Monday, August 31, 2009

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea??

"Baby Star Cozy is a snuggly alternative to blankets and sleepers."
Uhm...............NO!! "Baby Star Cozy" is frightening.
Maybe it's just me, but this looks like an infant form of the medieval torture device "The Rack". I would assume that this child's arms and legs are actually in the body of the star, and not stuffed into the points. But, you can't really tell that from the picture. It looks her poor little arms and legs are in the points and are being stretched for dear life.
The caption reads "makes a darling holiday gift." Please do everyone a favor and don't give this as a Christmas gift. I'm thankful Clayton is too big for this torture device.
Invention fail!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Meet Miss Emma!!

That's the surprise I mentioned yesterday.

As you know, I had to have my very old dog Pepper, put down a few weeks ago. Our house has been kinda quite without the pitter patter of doggy feet. Chad has been wanting a lab for a while, and when we heard of this sweet little lab mix puppy that was "free to a good home", we jumped at the chance.

So, in addition to all the normal insanity that is our daily life, we are house training a 10 week old puppy. We're excited, and Clayton is over the moon in love with her.

Friday, August 28, 2009

It's Friday..........I'm in Love

What am I lovin' about today? So many things.

  1. It's Friday, and tomorrow's Saturday, and we have no major plans. That rarely happens, and I'm so excited. Cleaning house, buying groceries, taking Clayton's old clothes to a friend expecting a little boy very soon, and hopefully a nap. That's what's on the agenda for tomorrow.
  2. I'm having a hair trim tonight. It's only about 1 month over due, so I'm looking a little shaggy. Clayton is having his hair trimmed too. Should be interesting. Actually, he did great at his first cut, so this one "shouldn't" be too traumatic.
  3. I get to spend some time with the 'rents tonight. That used to be a Firday evening ritual, but we've all been super busy lately and it's kinda screeched to a halt. I'm stoked to hang out with my parents.
  4. Only 1 week until the start of college football. Only 3 words can express my excitement.....Roll Tide Roll.
  5. The hubs has been amazing this week. He's amazing all the time, I just don't always take time to see it. He's done everything in the house and has let me catch up on my sleep. Awesome. I should probably cook him a nice country southern dinner tomorrow evening. Any suggestions?

So the list was short, but it's a start.

If I have time and cooperation, I have a surprise tomorrow. It's not earth shattering or anything that most of ya'll will find that exciting, but it's a pretty big deal to the 3 Carswells. And it's not a give away, because I don't know how to do those, and I probably don't have anything that ya'll would want anyway. I'm outie peeps. Enjoy your Friday.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Silver Linings

Dad and I were talking last night after church about a few different things, and it seems that lately most conversations turn towards Johanna. Last night was no exception. And, if you're a Daddy's girl you know you can't hide anything from your Dad. You can be strong and hold the world together around everyone except your Dad. No matter how old I get, when I'm with my Dad, I still feel like a little girl. He takes care of me. I don't say these things to slight or disrespect Chad in any way. He understands the importance of a father to a daughter. It's a special relationship.

Anyway, we were talking about Jo, and the overwhelming sadness that I feel sometimes about this whole situation. Then Dad reminded me that sometimes I need to look for the silver lining so to speak. He mentioned some things, and I thought I would share them with you.

  • Jo will never be disappointed or hurt. She'll never have to go to school wearing the wrong clothes or shoes and have all the other girls laugh at her.
  • Jo will never be upset at anything. Whether it's boyfriends, bad grades, mean parents that have her best interest in mind, or broken IPods. Whatever it is, she just won't have to deal with it.
  • Jo will never have a broken heart. She'll never know what's it like to not have that special boy call. She'll never know what it's like to not get picked to play dodge ball on that certain team. She'll never know what it's like to get passed over for a promotion. She'll never know what it's like to learn her baby is dying, and that there's nothing she can do to change the situation.
  • Jo will never have to worry about her weight, hair, makeup, clothes, shoes, handbags, toenails, accessories, and all the other trivial things we girls consider so important.
  • Jo will never be apart from her Lord. If we are fortunate, Chad and I will get her for a few short minutes, but He will still be with her in a way I can't understand. And then when she passes on, she'll get to praise Him forever.
  • Jo will never have to wonder about her salvation. And, as her parents we won't have to wonder either. We know she has grace sufficient already. That is a luxury very few christian parents get. We believe Clayton will be saved in the Lord's timing, but that's in God's hands not ours. It's nice to know that our daughter is safe and secure already.

It's the silver lining that helps the gray clouds pass a little faster. I can't see the silver lining every single day. But, I can today, and I'm thankful for that.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

30 Weeks

I didn't think we would make it this far, but by God's grace we have. Since ya'll have been following Johanna almost as long as Chad and I have, I thought I would do a little preggy update.

How far along: 30 Weeks

Total weight gain/loss: 25lbs And, for the record that's hard for any girl to admit. Who wants to gain weight? I'm just keeping it real for all my peeps.

Maternity clothes: Capri pants, skirts, and 1 pair of jeans. I love the Secret Fit from Motherhood Maternity. They are actually very comfortable. I wonder if I could get away with wearing them after Jo's born? Probably not.

Stretch marks: Yup I got 'em. Don't judge me.

Sleep: I can sleep with the best of them. I'm not really having any trouble sleeping. I did have a major leg cramp last night. I wasn't happy about it to say the least. Oh well, part and partial to pregnancy.

Movement: Some days there is a lot of movement, and other days not so much. My OB thinks this is normal for a T18 baby. And since nothing is normal about T18 babies, I guess this is no different.

Food cravings: Coke, not diet, not caffeine free, pure straight up, hard core Coke. I can't get enough of it. Last night while I was at the grocery store I had a major craving for Cocoa Krispies. They were a fantastic midnight(or 9:30pm) snack.

Labor Signs: None, but I am having some Braxton Hicks contractions, about 1 per hour. I don't remember them being this early or intense with Clayton, but Dr. H told me that they get stronger and are more noticeable with subsequent pregnancies.

Belly Button in or out: It's an innie, never changed with Clayton so I don't expect it to with Jo. Thanks goodness. I have enough to think about without stressing about a funny looking belly button.

What I miss: Sleeping flat on my stomach.

Weekly Wisdom: I have none. Some days I'm just flat out finished being pregnant, and other days I want to be pregnant forever with Johanna. I know I can't have it both ways, but when you are facing the birth and death of your child at the same time your perception is a little skewed.

Milestones: Every week that clicks away is a milestone. Sometimes it fills like a millstone, but it's really not. Chad and I have been fortunate to have her with our family this long. Many, if not most T18 babies don't hang around as long as Johanna has. I guess God's not done using her just yet.

Ya'll have a great day.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

To Do List

I don't have a lot in the way of pics for today. However, let me update you on some of the things you must do in WY, MT, and ID. It might be a short list, but if you're coming this way you should know what is what.

  • View the Grand Tetons
  • View absolutely all of Yellowstone. The northern part of the park is better with more scenic views, and wildlife, but the southern part does have an awesome lake that has to be seen to be believed.
  • Come to Idaho, just to say that you've been to Idaho.
  • When you venture over in to potato land you must, and this is an absolute must, eat at Trappers in Driggs, ID. It's a small grill with absolutely amazing food. I had the Teton Burger with fries(hello we're in potato land). Yummy.
  • If you are coming to Driggs, ID, then you must stay at either the Best Western or the Super 8. Actually I think that might be the only hotels in town, but that's beside the point. The hotel staff and owners have been so accommodating to our very large and loud group. They have been absolutely wonderful.
  • Eat Rocky Mountain Oysters. Get over the gross factor and try something new. Life's short, live it while you have the chance.
  • Drink the water in ID. I can't begin to tell you how tasty this water is. It's so very pure tasting. At most of the restaurants we have been to, they actually give you a glass and a pitcher of water when you sit down. It's so very good.
  • Talk to the people around you. It's just fun for both parties to make fun of each other's accent. Apparently it's pretty obvious that I'm from Western NC.
  • Pretend you're a cowboy or cowgirl for a few days. It's so easy to assimilate out here. Chad's already there. He has the boots, the belt, and can rope a little. It's been fun to watch the others in our group do the same things.
  • If you're a horse owner, then you should purchase some tack in a small town. The prices are amazing. Supply and demand in action.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this trip. It's been a wonderful experience to see how my fellow Americans live. I do miss my Blue Ridge Mountains, and am ready to see them from my front door. If you ever get the chance, definitely head this way, and boost the economy out here. They could use it as much as we can back home in NC, maybe even a little more.

Tomorrow we head back to Jackson Hole, WY to await our flight back to Charlotte, NC bright and early Friday morning. I'm sad to leave this beautiful country behind, but I'm looking forward to Morganton as well. See ya on the flip side.

Monday, August 17, 2009

So.....................things have changed somewhat regarding our mission work out here in Wyoming. It's not really worth repeating except to say that we should always remember whom we serve and why we serve Him. Our group is great. Everyone seems to be getting along very well and enjoying the things that we have the fantastic opportunity to do.

Wanna see some pics? I thought so.

A random pile of 40's era cars. They were full of bullet holes. Chad thought this was worth a pic.
Native American burial ground. If you will notice there are a lot of personal effects on top of the graves. It was amazing to see what people would leave behind for their ancestors. I'm sure most of the items had some sort of significance.
Sacajewea's grave's headstone. If you remember from 10th grade US history Sacajewea was the lady that led Lewis and Clark on their explorations in the very early 1800's.
A sign that I found oddly amusing at the Indian sacred grounds.
I was amused by this sign as well. I thought there would be a more official sign at the entrance to the cemetery. Apparently I was mistaken.
Dad ordered a pancake for breakfast. Apparently everything is bigger in WY. That's Jesse's hand spread for size reference. This pancake was seriously huge.
Another buffalo. We've seen a blue million. Awesome.
Uhm..............ya think? Can we say captain obvious!!
Jesse and Clayton on top of a "rock". This was at the world's largest natural hot spring. Anyway, everybody thought this was the coolest rock ever. It was so red and fit into the landscape perfectly. Then when Jesse and Clayton climbed on top, it was actually made of plastic and hollow. Good times.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Yellowstone(Pics and Captions)

The Grand Tetons as viewed from Lake Jackson

Our youth group. Apparently Clayton has decided that he's way too cool for our group, and has decided to go his own way.

Clayton at Old Faithful. The stick were much more interesting to an 18 month old(and he was more interesting to his mommy.)
Old Faithful. It was faithful(give or take 10 minutes)

Mountains, there were lots of those. I guess that makes since as we are in the Rockies.Clayton chillin' with the big boys.

My friend the Buffalo. Let's call him Randy.

More Buffalo. We saw lots of these on day 2. And it's amazing how close you can get to them.
Rainbow seen from an amazing bridge. There was a tiny little raging river at the bottom.

Clayton hatching a rock.

These are just a few that I had to choose from. Pictures and words can't describe how beautiful the landscape and animals are in Yellowstone. It's one of those things that has to be viewed to be appreciated. I only have one complaint. It's cold here. I mean seriously it's the middle of AUGUST. Summer time. It was 41 degrees at one point yesterday. Rarely did it get out of the 50's. And when we stopped for a restroom break in Cooke, MT it was snowing. Honestly this is ridiculous.

We're having a ball. This is an amazing place to see. Today we're headed to Thermopolis State Park to have our Sunday services.

And let me just up my cool points by a few. I sampled Rocky Mountain Oysters last night. Google it, you'll be impressed or disgusted and may never read again.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I Saw A Buffalo

My life long (or week long) dream of seeing a Buffalo, finally came true today. I was so excited. They are absolutely massive creatures. Huge. Hairy. And I would imagine smelly. I didn't get close enough to smell, but I just think they would have to have a definite funk.

Today, we did a little(a lot) of sight seeing through Grand Teton National Park, and through Yellowstone National Park. I will admit that at first the Grand Tetons were a little disappointing. However, we drove down the road just a ways, and stopped at another vantage point, and I was wowed. They were beautiful, and were snow capped. That's right snow capped in the middle of August. While it's 90+ degrees at home in NC, here in WY it was a very nice 73 at the hottest part of the day. With no humidity. For those of you that live in NC, think weather similar to what we have in late October.

In addition to buffalo, we saw pronghorn(antelope), elk(a very long way off and I couldn't differentiate them from a white tail deer), ravens, coyote, and lily pads. All firsts for me. It was a lot of fun. It was a lot of driving / riding. But, still a lot of fun.

During our 3(9) hour tour, we drove around the absolute most beautiful lake I have ever seen. Lake Yellowstone was amazingly beautiful. It was clear like the Caribbean oceans, and moving almost like the ocean. I can't describe how gorgeous this lake was.

Tomorrow we're gonna hit a different part of Yellowstone, and head into Montana. More firsts for me. They tell me that this part has more wildlife, and more scenic views. Can't wait.

I do have lots of pics to share, because I can't describe the beauty of this country in a way that is fitting. Hopefully if I'm not totally down for the count tomorrow evening I can get those pics up for your viewing pleasure. It's 11:21pm WY time, or 1:21am NC time, so I'm obviously pooped. The 4 hours of sleep I got the night before have not been nearly enough.

Friday, August 14, 2009

We're Here(or there depending)

We're finally in Jackson Hole, WY. It was a mostly uneventful trip for which we are thankful. The only major snafu was in Atlanta. Apparently Delta had changed our gate for the flight from Atlanta to Jackson Hole. We learned of this major error after traveling what felt like the entire airport. Seriously, there were 2 separate escalator rides, and a tram ride. And the tram ride was super duper fast. Anyway, we get to the assumed appropriate gate, and the crawl at this particular gate, says that this particular flight is going to Philadelphia. Uhm............NO. I wouldn't mind going to Philly, but I also don't think I want to go their alone. After a few seconds of debate we saw, in tee tiny letters might I add, that the gate had been changed. And, to add insult to injury the new gate where we were supposed to be was only a few yards from where we started to begin with. Oops. Oh well, we all made it with literally mere minutes to spare.

Other than that, everything was uneventful. Now we're chillin' at the Best Western in Jackson Hole, otherwise known as "The Lodge". I do have to say that the airport in Jackson Hole is about the size of a Food Lion grocery store. And, it appeared that they were closing the airport after our flight landed. I don't know if they were closing it or not, but it certainly appeared that way. An interesting factoid for you, the Jackson Hole airport is the only airport in the nation located inside a national park. Awesome. That's our day in a very compacted nut shell.

Tomorrow(actually it's today by now), we're headed to Yellowstone. And, I'm just saying that I had better to get to see a Buffalo. I'm gonna be highly disappointed if I flew 2,ooo+ miles and don't get to view some Bison. I'm out peeps. Time for sleepy town.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

3rd Trimester, WY, and Potato Soup

Are you confused yet? Me too.

I officially entered the 3rd trimester yesterday. Normally a preggo would be thrilled to be entering the home stretch. And I am, but with a twist. I LOVE being pregnant, and don't really mind all the things that go along with it. It is what it is. It's part of being pregnant, you have to deal with it. However, as I click down the weeks until Jo's arrival I know I am also clicking down the weeks that I have left with her. That part I don't like at all. Even though we are so blessed, and are learning so much I still wish I could keep her after she's born. I know she will have a better life in Heaven than I could give her down here, but I still want her. I'm not sad, moping, weeping, or anything like that today. That's just how things are. I want her, but God has something better for her.

Moving on. I've had enough crying for one week.

We head out for Wyoming tomorrow afternoon. I'm hopeful that we will have a great trip. It's been a long time in the planning and it will be nice to finally get out there. We are going to Yellowstone for the first few days. I've never been to Yellowstone so I'm super stoked about that. I hope I get to see a buffalo and a yak. I'm not even sure if yaks reside in Yellowstone, I just like to say Yak. After spending more of the morning than I would have liked to with Chad's pharmacy regarding Humalog and Glucagon, I think we're ready to go. Oh yeah, I still have to pack absolutely everything. No, I'm not a procrastinator.........usually. I have the afternoon off and planned all along to pack today.

And finally, potato soup. Since we will be OOT for 7+ days, I haven't bought groceries in quite some time. Actually longer than I can use going out of town as an excuse, but I'm gonna milk it for all it's worth. The last 2 nights have been serious "invent a meal" at Carswell manor. Monday I concocted something called "Spaghetti Pie". I won't lie, it was gross. I shan't concoct anything like that again. Last night however we had a hit with Potato Soup. A few potatoes, a little milk, a lot of butter(ala Paula Deen), a spoonful of sour cream(it sounded good to my pregnant brain, and actually tasted ), and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, and we were in business. It was actually good. Chad had 2nd's and maybe 3rd's, so it was definitely alright.

As soon as we're done here at the office(and that looks to be later rather than sooner), I'm out of here to go stand in line at the afore mentioned pharmacy. Ya'll have a good one. I'll keep you updated on our west ward progress. It's kinda like "The Oregon Trail". But faster, and hopefully with less diphtheria.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Under His Wings

I had something planned for posting today, but I heard this song after lunch and it was exactly what I needed. As far as moods go, I've been in a funk for the last few days. I don't like it when I feel this way at all. Have you ever noticed that when you're in a funk, then you become more critical of the others that are around you? Or is that just me?

I don't want to be this way. I do understand it's part and partial to the things Chad and I are going through with Jo. This is the part I don't like. A special lady(I won't tell you who as not to incriminate her, but she knows who she is.....wink, wink) and I decided that we want God's lessons and His victories, but that we don't want to go through the hurt to learn the lesson and gain the victory. I do realize and know that we have to go through the lessons, and the hurting part of the lessons, to gain any real or lasting knowledge of who God truly is.

It is good to know that while God is breaking me(and I'm so stubborn it's obviously taking a lot of breaking to get what He wants) that He still protects me and keeps me "Under His Wings". I felt much better after just listening to the song and reading its lyrics. Then, I found a verse from Psalms that helped even more. He knew I was feeling alone today, and decided to let me know I'm not alone, and in fact right where He wants me. And I'm safely protected by Him.

I'm in less of a funk now, and I might actually be productive for the rest of the day.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4
Under His Wings
by The Ruppes

My way was filled with danger
And I felt so alone
The enemy had singled me
Out to do wrong

And when he drew near
My heart filled with fear
Then I heard someone dear
Calling me to His side

And I ran, under His wings
There He covered me and now I can see
The enemy still looks for me
But what he can't see
Is that I'm under my Lord's wings
Under His wings
The thunder rolled
Dark clouds hung low
I was out in a storm
I was shivering in the coldest night
No safe retreat from harm
And there blew strong winds
Would this be my end?
And then I heard my friend
Callin' me to His side

And I ran, under His wings
There He covered me
And now I can see
The storm still rages
Oh, but the Rock of Ages
we're resting warmly here
Under our Lord's wings

Are you under His wings?
And there He covers me and now I can see
Under His wings Under His wings
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings My soul shall abide
Safely am I forever!

PS I'm sorry about the title of yesterday's post. It didn't dawn on me that it could have been used about Johanna. Sorry if I gave ya'll heart failure. I never would have done that intentionally. I do miss my sweet Pepper greatly, but it in no way compares to the hurt of eventually letting my daughter go. Thanks for your concern.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Farewell my Friend

Let me warn you that this is not a heart wrenching, tearful, thoughtful, or poignant post about Johanna. It's about my dog. It's important to me, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

On Friday, we had to say a permanent goodbye to my dog, Pepper. She was 14 and has been my "best good friend" since she was a puppy. We belonged to each other long before Chad and I even met. She moved with me when we were married. Actually she was part of the package, she had to come too. In time she grew on Chad, and I like to think that just maybe he misses her a little too. Clayton misses her too in his own 18 month old way.

She was an old lady, and had been noticeably going down hill for the last 6 months. Things were considerably worse when we got home from Bible Conference on Thursday evening. I didn't think much about it because we had been gone almost all day for an entire week. I thought she was pouting, she's been known to do that. However, on Friday morning I knew it was time. She couldn't stand, drink water, or even focus on us. I called Chad in to check on her, and he agreed with me that it was time to let her go. I sat with her a long time and just petted her, and we said our goodbyes to each other.

I know that in the grand scheme of life that this is just a blip on the radar. These things happen and are just part and partial to being a dog owner. I also realize that everyone doesn't take a dog in as a family member like we have done. She was one of us, and we will miss her.

I have great things to report about Bible Conference, and I plan on sharing that tomorrow. I didn't want to bog down a hopefully uplifting post with sadness.

It's back to normal here at the office today. Back to patients and patience. Actually, it's been a great day. And we're off to WY on Thursday. I think I'm gonna crash tonight, and spend the rest of the week getting ready to go. I hope your Monday is great.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Blah, Blah, Blah

Sorry I haven't updated at all this week. That's totally out of character for me. I have good excuses........busyness, exhaustion, and Bible Conference.

Our Bible Conference has been fantastic. I'm hopeful that I will be able to share some things with you next week, when I get back to my regular routine.

For now, I think I'm gonna sign off for a few days. I plan to take a Benadryl tonight and sleep late.

I'm off again to church. Whether it's in the nursery or in the service it should be a blast. See ya.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Trying Something New

Actually I'm just blogging from the Crackberry for times sake today. If there are major typos or if things look funny that's why. I do have a couple things to tell you about though.

First off, Johanna and I had an OB appointment today. And it went great. She's still habging in there. Today's HB checked in at 140 bpm. Average and right where she should be. He movement has slowed down some, and I'm not sure if that means anything or not. My OB did warn me that she would probably slow down as things went along. Tomorrow I will be 27 weeks. And I just now realized that I didn't think we would have her this long. We are blessed to get to keep her as long as we have. Since "my" plans for this baby were utterly changed in April, it's now my desire to hold her alive. I know God has bigger and better plans than I could ever imagine, but the Mommy in me wants that.

Second, we have Bible Conference this week at church. It's always a great week, and I don't expect anything different this year. Rick Safriet and Scott Moneyham(one of my favs) among others are preaching in the morning services. And Tom Hayes, Eric Snider, and Steve Dagenhart are the evening preachers. For both services today I have the nursery. "Stay at Home Mommy" are sharing those duties this week. We both have wee ones the same age. And if you have tiny tots then you know how hard it is to pay attention and glean anything when you're playing(attempting and usually losing) the quiet game. Not easy. Thanks Tracy for your help.

That's all for today.

One more thing, I need to brag on the hubs. Because of the OB appointment and it's scheduled time I missed the strawberry short cake for dessert. Ms. Linda makes great short cake and I've been looking forward to it since I heard we were having it. Anyway, after Chad and I had lunch he bought me a strawberry pie. Yummo!! He knows how to make a pregnant chic grin. Love ya babe!!