Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy 50th

My Grandparents will be married 50 years tomorrow. That's pretty exciting. Here's a post to the way things were back then. Congrats Grandmother and Grandaddy. Can't wait to have dinner on Saturday. We love you.

Cost of Living 1959
How Much things cost in 1959
Average Cost of new house $12,400.00
Average Yearly Wages $5,010.00
Cost of a gallon of Gas 25 cents Average
Cost of a new car $2,200.00
Movie Ticket $1.00
Loaf of Bread 20 cents
Kodak Movie camera $67.50
Ladies Stockings $1.00

Also in 1959:
  • Barbie is born, or molded if you will
  • Fidel Castro comes to power in Cuba
  • Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper are all killed in a plane crash as the result of a snow storm
  • The first Americans were killed in Vietnam
  • Both Alaska and Hawaii achieve state hood
  • Russia gets to the moon first
  • Flavor Flav is born(I'm not sure how the earth survived prior this year, and how did anyone know what time it was?)
  • Weird Al is born
  • The original Alfalfa, from the Little Rascals, dies
  • Ben-Hur and Charleton Heston both win Oscars
  • Bonanza, Dennis the Menace, and Rawhide all premiered in 1959
  • Mr. Freeze appears for the first time in the Batman comics
  • The LA Dodgers won 4 games to 2 over the Chicago White Sox to claim the World Series
  • Tang is introduced(and we're still asking ourselves why)
  • The first non stop domestic flight from Los Angeles to New York
  • The first picture of Earth was taken from Space
  • The Grammy awards started

It was a good year. Happy Anniversary.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Will Not Be Moved

After a meeting at church last night, Clayton and I were headed home and we were jamming to Natalie Grant, and I begin to think. This may or may not come as a shock to you. My mind wanders A LOT. I tend to over analyze absolutely everything. It's annoying to all those around me, and to myself as well. We were listening to "I Will Not Be Moved", and began to think about Jo, her issues, and what it's taken from me. Then, the Lord, almost audibly, said "I'm still here, so you've lost nothing". We might say it like "Quit complaining, there's a plan, stick to what you're doing".

We were jamming, singing, dancing(Clayton, not me, I was driving, and I'm not that good of a driver anyway), and praying all the way home. I set the CD player to repeat, and we listened to her song quite a few times. God settled some things for me, and I want to share them with you. 'Cuz I know you care that much.

  • I will not be moved from my Savior. I can't be. It's impossible. He couldn't lose me even if He wanted to, and since He doesn't want to, then I'm safe.
  • I will not be moved from my belief that EVERY life is valuable. Jo isn't healthy or perfect, but she is still valuable. God formed her the way the He wanted her. He is the giver and taker of life.
  • I will not be moved from Clayton. He's my bud. He will never know his sister, simply because he's so young. But, I get the privilege to teach him about her, and to teach him about all the ways that God worked in this situation.
  • I will not be moved from Chad. Besides Christ, he's my rock. He keeps me sane and calm. Not an easy task by any means. Jo's life and impeding death has changed us forever. I don't like change, so it has taken some acclimating on my part, but it's already been a change for the better. We were up late talking Monday evening, and I thought to myself, if it's this good now, what will it be like when we're 55, 65, 75, or 90? I love living my life with you babe
  • I will not be moved from my family. It would be very easy for me to not let our families in on our pain. But what or whom would that benefit? Nothing and no one. If we can learn and grow as a unit, then the pain has been worth it.
  • I will not be moved from enjoying this pregnancy. That's easy to say today, tomorrow may not be the same. I purposed within myself back in May, that with God's help I would enjoy every day that I have with Johanna. If she's born alive, I won't have her long. And, right now I get to be totally selfish with her love. I'm the only one who can feel her, and know her routines at this point. I'll have to share her soon enough, so I'm enjoying having her all to myself.
  • I will not be moved from my faith. I believe God is sovereign. Only He knows what all He is doing through her life. Most likely, Chad and I will never know what her short life will accomplish. God knows though.
  • I will not be moved from my excitement to see her again, perfected and holy. I have a refreshed sense of Heaven and eternity now.

"On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Down South

I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "American by birth, southern by the grace of God". It's too true. I love being from the south. It's the best place on earth. There are so many reasons why. Where should I start?

  • Hot summers. They aren't for everybody, but I like them. I love listening to the crickets late at night, and short summer rain storms in the afternoon.
  • Fried food. Everything is better once it's been battered and deep fried. Chicken, squash, oreos, green beans. The list could go on and on.
  • Sweet tea. 2 cups per gallon please. No more, no less. My mother makes the absolute best sweet tea on the face of the earth. Since Chad is insulin challenged, we mainly get Splenda tea, which is good, but not the same. I could so go for a glass of Mom's tea right now.
  • "Ma'am", "Sir", "Please and Thank you". It's just something that's ingrained into every fiber of our being. I have to say ma'am and sir, depending on the gender I'm addressing. I can't make myself stop. I do understand when people say to me, "My name's Jim, not Sir". I really do get it, but it's just something in me that makes me say it. I can't help it.
  • SEC football. Preferably Alabama, but if we can't get the Bama game on a particular Saturday, then we will watch the other SEC teams. I live in the heart of ACC country(NC), and let me just say, ACC football has NOTHING on SEC. Not even in the same league.
  • "Bless your/her/his/their heart(s)". 'Nuff said.
  • Big old houses, on magnolia lined streets. I don't have one, but I would like one. I don't really know why this means southern to me, but it just does.
  • "Steal Magnolias", "Fried Green Tomatoes", "Drivin' Miss Daisy"
  • Grits.
  • Fresh squeezed lemonade
  • Chick Fil A. Do ya'll have that north of the Mason Dixon line? If you don't, then you just don't even know what you're missing.
  • Fiddles

Where are you from, and is there anything special that you like about it?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Not Much

There's not a whole lot going on today. That's a great thing. It's calm at work since the boss is out of town for 2 entire weeks. That's an even better thing. So that's all that I have for today. I'll try to conjure up something fantastic for tomorrow. See ya on the flip side.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Clayton and the Popcorn

I am positive that only parents of toddlers want to read about the newest adventures and escapades of other parent's toddlers. Today's post is entirely Clayton, so I completely understand if you have more important things to do. I mean there is a whole world out there that is still reeling over the death of Michael Jackson, the possibility of socialized medicine(and yes, I do have an opinion about that, and no I won't bore you with it), and the Gosselin tragedy.

Last night as I was preparing a fantastic culinary experience of ............ hot dogs, and home fries, Clayton was in the kitchen "helping", as is his usual custom. His idea of helping is to pull the empty pitchers out of the cabinet, eat the dog's food, and open and close the dish washer. Anyway, he spotted his Daddy's very large bag of pre-popped popcorn. It's been in the same place for months(not the same bag obviously, we aren't trying to grow Penicillin), so I'm not sure why it caught his attention last night. He proceeded to man handle the bag down from it's perch and bring(waddle) it to me. I wish I could describe in detail how hard he worked to get this bag down. It was over his head(that's not hard to do still), and it's a big ole' bag of popcorn. After he finally succeeded in retrieving the bag of popcorn he bear hugs it, and waddles across the kitchen to me. He repositions the bag in such a way that he's trying to hand it up to me, and starts shrieking "Mama". I interpreted that to mean, "Sweet, kind, beautiful mother, would you please let me have some popcorn less than 30 minutes before we are to eat the best meal you've ever placed on our table?" I of course consented. After all, the kid doesn't always want to eat. And he's been working on new bottom molars, so he needed a prize. I got out one of his little plastic bowls, and put a handful of popcorn in his bowl.

I assumed that he would sit in the kitchen and eat his popcorn. Boy, was I wrong. He grabbed his bowl with both hands, and headed for the living room sofa. He walked so very slowly and carefully. It was precious. It was almost like he was carrying a bowl full of gold, that's how careful he was with his popcorn. I walked with him, in case he dropped everything. He walked all the way to the couch, set his bowl down on the couch, climbed on the couch, scooted into one of the corners, pulled his bowl close to him, and proceeded to chow down.

I was absolutely amazed at how big he seemed while he was doing this. While he ate his popcorn, I continued to get dinner ready, and Clayton watched Paula Deen prepare an Easter extravaganza.

From our kitchen I can see straight through the dining room, and into the living room. I was keeping an eye on him, when I noticed 2 things. First, Clayton loves music, and loves to groove to the music. At one point I saw him dancing along to whatever commercial was on at the time. And second, I saw him and the dog eating out of the same bowl of popcorn. Good times.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

That's Nice

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39
I'll be completely honest with you. This is one my absolute favorite passage of scripture in the entire Bible. I have a lot of faves, usually depending on what I think I need for the day. This passage however, is always in the top 3.
In short, and not nearly as eloquently, Paul tells us that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate me from the love of my God. I am already a conqueror through Christ. Trust me when I say that I know it's not easy, and sometime almost impossible, to live life as though I am already a conqueror. But, that doesn't change the fact that I am in fact a conqueror.
This was on my mind today, and I wanted to share.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Hubs.........

.............. he's good.

Yesterday was Monday(obviously), and Monday is always the busiest day at my office. I worked until about 7pm, and was absolutely pooped when I made it home.

We had kept the 'rents dog last week while they were out of town. We love having Mattie at our house. She is a great dog, and Clayton LOVES her. Seriously, she's his BFF. The only down side to keeping Mattie is that she sheds. I think I could weave her discarded hair into an afghan(do you weave afghans?). This really does have a point. I had asked Chad to simply sweep and mop the floors in our house. We have hardwoods and tile, so you have to sweep and mop the entire house. Our house is small, so it's not a big deal. Currently sweeping and mopping hurts my back. Just one of those preggy things. And, Chad does an amazing job when he sweeps. The floors look new again(and that's saying a lot, the hardwoods are almost 70 years old).

Not only did he sweep and mop, he washed, dryed, folded, and put away all the laundry(there was a lot of that too), completely cleaned the bathroom, and ran the dishwasher. It was fantastic to come home to a very clean house. Thanks babe. I really appreciate.

How did I repay him? I took him to a Chinese buffet. Actually, he took me. Either way. He loves me. It's official.

PS Chad I promise to cook dinner tonight. You really are fantastic.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Auto Pilot.............Disengage

When Chad and I learned of Johanna's Trisomy 18 diagnosis, I think we both went on auto pilot. Neither of us discussed it at the time, but I think we both knew we weren't piloting our respective ships.

This is one of the parts of grieving, or going through a valley/trial that I don't think anyone expects. Well, I didn't expect it anyway. We were living our lives, and everything was getting done, but we were just numb to what was happening around us. I hope that doesn't sound cruel or harsh, because it's really not meant to. It's just another part of our story. Whenever you receive a "negative" diagnosis of any kind, you are usually offered some sort of counseling. Chad and I declined because the type of counseling didn't seem like what we needed. I don't regret that decision for us, but it might be what's needed for someone else.

For us, we just needed time. We both talked about this last night(we hadn't talked about this part of it in any detail), and it was amazing how similar we viewed our auto pilot situations exactly the same. And, we both agreed on when we came out of it.

Chad's trip away to the wagon train(it's still funny to me that he willingly spent 6 days in the summer heat on a horse, but that's the hubs), was our turning point. He and I talked about this last night, and neither one of us could decided what it was about this trip that turned off the auto pilot for both of us.

We realize that we are forever changed as individuals and as a couple. We didn't want to be changed, we were happy. But, if God makes us stronger and more happy then that would be OK too. Chad and I were truly created just for each other. Nobody else could stand either one of us for very long.

For now, we are back in the driver's seat. I of course mean this only metaphorically, because God is actually driving and planning our paths. It's just nice to be actively living life again, and not just wading through. I'm sure we will need auto pilot in the near future, once we say farewell to Johanna. But for now, it's good to be back.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Abnormally Normal

I meant to do this yesterday, and had something else on my mind. I apologize. Please don't throw rotten fruit at me. Thursday's appointment with Dr. S at Presby in Charlotte was pretty uneventful.

Johanna definitely has a major heart defect. Dr. S gave us 3 opinions regarding her heart. She either has HLHS(Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome), a completely absent left ventricle(equally bad), or something else entirely. Dr. S was leaning towards the first two as being the primary heart problem. In a chromosomally normal child further testing would be offered to determine the exact extent of her heart defect. In her care though it's not really an option, since the defects are obviously part of the T18. In any event, if(and that's still a big if) Jo is born alive then she will most likely suffer from some sort of major heart failure. And again, this is common in babes with T18.

Another common physical defect is clubbing of the hand and feet. At this point, and I don't think any change is expected in this part, Jo's right hand is clubbed. The 2nd finger is criss-crossed over the 3rd. The other arm and hand, and both legs looked great.

She has been small from the beginning, and she still is. Previously she was 1-2 weeks behind the growth curve. Now, she's about 2-3 weeks behind the curve. Dr. S assured us that this was a normal change in development for T18 babies. She is still growing, just not as fast as she had been, and not as fast as a normal baby.

All in all, we learned nothing new. It was exactly what we expected, but it was still a little bit of a let down. I naively didn't expect it to be a let down, but it was a hit below the belt just the same. I guess it's a protective instinct and there's absolutely nothing we can do to protect her. I get to love her though.

And we didn't get to go to PF Chang's. I was super excited, but the timing didn't work out. I had left work early and ate Chick Fil A(my fave) in the car. Our appointment was really quick, and we were done by 4:15pm. Neither one of us was hungry at that time.

Basically, nothing new. Just more affirmation of the things we knew and expected. I have her with me for now, and I'm privileged to get to love her today. God's doing big things in my life through this little girl. It's been a trip worth taking. Sometimes I think there are things that I would change, but when I seriously think about the situation as a whole, I don't know that I would change it. I'm sure that attitude will waiver as D-Day gets closer. But, we are in a good place for now. The Lord is providing strength and a peace that passes all understanding. I couldn't do this without Him.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Batman and Robin

For your viewing pleasure. It's Batman and Robin. Sorry Jesse, I had to do it. Today is my little brother's birthday. He's been my bestie since birth. He's the most fun to be around. Seriously, he'll have you laughing in about 2 minutes. Side splitting, painful laughing. We are still threatened at certain family functions, to not sit together, and to just be quite.

So are you wondering about the title, and the picture? Again I apologize, but it's my favorite childhood memory. When we were smaller, Jesse and I we obscessed with Batman circa 1960. We would watch it every single day. And when we would play, I was Batman(of course I'm the oldest), and he was Robin. We are still uuber obscessed with Batman. We've seen them all, multiple times.

Since we were kids we've since added to our cast of characters: Scarecrow(Chad, because he used to be super thin), The Joker(Amy, sorry Ames it's the red hair), and The Penguin(Clayton, he still has a pot belly, and makes strange Burgess Meredith(the original penguin) like noises). Do you like how Jesse and I are the good guys, and everyone else, including the defenseless 17 month old are the villians. My mind is a strange place.

Jesse and Clayton, when Clayton was tee tiny. He might have been 4 months old. There's a lot of love there.
Happy B-Day Jesse!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Simply Blessed(It's Long....Sorry)

Since the hubs is the associate pastor at our church, we are sometimes afforded the privilege of going to local meetings. This week we have been to two services of a youth meeting at West Lenoir Baptist. I love going to this church. There Minister of Music(I'm not 100% sure if that's his title or not) is absolutely fantastic. His skill and discernment towards the will of God is amazing. He seems to be very sensitive to what the people need, and to what God is doing in the service. Both nights they have sung the song "I Have Been Blessed". I have heard it many times before, but it had so much more meaning. As I was rushing around(seriously we, all 3 of us, got up, showered, and out the door in under 40 minutes this morning) I was losing sight of the blessing that I have, and I began to feel the weight of the world crashing in. There was a lot that contributed to it that I don't want to type right now, because I don't want my mascara to run again(I really gotta invest in waterproof or invent tearproof). God's timing is so perfect.

When I got in my tee tiny car, God put this song in my head again. I'm sure glad He did. I needed something to help me so I wouldn't have a rotten day at work. I don't mind letting the emotions and their side effects come, but I don't have the type of job where I can let the happen at my desk. My patients might get frightened and leave. Since 4/21/09, the day we learned something wasn't quite right with Jo, I've been blessed in so many different ways. I still don't understand all that's going on, or why. But, I can now see God working in and around me. I now present to you my list of blessings that are a result of T18(it might be short, I'm learning but I haven't arrived yet).

  • Growing closer to my Lord. It's only through the fire/trials/storms/hurricanes/valleys, whatever you want to call it, that we learn what God can do when we have no choice but to let Him work. I can't fix Johanna, or even do that much to help her, but He can do what He chooses.
  • Meeting new bloggy buddies. I'm an Internet junkie, so that was my resource for information when the unthinkable became the definite. It's been nice to communicate with other that have experienced something similar, because no one we know or know of has been down this road.
  • Learning a different side of myself. I've never been very calm or relaxed, and I'm still not, but God is teaching me how to live in this moment.
  • Enjoying everything about Clayton. I have a different understanding about how precious and fragile life really is. I cling to every thing new that he does. My coworkers and parents are probably tired of hearing about him saying "Mattie"(Gram and Popa he did this morning, pointed at her and screeched "Mattie"), getting molars, and learning how to run.
  • Realizing again how much my husband really loves me. He's been wonderful. I can't express how much easier this is with him holding my hand. He's been to every OB appointment, and even let's me pick where we eat when we go to Charlotte. And, tomorrow evening should we have "PF Chang's" or "On the Border"?
  • Many ultrasounds. So far I have had 4, and will have #5 tomorrow. It's amazing to watch that little girl.
  • Finally feeling her moving on a regular basis. I know that every time she kicks, or swirls, it might be the last, so in some way each bump is special. I can't wait until Chad can feel her moving. We couldn't remember when he first felt Clayton, but it shouldn't be too much longer.
  • We've been blessed with a great OB. I just love him. If you live in the Morganton, Hickory, or Lenoir area, and you're looking for somebody I can hook you up. Email me, and I will seriously give you his deets. He's awesome.
  • All the extra support we've been given by our family. They've been so helpful with Clayton, and keeping him just whenever we need something, or helping us with absolutely whatever we need.
  • We've been reached out to by family, friends, and acquaintances of acquaintances in a way that is absolutely unimaginable. John Maxwell(among others) says "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care". And for us that's been true. I have talked to others though that have been left alone, or abandoned in their moment of need. That's a tragedy. We need each other. Even when you don't feel like you're saying or doing the right thing, your presence is usually enough. Knowing that we can count on you is enough.

I hope you are feeling as blessed today as I am. Even if your day doesn't go as you hope or pray that it will, know that God loves you, and He knows you very personally. And, if you don't know Him, you can. Shoot me an email, and I'll give you the 411, the deets, ...........the truth.

Verse 1: When He moves among us all that He does all of His mercy and all of His love and the pen of the writer could write everyday even this world could never contain how I've been blessed

Verse 2: The warmth in winter the flowers in spring the laughter in summer and the changing of leaves the food on my table a good place to sleep clothes on my back and shoes on my feet I have been blessed

Chorus: I have been blessed God's so good to me precious are His thoughts of you and me no way I could count them there's not enough time so I'll just thank Him for being so kind God has been good so good I have been blessed

Verse 3: Arms that will raise a voice that can talk hands that can touch and legs that can walk ears that can listen eyes that can see oh I've got to praise Him as long as I breathe I have been blessed

Verse 4: A father and mother who nurtured and raised a brother and sister memories made our pastor to lead us the altar to pray stripes that can heal the blood that can save I have been blessed

Chorus: I have been blessed God's so good to me precious are His thoughts of you and me no way I could count them there's not enough time so I'll just thank Him for being so kind God has been good so good I have been blessed

Verse 5: We live in a country the greatest on earth our flag stands for freedom and what it is worth she stands in the harbor Miss Liberty calls all have gave some but some have gave all for me to be blessed

Verse 6: He's my shoulder to lean on when I am down the rock where He leads me when I'm overwhelmed the place where He hides me under His wings He's not just a song He's the reason I sing I have been blessed

Chorus: I have been blessed God's so good to me precious are His thoughts of you and me no way I could count them there's not enough time so I'll just thank Him for being so kind God has been good so good I have been blessed

Monday, July 13, 2009


All 3 of us at the Carswell Manor had a great weekend. Nothing too crazy, but it was absolutely wonderful.

Friday evening, Chad and I had our date. We decided to go see "Transformers". I was on the brink of heading to the OG, but when I left work I was feeling a little nauseous, so we went to a movie instead. I'm glad we decided to do that. The movie was incredibly loud and that sent Johanna into orbit. It could have been all of those peanut M&M's I ate. Either way, she was on the move. It got to be quite funny. After our movie we headed to Sonic for a hot dog, and Java Chiller. Then I went to sleep as soon as we hit the door at the house, and Chad watched the "Tour de France". We live wild.

Saturday morning I picked Clayton up at the normal package exchange location, and then he and I headed to VBS at my brother's church. They had a one day VBS, and did a great job with it. It was an amazing Luau theme. Clayton was just happy to have grapes and pineapples. After he had lunch, I took him home to take a nap. Those are required for both Clayton and his mother. One of the best parts about being pregnant, is that nobody thinks you're being lazy when you tell them you're going to take a nap. After nap time, all 3(or 4, although Jo has no say in the matter) of us headed back to Jesse's VBS for their cookout. And let me say, they had a slip 'n side. It was AWESOME!!!!!!! I neither slipped nor slid, but Clayton did, and he had a ball. He was wiped out once by a big kid, but that stuff happens. It toughened him up a bit, and after a good cry and wet hug with his Mommy he was good to go.

On Sunday, Chad preached both services at a church near our house. It was nice because it's only 2 miles from our house. We all took a nap on Sunday. However, we missed our Calvary very very much. We weren't home at the other church. It's amazing how quickly God knits your heart together with your church family. We had a great lunch with Jesse and Amy. We don't get to see them nearly as often as we would like, but we try to make up for it when we do get together.

That was our weekend. It was great. Nothing crazy or even special, but it was absolutely wonderful. I have high hopes for this coming weekend too.

I have an OB appt late this afternoon. That's always fun, not. What woman in her right mind wants to get weighed every single month? Other than that, there should be nothing eventful at today's appt.

And this evening, Chad's taking our youth to a youth meeting over in the big city of Lenoir. And maybe another Sonic trip after that. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Hope your Monday is a good one.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Under Pressure

Do you ever have one of those moments when you know you're doing it totally wrong, but you can't seem to figure out what it is that you're doing wrong? I had one of those moments yesterday morning.

When Clayton and I left the house to go meet his Gram, Chad said "Put a little air in your front tire. It's a little low, nothing to worry about, but it needs air." I thought to myself, I can do this. I'm a mostly competent adult. I run the window at a very busy MD office by myself. I have a 17 month old that so far is healthy. I've helped Chad through some of his very severe low blood sugar issues. Surely, I can put air in my tire without a problem. Wrong again.

I attempted to put air in my tire, not once, but twice. The first time nothing happened, no biggie. I just told myself that I would try again once Clayton and I were to our destination. I did just that, except this time instead of nothing happening, or the tire actually inflating, it proceeds to deflate. I'm holding the air thingie(I don't know what it's called) on the valve stem(Chad would be proud that I know it's name), and the tire proceeds to get lower, and lower, and lower. When I realize what's happening I kinda panic, and then I burst into giggles. Seriously I'm laughing like a hyena outside of the Texaco, with people looking around at me like I'm a mad woman.

I called my knight in shining armor, or in a red Dodge Dakota. He came and fixed everything for me. In less than 3 minutes. With Chad laughing at me, in love of course, the entire time.

I'm a person of average intelligence. Why could I not do this myself? I don't know, but I was glad I had the hubs to help me out. Hopefully he feels needed and important. Clayton and I really do need him. Obviously.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Us.......Micro Version

Here's our story in the short version.

I was 16, he was 18, when we started dating. He was "the one" I just knew it from almost the beginning. He was, and is, so very different from me, but it works. He keeps me calm. Not an easy job, but someone must do it. We dated for a while, and then after a major fight involving a Ford Festiva(seriously, we teenagers and apparently not very mature) we decided we weren't "the one" for each other. We went our separate ways, but not for too long though. 18 months later we were back together and headed towards the alter.

I was 19, and he was 20, when we were married. Too young? Not for us. We were as ready as you can be when you get married. As a side note, I love, and always have loved, being married. It's so much fun. Every day isn't easy, but that's just life. We were pretty much like every other married couple for 5 years. Here's where our story gets a little different. Not better or worse, just different.

In December 2006, we were pleasantly surprised to find out I was pregnant with baby #1. Unfortunately, I miscarried at 7 weeks. When it happened, we were obviously devastated, but in August we knew why. Chad had been diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 18. That's a kinda odd age, so he was left in limbo land as far as what type he had. He was misdiagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic(the generally less severe type that can be controlled with pills). Since his initial diagnosis, Chad has always been slim, but that summer he became unhealthily(is that a word) slim. At his lowest he weighed an alarming 116lbs. He's 6 feet tall. Too low. Things hit their low(or so we thought at that time) for him, while we were on vacay in Las Vegas with my fam. When we got home, we got him to his MD and got him fixed up for a while. At this point Chad was in his second year of college, and he had promised me that he wouldn't quit until he had finished his BA. So, we decided that for his health, he should not work, go to school, and get better. That's what he did for 6 months. That was the best decision for our family.

In May 2007, we bought our first house. It's old and small, but it meets our needs. In June 2007, we found out we were pregnant again. After trying for 18 months, we were cautiously optimistic. In my heart, I knew that this baby was ours to keep.

Between November 2007 and February 2007, Chad's Type 1 diabetes(correctly diagnoses by now) reared it's ugly head again. He had an admission for DKA(life threateningly high blood sugars), and 4 episodes of severe hypoglycemia(severe low blood sugar). Needless to say my 3rd trimester was more than a little stressful.

2/15/08, our red head, Clayton, was born via planned C-Section. He was a long boy, for my short 5ft body. He has been nothing but a joy since day 1. We love being parents, and are thankful God has given this opportunity and responsibility.

May 2008, Chad was called to be the Associate Pastor at our Calvary Baptist in Lenoir, NC. That's where we are now, and we LOVE it there. It's a fantastic, old school, fundamental, Bible believing church. So glad we are there.

March 2009, we found out we were pregnant again. Surprised, but not really. We were OK with more kiddies whenever God wanted to send them our way. We had waited so long for Clayton. We told our parents at Clayton's 1st B-Day party(which was later than planned because he had gotten sick on the original party date).

April 2009, things took a turn for the strange. At a normal 12 week OB appointment we learned something was not quite right with our baby. The next week we learned that we were having a little girl, but that she had the worst prenatal diagnosis, Trisomy 18. 4/29/09 was the worst day I had ever had, or so I thought. Jo's diagnosis has changed us definitely. But, we are learning more about each other, and more about our Lord than we would have been able to had she been a "normal", healthy child. In some strange way, T18 has been good for us.

That's our story(definitely the short version), so far. I'm sure there's much more to come. And I can't wait to see the Lord has in store for us. Chad and I are so very blessed. We have a great marriage, a great Clayton, a great family, a great church, and so very much more. I don't know that I would change anything.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What to do? What to do?

So, I have no idea what to do. Could you tell?

I have a date tomorrow evening. Yes, it's with the hubs. No, we aren't taking Clayton. Here's my dilemma. What do we want to do? Chad told me that I have to decide what we're gonna do. Do you know how difficult this is for me? That's like asking me to decide between a Coach bag and Dooney & Bourke bag. How do you pick? They're both equally fantastic. And, in the fantasy world I have plunked myself into at the moment I can actually afford one, and justify spending that amount of money. Well, if we're in this fantasy world, then I can afford both with matching wallets, change purses, and key chains.

Back on track. I really need your help about what we should do. Here are the options I've thought of thus far:

  1. Catch a movie. We have a super nice and huge theater in our town. This is what we always did when we were dating, and I don't think we've been to a movie in about a year. Honestly. We just don't have the time, and any free time we do have we want to hang with Mr. C(Kinda like "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper", except much cooler). Furthermore, I don't even have a clue what's playing. I know Transformers came out recently, and because I'm a child of the 80's, I would like to see it.
  2. Have a nice dinner. We would have to go to the next town over to do that, because we've kinda exhausted all of our options here in town since I don't cook that often. And, a nice Olive Garden salad would be nice. The hubs isn't too keen on the OG though. Diabetics and pasta, not always the best combo. But, since I get to pick, I guess it's ladies choice.
  3. Order Pizza Hut in, and watch a movie at the house. We've been trying to watch "Marley and Me" for 2 months. Seriously. The DVD I bought wouldn't work, so we borrowed one from my BIL and SIL, and that wouldn't play past the first scene. We could always get yet another DVD, and try that again.

Do you see my dilemma? Compound all of these decisions with the fact that I don't want to be out late. Clayton and I have VBS plans on Saturday at my brother's church, and Chad has CARE at our church. Please help me decide. Any other thoughts on what we should do?

And Jamie, no I don't want to go to a livestock sale of any kind, or to a rodeo. Those options are out so don't even mention it. HA!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What You Need To Know

I have absolutely nothing new to post today, so I thought I would do a PSA on Trisomy 18. It interests me, and it may or may not interest you. Please keep in mind that I am not a physician(sometimes I think I am just because I work for one), or a geneticist. The little knowledge that I have only comes from the vast amount of time I have invested on the Internet and talking with others who have been through this same thing. If you are reading because you are going through the same thing, please know that hope is always there, and that much love and support is available. If you know us in the real world, please know that we are grateful for your thoughts, prayers, and love. We couldn't do this journey without any of ya'll, real or cyberspace, or without our Lord.

  1. T18 is a congenital(from conception), genetic(having to do with the genes) disorder in which the person affected has 3 copies of the 18th chromosome, instead of the standard 2 copies.
  2. There are 3 types of T 18: Full, Mosiac, and Translocated. Full T18, which occurs about 95% of the time, means every cell in the body has 3 copies of the 18th chromosome. Johanna naturally has Full T18. Mosiac T18, which occurs about in less than 5% of the cases, means that only a portion of the bodies cells are affected. Mosaic T18 babies/kids generally have a much longer life span than those with Full T18. And finally there is Translocated T18. Translocation is the most rare, and the best case scenario. With Translocation the third copy of the 18th chromosome attaches at the end of 1 of the existing normal chromosomes. Are you good and confused yet?
  3. T18 is considered "incompatible with life". And while it generally is, this is a hard thing for a parent to hear.
  4. T18 has certain physical features. Low set ears, strawberry shaped head(Strawberry Short Cake), cleft lip/palate, drawn arms and legs, webbed fingers and toes, and generally smaller in size.
  5. T18 severely impacts physical and mental functions. In other words T18 is a profound disability.
  6. Most babies, greater that 90%, will die before their 1st B-Day.
  7. T18 is stressful on everyone involved. It's stressful on the parents, their relationship with each other, the siblings, the grandparents, the friends and coworkers, the acquaintances, and I'm sure on the MD's caring for the Mom and baby.
  8. There is no treatment for T18. Comfort care and health management are about the only options available.
  9. T18 occurs in about 1 in every 6,000 - 8,000 live births. Of course this statistic does not include the infants that are still born prior to term, and the early miscarriages. I haven't really been able to figure out how common or uncommon T18 actually is.
  10. The pregnancy is essentially the same as with pregnancy of a chromosomally normal child. Of course the emotions are heightened, but that's to be expected I would think.
  11. There are severe organelle defects associated with T18, especially with the heart and kidneys.

Please believe me when I say that I realize and understand that these are disheartening facts and statistics. However, also believe me when I say that Johanna, and all babies with T18, and all babies in general, are "fearfully and wonderfully made". She is exactly how God wants her to be. It's quite obviously not what I would have chosen the day that I found out I was pregnant. But, it is what God chose for me. Chad and I are trying to make the best of it. We're trying to be informed, realistic, and hopeful all at the same time. It's a lot, but that's OK. I just wanted to share what I've learned with ya'll. Maybe it will help someone else sometime.

13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. 14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. Psalm 139:13-18

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My Boys

I don't post a lot of pics. I don't really know why, I guess I just have a lot to say. HA. Anyway I swiped a pic from my SIL Jamie's blog and wanted to share it with all of you. Then I decided to share some pics of my boys with ya'll. I think they are both equally handsome, because they look identical. Enjoy

Christmas 2008. Clayton was 10 months old, and the paper was more exciting than the prize inside the box.

2/15/08. This was just a few hours after Clayton was born. Both Chad and Clayton have changed so much since then. It's amazing what growing up, and an insulin pump will do for you.

I really like this bush. I'm not sure what it is, but it's in our front yard. This was taken last April about 3 days before I came back to work. So tiny.

This is the most recent pic that I have(and the one I swiped from Jamie). This is from Saturday when we surprised Chad at the cancelled(hehe) wagon train parade. Clayton rode on Daddy's horse for a long time. And this morning I caught Clayton on Chad's saddle. Maybe he like it? And, I just realized that Clayton was the only person up there, on a horse, in flip flops. He is his mother's child.

Monday, July 6, 2009


...................kinda back fired.

Well, not the surprise part. Chad was definitely surprised.

As you know, Chad was horse back riding up near Nantahala all week last week. And, as you know I got the bright idea to try to be super wife and surprise him on Saturday. He was supposed to ride in the town's parade. Apparently the parade was cancelled. Lack of interest? I kid, I kid.

I had a whole plan worked out. I had invested time and money into the plan. Clayton and I(mainly I, because he can't write just yet) made signs to hang on Clayton's red wagon. One of them was a not to scale American Flag, after all it was Independence Day. The other said "Hi Daddy, Love Clayton, Jo, and Nik". I was pleased with how they turned out, but then we didn't get to use them. Feel sorry for me yet? Nope, I wouldn't either.

Anyway, we got to Robbinsville at about 1:02pm. It took almost 3 hours to make our incredibly journey. Mine and Clayton's version of the Oregon Trail. I found all of Chad's family immediately. They were pretty easy to spot. Chad was right there with them, but somehow he didn't see us at all. With the help of my 2 SIL's we got Clayton unloaded, changed into his patriotic wear(he had pretzel, granola bar, and apple juice all over him), suncreened(red heads, we burn easily), and loaded into his wagon. Here's when our surprise happened. My BIL, Chad's brother Andrew, kinda sorta forced Chad to ride his horse down the road to where we were. Of course Chad didn't know or understand why so I think he was getting a little frustrated. He thought Andrew was coming after his wife, and didn't understand why Andrew didn't just yell for her. That's how close we were to everybody. Chad finally spotted us, and was super excited.

That was totally out of my element. Driving that far alone with a 1 year old, and intentionally going to a horsey thing. It's just not me, but it is Chad, and sometimes we must compromise. After the initial shock of seeing Clayton and me 142 miles from home(seriously 142 miles per the GPS), we headed to their campsite where I got trapped in the glorified port a potty. Good times. The flies almost consumed me.

We were able to ride back to the house together. Then, Clayton and I helped the hubs unload the horses, feed and water the horses, donkeys, mules, and dogs. That actually was fun for Clayton. He loves the big funny looking dogs.

We made it home around 9pm, and then had our traditional Independence Day meal of Cheetos, Powdered Donuts, and chips and Salsa. We live wild.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Psalm 23 Ministries

Ya'll know that I'm an Internet junkie. I think it's the best thing since sliced bread. I check out a lot of sites. I like some, and I don't like others. That's the way the cookie crumbles. I would like to pass on a link to all of my bloggy buddies and silent readers. It's a great ministry and mission with a kinda twist from a lot of missions.

When the hubs was in school working on his BA in Divinity he met another preacher by the name of Tom Shuford. Bro. Tom has a great life story, and more importantly has a lot of love for the Lord. His ministry, and I guess maybe you could call it his mission, is "Psalm 23 Ministries". Bro. Tom is a missionary to those with a terminal illness, and their families. At one point, quite a few years ago, Bro. Tom was diagnosed with Leukemia and was given a very grave prognosis. But the Lord chose to spare Bro. Tom and let him continue his journey here on this side.

Even though I knew of "Psalm 23 Ministries" I would have never thought I would have a need for such a ministry. However, God had a different plan for my life than I did. Oy, I'm glad He does, I'd be in a heap if He wasn't in charge of things. After learning that my daughter will most likely die before she turns 1, I again looked into Bro. Tom's ministry.

"Psalm 23 Ministries is physically located in Valdese, NC, but they have a website that can reach anywhere the Internet reaches. Please check them out. Also, keep this ministry in your prayers. Pray that God would use them to spread the joy of Christ to people at a time when their joy is limited.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tiny Little Baby

My mother gave me some CD's(or DC's depending upon who you are) she had gotten a while back for Clayton. They were full of Bible Songs for kids. If you know my child in the real world, then you know that he absolutely loves music. Any kind, he doesn't seem to care. In fact we were at a Mexican restaurant last night, and he was jamming to the Latin Pop(I guess that's what its called). Munching on tortilla chips, sipping on milk, and dancing to the music. It's a good life.

Anyway, Clayton and I were listening to his CD's on the way to church last night. He was be-bopping in his car seat, and trying to sing along. Most of the songs I know and remembered from childhood, and may or may not still sing them when we're goofing off at the house. Chad frequently asks me if I have a song for everything. And, the answer is unequivocally..........YES!!

One of the songs that played was "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands". Don't you like that one? I like how it makes the omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence of God understandable to a 3(or 27) year old. Too cool. We were cruising along and singing to the music when it got to the line that say "He's got the tiny little baby in His hands". I had a little mini meltdown, a happy one though. It just really struck me again how much God loves Johanna already, and she really is "a tiny little baby". Even though she's not healthy or "perfect", she's exactly how God planned her to be, before the foundation of the world.

He's holding her in His hands. Those same hands that put all the stars in the heavens. Those same hands that willingly and joyfully gave His son to this world. And, those same hands that were nailed to a cross for me and for you. Those are big hands, but still the right size to take care of little Miss Jo. I like that.

On a totally unrelated and random note. I'm getting my hair colored tonight. Woot!! I don't color it often because I'm pretty happy with the color that God gave me, but I just want a change for summer. I'm a natural dark auburn. What should I do to it??

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Blah, Blah, Blah

So I had a whole post planned to devote to the loot that Johanna has accumulated so far. We have received her beautiful dress, a monogrammed blanket, a very sweet crochet/knit(I'm not sure which is which, I guess I'm not very domestic)blanket and matching hat, a matching necklace and bracelet, a pink New Testament, and a baby doll from her big brother. I had pictures and explanations and everything, but blogger keeps eating it. All together now.......Growl!!

So we'll just do something totally random, and totally normal for this blog. Chad is still OOT, and in fact will be until Saturday. Clayton and I have a little surprise planned for him. Chad is in the parade for the wagon train posse' on Saturday, and we're gonna go surprise by being there to cheer on him and Madam(that's his horse). He has no phone reception or Internet reception so he can't read this. Jamie if ya'll see him before I do, don't say anything.

Johanna is really moving a lot in the last few days. Especially late at night. That's when Clayton was always the most active. All in all I feel great. I'm recuperating from this head cold. Today I have a scratchy throat and a nasty cough, but that's OK. I didn't have anything near what Dad did, so I can't complain at all.

I am feeling incredibly blessed today. Things don't always go how I would like them to, but that's OK too. I miss the hubs, and of course wish he were home, but I'm sure he's having a blast. Clayton and I have had fun just being us. Clayton and I act goofy, walk funny, throw balls at each other, get loud, and cause a ruckus when Dad's away. Our time. Gonna have some time with Mom and Dad later in the week. That's always fun. Have a great day.