Saturday, May 31, 2008

thank God there is a Heaven

with so much sadness the past few weeks, i am constantly thinking of how thankful i am that God has a heavenly home awaiting us.
a local 19 yr old girl lost her mother to a self inflicted gun shot last week. this hits especially close to home because i was 19 as well when i lost my daddy the same way.
bob smiths family laid him to rest today, as a tragic accident claimed his life earlier this week. one of his daughters works on the ambulance and was on his scene, another daughter just graduated college and a son just graduated high school. how wonderful he was able to share in these events with them, yet so hard to let him go.
then just tonight i learned via the shackelfords website that an old friend of mine will be burying her 15 month old son. tyler whittingham was just a baby, has 3 older brothers and 1 older sister to take care of his mommy for him.
i know the pain of loosing loved ones. i do not know the pain of loosing a child, and pray i never do.
i miss the ones that have gone on before me, yet i have peace in knowing that they are in heaven. that my daddy is fishing and hunting, that my grandmother is watching the carnations grow and the squirells play, that one uncle is fishing, and another has his legs back and is playing football.
i cannot imagine not having that peace, not having the ability to be thankful that they are better off than they were while they were here. whether they left this earth whole and healthy, or sick and broken, they are so much better off now. they are singing and dancing and praising the Lord. they are watching down on us.
my heart and my prayers are with these familys i have mentioned.

Friday, May 30, 2008


i find this news article to be very interesting.
i wonder what they thought the planes flying over them were, if they perceived it to mean anything. i wonder about their lives, the day to day things. and language? so many questions.
i had no idea that there were actually such tribes that had NO CONTACT whatsoever with the outside world.
very neat.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

when in memphis.....

mark anthony's appt with dr lazar was wednesday at 12noon. mark was unable to get off work to go with us that day, so my mom went instead. lacee has been attending softball camp at a'ville this week, so she stayed the night with a friend tuesday night so she would not have to get up super early wednesday and go into town with mark. the rains and flooding was pretty bad here, so mom thought it would be a good idea for us to go on to memphos tuesday night and get a room. (hey, i thought it was a great idea too!)

so i found us a room at the embassy suites, just off poplar on south shady grove road.

let me just say that this is my favorite hotel ever!

the room was great, the entire lobby has "creek" running through it, complete with ducks, fish, rocks, plants, bridges, and even a waterfall!!

an indoor pool, hottub, sauna (we didnt use the sauna) were wonderful!

we got there right at 7:30 pm, so we missed this, but everynight from 5:30 till 7:30 they provide you with free food and drinks in the bar area. real food, like lasagna or hotwings. since it is in the bar area, i am not sure if it is adults only or not.

each morning until 9:30 there is a complimentary breakfast. not the typical cereal and poptarts, but the real deal. eggs, bacon, sausage, french toast, cereal, yogurt, fruit, bagels, milk, juice, coffee are all self serve, and then there is a cook that does made to order just for you omelets with any ingredients you choose! they are yummy and the cook was so nice!

you eat your breakfast right by the stream, so watching the fish and ducks was a big hit. a few ducks even came out of the water and would eat crumbs off the floor!!!

when i booked the room, i didnt realize they had any of this, other than the indoor pool!! we were so very impressed.

oh, and the lobby is in the center of the "atrium style" hotel, and the back of the elevators are glass, so you can see the lobby as you go up and down. and--the buttons on the elevator are low enough mark anthony could push them!!

every guest and staff member we had contact with was curteous, kind, and friendly!

i managed to leave my camera in savannah :( , so cell phone pics will have to do. this was tommy's first time swimming, and it is apparant he is a water bug just like his brother and sister.

thanks to mamaw vicki for this great night away!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

another surgery

today mark anthony had an appt with dr lazar, an ent, in memphis.
turns out his hearing is NOT damaged, thankfully!
however, his tubes are not coming out as they should be.
so, on june 25 he will have surgery. 2 surgeries actually. he will have his tubes taken out, and new tubes put in. he will also have his tonsils and adenoids taken out.
we have to go to the doc office on june 23 for pre-op visit, then be at the hospital at 6am on wed the 25.
i must admit that i am a bit nervous about the fact that it is at lebonheur childrens hospital.
when lacee wasnt even 1, we had a horrible experience at that hospital, with the respiratory department. i have refused to use them ever since, demanding vanderbilt instead.
yet, vandy is so far booked out, that we couldnt have even had the appt we had today with them until november. not willing to let him hurt that long without action, i took this one in memphis.
i really liked this dr, and his staff.
the end of june will be rough on our family. june 17 lacee has endoscopy and colonoscopy at vanderbilt, then the next week mark anthony has his surgery.
i am praying that things will go wonderful during the surgeries, and the recoveries will be speedy and the benefits will last for a very long time!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

buford pusser festival

last night, mark and tommy stayed home, while i took mark anthony and lacee to adamsville to the buford pusser festival.

they have a great carnival company there.

we didnt get there until about 8pm, and stayed until 10:30. i didnt know how much fun it was going to be, or we would have went alot earlier. but, by going so late, we avoided the heat.

mark anthony rode everything he could, the trucks, the boats, the carosel, the big slide, the ferris wheel, the teacups, the spinning thingy, etc.

lacee rode all of those that she wasnt too tall for, and some of the bigger ones in that list several times.

some of them were so fast mark anthony couldnt ride without an adult. 2 of them the operators allowed me to get on with them without a bracelet. on the teacups there was a friend of mine from highschool there and her hubby and daughter were going to ride, so they let my 2 ride with them.

what i havent figured out yet is that he loved the bigger rides, he would hollar "faster faster" and wanted to ride them again and again, yet on the carosel he would not get on a horse, and rode on the seat instead.

there was also a petting zoo there, and that was a big hit with them as well.

decoration day

last sunday was decoration day at the cemetary my daddy, grandparents, great-grandparents, and uncle are buried.
i went the thursday before that and placed flowers on the headstones.
as you can tell by the pictures, the groundskeepers need a lesson in the fine art of weedeating. the pics were taken after i had plucked the largest weeds by hand.
daddys headstone was custom made. i sketched what i wanted on the front and the back on a sheet of paper (with little dots and the word squirell beside them, etc), and it was made. the scenes are of daddys favorite things.
my children were with me, as well as lacee's friend carli.
the girls were cautious not to step on any bodies, and mark anthony wanted to sit on top of daddys headstone.
i never knew my great grandparents, or my grandfather.
i miss my grandmother, my uncle, and my daddy terribly. i have said it many times before and i am sure i will say it many times again, i wish they were here to see my children, my husband, to share my life now with them.
at work the other day pat was saying that someone had told her it would not be heaven for them if children were running everywhere. she countered that heaven for her would be sitting in a rocking chair, rocking with a sleeping baby in her arms.
heaven for me would be having everyone i love together, those that are alive and those that have gone before. all of us, together, laying, playing, relaxing.....

we did play outside that day

back on april 7 i posted a blog wondering if i should or should not take my kids outside to play.

well i did.

and it was great.

and i had not uploaded any pics since then.

these are some shots from that day.

Friday, May 23, 2008

No shoes, No shirt, No service

Remember when those signs used to be on doors of businesses, especially restaurants?
I thought of those today, as my friend Camilla and her 2 children Abby and Briar joined me, Mark Anthony, and Tommy for lunch at Pizza Hut.
Mark Anthony had his first accident in weeks.
Luckily I had grabbed an extra set of Thomas the Train Undies when walking out the door. But I didnt grab a change of shorts.
So, Mark Anthony ate lunch at Pizza Hut in a Tshirt and Undies.
No shoes, as they had to dry.
No shorts.
We didnt get there until after 1pm so it wasnt crowded at all.
Didnt bother him a bit to run around like that.
I didnt get the camera out and take a pic, of course now I wish I had.

An eye for an eye

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
For the first time ever, Mark Anthony bit Tommy on the middle finger on his right hand. For absolutely no reason. Tommy was in his high chair. It wasnt like Tommy had taken a toy or pulled his hair or bit him. I guess it was a "let's see what happens" type thing. It was 8:30pm, maybe a little later. It has been a long day. A good day, but a long one. Tommy doesnt feel his greatest and he was already fussy. So Mark Anthony was talking to him, sitting in the chair beside him. Then Tommy goes from fussing to all out screaming and has pulled his hand into the chair with his body. Mark Anthony has this strange look on his face. For some reason I just knew. I said, "whats wrong with Tommy? you didnt bite him did you?". I dont know why I even thought that. Mark Anthony has not tried to bite anyone in almost a year, and even then it wasnt a major issue, he would just bite Lacee when he would get overly excited playing with her. Anyway, so I pulled Tommy's hand out and sure enough, the finger was red and then right there on his finger were teeth marks. Instantly, without thinking, I grab Mark Anthony, who by this time was in the process of getting away fast. I grab his hand and I bite him in the same place. Hard. Not breaking the skin hard. But enough for him to know I was not playing. Of course he cries as if I have broken his heart. Maybe I did. And Mark is walking in the door after a 15 hour work shift at this time. Lovely timing. "It was not your place to bite him back" he says. "But Tommy doesnt have enough teeth to do it himself" I protest. And then I look at Mark Anthony, and the heartbreak in his eyes, the shock, the tears, the "i cant believe you did that mommy" look in his eyes, then my heart broke. I am sure Tommy had the same thoughts and look in his eyes towards Mark Anthony, but I couldnt see his eyes for his chubby cheeks all squinched up. I dont know, Tommy may have been thinking..."paybacks are coming brother".
So I pick Mark Anthony up, and take him to his bedroom. I sit on his bed with him facing me in his lap. I hold him and get him to stop crying, then explain to him in his language that biting is not ok, that mommy is sorry she bit him but she did it to show him how he made tommy feel. And mommy loves you very very much. He listened, we hugged and kissed and then he said he wanted to go tell Tommy he was sorry. So he did. And he kissed him. And they ate supper, took a bath together, and are now both fast asleep in their own beds. And mommy will go to sleep wondering if she did the right thing and if the lesson will sink in so we dont have to do this again, ever.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

a wonderful night

last night, monday may 12, my husband mark and i were baptized together.
i cant begin to explain what a relief it is, and what a blessing that we were both ready and made the decision to become christians, to wash our sins away, and start our lives anew together.
we spoke with our preacher and made the decision that we would meet at 7pm at our church that afternoon, at around 2pm.
a few text messages and emails went out, and within that short time several people took time out of their lives and schedules to join us in this event. what a great feeling that is!! lots of people of course didnt get the email in time, or had other demands, which is of course understandable.
we have been going to our church off and on for the past 4 or 5 years. lately though we have been making church involvement, bible studies, and prayer more of a priority in our family.
all 3 of our children were with us as well. lacee of course was the only one who understood the event. tommy just enjoyed the socializing, and the dinner afterwards where he was treated with ice cream. mark anthony enjoyed singing, playing with his trains, and running around. that is until he saw the preacher dunk his mommy, which of course was very confusing to his almost 3 yr old self.
while i cant say that i had a great nights sleep last night, i can say that the few times my children allowed me to sleep last night, i did sleep better and more peaceful than i have in a very long time.
and certainly mark anthony summed it up best, when after the prayer that was said while everyone was standing in a circle holding hands, he proudly proclaimed "AMEN" in a very loud and confident voice.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A quick description of Celiac Disease

When anyone (even people without Celiac disease) eats gluten containing products it causes our bodies to produce an excess amount of zonulin. (A protein found in our small intestine that basically works as a doorman allowing the nutrients of our food to pass into the bloodstream) You heard me right.. EVERY person on earth produces too much zonulin when they eat gluten! Having too much zonulin opens so many ..doors.. that toxins (gluten fragments) get into our blood stream that normally wouldn't have been allowed in.
This is where my daughter's body acts differently than ours does. Her body sees these gluten fragments as invaders and it launches and attack against them.. the problem is her body also attacks itself (the autoimmune part of this Celiac) She produces antibodies ant react against normal, healthy tissue rather than the bad stuff.
Her body attacks the villi (the little finger things on our intestines that help absorb nutrients) on the lining of the small intestine causing them to flatten (really they are chopped down like a tree). If they have been chopped they are no longer able to absorb nutrients from her food. The damage always happens at the top of the intestine first.
Remember that her small intestine is about 3.5 times longer than she is (so about 10+ feet) So by the time she was showing symptoms and losing weight, her entire intestine had been damaged.
Anyhow the villi do repair themselves once you have switched to a gluten free diet. It takes 1-12 months for adults and with kids it..s a much faster recovery. Needless to say this needs to be treated as if it were a life threatening allergy because the effects of a glutenning can lead to sever and debilitating diseases including but not limited to an array of other autoimmune disorders and lymphoma.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Live with Regis and Kelly

Some of you may remember my friend, Amy Chesley. She and her husband, Randy, and their 2 children, Lindsay and Brandon, used to live in Savannah. Amy was a hairdresser at Rosanna's. Lacee, Lindsay, and Kaila Smith, were best friends. They potty trained together, and grew up until they were 3, together. Then the Chesley's moved to Utah.
Amy and her mother, Brenda, appeared on Live with Regis and Kelly today for the Mothers Day Special. Click the link below to watch.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

home all day

I have been at my new job for 2.5 weeks, and had to call in today. I hate that so bad. Here I am, loving this job and hopeing those around me see my skills and gifts in this field, and then I have to call in. Such is life.
Yesterday afternoon I took my boys to the pediatrician. Mark Anthony has had tubes in his ears almost 2 yrs, and for the past several months, they have been trying to come out. For the past several days they have really bothered him. He says his ears burn, and our normal water loving fish-boy let out a bloodcurdling scream that woke half of the group when the water hit his ear while in the shower this past weekend at Lake Lajoie.
The tubes are still in, but slowly working their way out. They flushed his ears out with the irrigation gun, which took me, the nurse, and Mark to hold him down. The tubes are really close to falling out they said. I am to place warm water in them for the next couple days and the tubes should fall out. I have done this already today, he cried for a minute, then turned to me and said, "it doesnt burn mommy". :)
Tommy has had this constant rattle sound, which we, our friends, and many others have heard and felt when holding tommy. The doc and nurses have said it isnt pnuemonia, his lungs sound clear, etc every time I have taken him in for it. This time, we get a diagnosis of asthma. Daily meds and breathing treatments.
But neither of these are the reason we had to stay home today.
While giving Mark Anthony the look-over, the doc noticed his throat looked really bad. Ran a strep test, and it came back positive. I was shocked, his appetite and thirst are normal, he isnt complaining of his throat or anything. Today he has ran fever though.
Poor kids, how, just how, are we as parents supposed to keep them healthy??

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Smo's to the Rescue!!

This weekend while at Lake Lajoie, I had more help with my kids than I think I have ever had in my entire life!!

That help came in "Smotherman Form".

Everytime I turned around, Rosie and/or Izzy were there, holding Tommy, changing Tommy, asking could they feed Tommy, walk Tommy, etc. They even helped Mark Anthony find his bike once or twice.

Lacee has several Smothermans in her bible classes at church, I have had the priveledge of subbing for several of them throughout the years, and getting to know the parents as well.

I find myself addicted to her blog, and wanting to mimick her parenting ideals in my own home.

Families like this, that put their faith, their childrens future, the big picture of it all, in such great perspective are why I love our church home and the type of people I long to spend time with and see my children learning from as well.

Lake Lajoie

The first weekend in May, our church goes to Chickasaw State Park, to the group camp setting at Lake Lajoie. Lacee and I went 4 years ago, when we first began going to this church. Our family hasnt been able to attend the family retreat since.

Thankfully, this year, all 5 of us attended. And while it took some shuffeling on Marks part to get his work done in order to go, and tons of packing to haul all of us plus all of our clothes, bedding, toiletries, stroller, playpen, toys, snacks, bottles, foods, bikes, fishing poles, etc.. we made it and it was well worth every bit of effort.

The campsite is set around the lake, the mess hall in the center. On one side are the mens cabins, 8 bunk beds, a ceiling fan, and some wooden shelves. They have one bath house with a few showers and sinks and pottys. On the other side of the mess hall is the same set up for the womens. On the top of the hill there is what we call the baby cabin. People with the small babies get to stay here. It has its own bathroom, a fridge, microwave, sink, couch, tv, 6 twin beds, and a tv! This year, tommy and i got to stay in this great cabin with other ladies from church with small children. It was great! Lacee stayed with her friends and one of their moms in another cabin, and mark anthony stayed in the big boys cabin with his daddy and some of his friends.

Friday night is pizza night, a devo, followed with bingo and games. The hard rains came, and we braved the thunderstorm. The girls barrelled into my cabin a couple times when the thunder got loud. Saturday morning brought wonderful cinnamon rolls for bfast, a devo and skits, then free time for fishing, ball playing, bike riding, relaxing, or as the boys and i did, napping. Saturday night is the big meal of grilled chicken, hburger steaks, salad, rolls, and the best potato casserole on earth. Another devo and a bon fire by the lake. Sunday morning is bfast, clean up and pack up, outdoor church service, and time to head back home. It is a wonderful weekend of fellowship, fun, and togetherness. I am so grateful my family was able to share this time with each other and so many of our friends! I am attaching a few pics, not near enough to get the idea of course.

Bye Bye Froggy

Tommy has this adorable green froggy that is attached to his paci.
See and look for the wubbanubs. They are the greatest thing!
Yet, the past week or so, my little baby who has been so attached to his paci, so fond of his froggy, has gone from loving to have it to deciding he doesnt need it or want it at all.
Yes, I know, having him off the paci now is ten times better than trying to fight him off of it at age 2 or 3 or more. But, goodness, my kids are growing up so fast. This is just one more sign of the healthy turn of events, of great progresses, of moving towards independance. I should be proud. And part of me is. Yet, my baby is loosing babyness.


Victory belongs to Mark Anthony! He has mastered the potty!
An occaisonal accident, maybe one or two a week.
He learned to stand and pee, proudly proclaiming he is peeing like his daddy!!
We are all so very thrilled and proud of him!!


I received this email from a friend from high school over the weekend and just loved it!!

My little girl, Ella, has been coming home from daycare and talking about her new friend "McGaffney" for several weeks now. Since I have heard so many crazy names over the years....I just figured that someone had named their child that. It was not until last night that I finally understood what she was saying. SHe started talking about "McGaffney's" baby brother Tommy. Then it hit me. I said "Ella...are you saying Mark Anthony?" SHe said "yes mommy...that's what I said". It was so cute. She was talking about your babies. And she said that they had a sister that looks just like their mommy too becasue she has seen the sister when mommy comes to pick them up. Sooooooo----funny!!!! I thought it was cute and would share that with you.
Talk to you later!!!

Heather and I were in colorguard together. She was a senior when i was a freshman. 1992-1993 school year. It is amazing how I can remember Heather jumping on the bed at guard camp like it was yesterday, and now our kids play together!