Reasons Why I Say "No" To Evacuations

With Gustav on the horizon, I have been getting a lot of phone calls from my family asking if we were going to evacuate. (BTW, my nephew & his mother have evacuated New Orleans.) My answer to them has been a resounding No. The least of my reasons is because it looks like it's not headed towards us.

The main reason is because of what we went through with the Hurricane Rita evacuation. I won't go into all the horrid details. Mainly, because I don't like reliving them in my mind. I will say that I don't like what it did to my kids. Big D made a tough decision and I supported him. Cleo was to stay home. We figured that she'd have a better shot of survival than on the road with us. We promised Lamb that she could destroy anything and we would not be mad at her. We put her food & water on our dining table in case of flooding. Lamb was devastated. She cried uncontrollably for the first hour. Big D prayed that he made the right decision and was sick with grief over what he was doing to his daughter. Of course, he absolutely made the right decision. Pets died on that journey. Cleo had it made. She was in an air conditioned house with food, drink, and potty. None of those things did we have.
We left before the sun was up. By the time the sun was down, we were only at The Woodlands. That is usually a trip that only takes 40 minutes or so on a regular day. We slept in the Target parking lot. Lamb & I slept outside on the trunk of our car. Never in a million years did I think I would sleep "comfortably" outside in a shopping parking lot with my daughter beside me. I was too tired & traumatized to worry about someone snatching her.

When we woke, I wanted to cry in frustration. My babies were eaten alive with mosquito bites. Bear from head to toe, literally. Lamb with a few on her face but the majority around her thighs. That picture of Bear is FIVE days after being bit. They were miserable and Bear was embarrassed to go back to school.

I just can't do that again for no reason. And my story is just one of millions. Some fared better and some fared much, much worse. I won't say I'll never evacuate again because I don't know that for sure. I will say that I will do whatever is necessary to avoid reliving that experience.



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My daughter is beautiful. I'm not just saying that because she is mine. I'm not just talking about her physical attributes. I'm talking about her whole package. She's kind. She's smart. She's helpful. She's respectful. She's quirky. She's confident. She's talented. She's unique. She's beautiful. And I desperately want her to always think those things about herself. No, know those things about herself.

But, society, media, and other girls & people are working against me. The images she sees on a daily basis may make her start to doubt her worth. There is this stigma out there that everyone must be perfect. Perfect skin, perfect weight, perfect body, perfect hair. Perfect, Perfect, Perfect. And lets not get into the lack of morality. Other girls may make her think her "flaws" are the only thing people see when they look at her. They may make her believe her uniqueness & non-conforming ways are wrong. Society wants her to feel fat.
There is no way this child should wear anything but the smallest size in junior clothes. Yet, in some stores, she needs a medium shirt. In other stores, she needs a 2 in pants. She is a tiny girl, height & weight. Her true size is extra small and double 0. Why are clothes being made smaller? Why, when I haven't gained any weight, are the sizes I usually buy too small now? What is this doing to our girls?

Dove has an awesome commercial addressing just this. All of our girls should feel beautiful. But, the truth of the matter is that very rarely do we. When looking in the mirror, the flaws are what jumps out at us.

I realize to stop this trend I need to start with myself. I try very hard not to be disagreeable when looking in the mirror, especially when she's around. I try very hard not to talk or tease about other people's flaws, especially in front of her. I try very hard to let her know that she is so much more than her looks. Yes, I want her to feel pretty. But, more importantly, I want her to like herself. I want her to know that who she is inside is so much more important than who she is on the outside.

Am I successful in all of the above? No, I'm not. Will I be successful in the long run? Only time will tell. God made my daughter just the way He envisioned her. It is my greatest wish that she believes...She is beautiful.

Camera Critters #21

Meet Tiger and Big Daddy. When Bear was turning four years old, all he wanted for his birthday was fish. We took him to the pet store & researched the different kinds of fish. Big D, not to be confused with Big Daddy, decided that Oscar fish would be the best type of fish. They are considered hearty and live a long time. So, for this 4th birthday, all Bear received were his two fish and all their paraphernalia. Two weeks later, they were both in the big fish bowl in the sky. This is the only picture we took of them. Had I but known, I would have taken a picture every day. ;)

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Summer Vacation Carnival

We are THAT Family is hosting a Summer Vacation Carnival. I know this is a repeat for some, but here are just a couple of pictures from our NYC vacation back in July.Hanging with every single, minus three, Statues on Parade all over the city
Hanging at the Brooks Atkinson Theater waiting to see Grease
Hanging at the stage door waiting for autographs
Hanging with the stars of Grease feeling such awe & excitement
Hanging at Yankee Stadium so happy, at least one of them anyway, to see the Yankees play the Red Sox
Hanging out between Rockefeller Center & Times Square with the dogs
Hanging in the air experiencing the thrill of a far

Do You Think She's Taking Too Many Language Classes?

Lamb: Guess what? I can say Mother & Father in Spanish...I mean English...bleh, bleh, bleh, I mean Sign Language.

I would certainly hope she can say them in English. Altho, she's never called us Mother & Father so maybe I should test her on that.

Sincerely 'Fro Me to You - Apple Pie

I know this isn't a normal 'Fro Me to You post but it's tragic just the same. Long time readers know how Bubba's Sis & I love to eat out AND love our apple pie. We often pick restaurants just for the pie. We eat light & save room. Who needs vegetables? Apples are fruit.

We have had some bad experiences. Cheddar's dropped the LAST APPLE PIE on the floor. Cracker Barrel's tasted horrible to us. Bennigan's tasted pretty bad to us too. Applebee's discontinued apple pie on their menu. Chili's has a cold apple pie shot glass thingy that just isn't the same. Traumatic experiences.

We had gotten to where Cheddar's was the only decent apple pie around. Then we went to Zio's, an Italian restaurant. Oh.My.Golly. was it ever good. Flaky yummy crust, sizzling skillet, plenty of apples, what tasted like homemade ice cream, & this vanilla sauce that I used for the bread not the pie. Heaven in our mouths.

We had it exactly one time. One time. The above pic is NOT the apple pie that dreams are made of. Oh no, this apple pie will never be scrapped or bragged about. It's a pic of the apple pie we had the second time we ate at Zio's. Just one week later. One week. This apple pie was disgusting. It had the consistency of jello. Where were the apples? And the ice cream couldn't go on top (um, why?) so they put it on the side. The side of the sizzling skillet. It was so bad that we returned it & requested it be taken off our bill. Ya'll, that's serious. It has to be really bad for us to forfeit a dessert.

The manager came over to inform us that they changed their apple pie. She was just as upset as we were. She asked that we contact the home office so that a change could be made.

It's a travesty of dessert proportions. I can't even look at this picture without a lump forming in my throat. I want some more of the yummy apple pie.

I think we need a Cheddar's visit, Bubba's Sis.


Ch Ch Ch Changes

Today was the 1st day of our new year. And in a sea of high school girls with long straight hair, she opts for short wavy hair.
The first year in High School.

The last year of Elementary School.
May it be a great year full of accomplishments, learning, and FUN!
Of course, today wasn't all about fun. Bear got what he deems a Torture.Device. He wants it out Now! He can't talk, no one can understand him. He feels like he did before he started speech therapy. Not cool. And the worst part? He has to wear it full-time for Three. Months. Torture, horrible horrible torture.


Camera Critters #20

B.T. (Before Ty), Cleo had a "baby" she adored. She carried this lion mini beanie baby from McDonald's around. She would flip it in the air.
Wherever,Cleo went, the lion was with her. Oh, how she loved it.

Then Ty came to live with us. He's a herder breed so heaven forbid anyone have any fun. Plus, he was still a puppy. Can you guess what happened? Ty chewed the loved lion all to pieces. Cleo has never been the same since. ;)

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Unanswered Prayers

Between Lamb & Bear, there was a lost baby. A baby that was lost 12 years ago today. At the time, it was the worst thing that had happened to me. My pregnancy with Lamb was perfect. I truly thought this pregnancy would be too. My life was going pretty great. We had just gotten back from taking Lamb to Disney for her 1st time. I always joke that Disney truly is magic & the happiest place on Earth as every time we went, I became pregnant soon after returning home.

I figured the baby was gone when my ob/gyn called me at home from his home. He had been out of town so I was in contact with his emergency on call dr. He wanted to let me know that he wanted to be the one to do the ultrasound. So, if I would wait an extra day, he'd open his office early & see us. Yeah, that pretty much let me know he wasn't expecting good news.

So we cried & mourned. I had guilt. The night before, I had taken Lamb for a walk & had over exerted myself. I was whooped & wasn't even halfway home yet. Of course, I know it wasn't my fault but I still felt it was.

A few months later, I became pregnant with Bear (without a trip to Disney). We weren't as excited. We kept it quiet. When I passed the first trimester, we finally told everyone.

I was twelve weeks pregnant when my mom & I were in a car accident. No lie, a beaver caused it. He was crossing the interstate & was HUGE. My mom had to stop the car because she was afraid to hit it. A man not paying attention rear-ended us which is how my tail bone broke. We were fine, minus my tail bone, but my mom was panicked because I was pregnant. She told the cop to send for an ambulance. Oh my.

This was around the time the lost baby would have been due. At the hospital, the nurse warned me that since I was only 12 weeks, the chance of hearing the baby's heartbeat was slim. However, the moment she put the doppler thingy on my belly, a strong, loud heartbeat filled the quiet room. I knew then that this baby would be born. I had absolutely no doubt in my mind. My heart was filled with this "birthday" gift from God. My only unhappiness was due to Big D not being with me.

So while I prayed and prayed for that lost baby to be born, I am now filled with peace & happiness. How could this world not have Bear in it? Just like Lamb, Bear was meant for us to raise & love. And love we do.


Sincerely 'Fro Me to You - THE Broken Leg

I was fifteen years old & my boyfriend had just recently broken up with me. My youth group was having a skating party with a sister church. The church my ex just so happened to belong. I begged my mom to let me go but she informed me that I had promised to babysit my year old brother.

What's a girl to do? I was devastated. I don't really remember wanting the boy back. I think I just wanted him to notice me having fun without him. But my mom said no. Never fear! My best friend stepped in for me & said she'd babysit for me. She didn't really care to go skating.

So I went, was having fun, & then IT happened. I was partner skating with a guy when another guy grabbed my free hand and whipped us around. All three of us fell & I think someone landed on my leg. All I remember is the youth pastor scooping me up & everyone praying over me.

Someone took me home & laid me on the couch. I could not put any pressure on my left leg. And if I moved, I could feel a shifting inside. When my mom came home & found out, she didn't quite believe me. My leg looked perfectly fine. She figured it was just sprained or pulled.

A week later, she had to travel for work so I stayed with my best friend (rather than my grandparents, I probably hurt their feelings). One rainy morning as I was entering our high school, my wet crutches slipped out from under me. Down I went. OH THE PAIN! I think I might have passed out because the next thing I remembered was being in the arms of our school's biggest, well, I hate to use the word geek so I'll just say the boy who drove everyone crazy. It was the ultimate embarrassment. He was carrying me across the school to the nurse? Principal's office? I can't remember. The principal was close friends to my grandparents so he gave them a call.

M y grandmother immediately came to the school & took me straight to the dr. Yep, I had a broken leg. I had a clean break right above my ankle. I also had a tumor on my leg. He said the tumor was common but that often the bone would break through the tumor and make it go away. Of course, mine broke right above the tumor.

The upside was that since I had gone a week & the bone looked good, I didn't have to get a full leg cast. The bad news was that I had to wear it for three months. People got tired of hearing about The Broken Leg. It's infamous now. ;)

I barely survived all that humiliation. It was my only broken bone ever. Until I was in a car accident while pregnant with Bear & my tailbone was broken. I don't have any pictures of that though. ;)


Life Rotates Again

I used to love this time of year. New clothes, new supplies, new adventures to look forward to during the year. This time of year signals a new year for me, not Jan. 1st. Then, I started working. I am fortunate, so very fortunate, that I work in a school. Next week, the lazy care-free days of summer will be over for me & mine. And, with that, another life change for us.

Bear & I will get to see Big D for maybe an hour each day during the week. We won't eat supper together as a family. And, most probably the worst of all ;), we'll have to get up at 5:45am.

I like my morning sleep. I wake up at the last possible moment to get myself ready. I am also a night owl by nature. I can be dead to the world tired, but at 10pm, I perk right up. That's not going to be conducive to getting up at 5:45.

And I have to get up at that time. Lamb's school starts at 7:20am. Because it's sorta, kinda, but not really on the way to my school, I will drop her off. Therefore, we have to leave the house by 6:45am.

If we think Bear is a bear now, he's really going to be grumpy. He's going to be at school from 7:30am-3:45-ishpm. That's a long time. Heck, I'm going to be grumpy too. No good times there.

I love what I do, I really do. I enjoy the people & students. However, when I think about what's in store for me starting August 25th, I just want summer to start all over again. I'm not ready to be a single parent again.

Since my life is about to change, I've been thinking of other changes I can make. I will never be a Martha Stewart type so no one has to worry about that. No, I'm thinking of things like not spending so much time on the computer. If I didn't, maybe I'd finish that blanket for Bear & Lamb's Washington D.C. scrapbook. Both of those have been waiting YEARS. Years! Shame on me. I don't have very much time with the kids left at home as kids. I need to be there. Oh, I'm here but with half a mind. They need my full attention.

We made the choice not to eat out so much. With the kids much bigger now, we just can't afford it. So, I need to learn how to feed them better. I waste so much food by ruining it. That bothers me. I hate to waste food. There are starving kids in Ethiopia, don't ya know.

This will be the hardest one of all. We have a treadmill. The kids use it fairly often but right now, there's hallway stuff sitting on it (Big D doing the flooring in the hallway). Once the hallway is put to rights, I'm going to use the treadmill. I have a mp3 player, I have shoes. I just need to get motivated.

So, while I'm not happy about being a single parent again. I am excited about what life has in store for me. It's a new year, after all.


You want your child to grow up to be Craig Biggio

Big D & I both looked down at Bear as Jeff Bagwell spoke those words today at Craig Biggio's jersey #7 retirement. How true they are. If Bear can be as hard working, team playing, community volunteering as Craig Biggio, he'll be an amazing ball player. But, more importantly, an amazing man. The only thing I'd want Bear to do differently is to be more fan friendly. He, Craig Biggio not Bear, can be stand-offish at times. Not that I blame him!

It was a nice send off for #7. I had forgotten how much I missed the Big-Gi-O chant. I'll hear it again in 2013 when we celebrate his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. No doubt about that! And just as their numbers are together on the Astros' Hall of Fame wall, Bagwell & Biggio will be together in the National Hall of Fame.

Besides some gross superstitions, his son, Conor,(I must find a way to introduce Lamb to him. He's Ca-Yoot!)
told us that there have only been two #7 retirements. One belongs to Mickey Mantle. The other to Craig Biggio.

So long #7. You are very much missed.


Camera Critters #19

The Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus have an elephant conservation center that they established in 1995.

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Photo Hunt: Colorful

Elvis Presley
January 8, 1935–August 16, 1977
His legend lives on...


You Know You're a Blogger When...

Upon seeing a cat on the roof of the car while leaving Bubba's Sis, the kids exclaim: Take a picture! It can be for Camera Critters!


My How Things Change in Ten Months

The braces & expander did their thang! Next up? A retainer and every 6 mths visit to his orthodontist.

He also came home with a big bag of candy that he hasn't been allowed to eat this whole time. His sister is quite jealous. Thankfully there weren't any LemonHeads or NERDS in that bag. We might have had bloodshed then.

Gosh, I could stare at his smile all night long.

Sincerely 'Fro Me to You - Lovey Edition

The Cast of Characters:From Left to Right: Baby Sheep, Savannah, Rosie, Rejected Grown Up Rosie, Rejected Grown up Savannah, Teddy, and Blue Bear. While they all may be a little worse for wear, they were all very well loved.All but one have been lovingly stored away. When the kids saw them out, they were very happy to see their old friends. Lamb was almost afraid of touching Rosie & Savannah, but she quickly got over it and inhaled their sweet smell again.
I desperately wanted to name Lamb Savannah Rae but Big D was just as adamantly opposed to it. So I did the next best thing. I bought a doll & named her that. Savannah was with Lamb on the day she was born.
A few months later, Rosie came to live with us.
They were constant companions. When Lamb learned to talk, she couldn't say their names so they were "Ro Ro" and "Sanuhnuh."
Lamb had a bad habit of chewing on poor Rosie's hair. In one particular spot only. Rosie now sports a lovely bald spot.
Right before Bear was born, we had the I'm A Big Girl talk. And since she was growing up, we figured Rosie & Savannah were growing up too. We bought new dolls to represent the grown up Rosie & Savannah. Lamb didn't bond with them though. She turned her affections to Baby Sheep. Baby Sheep squeaked. Yay us. We went through 3 of those Baby Sheeps. We could have kept going but we couldn't find them anymore.
That's Teddy in the corner of the crib. He's also been with Bear since birth. He was a gift from my good friend who is now my aunt (the kids call her Great Aunt with hilarity because she's younger than me!).
Teddy stayed with us for a long time. You can see that he's lost weight and his handsome bow tie.
He stayed even though he was abused by Bear. You can see his poor cataract eyes caused by Bear's fits. Bear would get mad & throw poor Teddy. Concrete is hard on a Teddy Bear's eyes.
Then Blue Bear came into our lives. He's a NASA bear. Just like Teddy, Bear likes to hold Blue Bear under his nose. Blue Bear is still with us, but don't let Bear know I told you....