Friday, February 1, 2013

Monday Morning Mourning

Last Monday morning I was pretty excited. I was about to go to my VERY first teacher in-service with my mentor teacher. (I am currently doing my Student Teaching). I was excited because I FiNaLlY made it to Student Teaching and was getting to do some "big girl" things that are done in the "real world." I wasn't excited that I had to start my "big girl" activity at 7: 45 in the morning. ehhh. Beggars can't be choosers. My husband was starting his third week at his new job and didn't want to give a bad impression by asking for the day off to stay home with the kids, so I asked my sister if she could. Of course, she wouldn't turn down an opportunity for a fun day of video games and chances to steal smooches from some adorable little boys.

~ Before I continue this story I should let you in on a couple of things. I am blogging about a very personal experience. I find that journaling is very therapeutic.  I am choosing to blog my journal of this experience because before this happened, I had NO CLUE what people were going through when they went through this. I had NO IDEA how to help. I am sharing this with you so that you may have a glimpse of what it is like from the perspective I have lived. With that in mind. I will not be offended if you laugh. I laughed myself. Please keep an open mind that people grieve differently. Finally, I will be posting this story in segments.... it was a very long week.~

Where was I.... oh yes. My sister was going to babysit.... I didn't want to be late to my first in-service so I started to get ready super early. I was up and at 'em at 5:50. I started the coffee, set out the kids breakfast so that they could make it themselves, and got ready for my shower. It was a little after 6 when....

I turned on the water, it was cold, so I didn't rush to get in. It tends to take a minute for the water to warm up. I saw the steam coming over the shower curtain. Stark naked, I took that final glimpse in the mirror women usually do before hopping in. I had a brief moment where I was disgusted by my figure and the never-ending scars of carrying 2 VERY large babies. Grumbling how they should be greatful to be on this earth because my body wasn't, I started to climb in the shower. As a mother of two, I learned REALLY early to lock the bathroom door. As my foot was almost in the steamy bathtub, I hear the knob rattle. I smiled to myself . "Caught you, you little twirp, trying to come into the bathroom on MY time," I thought. Then I hear the frantic banging on the door. Not a twirp kind of a bang. A Mad Jeff kind of bang. I opened the door and there he was.... mad... as predicted. My sister was calling. "I hope she is not sick," he said. "I can't take off of work and you can't miss your meeting." He handed me the phone and closed the door. Of course, I answered.
Steph (unusually quiet)- "hey"
Me- "hey whats up?"
Steph- " I just got off the phone will Aunt Sis. Diane called her this morning. She said that Diane called her to tell her that Dad wouldn't wake up."
My thought- "seriously? This man sleeps like the dead. After 4 years you would think she would learn how to wake him. No need to be waking people up so early. geesh."
Steph- "The paramedics tried to revive him, but they couldn't."
Me- "what? I don't understand. What?"
Steph- "Dad died this morning. They are waiting for the coroners to come."
Me- "What? No. What? How? How?"
Steph- "I don't know. He died in his sleep. Diane couldn't wake him. I am so sorry I had to tell you."
Me (the streak of accountability my parents instilled in me kicking in) " I can't miss today. Jeff has to work. What are we going to do? Dad died? Are you okay?"
Steph- "I am in shock, but I am okay."
Me- "Are you okay to still watch the boys? I am not sure what I have to do with this."
Steph- "yeah. All we are going to do is wait anyway. At least I will have something to do."
Me- "Ok. I will see you in a bit."
S- "ok."
--- insert guttural cry I have never heard come out of my body before----
I fell to the floor. Sobbing. Unable to control myself. I cried like I have only heard babies do. Out loud. I hear Jeff bounding up the stairs. Realizing I am on the floor, naked, (still ugly and scarred) in a steamy bathroom, bawling uncontrollably,I lean against the door so he can't come in. I don't want him see me like this. It is bad enough he has seen the INSIDE of my body and children pulled out of it. I am lucky he still like to wake up next to this mess! He pounds on the door. He banged on the door yelling for me to let him in. (No Way Hosea!) Then I realize, I can't move and I am extremely uncomfortable.... and my dad is dead. The man who wanted me to show off my hideous belly because he was proud he was going to have a grandson. The only man whose hands made mine look small. The man who made me feel beautiful when I was concerned that I looked too manly to ever be. My dad was gone.

 I was on the floor. Dirty. Naked. Now starting to sweat. Starting to cramp..... in my chest? What was that feeling? My heart. I thought I felt heart break before. It was nothing compared to this. And I was still bawling out loud. "Pull yourself together," I told myself. I grabbed the sink and pulled myself up. Now that ugly body didn't seem important. Jeff barreled in, grabbed me by the shoulders and demanded to know what happened. "My dad died. My dad died in his sleep." Total disbelief was all I could gather from him. He hugged me so tight and wouldn't let go until I pulled myself together. Finally it clicked that this was incredibly awkward. I told him I was okay and needed to get ready for my in-service. He was not pleased about me going, but I convinced him that I HAD to.
Check list:
Have another cry in the shower.... check
Get dressed...... check
Fix hair.......... bun will do
Put on make up........... not today
eat...... nope
drink....... nope
go to meeting............almost

After I told my mentor teacher what happened, she cried with me. Then she politely kicked me out of her car and told me to go home. >>>> I LOVE HER
 Did I go home? Nope! I had work to do at my job. I can't very well shut down when I have a job to do. So, I went to work.  I typed an email to send out to my coworkers letting them know I would be unavailable because my dad died thus alarming every single one of them. My friend/ boss Ami was more panicked and concerned that I expected. I  started to make a schedule for my volunteers to work the nursery.... making my coworkers very uncomfortable with my random sobs.They sent me home too>>>>> I LOVE MY COWORKERS.

After a couple of hours, it was decided that my sister and I would have to drive to Florida to take care of my dad's business of passing away. Our husbands would let us go without them. My husband was even able to get bereavement and personal time so he could come with us for a week.>>>>> WE LOVE HIS NEW JOB!!
Off we went on our adventure to Florida.....but before we left. We received news that a 22 month baby boy who stole my heart at the church lost his battle with brain cancer. Before noon, I had a Monday morning full of mourning.

Rest in Peace. Sweet Baby

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sense of Smell

 I don't know how it is for everyone else, but my sense of smell plays a huge trigger for memories. Today, at Walmart, a man walked down the isle right behind me. His smell immediately reminded me of the way my Poppaw smelled when we would go to the lake when I was a child. Not that he smelled bad by any means! People close to me have a certain smell to them. It doesn't smell like a cologne or perfume. It is just their smell. My husband has a smell, my kids have a smell, my dad has an overpowering smell, my mom has a certain scent to her.... the list goes on. As I type these people's name, I immediately remember how they smell. I forgot, however, what my Poppaw smells like.... until the gentleman walked behind me. Then, BAM!! I am at the lake sitting next to my Poppaw smelling him, Off bug repellent, a hint of sunscreen, and the outdoors-ness smell of the lake. Of course, this caused a ton of memories to flood my head.

My Poppaw and I -1984

I remembered the times we would go to the lake. I did not want to kill a fish or eat it, so they brought hot dogs to eat. I did not like bugs or being outside, so I got to sleep in the camper. I was afraid to go into the lake water because I saw the red dots on Poppaw's chest when he dived in and I thought he was bitten by fish. Later... many years later, I found that he landed on some rocks and was just fine. I would not go into the water unless he or someone else helped me and held me while in the water. I did not like the feel of the mud in my toes. I remembered how safe I felt in the life jacket :) I realized that my kids got their "bratty-ness" from someone and it probably wasn't Jeff. I remembered Poppaw's big hugs.

Then I got to thinking. First, I need to pay my Poppaw a visit!! That feeling when you miss someone so much it aches in your chest is not a good feeling and I need to fix this, pronto. Second, maybe I should think about taking my kids to the lake.... maybe. I am still not a fan of the heat, outdoors, rocks, bugs, boats, killing fish, or mud, but THEY might like it. If I can keep my big trap shut, maybe they would enjoy a lake trip. Third, what the heck do I do to plan a lake trip?? This is as far as I got on  thinking about that.

Poppaw and Lliam- 2007

The cool thing about Summer is that we can plan a trip like this. We could start with an afternoon at a lake close by and then, if it goes well, we could stay longer the next time. The other neat thing about Summer is that I can plan a quick day trip to visit my Grandparents. I have a lot of family that live real close to my grandparents, so it may have to be a 2 or 3 day trip so I can get a good visit in with all of them. (I like to talk and it IS an inherited trait)
Some questions:
Does your sense of smell trigger vivid memories?
What Summer family plans do you have?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lliam's Silent Decision

Tonight, after putting the boys in bed, I sat at my computer to do homework and have a quick chat with Jeff. After about 5 minutes, Lliam walked in with the BIGGEST smile I have seen on his face. At the same time Jeff and I both asked him what was he doing out of bed. He said he had some VERY exciting news. We were doubting this was something important and just another attempt to get out of bed, but with a smile like that, who could deny hearing his news? He then told us, "I was in bed and I just prayed to let Jesus into my heart!"

[Complete shock! Speechless. What?? My son decided to accept Jesus in his heart and I am not there for it?? Is he serious? This is not a funny joke if he isn't. Wait. I have my backup question for a statement like that. Okay, go about this gently. If he is serious, you don't want to ruin his moment. Okay. That's right. keep smiling. DON'T CRY WOMAN!]<--- All in my head.

 Me-"Wow! That IS very exciting news!!"
Lliam- "I know! I am so excited!"
Me- "Why don't you come over here and tell me about it?"
Lliam-  jumping up and down all the way to me "okay"
Me- So you prayed to Jesus?
L-Yup! I said  (closes his eyes real tight )"Dear God, I love you and I want to accept Jesus in my heart. I..."
Jeff-  (interrupts)"What do you mean by accepting Jesus into your heart? Is he really going to live there?"

I  could tell Jeff was just as shocked as I was. He was also still pretty doubtful that this really happened. He wanted to make sure Lliam knew what he was doing. But his shock and doubt were showing through in his voice and I could see that this was not the reaction Lliam was expecting. His face started to look concerned and worried. It was at that moment that I realized he was not pulling our leg. He was about to answer Jeff, but I did not want to ruin his moment of telling the FIRST people his great news by having to explain his decision.  He is going to spend the rest of his life answering questions just like this. Defending his faith.  I want him to relish in this awesome moment. So I cut them off.

Me- Lliam, so you prayed and accepted Jesus in your heart. I am so, SO happy for you! So, now you are ready to let Jesus be the boss of your life? (the back up question)
Lliam- with a HUGE nod and a matching smile, "Yes! Yes I am!"

[Okay. He just answered the back up question correctly. He has never done that before! Every time we have mentioned him having another Boss in his life, he immediately drops the subject. Okay. Okay. DO NOT CRY, WOMAN! Breathe. I need to text Ami. We have never answered the back up question correctly. Oh my gosh!! My baby just got saved!! I praise you, Jesus! Thank you! Thank you! This happened way sooner that I ever dreamed. Do NOT cry. Let's just give him a hug just in case a tear... yep that tear... starts to slip out.]<--- all in the head, of course.

Me- That is so awesome. I am so proud of you!
Jeff- You are right, that is some really exciting news, Lliam. So, what happens next?
L- I get baptized! Mom, when can I get baptized?
Me- We need to talk to Miss Ami, first. Then on Sunday you can go to the front during the prayer time and tell Bro. Jim. He will tell you when you can get baptized.
L- Do you have his phone number? I could call him now.
Me- (oh that is so stinking precious) It is a little late to call him tonight.

After a few hugs, and a few sneaked kisses, we sent him to bed promising we would talk about it more tomorrow.  Of course, he does not stay in bed long. He waits a few minutes before he comes back asking if I am going to tell his Sparkie friends about this. This made me think he was doing this just for attention. Then he gave me the perfect answer, "No. I don't want people to clap for me. I am just so excited and happy that I want to tell everyone."  Wow. This is really real.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tomatoes and Tornadoes

Here in West Texas, lovely Spring always bring her companion- Severe Weather. Since my oldest was 3 years old, he has had a valid fear of Tornadoes. We had the luxury of visiting family on the day a tornado hit their town. We were blessed not to have been harmed or seen any damage, but for a 3 year old sitting in the "Hiding Place When A Tornado Comes" right next to the bathroom that someone left fragrant, hearing the sirens wail, watching the hail, having a power outage, and having your baby brother cry because he just woke up from a nap... well, it can be a bit traumatic.

Today, he had a Tornado Drill at school. This brought all the dangers of a tornado to the forefront of his mind. All afternoon he was explaining all he knows (and makes up) about tornadoes to his now 4 year old brother.

Lliam's List of What He Knows About Tornadoes:
  •  Big and black (sometimes green.... they are the worst, he thinks)
  • Go all the way to the clouds
  • They are fast
  • Pretty Dangerous
  • Strong
  • Can make you worry when you think about it
  • They are hot, cold, and sticky (according to the janitor, he says)
  • They do not have feelings but  they like to break things

After a long, emotionally draining day, I was looking forward to a nice long hot shower. I find that those relax me. Call me crazy (and some do), but I feel like all the stress of the day just washes off of me and runs down the drain. Needless to say, I was really looking forward to it. 

So before I could get this well deserved shower, I had to put the boys to bed. I got them all nice and tucked in, put on a story movie (a movie that reads books to them while showing the pictures and lighting up the words as they are read.... like Reading Rainbow) and hopped in the shower. 

Not 3 minutes into this glorious shower do I hear a knock on the door. In walks my 4 year old telling me that he does not want a tomato.
Me- "I am not giving you a tomato. Go to bed!" 
Aaron-"But Wiam says that a tomato is going to come and he will be dead!"
Me- "How is a tomato going to kill Lliam? Do we have to have this discussion now? Please go back to bed." (still in the shower with soap in my hair)
Lliam-(who has now decided to join in our conversation in the bathroom) "I don't need to do my homework because a tornado will be here in a couple of days and take me away."
A- "And you will be black and white?"
Me- "Where did you  hear a tornado was coming?"
L- "Do you watch the  news?"
A- "I don't wike tomatoes."
Me- "Do YOU watch the news, Lliam?"
L- "Sometimes when you aren't looking."
Me- "You are not doing your homework right now. You haven't been near a television all day. And you are going to bed.  Aaron, a tornado is not going to come tonight. Please leave the bathroom so I can finish my shower."
(Door closes)

I can't help but laugh at the conversations we have and locations where we have them. After I was nice and clean (and almost stress free) I go and check on the boys who are now talking about shark attacks. Now that is something to think about before bed! I inform them that the movie will be turned off if they don't cut it out. They inform me that they are thirsty. Well who wouldn't be after talking about sharks?
Over a glass of water, Aaron tells me what he knows about tornadoes.

Aaron's List of What He Knows About Tomatoes:
  • They happen in Africa
  • They take you somewhere black and white
  • He wants it to take his hermit crab, Mr. Gadgeck, away (Anybody want a hermit crab?)
  • They spit out robots
I just love being their mom!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Erika Done Got on Her Soap Box

Erika Done Got on Her Soap Box

I like to see the news updates from our local news station in Lubbock on my FB page. I just need to be careful to not read people's comments.I made a mistake today and read a few. Now y'all get to read about it.
 It is so infuriating how closed minded, stubbornly ignorant, bigoted, and just plain rude people can be to people they have never met! America is a melting pot of cultures and that is what makes us so awesome. What is the American culture without the influence of the various cultures with in it?
Did you know that the Christmas tree that so many people insist on having, came from Germany after soldiers spent time there during a war? The Christmas trees they saw were smaller, though.... It ain't American if it ain't big (or Southern for that matter).

Many of the foods we eat are based on a dish from another culture and we Americanized it. For example: Taco Bell. Hispanics will know what I am talking about. When I was in Mexico, I did not see a single piece of flatbread folded with a bunch of crap in the middle,  "grilled" and then covered with cheese anywhere... just saying. It ain't Mexican food. They probably did make it once, but in order to expand their wallets and America's waistline, they had to make some changes.

Even the language we speak is not originally American. It is from England and we made it our own. (We also continue to find ways to ruin it to make us sound even more ignorant and uneducated). Nothing bothers me more than when I hear people say, "We are in America, speak English!" How can we communicate with other countries, understand their cultures, expect them to accept ours, and try to keep what little peace we have if we are not accepting of their cultures and language? How?? The first people who lived here did NOT speak English, nor were the second or third. As I recall, after the Native Americans (who spoke various languages between all of the tribes) were the first to live here. Then, our shores were settled by the Spanish, French, and British. The idiot Columbus did not even speak English... I will not digress as to how I feel about him and that ridiculous day we deem a Holiday. Yes, English is the primary language we speak. Yes, people need to know how to communicate- somehow- in English in areas of our country to receive basic necessities (groceries, health care, utilities, and various things involving government). I do not argue with that. I also believe that we have NO RIGHT to tell someone that they cannot speak their language just because we do not understand what they are saying. If you don't understand it, go learn their language. Example: I can NEVER understand what the ladies are saying to each other when I go get my nails done. But they are not talking to me and unless I want to go and learn their language just so I can eaves drop, I am not going to complain about it. I will just sit there, get my lovely nails, and watch whatever is on the TV. NOT A BIG DEAL.

 We also have no right to tell someone what they can and cannot celebrate. One example would be Christmas. People celebrate Christmas in various ways around the world. Some people do not celebrate Christmas at all. Some people celebrate Christmas, but not because they believe in Jesus. They celebrate the traditions that go with Christmas. Much like people do with Valentine’s Day and Halloween. That is THEIR choice. It is OUR choice as to how WE CHOOSE to celebrate. We can focus on what we believe, and pray for those who don't.  Trying to force someone to conform to what you believe will not make them change their minds. I guarantee it will only push them away. I have seen it with my own beautiful, brown eyes. Demanding that they not have their public celebrations, even though we have Santa-land or Nativity plays, is unfair. We can learn so much from the various cultures that live right here in our towns and neighborhoods.

I have seen those awful comments so many times and it really got to me today. I guess it is because I actually had time to think about what these people were saying. Instead of thinking, "It is their problem that they are idiots." Today I thought, "It is because of people speaking like this that we have hate crimes, bullying, and segregation still running rampant in our country." I am at an age where I am trying to make sense of what my parents taught me, my grandparents told me, what I can see for myself and how none of it fits together. Hate crimes are still going on like they were in my grandparents day, judgment about interracial... anything... from my parents day is still there. I see people making policies and laws to try to change these things. Nothing will change unless we try to understand each other, where we come from, and then teach our children the lessons we learned.

I will get off my soap box for now. I will probably delete this when I calm down. I think I have learned my lesson and will do my best to not read comments by people I hope I never met. We need to understand that we are NOT the same and that is a GOOD thing! We are AMERICAN and what makes us American are the bits and pieces we have borrowed from other cultures and shaped them into a culture of our own. Why stop? Let’s keep learning and improving!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Let’s get it started!

I am starting tonight with my change to a new, healthy me. My goal is not necessarily to lose weight (though that would be wonderful) but to be healthy and strong. I am not using any particular diet (Weight Watchers, South Beach, Atkins, NutriSystem, Jenny Craig, etc) but to eat healthy as a whole. I do plan to start back up with my food journal, though. I find that extremely helpful and important. I say I am starting it tonight, because tonight I went grocery shopping with the intention of buying only healthy foods. (I did get some chocolate milk mix, but that is for the Gulick men who for some reason can't live without it) This is not the first time I have shopped this way, but it has been a good while. I made my menu for the week and then my list off of that so I would not go crazy and buy everything that seemed appealing.

I found myself half way through my trip wishing I had been more specific with item labeled "cereal" on my list. Do you know how many options there are of cereals that call themselves healthy? It's ridiculous. I am notorious for not wanting to make decisions on certain things, especially when it comes to food. So, true to form, I texted a close friend who seems to be doing well in the healthy living category. They told me about this Kashi-Go Lean (all registered trademarks) cereal. It looks gross… kinda like feed for a gerbil, hamster, or guinea pig. But they ASSURED me that it was tasty. I figured why not. It was about the same price as the other cereals. Plus, why ask for an opinion if I am not going to take it? Then they decided to go ahead and suggest a milk to have with it. Now I am a Skim milk kinda gal. I see no reason to go and get Vanilla flavored Almond milk unless of course you are lactose intolerant, vegan, or have some other reason as to why you can't drink milk from a cow. Plus, my husband LOVES to pick on me. I could immediately see him calling me a Diva and somehow turning the milk's name to Princess Erika's Special Milk (in one of his many versions of my voice) or something worse. I could also see him sneaking into it and drinking all of it before I got the chance to try it. Then I realized I was making a huge deal out of a $3 "tasty" jug of milk. Why not try it? In the health facts they were very similar. Except the Almond milk had more vitamins and minerals. I could use more of those!! So I bought it. I also bought the other milk for the boys. I am sure the chocolate milk mix would be great in the almond milk, but there is really no need for that. J

I am actually looking forward to breakfast tomorrow! Cereal was not on the menu until Wednesday, but I am sure I will live with this slight change. I would have tried it tonight, but seeing as I was not hungry from the TOTALLY unhealthy dinner I had it would have been counterproductive to do.

I know being healthy is not only about food. I must exercise. There is just no time for me to go to the gym with the schedule I have right now. So, I am going to start the 30 day Shred (courtesy of my sister). My sister is moving at the moment so it is packed somewhere, but she assures me that it will be found soon. Therefore, I will be going back to my old frienemy, Mari Winsor, until I can start my torture with Jillian Michaels. I would do my –The Firm- workout, but it is also packed with my sister's belongings. I have had great results in the past with these 2 workouts and I hope with the change in my eating I will see some kind of results soon.

Oh yeah!! I almost forgot. Today I had a full length picture taken of me. I figure this could be my "before" picture. This way I can document my process through pictures. I am debating if I should wear the same shirt and take my pic every week or once a month to see if I can see any physical changes…. I still need to think about that some more.

Well that is all for today.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ode to Deodorant

Why do you fail me?
You say you will keep my secrets
But you give away my scents
You sometimes change the colors of my clothes
You even change the color of my skin!

You deceived me, Deodorant!!
You smell so good in your little plastic home
With your clever little top
But as soon as your asked to work
You make me smell so foul

I hate you, Deodorant
But I can not be accepted without you
Oh Deodorant
What are we to do?