Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fall Fun @ the Michaels

The Great Pumpkin Showdown

We traveled south to Circleville, Ohio a couple of weekends ago to attend the annual great Pumpkin Show. And, besides who doesn’t love a 1500 pound pumpkin? Not to mention pumpkin flavored….everything. Of which, we partook of the pumpkin mini donuts (please temporarily disregard yesterday’s post about eating healthy).

The place was packed and it took us two hours to get there, where it usually takes us about 30 minutes! Isabelle loves anywhere were there are people, so she had a good time, but really had no tolerance for the 25 minute wait for the donuts. Her motto in life is “keep it moving!” I wonder where she came across that trait?

An interesting thing happened while we were in line waiting for the donuts. All of the sudden we heard this high pitched screaming. Everyone stopped talking to look around and see what it was. And right behind the donut trailer/stand was a big group of what had to be junior high girls (at the oldest, junior high) screaming at each other, posturing, and swearing.

I didn’t see any physical fighting and honestly, I was disappointed. What trip to a small town is complete without the occasional red neck display (You see, I can say this because I’m from a small town). We all watched until eventually, half of the group merged away from the fight with everyone following the lead girl like a flock of Canadian Geese as she swore loudly, and made threatening promises to the other half of the group.

We all rolled our eyes, wondering where these children’s parents were and what the world is coming to. Some of us prayed desperately that whatever these imagined parents lacked, we would have the insight to HAVE when it came to raising our children. Personally, I think it’s the hormones our milk and chicken. :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tree Hugging

Since I have been working in public health, and had a baby, some topics have come to the forefront of my attention. Namely, nutrition. I am very aware that we Americans do not know how to eat well. Of which I am a chief sinner. So I began praying about eating healthy (please ignore the cupcake post from yesterday) and how to begin instilling some kind of healthy eating habits in Isabelle.

I guess we, her parental units, have to eat healthy first (namely her mommy, since her daddy already eats healthy unless influenced negatively by her mommy). So I started researching this and that…by the way, it’s SOOO confusing! There is just too much information out there and pretty much everything causes cancer from milk, plastic, pesticidy fruits and vegetables, hormone injected meat, toys from China…the list is really endless. So what is a parent to do?

I found a book I would like to recommend you read, if you are a parent. But read it with a grain of salt. It’s called Lunch Lessons and it comes complete with healthy recipes. I walked away with a couple of “Change items” for our family:

1.Eat organic dairy. Seriously, they link 40% of all cancer to the hormones they inject into cows to increase milk production (don’t take my statistics at face value, I’m the daughter of a preacher, you’d better google them yourself). And it’s then complicated by the antibiotics they increase in the cows because hormones cause increased disease. Scary stuff. The author says, if you do nothing else, go organic for your dairy products. Down side to cancer free milk products? $7 a gallon for milk. Bummer.
2.Eat organic chicken. Do you know the average chicken raised in the U.S. goes from hatched to fully mature in 6 weeks? Natural? Nope, hormones strike again. With the amount of chicken we eat, no wonder we see so many girls fully developed at 10 years old or overweight boys with man-boobs (can I say that here?? I don’t think so. Sorry)
3.And run from trans-fats like the plague. Scary scary posion lurking in our food. Which is basically many pre-prepared baked goods (which I love!)

Other items that I will take as perimeter changes because it was all so overwhelming that I had to pair it down to a few small changes: Fast food is really gross, so don’t eat it, soda is bad for you, so don’t drink it, remove all artificial sweeteners from your child’s diet (I drink a strong one diet soda a day, but Isabelle always wants a drink, so that alone has reduced my addiction AND I come from a family of diabetics, so for me, the risk of whatever Splenda could possibly be doing to me, verses “the sugar”…I’ll take the first.), recycle, and garden with your children(organically, of course with your own homemade compost pile).

Okay, now you don’t need to read the book, you’ve read my book report. In conclusion, HELP! Do you have any books that I need to read on the subject of nutrition/organic eating and children??

Look for Summer 2008 Post: The Michael’s Backyard Compost Heap. Geeze, the next thing you know I’ll be hugging trees and doing childbirth "naturally."

Monday, October 29, 2007

Just Call Me Martha

Some days I just feel the need to create. When I was young I just had to draw when this urge would strike. Now that I’m a bit older it manifests itself in scrapbooking (which I OD’d on several weeks ago and can’t seem to get that inspiration back!), blogging, or baking.

I belong to one of those cookbook clubs, so I get lots of cookbook catalogues. Although I don’t actually BUY many cookbooks, I get great ideas on books to check out at the local library! So one ice cream book, Slow cooker book, and Cupcake book later, I had a slew of recipes and a loooong list for the grocery store. Much to Conrad’s dismay. He always guesses how much I’ll spend based on the length of my list…and he’s usually pretty accurate!

So I would like to review a couple of recipes. First there is Easy Chicken Pot Pie (pictured here). Really good, and as it states…easy! Conrad and Isabelle both like it and it usually lasts us one dinner and at least two lunches. I love leftovers! So I’ll score it a solid 9 out of 10.

And also, Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes. Pretty (pictured here) with butterfly wings and lemon filling. Not easy, many many steps and dishes, (we all know I rate a recipe on how many dirty dishes I have at the end!) and half a dozen eggs later, I had 10 over-caloried pretty cupcakes that tasted..well…mediocre. But Conrad liked them, so I’ll score them a shaky 7 out of 10.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Imagination of a Child

Who needs Leap Frog and Baby Einstein when you have this?

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Share Photos - Free Video Hosting

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I Love You Through and Through

I know this will be no surprise to you veteran parents, but it still continues to surprise me, the Rookie Parent Extraordinaire: Isabelle is learning and growing so fast! Shocking, I know. For example. We read a lot. She's not quite to the TV-holds-my-interest stage, and I'm a reader, soooo I hope it's a forgone conclusion. Anyway, we have books that we read over and over with her.

There is a book called I Love You Through and Through. It says, “I love your top side, and your bottom side. I love your inside…” and goes on to do fingers, toes, ears, eyes, hair etc. And when we come to a body part, we point to it, and say “Point to Isabelle’s (insert appropriate body part here)” Then, “Point to Mommy’s (insert appropriate body part here).” She had never really been into this. Once in a while, she would throw us a bone for all of our exuberance, and point to a nose or an ear. So we just assumed she wasn’t really getting it. Soon she tired of the book and we stopped reading it as much.

Well last weekend I pulled it out again, and started reading it. She jumped up and pointed to ALL of the correct parts right on cue: Finger, toes, top side, bottom side, ears, eyes , nose, and hair. We were shocked! She really is learning, she just refuses to be a circus monkey and perform for the joy of entertaining us.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Jennifer Aniston's Mom??

As I was scanning old family pictures I ran across this old picture of my dad going to some highschool dance. Does anyone else think his date looks like Jennifer Aniston??

Friday, October 19, 2007

Southern Gospel Boogie

While we were at my parents house a couple of weeks ago we took Isabelle for her first Pumpkin Patch experience. The local apple farm have a big “Fall Festival” and for such a small town (even for a big town) it is JAM PACKED. You have to park across the street and down the road to go.

Grandma, Jona, and Eric went with us for this little excursion. For some reason it just didn’t feel like Autumn tho! Maybe it was the fact that it was 90 degrees out! But we did have fun. We got some cider…some of the best cider in the country, by the way. Again, instead of hot cider in donuts, they were selling cider slushies and donuts. Now, granted, the cider slushie was yummy, but really it was a very odd feeling, coming from northern Ohio in October.

And I thought I would add this little clip of pure entertainment. My Great Uncle Lenard and Great Aunt Testaview sing southern gospel music. They are just about the sweetest people in the world, and while I have a tolerance for good blue grass, I really do not care for southern gospel music. Anyway, they gave us one of their CD’s they made. So we put it in, and Isabelle (who was modeling her Halloween Chicken costume) was mesmerized….and unashamedly involved!

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Share Photos - Free Video Hosting

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Uniquely Laymon

I have been jotting down some funny stories I remember about Papaw Laymon (spelling of first name, correct middle name, and real birthday still pending)

Isabelle barely says “Momma.” She has said dada for a long time, but barely Momma…only in extreme distress. But during the last couple of weeks she mastered “Papaw”…she would run down the halls of the nursing home saying “Papaw, Papaw” and after Papaw passed away, she kept going into his room at home looking for him. I know she won’t remember, but all of the stories and picture will help her not to forget.

When I was little Papaw used to sing the following song to us:
Possum up the simmon tree
Raccoon on the ground
Possum said you rascal you, Shake them simmons down.

I know you probably have a few questions about this song, as do I. Like what is a simmon? A Persimmon? And do we even grow those in the US? And why couldn’t the raccoon climb the tree himself and get some fruit? And bigger questions like, Who wrote this song and why? Conrad says I always “eat his brain” with my constant questioning. Needless to say, I started singing this song to Isabelle. I’m sure she’ll have the same questions.

Papaw also loved to eat (again, thank you for the good ole’ southern heritage, Papaw!) Luckily, my Grandma loves to cook. He was a notorious night time eater. Before they finished building their house next to my parents, they were staying with my parents. When Conrad and I would come to visit we would sleep on the floor in the living room. One night in the middle of the night, here comes Papaw coming down the dark hallway with this light up slippers that we got him for Christmas.

Keep in mind that he was a little deaf and tended to not realize how loud he was. He came into the kitchen, rummaged around, dropped a few things, ate a few things, and meandered back to bed. The next morning there were spills and crumbs everywhere. He got up at about 4 am and started bugging my Grandma to get up and make him some pancakes. I told him, “Papaw, you got up and ate last night! You can’t be hungry.” He swore up and down that he did not get up. We told him that we were sleeping in the living room and saw him. Although he didn’t remember it, he finally acquiesced that “Well, I have to eat to keep from getting hungry.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Crossing the Creek

Just about two weeks ago, my Papaw had his dialysis “port” fall out twice in two days because of low blood pressure. At that point they wanted to do some invasive surgery. The chances that his frail body would have made it through the surgery were slim. He kept saying, “I just want to go home.” So my family made the hard decision to skip the surgery and took him home, along with full time hospice care. With this route, we knew it would only be a few days that we would have him with us. I have no idea what we would have done without the caring hospice volunteers. People just do not know how to deal with the dying, including us.

Hospice had excerpts from a book on dying called “Crossing the Creek.” The author, who was a long time hospice nurse, noted that you couldn’t possibly walk through the dying process with people over and over and not believe that life goes on. It was really good and one thing that it said is that people tend to start to see life “symbolically” as they begin to die. And, as the title of the book indicates, if they were outdoor folks, they may start talking about crossing the creek or something along those lines.

If you knew my Papaw, you know that if there was anything he loved, it was nature. Okay, well, he was not exactly a tree hugger, but he did love being out in the woods (mostly at night, with dogs, and a gun, shooting at things) and he loved planting and harvesting things too! In fact, my Grandma told me that there was rarely a week that went by when he was younger that he didn’t call in sick to work and go hunting! That would explain a lot about my work ethic. Papaws life’s motto was “You can’t live life under a strain.” Again, there are so many things that we Payne offspring inherited from our patriarch (refer to past post about my lack of over commitment).

We always thought that “Crossing the Creek” was an appropriate analogy for Papaw. My Uncle Dan had a dream about his dad before he died. He dreamed that he (Dan) arrived in heaven and Papaw was there sitting on a big rock, in the middle of the forest. His hair was it’s former black color and he was younger. He saw Dan and waved to him. He told him, “It’s about time you got here.” I would imagine that that is indeed what Laymon Payne’s heaven looks like.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Papaw

The funeral home has been having a hard time getting the appropriate documents on Papaw Laymon. Apparently he had several spellings of his first name, SEVERAL middle names (of which we are still not sure which one was his correct middle name) and even a couple of birthdays roaming around assundry documents. Add it to the list of things southerner culture has in common with Indian culture…the details are optional.

I have so many thoughts on the life of my Papaw that I wanted to get down in writing, but I have to say that some of these were too “thick” and too personal for now, so I decided to divide up my thoughts into a few posts and share some sad, some sweet, and some funny. Sifting through these thoughts has really helped me to consider yourself warned!

My grandparents were married for 58 years, since my Grandma was 14 years old! That’s a lot of years. I know his death will undoubtedly impact her the most. At his graveside on Friday, after the crowd had sifted away and only the immediate family was left, we gathered around Grandma. It was hard to be there. Hard to miss him. Hard to be with Grandma when she was so painfully alone. But it was sweet too. It was sweet to be with his offspring. The fruit that remained from his life here. His life was productive, and his legacy was us.

After the ceremony, as we all slowly trickled back to our cars…Grandma walked away so reluctantly. She kept saying, “I know it’s not him there, but it’s so hard to leave him.” And “It’s just a shell, but I cared for that shell for 60 years.” On the first cold cold day of the autumn season, it was hard to walk away and leave him alone there.

Even in the midst of all of the grief, there was still that peace that passed understanding. I’m not sure how people do it who believe that this is it…all you get. When it’s over here, it’s over. The hope of heaven and the reality that THIS life is just the shadow of real life is more than a comfort. It’s good to know that we will see him again. I guess the next obvious question is, “Are there shot guns and coon hunting in heaven?” Deep thoughts.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Thank You

Thank you for your prayers for my family and I during the last couple of weeks. I am honestly just beginning to process the loss of my grandpa and all that it means. Having a little one was a blessed distraction during a difficult time for my dad and for my grandma…and for me! But that also meant I didn’t have time to really think and process. Will I ever? In 18 years or so? I guess the realization that Papaw is gone has come slowly for me.

I have written down some thoughts about my Papaw and all that he experienced…and we experienced over the last couple of weeks. I will write about that more in the next few days.

For now, here is the light of our lives sharing the love in her Halloween costume. ..she is cute, isn’t she??

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Saying Good-bye.

Sorry it's been so long since I last posted. We have been a little busy these past few days. My grandfather is not doing very well and they don't expect him to live very much longer. They brought him home last weekend, along with hospice. He was so glad to be home. And we certainly didn't expect him to make it this long...but he's still hanging in there, although mostly unresponsive.

It was a blessing that Conrad, Isabelle, and I could be there the last few days to help out and just spend some time with Papaw. And I think Isabelle is always a welcomed distraction for my grandmother and my dad. Yesterday, my grandma said to me, "I just don't know what I'm going to do with all of my time." They have been married almost 60 years...since she was 14 years old.

I'll write more later. I have many thoughts on the process of dying we have been a part of. But it will have to wait until I have all of my ducks in a row here and this blasted headache subsides. In the meantime, keep my family in your prayers, if you think about it.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Welcome to the world, Abraham

Rachel had her baby tonight at around 6:30p Texas time. I MISSED THE PHONE CALL....urrrggghhhh...and haven't been able to reach her since. But his name is Abraham Frank. Frank after Rachel's uncle who passed away while she was pregnant. He seems to be healthy and Rachel is a little out of it, so the message left out basic information, I was lucky to get a name!!

Esther, her sister, said that she did wonderfully and that she is ready for another one! :) Welcome to the world, little MK, Abraham Frank Miller!

Praying for Rachel

Well, we have been waiting and waiting and waiting...the time has finally come. My best friend Rachel and her husband Mark are expecting thier first baby and Rachel was due almost 2 weeks ago. I just read on her blog that her water broke last night and that she has been having contractions all morning (for some reason she didn't pick up the phone and CALL me...geeze it's only LABOR!)

So pray for Rachel! We are praying for a health baby boy/girl by tonight! Yeah

P.S. This is actually Isabelle's ultrasound pictures, not Baby Miller...but it brings back memories!