Monday, April 27, 2015


After we got home from church yesterday I told Jay there are times that I don't  leave there feeling like I was filled with the Holy Spirit as much as I felt like I had been hit by a truck. A Mack truck driven by a 3 year old with a 13 year old passenger  to be exact.

Yesterday was our Sunday to do donut/social time instead of Sunday School. Camryn and Cecelia normally get along well but not yesterday. Cecelia had a stuffed fox that terrified Camryn for some reason. Cecelia was upset that Camryn was scared of Foxie and Camryn whined and cried most of the time. When she wasn't crying she was stuffing the Juicy Fruit gum Jay bought her that morning, in her mouth. She somehow chewed the whole package by the time church started. 

We got upstairs for church to start and I smelled something. For some reason Cade had ate a Fiber One bar a/k/a Fart Bars at Memo and Papa Jim's. Lets just say it upset his stomach a bit. Then the two of them started squabbling. I made Jay change me places. I left to go to the bathroom. Apparently Cade blew a Bubble while I was gone and Camryn popped it. Then she grabbed the gum
from his mouth and shoved it in hers. 

The singing started and things were ok for a few moments. Then Camryn started scraping her feet down the back of the pew in front of her. Jay finally got that stopped but then he noticed she had gum in her hair. Luckily I got that pulled out pretty easy. I didn't have to involve
Scissors. Then she needed a drink. Finally it was time for Communion. 

There was commotion getting to communion. Jay and Cade weren't sure if they were supposed to help so they stood up but then they noticed there were enough guys so they sat down. But then one of the other guys sat back down so Cade hopped back up. It happened so quickly he didn't give me time to get my legs out of the way before he plowed out of the pew over me. My legs, maxi skirt and his legs got tangled up. He ended up tripping but caught himself before he went completely down. The prayer went ok but Cade was standing on the right. Normally the guy on the left goes out first to serve the piano player. Well Cade blew past the other two men to start it. Then before I knew it Cade was blowing up our aisle and passed a guy. I held my breath because that guy had just said during our prayer request time that he was having a knee replacement Tuesady. I was afraid Cade
was going to run in to him. I was still reeling from that, so I was off my game a bit, when Cade pushed the communion at me. I don't know what came over Camryn but she tried to grab a handful of the wafers. I was in a power struggle with a 3 year old over the communion. I was afraid it was going to end up like confetti. Then she did the same thing with the juice. She ended up grabbing an empty cup. As soon as she got it she yelled "I got the cup!".  I had to pry it out of her hands. Somehow I squeezed out of the aisle with Camryn and we went to the nursery. She got a spanking and there were tears. Lots and lots of tears. The thing about Camryn is that when she gets a spanking she cries. But the crying never seems to be about remorse for what she's done. It's more that she's mad she got caught.  I don't know if it did any good but she told me she would never do it again. We will see. 

After church was out Camryn tried to close a swinging door that people were exiting from. Jay got on to her and told her to stop. So she stood there with her hand on the door moving it back and forth slightly. That girl is a tester. I watched all of that and then turned to walk of the pew. An older lady caught me and asked if Camryn had been there today. I said I was surprised she hadn't heard her at the same time our preacher pointed to her,  not quite defying her dad with the door, and said "yeah,
she's right there."  Once Ethel spotted her Camryn did her cold shoulder head swing thing she does. Ethel laughed and asked me if that head move was genetic or a learned behavior. That made me laugh. Who would've guessed that I've had some of my better adoption conversations with a 90 some year old woman! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Major Changes

I come from a long line of people who don't make radical changes. I grew up with parents who drove the same vehicles forever, lived in the same house, worked the same jobs, etc. I've somewhat modeled that in my own life and have probably became somewhat terrified and resistant to change. Most of the time if I have to change it's because
It's been forced on how I work in Springfield now. Once I get in to the change I can see how it's better for me, but boy does it freak me out at first. 

Jay on the other hand is a little more open to change.  Starting July 1st Jay will be the new Ag Teacher for Mount Vernon. After 14 years in Miller he's decided a change would be good. I don't disagree but change is change and the unknown can be scary. It wasn't an easy decision because of the Whittaker's and changing schools with Cade. I always look at our coming to Miller as one of those things that at the time you don't understand but looking back you know that God's hand was in it along.

When we decided it was time to move closer to home Jay interviewed at three other schools besides Miller.  He didn't get offered a job at any of those places.  I was so disappointed because I had just started at FCS and I wanted to be closer to Springfield.  I was tired of driving from Lebanon.  He interviewed at Logan-Rogersville, Willard and Clever.  All three of those would have been perfect for where the FCS office was located at the time.  When he was offered the job in Miller I was not happy.  Lyle called for Jay one night and he wasn't home.  Lyle ended up talking to me about how great of a place Miller was and how he wanted to stay here for the rest of his life.  I thought we'd be there a couple of years.  Well God knew Miller was where we needed to be.  All within a weeks time Jay started at Miller, we closed on a house, I found out I was more than likely going to loose my job AND we found out I was pregnant with Cade.  As you all know I didn't loose my job.  I transferred to Carthage.  Out of all of the schools where Jay interviewed Miller was the only one where I could have done that.  I was exactly the same distance from the Springfield office as I was the Carthage office.  We were also closer to both of our families.  That meant when Cade was little my grandparents would drive over and keep him for the day when we needed a sitter.  It's also allowed Jim and Sharon to pick up the kids when necessary. 

God also put Jay with a great teaching partner.  Lyle and Jania have been so good to us over the years.  Jay and Lyle made a great team and had some really great success.  Miller was the first school in the state to have a state certified meats lab.  They've had so many contest success I can't even remember them all.  Thanks to both of them the Miller FFA's name is widely known across the state.  But change is necessary at times and so he's stepping out in to something new.  I think Jay needed something different to re-energize him to get him through the 2nd half of his career.  I know he's excited for it.

I'm still nervous but like a quote from a great book I love I'm never sure if it's a premonition or just anxiety :) We went to prom this weekend and I will miss things like that with the Whittaker's and the West's. I will also admit I got a little teary thinking about how the first time I was in that gym it was for Jay's first FFA banquet there...and Cade was just a baby. It was my last day of maternity leave. But then there are also some things I won't miss. And quite frankly some people I won't miss. I don't think we are on their Christmas card list either. 

So I'm going to trust that this is the move for us. We've prayed and prayed about it and felt like this is the right decision. And I know that it is. Just because change is good it doesn't mean that it's not sad at the same time. 

Watch out Area 11. The competition just got a little stronger!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Life Lately

Charlie and Jay have finally found something they agree on.  They both hate the concrete deer.  In this picture Charlie is looking the baby deer right in the eye.  He barks at them constantly.  I think they look kind of cute where they are at but Jay moved them to the side of the house. The side that's not visible to the road. While Jay was at State Convention Jim found them and asked Cade if he wanted to play a joke on his dad. They moved them back. Monday I noticed the baby was missing. Jay said he's moving them back a little at a time. I should move the baby back. 

On Cade's 2nd day of turkey hunting ever he killed this Tom.  I think it weighed 23 pounds and had a 9 inch beard.  I love the smile on his face in this picture.  He was so proud.  Jay was also proud.  He only had to hunt twice this season. 

We got to see Hilly again this past weekend.  She has changed a lot since we last saw her at Christmas. Since I was in the middle of the Pink Eye epidemic I didn't get to hold the babies. Camryn seemed to warm up a little. I'm not too worried about it. Camryn is only 3 and barely out if the little kid stage where they don't play with other kids. It won't be long before she and Hilly are running around together.

We also got to see Jay's cousin Meagan, her husband Jay and their baby Raleigh. Poor Hilly was completely done by the time we got to these pictures. Camryn isn't a baby person but Cade sure seems to be. 

Monday was chick day for the Lawrence County Fair. 

Last Easter also showed up on my Timehop this week. I remember Cade doing some major changing at 4. His whole appearance changed. Looking at these pictures made me realize we've hit that with Camryn. She is quickly leaving the baby look behind. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Great Pink Eye Experiment

I work with several (older) men who like to claim “their kids were never sick”, “their kids never went to the doctor”, “I haven’t used a sick day ever in 40 years of working here”, “ I only took off the day my kids were born and then I was back to work the next day” , etc.  Ok looking at that list I realize anyone who wants to claim they were back to work the day after their wife gave birth is an idiot.  Why I took their advice I will never know.  Surprisingly all of these men are still married.  Either they really didn’t do all that they claimed or their wives are more tolerant than I am.  Jay at least stayed with me for a couple of days.  Then he was right back to contest season the Saturday after Cade was born.  BUT he does use sick days when the kids are sick so I’m not the one doing all of the work. 

So I had all of these past conversations  rolling around in my head when Camryn came down with Pink Eye last week.  I decided to wait it out.  I will admit it now.  Not my best parenting moment.  But some of my reasoning was that I had those stupid men’s voices rolling around in my head….I had already missed two days of work because Camryn was sick and Cade and I had to have fillings….Jay was gone….I didn’t want to do eye drops by myself….The list goes on and on.  Instead I cleaned the gunk from Camryn’s eyes and sent her off each morning.  One of our sitters girls also had it so everyone had already been exposed.  By Friday her eyes were looking better.  I patted myself on the back for not being a crazy, over cautious parent.  Camryn was doing just fine….
Then Saturday morning my eyes were matted shut.  By Sunday it had spread to both of my eyes.  They were red, swollen and oozing crud all through Sunday School.  Someone asked me afterwards if I was all right.  I know it looked like I was crying.  It was pretty much a horrifying experience.  Light hurt them, they were itchy.  And I made Camryn go a full week like that???  I planned to get myself to the doctor Monday.

Then Monday morning rolled around.  My eyes seemed better.  They weren’t matted shut.  I didn’t think they looked quite as red.  I thought I was getting over it and didn’t plan to call the doctor.  Then while I was in a staff meeting a co-worker asked me in front of everyone if I had Pink Eye.  Then another co-worker said she had wondered the same thing but that she was going to ask me in private.  Another one said he knew something was wrong but didn’t know if I had been crying so he decided not to say anything at all. 

After the meeting I consulted Web MD again.  I normally avoid Web MD because it freaks me out.  But I figured there was no way itchy eyes could result in something more serious leading to death so I took my chances.  I had looked it up last week and it talked about the two different types – viral and bacterial.  It said you could get over it without going to the doctor.  When I looked at it Monday morning a different article popped up and it said you should go so you don’t get permanent eye damage….wash your pillow case every day….don’t share towels, etc.  I realized I wasn’t dealing with just Pink Eye.  It was an epidemic.   I called the doctor.

I left the doctors office feeling like an idiot but with prescriptions for both me and Camryn.  Since she woke up with crusty eyes again the next morning  I’m glad I went.   I felt even more dumb when I paid for both prescriptions….$8.  I just  hope Jay doesn’t get it.  I will never hear the end of it if he catches it to. 

 Note to self…never trust the men in the office or Web MD to give out sound medical advice. 


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What's In A Name

I decided to link up with another blog today about names- Andrea at Momfessionals.  Since I've been in such a blogging rut I thought some topic ideas would be fun.  Also, we aren't getting chickens for the county fair so that will cut my story opportunites way down this spring.  There was some sort of ordering snafu with the chicks this year thanks to the bird flu.  Jay gave Cade's to another kid so we are going to sit this one out.  My electric budget says THANK YOU! 
I don’t know if I’ve every talked about how we came up with our kids names on the blog.  Maybe they’d like to read this someday….or maybe not.  I’m sure reading their mother’s ramblings will be high on their priority list.  But at least it will be recorded somewhere they can read it if they want to. 

Cade Ewing Shepherd

My sister is actually the first person to mention the name Cade to us.  One Sunday afternoon in the fall of 2001, when I was barely pregnant, Charity was at our house.  We were reading baby name books and she mentioned Cade.  It was different and I kind of liked it.  Jay said no.  We talked about other names for the next few months.  By December I was already thinking of him as Cade.  I just knew that was what his name was supposed to be. I just had to convince Jay.   I had already picked out Ewing long before I was pregnant.  It is my mom’s maiden name and my grandpa was the last Ewing from his family.  Since he only had my mom there was no boy to carry on the Ewing name.  Since Cade was going to be the first boy born in the family I wanted him to carry on the name.  By January I had started dropping little hints here and there to Jay about naming him Cade Ewing.  One Saturday I spent the day with my parents and I tried the name out on them to get their feelings.  I didn’t commit to it, I threw it out there with some others.  The reviews were mixed.  I told Jay about it the next day.  The next thing I know he is one the phone with his parents telling him we were naming the baby Cade Ewing .  After he got off the phone I told him I hadn’t actually told my parents.  He just said “oh, I thought you had.  Oh Well.”  About 6 weeks later Cade Ewing Shepherd made his appearance.  I still love his name as much as I did then.

George Ewing holding his Great-Grandson Cade Ewing for the first time
Camryn Lee Shepherd

As everyone knows, everything with Camryn was different.  Instead of 9 months to plan for a name we had six years, but of course we never wanted to talk about names during that time.  It was too painful.  And even if we did talk names it was boy names.  Never, ever did I think we would have a girl.  It’s also different naming an adopted child.  Do you keep their original name?  Do you incorporate it?  We had always thought that we would take their birth name and somehow incorporate it into the name we would give them.    Once we knew we were chosen and the baby was supposed to be a girl then we talked about it a little bit.  Then contact with Camryn’s birthmom stopped and we were sure it was all over again.  We stopped talking names again and didn’t talk about them again until we were on our way to the hospital to meet our baby.  I didn’t even tell my family we were supposed to be meeting a baby girl on Friday, June 3, 2011 until that morning.  I asked Charity to send me a list of C names that she liked.  I had been thinking about names off and on for a few days but never spoke them out loud.  I had always liked Collins, from the Blindside.  For some reason Collins Elizabeth kept coming to mind but I never voiced it.  Jay likes to use at least one family name and Elizabeth wasn’t in either family.  I just dismissed it.  The other name I liked was Camryn.  We had decided years ago that we could use Lee as a middle name because that was Jay’s grandma’s maiden name.  Camryn Lee went well together.  When I got my sisters list of C names Camryn was on there.  I felt like that was the one since she had also helped me pick out Cade’s name.  When we laid our eyes on Camryn we knew she was our girl.   We waited to make a decision about her name until we knew if her birthparents had named her.  As far as anyone knew she was not named.  Even at the TPR hearing she was called Baby Girl.    Six months later, at her finalization, we found out that she had been named…and her middle name was Elizabeth.  I always think that God knew she was Camryn Lee.  If we had known her middle name was already Elizabeth she would’ve been named Collins Elizabeth.  She was clearly supposed to be Camryn Lee Shepherd.  The baby girl who healed my broken heart and completed our family. 

 Our first family of 4 picture

 And because I do like picking out names I have a couple on reserve.  Not that I have any plans to use them.  Not at all.  But it’s nice to have some backups in case they are needed.  I like to aggravate Jay at times and ask him what would we do if the agency called and said they had a full sibling of Camryn’s.  It’s been known to happen at our agency.  He just rolls his eyes and tells me to be quiet!   Maybe I can suggest my back up names to Camryn or my daughter-in-law someday.  I’m sure they would love that! J   

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Weekend

We had a fun Easter weekend. Easter had always been one of my favorite holidays. The days leading up to Christmas are so magical but Christmas Day is just the tiniest bit sad because it's over. The next thing you have to look forward to is January and February, tax time and contest season. Easter though is the start of spring and warmer weather and sandals and flip-flops AND it means State Convention is just around the corner.  Yes, I love Easter!

Saturday we headed to Sheldon for the day.  My mom has sold my grandparents house so we are in the process of sorting through stuff.   It's been long enough since my grandparents passed away that it doesn't seem to be traumatic.  It's for the best for mom to get the house sold.  What it's mostly taught me is that no one needs to keep every tax return they've ever sent to the IRS.  I think there will be a burning party at our own house shortly.

Even though we worked on the house we still had a little time for an egg hunt and decorating the traditional Easter cake.  It was good to see my mom and Steve.  My dad also made it down to see us for a bit so that was good to.  And even though Charity NEVER buys her kids candy, I think they had a fun day to.  It's fun to get some pokes in at my sisters expense from time to time :)

we left Camryn alone...with the cake and jelly beans...she dumped the whole bag on the cake

Sunday we had our traditional breakfast at church.  This year Cade went early with Jay and helped cook.  I think Cade fried the bacon and the pancakes.  He did a pretty good job.  I may be able to turn some cooking duties over to him shortly. With the boys being gone that meant it was me and Camryn on our own getting ready.  It was never more clear to me than yesterday morning that this girl is not a morning person.  At all.  She was so, so, so cranky...until she got some bacon.  In her world bacon fixes pretty much everything. 
This was her giving me the cold shoulder

One problem we had, which you can tell by most of the pictures, is she refused to wear her shoes.  I didn't care.  She's had some blisters on her heels and sides of her feet.  I'm learning that when you have a girl these season transition periods can be a little tricky in the shoe department.  Boots look silly but yet I don't want to invest a lot of time/money in shoes right now because they might not get her through all summer.  She's also in a weird foot size phase.  I need to take her with me to try them on or else I'd have to buy 3 different sizes of shoes to find the right one. But before you call child services the blisters aren't from me squeezing her feet it too small of shoes.  Her Keds got wet last weekend (being in the pig pen will do that) and then they rubbed her heels.  That made us switch to flip flops and those rubbed on the sides.  When I tried to slip her silver Cinderella flats on her feet Sunday she screamed bloody murder.  I said forget it.  So she went shoeless.  Life will go on...and now that I've said that she will come down with pneumonia this week. 

After church we went to Jim and Sharon's and looked at our Easter baskets.  This year I was not on my game with these baskets.  In fact Sunday morning I couldn't find a couple of shirts for Camryn's basket.  Actually I bought these shirts, and she even knew it, when we went to Branson.  Once we got home I decided to throw them in her basket.  Then I couldn't find them when I needed them.  Finally I found them.  It's a good thing because the only other thing I had for her basket was a new cup.  That would've looked a little pathetic....even by a 3 year olds standards.  Cade got shotgun shells and a turkey call.  We finally had to tell him to remove the call.  Talk about annoying!  Even though I was a bit of slacker this year the kids didn't seem to be traumatized by it.  In fact they looked extremely sweet and loving during basket time.  If I didn't already know it these pictures would make it very babies are certainly growing up!  

And then just because I'm married to a patient man....

I told mom we would take Mama's concrete deer.  It was a weak moment.  I asked Jay to get them Satruday.  He said "do you realize they are solid concrete?"  Once he got them loaded he came in to see about something to eat.  He said he worked up an appetite loading solid concrete deer.  We got home late enough Saturday night that he didn't get the truck unloaded.  It was the talk of the early morning breakfast yesterday.  One guy told Jay "you even got the baby deer."  The baby isn't visible without really peeking in the back of the truck.  Then the deer got hauled over the Jim and Sharon's yesterday.  Along with this hay hauler that's seen better days.  I'm sure we looked like a sight yesterday.  I'm curious to see 1.  if Jay got them unloaded today and 2.  where he may have put the deer little family... 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Another Princess Party

Since Mom Camryn had so much fun at the Rapunzel party we signed up for a Cinderella Party.  Of course Camryn had to have a new dress to wear.  I had originally bought a really cute outfit from Kohls.  There are a lot of Cinderella things out there now. Then Camryn and I were browsing the Wal Mart fabric department and decided to make her Cinderella dress instead.  I had done that before with a simple Peasant pattern.  There are people who sell them professionally so I have kind of taken their ideas and turned them into my own.  I made Camryn a Snow White one when she was 18 months old.  She still wears it and claims that it fits.  While we were picking out fabric Camryn also spotted some pink and green and yellow fabric.  She pointed to them and told me that I could make her an Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and Tiana dress next.  She's a girl who knows what she wants! 
As you can probably see by the next picture this party did not go as well as the Rapunzel party.  It started Friday night.  She said she was cold and wanted a blanket.  She never moved from that spot and quickly fell asleep.  Saturday morning she said her throat hurt.  I gave her Tylenol and she perked up, but it wore off about party time and I had forgotten to pack it.  Before the party we went to Kohls to look at a new shirt for Jay.  While we were there I changed her into the Cinderella dress and slippers.  She screamed bloody murder over the shoes.  I ended up having to buy socks while were in Kohls AND open the package prior to checkout just to get her to put the shoes back on.  Apparently something was rubbing on the tops of her feet.  Once we got to the party she decided her toes hurt so she took them off.  I didn't care by that point. 

The building these parties are in is really small. There are 20 girls and then enough adult chairs for 1 parent per kid. It felt like ever kid there had at least 3 people with them. The place was packed. Camryn doesn't handle big crowds very well and she wasn't feeling 100%. That meant she wasn't interested in participating much. I mostly stood to the side and held her along with my purse and a pair of shoes. I was ready for Cinderella to Wish Upon a Star so I could get the heck out of there.  I asked Camryn why she didn't like it as much and she said it was because there were too many people there.  I felt the same way.  I had a hard time getting pictures because there were so many people in my way.  But at least she didn't hog the crayons this time.   

After the party I ran a couple of errands.  She normally is a really good shopper, but she was a crank pot that day.  I was looking for a sweater to go with her Easter dress.  One about the color of the flower in her hair in these pics.  She said "It's too bright, I don't like it."  I told her it wasn't too bright.  She said "Well it's too big."  I said it was her size.  Then she said "it's too small and it's too bright."  I asked what color she'd like to have then.  She said black.  We left the store without a sweater. 
After my errands I took her to the play area at the mall.  She lasted about 10 minutes.  She got trapped on a toy by a baby.  I kept my eye on her to make sure she didn't do anything mean.  She handled it really well but I knew she didn't like it.  When the baby moved along Camryn moved to a different toy.  Then a little girl about 18-24 months started hugging her.  I let that go on for a while to see what would happen.  Camryn stood stiff as a board.  When a 3rd kid, a boy, joined the hugging party I knew it was time to rescue her.  When I picked her up I asked her if she was ready to leave and she said yes.  I decided to by her popcorn to make up for the traumatic play ground incident.  Babies and hugging - two of her least favorite things.   
She fell asleep on the way home, around 5, and slept all night.  I was holding my breath on Sunday morning.  She woke up in a great mood and never got sick.  She must have just been really tired.  Whew!!!
And if Camryn wasn't cranky this weekend it was because she was "texting" people.  If you get a weird text from me don't be alarmed.  It's more than likely Camryn.