Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes....

Another installment of the things my children say, and this time, my littlest (that would be the littlest OUT-of-utero) is making his big debut!!! The pictures really have nothing to do with the text above them, I just like pictures. I'm that kind of girl.

Kaiti: Jack, I am not happy with you. That was not a good choice. Do you hear me Mister? I am NOT happy.
-Jack stares blankly and then smiles at her
Kaiti: Fine. I will clean up what you spilled. But only this one time. Next time, you need to NOT throw your sippy cup. Got it? Okay, Mom, I think he knows now.
Me: Thanks for trying to help him learn Kaiti bug. You’re such a good big sister.
-Jack grabs his sippy cup and throws it at Kaiti, smiling the whole time-
Kaiti: Mom, something is wrong with our baby. He doesn’t listen. You better take him in.
Me: To where?
Kaiti: The doctors. They can give him some medicine to fix his listening.

Tyler: I really want that game. I had so much fun playing it at Parker’s house.
Me: I know you want it buddy, but you have to save for it. You have saved $16 from your allowance and in your piggy bank. Maybe we can find a used one.
Tyler: What else can I do so you’ll wanna get me the game?
Me: Tyler, you have to save your money, hon. That’s the way it works. (as he hugs me) I love hugs, bud, but that’s not getting you a game.
Tyler: (miffed) Why can’t you just go to the cash machine at wal greens and turn some of my dollars into twenty’s?
A lengthy discussion explaining the ‘cash machine’ YET AGAIN followed

Kaiti: So, when you saw baby Elefin in your belly, did she look like me?
Me: Kaiti, Ev-e-lyne, honey. Evelyne. Say it with me.  Eh-vuh-lin.
Kaiti: El-e-fin. Did she look like me?
Me: She looked beautiful and you sure are beautiful, so yes, she looked like you.
Kaiti: Yes! I thought so. You hear that Tyler, she looked like ME!
Me: Why do you want her to look like you, honey?
Kaiti: Because that feels me special. And when you’re not around, I’ma pretend she’s mine. But don’t worry. I won’t put her in my toy bin.
Me: Phew.

­­­­­­­­­­Tyler: Did you see that kid chasing me, Mom? He was trying to tag me out.
Me: I saw. He was really fast. And you ran super fast, but some times kids are gonne be faster than you.
Tyler: Yeah, like that kid. I almost made it to 2nd, but then he got me, and he knocked me down.
Me: I don’t think he did it on purpose. He was just going so fast and I don’t think he could help it.
Tyler: He didn’t get me the 2nd time I hit though. I made it to 2nd, and he didn’t get me out. I ran super fast, like lightning. He couldn’t catch me.
Me: You did. And it helped that Austin hit the ball into the outfield, and not down the first base line.
Tyler: I guess. But I did run like lightning. He didn’t get me that time!

Tyler: Kaiti, help me build these train tracks.
Kaiti: I can’t get them to go together.
Me: Here, I’ll help.
Kaiti: Mommy, YOU can build train tracks?
Me: Yes. Did you think I couldn’t?
Kaiti: But you probably can’t get them to go together like Daddy.
Me: Kaiti, I CAN get them to go together like Daddy does, and I have done this with you many times.
Kaiti: But Daddy makes bridges and lots of turns. Did Daddy teach you last night when we were sleeping?
Me: Fine. Yes, last night while you all were sleeping, Daddy woke me up and brought me out to the living room to show me how to put together train tracks.
Kaiti: I thought so. Thanks for learning quietly.

Tyler: Why do you set the alarm, Mom?
Me: To keep us safe.
Tyler: I thought you said keeping us safe was your job?
Me: Well, it is, but I could use some help.
Tyler: Because you have a bunch of kids?
Me: Sure. But I don’t really have a bunch…more like a few.
Tyler: What’s the difference of a bunch and a few?
Me: You know that show I watch about the Duggar family—THAT is a bunch. We have just a few.
Tyler: So a bunch is 19?
Me: Wow, you remember they have 19 kids. How’d you get so smart?
Tyler: I eat a lot of meat.

---and Jack, making his debut-----
Me: Jack, do you need a diaper change?
Kaiti: Do you have a dirty diaper little boy?
Jack: pointing to his diaper ‘Awww, sheeeet’
….(how he says ‘Oh, shoot’—yes I know, not the best thing for me to say AND for him to repeat,  but it could be worse….though it does sound like he is saying a naughty word)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Not ME! Not My MAN! Not My BABY!!

I'm going to jump right in here.....for no other reason than I just realized I have some TiVoed shows I did not know I missed and I really want to watch them while Jack is resting. That's a perfectly acceptable reason to not introduce what I am writing about, right?? Glad you agree. Well, then......

I did NOT decide to sew my friend, who is expecting a little baby girl very soon, a baby blanket over a month ago and have yet to break out the sewing machine after my needle-finger incident. (I have no idea how I managed to get my finger under the needle, but sure enough, the needle went right through my finger AND nail, and suffice it to say, it did not feel good.) I have NOT felt the strong desire to craft on many nights, only to be swayed by my greater desire to curl up in bed. So, only today did I start sweet Lucy's blanket and feel that all was going swimmingly until I got to the fourth side to see that my fabric egdes were no longer right on top of each other, and instead over an inch apart. UGH!!! NO WAY!! I am waaayyyy more skilled than that...and even I  can master a straight line.

On a night last week, my husband decided to throw a roast in the crock pot- something I am not so big on, especially when pregnant. So, after getting the roast all set in the morning, he was expecting dinner to be ready about 6. He did NOT come tell me at about 5:15 that we could expect to sit down to dinner at about 10 o'clock. I looked at him, smirking, and said 'Did you say 10 o'clock??', to which he kinda turned his head and mumbled something like 'Yeah, something must be wrong with that crock pot......'  Thank goodness we had pasta left from the night before :)

After a minor issue last week, I was sent to L&D at the Naval Hospital, strapped to monitors and told to disrobe so I could undergo an exam just to check on things. In walked a new OB doctor, one I had never met before-- and after having 2 children at that hospital and going there for half of both Jack's and Evie's pregnancies, I've met them all. This sweet young doctor proceeded with the exam, and at one point told me I needed to push. Well, it was NOT this woman who lifted her head up and said 'Umm....I don't know what that means. I don't know how to do that. I've never PUSHED before,' in a voice that was mixed with both embarrassment and slight annoyance (annoyed at the fact that I would LOVE to have pushed and know what that feels like, but none of my OBs ever let me.) The very surprised, confused doctor did NOT lift his head, stare at me and say 'What do you mean? Isn't this your 4th child? How do you NOT know how to push?' Despite my frustration, I kept my cool. It WASN'T ME who stated, voice cracking with emotion, 'Well, since you all have decided I'm no good for a vaginal delivery, I've had 3 c-sections and been robbed of my chance to EVER get to push.' For the record, I did apologize after the fact. Had he just GLANCED at my chart, though, he would have known why I didn't know how to push. Just sayin.

As I have made it abundantly clear, I am a very on-top-of-things, rule-following mama. I know....that goes without saying. I was raised with manners and my children embody the same level of sophistication I was reared with. So then, I can assure you, this is most certainly NOT MY CHILD.......

My children are always FULLY dressed, in clean, stain-free clothes. I NEVER let my babies walk around naked. NO WAY!! NOT ME!!!

If you would like to participate in the blog carnival that is NOT ME! Monday, click on the image below.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

mary diane

In the past several years, I have come to regard my autumn as my favorite season. I love slowing down. Crisp, not-as-humid nights. The leaves changing colors. It seems to be a season that reminds us to focus on family. I know that is probably not logical, but completely how I feel.

With spring here, though, I think I am changing my mind. Sorry autumn-- I was such a fair-weather supporter. I think it is just a time in my life where I need to the sun to warm me. I crave that sense of renewal, of regeneration. In the past few days, I have felt like life has breathed her spirit back into me. 

It's ironic that I am feeling it most today. Two years ago today, my mom left this earthly life. Suddenly, with no forewarning, she went to Heaven. She was 53. Beautiful, full of life and hope and wonder, and with a heart as big as the sun.

In the two years since she has been gone I have graduated from college, struggled with worry over the health of my then-unborn son, rejoiced at his arrival, grieved welcoming a life without my mother by my side, said goodbye to a husband that left for a place where War was on the daily schedule, watched as my oldest left his church school and made his way into the big time (Kindergarten), saw Kaiti emerge from her introverted, painfully-shy cocoon, became pregnant again with baby #4, and learned that my mom's 2 daughters would together give life to a grand total of 3 boys and 4 girls-- and restore the majority vote to the ladies!

I have struggled so much in this new life, without a mom. I have crouched in my closet and wept while my family slept. I have had to turn my head at times, so quickly overcome with tears, to keep my children from feeling the sadness. I have taken many a good, deep breath when it feels like my heart is crushing any chance at living. 

But I have also seen the beauty of her life many times over. When I look at pictures of my oldest or steal a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I see her. When I feel beat in the ordinary experiences of raising 3 kids, I remember that she was proud of me, and I feel lighter. When I have felt sad or disheartened over something that happened, I know that she continues to love me, and feel so warmed by that. 

I pray for my family. I talk to her often. I picture her face in my head, and I smile. I think back at the time she was here, and it is never the big things I remember, but the little ones. Like how, even at the age of 28, I would be driving, and she would reach over and hold my hand. And me, the girl who typically cringed at such obvious signs of affection, would relish in the moments my mom loved me so much, she could not stand to let my hand go unheld.

There is the picture I have from right after Tyler was born. I am sleeping on the couch, with Tyler curled into my side, so wonderfully exhausted from nursing and nurturing this new sweet life. Jeremiah is sitting on the floor beside us on the couch, and he is stroking my face as I sleep. My mom took the picture. She saw something so beautiful, so filled with love, that she wanted me to see just how much my husband loved me when I was not looking. It is my favorite picture. 

She was my mom. And oh my goodness, do I know how blessed I am, I was to be born to her. I thought I was going to be crippled with sadness today. But instead I feel overcome with tears of love, at remember who she was and what she taught us. With my mom, it was never in the outward, obvious was always in the tiny pieces of life that so easily go missed that she was amazing. The times she reached out to hold my hand. The times I'd be sitting in the living room, getting kids dressed or changing a diaper, and I'd turn and see her just watching, smiling at me. When we'd play cards as a family, and knowing she should fold her hand, she wouldn't, just because she liked to chase things and she couldn't bear to not know how things would play out. 

No sadness today. Just some warm, happy tears remembering this woman who gave me life and who has made this life something more than I could have imagined. I feel the love from her today just as much as I did when she was here on earth, and I cannot think of a better gift. She was amazing. She gave me enough, and I thank God for her all the time.

How amazing would this world be if everyone felt that kind of love?

Monday, March 22, 2010

a mess o' stuff

Proceed with caution! You have been forewarned. Just getting thoughts and other junk out, in no particular order, to unload really, and make space for new junk. This wasn't intended to be a jumble of thoughts, a sharing of information, some pictures, and a prayer request, but that's what it ended up being. I could try to edit it, transition my thoughts a little better, make sure the babble sounds at least minimally coherent......but I have a baby boy throwing legos at me. I think that's a hint.

So, here's what I'm thinking friends.....

You know those monitors they use on the seabed floor, the things they use to measure seismic activity and such? Like richter scales? I need to get something like that to strap to my belly. I think yall'd* be impressed. This little girl kicks, moves, squirms, rolls and rumbles AROUND THE CLOCK. Man, the readings she'd produce on their seismic monitor. I'm telling you, this baby girl is active as can be. It reminds know when you go to pick out a kitten or a puppy to bring home. My eyes are always drawn to the feisty, fun ones. The ones with spunk. My husband is drawn to the ones that snooze, the ones that curl up, and seem content just to cuddle in a warm lap. Not me, though. So we end up going home with the crazy kitty...and then a few days later, I am staring in disbelief, asking my husband what in the world is up with this rambunctious, never-mellow cat?? Well, I am thinking I am going to be asking him the same thing in a few months, only this time, it'll be about our daughter.

This morning when I woke up, I was greeted with the smell of my husband's shaving stuff, listerine, and a hint of his deodorant. A smell that completely reminds me of him. A smell that makes me so happy. A smell I miss like crazy when he is deployed. I love those smells mixed together. They remind me of him....and I REALLY love him. I wonder what my equivalent sugar scrub maybe, some lotion, and a splash of my romance perfume. No smells of hair products like gel or mousse or hairspray, because most days it's just a a ponytail or a braid or my hair in a clip. Which brings me to the perfectly coifed, sprayed, curled to perfection hair-do's I see on the moms dropping their kids off at school. What time do they wake up? How is every strand of hair dry? Do they shower in the morning, or at night? I am not fact, I am jealous. I go to bed late, and wake with only minimal time to get out the door dressed. If I wanted my hair dry and looking cute, I'd need to wake up at least 30 minutes earlier. No can do. I wonder what their secret it, those women with the perfect 'do?

And that concludes the thought portion of this post.

*If frequency of use in my neck o' the woods is any kind of indicator, than 'yall'd' is 100% legitimate, and it's status as a word is above reproach 


Rather than type everything we found out last week, I'll just share what I sent out to my friends. If anyone has any experience with or knowledge of placenta accreta, please share. The bulk of what I have learned has come from the internet, and some from the team of OBs I see.

Hi friends. We got some news at my OB appt today, and I wanted to share with you as we figure out what to do next. My doctors are pretty sure I have something called placenta increta or placenta accreta. Basically, this occurs as a result of significant scar tissue from multiple c-sections, and causes the placenta to fully embed itself in the uterine muscle wall. Right now, the baby is fine. The risk involves me.  We discussed taking the baby early, up to 2 months early, based on severity, and there is some risk to the baby with that, but still lower than the risk of going to term. The complication arises during delivery, with the placenta being attached, it can cause significant hemorrhaging once it tears away from the wall. I have a level 3 ultrasound and mri scheduled to get more info, and once we know more, they will transfer me out of navy care. They want to put me somewhere that has experienced high risk OBs in a facility that has maternal ICU and a portable blood bank. Right now we just need to wait and see how deep the placenta is in my uterine wall and go from there. they told me there is still a small chance that it is not too deeply embedded which would reduce my risk of bleeding out and having emergency hysterectomy. They spotted this 2 months ago, mentioned it briefly to us, but did not feel certain until my latest ultrasound. Please keep us in your prayers.....I don't want this baby girl coming even a day early, but also understand the risk of what could happen if I contract on my own, and we will do whatever we can to keep her safe. We are a scared but thankful that she seems unaffected thus far. Thanks in advance friends for prayers, as we process this and move forward. *I was sending most of you an email asking for prayers at the same time in my pregnancy with Jack, and God blessed us with a healthy, wonderful baby boy. Trying to remember that while He brings us rain, He also brings us rainbows.
Shannon and Jeremiah


Some pictures, because what's a post without pictures??


Before I go, I'd like to ask anyone reading this to join me in prayer for the Hutka family. I asked a lot of my close friends to pray for them last week as Chris, Beckie's husband, underwent major surgery on his neck/back. They started surgery on Wednesday morning, and soon after getting started, Chris' heart rate bottomed out, causing them to stop everything they were doing to try and stabilize him on the table. From what I gathered from Beckie, it was a very close call, and but for His grace, Chris pulled through the scare. They had to insert a temporary pacemaker to hopefully regulate his heart in case that happened again, before they could retry the surgery. On Thursday, they went in again, this time without incident, and they think they were able to repair much of the damage done when Chris was struck by a car 2 years ago. This sweet, wonderfully kind, incredibly faithful family has been through so much-- SO MUCH-- and could really use our prayers. For complete healing for Chris, to return him to Beckie good as new, and to his 3 children who have weathered this storm, too. Thank you in advance for any prayers you send up for this family. They really are incredible!!

NOT ME!!! Monday time.....

You know, I am noticing that the further along I get in my pregnancy, the more fodder I have for the Not ME!! Monday posts. Perhaps it is exhaustion that is causing the lapses in judgment, my newfound acceptance of shortcuts (literal and figurative), and the way too relaxed 'Whatever' attitude. Not really sure why I seem to be walking through constant Not ME!!! moments......whatever the reason, I'm too drained to figure it out :)

After a rough week of commitments and digesting information I was not prepared to take in, we had some pretty sluggish days. I really wanted to step up to the plate and brush myself off.....I REALLY, REALLY wanted to. And, for the most part, I did dust myself off and get set to carry on.....ON FRIDAY. In the meantime, I kept up with household chores and preparing good, healthy meals for my family. So, who is the person who has bags and boxes from Panda Express, Panera, Chic Fil A, Boston's, and Arby's in her trash can? Welllllll, folks, it's NOT ME!!!!

When I went to meet Tyler at his school, I did NOT draw a complete blank when filling out the Teacher's Name column of the visitor log. The sweet office assistant just sat there, waiting for me to finish, looked up at my face and must have seen the beads of sweat upon my brow, when she asked, "And WHO is your son's teacher?" I did NOT stand there for over a minute, desperately searching the deep recesses of my memory for this woman's name that, just the day before, I exchanged emails with. Finally, probably out of sheer pity, the kind woman behind the desk said, "It's okay, we can look it up." I did NOT mumble something ridiculous, in my attempt at humor, 'Well, at least I remembered my son's name, right?".....which was met with a quite concerned look from the woman.

In the past 7 days, I have NOT lost my cell phone twice, one of my shoes, the Snack list for T-ball (the ONE thing that was my responsibility, mind you, and the ONLY copy), my keys, my appointment card for my ultrasound, my glasses, my MLS token, and my anti-frizz hair stuff.....the latter causing, perhaps, the most damage. Hey, at least all children are present and accounted for.

I have NOT grown as big as Lake Superior in the past few weeks, and am definitely NOT feeling like I am carrying around a small village in my belly, despite the fact that the email updates tell me that at 24 weeks, this little girl weighs a little over a pound. And working from home, from my LAPtop, is NOT becoming quite difficult as I see my LAP slowly disappear.

my husband took this.......if it was not so darn sweet, him wanting to get some pictures of my pregnant belly, I probably woulda socked him :)

Finally, after a grueling day, I had an appointment to meet my boss and some other women so the loan officer we refer people to could show us the ropes on the new HUD-1 form. Since I work from home, I had not met some of the other women on our team, including the loan officer we work with. But I had a really good idea of what these women looked like, based on conversations over the phone. So, after arriving at Panera about 2 minutes early (a wonderful accomplishment for me), I did not walk up to a woman seated at a table with a laptop and papers stacked next to her, thrust out my hand, and say 'Hi, you must be Rikki, I'm Shannon. So nice to finally meet you,' as I proceeded to lower my pregnant body in the chair directly across from this woman. She smiled, and I said, 'For the first time, I am more than 10 seconds early, and my boss isn't even here to see it,' and the woman kinda nervously smiled, and just as I was gearing up to ask her is she would like me to order her some sweet tea, she said sweetly, 'My name isn't Rikki, ma'am. I think you have the wrong table.' I did NOT flush a whole new color of red, grab my purse and steno pad, excuse myself and apologize to the woman for interrupting her working dinner. As I was walking away, embarrassed as all get out, and calling myself a big donkey in my head, I did NOT trip over my own two feet, stumble and catch myself on a nice old man who extended his arm to steady me, and drop my pad of paper, cell phone, and the contents of my purse on the floor. I watched helplessly as my lipgloss rolled underneath a couple's table, coins went spilling everywhere, and a tonka truck and some hershey's kisses were scattered in the path. As I was on my knees, trying to retrieve my belongings and just an ounce of dignity, I looked up to see a woman watching me, neatly surrounded with a laptop, papers, and some red folders, that were labeled big and bold with her name- Rikki XXXXX. This woman, who I was meeting for the first time, had seen my whole mess.  Oh boy!

And that about sums up my week!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

in case you were wondering.....

This guy.....

is all


will ever



And I am pretty sure

that I do NOT

deserve him.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lisa Leonard giveaway

GO HERE to check it out, and enter to win one.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

rain coat, trip to the mote, longboat, fun boat

We've been home from our mini-vacation for just a few hours, and man, am I ready to go back. It was such a wonderful trip!!

We left on Thursday for Siesta Key, to visit the Falck family and have a long weekend together as family before Jeremiah starts work ups again. It was pouring when we left Jacksonville, and pouring when we arrived in Siesta-- which is east of Sarasota. The rain didn't hamper our mood....honestly, I think a vacation for us is just time away from work/school/ doesn't take much to please us. Well, most of us. If you know Tyler, you know this kid has high hopes and lofty expectations :)

We went out to lunch on Friday and spent the day at Mote Marine Aquarium. It was pretty cool....sharks, a giant squid, sting ray, and all sorts of big ol' fish. We stopped at Whole Foods on the way home and got a bunch of stuff for a great grilled dinner. And s'mores. Can't forget the s'mores. Have I told you that I would camp in 110 degree heat, or pouring rain, just in hopes of getting a s'more? We spent the night hanging out and talking with good friends, and that is just what I've been wanting & needing since the constant string of goodbyes this winter.

Then on Saturday, after swimming in the pool at Tropical Shores Beach Resort, the AMAZING place we stayed, we went to Ellie's parents house for a day of boating off Longboat Key. I was a little nervous....I spent most of the morning battling morning sickness, and was unsure of how Jack would do on a boat. And as I have to come to learn, the nervous anticipation was completely unnecessary...Jack loved the boat, and my nausea seemed to vanish as soon as we were on the water.

The water off the gulf coast is beautiful!! Just beautiful! And it was the perfect day for our outing.

We went to a little beach-- I think it was called Beer Can Island-- and had lunch and let the kids play. Oh, and let Jeremiah burn. Yeah, my husband still has not learned after 34 years that he is fair-skinned and needs a LOT of sunscreen.


But, the day had to draw to an end, so we headed back. It was great, though, and I definitely want to head back and enjoy that gulf water again, but maybe when it's a little warmer.

We headed back to Ellie and Vic's, had some yummy dinner and relaxed with them until our kids were on the verge of passing out. Man, I wish Jack would take a sleeping lesson from Hayne. That sweet little boy drifts off to sleep in his crib at 6:30 pm and sleeps for 12 solid hours. How do I get one of those?????

It was a great weekend, and the Nelsons are super thankful to the Falcks for giving us such a wonderful treat!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

my 15 girls

Where or where have my 15 girls gone? Where or where could they be?

Well, the answer to that is far, far away. And I am really missing them.

You know, there is something to be said for the bond us military wives make. I can tell you, it is unlike anything I've ever known, and I am only starting to understand the depths of these friendships now. I cherish all my friendships-- deeply. Each one of my friends has made my spirit fuller, my laugh deeper and have kept me true to who I am.

But with these girls, I shared something that was different. 

With these women, we said goodbye to husbands, we held each other up when weakness and exhaustion set in. We stood next to each other, where our husbands should have been, as we weathered storms , cheered on children, and worried over health scares. Our children made the friendship much deeper-- because, they too, reaped the benefits of having a friend who knew how difficult each 'Goodbye daddy' was. They knew how exciting and wonderful it was to see their Daddy climb out of a helicopter or airplane after being gone for months on end. 

After my mom died, I stayed in CA for a month with my dad before I left to return home. I arrived back in FL, near broken and weary, without a husband (he deployed the day after my mom's funeral), with 2 children to mother and one growing inside of me. Under ordinary circumstances, I probably would have shattered. But I had my girls here, and together we got out and just kept going forward. Sunshine, ocean air, and true friendships are as therapeutic as any medicine I've ever come across.

We played at the beach, went bowling, went to baseball games, went on walks, hunted for crickets, went on muddy hikes, played at each others houses, went out to eat, went to parks and pools, and had some wonderfully full days that made it much easier to go through life without our husbands at our sides. 

When Kaitlin broke her nose and I rushed her to the hospital, I never asked Carrie or Billie Jo for help-- their husbands had just returned home from a month long work-up, but mine was still gone. I couldn't ask them to leave their husbands the first night they returned home, no matter how upset I was. So I stood in the ER, my little girl's nose dripping blood and the size of a football, as they told they might need to x-ray her and tI could not got with her because I was pregnant. My super-shy, introverted daughter was near hysterics at the thought of being taken away from her mom when she was in pain and scared. Right as the tears began to spill down my cheeks and I prayed 'Lord, I cannot keep doing this by myself', a nurse appeared telling me I had someone in the waiting room asking for me. I opened the door and saw Billie Jo, and I all about started bawling. Without asking, she came. With pockets filled with change for the vending machine to get some food into my son's belly. And as I was reaching out to hug her, I saw Carrie coming through the sliding doors. I cannot tell you what those ladies did for my heart and my soul that day. They were sent, when I was weak and uncertain, and they carried me through. I know it was just a broken nose, but it was #77 in a series of things we all endured and I was just weary from it all.

A month later, I went to a routine OB appt and had plans to meet Carrie and Billie Jo for a park date and dinner after. That was the day my OB could not find Jack's heart with the doppler. The day they kept me in the hospital because his heart rate was dangerously low. I could not get a hold of my husband to let him know what was going on, but Billie Jo did. And when they admitted me that night, Billie Jo showed up at the hospital again, with more quarters for the vending machine, a box of crayons and coloring books for my kids. She stayed right next to me as my doctor did an ultrasound and we all held our breath. She asked questions I was too tired to think of, and she kept saying things to reassure me that our baby boy would be okay. He was. And so was I, thanks to my friends. 

When Jack was born and taken to the NICU, I was upset and fragile. Ellie, Carrie and Mary came. And in front of them, I didn't have to be strong. I didn't have to hold it together. They got my tears. Billie Jo lost her little sister a few days prior and was back in her hometown, lost and grieving over her sister's sudden, tragic death. But she called me in the hospital and said just enough to let me know we were on her heart, and long enough for me to tell her that she was on mine. 

I could go on and on and tell you about how amazing my friends have been to me. But the truth is, my words would fall far short-- as they usually do. It is incredible when you find people with whom you can just be, and that is what they were and are to me.

So now, as we prepare for yet another cycle of goodbyes as Jeremiah readies to start work-ups once again, I am sad. Sad that my friends are not here with me. Sad that I won't have that same experience. Sad for my kids that they will not have that same bond with they shared with Tate, Chris, McKoyia, and Emily (Emma, too). We spent our summers together, our weekends out, and played into the wee hours of the night. Gosh, do I miss them!!!

I so miss these girls who get how proud I am of my husband, but know how tough it is to live this way. 

Who know that no matter how exhausted we are, a 30 minute drive to the beach is ALWAYS just what we need. The girls, who have cared for my kids, loved them, held them, and have treated mine like their own. These girls who get what I am wanting to say, or how I feel without me uttering a word.

I love you ladies!!! Happy Birthday Billie Jo!!! I miss the heck outta you girls!


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