behind to finish high school while they moved away with her new step-father’s job.

She married young, bore 5 children, and her husband worked long hours.

She lost her mother to cancer,

Her husband had a massive stroke and was bedridden at home for months prior to his death.

Memaw was diagnosed with cancer WHILE Pawpaw was bedridden requiring total care.

She lost her brother to cancer and finally...

she died at the age of 77 from cancer.

You could look at her life and see only the negative. But overall, Memaw was happy. She laughed a lot. And she could often see the good during the bad.

Once Trussville Methodist’s newest associate minister, Mark Clifton came to see her. Pawpaw was home from the hospital after his worst stroke and was now bedridden. Memaw was pretty much homebound with him and this was of course a dark time in her life.

Mark came in and was invited into the living room. Her nicest room, bright red carpet and nice upholstered furniture with thousands of knick-knacks decorating every flat surface. Mark sat on the couch and Memaw’s little dog walked up to him and relieved himself beside Mark’s loafer.

Memaw said,”Oh thank goodness! I have been so worried about that dog. He hasn’t gone ALL day and I just knew he was really sick. But I feel so much better now that I saw him go!”

It’s all how you look at it, isn’t it?

Be true to yourself. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.—Ps 139:14

Take care of others. John 13:34-35 ESV

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

See the good. .... I have not been able to find any scripture that helps when your dog pees on the floor in front of the preacher, but I think you got the point anyway!

Lessons from an imperfect Christian woman. Memaw filled a huge void in my life. Moving away from my family was hard and her company helped. Plus, she was a unique person, who loved, and influenced a wonderful man who became my husband and the father to our children. Through him, she continues to influence another generation of our family. May they all be as unique and wonderful as Memaw.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More Easter 2010 pictures

John Henry and one of his many fish. He loaded his own hooks, took off most of his fish, and generally, handled it himself. So proud of him for that. I could never manage most of those things as a kid and I just DON'T do them as an adult! LOL!

John Henry and Alex, friends since birth and cousin besides. They enjoyed this time together a lot.

The Glenn family.... Easter 2010. Pretty good looking bunch, if I do say so myself!!

Had to get a picture of her standing on Mamaw's front porch. I've had my picture taken in this same spot, in front of this same door every year countless times. Mamaw always made my Easter dresses and I still have most of them.

Mamaw and some of the family. My mother is directly behind Mamaw in the chair, my sister to the left of my mom, and my brother on the far right with his wife and children. My uncle is hiding in the hat behind everyone!

Family Reunion and Easter Sunday

We attended the Platt family reunion this weekend in Vinegar Bend. It was so nice and relaxing. We were able to spend some wonderful time with cousins we don't see really often. I enjoyed seeing my cousins, Brooke and Jenane and their sweet families. I haven't seen these girls in YEARS and it was so nice to reconnect with them. They've grown up, married and had families of their own, but my mind still sees them as the cute little girls I'd held as babies, babysat as toddlers, and played with as little girls. I am truly getting old.

Sam found LOTS of people who looked like him... blue eyes and strawberry blond hair!
Here's Sam with his new best friend/cousin, Michael.

Fishing took center stage.... Lizzie got some help from Megan.
Paul and cousin David Platt proved to be kindred spirits. Both quiet, patient, and focused on the task at hand. They fished for literally hours together and hardly said two words.

Here's Paul's biggest fish!!
Easter Egg hunts were another source of fun....
Then Sunday was Easter Sunday. We went to church with my grandmother, now 93 years old, and not nearly as spry as she used to be, but spunky in spirit and mind. It was a really good day, with a fabulous Easter lunch at my grandmother's, an easter egg hunt, and more fun with cousins.

All in all, a great weekend.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Piper and Sam

Piper likes to sleep on Lizzie's bed. Lizzie does NOT like Piper sleeping on her bed, so each night she fusses if she finds him there. Sam (who shares a room with Lizzie) has begun to feel really sorry for Piper the dog. A couple nights ago, Piper was again rudely ousted from Lizzie's bed. Sam called Piper over to his bed and invited him up. After some coaxing, Piper jumped up there and snuggled up with Sam.

Sam grinned at me and said, "Every man needs a good dog. Piper is not much of a dog, but I'm not much of a man, so it works out."

That boy owns me.