Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall Weather

I love fall weather. I love being able to turn off the air conditioner and open the windows. And not just because I'm cheap! It's beautiful outside today and the temperature is just perfect, with a wonderful breeze. The sun is shining, the sky is blue and the clouds are perfectly white. I drove with my windows down on my way home for lunch and then on the way back. And the wind in my hair felt AMAZING!

And when I looked up at the sky all I could think of was that I was looking straight into heaven. I could just imagine Logan and the other children he's met up there, jumping from cloud to cloud the way earthly children jump on a trampoline. And I remembered that even last year, when I was going through the worst of my grief, cool sunny days like this made me smile. The tears were still there, but they were happy tears. Tears of relief knowing that all days in Heaven are sunny and cool.

A good friend of mine lost his brother yesterday and I truly believe that God is grieving with the family, but at the same time, he's rejoicing that his son is home. I'm going to choose to believe that's why today is such a gloriously beautiful day, because Heaven is having a big Welcome Home Party!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Things I Never Thought I'd Do

There are lots of things in life we dream of doing: getting married, having a family, getting a job, owning a home. But have you ever thought about the things you've done that you NEVER in your wildest dreams would have seen yourself doing. And in addition to that, have you thought about the way your life would be different if you hadn't done those things. Here's my list:

1. Live in Alabama

2. Go to college in Alabama - this is one I fought fiercely until I found Troy

3. Own a lizard, reptile or amphibian as a pet - and we've had 8

4. Buy a brand new house as my first house

5. Have an inside dog

6. Like the color pink

7. Buy clothes for my dog - most especially pink clothes!

8. Stay in the hospital for 14 days

9. Spend 17 days visiting a NICU

10. Watch my child die

11. Watch my husband's pain when our child died

12. Pick out a burial site for my son and arrange his funeral

13. Be extremely thankful for each of the 17 days we got with our son

14. Visit a cemetery on a weekly basis

15. Explain to a 5-year-old why we don't step on the grass at the cemetery and upon explanation, be asked "But his head's not in there right?", try explaining THAT one!

16. Make flower arrangements

17. Advocate for March of Dimes

18. Understand when other Mother's lose their children and be there to tell them I understand

19. Have a garden

20. Have four dogs living at my house at one time

Some of these things may seem sad, but they have shaped me into the woman, wife and mother that I am. For example, when we first lost Logan, all I could think about was that 17 days was not enough. But as I met more and more women who had lost their children I realized how much 17 days really is. If someone walked up to me then and said my son was going to die and did I choose for him to die after 17 days or after 2 months, I would have chosen the 2 months. In the same way, people who's baby was born still or who had a miscarriage would probably choose the 17 days we got.

So even the sad things have changed my life in a positive way. I'm so much more grateful now than I was before. I recently watched a documentary about a 16-year-old girl that never grew bigger than an 8 or 9-month-old baby. She has some kind of never-before-seen disease that has kept her from growing and developing. And the father said that if someone came and gave him a pill that would make his daughter a normal 16-year-old he wouldn't take it because he loved his daughter just the way she is. I'm not that strong. If someone gave me a magic way to change the outcome, I would jump on it in a heartbeat. But I can also appreciate the change in me, the change I can create, because of the obstacles in my life.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Football & Photography

I'm not really a sports fan.

So maybe I should have thought a little bit before marrying an ex-football player.

Doug LOVES sports. Pretty much any sport will do: football, baseball, NASCAR, etc. And it doesn't even matter what team is playing. A couple of weeks ago he sat down to watch the Miami vs. Florida State game and I asked who he was cheering for. When he told me that he didn't really like either team, I immediately asked why we were watching. His answer? "I know it will be a good game".

Me on the other hand, I have to have a team to cheer for to watch sports. As a teenager, I watched baseball to cheer for my beloved Braves (who aren't really so beloved to me anymore). When Doug and I started dating and I was forced asked to watch more and more NFL, I started cheering for the Titans and the Colts. When NASCAR season came around, I picked Tony Stewart as MY driver (mostly because he wasn't Dale Earnhart Jr.).

So, when Doug asked me to go to the Troy vs. Florida game with him I agreed only because I would be watching Troy. But while I was there (in an attempt to keep me on the field instead of the press box), I found a way to enjoy football!

A lot of stadiums will not let you stay on the sidelines unless you are doing something. So I took my Nikon D60 and took pictures throughout the game.

My camera and lenses (while very nice) don't hold a candle to the cameras and lenses the professionals use at these games, so I didn't expect to get much.

After the game, Doug and I stayed the night in a town about an hour north of Gainesville. At the hotel, I plugged in my camera card to see what I had gotten. It was then that I decided to search out editing software.

If you don't have editing software or you haven't tried it out, you NEED to google Picasa! It's free and while it probably wouldn't stand up to the amazing things Photoshop and Lightroom can do, for the price, it's amazing. Let me just show you:



Picasa even allows you to create a collage by simply selecting the pictures you want and then clicking one button:

So I guess what I'm saying is, I may be enjoying football more now. And I'm definitely enjoying my photography more!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Captivating Cocoons Become Beautiful Butterflies!

We caught one!
Well, okay, Doug caught one! The picture above I took this morning before I left for work. You can see the orange coloring of one of the wings through the cocoon. Then before Doug left he noticed that the butterfly was completely out so he snapped this one.
Amazing, huh!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's that time of year again...

If you have a husband and you live anywhere in the South you know what a Football Widow is. In fact, you probably are one. Football season is in full swing and for us Football Widows that means a whole lot of time spent with our husbands glued to the TV and completely unresponsive unless you're asking if they want a refill.

In fact, my husband said just the other day that this coming weekend is the ultimate sports weekend. High School football is in it's 3rd week, College Football is in it's 2nd week, NFL starts this weekend, NASCAR is having it's last race before the Chase (that's the playoffs so to speak), and the MLB is finalizing their playoff teams. So get ready to lose your husbands' this weekend (maybe we should plan a BIG shopping trip ladies!)

For me, being a Football Widow is a little different. I'm actually more of a Local News Widow, depending on how you look at it. Because for us, football season means that Doug will be gone until 10pm or later every Friday and gone for most, if not all, of the day Saturday. Last weekend went like this: Doug got home around 2pm. We did a few things around the house before going out to the cemetery. When we got back home I fixed Doug's dinner and he was out the door by 5:30. He got back home around 10 and was gone again the next morning before 11. It was a somewhat odd week because the Crimson Tide was playing in Atlanta so Doug wasn't home until 5am. And that was just the first week.

One positive thing football season does give me is time. Time to work on my scrapbooks, do some sewing, clean the house (as much or as little as I want), and watch what I want to watch on TV for once!

Oh and just so you know, two of our cocoons hatched (for lack of a better word). I didn't catch the butterflies emerging but hopefully I'll catch one of the remaining 14 :)