Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Down by the Creekbank

When I was a little girl, we lived out in the country. Often times, we'd get a little opportunity to take a dip in a creek. My mom and dad would sometimes wake us up on a Saturday morning to head to Mississippi to visit Bill, a friend of my dad's from the Air Force or LSU or both, I can't quite remember. Anyway, on these day trips, my dad would spot a beautiful landscape and pull over. We'd pile out of ol' Bonnie and go exploring. Sometimes the location was an old abandoned home stake. Other times, we'd pick up tiny rocks from an ankle-deep riverbed. We always had a ball.

On Sunday, I got a chance to pass this memory on down the line to my kids. It made me so happy to wade in that creek with those girls. Miles found a nice flat piece of rock and quickly announced that she wanted to take it home and paint on it to remember that creek. She also launched into a full on sermon about how God made the creek, the rocks, the beautiful sunshine, all of it. God and Jesus are bigger than all of us and the whole universe, she explained.

We splashed around, watching the tiny minnow dash past our toes. Phillip got downright soaked when he slipped on a large rock and landed on his behind! Miles and Lola were adamant that they needed to take a bath in the creek and stripped down to their skivvies. It was freezing cold, mountain spring water, but they were in hog heaven.

So my question is why, with my children in hog heaven, did I find myself having my very own little pity party last night? Somehow, I managed to get caught up in the material things that I want versus the material things that I have. Granted, I am able to stay at home with my children and I have a reliable car. I can pay my bills and I have a sturdy roof over my head. I am involved in my community and help make a difference on a regular basis. However, I found myself dwelling on the fact that the things that I have at 33 are not as nice as the things that I had at 25.

At 25, my husband and I were just married. We bought a two story house on a big lot and I drove a newish Volvo wagon. We traveled on the regular and we had money for things that we wanted. Unfortunately, my neighbors were not ideal, and in 2006, we decided to sell our house. We bought a townhouse to live in with the hopes that we would be able to keep it as an investment property when we built a new house the following year.

As life usually does about this time, we caught a curve ball or three! The market fell out from under everyone, the economy tanked and our ability to build that dream house plummeted from, unless we wanted to take the chance of spending a bunch of money with a scary trend in employment. Time slipped away, and before we knew it, we've now been stuck in this townhouse for over two years. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a cave or a dungeon. My husband loves that fact that all of the outside maintenance is taken care of. It isn't tiny. It is convenient to shopping and an outstanding city park.

But it isn't my old house, and my Vibe, well it doesn't quite ride like that Volvo did. I don't have an over-sized seat to envelop me. I don't have a larger house with plenty of closets and a two car garage and a luscious, green lawn. So I dwell. I dwell on the fact that I've found beautiful, high-end houses that are 3000 square feet and in a nice neighborhood with a pool for $220,000. I dwell on the way the people respected me on the road a heck of a lot more in that tank versus my current wagon. I dwell on the way we used to have parties or cookouts regularly, but now, I don't have room and my house can't stay clean enough for hosting friends due to lack of storage space (and two little helpers). Plain and simple, I loved it at first; after two years and 5 months, I'm over it.

Admittedly, we've had a few unfair events since 2006. An insurance snafu cost us $4000 out of pocket when Lola was born. Our buyers for our house insisted that we move out two days before closing, so we paid movers $1300 to move us. The buyers then backed out three hours before closing, so we also paid for two homes for six months. Our final sales price profited us only 1/3 of the original selling price six months earlier. Some units here have gone into foreclosure, and there are currently two units for sale at less than $90,000. That's a huge loss for us. We can't compete with those already for sale at that price. Thus we're stuck. Stuck in this cave, in my own personal dungeon.

The pity party finally came to an end later last night and I reminded myself that I do have Miles and I do have Lola and I do have Phillip. I have a partner that was absolutely made for me. My children look like us, they act like us, they make us laugh to no end. They're both smart and artsy. I am very blessed. I would love to have a new house again, but right now, I get to stay at home with my kids and mold who they will be. If at five and three years old, they already show polite, smart and artistic characteristics, I must be doing something very, very right. I think I'll keep things the way they are for now.

Just for clarification, though, I won't turn down a bonus room, or a third row seating SUV, if you have one to give me!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Busy days behind us...

Wow. This weekend has been phenomenal, eventful and exhausting, all at the same time.
Thursday started the madness when I took the girls to the zoo by myself. We met the Hokanson's there! It was too much fun.

Miles had a blast on the zebra!

Later, we spent Friday night at the MOPS and Pops dinner. Delicious food and good friends...

Saturday, the girls went to spend the night with Memaw. Phillip and I went out for a while. On Sunday, we went to Cannon County to see our friends, Mandy and Neil. We waded in the creek and Mrs. Mandy made homemade pizza. Monday has been beautiful. Miles and I ran a bunch of errands while Lola stayed at home with Daddy. (He took today off.) Later we did art on the patio, as Miles painted on a flat rock from the creek yesterday. It was a memorable weekend!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

So long, Dor'thy. We're gonna miss you while you're gone.

Bea Authur has passed away. I'm speechless. We're truly gonna miss our Golden Girl Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak! I have to add more later. Here is a link to a funny YouTube video featuring Dorothy, Sophia and Rose.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Tonight I played Bunco as a sub for my friend, Penny's, Savannah Ridge group. It was a lot of fun! I even got three Buncos! One nice thing is that it was literally about three minutes from home. That made it a lot easier to be there. I;ve played before, but it was further from home and I never got into the swing of it. Also, that group's play night contradicted with my Junior league meetings, so I had to drop out.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Red dye #40 looks just about the same before or after comsumption...OR why I need several extra sets of sheets these days.

Oh dear Lord. No one in my family ever has any allergies to foods. How did I end up with a kid who can't handle too much milk and has a zero tolerance for liquid forms of red dye 40?

To backtrack a little, when Lola was a baby she had a random issue with projectile vomiting after taking her bottle. It wasn't frequent enough to identify a milk allergy, and the soy formula made it worse. Once she switched to traditional milk, we noticed that a cup of milk could make her violently ill several hours later. It wasn't immediate, but based on the 'evidence', you could see that she had not digested anything properly since she'd had the cup of milk. We eliminated milk from her diet without a problem, per Dr. Castleberry's approval. Dr. Castleberry was also somewhat happy to see parents that weren't worried about keeping milk on her menu. We make sure she gets plenty of juice or water and she is just fine. Healthy as can be! To quote my brother-in-law John, she might be nuttier than a squirrel's turd sometimes, but she's healthy.

The nutty one is on the right.

Other forms of dairy don't bother her. She can even eat a bowl of cereal in milk without issue. She loves string cheese, too! But give her a cup of straight milk and you can bet that you'll be in there changing the sheets on her bed and giving her a bath at 1:00 am.

Fast forward to 2009 and we noticed a bizarre reaction to Hawaiian Punch and such. It was very easy to pinpoint because we rarely, rarely buy HP. However, both times that I did buy it, she puked red everywhere within minutes! We made it a point to tell everyone to please make sure that she was not drinking any artificial red drinks. We noticed it is other brands, too, as long as it is the thick red color.

The other night, we took the kids to play at the mall's play area and let them get an Icee. It never crossed my mind as I ordered both girls a cherry Icee. Big mistake. We were barely home when she said she didn't feel good, belched tremendously for a three year old and then let that Icee fly. Last week, she reacted similarly after eating a hot dog at a cookout. I am assuming it may have been one of those hot dogs that is intentionally more red than regular old hot dogs, but I can't be sure.

The point is, there is clearly a common thing making her sick...and it is red dye #40. She doesn't have the behavioral issues that I've seen on some sites but the upset stomach is just too predictable to deny the connection. She has her little three year check up in May, and we have to remember to tell Dr. C all about this!

An interesting thing, though, is that she is perfectly fine (with exception to the hot dog that one time) with the dye in food products. She has no reaction to fruit snacks, chips, etc., that contain the dye.

Back around to the point, how in the world did I end up with a child who has an allergy to dye that most people don't have? A picky eater, I would have expected. I'm about as picky as a person can be, and I would have to admit that she gets it honest! But an allergic child? Never dreamed it was possible.

Please pray that baby Lo doesn't accidentally ingest anymore liquid red dye #40!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

TG&Y was the I spent part of my childhood flying to Denham Springs in a Bonneville

I've noticed lately that I have a blog reader or two in Denham Springs, Louisiana. The funny thing is, a 1980's version of Denham Springs is a place that I am quite familiar with. I've never lived in Denham, but I have lived in Bayou Barbary, about 25 minutes away. My mom would sometimes decide that we needed to go to town after school, and off to Denham we'd go. Drive through the Hardees right there on the main drag by Popeye's Chicken and then to modeling, TG&Y, whatevs. We were rolling with the flow in the back seat of the ol' Bonnie. That Pontiac Bonneville was smoooooth. White with a navy blue vinyl top and navy velvety seats!! When my mom got behind the wheel and gave it some juice, man oh man, ol' Bonnie sure could fly.

Furthermore, my dad, the *ever-so-handsome-and-he-knows-it* Dean Felder, is from Denham Springs: he played basketball, was a 4-H officer and was voted most courteous for the class of 1952, which also happens to be one of the classes that had to finish out the year in temporary tents after the old high school burned. *He's not a jerk about it but he does spend way longer than most men fixing that hair.

Proof is in the pictures: My daddy (2nd from the right) with his fellow 4-H officers, 1951 or so

Memories of Denham Springs for me surround trips to Aunt Nell's house, with her little dog Penny yipping around. Uncle John had all of his WWII medals in display cases and we loved to stare at them. If I remember correctly, I think he also had a case of some rattlesnake rattlers. We also went to Denham weekly to take modeling lessons at the American Legion with Ann and Lisa Carpenter. You could do your modeling thing, up there practicing your strut and turns as 'Cool it Now' blasted out of the jam box and then just trot right on over to the snack bar to buy a small bag of an off brand of chips from a veteran! How cool was that? Sometimes after pageants, we would go to the McDonald's near Kmart and the interstate. I also can't forget to wax nostalgic about just how much I loved a trip to the now defunct chain store, TG&Y. Why, TG&Y is where I got my thoroughbred horse stationary in or around 1985, for Christ's sake. Not to mention the day my mom found a cookie jar that looked like a stack of pancakes for Sis (Allyson), who loved pancakes, natch!

Sometimes you were in Denham Springs for a wake or funeral. The funeral home was on that main drag past KMart, and they had those little bitty paper cups with the two-loop handle for coffee. I haven't been in there since before 1986, but if I went in right now, I know I could go to the left and down the hall to find the coffee, except I don't drink coffee. By the way, people in other parts of the country don't call it a 'wake'.

I have lived in Tennessee for over 20 years now, but I still remember. Let me know who you are if you're reading my blog, peoples. I want to know who's stalking me!

Denham Springs 4th grade class, '46-'47
(Daddy is in the 2nd row, all the way to the right)

Welcome to the family, Butch.

My mother claims that she isn't a dog person. My father admits to loving dogs, but usually claims he 'does not need a dog right now' if offered one.

Last year, my dad got a shelty mix, Lillie. Right up until he got her from a rescue group, Daddy was adamant that he did not want another dog. Lillie is sometimes called Sea Biscuit because of the warp speed at which she can run around the house or yard in circles; she was immediately spoiled with toys and treats.

Their previous, dog, Foxy was hit by a car and found in their driveway on a drizzly October day in 2004. My mom found her. They were late to Miles' first birthday party because he was burying her out at the cabin site. He was recovering from open heart surgery. He felt responsible for her death because his surgery delayed the cabin's completion and she wasn't fenced in out there. It was true devastation to him at that point in time. When they got to the party, you could tell he'd been crying. Open heart surgery is notorious for severe depression during recovery anyway; now he had a dead dog to break his heart even more. But I digress...they did open their hearts again to Lillie last year.

Like any good beauty pageant emcee, I should tell you that Lillie's favorite activities include eating too many Beggin' Strips and chewing on shoes left on the porch. She has a fluffy, shiny, black and tan coat and she can run like the wind but often lays in the sunshine to regain her energy for the next go-round.

At first, my mom claimed to be aggravated by the headache of another dog. She complained about the little things. Then Lillie made an obvious gesture to my mom. She sure did love following Daddy around the farm, but she also showed that her true adoration went to my mom. She is very affectionate when she sees my mom coming into view. I'm sure you can guess how this ends. No! Lillie did not pass away. My mom loves Lillie and can't keep from talking about what a good dog she is!

Fast forward to 2009. I received a picture message on Friday of a precious little dog but no text to tell me about it. I called to ask, expecting it to be a dog that wandered up, with my mom just practicing sending texts with pictures from her phone. Nope! My dad added Butch to the family! Butch is a border collie puppy and he is an absolute doll. My mom and dad both love him! My dad had called to tell my mom that he was bringing home a 'really pretty surprise' and my mom had assumed he'd show up with a new calf. When she pulled into the driveway, there was Daddy, working on the fence with Butch jumping around his feet.

In case you're interested, Lillie and Butch have hit it off just swimmingly. Lillie is larger but they are not dissuaded from playing their little two-chamber hearts out. Oh, and my mom has taken to Butch right away. In fact, she's the one that named him Butch.

Just sittin' on the backsteps of Mawmaw's house: Here you see Lola and Miles meeting Butch, or Butchie, as Lola calls him.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Back in the day when I was young...

Sometimes having kids makes you remember the small things that mattered growing up. Of course, just exactly which memories you have would depend on the decade, but for me, childhood memories that float to the surface include:
  • making homemade ice cream in the cylinder thing with rock salt, ice and the loud grinding sound
  • playing ghost in the graveyard or swinging statues with my sister and cousins
  • hosting slumber parties on a regular basis for a large crowd of girls
  • jumping on the trampoline
  • spending all day long at the King George pool
  • shooting hoops and playing a round of horse at home
  • Playing with our Glamour Gals
  • Watching The Little's, The Smurfs, Gilligan's Island reruns and the like
  • Friday Night Videos on the 13", turn-dial, black and white tv in our bedroom

When you read my list, you might notice that I've left off something that most people would have included right away. I have no reference at all to grandparents. As the youngest child of older parents, all of my grandparents had died by the time I was four years old. In all fairness, I did have a step grandmother, but it wasn't the same at all, as my mom's dad had died several years before I was even born.

I do not have the fond memories that other people have of spending the night at Mawmaw's house, Papa taking them fishing, helping them in a garden or so on. I can always remember other people talking about what they did with their grandparents that weekend or over the summer. It was never an issue while I was growing up. It just was what it was, if you may.

Now that I am Momma to Miles, 5, and Lola, nearly 3, I am extraordinarily thankful for the time that they get to spend with Mawmaw, PopPop, Memaw and Papaw. They have completely different experiences at the two places. My parents live on a farm in the country. (They haven't always lived there. In fact, as late as when Miles was born, they simply owned the land and planned to build a 'cabin' there.) Now they have gardens, occasional animals, two dogs (Lillie and Butch) and eight acres. On the other hand, Phillip's mom and dad live in a bustling area of Franklin. Their house is part of a retirement community, and though large, does not include a yard for ripping and running. It doesn't matter which set of parents they go to visit. Both spoil them just like a grandparent should.

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's Friday...

Today: late for MOPS, lunched at home, napped, played at the park, time outs at Kroger meant being forced to ride in the buggy, grilled out, mini ice cream sammies for the girls, made no bake cookies, bath time meant washing their feet off with a warm washcloth before they even got in the tub b/c their feet were just that filthy, bedtime included numerous knock-knock jokes and many versions of "I see stripes, I see stars, I see __________'s dirty drawers"or "I see stripes, I see stars, I see ___________'s not wearing drawers". (My dad made the mistake of saying this is something they used to say when he was a little boy in the 1930's or early 1940's.)


Is this thing on? I am attempting to upload a blog posting.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rock of Love disappoints...

I can not begin to explain how disappointed I am in Bret Michaels. Taya?!?! Really? Seriously? I can't believe he picked Taya. She is just nasty. Very dated style. Obnoxious fake, monotone manner of speaking. Just wrong.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

more info til later

OK, My brother-in-law saw two cars in front of him on Medical Center Parkway get completely lifted off the ground and flipped over by the tornado. My mom was at Lowes, my sister was at Electronic Express, my dad was in Shelbyville and we were home. At one point I could hear it so loudly over behind Savannah Ridge. That must be when it hit Bradyville. It sounded like continuous thunder, though you could telling it was really whipping winds and then I heard the 'freight train whistle' several times. It was horrific to hear. I felt a momentary panic, trying to overwhelm me, but we were fine. Will blog more later.


I had planned to blog about yesterday's damage. I will, but I don't have time right now. Thus I will keep it brief. For a glimpse at the reality of it, visit my friend Sarah's blog entry about the damage. Her parents' house was destroyed. Additionally, the two lost lives were the wife and new baby of a friend from college, John Bryant. Please pray for his family and for his recovery, as he is still in ICU.

More later...

Friday, April 10, 2009


Lola has just thrown up for the 6th or so time since 1:00 AM. We were still awake at 6 AM. Run out of the bed at 9:30 due to more vomit. I'm running out of sheets and pillows. Ahhhhh!

Last week

I have never had a chance to explain last week. Ugh. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Phillip got deathly ill on Sunday night, couldn't really be out of the office because the only other person that could do his job was on vacation, went to work, came home, suffered through Tuesday and Wednesday at work, went to the doctor on Thursday and then on to work, stayed home sick Friday. *exhale* Plus the kids were in rare form because Daddy was basically MIA sick in the bed non-stop when he was home.

On Tuesday, I had a MOPS steering meeting. On Wednesday, I took Lola to the doctor for an infection on the skin behind her right ear. Then Friday, I had a regular MOPS meeting. On Saturday, I had a Junior League retreat and later, an Easter egg hunt at Shea's.

I really think I should just not look back on it again.

Site changes

So tonight I did something that I've been debating since October. I changed my website. The dilemma involved came to fruition when I had my hard drive replaced in the fall. My hp laptop #2 crashed. Somehow, only a portion of my files were lost. Sounds great...except the missing items included my 'checkbook register', my files for my site and some priceless pictures (Walt Disney World and more!)

Phillip has worked on a new site for me using more professional programs like GoLive, but he hasn't been able to prioritize finishing it lately, as he's been doing a lot of ads for a specific company. My new site is not finished, but the website has been outdated since late fall. I can't make quick changes and re upload the ftp. I lost the files. This means that I had to decide whether to leave the outdated site up, or to upload a new, simplistic site for use until Phillip finishes mine. I finally went with uploading a new, simplistic site for temporary use.

Though it isn't as visual as my previous version, it includes all of the same info, but with new photographs of current merchandise for the Spring/Summer 20009 season. I decided that it was worth to me to show my new work than to have the older site with all of the styling, just until my new one is done. I have seen a preview of the redesign and I absolutely love it! I can't wait to see the finished product.

If you've never been to or, check it out.