Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Walk For My Mama

Last Saturday I participated in the Susan G. Komen Baton Rouge Affiliate Race for the Cure in honor of my mom and my mother-in-law.

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 1999. I won't tell you how old she was so we'll just say mid-40s. I was actually in Louisiana serving as a summer missionary at the time. It was a Thursday, and we (the other summer missionaries and I) were going fishing in the Gulf with the Bayham's. As we were walking out the door, the phone rang. It was my mom. She very calmly and gently told me that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and would be having surgery in a couple of weeks. To say I was shocked . . . is an understatement! The next few days were really bad. And then I made the decision to go home and spend the week of her surgery with my mom. After the surgery and radiation treatments, she has been in remission for 11 1/2 years now! My mother-in-law has been in remission for a year and a half!

I joined Team Anita for the race. I did not know Anita; she lost her battle with breast cancer last year. But I know her sweet sister, Trina, who organized the team in honor of her sister. Here is Ashley (it was also her birthday! . . . I won't tell you how old she is!), Abbie and me.
Now. You know in south Louisiana that pretty much ANYTHING is reason for a party, including a run/walk to raise money for breast cancer research! So not only did we participate in the 5K, but Trina and her boyfriend organized a tailgate. Oh yes. Tailgating is not just for football! These were our tents. And everything was pink, including the port-a-potties and the garbage cans (far right in the picture)!
Barry (Seth's brother) cooked a big ole pastalaya (that's jambalaya with pasta instead of rice).
And there were several appetizers and dips . . . in the shape of the ribbon, of course!
And . . . king cake! After all, carnival season (Mardi Gras) is upon us now.
One of the things I enjoyed was checking out the team shirts. The race organization provided a "generic" shirt for everyone who participated in the race, but a lot of the larger teams designed and wore their own shirts. The front of our shirt said, "Team Anita," and this was the back of our shirt:
Yes, that's purple and gold. No, I have not converted. I'm just a team player!

I saw several guys wearing a camouflage shirt with "open season on breast cancer" written in pink on the back. But my favorite shirt . . . was worn by a team from Ruffino's, which just so happens to be my fav Italian restaurant in Baton Rouge. I couldn't help myself. I had to get a picture. This was the front of their shirt (and you can just use your imagination as to where the hand prints fell!):

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Really Sweet Day

Honestly . . . historically speaking . . . I really do not like Valentine's Day. I've never liked it.

It all started back in middle school. Every Valentine's school day ended the same. The school secretary would take the last 15 minutes of class to announce who needed to go to the cafeteria to get their balloons, flowers, stuffed animals . . . and then there was mass chaos trying to exit the building because you couldn't see past the mylar and jumbo stuffed bears. I can still see it now. Every year was the same. The same girls got the same stuff. On a side note, I wonder where all that stuff is now?!? Anyway, they could've saved a lot of time by announcing that every girl EXCEPT Julie Connell go to the cafeteria. I was never the recipient of a dozen roses or a box of chocolates. And I hated it.

So when I got married, I had perhaps a better outlook on February 14. I can still remember our first Valentine's Day as husband and wife. I had small expectations. I just wanted to go out for a nice dinner. I don't even remember now where we went . . . I just remember riding around Baton Rouge and stopping at several restaurants, only to find they were "booked" for the evening. We didn't have reservations anywhere (I didn't know we needed reservations!) so we were turned away time and again. We went back to our apartment and ordered a pizza. Then we had to wait an hour and a half for delivery! At that point, I decided that my initial impression of Valentine's Day was fairly accurate, and I never looked forward to it again.

I don't remember very much about the Valentine's Days since that one in 2001. I really don't expect anything . . . except a card. That's what I want. A card. And I really like it when you write something in it besides your signature.

Two and a half weeks ago, Seth came home from work one Friday afternoon with a dozen roses. I was . . . shocked. I LOVE fresh flowers. But I rarely ever get them. Seth's excuse is that he doesn't want someone he doesn't know delivering flowers to me . . . he'd rather do it himself. Whatever. Anyway. It wasn't a special occasion. The card was the sweetest ever. He wrote, "Just because I love u." I figured he was trying to butter me up for another week that he would be working in Texas. At that point, he'd been working in Texas four weeks, coming home only on the weekends. I was tired . . . tired of him being gone and physically tired from being a "single parent" for a month. But he actually got to stay in Louisiana that next week. Those roses sat on the counter for two weeks. They were nice and dead long before that, but I couldn't bring myself to get rid of them yet. I didn't mention it . . . but I figured they were going to also suffice as my Valentine's Day present, too. That happened several years ago . . .

We moved to Mississippi in 2007. We put our house in Louisiana on the market on January 5. In less than a month, we received a full-price offer in cash for our house. Of course we accepted. But there was a catch: we had to be out of the house in two weeks. At that point, Seth was already working in Mississippi and "living" in a hotel there. I was in Louisiana with Mason, who was 18 months old. We had not found a house in Mississippi that we liked. And I had no idea how in the world I was going to have our house packed and everything moved in two weeks, much less where in the world to move it to. So I was a little stressed. I was a lot stressed. I remember talking to Seth on the phone that night and just crying because I didn't know what to do, and he wasn't there to help me. The next day was much better. A plan came together, and a beautiful arrangement of fresh flowers arrived from a local florist. Seth had sent me flowers!

Valentine's Day was a few days later . . . at which time Seth told me, "You remember those flowers you got last week . . . " Nice. So that's why I thought my roses from two weeks ago were my Valentine this year.

I was wrong. When Seth came home from work last Friday, he had this box in his hand.
This would be a box of Godiva . . . I absolutely LOVE chocolate . . . and I've gotten several small boxes of assorted chocolates during the past 10 years . . . but never truffles before! And, of course, my husband would get the largest box they have! These things are just pure divine. The best thing is that he doesn't care for sweets very much, especially chocolate, so they're all mine! Happy Valentine's Day to me!
Yesterday really was a sweet day. The weather is beautiful . . . mid 70s! So we played outside a lot when Mason got home from school. And then we came inside so Mason and Hannah Kate could open their Valentines.Pop and Mimi sent a lot of goodies . . . but nothing got a bigger smile than this baseball. They gave Mason a baseball for Christmas to go with his new bat and batting tee, but it got lost in all of the excitement of unwrapping gifts, and we never found it. So we all laughed when Mason pulled this "replacement" ball out of his bag.Hannah Kate received a lot of sweet treats, too. But she loves her new Dora nightgown. Dora has become her new BFF. And she has a huge crush on Diego. I really need to blog about that. As for me . . . I really struggled this year with what to get Seth. I love giving gifts, but I love giving the PERFECT gift, and that just never came to me this time around. They say that 'the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.' That can definitely be said for my husband. He loves to eat good food. And I love to cook. So that was my gift to him. I cook supper for our family five, if not six, nights a week every week. And I love it! So I decided to try something new . . . it was inspired by Paula Deen and the best EVER shrimp and grits I ever ate at Julep Restaurant in Jackson, Mississippi. I'd go back to Jackson just to eat at Julep!

I made shrimp and gouda cheese grits . . . my mama is turning up her nose right now . . . but OH. MY. So rich and creamy and heavenly good! I also had our favorite salad: mixed greens with strawberries, blue cheese (my mama is REALLY turning up her nose now!), sweet 'n' spicy pecans and homemade honey balsamic dressing. Oh, and we ate on our wedding china (not the "everyday" stuff), too! I love doing that on Valentine's Day and our wedding anniversary!
And for dessert . . . (okay, so I had a little help from the bakery at Whole Foods) . . .
Yesterday really was a sweet day. My mother-in-law had offered to keep Mason and Hannah Kate so Seth and I could go out to eat, but I told her we'd already planned to stay home instead. And I'm so glad we did. Valentine's Day has never been what I always imagined what it might be like. But I think that's because my husband makes so many other days besides February 14 feel like Valentine's Day! I do love that man!

Friday, February 11, 2011

100 days

On Friday, January 28, Mason celebrated his 100th day of Kindergarten! His class celebrated with a big party, and we were asked to construct a 100-day poster using 100 small items. I forgot to take a picture of Mason with his poster before I took it to school, but it did manage to make its way back home so I took a picture then.And today Mason had Kindergarten graduation (cap and gown) pictures taken! Graduation has been scheduled for May 23. I must admit I got a little teary-eyed . . .

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Earlier this evening, I was multi-tasking in the worst kind of way. I was trying to finish an applique for a monogram order, get my make-up on, pull the left-overs out for Seth and finish my salad for the women's ministry meeting at church tonight. Seth and Mason were upstairs in the playroom playing the Wii. Hannah Kate was, as usual, right by my side. She loves it when I "do fabric," as she calls it. She likes to pick up my scrap pieces, cut them and "cook" with them in her play kitchen.

I was trying to watch my embroidery machine while putting my make-up on at the same time. Hannah Kate had picked up my fabric scraps and asked for my scissors. I told her that she could not use them because I needed them again shortly. So she went to the drawer and pulled Mason's scissors out so she could cut her fabric. She put all of her pieces in her pot, and I didn't see her for awhile.

I was not worried.

I should have been.

Several minutes later, I heard Seth come down the stairs. Then he's asking me, "Did you do this?" Did I do what? I have no idea what he's talking about. I'm really not too concerned; I'm just trying to get my make-up on for the millionth time. He walked into the bathroom and holds out a hand full of blonde locks and asks again, "Did you do this?"Then the conversation goes like this:

Me: What is that?!? (I know good and well what IT is!)

Seth: I don't know. I guess it's her hair.

Me: No! Why would I do that?!? Where did you find that?!?

Seth: At the bottom of the stairs.

Us: (in our outside voices, of course, and me fearing the worst) HANNAH KATE!

It takes several minutes . . . she knows she's in trouble . . . but she finally appears. Seth is combing his fingers through her hair and saying, "I don't see where it came from." Well, I did. Immediately. Obviously, Hannah Kate decided she wanted bangs.I still haven't decided how I feel about this . . .