Wednesday, September 29, 2010

'Stay Brady Stay': The Louisiana brain drain | Washington Times Communities

Check out this very interesting article about one of the most pressing issue facing our great state. I adore Louisiana's culture and colorful history (and it seems the author does too), but... his commentary pretty much explains why almost none of my friends from high school still live here.

'Stay Brady Stay': The Louisiana brain drain Washington Times Communities

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

True love balancing a breast pump on your knees to pump milk for your 3-month old in a bathroom during a work meeting outside of the office.  That's two trips to a cramped stall to stare at the back of a badly painted turquoise door and try not to fall asleep while listening to the monotonous whir of the motor.  While sitting hunched over on a toilet seat.  In dress clothes and heels.  And then asking the cafeteria ladies to store it in the refrigerator.

Some days the only thing that keeps me going is thinking about this sweet little face.

Tummy time ~ for Candace

In addition to encouraging me to spend some quality "tummy time" with Hannah to encourage her physical development, my friend Candace has also been encouraging my spiritual development lately.  It's so easy to get bogged down into the everydayness of life when you have little ones and feel like picking up, giving baths, folding laundry, changing dirty diapers, and cooking macaroni & cheese for the 100th time has taken over your very existence.  She should know -- she has three little ones at home, ages 5 and under, including a new baby.

One of her recent blog posts reminded me that God recognizes all the little things we do for the benefit of others and that we should approach even the most mundane tasks as if we were doing them for Him:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
~Colossians 3:23

Thanks friend.

Friday, September 17, 2010

When I say "Geaux" say "Tigers"!





Yes, that's right folks, this weekend is the first LSU home football game of the year!  You can feel the electricity and excitement in the air ~ which is still a lovely 94 degrees ~ all around Baton Rouge.  The RVs have arrived on campus, mini flags are waving from car windows, and everyone is sporting purple & gold at work (and daycare) today. 

We'll be at a wedding in New Orleans so I'll have to miss the game (seriously, who schedules a wedding on a football Saturday night in South Louisiana?).  Hopefully my little cheerleaders will give our Bayou Bengals the added push they need to pull out the win!  If not, at least they'll still look cute. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Someone turned 35 this week...

and it wasn't me!  Although Lucy would have you believe it was her birthday.  All week long.   :) 

Happy birthday, Andrew!!!  Your girls all had a wonderful time celebrating your special day with you.  I pray that this new year of your life brings you abundant health, joy, blessings, and success.  We love you!

I sure do wish I had some teeth right about now!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Great grandparents

According to Wikipedia, "National Grandparents Day is a secular holiday celebrated originating in the United States in 1978 and now officially recognized in a number of countries on various days of the year."  It always falls on the first Sunday after Labor Day and is meant to " honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer".

To us, Grandparents Day means paying tribute to the people in our children's lives who:

Come and take care of them for a week while their baby's in the hospital giving birth to her new baby,

take wonderful pictures of them with your fabulous camera to give them happy memories of being little,

delight in their every last word and encourage a tremendous love of reading,

drive fours hours without blinking an eye every time they get sick to love on them and make them peal with laughter,

push them in a swing until their arms get tired, take them boat riding, and pretend to drink their "coffee",

and get in the car for a road trip at the age of 92 just to smile as they watch their only great-grandchildren coo and play.

We are just so very thankful for the ways that all of the grandparents in our lives love us and our children unconditionally.  I pray that my daughters will one day develop the kind of relationship with them that I had with my Mammaw.  I miss her so much today that my heart aches, and I'd give anything to hear her voice or get one of her letters in the mail.  Her love shaped my life in such a positive way and I'm eternally grateful for the person she was and the way she lived her life. 

I can't wait to introduce Hannah to my Pappaw soon -- I think she looks a little bit like Mammaw, and I know that will touch and delight him to no end.  Happy Grandparent's Day!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Five for Friday

Since it's been a while since I've had a post exclusively dedicated to my first-born (who has been happily declaring, "I a big gurl!" this week), here's a glimpse into five of her current favorite things:

1.  Pockets, as in "I pockets, Mama!" (oh, and saying 'cheese' for the camera).

2.  Playing the guitar like Daddy.  Current favorite hits include: The Alphabet Song, Mommy's Song (a variation on the Elmo's World theme song), and The Wheels on the Bus.  She's even got the strumming and singing at the same time thing down pat.  Watch out, Taylor Swift!

3.  Dora sunglasses, and well... everything Dora.  She's more than a little obsessed with everyone's favorite 'super cool exploradora' right now.  If I hear, "I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the maaaaap!" one more time...

4.  Sparkly princess shoes.  I mean, with kicks this fabulous, who can really blame her?

5.  Chocolate milk.  We pretty much ask for "chocko malk" all day long, every single day.  At least she's getting plenty of calcium, right? 

Summer time and the livin' is easy when you're two!  I love you, big girl.  Just stop getting big so fast.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What a long, strange trip it's been

So... in an effort to explain my blogging hiatus (you know, other than having a infant and a toddler to take care of and then going back to work full-time!), let me give you the down low on the insane events that have dominated our lives over the last few weeks.  I'm up nursing a 6-weeks-old Hannah around 1:30 am on Wednesday, August 11 (also known as the First Day of School) and Andrew starts complaining about having a sharp pain in his chest.  He'd been suffering from a bad stomach bug for a few days, so we assumed it was heartburn/indigestion and he took some Pepto and went back to bed.  Cut to a few hours later when the pain got really intense and he left to go to the emergency room.  Cut to a few more hours later -- our neighbor came over to sit with Lucy while she slept so I could go to the hospital and check on my husband, only to find him scared he was having a heart attack and doubled over in pain.  He was admitted to the hospital for a few days while they ran a battery of cardio tests and although no definitive diagnosis ever came our way. The doctors think he had a virus related to the stomach bug that caused the muscles in his back and chest to become inflamed.  He was released on Friday morning with some medications and told to go home and rest.

Andrew returned to work the following Tuesday only to be sent home around noon by the school nurse and assistant principal because he looked so pale and puny.  He was complaining of severe stomach pain this time around and went to see our family doctor who did a CAT scan, the results of which caused him to be re-admitted to the hospital the next morning.  He underwent an additional scan, an ultrasound test, a colonoscopy (ouch!) and endoscopy exam and the final result was... we still don't really know!  Once again we were unable to get a concrete diagnosis, but they think he had a staph infection caused by the heart catheter test he underwent the first time he was in the hospital.  He was treated with high-dose antibiotics and hospitalized until Saturday this time around.  And of course, in between dropping Lucy off at daycare, trying to take care of Hannah and the house, coordinating family members who came down to help, and running back and forth to the hospital, I developed not only a nasty stomach bug myself but also a raging case of mastitis that landed me in bed with aches, chills, and a 102.5 fever.  Not a situation I would recommend to anyone that is already up all night with a newborn.  I truly believe that God doesn't give you more than you can handle, but it felt like we were getting awfully close.

This has NOT an awesome time for the Powers family.  Andrew's illnesses had him down for the count for the better part of two weeks, and it hit me really hard just how much I rely on him to help me around the house and with the girls and just to be there for me emotionally.  It was really a time of struggle for us trying to figure out how to be there for each other and to still provide the best quality of care for our children.  We're still struggling a few weeks later -- Andrew missed the first few weeks of school and is having a difficult time rallying his band into fighting form, and I had to return to work just a couple of days after he came home from the hospital after not sleeping for what felt like infinity (and still kind of does). 

My transition back to work has not been smooth -- the commute is awful, I miss my baby, packing up/cleaning breast pump supplies every day and finding time to squeeze it in between projects and meetings sucks (there's really no more eloquent way to say it), and... Hannah screams relentlessly in the car on the way to and from daycare every day.  BUT (yes, there is a but), Hannah is finally sleeping 6-8 hour stretches in a row at night, has learned to take a bottle, and is being very well cared for during the day, Andrew's feeling enormously better, and Lucy is truly thriving in her new big girl class at "school".  And most importantly, the stress of this whole ordeal has brought into crystal clear focus that the most important things in life are: our physical health, our spiritual health, and the health of our family unit.  All of which have been a little battered recently, but are on the mend.  And all of which could use your prayers, if you're so inclined.  More than ever, we've realized our desire to forge a stronger relationship bond and to be healthy enough to watch our babies grow up together.

Almost a month later, I'm finally feeling a bit of normalcy return to our household so I'm happy to report the resurrection of The Powers That Be.  Stay tuned for some (hopefully much more upbeat) updates coming very soon!

So glad to have Daddy home again!