Summer 2010

No, “SUMMER” has not actually started in Richmond, VA…but for us it is HERE!
First of all, after WEEKS of hitting yard sale after yard sale, my mom convinced me to post on Richmond Mommies that I was in search of a toddler slide for Ella.  I had to be convinced because I had already seen about 5 exchange custody on the Buy/Sell/Trade/Free forum so I was pretty sure my late to the game request wouldn’t get a response.  Well it did – within 30 minutes!  I snagged a great little slide with a good size platform (my major requirement) for $10!  Yes TEN DOLLARS!  So cool!  And Ella LOVES it!
She slid and slid and slid – all day only heading inside when DRAGGED for lunch, naptime, and dinner.
Since it has been rainy here, we also ended up quite dirty that day…

I’ve discovered that dirty knees = FUN!
Not only that, but at one of those above mentioned many yard sales, I snapped up a bike seat for Ella for a mere $15! It was meant for my Canondale, but won’t go on it.  Jeff is now even more convinced that we paid far too much money for my bike (which I’ve barely gotten to ride since I have Ella and no bike seat to take her along with me).  However – when I was sick yesterday he discovered that it does fit HIS bike.
So Ella went on her first bike ride with her daddy…and is now addicted.  So is Jeff.  He’s hoping to get off work ontime tonight so there is enough daylight to take his girl out for a ride after dinner.  Maybe (since I’m feeling much better) I’ll get on my pretty bike and ride along.  Now that sounds fun!
After reading my FAVORITE blog by Kelle Hampton, I’m formulating a “to-do” list for this summer:
1. Visit my brother in Los Angeles (he’s been out there 6 years and I’ve yet to go)
2. Go to the San Deigo Zoo when in California (I’ve always wanted to go)
3. Get that green bike to fit me, too, so Ella and I can go for rides during the day.
4. Get a personal trainer at the gym and 
5. LOSE MY BABY WEIGHT (I’ve lost 0 lbs in 18 months)
6. Spend a week at Nags Head in my mom’s trailer – just us gals
7. Bake more – why do I buy store-made cookies?
8. Plan a girl’s night to go CLUBBING (thanks, Kelle!) – oh I used to love to dance!
9. Start my own bookclub (will check that off in June)
10. BUY A NEW BIKINI BY SUMMER’S END
I’m sure there are more goals I have that I’m not thinking of, so more may be added later.  That last one is a kicker.  I saw the cutest green bikini last night at the mall (walking around after I felt better) and was dying to be small enough to be in a bikini again…I will be!  I will be!
So…COME ON SUMMER!  I’m ready for you!
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Happy Anniversary to ME (and Jeff)!

Four years ago today, I got up early and realized that my only white thong was in the dirty clothes.  It was my wedding day – I needed a white thong!  What was I going to do?
Shortly after that occurred to me, my sister-in-law Rachel and my best friend Melissa arrived so that we could head down to Carytown and get our hair done.  Our scheduled changed a bit due to my lack of a white thong so off to Willow Lawn’s Victoria’s Secret we went to buy me a new one.  I can still recall that shopping trip in detail – each of us holding up different white thongs until we’d found the most “wedding-y” of them all.
Thong in bag, we headed off to Carytown to get coffee and bagels and get our hair done.  At somepoint while sitting in that chair, one of my partners in preparation said, “it is 12:00…six more hours”.  I burst into tears.  I couldn’t believe I was getting married to such a wonderful guy.
After leaving the salon, I had also realized that I had NO CLUE where my makeup was.  Now, for those of you who do not know me well…I do not wear makeup.  I own it, though what I currently own is what I owned on that day four years ago…that is how little I wear makeup.  So what did we do – head to Stony Point where there was a cosmetics shop that was rumored to do your makeup for a “small” fee.  We got there and ran through a WINDY parking lot only to find out that the small fee wasn’t near small enough.  Oh well…
Once at the church things went smoothly.  I even managed to have a snack!

Notice that we’ve covered my dress with the dress bag from one of my bridesmaids. 

Not sure what Amanda is doing with the bottom of my dress…maybe picking dirt out of it from pictures outside.
Anyway – things ran smoothly for about 30 minutes at a time.  Every 30 minutes or so my Junior Bridesmaid, Charlotte Rich, would tell me what time it was…making me cry until it was funny.
At 5:50 (it was a 6:00 wedding) my Mistress of Ceremonies, Dana Rich, came to get us and line us up.  On our way to the hall and foyer, I was told to go into the kitchen.  That is where Dana told me that they couldn’t find Jeff.  What?  You can’t find the groom?
After a quick peek out the kitchen door to check the cars in the parking lot – Jeff’s car? Check. His dad’s truck? Check.  Jerry’s car?  Check.  Gabe’s car?  Check.  Ian’s truck?  Check.
He has to be here somewhere!
“Where was the last place you told him to be?  He’s a good listener.”  I asked and told Dana.  She realized that no one had ever gone to the guy’s dressing room to move Jeff from there to the little room in the front of the sanctuary (where water and snacks had been waiting for him).  Oops.  Sure enough, he was sitting all alone in the dressing room.  They quickly ushered him past the kitchen door and into the sanctuary.
Then we gals filed down the hallway to the double doors.  Missy Grubbs played the intro to “This Day” (Point of Grace) on the piano and Troy Rich began playing the melody on the violin.  It hit me…the moment was here!  I immediately burst into sobs…the people in the back row of the church could hear me.  I was so overwhelmed by the emotion of the day.  I was excited.
My bridesmaids (the ones who hadn’t started down the aisle) tried to comfort me to no avail.
As my matron of honor, Amanda Amos, entered the church and they shut the double doors behind her my dad got a tissue of Dana and handed it to me saying, “blow your nose and get yourself together”…which I did.  The music changed to “On Eagle’s Wings” and the doors opened and I walked down that aisle on the arm of my daddy.
See…you can’t even tell I was weeping just moments before this!
It was a beautiful ceremony…I’m sure it was.  I haven’t seen it because we never have transferred it from the funky little tape it is on to a DVD…we should do that.  Maybe this coming year.  I do know that the ceremony went very smoothly until the vows.  Jeff said his like a pro – and this is the guy who speaks so softly you can barely hear him across a table.  He belted his vow out – so proud to be marrying me, I’m sure…
Then it was my turn.  “I, Evelyn, take you, Jeff, to be my lawfully wedded hus…”  Yep – it hit again…all the emotion of the day.  All the planning, the expectations, the expensive wedding photographer (none of these pics were taken by him), the asking of friends, putting them in “order” – hate that part, but hate doing it solely by height either.  All the memories of our 5 1/2 year relationship…  I started to sob again and this time – NO ONE came to my rescue.  My parents were down in the pew…Jeff wasn’t sure what to do…my bridesmaids didn’t know if I was just pausing or actually crying…and the friend officiating didn’t have a tissue.  Well I did get myself together and finish my vows.  And then the best part of any wedding…THE KISS!
And it was a GOOD KISS!
After that – it was easy breezy.  We were pronounced man & wife to cheers.
Pardon the red eye…the photo is too old to fix!  I tried!
We took pictures together and with our families and then headed to the Virginia Aviation Museum to celebrate…eating, drinking (a little), and making merry!
It was a great day – one of the best in my entire lifetime.  It isn’t THE best, because we’ve experienced so much more together as husband and wife over the past four years that have topped it.  Being married is challenging…we had a disagreement just last night…but it is worth every challenge.
Jeff is my best friend.  He is my family.  He is my husband.
He is also father of my beautiful child.
We have a beautiful life.
Happy Anniversary to my Mr. Wonderful!

Today…

Today I learned that Ella hates when I pack a cat up in their travel carrier to take them to the vet.  Though this picture is not from today…it is the exact face that she was making once she realized that I had put Toby in that carrier she kept trying to carry around:
She was very unhappy that I was taking one of her kitties away.  But got over it quickly since her Pop was here to play with her and let her watch cartoons at a time the t.v. is never on.
My rough and tumble girl has a tender heart.

Sam "Feyd-Rautha" Cronin

Sam “Feyd-Rautha” Cronin
Born: approx the first week of April 2001
Died: Sunday, May 9, 2010
Sam was my favorite pet ever in my life…and I’ve had quite a few…
I found Sam (and Toby) when they were about 5 weeks old outside of Liberty Christian Church. Gerrard got them some milk and we left to play disc golf. When we returned, they were still there and crying like crazy so into my car they went. My goal was to call C.A.R.E. and find them a home, but they had no room for two kittens and asked if I’d take care of them until they were able to find a foster family. By the time they called me back two weeks later, I was in love.
Sam had surgery to remove a tumor about six weeks later and we’ve been happily buddies ever since. He has always been playful and loved to try to “tag” the camera everytime I was taking pictures. I think he thought he could catch the shutter:
He was a lot of fun and loved to play in Ella’s tunnel with her.  Luckily she is too young to have a clue that he is gone.  What is the difference in four cats and three to an 18-month old?
Over the years, we’ve often compared Sam to a dog.  He is always at the door to greet us when we arrive home.  He is always at the door to greet guests when they visit.  Just ask anyone who has been over, Sam’s actions always say, “Hey, let’s be best friends!”  He was fun and funny (and a bit dumb), but really – the best pet I’ve ever had.  I love my dog (see post from Thursday) and I love Toby.  I have come to love Monkey and Hobbes, too (Jeff’s two cats)…but I LOVED SAM.
On Sunday – Mother’s Day – I came home from a big family lunch to find Sam lying on the floor not moving.  He was occasionally making a noise, but only when I pet him.  I got a sleeping Ella out of the car and into her crib, changed my clothes, and immediately put Sam in my lap on a towel.  It was obvious he was near the end.  I was hysterical – as my mom and husband, neither of which could understand my phone call.  Jeff had just arrived at his parent’s house when I called and told him to come home immediately – Sam was dying.  I hung up and called my mom who was just 10 minutes away.  Her family was at her apartment doing their girl thing when I called and demanded her presence for Ella.
When she arrived she knew things were bad, but encouraged me to take him to the emergency vet just in case there was some way to save him.  Jeff arrived soon after and loaded a hysterical me (who would not let go of my cat) and Sam into the car.  Sam survived until somewhere in Lakeside.  We knew it was the end and pulled over to say good-bye…then continued to Carytown to have it confirmed that he had passed.
The vet at the emergency center was wonderful.  She took Sam from me and invited Jeff and I into a room for privacy.  We had just walked a block through Carytown and into their lobby while I was holding my dead cat and sobbing so to get out of the lobby was nice.  She confirmed he was gone and told Jeff how to get to the back door with the car so that I didn’t have to carry Sam through a crowd again.
We brought him home and let Toby smell him.  I didn’t want Toby to wonder where Sam had gone – they had been together since birth and I knew this was going to be traumatic.
This morning, I had Maggie’s recheck from her emergency last week.  I took Sam with me so that I could have him cremated and returned to me for keeping.  Yep – I’m a crazy lady.  I had a boyfriend once whose mom had all their family dogs who had passed in little jars in a curio.  She would sing songs about the dogs to entertain us and I laughed and laughed.  I’m now going to be her.  I can’t say that I won’t be making up songs about Sam…especially when I tell Ella about the special jar holding my special cat.
Here is the most recent picture I have taken of Sam.  It was taken April 29, 2010:
Rest in peace, my precious Sam…

National Day of Prayer

Since I posted yesterday about Maggie, I did not post my prayer in recognition of the National Day of Prayer that was yesterday.  I did put it on Facebook, but wanted to put it here too.

Thank you, God, for all of your good and perfect gifts. Often we are so overwhelmed by the circumstances in our life that we forget to say “thank you”. I woke up today…so did Jeff, and Ella, and my mom and dad…so did my brother and sister-in-law…so did Jeff’s family here and away from us. Thank you for our blessings. Thank you for the breath of life.

God, I ask you now for a personal thing – one that others may scoff at or find unimportant – Please watch over my Maggie. She’s never been sick like she was last night and all this morning. Please watch over Dr. Taylor and his staff as they work to find the source of her trouble. She’s the only dog in the world I’ve ever liked (much less loved) and she’s been my buddy for all 10 years of her life. I know it seems trivial when I have a perfect little girl sleeping just down the hall, but there it is…please watch over my dog.

God, please watch over all those around me who are hurting, sick, lost, and in need of you. Please watch over Hailey Shupe (my cousin) in Iraq along with all others who are serving.

Please be with those in leadership of our country, Lord. Oftentimes we feel as though the whole world is going to hell in a handbasket. Help us to stop trusting in others and trust in YOU. So long as our trust, hope, faith, and devotion are in YOU FIRST, you will take care of us.

Please be with those in leadership at the church. Help them to feel your hand on them as they make decisions. Help them not to lay blame or to point fingers. Help the hurts to heal, God. Be with Daddy as he holds the spiritual heart of the church in his hands. Let him speak healing words to us. Be with those who have/are departing from us, God. Bless their way…lead them in your ways…

Thank you for the church family you have given me throughout my life. I have oftentimes seen it as a curse, but I am finding my way again, God. Thank you for the blessings and trials that come with being the preacher’s kid.

God you are awesome and I worship you today – a day of prayer. Help me to do your will as I go forward from this moment. Help me bring peace to those around me. Help me to be your hands, your feet, your arms, your hands. Thank you for the opportunity to serve for you. I love you.

In Jesus’ Name…Amen.

Maggie Maybell

I got Maggie around the end of March/beginning of April in 2000.  She was tiny and cute and called Checkers.  I adopted her through an organization called Angel Dogs.  They told me that she was a mix of beagle and walker hound and that a hunter dropped off the mixed puppies because they only wanted pure breeds to hunt with.  I had never owned a dog a liked.  I remember two from childhood – a female lab who always ran away so we gave her to some friends who had property and a farm and a male cockapoo who was pretty tempermental and kinda mean.  So Maggie is the first dog I’ve ever actually liked.

She turned 10 on February 21 of this year.  She’s my first “kid” ever.  And I adore her.

So the last 24 hours has been really rough.  At 9:30 last night, Maggie threw up.  I’m sure she’s thrown up before, but this seemed odd.  At 10:30 she hacked all of her dinner on the floor at the foot of my bed.  At 1:00 a.m. she’d thrown up about 4 times in the living room – one of which was huge and a dark brown color.  She got sick again a couple times and we finally put her outside around 5 a.m.  At 6:30 a.m. she finally drank some water and then by 7:30 it was all up too.  I was afraid, but not sure what I could do…it wasn’t obvious what was actually wrong.  No evidence of anything she’d eaten in the yard…
At 8:45 I called the vet and got us an 11:15 appointment.  I called Jeff to work out our schedule.
Ella had her 18 month old check up at 9:30 so I needed to get to that first.  That went well – three shots and impressing the staff with her verbal and social skills.
Jeff got home at 10:30 and I got home with Ella right after him.  We unloaded the Target groceries and I covered the back section of my car to transport Maggie to the vet.
At 11:20 Dr. Taylor (the owner of the vet) came in to see Maggie – who had barely had enough energy to walk to the car, or into the vet, or even to the exam room.  He was worried enough and immediately had them set up for x-rays.  No blockages that he could see, but he was concerned that it seemed she had not gone to the bathroom (#2).  So he decided he was going to keep her for the rest of the day – overnight – and most of the day tomorrow.  She’s in a cage, hooked up to IVs, and alone when she’s usually asleep near my feet as I watch t.v. and then asleep on her bed next to mine.  I did run the sweatshirt I’d been sleeping in and one of her favorite stuffed animals up to the vet, but didn’t go see her because I had Ella with me and I think she would’ve been upset and not able to understand.
So I’m really upset tonight…I’m afraid it is more than just something minor.  I’m tired from getting up throughout the night to clean up after her (Jeff did a few of those too).  I’m snippy and short and have a bad attitude.
I just want her home with ME.  It just stinks.  I’m sad.  I want my dog to be okay.
Okay – just needed to vent.  Thanks…

Lovin for a year and being a PK (books)

Oh, blog, I’ve missed you…have you missed me?

I’m not sure what has been up with me, but I haven’t had many thoughts I felt like sharing with the universe (or the 5 people who read this…see followers).  I don’t know why, but I haven’t found myself to be all that interesting in the last almost month.  I don’t count that last post (4/29) since it was to win a book I didn’t win.  Oh well…

Books….I’ve read some interesting ones as of late.  One of my latest faves is called 365 Nights: A Memior of Intimacy by Charla Muller.  It was WONDERFUL!  I know – a book about sleeping with your husband every day for a year?  Crazy!
It seemed to me like an impossible task so I was intrigued to read about how the author pulled off this “gift” for her husband’s 40th birthday.  Ladies – you need to read this book…especially if you’re a mom.  I related to Charla on many levels (even that whole calling the ex-boyfriend story), but especially how she felt about sex as a MOM.  Oh my, how life changes when a tiny one enters the story…
I will say this to you – there is not a lot of details about the actual act of her gift.  There are lots of stories with nothing to do with s-e-x.  But by the end of the book I realized that I had been failing my dear husband as a wife.  I think I’m getting good at the mom thing, but the “wife” role took a major backseat and I’m now working to fix that issue (no details, to your relief).
The gals in book club had mixed reactions.  I’ll put it out there that if you’re a newlywed, you probably won’t glean much from it except dread for the future.  If you’re not a mom yet, again – dread for the future.  But those of us who are out of that honeymoon phase of our relationship/marriage AND have at least one little one in the house, this book inspired me.  It gave me hope that I CAN be a great mom and a great wife.

If you order it from the website (click on the book name above), you can also get the Bible Study…which I wish I had done.  It would be an interesting Women’s Study to do at church.  Maybe next Spring…

Next up on my list?  A book called “I Have To Be Perfect (And Other Parsonage Heresies)” by Timothy L. Sanford.  The description on the cover says, “The Preacher’s Kid’s Manual of the Holy Heresies You May Have Grown Up With and How to Find Your Way Back to the Truth”.
If you know me, you know that I’m a preacher’s kid.  I have been for 27 of my 32 years in life.  Had I been asked if I wanted to be a PK (knowing what I know now) I would probably have said no.  I haven’t always enjoyed being a PK and lately it has been the worst it has ever been.  I have recently been longing to reach out to other PKs and share, support, and whine together.
I’m thinking about starting a blog about being a Preacher’s Kid (still no catchy name yet) and was looking around on the web to see what was out there.  While surfing, I stumbled upon PKI, Preacher’s Kid’s International.  I joined and haven’t checked out the whole site, but did find the above book.  So I ordered it right away.  It arrived today and I’m looking forward to digging in.
Here are the “Four Holy Heresies About the World”:
1. “I Have to Be Perfect”
2. “I Can Ruin My Dad’s Ministry”
3. “Other People’s Needs Are More Important Than My Own”
4. “I’m Damned If I Do and Damned If I Don’t”

I’m hooked already!  I’ll have to post about it, but it may be on my new blog about being a PK – if I ever come up with a catchy name.  I wanted to do “The Preacher’s Kid”, but there is a dumb movie coming out with that name so I’m not sure now about using it…

Anyway – that is what has been floating around in my brain lately…

Ella is doing great.  She had a great play day at the park yesterday afternoon with Granny Mac, Pop, Mr. Pete Thacker, and Mrs. Joyce Thacker.  Talk about one spoiled kid…FIVE adults playing with her!  She had a blast and I’m pretty sure Daddy and Pete had as much fun (if not more than) as Ella did: