1.) I will never be described as athletic (even if you grossly stretch the definition to include bowling). During a sixth grade p.e class, we were supposed to be learning the fundamentals of throwing a football. Everyone was in a circle, tossing the ball back and forth, very focused on perfecting their form. I was deep in conversation with the girl beside me, chatting away, oblivious to the ball-throwing around me - when I heard someone shout, "Kristy!" I looked up to see a perfect spiral, five inches from my face. In non-perfect football catching form, I stuck my hands out stiff as a board in front of my face. Both pinky fingers caught the brunt force of Jessie Foster's super-freak arm strength. The right one shattered in three places. The left one jammed really badly (henceforth forever cock-eyed and veering to the left). I walked around school with two pinky casts for eight weeks, navigating the crowded middleschool hallways with both hands held high over my head to protect from further injury. When someone would get too close, I would yell, "The pinkies!!!" (Yes. Good thing I was considered "funny" because cool, I most definitely was not.)
2.) I met my husband when he was eleven and I was thirteen. He was the pitcher on my brother's little league team. I attended every game that summer, despite the 100 degree heat and the fact that I didn't give one hoot about baseball. (My mother was amazed at my demonstration of big-sisterly support.) At the end of one game, my little brother asked my mom to walk over with him to get an autograph from Russell. I jumped up like I was on fire and shouted, "I'll take you!!" ...Thereby effectively revealing my "secret" crush to my family and an entire bleacher-filled audience.
3.) My first kiss was from Kenny Armstrong on the playground in the third grade. He was very freckled, very smart, and verrry proper and gentlemanly in his collared shirts, with his neatly parted hairdo. He walked me over behind the slide and asked if he could kiss me, please. I obliged his request - feeling pretty "whatever" about the whole encounter. My second kiss wasn't until highschool, largely due to the fact that I pined relentlessly for Brian Stewart from the fourth grade until the eleventh grade. Brian, who was completely oblivious to my existence - as anything other than a "great friend". Oh, the agony. I must have listened to "I Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO Speedwagon a few gazillion times, lamenting the misery of unrequited love. My brothers would spontaneously belt it out at the dinner table between bites of meatloaf, they'd heard it so many times.
4.) I am the eldest of three children. I have two brothers. Walt is a missionary. Zach is a philosophy professor. They are both hilarious, hard-working, and kind. Walt would eat five steaks in one sitting if cost were not a factor. And Zach will debate the ear off a dead moose. To him, the discussion is never over (hence the profession). Growing up I bossed them both to death - telling them when, why, and how to do every single thing - in typical Mother Hen form. I love them both to pieces and would be around them all the time, if life and responsibility-whatnot weren't obstacles to us just sitting around drinking coffee and laughing all day.
5.) My sister, Wendy, was born with Potter's Syndrome, a very rare condition characterized by many abnormalities, including the absence of kidneys. Mom and dad were caught totally off-guard by her medical condition. Back in the early seventies, routine ultrasounds were not at all commonplace. Doctors only performed an ultrasound if they suspected something was wrong with the baby. Wendy grew and developed seemingly normally while inside mom. But as soon as she was born, she had no way of filtering her own waste. She lived for just a few hours after she was born. Her death, although certainly every parent's worst nightmare come true, was what led both of my parents to the Lord.
6.) My favorite food is pepperoni pizza. Luke-warm. Hot. Stone-cold, straight from the refrigerator first thing in the morning. Mmm. Yes, please.
7.) I always have a fan going when I sleep, preferably two. To me, absolute silence is as spooky as it gets. If I can hear myself breathe (or anyone else breathe, for that matter), it's waaay too quiet. The same rule applies to darkness. Dark-ish is nice. But if I can't see my hand in front of my face, it's too friggin dark. My kooky over-imaginative brain goes into freak out mode. I conjure up boogey men sneaking in with their murder axes and I lie there with my heart going ninety miles an hour, asking Russell, "Did you hear that?" every five seconds. (Russ absolutely disagrees with both of these points. To him, absolute quiet and absolute darkness are bliss. Lucky for him, he can sleep in pretty much any conditions.)
8.) I am not a rut person. I am THE Rut Person. I cannot stand change in any form. I keep rooms arranged exactly the same for years (okay, for forever). I order the exact same thing every time at each of our favorite restaurants. I wear the same clothes until they start to fall apart. I've used the same shampoo/conditioner for as long as I can remember. I'll spare you the details, but the list goes on and on... And I despise moving. I. Despise. Moving. We are THRILLED to have had the opportunity to move back to Arkansas last fall, and despite the fact that it was truly a dream come true, I was wigged out. My brother and his wife moved to Germany this year to work in the mission field. I moved three states over, and in my mind, my change was equivalent to theirs. I might as well have spanned an ocean for all the kookiness my body went through during the process. Exhibit A: The Twitchy Finger. I would have to be sedated (forever) to handle a move bigger than Albuquerque to Arkansas. Not an exaggeration.
9.) My nickname is Kritter Krit - given to me when I was two weeks old by my Poppy. I love that still to this day when he sees me, he immediately yells out for all he's worth, "KRITTER KRIT!! How ya doing?"
10.) We have a daughter, Sophie, through adoption. We first held her when she was 10 hours old. She is the light of our life - such a cheerful, fun, spunky, life-loving little girl. We are so very grateful to her birthparents for giving us our heart's desire.
11.) Sophie has severe reflux. She has had it since she was born. She has vomited almost every day since birth, of the "rocket launch/empty her stomach of all contents" variety. (Our furniture and carpet have waved the white flag of surrender. They are done. They need to just be put out of their misery and burned!) Because of the violent nature of her retching and vomiting, she isn't a candidate for the surgery usually performed to alleviate her issues (a Nissen fundoplication). At almost four, she is still 100% formula fed. She has no natural hunger or thirst, and due to swallowing issues, she cannot tolerate solid food of any kind. To avoid a g-tube, at 11 months we discovered a way to feed her all of her nutrition by syringe. She is given tiny "squirts" of liquid multiple times a day, in 5 ml increments. However, to look at her, you wouldn't have a clue about any of her medical concerns. Through prayer and the protecting mercy of God, she is a happy, healthy, somewhat chubby (amazingly!), active pre-schooler. (*Updated to add: I think we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Sophie has begun eating normally, praise the Lord! She has occasional reflux flare-ups, but the days of barfing to oblivion seem to be a thing of the past. Hip hip hooray!)
12.) My hunky hubby is a nuclear engineer. He is hands-down the smartest person I know. He is one of the few people I know to graduate Hendrix summa cum laude, with a degree in physics. (And do it easily, at that.) His super-freak brain comes in handy when you're dying to relocate to Arkansas to get closer to family and his work gives him permission to telecommute because they think he's "irreplaceable". It's not as handy when you find yourself taking the same college course as him. Especially when you're locked in the library for three hours every day after class, desperately trying not to flunk out of your parents' alma mater, and he and his photographic memory have "looked at his notes" and are kicked back in the recliner playing Nintendo for the whole night. Grrrrr.
13.) I played the flute in highschool band. Correction: I played the flute during concert season of highschool band. During marching season, I pretend-played the flute. One time during marching practice, Mr. Gray asked me when I passed by him, "Why isn't any sound coming out of your instrument?" I told him very matter-of-factly that I could either march or play the flute. (I get confused when multi-talking is required.) He said, "All righty, then!" and agreed that it would be much more obvious if I was crashing into people left-and-right on the field. I had his blessing to continue concentrating my efforts on one thing at a time.
14.) When I was thirteen, I was unfit for society. I was negative and argumentative, with a pitifully whiny attitude. I spent the entire year in my room, thinking to myself, "You are truly a miserable excuse for a human being." Then I turned fourteen, and POOF (seriously, my mom said it was almost overnight), I went back to my normal happy self. Hormones. They're kooky things.
15.) In the seventh grade, our science teacher was teaching about plants and animals. She explained that we were all animals. I blurted out (a wee bit louder than I intended), "I'm not!" She responded with, "Well, then, you must be a plant." Rather than get into a discussion on creation, the "comedian" in me opted to reply, "I'd rather be a fungus than an animal!" Much to the complete and utter delight of the entire class, I was "Mushroom Girl" all that week.
16.) I had an English Sheppard that I named Noodle when I was two. Noodle loved to lie in mom's flower beds and then smile (she seriously raised both corners of her mouth, ducked her head sheepishly and smiled!) when she was caught rolling in the plants. Noodle lived until I was a freshman in highschool. We buried her in her favorite spot under a tree in her favorite flower bed. Zach made a little wooden headstone for her grave. On it he wrote, "Here lies Noodle -- a good dog."
17.) Growing up my parents thought I would be an entomology researcher. I loved bugs. When I was nine, I had a Bug Hospital on our back patio, where I performed "medical tests" on various unfortunate earthworms. I recorded in my notebook that: Perfume shrinks a worm really fast. Lotion makes them stiff as a stick. Hairspray makes them squirt dirt out of one end. And they get really "squirmy and weird" when they're taped down to a sheet of toilet paper to await their experimental fate.
18.) Patience is not my virtue. (...Respectful Pause.) Okay, I know. That has to be the understatement of the world. Let's all stop laughing now, shall we?
19.) When I was two, I won a contest as Raggedy Ann for Halloween. Every Halloween thereafter, I was a pink, fluffy, tutu-wearing princess.
20.) I played with Barbies until embarrassment and my desire for a social life dictated that I no longer could (at least openly). I had the car, the Dreamhouse, the pool, the disco club, 25 or so Barbies, 1 Ken (the man was TIRED), and a wardrobe of amazing outfits galore! I cannot wait for Sophie to be old enough for me to take them out of the attic and play with them. Um... I mean, let her play with them.
21.) I dislike all beans - pinto, white, red, lima, kidney, black, refried, baked. I frequently get asked, "How can you not like baked beans?!" I've tried them and retried them, thinking one day I will acquire a taste for at least them. But nope. All beans are just ICK. It's something about the texture. Reminds me of a squashed beetle. Periodically someone tries to convert me and proudly presents their famous "12 Bean Soup" recipe for me to try. I have to politely decline (and shudder discreetly). I mean, it would just be a waste of time and some good seasonings. For me, the only bean that makes the cut is the green bean. And I'm pretty sure it got labeled incorrectly. Nothing about it is bean-like at all.
22.) We adopted a little boy at birth and named him Seth Connor. When he was eight days old, the very young birthfather decided he wanted to contest the adoption to retaliate against the birthmother for filing charges against him. Our case went before the AR Supreme Court a year later, and on June 17, 2004, three weeks after Seth's first birthday, we lost our son to his biological grandparents.
23.) When we lived in Memphis, Walt and I shared a room because Zach was a baby and still woke up periodically during the night. I wasn't entirely thrilled at sharing my room with a boy. But Walt, in his typical laid-back, phlegmatic way, didn't seem to care that the room that was part his was decked out in Strawberry Shortcake from top to bottom. One day when I was "playing school" (playing is a stretch...school was very serious to me), Walt wanted in the room too. He kept trying to get in, and I kept hauling him back out into the hallway. This went on for awhile, until I eventually tired from the effort. Finally I sat back and let him transport every last one of his trucks into the room. He rolled them right into the middle of my class, right over one of my doll "students". I was fit to be tied! I saw the red flash of hell. Immediately I jumped on Walt, flipping him over on his stomach and pinning him face-down in the carpet. When he finally managed to roll part of the way over, red fuzzies stuck all over his face, he caught part of my flailing arm in his mouth and bit me. Oh, man. RAGE. I ran to tell mom. But by the time I found her, the bite marks had completely faded. That, of course, wouldn't do. So I proceeded to go into the bathroom, bite myself (hard this time), and splash water "tears" on my face. Then I ran to mom to show the evidence of her horrible, school-wrecking son. Walt got in trouble, of course - quite a bit, in fact. As he was being spanked, I sat in the closet and sobbed guiltily at the wretchedness that was myself.
24.) Two months after losing Seth, our daughter, Sophie Kristin was born. She is such a blessing -- our little miracle. God gave her to us at a time when we seemed broken beyond repair, and she helped us heal. In our sadness, she showed us laughter again.
25.) I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was five years old.
26.) I put ketchup on almost everything - the normal foods (french fries, hamburgers, fried fish), and the not-so normal ones (corn-on-the-cob, English peas, potato salad, pork tenderloin, turkey). I prefer room-temperature ketchup over refrigerated ketchup, so I stock up on little packets whenever I get take-out.
27.) I have a very politically incorrect fear of little people. One summer at Disney World I hyperventilated while standing in line at "It's a Small World" behind a family of little people. (I'm crappin' you negative.) My father kept firmly telling me to pull it together, and I kept panting like a wild banshee. I finally had to step out of line and wait for a worker to bring me a bag to breathe into. Yes. I am utterly ridiculous, and I fully acknowledge it. ...And I just pray that poor family didn't know why I was being such a giant loser DORK. Sheesh!
28.) My parents call me Cheech. When I was two and a half, I went Trick-or-Treating with my Grandma George. When I would ring the doorbell, everyone would exclaim and ask me questions about myself. At first I was shy in answering, but finally I had it down to a little prepared mantra: "My name is Cheechie Moneese. My parents are Bob and Suzanne Moneese. I'm two. I am a pink princess. Thank you for the candy." I'm sure everybody thought, "Ah. Cheechie. That's a lovely name for a child." Regardless...it stuck. Here I am, thirty-seven and still Cheech to my mom and dad and a few close friends.
29.) I am a worrier. Growing up my mom repeatedly tried to drill in Philippians 4:6 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God." (She needed to just tattoo it on my arm, she said it so often!) I'd like to think as an adult, I've gotten better about not immediately fritzing out and setting up camp in Worryville. But it's still something I struggle with, especially when life is in the crapper. Walt is constantly telling me, "Just don't worry, Kris." ...Ah. Okay. Got it.
30.) One of my biggest worries (when my brothers were of dating age) was that they would marry "mean girls". We won't name names, but one of them was attracted to girls who were fairly uppity and aloof, and in my opinion, out-and-out MEAN. (Apparently their "silky skin" made them difficult to separate from). As they both got closer to the marrying age, I thought, "Oh, man...what if they marry mean girls??" I envisioned myself spending Christmases resisting the urge to discreetly beat the poo out of some tacky chick. I am happy to report this didn't happen. They both married absolutely wonderful girls. They are kind. They are funny. They are super easy to talk to and confide in - they are two of my favorite people to be around. They have hearts for the Lord. And they are both soooo extremely sweet to my brothers. Annie and Lisa, I love you guys!
31.) My best friend to this day is the guy I dated for three and a half years in highschool. Technically, he was my boyfriend. We were a "Power Couple", whatever that meant. However, while he wanted to be boyfriend and girlfriend (in a boyfriend and girlfriend kind of way), I wanted to talk. His ear off. ALL of the time. I mean, you know, I had a LOT of thoughts and feelings that needed releasing in highschool. One of Mark's best qualities is his patience. That and his ability to calmly talk me off the ledge, regardless of how emotionally wonked out I am at the moment. He can make me laugh so hard I shoot Coke fizz right out of my nose. He's hands-down the best Trivial Pursuit player I know (seriously, he's wicked good -- just ask Russ, who's currently down $100 in the bet count). And he has the kindest, most giving heart of anyone on the planet. Without his unwavering support, the tough times in my life these past few years would have been almost unbearable.
32.) I love to cook. (I'm not a baker; I'm a burner.) But, when it comes to cooking, I seem to have this natural instinct. Which is kind of hilarious since growing up I refused to ever cook anything except cheese toast. I rarely use a recipe. I cook by taste and "feel". And I love making up new dishes, or trying to recreate a dish after having it in a restaurant.
33.) Russell proposed to me when I was twenty-one and he was nineteen. In the middle of watching a movie at my parents’ house one weekend when we were home from college, he blurted out-of-the-blue, "Do you want to get married?" I said, "Of course. Someday." …and went back to watching the movie. He said, "No, I mean now. Do you want to get married now?" My mouth fell open cartoon-like and I said, (a wee smidge hysterically), "What? NOW?? We have fifty cents to our name. Neither of us have jobs! What are you talking about??" From my less-than-romantic reaction, I think he had a sense of what my answer would be. So he kind of let the topic dwindle off, never officially asking me that night. And, since I assumed that deep-down he was kidding, I never really gave him an answer. Although I did feel compelled to tell him later, "Ask me later and I’ll say yes, I promise. Maybe wait a year or so."
34.) One year to the day when he first asked me in my parents’ living room (a.k.a. "The Practice Proposal", as we now refer to it), we were walking by the Fish Pond at Hendrix and I turned around to find Russ on one knee. "Kristy. I’m asking you for real this time. It was real to me the first time. God will take care of the money thing. Will you marry me?" With slightly misty eyes, I excitedly yelled, "YES!!" and leapt into his arms - nearly knocking us both into the goldfishy water beside us.
35.) I am a thirty-seven year old Pillowcase-Sniffer. To go to sleep, I sniff a pillow. When I was an infant, it was a blanket. When I was a toddler, it was a stuffed animal named "Petey". When Petey started to disintegrate, it was a Petey tail. After Petey, it was a nightgown. After the nightgown, it was a pillowcase. To this day, twenty years later, it is still the same pillowcase. Much to my horror (and to my husband's delight), it is rapidly becoming more and more fragile and full of holes. With each washing, it is turning into pillowcase vapor. Soon it will blow away in the breeze of the fan...and I will never sleep again.
36.) My parents have been married for 42 years, this August 24th. They are indisputably THE BEST example of marriage I have ever seen. If "loving their mother" is the best gift a father can give his children, then my father gave (and gives) this awesome gift to us every day. And vice versa with my mom. Still, forty-two years later, they are as happy as clams together - there is no one they would rather spend time with than each other. They are madly (and sometimes grossly, to the dismay of their children) in love. I thank God often that I am priviledged to call them my parents.
37.) Our wedding was beautiful, the perfect day that I had been dreaming of since I was a little girl. There were more people than would fit into the tiny church that I grew up in, so we had the ceremony in the "big fancy church" in town (a.k.a The Presbyterian Church). The music was gorgeous - I got chill-bumps as I walked down the aisle to the sound of trumpets. Decorating the church were enough candles and flowers to satisfy even a fanatic candle/flower lover like myself. In fact, one might have a case in saying there were a few too many candles. The combination of a narrow and tricky shaped aisle and FIRE at every step as I navigated the aisle (in a cathedral length train) almost led to an "America’s Funniest Home Videos" moment. Train, plus corner of pew, plus high heels, plus candle, plus nervous, shaky bride…well, you see where I’m going. Thank goodness for Brett, our good buddy and quick-handed usher that day, or my perfect moment could have been a tad crispy. Despite that one little comedic mishap, everything was a dream come true. God’s presence could be felt all around. Everyone we loved surrounded us. I felt happier than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. It was a great day -- full of love, laughter, and life-long memories.
38.) I love music. It calms me down; it fills my senses. It makes me see the beauty in things around me. I enjoy almost all types, with the exception of rap and jazz. Thomas Newman is my favorite composer. Sarah McLachlan is my favorite artist. My favorite hymn is "Amazing Grace". I sang "You Are My Sunshine" to Seth daily, and it became the thing that would instantly calm him down when he was upset. I heard "One More Day" by Diamond Rio on my car radio the day we received the decision from the Supreme Court. To this day, I cannot hear it without crying (which is unfortunate when it happens to come on in Best Buy and I have to squall and snot right there in the movie aisle).
39.) Sophie is hilarious. This is the child who at age one exclaimed, "I GROSS, Mama!" after throwing up in my hair. This is also the child who told me that her newborn cousin, Nora, would like "a pretty pink dress and some red meat" as a gift.
40.) Sophie is extremely smart (a bit too smart at times, in my opinion). At ten months, she de-proofed the child-proof locks ten minutes after Russ had successfully installed them on all of the cabinets. She looked up at us, all puffed up and proud, with a grin that clearly said, "Yay, me! How 'bout giving me something challenging next time?"
41.) I am 5' 2" (which should make #27 not a problem). Until the seventh grade when I grew seven inches, I was reeeeeally short. When I was in the fourth grade, I admittedly looked like I was in kindergarten. I got off the bus one day and started walking down the hall to my classroom. Mrs. Herndon intercepted me, saying, "Oh, honey, you're at the wrong school." (It didn't help that I was wearing a "Three Blind Mice" jumpsuit.) As she was explaining to the bus driver to take me back to Louise Durham (the elementary school for K-3rd grade), I was firmly explaining, "I go to this school. My teacher is Mrs. Lee!" She and the bus driver just ignored me and I ended up being carted off to the wrong school. When we got there, the bus driver said, "Here you go, Sweetie." But Sweetie was oh sooo not amused. Through gritted teeth, I explained again that this was not my school. I ended up being late for reading class because of the little mishap. I was even less amused at having to explain it to Mrs. Lee, while a bunch of nosey, giggly fourth-graders listened in. When I got home from school that afternoon, I took off my Three Blind Mice jumpsuit, wadded it up in a ball, threw it in the corner and announced to my befuddled mom, "I'm never wearing that thing again!!"
42.) I am a killer of all indoor houseplants. They survive for about three days after I bring them home, then they promply find their way to the Dumpster Graveyard. Outdoor plants are a different story. For some odd reason, I can grow plants outside. Go figure?
43.) I am afraid of clowns. Whenever I am sick with a fever, I always have weird dreams about geometric shapes and clowns coming at me, waving their big white shoes in my face. Their noses are always overly red and their eyes are wild.
44.) When I was fourteen, I awakened from a dead-sleep late at night, wandered downstairs, and asked my mom (as serious as can be): "Mom, did you just jump off the deck?" She responded, "Kristy, do I look like I just jumped off of the deck?" I said, "No. You don't." Then I headed back up to bed.
45.) From the ages of two to eleven, I loved pink. Pink everything. Then at age twelve, I decided I hated pink and started dressing in dark colors (brown, navy, black, grey). Now I'm back to loving pink, thanks to Sophie, who is ALL about pink. But I still wear primarily black. I alternate what's on bottom (shorts, jeans, a fun skirt), but I wear black Mossimo t-shirts from Target a LOT. Probably too much.
46.) I love to take baths to relax. A warm bath. A good book. Bubbles. Ahh. Life is good again.
47.) Elizabeth Berg is my favorite author. Everything she writes is just fabulous. Her books are such an escape for me. She can somehow make a story about a group of friends watching their friend die of cancer FUNNY. (Seriously, I'm not demented. Read "Talk Before Sleep"; you'll laugh out loud. Of course, the end will make you sob and make a donkey bray/snort noise that wakes your husband up out of a dead sleep. But still, totally worth it.)
48.) I am a lyric-oriented person. Good words to a song instantly affect me and really stick in my head. I can mull them over for days. However, when I don't know the lyrics to a song, I just sing what they sound like to me. My husband, not being a music person at ALL, doesn't ever know the difference. Win-win.
49.) Russell is a talk-radio kind of guy. The fifteen hour drive from ABQ to Arkansas would not have been good (at all!) for our marriage had it not been for headphones and my iPod.
50.) One of my favorite movies of all time is "Raising Arizona". It is ridiculous and mind-numbingly stupid...and always SUCH a great pick-me-up. "Son, you have a panty on your head!"
51.) Russ and I taught Cubbies (AWANA) at our church for two years. Thirty two (32!) three and four year olds, running around screaming, "Mr. and Mrs. DePeeees! Help!!" was quite the adventure. Turns out three- year-olds have no concept of what it means to "get in line"? Nor do they understand using "quiet voices". Nor do they like "dead flies", a.k.a raisins, as a snack. Nor do they particularly care for the two and a half hour separation from their parents. Russ was The Enforcer. They would have to sit beside him if they had a meltdown they couldn't recover from. Just walking over to him seemed to sometimes do the trick. Maybe it was his very strict rule: There's no crying in Cubbies.
52.) I love scary movies - until about ten minutes after they're over. Then I become convinced that there's a murderer hiding in the closet. Nighttime becomes especially neat. I sleep with the covers pulled up to my eyes, sweating to death, trying to convince myself not to breathe like a crazy person. Sometimes in the middle of a particularly scary movie, like Psycho, mom and I decide to watch the remainder of the movie on mute. (Without the loud jumpy-outie startling noises, everything is much better.) This is particularly fun for everybody else in the room, trying to watch the movie. Russ really enjoyed watching Pet Sematary on mute. But after Gage and the killer cat came back, what other option was there?
53.) I'm in the process of writing a book called "Waiting For Seth". I started writing it while we were waiting for the decision from the courts. When Sophie goes to college, maybe I'll have time to finish it.
54.) I've always wondered how I would have been, growing up with a sister. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have done so swift. For one thing, bossing around boys is more my forte. And for another, she would have been Russell's age (and most likely thin, red-headed, and gorgeous)...which might have presented a problem for me when it came time to stake boyfriend claims. Whoops.
55.) We're currently trying to adopt again. Our homestudy is done. Our portfolio is done. The massive pile of paperwork requirements has been completed. Sophie is praying every night before bed for a "new little sister-brother" (she says it as if it's one word/one person). Now it's time to just patiently wait for God's plan for our family. Waiting. Patience. ...Ugh.
56.) Sophie is one of those children who has not one speck of fear...of anything. She frequently attends the School of Hard Knocks. As a result of a chair climbing adventure at eighteen months, in which she fractured her elbow and wrist, she can officially add "lime green cast" to her already long list of nifty experiences.
57.) At the Band Banquet my junior year, I was getting up to take my plate to the cleaning drop-off spot, when, for some strange reason, gravity failed me and my slip and underwear fell down around my ankles. I ran to the bathroom mortified, telling Tiffny and Lenisa, "Don't tell anyone!!" After about ten minutes of barricading myself in the stall, I thought I was in the clear. ...That is until I went to step back out into public and heard the entire dining room BURST into roaring laughter. The next year, as my Senior Gift, Mr. Gray gave me these teeny-tiny undergarments, with red suspenders strapped to them. His big, worldly advice to me was to "go forth with good suspenders and a tight belt". Oh, man. I was purple, I was so red.
58.) I get embarrassed pretty easily and my face gets really hot and flushes bright red. For some reason growing up, somebody always felt compelled to point this out - "Hey, Kristy, your face is really red!" Which, of course, only made it that much redder.
59.) An interesting sidenote to the pillowcase sniffing revelation: My daughter is an addicted fabric-sniffer as well. When she was a newborn, she sniffed her mittens and burp cloths for comfort. Now she sniffs her blanket (she'd sniff it all day long if I'd let her...which, of course, I completely understand). She also sucks her tongue to fall asleep, just like I do. She also has the exact same rosey cheeks, fair skin, curly hair, and "fleshy" build that I did at her age. We look bizarrely alike, to the degree that my father claims that I "gave birth to a daughter without my knowledge". In fact, if you show Sophie a picture of me at her age and ask her who it is, she immediately says, " Sophie." It's crazy what God can do.
60.) I have a super sensitive nose. Good smells, bad smells - I'm aware of them all, to a bizarre, police dog-sniffer degree.
61.) Smells I like: Artichoke Chicken, the top of a baby's head, Russell - right after he shaves, lavender, chocolate-chip cookies hot from the oven, my mom's house at Christmastime, fresh pillowcase, Pumpkin Butter Woodwick candles, the air right after it rains or snows, fajitas, Nivea Face Wash for Men.
62.) I can't dance worth a hoot. Seriously. My highschool prom footage is, indeed, a sad spectacle. My brothers both have fairly good rhythm (Walt more so than "Jello-Boy" Zach) and they laugh hysterically whenever I showcase my "moves". I don't think they can't even help it, they just burst out. As a result, I am uber impressed with anyone who can really dance. I think my cousin, Heather, who has been an unbelievably good ballet dancer since she was very young, is absolutely amazing. Whenever I'm around her, I make her dance for me. She's so sweet - she does it, in the kitchen or wherever. And I make it my mission to watch anything dance-related that I can. Dirty Dancing. So You Think You Can Dance. Bring It On. Dancing With The Stars. Regardless of how chessy it may be, if it has dancing in it, I sit glued to the television the whole time.
63.) At the end of my sophomore year of college (after writing a ridiculous number of papers and enduring numerous hideously difficult English courses), I asked myself, "Um. Okay. What in the heck am I going to do with this degree?" I decided to switch paths at the start of my junior year, changing my major to Elementary Education and basically starting over. I thought my dad would be sooo mad when I told him my nifty new From Square One Plan. Upon graduating, I taught second grade at an elementary school in Little Rock while Russ finished up at Hendrix. Then I worked in the business office for an ophthalmologist for five years while Russ was working on his graduate degrees. ...And now I am doing my dream job. I'm a stay-at-home mom.
64.) Some days I am not doing my dream job. Those are the days when Sophie is into everything all day long and I spend my entire day chasing after her and saying, "No! Stop touching that right now! Take that out of your nose!!" Or the ones where she can't keep a drop of anything down and I spend all day on my hands and knees, cleaning up barf. Or the ones where, try as she might, she can't seem to grasp the concept of "obeying" and I spend the whole day being Mean Mommy. Man, oh, man. Anyone who thinks this gig is all blue skies and bon-bons is clearly...confused.
65.) I am envious of all small perky-boobed women. I always have been, even when I was in highschool and big boobs were all the rave.
66.) I think toots and all other middle-school related topics are hilarious. My mother blames my father. He's stuck in middleschool too.
67.) I have a crazy sensitive gag reflex. A strep test is the equivalent of an appendectomy to me (worse, in fact, because they don't knock you out when they stick that big swabby stick thing down your throat). Uh, oh. Getting a little gaggy just thinking about it.
68.) Along the same lines, I can be head-to-toe in barf from Sophie, but if anyone so much as mentions spit, I have to fight like mad not to throw up. The "spit scene" from Seinfeld (where they're using the Kennedy "back and to the left" scenario to recreate the encounter with Keith Hernandez), I can't watch. I have to rapidly switch to another channel. ...Okay. Eee. Moving on!
69.) Russ and I will celebrate our sixteenth wedding anniversary this September 10th.
70.) My dad is a physician. But he fancies himself Old McDonald in his free time, especially when his grandkids are home and they want a ride on the tractor to see the cows and ginneys.
71.) I had my appendix taken out my sophomore year of college. When they were wheeling me to the operating room after giving me some loopy medicine, I suddenly yelled out, "STOP!" My dad looked alarmed and told the nurses to stop the gurney. I then reached up and grabbed the cheeks of the anesthesiologist walking beside me and said, "You're just the cutest little man I've ever seen!!" (He was cute...in a sweet, bearded, elf-like sort of way.) My dad was mortified.
72.) Apparently I inherited my odd reaction to anesthesia from my mother. Right after one of her c-sections when her dad came in to visit her, she pulled her hospital gown off one shoulder, piled all of her long, flowing, red hair on top of her head and said, "Aren't I just beautiful, Daddy!" Sweet Poppy. He didn't miss a beat. He said, "You sure are, Sugar!"
73.) Whenever I type an email to somebody and try to sign "love" at the end, I have to really concentrate or it comes out "lvoe" every single time.
74.) Mr. Lindsey was one of my favorite teachers in highschool. He was strict, but encouraging. He was a good role model, earning respect from his students by example. He was also easy to confide in if you needed somebody to talk to and give you sound advice. I think he was the reason I set out on an English/Journalism mission in college. I left highschool all revved up and inspired by all he had taught me.
75.) Mr. Gray, our highschool band director, was my other favorite teacher. For all of the same reasons as Mr. Lindsey. Although I didn't leave highschool determined to be a band director. Most likely because I stunk at playing the flute and I couldn't read music very well. Oh, and the rhythm thing - I guess that's kind of important too. Band was purely a social event for me. I went to one of those schools where all of the cools kids were in band.
76.) Every year during chair try-outs, I would sight-read the music I was supposed to have been diligently practicing for three weeks. When it was my turn to try out, Mr. Gray (who really was strict, and I'm still not totally sure why he allowed me to be this way) would kick back in his chair, put his feet up on his desk and say, "Okay. I'm ready. Let's have some fun!" I would tell him to prepare to be dazzled and then proceed to fumble my way through what seemed like endless sheets of music. Sight reading was not really my gift, and I'm fairly sure that I'm at least a wee bit tone-deaf. Being told I was a little sharp or flat, that meant nothing to me. At the end of my efforts, Mr. Gray would kindly announce, "Hey! I almost recognized that one!" (He did? I didn't.) Then he would always seat me in the first chair of the second row of flute players, regardless of how many better players would, as a result, be seated behind me. I don't know. I never figured it out. Maybe he just rewarding me for being brave enough to actually produce such awful non-instrumental sounds in front of him. ...Or maybe he just wanted some comedic relief close by.
77.) During the last band concert of the year, the senior flute players would stand up during the performance of "Stars and Stripes" and play a little solo during the main chorus on their piccolos. My senior year there were only two flute players. And since I opted again to pretend-play the piccolo (practicing would have taken up way too much socializing time), when the other senior had to take a breath during the solo, there was nary a piccolo sound to be heard. When Mr. Gray realized in practice this was the case, he recruited Suzanne Rousseau, back from her freshman year of college, to "be me" and fill in the silence gaps. My parents have a video of me standing up there, just faking it for all I'm worth - while Suzanne plays the dog out of the solo (discreetly seated behind me).
78.) Here is an exerpt from my journal, a couple of months after losing Seth:
"I’ve thought about this many times since this all began: If we had known what lay ahead, would we still have picked the same path? If we had known the pain that was in front of us, would we have said no to Iz when she came to us and shyly asked us to be her baby’s parents. If I had known that there would be days that I would wake up surprised to find that I was still breathing, shocked that the pain from the grief hadn’t killed me in the night, would I still have said yes to Seth? Wanting Seth was the easy part. Waiting for Seth proved to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my 34 years of life. I’ve asked myself many times over this past year, "Would I do it again?" There’s a big chance that given the opportunity to see what God knew, we would have said no. Absolutely not. We most certainly would have walked (run!) away. Thank goodness God, in his infinite wisdom, only reveals to us what He wants us to see, and never gives us more than what we can endure at that moment. Because even when the loss seems more than I can stand, when I feel like I’ll surely crack the walls if I cry any harder, I know our time with Seth was for a reason. Our role in his little life was for a purpose. God chose us to be his parents, if only for a brief while. …And for that, I am so very grateful. Thank you, Lord for the blessings-in-disguise that you bring."
79.) I am deathly afraid of the dentist. Even the sounds and smells, while I'm sitting out in the waiting room, are enough to induce nausea and make me break into a cold sweat. I require nitrous oxide sedation just for a teeth cleaning. Niiice. And totally inexpensive and reasonable.
80.) I guess I could be described as high-strung. I prefer to think of it as fun and spirited, but those who know me best might disagree. Especially when I go all fritzed-out poodle on them, like in the wake of a move or when the farkin' house won't sell. (Hee. Whoops.)
81.) I love taking pictures. My poor child has retina burn from all of the exposure to camera flashes, and her poor birthmother has enough pictures of Sophs to fill a room. She now requests that I "please, send albums along with the pictures" whenever I mail off a batch to her. Apparently, I'm a wee smidge out of control in the photo department.
82.) I've admittedly had some pretty dark thoughts a couple of times in my life. Although I still think suicide is the absolute cruelest thing a person can do to the loved ones they leave behind, I understand a lot more how a person gets to that black hole of despair.
83.) One of my favorite Bible verses is: "My hope in God is the anchor of my soul, both sure and steadfast." Hebrews 6:19
84.) Due to the medication that I have taken since I was a teenager for a genetic heart condition, it is difficult for me to carry a pregnancy to term. After an accidental conception and devastating 2nd trimester miscarriage, Russ and I felt that the Lord was leading us to pursue adoption.
85.) I absolutely love adopting our children. Oddly enough, I have never missed not giving birth to a child. It's truly a gift from God that I feel this way about being pregnant, since I can't be. I have often thought it would be neat to see pieces of me or Russ in a child. But neater still to me is just being a mom - to exactly the children God brings to our family. (Neater still would be if we didn't have to sell an organ to adopt them. But you can't have everything, right?)
86.) Sophie's laughter is infectious. After a long, hard day, you can't help but feel better when you hear her giggle, or better yet, hear her deep belly-laugh. It is the funniest thing ever - and it makes you have to laugh right along with her!
87.) At her adoption hearing I started crying when I looked down on Sophie's feet and there, to complete her frilly, pink girly outfit, were Seth’s tractor socks. We were in a hurry that morning and I had asked Russ to get her dressed, thinking I had laid out plain white socks (they were turned inside out). And Russ, being the fashion savvy person that he is, thought I meant for Sophie to wear red tractor socks with her pink fru-fru outfit. It was like Sophie, at ten days old, was saying, "Look, Mama and Daddy. Seth is here celebrating with us!"
88.) For Thanksgiving, typically family members travel to us. Since moving away from our home state ten years ago, I have learned to cook a big Thanksgiving dinner, complete with all of the fixings. At first the idea of cooking that much food for that many people scared me to death. I mean, for starters, I fretted over how the heck one is supposed to fit that many dishes into one teeny oven? And second (and in my opinion, the more crucial question), how long would my family laugh and talk about "the Thanksgiving that Kristy wrecked dinner" if, in fact, I couldn’t pull it off. Over the years I've learned the art of preparing ahead, and now for Thanksgiving, I am proud to say that I can cook a delicious FEAST. Mmm. Yay, me!
89.) Russ obtained his Masters degree and Ph.D from Texas A&M University. As a result of our five years there, we are now just as kooky and obsessed about Aggie football as everybody else in College Station. Gig 'em, Aggies!!!! (I'm serious when I tell you it's a new kind of "nut buckets" around there.)
90.) The great thing about being married to someone who is your opposite is that you help balance each other out. Russ's strengths are my weaknesses, and vice versa. He helps to ground me and keep me calm, and I make him laugh. We fill in each other’s gaps and allow the other to appreciate the world through different eyes.
91.) I believe that children are a gift from God. He gives them to us for a short time to love, to protect, to guide, to learn from, to laugh with, and most importantly, to teach about Him.
92.) Another favorite Bible verse of mine is: "For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)
93.) I am the lightest sleeper in the entire world. If the air in the room moves around me, I'm wide awake - hopped up and ready to go. I also don't require much sleep. More than six hours a night and I start getting goofy.
94.) My parents named me Jennifer Kristin. However, weighing only five pounds at birth, they decided I couldn't pull off either of those sophisticated names. They decided to call me Kristy until I "looked like" a Jennifer or a Kristin. Apparently, fancy I am not. Because here I still am, just plain Kristy.
95.) When Sophie was first learning her name, she pronounced it Wophie. She would walk up to people and exclaim, "Hi! I Wophie. Who you?" It was the cutest stinking thing ever, and it made me just want to squeeeeze her every time!
96.) If I eat breakfast in the morning, I am starving all day long. Seriously. By noon I am ready to cram down a whole ham. If I don't eat breakfast in the morning, I'm just a normal amount of hungry during mealtimes. I understand the importance of "jump-starting your metabolism", but sheesh! Isn't it kind of defeating the purpose if I'm going to mow down everything in sight all day long!
97.) Math is not my strength. Another giant understatement. I mean, I can add, but that's about the extent of... yeah, okay. To illustrate just how spectacularly bad I am in this area, I'll share a little "incident" from college. After taking the PSAT (the Teacher's Test) my senior year, one of my Elementary Education professors at Hendrix called me into his office. He shut the door and sat behind his desk, all serious and furrowed-browed, sighing a few times. "Kristy, I have to ask you a question." After a pause to allow me to grab his trashcan and consider barfing in it, he continued. "Did you, yourself, take all portions of this test?" What in the world?? "Yes, sir. I most certainly did." At that point he asked me if I wanted the Good News or the Bad News. I opted to start with the Good News. (Please, man! I'm about to drown in my own sweat sitting here.) "Well, the Good News is that your essay was very impressive. In fact, so much so that the PSAT administrators would like your permission to use it as an example in their Sample Book." My mouth fell open. He paused. Sighed hugely again. "The Bad News is that your math score is, um, well, it's significantly less impressive." Oh. How "less impressive", I asked. "Well. It was pretty... Let's just say it brought your total score down quite a bit. Enough so that you'll need to retake the test." (Ahhhh. Neat. So we're talking: Please enroll yourself in Special Ed Math.)
98.) I started wearing glasses in the fourth grade and I am pretty much blind without them. The big E on the eye chart looks like -- well, what big E? All I see is a slight haze of white on the wall. If I can't immediately find my glasses when I reach over on the nightstand in the morning, I panic a little bit. Contacts make me feel like I have acidic sandpaper in my eyes. I would like to have lasik surgery, but I'm prone to keyloid scarring -- and that's certainly not something you want on your eyeballs. So, for me, it's just fabulously cool eyewear from here on out! According to my friend, Lee, I look "way weird" without glasses, anyway. So it's all good.
99.) I love getting pedicures, but I have crazy ugly feet with fat Caveman toes (they're "boneless" according to my brother), so I don't often allow myself the luxury. I figure that would be too cruel to the person having to touch them. I would have to tip like Rockefeller to make it up to them.
100.) I really have a hard time finding jeans that are the perfect length. And I hate altering stuff. Not only is it obscenely expensive, jeans just don't look near as good after they're altered. They lose that cool stitching and slightly worn look at the bottom. So half of the time I walk around with too-long jeans, stepping on them and making them filthy. Way cooler, don't you think?
101.) I make a killer "Pasta Dumbass". (You know you want the recipe!) ;-)