Waiting for February!

Talking to my best friend last night on the phone…we decided it was time for February to be here already!  January has not been the best month for either of us. WE are ready to be done with it and move on! So tonight we are celebrating our birthdays!  Our closest friends are all born between November and February.  That time frame is not conducive to get 8 people together so we wait til after the holidays 🙂

So today for my post, after I have had some very sad posts as of late….I am focusing on the positives in our lives.  We all have our health… One of or friends recently joined our office staff at Cox Accounting….that had been a goal of hers~ to work more part time~and now she can do that!

Speaking of health.  We are so blessed that our friends have been healthy! Yeah we have the um “middle age” aches and pains, crazy allergies from out of nowhere, and little annoyances but we are healthy! Praise God!

We have people who love us and lift us up.  Even when we don’t do a great job of lifting one another up at least we can be honest and move forward and do better the next time. It’s called true friendship for anyone that has not encountered it.  True friendship stands the test of time.  Those are the people who you can call at 930pm at night or later….as needed and they will BE THERE. How ever they need to be there. Those are the people who (as the men have recently) sit around a campfire and really talk.  Yes, men do this too but they drink beer and not wine on most occasions.

Friends are the family that you get to pick! We have chosen well and we love each of them dearly!

Happy Birthday Birthday Buddies!




I write when I am elated.  I write when I am angry….I write when I am sad.  I write when I am horrified……Today I am shattered.  My kids are all in bed…..I am processing this horrific evil thing that has happened, but earlier today I was just Mom.  The mom that barks orders.  The mom that wrestles over stimulated, nap avoiding children. The mom that just wanted it to all be OK.

This morning I was happily editing the pix from last night’s impromptu shoot in front of our lit Christmas tree……I anxiously posted one on Facebook for feedback as I intend to offer it as an option next year for Christmas Shoots. The feedback was great……awesome in fact. Then I read the paper….saw that “Guess How Much I Love You” was at WAC tonight…I had wanted to go…so got online and ordered tickets for us all to go.  Little did I know what an absolute Godsend that 1.5 hrs would be tonight at WAC.  That 1.5 hrs kept me busy for a full 4 hours today in all. I could just be the nagging mom getting everyone ready to go to the theater.  I could just be the mom getting pizza for everyone for a fun dinner.  I could just be regular old mommy.  I would not have to be focusing on this shattering evil news. My place in this world, my children, my home ~ we were safe….WE WERE OK. 

 I went on about my day….Donald came home, I left to run an errand, Donald left at noon for his guy’s birthday weekend trip and I checked my facebook…..IMMEDIATELY TURNED THE TV ON……watched in horror and cried…..turned it off….put the babies down for nap…..turned it back on……cried more…..I COULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT I WAS HEARING. How could someone shoot innocent children? How could someone kill his own mother? HOW??? 

In a crisis such as this- i would classify this as ranking with 911, Columbine, the Amish schoolhouse shooting,  I would classify this as ranking with the theater shooting in Colorado…THIS IS A CRISIS….and when such an evil thing occurs NOT IF anymore, but when….my gut instinct is to immediately pack my family up and literally head for the hills of my home place in rural Madison County.  My gut says I can home school, my gut says I can KEEP THEM SAFE….but I KNOW that is not reasonable….I know that I cannot keep them from the world. I know that God is with them ALWAYS. I believe that God is always with us….today and days like those I mentioned above in our recent past shake that faith. I have to be honest.  I have prayed and cried and prayed some more. I know I KNOW I KNOW that this was an evil act meant to shake my faith and the faith of our nation.  What is worse than striking the hearts of mothers and fathers? What is worse than taking the most innocent of lives? What is worse than someone looking their own mother in the face and shooting her in cold blood? It is unimaginable to me.  It is horrific to me. It is shattering. 

This flash of evil is not a flash any longer. It is a lingering open wound.  

Do NOT lose faith.  Do NOT let this harden your heart. Open your heart and feel every moment.  Open your heart and hold your children close.  Pray over your children.  Pray with your children.  Be honest with them.  There is evil in the world but God is and always will be with them.  Even if it is hard to believe that today. Reach out to a child that seems lonely. You may be the one person in the world that makes the difference to them. 

Praying tonight and continuing to hold these families in my heart, my heavy shattered heart.

Praying prayers of thankfulness to God for the bravery of the teachers in that school today.

Kissing my children at home tonight and watching them sleep, innocently sleep another night. The world and all of this horror will still be there tomorrow. I will be the same old Mom~I will nag, I will redirect, I will correct. I WILL SIT AND LISTEN. I WILL leave the TV off. I WILL BE PRESENT. I WILL THANK GOD FOR ANOTHER DAY WITH MY LOVED ONES. 



So it’s been said: 

“When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.” 

~Friedrich Nietzsche 

This quote reminds me of my friend’s opinion of marriage…..”because I could see my rocking chair by his when we are old, I decided he was the one I would marry and have children with”

Twenty years ago today Sharon and Scott were married in Camden.  It seemed like there were a 1000 Christmas trees fighting for the spotlight with Sharon in that sanctuary.  She looked beautiful and we loved our pretty Christmas green tea length dresses.  Scott had on a white tux….with tails! Brad walked Kaye down the aisle in his nutcracker sweater and cords.  Donald and I were not married but had been together for about a year. Little did I know he would propose to me just 13 days later.  Our marriage would happen years down the road. 🙂

Then the reception.  It was magical.  Out on the lake~ family friends had built out there and hosted for Sharon and Scott.  Everywhere you turned in that home it looked like a picture directly out of Southern Living Christmas edition. 

Reality of marriage would set in soon enough but this night was wonderful.  Sharon and Scott faced the traumatic premature birth of their daughter, loss of a pregnancy and then birth of their son and relocation to Fayetteville, all in the span of 3 years.  Marriage is not easy and trials abound but they persevered. 

Their children now are 17 and 14.  Almost grown.  They live in the same home that they have since they moved to Fayetteville.  They have grown apart and back together. Settling in to their marriage.  Learning along the way that the only people to be accountable to is God and each other. I believe they see each other sitting on the porch together in their rocking chairs in the future.  I believe that they love each other and that they understand what marriage is all about…It is about COMMITMENT and their promise to God and to each other. In sickness and health, for better or worse ~ let NO MAN put asunder. So when you see Sharon or Scott in the coming days please say HAPPY ANNIVERSARY and CONGRATULATIONS! They have passed a milestone that few people get to.  It has not been magical, it has not been jet set, it has not been all smooth sailing…..it has been REALITY and reality is better than magic any day because magic is not real. 








jerking, shaking, gasping for breath, unconscious, blue skin, purple lips……SEIZURE….and for someone who has only ever witnessed two types of seizures before in my 42 years…….those were febrile with the kids and one when my grandmother was dying of cancer…..so for someone with limited exposure…..obviously I was terrified.  I would have been terrified regardless of who it was suffering from that but when Caleb came to the back door on Thanksgiving afternoon and said

“MOM I think you need to check on Brad, he is acting funny….”

I went into hypersensitive mind boggling protective mode followed by total breakdown during the 911 call to uncontrollable sobbing in the bathroom of the ER to drinking a bottle of wine and smoking cigarettes for 2 days afterward. Needless to say I do not deal with stress well on any given day….but when my child is helpless and blue and not breathing…..well…. I was not strong….I was MUSH. I was SCARED…..I was PRAYING……HARD…..REALLY HARD! 

I am so thankful to report that as of right now we think this was an isolated event due to an increase in medication.  I am thankful to report that as of right now we are just focusing on counting our blessings…….

KISSING OUR BABIES ages 3-23 and….

praying many many prayers of


The Myth of Superwoman

Some call me Superwoman…..WOW…I wish I was.  I wish I didn’t feel overwhelmed and under-accomplished every day. I wish I had not had to go to the doctor for anti anxiety meds—-which I absolutely abhor taking…..just to get through the holiday season…The holidays are supposed to be a joyous time…..just like birthdays…..but they end up being the absolutely most stressful times of the year.  

Superwoman…NO…that is just a Facebook myth….If you KNOW ME then you know that I am frazzled, over committed, wound tight and treading water on any given day.  My truck looks like a clown car…..kids keep piling out. My house is cluttered with a variety of toys that my over indulged children may or may not play with for more than 15 minutes on any given day.  My bedroom door is LOCKED when company comes over because that is the one room in the house where clean laundry piles high waiting on me to fold and hang it. Waiting on me because…laundry is NEVER DONE when there are 5 people constantly running from event to event and of course none of the events require the same clothing choices that the day started out in. My baseboards are only EVER TOUCHED when I get the yearly deep clean….so if you are at my house in the next month please feel free to comment on how clean they are…the deep clean happened Wednesday! My calendar…is CRAZY….there is something going on every day….and some days there are more things going on than there are people in this house…HOW IS THAT????!!!  My parents come over and repeatedly tell me to slow down….to stop running so much….but if I do….WHEN I do…chaos commences.  God forbid I get sick….even a sinus infection can ruin the week ~ then unknowing and I am sure well meaning people start thinking that I have shirked my responsibilities…..more on that later.  More on the CRAZY COX CALENDAR right now….the calendar…that rules our every move is prominently displayed in the kitchen over the breakfast table-under the wall mount tv. If it’s not on the calendar then it wont happen…..so now not only is it on this home calendar but “it’s” on the   DAILY DRY ERASE BOARD on the front of the fridge…AND on our phone calendars…and since iPhones are so efficient I send an event notice to Donald as soon as appointments are scheduled so that they are now on his OFFICE CALENDAR.


Now for more on the well meaning people that fear I have shirked responsibilities……well here is the backside of that story…..my brother is in IRAQ…..he has been for 5 months…my parents are worried silly every day….so I proposed bi-weekly facetime sessions on Sunday evenings…because that works best for MY BROTHER IN IRAQ fighting for our freedom.  In addition to this event added to our calendar…..I have recently been working part time doing photography….translate that into FULL TIME RIGHT NOW…because this is the busy season. I have worked EVERY WEEKEND since August…I shoot on Saturdays and Sundays and I edit on Tuesday mornings and Thursday mornings when the kids are at school……IF I do not have any other volunteer commitments…and normally I do….so that leaves 9pm-11pm on any given night for me to work on edits. So if I haven’t been at certain meetings that I should have been at….I do hope and pray that my friends understand….there is ONE of me and 50 things to do…..I think God understands and supports my prioritization of those events at this time. 

As I sit here writing this….the 3 yr old and 5 yr old are at my feet vying for my attention….although they have it 24/7.  Except for this 30 minutes…and they do not understand why mommy won’t come sit and watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for the 100th time 🙂 

Superwoman NO……Perfect life???? NO!  Am I going to post on Facebook about the throw down fight that Donald and I had a few nights ago….even last night about my 13 year old’s current choice of behaviors….NO I AM NOT. (well I guess I am right now) but in general I will not.  Am I going to gripe about people and the stupid things that they do? NO not generally…. Am I going to complain about my family issues on FACEBOOK???? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO……those moments are PRIVATE….they happen…I complain…I gripe…I cry…I throw epic fits and sometimes stomp my foot (as if that will help a thing) …I throw things and I can have the most insecure moments known to man or woman about any number of things…….I am not always the best example….but those are PRIVATE….and shared with very few people…..and…some days, specifically some Sunday mornings if it were not for Carol Barnett’s warm hand on my shoulder and sweet words of encouragement in my ear I might just melt down and not recover. 




Its November 2…….IT’S NOVEMBER SECOND!!!!! That means there are only 28 days left in this month…….and then only 24 til Christmas 2012……..so i decided that I had better get my Christmas cards ordered……ordering my personalized cards today from my favorite company results in delivery of said cards by November 13…..OK….I am feeling a little ahead of the 8 ball now 🙂

Last year when my cards came in (from this same company) i quickly opened them and admired the printing of all of the numerous photographs from 2011 that I had lovingly and purposefully selected, immediately printed address labels and signed the cards with LOVE……handed them out while we were in Little Rock and then the WHAMMY 😦 instead of the note liner saying DONALD, CHRISTI, BRAD, ANNA, CORY, CALEB AND CHLOE……

it said CHRIST………

I was devastated. All of that time and a good chunk of money spent on just the perfect Christmas card and my name was misspelled…not only misspelled…but it said CHRIST…..you can imagine all of the fun that some of the extended family had with that ~ at my expense~ and I was in NO MOOD to hear it…….

I quickly called the company and they immediately offered to overnight the corrected version to me at no expense. The new cards came in and everyone got a card that said Christi not Christ.

Today when I placed the order I made sure to double, triple, quadruple CHECK everything…not just my photographs. This year I cannot wait to send these out. To get all 5 of the kids in one place at one time is nothing short of a miracle and we pulled it off!

So on with HOLIDAY 2012 planning! Its here lets make the most of it!

what i debated blogging….

I debated blogging on the pitfalls of losing the nap for my 3 and 5 yr olds…..I debated blogging about Caleb’s (5 yr old) screaming tantrums….of which are reaching epic proportions…..i even video’d one. I chose to blog about Cory….my 13 year old. His “issues” are always on the radar but since he is 13 I really try to not bring more attention to them than necessary for many reasons….that is until i read an article on CNN that a mother had written to her son’s principal. Immediately i posted a link to the article on Facebook to share with everyone. Reading the article all I could think about were the parallels I could draw between her son and mine. Thinking about the obvious opposites as well. Her son struggles to read…..Cory is a voracious reader….elementary children were tolerant of her son’s odd behaviors….NOT so with Cory. So the story of Cory begins…..

Donald and I married in 1995…immediately decided to start trying to have a child….miscarried in May 1996 and struggled with unexplained infertility for a couple of years…..EVERYONE was pregnant….we were not. Finally in April 1998 we found out that we were pregnant with Cory. I had a turbulent pregnancy…..work pressure….family issues….the gamut. Cory came 6 weeks early…Initially at the time I went into labor the doctor felt that we were only 4 weeks early….after birth it was determined we were actually 6 weeks early. Overall Cory was healthy at birth…and only required a 4 day stay in the nursery…never had to visit NICU and that was a major blessing.

Around 3 years of age we moved Cory from his school in our hometown to a home based childcare center near my new job in another town. This was a bad decision. The rules were lax…and Cory needed structure. By age 4 we had moved day-cares 3x. Cory was very outspoken…very impulsive and very manipulative. This was also about the time that we went for our first psychological evaluation ….he was not ADHD as every teacher from age 3 on had insisted….he was not ODD as one “play therapist” had suggested…..he had an ANXIETY DISORDER…..that would be treated with medication in the same manner as ADHD since most of his symptoms mirrored that of ADHD kids. No one ever suggested that adderall could/would stunt his growth, cause or exacerbate aggressive or hostile behavior, cause tics etc…..WE DID NOT KNOW 😦

By 2nd grade, Cory had basically stopped being invited to birthday parties. We still invited everyone to his and most of the kids usually came but over the years he was down to family friends. By age 12 Cory had basically withdrawn from sports…..he loved basketball but felt he was too short to play…..he loved baseball but was not as strong as the other kids and had no tolerance for their lack of understanding of the game….he has always been very athletic. He quit scouting. He did not enjoy going on camp outs where others were intolerant of his “wayward” behavior…or his impulse issues. He just quit. He came home from the last camp out that we had literally forced him to go on and told us that he quit taking his adderall and that he did not want to take it any longer. We agreed to try that for the summer. Cory gained weight and grew! He became a much more pleasant person to be around. He found tennis! It was an absolute miracle to see my sweet boy…that i knew all along had been in that body, burst forward for everyone to see. Then 6th grade.

Cory had been on adderall since he was 4…..8 years…..formative years where you learn how to study….he NEVER studied….he ALWAYS had A’s and the occasional B….now he had C’s and D’s and an occasional B or A…….and because he was unfocused in class he was acting out. Blurting out answers, interrupting people, forgetting his homework, losing his homework in his locker, acting out because he would get in trouble for the homework, which then caused problems elsewhere….he would be bullied and then retaliate…. he would be basically ignored or picked on…there was never a happy medium….7th grade….people (kids that we know) would clap when he got off the bus….he never said a word to me about it ~ accidentally I found this out 6 weeks after it had been going on…..for 6 weeks straight….the bus driver apparently thought it was OK until I found out and immediately conferenced with the assistant principal, superintendent and head of transportation. Then and ONLY THEN did the driver put a stop to it.

Winter 2010 Cory bonded with a neighbor boy during SNOWMAGEDDON in our hometown. They became fast friends, hanging out all the time —–we were thrilled. This was Cory’s first outside family friend in years. They maintained their friendship until Summer 2012. The loss of the friendship was hurtful to Cory and devastating to me. I wanted what I have always wanted…..for people to see Cory for the bright, energetic, fun kid that he is…..Cory is so fortunate to have wonderfully faithful family friends and I will never forget them standing beside him as they have done since they could walk… They know who they are. They know Cory is not perfect but who is?

Cory has started a new school…following in his brother’s footsteps and he is elated! He dreams of when he can join the tennis team for workouts and play for the team next year..right now we are working hard to find an answer for his academic struggles. The lack of focus, the lack of real study skills, the rushing through his work…etc are all piling up on him…yet he continues to try. He is making friends and playing basketball. (pick up games after school but its a start).

I know that there are answers for Cory. I know that he is a kind and sweet boy. Adults in church and elsewhere tell me all the time how very sweet he is with his younger siblings and other children. I just wish that everyone saw and knew the boy that i see and know. The boy that will grow into a kind man, a loving man, that will treat women with respect, that will be a wonderful father and great provider. That is the Cory that I know he IS and will GROW to be. Time will tell and I will continue to thank God every day for the blessing that he is to his mom and daddy and siblings.

Maybe next week i will write about the Tantrum King Caleb.

Peace be with you!