Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Taking away the doorstop

Today, I remove the stop that is holding the door open on my twenties.


As of midnight Wednesday, it is my 29th birthday, and for the next 365 days, the doorway to my twenties will be swinging steadily toward 30.

And you know what?  Bring it on!

My twenties were great – wonderful college memories, opportunities to travel, a bachelors degree, real paychecks, falling in and out of love, a short detour to a life in sunny California, a surprise career in insurance, marriage, my first “grown-up” house, a baby (or 2 or 5…), a not-so-short-can’t-really-call-it-a-detour move to Tennessee.

So, happy birthday to me!  Let’s see just what fun we can pack into this last year of 20-something!

Monday, September 28, 2009


News flash, Interpeeps.

Seth can now open a traditional doorknob.

Which is just great, because that is all we have in our home.  And it’s not like I ever kept a door shut to keep him out of things.


Anyone have an opinion on whether those Safety1st knob covers are worth it?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009


On Sunday, I had dinner with a girlfriend who I'd met through the Internet (don't you just love blog people?), who also happens to be pregnant -- about a month ahead of me.

We were trying to reassure eachother that this time would turn out great (given both of our past less-than-stellar conception histories).

Wednesday, she went to her first midwife appoint, and sadly, there was nothing detected -- no sac, no baby, no heartbeat.  She was devastated, to say the least.

Her doctor gave her a few options: (a) she was earlier than she thought, and it was just too soon to see anything; (b) the pregnancy was ectopic and she'd need to have an ultrasound on Friday; or (c) it was another blighted ovum.  She had her betas drawn on Wednesday after her appointment, and then just had to wait.

Her midwife had told her that if her betas were over 20,000 (keep in mind, she is almost 8w pregnant to my 5w), it would not be promising that there was a baby.  Under 20,000, there was still hope.

Thursday, she found out her betas were well over 120,000.

Again, she felt hopeless and heartbroken.

Friday morning, she went in for the confirming u/s, and to schedule a D&C.

But instead, she saw a healthy gestational sac, a perfectly formed yolk sac, and a beating heart.  Whoo-hoo!

And not only that, there was another gestational sac, just slightly smaller than the one with the baby.  There is still a chance that a twin is developing!!!

And not only that, but there were two more sacs, smaller than the others, with no visible signs of growth....

But still!  Can you believe it?  She said she knew she was in trouble when the u/s tech put in the wand and said, "Now, T____, did you conceive naturally?".

I can't help but remember what T___ said to me when she found out I was pregnant again: "This is going to be so great.  We are going to do this TOGETHER!!!"

Ugh.  Is it the 5th yet?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Beta, beta, bo, beta

I couldn't think of a more creative (or less cheesy) title.  My mind is still reeling a little from a phone call I received earlier today from my obgyn's office.

Last week, at 4w1d, I had a series of blood draws done.  I was approximately 15dpo (days past ovulation), but I'm guessing, based on my conception history, that I was closer to 12 or 13dpo.  Anyways.  I'd not heard from their office in the following days, so I assumed that all was well.

And then I received the following voicemail:

"Chicklet's Mommy?  This is Nurse from Doctor's office, and I need to speak with you regarding the results of your blood work.  Can you give me a call back at your earliest convenience."

Lovely, right?

So, I call back and tell the receptionist that I absolutley will hold while she finds Nurse, and in the meantime, sweat through my teeshirt.  Nurse gets on the phone all chipper, like usual, and says that I need to get her the phone number of a pharmacy (here, in Out of Town Land) so she can phone in a scrip for me ASAP.  I told her, "I'll be home Monday -- what's the rush?"

And then we do this awkward little dance where I want her to tell me what's wrong and she says "nothing is wrong" and I say "then why do I need this rx ASAP" and she says "Doctor just wants to be extra careful" and I say "why, what's wrong" and she says "nothing" and I say, calmly of course, "What were my betas" and she says "they were great!" and I say, calmly and sweetly of course, "BUT WHAT WERE THEY!!!!!????"

And in my head I'm thinking "over 30 over 30 over 30" (because that was what Chicklet's Brother's first draw was, and what I knew would be in the normal range).

Y'all wanna guess what my 15dpo beta was?


Yep.  If you want to know the real significance of those numbers, you can click here or here.

When I told the Chicklet's daddy what Nurse had said, he just laughed.  I have a feeling we may be doing a LOT of that in the coming weeks.

To be continued...

The Silence of the Slam

I have long been a fan of the weekly blog carnival Works for Me Wednesday.

wfmw banner

It’s origins go all the way back to Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer, and was recently passed to Kristen at We are THAT Family.

And today is my debut WFMW post.

Here is Seth’s monstrosity of a toy chest – lovingly hand-crafted for Jim by his grandfather 30 years ag0.  It is big, and it is solid.  Which means that when you open and shut the hinged doors on the front, you get an oh-so-loud SLAM!!!

barn 001

I couldn’t figure out a way to quiet the inevitable noise, yet I wanted Seth to be able to enjoy it.  So…….

barn 002

I stuck two self-adhesive plastic discs to the frame.  You know, the things that you are supposed to place on the back of framed and hung artwork so that it rests evenly against the wall?

They are the perfect size, unobtrusive, and just dense enough to absorb the sound when the two wooden doors hit the frame.

barn 003

See?!  Isn’t that great?  (Well, great, if you look past the exposed wood; apparently, I need to do some touch up work.)

A toy box lid that is easy on the ears?  Works for me!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Orient Express

Since becoming a stay-at-home-mom, I have really tried to expand my repertoire in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, my all-day-not-just-in-the-morning sickness with Duncan put the kibosh on that in the first few months here in Tennessee, and the trend of quick, easy, and probably not all that healthy carried over even when the morning sickness was gone.

With the arrival of fall came a renewed desire to try better.

And with a little – and I mean minimal, whoo-hoo! – effort on my part and an easy recipe from my handy Betty Crocker cookbook, I did this:

misc 002

I am most proud of myself for trying a recipe chock full of things I don’t even like – namely cabbage, vinegar, black pepper, and mandarin oranges.  But you know what?  It was yummy!  (Like, yummy enough that Jim and I both had second helpings!)

So, because I love you, I share the recipe with you, too:

Crunchy Oriental Chicken Salad
Prep time: 10 min; Cook time: 5 min; serves 6

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 package (3 ounces) Oriental-flavor ramen noodle soup mix

2 tablespoons sesame seed

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup white vinegar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups cut-up cooked chicken

1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts

4 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)

1 bag (16 ounces) coleslaw mix

  • In 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Stir in seasoning packet from soup mix.  Break block of noodles into bite-size pieces over skillet; stir into butter mixture.
  • Cook noodles 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in sesame seed.  Cook about 2 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until noodles are golden brown; remove from heat.
  • In large glass or plastic bowl, mix sugar, vinegar, oil, and pepper.  Add noodle mixture and remaining ingredients; toss.  Serve immediately.

***The only way I deviated from the recipe was to add the cut up chicken to the saute pan so the flavors from the toasted nuts and noodles transferred to the chicken, too.

This would be a great dish to take to a potluck or picnic, since there isn’t any dairy-based product like egg or mayo in it.

So, yea me!  For branching out and trying something new for my family.  I’ll have to make this open-the-cookbook-and-just-point-to-a-recipe a regular habit.  Bon appetite!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

You are already so loved

Little one,

You may be a secret from your grandparents, but mommy is telling everybody else about you.

I had the opportunity to tell a handful of people today -- people that have loved on me through the good and bad of all my prior pregnancies.

The sheer joy on their faces when they learned that you will be joining our family made my heart soar.  Big hugs, happy tears, promises of prayers to be said over your life forever.

You are special already -- and you don't even know it.  But I do.  And so does everyone who hears about you.

I love you,


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Four Months – Alternately titled “Twice”

I can hardly believe that four months have passed since I last held my darling Duncan.  I thought the three-month mark would kill me, yet here I am, staring down four.  And you know what?  It’s not as bad.

Maybe because his due date has come and gone.  Maybe it’s because I can look out almost any window at church and see the leaves of his tree changing in the autumn sun.  Maybe because God’s peace, and time, does indeed let things begin to miraculously heal.

duncan's tree

So this month, I offer a simple “Hello, baby.  I miss you,” to my Duncan, and instead, share something that has been on my heart for a while.  I pray this will bring understanding and clarity to some, while being a tribute to Duncan on his four-month birthday.


Even though we have traveled back and forth between Ohio and Tennessee numerous times since Duncan’s death, it seems each trip home places us in the company of someone we haven’t seen since our loss.  Often, after the requisite small talk, one will ask, “So, how do you like living in the south?”

My standard answer has been, and probably will be for a while, “Nashville is great.  It was the right move for us, even though the year of transition has been harder than we ever imagined.”

To which I get a variation of, “Oh, yes, about that…I’ve been so sorry for you.”

Well, in case you are wondering, there is definitely a surefire way to get my blood boiling, and that is to refer to the birth and death of my son as “that,”  as if it were a mere inconvenience, like a leaky faucet or a fender bender.  Am I still sensitive to all things Duncan-related?  Yes.  Am I overly sensitive?  Maybe.

But when the “that” statement is followed up with the dismissive, “Well, you know, my daughter/coworker/neighbor’s dog-walker/manicurist’s sister-in-law’s babysitter had a miscarriage with her first pregnancy…,” I feel like I’m a little justified in my sensitivity.

I repeat these “condolences” to Jim, and while he shares my distaste, he never seems surprised.  “Honey,” he says, “people don’t want to think of this as the birth of a baby, they want to treat it like a miscarriage.”

Forgive me my momentary rant, but maybe it is time to clear something up.

On May 19, 2009, I did not have a miscarriage.

I had a baby.  A son.  When he was placed in my arms, his heart was no longer beating, but it had been.  He was alive, and then he wasn’t.  He was here, and then he was gone.

Twice, I have had a miscarriage: February 25, 2007, with my first pregnancy, and on October 19, 2008, with my twins.  What I am going to say in no way lessens the heartache and lost joy when a woman miscarries; but as any woman who has experienced both a miscarriage and a birth, whether still or live, will tell you, the two events are profoundly different.

Twice, I have had an ultrasonographer say “It’s a BOY!”: July 17, 2007 and April 15, 2009.

Twice, I have felt my son’s first movements in my womb: July 29, 2007 and April 2, 2009.

Twice, I have been pricked with an IV needle that would fill with contraction-inducing drugs: December 13, 2007 and May 18, 2009.

Twice, I have given birth: December 14, 2007 and May 19, 2009.

Twice, I have had a doctor announce my son’s time of birth: 6:06 pm and 8:14 pm.

Twice, a smiling nurse proudly told me my son’s measurements: 5 lbs. 3 oz., 19” and 1 lbs. 1 oz., 11”.

Twice, I have smiled up at my father, holding his grandson, and announced the baby’s name: Seth James and Duncan Thomas.

Twice, I have been wheeled out of the Toledo Hospital, my abdomen drastically smaller than when I’d entered: December 19, 2007 and May 20, 2009.

Twice, I have seen an announcement in our church bulletin heralding the growth of our family: “Jim and Monica ____ proudly announce the birth of their son Seth James, December 14, 2007” and “Former members Monica and Jim _____ sadly announce the birth and homegoing of  their second son Duncan Thomas, May 19, 2009.

I have given birth to a son TWICE.  I have had my breasts fill with milk for my baby TWICE.  I have had a 6-week post partum obstetrical visit TWICE.

Do I need to keep going?

Just as I did not miscarry Seth, I neither miscarried Duncan; I delivered them both.

The only difference was that we got to bring Seth home, and with Duncan, we said goodbye much too soon.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Feels like home

When I emerged from underneath the covers, I shivered.

As I tiptoed down the hall, my bare feet curled in protest against the cold hardwood.

In the almost-dawn light, I powered up my laptop to see just what my Weatherbug had to tell me about the day.

It was only 49 degrees outside at the time, with a high in the low 70s for later in the day.


I smiled contentedly, shut the screen, and crawled back in bed with Seth curled up against my side.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Don't forget -- the Chicklet is a secret from his/her grandparents.  For those of you who are going to be seeing our family in the next several days, curb your enthusiasm in the presence of the grandmas and grandpas.  We can hug and do the happy dance in secret later!

Please pray for no nausea and safe travels as I head home with the little one(s) in tow.  We've had bad weather, and I'm not looking forward to the trip by myself.

See y'all on the flip side!

First of many

I have already lost track of the number of times I've been in my obstetrician's office in the last 7 months.  But today, I walked in with a renewed sense of belonging.

The last handful of times I was in her office, I felt like an imposter.  I wasn't pregnant.  Even though I was there for a post-partum visit, I didn't have a cooing infant in a carrier at my side.
But today, I went in and got on the scale with confidence.  I peed in a cup with confidence.  I sat still for my blood pressure reading with confidence.  I had my blood drawn with confidence.

And when they sent me on my merry way with a gift bag from Similac, as if this were my first, untainted pregnancy, I walked out with confidence.

I have my next appointment with my regular ob on October 13.  It feels like a world away, but I know I'll blink and it will be here.

Bring it on.  I'm ready.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

No fear

Do y'all remember that slogan?  Was it Nike?  I don't even remember the time frame -- maybe junior high? -- that "NO FEAR" was all the rage.  And considering that, for me, junior high was all about crushing on Robbie Beat and growing my hair out long enough to use coordinating ribbons with my cheerleading uniform, I can't say that I even understood the hype behind the slogan.

But now?  Staring down the reality of my fifth pregnancy in just over two years?  The phrase "no fear" has revitalized meaning for me.

I was so very terrified when I learned of my fourth pregnancy.  I wasn't ready; I wasn't excited; I wasn't much of anything, except scared, and wishing that I could turn back time. 
The Lord has really sheltered my heart from feeling any guilt over the reality of those emotions.  I know that my fear didn't diminish my love for my son.

But with this new life growing inside of me, I can honestly say that I have no fear.  Only joy.  I am confident.  I am excited.  I already have the feeling that our family will be complete with the arrival of this baby.  Oh, I still think we are open to adoption down the road -- but as far as conceiving and birthing and what not -- I know that this is it for us, and I'm relishing each moment of this -- my fifth and final -- pregnancy.

Meet My Peeps: The Other Mama

theothermama button

When I registered to go to BissDom’09 last Christmas, my only hopes for the conference were to stay motivated to keep up the blog writing, and to maybe feel like my degrees in literature and English weren’t going to waste.

I never expected to come away with a forever friend.  You know, the kind of person you click with instantly?  Who can live hundreds of miles away, and maybe you only see one another once a year, but it doesn’t matter?  The kind that you have makes-sense-to-only-the-two-of-you conversations with on Facebook chat in the middle of the night?

I found one of those, and her name is Hillary (aka The Other Mama), and if you aren’t reading her, you are missing out.


Sidebar: That photo?  We didn’t even know it was taken at BlissDom last year, but NOW it’s being used for advertising for the '10 BlissDom conference.  There we are: Hillary, The Other Mama; me, The Writer Chic (and my ever-present DayTimer); and Jessie, Vanderbilt Wife.

Pretty much anything you may want to know about Hillary, she fesses up here in her “About Me” intro post.

No matter what you like to find on a blog, you’ll pretty much find a little bit of everything at The Other Mama.

Want to know how to be an all-star kids clothing consigner?  She can help you here and here.

Need a foolproof dip recipe?  Here ya go.

Wondering what it’s like to be a room mother in your child’s preschool?  She’ll tell you like it is.

Want somebody to drive to your town and spend a day at the zoo with you?  She’s your girl.  (Well, she’s your girl if you’re me.  How lucky am I?)

Hillary is sweet, gracious, funny, grounded, wise, beautiful, friendly…I could go on all day listing her virtues.  But I figure you’ll take my word for it, go to her blog, start reading her regularly, and figure that all out for yourself.

hillary bw

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A growing darkness

A faint line at only 10dpo -- 3w2d:

Slightly darker at 11dpo:

And where I finally believe it's real, at 14dpo:

We're pregnant! And I'm done peeing on things for a while!

If I get 100 followers, I’m gonna dye my hair

Well, okay, not really.  I’m dyeing my hair regardless of my followers.  What else is there to do on this rainy Tuesday afternoon?

I mean, there is that pesky To Do list, but that has things like “laundry” and “menu plan” and “tidy living room” on it.  I think dyeing my hair is a much better use of my time.

But speaking of my subscribed followers….have you noticed the number steadily growing?  I gained 95 and 96 just in the last week.  (Welcome, ladies!)  And that got me thinking….I should celebrate the 100th follower.  But how?

What do y’all think?  You are the ones who bother to stop by and read and comment.  What do YOU want to see/hear about?

Leave your suggestions in the comments, telling me to post pictures of something, or an ask-anything session, and when I get my 100th followers, I’ll honor your wishes, posting whatever it is YOU want!

In the meantime…..what do you think?


Can you tell the difference?


It doesn’t really show up, does it?  Oh, well.  I can tell, and I love it – just a hint redder and several shades darker.  Perfect for fall.

Anyways….I was talking about followers.  I’m ready to hit the triple digits, people!  So, think of what you want to see when it happens.  Hopefully, it’ll be soon!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A new beginning

Hello, reader.

Welcome to The Chicklet's home.

If you have found your way here, most likely you are one of the few who know that I, the Chicklet's Mommy, am pregnant. Again.

You probably aslo know that we have decided to keep this pregnancy hush hush for a few months. But a girl still needs an outlet, right?

So, I figured that starting a new blog would be a great way for me to chat about all the things I can't talk about on my regular blog, and when the time comes for the news to go public, I can just incorporate these posts over there. Fun, huh? In theory. We'll see how well it actually goes.

A couple ground rules.

If you choose to "follow" this blog, please do so annonymously, so that both The Chicklet and my regular blog don't show up in your "Following" list. Not that anyone would take the time to try to put two and two together.....but you never know. Thanks!

Please only share this blog at your utmost discretion. I don't want to have to go privat on this, but I also don't intent this blog to become uber-popular either. It's just the inner workings of my uterus, people. Nothing too exciting (let's hope).

Alrighty, we are at 4 weeks and counting. Hope y'all are in this for the long haul. We've got 36 more weeks to go!

What the experts say

Sunday nights around our house have been all about HGTV’s Design Star this summer.  Obviously, with the finale on the docket, this past weekend was no exception.

Between segments, however, I entertained myself with this fun quiz on the HomeGoods website.  After a series of multiple choice questions and visual options, I was told:

“Monica, you have a naturally refined sensibility with an appreciation for tradition and history. You value beauty, craftsmanship, and family heirlooms, but you like to open things up with pretty, easy-going pieces like painted wood or distressed furniture, lovely florals and other patterns, and bunches of fresh flowers that give your home a breezy, relaxed feeling. You love unique finds, have a thrifty, creative side, and can make these things work together.

“You value comfort. Your home is a warm and open friendly place, and you feel happiest when everyone is cared for and relaxed in your space. Elements like pillows, throws, overstuffed furniture, and good lighting set the mood. You may also enjoy layering different fabrics or mixing patterns to create a cozy effect.”

Isn’t that neat?  I don’t know if it’s completely accurate, but I feel like I fit into that stereotype pretty well.


Now it’s your turn!  You can take this fun and quick quiz, and then let us know what the HomeGoods experts had to say about you!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Holding vigil

Please continue to pray for Beth, Daniel, and little Presley.

We know that God is in control, and holds Presley’s tiny little heart in His all-powerful hands.  But in our finite opinions, there has been much too much of this:

bedside vigil 001

And not nearly enough of this:


You can stay best updated by clicking here to be taken to Beth’s blog.  We need this little to heal and come home soon!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Overdue Thanks

We were sweetly bombarded with well-wishes and gifts the week that Duncan was due, but between the tree planting and Nonna’s whirlwind trip to town, I was remiss in getting up some pictures and thank you’s that I wanted to.

To Sara:  Seth was initially thrilled with the wooden blocks….

blocks from sara

…until something more exciting showed up, like the garbage truck!


But never fear, he interest was soon recaptured:

blocks from sara 2

Thank you for the three-fold box.  The brownies disappeared lickety-split, the frame is on our nightstand, and now, there are always blocks strewn about my otherwise always spotless living room.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I wish I could blame the brevity of this blog post on something like this:

dell destroyed

And yes, that is the inside of my laptop, from when I had to replace the Seth-tore-them-off keys.

But nope.  Not a computer malfunction.  Just nothing left to say after a long, emotional, draining week.

TGIF, peeps!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Nonna comes to the Big City

A picture is worth a thousand words.

But why choose one or the other? =)  Here comes an overdue post, chock full of details and photos, of Nonna’s visit to our humble little corner of Music City.


Agenda included an impromptu visit to the Gaylord Opryland Resort.  I hated that parking cost us $18 plus tax, but I’m glad I got to show my mom such a beautiful spot.  It was nice to show her one of our favorite places that really started to make Nashville feel like home to us last fall.  It’s where we took this picture, remember?

Nashville Tgiving

After the grandness of the Gaylord, we decided to stop in and see Jim.  We ended up with more than we bargained for, by getting a guided tour of the warehouse and a step-by-step look at what exactly it is that Jim’s company does.  (This was awesome for me, because I am always stumped when someone asks me what Jim does, and now I can answer so much more intelligently.)

Um…..imagine a picture here of a warehouse and a couple semi’s.   Sorry – I didn’t have the camera handy.

Then, a first for both Mom and me: lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.  Need I say more?  I’m not sure if I enjoyed the salad, the cake, or the company more.

choco rasp truf cc

After lunch, we headed back to the house to drop off our stuff, grab Seth’s swim bag, and then it was off to pick up the little man and head to the fountains for a little splash time.

aug - home craziness 030

I know I said “fountains” and “splash,” but let me tell you, even we were the ONLY people at the fountains that day, in true Seth fashion, he had more fun running around the quad and dancing near all the underground speakers blasting 60’s music.

Once we returned home, we unleashed the monster of Seth’s inner “Thomas lover.”  I mean, it was no secret that he loves anything he could turn into a choo-choo (remember this?), but show the boy the real Thomas the Train….?  Pure bliss.

You don’t think these two were happy to see each other, do you?

We were off the hook for planning dinner Thursday night, thanks to our small group providing food at Duncan’s tree planting.  That allowed for time to just enjoy the moment and having my mom present for such a significant event.  Plus, she got to meet her future granddaughter-in-law.  (And I know Beth and I joke about it, but seriously, how cool will this picture be if ever Seth and Presley do end up in a happily-ever-after?!)

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Jim and I have attempted, a few times, to visit a Nashville landmark, and finally accomplished it, guest in tow!

aug - home craziness 047I’m glad we went; the food was good; but I don’t know that we’ll go back.  Even on a weekday morning, the wait was long, and, ahem, we (I) got a parking ticket.  Oh, well.   (It wasn’t a “real” ticket that goes on my record, but I’m still out $15.)

We shopped til we (just about) dropped, both for fun (yea, Opry Mills and great finds at Old Navy) and for food (why, oh why, did it take me 6 months to figure out that grocery shopping is SO much easier on mommy when Seth is in one of those kiddie car carts?!

Friday night, we gave Nonna the royal treatment with a night on the town.  We started out at B.B. King’s, and it was as good as the first time we ate there.  Yuuuuuuuum.  If you are looking for a downtown eatery with great atmosphere and reasonable prices, this is your place.  We were there almost 2 hours, and Seth didn’t fuss at all.  Something about the awesome music, I think!

Despite this first picture, he LOVED it!  I’ll have to upload the video of him signing along to “My Big Fat Girlfriend"!  It’s too funny.  I think he just like the contrast of the sound when he would plug and unplug his ears, because we are catching him doing this all the time now, when there is music playing.  He’s a goof.

aug - home craziness 054

Yes, we’re bad parents.  We let our toddler attempt to get the lime out of the empty Corona bottle.  And laughed until we about peed our pants watching his efforts.


A lazy morning followed by our first trip to the Nashville Farmer’s Market.  So.  Much.  Fun.  So much fun that I don’t have a single picture.  Not of the Ugliest Tomato contest, or of the hugest watermelon’s I’ve ever seen, or of the beautiful mums, or of the gorgeous eggplants we bought home…..but take my word, it was a great morning.

We decided to head down towards Vanderbilt and have lunch at the Mellow Mushroom.  YUMMY!  And how smart of mommy to pack Thomas and friends. ;)  How smart of Nonna to make a tunnel out of the drink menu?

Some time at the park later that afternoon replaced the ever-overrated nap:

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aug - home craziness 084

aug - home craziness 073

Steak, grilled asparagus and fresh veggies out on the deck rounded out the day. About as close to perfect as a girl could ask for.

Sunday was a quiet day of worship, cooking, napping, chatting, and (sniff) packing.  Seth was a huge help – clearing enough room in Nonna’s carry on to accommodate him.  Don’t think that she didn’t seriously consider sneaking him on the plane!

aug - nonna visit 004

aug - nonna visit 006

Monday, we squeezed in as much fun as we could before heading to the airport.  Nonna got to see Seth in action at My Gym (and apparently, she took all the pictures of this), but if you need a visual reminder of how much he loves this place go here.

A run to Toys ‘R Us, and lunch at Chili’s:

aug - nonna visit 018


Seth took the cowardly way out of goodbye.

aug - nonna visit 019 Me?

I had to deal with the driving home from the airport in tears.

Nonna, we can’t wait for you to come back with Bop Bop and Bailey!  We love you!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Broken Heart


As of 10:30 PM, I am home from the hospital for a few hours of sleep.  Words fail me to express how proud I am of Beth – she is doing so well.  I know she probably doesn’t feel like it, but seeing her in action with Presley and her nurses?  She is doing great.

Here is a sneak peek at our girl(s):

hold on baby

Beth may or may not choose to share some of the more detailed photos, but I wanted you to see for yourself just how involved this surgery was, and how little Presley is.

She is going to be extubated, we hope, sometime in the early morning hours of Thursday.  She continues to be sedated, but she definitely knows when she is being spoken to.  She is such a trooper!

Again, thank you all for your support of this dear family – they have felt the love, believe me!


4:14 PM: Beth and Daniel were able to see Presley. Please continue to pray for peace. In Beth's own words, "It was the hardest thing I have ever done."


As of 3:30, Beth and Daniel have yet to see Presley. We are getting anxious, but know that she is in good hands. All is well, this is just a delay. But still. We are ready to get to her! It has been a long day, but spirits are good, and there is even talk of getting some dinner. =) Thank you, still, for the constant prayers.


As of 2:30, we have learned that there was a second hole in Presley’s heart (as Beth suspected – see, momma does know best!), but that, too, was closed successfully.  Now, we are just waiting for admission to the PICU to see that sweet baby girl.  We love you, Ah-pesh (as Seth calls her!).


As of 12:30 CST, Presley is out of surgery.  The hole in her heart is closed up.  She's off the bypass machine and her heart is working on its own.  They are closing her up now.  Thank you for your prayers.


It’s time, people.

Presley goes into surgery around 8:00 AM CST.

Please pray for steady hands for the surgeons, peace of heart for the parents, strength for Presley, and grace for all of us who love this baby girl.

beth and pres

We will have access to wireless Internet at the hospital, and I’m sure that my, Andrea’s and Beth’s blogs will have updates as they are available.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Meet My Peeps: V and Co.

Sigh.  I just heart her.


Here are just a few reasons, in no particular order, that I added her to my feed reader after just a quick look around her site:

Her header.  Something that bright and cheerful and whimsical and classic all at once had to be the product of an ultra creative domestic diva.

Her name.  Vanessa.  I just think that there is something romantic and beautiful about it.

Her photography.   She is so talented, and I love that she not only takes beautiful pictures for the sake of beauty, but that she uses them to teach.  For example, you can’t ask for a better step by step than this post on how to turn a $2 thrift store skirt into a dress.

Her profile blurb: According to V, she is “a mom of 4 who likes to quilt, sew, decorate, run my mouth, hang out with other women who can stand me, and organize the death out of anything.”

Her posting style.  Here are just a few examples of what you’ll find at her site:

Insert Witty Title Here – a quick, not-much-written-content-but-made-my-day kind of post

Things I Want To Try From Blogland – some great links to send you blog hopping on a dreary Monday morning

You May Call Him the Cow Whisperer – just pure blog gold

I will send you along to “bigger” home/decor/crafty bloggers over the course of my Meet My Peeps series, but I don’t know that I will link up to anybody else who I think is the whole package like Vanessa.  I hope you spend some time at her site, and enjoy her as much as I do.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Eventually, I’ll write about golf

But for now, another post about music.

I don’t remember the first time I saw The Sound of Music, but to this day, I can repeat back the entire script and soundtrack, pretty much verbatim.

I don’t know that there is a sweeter voice of my childhood than Julie Andrews.  Whether singing Edelweiss  as Fraulein Maria or Superfragilisticexpialodosis (ala Mary Poppins), she kept me entranced.

And apparently, the tradition continues:

Ah, if only I were a VonTrapp.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I have to be there at 8:00 AM

Such a simple statement – just an everyday communication between a husband and a wife.

But as soon as the words left my lips, a smile took their place.

Because with that simple announcement to Jim, I put back a critical piece in the puzzle of our life.

Singing is an integral part of who I am, and for as long as I’ve been an adult, I joined in the chorus in any way I could.  I traveled in a quartet for 3 summers in college; I led the just-learning-to-keep-rhythm  musicians of our junior high youth group band; I joined ensemble after choir after chorus line, and loved every minute of it.

My bedrest with Seth’s pregnancy sidelined me from my participation with our praise team from July ‘07 until February ‘08.  (For my readers who don’t exactly know what that is, our praise team is made up of 4 or 5 singers who lead the congregation in praise and worship music during services).  Anyways, you better believe that as soon as the spring rotation was released, I was reclaiming my microphone.

I’d get up on those chilly winter mornings, tiptoeing around the house so as not to disturb my sleeping boys, getting dressed and making sure there was enough breast milk in the fridge to get Seth through multiple bottles.  I’d start my Mazda up, scrape the ice from my windows, wish for a hot cup of coffee, and head off on nearly-deserted roads.

I relished the quiet of those solo drives to church, using the stillness to prepare my heart for a morning of worship.  I did this at least once a month, from February until October, when our back-and-forth trips between Ohio and Tennessee became routine.

When we started attending our new church back in January, I knew that eventually, I’d want to get involved with the music ministry.  But the pregnancy, and then our travel schedule, and then Duncan’s birth/death held me back, until three weeks ago, when I went to the first choir rehearsal of the fall.  It was like a piece of me that had been missing for the last year had been replaced.

And on Sunday morning, I will stand in front of my church family and once again lead in worship on the praise team.

I’m so excited.  I’m so nervous.  I’m so fortunate that I was welcomed with such open arms.  I know that I’m blessed with a talent, and I’m only too happy to use it like this.

Today, I claim this verse:

Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.
Isaiah 49:13

Saturday, September 5, 2009


It started innocently enough.

A simple gift at Christmas.

But an indulgence turned into a habit, thanks to BlissDom.

And that habit grew when Seth was introduced to the wonder, thanks to me.

And then, Jim fell for it, too, thanks to Seth.

And now.

We are making an official announcement:

We are a CROCS family.

crocs 002

His, hers, little his’ – for now, and for later growth.  It’s not quite an obsession, but we’ve definitely gone over to the dark (plastic and holey) side.

Tell me, Interpeeps?  Do you have an opinion on the Crocs phenomena?

Friday, September 4, 2009

This too shall pass

 sept calendar

Have you ever realized that people most often use the phrase “this too shall pass” to encourage you to endure through difficult seasons of life?

Your newborn baby has colic?  It will pass.

Your toddler isn’t staying in his big boy bed?  It will pass.

Your little one rips another laptop keys off the keyboard while you are typing a blog post?  That too had better pass, because I am ticked. (I better be able to get the “6” key back on, or I’m going to have to call Dell again – and I don’t know how long my warranty covers toddler wear and tear.)

But I digress.

The hard seasons pass…..but so do the good.

I have been feeling very nostalgic the last few days, as we’ve ushered in September 2009.  And I think it’s because I have been so aware of how blissfully normal September 2008 was.

Work was going well for me; I’d just gotten my long-awaited promotion.  Seth was blossoming, even under different temporary childcare while we were waiting for this beauty to make her arrival.  Our deck construction was complete, and we were enjoying the company of our friends.  I was pregnant with the twins, but blissfully unaware.  We felt there might be a change on the horizon, but we were still ignorant that the change would involve a cross-country move away from our families.

Life was good then.

And that isn’t to say that it isn’t good now.  But now, things are good in spite of all that has transpired in the last 12 months, not just plain good because they’re good.  Does that make any sense at all?

I guess all I’m trying to say, to you, and to me when I come back and read this someday, is: if you’re in a good place right now – stop and appreciate it.  Bask in the mundane and the uncomplicated.  If you are tempted to be “bored” with your everyday – don’t be.

Because this good season will eventually pass, too.  And I don’t say that to discourage – it’s just a fact of life.  Seasons come and go.  Life brings both sunshine and rain.

So wherever you are at today, just rest and be still, and be content in the moment.  Change will arrive soon enough.