Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Jack and Jessie

"Jack and Jessie"

Let me introduce you to Jack and Jessie, Billie's Fire belly toads she got for Christmas. She was so excited to have them. That was really all she wanted, or at least what she wanted the most. She comes in from school and the first thing she does is go to the aquarium and she always says "Hi, babies. Jack, Jessie? How are you? Did you have a good day? I love you! I missed you so much!" and in that ooey-gooey voice we use to talk to babies and puppies. It is the cutest thing in the world. I am going to let you in on a secret, but PLEASE don't tell Billie. It will crush her. Jack and Jessie bonded with each other right away. Billie caught them "snuggling" on more than one occasion. We were pretty surprised we hadn't had any tadpoles, actually. So Jack and Jessie were in love and Billie was in love with both of them, and it was a beautiful and wonderful thing. Then one night Matt was feeding them and he walked away just for a second to get a rag to wipe down the glass, leaving the lid open. I was standing right there, and I let Bob in and then closed the lid, never looking down. You know what is coming, right? The next morning at 5 am when Bob got up to eat, I found something in the floor right in front of the front door. I didn't have my glasses on, so I really didn't know what it was. I got some tissue, thinking to myself "Bob didn't even make it out the door!" and got down real real close to the dark blob on the floor. I got within inches of it before I realized what it was---JESSIE! I immediately picked her up and took her to the sink. Somehow I thought I could revive her with water. Thinking back now it is so funny, but at the time I was crying and shaking! I could just only think of how devastated my little Billie was going to be, I had to try to save her. But I quickly realized it was just too late for Jessie. I wrapped her in paper towels and laid her gently in the trash can. I could see later in the afternoon having a funeral for a frog. I tried to turn to studying, but could not keep focused so after about an hour I woke Matt up. He immediately knew something was wrong. He was as shocked and felt just as bad as I did. We decided not to tell Billie before school but to wait until that evening. After he went to work and talked to his friends there, we both decided we would just try to find a good Jessie 2 and sneak her into the aquarium. We both felt responsible; he shouldn't have left it open, and I should have checked the ground knowing it had been left open. We just didn't see why we should put her through the heartache, especially since she has lost so much in her short life. She really loves these frogs, and it would really be terrible on her. Matt went to the pet store after work and got the closest thing to Jessie he could find. Later that night when it was time to feed them, Billie got very upset and ran to get Matt. She said "Matt, I don't know if I just can't tell them apart anymore or what is going on but something is wrong. Jack is hiding in Jessie's spot and Jessie is out here in Jack's spot, and Jack won't eat! He is going to die if he doesn't eat!" She started crying. Jack would not eat for about 3 more days. It was terrifying for Matt and I. Here we were trying to spare her pain, and now for Jack to be in shock and not eating, it was awful. We really think Jack was in shock, after talking to the pet store. We think he was love sick for his Jessie. Looking back to the night she had jumped out, he was acting weird then and wouldn't eat. We couldn't find Jessie, but just thought she was hiding under the log. We figured Jack would eat later, and just didn't think that much about it. Poor thing, he was probably wondering what we had done with Jessie! He has since gotten better, although he is not his normal self and probably never will be. He and the new Jessie have finally decided to get along with each other, but you can tell they are not in love the way Jack and the first Jessie were. I know this all seems so silly, but if you could have witnessed it you would understand. We told Billie we thought he was in shock because we had moved the aquarium to her room from the living room. She bought that. I know I have just admitted to lying to my child. And I almost always think that honesty is the best policy, but I am OK with this decision. I still think we spared her the pain of the loss, and there just was no harm done. I hope when she is older and finds out the truth, she will understand and not hold it against us. I do feel guilty for not being honest with her, but I am still glad to have spared her this pain - she has just gone through so much and it isn't fair. This was my way of making up for some of that unfairness.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Update, Finally

Good Saturday morning to everyone! It is a beautiful sunny day here in Knoxville, after a rather drab, rainy day yesterday. I have been on spring break this past week, but Billie was still in school and Matt still had to work, so I spent it mostly by myself. I worked pretty hard on the house, getting it back in some sense of order. My mom came over on Monday, bless her heart, and helped me totally clean out my kitchen and organize it. When Matt and I got married almost three years ago, we both had households set up. I had been in my condo for almost two years, and Matt had been in his town home about 7 years. We both had fully stocked kitchens. I tried downsizing and cleaning some stuff out before he moved in, especially in my closet, but when it came to the kitchen I had a hard time seeing what I could let loose of. So I basically moved his kitchen into my already full kitchen, and we have been suffering through that bad decision ever since. So my mom, being a much better organizer than I am, came over and helped me decide what we could part with and how to arrange it. The results were amazing and astounding. I still keep opening up cabinets and doors just to admire it! There are still two cabinets that we didn't get to, but I think I can tackle that today on my own. We both pick up coffee mugs on every vacation, so we have probably close to 50 coffee mugs, for two people. That is my next target. Any body in need of a mug from the beach? At least now when we go, we buy one mug and share it! I think we need to just break the habit of buying mugs, who needs that many mugs?
I also bought myself a new book and read it - the entire book - just for fun! It was an autobiography by Robert Wagner entitled "The Pieces of My Heart." I loved it. For those of you who don't know, I am a huge fan of Natalie Wood's, and he was married to her, twice. The whole book was about his life in Hollywood, and it was so interesting. He had spent a lot of time at Catalina and some of the other ports we got to sail to when we went out with Bob and Nancy a couple months after we had the boys, so I really enjoyed reading about that; I could actually picture it from my own experiences. That is actually where Natalie drowned to death, at the Isthmus in Catalina. That part of the book made me cry; I found myself thinking of ways to stop it in my head; pretty silly since I already knew exactly what happened in the end. But he loved her so much, and I know what that kind of loss is like so I just wanted to stop it somehow.
Thanks to my sweet father-in-law, Brian, I was motivated to update the blog and tell you about my speech. I had to give an informative speech for my Speech and Communications class. I chose conjoined twins for my topic and I shared my story with the class as well as facts and the stories of my wonderful friends that are conjoined twins, or were previously. The speech turned out great, and I am very proud of myself. I was able to get through my story without crying - although there were a few people in the audience crying and that made it a little harder. Everyone seemed to appreciate my story, and that of Kendra, Maliyah, Jade, Erin, Emma, Taylor, Melody and Madison. I was able to give them all the facts about conjoined twins and really educate them. I wish I had had that opportunity before I was pregnant with Joshua and Caleb, not that any of those students will ever face that or even know someone else that has conjoined twins. I just want to educate people, because so many still think of it as a circus act and that is so wrong. So this was my first opportunity, and I hope I have many more. I ended up with a 98% on the speech, and that was because I went over my time limit by 31 seconds. We all know how long winded I am! It is hard to stifle that. I had practiced and practiced until I got it down to about 6 minutes most of the time. But when I got up there and got started I got very nauseous and I thought I was going to be sick. I mean really nauseous; I had the cold chill bumps, but the hot skin and I felt dizzy. I had to decide if I was going to run to the bathroom or stay and go on. I knew if I ran out everyone would think I got scared, and that was not what was wrong with me. That thought process made me lose my place in my speech and it took me about 30 seconds to get back on track. Everyone said they didn't notice. I decided to stay and finish my speech, and that was a good choice. After about 2 minutes the nausea passed. I wondered if it really was nerves until later that day when I eventually got very sick with a stomach bug. I felt a little nervous getting up there, but not enough to get sick! Just really bad timing for me. It is a miracle I was able to push on and get it to pass, judging by how terribly sick I fell a couple hours later. I quickly said a prayer in my head asking God to not let me throw up in front of the class, thank God he answered my prayer!
So it is back to school for me Monday, and I will be so busy with papers, projects, presentations and exams. I was planning on trying to at least knock out my research and at least one paper while I was on spring break, and I did get started on the research, but the Robert Wagner book was just too good and I ended up relaxing on my break instead of working. I will get it done, though, I always do. It would have been nice and smart to get it done this week, but I can't turn back time so I am just going to push forward!
Billie had a presentation to do for her class on Cambodia, and she did such an amazing job. She has absolutely no fears about getting up and presenting, to anyone about anything. I am so proud of her. I helped her a little with what she needed to present, but she did the bulk of it herself. She had to have a costume that represented what the people in Cambodia wear, and she used one of my checkered scarfs to make a "krama," which is a head dress they use to protect their head from the sun while they are working out side, usually in a field. I had to teach her how to wrap it and tie it herself, since it would look a little silly if she wore it on the school bus. She was supposed to put it on when she put the rest of her costume on ,but she is so brilliant she had the idea at the last second to add to her presentation a "how-to" tie a krama. So she taught the whole class how to put it on. She said they all seemed to really enjoy that. She also told about a dessert they eat in Cambodia and she had a poster and a paper she had written. She got 100% on the project! They had a cultural fair later in the week one evening, and she was going to actually make the dessert to give out, but she got sick that day and called to come home. Billie doesn't fake being sick, and she would not have wanted to miss that for anything so I knew she was really sick and I took her to see Dr. Greg later that day. She ended up having a sinus infection and an ear infection. Bless her heart, her head hurt her so bad. She went on a round of antibiotics, and is feeling much much better. So much better, we actually took her skiing last Sunday. She had a great time, and we were so glad we got to go one more time before they close for the season. Grandma Rosecrance went with us, too. We went to Sugar, and Matt had been telling Billie all week that they have snow made of sugar on Sugar Mountain. She is not one to believe stuff like that, so she kept saying "No they don't, Matt. They just call it that because the snow is white." That morning when we were getting ready, Matt got some sugar in a little sandwich bag and stuck it in his pocket. When Billie was trying to get her skis on, he poured it out behind her back and then had her turn around and taste the snow. She was amazed that it tasted like sugar! So cute. She doesn't believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, or the tooth fairy and hasn't since she was 5; she is just too practical and mature for that stuff, so it was nice to see that childhood magic in her.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!