My Family

My Family

Monday, December 19, 2011

Getting ready for Christmas

So once again, it's been a while since I have written on here. Shameful? Probably. But this is a blog for a working mother. So finding time during the day is hard, and by the time the little one goes to bed at night, I am exhausted. Today I am manning the front phone for a few hours, so I have time to start this.

Fabric Advent CalendarsAs much as I didn't want to, we partook in the Santa part of Christmas. I can't destroy an image that has been around for years, but I wanted my children's Christmas to remain focused on the celebration of the birth of Jesus. We have the 'Elf on the Shelf' game that we do to keep Jeanne on her toes. I did find a cute advent calendar to count down to Jesus birthday. She enjoys helping me put the manager scene together each day.


We are very much looking forward to the Christmas holidays. I love being around my family. Today is my husband and my second anniversary. We have had our ups and downs, working through what has been called the "7 year itch". I love him dearly and I love that he is a great father with Jeanne. We are going eat at an old favorite tonight! I am looking forward to it.

We are heading to family this weekend for our big Christmas celebration. We usually start off at 4 pm Mass then to my grandparent's house for Christmas Eve. We have done this every year since I was born, except the year of Hurricane Rita (my family and grandparents lost our home, so we had gathering at my Godparent's house). We grandkids usually do a skit for the adults, then sing, eat, exchange gifts, and have a jolly old time. Jeanne is older now, so I am looking forward to her reaction to it all.

After Christmas, we are planning to go skiing. I am not so much looking forward to this trip. Well, not to the air plane ride with a toddler. I am ready for the snow. I apologize ahead of time if you are on the flight with us. I have never taken a toddler on a plane, and she is normally not a fussy child, but that is a long time to be good.

Well, I am probably not going to be on till after Christmas. So for all that read this, Merry Christmas!

"And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her." -Luke 1:26-38

Friday, December 2, 2011

Catch up

I can't believe I have let this blog go an entire month without an entry! How embarrassing. Time to play catch-up:
Jeanne is doing well at her new day care. She plays well with her classmates, eats well, and sleeps well. She does cry when I arrive to take her home. I watch her in the window and she is perfectly fine. Then I walk in the door, she drops whatever she is playing with, starts crying and runs to me. Shawn has no problems when he drops her off in the mornings. She opens her arms wide for the teacher. When I bring her, it is before her teacher is there, so we go in another classroom, and Jeanne does not like it. She holds on tight to my legs and cries hard. I end up handing her to that class's teacher and rushing out, trying not to cry myself. Jeanne's teacher usually arrives 5-10 minutes after I leave, and I am told Jeanne is much happier then.


We went back to Erath/Lafayette for Thanksgiving. It was nice to see all the family. It is hard driving back and forth so that everyone gets to see Jeanne. So we usually split the trip evenly. It is only hardest on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, etc because everyone thinks they need to see us that day. We did lunch at my mom's, then drove to Lafayette to see Shawn's family that night. Then went back to Erath on the Friday/Saturday and finally back to Lafayette on the Saturday/Sunday. We were exhausted.


We took Jeanne to go see Santa this week. It was free at Bass Pro Shop. I'm not convinced that Jeanne is crying because of Santa. I honestly don't think she saw him. I was holding her towards me, placed her down, and slowly backed up. She didn't appreciate it at all. I guess we have separation anxiety issues to work through...


Work has been crazy busy. Busy enough that I am not looking forward to training classes I enrolled in because they are falling at inconvenient times. I travelled to the bottom of our region this week for an incident just to find out that the incident actually happened right over the line in the next region. Yay for driving 3 hours for nothing.

I am so tired lately when I get home. Could be from the lack of sleep. I fall asleep fine, but for some reason if I wake up, I have the hardest time getting back to sleep. Most of the time, I end up lying awake in bed for the rest of the night. It is no fun. If it keeps up, I know I need to see a doctor. I don't want the waking up to become habit. My mind just starts wondering. About work, , moving, finding a house, finding a job, the possibility of us staying, growing old...
Well I really need to get some work done. I will try better to keep more up-to-date entries.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

All Saint's Day

I am trying to work on my knowledge of the Catholic faith. This is what I gather (please bare with me):

Honoring Christian martyrs was celebrated on May 13, back in the fourth century. Pope Gregory IV moved the date to November 1 in 844. Some scholars believe this was to cannonize some pagan celebrations around the same time. In 1484, it was established Feasts of All Saints, and was now a holy day of obligation. On All Saint's Day, we are remembering the glories of Heaven and those there.

All Soul's Day is now celebrated on November 2. We pray for those who have died and are in purgatory, we pray for the cleansing of their venial sins. Praying for souls can be found in the Bible in 2 Maccabees 12:41-42 and 2 Timothy 1:18. There are two plenary indulgences (remission in whole or in part of the temporal punishment due to sin) applicable to the souls in purgatory: Visiting a church and visiting a cemetery. The Our Father and Hail Mary must be recited for the intentions each day the indulgence is sought, along with receiving Holy Communion. A confession must be made within 7 days for the soul to obtain a complete indulgence. Only one can be granted per day.

I read somewhere that there are three stages to death: when the soul leaves the body, when we lay the dead in the ground, and when we stop thinking of the one we lost. As Catholics, All Souls Day helps us to never forget those who have gone before us. Please take time November 2 to pass by a church and pray. Someone's soul may need it.

Of course there is so much more information out there. Maybe by next year, I will be able to write a full blog on each!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Change

So, my coworker told me last week she had a job interview at a position in Houston on Friday. I wished her luck. In my mind, I knew she had everything they wanted and she would be a perfect candiate. But still, when she told me Monday that she got the job, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I guess in my little world, people don't leave. They just say they are, but never really do. I have come to realize here lately, that is anything but true. People leave. Jobs come, opportunities arise, and of course they would be silly to pass it up. They always say they will keep in touch, but after a while, the emails are further and further apart. Soon it's just a post on facebook around holidays. I know this. I left my friends behind when I went to college. Then I came back, and left all my college friends. Then my best friend left with her husband for Texas. My new friend left with her husband for Shreveport. I caught back up with them the next year though. Sadly, 3 years later they left for Baton Rouge. Another coworker friend left for Maryland. Now this one. *sigh*


There is a chance that we may see each other again. My husband is interviewing in Houston for residency. I'm not looking forward to saying goodbye. She has been my best friend since I started work. I hae learned to be patient from her, be more loving and understanding. I joined the wonderful world of tea, cloth diapers, baby wearing, breastfeeding, attachement parenting, etc. She is a delight to be around. She was there for me my whole pregnancy, and I was there for her second pregnancy. I love her little family, her kids are so happy.

Change is inevitable. And it stinks.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Daycare

I have deicded that I want to move Jeanne into a more structured preschool. Don't get me wrong, I love the in-home daycare she has been in the last 18 months. I wanted Jeanne to have lots of one on one time and cuddle time when she was little. But now she is older, and I want her to start learning her colors, numbers, etc at a pace relative to other kids her age.

My husband wasn't as keen on moving her as I was. I completely understand his reasons why. Jeanne has been there since she was 6 weeks old. We know and trust her daycare provider. We don't know these people at her soon to be new preschool. But I know she will love it once she gets adjusted. It reminds me of the preschool I went to. I have such fond memories from going to Humpty Dumpty.

The hard part is telling her now provider. My husband kept saying he wasn't gonna "break her heart", that I would have to. I know she will be sad, but she will be understanding. She works with families that are in the air force, and they come and go all the time. I am just uncomfortable with confrontations. I just want Jeanne to be around more kids her age. Right now, there is an infant, Jeanne, then kids that are 3 and older. So I get to be the meany tonight...
 

Trick-or-Treat

Of course no can have the same idea about where our now version of trick-or-treat comes from. So here is a collaboration of what I have read.
 
Some historians find trick-or-treat to come from the 9th century practice in which Christians went door to door asking for a "soul cake", which was a square piece of cake with fruits in it. The recepient would promise to pray for the givers deceased relatives. The scripture showing Christians praying for the souls of the dead can be found in 2 Mac. 12:38-46.
 
Trick-or-treating is done on Halloween night. Halloween is the contraction of All Hallow's Eve. Christians believe at certain times of the year, the realm separating earth from Purgatory, heaven, and even hell becomes more thin, and the souls in Purgatory (ghosts) and demons can be more readily seen. Thus the tradition of Halloween costumes owes as much, if not more, to Christian belief as to Celtic tradition.
 
I don't see anything with Catholic or Christian families allowing their children to participate in Halloween or trick-or-treat activities. I have seen several Catholic Churches having Halloween carnivals, where kids dress up and play games, and some have a Trunk-or-treat, where members of the church gather at the parking lot, and kids get goodies from trunk to trunk of peoples' cars. As long as we educate our children about the reason behind All Hallow's Eve, All Saint's Day, and All Soul's Day, there should be no reason to have a little fun. Of course, avoiding decor and costumes that exemplify witches and devils is common sense. There is no reason that skeletons should be feared. They can be healthy reminders of human mortaility.


Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween, All Hallow's Eve, All Saint's Day, All Soul's Day

I was sent this link today:
Read into it what you want. After watching this, I did my own research on the Catholic views of Halloween festivities that are done today. After gathering information from several sites, I have a better understanding about where the trick-or-treat and costume craziness comes from.
I decided that from here till Halloween, I would do some research about how Catholics honor the parts of All Hallow's Eve, All Saint's Day, and All Soul's Day.

Today is the Jack O'Lantern. I don't remember being told this tale, but here is what I found online. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Halloween/jack-o-lantern.asp
Jack, the Irish say, grew up in a simple village where he earned a reputation for cleverness as well as laziness. He applied his fine intelligence to wiggling out of any work that was asked of him, preferring to lie under a solitary oak endlessly whittling. In order to earn money to spend at the local pub, he looked for an "easy shilling" from gambling, a pastime at which he excelled. In his whole life he never made a single enemy, never made a single friend and never performed a selfless act for anyone.
 
One Halloween, as it happened, the time came for him to die. When the devil arrived to take his soul, Jack was lazily drinking at the pub and asked permission to finish his ale. The devil agreed, and Jack thought fast. "If you really have any power," he said slyly, "you could transform yourself into a shilling."
 
The devil snorted at such child’s play and instantly changed himself into a shilling. Jack grabbed the coin. He held it tight in his hand, which bore a cross-shaped scar. The power of the cross kept the devil imprisoned there, for everyone knows the devil is powerless when faced with the cross. Jack would not let the devil free until he granted him another year of life. Jack figured that would be plenty of time to repent. The devil left Jack at the pub.
 


The year rolled around to the next Halloween, but Jack never got around to repenting. Again the devil appeared to claim his soul, and again Jack bargained, this time challenging him to a game of dice, an offer Satan could never resist, but a game that Jack excelled at. The devil threw snake eyes—two ones—and was about to haul him off, but Jack used a pair of dice he himself had whittled. When they landed as two threes, forming the T-shape of a cross, once again the devil was powerless. Jack bargained for more time to repent.
 
He kept thinking he’d get around to repentance later, at the last possible minute. But the agreed-upon day arrived and death took him by surprise. The devil hadn’t showed up and Jack soon found out why not. Before he knew it Jack was in front of the pearly gates. St. Peter shook his head sadly and could not admit him, because in his whole life Jack had never performed a single selfless act. Then Jack presented himself before the gates of hell, but the devil was still seething. Satan refused to have anything to do with him.
 
"Where can I go?" cried Jack. "How can I see in the darkness?"
The devil tossed a burning coal into a hollow pumpkin and ordered him to wander forever with only the pumpkin to light his path. From that day to this he has been called "Jack o’ the Lantern." Sometimes he appears on Halloween!
Of course, there are different versions of his actions with the devil. But I gather the important part of this story is Jack not being let into Heaven because he had not done a single selfless act in his life.

"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish." Luke 6:36

Goodbyes

Watching my husband carry the casket of the woman who raised him was hard. Watching him say his last goodbyes was harder. After we returned home, my husband let go and cried. Hard. I've never seen him come undone like that before. Granny was more than just his grandmother. As I have said previously, she practically raised him. His mom had to work long hours to bring in enough money for him and his 2 siblings, so Granny was there with him before and after school. She was such an incredible person. I read the readings at the funeral. This is a poem a close family friend wrote for the Eulogy:

One hundred years
The things you've seen
I won't forget
What you've taught me
From cotton fields
To your great grandkid
We all remember
The things you did
You'd tell us stories
And beat us in cards
You'd watch us play
Out in the yard
You're watching now
From up above
Checking on
The ones you love
You'll comfort us
From way up high
While you play a game
Of Scrabble in the sky

Saying goodbye is never easy. We know Granny is in a better place. She and her brother and sisters are with the Lord now. Shawn still seems lost. I can see in his eyes that this healing process will take a while. So Jeanne and I do our best to cheer him up. Jeanne does a great job because she does not yet understand loss. She climbs up in his lap, smiles a big smile and says "Hi dada!" It works wonderfully.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Death

Death is a part of life. Whether anticipated with the elderly, or sudden with accidents or illness, death is not easy to deal with.

My husband's grandmother passed away this morning. Granny was such an inspiring woman. She often talked about picking cotton when she was young, or rocking babies, or the big flood of 1927. That was my favorite story. She taught my husband how to cook. She became a grandmother in her 70's and got her high school diploma then too. She crocheted baby blankets for all new babies in the family. Jeanne has one and our best friends' little girl has one too. When she spoke, you listened. She was a big part of my husband's life. Everyone who knew her was blessed to have met her. She celebrated 100 years on this earth. She had a stroke before her last birthday, which is never an easy to come back from. The last few months, she stayed in a hospital bed in her home.

When his mom called at 4 this morning, I just knew. She went peacefully in her sleep. No more tubes and monitors. No more constant care. She is with all the angels that went on before her. It doesn't make it any easier. I wept with my husband this morning. I am sad for his family. She lived a long, full life while here. We will miss you dearly, Granny.
Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of the faithful departed
through the mercy of God rest in peace.
Amen.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ghosts of the past

My mom sent me a copy of a highschool friend's wedding announcement (She text me it this time, instead of cutting it out to mail me). Seeing his face made me reminisce about high school. He was on the football team, but not your average jock. He was SUPER smart, in kind of a nerdy way. We dated for a while (he would take me to the coffee shop to play Jenga, and kiss my hand goodnight), but some religious disagreements made us go our separate ways. I still always had the utmost respect for him. He is marrying a beautiful girl and I wish them the best.

So I text another good guy friend, asking if he saw the article. This guy friend and I had been friends throughout highschool, college, and still now. We started talking about highschool band and competitions, bus rides, dances, parties, and times we all (our group of friends) used to hang out. Growing up in our small town had it's downfall, but I had a great group of friends I could count on no matter what. This guy and I almost had our chance to date after college, but were both afraid the other wasn't into us. We did talk about that too last night. And laughed about it. The conversation did end with "No matter the past, I am so thankful for how my life turned out. Bc if there were any changes, I wouldn't have Jeanne." This is so true. It is fun to dive into memories, as long as you don't let the "what if's" swallow you.
Here is a blast from the past:



How things have changed! I do love the memories I have from highschool. That time is what helped make me the strong woman I am today. I will never forget all the fun I had, and I hope that my daughter finds a great group of friends when she gets older, so she can have great memories too.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Emergency response

So this past weekend was my turn on the ER pager duty. What is ER you ask? In our work, we have a guy that covers emergency response incidents (chemical spills, well blow outs, etc). That is his job 24/7. To help him out, we rotate on weekends so he gets a break.

This past weekend, I was fixing to fall asleep at 9:30 Saturday night, when the phone rang. Someone called in an H2S leak in Zwolle, which is 2 hours from my house. Ugh. So I got up, got dressed, got to the office and found some better air monitoring equipment that I had in my vehicle. I called a coworker (we need a buddy system when air monitoring) and went pick him up. We left his house at 11:00 pm. Around 11:30, we got a call from the State Police Hazmat on site saying it was not H2S, but just a salt water leak. Phew! We were still needed, but at least it wasn't as bad. I told him we were already on our way. I realized shortly after, I had missed the exit to head to Mansfield, so we went on to Natchitoches. We stopped at a gas station, and at 12:30 am that Hazmat guy called saying the leak was contained and we could go home. Yay us. At least we didn't get all the way to Zwolle to hear this. I arrived back home at 2 am.

I was determined to sleep in that day. So when Jeanne woke up at 7:15, I made Shawn go tend to her. But of course, the mommy in me wouldn't go back to sleep. I got  up at 7:45 and showered. Shawn and Jeanne came in shortly after with Jeanne pouting. I guess daddy doesn't do mornings as good as mommy.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Future possibilities

Yes I know this is the third post in a day, but I am trying to catch up.

So far Shawn has gotten interview invitations to East Tennessee State University, Baylor @Dallas, University of Florida (Gainsville), Vanderbilt (Memphis), University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Tulane. We are excited with this future interviews for a possible residency position. The closest one to our family is Tulane, as it is 2 hours from Lafayette. ETSU is 16 hours away, UF is 10.5 hours away, UAB is about 7.25 hours away, and Baylor about 6.5 hours. I am not going to let distance get in my vision of this, since it is not up to me. I don't want to seem anxious about any school, and let that cloud Shawn's judgement. There are pros and cons to every program, so time will tell. He will know more about each school after interviews, and be able to make a top 10 list. It's funny that we still haven't heard from LSUHSC Shreveport, where he is in medical school.

On another note, my parents were supposed to be coming up today to stay with us a few days. Mom texted me yesterday saying Dad was having trouble with his work computer, and it needs to be fixed before he leaves on the 28th. It's not something that a computer guru can fix, but has to go through his company. So Dad could leave on Tuesday to bring the computer to Houston and fly out from there (he works in Africa). But he decided to stay behind and bring it today to Houston. I am completely bummed, but used to it. Dad has worked overseas for as long as I can remember, meaning he was not in often for birthdays or holidays. We got used to it after a while, and were that much more excited the next birthday/holiday when he was around.

I am bummed because Jeanne won't see him until Christmas. I am on call for Veteran's Day, and Dad is going hunting for Thanksgiving. Not that Jeanne knows any better. Maybe the fact that she is missing him is bringing back the old pangs of us missing him. I am mad that he didn't figure this computer thing out earlier so he could come. I know it is hard for him every time he has to say goodbye, especially when it comes to Jeanne. That doesn't make it easier for the fact that I won't see him till Christmas either. Being 4 hours away means less time I get to see him, which makes the possibility of moving further away that much harder...

A day in the life of an air inspector

So I am training some coworker in the air regulations, and took them with me on a Title V permit inspection the other day. A facility requires a Title V permit when they emit 10 tpy of any single hazardous air pollutant, or 25 tpy of any combination of HAPs.

So we arrive at the facility, and begin with records review. We are required to review all Title V required annual and semiannual reports, as well as any specific requirment records and reports for each individual emission source on site. For this particular site, records review took almost 2 hours. Which is not bad.

Next we conducted a facility tour. During the tour, we checked for leaks using a Cosmometer:
Then I checked a boiler's heat source:

We are looking for any emission problems, as well as spills, hazardous wastes, etc during the tour. This lasted about an hour and a half. We did note a few oil spills onsite, but besides that, they were in compliance with their Title V air permit.

Next month, I am inspecting a refinery that is over twice the size of this gas plant. It will take a while to review the permit before we go, so I will be busy.



Camping trip

So we (husband, baby, and I) went camping at Lake Ouachita this past weekend. It was awesome! A cool 54 degrees when we arrived (it's been 108 here in Shreveport), slight drizzle didn't stop us from setting up our tent. Jeanne was excited to explore the outdoors. She touched every rock and stick she found, and licked trees. I kid you not. Here is Shawn bringing her back up the hill after she tried to get to the water
We enjoyed hot dogs and smores that night over a camp fire. I made the mistake of trying to lay down with Jeanne when it was her bedtime. She is used to being put to bed, in the dark, by herself. So she ran all around the tent, climbing all over the air mattresses, laying on top of my, patting my face, etc, until around 3am. Then she fell asleep.

The next morning, of course she was sleepy. But she was a good sport. We walked around, played near the lake (it was still too cold to get in), chased ants, and talked to all the other kids at the lake.We enjoyed bacon and eggs on the camp fire.

 





















 That afternoon, we did go play in the water. Though slightly cool, Jeanne enjoyed splashing in the lake and bringing rocks from the bank into the water. She grew quite a rock garden while there:

That night, for bedtime, I put her in the tent, said "Night night," and zipped her in. She was asleep within 20 minutes. We did not want to leave camp. It was beautiful and open. We got back to Shreveport and it was 87 outside and I was sweating unloading our stuff from the car. I can't wait until we go back again!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Work grief

So I had my morning planned to go conduct inspections that need to be done soon. I was heading out the door when my manager forwarded an email from my manager. A citizen group was requesting information for a specific industry, and my manager wanted the information by noon. No problem. Except that the group didn't define what they were looking for. So my supervisor, manager, DCL and I talked back and forth trying to figure out a solution to what this group wanted. We began looking at our online database. I worked on a spreadsheet that they group forwarded, so that all our information wouldn't get lost. After an hour or so of back and forth on the phone, I thought "Why don't we just call this group and ask them exactly what they want, instead of trying to guess." So I left a message.

They called back during lunch, so when I returned, I told my supervisor we needed to call the group back. He called my manager, and they decided they were not going to call them back and I got a little rebuke for calling the group in the first place. I got fussed for taking the initiative to try and find out exactly what was meant in her email so we wouldn't be wasting time trying to guess. So we have spent 4+ hours so far working on this information that we aren't even sure is the right information to begin with. And looking in our database for information from as far back as 2005 is NOT easy. If all this info is pooled together, and sent, and the group says that is not what they wanted, I am going to get mad. I am already mad about not calling them. Why don't men take the easier route? Instead of wasting our efforts and resources, we could find out detailed instructions about what they want. Men.

Needless to say, I have to wait until Monday to go conduct my inspections.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happy birthday to the Blessed Mother

My coworker and I were talking about her son's birthday, which is today, September 8. I said that it is also my grandmother's 85 birthday (I called and left the birthday song on her voicemail). I then said that it is the Blessed Mother's birthday. My coworker asked me how I knew. I told her I had remembered for a while. I guess I learned it in college in bible study, and realized it was the same day at my grandmother, and since then was always able to remember their birthday.

My coworker and I then discussed the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated on December 8. My coworker thought that the Immaculate Conception referred to when Mary conceived Jesus. I said no, this was her conception we celebrate because we perceive her soul to have been conceived without sin. My coworker is not Catholic, and had never heard that Mary was without sin. I knew I had been taught that, so I had to do some internet research. There is nothing specific in the Bible stating such, but there are several areas that construe she was without sin:
http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1223
"In Luke 1:28 the angel Gabriel, speaking on God’s behalf, addresses Mary as “full of grace” (or “highly favored”). In that context this phrase means that Mary is receiving all the special divine help necessary for the task ahead. However, the Church grows in understanding with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit led the Church, especially non-theologians, to the insight that Mary had to be the most perfect work of God next to the Incarnation. Or rather, Mary’s intimate association with the Incarnation called for the special involvement of God in Mary’s whole life. The logic of piety helped God’s people to believe that Mary was full of grace and free of sin from the first moment of her existence. Moreover, this great privilege of Mary is the highlight of all that God has done in Jesus. Rightly understood, the incomparable holiness of Mary shows forth the incomparable goodness of God."

We celebrate the Conception on December 8, which nine months later would be September 8, today, which we celebrate as her birthday!
http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/MARYBRTH.HTM
"The present Feast forms a link between the New and the Old Testament. It shows that Truth succeeds symbols and figures and that the New Covenant replaces the Old. Hence, all creation sings with joy, exults, and participates in the joy of this day.... This is, in fact, the day on which the Creator of the world constructed His temple; today is the day on which by a stupendous project a creature becomes the preferred dwelling of the Creator" (Saint Andrew of Crete).
"Let us celebrate with joy the birth of the Virgin Mary, of whom was born the Sun of Justice.... Her birth constitutes the hope and the light of salvation for the whole world.... Her image is light for the whole Christian people" (From the Liturgy).
As these texts so clearly indicate, an atmosphere of joy and light pervades the Birth of the Virgin Mary."

So today is a very special day. Today we celebrate the birth of the Mother of Christ.

Oversleeping after a long night

So yesterday was going well. Shawn had Jeanne playing outside while I finished dinner (after just coming in from work). I was putting laundry to dry and a box by the door to be recycled and saw that I accidentally locked the door. When I went to open it, I heard Jeanne screaming. I went outside to see what was going on. Shawn told me they were coming inside, and he was letting Jeanne walk up the stairs. Jeanne had stumbled, and our dog Clive was running passed her at the same time, causing her to loose her balance and fall backwards on the cement pavement. I could see Shawn was almost as shook up as Jeanne was, so I took Jeanne inside and rocked her as she drank some juice. Of course I was worried about her hitting her head, but she showed no signs of immediate danger.

After her juice, we had dinner, and then Jeanne watched a Baby Einstein dvd. There is this one puppet that scares her, and she cries each time. I thought it was a hippo, but I am not sure. But it scares her bad! She will see it, start crying, run up to me panting and hold my arm tight until the puppet is off the screen (note to self, fast forward through this clip!).

We put her down at 8 for bed, and she fell asleep fast. About 1:30 A.M., I heard her crying. I fixed her some milk and rocked her and put her back to bed. As soon as I got to my bed, I heard her crying again. So I fixed a little more milk, added some tylenol (thinking that she may have had a headache from hitting her head?) and rocked her some more. I was trying to decide if I should bring her back to my bed. Normally, even if she is falling asleep in my arms, by the time I get across the house to my bed, she is wide awake and wants to play. So I decided to take her to the living room to the recliner. I rocked until she was falling asleep. As soon as I put the foot part up to recline, she was bright eyed ready to play. *Sigh* It was 3:00 A.M. by this time, and I was rather sleepy. So I rocked her again, and then brought her back to her room. I had to rub her back a little to calm her (I don't think she wanted to go back to bed). She cried for another 15 minutes and then fell asleep.

When my alarm went off at 6 this morning, I was not ready to get up. "Just a few more minutes," I thought. Then I opened my eyes and saw it was 6:40!! Ugh. So I rushed to dress and get ready for work, got Shawn up, got Jeanne ready, threw some pancakes in the toaster, and drove to Starbucks for my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season. Ahhhh the joys of being a working mother.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A little here, a little there

So this past weekend was a blast! We went to Baton Rouge to spend the weekend with very close family friends. Our daughters are 4 weeks apart in age. The wife and I were best friends the last three years. We were both pregnant with our first babies togther, and enjoyed the first year of their lives together. They moved in June since the husband is now in residency in BR. We haven't seen them since they moved.
When the girls first saw each other, it was like they haven't been apart a day! Jl quickly came up to Jeanne and took her to the toys to play. We ended up staying up till 10 that night, and Jeanne is usually asleep for 8, but she was having such a great time!

On the last day, we were sad to leave them. I did cry on the way back because it is hard being 4 hours away from someone you are so close to. We will plan another trip as soon as we can.

Anyway, to the joys of being a working mother...
I asked my husband to unpack the suitcase on Tuesday when he was finished class, as I was still at work. I get in at 5 after picking up Jeanne, and the suitcase was on our bedroom floor and Jeanne and my clothes were thrown on my bed. At least the suitcase was unpacked.

That is the worst part of going on a trip. Having to unpack when you get home. I still have stuff needing to be put away, but after working 8 hours a day, then spending the next two hours with a very active little girl, I am exhausted once she falls asleep. So there is still a little here, and a little there. Maybe I'll get to it this weekend.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Being a mother

My husband and I have made plans to go to Baton Rouge this weekend to visit our very good friends. The husband was in medical school here last year, and is the parrain of our daughter. Shawn is the parrain of their daughter, who is 4 weeks younger than ours. We haven't seen them, except for Skype, since June. Since Shawn and I have off Monday, we thought it would be a great trip.

Well now there is a little tropical wave in the gulf. My mom has gone into full "mother mode" telling me not to bother making plans to go out anywhere because they are predicting 10-20 inches of rain. The meterologists in Baton Rouge are not that concerned, saying a 40% chance of rain, and call it an upper pressure system. Mom says to bring a sweater bc the high is going to be 88. And she even made the comment that J and K should have just come to visit us up here, since they will probably have to be running from the storm.

We grew up in south Louisiana. If you take I-49 to Lafayette, head south to the Vermilion Bay, then go back north about 10 miles, that's where we lives. We are all very familiar with hurricanes, being prepared, running from storms, and what aftermath looks like. We did lose our home with Hurricane Rita (NOT Katrina). My only assumption of why my mom is getting all frantic about us going visit with this possible tropical wave coming in, is that she is only doing what she knows best: trying to protect her children. I am sure one day, I will be doing the same thing with Jeanne.

Jeanne showing off her cool lunchbox


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Recycling

So I work for the Dept of Environmental Quality. You would think that I would be more apt to recycle. Well it wasn't until recently that I thought the same thing. We don't have a curb recycle program in Bossier, so all materials to be recycled have to be brought to the recycle place. I didn't have extra bins to hold the recyclables. And whatever other excuse I could find is why I wasn't.

One big step was the cloth diapers. We started that a year ago with Jeanne, and haven't looked back since. After having to convince myself it was not as scary as I thought, I switched to cloth panty liners also. It's just as easy to through a liner in the hamper as it is the wastebasket. The ones I bought can be folded and snapped so it doesn't actually touch the clothes until they all go in the wash. I just began using them last week. Again, haven't looked back. These two changes are also about the money savings as well as the environmental benefits. Yes a box of 25 liners may only cost $2.00, but 3 cloth liners at $11.00 evens out after 5-6 months. Then you don't have to pay for any more. The same with cloth diapers. I figured Jeanne would use 7000 disposable diapers before being potty trained. That's almost $2000! I spent only $400 on cloth and they can be reused.

A week or so ago, we forgot to put the trash by the road. So the next week we had double the trash. We tried to stuff as much as we could in the house can because the outside was too full. As I watched us pile up plastic bottles and boxes on top, I realized that I should recycle. We drink 2 gallons of milk a week, and 1 64 oz bottle of juice. That's half of a trash bag already. Plus the can goods, newspapers, shredded mail, etc. It only makes sense to recycle these and not stuff them in the landfill. I have conducted inspections out there. I know what they look like. And most landfills only have a 10 year plan. Once it's 10 years, they just cover it up, and move over and start again. It's a never ending cycle of piling up and burying waste.

So I figured I could just keep bins for recycling, and bring it to the recycle place once or twice a week during weekly compliance runs. Makes me feel a little better about the landfills I inspect.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Emergency response weekends

So with my job in DEQ surveillance, we help with emergency response incidents, which include overturned tankers, gas well blowouts, chemical spills, etc. This also requires us to be on the weekend rotation. It's not so bad since it's once every 6 weeks and we know ahead when our weekend is. The hard part for me is being anxious about getting a call in the night.

So last night I got to bed early intending on going to sleep early in case I got a call. Well early sleep didn't happen bc I got caught up in the book I'm reading, Explanations of Catholic Morals (this book is deep, but that's another blog post). I lucked out in that I didn't get called out during the night. I got a call at 7:10 this morning though. At 10:50 I'm still onsite, awaiting the trailer to be unloaded and the totes to be transferred. Seems like I am the only one who has a fast button here...

I haven't got to see Jeanne yet. Left before she was awake. I did try to talk to her on the phone this morning. I don't think she was happy that I was on the phone and not there. Did I mention I'm not the biggest fan of leaving her? Just another day in the life of a working mother.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Love of a Child

It's been a while since I've posted. I had a busy week. Two coworkers left this week. I moved into one of their offices. It's much bigger! I feel so small in it though, like I have big shoes to fill.

My little love bug has become so much more loving, and very often wants to share her love. She enjoys giving hugs and kisses. She will walk up to us and throw her arms out for hugs. Of course her kisses for her daddy or more like head butts. Hehe

She dances and sways and shakes her booty more when she hears music. She cut up so much with Clive tonight, taking his bone and running, then giggling when he'd find her.

Shawn bathes her and I give her milk, then put her to bed. Watching her while she drank her sippy cup, her little eyes trying to stay open to look at me, her little hand holding my shirt. When I kissed her forehead, I had a sensation come over me. Kissing a small child, a gift from God, made me feel so much closer to Him. I said our prayers (bc Jeanne can't yet), and put Jeanne to bed. I hate the feeling when my arms let go in that first instant. If I could, I would hold her in my arms all night. I'm taken aback at the beauty of a child dreaming, maybe of her angels. Again, it makes me feel closer to God. So I will end this blog by thanking Him again for what He has blessed me with.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Child to work day...

I was very excited to get Jeanne back from my mom on Saturday. I had missed her so much. With all the stories mom had to tell me, I knew she would miss having Jeanne. She told me my dad didn't want to be there when she loaded up Jeanne, because he missed her already. My husband was so excited to see Jeanne, and vice versa. She even hugged the dog a few times once she was home.

Fast forward to today. Daycare is closed today (family vacation) and Shawn is taking his Step 2 Board exam. So Jeanne is with me at work. So I am not getting as much work done as I need. Of course finding the time to write my blog wasn't so hard. I have plenty of inspections ready to go, I just can't do them today obviously. So I'm sitting at my desk, watching Jeanne run around my office. It is her lunch time, and I am sure a nap is needed. A coworker is bringing me lunch. After that, if I can't get her to sleep here, we will have to go home. I just don't have much time off available. Ugh. It doesn't help that we don't have any one here that could watch her. All my good friends work with me, so that's out of the question. We don't live near family. *SIGH* I need to go change a diaper...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Little feet, little voices

I am so ready for tomorrow. I will be meeting my mom in Alexandria so I can pick up my little girl. She stay at her Noni and Pop's this week, as my dad was in from work overseas and my sister hadn't started her new semester yet. I have received daily emails of all she is doing, along with pictures and videos. I am so ready to see her "happy feet" and hear her jibber jabber language. When it is quiet at the house, I hear her laughter and her little feet running down the hall.

As happy as I am to have her back because of all this, I know it will be that much harder for my mom to have Jeanne leave. She has gotten used to the little voices and the little feet. It is sad that we live 4 hours away and can't visit more often. This is how it has to be with Shawn in school. And it may be further next year. Time will tell.

I need to run to a doctor's appointment.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Date night followed by a busy day

So last night, my husband and I had a date night (something we haven't had in a while), since Jeanne is at mom's for the week. We ate at Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro on the Boardwalk. It was so good! We started with the crab and crawfish bake for an appetizer (along with a chocolatini for me). For the main course, I enjoyed the ahi tuna steak with garlic potatoes and steamed spinach. It was wonderful!! Shawn had the mahi mahi tuna with garlic potatoes and succotash. For dessert, I had the death by chocolate cheesecake (I had a free cheesecake coupon from my birthday) and Shawn had the strawberry topped cheesecake. We very much enjoyed the evening, though it was rather quiet once we got back home. I miss my little girl, but I get regular updates of how much fun she is having at Noni and Pop's.

Today I got to begin training two inspectors for our Title V air inspections. We inspected an oil and gas facility. I am training two because we are fixing to loose the other air inspector,  and I may be leaving Shreveport come June, so we need to have competent inspectors before then. It was an easy inspection since the facility was one of the smaller ones. My coworkers did fine on their first inspection. They will continue to tag along for a few months before they actually conduct the inspection on their own. I know they will do great!

I hate the thought of the possibility of us leaving in June. Shawn will find out where his residency is in March, and then will begin July 1. We will not know exactly where we are going until March. The only input he really has is that he will get interviewed by places he potentially want to go, then he will rank his top 10. That data goes into a computer, and the schools he interviewed at will rank their interviewees. Whatever matches best will be where we go. I love the possibility of a new adventure, but I don't want to leave my friends that I have become close to here. We already lost some really close friends this passed June as they were a year ahead of Shawn. We always have phone calls and facebook, and the occassional drive to the other's house. But in all honesty, I know it will become further and further apart as people grow and move on. It is so hard that one of my best friends, the person who shared a first pregancy with me, and we watched our little girls first year together, had to move away. I have already gotten close to my female coworkers. They have become my friends. I don't want to leave them and feel all this again next year... But I have already told my husband wherever he needs to go for his residency is where the baby and I will be. And heart ache or not, I will be with my husband next year.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Books

I have always loved to read. I love to get lost in the pages and I can usually see myself as one of the characters in the book. I remember being little, and having summer activites at our local library and checking out books. I couldn't wait until we got to go back so I could get more. We read books with Jeanne everyday, hoping to instill the same love for books.

Of course since, Jeanne, I haven't had as much time to read. I got caught up in crochet tasks for a wile, then cloth diaper making tasks, etc. I couldn't even think of trying to find books at a store with Jeanne, having her pull books off the shelf and such.

Shawn gave me a Nook for my birthday, and I have been putting it to use. I am currently reading The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. I need ideas for other good books. Whoever reads this, please share a few of your favorites.

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

I have recently joined St. Parish's Blogs. Through them, I have encountered a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share their best posts with each other. My weekly post would be the one I posted yesterday about time for prayer. I think it is essential for every Catholic to find the time in the day for prayer. And I am trying to grow in my faith, so I am working on this.



http://aworkingmotherssoapbox.blogspot.com/2011/08/time-for-prayer.html

Here is the page I am talking about in reference to the weekly posts:
http://rannthisthat.blogspot.com/2011/08/sunday-snippets-catholic-carnival.html

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Time for prayer

So I went to Mass at the church I grew up in today, since I went to Erath for the weekend. They have a new priest, Father Melancon, but he was actually in Shreveport this weekend. There was a visiting priest from St. Genevive Church in Lafayette. The Gospel today was Jesus walking towards the disciples on the water (Matthew 14:22-33). The priest's homily talked about how before the disciples went on the boat, they were with Jesus as he fed the crowds. Then Jesus dismissed the people and dimissed the disciples so He could pray. The priest pointed out that we all need to take the time to pray, whether it be in the car to work, when cooking dinner, after tucking the kids in bed, etc. He said when people have family over on Sundays to visit, they lose track of time and don't make it to Mass. He tells them when he hears this, that they should say to their family that they need their time to pray, and invite the family to Mass also. What greater way to disciple to others than by showing your family you keep God first.

So it got me thinking about finding times to pray. And the more I thought about it the more I realized I have LOTS of time to pray that I don't take advantage of. I always say prayers before bedtime. I just don't take advantage of my time during the day. It takes 12 minutes to drive from the daycare to work. I go home for lunch almost everyday. Then 12 minutes from worm to daycare in the afternoon. That's 40 minutes right there. And there are several here and there minutes here and there throughout the day that I can find.

So I ask those who follow my blog: can you find time to spare during your busy day to pray?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Happy and sad times

So this weekend, I am taking my little one down to south Louisiana to spend a week at my mom's. I am excited to go visit, and it is my younger brother's birthday, but I am already dreading Sunday having to leave without her. It's going to be a long week... But my husband and I will have a chance to have a date or two and some much needed alone time. I feel we have been neglecting each other lately. Work has been so busy and a bit stressed with our boss retiring, coworker (that I depend on) leaving, new manager, etc. I leave work, pick up Jeanne from daycare, go home, cook dinner, play with Jeanne, get small chores done, and I am pooped by the time we put her to bed. My husband does his share in the chores and dinner, but he is also studying for his Step 2 for the boards (did I say yet that he is in medical school?) Ugh.

I made a pot of potato and sausage stew last night. It was wonderful!! I thought I'd share the recipe for whoever reads this:
6 medium-large sized red potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
¼ lb smoked sausage (we use Richard’s or Savoie’s from the store if we don’t have some from back south), sliced ¼’ thick
Vegetable oil
Water


Add just enough oil to cover bottom of large soup pot. Heat oil over medium heat. Add potatoes and sausage. Season with salt and pepper. Fry for 3 minutes. Add enough water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat to low-medium. Simmer for 25 minutes. Remove cover and allow to boil for 20-30 more minutes, or until potatoes are soft and stew thickens. Some oil may remain on top. May want to skim before serving.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Family Tree

So, when I was pregnant with Jeanne, I got a 'wild hair' as my mom calls it, and decided to go to ancestry.com to research my geneology. I worked on it a good while towards the end of my pregnancy, as I had already finished most of my inspections for work. Recently I have gotten back online to look at it again and have found several other families with the same tree 'branches' that include us. So with their data, I can see how BIG our tree is. I can date my family back to 1550's in France. It gives me a pretty neat feeling to see that. I wish I could post the link so everyone can see, but the site is out to make money.  If you really wanted to see it, you can send me your email and I can invite you for free to my personal page to see it.

I don't have very much information on Shawn's family yet. I am trying to gather it, but his family is slow at responding to me. Shawn didn't meet his grandfathers (they passed away before he was born) so he couldn't help with their families. Granny is 100 and not doing well, so I want to try to get any information I can before she decides it is time to go home.

The website is a great way to search for deceased ancestors. They do not publicly show living relatives in searches, unless it is in a census report, and those are hard to find for the living. I will work on mine as much as I can in the next few weeks and then export all the information to a file and cancel my subscription. That way I can just edit the file and maybe later redo the subscription just to update the online file.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'm not 21 anymore

So my coworker and I decided to go a mini girl's night at her house last night and watch the finale of The Bachelorette. We ate some dinner, dessert, turned on the show, and started on some really good white russians. After the show, and post show, we stayed up talking.  I got to learn a lot about her last night, outside of a working friendship. We had such a good time, full of laughter. After 4 white russians, and seeing that it was 1:30 in the morning, we decided we better get some sleep. I did not drive home, don't worry. I stayed in her spare bedroom. 5:30 came way too soon..... So we are both struggling a little at work this morning, but we will be fine. When I first saw her this morning at work, she asked, "What the heck were we thinking?" I was pleased on the outcome of the show. :-)

We will definitly not be doing this again for a while. At least not on a work night.

My husband laughed at me when I came in this morning. I'm sure I had a sheepish look on my face because I felt silly being old and staying out drinking. But again, it was fun!

I have to go now. Have a dentist appointment this morning. I'm having a filling replaced. Boo...

Monday, July 25, 2011

A much needed weekend

So after a very busy (but the most fun I've had in a while) previous weekend, I was looking forward to a relaxing weekend at home. I have recently gotten into bringing coupons and local sale ads to Wal-Mart to do my weekly grocery shopping. Since I started, I have saved an average of $20 a week, and I have become excited to shop and see what deals I will catch.

Anywho... I was getting ready to go shopping when my husband asked if we wanted to go to the river with some friends. You have to understand I am the type of person that when my mind is set on one thing, it takes a bit of convincing to change it. But I am so glad I did! We (Shawn, Jeanne, and I) met a married couple, who we have gotten close to, at the river and went out to a sand dune. It was so much fun. Jeanne loved walking on the sand and playing in the water. Of course she had a little life vest on.

After an hour or two, we headed back and we were all worn out. I'm glad we went out with our friends. I did end up going shopping that afternoon, and saved $19.04. Yay!

The rest of the weekend was relaxing. We just hung around the house getting things done (yard work, gardening, cleaning, etc). I have been working on newborn hats for a friend that does photo shoots. Here is a picture of the hats that I just finished for her:
I have a few more I am still working on for her. When I get busy around the house, it seems like one thing after another keeps preventing me from finishing.

I have really been enjoying watching my baby grow up. Not that I want her to grow up any faster. She has recently started giving BIG hugs. She will come up to me when I'm in the kitchen and wrap herself around my leg, squeeze, then walk away. And if I am on the floor, she will come up to me, through her little arms around my neck and hug me tight. We are a hugging family, so I love this! When trying to feed her this weekend, she threw something on the ground. I told her no, and she batted her little eye lashes at me, trying to make me change my mind. I am doomed!


Friday, July 22, 2011

Where to start...

This blog will be used as an outlet for me. All my life I had plans and goals, and I expected them to happen in a certain order. Of course God didn't have that same course drawn out for me. I come from a small town in south Louisiana. Growing up in a small town, you know just about everyone. I made great friends that stayed my friends all the way through school. By the time I became a Senior, I was itching for more than the small life had to offer. So I headed to Monroe.

I started college in Pre-Pharmacy. Due to the politics of the school, I wasn't on the "in" list, though I was more than qualified. That was the first kink in my plan. So I switched to Toxicology. I made some great friends that I still hold dear. After a fall out with my then fiance', I headed back to the big ole' town of Erath. Another kink. I got a job at an environmental laboratory, where I later met my husband. He was accepted into medical school in Shreveport, so we moved together. No we weren't married, but that was a choice we made. He propsed to me in Jamaica during a vacation I won. I was on top of the world, picking out colors, flowers, buying my wedding dress... That which happened 2 days before I found out I was pregnant. Yet another kink.

But I realized that at 25 years old, with a state job, a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree, I had NOTHING to be ashamed of. To me, this baby growing inside me was the greatest gift God has ever bestowed upon me. And I very well let that be known to any and every one who gave me a side eye when they noticed I was not wearing a wedding band.

My husband and I welcomed our sweet baby girl into our lives 4 months after our wedding day. Ready or not, we were parents. I breastfed my daughter for the first 7 months, and wish I could have gone longer, but an infection and mediciation cut that short. At 6 months, a very good friend introduced me to cloth diapers and baby wearing. My daughter is the light of my life and I thank God every day for the path he has given me. People constantly say "what if" when looking back on their lives. Any change in your life would mean you wouldn't be who or where you are today. There is no way I would change a single thing, moment, decision, etc in my life. My little family is perfect. You can take us as is, or leave. :-)