Thursday, July 29, 2010


Well friends, it's the end of July and August is quickly approaching.  Depending on where you are in life, that could mean a lot of things.  School's starting back soon for some of you which means early morning fights with sleepy kids and late night projects with grumpy ones!  For others of you August means more traffic and earlier trips to Starbucks to start your day.  Maybe August brings you to your vacation FINALLY, and you have been wishing away July waiting for it!  Whatever August brings to you, I pray that it comes with ease and blessings. 

Unfortunately for us, August is not bringing what life promised us 9 months ago.  I sit here and I type with a heavy heart and a small belly reminded that we will not be holding our baby boy anytime soon.  I told my Doc just the other night, that even though I realize he's gone, there is still a part of me that keeps thinking that it was all a very bad dream and we will in fact wake up with our Bennett sometime in the next two weeks.  But then I realize that it was actually a very harsh reality, and he will never be here on this earth with us.  I have my babies at home, it is hard and truthfully you don't wish for labor when you have natural childbirth instead you just take it when it comes.  But I assure you that I would take days of labor as hard as it could come if I knew that at the end of it I would get to hold that sweet boy.

Sometimes I find myself frustrated with God, arguing with Him to help me to understand why we could not keep our Bennett.  I mean we are good parents, we love having babies and we try our best to take good care of them and raise them right.  I don't really understand why good parents have to lose babies when so many bad ones get to keep them.  But then I am reminded of my friends that have not even had the joy of having one healthy baby, much less two.  I am reminded of the women I know that have struggled years to get pregnant and have never seen that little blue plus sign that makes the rest of us SO HAPPY!  I think of how blessed I am, and I realize that feeling anything less than grateful seems very selfish.  Knowing that is the easy part, actually feeling that way is a different story.  Trust me when I tell you that if you lose a child, early, late, or after birth no matter how many have come before or after, you still feel like you got gypped.  You still feel like something was taken from you that was yours and  you always want it back, no matter how long it has been. 

So to be completely honest with you today I feel gypped.  I am not ungrateful for what I have, but I am not walking around blissfully happy having forgotten that I should be having a little boy any day now.  I am pissed at someone but I have no idea who. I am sad and I am a little lonely to tell you the truth. I am missing my little guy that I love so much, my big belly that I should be rubbing, restless nights of uncomfortable sleep, huge boobs filled with milk, anxiety over the labor that awaits me, missing all of it. 

So today I ask you for prayers.  Prayers for peace, for understanding and for joy to combat the sorrow that I imagine will hang with me over the next few weeks, months and years.  Thank you my sweet friends for listening and for allowing me to share with you.

Love and Blessings,

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rollin' Down The River!

There is no way to really appreciate what it takes to grocery shop with toddlers until you have done it, by yourself, for at least ten items.  I have to grocery shop today, and when I say have too I mean that if I don't we are pretty much going to eat eggs and turkey bacon for the next three days.  Since we had that last night, I think I better go.  There are days that I am up for the challenge and there are days that it would be a lot easier to just hire a babysitter for two hours and get it over with.  Today I am not up for the challenge, but I don't have a babysitter, so Trader Joe's here we come like it or not. 

I look outside and notice the overcast skies that offer the possibility of rain and it takes me back to the last time that I grocery shopped with both girls in the middle of a day full of cloudy skies.  We went to Kroger.  I was in the truck and had strategically parked it out in the parking lot all by itself, willing to brave the sprinkles as we got out to avoid a ding in the side.  I put both girls in the buggy,  Scooter in the back, Presley up front and made a light jog into the Kroger through the misty rain.  In hindsight, a ding may have been the better option. 

We quickly strolled through the store, picking up all necessary items and anything that I was reminded we needed as we walked up and down the aisles (again, not a list maker so there was no list).  Right before we left I had a huge AH HA moment and remembered toilet paper and paper towels.  Now this may not sound like a miracle to you, but I kid you not when I say that since I have been married I have bought these types of household goods about 5 times.  Seriously, I don't even know what kind of paper towels we buy and that was made apparent by the cheap and useless ones that we lived with for two weeks after this shopping spree. 

I digress, back to the story. So there I am on the paper goods aisle buying TP and the world's most useless paper towels, and trying to figure out where to put them in a buggy that is holding a 2 year old.  I did what any mother would do, I put the paper towels in her lap and the TP on the bottom (of course tearing a hole in the side of it trying to stuff in under there).  Did she complain, yes, did I care, nope we were almost done and they were not heavy. 

Off to the check out aisle. We checked out, I paid, and we walked out having made a pretty calm and uneventful trip to Kroger, or so I thought.  I get to the doors and as they open what do we see, buckets. Buckets and buckets of water falling out of the sky.  I kid you not, the parking lot was already so deep in water that it was running like a river.  I know what you are thinking, wait it out.  Yeah sure that's a brilliant idea except for the fact that I have two year old in the back of the buggy under 5 bags of groceries and a 12 pack of paper towels and a one year old in the front holding the eggs.  Did I mention that there were black clouds as far as the eye could see?! 

So there I stood, looking at the people around me with umbrellas, kids that can run and cars parked up front with disgust.  I said to Scooter, "what do you think Scooter!?  Run for it!?" well of course she said yes, she's two and loves the rain.  So I rolled up my jeans and prayed for my sandals and ran.  Now this was no light jog like the one on the way in, this more like the 100 yard dash with two kids, a buggy full of groceries and heeled sandals (or you could call it a train wreck, whatever works).  As I am running I think of my dear friend Billy (aka Missy), I remember that she told me one of the BEST things about having a truck was throwing the boys in the back and climbing in when it rains.  BRILLIANT! 

Finally, I get to the truck.  I open the back, unload the groceries and soaking wet Scooter who has laughed the entire time and toss Presley in with her.  I close the hatch and quickly look around to find the closest buggy return available (I HAVE to return my buggy to the right place, I have a deep disgust for those who do not).  And then I see it, floating down the river that was once a parking lot is my 24 pack of Cottonelle with the hole in the side.  Unbelievable.  Now I am the spectacle, I am the woman who left two babies in the back of a truck in the pouring rain and chased an open pack of Cottonelle through the flooded parking lot of Kroger in heeled sandals. 

I rescued the TP, got the buggy in it's proper place and took myself, jeans soaked, hair slicked back, contacts floating, back to my ding-less truck and my babies that were parked 100 yards away.  I went home defeated by that which is mother nature and a God that has an absurd sense of humor.  With me I took two delighted toddlers that enjoyed every second of their adventure in the rain. 

I stand by my earlier statement that if you have not grocery shopped with two kids, alone, for more than ten items, you have no idea how hard it is.  But if you have and it has rained, well I hope yours had as much fun as mine did!!  I am off to Trader Joe's, and assure you that I will get my groceries rain or shine!  I hope you enjoy your Monday. 

Love and Blessing,

Friday, July 23, 2010

Groundhog Day.

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It's Friday.  I love Fridays.  I know I have said that before, but I can't help but repeat it I LOVE FRIDAYS!!  This Friday is especially wonderful because I am on the verge of a small, but much needed breakdown and daddy being home will buffer my sweet children from the wrath that is mama. 

I don't pretend to have this mama thing figured out, not for a minute.  And just when I think I am getting the hang of it I do something really stupid like take away a paci or attempt to potty train.  BAM! There I am, back in the kiddie pool with my swimmies on just trying to stay afloat.  I mean seriously, there is absolutely NO WAY to have a normal life, day, morning, moment, when you are raising kids because you never know what to expect.  Walk out of the room, they eat a crayon.  Let'em play outside, they try to drown each other.  Put'em in the bath, one of them poops in the floor while the tubs filling up.  Feed them lunch, inevitably someone chokes or bites their tongue.  It's like that all day, all of the time.  You know what I am talking about don't you?  And if you are like me, usually you laugh and take it in stride.  Don't cry over spilt milk (or at my house water) right!?

But every now and then there comes THAT day.  The day where one of them poops in the floor while the other one simultaneously almost drowns in the tub.  The day where they don't nap for you, but then they cry all day because they are tired.  The day where you have to remind yourself exactly what you were thinking when you decided to get pregnant and realize that the second time must have been a fluke because there was NO WAY you did that on purpose twice! Have you ever seen the movie "Groundhog Day"?  Yeah, well that's me since Tuesday having THAT day.  So I am asking for prayer friends.  Thank you and have a blessed day.

Just kidding.  Actually I am sitting here chatting with you while drinking a GIANT cup of mint tea and listening to classical music, and I will say that this was not part of yesterday, so things are looking up!  Oh man do I love my life. Every single moment of it, even the ones with poop and CPR, are absolutely wonderful.  Days like this make me miss my sister, she is funny and she and I can laugh at just about anything, which was actually a much needed survival skill growing up (just kidding mom and dad) ;). 
Whoops...there goes my baby girl, payback for my mean joke I guess.  BRB.

Okay so anyway, where was I? Oh yeah I was talking about my sister.  Anyway, if you don't know her, you need to, she's a riot and I am pretty sure I would have lost my mind years ago if not for her following me around and picking it up from where ever I left it last. 

So, again, it's Friday.  Doc comes home this evening and all will be right at the Hall house for a few days.  Scooter loves her daddy more than she loves ice cream.  And that's a lot.  He just makes her day better by being in the same house with her!  I know how she feels, I don't blame her a bit for picking him as her favorite, heck, he's mine!  He has to mow the lawn this weekend, poor guy, but at least he'll be home with us.  I have no idea what else we will do, but I sure hope a nap is part of it because we have both earned one. 

Well friends, I have a screaming one year old I have been ignoring (don't tell anyone) so I must go!!  Leave it to the teething baby to put a damper on your 7 minutes of heaven.  That's okay, my cup is empty as are my arms, may as well go fill one of them.  Have a wonderful weekend friends.  Thanks for listening! ;)


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Scooter's Growing Up!

After a tough first trimester, lots of prayers, and 36 weeks, my sweet Scooter was born on January 19, 2008 at home, in a tiny bathroom as Kathryne Elaine Hall.  There were 5 people present besides she and I in that bathroom and 9 in the condo!  Her birth was amazing, it's a great story and I love it so much that I posted it below. 

My husband Shawn is studying to be a chiropractor and he is the one that first introduced me to the idea of home birth. I remember thinking that he was crazy!! I mean who would have their baby at home when there were two perfectly functional hospitals within 10 miles of them? Why would anyone take that kind of risk? I would not even consider it. I knew I wanted a drug free birth, but I planned to have my baby in the hospital just like all the "normal" people do. So Shawn did not push and we found a great midwife that was going to deliver our baby at North Fulton Hospital.

After I became pregnant, I decided that I was going to educate myself as much as possible about pregnancy and childbirth so that I was ready when it was time. So, I started reading. But I did not start with "What to expect when your expecting" like most people, thanks to my husband I started with "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth". Looking back, I think he had a plan all along!

I wanted to read books that were positive about natural childbirth so that I was not scared to death about the labor and delivery! How many horror stories have we all heard? How many times has someone stopped you to tell you how hard it was, how badly it hurt, how they just quit because they were so tired, how badly they tore, or my favorite…why they “needed” a c-section. So rather than take advice from family, friends and the strangers that offer it to you when they realize you are pregnant, I read Ina May's book and others like it and formed my own opinions of what it was supposed to be like. As a gift, I am sure from God; during my education about natural childbirth I was also educated on home birth vs. hospital birth. What I found out was life changing!!

No one tells you that home birth is as safe or safer than hospital birth, or that having no intervention during a hospital birth is a joke to the hospital staff. No one tells you that when you bring your birth plan into a hospital that they literally laugh about it when they walk out of the room and make bets on how far from your plan your experience will be! No one tells you that once your baby is born at a hospital your midwife, no matter how great she is has absolutely NO control over what they do with your baby after the cord is cut! The more I read the less I was looking forward to my "safe" delivery at the hospital.

At 20 weeks, I told my husband I had changed my mind and wanted to have a home delivery. As you can imagine he was ecstatic! But still he left me in control and told me to start looking for someone that I was going to be comfortable with. So I searched and read and asked and prayed and that is how I found Claudia and Debbie. What a blessing they have been for my family.

Kathryne is our first baby and we made that very clear when we mistakenly diagnosed food poisoning rather than labor at 36 weeks. At 3:00 am, after many calls and much advice on how to stop the contractions that the “food poisoning” was causing, including cramp bark tincture, a warm bath and a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Debbie came over just to ‘check on us’. I have to add this because Debbie thinks it is so funny. In one conversation with Shawn, I had described my discomfort as cramps and he relayed that to Debbie and told her that he had been putting some pressure on my back because that seemed to help relieve them. Obviously we know now that my cramps were actually back labor, but at the time I had no idea. How are you supposed to know what labor feels like if you have never been in labor? I digress, back to the story. As I said, Debbie came over at about 3:00 am to check on us and much to my surprise, I was at 9 cm! I had almost gotten through the entire first phase of childbirth without even knowing that it was happening.

I remember everything about that morning. I remember that as soon as she arrived Debbie brought with her this wonderful peace. I remember that she smelled good to me, and I have no idea what she smelled like, it was 3:00 am and I am sure she did not dab on a little perfume before she came over to give me a pelvic exam! I just remember that she smelled good. I remember that I was so thankful that she was there and I told her. I remember not being scared at all, not being worried that I was only 36 weeks, not being afraid of that next phase and not worrying if everything would be all right. I was completely confident in what was happening and was sure that I was in the perfect hands, first God’s, then Shawn’s and finally this sweet angel that He had sent to help me deliver my first baby. I remember that Debbie had to explain to us that there could be complications because Kathryne was early and I remember telling her that everything was going to be fine, that God was there with us and He was going to take good care of me and my baby girl. I remember Debbie smiling because I was so sure the baby was a girl.

Nicole and Claudia came shortly there after. Claudia wanted to be there in case there were complications with Kathryne. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were both here visiting, and my mother, father and sister were on their way. It was about 4:30 am.

The truth is that no matter where, when, or how you plan your labor and delivery, it is not ever going to go "as planned" because it is not something that we can control. We had planned a water birth in the living room with candles, relaxing music, and my mom and sister there for support. What we got was delivery on a birth stool at 5:20 am in my tiny bathroom with both Claudia and Debbie present along with Nicole, my husband and my mom. Let's not forget to mention the 4 other unexpected guests that were waiting for her arrival in the living room of our 800 sq ft condo during the "blizzard of 2008"!! ;-) What should have been complete chaos was the most awesome experience of my entire life!!

I pushed for about 40 minutes I think. Yes, it was hard, yes, it was exhausting, and yes, it hurt. But you know what? When she arrived and I got to hold her for the first time after her daddy handed her to me, there were no monitors, or needles, or machines, or cold hands, or bright lights, or rough towels, or loud noises, and we were not in a building full of sick people. There was only peace and love and happiness in a house full of people that loved her and it was perfect. She was beautiful, we were both healthy and when it was over I got to hold her in my bed with my husband lying beside us and just rest together as a family in our home. It was the best day of my entire life and to think I was going to give that up just to be like the "normal" people.

It was wonderful and I still remember every detail!  Today she is 2 and a half, she looks just like her daddy and loves him the best, she finally has some hair, she talks like she is ten, she picks out her own clothes, has her own opinion, loves Hannah Montana, and I am pretty sure that she is going to be on American Idol or SYTYCD one day, the child loves to sing and dance!  She is by far one of the most wonderful people I have ever met, and I live and breath for her happiness. 

Recently I have been telling Doc that she looks like a kid to me now rather than a baby, she is growing up.  Today was a big day for her, today was the day that she threw away her paci.  Scooter has had a paci since birth, much to her daddy's dismay.  In my defense, she was born with a double tongue tie and the paci was the only way that I was able to get any sleep until she was able to nurse.  So as you can imagine, throwing it away was not a easy for her.  We went with the "poke the hole in the paci" plan and it started yesterday.  The sweet girl was absolutely heartbroken that her paci was "broken" and all she could say was she needed daddy to fix it!  It was a rough night.  She did not sleep well and neither did we. 

Today it took me two hours to get her to nap, but she did.  Her first good nap without the paci.  As excited as I was that she finally gave in, a little piece of me was sad when she threw that broken paci away after her nap.  It's hard watching her grow up.  Listening to her talk and seeing her little clothes change is so much fun but so hard at the same time. 

I love this baby girl, she is such a gift to everyone she meets and loves.  I am so grateful for every moment I spend with her, even the hard ones like today!!  I pray that I remember to cherish ALL of the moments with her because before I know she will be 35 and calling me to tell me how hard being a mommy is some days, at least I hope so.  My prayer is that He let's me live long enough and stay healthy enough to watch her enjoy her life while I live mine.  Oh and that it doesn't go by TOO fast!! ;)

Blessings Sweet Friends. 


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Psalm 118:24

Yesterday I was reading the caring bridge journal of the daughter of a dear friend of mine who fought leukemia and won.  I knew of her battle, but had not been around for it and wanted to really understand what they had been through (as best I could without having been there of course!).  I started at the first entry and worked my way about half way through the journal before I was distracted by my sweet toddlers waking from their naps.  It was unreal.  Of course the strength of my friend and her husband were mind blowing.  Between their strength, endurance and their faith in our Lord throughout the process I was blown away.  But the most amazing part was K.  I read and read, gathering details of what this 14 year old little girl was going through mentally and physically (knowing that I could not begin to grasp the emotional turmoil so I did not even try).  I thought to myself seriously!?  I don't even know an adult that could take what she did and not give up!  Honestly, it was awful.  I read and cried and thought of this beautiful, sweet young woman.  When you look at her today, you would have no idea that she had been through hell unless you had been told.

Let me tell you something friends, I have had a tough year.  I have moved away from my family with two babies.  I have watched my husband struggle to start a business, we have been broke, lonely, frustrated and at times just plain pissed.  I have been sick for 7 months. I lost my baby boy at home and had to bury him in a state that I wished I had never even moved too.  My body is just now ALMOST healed from everything it has been through in the last year and my soul still has some ground to cover.  But the truth is I have never endured anything CLOSE to what this young lady and her parents have been through and recovered from.  It's usually someone else's struggle that put yours into perspective isn't it?  I realized as I read the journey of this sweet girl that I have no idea what it is like to be sick.  I have no idea what it is like to be scared, or sad or hopeless.  I mean sure, I have felt all of those emotions, but not at the level that they are capable of being felt.  

I lost a baby boy in March.  One that I never even got hold.  To some that would be a relief, and I understand that. I get that losing a child that you have spent life with is completely different than losing one that you have only carried.  To me it feels like I just got screwed out of a moment that was mine.  Just one, but it's out there and I missed it.  The entire experience has changed my life, my attitude, my outlook.  But what I realize more and more everyday is how God has graciously spared me from so much pain and heartache and for that I am thankful. 

What a blessing, the life of K.  To come that close to losing it only to be here to tell about it and share your testimony.  How precious every moment must be to her and to her parents who watched her fight for it!!  I have no idea how they felt.  I will not for a moment pretend that I know.  Instead I will be grateful that I don't know and cherish each day that I continue to be clueless of that kind of fear and pain. 

I pray for those that I know that hang onto moments of sadness and pain, that think their lives have been lost in those moments and cannot move forward from them.  I pray that they will understand that most of them, though they have felt pain or loss, truly have been spared by their Lord and rather than feeling sadness, should feel joy.  Look around you friends, look at the babies you love, look at the blessings you still have rather than what is gone, look at the people that love you and enjoy all of it! 

We have no idea what tomorrow will bring and we cannot get back what is lost, but today is "the day our Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it"! psalm 118:24 

Love and Blessing,

p.s.  thank you for sharing your story K, you are truly an inspiring young woman and a beautiful testament to faith in our Lord. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Home Sweet Home.

Life is funny, when your up, it always tends to bring you back to reality and when your down, it always gives you something to lift your spirits.  Maybe I should have said that God is funny.  He is the One that is paving our way, we are just walking along His path.  We have had quite a year.  Franklin TN has basically, for all intensive purposes, kicked our butts.  July 15th will be our one year anniversary as TN residents, and too be completely honest, for about 10 months of it I just wanted to go home.  But recently, TN has started to grow on me.  It feels a little more like home everyday.  We have been blessed with a wonderful church, a successful practice, new friends, healthy little girls, and a supportive family.  Those are the things that have kept us moving forward despite the bumps and bruises along the way.  Sure, there have been times (many of them) when I have sat and begged Doc to just take me back to ATL and there have been times that he has almost obliged.  But, it was in those times that we found strength in our Lord and kept our eyes on Him and what He wanted.  Sure enough we came out on the other side of things better and happier for it. 

I still miss home.  I am missing out on so much.  My Nana is not well, and I don't get to see her near enough.  I sit here knowing that her days are limited and I am probably going to miss her last few because I am too far away.  I am missing my sweet girls Savannah and Ryan growing up.  Neither of them will know me like I want them too until they are big enough to really remember.  But, I look forward to summers with them running around on our land and playing with my girls and know that will all come in time.  I miss my girls getting to spend time with their cousins, Scooter loves them SO much and has such a good time with them.  I miss my mom and dad.  I have not seen my dad or my brother in two months, that is by far the longest I have ever gone without seeing them and truthfully, it sucks. 

It's hard to be away,  but at the same time, I love my new home.  I love our church, I love the house we live in and the land, I love that it is slower paced and has less traffic.  I know that we picked the right home for our girls.  It does make me a little sad that they will be TN girls because I always thought I would be raising GA girls.  But, that's okay, TN is not so bad after all.  I think I am going to like it here and it's a good thing because it looks like we are staying.  ;)

Have a great week my friends! I know I will, I am going to ATL in three days!! ;) 
Love you all!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Holiday For Who!?

Hello Friends,

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend full of BBQ and sun and fireworks!! We spent the weekend in Alabama with Doc's family and had a great time. 

We got home last night and unpacked, washed the truck (my new truck by the way) and watered the flowers.  After it was all said and done, we both sat on the couch a looked at each other exhausted and I thought, "I wonder why they call this a holiday weekend?" Webster's defines a holiday as: a time or period of exemption from any requirement, duty, assessment, etc.  I mean a holiday is supposed to be relaxing.  You are supposed to come home from a holiday rested and recharged right!?  It is a period of exemption from ANY REQUIREMENT and yet I was EXHAUSTED!! I spent Friday packing the entire family, Friday night riding in the car with two toddlers and unpacking.  Saturday morning packing the truck and riding in the car with two toddlers, Saturday afternoon unpacking (are you tired yet?  because I am not done) Sunday afternoon packing and riding in the car with two toddlers, Sunday evening unpacking, Monday morning packing and riding the car with two toddlers and Monday evening unpacking, washing clothes, watering flowers, washing the truck and putting the kids to bed. Seriously.  This was my "holiday".  Some people sign up for beach weekend, we felt like we had signed up for a UFC weekend.

Doc and I looked at each other and just laughed in amazement of how we obviously have zero regard for our health and need for relaxation!  Don't get me wrong friends, it was fun, but a holiday it was NOT!  So last night I laid in bed and dreamt of a holiday.  A real holiday.  One with ten hours of sleep a night and room service.  A holiday with one butt to wipe and that's the one God gave me. A holiday where the only food that I get on my clothes is what misses my own mouth.  A holiday without lawn mowers, whiny kids, pacifiers, lap tops, cell phones or dirty dishes.  A holiday where Doc and I eat at the same time, both sitting down, both while the food is hot (I know, I know I am getting carried away here but it sure is fun!).

I drifted off to sleep thinking of how wonderful a real holiday would be only to be startled awake a few hours later by a sweet, blue eyed, bald baby girl that needed her mama and I thought to myself, who am I fooling...holidays are overrated.  The truth is we would get to paradise and about 60 hours in we would be missing our girls more than we could bare because that's what it's about, our family.  And they are our family.  Without them, it just doesn't feel right.  Do I want a holiday? Yep!  Will I get one any time soon? I think I just might.  Will I go on a ten day cruise? Absolutely not! But three days with my husband in DC would be nice! ;-) I hope you had a great weekend friends, holiday or not!! ;)