Saturday, February 28, 2009

Working Girl

We've had a few changes in our house in the last couple of weeks. Those changes have kept us quite busy, so please accept my apologies for the delay in posting.

I run a marketing and PR consulting firm with my friend Lola. We work on contract with companies to book media, write press material, and train authors how to blog and work with social media. I was approached by a former colleague a few weeks ago who asked if I'd be interested in putting my contracts on hold and work full-time with them through the end of June to get through a heavy spring publishing list.

It was good timing. I was craving a little break from my stay-at-home mom status and this position allows me to get the corporate life back for a few weeks. I worked out full-time childcare for the kids and committed to working with Hachette Book Group through the end of June. I've got traditional work hours and go to an office every day. I even had to go out and buy some new work clothes.

The change of pace has been refreshing for me. However, there's a bit of chaos in our house sometimes. Wednesdays are a nightmare. I drop off Avery and Chad drops off Stuart. We both work full days. Chad picks up Stuart and heads to church and I meet Avery at church. We eat dinner there (if there's a Wednesday night meal) and I have to dash upstairs to get my kindergarten class ready. It's 8:30 before we're home. We have to lay out clothes for the kids for the next day and get them into bed (hopefully before 9.)

I hope you don't think I'm complaining. This job is a huge blessing in the middle of a recession where people are being laid off left and right. I enjoy what I do and I honestly appreciate my kids and husband more when I get home.

So if you see us looking a little harried and hurried, please forgive. We'll either get used to this schedule soon or be done with it at the end of June. Thanks for checking on us!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Ten Years Later...

Ten years ago today, I was hit head-on by a drunk driver.

I'd just had a great weekend in Atlanta at Kimme's house and was not looking forward to being back to reality. I'd turned down an offer for a ride to Nashville Christian School because I was going to be late getting back into town. The Lipscomb University Acappella Singers, in which I was singing alto in college, was about to give a Sunday evening concert at NCS and I was a little grouchy about cutting my weekend a bit short to sing there.

I changed into my black dress, grabbed my music folder, keys, and driver's license and jumped in the car -- my mom's hand-me-down Volvo. (Side note: Over Christmas break, I'd contemplated bringing my old purple Camaro back to school instead of the Volvo. That probably changed the course of my history.) Since I didn't have any pockets in my dress, I'd been balancing my license on top of my folder, but it slid off on the way out the door.

I wasn't incredibly familiar with the route to NCS, but I knew where I was going. I was on Charlotte Pike in Nashville, where it's two lanes. It was straight, wide, and flat. The weather was perfect and it was still daylight. I was going slower than I cared to because of the traffic.

All of a sudden, the Jeep Wagoneer in front of me swerved and took the ditch and that's when I saw him. His Ford Econoline van clipped the back of her and hit me head on. I don't remember the impact.

The next thing I can recall is a rescue worker outside my shattered window reassuring me that I was okay, but that he'd have to cut my door off to get me out. I remember telling him (screaming at him) that I was fine and that he just needed to get me out. There was blood everywhere, but I had no idea where it was coming from and I couldn't move my arm.

Then I remember the lights inside the ambulance and the light above my bed in the trauma unit at Vanderbilt. Doctors were coming in and out and asking me the same stuff over and over, but I don't think I was giving them good information. Since my driver's license wasn't in the car, I was unidentified. (They named me "El Paso, El Paso" because I was the fifth unidentified person admitted that day and they were using cities in Texas to name them.) I'd give them parts of names and parts of phone numbers and they finally pieced together enough information to get in touch with my family.

Whomever called my mom should win an award. They called her at home. My brother answered and they started giving him information until he said something like "Whoa. You need to talk to my mom." Very calmly they told her that her daughter Laura had asked them to call her and tell her that she's okay, but that she'd been in an accident and wanted her to come." I had no idea they'd called anyone. She was 6 hours away, so she called Grandma and told her to hit the road since she was only 2 hours away.

My uncle (Russ, I think) took Grandma to Nashville to be with me and as soon as she saw me in the trauma unit, she passed out and had to be admitted. Evidently, I looked pretty bad.

I was still covered in blood. The driver side window had shattered and was in my face and arms. The airbags had burned my hands and left forearm. My right humerus was completely snapped in two places. (It had been set and put in a gravity cast.) My legs were deeply bruised from the engine impact and I was swollen all over. I had a reaction to the pain medicine they'd given and had thrown up all over my hair, so they wrapped it back in gauze. (What?!?) My clothes (every stitch of them) had been cut off and I was only covered by a sheet -- at least that's what I think, because I was freezing. However, even just that sheet was killing my right foot. That was the only body part I was worried about because it was hurting so bad. Yes, I had my arm dangling beside me in pieces, but I was concerned about the foot. (Another side note: The trauma team didn't even check my foot. A week later at my first ortho follow-up x-rays, I forced them to x-ray the foot and they determined that it was broken in at least 4 places!)

My family finally all arrived. Dad had been out of town on business, so he hopped on a plane as soon as mom called him and dashed to my bedside. I was only in the hospital 2 days. Mom and Dad took me to Steve and Susan's house (mom's college roommate) to rest and recover. They bathed me and scooped the rest of the glass out of my ears, nursed my wounds, and put me in bed.

That afternoon, my dad went to the lot where they hauled my wrecked car to retrieve my belongings and assess the damage. When he returned, he sat down in front of me, held my hands, and cried. I had no idea what he'd seen. (Mom and I can't find the pictures, but once we do, I'll be sure to post some.)

What they explained to me that day is that I shouldn't have walked away from that accident. If I'd been in any other car, I'd have been killed. Upon impact, the airbag deployed, the steering wheel popped off (probably what broke my arm), the engine dropped down and when the van went over the top of me, the windshield cracked without shattering and the roof buckled on the "B" pillar, creating a safety cage.

I don't know all the facts of the guy who hit me. I know his name, but I'll keep it to myself. He was 49 years old. I'm told he wasn't wearing his seat belt, but survived anyway. His face was shattered on the windshield and he was in the hospital for 3 months. Instead of a simple misdemeanor of DUI, he was charged with the felony of vehicular assault, which was violation of his parole -- for murder. Yep. He'd evidently killed someone more than a decade before over drugs.

He went to prison. My source told me he'd be eligible for parole in 2008. So at the end of 2007, I wrote the parole board and received an unfortunate response. They told me he'd been released a few months before. I'd been told wrong about his parole. They assured me that I would be added to the list of people they contacted if he were to be arrested again. I sincerely hope he does not get arrested because that would mean that he'd done the same thing to someone else.

I'm pretty passionate about alcohol awareness. And I'm definitely a serious seatbelt advocate. I think Volvos are great, but I don't drive one now. I give credit for my survival to God. For He alone can give life or take it away.

It's hard to believe that I didn't even know my husband ten years ago. I can barely imagine that he is such a huge part of my life yet he has no idea what that season of my life was like. I stayed in school that semester, only having to drop one class. I learned to write with my left hand (not very well, but it did the job) because my right arm was immobile for two months. I pledged a social club (for all you non-Lipscombites, that's like a sorority in Christian schools). I wore overalls a lot so I didn't have to constantly ask my fellow dorm dwellers to fasten my pants for me. I learned how to tie my hair back with one hand. I moved on. But at the end of that semester, I had to be at his hearing. I had to look at him. I had two of my best friends beside me in the court room that day and I was strong.

I remember my accident every day. I still have scars on my hands. I feel the weather change in my shoulder, knees, and right foot. It doesn't go away. But I don't want it to. That terrible event is part of who I am today.

I know I shared a bunch of information with this post and I don't expect my writing to win any style points, but I thank you for reading it and for letting me get it out. Today was a big day.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Stuart's first haircut



And everything in between! We started by putting the long patch on the top of his head into a ponytail and cutting it off. It was easily an inch and a half longer than the rest of his hair anyway!
Stuart was a very well-behaved little boy during his haircut today.
His expression seems to indicate that he's a little disturbed, but he was happy as a lark the entire time.

Almost done...
Our little guy was happy to be able to see out from under his hair again!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Dying to get out of the house!

We've been suffering from cabin fever. After 2 weeks of colds, ear infections, pink eye, and a little pneumonia, we were itching to see the light of day this week. However, with high temperatures in the teens and twenties, we only got to see the light of day through the car window or the glass ceilings at the galleria. Yep, we met Heidi and the girls at Cool Springs Galleria so they kids could run off some energy at the indoor play area.

After some fun time, we headed upstairs for lunch. Macy decided she wanted to hitch a ride in Avery's lap in our double stroller.

The girls are probably smashing each other, but they didn't seem to care.

Stuart and Harper seemed happy to just get to be riding shotgun.

At lunch, Stuart used no restraint with my waffle fries.
The not-so-little guy crammed as much food in his mouth as would fit at once.

What will tomorrow's adventure be?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Slumber parties, pneumonia, and getting older

Our friends, the Houstons are expecting their third daughter, so we offered them a break from children overnight before the chaos. Macy and Harper spent a Friday night at our house. I actually wouldn't call it a slumber party because not much slumbering occurred. Avery and Macy slept in the same bed and Harper kept escaping from the Pack 'n Play in the guest room. (We all thought she'd be the easy one.) Nevertheless, we all survived.

Avery and Macy settled in for bedtime stories.

All the girls got musical Saturday morning and entertained Chad and me on the piano.

Don't let her fool you with a sweet face. Avery's full of mischief.

The following week, we started dropping like flies. Stuart went down first with a high fever and was diagnosed with an ear infection and pink eye. My symptoms started then, too, but I powered through. Avery started coughing on Tuesday night and her nose and eyes started running Wednesday. We went to the doctor first thing Thursday and she was also diagnosed with an ear infection and pink eye, but she also had pneumonia. Lovely. Chad and I were both put on antibiotics for ear infections within a couple of days, but after 14 days of being sick, I was SICK of being sick. I returned to the doctor for a cortizone shot and an antibiotic switch. It worked!

Poor Avery had a TERRIBLE hair day before we went to the doctor with her. We have no idea how she slept rough enough to wake up like this.

Stuart thought Avery's hair was hilarious!

Avery managed to get well enough to go out for pizza with friends on her birthday at Joey's House of Pizza in Brentwood. We closed the place down.
Avery probably only had one bite of her pizza. She was more interested in running around in circles and having cake.

Avery was thrilled with her Tinkerbell cake. It was almost too pretty to eat.

She seemed so timid while we sang to her.

Yes, she is dangerously close to the candle!

Obviously, she decided that while the cake was beautiful, it wasn't too beautiful to eat!

Daddy brought a balloon home for Avery on her birthday.

She got a TON of mail, so we stayed up late opening all the fun birthday cards.

The highlight of the day was Avery's new SUV for her dollhouse. She (and Stuart) can't get enough of it!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Catching up

At a Super Bowl party last night, I was asked if my mom was mad at me. Confused, I said, "I don't think so. Why?" The response I got was incriminating. "Because you haven't blogged in so long." Yikes. I'm in trouble.

The last few weeks have been VERY FULL. I'll have to start with Christmas and catch up. I'll apologize in advance if you're overwhelmed by the photos and multitude of posts in one day. Deep breath. Here goes...
Avery left out cookies, one of the brownies she'd made for baby Jesus's birthday, a glass of milk, and some carrots for the reindeer. She was very proud of herself.
Avery and Stuart had matching snowflake jammies (or "jammas" as she calls them)
Stuart just seemed overwhelmed on Christmas morning. Eventually, he got into the festivities.
Avery showed Stuart how to play with his little tikes sports center.
Stuart really enjoyed the wrapping paper.
Avery got to play Santa at the Troup Christmas and was THRILLED with her Alabama cheerleader dress.
Chad's grandmother ("Mom") was happy to get her hands on the great-grandchildren.
Stuart was right at home in Mom's lap.
After heading back to Nashville to wash clothes and repack, we hit the road to NC to see my parents. Papa is just happy to get the kiddos for a few days.
Uncle Ben (a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill) got Stuart a Hansbrough jersey so they could match on game day.
Chad and I got away for a couple of days and headed up the mountain for some skiing and relaxing without the children.
On the way home, Avery showed off her Magnadoodle skills. This is her first freehand cat. How 'bout that?
On the drive back to Nashville, Stuart popped the lenses out of my old sunglasses and Avery thought they were way cool!