I just logged off of Lisa's blog (www.banksintexas.blogspot.com). She has posted pictures of her precious baby boy who was delivered into God's hands last night. Please continue to pray for the Banks family as they adjust to life without their little one.
In a world where we can find so much to complain about...long lines at the grocery store, the price of everything, dirty clothes on the floor, etc., it only takes a moment like this to realize the beauty of a life we are fortunate to have in the first place. My heart is absolutely breaking for the loss of two "babies" in one week's time. Little Hailey Mayz unexpectedly left this world to be with God last Tuesday, and now Patrick Steven Banks has been called home as well. Praise be to God.
Gosh! I didn't realize it has been over a week since my last update ("Free tacos" was actually from last Tuesday 8/11/09 although I posted it Friday the 14th). So, I guess I had not shared with you the news of Hailey's death before now. This is the granddaughter of a friend of my aunt. When Hailey was born three short years ago, she was premature and had medical complications which kept her in and out of hospitals. Her mom had just posted a blog celebrating Hailey's life and health last month after Hailey's 3rd birthday. On Wednesday morning (8/12/09) I received the news from my aunt that Hailey's mom put her down for a nap Tuesday afternoon, and she never woke up. The fact that Hailey had just been to the doctor for a check up prior to a family trip and received a clean bill of health confounded everyone all the more. I continue to pray for her family and ask that you do the same.
We've been busy getting ready for a new school year. Friday was dedicated to shopping for school supplies on a shoestring budget. We found some great deals between Wal-Mart superstore and Office Depot. Saturday morning Alisa had her "meet the teacher" back-to-school picnic at Randol Mill Aquatic Center. The kids were upset that they were not allowed to ride in the Volkswagen test drive fundraiser where the school receives $5.00 for every adult who test drove their Toureg (minivan) or the convertible. We rushed home from that to change clothes, grab lunch, and deliver kids to PaPa & Tia's house. Barrett and I headed to Our Mother of Mercy for a meeting of C.C.E. teachers with the director of religious education. Afterwards, B hung out with us for most of the afternoon. I received a phone call from Mom asking if I'd ever heard of "salivary gland stones." For some reason they sounded familiar--I didn't know much about them, but I had heard of them before. It turns out my brother had been to the ER the night before, and that was his diagnosis. I stayed up researching the condition and forwarded my findings to both Lani (sister-in-law) and Mom.
We attended 10 o'clock mass Sunday morning, and received a surprise when Fr. LeDoux had a concelebrant: Fr. Louis, a new priest from the Friary next door. I got a little choked up thinking of Hailey's family, but I managed to pray for them and my nephew, Trey, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Saturday, and my brother. I could not pray aloud for Lisa Banks and family but I did so silently with a huge lump in my throat. Jesus really does love the little children. I can only imagine the strength, courage and faith one must have to be prepared to say goodbye before you have the chance to say hello.
Barrett joined us for lunch (of tortilla pizzas made to order, I might add) after church and even updated his blog (at long last)! He headed home for dinner, and I fixed steak fingers, mashed potatoes with cream gravy and green beans for me and the kids. Mike was working late, and would probably grab something at the airport.
Monday, Alisa had another "meet the teacher/open house" at her new school from 9-10:30 a.m. We all got up, had breakfast and headed out. Her new teacher, Mrs. Ford, formerly taught 3rd grade, but has moved up to teach 6th grade this year. Alisa will rotate to 2 other six-grade teachers throughout the day in addition to a variety of other classes for art, P.E., Spanish, etc. I dropped Alisa off at PaPa & Tia's to "babysit" Leyla and hang out with Xavier. Unfortunately, Leyla slept most of the time Alisa was there. I picked her up just before 5 p.m. to take her to try on more uniforms at a second hand shop I learned sold Parker brand uniforms. We found 2 pieces that fit-a khaki skort and navy shorts, but they weren't the exact style as was listed on the school's list. I may go back and purchase them, ask about the style at the school office and return them if they do not qualify as "official" uniforms. The prices were pretty steep in my opinion for a resale shop, but I had to admit that they were between 35 & 40% less than the brand new cost. That evening I returned to the school for "curriculum night." There were probably only about 10 parents present for this meeting. I guess by 6th grade a lot of the parents knew the drill and also knew they'd get the same information sent home on the first day of school. I had left a pot of spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove and put on a pot of spaghetti noodles to cook before I left. When I returned home Mike & the kids had already eaten and were washing dishes. What a welcome sight!
Tuesday morning Alisa & I headed out after breakfast to get our hair done-hers relaxed and mine cut off. Thank you to Tia and Aunt Shannon who scraped together enough money to cover Alisa's hair. Thanks to Alisa who loaned me her birthday money to get my hair cut. PayDay Loans don't have anything on family! Mike and Aaron had headed out to cut the grass at Jessie's house and then left a message that they had gone to Dallas to pick up Mike's dad so he could tour the new Dallas Cowboys' stadium. When Alisa & I had been in the house just long enough for Alisa to warm leftover steak fingers & mashed potatoes with gravy the doorbell rang. It was Aaron. Mike & his dad were in the car wanting to know if we wanted to join them for lunch. We all loaded up and headed to...Pappadeaux's around 1:30. (Mike's dad was treating.) They have changed their lunch menu a bit, but it was all good. Aaron & I ordered po-boy sandwiches which were so big we could barely finish half! Mike & his dad ordered the seafood sampler or something like that: fried catfish, shrimp & crawfish with a ton of fries--YUM! At first Alisa said she didn't want anything, but then decided she wanted fried crawfish (which turned out to be more expensive than Aaron's & my po-boys). Of course, Mike just had to have dessert, so he and Alisa split the praline cheesecake. I had to help Alisa finish hers because she was just miserable even though she hadn't eaten much crawfish. Can you say "sinfully scrumptious"? In retrospect I think Alisa could well have eaten the crawfish off of Mike's platter and a few French fries off of my plate and been happy-especially since Mike did the whole insisting on having dessert thing. That would have saved Mike's dad about $12.00, too. Oh well, I didn't fuss or argue about it.
Anyway, Mike drove his dad home to Dallas & Alisa & I fell out (a case of the "itis"). Aaron was chillin' out watching TV. Later we had to run to Walmart for a backpack, socks and a couple other school supplies (thank goodness I found $20 of Alisa's Christmas money stashed away). We spent $20.21. We made one last stop by Target before returning home for the night. By then it was after 8:00. Alisa was in bed just after 9:00, but she kept getting up. I don't know what time she finally went to sleep. I stayed up to make tuna salad for Alisa's lunch and roast a turkey (just to have something for us to eat for the next few days). I fell in the bed just after midnight, but set my alarm to get up at 1:00 & check on the turkey neck that was cooking on the stove for Missy. I asked Mike to wake me before he went to work so I could check on the turkey itself. He apparently thought this meant to wake me when he woke up and talk to me for 30 minutes while he got dressed. This is how my day began this morning.
The turkey looked and smelled fine. I went back to bed and awoke around 5 a.m. to remove the turkey from the oven. It was all golden brown and crispy--I had slathered real butter on the skin and sprinkled it generously with salt and pepper. I stuffed coarsely chopped onion, green pepper and celery into the cavity. Unfortunately, it looked better than it tasted. I sampled a bit when I sliced some for a sandwich for Aaron's lunch. Once it had cooled I took all of the meat off of the carcass and refrigerated it.
Let me back up just a moment. Today was Alisa's first day of school! She looked absolutely adorable in her uniform (plaid jumper & white blouse with peter pan collar) with her hair all straight and shiny. I'm sure she'd prefer another adjective, but precious probably wouldn't satisfy her any more than adorable. Tia stopped by to take a couple pictures & I took a couple as well. Alisa was very nervous about her first day at a new school, but I assured here that she would not be the only one. She was #13 on the waiting list, so chances are there are several other students who are new to the school as well. After dropping Alisa off (I did park and go in just because today was the first day and she had all of her school supplies in addition to her backpack, lunch & snack), I returned home and spent most of the morning checking e-mails, on the phone, paying bills, etc. Around noon I was already anxious to pick Alisa up and find out how her day had gone. Around 2:15 Aaron and I set out to run a few errands before picking up Alisa at 3:15. I had made a colorful sign to stick on my dashboard announcing that I was there for "Alisa White, 6th grade/Ford," but I left it on the kitchen island, so I made another with a piece of paper and orange marker I found in my car while we waited. We sat unmoving from 2:55 until about 3:10. I wasn't sure if I was in the proper lane when cars in the one to my right started moving. As Murphy's Law would have it, the moment I found someone to let me ease into the right lane, it stopped and the left lane I had just jumped out of began moving. C'est la vie, no? It was about 3:25 when we finally pulled off of the school lot. We ran a couple more errands, including picking up Aaron's friend, Shawn, to come hang out for a while.
Alisa came in, ate her leftover crawfish from Pappadeaux and got right onto her homework. I was impressed. She didn't ask for help or complain about doing it...just got right to it! I definitely hope this is a new leaf she has turned over.
I logged onto my computer just to check for new e-mails (I was awaiting a couple of replies from my sister-in-law), and that is when I discovered Lisa's update to her blog which she (or more likely someone else) had apparently only just posted. My heart sank. I just looked at the precious photos and cried. All of us who had been following her blog knew that what was to come was only a matter of time, but Baby Patrick Steven took us by surprise and surrendered in his own time. I guess he figured there was no use waiting around until 9-9-09 to get to heaven. I posted a few words of encouragement to the Banks family on the blog and returned to the kitchen to get back to the business of living which is what we must do.
I decided on Stove Top Stuffing and greens to go with the turkey. I made gravy from the drippings and cranberry sauce with frozen whole cranberries (it was a little on the tart side...guess I didn't add enough sugar)! I called Jamie to ask about the greens and she was cooking some, too. We stayed on the phone chatting and cooking for the better part of an hour. Aaron's friend stayed for dinner, which we didn't eat until just after 8:00. I dropped him off at his home a little after nine. Meanwhile Alisa hopped in the tub so she'd be ready for me to read to her upon my return. It was past nine-thirty when I began reading so I didn't read for long. She and Aaron have been asleep for a couple of hours now. Know that I gave them both extra hugs and kisses at bedtime tonight. I'm glad that although they're no longer "little children" they still allow me (even expect me) to love on them at bedtime. How I love those two kids of mine, and I thank God for them. If you never believed it before, I hope you realize that life is a gift!