Monthly Archives: January 2013

Colorado. Day 1

It is amazing how much I enjoy relaxing when I am forced to relax. I can’t relax at home. There is always too many things that I think need to be done: laundry, meals, cleaning, sleeping, etc. Today I was forced to sit on an airplane for almost five hours. I slept, started a book, read an entire DIY magazine, and began typing this blog post. I loved it! I was even blessed with an entire row to myself. I actually laid down across all three seats and took a nap. How fabulous it that?!?

Am now reading the book “Cutting For Stone” by Abraham Verghese. I have wanted to read this book for years but never bothered to get it. Now I have the perfect opportunity. Embarrassingly enough, I had to look up the definition of over five words within the first ten pages. I could have read it without the meaning of the word, but why not? I am on vacation! This just proves that I need to read more often and sharpen the brain daily. I feel smarter for just reading those ten pages. At this pace, I doubt I will finish it in five days. Hahahaha.

Kari’s flight was delayed two hours so I had to hang out in the airport another two ours. Originally this caused me major anxiety! I was ready to get the hell out of the airport! I decided that I needed food and a beer… helped.

I am actually still sitting here in the bar. The salad was mediocre at best, but the beer and the conversation with the random man next to me was entertaining.

The one lesson I learned today was this: get a direct flight!!

Karen Crawford

I have been putting off writing this blog post for almost two weeks. I am having a hard time believing the fact that Karen is gone. I am also struggling having to put into words what Karen meant to me and how wonderful she was. Nothing I say will do her justice. Here is my first shot at it. I am sure that there will be other attempts, due to the fact that I am going to her memorial service in Colorado next week.

One of my favorite people in the whole world passed away unexpectedly in Frisco, Colorado on January 14th. Karen Crawford was only 40 years old. She was, by far, one of the funniest people i have ever met.

I met Karen when I first moved to Frisco, CO in November 1998. Karen was the one who hired me to wait tables with her at the Old Dillon Inn in Silverthorne. We all quickly became friends: Karen, Charity, Kari, and I. We worked well and played well together. Sadly, the four of us haven’t been together since we went to see Karen in NH back when Kari was pregnant with Logan in 2000. Sadly, Now three of us will be getting together in Colorado to remember Karen.

When I first heard the news that she had died in her sleep I was shocked. I cried. I also started to point fingers at others thinking that someone had to be to blame. To say that Karen lived a healthy lifestyle would be a stretch. There are many things that Karen could have differently that would have prolonged her life. There are things that others could have done to help her do so. These things did not happen, but no one is to blame. Karen didn’t want to die. No one thought that she would. At least not at forty years old.

So here I sit, sadly thinking about the fun and enjoyable life that Karen did lead. She had a great life. She worked at a job that she was proud of and was recognized recently for her outstanding work. She had more friends than she knew what to do with, many of whom she had known for almost twenty years. She ate most meals out, watched the Patriots play football during season, loved her pit bull Bella, and lived in what I consider to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. Everyone loved Karen and she loved them back. She didn’t have a mean bone in her body.

My nickname back in those days was “Specs” or “spec chi no sc”. I was named after a burrito at the ODI. Karen always called me “Specs”. I thank God that I was able to speak with her back in August. I cherish that conversation. It was the last time that she and I will ever speak, at least on this side of eternity.

If Karen could tell me one thing, I think she would say, “Oh Specs, there are so many more important things in life to worry about. Lighten up!”. She would be right. Life is short! Lighten up and enjoy life. Don’t let the little things weigh you down. They are not important. What is important is family, friends, enjoying life, liking where you are in life, and doing the things you enjoy. (although not to excess).

I would add one more thing to the important list: “your relationship with Jesus”. We don’t know when our time is up on this earth. We need to make sure that we believe and trust in Jesus and know where we are going when it is all said and done. The day you die may be too late. I believe that Karen is in heaven.

Here are some things that won’t make any sense to you, but are memories for me….

N Sync in Denver (we were almost 30 years old, but watched MTV every day)

Sledding on a hiking trail, at night, in the middle of winter….not smart

Had “the lip” – when Karen drank too much her lips went flat, or something. I could always tell how much she had been drinking by her lips. We laughed a lot about that.

ODI – enough said!

There are many more memories that I have of Karen that can’t be put into words. They will forever be in my mind and remembrance of her.

Here is a picture of Charity, Karen and I.



I am completely sleep deprived

I have not had many uninterrupted night sleeps in over 14 months. Three weeks before Miller was born, Tom got a new job that required him to be in Roanoke,VA four days a week. This meant that I was a single mom for five nights per week. Tom would leave around dinner time on Sunday and not return until late Thursday night. I was a single mom with a new born, a three-year-old and a five-year-old. Some one is always awake through out the night. It isn’t as bad as it used to be now that Miller is sleeping through the night, but the other two are always waking up at some point.

My typical night is as follows: I put Miller to sleep at 7:00, then read and get the other two in bed by 8:30. Then I have a drink, watch TV, and relax until 10:00 pm. I sleep until Faith creeps into my room somewhere around 3:00 am. She wakes me up, sniffs and snorts until I make her blow her nose, and then we fall asleep. Miller is awake around 5:30am and I can usually feed him and get him back to sleep. I finally fall back asleep by 6:00, but then Wilson is up for the day around 6:30am. So essentially, I get to sleep until 3:00am.  Then I am up and down until I get kicked out of bed by Wilson. It is exhausting!

I have been worrying lately that I am loosing my mind. I forget everything! I have to set a timer when I boil water because I forget that I have turned on the stove. I find that I can’t think of the right word to use in a sentence. My brain is mush! I looked up “sleep deprevation” and it said that “cronic sleep deprevation” is sleeplessness that occurs for more than a three month period. It said that getting only 1.5 hours of less sleep in one night can affect your ability to perform by almost 30%!  My goodness! Multiply that over 14 months of being woken up at least once per night….typically twice. It is no wonder that I can’t think, am always tired, and forget everything. I need sleep!

The other night when Tom was home, I knew that Faith would be sleeping in her tent in the office upstairs (strange, I know). I decided that I was going to go downstairs to her bed so that no one could wake me up that night. It worked. Of course, I woke up with Wilson at 6:30am, but at least I slept for 8 straight hours. The next night Tom and I locked our bedroom door so that no one could get in. (It only worked for the first time that Faith woke up to come in). Last night I fell asleep at 9:00pm, Wilson crawled in bed with me around midnight (which wasn’t too bad), but then Faith came in at 3:00am. I sent her back to her room, fell back asleep and was up with Miller at 5:00am.  I decided to just stay awake….seemed silly to go back to bed at that point.  Tom keeps telling me that I am malnourished, but in reality, I am just sleep deprived.

I figure that in another four years or so I will be able to sleep through the night. By then, the kids will be old enough and will stop crawling in bed with me every night…..I hope.

John Banks

It has been a rough week. Last Saturday my Grandmama’s husband, John Banks, passed away. He was 89 years old. Then on Monday I was informed that one of my great friends from Colorado, Karen Crawford, passed away. She was forty. One death was expected. The other was a complete shock.

Today we went to the funeral for Grandpa John. He and my grandmother had been married for fifteen years and one day. My grandmother said that she had prayed that they would be together for ten years. She got five more than she had hoped.

John was a wonderful man. I knew that he was kind, caring, and ever the gentleman. I learned that he was also a talented clarinet player, a coordinated sportsman, and some one that everyone loved.

One thing that I was always amazed by, and fascinated with, was his World War II days. John flew B12 bombers over Germany in WWII. He was the captain of his squadron. When he and Grandmama moved into Presbyterian Home in Florence, SC I was there to help them move. Tom’s and I looked in the attic and found his old WWII foot locker. No one wanted it, so I took it. It is in perfect condition, has the inner tray with it, and even has the original itemized list of it contents. I am proud to have that foot locker with his name spray painted on it in yellow stenciled letters.

After the service we went to the grave side ceremony. There were three Honor Guards there to give the flag to my grandmother. Another soldier stood behind us and played “Tapps”. It was very moving. One guard also told the symbols for each of the thirteen folds in the flag. They were surprisingly very Christian.

Here is the meaning of each of those folds:

The first fold of our Flag is a symbol of life.

The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.

The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the
veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of
their lives for the defense of our
country to attain peace throughout the world.

The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as
American citizens trusting, it is to Him we turn in
times of peace as well as in time of war for His
divine guidance.

The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the
words of Stephen Decatur, “Our Country, in dealing
with other countries may she always be right; but it
is still our country, right or wrong.”

The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is
with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States of America, and to the
Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for
it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our
country and our flag against all her enemies, whether
they be found within or without the boundaries of our

The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered
into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might
see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it
flies on Mother’s Day.

The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has
been through their faith, their love, loyalty and
devotion that the character of the men and women who
have made this country great has been molded.

The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he,
too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense
of our country since they were first born.

The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen
represents the lower portion of the seal of King David
and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes, the God
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen,
represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in
their eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

Interesting, right?

The world is a better place because John Banks lived in it. My grandmother is a better woman because she was his wife.

Play date with Elliot

I have recently realized that Faith misses her friends. Because she doesn’t go to school, she doesn’t get to see her friends on a regular basis. As of two weeks ago, I have made sure that she has time to spend with her friends. One of her best friends is Elliot Drobnick. Elliot lives down the street from us and has been friends with Faith since they were a little over a year old. I love his mom, April, and feel that she and I have a special bond. We look after each others’ children regularly and her children are a pleasure to have over.

Now that Wilson is older, he is now invited to play with Faith and Elliot. Today was the first sunny day that we have had this week so I took the kids out to “adventure” while Miller napped.

We live on a half acre lot that has very little backyard. We had to build a retaining wall just to have a swing set.
Our backyard is essentially all woods. The woods are also enclosed by a road that loops around our neighborhood so the kids are not able to escape or get lost in them. They are getting to be old enough to go adventure by themselves, but today I thought that I had better introduce them to the woods and the rules. It was great!

It was interesting to watch Elliot play. He is a very capable boy that plays outside much more than my kids do. He has his own set of woods. I was amazed at how well he could climb, slide down an embankment, and jump the creek. It was a sneak peak into Wilson in two years.

Faith and Elliot found a large vine that was climbing up the trees. They thought it was amazing! It is a wonderfully large area….especially for five year olds.



Faith and Elliot…



Here is Faith on another vine. There is also a small creek behind her that they jumped over, walked down, and threw rocks in. Perfect!



Wilson was a trooper. No whining, no crying when he got wet, and he did everything the big kids did. I was very proud of him. (That is our house in the background.)


Date Night

All dressed up!

All dressed up!

Tom and I went to his company’s employee party last weekend.  It was a cocktail party.  My first thought was, “Ohhhh,  a reason to get all dressed up!  I wonder what I will wear?”.  I found a fabulous dress that I had never worn (it was a hand-me down, my favorite!).  My second thought was, “Yuck, I have to wear heels.  I wonder if I have any that I can stand in for three hours?”.  I did!

The cocktail party itself wasn’t very entertaining, but we did get to socialize with some friends, eat a dinner that I didn’t have to prepare, and have a few free cocktails….without kids.   That is all I need to call the night a success!

We have very few pictures of just the two of us.  Of course, we had to use the timer on the camera so the picture is the greatest.  Anyway, you get the point.






A Beautiful Winter Day

I love winter in Charlotte. It is usually only very cold in January and February. Last year it was rarely down to freezing. This year is more of the same, so far. Today it was 70 degrees and beautiful! We did our usual church thing in the morning, came home for lunch, and then went out to play.

Tom took Faith and Wilson on a bike ride down on the Greenway. Faith rode her new big bike and Wilson rode in the buggy behind Toms bike. Faith is just now big enough and strong enough to ride her bike down on the greenway. The path is made of loose rocks and sometime gravel which makes it difficult for young riders. Her new 16 inch bike makes a world of a difference. It takes a lot less pedaling to go the same distance. Today she rode two miles to the playground with Tom.

After Tom left with the older two, I decided to take Miller in the stroller and try to catch up to the others on the greenway. I figured Tom may need some help with Faith and her bike. I still use the double jogging stroller so I that I have some extra space for either a kid or a bike. I arrived just in time. When I found them Tom was trying to get Faith, her bike, and everything else up the big hill to the playground.

We had so much fun! We went up the hill to the playground and stayed for a long time. Miller and Faith went down the slide together, Wilson found a sword to play with, and we went adventuring in the woods. Boyce Park is great in that there are trails throughout the woods. The kids love it.