Powered by Blogger.

Beware...I've Given Up Caffeine!

There's nothing more that I like in the mornings than to grab a hot cup of java.  Before anyone speaks to me.  Yea, I'm that person.  I'm that cliche; "Don't talk to me until I've had my coffee."  I LOVE MY COFFEE.  However, in the last few years I have noticed that the feeling is not reciprocated.  My coffee is not loving me back..

People have asked me why in the world I would decide to give up caffeine.  And to be honest, if it was not affecting my heart rate and making me jittery I would not be giving it up.  But, it does and I am.  And I decided to do it cold turkey!

One of my doctors suggested that I just wean myself off of it and my husband thought that was a pretty good idea too; probably because he lives with me.  But no...I decided to just cut the head of the snake off!

I bought decaffeinated coffee to prepare myself and yes, I know that it has trace amounts of caffeine in it.  But believe me, it's nothing compared to the real stuff.  Then Saturday I kept Parker Ann and Livie overnight and started my caffeine detox Sunday.  I got both girls up and dressed and to church.  That alone was an accomplishment since I was by myself over the weekend, but doing it with no caffeine was nothing less that miraculous.  After church I dropped each girl off at their respective  houses and then went home where I grabbed my pillow, got into my favorite chair and slept until 4 p.m.!  When I awoke, it was with a headache.  The withdrawals that my doctor had warned me about had set in (ugh...).  It was at this point that I knew it wasn't going to be easy telling my dearly beloved caffeine good-bye.

And so, I decided to share with y'all the stages of withdrawal from caffeine:






And just like that...I'm done with caffeine!  It's been pretty brutal but now that I've made it this far I will never go back.  Bye-Bye, Caffeine, I'm done with you!

Did I Mention That Our BIG, FAT SOUTHERN FAMILY Is Expanding AGAIN?!

It seems as though the babies are coming FAST around here these days.  And in pairs to boot!  As you may remember, Justin and Sarah (parents to Parker Ann and Lila Kate) are expecting their third child in November, around Thanksgiving.  Now, Ryan and Allison (parents to Olivia) have announced that they are expecting their second child in March!  That will mean that our grand count will be up to 9 and OUR BIG, FAT SOUTHERN FAMILY will now add up to 19.  That's 10 adults and 9 kiddos...The little ones are catching up with us very quickly.  And we consider ourselves so very blessed that God has chosen to enlarge our family.  Because there is nothing like family.  It is just such a wonderful support system.  A safe and soft place to land.  A place where you can always find a pillow to lay your head on, a hot meal on the stove, an understanding ear to listen and LOADS and LOADS of unsolicited advice.

                                                      MEET THE GRANDS!
This is Parker Ann (sister to Lila Kate), our oldest.  She turned 6 years old in August.  She's a real doll with a sweet spirit. She loves to spend the night with anyone in her family and all of the little cousins adore her.
Meet Holli (sister to Andrew).  She turned 3 years old in April.  This one here has a HUGE personality and contagious laugh.  One never knows what she will come up with next.  When I visit her in Ohio she always squeezes my neck and says, "YaYa, I missed you so much...".
Beckett (brother to Grayson) was our first grandson.  He turned 3 in July.  What a sweet boy he is.  He likes to "help you" do everything.  Whenever he visits me our special thing to do is read books and play his favorite games on the i-pad.
Lila Kate (sister to Parker Ann) is our Christmas Eve baby who will be 2 this year.  And what a wonderful little gift she has been to our family.  She's got the cutest little spunky personality that no one can resist.
Olivia or Livie as we call her will be 2 next March...a week before her new sibling is due to arrive!  With a personality very much like her mom and dad, Livie is a laid back and happy child with a smile on her face most of the time.
Andrew (brother to Holli), who we affectionately call "Drew Boo" was born last Halloween.  He started out a little fussy with stomach issues but what a happy boy he is now.  With that smile and those big blue eyes he can charm anyone.
Grayson (brother to Beckett) is currently the baby and probably has been the "baby" longer than anyone except Parker Ann.  He will be 1 year old in February.  This sweetie has the most pleasant disposition.  He always  has a big smile on his face and actually looks more like Andrew than his brother, Beckett.

And THESE are our Grands!  Justin and Sarah have decided not to find out the six of the baby that is  due in November so we patiently await that big surprise.  Ryan and Allison will find out at the end of this month what they are having.  And so the count continues to grow along with our love for all of these precious little ones!

The Peacefulness Only a Porch Swing Can Provide...

The photo of the swing and rocking chair below is where I will be spending lots of time for the next few days. They will be my best friends, swinging and rocking away my troubles. I can remember spending time at my grandparent's farm when I was a child. Their house was situated deep in the woods and two of the things I remember most are the screen door that squeaked and shut in quiet, comforting rhythm and the wooden swing that hung from the front porch. 

I spent most of my time on that porch swing because for the longest time my grandparents didn't have air conditioning. In Louisiana and no air conditioning. It was worse than hot and there was really no relief from the heat except when you sat in the kitchen where the giant window fan blew or laid in that porch swing rocking yourself to sleep with the breeze you created by your own movement.  Those were the days when I didn't have a care in the world. Life was not fast paced.  There were no computers or cell phones and my grandparents had only one small television set that could be found in the living room. It caught one channel pretty well if the rabbit ears were adjusted just so. I had no idea what Cable Television was until I was about 16 years old.  I would grab a magazine or book and lay on that front porch swing and my eyes would often times close and I didn't know it at the time but that was the best sleep ever. I miss my grandparents and I miss those lazy days where time stood still and nothing was urgent. 

My porch swing and rocking chairs sit on the back porch of our lake house. And this is where I will be for the next few days. I will drink my coffee out there each day as I watch the morning fog lift from the surface of the lake. I will sit out there in the evenings where I will hear a nightly symphony performed by the crickets and cicadas. And my mind will relax. It will let go of everything I believe to be urgent. I will breathe slow peaceful mindful breaths and meditate and inhale the fresh country air. Perhaps I will even dose off one day out there in my swing and for just a moment feel as carefree as I once felt as a young girl swaying back and forth in hypnotic rhythm on my grandparent's front porch swing. 



Why Do They Say, "Sleep Like a Baby"?!

Remember how I once mentioned that I could only play nine holes of golf before folding up like a cheap suitcase?  Well, with keeping babies overnight it appears my limit is two nights.  Three days of keeping up with their (and my) daily routine and two nights of feedings.  Waking up in the middle of the night was always the worse thing to do when I had my babies in my twenties.  Unfortunately,  I must report that it is still just as terrible in my fifties.  Just this week I have been keeping our youngest grand, Grayson,  who is seven months old.  He still wakes up once in the middle of the night.  Night one I was all over it, jumping up the minute I heard the first whimper.  Hubby actually said I had not lost my "middle of the night barking orders skills" over the years.  I told him to get the bottle ready while I grabbed the baby and changed his diaper.  He said he stood at attention and said, "Yes mam!!"  Night two I never heard the baby cry and when Hubby finally awakened me to go get him,  I was like, "Huh?  What baby?"

Whenever Hubby came in at 5 O'Clock today he found me wrapped up in a blanket on my bed sound asleep.    I heard him calling my name and when I finally came to,  he asked if there was something wrong with me?  "What?  What are you talking about?", I said.  Well, he was wondering why I was in bed asleep at 5 O'Clock.  Hmmm...Let's see; I would have given him an eye roll but my eyes were WAY too tired to make that motion.  That question reminded me of another one I was asked by my mother when I was about 27 years old.  She looked at me one day and said, "You sure do look tired."  The bubble over my head said, "No crap.  I have 4 children ages 6 and under.  I can't imagine WHY in the world I would look tired.  Oh yea...It's probably because I AM tired...(sigh)".

And so, I do understand the need for routine and nap times where babies are concerned.  For mere survival.  Of the parent.  But then for me,  the dilemma becomes:  What will I do while they nap?  Will I catch up on all the laundry and dishes or perhaps even wash my face and brush my teeth?  Or will I attempt to catch a few Z's while they do the same?  Inevitably, I always end up trying to catch up on house work.  And that, my friend, is exactly why I find myself dragging throughout the day and longing for the moment the last feeding is finished so I can collapse into my bed.

Mamas, I'm just going to put it out there.  There are many things that you will miss whenever your child begins to grow up.  However, getting up in the middle of the night is not one of them.  I always forget how difficult this stage is until I have an overnighter with one of the babies and then I remember how much I love my sleep.  I know, I may be sad, sad woman but that's just the truth of the matter.  And by the way...Where did the saying "I'm gonna sleep like a baby" even come from anyway?  It should be I'm NOT gonna sleep like a baby!

Maria's Field of Hope

After getting up at 4 am Wednesday morning and spending most of my day in airports I arrived in Cleveland sound 2:30. Exhausted. I mean I was ready to jump in bed by 6 o'clock. But that really wasn't an option. Holli had been anxiously awaiting my arrival for days and I needed to be in YaYa mode!  We decided to run pick up dinner and while we were out Caitlin asked if I would like to go to Maria's Field of Hope. Of course I wanted to visit this sunflower patch that I had only heard about and missed viewing last summer. However, I was not quite prepared for the emotional impact this field would have on me. 
   In April 2006, 6 year old Maria McNamara was diagnosed with a diffused intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a terminal brain tumor that would take her life in the course of 14 months. Maria's parents founded www.prayersfrommaria that has awarded hundreds of thousand of dollars in research grants to fund the most promising childhood brain cancer studies. Maria's Field of Hope, was planted in 2014 to draw attention to the lack of funding for childhood cancer. The field was inspired by the spirit and memory of Maria McNamara, planted as a way to love and honor the courageous children who are battling cancer and those who were lost. 
    4.5 acres of both Russian Mammoth and Thunderbird sunflowers cover Maria's Field of Hope. 



Throughout the field notes could be found tied to the sunflowers. Notes from family members in memory of children whose lives had been lost to cancer and also prayers for children suffering from this terrible disease. I was totally in awe at the number of notes I saw there. It broke my heart for all of those children battling cancer and for their families who were praying for their healing. And for those lost. As I turned around and around I saw so many notes. That represented so many children. My heart was heavy. I told Holli that these were for the sick children who were in the hospital and not able to get outside and play. We talked about how she needed to pray for them when she said her prayers each night. We continued to walk through the field and take some photos.






In August 2016 the city of Avon declared the Sunflower to be the Official Flower of the city in honor of Maria McNamara and the Sunflower Field she inspired. 

                  If you would like to make a donation, go to www.PrayersFromMaria.org or text    
                  "SUNFLOWER" to 91999. 

The Last Weekend of Summer

Labor Day Weekend. The last weekend of summer. Or so they say. It still feels pretty hot here in the south and most likely will for at least another month. But because it was the last weekend of summer and the first weekend of college football season we decided to escape to the lake house for this long weekend. 

I was still attempting to recover from our Colorado trip. It was a wonderful getaway but there were planes delays, as usual, on our return trip and then all that catching up to do after being away for a week. And to top all of that off a flare-up with my stomach that left me reeling for days. I needed to just rest. To relax and recoup. And the lake house was the best place to achieve all of those goals. 

There really wasn't much of a plan for the weekend except to walk around town for a bit on Saturday morning and watch a little football that afternoon. Oh, and any trip to the lake wouldn't be complete without a couple of boat rides. 
                    If you're gonna get on a boat, you may as well take a fishing pole with you...

                                                                  Boat riding was fun!
And the start of football season...well, the Tigers did start off very well. But Livie sure did look cute in her Game Day colors!

I needed this long weekend and really began to feel better by Sunday.  I slept in, ate light and piddled around. It was nice to have a few "do nothing days". But now Hubby and I are getting ready to both head out again, each going in separate directions for a week and a half. He, on an annual hunting/camping trip to Colorado and I to Cleveland to see Caitlin and the kiddos. I know, I know...Only home long enough to catch our breath buy hey, there are places to go and things to do and see.  And we, gypsies, don't want to miss one second of it!  So, off we go again in a couple of days. Hoping that by the time we return,  things might have cooled down a bit here. But we've lived here our entire lives and know that a small cool breeze in early fall is only a tease here in Louisiana. I'm sure we will still be running our air conditioners for Thanksgiving. But we will take what we can get. Even if it is only a small glimpse of what the rest of the country calls autumn. 
                                                               Good-bye, Summer...

Outdoor Fun in Breckenridge

Before this week, I had only visited Colorado in the winter time when the ground was snow covered. Well, with exception of during my childhood whenever we made a few trips during the summer. But I had truly forgotten how beautiful this part of the country is.  Not only are the temperatures mild, there is the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors unlike you can do during the steamy, hot days of summer in Louisiana. 

In addition to hiking, Hubby booked a fly fishing trip one day. He had never done this type of fishing before and although he said it was quite different and more difficult, he managed to catch several fish and had a good time doing so. 

Our second hiking trip was a little more difficult...at least for me. Where as the first trip was a gradual incline on a trail, this trip was on very rocky terrain.  And I also did not realize that we were actually hiking up the side of a mountain until we reached a point that we were well above the treetops when I looked down. I sat down, gasped for breath and my fear of heights immediately kicked in. I announced that I was done and turned around to head back down the mountain. 
                                                   This trail was uphill all the way. 
                                        We came upon this little cabin on our way up. 

Among these papers we found a booklet that explained the purpose that this cabin was actually built. It was constructed so that hikers could take refuge here because of bad weather conditions or even to sleep in if needed. 
Here I am trying to catch my breath. We only made it to about 11,400 feet.  This hike kicked my butt!
                       We did, however, make it far enough to see this beautiful waterfall. 


The weather turned a bit rainy and cold for a couple of days so we went into downtown Beckenridge, which is a quaint little town that I simply fell in love with!  The unique shops and restaurants were just my cup of tea and I'm bring back quite a few items from this trip. 

Crepes a La Cart is a pretty popular place in Breckenridge. People stand in long lines just to purchase one of their yummy crepes. 
    You can stand there and watch them make the crepes through the glass window in the cart.
The line wasn't terribly long that day, so Robby and Sandra each got a crepe. And yes...I took a couple bites of Hubby's since he got a gluten-free Nutella and banana one. Oh my goodness...To die for!
We also visited a store called, Overland, which was by far one of my favorite shops. I purchased a few items to be shipped home but while we were there I played around with a few of their awesome hats!

Colorado was all I expected and more. What a great end of summer trip for us...