Yes, the feuding families.
Tonight, a mini-series airs on the History Channel. I’m over the moon excited about it.
‘Cause I’m a Hatfield.
Here’s how I fit into the family:
William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield >> Robert Hatfield >> Craig Hatfield >> Lula Hatfield >> Gran >> My Dad >> Me
When I was in college, a sweet, dear friend had a funny reaction when we were talking about it. I think she said, “SHUT UP! I thought that was just a cartoon!”
Sadly, that’s what most people’s idea of the feud is. Or, they buy into the stereotypes of “ignorant hillbillies” that are too stupid to let the law handle things, so they took it upon themselves to bring others to justice. Some think it’s an overblown reaction to a fight over who owned a hog.
The reality is, it is much, much more complicated than that.
Lula Hatfield was my great-grandmother, whom I called “Nanny.” She passed away when I was 15. I remember her telling us about the feud. She was old enough that she was still alive when “Devil” Anse & Levicy Hatfield were still living. (Remember, he’s her great-grandfather.) She told me about how she remembered Levicy coming to visit them. She handed down to us the oral history, not only of our family, but also of our state and country.
I am really, really interested to see if the History Channel gets it right. I’m sure there are going to be things that they took creative license with because it is a mini-series and not a documentary. The documentary will actually air later this week, and I’m really excited about that because part of the resources they used are books written by Coleman Hatfield, who interviewed Nanny. I actually remember his visits. If I’m remembering correctly, he taped her when he interviewed her and I can’t tell you how much I would love to have a copy of the tapes, just to hear her voice again.
If you watch the mini-series or documentary, please tell me what you think in the comments.
>I scour the Sunday newspaper. Mostly for coupons, but I always check the classified ads. I’ve always looked at the classifieds, even when I’m happy with my current job because you never know when your dream job will be listed.
Last week, I found something very close to what I would call my dream job.
We have talked about it at length, what it means for our family and how things would change should I be offered the job.
It’s not that I don’t want to stay home with the girls. My preference is to stay home until Abbie is at least 3, preferrably 4. But I sit here and look at our situation and realize that I need to generate more money than my part-time retail stint is providing, should we want to realize our goals for our family sooner rather than later.
I was chatting with one of my oldest, dearest and best friends a couple of weeks ago and we were talking about how we use coupons and what-not to save money. She, a doctor and married to a doctor, told me that people look at her as if she has two heads when she talks of saving money. People say to her all the time, “I don’t understand why you don’t get _____. You guys can afford it.”
Similarly, people have said to us, “You all have insurance. I don’t see how or why you would have issues with your finances.”
Well, yeah, we have health insurance. Being the daughter of a Type 1 diabetic, insurance was always a necessity in my view of What One Needs For Life.
My friend, Dr. K., and I were talking about how easily and quickly a family can get into debt with medical bills. She flat out said, “I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you all had over $100,000 in medical bills.”
I could’ve hugged her neck, right then and there, if she wasn’t in Texas.
She gets it. Most people don’t. While we do have health insurance, we still have to pay for it. We have to pay for deductibles and the expenses our plan doesn’t cover. When Abbie was born, Hubby had a different job that provided different benefits. If I remember correctly, hospitalization was covered 80%.
Considering Abbie’s NICU bill alone was over $130,000, our portion to pay would be over $25,000. Not to mention the cost of her birth (c-section), her omphalocele surgery (not covered in the NICU bill), and her tongue reduction surgery. That’s just the first 5 months of life and doesn’t include all the follow-up appointments, quarterly ultrasounds and blood work every 6 weeks. It adds up very quickly!
Then, add to the mix that for 4 years, we were involved in a lawsuit (read: attorney fees) and we had another house we were trying to sell (yes, that’s two mortgages!), you can perhaps have a better understanding of what life has been like for the past 4 years.
The truth is, I hate our house. It’s not big enough, for one thing. Then there’s the aforementioned legal issues. It’s just not the place I want us to call Home. About a month or so ago, I told my husband that I am heart-hungry for a new home that is all ours, something we chose and made our own.
Our financial goals for our family are:
1. Get out of debt
2. Update the house so it is more appealing to buyers. This includes a sorely needed kitchen update, carpet and new fixtures throughout. Plus paint and carpet. Look, this house needs a LOT of TLC.
3. Put ourselves into a situation where we can sell this house and find a new one
Renovating a house requires money. Improving our financial situation requires better budgeting, saving money and paying off debt, which means, in some ways, making more money.
And still, knowing all this, I so strongly feel that my place is really home with our girls. I love being able to pick up my oldest daughter, or giving out treats at her school for Halloween dress-up, or helping with the Valentine’s Day party. That’s the golden ticket. Those are the golden nuggets and diamonds of motherhood.
I keep telling myself that I only have so long with my girls, then they’ll be grown. Then I look around me and see thousands of people losing their jobs and looking for work. People aren’t job-hopping as they did in the 90’s. It’s different now and I’m not sure when a job like this will become available again and that is the ONLY reason I am considering this one.
Rather than looking around me, be it at the house I loathe or the economy, I am trying to keep looking up, to my Source and Provider, knowing that He knows what my daughters, my family and I need most.
>The news of Natasha Richardson’s death has kind of freaked me out.
Especially because I am the mother of two children, one of whom is a toddler.
It just seems surreal that something so… ordinary and common has completely and forever changed this family.
She fell and bumped her head. My kids do that, too, especially the little one.
It’s just so scary that something so seemingly uneventful ended up taking this woman’s life. I wish I could completely protect my children from all bumps, bruises and falls.
>Still sick. I didn’t even feel like going to the doctor today. Since tomorrow is a Federal holiday, Hubby will be home, so I won’t have to worry about finding a sitter. He just asked me to say something nice about him here on the blog, and I will say, he did a very nice thing today by taking the day off to watch the kids so I could rest and try to get over This Crud. He also bought more orange juice, other provisions and dinner. So, yay Hubby.
We were hanging out in the living room this evening and the little one comes up and hits Hubby on the leg. She’s been doing this a lot lately, and more and more, it’s a sign of displeasure. Such as, if we tell her “No,” she will come over and give us a whack. It’s a hard habit to break and I think it might take some time.
So, tonight when she did this, Hubby and I both emphatically said, “No” and no sooner did the word leave our mouths did the oldest one say, “No, Abbie, no hitting Daddy. He’s one of the bosses.”
I thought I would fall off the couch laughing and probably would have had I not started hacking up a lung, my coughing brought on by the laughing. Girl 1 then informed us that “it’s not nice to laugh at people” and so we had to quickly get it together.
>I have had numerous posts swimming around in my brain for the past, oh… couple of months. But, as I’ve hinted, we’ve been pretty busy and there hasn’t been a lot of time for posting long, thoughtful messages, so I’ve kept them on the shelf. It’s time to unload, so here goes. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and let’s sit a spell and catch up.
The beginning of June marked the first anniversary of another Abbie/BWS milestone, when we went to the Fetal Care Center in Cincinnati. I was at my parents’ house on the actual day (June 6) and it was pretty emotional. I’ve found that this summer, I get pretty emotional as each anniversary rolls around (odd to call them that, but what other word should I use? Those were pretty important days during my pregnancy with Abbie). My thought is that, last summer, I was trying to get through each day, each week, the best I could so that Abbie wouldn’t be stressed and that I’d stay pregnant for as long as possible.
Because what I can say now, but couldn’t say then, was that while we were at the FCC, we were told that if Abbie was born before 32 weeks, she would die. Even if we made it to the 32 week mark, she could still die. And so, I felt a tremendous weight on my shoulders for the remainder of the pregnancy. We learned that 50% of all babies prenatally diagnosed with BWS are stillborn. Even if I did everything my incredible team of doctors told me to do, we could still lose her. And those words, so stark and scary…. I couldn’t even say the words last summer. I couldn’t type them, either. I just could not put those words out into the universe and even give thought to the chance that I could lose the child I had so desperately wanted and had tried for over a year to conceive. I just Could Not Do That. I had to hope. I had to push on, praying more and harder than I ever had that God’s hand would be on us both and that she would be born alive and that I wouldn’t have a seizure or stroke from the pre–eclampsia.
I was a lot sicker than I let on, and looking back, I was a lot sicker than even I realized.
Funny how hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it?
The milestone of June 6 is one that is intensely personal and private, and for the most part, I will keep it that way, sharing it with Abbie when she is old enough to understand the concept of the amazing miracle she is. I will say, though, that I sincerely love the staff at FCC, I love each and every doctor who lent his or her knowledge and expertise to help Abbie get here safe and sound, and I love each and every doctor, nurse and therapist who help nurture and guide her once she was here. My appreciation, gratitude and love for them is so much more than I can articulate and I will always think of them, my heart swollen with thankfulness.
A trip to Florida
Also in June, we took Abbie to Lakeland, Florida. If you haven’t heard, there is an on-going revival there. I still haven’t decided what to think or say about the experience. Until I do, there’s nothing I can share that will make any sense.
I cannot understand how this month has gone by so quickly. How is it that I am typing this on July 21? It seems that just a few days ago, we were celebrating Independence Day. This month has been pretty busy, with the middle of the month being occupied by our first Family Vacation. My cousin was married at Myrtle Beach on July 12th at sunset, and since we were using a travel gift certificate to go there for the wedding, we decided to stay a week and enjoy it. After all, it makes no sense to me to drive 8 hours one way to just stay a few days. Both girls enjoyed the sand and the ocean so much that my mom is deeming them both Beach Bums.
I wasn’t sure how either girl would take to the sand, but I can report that both loved playing in/with it, running or crawling on it, and they pretty much spent the entire time covered with it. Hannah, taking after her dad, had to rinse off the sand immediately once she was finished with any particular sand castle or digging. Abbie didn’t mind it at all, to the point that she boldly crawled around without being fussy and didn’t even complain too much when her diapers were filled with it.
The ocean was Hannah’s favorite part and each day, she grew bolder and bolder, venturing out a little further. The first day, she was brave enough for wet toes and feet, and by the time we left, she was ok with being in up to her knees. Abbie enjoyed the ocean as well, splashing about in the water and holding her breath when a wave splashed her face. She is fearless and this trip has shown me that there is no end to her bravery and that the next few years will keep me very busy.
Our last evening at the beach, we had a professional photography shoot, our first family photo. I can’t believe that our oldest child is 4 1/2 and we’ve never had one done, but I thought that it was high time we had a family photo made and the info on the website was more than I could take, so I scheduled a session. The wind was fierce, as a tropical storm was brewing off the North Carolina coast, so she had to take 80 shots. There are so many good ones that we’re planning on buying the CD. You’ll understand why when you see the photos. But that might be a while, because the CD is going to cost around $150-$170 and we need to recuperate financially from the vacation before doing anything extra. Such is life when you live paycheck to paycheck.
Though it probably wasn’t the wisest choice to go to the beach until we had saved more money,I wonder how long it would’ve taken us to finally make the decision and action to go. Does that make sense? I’m not sure how a lot of people live, but it seems for us, we hope for “one of these days,” “one day” or “some day.” My oldest baby will be going to Kindergarten in a year, and I don’t want her childhood to slip by without making these kinds of memories, no matter what we have to sacrifice.
Speaking of finances, I am trying to figure out what to do. I have wanted to do a program that would allow me to work from home, making as much as $14 an hour. It requires a $200 investment, which we don’t have. Even with our former home finally sold, we still don’t have extra and coast along on fumes a lot during the week before payday. The perfect situation would allow me to stay at home with the girls indefinitely; however, I have this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach that says that I’m going to have to go back to work, at least part-time, just so we can keep our heads above water.
As I’ve mentioned before, I am thinking of getting my teaching certificate and perhaps even my Master’s, in education. But that takes money, a commodity in short supply since we moved to the house in which we now live, tried to and finally sold the former home and were sued. (Long, long story that I cannot legally get into on a public blog).
At Hannah’s dance class, I met a woman who works at a local children’s clothing store. It sounds like a great answer for our present needs and may be the answer to prayers in providing extra income to allow me to either get the teaching certificate or do the work-from-home business.
While browsing the classifieds this morning, I came across an ad for a copy writer, which would be a dream job for me. It would be full-time and would require putting both girls in daycare. I would love to have this kind of opportunity, and yet wonder what kind of impact it would have on my children. Mother’s guilt never ends, does it?
I do plan on getting back to finishing the garage. Right now, there are bathroom and plumbing tools and parts scattered everywhere, in addition to all the things that already needed to be purged or organized. I told Paul this morning that I strongly feel that the garage project and hopefully, the house, should be cleaned out and organized before Abbie’s FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY in roughly 6 weeks (can you believe it?!??!?). That, too, will require money for a babysitter and for the organizer to come back and lend her help and get-up-and-go. How I hope I can find the momentum I previously had! And how I hope Paul finishes the bathroom (no, it was never finished…. only the bath tub was installed. My house is still in complete and utter chaos).
Looking ahead, I have a LOT to do, to plan for and I hope to accomplish most of my goals. But mostly, I just want to enjoy my girls, the summer and plan for the future ahead of us.
>So, some of you are wondering about the state of The Burn, and I can report that it is healing, ever so slowly. To you “skin pickers,” (shiver) I can tell you that there hasn’t been a great deal of peeling, but rather, crusting (sorry, TMI, I know). I’ve been really concerned about all this and am trying to get in to see a dermatologist before the beginning of next year (yes, literally. If they are good, they are booked solid unless you’re an established patient).
In the meantime, I have been focusing a lot of attention on a project which is going to be so worth it when it’s over. I have hired a professional organizer to help me clean out the garage. My plan is to start with the garage and then move to the house. This will probably be a summer-long project, I hate to say, but my hope is that when this is finished, life will be better.
Heather over at Dooce.com wrote a really great post, part of which I’m going to include here because she says what I’ve been feeling better than I could:
I want to be a better wife, a more conscious and present mother, a more loyal friend, and a better listener. I’d like to handle my anxiety better. I also want to be more organized because I’m tired and fed up with not being able to find anything. Many times that anything is my head.
Some of you who know me know that I’ve never been organized or the best at keeping things straight, but there was a time that I could actually find what I was looking for because 1. I could remember and 2. Things weren’t as out of control as they have been here for the past who knows how long.
Part of why the house is the chaotic mess it is, is we moved from a house with a full-size basement to a house without a basement at all. There isn’t a lot of storage and the kitchen here is microscopically tiny, with no room to store a full set of pots and pans and a few baking sheets. I learned that having a full-size basement is potentially dangerous, as it offers ample room to throw old, outdated, unwanted stuff because you just pitch it down there and never realize the enormous pile that has surmounted in the lower level of the house. I had wanted to purge most of the basement collection before we moved, but that is a long story which I cannot tell for reasons I cannot tell, so let’s just skip over that.
Last summer, I was no good around the house. I had started to experience symptoms of pre-eclampsia in late June and/or early July, so all I was supposed to do was come home after work and lay on my left side. While I spent the summer as Shamu beached on the couch, the mess in the house got worse. My husband kept things going, but things have accumulated for so long, it just never ends.
When we brought Abbie home from Cincinnati, our energy was entirely focused on her care and feedings (you have no idea how long NG tube feedings can take!) and the care and feeding of Hannah as well. Then, there was surgery and recovery…. let’s just put it this way: since we got home in September, I didn’t do much in the way of deep cleaning our home. I took care of my kids and that was pretty much it.
Sometime in the new year (I honestly cannot remember when), I told my therapist that I needed to do something about my house, that the stuff we’ve amassed is just closing in on me and that I physically felt crowded. I hate that feeling and have been trying, in meager attempts, to do what needs doing and purge all the things we no longer use or want. Hence, the yard sale in early May.
Please know that our house is nothing like what was depicted on Oprah when she did a show about hoarding. No where close. But, I don’t want to even lean in that direction, so I want to get the matter of our clutter under control ASAP.
It’s easy for me to get off task, and loving on my babies is always much more fun than cleaning. Then one day a few weeks ago, I decided enough is enough. I saw an ad in the newspaper and called the lady to come over for an estimate. She and I have been working to clear out the garage, which is already inspiring me to forge ahead in our home.
Can we really afford paying someone to come to our home to keep my nose to the grindstone so that our garage is finally a place where we can park our car and find lawn equipment? No, not really. It is a sacrifice to do it. But I counter: Can we really afford not to do this? My answer is emphatically, no, we cannot afford to not do this, because as Heather stated above, I want better for my kids, for my home and for myself.
In making my case for this to my husband, I said:
I want better for our kids. I want them to be able to have their friends over whenever, without having to have a huge cleaning spree right before. I want to be able to open our door without cringing when someone knocks on our door. I want to be able to invite someone in when they stop by unannounced and be really ok with the way the house looks. I want to be able to find the things I need and want to find. I want to know where things are. I want peace, calm, order and structure for our home. I want better for all of us.
So, dear friends, the reason my blog has been neglected is because I’m finally taking care of other things that have been neglected for far too long. While I love communicating with you and while I love writing about life, living life and providing a better life for myself and my kids is what’s really important. I know you understand. I’ll be back soon. But, as with the sunburn, without photos. 😉