Friday, December 30, 2011

How Lucky We Are

I am exhausted.
It has been a long time since I have had to function on so little sleep.
Roger and I got to the hotel room 4am our time,  3am Nashville, Tn time.

The Zac Brown Band concert was great!
I loved the energy of the big venue. 
I have never before experienced that. I have always wanted to attend a big concert but people have always discouraged me, saying that I wouldn't like it, that the performer would look like an ant and that the concert goers would annoy me. Basically everyone has always told me that I would have a miserable time. In fact, when Roger gave me the tickets for Christmas he even said "now you'll finally learn how absolutely misrable attending a concert in an arena is."

I ended up loving all the things that everyone told me that I would hate.
I knew I would!

The concert made for some WONDERFUL people watching and I LOVE to people watch!
The people behind us were wasted before they even got in their seats. They were a bit younger than us and VERY loud. They yelled out "WOW!" (in a really funny voice) all through the concert when the lights changed and "oh shit, oh shit",  exchanging friendly punches, anytime the band started singing one of their favorite songs.  They danced the ENTIRE time. At one point they started discussing the solo cups that their beer came in and decided to collect the cups and take them home "these cups look sturdy enough for the dish washer. Hey and they look like GREAT cups for beer pong!"

To me, the drunk country dudes were all part of the experience, and I was eating it up.  
I laughed sooooo hard.
I'm not quite sure Roger thought the same.

In the stand right below us stood 3 young guys dressed in jeans, plaid shirts and baseball caps. They too danced all......night......long. They kept getting so excited that they would exchange hugs 
with one another and high five each other after each hug. They reminded Roger and I of our friends Nathan, Colt and Justin.  At the end of the concert the three guys decided to hug any and everyone that they could reach. This also included the event staff that they managed to chase down.

singing along

trying to chase down the event staff

she wasn't really that into getting hugged

For some reason some strange rapper dude came out on the stage with the Zac Brown Band (it was really weird), all three of the guys stood completely still, saying "what the hell is THAT."   
Roger and I had a blast watching the 3 dudes stop dancing and exchange awkward glances amongst each other.
"hey Rog, the country boys don't like the rap."

The warmth of the concert made me feel as if I were at an old fashioned front porch picking.......with THOUSANDS of people packet on the front porch.  

Once the concert was over I was a bit nervous about the logistics of getting that many people out of the arena. It was packed. A sold out concert. 
Roger and I had to hold hands tightly to keep from being pushed apart by the sea of people heading towards the stairs and exits. I will admit that I got a tad bit panicked and started feeling a little claustrophobic.  But I ended up relaxing and thoroughly enjoy the experience of it all. 
It was amazing to see that many people in one area.

Once outside of the arena the sea of people completely filled up Broadway in downtown Nashville,Tn. 
It was incredible.
There were people all over the place.
The police, in anticipation of the concert being let out, had shut off the roads to traffic. 

Our good friends Amanda and Travis attended the concert as well.
In fact, before the concert began Amanda and I stood and waved at one another from across the arena.
"Hey can you see me?"
After the concert was over at 11pm we decided to meet up with Amanda and Travis for drinks at my new favorite place on Broadway, Layla's Bluegrass Hillbilly and Country Inn.

Earlier that day, way before the concert, Roger and I took to hopping in and out of each music venue, sampling music. We both fell in LOVE with the music that was played in Layla's.  
Me- "Roger THIS is the kind of music that I adore!  THIS!! THIS!!!  I LOVE THIS!!!!"
Roger- "Jessica, you need to stop telling people you like country music because what you really like is what they call roots music." 
Me- "WHAT?  ROOTS WHAT??   who cares. Let's dance!"

 In Nashville, as you might imagine, any place you walk into, at any hour of the day, on any day, has someone playing live music. As Amanda said at the end of our evening, as she stepped out of Layla's Bluegrass Hillbilly and Country Inn and onto Broadway "Welcome to Nashville!  Where dreams come to die."  
So many musicians fill all of those little stages and so few of them actually "make it."

Amanda and Travis were having their first night away from their 11 month old daughter. My duty was to make sure Amanda didn't try to sneak away with her phone to check on the baby "amanda, the baby is fine!  no need to call. If something were to happen I'm pretty sure your mom would call you. Now put that phone away and lets dance!"

On the drive to Nashville, Tn I wrote this in my journal
"Roger and I are on our way to Nashville, Tennessee! We are listening to the song January Wedding by Avett Brothers. The sun in shining vey brightly. I kinda feel like we are going on our honeymoon and our life is some sort of indie film. This moment is so beautiful. I want to package it up nicely and put it in my pocket. I am so in love with the man to my left. He gets me when no one else in the world does. I love sharing my existence with him!"

Roger surprised me with a hotel room in Nashville so we were able to stay out as late as we wanted and not worry about having to drive all the way back home. 
Roger -"Merry Christmas!"  
Me- "you are too sweet!  now that is pretty darn hot, getting me a hotel room for christmas, don't ya think?!?"

It is always so nice to have those long dates with my husband that extend for several days. 
When you are trying to raise a little family,  your relationship often times gets put on the back burner. These long dates away from the demands of child rearing are vital to our relationship. 
Keeping this marriage strong is one of the most important things to Roger and I. 

(I'm so appreciative to our parents for watching our children.)

This morning the hotel was having trouble with the water heater so we got a BIG discount on our stay and a FREEZING cold shower.  
But I'm tell ya, the cold shower was well worth the money that we saved.
I kinda feel like we cheated the system!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Country Songs That Make me Smile

So I am standing in my kitchen listening to my country station on Pandora, drinking a glass of wine.  It's another lonely friday night. 
Roger has to work late. 
Christmas Eve is tomorrow. 
The kids are super hyper. 
I am antsy for a date night.  
I'm tired of these friday nights full of sweat pants, old college tshirts and a bottle of wine.

I NEED a date night. 

Roger got me tickets to see The Zac Brown Band in Nashville Tn. 
I am so flipping excited. I'm excited about the concert.
 I'm excited about spending a WHOLE day exploring Nashville.
 I'm excited about being completely alone with Roger!!  
I'm excited that Roger is sucking it up and doing something I want to do for a change. 
That is so darn romantic don't ya think?!?!?

When we were dating I took Roger out on the family farm to enjoy a day full of 4 wheeler riding. He refused to get on the 4 wheeler, clamming that it smelt like cow poo, "well what do you expect it to smell like. Flowers. We ride it through a cow pasture." The day ended up being Roger sitting on the side lines while my brother and I rode. 

When we first got married Roger refused to let me listen to country music. When I say 'he refused to let me" what I mean to say is that any time he caught me listening to country music he would make fun of me to the point that I would turn it off.  For years I have had to sneak around to listen to it.

This past year things have changed.  I've pretty much let my whole self hang out. It's kinda my way of saying THIS is who I am so deal with it.  

it's been VERY refreshing! 

In the past year Roger has agreed to let me teach him how to ride the dirt bike, has agreed to one day in the future buy a small farm with me and has bought tickets for us to go see one of my new favorite country music bands in Nashville Tn.  Just a couple of weeks ago he even sang along with me to an Alan Jackson song in the car!!!!   This new husband that I have all of a sudden, seems so incredibly hot to me!  I can't keep my hands off of him!  My heart skips a beat when he walks in the door!   I feel like a giddy school girl whenever I am around him.  

I guess this is how he feels about me when I ask him to borrow one of his seminary books!?!?

Just for the heck of it, I have compiled a list of some of my favorite country songs. They are in no particular order.

This is what I do when I am antsy on a friday night!  i dance in my kitchen with a glass of wine, just waiting for my husband to get home so I can attack him with kisses! 

The little man - Alan Jackson

Fishin' In The Dark - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (love love LOVE this one)

When you say nothing at all - Alison Krauss

You never even called me by my name - David Allen Coe

Forever and Ever Amen - Randy Travis

You Aint Woman Enough (to take my man) - Loretta Lynn

Marry Me - Dolly Parton

Different Kind of Fine - The Zac Brown Band   (this is my gym song! everyone has a gym song right?)

All your Life - The Band Perry

I Just Realized - Matt Wertz

Sunday, December 18, 2011

sharing an old journal entry from college

 Yesterday I was looking through some old journal entries from back when I was in college.
Now keep in mind that when I graduated from college in 2007 I had already been married for 3 years, had a 2 year old son and a job as an orderly at a state psychiatric hospital.
It was a CRAZY time in my life that I look back on now and feel that it made me a stronger person. 

I wrote this journal entry after a particularly hard day.
It was finals week of my senior year. ( fall semester 2006)

Yesterday my morning went like this. I got up about 7am took a shower. Got paul up and fed him and me breakfast. TRIED to fix my hair while Paul pulled on the hairdryer and screamed at my feet. Got him dressed. Got myself dressed. Then came the big fight. I had to put his shoes and jacket on. I placed his socks on then he pulled them off. I put them back on and he pulled them off again. That happened about 5times. I FINALLY got his shoes on. Then came the jacket fight. I put it on...he took it off. Then he ran down the hall screaming. So I gave up and just walked out the front door. He followed and I grabbed him fast and put on the jacket and zipped it up before he had a chance to take it off. I started putting him in the carseat and realized he had pooped (AHHHHHHH) I went back in the house and changed him. I got him back in the car and started driving to the daycare only to realize that I had forgotten my backpack. I went back to the house got my backpack and then finally dropped Paul off at daycare. I rushed to campus and ran to class. 

Today Roger had to take off work to watch a sick Paul
Our son has Rubelle and I have finals and major class projects on my mind. I am so tired.

When I got home for my lunch break between class I found Roger being so handsome and sweet,  cooking us beef stew for dinner!!! I then found mr paul in the bath soaking because of the rubelle.  I also found a surprise in there. He had pooped in the TUB. AHHHHHHH    So on my lunch break, between class, I had to clean poop out of the tub and then feed the baby.

On top of all that I have tons of research to do, finals to study for and what ever else gets thrown at me. Oh and I HAVE A JOB...yes I work, go to school and take care of a 1yr old. 

The other college kids have no clue how hard this is.  I am so tired of hearing them talk about how stressed out they are over finals.  I feel like yelling SHUT UP.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

We are nearing the end of the semester!

Welp folks, it is nearing the end of the school semester! Which means I am seeing a LOT of this.....

And this.......

The poor husband is completely worn out.
This is his last year of seminary and by far the hardest. 

The good news is that the kids are still thriving in this exhausting environment!

Paul is still enjoying sneaking around the house playing practical jokes and setting up booby trabs. A word of warning to those parents of young children who CAN NOT wait until their child is old enough to enjoy the movie Home Alone.  Be prepared for a Kevin in YOUR house.

Anna is still VERY talkative and a tad bit demanding of any and everyones time.
The child NEVER stops playing baby doll and restaurant.
Today we had to take the baby dolls with us to the fitness center.
It was quite adorable.

Meet my grandchildren!   Sarah and Sarah.

She LOVES the name sarah for some reason.

She refuses to let me take any pictures of her so this is all I got.

I however, am NOT thriving in this environment.  On most days there are seconds throughout that day that I feel like I could either explode, run away or find a corner to cry in.

I am emotionally drained.

The constant go go go go go and breaking up fights and little people in my face at all times of the day and night has been a LOT to deal with on top of the whole semester of seminary thing.

I look like utter CRAP on most days because I have NO chance to really get dressed.
It is a miracle that I even have clothes on.
As soon as i get out of the shower there is SOMEONE or SOMETHING needing my utmost attention....IMMEDIATELY.  

As I was taking out the trash before heading out to pick paul up from school Anna mentioned how funny I looked.

welp, I guess I do look pretty darn funny but at least you are clean, dressed and have a full belly!!!



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Anna's 7 days of Terror

The past 7 days have been pretty darn interesting in the Jasper House.

Anna Catherine is my ENERGY child. She goes and goes and goes and when she gets tired she goes even more in order to keep herself up.  
She is the child that tests my patience on a daily basis.
She is child that I believe God gave me to make me a more humble person.

On Tuesday evening while I was sitting in the living room, the kids playing in the bathtub, I kept hearing this sloshing sound. When I went into the bathroom to investigate I was startled by a bathroom COVERED in water. And I do mean COVERED. Anna was standing in the tub full of water with a BIG plastic cup in her hand. She was filling the cup with the bathwater and then sloshing the water ALL OVER the bathroom, soaking the floors, walls, the toilet and even the toilet paper. 

I was so tired by that point in the long day that I simply got her out of the tub, kicking and screaming, dressed her and made her help me clean up the mess.  Not saying a thing until I had calmed myself down enough to speak to her calmly.  

On Monday while I was unloading the groceries and making Anna lunch, she snuck off into the bathroom, filled the sink full of water and ripped off squares of toilet paper, one at a time, and mixed them into the sink, clogging the bathroom sink with a WHOLE ROLE of toilet paper. 

On Sunday morning, while Anna was eating breakfast, she informed me, matter of factly, without anger, that she wanted a new mommy. I told her that I would miss her terribly but that I understood if she felt she needed to live elsewhere. I opened the back door and wished her luck. She informed me that she couldn't leave just yet because she was in her underwear and asked if I could get her dressed.  
I did, pig tails and all.

I jumped in the shower while Anna and Paul played, thinking that her grand idea to find a new mother had ended. When I got out of the shower I heard a LOT of crashing sounds coming from the living room.
 I ran through the house soaking wet, in a towel, and THIS is what I found.

Anna was taking every toy out of her room and was "packing" them up. She even had her tooth brush, tooth paste and mouthwash packed..

Paul said he wasn't going to go with Anna because he thought I was "the best, most funniest mom in the whole entire world." He then folded up a little quilt that he made at Vacation Bible School, handed it to Anna and said "take this so you'll remember me. I want you to have it."

I was running a bit late for church (like always) so I rushed back to the bathroom to get ready. When I came back out to gather up the kids, Paul looked at me sadly as he carried a big bunch of his toys into the living room, "Mom, I've decided to go with Anna. She's my best friend. I can come visit you any time."

At church Anna asked Ms Carla if SHE would be her new mommy.

After church, when Carla left without Anna, Anna got REALLY upset. I calmed her down by saying "Anna, you have to go back home to get your stuff before you move out."
I was thinking that by the time we got home she would forget about the whole new mommy thing.

Well, she didn't.

While she was in the bathroom she yelled out "Mom. Can you come wipe my butt?"
I said "remember Anna, I'm not your mom anymore. But I'll gladly call Ms Carla to come wipe your butt. however, it might take her a while to get over here."

She yelled again, "MOM. can you come wipe  my butt?  PLEASE?!?!?! I've changed my mind. I don't want a new mommy. Can you please come wipe my butt?"

On Wednesday of that same week Anna emptied all of the hand soap into a travel coffee mug. We STILL haven't gotten all of the bubbles out of the travel mug. Not to mention that she wasted a WHOLE container of hand soap. 

On Thursday Anna spent the ENTIRE day going around the house locking all of the doors and shutting them.  Any time I wanted to go into a room I had to hunt down something to pick the lock. At one point she ended up locking herself in her room and her brother in the bathroom.

On Friday while we were trying to decorate the tree as a family, Anna INSISTED that she do it all by herself.  THIS is was the end result.

She is seriously a nut.

Paul, as the big brother, has his hands full with this little bundle of energy.

I try my best just to sit back with a cup of tension tamer tea and enjoy the craziness that is my life.
(click the link to order some for yourself)

To finish off the 7 days of complete havoc, I found Anna butt naked in my room last night (saturday night) drawing a master piece on the mirror with my lipstick. "hey ROGER. Come check out what your daughter is doing?"   

Shortly before that she had taken my brand new ball of really good yarn and attempted to "knit" with it. Making a MASSIVE knot for me to spend the rest of the evening trying to untangle. 

Anna is such a funny, strong willed, little girl that seems so incredibly curious about the world and the people in it. My Dad says she reminds him of a little Jessica. I must have been a hoot to have around as a child and a heck of a lot of work.
Man oh Man.

Ps: Roger redecorated the tree once the bundle of energy crashed in her bed.

side note: Anna is now wearing 4t in clothes size and just moved from a car seat to a booster seat this morning. Oh my goodness she is growing up so fast.  I can't believe she is nearing the 4 year mark.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Talking with the Cardiologist

This morning I had my annual pacemaker check up.
It doesn't matter what the news is, every single time, the whole car ride there is filled with anxiety and the whole car ride home is filled with tears.

Throughout the year I don't allow myself to dwell on the fact that I have a serious heart condition.
I just go on living my life and dealing with the stuff that each day brings.
But for some reason, that car ride to and from the appointment  gets me every time.

I start thinking about my future and my past, dwelling on all of the negative stuff in my life regarding my heart condition. I start wondering if I will get to see my children become adults and become curious as to whether or not Roger will remarry after I die.
During that car ride the thought that runs through my mind  over and over again is "I am going to die young."

I know, it's really stupid to think like that and that is exactly why I don't do it but for 30 minutes each year.
I get really sappy on that darn car ride.

When you are 27 years old, sitting on an exam table, hooked up to an EKG machine and a pacemaker checker machine thingy ma bob, it is kinda scary.
It's scary when your doctor says that 96% of the time your own heart is NOT beating on its own and that the pacemaker is working THAT much. 
My own heart beats only 4% of the time? 
That scares me.

It is scary to think of HOW much my heart has changed over the past 20 years.  From medicine to pacemakers.  How much worse will it get and how fast?
I met a girl with my EXACT SAME condition a few years ago. She is in a wheel chair and on oxygen.

That scares me.

The cardiologist found a few things today that  my pacemaker had picked up from my heart and decided to set me up to have a halter monitor that I will wear for 30 days.  I'm kinda dreading wearing that darn thing for 30 days, especially over the holidays, but I am excited to possibly figure out why I have been having these awful symptoms. 

When I got home this afternoon Roger allowed me to cry for about 15 min before telling me how absolutely  ridiculous I was for even thinking such negative thoughts. He gave me a ginormous bear hug, "jess stop."
I agreed, laughed and began to feel a LOT better.

Now it is off take care of these two rambunctious kids who BOTH happen to be sick today.
They both have a doctors appointment tomorrow afternoon so hopefully we can kick this little illness, that they both seem to have, in the butt before the holidays!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wendell Berry

I just now got a chance to read a small section of the Wendell Berry book, Traveling at Home, that Roger got me for our "12 years together" anniversary. I have yet to read any other author  that mesmerizes me and moves me with their words like Wendell Berry does.  His books have been the only books capable of evoking so much emotion from me. While I am reading them I truly feel lost in his field of words.
(I'll admit it, I cried while reading Hannah Coulter and The Memory of Old Jack.)

I began reading Wendell Berry's novels after the sudden death of a very kind old lady in our church, Mrs. Emily.  Mrs. Emily was the sweet childless widow that sat in the pew behind mine. We both shared a love for mangos and she would occasionally bring me one to church if she noticed they were "good and ripe at the grocery store." Every Friday Mrs. Emily would drive to Lexington, an hours drive, to get her hair fixed.  She formed a bridge club in her younger days that she still had going and never missed a Bridge game with her gals. 

We didn't really know much else about Mrs. Emily until the day we were called with the terrible news that she was on her death bed. You see, all that time that Mrs. Emily was bringing me mangos and patting me on the back with a big smile as she sat down in the pew behind mine, she was suffering with colon cancer that she was refusing treatment for. She later told us why, "I'm old and tired of fightin' to live. let me go home"

As we walked into her old, beautifully decorated, farm house to meet with her one last time. I couldn't help selfishly wishing, as I sat by her beside, that I had a little more time to get to know Mrs. Emily, to hear her story. 

She asked Roger to officiate her graveside funeral. 
It was his first funeral.  
A reception for close family and friends was held afterwards at Mrs. Emily's house.  
As I stood in the foyer of this grand old home, now empty of its last owner, yet full of her memories, I overheard someone say "It is weird being in here with those curtains open.  Emily always had the curtains closed."  As I stood in the foyer, looking out the windows, I could see Mrs. Emily's grave. I then found out that she did in fact have a child, a son, that had passed away at a young age, shortly after the sudden death of her husband. 
No wonder she kept her curtains closed.  
Mrs.Emily lived in the house directly across the street from the grave yard. The front windows faced the exact spot where her little family had been buried. 

A few days after Mrs. Emily's funeral my husband handed me my first Wendell Berry book, Hannah Coulter. Reading through that book somehow helped me mourn the death of Mrs. Emily. It gave me a small sense of closure even though I still wonder about Mrs. Emily's life story.

Tonight while reading through the first section of Wendell Berry's book, Traveling at Home, which is about this old man going for his daily walk across his property with his dog, the words began to fill me with memories of my Grandfather (pawpaw).  For the 15 minutes that it took me to savor the first little section of the book, I felt as if I were walking around in my Grandfather's mind. I love that about Wendell Berry's novels. He has such a unique gift for writing down the wonderings and ramblings of the simple minded in such a poetic way. 

I am brought comfort, unexplainable comfort, through his writing. 

I hope to one day pass these novels on to my children and grandchildren.

This is a picture of Wendell Berry and me following one of his poetry readings.