Thursday, September 16, 2010


Scene between Lowery and I at the grocery store checkout stand yesterday:

"Mom, can I get some gum?
"No, we have some at home."
Whiny voice: "But I want my special privilege at school tomorrow to be to chew my own gum."
"That's great, and we have a whole pack of cinnamon gum at home you can take."
Tears start: "No, you don't understand, Mom. It has to be my OWN gum. If you read the directions in the packet is says to bring your OWN gum."
"I know, honey - and you are going to bring your own gum, the cinnamon."
"That's the family gum. I don't want to take the family gum, it says to bring your own gum. It has to be my very own."
"Okay, then. For it to be your own gum it means you have to pay for it yourself." Yeah, I've got her now.
Tears stop, immediate smile pasted on. "Well actually my quarter pouch is in the diaper bag and I have plenty to pay for it. So it WILL be my own gum."

Stride Mystery Gum it is.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Charlotte's Testimony

Click here to view these pictures larger

One year ago this week, Charlotte began her journey into our lives. Of course we wouldn't find out of her impending arrival until the first of October, but this is indeed the week that her little life began. She has such an amazing story, one where God clearly directed every detail of her arrival. Don't you love that? Here is her story. It's a little lengthy, but I want to include every detail for my own records. I don't want to leave a single thing out, so apologies in advance for the novel! I've always used too many words in both talking and writing so you guys shouldn't be surprised...

In February of 2009, Steve and I had our dream life in tact. We were finally becoming members of the community in Springdale. And honestly for the first time in my whole life someplace other than El Dorado was beginning to feel like home. We had purchased our dream house just a couple of months before, we were so involved and loving our church family, and Lowery was settled in a pre-K program in school and doing beautifully. And since we were so settled, we were even ready to think about having another child. We had fought hard to finally gain that sense of "home" that had eluded us all of our married life. Since we both grew up in small towns and never even had lived in more than one house until college, this was quite an accomplishment for us.

I remember vividly the morning that Steve called me to tell me to meet him at Starbucks - that we had something important to discuss. Over coffee he shared with me the Dallas opportunity that his company had presented to him. I remember most him saying, "Of course I am thinking that it's not something we're interested him - I know we both really love where we are right now." And then what happened next shocked even me, I uttered the words, "Not necessarily..." You see a few weeks before I had started the Beth Moore "Esther" study with women from our church. And I knew that God had been working on me, preparing me for something. And although my mind was spinning with many thoughts - mainly, "this is not the time, this can't be right," the Holy Spirit was louder and saying, "YES, it is."

We discussed in length over the next few weeks the possibility of the move, and there seemed to be more questions than answers. The home we had purchased had seemed, at the time, like a miracle and gift from God. So why would we have to leave it? And we were finally really involved in a local church, ministering to others and being ministered to. So why would He remove us? Lowery was comfortable and had a wonderful group of friends around her. So why would he take her away from that? And another baby - we had waited 5 long years thinking of another one, and now we would have to wait longer? At the time, it seemed as if nothing made sense. Even working the details of the move was very complicated, but Steve and I both felt the entire time that it was what we were supposed to do. We just vowed to put one foot in front of the other, take one step at a time and see where we ended up. And in fact we ended up in Plano, Texas, a few months later. Far away from our "dream life." I knew in my heart that it's where God wanted us. But, as often is the case when we are on the verge of fulfilling a plan God has for us, Satan decided to step in and see if we were truly up to the task.

Our 2nd day in our new house Lowery severely fractured two bones in her lower arm. We knew no one here in Plano with kids, so our busy days in Springdale of play dates, activities and fun came to a screeching halt. With a 5 year old in a cast almost to her shoulder which extremely limited her activities, the days were long. And I was still having side effects of a virus I had the fall before - dizziness and fatigue were now part of everyday life for me. I became obsessed that something was seriously wrong with my health. I felt guilty because we had taken Lowery away from her friends, her life. Suddenly the faith and willingness I had to make the move to Dallas, to listen to and follow God's plan diminished. The devil knew where I was the most vulnerable and he struck hard - zeroing in on my my worst fears, the loss of our happiness and health. Over those summer months, anxiety and fear set in. I doubted God's plan and all in all felt lost.

Sensing that things were spinning out of control, I felt it was a crucial turning point for me. Would I persevere through to see what God had in store? One thing I did know was that I was too weak to take the battle on myself. And since I didn't know anyone in Texas, it was time for Mom to come to the rescue. She arrived in late August, the week before Lowery began school, and vowed to get me "straightened out." She took me to multiple doctors to prove to me that there should be no true concern for my health. She helped me find a Christian counselor and address my anxiety. Mom was there to pray with me, surround me with verses for encouragement. I spent many nights in fear and in an all out struggle. Many cries for help went out to God. I needed to know that this was still the plan, that even throughout these battles we were still on track. That week I turned the corner, and it would prove to be a very important step in getting our little girl here (yes, in case you thought I had forgotten this story IS about Charlotte).

Those couple of weeks in late August were pivotal for many reasons. First and most importantly, I reestablished my trust in God and my dedication to His plan for us in Texas. One very important aspect of this was the addressing of my health. Why? Because with fears about my health came doubts about getting pregnant. I needed to be convinced that I was okay before I set out the mission to have another baby. Second in importance was the day we walked through the doors of Prestonwood Christian Academy for Lowery's first day of school. PCA would be the conduit for many divine appointments needed to fulfill His plan. Her kindergarten class, teachers and students, were all specifically chosen by God. Why? Because students have parents, and the people I met through her class would be my new encouragers and partners in this new chapter of my life.

By the end of August, I was feeling stronger and felt as if I needed to take a bold step to show my faith rededication. Steve and I discussed it and decided that it was time to explore getting pregnant. But what doctors would help me here? I failed to mention above that I had already experienced my first divine appointment with my new internist in the area. With my Mom's nursing expertise and guidance, we finally decided on a group of physicians in Plano that would be good for internal medicine. From there, I literally looked on the internet and read their bios/looked at their pictures. Out of the many, many doctors available, I landed on what I considered to be a kind-looking man who had relocated to Dallas from Shreveport. I mainly went by his picture! When I met with him that first appointment, we found out he was from a small community close to my hometown of El Dorado and we had a close family friend in common. He was so reassuring, nice and kind and our common link confirmed that this was just who God had chosen for my physician. Now it was time for an ob/gyn.

I had met my now dear friend Julie at Lowery's kindergarten Build-A-Bear field trip the first weeks of school, her daughter Lilly was in Lowery's class. She is the very face of kindness and I don't know what I'd done without this angel God sent to me! Bless her heart, I know I bugged her to death when I first met her because she became my "go to" resource. I asked her at least once a day for referrals on everything from dentists to vets to hair stylists - and doctors. When I asked her about an ob/gyn, she told me about her beloved ob that had delivered all three of her children. She insisted he was the best around. I also found out that a family friend was now a doctor in Plano, and asked him for a recommendation for an ob/gyn. And, as you might could have guessed, both referrals were for the same doctor. I made an initial appointment with the ob/gyn on September 3rd, 2009 for a yearly checkup and to talk about getting pregnant.

I left the doctor's office elated on the 3rd. He said that he had every confidence that I could have a successful pregnancy and that we could more than likely avoid the problems I experienced with Lowery. I immediately loved him and felt comfortable with him. God had now given me the two doctors he knew would help our dream of having another child become a reality. Each one specifically chosen for my situation. I had the go ahead from all doctors and it was time. In the 5 years since Lowery's birth, I had only mustered enough courage once to try pregnancy again and suffered a miscarriage at 11 weeks. But now it was time fora leap of faith once more.

Steve and I decided to begin immediately trying to get pregnant. I prayed for God's timing on everything - and he didn't make me wait long. The two pink lines appeared on the home pregnancy test on Monday, October 5th. I was in disbelief for a week or so that it happened so quick and that it was even happening at all. We had waited so long - would this finally be the time for us to have another baby?? Every Mom knows those first twelve weeks are rough, especially if you've suffered a miscarriage before. Even though I had fought through fear and anxiety issues, I found myself holding my breath every doctor's appointment to make sure things were okay. It was so hard to fight off the insecurity. So many things had gone wrong with Lowery. Would my health fail again? Would the baby be born premature? Would I experience bed rest for months? Would this baby be unhealthy because of my hypertension medications? This baby will be born a TEXAN?? But many of you know God is a loving God. And even in our doubt, he reaches down to us to let us know he's in control.

The last weekend in October, we decided to travel to El Dorado to see my family. We told my Mom and Dad about the baby, but no one else. Lowery did not even know until many weeks later. That Sunday, November 1st, we attended my Mom and Dad's church. Their Pastor, Al Womack, stood on the platform that morning and began the service with a baby dedication. During the dedication, he asked the infant's Mother to share her testimony. She had found out during pregnancy that she had a heart condition and there were concerns for her baby's health. At the end of her story, Pastor Al paused for a moment and then said, "There's someone here today that needs to know that, although you may have a chronic health condition, God will protect your baby and your pregnancy." Steve and I gripped each others hands immediately and knew the message was of course for us. God had given me His WORD that this baby was in his hands. He didn't have to reassure me, He didn't have to accept my lack of faith - but He is compassionate and knew I needed encouragement.

From that point on in my pregnancy, I felt complete peace. On November 19th, we saw her tiny little heartbeat for the first time. And from the first heartbeat to delivery my pregnancy did not experience one single complication. I saw a doctor every week and had at least 15 ultrasounds. I visited a maternal-fetal specialist and at every appointment the result was the same: both the baby and I were completely healthy. God even aided in finding the correct medicine to address my hypertension during the pregnancy (the usual ones for whatever reason did not work on me). My 2 doctors discussed and they decided on an old beta blocker, Pindolol, that was a category B pregnancy drug. My ob doctor had never really used it before and not even the pharmacist knew what is was when he filled it - he had to special order it. But it controlled my blood pressure perfectly throughout the pregnancy. The risk of the medicine was for the baby, beta blockers cause infants to be severely under weight. That is why I had frequent ultra sounds, to check the baby's growth. But not only did my baby grow, I had to have a c-section because she was a whopping 9 pounds. In fact, my ob's words were, "The opposite of what is supposed to happen with beta blocker medication has happened - you have a big, healthy baby."

Now you can see the hand of God in many, many places. God chose my doctors, Plano Presbyterian Hospital (5 minutes from our house by the way) and staff to bring Charlotte to us. He knew that the medical expertise here in Plano was just what we needed. He knew that we would have to give up our "perfect life" we thought we had to give us our next miracle. He chose the friends who referred me to physicians, the support of friends we would have when the baby was born and all aspects of our life here in Texas. He even supernaturally gave me a word of encouragement to sustain me throughout the pregnancy.

Some of you may think our move to Texas was about Steve's job. But, as you can see, it was more about bringing Miss Charlotte into the world. We learned that a house doesn't bring security. Being in a good church helps, but ultimately does not bring security. Living a COMFORTABLE life is not necessarily what He wants. He called us to change and we followed. And he blessed us beyond measure. We now understand that we only go where God has us to go. We only follow His plans, not our own. If we are willing to sacrifice earthly things we think are important, he will give us true heavenly rewards. Our reward was a little 9 pound bundle, who looks like her daddy, loves her big sister and is mommy's girl.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Whoa, That's Amazing...

A snipit of Lowery's "zoo tour". Yes, she is controlling the camera. Yes, the vase with sticks is her "animal."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What did you do this summer?

Okay so the blog has definitely been abandoned as of late. I have so much to catch up on, but still don't really have any time. So here we go, the "executive summary" of summer.

June 14 - July 25: You all know this by now - section, baby, acid reflux, no sleep, plethora of breast problems, newborn life. But she's precious and my heart is full for both my girls. Can you believe she's 10 weeks already?? Things are getting easier every day. And I totally apologize for not having the 1 month, 2 month pictures.I really really meant to - somehow life got in the way. Anyhow, here she is in her 2 1/2 month, boppy as a background glory.

July 30: Lowery's 6th birthday, rock star party, 10 girls with more glitter and hair spray than their own body weight. But is was so fun and awesome entertainment to say the least.

August 4 - August 15: Vacation to Arkansas and then on to Florida at the beach for a week. Awesome condo, wonderful weather, family together with lots of fun - only one problem, still had that newborn, who produced major diaper blowouts in various places in the state of Mississippi (sorry, guests of Holiday Inn Express at Lucedale - you got quite the show when I had to shed my poop covered clothes in the back of the minivan). I did get to eat at Captain Anderson's twice and had some great naps, but landed in the bottom of the cellar on the dominoes games (wait, did I say we visited the beach or a retirement home??)

August 16: Meet the teacher and back to school day, realization that I now have a first grader with long legs and shorter "big girl" hair who was perplexed that I would even suggest she might be nervous about the 1st day. Her teacher is AMAZING and we love PCA!

August 18: First day of 1st grade - Lowery did fantastic. And speaking of shorter hair - I got mine chopped off. You know, the standard "I just had a baby" short hair do. We all do it.

After (not the greatest pictures of me but you get the idea):

And there you have it... Oh yeah, I did manage to change the blog title to 4 Ds in the Big D since the addition of baby. Maybe at least getting the title updated will get me back on track. Miss you all!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Dancing Hobbit

It's that time of year again, the lovely season of dance recitals. I have to say each year the recitals are bittersweet. I'm so excited to get my girl dressed up and all dolled up and watch her on stage. Not AS excited after her 3 minute dance is over and we have to watch all of the other girls' dances.

But this year, what a wonderful surprise. This is not meant to brag - this studio was simply suggested to us when I met a few people last year after we moved here so we tried it. And we totally lucked out. Based on her lessons and teachers, I knew that the studio was good. But I honestly had no idea until last night. Everyone in my family agreed - all of us, including our parents - that the night was an absolute joy to watch. We were beyond impressed. The dances, talent everything was absolutely amazing, I was floored. I'm so glad Lowery had a chance to take at this studio for the time we were here, it has been a great learning experience for her. I can't wait to get the DVD to watch it all again - and not for comic relief, but to really watch the dances. Anyway, after she missed last year's recital due to her broken arm days before, this year was worth the wait. She had a blast and I was so impressed with her. We had a lot of fun with her friends and watching all of the girls.

Here she is with all of her fellow Hobbit ballerinas, straight from the Shire. I think they're beautiful and they did a spectacular job... Thanks KJ dance for a great year!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Last Day of K

I cannot believe Lowery finished Kindergarten Friday and is now an official 1st grader. It has been an exceptional year. I cannot tell you how much we love Prestonwood, how much of a blessing it has been to Lowery, me and Steve. People have been wonderful to reach out to us and we would be lost without the friends we've made there.

Also, Denise Thornton is the BEST teacher I could have ever hoped for. Her manner with the kids, style of teaching and combination of love and discipline were perfect for Lowery. I know God placed her in that class for a reason. And Lori Collins, Mrs. Thornton's aide, formed a special bond with Lowery that I am so thankful for. All of us Moms have commented over and over what a wonderful group of kids they were and what an amazing year it has been. Thanks so much to her teachers and school for giving us an unbelievable kindergarten experience.

Lowery received the "Diligence" and "Sweet as a Cupcake" awards. I am very proud of her year and the little girl she's growing in to. My favorite of her kindergarten accomplishments? Her bible journal of all the verses she's studied and learned throughout the year, which she loves to look at and study in her room. That's what PCA is all about and we are so thankful. Can't wait for 1st grade!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

See me on TV?

Don't worry, no one did! Unfortunately I did not make it on the WGN broadcast of the Cubs/Rangers game this past weekend (I didn't make a poster, that was just a joke). But I did gets lots of looks of disbelief and sympathy from just about everyone at the game - and the guys working in front of the first aid station jokingly said they had a bet that I would end up there by the 3rd inning. It was SO hot and the sun was blazing. I really can't believe I actually decided to go - it was pretty miserable but all in all worth it in the end.

Lowery and I spent a lot of time out on the concourse where the breeze and shade were plentiful. Our tickets were perfect and I got to see some of the game, but mostly preferred it where it was cooler. I think we drank about $40 worth of bottled water, I guess a good investment to keep me hydrated. It's amazing what attention a nine month pregnant stomach can get you on a hot day. It seems like it was an open invitation to all sorts of people to sit beside us at the picnic tables and get all of the information on the pregnancy. I didn't mind and Lowery of course loves talking to anyone and everyone (we did have one older man who, although nice, kind of over stayed his welcome - and caused Lowery to ask me why he was carrying around 3 cups of "iced tea" at one time. Ha!)

We had a great day. Lowery enjoyed rooting for the Rangers (vs. me and Steve rooting for the Cubs). During the few hours we were there she racked up a pillow case (that day's game giveaway), two Rangers tattoos, a pink rangers hat, an Ian Kinsler jersey t-shirt, hot dog, a lemon chill cup, pink cotton candy and her portion of the bottled water spree. Needless to say that sugar rush crashed and so did she about 2 minutes into the ride home.

I did manage to make it through the heat without passing out or going into labor, although I don't think I would repeat it if given the chance again. Next time we'll go for the night game tickets! This time last year when we moved here it was well into June before we got much over 90 degrees and we were always bragging about how good the weather was going. Of course now that I'm pregnant we're already in the 90's and to hit 95 this weekend. Isn't that the way it goes? Anyhow, there won't be any more take me out to the ballgame singing for me for a while... Now, Lowery? She made me wash that bright red Rangers pillow case as soon as we got home and already has it front and center on her pink and brown polka dot bed. I think she's ready to go back to a game anytime, cheer for Ian and get that sugar rush going again. So far she's turning out just like her mommy - I remember well all of the days when I was growing up, watching the Atlanta Braves with my Dad and becoming a baseball fan. I think Steve is pretty happy she had a good time at the game, too :) Speaking of, one final point. Ever notice that when Dad goes shopping with the girls at the mall he says no to every justice shirt, purse or jewelry that the little girl asks for? But take her to the ballgame and all of sudden money is no object and we end up with enough Rangers stuff to impress even Nolan Ryan... Hmmm...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

All in a Week as Mom

Last Saturday: Precious little baby shower luncheon with some of my great friends here in the big D. Thanks girls, I had a wonderful time!

Monday: 50's Sock Hop Day at Lowery's School

Wednesday: Whipped up a little chicken and spaghetti, salad, bread and fresh strawberry pie, my husband's favorite meal to welcome him back from a Chicago business trip - and for my parents who were in town. Hips and back felt like I'd been in torture chamber all day so the only reason I mention the meal is to say that it's most likely my last big hurrah in the kitchen before baby arrives.

Thursday: Rescued baby bunny rabbit from drowning in the pool. Dad fished it out with net, we dried it off, helped get him warm and out of shock and back to his Mommy. So glad my Dad has been here the two times I've had to get "wild" animals out of the pool. Is there anything more precious than a baby bunny?

Friday: The answer is yes, there is one thing I can think of that's cuter than a baby bunny - my sweet baby girl. Here she is, only 2 - 3 weeks from delivery in all of her chubby-cheek, 7 pound-4 ounce glory. My doctor's appointment confirmed she's doing great, I'm doing great, now we wait and see what happens in the next couple of weeks. It is close!

Coming up for the weekend? I will attempt to attend a Texas Rangers-Chicago Cubs baseball game in Arlington. Tune in to WGN Sunday afternoon to try and catch a glimpse of me. I'll be the fat one holding up a poster that reads "I delayed labor to come watch the Cubs". Surely that will get me on TV, don't you think?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Start Spreading the News...

To the tune of "New York, New York" - Everyone sing with these lyrics...

Start spreading the news
We're leaving today
We want to be a part of it
First grade, first grade

We're ready to go
We've worked very hard
We're gonna be a part of it,
First grade, first grade

We know our ABC's and 123's so well.
We've worked on sounding out words and stories to tell.

Just ask us to rhyme,
We'll say ten and pen.
We've learned to share and get along
With all our friends.

So now we've made it there.
We'll make it anywhere.
We're on our way...
First grade, first grade!

So proud of Lowery and all of her classmates for the "Greatest Show on Earth" performance, where they proudly sang this little song (her class played circus animals, she was a dancing bear of course). The kindergarten classes did amazing and I haven't laughed that hard in a while. We have had an amazing year at PCA, what a blessing this school has been. Only two weeks left before summer and then 1st grade?? Unbelievable. Seeing the smile on her face with all of these great friends she's made makes me so thankful for this year. We've made great memories!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Baby Name Crisis - Need Your Vote!

Steve has decided that he's not certain about the baby's name. I have to admit that I have had trouble really settling into it as well, but since it was after my grandmother and family I was very reluctant to even mention anything. I think it's the whole 2nd child thing, the name for your 1st fits so perfectly it's hard to imagine another one fitting just right. Plus, Lowery's name is so unique and we just haven't found that other family name fit yet. I am still pretty settled on Elle, but my husband has to be certain.

So remember how I joked when I named her about him wanting to put a poll on Facebook? Well, he did. It's reality and I'm mortified. Sign of the times, I guess, but I just cannot imagine us settling on our little girl's name based on facebook. But I have to say I am curious to get everyone's vote. So, if you want to see our top 4 names and have your say, go to and make a comment on my status. Or you can reply to this blog or send me an email. Choices:

1) Elle
2) Lily
3) Charlotte
4) Olivia - "Liv"

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

34 Week Update

It's so hard to believe that I have just a few weeks before Elle arrives. Just a quick update for everyone on what we know so far about baby girl. As of last week she weighs about 5 pounds, 4 ounces, and already has lots of hair (like her sister). I was hoping to avoid a repeat of the Elvis pompadour that Lowery sported at birth, but looks like we might be in for round two. Maybe it will be red - I don't know though, is a red mop better? Probably not.

Anyway, she is completely healthy from what we can tell and doing great. The most important thing is her size, since being underweight is a possible side effect of my blood pressure and medicine. She is just where she should be (maybe even a little ahead). The only thing is that she's turned the wrong way - she's had her head down forever, but flipped last week while we were out to dinner, over a hamburger at Purple Cow to be exact. The ultrasound last week did confirm that she was breach, but we have plenty of time to get that straightened out and going in the right direction.

We are so blessed and happy to see God's promise fulfilled in every aspect of this pregnancy. At this 34 week mark with Lowery I was on bed rest, taking about 6 pills a day and already showing signs of kidney trouble. As of now my blood pressure is still picture perfect, I haven't increased my medication once and everything is going well. I will begin weekly appointments next week (hard to believe) and will have frequent tests to help us know exactly when the right time is for her debut. I have hopes of making it to Lowery's dance recital on June 7th, so everyone say a prayer for her to arrive after that date.

Until then we have a pretty packed schedule so I am hoping the time will pass quickly. I will keep the updates coming!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What will it be like?

Sisters. A foreign concept to me, a bond I simply cannot comprehend. Growing up and sharing your life, home and parents with another child - another equally foreign idea to me. I have no idea what this is going to be like.

I remember distinctly a day about five years ago when I called to talk to one of my best friends and she was crying. It was a few weeks before the birth of her second daughter and she was grieving the change about to happen for her first little girl. At the time I had trouble understanding and it always stuck with me. Now that time for me is here and I understand it perfectly.

Lowery cannot be prepared for the change about to take place. I want to panic a little bit in my truly "o-c-d" kind of way. I want to analyze the timing, question the years between them, wonder if I'm crazy for doing this in a new city where we've already changed so much for Lowery in the past year. But then I remember that all of this is God's timing and his plan is perfect. And if Lowery has taught me anything in the past year, it's that she's pretty good at accepting change.

But I can't help but feel this special tug at my heart with her lately. I know, hormones play a role. But I have caught myself staring at her the past couple of weeks and just being in awe of her. She is such a unique gift. She's sensitive, caring and thoughtful - but somehow equally independent and strong. She is silly, has an imagination that rivals any big dreamer and always wants to make people laugh - but can be quiet and reserved when need be. She never meets a stranger, loves to talk with adults and has a special compassion for the elderly - but her favorite people in the world are her "cousins" and her family. She loves God and desires to learn more about Him and already comprehends more than I thought possible about His love and sacrifice.

I know most all of you have more than one child so you are very aware of the feelings I am having. But since most of my posts in the next few weeks will be focused on the arrival of my new baby, I had to talk about the one I already have right here. She is my girl, the light of my life. Again, I have no idea how to prepare myself, much less my 5 year old, for the change coming to our family. I will leave that up to God. I love my Lowery and am so proud of who she is. Lord, let her be ready for the change coming her way - and give her a bond with this sister that brings joy that lasts a lifetime.

Here I am 6 years ago, meeting the baby that I dreamed about for months. No longer having to wonder what she looked like, sounded like -but able to feel her and hold her and experience that overwhelming love. Now, to do it all again - what a wonderful, terrifying and amazing gift.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Could Be Here...

I could be here...

In Vegas staying at the Wynn with my husband (this is the view from his room). But instead I'm here with cankles and a nesting list that far outweighs my energy. Anyone else think this is not fair? Anyone else agree I'm due for a prenatal massage? Oh, yes...

Thank goodness I have my precious girl who is taking care of me. They practiced manners today at school so she helped set the table, used her best etiquette during dinner (and reminded me to get my elbows off the table and not to eat cornbread with my hands - I told her we lived in the South and to get over it) and even helped load the dishwasher. She is doing baths all by herself (I don't know if this is something we're like a year behind on - if you have a 5 year old that's been doing this for months just don't tell me and let me be proud anyway) and is being really sweet to help me out. I am very lucky. Between her and my mother in law who is here helping me this week I am making it fine. I got to take a nap today and had dinner cooked for me so it was a treat. I also baited my mother in law into the nesting list and we accomplished quite a bit today, including baby clothes washed and organized, freezer cleaned out and my closet cleaned out and organized. Okay, question: does anyone else's husband have a collection of dry cleaning baggies stashed in the corner on his side of the closet?? Good grief, you would think he's planning to suffocate me and wrap my body in them. Definite possibility. Anyway, lots of things accomplished and the nesting list is shrinking so it was a great day.

Until I remember that I could be in Vegas. At the Wynn, with that view.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

One Thing Checked off the "Things I'll Never Do" List

So my camera is broken and as a result I can't quite do the fabulous reveal I had planned. But picture a gleaming white, brand new Minivan - got it? Now imagine me ducking down in the seat behind the wheel so no one realizes it's me driving it.

Seriously, I told you guys I was irrational! Number one, instead of getting new tires I just decide to get a new car (which actually made quite a bit of financial sense on paper, seriously). And on top of that I got a minivan. Right now it's a love hate relationship. When I'm inside it I love it. When I'm outside of it and realize it's a minivan, I hate it.

Really, I am very thankful and blessed to have such an awesome ride. We took a trip to a Little Rock this past weekend and it was SO nice. Room to spread out, organize our stuff - even Ringo the dog had a whole seat to himself. Lowery got her movie player (which she offered to pay for herself with the $11 in quarters she got from my parents for her report card) and is in love with the automatic doors. I love it too and believe, as a Mom, it's the most wonderful choice out there when you're in the world of car seats and strollers.

But, a few days ago I was in a drive thru line, jamming to some 80's music. I got a glimpse of myself in the window - sporting some awesome gas-station bought sunglasses, season-old sandals, pregnant, listening to Duran Duran and driving a minivan. And it hit me that I had become my worst nightmare.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rages, Fits, Irrational Behavior

All I can say is that I'm going to have to blame hormones for my recent ability to fly off the handle at things. Okay, well, maybe it's not recently that I just developed this ability. I admit that I have always had somewhat of a short fuse, blame the red hair (notice I keep using this word blame, I guess I need to quit looking for a scapegoat). And us Lowerys have always been a little notorious for our irritable mood swings and strong opinions. Genetics, beyond my control. But at least I used to lose it over things that really "mattered". I often had fits when I worked - you know, those Friday evening client calls where the client demanded something by Monday morning. Or the team member that forgets they get a paycheck because they actually have to do something during the day. Anyway, the stress at work would spill over into other things and I would find myself getting frustrated with things at home as well. One of the many reasons I decided to focus my efforts on my child full time. And since that time, I have to admit my rages have decreased greatly. I pretty much control my schedule and day and have done much better at keeping things under control. Until pregnancy.

The first event that set me off was Blue Cross Blue Shield's decision to stop paying for my heartburn medicine. One month of medicine would now cost me almost $150. I tried to make it with an over the counter, which made me so sick I couldn't keep food down and ended up in the hospital to get fluids. All because someone, somewhere in a board room far away didn't think about all of the pregnant women who have to suffer with unusually rough heartburn and decided to nix Nexium from our plan. I was infuriated and ranted about it for days. Even called Blue Cross Blue Shield and Astra Zeneca and made my complaints known to them. Next up? Healthcare plan (which of course spilled over from the original rage towards Blue Cross). I'm usually not even that political, but it gave me something to have fit about for a few weeks.

Then there was the trip to Springdale where I felt such an overwhelming urge to nest I forced my family to work hours that would make a sweat shop cringe to get closets organized, clothes sorted, rooms painted, yard work done, rooms refinished and I don't know what else. I was a grouch and looked for something to get frustrated about.

This past week I found a new victim. Toyota. I've owned Toyotas now for over 12 years and they have always been so good, so reliable. Even with the recent recall, I had a tendency to side with them and just felt like they would figure it out. I began to lose patience when I found out about management looking for cost savings instead of fixing problems, but it wasn't until I had issues with my own car that the raving monster was let loose. We have not even had our 08 Highlander for 2 years yet - and up until this past week I loved that car. But I noticed about a month ago that my brakes weren't working well. And then this past week we found out that all 4 tires were finished, one completely worn down to the steel, and they needed to be replaced (affecting the brakes). All 4 of the tires. In less than 2 years. On top of that, I discovered that of all the tires in the world available, there were only TWO that would fit my car and they were extremely expensive. So, I of course get on the phone with Toyota and Toyo tires and find out that this has been a major problem with 08 Highlanders. Most tires were wearing out after 20,000 miles. Terrible, unheard of. Their solution? Offer me a "good will" discount of 1/32 of the tread left on the old ones. Whatever that means, I've never been good with fractions. I only know that I had NO tread left and 1/32 of nothing is nothing. Furious. Boiling. How could they not let owners know this was a problem? We were taking long trips on these tires that were terrible and it could have been unsafe for us.

So what did I do (other than call and make my feelings known to Toyota and Toyo)? Well, something completely irrational, of course. And I mean really irrational. I will reveal my actions tomorrow. Let's just say that I took it out on someone. And the decision I made would make Dave Ramsey have a stroke. More to come...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Elle is Growing! (And so am I!)

A little update on baby girl today. I am 29 weeks so am on the final stretch, although that final stretch seems to go on forever in my mind. I had a doctor's appointment today and got thoroughly checked out (I knew I would have extra tests with a high risk pregnancy, but didn't really imagine all I the times I would have to get stuck to get blood drawn - thank goodness the lab girl in the office is really good). Since I had a not-so-great week last week with the failing of the sugar test and the anemia news, I was hoping for a better appointment today. And that's what I got! Everything checked out wonderfully. A true touch of God, my blood pressure is still picture perfect, a beautiful 117/72. Elle is measuring a week and 2 days ahead of my date and weighs 3 pounds, 3 ounces. This is such good news since one of my risks is low birthweight due to the blood pressure medicine. Also good news because her and I BOTH had a major "growth spurt" the past two weeks. Not so much weight but size, I just feel like my stomach pushed out about about a foot overnight. I had a non-stress test as well and the heartbeat, movement, everything was right where it should be. All of that good news prompted my Doctor to give me the okay to travel this weekend for one last trip. I will be able to go to El Dorado for Easter and see my grandmother for the last time until June, which I'm very happy about. The only downside is that I have a tendency to do nothing but EAT when I am there. I will have to keep that under control or risk another growth spurt that I can't blame on the baby.

Anyway, Elle was precious! She has definitely put more fat on her little bones since her last 3-D picture, but must have been having a bad hair day because she burrowed with her head towards my back which did not allow for any good pictures :( I will keep updates coming, but as of now everything is going better than I could have ever dreamed (but through faith know it's what I should have expected all along).

Monday, March 29, 2010

Twinkle Toes, Rainbow Unicorns and Roy Orbison

Maybe these pictures will give a glimpse into the fun we've had around here the past week in Dallas. Even though it was only a week, it seems like a month ago that we drove through sleet and snow from Springdale and arrived at a house filled with more laughter and excitement than we've had in a while. I think Lowery considers her real Spring Break this past week even though she was in school. Anytime her beloved cousins are here, she is happy and in rare form. We had such a great time with the Connor, Calloway, Murphree and Perry crews, here are a few recaps:

The Highs:
- Lowery and Abbi's purchase of matching Skechers Twinkle Toes light up shoes (she counts on her cousins to keep her in style, thanks for the inspiration Isabel and Abbi). And Lowery's inability to walk normally since then because she's trying to light them up. Resembles some horrible form of flamenco dancing. Other inspirations from her cousins? Makeup application (thanks Jansen, see pic above for Lowery's attempt), a Nintendo DS (thanks Abbi) and an I Touch (thanks Chloe). You guys are killing me!
- A ride on a real live rainbow unicorn at her friend Brooke's birthday party. Did you all notice that there was even glitter on the hoofs? (hooves? whatever, I don't know). That poor pony got abused by the girls at the party and the spray paint in its mane. But it was fun to watch!
- A picture perfect day at the Fort Worth zoo with Joshua, Peyton and Chloe. Beautiful weather and the show the lions put on for us (I've never actually heard a lion roar like that) made for an awesome outing.
- The thoughtfulness of our family for Lowery - of Brandi to get her a pink bunny at Target after Lowery had to sadly watch her other cousins pick out prizes with their ticket winnings at Dave and Busters. Lowery didn't even have enough tickets to get a paper umbrella drink. And the thoughtfulness of Sunshine and Chloe to bring Lowery back a flag and princess bracelet from Medieval Times after Lowery had to stay at home and get in bed early for school instead of going with them.
- My Mom and Dad here with me for a few days, my favorite company:)

- 8" of snow here in Texas on the day we were supposed to go to Six Flags and a 2nd year in a row it's ruined Spring Break plans for Lowery's cousins
- Two big fat Fs on a pregnancy tests this past week. Flunked my first sugar test and found out I was anemic (I guess my six month diet of potato soup doesn't do much for the iron levels). At least my Mom was here with me during the dreaded 3-hour long 2nd sugar test. And I passed that one, thank goodness.
- Dad breaking his regular glasses and looking like Roy Orbison the rest of the time he was here because all he had was his prescription sunglasses to see with. Had to wear them inside restaurants. And inside stores. And at night watching TV.
- Ringo's lack of love for all the boys that were here at the house. But he loves the girls!
- I somehow broke my camera at the zoo. Who needs one of those before the birth of a baby anyway? (And I also can't get to the pictures from our time with the Perrys.)
- The quiet here today after having family around for a week.

Anyway, the highs definitely outweighed the lows and we had such a good time with everyone. And for all of you who haven't visited in Dallas you can clearly see that you are missing a good time!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Break Projects

We had such a busy and productive Spring Break in Springdale at the house (right up until we had to leave a day early because of the snow). I use "we" very loosely because it was actually Steve and Jerry and Carla (in-laws) who did much of the work. We couldn't have made it without them, everyone worked so hard. Here's what we got done - sorry I have to make a list, it just makes me feel better to see it all laid out and checked off!

1) Painted artwork on the wall in the nursery. I'm so proud of my husband, it turned out better than I even imagined! I think it totally makes the room and am lucky to have a husband that doubles as an artist!
2) Painted Lowery's new room, walls and ceiling. It took 3 coats because I did bright yellow over brown. Smart, I know.
3) Put up blinds in both Lowery's room and nursery
4) Hung curtains in Lowery's room
5) Painted some wall art for Lowery's room
6) Trimmed back all of the shrubs/plants in beds around the house
7) Laid down new mulch in all beds (30 bags)
8) Had heating system repaired and sprinkler system repaired
9) Cleaned out mud room and pantry
10) Switched closets out between nursery and Lowery's new room

All of that in just five days! It was worth it, the house is ready for Spring and for two little girls later this summer. As I mentioned earlier, Lowery decided at the last minute she wanted to switch rooms and take the room across the hall. We were lucky in that the new crib bedding we chose happened to match Lowery's old pink paint perfectly and even looks like we bought it to go in that room. The snow really put a damper on things - we needed that last day to work! We didn't get to quite finish up things. Lowery's room needs some color and decor, a new light fixture put up, another lamp and her real night stands. Elle's room needs curtains and some more artwork over the dresser and ideally a larger rug. But all in all I'm very happy with how the rooms turned out. All they need are a few giggles from two precious girls and they will change from just empty rooms to the life of the house!

Nursery (top 3) and Lowery's Room (bottom pic):

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Take a Trip Back With Me

All you girls and boys of the 80's, prepare for a trip down memory lane to one of your favorite places when you were growing up. Picture it with me - bright lights flashing in the air, the sweet smells of popcorn, hardwood and mildewy carpets, Chipmunk disco tunes jamming through the air, wind blowing through your hair as you speed around. The call from the DJ announces exciting events such as limbo and couple skate (always a big deal and so romantic, with the Chipmunk songs and all). Know where you are yet?

As soon as we stepped into the skating rink two weeks ago with Lowery for a birthday party, memories of The Skating Palace came roaring back. El Dorado peeps, it was the Skating Palace, right (before it became a hot bed for gang activity)? Anyway, we had SO much fun. I have to admit that I was a little nervous about my 5 year old and skates, recall she did break two bones on a simple cartwheel. It was somewhat painful and she may have suffered a slight concussion, but we sure had a blast. It was hilarious and I think I laughed the entire time we were there. Not sure if it was all of the little kids sprawling like Texas tumbleweeds across the floor, the gutsy Moms who laced up and returned to skating glory or the Chipmunk version of The Climb, but it was a sight to behold. It made me want to buy Lowery her own pair of skates - white ones with pink puff balls on the top and pink stoppers (the ones I never got, thanks a lot Santa) and start the weekly Saturday routine with her. We definitely have some work to do before she's truly ready for her first couple skate under the disco ball, but she made such progress in only two hours while we were there.

Here is the progression:
#1: Grasping the rail in the practice area
#2: Learning with the "walker:
#3: Hanging on to Mom for dear life
#4: Now I got it on my own!

She never got quite up to speed with birthday girl Kaleigh (who rocked some pink Barbie skates by the way), but she is anxious to keep trying. I sure had fun. Steve, who was drenched with sweat from helping Lowery learn and about to divorce me because I blamed him every time she fell, didn't seem to enjoy it near as much as I did. Kidding, he had a blast helping her and we both got great laughs out of the kids. Anyway, couldn't resist sharing our first time on skates. Thanks for a great day, Kaleigh!!

Oh, and Spring Break updates are coming next, including pictures of the nursery. It's 4 in the morning and I'm not thinking straight, I guess that's why I did this update first. Pregnancy and sleepless nights will give me a chance to catch up with blogging, but I can't promise that posts will be in order or make sense!