Sunday, January 21, 2007

This Is Barney the Wonder Dog

You have read about him and heard about him, but we haven't given this dog his own introduction into the Powell Fame. He is a wonderful dog that has stolen our hearts. He turned 1 in November and is still very puppy-like, but the best part of all is he is puppy-like with our little one. They play with each other so well and he is very gentle with her. We are constantly amazed at new things he does. Now, don't get me wrong - he is still a dog and gets into trouble, but we are glad to have him. Isn't he a cutie? I foresee this little critter eventually taking a spot in this bed he is posed by and become Emma's real live "Puppy" to snuggle with at night.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Walkin' in a TX Winter Wonderland

For months I have been going on and on to Jeremy about how I miss the snow we got to see when we lived back East. I had surrendered that we would only get to introduce Emma to this wonderful white fluff when we were in Kentucky for Christmas sometime. Low and behold, the Lord decided to prove his power over the weatherman's predictions once again! Don't you love that? God gets a big 'ol chuckle at man's desperate attempts to predict his creation. Ever so often, He finally says, "that's what you think!" We were not suppose to see snow AT ALL in the Metroplex today, but we had snow! It was a beautiful blanket of winter bliss. Now it didn't make a thick blanket, but it was enough to introduce Emma to this wonderful creation from above. She and Mommy had a blast! Daddy ran the video camera and laughed at the two of us a lot. We made snowballs and attempted to throw them at Daddy. She even got hit with a few and just laughed. Even Puppy got in on the fun. You can see he got put in safe keepings after a while (in Daddy's pocket). Then, before we went in, we performed an Anderson tradition. I took her down to the heaviest coverage in our yard and we made SNOW ANGELS!! Yea!! We are expected to get more sleet this weekend, but who knows. It is great! Enjoy our pics of our baby. One more layer of clothing and she would definitely say, "I can't put my arms down!"

Too Big for Mommy

Thursday night, Jeremy strongly encouraged me that we transition Emma into a "big girl" bed. I know it is time, but my hesitation was two-fold. You see, Emma's room is at the top of 16 stairs with Mommy and Daddy all the way at the bottom. All of the worse case scenarios travel through my head - tumbling down the stairs, being the primary one. Jeremy assured me that we could just put the baby gate up at her door and that would keep her contained if she got up.

During dinner, Jeremy adjusted her bed for toddler mode. My darling daughter is a wiggle worm, so my other worry would be her falling out of the bed at some point. The toddler bed that we have only has a slight lip on it, so after allowing her to play on her new bed, we quickly realized that she needed a bed rail for the first few months of this transition. As any red-blooded American family would do, we were off to Wally World to make that purchase.

Most of you "good" parents know bed rails are not to be used with toddler beds, but Jeremy found a way to modify the contraption to work on our little sleeper. He even got in the bed with her a time or two. The evening quickly came to a close and my baby girl climbed into her "big girl" bed with giggles and grins of pleasure. She was quite pleased to have a "new" bed and seemed very excited about this change. Mommy kissed her goodnight and quickly went to the monitor to watch. Amazingly, she transitioned very well. She made it through the night and woke the next morning as she usually did and waited on Daddy to come and get her.
As the days go, we are finding new challenges and humor. She still fights us for naps here in her bed, but naps for everyone else at school and sitters. She is exploring getting down out of the bed and running around her room. We also enjoy hearing her conversations with Puppy and Baby and Poop (Pooh - she won't call him the correct name). It is a great time in our lives. We are truly enjoying our toddler and forsee quite an adventurous 'bout with the Terrible Twos.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Nap No More

I don't want to! - that is her new favorite phrase. She says especially at nap time these days.

Is it a phase? Will it be permanent? Will we endure? Are we adjusting again? Help me people! Our precious daughter has decided over the weekend to drop her nap. She napped fine on Friday for our dear friend Samantha, but Saturday - Monday has been NADA! She will lay in the bed and cry, scream, talk, play, anything but sleep. So, we warned the school today, but I don't quite know what will happen. They are on a schedule and all the other little children will sleep. What will my child do? I must inquire about this with my father. My mother said that I dropped my naps pretty early, but I don't know if that was 4 or 2. Eeek! Be prayerful for us as we adjust. It isn't so much that I mind her not napping, it is that she will probably reek havoc at school for the teachers. She has tended to show "Terrible Two's" signs over the weekend as well. She has the temperament of her mother and father - God help us all!

Skunk De Pew

So, this was not what I was intending to update you guys on as I was pondering my next entry, but it must be shared. I arrived at school this morning in the Texas Arctic chill - that is Northern for moderately cold. I opened my car door and exited only to be welcomed by a wave of fragrant odor. Being a good ole country girl, I identified that smell immediately. Skunk! My first thought was that someone had hit one on a road nearby and the smell was traveling over our little hill. As I approached the building, the pungent stench was increasing. In fact, the entrance way near my door was as if it has been sprayed directly by the frightened beast. I was only more overjoyed to discover that this nauseating foulness was lingering in my room because I am lacking windows to help ventilate the problem. I am usually not a complainer, but I quickly printed off my material and made my way to the office to voice my concern fearing that class would not be conducted in an organized manner because of the punishment both student and teacher would endure. They quickly got me a fan to extract the smell and gave me some candles to burn to assist. I also learned that it is quite possible that our angry or scared little rodent was still somewhere in the building, probably the ventilation system. So, if you thought your "Monday" (we were off yesterday) started off to a bang, try this one out.

My students have rose above the occasions and presented projects despite of the stench. I applaud them all. Whew!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Who'd We See Part 8: Friends

Jeremy and I have so many wonderful people that we long to see over our trips home and somehow we are never able to squeeze in all of the visits we desire. We literally spent 2 1/2 days in each town and technically 1 of the 2 1/2 days in Birmingham was spent on the road to Gadsden and Anniston. During our triangle trip, we were able to visit with some of the following special people. We were able to see Janet and Jimmy and catch up with them on the latest and greatest of building a new house. We were also able to visit with Karenina in our brief stint in Birmingham in between her crazy late night shifts and the numerous visits she made to all of her families for the holidays. Thanks guys for taking time out of your family time to share with the Powells3. You are all very special. We missed seeing Jodi, Amy, Ken & Gail and the rest of our beloved Enon family. Emma and Mommy will be in the 'Ham for our spring break. We hope to see you then. During our trip to Hopkinsville, we are able to steal away some time to see Emory, Megan (by chance being at the church), and the ever faithful "CREW". Jeremy has a group of friends that consist of a core. They have been great buddies since high school and have all gone their separate ways in school and life and yet still maintain a friendship that is unshakable. The other ironic and blessed gift from this bond is that we have also been able to make a tight relationship with the immediate family of crew member Duncan Cavanah. We LOVE THE CAVANAHS! They always open their home to our group and make us feel like we are part of the family. These are some of the only pictures we do have of friends visiting. Duncan's sister, Grey, has 2 babies - Lilly and Tyler. They, along with CREW member Philip's son Will are seen in these pictures. Thanks CREW for making us feel like we are one of the family.

Who'd We See Part 7: MomMom & Grandpa

As most of you know, the beloved title of Jeremy's grandparents on his mother's side is MomMom & Grandpa. They LOVE Jeremy and therefore, they LOVE Emma. So our visits with them are always pleasurable. Grandpa is a retired military official who spends his time now constructing porches, patios, and ramps for those in need in their beautiful community of Hopkinsville. They both have such giving hearts who so many benefit from, but especially their families. For Christmas this year, Grandpa made Emma a table and chair set. (I must also remind you that he made her first cradle that she used when she was brought home.) He is an extremely talented craftsman who also wears the mask of a musician in a bluegrass band and a animal whisperer as he entertains a multitude of the local residential wildlife with peanuts and gospel hymns. Make sure to note the squirrel escaping in one of the pictures. It just took a peanut right out of Emma's hand. We got the biggest laugh out of watching her amazement with these small creatures and watching her attempt to mimic Grandpa call the squirrels to the porch. "C'mere squirrel!" WE LOVE MOMMOM AND GRANDPA!

Who'd We See Part 6: Jason

Make sure you read that name correctly. It isn't as it appears. It is pronounced with an elongated "A" sound that can drag out for 5-10 seconds before being followed with the "sc" sound like in science then the "-un" sound. Or at least that is how Emma says Uncle Jason's name. She is quite fond of him, but I am sure you have gathered that. He too assists with the "whatever you want" world that Emma is growing in. What do we do about it? Absolutely nothing. Being her favorite uncle, he tends to dote on her ever so slightly and seems to find it irresistible as well when she says "please" and rubs her belly. They have a beautiful relationship. She always tends to play bashful with him the first 24 hours of our visits and then, almost immediately, he cannot leave the room to even take a shower without her crying or asking, "where's Jason?" He made sure she had tons of fun toys to play with from Uncle Jason/Santa on Christmas morn. Best of all, my bachelor brother even bought Christmas lawn ornaments to celebrate the holiday for Emma and myself. Yes, I too enjoy the decor for the holidays. He is a great uncle and super brother and wealth of knowledge found at Did you know he has many hidden talents? Yeah, he has written and produced a small screen film. He is a published cartoonist. He is an unrecognized talented photographer, who is also published in various forms. He is a multi-degreed scholar and platinum artist. OK, not platinum, but he can play numerous instruments. Best of all, he is Emma's uncle and we love him. Jaaaassson!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Who'd We See Part 5: Papa

Probably the easiest name that Emma has learned aside from Mommy and Daddy is PAPA! She calls for him without reservation and he is often her imaginary friend on the other end of her phone conversations. Her love for him is quite obvious and she probably knows that whatever she wants can be easily had if she just asks and says please. At least I know this fact because he has shared it numerous times - whatever she wants.

Our visit with Papa was cherished and precious. We adapted our Christmas observance this year and held our special family time at Jason's house. It made the absence somewhat easier to endure, but did not eliminate the anguish that comes when your mom/wife/Nana is no longer near. I would probably be safe to say that Emma provided medicinal benefits for all of us, but most of all for her Papa. She loved on him and welcomed his affection in return.

Papa has become a wonderful cook over the last few years and never passes up another opportunity to prepare "geen geens" (green beans) for the baby. He helped with the Christmas dinner by making her a batch of geen geens and cornbread for the dressing - a very special touch since the recipe is my mom's.

Papa also provided Emma with another set of fun gifts. She received her special bed from Papa and Nana, which she loves along with some adorable clothes.

One of our favorite interactions with Papa was watching him kiss her hand. He would ask to kiss her hand, and our darling little princess would stick her hand out like the queen. She knows. She knows that she is the queen of the men in her life. Oh the trouble I have before me.

At the close of our visit with Papa and Jason, we made sure to visit Nana as well. Mother has been laid to rest next to my Mama Lola and Papa Jay (my Dad's parents). It is a tradition for me to take fresh flowers when I visit these important people in my life and I wanted to incorporate Emma into the very cherishable moment. We are never too young to begin to learn about the respect and reverence of these moments and I want her to be aware of this from this point forward.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Who'd We See Part 4: Nana and Granddaddy

During our visit to Birmingham, we made a day trip to the factory driven town of Gadsden, Alabama to visit my Nana and Granddaddy. It was a unique visit that was rushed because of the many things we all have to do in such a short time. Next time, we hope to spend a longer visit with my grandparents and enjoy their stories and their love.

Emma took some time to get warmed up to the new surroundings of my Nana's house, but in soon, she was loving on Nana and trying to talk to her. My amazing grandmother would get down in the floor with my toddler and entice her to play. It was beautiful. They took care of us with gracious hospitality, as always.

Was it hard to be there without Mom? Definitely. Will it ever be the same? No. But why would we want it to be? There is a pillar missing from the front porch and there is no longer symmetry. However, our constant prayer is that the remaining beams will withstand this storm and remain connected and strengthened in our time of newness. We have a very loving family that are a joy to be around. We will continue rearranging the dynamics of our bond so we can provide the love and support needed for our journey here.


Can you hear it? I do! It is the transformation of the beloved ALA - BAMA cheer that is a resonating sound in Bryant-Deny stadium. It is the transformation of a program under an EXTREMELY well-paid individual. Welcom Nick Saban! Welcome back to college ball, where players play for you because they want to please you and not endorsements. Welcome back to the SEC, where there is no great competition and no greater tension between conference members. And yet, there is no greater comraderie as we all respect the standard that each aspires for in order to be affiliated with such excellence. Heck, even Vanderbilt has been trying lately and did you all take note that KENTUCKY WENT TO A BOWL THIS YEAR! Yeah, SEC BABY! Welcome to Dixie! It is the heartbeat of America. It is the greatest tradition in all of football. It brings about the best trash talking and purest Southern charm blended into one pot. You tasted it at LSU and knew you had walked too soon. Now you are back and we are ready to see you work. I am pumped! Roll Tide BABY! Ramma Jamma

Who'd We See Part 3: Grandy

After our visit to Gadsden, we were able to join up with Jeremy's mother in Anniston, Alabama and celebrate a Christmas visit as well. All were happy to have some Outback, but I must testify that our service was not exactly the best. I am a product of the food services industry, therefore, I have the right to be critical. Emma took longer than usual to warm up to everyone. She did seem to be intrigued by Nicolas, Jeremy's brother though and spent a large part of the evening eying him from across the table. Grandy brought Nicolas over to visit and that was the aide needed to get Emma to release from her Mommy-grip.

Grandy (Cindy/Jeremy's Mom), Jeff, & Nicolas joined for an after dinner nightcap at the ever famous Starbucks where we stole a corner of the establishment to share in our own festivities. Grandy is a champion shopper and assists in decking Emma out in some of the most stylish of fashions. This year, since we are beginning to get hair, she even added matching bows for each outfit. I will post those pictures when she wears her new outfits to school. School clothes are show-off clothes. You moms out there know what I am talking about.

Grandy and Jeff also gave both Jeremy and Emma some of the most beautiful handcrafted pieces from Khazakistan. We will have to post that as well.

Jeremy and Jeff were able to talk fine cigars and football as Jeremy enjoyed the most gracious gift as tickets to see Auburn at the Cotton Bowl and Jeff received a stash of stogies from Jer.

This visit was also quite rushed, but as we have said before, there is never enough time. Thanks for making the trip to see us Shaner family! We love you.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Who'd We See Part 2: Grandmother Powell

This past year, Jeremy's grandmother on his father's side turned 90 years of age. She is quite an amazing woman that we have always adored visiting. Earlier in the year, the family decided it would be most beneficial to move Grandmother into an assisted living facility so that her well being was always being monitored. She was having some difficulty with various ailments and they were unable to provide 24 hour care that she needed at home. After several weeks of adjustment to her move, Grandmother has made this new location home and quite a nice home it is. We took a moment to visit with her during our brief stay in Hopkinsville and snapped a cherished photo to look upon with fond memories. Note Emma's inability to cease drinking for a photo opp.

BTW, if any of you have experiences with Assisted Living Facilities, I would love to hear about it. This was my first experience. I have only been in actual nursing homes prior to this visit. This place was phenomenal. It was a spacious little apartment that was connected to a large living environment where socialization and emotional care was evident. I was quite impressed. Maybe this will be a road for Jeremy to put me when I become too much to handle. Oh wait, that's now! Seriously, there were women sitting together at the entrance like a little sorority of greeters. There was another group of women receiving manicures and facials in another location. There were some men watching football in another corner and countless other little activities. It was very nice. We are very happy for Grandmother.

Who'd We See Part 1: GranDan

Emma's time with GranDan over the past 2 years has been very limited, so our trip to Hopkinsville was very meaningful. We not only wanted to celebrate the holiday with our family, we wanted Emma to celebrate the holiday with her family and to establish relationships that were to be grounded and memorable. Thanks to patience and warmth of family, Emma was quickly laughing and sharing with GranDan as they watched the kitty on the front porch. Annie made quick friends with Emma as well by being the perfect "grandma" providing that sweet little girl with sweet little oatmeal cookies. We quickly learned that we could use visits to the farm to see the cows and horses with GranDan as leverage to get cooperation out of our growing toddler. "Come here _______" became the phrase of the trip and that blank was most often filled with Cow, Mommy, Daddy, Grandpa, Papa, Jaaaaaason, Puppy, and most adorable "Cuffy". Cuffy was actually Buffy, GranDan and Annie's cat that Emma desperately wanted to cuddle. We could not get her to call her by the correct name to save our lives, but it became to adorable to correct any more. So Buffy, to Emma, is Cuffy. She would call her and attempt to snap her fingers. You gotta love that. Maybe next time we will get our picture made on GranDan's airplane!

Emma's Christmas 2006

Our Princess celebrated with much pomp and circumstance. She had visits from Santa 5 total times. It would be great to know that Santa excited her if it weren't for he terrified her. We did not even make the trip to the mall this year because of the trauma it has caused before. She is too funny. What did Santa bring this little starry-eyed one? She got a Little Tikes Car and an airplane to ride upon. She got baby accessories (stroller, pack-n-play, high chair), kitchen accessories, Leap Frog learning toys, and clothes. Grandpa made her a beautiful table and chair set to go in her classroom. She loves it. My mother bought her a sleeping mat/blanket combo before she passed and Emma adores it. I am sure that Mom beamed from above. I know that I did.

Summary 2006

Too long I have waited to update. Here is where the Powells have come over the past 6 months. For many of you, this is common knowledge now, but for some, you are finally being updated. My "New Year's Resolution" is to blog more. Yikes. I hate making these, but I really do want to improve this outlet. My life, my daughter's life, is flashing before me and I need to let you embrace these little joys I have been able to soak in over the past year.

Where have we come? Well, in February 2006, Emma celebrated her first birthday. It was fabulous and we all had a splendid time. Shortly thereafter, we celebrated March birthdays. During our time with my parents, we came to the discovery that my mother had another nodule in her shoulder. After having it examined, they decided to quickly have a biopsy performed. Her cancer had returned with a vengeance. Despite taking a daily chemotherapy pill, it had found a few places to grow and cause trouble again. It explained months of struggles with other ailments that could now be linked to the location of this cancer.

She began an intense chemotherapy that caused her great discomfort with constant nausea. As a result of this return, Miss Gail's Music Studio closed it's doors for good ending a 50 year love affair with music teacher and students. Thousands upon thousands found themselves under the musical leadership of Miss Gail at one point in their life. Now it was time for Miss Gail to rest.

In February, we also welcomed a new family member to the Powell house as we purchased a charcoal grey Miniature Schnauzer. He is registered as Barnabas Oromashodu Powell, but we affectionately refer to him as Barney. Barney was brought about to assist Scout, our dachshund, with the adjustment of a toddler in her life. Unfortunately, after 4 months, we had to let Scout go after she made continual negative reactions to Emma.

At the close of the school year, Jodi was to travel to Alabama for her high school class reunion. Two days before the journey home, Jodi's mom would trip and fall in her living room fracturing her tibial plateau on both sides. Jodi's mom had surgery that Friday, June 2, to place 2 pins in her knee to assist in the healing of this break. She would never walk on this leg again.

Jodi's reunion was great. It was fabulous to see the many faces that did show up and it was sad to not see the many who could not make it. Everyone has beautiful children and families that boast of their accomplishments since their 10-year split at graduation. It makes her miss the simplicity of life in Alabama all the more. How fast time flies and how fast we grow up! What did you predict about yourself at graduation? Where did your see yourself 10 years down the road? Surprisingly, some of my predictions were on target. I hoped to be married to a God-fearing man with my first child and thoughts of my second. How about that? Didn't think I would be in Texas though.

At the end of June, we took a trip to the beautiful mountainous West with the Alexanders. We were invited to assist with a wedding in Anaconda, Montana and decided to make a vacation out of it. My previous entry is about that trip and the fun we had. I will add more pictures and stories about that journey in a later blog.

Jeremy was diagnosed with a Lung infection in early May. This resulted in monthly visits to the NIH to monitor the growth of this infection and to change medication as needed.

Jodi made another trip home in July with Emma as she tagged along with the Skippers to visit their families. That trip - as with any Powell trip had it's own stories. Rolling poop and Big Rig hostages to name a few. I will also try to elaborate on those. The trip itself was another treasured moment with my Mom. She was still strong and in a fighting spirit. However, it was obvious that she was tired and bothered by a difficult illness.

August brought about the beginning of school and many changes. Jeremy and Jodi went to DC so that Jeremy could have a biopsy performed on his lung infection. This resulted in a week trip that was very trying on them by awaiting results and suffering from distance from Emma. She spent a week with her friend Drew and hardly missed us.

Jodi dropped coaching in order to have more time to be a Mom. Emma started school 2 days a week at the Children's Courtyard. It was an emotional time for Mommy and daughter. The school experience has been fabulous for all parties involved, even grandparents. This school provides webcam access to the students so grandparents can tune in and watch. So we are 800 miles from them all, and yet right beside them.

The school year proved to be eventful even with the dropping of volleyball. Many challenges and obstacles left Jodi with a time of great reflection on her future career goals. She is still contemplating returning to school for her master's, but the question is when and where.

Jodi's mother gradually found no improvement and in late October, early November, they found that the cancer had indeed spread to her brain in an inoperable situation. She would move to a rapid decline from this state and after 16 days of radiation, she ended her battle with this beast on November 14. God was gracious and allowed the entire family to be present for this closure. A lovely celebration of her life and her legacy was celebrated in a service at their home church of Enon Baptist Church.

Jodi's father and brother joined them in Texas for Thanksgiving and life was celebrated in a new way. Life will be new for us from this point forward. New roles and new challenges and new goals. As this year closed, we celebrated our first Christmas without Mom. Her absence was evident in countless ways. She is irreplaceable, and yet she would want for us to continue with fond memories and new memories in celebration of her love.

The Powells rushed around Alabama and Kentucky trying to see all they could and missing so many. We literally spent 2 days in each location and it was definitely not enough. If we missed you, please know we MISSED YOU. Meaning, we drove away in Mother's Yukon listing the people we were hoping to hug and love on and trapped in the necessity to get home to Texas.

We are hoping this along with other venues will get us closer to you. If you're reading, drop me a line and a way to connect you. My email is changing and I would like to reorganize my address book. I will send you the new one when established.