Saturday, April 25, 2009


Maggie and Aleita just got done eating supper and asked if they could have some of their Easter candy afterward. Aleita started digging through her basket and said, "Where are all my Reese's Peanut Butter Cups? I know there were more in here!"

Hmm....I wonder where on earth they could have ended up???

Monday, April 20, 2009


On our recent trip to visit my family in Dallas, we spent the first night on the way there in Oklahoma City. The next morning, before heading on to Dallas, we went to the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Do you actually realize that it occurred 14 years ago yesterday? Do you remember where you were when you heard about it? I was a sophomore in college. I had just finished my morning classes and headed down to the sub for lunch with my friends. As we walked in, it was strange not to hear everyone laughing and talking. Instead, all eyes were glued to the big screen T.V. in the corner where they were showing the horror that had occurred that morning at the Alfred P. Murrah Building.

I am certain that I didn't completely understand the enormity of the situation at that time. It is strange how insulated most of us truly are from events of this magnitude. At nineteen, I recognized that what had happened was horrible, but couldn't make a direct association to my own life. After all, I didn't know anyone that had been killed or injured - - to be honest, I probably only actually knew even a handful of people that lived west of the Mississippi River at that point in my life. Let's face it -- at nineteen, most of us are pretty self-centered beings - particularly those of us who receive an extended childhood by going straight out of high school to college. The ramifications on humanity from terroristic acts wasn't something I could really wrap my mind around at that point in my life.
When we decided to make Oklahoma City our stopping point for the night on our trip, I knew that I wanted to visit the memorial before we left the area the next day. My nineteen year old self wouldn't have wanted to - - my thirty-three year old self couldn't imagine being in Oklahoma City and not taking the time to do just that.

I had heard it was a beautiful and touching memorial, but even I was unprepared for how moved I was by it. We entered through what they refer to as the "Gates of Time." There are twin gates at each end of the memorial that frame the area of the former Federal Building and mark the formal entrances to the Memorial. The East Gate bears "9:01 a.m." (representing the innocence of the city before the attack.) The attack occurred at 9:02AM. The West Gate then bears "9:03 a.m." (representing the moment in which lives were forever changed, and for the hope that came from the tragedy that had happened.)

As soon we entered the area, my eyes were drawn to the Field of Empty Chairs. I couldn't help but tear up. There is one chair for each of the 168 lives that were taken the day of the bombing. They stand in nine rows to represent each floor of the building, and each chair bears the name of someone killed on that floor. Nineteen smaller chairs stand for the children (there was a daycare for children of employees in the building.) Those small chairs were the hardest to look at, yet my eye was continually drawn back to them. In front of the chairs is a very shallow reflecting pool. It provides a very placid and soothing quality to the entire memorial.

There is a museum right next door to the site, but we opted not to go in. I don't think our kids (ages 5 and 8) could have handled it. I have heard that sometimes kids can be very intuitive about certain things involving death, and it was that way at the memorial with Aleita. When we got to the memorial, we had parked across the street. As we made our way up to it, Aleita grabbed my hand and held tight - - if you know Aleita or are a regular reader of my blog, you know that Aleita is somewhat of a "wild child." If anything, we usually have to rein her in and keep her from running ahead of us - -her holding my hand without being asked to do so was strange enough. However, before we could even make it up the ramp to the memorial (and even get a glimpse of it,) Aleita stopped in her tracks and said, "I don't want to go in there. It's not a happy place. I don't like it here." Talk about goose bumps. It was as if she somehow already had some knowledge of the horror and destruction and sadness that had happened there, though we hadn't said a word about it to either of them.

As we walked around the memorial, Aleita continually echoed her readiness to leave. It had nothing to do with being a bored kid - - she was quiet and subdued and quite clearly uncomfortable - - and she never let go of my hand. In fact, she asked me a few times to pick her up and hold her. I think that Maggie could sense the sadness that Chris and I felt as we walked through and read the information, but she was highly curious about the whole thing. She had dozens of questions, but God bless her, she has led such a sheltered life that she had such a difficult time just wrapping her mind around the fact that someone would actually want to hurt other people....especially children.

Though I think that the museum itself would have been interesting and moving and would have provided an even more in-depth understanding of that day, I know that it would have been more than either of the kids could handle. It showed footage from immediately after the bombing, pictures of the victims, artifacts from the bombing, and had audio from the bombing itself (recorded across the street at a meeting of the Oklahoma Water Board.) It is definitely something I want to see, but it will have to wait until the children are older.

I highly encourage you to visit the memorial if you get the chance. It is also worth your time to visit the website:

Saturday, April 18, 2009


On the way to the Athletic Club this morning, the girls and I were talking about pets. The girls were talking about what kind of pets they wanted to have when they were adults. Aleita mentioned that she would have a dog and a cat. Maggie said she would like a cat, but wouldn't get one, since I am allergic to them. She said, "Mommy can't come to my house if I have a cat, so I'm not going to have one."

Aleita agreed and was silent for a moment. Then she said, "When Mommy dies and goes to heaven, then I'll get a cat."

At least she has something to look forward to.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Last week we went to visit my family in Dallas over the Easter holiday. As we made our way south (and west), we stopped the first night in Oklahoma City. We stayed on the top floor of the hotel, and as soon as we got into our room, Aleita pulled open the curtains and looked out the window and declared, "I CAN SEE THE BOODY WATER TOWER!!"


Aleita just got done doing the ugly cry. She is currently sitting on the landing of the stairs, solemnly looking out the window at the neighbor's house and occasionally letting out a "huh, huh, huh" as a few tears roll down her face. She is staring at four happy kids jumping on the trampoline in the yard and hating every minute of it. One of those happy kids is her sister. Maggie is playing with three of her friends from school and laughing and having a ball. Aleita was not allowed to go with them. She is the saddest girl on earth right now.

Sometimes it just sucks to be the little sister.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


We recently visited my family in Dallas over the Easter break. On the Saturday before Easter, we went to an Easter Egg Hunt at my aunt's church. When we arrived, the children were lining up behind the roped-off area for their appropriate age division. As we started to walk the kids over to find their age group, a woman from the church came over and asked everyone to first go gather at the pavilion so that the minister could tell the kids the story of Easter before the egg hunt. I took Aleita's hand and started to walk with her over to the pavilion. On the way, we passed all of the playground equipment. Aleita looked at it longingly.

"Can I go play on that?" she asked.

"Not right now," I said, "They want to tell you the Easter story and then you can hunt for eggs," I explained.

"The story about Jesus?" she asked.

"Yes," I answered.

"The one where they nail him to the cross?"

"Yes," I answered.

"The one where they roll away the rock and he's not there?"

"Yes," I answered.

"I know that story," she said, "I'm gonna go play until they're done."

Saturday, April 4, 2009


As I write this entry, Aleita is sitting on the steps of porch, eating a bowl of grapes and forlornly watching the ice cream truck roll on up the street. About ten minutes ago, she came breathlessly running into the house, yelling that she heard the music from the ice cream man. I told her we were not getting ice cream today. Mainly, I let the ice cream truck roll on by because:

1) it is really expensive - - most items are $3 - $4, and I could purchase an entire box of the same ice cream treats for what one costs from the ice cream man

2) Aleita doesn't really even care that much for ice cream. She NEVER eats most of the ice cream treat she picks when we do get ice cream from the ice cream truck. Of a $3 treat, she eats about 50 cents worth.

3) perhaps I am just the meanest mom on the planet.

Aleita is more enamored with the idea of the ice cream truck than with the actual ice cream itself. Still, even though she knows she doesn't really like the ice cream treats all that much, it thrills her to no end to go out into the street and up to the window to peer at the selection of treats on the side of the truck. She loves to make her choice and have me fork over a wad of cash to pay for it. She then happily skips back to the house holding her ice cream, then after she eats about three bites of it, announces that she is finished and pitches the remainder in the garbage. I tell her that she is not going to get any more ice cream from the ice truck because she doesn't eat it and because it is expensive. She says she understands. Then, the next time the ice cream truck rolls around, she begs to start the process anew. This ritual never varies.

She was right about the ice cream truck being in the neighborhood today. He just rolled up in front of our house where she could get a perfect view of the kids with nicer parents and more expendable funds running up to the truck to get their treat. I held firm today - - no ice cream treats. (It was slightly easier because I didn't have TWO kids begging me at once, as Maggie is in Decatur with Chris at the moment.) I told her if she wanted a snack, I would be happy to get her one though --- she agreed, and I put some grapes in a bowl for her - -which is why she sitting on the front steps eating grapes while "all the other kids in the world except her get ice cream from the ice cream truck" - - according to her.

As you can see from the picture, this man and all his children go without shoes so that they can have those expensive ice cream treats from the ice cream man.