Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day

Saturdays....these are my favorite! Saturdays at our house are the day that daddy is home ALL day. Scooter is beside herself on days like these. It is 2:00 PM and we have already been to the park and worn them both out. They have been sleeping for at least 2 hours! Doc is out getting goats milk, so I decided to say hello. I am just sitting in this house, with complete silence with exception of the noise that it makes when I type. You don't get complete silence very often once you have kids, nor do you appreciate it near enough before you have them. As a stay at home mom I assure you that silence is welcomed and celebrated.

My kitchen needs cleaned, the laundry needs to be caught up, and both of my kids need a bath but all of that can wait. Today we will play and laugh and enjoy our time together. It is Memorial Day weekend, and like so many other families we will use this weekend as a time for relaxation and celebration. But while I am sitting here I am thinking of the families that are not together, that are sacrificing this weekend, like many others, so that I can take my babies to the park. The amazing men and women that fight for and that have died for this great country. To you I say bless you and thank you.

I think about the parents, the ones that have lost their children in the fight for our freedom. How gracious it is that they have given their sons and daughters for our freedom here on earth just as our God gave His son for our freedom in eternity. What an amazing sacrifice! I am sure that I do not acknowledge that near enough and I am sorry for that.

You don't really think about what it takes to have a country like ours with the freedoms that we have. Day to day we just eat and shop and work and spend our own money and worry about our families. I assure you that I do not often think about the sacrifices that must be made for these "simple pleasures" that we call life. There are families that have not seen their child, their dad, their mom, their wife, their husband, for over a year. They have missed births, deaths, Christmas, anniversaries, marriages, and birthdays. They have been up for days running on little water and food risking their lives for our freedom while we sleep in late and wake up to pancakes and hot coffee.

I thank God for all of you. I thank Him for your strength and courage. I thank you for doing the unimaginable so that I can have free speech, marry the man of my dreams and praise MY GOD. There is no way to repay you the debt that we owe you and your families, but I am sure that there is a special place in heaven for all of you. God Bless you and God Bless the USA.

We love you Kruegers!!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Just breathe.

Today I have been bombarded with tragedy. It seems to come in waves. Fortunately, none of it directly affects my family, but all of it directly affects my heart. I have been asked to pray for a family who lost two daughters in the same car accident. Both with young children. Can you imagine how their parents must feel? Of course you can't, neither can I. Then I was asked to pray for Holly and Michael who lost a son named Austin, she was 27 weeks pregnant. 9 months ago they lost a daughter named Lily Grace at 21 weeks. Two babies in less than a year.

I am not even sure how you recover from tragedies such as these. How you work, how you live, how you breathe. I can tell you first hand that the loss of a child takes your breath so often that you literally have to concentrate on breathing in and out on some days. The thought of losing two babies, or two as adults overwhelms me with fear and anxiety.

My two girls are my life and after the loss of Bennett I feel myself clinging to them harder, watching them closer. Yet today I am reminded that I have absolutely NO control over their lives. I do not get to choose when they meet Jesus anymore than I got to choose when they were brought into this world. I look at them and watch them in awe of how amazing they really are. Watching them grow and learn and play has brought me more happiness than I ever thought possible. Being a parent is a huge gift that God has blessed me with, and I have to trust and know that He has a plan for them.

We are a family of strong faith, we trust with many major areas of our lives. We have our babies at home and we do it with no fear. But I find myself, in the last few months, bargaining with God. Trying to explain to him how important these girls are to me, asking Him to please let me have them for the rest of my life, let me watch them grow up, be there when they are married, hold their babies. I know it's absurd, I realize that bargaining with God is useless. His will is His will and regardless of my plan, that's how it is going to be.

So how do you trust with your babies? How do you let go completely? I don't know. I have no idea why He gives us these people that we make and mold and love beyond comprehension and then expects us to let go of them even if it is to let Him have them. I wish I did. I wish I could tell you that I do this everyday, that I never question, that I never ask, that I just trust when it comes to my girls, but I can't. I think I was probably better about it before Bennett. But I am sure even then I did not let go completely.

Proverbs 3:5 and 6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding, seek His will in all that you do, He will show you which path to take.

I totally believe in the scripture, as a matter of fact, I remind myself of this daily. Still, when it comes to my kids, I immediately go to, "sure, I will be happy to follow you, but do I need to bring my kids along because I would rather just leave them safe in their rooms sleeping with their daddy here to protect them".

I have learned in the last few months that we do not get to choose. This family who lost their two girls in one accident, they had no choice. Holly and Michael, as they bury another little one, they were not asked if this was okay. He chooses, and we trust or we don't, but still He chooses. I pray for understanding when it comes to His choices for my kids in the years to come. I pray for courage to hand them over to Him, knowing that He loves them even more than I do. I beg for the strength to understand the loss of my boy and the courage to trust Him with another pregnancy in my future. In the mean time, as I go day to day and take what He gives me, just as these families do, regardless of how hard it may be, I will continue to breathe.

Have a blessed day friends, and squeeze those babies no matter how old they are!!

Lots of Love,


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mamma Mia!

One of my closest friends lives far far away from me. Despite the phone bills, we talk about once a week. Some weeks it's about babies, others about "the business", this week we talked about moms.

My pastor is Andy Stanley, and if you have ever listened to him speak you know that there are times at the very beginning of the message he tells you what he wants you to get out of it so as not to lose you about half way in. I am going to do that for you now. So pay close attention.


There, I said it, I know you cringed, but aren't you glad it is over?!

The truth is ladies, no matter how you look at it, what angle you take, or how hard you fight it, you are very similar, if not exactly like your mama. I know, some of you are resisting this statement. Some of you are naming traits in your head right now, or you may even be making a dreaded list of how you are not like your mom. But, I am sorry to tell you, you are. Obviously, there are many of us that are not exactly like our moms. But, in some way, shape or form, she's in there.

It makes perfect sense, for most us our mother is who raised us, who spent the most time with us, who molded us into the adults (functional or not) that we are. I'll use my family for example.

Stephanie and I have always been different. We don't do things the same, we don't live the same way, we don't raise our kids just like one another and that is just fine with both of us. So, you would assume that one of us is just like mom and the other is not at all like her. This is where you are wrong and I am making my point. Both of us, are very similar to my mother in many ways. For instance, my mom is a terrible napper, when she wakes up from a nap her mood, unlike most, is worse rather than better, this is me. My mom was a yeller when we were kids, this one goes to Steph. My mom has a tough exterior but on the inside she is a big softy, this one also goes to Steph. My mom tells it just like it is, no matter what. Betcha can't guess who got that one! ;) So you see, even though Steph and I are very different, we are both very much like my mom in many ways just as she is, much to her dismay, a lot like her own mother.

(My mama and Carson)

I get that this is not exactly what everyone wants to hear. I understand that many people have mothers that drive them clear up the wall, and probably have used the statement "If I ever act like my mom (fill in the blank). My mom's favorite was always "just shoot me"! But truthfully friends, what's so bad about being like your mama? There are a lot of things about my mama that I think are great. Now, there are things about her (mom I don't have time to go over these today) that I would work on not replicating, but she would be the first to tell you that she is not perfect!

I know that just like the rest of us, our kids will grow up fighting against the inevitable grain and lose. I am certain my girls will have countless conversations, with me as the topic, discussing what NOT do. But, I will smile when I am older and see myself in them. I will be proud of the women that I have raised and tickled that even though they picked up some of my bad habits, they also learned a lot from me. I pray that what I do wrong, they will do better with their kids and what I do right, they will appreciate. I will not be insulted when they do it differently than I did and I hope that I will be supportive of their choices even if they are not the ones that I made. I am sure there will be times that I fail miserably at this, and all I can do is pray that I have raised them to love me, be honest with me and come to me despite any differences we may have.

The truth is we get one shot with our kids, and as I always say, "they are mine to ruin". We don't get a do-over, we can't rewind, and we aren't Jesus so doing it perfect the first time is not an option. Our moms did the best they could, their moms did the best they could and I am certain that we are all doing the best we can!

Blessings to you and your mamas friends!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Till death do us part.

I just got off of the phone with one of my closest and dearest friends. She and I grew up together and her family is like my family. I was talking to her about the hell that is going on in her family right now, both of us trying to understand why things happen. I just imagine the people that she and I both love trying to understand what it is they did wrong or what they could have done differently and all I can think to do for them is pray.

I don't really understand the thought process that goes with abandonment. I mean seriously how do you wake up one day and decide that you don't want to live with your kids? With your spouse? How do you justify throwing away your time, your memories, your love? I think of the sea of excuses that people use; money, lust, happiness, midlife crisis, addiction, career I am sure there are many more I have not thought of. Truthfully, I cannot come up with one excuse good enough to walk away from my babies. Not one.

Now understand, I get it, I do. I get that relationships end, marriages crumble, love dies. I understand that if ignored long enough, anyone can/will look for the attention they need elsewhere. I get that all relationships take work, attention, tenderness, and respect and without these things they are sure to fail. I am aware of the boundaries that must be set in order to protect my family, my marriage and how inconvenient those are at times. What I do not understand is how when you realize that your marriage is in jeopardy, why do people seem to turn away from one another rather than towards each other?

Think about it, if our best friend is in trouble, we take their hand and walk through fire with them. If our child is in danger, we risk our lives to save them if we can. If our parents are sick we put our lives one hold for weeks to tend to them. So why is it that if our marriage is in trouble, in danger, or sick, our response is to turn away from our spouse? This is the ONLY relationship that we vow too in the presence of our Lord. Should this not be the one that we work the hardest for? Sacrifice the most for? What does the Lord tell us about marriage?

Ephesians 5 tells us:
Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. In this same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, noone ever hated his own body, but he feeds it and cares for it....

I Peter 3 tells husbands:
Husbands be considerate as you live with your wives and treat them with respect...

Titus 2:5 tells wives:
Be self controlled and pure, be busy at home, be kind and subject to their own husbands....

Malachi 2:15:
Has the Lord not made them one? In flesh and spirit they are His. And why one? Because He was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in spirit and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.

This is it friends, clearly spelled out for us in His word. He tells us exactly what we need to do to make it work. He tells us to submit, to be considerate, to respect, to have self control, to be gentle with one another, to be kind and not to break faith. Sounds to me like this is a pretty good recipe for a healthy marriage. As usual He just proves over and over again that He knew what He was doing when He created us. Marraige was His idea, not ours. He knows what it will take to make it work.

As I sit here and write I think about all of the failing marriages. I think about the ones that have been over for years, the ones that are ending now and the ones that are crumbling beneath themselves as I write. I pray and beg for them not to turn away from each other. I ask you friends to treat your marriage as you would your child, your parent, your best friend. Who quits on their best friend? I urge you to turn to your Lord and let Him remind you what it takes to make a marriage work. Yes, it will take everyday and no it will not always be easy. But my dear friends, keep in mind that He created marriage and isn't what He created awesome? ;)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Reaching the hedges.

Hello friends, Oh how I have missed you!! We have been so very busy here at the Hall home in good ole Franklin TN. The weekend was wonderful with all four of us home for the first time in a while. Lots of time with daddy for the girls, we loved it!! We spent Saturday morning at the Loveless Cafe and Saturday afternoon was spent napping and doing yard work. Okay, I admit it, I was doing more napping than yard work. Truthfully, I don't do yard work. Yard work for me is right up there with lists. I hate it. But, like lists, I have accepted that it must be done, there is no way around it and therefore I married a man that will do it for me ;). What can I say? I know how to pickem'.

Poor Scooter, she is terrified of all lawn maintenance appliances. Is that what they are called? Appliances? You know, mowers, weed eaters, hedge trimmers, blowers. Okay so, Sunday we went to The Home Depot. Obviously, again not striving for the Parent of the Year award, I sent Scooter in with her daddy to buy a blower and a hedge trimmer. I know, I know, I really did not think this one through. There I sat in the car with sleeping Presley, and out comes Doc with Scooter. Apparently, she was not even able to make it down the blower isle so he had to bring her back to the car to finish shopping.

So I am standing there buckling our traumatized two year old into her seat, assuring her that everything is okay and there is no reason to be scared of the 200 blowers that we just exposed her too in the world of terror that we call The Home Depot, and Doc is telling me about our choices. You know the drill. Some you plug in, some you don't, some are 50 dollars some are 300. A 300 dollar blower? I don't think so folks. Anyway, you get my point. So I laugh and I tell him, "don't get the ones that you PLUG IN, I encouraged him to spend the extra 30 bucks and just buy decent NOT ELECTRIC appliances. I mean after all he will probably be blowing leaves and trimming hedges for a few more years seeing as we can not afford to hire a lawn man and unless a certain really hot place gets really cold, I am not doing either.

So I sit and wait and wait and wait while imagining my sweet, frugal, thoughtful husband standing there deliberating over which blower and hedge trimmer to buy and how much they cost. Finally, out he comes, I pop the trunk he puts them in quickly so as not to put Scooter through anymore horror and off we go. A few minutes later I ask what he got. He proceeds to tell me that he did in fact buy a blower as well as a hedge trimmer. Awesome! Now he can do everything he needs to do to maintain this massive yard that is not ours for the next year. Then he says, "I did get the ones that you plug in". I laughed and looked at him knowing full well he was kidding. You see where this is going don't you? Yes, he bought the blower AND the hedge trimmer that you plug in. It took him a few minutes to assure me that he was not kidding. I looked at him like he was nuts and said, "How do you expect it to reach all of the hedges on the property". He replied, "I bought 200 feet of extension cord". And there you have it friends.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

When Joy meets Sorrow.

I had told myself that I was not going to write about Bennett today for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, some dear friends of ours gave birth to their third baby this morning and we are so very happy for them. Secondly, I have two perfectly healthy little girls and I don't want to spend my days with them caught up in the sorrow of the loss of my boy. However, something happened today that I just had to share with you.

I finished my book, the one that I was telling you about a few days ago. Just to refresh, this book was about a woman who had three little girls and was pregnant with her fourth. She knew before the birth of baby Audrey that Audrey was not going to live for long, if at all, outside of the womb. Audrey was born 4/7/08 and lived for just over 2 hours. It is a wonderful book if you have lost a child of any age or if you know someone that has and are walking along side them while they grieve. "I Will Carry You", by Angie Smith.

Anyway, as the Lord would have it in His amazing timing, I finished the book last night. In many ways it did make me feel better, less alone, less crazy for grieving as I have, as I am. In other ways it brought forth a lot of the feelings that I have been holding back as I push through each day filling my mommy and wife duties with a smile on my face. As Doc said this morning, "I was really hoping the book would make you feel BETTER. Maybe you should stop reading for a while". Of course he was half kidding trying to make me smile.

As I am sure you have gathered, I woke up in a pretty bad mood. Understand, that finishing the book was met with news, that in the wee hours of the morning, our friends had given birth to their third baby boy. Needless to say, I was emotional.

So this morning I cooked, cleaned, and wiped butts as I talked to one of my dearest and closest friends and cried, again. Some people know just what to say, others know what not to say and Sam is one of the others. I appreciate her more than she knows. Here's where it gets good. After I spoke with Sam, I decided to go for the first time and look up Angie Smith's blog, Bring on the Rain: I thought that maybe this would bring me some comfort, some insight to life after loss, or maybe I would find a friend. There was already an entry for today. I have posted it below:

Thursday, May 20, 2010:
Introducing Charlotte
Hello everyone. This is
Jessica and I just wanted to quickly post that Angie had Charlotte last night at 10:38. She weighs 5 lbs, 13 oz and is 19 inches long. She has strawberry blondish/red hair and is simply adorable! She has sweetest little face and the cutest pouty mouth and button nose


She was blessed with another baby, another girl, and they were both healthy!! What an amazing God we have, one that gives and takes away in His perfect timing. Today I found hope in another woman's journey through joy and sorrow. Hope that I desperately needed. Hope that was timed perfectly, as only He could do. I thought I would share with you, my moment of joy, while praying that if you too are in a time of sorrow it will soften your heart.

Rv:21:4: And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Have a blessed and hopeful day my sweet friends.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"No, don't spank my butt!!"

I have a two year old little girl that we call Scooter. The nick name has been hers since she was an infant and has nothing at all to do with her mobility. I just started calling her Scooter one day and it stuck. Seeing that her grandfather (Big) nicknames just about everyone he meets, this was no surprise. I prayed hard for Scooter, I actually BEGGED God to let us keep her early in my pregnancy when we were having problems. Some prayers get answered, others don't, this one did and has been one of my greatest blessings ever.

I was not a talented child. I did not dance well or sing well, I did not excel in sports, I made good grades but worked for them. I was not creative, hell, I couldn't cut a straight line or color in the lines to tell you the truth. Overall I was just okay at most things. Growing up I was bombarded with talent from those closest to me. Stephanie had/has an amazing voice. Now when I say that I do not mean she would be a good karaoke partner, I mean she actually could have been a singer for a living. Michael was a sports talent. He was a great ball player, but in the end it was discovered that he should have been on the PGA tour. When we were growing up if we were not listening to Stephanie sing, we were hanging one of Michael's trophies on the living room wall that eventually became more like a shrine. Then there was Smelly Mel with a dream to dance and two left feet. Ha! Man I wish! The things I could have done with two left feet. Nope, it was more like a dream to dance and one left foot and one sorry excuse for a right one. So, I grew up as the middle child in a family full of talent, with no talent to speak of. Don't feel sorry for me, I am not done yet.

I love being a mom, I wanted to be a mom more than I wanted to breathe. And as luck and a gracious Lord would have it, I found a wonderful partner to make babies with. A good man, with a good heart and a perfect pair of dimples. God is GOOD! One day after Scooter was born I was sitting alone with her in our little condo in Atlanta. I was feeding her the breast milk, that I had pumped at 3 AM the night before, with a dropper (huge feeding issues early, another story entirely) and all of the sudden it hit me. I DO have a talent. For 33 years I have been wondering why God left me out and the truth is, He didn't! I just had not been able to use mine until now. My talent is being a mom. I love being a mom, I eat, breathe and live for it. There is no sacrifice too great, no obstacle too difficult, there is absolutely nothing that would keep me from being the best mom I can to my girls! I practice everyday and I give 100%. Isn't that what people do with true talent?

I assure you I am NOT the greatest mom that ever lived. Not even close. I have made mistakes already and I am sure I will be paying for them for the rest of my life. It does not take much to screw up a kid, and how many "normal" people do you know? Right, so that means that most people have screwed up in some shape or form as parents. As all parents do, I struggle with discipline. I will go ahead and disclose to you now, that we spank our kids. I know, I know, it is SO politically incorrect to spank your kids and even more so too admit to it!! But if I am being honest with you, we do. Scooter is the only one that has received any type of spanking to date, because Presley is only 12 months old. But rest assured that with the mouth and the temper that Presley has, her time is coming sooner than she thinks!!

Shawn and I talked about it before we had kids, both of us agreed that there are times that a good ole butt whipin' is just necessary. We take turns, I am not always the bad guy and truthfully it really does hurt us more than it hurts her! Who would've known!?

Scooter has just started to talk where people (besides me) can understand her. This is where as a parent I have choked much like Jean Van de Velde choked in the 1996 Masters (we're a golf family feel free to click the link and look it up). Here I thought that I was doing it right. Spank her young, teach her early, and when she is old enough to really talk back, she won't. I did not consider that her becoming verbal could put a kink in this plan.

Recently, we were in Atlanta and went out to dinner with my parents. Scooter is in the middle of potty training and sometimes we take a chance and let her wear her "big girl panties" out. This was one of those times. Now, in my family two things happen in a bathroom restaurant, the obvious and spankings. So here we are at dinner and it is about time for her to use the potty if we are going to avoid a mess. I walk over, take her out of her high chair and tell her that we are going to go to the potty. Immediately, her hand goes over her butt and she screams, "No, don't spank my butt!". Everyone within ear shot turns to look. My dad laughs and my mother holds back a smile because I can assure you she has been there. I quietly whisper in Scooter's ear, "baby we are just going to go potty" and again she yells "No, don't spank my butt!".

~ God give them wisdom that have it; and those that are fools let them use their talent~ William Shakespeare

Yeah, I did not really think this through. I am convinced that Scooter knows what she is doing here. She is pretty smart and knows me very well. My thought is that she thinks if she makes a spectacle of the spankings they will cease. Poor kid does not know me as well as she thinks.

So I ask you, how do you discipline your kids? Spankings? Time out? Do you immediately have them regret their actions and risk embarrassment or worse DFACS? Do you wait until you get home and teach them a lesson? This is where my talent ends and I turn to the One that really knows how to do this well. From this little awakening, and many others over the two short years that I have been a mommy I have learned that I have absolutely NO idea what I am doing. My talent may be parenthood, but just like poor Jean Van de Velde was failed by his, I am continuously failed by mine. So today, and the rest of my days as a mommy, I will be grateful for the talent that I have yet rely soley on the wisdom the He gives me to raise my kids.

Jam 1:5 (NIV) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's one of those days.

Occasionally, Doc brings home something little that a patient has brought him. While I imagine that for most of his career this will be cookies or a thank you card, for this season of our lives it has been sympathy cards. Most of our patients are familiar with the story of Bennett. Doc has been able to share with them, when appropriate, and has always been met with compassion and kind words.

Yesterday he came home with a small, preciously wrapped package finished with a green and white polka dotted ribbon that is now prancing around our house in Scooter's hair. I opened it and I thought, "great another book about someone who lost a baby". I sat the book on the counter and went back to my evening of healthy cookies, Dancing with the Stars and Castle.

This morning I woke up sad. It does not happen very often, thank God, but today is one of those days. I put my girls down for a much needed early nap and walked into my kitchen. I stood there trying to decide, do I shower and cry, wash dishes and cry, or do I just sit on the couch and cry? There on the counter, next to the book that I tossed aside the night before, was the simple yet profound note that had been attached: "With thoughts, prayers, and understanding...May this book make you feel that you are not alone" M&J. I remembered that Doc had told me that this particular couple was also part of the lost babies club, and that they had shared some of their story with him. I thought to myself, "why not!? I could not possibly feel worse".

So I opened the book and began to read. I read about a woman who had strong faith and a healthy family. I read about the loss of her fourth child hours after birth. I read about her faith during the pregnancy and how even though she had other healthy children she still struggled and grieved like this was her only one. As God would have it my children took unusually long naps. He is pretty amazing isn't He!? I did not finish the book, but I was able to get through enough of it and you know what? M&J were right, it made me feel like I was not alone.

For some reason reading about another family's loss, another woman's grief, another baby that went directly to live with Jesus and missed all there was to offer on this earth, for some reason this made me feel better. The only way that I can describe it is to have you think back to when you were a kid playing ball. Remember how it felt the times that you were at bat and did not make it on base, how you sat on the bench in the dugout feeling like you were all alone even amongst all of your teammates. Then, as life would have it, you were joined by another kid that failed at his attempt to round the bases. And even though it still sucked to be you, it was a little easier when you were not alone. This is how reading this woman's story made me feel. It still sucked to be me, but it was nice to know that someone else knew how I felt and was sitting on the same bench that I was.

I plan to finish this book and have a strange feeling that I may one day soon open the others that were sent to me by a dear friend who has also shared my bench. As a mother of two little ones, I may not get to finish it as soon as I would like. However, I have faith that I will again be blessed with a moment of peace just when it's needed.

Philippians 4:7 ...the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The other woman.

Dr. Hall works 45 to 60 hours a week. He gets up before 7 AM and home after 6 PM and those are his short days. By the time he gets home the girls are usually fed and bathed and sometimes already in the bed. Our bed time here at the Hall house is 7:30 PM. I personally think that is perfect. That gives me about two and a half hours after they are down to tie up lose ends and take a break and still get enough sleep to recharge for the next day.

For a long time those two and a half hours were spent with Doc, catching up, hanging out, making out, whatever we wanted to do with that time. ;) Now that time is spent with me on the computer and Shawn on the lawn mower. I am not kidding you, it is 8:15 PM and he is outside with the headlight on the Huskee mowing the grass.

Now in all fairness I have to tell you that we rent a house on 5 acres and we are responsible for 2 of them. We agreed to this upfront when we rented the house. However, once lawn care season began we quickly realized that neither Shawn nor myself knew how big 2 acres was. You may laugh, but I ask you, do YOU know how big 2 acres is?

It is clear that Shawn and I did not grow up on a farm or for that matter even on a large yard. That was made even clearer by the fact that the only lawn mower we had when we rented the house was a 7 year old PUSH mower.

Quickly we realized that we had two choices and two choices only: 1) We could pay someone to keep the grass cut or 2) We could buy a lawn mower. So, we priced both and what we learned was that the going rate to cut 2 acres of grass in Franklin TN is $65. I know what you are thinking, $65 twice a may be worth it just to save the time. I thought the same thing. Then we realized that the people on our street cut their grass twice a WEEK. Seriously, do the math, $65 times 2 is $130 a week for lawn care at a house that we do not even own. I think NOT. So I went out and I bought a brand new 46 inch Huskee riding mower aka "the other woman".

- The Bitch

This is when the saying "time is money" applies at my house. Had I known that Doc would be spending his evenings with "the other woman" over the next three months rather than with me, I can assure you that I would have justified the $130 a week. But my friends, it is too late, she has consumed him and I am no match for her. So as he continues his love affair with she who will not be named, I will be with you sharing my day over a cup of hot chocolate and watching what decent TV I can find on the four channels available to me. Yes, I said 4 channels. That is a story for another day.

Lists, lists and more lists!!

There are list people and there are people that would rather........well let's just say there are people who don't like lists. List people, you know who you are. You are the person that makes a list for everything: the grocery store, the day, vacations, trips to the park, things to do, goals, finances, you name it you have a list for it. Your lists have lists. In addition, there is something inside you that gets an abnormal amount of pleasure from taking out your pen and scratching through each item on your list as you complete it. You have lists on the fridge, lists on your mirror, lists in your car, lists saved on your PDA, you manage your entire life with lists. I am not a list person. I am more of a "I hope I remember it" person, or maybe even a "write it on your hand" person. But definitely not a list person. As a matter of fact I hate lists so much that if you put it on a list and give it to me the odds are I am not going to do it.

The older I get the more I realize that my God is a comedian. As only He would have it, He has partnered me with a man that loves lists. As a matter of fact just last night Doc was making a list, savoring each bullet point, as I sat there on the couch with my skin crawling off of my body. When I went to bed last night I got to thinking, why such a loathing of the list? What is it about a list that I dislike so much that I literally rebel against it? I mean truthfully lists are very helpful reminders for someone who stays as busy as I do. This morning it hit me. I can boil all of my hatred for lists down to one word: STEPHANIE.

For those of you who do not know me Stephanie is my older sister. We are 15 months apart and as an adult she is one of my top five favorite people in the entire world. As children she fell into the top 20. I also have a hatred for mayonnaise that is so severe that for years I would not even eat anything that had mayonnaise in it. This is a huge food limitation when you live in the south! When we were kids Stephanie, on the sly, would place a teaspoon of mayonnaise in her hand and with a sweet sisterly smile she would give me a high five, or a hand shake, or just smear it on my face from behind. Hence my hatred for mayonnaise. I digress, back to the lists.

As a child Stephanie was a list person. Time for chores; make a list. Play a game; make a list. Friends coming over; make a list. Every time we had anything to do Stephanie wanted to make a list and tell me what items I was to complete on that list. Now understand that not only did she make the list, she usually was making it at a very in opportune time. For example, it was usually right before my parents were going to be home and we should be cleaning the dishes rather than making a freakin' list! Today, just this morning, I figured it all out. She was making the list, I was cleaning the kitchen. BRILLIANT! My entire childhood was spent doing chores while Stephanie was making lists.

My take away lesson for today is that lists are not all that bad. As a matter of fact, they can be a very useful tool in a busy life. Does this mean I will start making lists, probably not. But as I work through the childhood scarring that is the list, I do plan to be more receptive to the tasks it holds for me. As for eating mayonnaise....I wouldn't hold your breath.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The phenomenon that is the single parent.

Ok, so I am not a single parent. As a matter of fact I am the complete antithesis of the single parent. My husband is more like another mom than a dad. He has done all of it, from delivering them to potty training and everything in between. I once told his mother that if Shawn could nurse I would be completely useless and I stand by that statement still today.

So, why I am talking about single parenting and what would I possibly know about it? Honestly, not much. But every now and then, like this weekend, I get a taste of what it would be like without Doc here. I am not afraid to tell you that the only word I can think to describe that particular idea is HELL.

Now keep in mind my friends that there are all types of single parents; there are those that have been divorced, abandoned, widowed, those that got an unexpected surprise from someone they would never marry, those who have adopted a child in need, and those who have actual spouses that live in their home, but, are for lack of a better word absent from parenting. I am speaking to each and every one of you when I say GOD BLESS YOU!!!

I mean seriously folks, everyone needs someone else to wipe a butt now and then if not just for the sheer pleasure of seeing someone else try to get all of the poop off of a wiggling butt while trying to keep it from getting on everything else in the house! This is funny stuff, and no one should always have to be on the tail end of this joke! (no pun intended)

There are moments in parenthood when you just NEED another set of hands: poopy diapers at the park, one product stops at the grocery store, rainy days out of the house, a shower, or just for a peaceful dinner. You know it, I know it, we have all been there at some point whether we have one kid or five. Let me ask you, how many of you have wiped your butt while a kid was on your lap? Or caught one coming down a slide while trying to keep the other one from chocking herself to death on a rock? How many of you have waited to sit down in a restaurant with a fussy baby and felt everyone looking at you thinking "man I hope they don't sit me near her table". Think about having to do all of this, all of the time, with no help!! Parenting is not easy and parenting with any kind of life is all but impossible on your own.

So today I honor the single parents, all of them! Your job was not meant to be done alone and I respect the heck out of you for doing it. For those of you who have help, I say stop all of your complaining, hug your partner and appreciate even the little things. If you think it would be easier to do it alone I recommend you ask someone who really knows!

Doc will be home in three hours, thank God for Daddy Hall!!!!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Is there a doctor in the house?!?

Shawn is an upper cervical doctor. That is why we moved to Franklin, so that we could start a practice and a life here. Being married to a doctor certainly has it's perks, I haven't personally gotten to experience any of those just yet, but I know they are coming. ;) At this point in our lives being married to a doctor equates to lots of debt, long hours, and a stressed out husband. Not exactly a glamorous life, but the one that I agreed to and would agree to 1000 times over again.

There are all types of husbands, good, bad, funny, handsome, ugly, mean, sweet, quiet, loud, obnoxious, you pick an adjective and I can find you a husband that fits it! My husband has four main adjectives that describe him in no particular order: devoted, hilarious, anal and beautiful. We have been married for almost 4 years. Some would argue that 4 years is plenty of time to know the ins and outs of your spouse and be settled down just enough to realize that the "honeymoon period" is over. However, our honeymoon has yet to end. We are crazy in love and he is my very best friend.

(The never-ending honeymoon;))

I tell you this not to brag, even though it is something to brag about. I tell you this because I think that people don't talk about GOOD marriages anymore. Think about it, when is the last time you were sitting with a girlfriend and she said "I gotta tell you, I just LOVE my husband!". I mean seriously, that does not happen much anymore. Usually, in my world, if someone is talking about their husband it is to either complain about something that they forgot to do or something that they have done that was a bad idea.

So, I have decided that when I write about my husband, I am going to write about the good stuff. Now, understand we are not perfect, he is not perfect and I by no means intend to paint that picture. However, I think everyone needs to know there are good marriages even in homes that are full of everyday stress just like mine and yours.

In addition to that I intend to stay in the "honeymoon period" as long as possible, and focusing on the good stuff has to be a good start to that right!?

Rain, rain go away...

We live in Franklin TN, which is about 13 miles outside of Nashville. We moved here in July of 2009 and since we have been here our lives have fallen a bit short of rainbows and puppy dogs. We moved from Atlanta where we had it all figured out: two healthy babies, a loan for the business that we were going to start, a strong marriage and a God that had blessed us so tremendously that I was almost arrogant about His blessing all of our decisions. I mean sure I get it I needed Him and He was the reason we had gotten this far, blah blah, blah. But really I had somewhat pushed Him aside, I had more important things on my priority list like my husband, my children, and our new life. I probably should have taken into account that He was more than capable of reminding me who comes FIRST!!

Since our move in July we have been met with everything from inconveniences, frustrations, financial hardship, and tragedies to ice storms and historical flooding. In other words, the rain has not stopped, not even for a minute since July.

Needless to say there have been times that I have questioned whether or not the Lord has blessed this move. Never have I questioned His presence, but I have wondered at times if He is up there looking down at us and saying "Hello!? Does anyone have any questions for me!??"

Psalm 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

I will not be shaken, I will not be shaken, I will not....okay okay, you get it. Yes, I have been shaken a few times in the last 10 months. Does that mean I have less faith, nope! Does it mean that I don't really think that my God can handle things? Nope! All it means folks is that I am human and I got so caught up in my life that I forgot to live for Him, forgot to ask Him, forgot to SET HIM BEFORE ME. Rather than having Him at my right hand He was closer to right butt cheek.

Just when we forget how much we need Him, He brings the rain and until we acknowledge that need, the rain does not cease. Then finally we realize something is missing and we look to our right hand and see that He is no longer where He wants to be or where we want Him to be. I have learned my lesson (for now) and I am sure that I will be reminded countless times in the years to come. Today, however, I intend to set Him before me, hold His hand, and enjoy the ride.

Blogging for sanity.

I do not even understand what happened to the month of April and March was a nightmare that I fear will forever haunt me late at night. I lay down each night after I put my girls to bed and my hand goes to that place, that place on my belly where I last felt him. I will never know if I should have done something different that night, gone to the ER, picked a different option other than "waiting until tomorrow". Would things have turned out different? Probably not, this was God's choice, not mine. He decided to keep this baby, I did not decide to lose him. I know that, it makes perfect sense while I am writing, but it does not comfort me when I am sad or remove the 100 lb weight that sits on my chest when I am alone and have a moment to remember.

The pregnancy was terrible, I was sick the entire time. Two hemorrhages, morning sickness, not a pound gained in 20 weeks. We were not even sure he had survived the bleeding until they found a HB at 13 weeks. Relief! Man I remember that day like it was yesterday. So I don't really understand why my water broke at 18 weeks, all I know is that it did and I am going to be pissed about that for the rest of my life.

I remember every detail, the feeling, the bleeding, the birth, the placenta abruption, knowing that my husband was trying to save my life and I was just sitting there in disbelief that this was it. The baby had been born, he was dead, wrapped in a towel in the back seat. Such a strange thought for someone who loves everything about having babies and wants as many as she can get before she is too old and her eggs dry up.

My nurse shared my name, Melanie. She was very sweet and cried when she came to tell me it was a boy. All I could do was think of Shawn. How my every hearts desire is to give him a son and this was it, this was our boy and he was dead. They asked me if I wanted to see him, "no thank you" was my reply. WHAT!?? No thank you!!?? Are you kidding me?? Obviously I was in shock because that was not what I meant. Thank God Shawn was there and in his right mind and asked me again. Of course I want to see him! I want to hold him and kiss him and nurse him and take him home and let him sleep on my chest!! I got to see him, and touch him, the rest I never got to do. I ache for all of it everyday.

None of it really makes sense to me, all I know is that I was pregnant with my sweet Bennett one minute and the next I was on a bloody episode of ER that resulted in not one but two d&c's ten days apart. How comical, two d&c's, seriously!? The first one was a blur that second one just pissed me off. Dr. Chuck, the big fat man with huge hands that did the first one assured me that he did a lot of "scraping and sucking" and it should all be gone. What a joke, wonder how he would have felt if I had scraped and sucked all of his sperm out when he was trying to have babies!? The doc that performed the second one was much more gentle, but it was too late anyway, I was done making babies for a while and I knew that. I hate Dr. Chuck.

So now I am 13 weeks from my due date. My sister had her third two weeks ago, I was blessed to get to attend. My best friend is due August 25, I was due the 13th. No I am not kidding. I wonder....when God is giving you all that you can handle, is he taking into account when you have had all of the fun you can stand!?

I live in a city where we know no one, 250 miles from my family and friends, from my sister and my mom, I have two baby girls and an amazing husband that works all of the time because we have started a business. The night after my second d&c I was up with a sick little one and making formula at 3 AM. There is no break here, certainly no time for a break-DOWN. But I'll be damned if I don't deserve one.

I want my baby boy, I want to be pregnant, I want to have three seats in my car come August 13th, I want to go and get him from where we buried him and bring him home and nurse him and snuggle him and love him and I know that none of it is going to happen and that makes me want to scream, and cry and break things. Instead I have decided to write. Am I going crazy? Maybe. Do I care? Nope. When you lose a child, you lose your mind. When you have others to raise, you better go find it. I decided to start looking here.