Sunday, November 1, 2009

Me, TX State Fair, Halloween, 9 Month Stats...

Texas State Fair
This year we took E to the Texas State Fair for the first time. Her school gave away free tickets and a day off, so to the Fair we went. I am not so good with the rides, so the twins and I mostly watched and took pictures. She rode some of the rides (with her Papa) and played a few games, but was pretty overwhelmed by it all. But the next day she was asking to go back, so I think next year she will enjoy it a little bit more.

Halloween
For Halloween, my sister-in-law landed us a butterfly outfit for M and a bumble bee outfit for F. We thought it would be super cute if E went as a flower, and she was agreeable to the idea, until she saw M's costume. Then she wanted to be a butterfly too. No problem! She was a beautiful Purple Butterfly! We had some fabulously fantastic bugs for Trick or Treat Night! :-)

9 Month Stats
M and F went in for their 9 month check up this month. F weighs 18.12 pounds and is 29 1/2 inches long. M weighs 18.04 pounds and is 29 1/4 inches long. They are basically the same weight and height, but they are not built the same. You would swear that M was way bigger and heavier than F. She is a well built little girl! :-)

M can sit up and stay that way for quite a while. She likes it. F, on the other hand, is Greatly Offended at the THOUGHT of sitting, and will promptly throw himself backwards if you try to sit him up. He is just lazy, and prefers to lay down and roll around to whatever it is he is wanting to see or get to.

M has attempted to crawl a few times, and is dangerously close to completing it. Again, F is just not interested.

They have both cut two teeth on the bottom. M's two came in crooked! :-P
They are both gradually getting more hair.
They both babble a bit, and I'm am working on getting them to say Mama :-) F will say it, but I think it is just part of his babble.

They are still very good babies, and very happy the majority of the time...Thank you Jesus!!!

Me
Well, to say I have been 'under the weather' for the past 2 months is putting it mildly. I've been depressed...I guess I'm still working on that too. I have some really good days, but then I have a few bad ones. I'm getting better now, or at least I think I am...

I had to go and see my hematologist again. One of my last tests in August came back too low/bad. After meeting with the doctor, the game plan for me going forward will be taking low dose aspirin every day; and not to sit for long car rides or plane rides. I'll take this over being on coumadin again! Basically, I am trying to avoid situations that would cause me to throw another clot, because evidently, now I am susceptible to them.
{sigh}

Also going on, I have been fighting really bad vertigo with headaches and nausea...and general exhaustion. At first I thought it was side effects to the different meds I had been taking, or possibly a sinus infection. But after a while, I began to wonder if something was really wrong....jury is still out on the final verdict. I have, however, now acquired reading glasses to help with the headaches / eye strain. I have switched the time I take some of my medication, and changed out others altogether. The next doctor visit is looking like an ENT....and then maybe a dermatologist....I -have- met my deductible for the year, so I may as well get everything checked out before January 1st!

And October was Awful in Texas, weather-wise. It was cloudy and dreary or raining at least 3 weeks of the month....I'm seriously Sun Deprived. This proves I could never live in Buffalo (sorry Kimmy....just give in and move here!).

I'm happy with my kids and my hubby, but just not quite happy with me yet. I'm working on it, and getting there, but not quite there yet. I know I will be back to my sarcastic funny self soon enough, but in the mean time, keep me in your thought and prayers.

For now, I will end by giving you happy baby pictures and a few videos! :) And yes, the videos are not high quality....we need to get a new video camera....maybe Santa will bring us one ;-)

Love to all,
Cherise
























video video video

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The long drive home...

We left Texas and drove to Louisiana for Sev's memorial service on Wednesday of last week. It was -wonderful- to see all of my family...wonderful and sad.

On Wednesday, shortly after arriving at the hotel, we found out that Sean's best friend had been killed in Afghanistan that day. I just stood there thinking, "how much can he take??" I was just at a loss for words when I finally saw Sean later that evening. He was sitting in the hotel bar with what I assume were some other military friends. They were visibly upset. I just hugged him and told him I was just so sorry. I can not imagine what was going thru his mind, his heart, his subconscious.....guilt, anger, sadness? I just don't know. As for me, I was settling in on Anger.

Anger is probably not a good choice for the situation, but that is what I picked. I was angry at the coward that blew up Sev's jeep. Angry that we were having to fight this fight. Angry that it started in 2001 and it is 8 years later and we are still fighting. Angry enough to consider enlisting just to go kick someone's ass....ANYONE's Ass! Ridiculous, I know. I'm 39 years old, 5'2", abhor exercise, and just had twins.....like enlisting is anywhere near the realm of Rational!!! Someone just needs to slap me for even thinking it....but I guess the point is, I wasn't thinking....rationally, that is.

And for the record, I'm sure that technically it probably started before 2001. But I'm not hip to military history, so I'm just sticking with the 9/11 attack and going from there, okay? But if you feel the need to correct me, by all means, make yourself happy.

By Thursday, the day of the service, I had changed my mind on anger. I kept coming back to the fact that Sev was -born- to be a Soldier. He absolutely LOVED it. He was a true patriot. And besides, I don't think he would want me to enlist....it would make us look like bad, militarily speaking ;-)

The service was extremely moving. Sev was the first of my grandmother's 20 grandchildren. Of the 19 remaining, 18 showed up for the service (my cousin Amy has an excuse, as she is in a permanent care facility). There was what I can only describe as a "sea of Army Green" everywhere you turned. The military turn out was very touching...Sev touched a lot of people.

The service started and ended with bagpipes. I was so proud of myself. I had managed to get the twins fed and asleep by the time the service started. That didn't last long! The bagpipes (three of them) started in the lobby and worked their way into the room. By the time they hit the door, F was crying and screaming and E was holding both ears and doing the same. Oh well for that plan. I took out F and Uncle Rock took him into the play room.

The chaplain was the same man that had married Sev and Tammy in January. He read Sev's vows. On one hand it was very sweet, on the other I thought it was cruel. Tammy later said that was unexpected, but that she has Sev's handwritten original of these vows. That she reads them anytime she wants to...but hearing them at the service got to her. Got to lots of us.

Andree's daughter wrote and read a poem. The Advocate paper of Baton Rouge mistakenly reported it as Shelby....to quote Shelby "stupid Advocate." Also military personnel honored Sev with words and actions (they marched in and saluted). At the end of the service, the bagpipes were back. They played Amazing Grace, and everybody cried....which is what you do when you hear Amazing Grace played on Bagpipes at a funeral. I found it surreal.

Back to the hotel, a change of clothes and then off to my cousin Kitzia's house for chili....which, for the record, was REALLY good! My immediate family was there and the kids all played and had fun. Mom asked David to take a photo of us, and it is below. Good looking group, right?! At one point in the evening, Kitz turned to me and basically said, "Well, there are 19 of us left. We really need to try to get together again before another one of us dies." That hit home like a sledge hammer.

She is totally right! We are all spread out and enjoying our lives and our kids, but rarely get to see cousins and aunts and uncles. She said she was going to start working on something, and I volunteered to help out with whatever to make it happen....so "Major Family", consider yourself on notice! :)

Friday, we stopped by New Roads on the way out of town to visit with Nanny and for lunch. I have some really cute pictures of her with the twins and E. Four generations of us with Pa sitting on one couch! Pretty Cool! The kids had fun posing with a fake crocodile in the restaurant. We also got to meet my Cousin Liz's kids. Cutie Pies! The baby, Aimee, actually liked the hubby....Liz laughed and said that was rare, that she generally doesn't like people! HA! He has that effect on babies!

Then we left for home...

I had managed to keep myself 'busy' since my last post by organizing/planning for my entire immediate family to arrive in Baton Rouge in time for the service and then return to their respective states. I also forwarded emails that I received from various people (most of which I did not know, but had contacted me due to my post). I helped out a little bit with passing on info and whatnot. Basically, after I posted on Aug 3rd, I put my emotions on "Hold" and put them in a box on a shelf. I discovered that if I started to fall apart, E would get very concerned and come over and start asking 'what's wrong Mama?'

I left them there until Aug 14th.....two weeks. I really never let 'it all out'....until the drive home. With each mile that passed, with every mile driven, I became more and more upset. It was finally sinking in....I was driving, the hubby was reading a book, the kids were sleeping, and the radio was playing various songs, all of which I pulled sad meaning out of....gradually, I just started to cry, quietly. I usually look forward to the 'Welcome to Texas' sign, but this time I just dreaded it. It would just make it so...Final. So real. The tears just kept flowing. There was no wailing or sobbing loudly, but instead quiet reflection of the previous two weeks and everything that had happened.

For one of the rare moments in my life, I had nothing to say. I would stop and start crying for the next 3 days. In fact on Saturday, I just really didn't even want to get out of bed. The hubby held down the fort for me while I just processed all of it.

On Tuesday, Aug 18th, Fort Bragg held a service for Sev. My cousin Sean put it like this:
"When you play bag pipes, followed by roll call, taps and a 21 gun salute and the ballad of the green berets . . . well if you don't cry you have no soul . . . even if you didn't know the person being remembered."


I must plead my ignorance at this point, I had to look up what a 'roll call' means at a military funeral. Yesterday, my Aunt Charlene called and said that it was very hard to listen to. I cried again.

I am -really- tired of all of this crazy emotional roller coaster action going on in my life. I've gotten to where I really focus whenever the news says anything about Afghanistan or Iraq.

That part is probably good. We should all try to focus and pray for our military on a daily basis.

I wanted to let all of you know that SFC Severin W.Summers,III , 2/20 SFG will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on August 31st at 10:00am. If you are in the area, please stop by and show your respects to a fallen hero.

The hubby and I are talking about trying to make a road trip in a few years, and take the kids to the D.C. area for a week or so and show them all of the monuments and museums....and we will check out Sev's grassy view. And remember with a smile, all those off color jokes!

Love to all,
Cherise

















Monday, August 3, 2009

SFC Severin W.Summers,III , 2/20 SFG...

Very early this morning, I found out that my oldest cousin, Sev, was killed in action in Afghanistan. The note from my Uncle West was simple and to the point:

SFC Severin W.Summers,III , 2/20 SFG was killed in Afghanistan August 2, 2009. Sev was a warrior who never avoided a challenge. We love him,we are proud of him and we will miss him immensely.
Charlene,Tammy & West Summers


The following was published by the Natchez Democrat:



Natchez man killed in Afghanistan
By Julie Cooper (Contact) | The Natchez Democrat
Published Monday, August 3, 2009
NATCHEZ — Sgt. First Class Severin Summers of Natchez was killed in Afghanistan over the weekend.
Summers’ wife Tammy was notified by a sergeant major and a chaplain from the Army National Guard Sunday night.
Summers, 43 or 44, was killed by an improvised explosive device, family friend Phyllis Beach said.
Tammy Summers is currently in route to Dover, Del., where her husband’s body will be sent. No arrangements have been made, and it may be several days before the military releases Summers’ body, Beach said.

Summers was deployed July 2 for Afghanistan, a repeat trip for the special forces solider and ranger who has been in the military nearly 20 years.
Recently, he was stationed in Bagram, Afghanistan, but had recently left for Marzak, Afghanistan.
Tammy had received an e-mail from her husband Saturday.
The couple was married Jan. 17.
“They were that perfect couple,” Beach said. “She met him right before he was deployed three years ago. They were soul mates.”
Summers also has a 13-year-old daughter, Shelby, who lives in Baton Rouge.
He is survived by his parents West and Charlene Summers of New Roads, La., three brothers and one sister.
One brother is currently serving in a different part of Afghanistan and another brother is in Iraq.
Summers split his time in the states between his house in Natchez and his job as the Mississippi Special Forces recruiter in Bentonia.


This says so much, yet not nearly enough. My family is in such pain right now. I can't stay focused on things that need to be done today, because they just seem pointless at this moment.

In my family, I have 15 first cousins on my dad's side (my mom is an only child). Sev was the very first one of us, and has always been larger than life!

He was so funny!!! The last time I was able to see him in person was during the 2008 Easter trip we made to Louisiana to see my Grandmother and extended family. I had spoken with him on the phone a few times, and we had exchanged the occasional emails. We had talked about arranging a visit to MS to check out his new place and land. Best laid plans, right?

I find myself flipping through my pictures from the 2008 trip, and am posting a few of these for you guys to see.






















I was not able to go to Sev and Tammy's wedding in January...had just had the twins. Here is a Wedding Picture:
















He had sent me pictures from his previous tour in Afghanistan from 2006. He was a self proclaimed Bad Ass, and we all agreed! But he kept his sense of humor. In one of the pictures, he is imitating a Mountain Goat!! :) In his own words:

It was the end of a fun day zeroing our sniper rifles in strong winds and high elevation. I thought there would be no one around and yet three Afghan children and a donkey show up out of know where. And naturally I had to impress them w/ my mt.goat like skills! Even Afghan kids think I'm funny!
















He died Serving and Protecting our Country. He loved doing it. He VOLUNTEERED for this tour. His full time job was as a Special Forces recruiter stationed in Mississippi. But he volunteered to do yet another tour, because it was that important to him. I believe he volunteered for some of his other tours as well, if not all of them.

He was a Son, a Brother, a Father, a Soldier, a Husband, an Uncle, a Cousin....really, a force of nature....

And given that we are all God's Children, he was that too.

He was funny and serious; someone that you wanted to be friends with, and never wanted to get cross with.

He will be missed more than I can put into words, at least not words adequate enough to convey.

I loved him, and there will be an empty place in my heart now. But I will try to remember him and smile when I think of him; and laugh to myself when recalling the last joke he told me....I'm sure some of the family will know it....the one about the tattoo on his leg ;|

Sev, I love you!
I'm proud of you!
And I will miss you terribly.

Your Cousin,
Cherise

UPDATE AS OF 8/5/09: I want to express my family's gratitude for all of the wonderful comments that have been left on this post. At this time, Sev has arrived in Dover, escorted by his brother Sean, who was also deployed to Afghanistan. The arrangements are still pending. When we know something, I will post what I can here. Again, thank you for all of the fond memories and prayers and support. It is just what we all need. God bless you! And Bless our Military!

Love to all,
Cherise





















UPDATE AS OF 8/7/09:

There are 10 of these billboards all around Baton Rouge. They were donated by Lamar Sign Company. Sev would love this. We are very grateful to the Lamar Sign Company.

For those of you on Facebook, the family has started a group named Sev Summers Memorial: Click Here. This group gives people the opportunity to post comments and stories, and also pictures and videos regarding Sev.

For those of you not on Facebook, there is another Memorial site for Sev on Legacy.com: Click Here.

We are still waiting on the ARMY to release the remains....so we are in the "Hurry Up and Wait!" mode. Again, I will post the date of the memorial as soon as that information has been finalized.

Thanks again for all of your love and support and kind words. They are very much needed and appreciated.

Love to all,
Cherise


UPDATE AS OF 8/8/09:

The FUNERAL DATE is still PENDING.

The Funeral will be held at Resthaven Funeral Home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He will then be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

The family is requesting, in lieu of flowers, to please make a donation to Hunts for Heroes. Mailing address is:
Hunts for Heroes
P.O. Drawer 1663
El Campo, Texas 77437.

We are honored to have the Patriot Guard Riders attending both the funeral and the burial.

Love to all,
Cherise



UPDATE AS OF 8/10/09:

FUNERAL DATE HAS BEEN SET FOR AUGUST 13, 2009.
VISITATION will be from Noon until 3:00pm.
The SERVICE will begin at 3:00pm.

Love to all,
Cherise