Thursday, April 22, 2010

She Takes A Lickin' and Keeps On Tickin'

Many of you know of Summer's dental woes. Her little mouth is just too small for her teeth. A trip to our friendly neighborhood orthodontist confirmed our suspicions. Her top jaw is 20 mm. smaller than her bottom jaw. So, in order to preserve as many of her permanent teeth as we can, we have decided to go ahead and get started with some early orthodontics.

Today marks the end of Phase 1 of Phase 1 - extractions. Last week Dr. Bill the dentist removed one of her eyeteeth which was already loose, and one of her canines that still had a half inch long root! I almost lost it. She was a total trooper. Not even a whimper. She walked out of his office smiling around the bloody gauze hanging out of her mouth for her trip to the treasure box. Today was more of the same, although I handled it better this time by looking out the window instead. Today a top front tooth and her other bottom canine came out. The carbocaine they gave her in her upper lip caused it to really swell and for a while there she looked like she was sprouting a beak. She thought it was HILARIOUS! 5 minutes later she had another mouthful of bloody gauze and skipped to the treasure box. The next phase of Phase 1 starts next week where her orthodontist will place spacers in to preserve the spaces created by the extractions.

Icing her "fat lips". Thank you so much Aunt Syndee for the ice pack!

Still one of the most beautiful smiles I've ever seen!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What Gave You That Idea?

I can't help but notice that my birthday is mere weeks away. It seems that when people ask me what I want for my birthday, Mother's Day, Christmas, etc, I can never seem to think of anything. So, I think that from now until my birthday, any time I think of something I am going to blog about it. That being said, here is what I am lusting after at the moment.

A Jen Rusk Flight Suit Bag

I can not tell you how much I love these bags. I have been wanting one for a while, but can't ever justify the moolah for it. Check out this incredibly talented gal's work here.

Reef Ugandal Sandals. I. MUST. HAVE. THESE. I would wear them ever so much. They are made of chrome-free leather and the beads on the strap are handmade by displaced Ugandan women from recycled paper. I <3 these sandals!

The Attack on Femininity

In October 2006, Megan Meier was found hanging in her bedroom closet.

Prior to her death, she met a boy on MySpace named Josh Evans, and the two quickly hit it off. While she never met Josh in the flesh, Megan grew used to his regular emails, which sent her heart soaring. For the first time in her young life, someone noticed how beautiful, special, and important she was.

Unbeknownst to Megan, Josh was – in fact – a fake character created by Lori Drew, the mother of Megan’s friend. Lori was upset with Megan for starting an argument with her daughter, and turned to cyberspace for revenge. No sooner had “Josh” wooed Megan did he turn on her, stating that “Everybody knows how you are” and “Have a shitty rest of your life.”

Crushed by despair, Megan did the unthinkable. Through the vulnerability of Megan’s heart, her life was ended. She was thirteen years old.


Like Megan, Hope Witsell was also found hanging in her bedroom closet last September.

Intent on gaining the attention of a boy in her class, Hope sent him a topless photo via text messaging. She hoped that – through the use of her body – she would gain his approval. She received a broken heart, instead.

Within days, Hope’s picture reached the inboxes of her entire middle school, not to mention the nearby high school. Not only was her body unappreciated by the object of her affection, but it was mocked and disrespected by countless strangers. The blow was felt deep within her soul, and it was too much to bear.

At thirteen years old, she felt it easier to die.


These are just two examples of evil attacks on femininity, and by “evil,” I mean the real deal.

While it’s easy to blame such tragedies on depression, drugs or other problems, the issue delves much deeper. One flip through a magazine or the television, and you can see that there’s more at play than teenage angst and Zoloft. Society needs to wake up, and it can start by pulling the wool from over its eyes.

I was born well after the Sexual Revolution, but I’m not too young to see how out-of-hand it’s grown. What was once a sacred sanctuary known as the female body has become an object, and a disrespected one at that. By today’s standards, a woman “owns” her body by barely dressing it, only to give it to someone who never deserved it in the first place.

The worst part is that it’s not her fault.

Maybe her father was absent during her childhood, or perhaps she was sexually abused at an earlier age. These problems are common, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Add into the mixture an onslaught of pornographic images from the media, and young girls receive the message that their value is determined by a boy’s response to them.

Because of their feminine instinct to love and be loved, they deject themselves.

But are they ever fully satisfied? If the examples of Megan and Hope are any indication, I should say not. These young lives were lost, and for no reason other than they wanted be cherished. Their feminine spirits – given to them by God – were used and abused, and senselessly so.

Evil is real, folks, so stop kidding yourselves. If you don’t, then consider yourself duped. I’m not a prude, and I’m not a Bible thumper either. I’m just an average girl with two, opened eyes, and they’re appalled at what they see around her.

They’re appalled at what they’ve seen happen to her.

As some of you already know, I was raped a few years ago. Never before had I felt so dirty, ashamed, and dehumanized. One minute, I was just Tara. I was no one extraordinary, but nevertheless, I was a person. The next minute, I was reduced to a numb, inanimate piece of pulp. I lost all of my value.

There’s a reason why they call rape “soul murder,” and that’s because it is. When sex is consensual, your entire being participates – body, mind, and yes…soul. You and your partner are united in a mutual love for one another, making for a powerful and spiritual experience. When it comes to rape, the soul is uninvolved, but not absent. Like an empty shell, your body takes the beating, and your mind sends the foul message to your inner self.

From there, you’re forever changed.

One cannot separate the soul from sexuality; that’s not how God made us. Through our sexuality, we are uniquely male and female, made in His image and likeness. When we come together in love and intimacy, we experience the bliss of becoming one person. We feel what it’s like to be as close to God as humanly possible. Through our sexuality, our soul is nourished…

But it can also become starved.


All around the world, women are being raped. While some suffer the same brutality as I did, many are victimized by their own will, yet at no fault of their own. Through their instinctual desire to be cherished, some women seek love through sex. Needing to feel beautiful, they barely dress their bodies. Wanting to be important to a man, they behave scandalously towards him. In self defense, they lie to themselves, saying that it’s their bodies to do what they want with. Unfortunately, the body isn’t all that’s at play…

The soul is also involved, and it’s become damaged.

What you then have is a viscous and maddening downward spiral, with no signs of an end. Once rejected, a woman’s soul feels the punch, and her esteem dies. Instead of realizing the truth, she furthers her attempt to find love by acting more promiscuously, or dressing even racier.

Still, no dice.

She begins to take the rejection personally, convincing herself that she’s undeserving of love. Something about her isn’t sexy, beautiful or desirable enough, beliefs that can have dire consequences for her life. What she fails to realize is that she was already beautiful to begin with, perfect. In God’s eyes, she is a princess.

In her book, Pure Womanhood, author Crystalina Evert says, “A woman should hide her heart in God, and a man must go there to find it. She should be so hidden in Christ that a man has to see Christ just to see her.”
Can you imagine a world where women knew their worth, and didn’t need men or the media to define it? I mentor teens at my church, and always tell the girls that if they want to stand out in today’s society, they should respect themselves. In doing so, not only will they weed out the boys with little to no regard for them, but they might also teach these young men a little something about valuing women.

The power is in their hands, and in all of ours as well.

I found this essay, written by Tara, a contributor to skirt! Magazine. Read her blog here. As a mother of daughters, this especially touched my heart. It is high time that our society started instilling pride and sense of self in our young women. It is the greatest gift that we can give them.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Poquoson Green Dragons vs. Ft. Eustis Rocket Fire

The Dragons had their first away game on Monday night. We traveled up the road to Ft. Eustis to take on the Rocket Fire. After a 20 minute delay and some trash talk from the other team, we got down to play. Ft. Eustis got on the board first, but Poquoson held them to that one goal. Two second half goals put the Dragons on top. Congratulations on another win!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Have Wheels Will Travel

The great mobility saga continues. Friday I went back to the doctor to have my cast removed, my foot x-rayed, and a new cast put on. Summer accompanied me to my appointment following her dentist drama (more about that in a later post) and decided that my new cast should match her baseball uniform. Thankfully, as it turns out, Paige's soccer team is also green, sparing me any conflict on that front. Anyway, here is my shiny new green cast. If you think to yourself, "Hey, that one looks way bigger than the last one", you would be right.

Anyone who has been on crutches for any length of time, know how uncomfortable they end up being. I can honestly say that I HATE them. When I mentioned this to Dr. Contreras, he put in for a groovy Roll-A-Bout, which essentially is a four wheeled scooter with a platform to rest my leg on. It has been such a Godsend. My life is a lot less frustrating when I don't have to make multiple trips to accomplish even the smallest of tasks. Still the problem remained that I couldn't really carry much at a time. The solution? A cheapy bicycle basket from K-Mart. Laugh if you will (no really, go ahead, I am), but I am a happy girl!

Are You Ready For Some Futbol?

Opening day for Poquoson soccer saw the U-11 Green Dragons and Storm face off. The score volleyed back and forth during the first three periods of the game, with the final period seeing things really click into place for the Green Dragons. They scored three times during the fourth period, leading them to a 5-2 victory! Congrats Green Dragons!!!! Paige is number 10, by the way. I wasn't able to get any good shots of her today, but there's always next time!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

And In The Wood A Fragrance Rare

And in the wood a fragrance rare
Of wild azaleas fill the air
And richly tangled overhead
We see their blossoms sweet and red
---Spring Scatters Far and Wild by: Dora Goodale
These are the beautiful azaleas that are blooming in our yard right now. I took these pics from inside the house, but I am hoping to get some good pics of the girls with them this weekend.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Jaxx vs. Muck Dogs

Summer's very first baseball game! Because the game took place during spring break, the teams were a little uneven. We only had 6 players! It was lots of fun to see these budding sluggers try out their skills. Summer is always easy to identify because of her pink helmet. She was thoroughly grossed out by the fact that she would have to wear the helmet that the boys sweat in, so Dennis gave in and bought her her own. Summer had a great game. She scored 3 runs! Next game tomorrow night!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kenneth Lee Manwell 1938 - 2010

My great-great uncle passed away in his sleep over the weekend. I wish that I had known him better so that I could tell you the story of his life, but unfortunately, I just didn't know him that well.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream...And The Beach!

Tuesday I flew solo for the first time since my surgery while Den took the girls down to Sandbridge. They had an A-MAY-ZING time. The water was really cold, but they managed to get wet anyway. They built Mt. Everest, complete with a Yeti, and a sand turtle. They found some HUGE shells. They saw dolphins playing out in the water. The girls made some new friends from North Carolina, and they loaded up on all the classic Hargis beach foods - Pringles, Star Crunches, and Strawberry Soda. Don't ask me how those became Hargis beach foods, they just did. Den forgot to take a camera down with him, so these are just internet photos so you could see what Sandbridge looks like. We are trying to plan a trip down later in the summer with our whole group of friends here. Hopefully we will find a week we will all be in town.

Monday or Tuesday night, we were watching either the travel channel or the food network and we saw a piece on Doumar's Ice Cream, the birthplace of the waffle cone, which just happens to be in Norfolk! Yesterday, after running a couple of errands, we headed back across the bridge to check it out for ourselves. The girls and I had been to Doumar's before, but this was Den's first trip and the first time for all of us to actually go in. Previously we had just used the drive-in.
Once inside we were privileged to actually get to see Al Doumar himself, at 83 years young, hand making the waffle cones on the original waffle iron that the first waffle cone was made on. Doumar's has been in business for 106 years and Al has been making cones for something like 70 of those years. I tried to get the girls to stand with him and take a picture, but they both had a sudden attack of shyness and wouldn't pose for me.
We all had a different flavor of ice cream - vanilla for Den, butter pecan for Paige, chocolate for Summer, and strawberry for me - on the waffle cones we had just watched Al make. Talk about fresh!
Once Al went home for the day, I was able to talk the girls into at least taking a picture with the machine. Thank goodness for small victories, I guess.

Monday, April 5, 2010

You Had Me at Bacon

Today was the first day of our Spring Break "Staycation". Since the day the girls saw the Paula Deen commercial declaring Smithfield the birthplace of bacon the girls have been begging to go there. So, today we decided to make the short trip across the James River and see what Smithfield had to offer. After stopping in a shop and loading up on chocolate covered peanut brittle, sweet potato butter, and sun-ripened strawberry jam, all from local artisans, we popped into Wharf Hill Antiques and I had died and gone to heaven. I could have spent hours and hours there. In fact, I think I will plan a trip back and do just that. LOL. If only I had an unlimited home decor budget.... Anywho, once Den and the kids pulled me kicking and screaming (figuratively) from Wharf Hill, we had a delicious lunch at the Smithfield Gourmet Bakery, where the girls finally got their bacon in the form of grilled bacon sandwiches. Then we drove around for a while looking at the amazing historical homes and businesses that line Main Street and finally stopped at The Christmas Store where I mentally decorated Haggis Manor for the holidays and did all my Christmas shopping. Finally we headed home and spent the rest of the afternoon attemping to enjoy our backyard through the yellow pollen haze. All in all, not a bad start to our spring break.

If we ever find ourselves settling down in Smithfield, we would have to go to church here.

And I would have to live here. Thank you for visiting my dream world.

Low-Key Easter

After church, we came home and spent the rest of Easter day enjoying the warm sunny day and beautiful back yard that God has blessed us with. We are all about low-key Sundays and this one was pretty much perfect.

Den chilled in the lounge chair and made Easter family phonecalls and hosed down the kids on the trampoline.

The best of the Summer on the trampoline pics.

The best of the Paige on the trampoline pics

For a change of pace, Den tried squirting them from underneath the trampoline.

Mmm, sunshine

Time for the water guns

And here's how I spent my Easter afternoon. Propped up in a lawnchair and taking pics. Love it.