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Archive for September, 2008

I’m Over Here…

I’m over here today at Hope you’ll stop by and read about my sister, Ginger, “Through My Eyes”…


Happy 2nd Birthday, Sophie!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006.  Sometime after 11:03 p.m.
The first time ever I saw your face...

The first time ever I saw your face...

I realize that this picture is not exactly a great shot of you so I’ve added another one below.  But this pic is much better of me than the one of me with your sister, Cammie, in her 18th Birthday Post.  (That’s called an ulterior motive.)
Sent from Heaven...Handle With Care

Sent from Heaven...Handle With Care

You are indeed a blessing from on high!  Daddy and I prayed for you to arrive for many years.  And at the right time, you arrived.  See how your mouth is open?  You were hungry, but I still think it was a sign of things to come because you are a very chatty little girl.  Even after watching your sisters grow up, I am still amazed at how you changed each month.
We loved watching you sleep.  We loved when you started cooing.  You would sing yourself to sleep.  It sounded something like this:  “ohhhh, oh, oh, ohhhhhh, ohhhh”.  I’m sure Mommys everywhere can appreciate the magnitude of that beautiful song you sang.  We were all smitten by you.  Still are, too!  I remember when you were still brand new and your Daddy couldn’t find you OR the bassinet.  “Where’s Sophie?”  He was startled.
We found you in Cammie’s room.  We asked her if we were going to wake up in the middle of night and find you and your bassinet missing.  She said, “I’ll bring her back!”
Courtney liked to rock you and sing to you.  Time sure did fly.  Before I knew it, you turned 1 year old.  Cammie and Courtney chose Hello Kitty for your birthday theme.  I didn’t mind.  I loved Hello Kitty when I was little.
1 Year Old
1 Year Old

Just as your first year was amazing, your second year has been astounding.  You have a vocabulary that makes you seem much older than you really are.  You talk in sentences and ask me questions that shock me.  You are bossy much like I was when I was little.  I’m sure you will find that hard to believe one day.  You can be as sweet as you are bossy.  When you want my attention, you often say, “Mommy.  Listen.  MOMMY?  Listen…”

When we pass up a McDonald’s, you say, “McDONALD’S!  I’m SOOO excited!”  When we ask what you want you ramble… “uhhhh, want fry-fries, want ham-bug-er, want chi-cken nuggets, want toy, want apple juice.”  Sometimes you say, “large Diet Coke”.  Sad, but true.

When you wake up before me, you toddle into my room with your blanket and try to pull up my eye mask.  “Gooood morning, Mommy.  I awake.”

Sometimes when I ask you if you need to potty you say, “I already potty.”  Ooops.

Sometimes you say I’m sorry immediately when you are doing something you know you shouldn’t.  You tell your sisters to “be caaaareful” when they are driving.  You grab my attention often with, “guess what, Mommy?”  You don’t like veggies much so I’m thinking I’m going to have to force your Daddy to eat more veggies to encourage you.  You LOVE chocolate!  You can’t help it.  Your parents are addicts.  You love animals, love to dig in mine and your sisters’ make-up and take our cell phones.  We love hearing your conversations.  “Uh, huh.  I’m leav-in.  In traff-ic.  Ok, bye-bye.”  You are absorbing everything you hear so I hope that we are reflecting Jesus.  You love to go to church, love to sing about Jesus and especially love to listen to Hillsong sing Mighty to Save on the con-ti-pu-ter.  But you do mistakenly think the robed statue that precedes many of today’s movies is Jesus.  Perhaps it’s the glow around her.  Hmmm…. You really love your family, your grand-parents, cousins and even friends.  But you ‘are’ bossy.  You only prove my point when you tell us, “I not a bossy, you (sometimes lu) a bossy!”  You also refer to us often as “baby” as Courtney and I both use that word when ending sentences to you.  Sometimes you sound like you’re in an Austin Powers movie.  “NOOO, ba-by!  Dat’s mine.”  “Hey, ba-by.”  “Ba-by, no-no!”

You’ve been rehearsing your birthday.  Sep-tem-ber nineteen.  AND your name.  Sophie Jeanne Gun-ter.  Here you are ready to go cheer for Courtney’s volleyball team.  (Mom needs to work on the lighting with her pics.)  “Go Jack-ets!  Hit the ball.  Go Courtney,” you cheer.
2 Years Old
2 Years Old

Today you are 2 years old.  Since your big sisters are 18 and 15 ALREADY, this day is especially bittersweet for me.  You all grow up so fast.  Your birthday party will wait until next Saturday.  So, today, I will spend some special time with you.

I’d sure like to know how you feel about turning two years old.  I think I’ll interview you after you wake up.
Mommy loves you, Sophie Jeanne. 
Interview with Sophie:
Mom:  Do  you know what today is?
Sophie:  Sophie’s birthday.  Mighty to Save…. (wants me to play this song on the computer)
Mom:  How do you feel about being two years old?
Sophie:  I want No-No!  (Song by Oscar the Grouch on Elmo CD)
Mom:  You’re a big girl now.  No more baby bed.  No more high chair.  No more baby swing.  How do you feel about being a big girl?
Sophie:  I gonna’ hit the buttons now! 
Mom:  What buttons?
Sophie:  Con-ti-pu-ter (computer).
Mom:  One more question.  What do you want to do today on your birthday?
Sophie:  Con-ti-pu-ter.
There you have it, folks.  The deep thoughts of a two-year-old.

Time For Her To Fly

Cammie is off to basic training at Fort Jackson…  Her flight landed in South Carolina some time this evening.  When she boarded in New Orleans, her shampoo, conditioner and shaving cream were confiscated.  She was NOT happy.  I really think her paperwork should have specified the sizes allowed since they could only have one bag and it had to be carry-on.  Sure, it can be replaced.  But tell that to an 18 year-old female with very little possessions on her.  I have no idea when I will hear from her next. 

Simply surreal.  Yesterday’s battle over my fluctuating emotions was conquered partly because of my relentless schedule.  Dropping her off brought back memories of YCP last year.  Only this time she is an adult.  Still 18 to me.  An adult, but also my child.  Don’t tell her that.  She gets quite defensive when I tell others that Sophie has teenage sisters.  “I’m an adult, MOM.  NOT a teenager.”

“Um, Cammie?  You’re still a teenager.  Eight-teeeen.  An adult, but still a teenager,” I attempt to reason.

“NOOOOO.  I’m an ADULT.”

Ok.  Fine.  But did you see the pictures on my fridge?  She seems caught between the two–adolescence and adulthood.  And she’s off to basic training for the National Guard.  I think of her every time I see Warriors in our area still giving their time post-Gustav and Ike. 

Last year, I not only knew exactly where Cammie was at YCP, I could call her counselor whenever I just wanted to check in on her.  This year, I have no clue where exactly she is.  Fort Jackson, sure.  But what’s the address?  And when is graduation?  Am I really going to have to depend on her to find out these things?  Heavy sigh.

I remind myself that she will be fine.  God is in control; therefore, I CANNOT be.  This is not war.  It’s basic training.  But this is my first time here in this place.  If any of you are Military Moms, I would really love to hear from you.  I’ve said it before, but I don’t know HOW to be one.  I would love to hear your stories.  Please send a comment or email me.  If you’re close by, we can start a Military Moms hangout night.  Kidding…. unless you’re interested, of course. 😉

Please keep Cammie in your prayers over the next weeks.  One of her biggest concerns last year seems to be weighing on her again–Sophie forgetting her.  I’ve explained that Cammie will be gone for a while.  Sophie rehearses continually, “Cammie is bye-bye.  Fly in airplane to Nash-ul Guard.” 

Your prayers for Cammie are coveted.  And while you’re at it, please remember her Mom as well.

Many thanks,

P.S.  I just received some texts from Cammie.  Apparently I did not hear my phone when the first one went through.  The second one said “I love you.”  I may now be moving from heavy sighs to heaving and wailing.  She is on a bus heading to Fort Jackson.  I can just about sense her uneasiness in her messages.  Off to give it to Jesus….

Sibling Rivalry?

Earlier this week Courtney gave us a break and entertained Sophie for a while in her room.  Later that night, Sophie produced a beautiful piece of art work on a Post-it note.

“It’s BEAUTIFUL,” I said.  “Thank you, Sophie.  Let’s put it on the refrigerator for everyone to see.”

The next day Cammie noticed the picture.  “What’s this? Art work?”

“YESSS,” I said, detecting her subtle sarcasm. 

That night was a sleepless night.  Apparently Sophie still has some symptoms of Hurricane Gustav Virus as she is rebelling against sleeping in her bed.  After she made countless trips to our room with her blanky in hand, I succumbed and put her in our bed.  Many kicks and jabs later, I evicted her.  I was frustrated.  I stopped at the fridge on my way back to my room for some Diet Coke and a little snack. 

This is what I found:

Sibling Rivalry?

Sibling Rivalry?

(Sophie–2 years old in one week on the 19th, Cammie–18 years old 😉 )
My frustration melted.  I stood giggling for quite a while.  (Chuckie is a magnet, by the way.)  The next day, Cammie asked me if I noticed her art work.  I was sure to tell her that her picture melted away my frustrations of the night.  She stood for a moment staring at it. 
“I really think mine is better because it has more color.”
I have a feeling these pictures are going to bring me much comfort in the days ahead as Cammie leaves for basic.

This Just In…..

Our local news report tonight:  due to Hurricane Ike, gas is predicted to reach $5.00 a gallon by tomorrow.

*UPDATE:  Gas is NOT $5.00 a gallon today.  Surprise, surprise, surprise!  Not really.  But my tank is still full.

Gustav’s visit left us with this leaning tree of Denham (Springs, that is).dsc002481

If Ike’s appearance proves to be greater than expected here, I suppose we may be sitting in the dark again. At least our vehicles will be sitting nice and pretty in the garage with full fuel gauges and $3.52 a gallon fuel.

Seriously, I pray that monster dissipates in the Gulf. And I’ll gladly take $3.52 a gallon unleaded over $5.00 a gallon. 

Please pray for the safety of all of those in Ike’s path.

Beauty Queen by Maybelline

What happens when you leave your toddler in the car with a make-up bag on the seat next to her for what seems to be only seconds so you, your daughter and her friend can dash in the house to drop off laundry baskets, grab ice chests and a couple of other items post-Hurricane Gustav?
Beauty Queen

Beauty Queen Maybelline Maybelline

….this is what the toddler held onto during the aftermath….
Notice on the first pic….she got those lashes pretty good! 

Greater Than Gustav

It’s just after 9:00 p.m. on Monday, September 8.  I think….it’s the 8th, right?  Things are a bit fuzzy.

Our power came on around an hour ago!  PRAISE THE LORD!  A week without power….  Here is where I get real with you.  We are indeed blessed!  We have been fortunate in that we have not suffered loss beyond the minor structural damage to our home.  So many people had trees caving in their homes.  I cannot get over the trees down everywhere.  Many people are still without power.

This is where I feel their pain.  While I want to maintain an attitude of thankfulness throughout this process that is far from over, I have to be honest.  This storm has chipped away the facade of Christ-like character that I was certain I emulated.  Understand that is not intended to sound pious.  My weaknesses have ever been before me.  This week, however, I’ve been very “weak”.

In one week Cammie will leave for basic training.  One week.  Her last day of work was a week ago Friday.  Just before Gustav visited, she quit work to have time to just “hang out” as well as spend with family.  This has been the most devastating part of the storm for me.  We had intended to have Sophie’s second birthday party this coming Saturday, the 13th.  Sophie will turn two on the 19th.  Cammie wanted to be part of the celebration.  We thought a lot about whether or not we could pull something off.  With Ike brewing near the Gulf while we are just receiving power and facing the aftermath of Gustav, the probability of pulling off a last minute party is highly unlikely.  The turnout would be very important as we had hoped for family and friends to have time with Cammie as well.  Cammie has graciously accepted this.  Sophie is none the wiser.  It is Mom whose heart is broken.

Instead of the quality time I had imagined, this past week we have emptied our refrigerator.  PRAISE GOD it’s clean!  We have slept in the humid Louisiana weather.  PRAISE GOD for Joe’s cousin Jake!  His power came on Thursday and he loaned us his generator and two a.c. units.  Joe drove to Slidell(…through storms coming and going and he got lost, mind you…but you didn’t hear it here 😉 ) to pick them up.  We have floated from home to home taking baths at friends’ and relatives’ homes with power or generators and gas hot water heaters, washing clothes and sharing meals cooked on their grills as well as home-made meals.  PRAISE GOD for friends and family!

Understand I am thankful for the blessings.  But I am tattered from the process.  A whiny toddler with sporadic fever and vomiting isn’t fun with orwithout a hurricane.  Remember the niece with strep and Scarlet fever?  I was certain Sophie had strep.  No strep!  She was seen today and apparently has nothing more than the “Hurricane Gustav Virus”.  Now, I’ll tell you like I told Ginger in my email I sent her.  Don’t go Googling that phrase.  You’ll find no virus.  I’m coining the phrase if you do.  Indulge me a moment while a chase a rabbit…the email I sent Ginger was sent with the aid of the generator after Joe realized that we had cable and therefore, the internet.  YIPPEE!  Oh, the glee!  And the irony.  Power is down.  Life is disrupted.  Cox–our cable/internet/land line provider–trucks have lined our one-street subdivision today.  We receive these services before we receive power.  Anyway, Joe hooked the generator up and I sat with glee before my inbox.  Just as I was typing away, I heard a series of beeps that had me wondering about warnings of a very early arrival from Ike.  It was our alarm.  Power on!  Sophie has learned the word “lectricity” this week.

Needless to say, tempers raged.  Utility companies were unfairly blamed.  Traffic, hot days even after the generator arrived because gas is just too high to run it during the day, running to and fro for food, hot water and a bit of sanity all fed our frustration.  Teens were wrongly accused.  And I thought I lost mind at one point.  When Sophie first threw up in the car (there were two times…..the second being exponentially worse), I called Joe frantic.  I was meeting him at his mom’s.  Traffic was bad.  I needed Pull-Ups.  I wasn’t sure if I should pull over or just head on to his mom’s.  I called him and said, “SOPHIE, JOE JUST THREW UP ALL OVER THE CAR SEAT!  WAIT….” 

Pause.  “WHAT,” he questions.

But I’m cracking up and can’t tell him.  Funny stuff losing your mind.

Enough whining.  At least I had the material.  It would’ve been much funnier if you’d been there. 😉

I want to thank everyone who prayed, emailed and commented.  You have been a tremendous blessing during this time.  Please continue to pray for those who have suffered loss of loved ones, homes and livelihoods.  It is indeed of the Lord’s mercies that we are NOT consumed!  His compassions FAIL NOT!  Thank you, Lord!  He is greater than Gustav.

Also, please pray for our sister, Katie.  She had a seizure at work and fell on her face on a concrete floor.  I saw her today.  It broke my heart.  Now I know why my Mom told me not to come up to the hospital.  I’m told she looks “much better”, however, her face was very swollen, extremely bruised and her eye….I don’t have adequate words to describe it.  Suffice to say I could never work the medical field.

Off to don my eyemask and sleep in my cool home.  Thank you, Lord Jesus.