Monday, October 29, 2007

Ring, ring

Every time the phone rings at an odd time, I wonder if it is my parents calling to tell me that Grandma has died. The phone rang twice late tonight. Not my parents... The emotional wait continues... I do not usually handle death very well. It's not that I have a fear of dying, but that I very much dislike it. I don't like change and with death comes great change. The absence of someone brings a strangeness - an awkwardness.

Both of my parents were raised in a small Iowa town of 9,000 people. My mom's family moved away when she was in college (2.5 hours away), but my dad's whole family still lives there. My dad is one of 5 kids and everyone but his family lives in the same small town. Every year, we drove to Iowa to visit my relatives. I was as close to my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins as one could expect to be, when we only saw them once or twice per year. When my grandpa died 11 years ago, the loss left a hole in my heart - but everything else about our annual visits remained similar. Now that my grandma is nearly gone, I wonder what will become of my visits. We have only visited twice since Harrison was born 6 years ago. With no grandparents, will I still visit the small town where the rest of my family lives? Will we have family reunions, or will the family forget the long lost relatives exist? What will motivate us to make the 14 hour drive? My grandparents have lived in the same house for many, many years. All of the streets in the town are numbered from the center and labeled SE, SW, NE or NW to tell you which quadrant of town they live in. Grandma & Grandpa's house is 4 blocks from my aunt & uncle's house. Out of 14 of my grandparents' grandchildren, 8 of them live in the same, small town with their kids.

I cannot imagine having grown up near my grandparents & other extended family members and I promised myself that I would never allow my children to grow up so far away from their grandparents. Right now, we live 14 hours away from both sets of our parents. Promise broken. In times like this, when I have already begun to grieve the loss that I'm about to experience, I realize how important family is to me and I long to move closer to my parents. Not too close, but certainly closer than this. "This" is my home until God makes it clear that "this" is not home.

Company Picnic

I love my job. There are lots of things that I don't love about my job, however, I really do love my job. With a job in the recreation field, you have to work some nights & weekends when everyone else is having fun. But, you also get to have your family at work and get paid to have fun also! Yesterday, we had a company picnic. The weather was absolutely perfect & the whole family went. The boys got to canoe for the first time ever! Tommie, Franklin & Truman in one canoe...
Harrison and me in the other...
All 3 boys climbed the rock wall. Franklin & Truman got to the top of the slanted segment. Harrison (aka. monkey boy) went all the way to the top of the 36 foot wall - wow!
He climbed it faster than most of the adults that we watched!
Truman ringing the bell at the top of his segment.

We all had a wonderful afternoon together - spending time in the great outdoors is one of our favorite things to do as a family. I love the fact that my job allows my children to try things that they would never have had a chance to try otherwise.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Saturday Morning Cuddle

Truman & I were cuddling, watching TV together this morning when a MetLife commercial, starring Snoopy, came on.
Truman: I love Charlie Brown!
Me (thinking: Awww... he thinks that Snoopy is Charlie Brown.)
Truman: I really like Charlie Brown's dog, Snoopy!
Me: That's cool. I like Snoopy too. (thinking: Wow! I was wrong. He's smarter than I thought. He knows Charlie Brown and Snoopy's names. I guess I should stop treating him like he's so young.)
Truman: Mom, what's the name of the yellow dog?
Me: *giggle* You mean the yellow bird? His name is Woodstock. (thinking: Okay - he is still young. I'll enjoy the innocence while it lasts!)
Truman: Woodstock. That's his name! I like him too.

Friday, October 26, 2007

More fun with hair...

As promised, here is a pic of Truman's haircut last night. We decided to go funky, because the fall festival is tonight. He will get another haircut tomorrow!!! :o)

Sweet Surprise!

I had just gotten home from work & changed into grubby sweatpants and a t-shirt. The doorbell rings & I contemplate whether to answer it or not. I determine that it is either a child selling overpriced fundraiser items or someone trying to sell me their false religion. Then, I think - what if it is someone I know and I would regret not answering the door later. So, I open the door & there stands Sam with a big grin on his face and a bucket full of treats. HOW SWEET!!! My neighbor & friend had put together a treat bucket to celebrate fall and her son Sam had decided to give his gift to my boys. What a sweet surprise! How thoughtful, friend - you really made us smile. Thank you!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My Brave Boy

Tonight, I had just finished cutting the boys' hair (photo of Truman to come soon!) and I went to shake the apron outside. In the hall was a big, black cricket. I'm not a "scared-y cat", but I honestly don't like bugs, spiders and snakes. (Okay... I'm really a scaredy cat!) But, when the boys were littler, I would put on my brave mommy face and kill the mean bug before it ate my babies. When Harrison heard that I saw a cricket in the hall, he said - "I want to see it!" I thought he would be scared, so I told him that I'd be back in a minute to kill it. When I came back in from shaking out the apron, he was walking purposefully toward the cricket with a napkin in his hand.

Me: What are you doing?
Harrison (nonchalantly): I'm going to get the cricket.
Me: Oh, I thought you didn't like crickets.
[Meanwhile, he smashes the cricket and carries the napkin to the garbage can...]
Harrison: They aren't scary, mom. I've picked one up before.
Me: Oh. I didn't know that.
Harrison: Yeah, I picked one up at school. Sometimes they are in the gym. They aren't scary. They ARE really tickle-y though.

Too cute! My big boy is all grown up and brave now. I guess the brave mommy face can go back into hiding now that I've got 3 boys to take care of my bug killing job duties! :o)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hairy Lollipops

Today, we had a crazy, silly day at work! Everyone was participating in all sorts of silliness. One of the things we did today was assign "camp" names to everyone at work - a nickname that consists of an adjective along with an animal name. The animal name is chosen by the person to whom the nickname is given. They look at a list of personality attributes and pick the one that is most like them. That list of attributes corresponds to an animal name. For the protection of the participants in today's silliness, I will refer to them by their "camp" names... :o)

"Young Otter" (referred to as YO in this story) left the office to run an errand. While she was gone, "Sassy Salmon" (SS in this story) found her partially licked Tootsie Pop laying neatly on a piece of paper on YO's desk. SS thought this was strange. Another unnamed co-worker commented that he was surprised that it wasn't hairy, since it was laying out in the open like that. So... SS got the crazy idea of putting hairs on the lollipop. She grabbed my scissors - cut off a chunk of hair (not a small piece, but a chunk!) and started putting it on the lollipop. I recommended that to make it stick better, she should dip it into water. So... the lollipop became very hairy. I predicted that when YO got back to the office and saw her hairy lollipop, she would scream.

When YO arrived back at the office, SS and I just happened to be in the hallway outside of her office. We waited to hear her reaction... This is what we heard:

"How did my Tootsie Pop get HAIRY?!?!?"

I have not laughed that hard in a long time (well, at least since yesterday)... YO looked very upset, but then she realized that we had a whole new bag of Tootsie Pops in the office, with Halloween right around the corner, so she quickly got over the hairy-ness and laughed right along with us!

[The moral of the story is: If you are going to make a lollipop hairy, be sure that you don't cut too big of a chunk out of your hair!]

The Price is Right

My Grandma Wilson (my mom's mom) loves the Price is Right. She watches it religiously and loved Bob Barker. Last week, I had Monday off of work and I flipped on the TV mid-morning just to see if the world of daytime TV has changed since I started working full-time... :o) The Price is Right had just begun. I remembered seeing on the news that Drew Carrey was going to start hosting the show and that his first day was coming up soon. Just my luck - that day was today! I immediately thought of Grandma, so I called her to get her take on the new host. She lives many hours away, so I wasn't even sure if her show would be on TV at the same time as my show. Even better luck - it was! She laughed when she realized that I called just to chat about the Price is Right. We agreed that it was never going to be the same without Bob. It was one of those conversations where you just feel a bond. Sitting in two different living rooms, hundreds of miles away from each other, yet enjoying the same thing at the same time... It's not about the TV, Drew or Bob - it's about loving someone so much that something insignificant becomes significant because you shared it together.

Monday, October 22, 2007


This morning, I had a breakdown. A big one. And in the most inconvenient of locations. I went into my boss' office to have a budget meeting. All of the pent-up emotions brought me to the breaking point. I think all she said was that she was having a bad morning. I commiserated with her and when she asked why - with absolutely no warning... the dam broke. Breakdown. I'm grateful that the office door was closed, so the only person to witness my embarrassing mess of a self was a most compassionate, Christian woman that I call my boss. She allowed me to blubber all over her conference table, gave me a hug and prayed with me. PRAYED WITH ME. I'm so grateful to work in an environment where prayer is acceptable (and actually practiced!). Thank you, Momma Goose.

My grandma is dying.

Grandma (my dad's mom) has had Pulmonary Fibrosis for a couple of years now.
What is Pulmonary Fibrosis? (from:
Pulmonary Fibrosis involves scarring of the lung. Gradually, the air sacs of the lungs become replaced by fibrotic tissue. When the scar forms, the tissue becomes thicker causing an irreversible loss of the tissue’s ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream.

Basically, your lung capacity lessens until you suffocate. Not a fun disease. When I last saw my Grandma, she was on oxygen nearly all of the time. She could remove it for a few minutes at a time, but not too long. That was 17 months ago. Unfortunately, we live about 12 hours apart, so visiting often is not an option. Here's a photo of the last time we were together.

Normally, I'm fairly good about sending updated photos to our grandparents. However, I have been slacking this year. I realized that I hadn't sent any photos recently, so I created a photo book on Snapfish for Grandma. I know that she hasn't been doing well lately, so I thought it might cheer her up to see pics of her great-grandsons. Plus, I wanted to remind her of how much we love her. Well, the photo book took forever to get printed and I've been getting updates from my parents frequently... Grandma has taken another turn for the worse. It looks like it will be days or weeks, not months before she passes on. The photo book finally arrived on Saturday and this morning before I went to work, I was preparing to mail it. Well, you can't just stick a photo book into an envelope... you've got to write a note to go with it.

Have you ever written a letter to someone knowing that it may not arrive in time? Or knowing that the letter will most likely be the last time that person hears from you before they die? That was the hardest letter I have ever had to write. What do you say to someone who may only have days to live? How can you say all of the things you ever wanted to tell them in one short, handwritten letter? What do you say to someone who has no hope? Can you impact eternity with a stroke of a pen?

I don't know where Grandma is going when she dies. She has been a Catholic all of her life. Yet, I don't know if she has ever accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. My parents, brothers & I have prayed for her salvation for years and years... I know that where Grandma is going for eternity is between her & God. I just hope and pray that I will see her in heaven someday.

“What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the
meaning of life.”- Emil Brunner
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for
and certain of what we do not see."
Hebrews 11:1

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Weather phenomenon

It's a strange thing about living several states away from your extended family... you suddenly start getting phone calls to see if you are okay when the Weather Channel says bad weather came through the area. :o) It's nice to be loved, but it always cracks me up when someone calls to see if we are flooded when it didn't flood anywhere near us! Anything near Texas is near enough to warrant a phone call. How about when Katrina hit southeast Texas and New Orleans? Yep - phone calls to see if we are getting bad weather too. We are as close to Katrina's wrath as central Illinois is to the Wisconsin Dells. Ah, well... again, it is good to be loved.

So, the weather channel says that the high today was near 90 and tomorrow's high is supposed to be 60. Wow! We dug around in the neatly labeled clothing bins in the boys' closets and found some long sleeved shirts and pants for them to wear to school tomorrow. I always love the change of seasons. You've gotta love growing boys that certainly don't fit into the pants that you filed away so neatly last fall thinking that they'd be able to wear it for another season. Digging through Franklin's jeans, I think we stumbled upon ONE solitary pair of jeans that do NOT have holes in the knees. (if you have boys, you know what i'm talking about!)

And so the seasons of life carry on and the boys continue to outgrow (or wear out) their clothes...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What's the deal?

Why all of the references to castles, kings & queens? When Tommie was picking his yahoo e-mail address, he decided to be the king. So, I said that if he was the king, that makes me the queen! So, we became the king and queen of Payne. With a last name like Payne, you get a lot of name jokes. It is a challenge to come up with e-mail addresses and children's names that don't fit the "pain" connotation. If you take the Payne name in its historical form - Queen's English, it makes you think of royalty and regality. (Is that a word - regality?) Regal-ness? We once even had a website that was The Payne Kingdom with our three little princes' photos on it. :o)

Thank you,, for this "regal" information:

/ˈrigəl/ –adjective
1. of or pertaining to a king; royal: the regal power.

2. befitting or resembling a king.

3. stately; splendid.

re·gal·ly, adverb

re·gal·ness, noun

re·gal'i·ty (rĭ-gāl'ĭ-tē) n.

My first blog

I have been thinking about blogging for quite a while. I have read many a blog & I thoroughly enjoy regularly reading the blogs of my friends. I guess I'm nervous that no one will read it or find it entertaining... I am a people watcher & one of the most entertaining ways to "watch" people is by reading their inner thoughts on a blog. My hope is that through this blog, I will be able to process my daily thoughts & emotions and spare my husband the drama! (*jk*)

What do you put in your first blog? Do you just dive into a rant or rave? Do you spend some time introducing yourself? Is an introduction really necessary? I mean, who's going to read this anyway?!?! I'm kinda hoping it will just get buried into the rest of the blogs and no one will go all the way back to the beginning to find out how silly it was! :o) Maybe I will blog and blog and blog and not tell anyone who knows me that I even have one. It will be my own private journal that can be publicly read... how's that for irony? Maybe no one will ever know that this exists.

Then, how do you decide how much personal information to give away? Do I go by a code name? Do I spill all? Do I tell where I work, or keep it strictly to my personal life? I'm the type of person who wears her emotions on her sleeve. If I'm having a bad day, you know it. If I'm excited, you know it. I guarantee this won't be one of those - "my life is all rosy" blogs. Reality, people!! Everyone has good days & bad days. I have good moments & bad moments. Sometimes I say things I shouldn't say out loud... I'm fairly unedited in my regular life. I guess that's yet another thing I can work on improving. :o)

I guess I'll just be me. No false effort of trying to be some amazing blogger. If it stinks, that's okay - because it's mine, right?

Here I am, blog world, take me for who I am or leave me... lol