Sunday, December 17, 2006

Refiner's Fire

Wow. What an amazing service we had this morning. We started the service with the elders gathering around an older member who had been in a wreck the night before. A woman in the other car had been killed, and this member was, understandably, dealing with extreme guilt and sadness. All the elders laid their hands on him and took turns praying for him and for the family of the woman who had been killed.

Then Jeff (our preacher) decided that we would take communion right then and there, since that is something we do all together. It's like we were sitting around the table weeping with a family member ... oh wait ... we were! John had planned for the praise team to sing a couple of songs during the cup, so I wondered if we were going to go ahead and do them. Amazingly (isn't that the way God works?), the songs spoke directly to this situation. The first was "Have Mercy On Me, O God," that John and I sang as a duet. The other was, "For All You've Done," whose lyrics begin, "O Cleanser of the mess I've made ..." The chorus is, "How wonderful Your mercy is. How awesome are Your ways. I come, I come to worship You for all You've done." How perfect was that to transition into the rest of the service?! There weren't very many dry eyes to be found.

The theme of the service was Cleansing, taken from Malachi 3. Who will be able to stand when God comes to clean up? We sang "Refiner's Fire" and many other purifying/cleansing type songs. Very powerful.

Of course, my silly little mind always wanders a bit. So for a while this morning, I thought about how we have several songs that talk about the refining fire and making us like gold, but not too many songs about how God is like soap, as Malachi states. I then thought of another possible verse for Refiner's Fire that goes, "Laun-der-rer's soap ... my heart's only hope ... is to be holy ..." etc. Just not quite as smooth. :)

The cleansing part also got me thinking about the healing part. In order to be purified, it seems like the process is awfully painful. God doesn't just leave us with gaping wounds; He also is there as the salve in the healing process.

I think we get stuck sometimes with gaping wounds and don't know what to do next. It's almost like we get used to our wounds and don't know who we are without them. Or maybe we're too scared to heal, knowing that if we were whole again, we would be expected to do more.

As I said in my last post, Johnathan learned that he could take his cast off. I thought this was great, in that we could take it off to take a bath and then put it back on when he dried off. So last night, we took it off and I put him in the tub. He started crying and held his wrist close to him and said it would hurt if he put it in the water. The he said he couldn't open his hand. Then he couldn't put soap on it, and a whole host of other things that he was just afraid to do!

(By the way, he gets his cast off Wednesday and has been using his hand/wrist almost as if he had no cast. It's already healed.)

He had gotten used to protecting it and used to saying, "I can't" because of it. But more importantly, I think, he had gotten used to the attention he had been getting. No reasoning or explanation that it was all better would change his mind. Of course, when we sang a song, and he forgot about the fact that he didn't have his cast on, he was totally fine! He could wiggle his fingers and turn his hand from palm-down to palm-up with no problem. But as soon as he would look at his wrist, he would start crying again, remembering that it was supposed to hurt!

Wow, if we aren't like that sometimes! It takes courage to use that wrist again after it's been broken. And it IS weak ... but healed. It takes courage to open our hearts and lives to people after our they've been broken in the past, too!

Father, help me allow You to wash away my iniquities and heal my gaping wounds so that I can be strong and serve You better.

You didn't think you'd get two sermons today, did you?!

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Show, etc.

Last weekend Glenwood put on a dinner theater called "I'll Be Home for Christmas." John directed it, and I had a small singing role. It was a blast and a huge success! Glenwood had never done anything like it before, and people were just blown away! The story takes place in 1941 right around the time of Pearl Harbor. The front half of the stage is the family living room where the family gathers around and listens to the radio from time to time. The back half of the stage is raised a foot and is the recording studio, so we actually perform all of the songs, shows, commercials live. All that 40's music was so fun to sing! I got to be in a girls trio, similar to the Andrews sisters, that sang, "I'm Wishing You a Merry, Merry Christmas." It was a blast! People were so excited after the show and everyone kept asking when the next one was goinig to be. We'll see ... :)

I wish I had some good pictures from the whole process

But I don't.

They did have 3 video cameras running the first night and 4 the second, so our video guy is editing a seamless version using all 7 angles. I can't wait to see it!

Tonight we're heading to Dallas to hear Vocal Majority with Dad and Maria. That should be fun! One of our Glenwood members sings with the group. We'll spend the night at Randy and Karla's and head back some time tomorrow. I'm hoping to hit P.F. Chang's once before we go home! Maybe Saturday lunch. What a treat!

On a side note, Johnathan showed me how he can take his cast off. You were right, Elizabeth! I think I overreacted when I saw him carrying his cast in to show me. I sucked all the air out of the room, and he began to cry! I told him that he wasn't in trouble, but that he did need to keep his cast on until the doctor says it's okay (Wednesday). Then I promised that we could take it off for bath time--hooray!

Kalleigh is "talking" more and more these days. It's so sweet! I just love all those baby noises: "oh!" "agoo," "dlah," "ah!" I thought it wouldn't be as exciting the second time around, but it IS!

Okay! Who's who? Highlight the hidden text below to find out!



A. Johnathan, 12 weeks
B. Kalleigh, 10 weeks

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Elfish Impersonator

I just got a stack of pictures in the mail from Mom from when we were there for Thanksgiving. how fun! This is one of my favorites:

Speaking of giving thanks, this is Kalleigh's third night in a row to sleep 6 1/2 or 7 hours in a row! Plus, the milk of magnesia trick is working ... the diaper rash is getting better!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What my kids are doing these days ...

It's 6:30 am. I remember Kalleigh going to sleep at midnight. Did I feed her during the wee hours of the morning and not remember? No ...

And then it hits me. She slept all the way through the night! I get up to take my shower, wishing it were a sleep-in day for me, for Kalleigh is still sleeping. Then at 7:00, like a little alarm, *squeak, grunt, squeak, squeak, grunt, rooting noises* and then a little "eehh!" She slept for 7 hours!

Poor little girl. She had her 2 month shots yesterday. It was awful. You can refer to Part 2 of the Three Parts post to know how I feel about shots. She had three sticks and had to drink some other vaccine. But now the fun part: the stats. She weighed 11 lbs, 12 oz and was 23 in long. Right around the 60th percentile for both measurements. She's a little closer to average than Johnathan was. At his 2 month appt, he was in the 20th percentile for height and 80th percentile for weight!

The doctor also gave us a new diaper rash remedy to try. We are to coat the rash with milk of magnesia, let it dry, then cover that with Desitin and do that 4 times a day. He said the MoM is an antacid and neutralizes the poop before it hits the skin. Man, I hope it works!.

What's Johnathan up to? Saying the funniets things everyday. Just a few examples:
Poe glasses = molasses
Keermint = pyramid
Wedgie Tales = (I bet you can figure that out)
When we were at Mom's putting up the tree, I said, "Johnathan, when we get home are we goinig to have Christmas, too?" He said, "No ... Basketball!" Wow. Do you think he really remembered our life with me as a coach during this season last year?

He's going through a phase where he is saying he loves just about everything. "Mommy! I love your eyebrows! I love your elbows!" etc.

I'm wearing a short blond curly wig for our dinner theater this weekend. Johnathan came into rehearsal last night as we were all on stage. I think he recognized my voice when I was singing, but he couldn't find me! Finally, our assistant director picked him up and pointed to me. Johnathan's eyebrows went up and he grinned really big and said, "Oh, THERE's Mommy!"

Yesterday, Johnathan gave me what he believe to be the best compliment of all. He said, "Mommy, you're the biggest mommy ever!" Thanks, kid. :)

Here are the promised broken arm pictures:

Showing off his muscles.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Recent cute pictures

Here are the latest cute pictures of my beautiful children:
Kalleigh: 9 weeks, Johnathan: 2 1/2

Broken Arm

Mothers of boys all know it's bound to happen sooner or later. It happened to Johnathan on Wednesday morning.

I was sitting on one end of the couch feeding Kalleigh, and Johnathan was climbing around on the other end. He got up on the arm, which is against Hodges family rules, so I told him to get down. Of course, I couldn't really physically move him, since Kalleigh was attached. I looked away for a couple of seconds, and when I looked back, Johnathan was standing on the arm, facing the couch. Before I could blink, he lost his balance and fell down backwards and put his hands down to catch himself. Now, he falls down ALL the time, and usually it doesn't phase him too much. This time he came around the couch crying and holding his left wrist. I looked at it and tried to determine if it was broken, and couldn't really tell anything other than it hurt him. Then he said he wanted to go lie down. WHAT?? I don't think he's EVER said those words before. Then he changed his mind and wanted to come sit by me on the couch. But when he tried to push up with his hands, he just screamed! Then we put a Nemo Band-Aid on his arm "to help it get better." Unfortunately, Nemo failed miserably. So we headed to the doctor.

John hadn't left for work yet, thank goodness, so we took the whole family to see the doctor. The whole time I was thinking that it probably wasn't broken, that 2-yr-old's arms have so much cartilage in them that surely it wouldn't break from just falling off the couch. Johnathan was a trooper through the whole process. John went in with him for the X-rays while I waited with Kalleigh. Then the doctor came back and told us that it was indeed broken! A "minor displacement," I believe were his words. Basically a hairline fracture of the left radius just right down on the wrist. I was floored! I felt like I had been pretty calm until we knew it was actually broken. Then I was like, "John! You have to hold him! He'll fall down and snap it in half!"

Luckily for us, our pediatrician's office is in a sports medicine building with orthopedic surgeons and all their gear in it, so we didn't have to go anywhere else to have the X-rays or to have his arm casted. Our pediatrician is Dr. Smith, and the orthopedist was saw was Dr. Harris. Johnathan came home sporting his blue cast and saying that he went to see Dr. Smith and Dr. Hair, who put on his "big Band-Aid." :)

During all of this, I had misplaced my camera, so I don't have good pics of the casted arm yet, but I will.


We had a wonderful time with Mom, Mamaw and Papaw over the Thanksgiving break. We ate so very well: turkey and the works for "THE meal," and Mamaw fixed squirrel for me for another meal! And I'm so bad about not remembering to take pictures. I don't have a picture of all of us together. Amazing. But that didn't stop us from having fun. We sang, watched movies, took naps and just enjoyed being together.

Friday afternoon, JR & Daisha came over with Gideon for a play date. It was so great to finally meet "Daisha's boys"! The blog world is so small that I felt like I knew JR and Gideon already. It had been about four years since Daisha and I had seen each other! Johnathan and Gideon had fun together, and I think JR had a good time holding Kalleigh! JR and Daisha seem like such good parents. Very nurturing. Sure wish we could see each other more often!

Johnathan, Gideon ... and Santa. Gideon is such a cutie. Even more so in person! He is just constantly wiggling and flashing that big smile!

The Hodges and Sheets families.

I think the best part of this trip is that John was able to go with me! Often, John will have to stay in town so he won't miss some rehearsal or church service. Having him with us was just so much better! Ah, the life of a minister ... as many of you know!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Yes, I did fall off the earth.

At least that's how I've felt. Let's see. Not a single post since 11-1? Yikes. I'm letting down all my fans ... I know. :)

Well, Kalleigh is now 7 weeks old. She's holding her head up most of the time, but still not her torso very well, so the Bumbo isn't doing us much good right now. Maybe in a couple of weeks. She is smiling, though, which is just so precious:

This is from 5 weeks old. Gotta love all that baby acne!

Her diaper rash is just awful, though. We've tried everything we can think of and it gets better and then gets worse, better, worse, etc. Let's see, Desitin, Butt Paste, A&D, Johnson's, Balmex, Aquaphor, Aveno, Arbonne, no diaper, more baths, and even a prescription from the doctor. It's not bleeding, thank goodness, and it does get better every so often. I'd welcome any other suggestions you have.

Johnathan is still adjusting to life with shared attention. Here's what he was doing one evening while John was cuddling with Kalleigh:

Our little performer. I don't know where he gets that. :)

I'm not sure it worked, though:

I always have to throw in a Johnathan story, so here's one from yesterday:

Johnathan was talking about the giant from Jack & the Beanstalk and how scary he was. Then mean ol' mommy, in a scary voice said, "Fee, Fie, Foh, Fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman!" Johnathan's eyes got big. Then he pointed across the room and whispered, "He's over there!"

I got to be a single mom all last week while John went to West Palm Beach, FL for a worship conference ... bless his heart. Man, I don't know how single moms do it all the time!! It certainly made me much more aware of and appreciate the single moms of the world. I'm going to make a conscious effort to do what I can to help more single moms out. I had a lot of help from church friends last week, and I was so thankful for it! Plus, the Lord blessed Kalleigh with good nights all that week. Her first stretch of sleep each of those nights was 5 or 5 1/2 hours! Amazingly enough, the nights since John has been back have been pretty awful. Last night, at least one of us was awake the entire night. Oh, except from 11 pm to midnight ... I think all of us were asleep then. **sigh** It's still worth it ... right?

We're headed to Searcy tomorrow for Thanksgiving. What? John doesn't have to be at church Wednesday night? Well, Glenwood does Thanksgiving church on Tuesday night--Brilliant! We're looking forward to spending Tkgvg with Mom and Mamaw and Papaw. Both Kreg and Kristi will be in Italy, but we will do our best to eat all the turkey and pies without them. ;)

I'm also really excited b/c Daisha and JR will be in town with little Gideon. I can't wait to meet him! And JR, too, of course, but we know who the real star is. :)

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Trunk or Treat

Yea! Pics are working! Man, when it works, it works great! When it doesn't work ... yeah.

This was a new phenomenon for us since we lived in CO for the past 5 Halloweens and it was usually SNOWING on Halloween and all Trick-or-Treating activities were done inside. We loved going Trunk-or-Treating at Glenwood this year! The weather was beautiful. Here are a few pics:

"Mommy! A scary spider! I want to touch it!"

A Texas Halloween ... *sigh*

Mommy & Pun'kin

I've sorted the "good candy," anything dark chocolate, from the "other candy," uh, everything else, and am enjoying a dark chocolate treat every now and then. :)

Glad to hear that so many of your trick-or-treating went well. Loved seeing all of your pics!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sleeping Standing Up

Poor baby. He has an eye infection, so we had to change the sheets on his bed before he could take a nap. Since he fell asleep on the way home from the doctor's office, John just laid him down on the couch before we got the sheets changed. He did great for a while, and then we heard some shuffling. We peeked over the couch to find this:

Yes, he's standing up ... and sleeping.

He stayed like that for about 20 min before crawling all the way off and onto the floor:

Poor baby!

I'll put up Trunk or Treat pics hopefully tomorrow ...

Monday, October 30, 2006


The kids and I had an excellent trip to Searcy for Harding's Homecoming. They did very well in the car ... Kalleigh's first trip longer than a couple of hours. Stopping to feed her did add 30 min to the trip there and an hour to the trip back, but we made it safely, and that's what matters!

Pics from the car. Yes, I took them while driving. (Now you're wondering how we ever made it safely!)

Fiddler on the Roof was just great! Way to go, Craig and Dottie! Also, great job to all of my relatives in the show: Tara, Logan, and Colin. (Can I count Colin? ... close enough). :)

And Coach Phillips, of course. You totally rock and are the best Russian dancer I've ever seen.

Harding has made so many improvements that have made such a big difference. The Lily Pool is beautiful and so is the Heritage lobby--gorgeous!

Can you believe it?? WOW! And I didn't even get the wall waterfalls on each side as you walk in. Gorgeous.

We went to Mamaw and Papaw's for supper Friday night. It was so good to see them. I snagged a quick picture before we left.

Papaw said, "I believe we could just leave her here!"

And we got to see Keleigh, a friend I coached in CO, and who is friends with Kreg. If you're thinking, "Hey, Keleigh is spelled a lot like Kalleigh," you're exactly right! We spelled Kalleigh's name that way because we liked Keleigh's spelling. So here are Keleigh and Kalleigh:

Kreg, I tried not to rub it in that Keleigh got to see her before you, but ... well ... Neener, neener, neener. ;)

It was a great weekend--just wish John could've been there!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Another week gone by

I can't believe how quickly time is flying. You'd think that with all the late night (or no night) adventures and the very many diapers I've changed, I'd want to hurry on through this phase. But I find myself NOT wanting her to be old enough to smile or hold her head up or whatever the next stage is. It's just going by too fast! I love this infant stage!

Johnathan has been so sweet with Kalleigh. Yesterday, he said out of the blue, "I love Baby Kow-lee! Kow-lee Uh-liz-buff, I love her!" I've heard it said that there is no greater joy than to see your children love each other. Perhaps.

Funny Johnathan story:

We got in the car as quickly as possible. We were at the church building heading home after dropping John off, and it was raining. We did not have our umbrella! I was holding Kalleigh with a blanket pulled over her, holding the car door open for Johnathan and "encouraging" him to get in "RIGHT NOW." As soon as all appendages were out of the way, I closed the door and ran around to the other side and put Kalleigh in her seat. By the time I got in, I was nearly drenched!

We got a few blocks down the road when Johnathan said, "Mommy! I not have my seatbelt on!" Great. I had forgotten to buckle him in before taking off. I pulled over and as I was buckling him up he said, "See? I nudist!" This obviously caught me off guard. "You what?" I asked. "I nudist I not have my seatbelt on!" Hee hee. "Oooohhh, you noticed?" "Yeah!" Silly boy. :)

The other funny thing that took us a while to figure out what he was saying was the song, "Round the Cornis," in Johnathan language. He kept saying that he wanted to listen to "Round the Cornis," and we finally figured out that it was a song from our Xmas dinner theater that we've been rehearsing, "Hope is Just Around the Corner!" He likes to dance to it as well as direct ... just like Daddy.

The directing, not the dancing. ;) Right.

And here are a couple of pictures of Kalleigh ("Finally!" you're saying--don't lie.) from this past Sunday:

This dress and little sweater were Aunt Karla's as a baby. I believe Jina wore it, too, as well as Alissa and Rebekah, and now Kalleigh! I'll bundle them up and send them on to Shawn and Britney's baby when she comes in February. (I've affectionately named her La'Shawnda.)

Here's my girl with the quilt Great-Grammie gave her in the background. Thanks, Gram!

I'm headed to Searcy tomorrow with the kids for Homecoming. Anyone else going to be there?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Three Parts

PART 1: Momo's visit

We had a nice time with John's mom here. She was the one to greet Johnathan every morning and help keep him from waking us up while we recovered from the previous night's lack of sleep! She kept all of the dishes clean. She fixed us French toast one morning and had the coffee ready every morning! She ironed Johnathan's shirt for Sunday morning. She took turns with diaper duty for both kids. And she was always glad to love on Baby Kalleigh--isn't that the most fun job of grandmothers?

Thanks, Momo, for all your help last week. We appreciated it!

Here are a couple of pictures during her visit:

Look at that fluff of a dress! I love it!

PART 2: The Terrible Twos

It's really been difficult lately. I know it's normal with the new baby, but it's so hard! We got ANOTHER report from his teacher today at school that he had been hitting and kicking many of the other children. Then his teacher told us that he was bothering another little boy, so that little boy bit him on the finger. Great. There's something else for him to learn. I thought going to school was a good idea, but I'm starting to question it about now because of all the bad habits he's picking up.

That being said, how appropriate are these next two pics?!

PART 3: 2nd PKU

I took Kalleigh in today for her 2nd PKU. It's the awful one where they stick the baby's heel and squeeze all of the blood out of her foot while she screams at the top of her lungs while looking into my eyes with this look of absolute betrayal as I hold her down and tell her it's okay. While doing this, I had a flashback to when I had to hold 7 month old Johnathan while the dentist pulled his tooth that was sticking straight out because Johnathan had thrown a tantrum and knocked it that way. Again, it was awful.

Then there are the shots. They go through different stages. First it's the stage where they have no idea what's coming, sort of like Kalleigh's PKU today. They're happy, cooing, looking in your eyes with love and admiration, and then, "Woah! What was that???" And the screaming begins, accompanied, of course, by the look of emotional trauma because you, the mommy, have just betrayed her.

Next is the stage where Johnathan was at his 2 year old check up and vaccinations. He knew the word "shot," but wasn't quite sure what it meant. I had told him that it might hurt a little, but that it would be all done soon and he would get a sticker. When the needle came out, he looked at it doubtfully, unsure of what would happen next, and then, "Oh man! That hurts!!!" And the sobbing began, accompanied, of course, by the look of emotional trauma, because you, the mommy, failed to tell him just how badly it would hurt.

Next is the stage that I have not experienced yet, so I'm not as equipped to explain the agony as those of you who have been or are going through this stage. But this is the stage where they know exactly what's coming and they cry all the way to the doctor's office, and fall apart before they are even called back to see the doctor, sobbing, "No shot! No shot!" so loudly that all the other mother's cover their children's ears and hold them close to comfort them. Then when you actually get in there and get the shot, it's not nearly as bad as the child made it out to be in the first place and they go out of the doctor's office wearing their sticker as a heroic medal and can't wait to show everyone their battle wound, the Band-Aid. Is this anywhere close to being right?

I'm also convinced that it is just as bad for the mom as it is for the child. When Johnathan had his PKU, we both left in tears, just like we did after his 4 week shots. As the mother, I know that this is the best thing for the child; I'm so thankful that we have the preventive medicine that we do. But it's just so hard to watch your child suffer!

And that brings us back to the Father. I'm convinced that sometimes God allows us to go through hard times knowing that we will be stronger and healthier afterwards. It's not to punish us. He's our heavenly father! What father enjoys watching his children suffer? No way! It's agonizing to watch our children in pain! And just like we are there to hug and kiss and comfort our children after those "mean ol' shots," God is there to comfort us when we have gone through our own trials.

Thank you, God, for continuing to open my eyes to learn more about You by growing my understanding about what it means to be a parent!

Saturday, October 14, 2006


10--the number of Kalleigh diapers we went through a couple of nights ago
1 to 4--the am hours she was awake that same night, uh, morning (time is so relative)
2--the average number of new diapers needed for each Kalleigh diaper change
4--the number of Kalleigh outfits needed yesterday
3--the number of times we've changed Johnathan's sheets this week. He's not potty training, he's just peeing A LOT
2--the number of days I have until I start keeping Baby Nathan again in the mornings
3--the number of packages of newborn and size one diapers we've been through since bringing Kalleigh home

It's tiring, but it's all worth it!! I absolutely love this little bundle sleeping on a pillow on my lap right now. Johnathan is so sweet with her! Yesterday morning, I went out on the back porch swing to nurse Kalleigh, and Johnathan poked his head out the door. He had just woken up. It was a little chilly outside, so I asked him if he wanted to wrap up in his blanket and come sit with us. He did, and I enjoyed the next few quiet minutes swinging and cuddling with my two kiddos. This is life, and I love it!

PART 2: Desitin, anyone?

This happened about 5 minutes before we were headed out the door. Needless to say, we were late. :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Home for a week

We've been home for a week and a day now, and it's been great. Mom cooked every meal (unless we ate out) and did every bit of laundry. I really miss her! Kristi got in Sunday night and got to stay until Tuesday when she and Mom drove back to AR together.

Kalleigh is a very content baby--thank goodness! She cries when she's poopy, hungry or cold, and those are easy to fix. She's happy to sit in her bouncy chair and look at the cool patterns on the sides for long stretches of time. She is a very efficient eater, I've decided, because she doesn't eat for very long, but her tummy gets so full--it looks like a little puppy tummy right after it's eaten--all full and round!

And she has plenty of poop to prove she's eating enough. Sandi, I totally understand what you were saying about just not being able to keep up with the poopy diapers to prevent diaper rash. Yep, she has it. And we've gone through 3 packages of diapers in these 8 days at home, so it's not like we just let her sit in it. Some of these diaper changes involve up to 3 diapers because as soon as we get the clean one on, "SQUIRT!" and she's poopy again. (Isn't that sound so distinctive?)

I'm learning what projectile poop is. Johnathan never did this. Of course, his was projectile pee. But projectile poop only happens in the slight moments between having the old diaper off and the new diaper on--we're talking 1-2 seconds. I'll leave the rest up to you to figure out. :) Let's just say hooray for carpet cleaner ... "hooray."

Okay, here are some pictures of her during the first week at home:

Are you seeing this auburn hair?? My guess is that it will change, but who knows? John and I both have a tiny bit of red is our hair, so I suppose it's possible. Also her eyes aren't as blue as Johnathan's were as a newborn. We may have a hazel eyed, auburn hair little girl on our hands!

You be the judge. Who does she look like?




Outside on the swing


Aunt Kristi

All ready for church! Thanks, Kisti, for the beautiful dresses!

One more hooray for her cord falling off last night! That's always a good thing.

John's mom is here for the next few days, so we'll be glad to have some more help around the house!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Kalleigh Elizabeth--the facts and the story

For those of you who want just the facts, here you go:

Name: Kalleigh Elizabeth Hodges
Birthdate: October 2, 2006
Time: 12:35 am
Weight: 8 lbs. 8 oz.
Length: 20 in

Now for those of you who love the details, get ready!

An introduction:
I had been waking up at 5:30 am Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings for no apparent reason. This should have clued me in that I was close! Sunday was John's birthday, so I decided to use up some strawberries and make a pie ... before church. With that done, I got ready, fixed breakfast and got Johnathan ready. We headed to church just like every other Sunday morning. Very normal. People kept asking me the same types of questions that everyone asks, "Have you not had that baby yet?" "Are you just about to pop?" "You had better have that baby fast, 'cause you've run out of room!" "Are you so ready?" And I gave the answers they wanted to hear. I was actually thinking, "Well, I still have a few things to do around the house, so no, I'm really not ready." "Acutally, I don't feel all that awful, so I'd be okay with waiting a few more days." It seemed strange to me that I didn't feel ready when I knew I would be induced in just a couple of days.

After church we went to Johnny Carino's for John's birthday. We ate VERY well, and enjoyed a yummy chocolate dessert afterward! When we got home, Johnathan went down for nap and I made John's birthday cake.

We went to Bible Study at 6:00, and I brought the strawberry pie. While at life group I had a couple of contractions that were strong enought that I needed to breathe through, but they weren't close together at all, so I chalked it up to having a busy day.

We got home and put Johnathan to bed and started getting ready for bed ourselves. I kept having mild contractions, but again, they weren't too strong and not too close together. We decided to watch a little TV.

Well, around 9:00, I started telling John when the contractions were coming, and sure enough, they were 4-5 minutes apart. Now with Johnathan, my contractions were 2 minutes apart before we headed to the hospital where they told me I was a whopping 1 1/2 cm and then sent me home. I was not about to be sent home again, so since I could still breath through them, I stayed put. Sundays are always busy, so I just knew that if I lied down or sat in a warm tub that they would slow down. I got in the tub and sure enough, I had a nice 8 minute stretch without a contraction. "See," I thought, "I just needed to calm down. I'm sure they'll go away." Another thing that influenced my decision-making process was that I had a friend who had gone to the hospital just the night before with close contractions after a busy day, and had been sent home because they fizzled out.

Well, around 11:00, the contractions were getting significantly stronger and I had decided that we really ought to go on to the hospital. I called Mom and told her that we were headed that way, so if she wanted to pull an all-nighter, to go ahead and get in the car. She did, of course. Then, since John and I are excellent procrastinators, we STARTED packing! No, HE started packing. I couldn't move very well. At about 11:30, I was really struggling through each contraction, but they were still only like 4 min apart. My biggest fear was that I was in all of this pain and they were going to tell me that I was only a 2! But it didn't matter. I had decided that we WERE going to the hospital and that I WAS going to have an epidural, and any other thoughts I had had in the past regarding wanting a natural labor were totally ridiculous. I knew I would never make it through several more hours of this kind of pain! Then I had a little meltdown about what an awful mommy I was for having to wake up my 2-yr-old and send him to another home for the night. Labor hormones ... wow.

We finally got on our way at 11:45 and headed into town. We dropped Johnathan off around midnight and began the drive to the hospital. I was in significant pain and at every red light, I yelled, "Run it! Please run it!!" John did so, for he knew that even though it was a potential threat to his life to run a red light, it was a guaranteed threat to his life not to listen to his laboring wife. He was so good. :)

Oh yeah, and my water broke in the car somewhere along the way. Wow. Really gross.

We got there, after what seemed like an eternity, but really only took about 10 min. As we were getting out of the car, these two ladies said, "Aw ma-yan. Is shay goin' intuh lay-ber?" (We life in East TX, remember.) I just rolled my eyes as we shuffled by. We went in the ER, like they told us to, and someone soon got a wheelchair for me. "I want my epidural ASAP!" I moaned. Then they started asking me all these questions! Like I could think straight ... good grief. We HAD pre-registered, so that shouldn't have been an issue. Then they had a couple of nurses take me up to the 4th floor. We headed around the first corner, and one of them turned a door handle that was locked. "Uh-oh," he said, "I'm not sure how to get there if we don't go through that door." I yelled, "NO!! WE HAVE TO GET THERE NOW!!!" Amazingly, they did find another way. We headed up the elevator and into the room.

The three nurses who were working that night were in the room and had all of the delivery equipment set up. "That's good," I thought. They gave me a gown and told me to strip down and put the gown on. John was helping, and after one unsuccsessful attempt to put the gown on, I threw it down in frustration and told him to do it right next time. Poor guy. Like I said, he was so good to me even when I was ugly to him! The second attempt was successful.

I got back to the bed and crawled up. The nurse checked me and said, "Well, you're at an 8." WHAT??? No way. I was instantly crushed because I knew I wouldn't have time for an epidural. I was coming unglued with every contraction. John and I had practiced our breathing because I had had such a strong feeling just a few weeks ago about doing this naturally, so I tried really hard to breathe through each one, but it was too hard not to yell ... a little ... okay a lot.

Like 5 minutes after she checked me the first time, I was yelling, "I NEED TO PUSH!!" She checked me again, and said, "Yeah, you're a 10, but you don't need to push right now because the doctor's not here." WHAT??? That was the most ridiculous thing I had heard all night. "No, I HAVE to push!!" The nurses were all scurrying around looking a bit frantic. Finally one said, "Okay, ladies, I'm going to have to catch this baby right now" and she sat down on the side of the bed for a side catch. I could feel Kalleigh's head coming down the canal and yelled, "SHE'S RIPPING ME IN HALF!" The nurse sat down on the edge of the bed and told me it was okay to push ... like I needed her permission. I pushed with everything I had, and heard John say, "The head's right there!" So I gave it another good push and her head was out. They suctioned her mouth out and told me to push again with the next contraction. I should mention that there were no sterile pads or a little curtain draped over me, they didn't have time to change my bed around and get my feet in stirrups, and I had absoluetly NO pain medication. So, I was hold my own legs back to push! For the push for the shoulders, another nurse came around and grabbed my leg and pushed my knee back to the next zip code and said, "Okay, NOW push!" That's all it took, and Kalleigh was in the world. Still no doctor! 12:35 am.

The nurse cut the cord and they took Kalleigh over to get her cleaned up. I noticed that the cord was still hanging out of me, so I asked if I needed to push it on out. "Well," she said, "Maybe we can wait to do that when the doctor gets here." "Yeah right," I thought, and with the next contraction, willed the thing out. "Oh, well, there it is," said the nurse. :)

THEN the doctor came to see what was leftover and to stitch me up--I needed 2 or 3, I think is what he said. Then he left and it was all over.

I couldn't believe how fast it all happened and how close I came to having that baby in the car! I had no idea I was that far along! And it was such a huge difference from my experience with Johnathan where I had an epi at 3 cm and then dozed off and on until they told me it was time to push, after which I said dreamily to John, "Let's do it again!" And then this time when I knew exactly when I needed to push and felt like my body had been totally destroyed right afterwards!

I wasn't looking for a brave war story when I had thought about doing labor naturally, but I sure ended up with one!

So, a 3 1/2 hour labor was all it took this time around. Whew! Here are a few pictures from the hospital. Thanks for all of your prayers! She's a perfect little girl in every way!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Teaching His Students

One of Johnathan's favorite books right now is "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" by Bill Martin and Eric Carle. I caught him reading to the dogs and thought it was too cute not to get a couple of pictures! The dogs are always so tolerant. :)

"Bison! This is a purple cat!"

Nope, not wearing clothes again ...

I think this is another attempt to hang on to any ounce of control he may still have before Kalleigh gets here. This, thank goodness, is a very positive expression of control! His other "expressions" (drawing on the chair, taking the fabric softener cup out of the washer, putting Wal-Mart bags in the washer ... as the clothes are washing, hitting the neighbor boy) from TODAY have been, well, less than positive. I admit I'm a little nervous about his behavior when we bring this baby into our house who "won't go home!" However, there is hope, for his Bible class teacher told us that during play time, he got a baby doll, wrapped it in a blanket, sat in a rocking chair and started singing to it. The teacher asked him if that was his little sister. He said, "No, it's my Baby Kalleigh!"

My, how I can relate to my son, though! It's so hard for me to give up control or to function in a situation where I don't have complete control. I might not draw on the chair, but I might close up and choose not to talk to people and wallow in my self-pity. At least I can control that environment! But as John and I can see the big picture of the changes that are about to happen to our family, God can see how each change in our lives plays into His plan.

Teach me, Father! Thank you for allowing me to be Your student. Help me to listen, not only tolerantly, but willingly, with an open heart so that I, too, can understand Your plan more fully!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A couple more layouts us Curtis folks might like

I am FINALLY getting these pages done. The pictures were taken back in May, and I've known I wanted to scrap them in a 2 page layout. Anyway, here they are: My Heroes.

For anyone who cares, the paper and rub-ons are Basic Grey and the leather lable holder and clear frame are Making Memories. The journaling is from Proverbs 31:25-26.

Again, paper and black rub-ons are Basic Grey; white rub-ons from My Mind's Eye, the ribbon charm is Making Memories, and the "Hero" cardstock sticker is from Die Cuts With a View. It reads: Hero \he-ro\ n. pl. 1. In mythology and legend, a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits, and favored by the gods. 2. A perosn noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life.

Perhaps feverishly scrapping counts as nesting?? Just a thought ...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

More to post today

Post #2 for today. If you want to read all about a scrap retreat, read the next blog entry. If not, this one's much shorter. :)

I said I'd post some links to some layouts I made this weekend. Here are three:
Blue Eyes
First Day of School

The other thing, for all of you worried that my son doesn't wear enough clothes (hee hee), is that Johnathan came up to me today in sort of a panic, and said, "Mommy! I not have clothes on!" Holding back my laughter, I said, "Well, what should we do?" "I need to put some clothes on!" And so we put some clothes on him. :)

Creative Memories Scrap Retreat

It was my last chance to have a little weekend getaway before the baby comes. Don't worry; it was only 25 minutes from my house. :)

One of my friends is a Creative Memories consultant, so I guess she's technically MY CM consultant ... but she's still my friend. :) I have gone to her house on occasion for her crop nights. When she first invited me, I asked if it was okay that I didn't really use very many CM products. She said sure, so I figured a night of scrapping was okay ... even if most everybody else was using only CM products.

She told us about this weekend crop here at Camp Tyler. I had never been to a scrapbook retreat, and since this was the least expensive one I'd ever heard of, I figured I should go! This would also give me a great chance to make a few pages ahead of time for Kalleigh's baby book, so that all I'll have to do is slap down a few pictures and call it done.

I learned quickly that most people come with at least one other friend to these types of things, so I found myself sitting alone for the first couple of hours. Honestly, it wasn't that bad ... it meant I didn't have to make shallow conversation with people who were distracting my from my scrapping! But, after a while someone else from my consultant's clientele showed up and sat my me. The great thing is that she isn't much of a talker, either, so we got along great and got a lot of scrapping done!

For several of my layouts I either inked or sanded some of my edges of my photo mats or the background paper itself. I noticed that people kept staring over in my direction and then whispering to each other. They had these puzzled looks on their faces--a bit concerned. Finally someone came over and said, "I just have to know what you're doing." I told her that I was inking my edges. "So, what does that do, exactly?" she asked. I said, "It just makes the paper seem to pop off the page a little more ... see?" And I showed her a before and after example. "Oh, wow! I've never heard of that!" she said, and went back to tell her buddies. Now I've been inking and sanding for a couple of years now, and I thought that anyone who scrapped close to a page a week would be very familiar with that technique. It's SO common on my favorite website,, and probably over-used. Anyway, everyone at this retreat just seemed so amazed with this "new idea." Later the next day, I was sanding another edge, and another lady came over an said, "Okay, I just have to see this. They were all talking about it over there," where she came from, I guess. So, I showed her, and afterwards she said, "Oh, wow!" and looked a little embarrassed, as if I had just showed her something naughty!

Another time during weekend, another one of the consultants came over and said, "Wow, these are pretty pages! But I don't really see any Creative Memories products." I assured her that I had used my CM paper trimmer, CM scissors and CM pen, all of which I couldn't do without. Admittedly, none of the cardstock or patterned paper or rub-ons or ribbon were CM, which is all you see, besides the pictures, on a LO, so her concern was valid. :) Then she asked how long it took me to make that particular page. It had taken me about 1 1/2 hours, and she was floored. She said that she would never spend that much time on one page, which is one reason she used CM exclusively. I told her that I enjoyed the process and the results of spending that much time on a page. She went on to say that since she was a CM consultant, she would never use THOSE products ... but they were pretty!

These people are so weird!! It's like a cult! They are dedicated to scrapping in this CM world no matter how much better other scrap products are. And I'm not sure why they are so devoted! A recurring phrase I heard regarding their products was, "The products are getting so much better than they were!" "Why use products that are just "okay" or "getting better," but not great? I don't get it. They don't sell any stamps or rub-ons or ribbons or eyelets or brads or photo corners or chipboard ... all of which I LOVE to put on layouts, and their paper and stickers are just so "cutesy." Just not my style, I guess. It's like they're martyrs for their CM cause ... they know it's not as good as other products, but they wouldn't cheat--ever--even if it means their pages won't ever be as good as they could be.

I had one lady who looked at my pages, which btw looked so incredibly different from anyone else's there, and said, "I'd love to make pages like that, but I can't seem to break out the CM world." SEE??!! They get you roped in, and you can't get out!

Another person looked at one of my layouts and asked if I had done some stamping on the paper. I explained that it was just a decorative rub-on. "A what?" she asked. So, I showed her what a rub-on is. "Oh, wow!" came that same slightly embarrassed response again.

I felt kind of bad, in a way. It's like I was exposing this very naive world to a whole new world of evil scrapbooking. Most of them had never even been to either of the two scrapbook stores in town, for they would never get caught in there! It was absolutely hilarious.

To defend the CM world, all of their products are the best quality you can find. I love my big CM scrap bag and my scissors, paper trimmer and pen. I'll continue to buy these things from CM. Plus, their biggest message is to put your memories on paper, which is priceless, no matter how "cutesy" it looks. :) Sorry if I offended any die-hard CM folks.

All in all, I had a fabulous time. How bad can it be to scrap for two days in a row?! Plus I won a "side-kick;" a cup holder and scrap catcher that you clip to the table--it's great! I got 14 pages done, half of which were new pages for Kalleigh's book, since I doubt I'll have much time for scrapping after she gets here. I'll be posting some of these layouts on "Peek," so I'll put a link to them here in the next couple of days.

I really love to scrap. I love that when I'm gone, my kids or grandkids will be able to go back and know who I was and how much I loved each of them by what I've done in these scrapbooks. I may not do it forever, but it's certainly a part of who I am now. It's also my creative outlet since I couldn't draw if my life depended on it!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Common sense? Yeah right ...

You'd think that if I asked Johnathan to put something in the trash, he's put ALL of it in the trash. That would just be common sense. Here's the scene:

Johnathan came into our room holding a cassette tape that he had pulled all of the tape out of. Honestly, not a big loss, because we hadn't ever listened to that particuar tape and probably wouldn't. "Uh-oh, Mommy!"

"Well, it's ruined now. Please go throw it in the trash can."

He left, and a little while later, I went into the kitchen to find this:

If you can't tell what's going on here, the cassette part is in the trash, and the tape part is hanging out of the trash can and strewn all over the floor!

Two-year-olds have no common sense.

Yesterday when I picked up Johnathan from school, I looked in the classroom, and all of the children were sitting nicely on the mats ... except for Johnthan and another little boy, Jackson. They were jumping up and down around in circles. Ms. Sheri was getting on to them. Ms. Heather (his class has two teachers) met me at the door, and said how fun it is to teach Johnathan; that he is always saying something funny. She had asked him earlier if his mommy had a baby in her tummy. Johnathan answered, "No, a Kalleigh."

How did John and I end up with a class clown? We who were both so afraid of getting in trouble that we were NEVER sent to the principal's office EVER! We two introverts have this wild child that apparently keeps his teachers in stitches and on their toes. Doesn't God have a sense of humor?

Here's our little clown:

Oh! And I got Kalleigh's name up on her wall! I used wooden letters and a foam butterfly from Wal-Mart and covered them with Daisy D's baby girl paper. It was fun!