Saturday, October 11, 2014

Solitary Place

I have some very exciting news to share with you! My dad is in town from Michigan for a visit, his first official visit since he moved back to Michigan from Tennessee EVER! If you read my blog or know me well, you already know this so this isn’t news, right? Not to keep you in suspense any longer, the news I am talking about is that my dad came all of the way from Michigan to bring me…(insert exciting drumroll) Michigan Chinese Food!!!!  OHMYSTARS! (and moon, sun, and all the planets!) It is that good, for real.  You are all very jealous now, I know.  Try not to covet my delicious Michigan Chinese food, please.  If you come to my house I will share with you, but eat first because I probably will not give you enough to actually make you full. (Sorry, not sorry.)  How can I be so rude and selfish? Because this is the best, most delicious blend of just the right spices, rice, veggies, sprouts, and pork that you will ever taste. This is the stuff dreams are made of. I crave this stuff like a pregnant woman craves pickles and ice cream. I know that is cliché and pregnant women don’t really crave pickles and ice cream, but you get my drift. Only the Chinese people that are immigrated to Michigan can make it this way. Even up there, it has to be true Chinese immigrants, or descendants of said immigrants, for it to taste this way.  I am guessing that China is much like the USA, and foods are different depending on which part of the county you are in. I’ve never been to China, so those of you that have can maybe tell me if I am right about this.  They have some of the same dishes on their menus that we have here in Tennessee, but even those do not taste the same. I think it is not only the way they prepare them, but also the spices they use and the quality of the ingredients. My go-to dish is Almond Boneless Chicken, and I have never seen it on a menu anywhere else in the country, and I try Chinese food in every city I spend more than one day in.  I have found dishes called Almond Boneless Chicken, but it is not prepared or served the same way. This is breaded chicken, served on a bed of iceberg lettuce with sliced almonds and then a brown gravy-like sauce on the top. Then there are the egg rolls, oh the egg rolls! They are crispy and flaky on the outside, and inside they are hot and soft and filled with cabbage, veggies, pork, and the perfect blend of spices.  Before any of you tell me how unhealthy this meal is, I already know this and I do not care.  You have to have happiness in your life, and this includes Michigan Chinese food. When I visit Michigan, I try to eat it at least once a day. The entire drive home, I usually think about how I should have bought some to freeze and bring back with me, although I never have. I then crave this meal daily for a few weeks, and then less often forever, until the end of time, or until I get to back up to Michigan and have some. My family will back me up here as I mention it frequently, “I could go for some Michigan Chinese food!” We have a pretty good restaurant here in Powell that I will eat on occasion to help with the withdraw effects from the crack-like food. My dad is my hero now, and I know that he truly loves me with all of his heart because he brought me this food all of the way to Tennessee. Happiness is Michigan Chinese food. All of my Michigan peeps, please beg your local restaurant to move to Knoxville or Powell and tell them I personally will keep them in business. Or they can give me the recipe and a few cooking lessons and I will attempt to recreate it myself. They are pretty tight with those recipes, I have asked before, so I think if you get one we could probably make some money. I know you all think I am completely crazy now, and I am, but that is a different story for a different day. I am speaking truth here, and you need to either drop by my house today for a taste, or rush up to Michigan first chance you get and have some of this deliciousness. Your welcome.

Now you know my dad made it safely and made my year by bringing dinner! We are so glad to have him here and are going to enjoy his visit. We don’t have any big plans, but if you can think of something we should do with him or show him while he is here, please leave a comment for me or send me a message. I wish I had thought to score some Home Coming tickets to tomorrow’s Tennessee game, but I didn’t. (So maybe I am a very bad daughter?)

I managed yesterday to clean out a couple kitchen cabinets, including our medicine cabinet. I am embarrassed to admit I had vitamins in there that had expired in 2008. Yep, 6 years ago, actually the year the boys were born. I cleaned that cabinet out about 9 months ago and I have no idea how I missed those expired bottles. I am wondering if, upon reading the dates, I felt nostalgic and just kept them because of that. I know it sounds stupid, but if I had been having a bad day and had the boys on my mind then I can see myself doing that. I also have one bottle left with Michael’s name on it. I plan to keep it forever. I long ago threw the actual pills out, but it is the last bottle of medicine I bought for him. I keep it in the very back of the basket, but when I am searching for something specific and reading all of the bottles, I find it comforting when I read his name. It is surprising, even though I know the bottle is in there, when it ends up in my hand. I always let myself read it a few times and just hold it for a minute while the memories flash through my mind. Usually it is comforting; sometimes it is more than I can bear. It is funny how grief can come back at you when you are not expecting it and knock the wind right out of you. I can sometimes be taken back instantly to that moment, the last moment I was with him, and I can see his face and his expression. I am still not ready to share that, and there are only three other people in the world that were there with me that day. I bet they still see that look in there memories, too. I will only say it isn’t pretty, and it is everything except comforting. While it is such a blessing to those left behind to know that you are going to lose a loved one and to be able to say goodbye, it is so much harder for the dying person to have to choose to go. I find it so horrible that someone with a terrible, terminal illness has to not only suffer through the illness and the treatments, but then has to decide not to live anymore. People say “the cancer took him” but that isn’t exactly how it goes. It is a choice to finally let go, harder and longer for some than others, but it is a choice.

This week in my bible study, “The Intentional Woman,” I learned how Jesus and I have something in common. I have read this particular verse many times before, but did not take from it what the book explained to me. It’s so great that God’s word will meet you where you are and give you something new and exactly what you need every time. Matthew 14:13 “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” Jesus needed some quality alone time! How awesome is that for those of us who need this on a regular basis? This simple verse teaches me so much about Jesus and myself. Something that I need to help me emotionally is also something that Jesus needs. The next verse says that the crowds followed Jesus and when he saw the large crowd he had compassion and healed them. He had compassion. Do I have compassion for my family when I am trying to sort through my thoughts and need to be myself? Sometimes, of course, but other times I am snappy and grouchy. You can bet the next time I will be slower to snap, and have compassion for their needs.

Harper is stirring, so I will save the rest of my thoughts for the next blog. Have a great weekend!
The best Chinese Food you will ever eat! Thanks, Dad

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Crazy Busy Day Does Not Equal Productive

Yesterday was such a crazy busy day. Combine a busy day with 2.5 hours of sleep, and you just get funny. I did the funniest thing last night. Let me give you the back-story first. Harper has been pretty sick with a sinus/ear/respiratory infection for almost a month now. She has been on 3 antibiotics, had x-Rays, injections, and has been to specialists. She had been getting better and then on Wednesday she started running a low grade fever again and then didn’t sleep well and woke up yesterday with  a fever, headache, earache, bad attitude, and her nose all full again. So frustrating. We went back to the pediatrician yesterday afternoon. We go to the best pediatrician in the world-sorry to all you other pediatricians, I am sure you are great physicians, but we have the best, hands down. Bless their hearts for putting up with me! I might be a little high-maintenance when it comes to my kids, and they never make me feel like my concerns aren’t valid or my kids aren’t important. They checked her out, got a finger prick, and swabbed her nose to see what will grow in a culture. We are going to continue on the meds we are currently giving her and, depending on what is in the culture, possible go back to the ENT next week. Harper is really a trooper, and so is everyone at the ped’s office! I can’t sing their praises enough. If you are in Knoxville and need a pediatrician, you need to be going to Blackmon Pediatrics. 

Moving on with the funny story, we had to fit the pediatrician into a busy day, so we picked Billie up from school and then rushed over to the doctor’s office. Luckily, I had thought ahead and packed Billie’s formal “Panther Company” outfit and dance bag into the car as we were running out the door because Billie had a concert last night and ballet afterwards. We rushed home to pick Matt up after the doctor’s appointment, and then we all went together to First Baptist of Powell for a wonderful 7th & 8th grade and Panther Company concert. Billie’s grandpa made a special appearance and delivered a story about one of the songs, “In Flanders Fields” and also accompanied the children on the piano.  “In Flanders Fields” is a beautiful poem about World War I, and you can click on the link above to read it. The children did a great job, and so did Bill! Billie was so proud to have her grandpa there and share his love of music with her friends.

Before the concert, as Matt and I were walking into the church, we discussed how we would need to literally run out of there as soon as the concert was over in order to get Billie to dance on time. He asked if I would prefer to take her in his Jeep and let him take Harper home, just to try to help me out. I told him no because she would need to change in the car and we preferred my car for that because it has dark tinted windows. In addition to that, we had to pick up a friend on the way that we car pool with and I would prefer to have the bigger car. That settled, we found our seats and caught up with Grandma and Grandpa.

As I said before, the concert was beautiful and Harper behaved great! She basically sat in my lap most of the time, and was very quiet the entire time, which proves she is not feeling herself! She usually has so much energy that she cannot sit still for more than 1.5 minutes. As previously planned, as soon as the concert was over we said quick goodbyes to Grandma, Grandpa, and Ya-Ya and began a quick trek to the car. As we were rushing out, Matt said, “I guess I don’t have to rush, I will just visit with everyone for a minute. Do you need help getting the kids to the car?” I remember giving him a weird look, but then just telling him I would be fine on my own and rushing out with a quick wave. We were halfway to pick up Abby when I looked down and saw his backpack in the floorboard of the passenger seat. I said to Billie,  “I hope he has his keys, because I have his bag.” Billie says “Mom, he doesn’t have a car!” Ya’ll, I left my husband at the church with no car! I laughed so hard I had tears streaming down my face. I called him so that maybe I could catch him before everyone left so he could catch a ride home. He thinks he realized our error before I did, and maybe he did, but I am just glad that we both made that silly mistake! I told him at least I had an excuse since I only had 2.5 hours of sleep the night before. We laughed about that all night long, and still this morning I laugh every time I think about it. Usually he drives to evening events straight from work, and he always puts his backpack in my car since he drives a Jeep and anyone can just unzip the top or slit it with a knife to get in. I guess in our minds we were just so used to him driving separately, we forgot he rode with us. At least I left him in good company, right?

We have an exciting weekend coming up! My dad is coming for a visit all the way from Michigan! This is his first official visit since he moved back about 7 or 8 years ago. He did come down for the boy’s funeral, but I don’t count that as a real visit. The girls are both excited to see him and show him some of their favorite places.

I already shared that I am working on a bible study with a women’s group at Cokesbury, and I love it! The bible study fits in good with my productivity theme, and I am learning a lot about myself. One of my biggest problems is focus, or the way worries distract me. If I have something on my mind, I can think of nothing else and it causes me to have a hard time finishing anything. I have learned through this workbook that being an introvert is to blame for that. I internalize everything, and when I am stressed I like to turn inward and be alone with my thoughts. I need quiet time to myself to think through things. Even if it is something I have no control over and can’t really change, I still need that time to let my mind work through everything. I don’t really need to talk about things. I just need time alone with my thoughts. This becomes a problem when my husband needs me to communicate with him, or when my family is busy and needs me to be a wife and mom. It’s not an every day problem, but my worlds collide more often than not, and I am still learning how to navigate all of this.

One thing I have learned is to understand the difference between a fast-paced, busy life and productivity. Not that getting the kids to all of their events and providing nourishing meals for them isn’t being productive, but it’s easy for me to get so worn out with the day-to-day stuff, that I have no energy left for me at the end of the day.  That is why it is so important to get my bible and prayer time in first thing in the morning. When I start my day with my focus on the Lord and his will in my life, everything goes so much smoother through out the day.

This is what I am striving to learn from the Lord during this challenge: Psalms 138:8 “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever.” Psalm 143:8 “Let the morning bring me word of our unfailing love, for I have put trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” Finally, 1 Peter 4:10 “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

I will still be productive this week, but that may be by spending time with my dad. I will try to share some of his visit, but it may be after the fact!


Thursday, October 9, 2014


I have been so productive today, I am actually writing tomorrow’s blog – drumroll- tonight! Y’all that is a record for me! My house is clean, my kids are happy; everyone got to where they needed to get to today, and made it back home.  I worked on my business (I am a new Young Living Essential Oil Distributor so I had some meetings and delivered some oils.) I even got our team registered for the Buddy’s Race Against Cancer to celebrate and remember my late husband, Michael (thank you to his daddy for lighting that fire!) If you want to join us for the race on November 9, you can join our team by registering here Buddy's Race You all know what is coming, right? I am going to be all inspired, disciplined, and productive for a few days, weeks, maybe even months. Then, something big will happen, hopefully this big thing will be positive like I will win the lottery (I know, you have to play to win, but maybe I will start.) The something big will get me all off kilter, and I will cease from being productive.  It will take another 31-day challenge to get me back on track. But I am learning skills during this challenge to carry me through another hiatus. I am learning how to be productive and stay productive. God is working in me.

I will let you in on a little secret, actually a couple little secrets.  First, I wrote that first paragraph last night and then went to bed, leaving this to be finished in the morning. Second, I woke up at 2:30 am and couldn’t go back to sleep. Third, I have a little anxiety and feelings I have been trying to ignore for a few days. Anyone who has been through traumatic things has these feelings.  Here’s the deal and the real secret- the year leading up to Michael’s sickness I was plagued with worry. I thought it was because Billie was going to be sick or something, I really wasn’t sure, but I had these anxiety-ridden, sleepless nights. I would sneak into her room and sit in the floor by her crib and pray over her. After Michael got sick I decided that his cancer was the big “thing” that was haunting me. Maybe it was the cancer itself that I could sort of feel, or maybe it was God giving me an intuition, or maybe I am completely crazy and was simply battling anxiety or depression. I think it was God giving me a warning, maybe I believe that because that is comforting, but I have had these sort of feelings since then and tried to ignore them. At the time I have these feelings, I am never really sure about what or why I am having them, so it is easy to just dismiss them. Of course, hindsight is always 20/20.

Another time I have struggled with similar feelings was with my pregnancy with the boys. I know, every pregnant woman has worries, fears, anxiety, trouble sleeping, but hear me out. I knew from the get go that I was having a boy, because I had a feeling, not because I had an ultrasound because I didn’t. We declined the 12-week test because it was only to check for birth defects so that we could terminate if we chose to and since we were not going to terminate for any reason, we declined this test. We had no reason to think there would be anything wrong, and the baby had a good heartbeat so my doctor agreed it was unnecessary. When I got a couple weeks further along and could feel the baby move, I started having these thoughts. I felt the baby move much earlier than I did with Billie, but I figured that was because I knew what to look for this time around. I remember asking my doctor a few times “How big should the baby be now?” He would usually compare it to a fruit or vegetable “about the size of an avocado, cucumber, eggplant,” depending on how many weeks along I was. I would then ask, “Are you sure there maybe isn’t two? Because when it kicks, I feel it way over here (pointing to one side), and then immediately I sometimes feel another kick way over here (pointing to the opposite side), and I don’t feel it jump over there.  I mean, can it reach with its hand this way and its foot the opposite way at the same time like that?” His answer every time, God bless him, was “One heartbeat, one heart, one baby.  There can’t be twins with one heart.” Except for when there is. I wonder if he also remembers those conversations with me? The day of my big ultrasound he was out, so I didn’t see him that day. I never saw him again since the practice referred me to a perinatologist, naturally. As soon as I found out I was having conjoined twins, within minutes, those conversations with him came back to my mind and have haunted me ever since. Not that they would have changed anything, and I think it was another way God was protecting the boys and me. What would I have done if I had known the boys were conjoined at 12 weeks? They pushed me to terminate at 20 weeks on up to 27 weeks, so I imagine they would have pushed me even harder at 12 weeks. I may have felt that was the best choice at 12 weeks. It may have been easier to decide to terminate with such a grave prognosis coupled with the fact that I hadn’t felt them kick yet. I have always felt that deep down I knew I was having twin boys from the beginning, but I just didn’t trust my instincts enough. I didn’t tell anyone else except for my closest confidants that I thought maybe it could be twins. I didn’t want to be wrong, and I was embarrassed for even thinking it. So dumb.

I could go on with more examples, like the conversation I had with my perinatologist at 23 weeks along during my pregnancy with Harper, a week before I had Harper, asking him if he thought I could have accreta (FYI I did, and he said there was almost no way and there were no symptoms and I wonder if he remembers that conversation, too.) Basically what I am getting at is that these are feelings that you want to ignore because you want to be wrong. I have been wrong, too, I will add that. Having been wrong in the past makes it easier to dismiss similar feelings. These feelings that are waking me up in the middle of the night are not clear, and could honestly just be my crazy, traumatized brain worrying unnecessarily. I am praying for peace, discernment, and protection. I will not let this take over my life, or keep me from my goals. I have mentioned before how when I am worried about something I allow it to take over my mind and my life. Not this time. I know that the enemy wants to rob me of my joy and wants my attention. I will not let that happen.  I am in a good place right now with my walk. I am in the Word, my prayer life is strong, and I am feeling more confident than ever with my relationship with Christ. I will hold fast to that and give my worries to the Lord.

Confession is good for the soul. Just writing these words this morning took the power away from them and has given me such peace. I am going to lie down and try to go back to sleep. Harper has been fussing some tonight, and she had a low-grade fever before bed last night. I am thinking her ears maybe be infected again so I will let you pray for her if you feel so inclined.  Thank you for loving me and supporting me. God is so good, all of the time. Psalm 2:12 “…Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Squandered Time

The definition of Productivity (according to

Productivity: (proh-duhk-tiv-i-tee) noun- the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services.

We all know this. I am not trying to teach anything new here, only trying to teach myself and share my experience with you. I am learning a lot already through this challenge. I am learning a lot about productivity, but even more about myself.  These are probably things that I already knew, but was either ignoring or just being naive about them.

This will be a short post because I only have 10 minutes before I have to get the girls up and ready for the day. I got up at 4 this morning. Well, I woke up at 4 am and laid there for an hour trying, in vain, to go back to sleep. So once I got up, I got my coffee, turned the news on, and grabbed my bible, books, journal, computer, and phone. I took care of some to-do things, scrolled Face Book, and worked a bit on my bible study before turning to my writing challenge. Why, if I got up at 5am, do I only have 10 minutes to write this blog? I only have 10 minutes because I wasted my morning. I enjoyed most of my quiet time this morning, but I was very wasteful with my time. I spent way too much time on Face Book and doing other things that seemed important at the time (like planning our next trip, and catching up on news), but really could have been skipped all together. I should have spent 5 minutes on the Internet, and 1 hour spending time writing rather than the other way around. I am learning that I have this lazy side to myself where I like to read what others have written and just “veg out,” as I call it, rather than doing the work that I need to do on myself and for myself. It is hard to be self-motivated and keep myself in a productive state when I do not have restrictions or deadlines. When I began my morning, I felt so happy and inspired that I had two hours in front of me with nothing but me on the list. I had two hours to study, write, pray, journal, and accomplish. But I squandered at least an hour of the time, and so, after a morning that looked so full of potential, I now begin my day feeling disappointed with myself. What a shame, and I wish I had only insightful, beautiful things to tell you, but I also want to be truthful, so there you have it. I need to have self control and manage my time better.

I do not want to leave you on a bad note, so I will give you this little gem that has been floating around my mind for a couple of days: Titus 2:11 & 12 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…” Here's to a great day with better time management!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Being Fruitful

I am not considering it failing if I don’t write a blog every day in October, even though this technically is a writing challenge for me.  I am also using it to challenge myself to choose myself- so along with productivity and writing, I am choosing things that make me feel productive and give me an overall sense of well-being and of being successful and productive.  I am also working on some other writing that I am not sharing on the blog, plus I am in a bible study titled “The Intentional Woman, A guide to experiencing the Power of Your Story.” It is wonderful and I am so excited to be learning how to share my story and my testimony to better help others, and it requires homework and writing and reading my bible so when I am able to get to it every day I count that as part of this challenge, too. 

When I first accepted this challenge I had no idea what I would focus on.  I prayed on it and tried to not really think about it, so that maybe the idea would come from God and not from myself.  Since I have been struggling at home as of late with running around in circles and not completing much, even though I try and work hard, I have been reading in scripture for inspiration and guidance. This is what I have found: Colossians 3:23-25 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Have I been working with all my heart? Some days yes, but some days no. The truth hurts, but that is the truth. Why I am struggling so much to be productive? I am struggling because I am side tracked constantly. Some of that is no fault of my own, but some of it is because I allow things to interfere.  I take breaks from my work to check Face Book, email, and Instagram I like to have the television on in the background to entertain me, but it really is distracting me. Other times it is my kids needing something, or I choose to spend time with them instead of finishing my task, I think those are good distractions and mostly acceptable.  Proverbs 11:30 tells us, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life.” Jesus says in Matthew 15:19  “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. “  When we have decided to follow Jesus and live to please him, our lives will be fruitful (productive) naturally. Except for when it isn’t. I am just a little overwhelmed with my current responsibilities, but God has shown me that and how to get back on the right path and fix the productivity problem in my life.  I know what conviction is, and I like to ignore it when it isn’t fun or convenient, but the great thing about God is that he keeps on nudging you until you listen. So the TV is off, and the phone is setting on the charger, and the computer will be shut as soon as I upload this blog. Once I am productive for the day, I will reward myself with either a Facebook scroll or a recorded television show. I am not getting rid of my TV, or my social networks, I am just putting some boundaries on them for myself. Boundaries are a gift from God, too!

I am trying to get my house a little more organized and simplify and get rid of the clutter, no small task with two kids (that want to keep everything!). We are all making choices and deciding what is really important and what we really need.  OK, I totally admit here that we have WAY MORE than we could ever need, and we are spoiled rotten. But we are trying to live a little more simple, and below our means rather than above it. That way we can use the extra to help others. Some of these projects include cleaning out the kids books and toys, all the closets, kitchen cabinets, chest of drawers, laundry room, and other hidden areas that I just tend to ignore and act like they aren’t there and then they sit full and wasteful and years later I go to clean it out and I am like “Well, we could have used that years ago but now it is useless to us.” You guys have some areas like this, too, right? It isn’t just me? Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t hoarders or anything, but we just tend to bring in more than we take out and I want to reverse that.  I have been trying to work on this for a few months now.  Yesterday I spent the day cleaning out the hall coat closet. We use this only in the winter (when we need coats), and we used to use it for our shoes but we had old shoes in there that either didn’t fit, were worn out, or out of style and so we tended to not use it for most of our shoes anymore. I managed to fill two large garbage bags with old coats, hats, gloves, mittens, scarfs, and shoes. I also had several winter items that Harper has outgrown that I am giving to a baby in the family that will fit into all of this winter. I am so happy to rid my house of all of this just sitting in my coat closet collecting dust and taking up space, so wasteful.

If you are still with me for this very boring blog post, here are the pictures of the closet.  I forgot to take a real before, sorry. As I was working it dawned on me that this is productivity and deserved a mention.

 Pile of coats-some we kept and some we are donating.
 The mess of shoes that we basically do not wear anymore. Gone now!
 Finished closet. Filled only with shoes, coats, and a basket of hats and gloves that we actually wear.
 Top shelve, I found room to also store our air mattress here, plus my knee brace and a pair of boots.  All of this had previously been in my closet in our room, so this frees up space in there! WIN!

Sunday, October 5, 2014


I am SOOOO excited to take on an October Writing Challenge.  Fellow blogger (and mommy, wife, nutritionist, believer- the list goes on, we’ve got a lot in common!) Lauren Morgan of Adventures of Jack and Me (and she is a contributor at Knoxville Moms Blog which you should follow immediately because they are FANTASTIC!)  shared her challenge yesterday (ER… a couple of days ago now)of challenging yourself outside of motherhood and daily life. (Read that blog here: October Challenge) Just to sum it up, basically choosing to concentrate on something every day outside of motherhood.

Being a stay-at-home mom is harder than I thought it was going to be.  3.5 years later, I am struggling to find myself.  Now don’t get me wrong, it is truly the best job I have ever had.  I love being the “bones” to my family.  I am the go-to person here for everyone.  And most of my days are spent doing something for one of the kids or Matt, mostly the kids.  I love that, too, but here lately it maybe has gotten me to the place of burnout. Not all of the time, but sometimes. I find three the most challenging age, and thirteen maybe is the second most challenging age. How did I end up with two most challenging aged children at the same exact time? I am certain God is trying to teach me something yet again. So all of this is just a little back-story to the reason I don’t feel very productive anymore.

I am an introvert. Everyone that knows me well knows this about me. If I am worried about something, I will not hear anything you have to say and I will not be able to think about anything except for the thing I am worried about. If I have a lot to get done, leave me alone and let me do it. Do not help me, just leave the room, house, city, whatever and stay away until I am done. When we are in a hurry to get out of the house, I have this constant list going through my mind of everything I need to do to get us out the door. Now, a wise woman would write this list down, but I never feel I have time for that so I run my list through my mind and mentally check the things off as I go. This worked great when I was single and childless, and even worked well when it was just Billie and me. Add a husband and a second child and it basically doesn’t work anymore. So all day long I spend my time circling the house and starting lots of things and finishing almost nothing. Like this blog post I started on October 2, it isn’t even that long, and I have come back to it several times, but it took getting up at 4:30 am in a quiet house to get it written.  Up until that last sentence, I was on a roll. Then Matt came in here to try to figure out why our shared camera rolls on our newly updated iPhones no longer share. He not only came in here, but he took over my computer screen from his office (he is like our IT guy here at home so he can control my screen from his)-in the MIDDLE OF A SENTENCE!- to get me to read an article about said camera roll probs. My struggle is real, pray for me! I am leaving you with this: I am working on productivity in my life, my home, my family, my brain and I am accepting the October writing challenge and I will be writing about productivity.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

August 21- National Conjoined Twins Day

 Today is National Conjoined Twins Day.  This day was picked especially because it is symbolic: August is the 8th month, and when laid on its side is the sign of infinity. The 21st was chosen to represent "2 souls- 1 body." The pictures above are of me just a few weeks before I delivered my perfect conjoined twin boys, Joshua and Caleb.
 This was a picture of me with them just a few minutes after their heart had stopped beating.
 This was later in the night and we knew it was time to give their little bodies over to be taken to the mortuary but we just couldn't make ourselves do it.
 This was when the NICU doctor told us that there was nothing more they could do for the boys, they had done well at first but they just didn't have enough lungs to sustain them.
 This was the first time I held my boys.  Do you see Dr. Prince gently telling us what will happen next and what to expect? Do you see Caleb looking at his Daddy?
 This is a precious memento to help us remember they had perfect little hands.
 Here are those perfect hands, brothers holding each other.

My precious Billie sweetly kissing her brothers for the first and last time. So much pain and I could not protect her from any of it. But the loss of her daddy and brothers has given her the sweetest, most compassionate heart.  She is destined for great things.

 Daddy cleaning and dressing the boys while I try to explain everything to Billie. She handled all of it with such grace and wisdom.
Aren't they perfect? Part of my heart is in heaven. It's sometimes hard to look at their picture with out pain, and it's sometimes hard to look at their picture without joy because I know they are at the feet of Jesus.  Isn't that what we all want for our children ultimately anyway? They just got there sooner than I had hoped for.

I do not want to offend anyone, and I have struggled with if I should mention this or not, but I am going to just get it out there, and if you read my blog it probably won't bother you! The TV show "American Horror Story" is starting a new season and it is called "Freak Show." SO you know where I am going with this.  I know many of my Facebook friends watch it and love it.  I haven't ever watched it because I don't watch scary stuff, honestly, my life has been scary enough on its own! I know you all know how we have struggled with education and awareness, conjoined twins are not freaks.  They are sons and daughters, grandchildren, siblings, friends, and even parents.  I am not going to watch this show, and I know that a show with conjoined twins could be done in a great way and be so good.  But I don't expect that with the title of "Freak Show." If you watch it, please let me know.  If it is done in a positive light, I will 100% support it! But if it shows conjoined twins as freaks, monsters, "Siamese", or any other way I can not support it and I hope you will not, either.  END RANT! Now go eat some cake, or release balloons, or throw pies in each others faces to celebrate all the conjoined twins: Those in heaven, those still conjoined, and those separated and surviving and thriving against all the odds! WOOHOO! GO CONJOINED TWINS!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

God's Grace

My sweet Billie has a love for her sister, an empathetic heart ions beyond an average 13 year old, and a talent for writing.  In 7th grade Honors Language Arts they have been studying poetry and during class are given poetry writing assignments.  I honestly do not know what the assigned subject matter was, but Billie chose to write about her sister and her NICU journey, through Billie's eyes.  For your reading pleasure:

Looking in the window
Thinking about that day
In the tank, there she lay.

A tube taped to her mouth,
With her little IV
Tears in my eyes thinking
"How could this be?"

Bundled next to father
Looking still and cold
Eyes closed tight
Mother very bold.

Four months passed
Home she will go
Car drives slow
In her car seat, very low.

First time in my arms
Will never be the last
Be with me forever
Don't grow up too fast.

My precious Billie loves her baby sister.  Sometimes I forget what that NICU journey was for Billie.  Billie has gone through SO MUCH in her short 13 years, more than some people experience in a lifetime.  I was so worried when Michael was sick and after he passed that it would not just change Billie, but also change who she was supposed to be.  I now know that it did change her, that it had to change her, but that God in his mercy and grace and wisdom knew exactly who Billie was to be.  In everything God is good.  The death of her daddy, her brothers, and the birth of her sister have molded Billie into this amazing young women with a heart for the Lord and a heart for hurting people. She finds a way to love and show love to everyone.  I could not be more proud of my girl.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Nose Full of Spaghetti Makes the Momma Freak Out

First of all, just know that Matt is away for a work trip, so I am basically a single mom this week.  That always makes everything harder.  I need someone else who is an adult around some of the time to bounce things off of.  It keeps me sane.  OK, it keeps me closer to being a sane woman- we all know I am crazy, but it makes me enduring, right? Now I have help and plenty of support, do not get it twisted.  Billie has been chauffeured around by her sweet grandparents all week so I do not have to get the baby out in the cold.  Side note- since she is technically the baby,  I can always call her that even though she will be three in April, correct?

Getting back to our evening, we had left over spaghetti for dinner with salad.  Super easy since it was left over, and my kids eat the heck out of whole wheat spaghetti.  So we were all happily eating and just enjoying ourselves and Harper says "OUCH! Mamma, get the sketti out my nose, it hurts!" Seriously? So I jump up and look up her nose.  Yep, she has spaghetti up her nose! I am not even kidding! I pinch the other nostril and say "Blow" but she so does not comprehend what that is.  At all.  So then I run to get the nasal aspirator.  I never saw the spaghetti again.

So at first I am like it's gone.  She either swallowed it, or I did get it out the other way and it's fine.  But then doubt creeps in and I start thinking she could get sick, it could fester and grow some crazy bacteria on it and she could lose her nose.  OR she could lay down in her crib to go to sleep and that thing slip back in her throat and choke her in her sleep! I'm telling you, I need more adult interaction.  I do what I always do when I have a doctor-ish question about Harper.  I text one of our NICU nurses.  Not even kidding, her response was "I honestly don't know what to say!" OMG! What? You are my source for all things Harper, if you don't know what to say we may really be in trouble here.

Now I do know I have an AMAZING ability to make mountains out of mole hills, but if my NICU nurse is alarmed,  I should be freaking out already! Her next text says "I would probably call Greg and Abby." (My WONDERFUL pediatricians) My heart starts beating faster and I am sure I am flushed and sweating.  I am all "Really? That's not a stupid call?" She says "No, not at all.  I would call if it were me."

Bless my pediatricians.  They must really love my kids, because they always act happy to hear from me, always take me seriously, and always give me great advice.  He basically told me to take a chill pill, but in a really sweet, really funny way that had us both laughing.  And he calmed me down and gave me some tips to watch for and try later, too. They have totally talked me off a ledge on several occasions and I could not get through motherhood with out them.  I am so blessed they haven't kicked me out for being so high maintenance, long winded, and melodramatic.

We gave Harper a long, hot bath tonight and let her stay up a little late just to keep a watch on her and help me feel confident the spaghetti was no longer in her nose.  You can bet if she coughs or breaths deep tonight, I will be rushing to her bedside.

The real sweet/funny thing tonight happened when I was rocking Harper to sleep.  We always read a book, drink a bottle of milk (no judging, I know I have to break the bottle habit. Easier said than done,) sing songs, and say prayers.  It's a ritual.  We do it every night.  It helps make the screaming and crying shorter if we keep this routine.  This is Harper's prayer tonight:
"Dear God, Thank you for sketti. Thank you for Harper's bath. Thank you for rocking in da rocking chair. Thank you for Harper's baba. AAAAAAAAMEEEEEN! Let me take a bow. Thank you, thank you so much!"  So sweet and so FUNNY! I am telling you, that baby is so funny! Her vocabulary and speech skills are miraculous, to say the least, and I swear she has a sense of humor.  This was honestly her prayer, in her own words, verbatim.  And then she sang every single word to "Jesus Loves Me" at the top of her lungs.  I can't even tell you how blessed I feel as I lay her down in her crib tonight.  As hard as today might have been, it was so worth it to get to that prayer and song tonight. 

And then...I came out of her room and my precious thirteen year old said she heard Harper singing and thought it was so cute! I told her the prayer that was said and Billie and I laughed and laughed.  God is so good to me.  I am so blessed. I have so many wonderful people in my life that put up with me and my family's shenanigans. 

If you are awaiting an email from me tonight, and several of you are waiting for various info from me, you will get it tomorrow.  This momma is done for the night and must go to bed.  But I will get to you, and I have not forgotten.  Promise.  

Friday, January 17, 2014


Billie will be thirteen years old on Monday.  I will officially be the mom of a teenager! How the heck did that happen so quickly?! I know everyone says it, but they truly do grow up in the blink of an eye. I am trying to savor every last second of her childhood. I am so blessed by this kid! We have some celebrations planned (and some BIG SURPRISES for her-I'll update when I can share the secret), but I thought everyone would enjoy a snap shot into her 13 years.  She is the best kid a mom could ever ask for.  I really hit the jack pot when it comes to daughters! Enjoy!
7 lbs 11 oz-Born on Inauguration Day 2001 (We watched George W. inaugurated as I labored, and it snowed, too.)

She had such chubby cheeks! She was a great baby; very easy, and a sleeper-oh how that baby slept!

Did I mention how much hair she had? She has more hair here at 5 months than Harper has now at almost 3!
3.5 years old. 

5 Years old-Beach trip to Outer Banks, NC

Look how proud she is!
First Day of Kindergarten.  She looks happy here, but when I dropped her off she screamed and had to be peeled off of me by Mrs. Bounds.  Mrs. Bounds called me about an hour later to let me know she was doing fine and had settled down not long after I left.  I am totally getting all verklempt thinking about that morning, one of my hardest as a mom.

Proud Big Sister. I would not have planned them 10 years apart, but God had a great plan.  Those two have the most precious sibling relationship.  I feel in my heart God gave Harper as a gift not only to grieving parents, but to grieving Billie, too.  She has gone through so much loss in her 13 years and it has given her such compassion and gratefulness. She would have been a great sister anyway, but I know losing her brothers made an impact on the kind of sister she is today.

My beautiful ballerina.  She loves to dance. She loves to sing. She loves music, books, and movies.

So Grown up! Funny fact: Billie had blue eyes until she was almost 5, when they changed from blue to green. I love her green eyes, they are beautiful and I can always tell if she is sick because they turn gray.  I have no idea where she got them from, because my eyes are brown and Michael's were blue! It bothered me when they changed at first,  I felt sad that her daddy didn't get to see them change, but I think he knows.

Look at those eyelashes! Sarah Mcaffry took this in the spring

Her ballet recital will be Peter Pan this spring.  She was so excited when her costume came in this week, she danced around the house in it most of the evening saying "Aye Matey."

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! May 2014 be the happiest, healthiest year for all of us! Just a quick update to bring you up to speed.  I am finally healed - mostly! I do not think my leg will ever be the same, but I am now released from PT and working out hoping to build my quad and strength back and I walk with a slight limp, especially after I have been sitting for a while. 
I had a female related surgery in November to remove endometriosis that was causing me lots of pain, although we didn't know that was what it was until they got in there.  I had lots all around my bowels and bladder that were really making me feel lousy.  He also pinned my ovaries back up where they are supposed to go, and removed a large part of my right ovary along with my tubes.  Funny thing, I was told when I had Harper and my hysterectomy that they took my tubes, but they were still in there and they had cysts in them that may have been causing some of the pain, but maybe not.  The doctor explained to us that because there was so much blood when I had Harper (my uterus had ruptured and I had been bleeding for 14 hours by the time they took me into surgery) and it was an emergency situation, that it is very hard to see everything and be sure of what you are getting.  That seems crazy to me, but since he was also there for Harper's birth, I am tempted to just believe him.
Two weeks after my surgery, Matt went in to have his ACL repaired, again.  They also removed a large bone growth from the front of his knee.  He is still in PT and on crutches, and hopefully will be weening off them beginning next week. 
Billie broke her arm in two places back in October.  Not kidding.  She fell at ballet class and tried to catch herself, fell wrong, and Snap!  Bless her heart.  We knew the instant we saw it it was broken, no question on that one.  She is all better now.  If you got our Christmas Card, you know we tried to make light of the situation, I will post the picture below.  At this point, we really just have to laugh to keep from crying.
On to 2014, it is going to be healthy for us! No question, there will be no surgeries and no breaks.  Period. End of story. No negotiating it. 
We had a wonderful Christmas, in spite of our trials.  God is always good, right?  My mom and step-dad came over for the first annual "Christmas Adam." (Christmas-Eve-Eve) We had so much fun and I made a delicious lemon-pepper-rosemary Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, and Huge Salad. I have historically made a huge Christmas morning brunch, and then felt rushed and late all day Christmas day- rushed through "santa" gifts to get to cooking, rushed through brunch to get to Christmas dinner at 2, rushed through that to get to Christmas Dinner #2 at 6 (or 8, because they are always waiting on us.) So I got wise this year, and knew my limitations with my health and Matt's, and I spaced everything out over three days.  Genius! Best decision I made all year! And now it can just be tradition.  My kids got to spend time with Ya-Ya and Papou and have them all to their selves,  and the grown ups got to enjoy breaking bread together. 
Then, on Christmas Eve we had the Williams and Rosecrance's over for brunch.  More perfectness! The Grandpas got to bond and get to know each other better, we all had yummy food (I make a mean brunch, let me just tell you), and Grandma and Grandpa Williams got to see Harper open her gifts for the first time ever! It was lovely, and we took our time and enjoyed each other so much.
Christmas Day was even more perfect - not even kidding! Billie woke us all at 7:30, so excited.  We relaxed opening Santa gifts and enjoying left over home-made cinnamon rolls from brunch the day before.  Billie and I went to The Williams for dinner later in the afternoon and had a wonderful time, and Grandpa and Grandma Rosecrance came over to get Matt and Harper over to David's after Harper got in a nice long nap.  Then we joined everyone at David's for another meal and our fun Christmas tradition of Dirty Santa (Although we all get fabulous gifts so the only dirty thing about it is who ever steals!)
I was given the gift of pampering and time off from my family.  Complete with babysitter for Harper and appointments already made, I set out the Friday after Christmas for a luxury facial, a hairstyle at Be styled, a movie with Billie, and then dinner with Matt.  I had nothing to worry about and it was so rejuvenating! I kinda wish I could do that once a month! I will settle for a two hour reprieve once a month for coffee or a pedicure! I have learned I do need time for myself, otherwise I am just grumpy and not fun to be around, just ask Matt!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and A Happy New Year, too.  I have actually started a few blogs, just getting some thoughts off my chest, that I hope to finish and share with you before the end of January. Check back in a week or two for those! I'm not promising, but I am promising I will try my best.  They are really good, it's just so hard to find the time to get all my thoughts down.  You all know how long-winded I am! HA!

Christmas Card 2013