Updates, Rants, Reviews, & Photos
By: allison | Comments Off

Alba Jayne arrived on August 26th at 229pm, a bit of a surprise. With Anya, I had pre-eclampsia from the 22nd week of pregnancy until she was born. With Arwen, I had really no issues at all. With Alba, I was fine until the 37th week of pregnancy and then the pre-eclampsia reared its ugly head again. On the Monday of the first day of school, I had a doctor’s appointment – the last appointment before my scheduled c-section on September 3rd. Nope, not so much. Dr. Gaitonde decided it was safest for me and the baby to go ahead and deliver that day.

So, I called Travis and one of his co-workers brought him to the hospital because he had carpooled that day and his car was at home in front of our house still. This left some of the people at his office in a bit of a predicament because there was  big project due that week that Travis was working on. They were great at his office though, gave him the whole week off even though he still worked from the hospital a good bit. Travis rushed back home and picked up Anya from her brand new school on the first day checking her out early, but for good reason. Chancy picked up Anya at the hospital lobby and took off with our girls and her girls for the rest of the day and night. She got the wonderful experience of how late Arwen stays awake and how Arwen loves to drape her leg over you while sleeping, but I can not tell you how much I appreciate Chancy!  Arwen was with me while I was getting poked and prodded and having IVs put in my arm. She was very well behaved but my parents were not scheduled to come out until later that week. Called my Dad, they packed up and started heading this way.  My bp would not go down and Travis believes and is not too happy about the fact that it probably has something to do with all the stress his Mom brought on the night before, but its not worth getting into what happened because it will not change and she’s never wrong so let’s get back to what’s important…Alba… So, my doctor’s appointment was at 10am and at 229pm on August 26th Alba Jayne was born! At first they thought she weighed 5lbs 15oz. and was 17 3/4 inches long, however her weight was wrong because of an issue with the hospital scale, her official weight was 6lbs 6 oz.

She is a very sweet baby and at almost 3 months old now she weighs in around 10lbs. and 21 inches long, so she’s growing like a weed!

And life as a family of five has been great. Chance took right to Alba and the girls just adore her. As Arwen says “I like that baby sissy.” :) Going from two to three children is only challenging when getting out of the car, the rest of time its been a pretty easy transition…knock on wood. :) It was definitely more challenging going from one child to two than going from two to three or none to one! At least in my opinion anyway. I had a rough time after she was born for a day or three because of the magnesium I was on, but overall the surgery and incision was no big deal. It was just getting off the magnesium because that stuff makes you feel like you have the flu on top of having had a major surgery, so its not fun at all!

A week after Alba was born, my doctor called me and told me the results of the placenta. They always analyze the placenta for patients that have had pre-eclampsia. Turns out that there was a blood clot inside the placenta and Alba may not have survived another week, so it was a very good thing we delivered when we did. The blood clot was very dangerous for her. So, I think an angel by the name of Sharon was watching out for us that day and I’m very glad she was. :)

Alba’s name…Travis picked both Anya and Arwen’s first names, although of course I loved the name. Alba was from three important things…first, it came from a book/movie I love called “The Time Traveler’s Wife”. It is also the gaelic way of saying and referring to Scotland and since Travis’ ancestry is Scottish, we felt that it was appropriate and finally, we found out this later…Alba is Shakespeare’s rose…”A rose by any other name…” from the play Romeo and Juliet and also a theater his plays were performed in called The Rose. The English Alba Rose is thought to be the rose that William Shakespeare used and referenced in all his plays.

Jayne is from my great-grandmother on my Mom’s side. She was of Irish descent and I have her picture in our house. Her name was Lucy Jane, so we did a variation of that and went with Jayne. Also, a character in one of Travis’ favorite movies…Firefly.

And that is the story of her name. Anya Carol came from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and my Mom, Arwen Serena from the Lord of the Rings and my bf in Vegas, and Alba Jayne from The Time Traveler’s Wife and my great grandmother. Yes, we are different…

And finally, here’s the little cutie…


This was me and Anya 10 days before Alba was born…

By: allison | Comments Off

Anya got 6 inches of her hair cut on Monday. Arwen has yet to have her first hair cut! They both look cute though as Arwen’s hair has got longer and very cute curls. Anya’s hair now hits her shoulders and it makes her look a bit older but its very cute too. She wanted to get it cut as she is starting to understand how much work it is to take care of long hair.
In other news, baby girl no. 3 is growing well and still due in September. I’m feeling much better too and actually having cravings for all kinds of things from water with lemon and lime juice to Japanese steakhouse salad and soup to Jello Pudding pops.
Travis and the girls took me to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival for Mother’s Day and it was fun. The girls loved riding the old fashioned rides and we all enjoyed the shows, Travis and Arwen especially enjoyed the show band Tartanic with drum and bagpipe music.
The girls each got an old fashioned parasol, Arwen took orange, and Anya picked pink. I got my hair braided again which I love having done and Travis enjoyed the food mostly! We had a pork sandwich on a croissant and steak on a stake!
We also went to the Catfish Plantation and if you are ever in Waxahachie you have to stop there. They have amazing seafood and its in a Victorian supposedly haunted house. They also have sweet potato fries like I’ve never had before covered in cinnamon sugar with a white chocolate sauce drizzled over them. The crab cake and catfish was also a big hit with us.
As far as how things are going with certain relatives in Travis’ family, I’ve decided that some people will never change but that doesn’t mean I have to endure their selfish and rude behavior either, especially when this person makes comments about the baby that only make me feel bad. Its just not worth the worry and stress to be upset over someone that will not change and will not make the effort to change, but instead finds excuses and blames others for their problems. Pretty much all I have to say about that because I will not let this person hurt me anymore and I honestly don’t care to deal with them until they can come to terms with their faults.
In a happier note, Travis and I are very excited about having another baby girl. And the girls are excited as well. Travis was playing just last night with his girls. They were playing stuffed animal birthday party that turned into attack Daddy with the stuffed animals. This is a man that loves his daughters and has no issue with having his toe nails painted or the amount of pink that has taken over his home. I love that about him and all of us girls are wrapped around his finger too! :)

By: allison | Comments Off

I’m going to attempt to cook my first ever Holiday ham this year for Easter. Wish me luck! Seriously, I don’t venture too wild and for me, cooking a ham is a little wild. First of all, I am not a fan of ham. Travis and Anya are however. Arwen will eat just about anything you put in front of her. I am also not a fan of pork chops. However, I do like ONLY pork ribs, not beef ones, and I love pulled pork, especially if its pulled by the all time best bbq place ever – Chuck’s BBQ in Opelika, AL. Best ever. Man, do I miss it. I think its a pregnancy craving, literally I would have my friend Holly, my Aunt Judy, my Dad, cousin Katie, anyone within a 50 mile radius of Chuck’s ship it to me if they could! One of those pregnancy cravings I guess.

Have I mentioned that we are pregnant? With baby girl number 3! Oh, well, we ARE! :) Due in September. Very exciting. I always wanted at least 3 kids so Travis and I were really surprised when it happened so quickly after we started trying. We figured it must be meant to be!

Back to what I miss, other than Chuck’s BBQ, is my Mammaw’s yellow pickles and caramel cake. I’m going to also try to make her caramel cake this weekend. It won’t be like hers though. She used to leave extra caramel icing in a bowl for me to eat, it was like candy. Everyone loved her caramel cakes.

There were people in her church that wanted them and paid her for them regularly. Stephen loved them as well, she usually made them for his birthday. Definitely a fave. Me, I was happy with the leftover caramel in the dish. I have the dish. I set it out every Christmas since she died on Christmas Day. Its a special tradition to me. I always preferred her peach cobbler though as my favorite dessert. My Mom makes it almost exactly like Mammaw, but mine still comes out with a bit too much crust. I managed to learn how to make my Grandma’s orange fluff salad though, which was one of my favorite things she made. And it is yummy, although I never realized it was cottage cheese that was in it until I had the recipe, I thought I didn’t like cottage cheese.

Anyway, back to the food…

Caramel cake, yes, it is hard to make it like she did. I have a recipe that’s pretty close, but Mammaw didn’t write things down. It was a pinch of this and handful of that. The yellow pickles…okay, let me explain about these pickles! They were on the dinner table EVERY time we went there. I think all of us grandchildren had our favorite recipes that Mammaw made. Karen loved her peas and cornbread, Stephen loved the caramel cake, Candace also loved the peas and cornbread, I remember Mark liking the green beans, John loved her peas and green beans, lots of people loved her pickled pepper sauce, someone loved her tomato dish – but I was not a fan of tomatoes so I can’t remember what that dish was, my grandfather apparently loved her cornbread and buttermilk, Travis loved her salmon patties, my Dad loved her biscuits. Everyone loved her dressing! So needless to say my Mammaw could cook! My favorite had to be the yellow pickles though. She would make these from her garden every year. You apparently have to use old cucumbers off the vine. And you have to can them in the mason jars. When she died, my Mom and Aunt found a few jars left. I got one of them and I enjoyed every last pickle. I’m told they are very similar to what some older women sell still at the farmer’s markets called cinnamon pickles.

Here’s the thing though, I don’t want cinnamon in them. You actually use the red hot cinnamon candies in them. Nope, not what I want. I want yellow pickles! They are flat, about 2 inches to 4 inches long, and the absolute widest each would be would be a quarter to a half an inch wide. Plus, they were so pretty in the jars! I miss those…a lot…very much when I’m pregnant for some reason.

I’d give someone a buffalo nickel if they could make them like my Mammaw and send me some! I’m the little girl in this photo with the dog ear ponytails! Anya calls them dog ears! Somewhere on that table, I guarantee you there were some yellow pickles.

By: allison | Comments Off

So, for the past almost two years I have been preparing our family emergency box. I’m getting closer to completion but I have an excellent start now and wanted to share with you all why I decided to start this. I do not suggest reading the book “One Second After” unless you want to be scared, but that’s what got me started with it. Since then I have learned even more about having an emergency box in your house. The items included in ours thus far are:
Stormproof matches
Emergency whistle with a compass and a place to carry matches or money.
Twenty dollars in cash
Twenty dollars in change
Glow necklaces
Emergency blankets, 10 pack
an empty backpack
a pretty serious hunting knife
a crank flashlight
a crank lantern
duct tape
batteries, all types in packs of 20 each, two sets of each
a 201 piece outdoor first aid kit (this is awesome -all kinds of good stuff in here)
a manual can opener and a hunter’s can opener
cans of tuna in a ziploc baggie
potable water tablets
two aluminum 1 quart size canteens
an old fashioned corded basic telephone
a gas shut off tool
playing cards

Most all of this stuff I bought from Amazon! There’s a lot of stuff you don’t need and of course I am still adding to it, such as a folder with personal information and you are supposed to have a current photo of each member of your family in the box as well.  I still want to add a few other things such as a big box of drinking water packets, beef jerky, para-cord, more flashlights that are hand crank-able (these are really awesome), a set of clothing for each person, baby wipes, personal hygiene products,  and a wind up radio of some kind.  I also will have to make a refresh card to place on the top of the box so I know when things like the water and food expire, which then of course you replace.  The two most expensive things I purchased were the outdoor first aid kit (literally comes with practically everything you could possibly need) and the hand crank lantern. The lantern lasts 4 hours after 30 seconds of cranking and puts out a good amount of light.   This is a great site that will give you most of the ideas  you will need…http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/emergency-preparedness/?page=2   There are even ready made packs for two people and four people that will last for three days or more usually in an emergency for under $100 on Amazon. These are the type of things I recommend for couples like my parents. That way they have something even if its not personally made up or tailored exactly to them.  The goal is to make it personal for your family and what you want to have in an emergency. You can go really crazy and prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse too, but my brother already lives where they film “The Walking Dead” so he has no fear of the Zombies! :)

By: allison | Discussion (3)

I’ll just put it out there. Our family believes in God. Our family believes in Jesus. Our girls have studied the Bible and we pray. We do not attend a church and this is for several reasons. Lately though I’ve been surprised by how many people feel that you can only be a good Christian if you in fact go to and attend church regularly. I don’t believe that mainly because there are so many people that go to church just for the social aspect of it. Which is nice and fine, but is also a bit hypocritical when they are out being mean to people the next time you see them. This includes judging a woman that might not have her hair fixed at the best salon or live in the nicest of neighborhoods. People judge each other way too much these days and apparently many people have “standards” that you must meet to be considered worthy of their time. Seems to me that Jesus feels we are all worthy of his time and he’s there for you regardless of your status or persona in life. I’m not saying we are perfect, there are times when I get frustrated often and wonder why on earth people flaunt their money in such ways, or when some people give off the perception that they think they are better than me, I judge them for that mainly because I question why? Why do they think they are better than me simply because they wear make up and have a $300k house (and debt up to their eyeballs), but when I am honest and say that we are just renting a small duplex and are paying off all our debt, I get the looks and nods and the subject gets changed. I’m always asking Travis, is it jealousy? Is it because I’m just being honest? Its the same when I mention I do volunteer work with animal shelters. Aren’t we supposed to do volunteer work for God? Aren’t we supposed to want to help people and animals? People always tell me how good I am to do that. The thing is I don’t do it to feel good because there are many times I have felt very sad about it. I don’t do it for credit or recognition of any kind, I just do it to help and because I love animals.  I also get told that they just couldn’t go into an animal shelter and look into the cages of the sad animals. I’ve gotten to where I start saying, “How do you think the animals feel looking out at you?” That usually shuts people up.

Back to religion though, I have a friend that is a Wicca and I find it interesting to ask her questions about it. She was always happy to answer them and it doesn’t mean I’m going to turn Wicca, but I do think it means that we can always be open to other people and their beliefs. Not judge them on their beliefs, but show a genuine interest. The interesting thing is of all the people I have know with different beliefs – and I have known Muslims, Buddhists, Agnostics, etc. Not a single one of them have ever made me feel bad or like other Christians can tend to make you feel. They have all asked me a few questions about Christianity which I am happy to answer to the best of my ability, but if I don’t know the answer I have told them that as well. I just feel that religion is whatever you make of it, no one has to be right or wrong, we just have to be open and kind.