/> Raising Angels: September 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Some Things Just Can't Be Explained

My mom, or Bama, is a nurse and it's not unusual for me to answer one of the kid's medical questions by saying, "We'll have to ask Bama. She's the nurse."

Tonight Aiden was getting ready to go over to my parents’ house when he asked me, "Mama, why does Dampa (my dad) always act so silly?"

"I don't know," I said thinking of my dad's antics with all children. "You'll have to ask Dampa."

Without missing a beat he replied, "No...I have to ask Bama. She's the nurse." I giggled at his response which made him question, "Why are you laughing?"

"Well Aiden, I don't think there's a medical explanation for that one."

Friday, September 28, 2007

The First Baby Gift

Last week at my check up the nurse asked me to extend my arm so she could draw some blood. I'm not one to usually ask questions but this time I was curious.

"Why are you drawing my blood again? You just did this 4 weeks ago when I came in."

The nurse answered as she stuck my arm. "This is to test for Down's Syndrome and Cystic Fibrosis," she answered rather nonchalantly.

"I've never had this done before," I inquired further. "It's always been optional and I've always declined it." My reasoning behind declining this test is this - nothing can be done about either of these conditions. Regardless of the outcome, I would NEVER EVER choose to kill my baby. So I figure I can spend the next 5 months worrying like crazy about how I will deal with a special needs child or I can deal with it when God gives me the grace to do so.

Both the nurse and the doctor explained to me that it's no longer optional. Neither had a good reason why. They would get the results and let me know if I tested positive.

Here I put my foot down. "I would like a phone call either way," I said resolutely. They agreed.

I tried not to spend the week worrying about it. After all, there's nothing I can do. But no matter how hard I tried, the thoughts crept into my head. Maybe I'm still so sick because something is wrong with the baby. Could my inability to keep the prenatal vitamins down have such an ill effect? Is my body punishing my baby for not taking it easy enough? Suddenly a week turned into 10 days and try as I may to push the negativity out, it always found a way back in.

This afternoon at 4:40 the phone rang. The caller ID said it was the doctor's office. I left the kids and walked into the other room to answer it.

"Is this Amy?" the nurse asked rather seriously. Upon confirmation she identified herself and told me that the tests all came out negative. "Everything looks great," she said, "your baby is perfectly healthy. I didn't want you to have to go through the whole weekend worrying about it."

I hung up the phone, rubbed my sweet baby, said, "Thank you, thank you Jesus," and promptly burst into tears. I was relieved. I was grateful. I was connected to this baby more than I have been during this pregnancy. I hugged my belly again and continued to offer up prayers of thanksgiving.

I know that there are still hundreds of things that can go wrong. I know there are never any guarantees. But, I also know that tonight I will celebrate this gift and dream sweet dreams of this precious little soul growing within me.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Daddy's Car

Part of the deal tonight was eating dinner downtown with the whole family. This meant that Nelson took the boys home in my car and left Mackenzie and I with his.

Now anyone who knows my husband, probably sees him as a very well put together, organized, clean-cut kind of guy. That is everyone except for those who have peered into his car.

As Mackenzie and I walked to the car she noted, "Wow! Daddy's car sure is messy. I hope there's room for me."(Believe me when I say that she was NOT exaggerating.)

"Don't worry," I assured her, "Daddy made room for you to sit."

I opened the door for her to climb in. "It SURE is different than our car," she noted again.

"Yes it is," I agreed.

Then there was a deep breath, a cough and a pause. "It even has a different smell," she said. "Yes, a REALLY different smell."

Disney on Ice - Princess Classics

Tonight I took Mackenzie to see the Disney Princesses on Ice. When the lights went down and the princesses came out, her eyes got as big as saucers and her grin grew into a full blown smile. I saw this just before my eyes misted over.

Oh, I'd try to blame it on the pregnancy hormones, but the fact is, I've taken her to shows like this when I was not pregnant and had the same reaction. You see I was raised on the old school Disney princesses myself and my parents did a great job of exposing me to the wonderful world of Disney. I don't care what anyone says, or even how much it costs, there is something truly magical about the whole Disney idea.

Sitting next to my own daughter tonight and seeing dreams of being in those beautiful dresses right out there in the middle of the ice, brought back memories of feeling exactly the same. Come on now girls, who wouldn't want to be a princess for just a little while?

It's so wonderful to have the opportunity to share the same stories with her. It's simply amazing to be totally transported to another world for two whole hours. It's so fun to have a daughter to share this with.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Excellent Point

Tonight at dinner the conversation turned to farming.

"What do pigs eat?" asked Aiden, after I told him to stop eating like one.

"Slop," I said.

"Eww! That's disgusting!" There was a pause and then, "Mama, where do they go poo poo?"


"Oh," he responded both amazed and disgusted. "Don't they step all in it?"

"Of course they do," Mackenzie piped in. "That's why farmers don't wear flip-flops."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

If You Think Three Boys Playing Quietly for 15 Minutes is too Good to be True...

You're probably right!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Game Day

We made it to Tuscaloosa for Game Day on Saturday and had a great time. We tailgated, ate lunch with Nelson's cousin and family at her sorority house, walked the quad, met up with my little brother and then went to the game.

The game was one of the most exciting I have ever seen. It came down to the final seconds, went into overtime and then, quite tragically, the Tide lost for the first time this season.

Of course, it would have been a lot more fun if we would have won. It would have also been more fun had we not been sitting smack dab in the middle of the Georgia fan section. And, just for the record, Georgia fans (excluding a few that I know personally who are not this way) are NOT nice people.

Bama fans are ever hopeful that we've gotten our loss out of the way so that we can spend the rest of the season winning. However, anyone who follows SEC football knows that there are no guarantees!

Whatever the case - ROLL TIDE ROLL!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

In Case I'm Ever Wondering...

...why this pregnancy has been so hard, remind me about days like yesterday.

I left the house at 8:15 after feeding, dressing and getting everyone ready for school. I did both school carpools and headed to the doctor's. After an hour there, I went upstairs to make an appointment with my new doctor (mine is moving in 2 weeks).

From there I went to the tile and stone place to pick out fireplace stone and tile. Then I picked up about a third of that order and went straight to pick up the boys.

We drove from there to the new house to unload the tile. While that was happening, the boys turned on the neighbor's hose and were totally soaked. I picked up a sitter and took them home.

I went back to the tile place with my dad to pick up the stone and the rest of the tile. From there I went home to pick up Mackenzie and headed over to school to set up for her Little Sisters' Registration party (kind of like an alternative to the Girl Scouts).

After three hours there, I dropped Mackenzie at home and headed back out to our Support Group/Bible Study. The guys came back over to the house to unload the stone and tile.

When we finally pulled in the driveway at 10 p.m., husband looked at me and told me the painter needs 32 more gallons of paint by tomorrow morning. When I told him that I could NOT do one more thing, he told me how much faster it would be for me to do it, then patted me on the knee and said, "I'm proud of you doll," and promptly went inside.

I took the sitter home and went to Wal-Mart. Finally back home at 11:30, I unloaded the groceries and took a look around. The backpacks were still by the door, with the lunches inside. The kitchen was a disaster, as was the rest of the house. I threw in the towel and collapsed into bed at midnight.

Today I got back up at 7 to get the kids fed and dressed. I dropped the carpool off and headed over to the house to unload the paint I bought last night. Then I headed straight to Lowe's to get the rest of the stuff. I went back to the house to unload again.

I picked up the three year old boy I am watching for several days and took the three boys across town to pick up the last of the paint they didn't have on our side of town. I stood at the paint counter watching the mixing and corralling three boys for two hours.

We went back to the house to unload that paint and arrived home at 11:45 a.m.

Yep. I think I know why I don't feel so good and am so tired all the time. Doesn't take a rocket scientist does it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

How You Know Daddy Has Made His Point That Football is King

Tonight at dinner some questions about the new house came up.

"Daddy, who's going to live in our apartment?" Mackenzie asked curiously.

"It's there for whoever needs it," Nelson told her.

"Ooh," Mackenzie said as the light went off, "how about David?"

"Hmm... I don't know about that."

"What's wrong?" she inquired. "Is he a basketball star instead of a football one?"

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dinner at the Delta House

We spent Saturday evening at the Delta Tau Delta house in Athens. It was game day and parents' weekend.Last year was the first fraternity event I had ever attended and I had no idea that the crowd would be so dressy. My brother and his frat brothers were all in coats and ties and their sorority dates were in their cute little red, black and white dresses. I did not dress like that in college and wouldn't have been caught dead at a football game like that.

This year I tried to do little brother Kevin proud by donning the only red and black I have that still fits. I even let the kids go around yelling, "Go Dawgs! Sick 'em! Woof, woof, woof, woof!"

I did this because I love my brother, I live in Georgia and all my kids were born here. However, next Saturday, you will not catch me with a stitch of red or black on as I will be donning the good 'ole crimson and grey and yelling, "Roll Tide Roll!" at the Alabama - Georgia game that could prove to be a dividing line amongst my brothers complete with a lifetime of bragging rights for those who are on the winning side.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Today I was walking through the mall when I passed by a cart and was stopped by a salesman asking if I wanted a sample. Now usually, I walk right by these people barely saying, "No thank you." Today, however, the spirit moved me to stop.

"What is it?" I asked, peering into the plastic cup.

"It's lotion," he said, immediately noticing my involuntary eye roll. "But wait, I want to show you something else. Come here."

I don't know why, but I followed him and chatted with him while he buffed my nails to a perfect, natural shine. "These products are all from the Dead Sea," he informed me.

"Wow. I've always wanted to go there. I'd love to see the Holy Land someday."

"Oh my gosh," he gushed, "you are welcome any time. I am from Israel. I'm Jewish," he said showing me the Star of David around his neck.

When I explained to him that I am Catholic and that my brother was in seminary when he floated in the Dead Sea, he was enthralled. "I've not met many Catholics."

We continued a really nice conversation as he gave my hands a spa treatment. Then he started his pitch, explaining that he just happened to be having a sale today. I explained we were building a house and funds were tight, but he was not deterred. Maybe I would ask for a set for Christmas I told him sincerely.

Over the next few minutes we continued to talk nonstop while he showed me sales records and gave me another treatment to try. "Do you mind if I ask how old you are? You look fantastic." When I told him he went on and on about how well I kept myself. "You really need to come to my country. You would be a model there. All the women have dark eyes, skin and hair, but your light skin, blue eyes and red hair...oh, I just love this hair... you would be a sensation!" He was even more incredulous when I told him I was expecting child number four.

I told him that he was a fantastic salesman and I can spot a good one since I’m married to one. He told me to come back any time, gave me a big hug and extended the invitation to visit his country one more time.

I walked away glowing I'm sure and so were my nails. It was just five minutes or so but it was so much fun.

Did he make the sale? Are you kidding? If someone said all those things to you in the throws of an awful pregnancy in the middle of the day when you were exhausted and starving, wouldn't you have bought whatever he was selling?

Yea, I walked away with a bag in hand but what I really paid for was the joy he put in my heart.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

15 Weeks, 1 Day

Work out wear seemed to show off the belly the best.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Consider the Lillies...or Appliances

Today my top priority was to reestablish contact with the guy who made such great promises to me about my appliances. It has been at least four months since I've spoken to him and I was a little nervous about him not even remembering me, let alone his guarantee.

I sat in the car for the few minutes before the store opened and prayed that God would bless this time. When I walked into the store and asked for him, I discovered that he no longer works there.

I presented my case to the young guy who greeted me and then he took it to his manager. While I waited for him I tried to go over how I would react when he came back and told me I was crazy.

Not only did he come back matching the promised prices, but several of the appliances were now discontinued and he gave me the latest model at the price he promised for the discontinued one.

One hour after walking through the doors, I walked back out with a receipt for all my kitchen appliances. I was so thankful to God for working it out so peacefully and so relieved to have such a gigantic task out of the way.

God really does care about the hairs on our head...and the appliances in our kitchens!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Prayer Support

Yesterday my mothers' prayer group gathered for the first time since the end of school last year. I was looking forward to gathering again...except for the fact that the consensus was to meet at 6 a.m.

I am NOT a morning person. I never have been and now that I'm pregnant, well, you get the picture. When the alarm went off after a very fitful night of sleep, my body hurt. My mind gave me a dozen reasons to roll back over but my spirit ached to be fed.

I went. It was the first time in our four years together that we met before sunrise, in perfect quiet, with no children. It brought a different kind of peace in spite of the gigantic sacrifice.

When it came time for my prayer requests, I let loose. These women are my friends, my warriors. We've been through a lot together over the years and I have nothing left to hide from them.

Not one of them laughed at me. No one judged me. There was not one word of condemnation. Instead I received words of encouragement, wisdom and compassion. These are all mothers. They've been where I am. They empathized with me and told me I am not crazy. They laid hands on me and prayed over me. They even provided some practical tools for some of my ailments.

As I left the house totally exhausted, I felt a peace that I haven't felt in a long time. I realized that I am not alone. I have three dear friends who are praying for me and a God who loves me enough to provide them.

If you don't have this kind of support in your life, find some. I cannot tell you the prayers that have been answered among us over the last four years. We lean on each other, console each other, laugh with each other and just plain enjoy each other.

The jury is still out on whether the 6 a.m. time will work (in other words, we’ll see if I survive it). However, if it’s a choice between the physical sacrifice and the spiritual one, I’ll choose the physical one every time.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Heavenly Reminder

I have been very blessed with three great pregnancies. Sure the first trimester is always hard but for the most part, relatively easy. The last one was the toughest but my doctor told me that was just because my body hadn't had time to recover from the last one (the boys are 15 months apart).

I expected this one to be smooth sailing like the last ones. That has not been the case. The wear and tear of this pregnancy combined with the house building stuff, a husband who has been absent more than present for the last 8 months, three kids to care for and well, just life in general have worn me down.

I'm not cursing the baby, it's just that I've been so miserable that I've forgotten the reason for the misery. I don't really look pregnant, just like I have a big pot belly. I can't feel the baby move yet. I don't feel that connection. Fortunately, my children do.

Mackenzie wakes up in the morning, says good morning to me and then lovingly rubs my belly with the sweetest smile. And yesterday, as I sat in mass alone with Mackenzie and Aiden anxiously awaiting the return of Nelson, Aiden gave me his own reminder.

"What do you want me to draw Mama? A picture of our WHOLE family with the house?" he asked in a whisper.

"Sure," I said trying to focus on the mass.

After several minutes, he tapped me again and showed me the picture below. "This is you and the baby that's in your tummy," he said with his dimpled grin and big, proud eyes.

And it was in that brief moment that God reminded me of the blessing of my children. They so often, turn me back to Him. God speaks through them in such a special way. And then I remembered that I do have a baby in my tummy. And I remembered why I thought another one was such a great idea.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Excuse Me While I Get a Little Excited!

I have been searching for a bed ensemble for our master bedroom in the new house for over a year. Now that the flooring, wall color, trim and tile are picked out, I was a little concerned about finding something that tied everything together in the color I wanted.

Today I not only found something that pulled it all together, but I love it and it was on sale...REALLY, REALLY BIG SALE. In the same section I found the perfect ensemble for the guest bedroom/nursery on even bigger sale. I was thrilled.

After picking up the boys, I went over to check on the trim crew's progress. I walked in to see the ceiling in our dining room and all I could say was, "Wow! It's gorgeous!"

Can it be? Can it really be that things are beginning to come together? If you could see me now, I'd be jumping up and down with a smile plastered across my face. Awesome!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Bad News - Good News

Nelson left town this afternoon for a trip to Vegas for a friend's wedding. I find that I am extremely jealous of his opportunity to vacate, not to mention the fact that his trip requires me to wash all the clothes while he runs in, throws them in a suitcase and is out the door fifteen minutes later. Oh, that would be nice wouldn't it ladies? In spite of my jealousy, I hope he has a fantastic time.

On the other hand, I actually had one moment this morning that I didn't feel nauseated. It was a fleeting one but it was enough to make me pause for a minute to celebrate a feeling of normalcy for the first time in two months.

Maybe, just maybe, I'll have two moments like that tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hold Please...

Today was supposed to be the day that I felt better. Week 14 = Second Trimester = Feel Good. Unfortunately, my body is not on the same calendar. I'm hopeful though. Any day now...ANY day NOW!

I tried to trick myself into feeling better by going to the gym for the first time in three weeks. The power went out, meaning no AC. I went from there to a store to look for a birthday gift. The doors were locked because of the power outage.

I went to every Wal-Mart in the city looking for 5 gallon buckets of primer for the house. I was approached in the parking lot by a news reporter who begged me to give an interview for the local news. I was still in my workout clothes, which at this point consist of an over-sized t-shirt and gym shorts. I had no make-up on and my hair was in a disheveled pony-tail. He was desperate. I was merciful...and incredibly embarrassed that of all days, this was the day the camera caught me.

I couldn't lift the buckets of paint. In every store I had to wait for help. When I dropped them by the house, I had to ask for help. It's hard for me to admit I can't do something by myself but this pregnancy is giving me no other options.

By the time I got home, I was exhausted. I tried to be good and put my feet up, but then Mackenzie came home, dinner had to be cooked and a meeting had to be attended.

Could somebody please put my life on hold while I try to grow this baby?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

First Day of Second Grade

Where oh where does the time go? She was absolutely thrilled to be heading back to school today. I hope she always feels that way!

A Laborious Labor Day Weekend

Well, we did just what the weekend says...we labored. We hosted the party on Friday through Saturday morning and spent the rest of Saturday recovering and cleaning up.

Sunday we discussed some serious house issues and then got an invitation to take the family to a drive-in movie about an hour away. We had a great time but the movie didn't even start until 8:30 p.m. so it was almost midnight by the time we returned.

Monday was the hardest, BIGGEST day of all. We met with the lead guy of the crews we hired to frame and sheetrock the house. He showed us the trim work in a million dollar house he was building (no, ours is nowhere near that size or price!). We then met with the trim guys, the sheetrock crew and...drum roll please, a professional painter who made us such a fantastic offer that we couldn't refuse.

We then took the kids out to lunch. Nelson took them from there to his sister's to help install a dishwasher, while I stayed behind to iron school uniforms, pack up the book bag and get everything ready for Mackenzie's first day.

When he returned, we put the kids to bed and then went back out to pick out the remaining paint colors and measure for all the doors in the house.

Whew! I didn't get to bed until 1 a.m. and was back up at 7 to get everyone ready for the first day of school. And I wondered why I was so tired today.

The good news is that today we picked out every bit of trim for the house, as well as the doors and stairway. The trim crew starts tomorrow and will be finished before Saturday! That's when the painters come in. They promised to be finished with the house in 10 days....TEN DAYS!!! While they're painting, the tile workers will get started. After almost 3 years, I can actually see the finish line.

It was a hard Labor Day weekend for sure, but one that will pay off greatly in the days ahead.

Sleep Over on 8-31-07

When you have a day like this, the remedy is certainly not a night like this. However, when Mackenzie changed her mind from the $100 gymnastics party to a sleepover at home, it was hard to say no.

I finally turned off the movie and the lights at 12:30 a.m.
They awoke to a breakfast fit for a princess. Per Mackenzie's request, the menu included fruit salad, bacon and French Toast with strawberries and powdered sugar.
I think we managed to make a memory for everyone. The girls had a fantastic time and I learned never to try this again while exhausted from pregnancy.