Monday, December 23, 2013

tis the season...

A good friend forwarded me a devotion today about "The Pull to be Everywhere" during the holidays. It was well-timed, as those sent to me usually are. I was doing so good keeping up with things, so that I'm not to this week and completely overwhelmed. I was pretty organized. And, I was keeping up with the Advent book I was reading {The Journey by Adam Hamilton}. But last week came and things just slipped. We've had Christmas parties and other things on the calendar, we've been playing catch up with stuff at home, and we've been going to bed too late.

Now, I'm going to refocus. I'm going to sit and read that book. I'm going to light the Advent wreath. I'm going to make every effort to be present, not stressed, and calm. {Calm is a relative term, after all things around here with these two little ones are rarely - if ever - calm!}

And so, here's our prayer for you: that you do the same. Have a wonderful Christmas, surrounded by those you love, and acknowledging God's greatest gift in the birth of Jesus. Count your blessings, and rejoice in the Lord! If you're like me, and you need to refocus, it's not too late... There is no time like the present!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

a christmas tea

On Friday afternoon, Hannah and I went to a Christmas tea. She wore a dress that I wore when I was about her age. The party was at a friend's beautiful home and there were little girls and big girls everywhere. We had so much fun together.

 Hannah and Katie

 Hannah, Elizabeth and Jane

Just wanted a picture of my sweet baby...

 Thank you, Emily! We had a great time, and I loved the chance to be with just my girl.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

home...and christmas fun

This past week is one I'd rather not live again. Our hospital stay was a roller-coaster ride of emotions.

We adjusted after the initial news that Joe would be in the hospital for two days. Tuesday morning I brought Joe his laptop and a book and he was good to go. Tuesday night I returned home in time to take the kids to a quick supper at Waffle House.

On Wednesday morning we received more bad news: due to trauma patients coming into the ER the night before, Joe's surgery was delayed until the afternoon. Ok, that's fine, we understand. Then yet another doctor (we talked to several residents and never actually saw Joe's surgeon) told him that he would need to stay until Saturday. What?!? This doctor said that it takes cultures 5-7 days to grow, and pathology results wouldn't likely be known in two days. I was beyond frustrated. I was in tears. Why the conflicting word? Why are we hearing from different doctors? Why do we have to stay at the hospital to wait for pathology results? 

Why can't we be home, with our babies, getting ready for Christmas, wrapping presents beside the tree, and celebrating the season? 

One thing I learned during our first hospital stay is that MCG (now GRUMC), being a teaching institution, is that you are going to talk to, and get news and advice from several doctors...and you don't know if they are first-year residents, chief residents or full-blown doctors. And it can be very frustrating. I understand that doctors have to train in an actual hospital with actual patients, but when you are one of them, and you've answered the same questions twenty times, and are now hearing contradicting information, you want to see THE doctor. The attending physician, the head of orthopedics...the ONE that is cutting on your husband! So when I called Joe on my way to Augusta on Wednesday morning and he said someone (who didn't even identify themself) told him he'd be there until Saturday, the tears were totally justified.

I was going to be there for a 10am surgery and then we were going home. Not so fast. But, fortunately for us, the day turned around. 

Being the type of patient/spouse/mother that I am, I ask lots of questions. I demand answers and if I'm frustrated, I tend to let it show. I'm sure my assertiveness is one of the qualities Joe admires most in me...or maybe not. When I arrived, Joe was talking to a doctor. I sat on the hospital bed and recorded the conversation on my phone. It went well; we felt we were being heard. In the afternoon, the same doctor came in and offered us the option of a more "aggressive approach": go in the lateral side, repeat wash-out, and then go in medial side, remove hardware and wash-out, stitch up. 

The second surgery was a success: no further sign of infection and all hardware removed. Even better, when the doctor came in to talk to me, he said that Joe could be discharged that night. Results from cultures might still take a few days, but he would be put on oral antibiotics and sent home! We would change course if need be later. {I'll add, to their defense, the doctors were trying to cover all the bases. There was/is a possibility that the infection could be anything from staph, to MRSA, to osteomyelitis (a bone infection) or something rare... It could also be nothing, or a bacteria that has already died.}

We arrived home in Sandersville around 10 o'clock on Wednesday night. Praise God!!! Hannah and Joseph spent the night with my sweet friend, Betsy. So thankful for how resilient my kids were, not really understanding what was going on, but handling the upheaval in their routine just fine.

The last two days have been catching up, doing laundry, Christmas shopping and present wrapping, and playing and snuggling with Hannah and Joseph, a field trip to see Santa and preschool parties, a mother/daughter Christmas tea and decorating cookies with neighbor friends, delivering gifts and reading Christmas stories. 

And Joe has been a part of most of it. He surprised the kids on their preschool field trip to see Santa at the bank Thursday morning. Then he went to Rotary. He's run errands and gotten a haircut. He is moving around well, back in the old boot. And he's not even taking pain medicine as scheduled. Yes, my husband is incredibly stubborn and strong-willed - a quality I guess I have to admit I admire in him. But he is doing great, considering.

I am so thankful to be to this point. We are so thankful, period.

Mailing her first letter to Santa:

Preschool parties. A picture of the two of them together was just not happening. The uncooperative little brother:

The (very annoying) big sister "I-don't-want-to-smile" smile:


In the two-year-old class, you bring a wrapped present for your own child. We went with a ball. His first soccer ball. My brothers would've been proud:

In the four-year-old class, they draw names. Hannah picked out a Barbie for Riley...and Maddy picked a Barbie for Hannah, a mermaid that goes in the bathtub. Perfect! {This is Hannah's first Barbie. I planned on pushing off the Barbie thing for another year or two. Oh well, she's happy.}

Delivering gifts to friends...

And yesterday afternoon, cookie decorating with Mrs. Peggie and Mr. Sid produced these colorful plates:

PS: Here are pictures from last week. More Christmas fun! 

Watching the train from the sidewalk on Harris Street:

Going to Tennille for their Christmas festivities, a live nativity and Santa Claus.

Helping make Momma's coffee. Christmas pajamas almost every day!

Watching Superbook, their favorite:

And going to see The Nutcracker with Cole in Milledgeville!

Hannah's favorite was the Snow Queen.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

not how we planned it...

I am writing from my iPad, sitting in a vinyl chair next to Joe's hospital bed. I got here a little before 11, bearing a Starbucks green tea latte and oatmeal. Things are calm at the moment, so I thought I'd do a quick update. I also don't have my journal, and this blog is usually somewhat like that, though (don't worry) not a tell-all. More of tidbits from our journey through life. 

We checked in yesterday morning at 6am for what was suppose to be a relatively simple procedure to remove the hardware they put in his leg following his bike accident. I was with him until 8 when they wheeled him from holding to the OR. Since I was by myself, it was nice to be with him for that long... Surgery was scheduled to begin at 8:15 and they were pretty much right on time. The procedure was suppose to last around an hour, and at 9:17 the phone rang in the waiting room. He was in recovery!

The doctor came in to talk to me a little while later. The news not what I was hoping for... When they went in the lateral/fibula side (the side where he's had the complications), they found infection. They removed it, as well as the hardware on that side, took cultures, and then put in temporary sutures. He said they would need to keep him two days, and go in again on Wednesday. 

We finally got a room at 5pm. I helped get Joe settled and then drove home last night to be with the kids. Dear friends helped all day (starting at 4:30am!), took H+J to and from school, fed and entertained them, and delivered dinner. I am so grateful to Bett, Deana and Brannen. I also had lots of offers to help from other friends in Sandersville. We are surrounded by good people, I'm telling you!

Our patient:

So here we are, Tuesday afternoon. The only update we have is that Joe talked to the doctor this morning. We might have culture results back by tonight, but more likely not til the morning (they take 48 hours to grow). Surgery is scheduled for 10am tomorrow. Depending on what kind of infection/situation we are dealing with, the hardware on the tibia side may not be removed. Either way, they'll clean him out and stitch him up. 

We are thankful, as always, for the prayers. If all goes well, we will be out of here tomorrow afternoon sometime. God willing! We want to go home, turn on the tree, watch Christmas movies and wrap presents! 

Deana sent pictures of the littles' adventures yesterday:

Dressing up...



Snacking (yogurt, of course)...

Watching Sleeping Beauty...

They had a grand old time!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

dear santa...

 Did you see this on Facebook or Instagram?

 The words of a four-year-old. Santa letter dictated to me... Can't make this stuff up. #outofthemouthsofbabes

Seriously, though. She said it. I wrote it in pencil. She traced and signed it "Love, Hannah". The funny thing is, as her daddy said, she's usually a pretty good girl. She's honest though. Sometimes she's not really good. I love it...and I'll keep it forever.

As for a wish list...

For Hannah and Joseph:

{a.} rain boots (done and done). {b.} Toms. I am pretty sure Hannah would flip out over these. Toms are good for both kids actually. They wear them a lot. {c.} bikes (Santa is done). {d.} puzzles for my puzzle prodigy (60-100 pieces). {e.} umbrella (so she will stop using mine and bumping into things (also done). {f.} FN books for our fancy Hannah. {g.} Freight Train. We checked this out from the library and it was Joseph's favorite. {h.} step stool like Hannah's for Joseph. {i.} US wall map (must have Savannah, Seattle, and Cincinnati. Do not want one with too much clutter). I love this one here. Dad? {j.} Duplo set. {k.} additions to their Thomas train.

I believe most of these things are covered, but for tradition's sake I thought I'd add a wish collage to the blog. If you are eager to buy for my children, check with me. Or, better, buy a gift for another child in their honor. They have plenty!!

As for Joe and me... Well, a successful surgery on Monday and easy recovery is at the top of our list...along with a MacBook! There are a few other wishes, too, so if I get my act together I'll add below.


Some birthday/Christmas things I might like:

{a.} linen hemstitch napkins (flax, letter B) {b.} these pencils from etsy. {c.} twine (lots of fun colors; available on Amazon). {d.} puffy crossbody (I like this one in black from Vera Bradley but not too picky, just something easy and casual). {e.} Ugg Ansley slippers (Zappos, light grey, size 8). {f.} sphere place card holders from PB. {g.} clam shell (Ballard, here). {h.} preserved boxwood wreath(s), large (west elm) {i.} cleaning tools. I love this duster and broom from Crate & Barrel. {j.} lip line perfecter (Sephora). {k} Obagi vitamin C serum, 10% (Amazon). {l.} luggage rack. {m.} vintage jewelry (long necklace, these earrings I saw on etsy, or anything else fun). Gift cards to PB, Ballard, iTunes, etc. are always welcome. :)

I will try and muster up a collage for Joe.

Now, way more importantly...

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Advent! Please try to do/read/find something that continually puts you in the right frame of mind, and refocuses your attention on what this season is all about. I find that this is a daily challenge as it is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle...spending too much money, going too many places, getting too few hours of sleep... We have to train ourselves and strive to make Christmas about Jesus, because, essentially, you have to be counter-cultural. As I've read recently, "Christmas is not your birthday!" Amen to that.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


This past weekend, we drove up to Highlands, NC for some family time and relaxation. It rained almost the entire time but that didn't stop us. It was wonderful...

I posted this on Instagram on our way up. We planned to leave at naptime, so the kids would sleep in the car...or at least the little boy would.

Nope. Not at all. Which made him over-tired by bedtime. On top of that, I put motion-sickness patches on both Hannah and Joseph thinking that a.) it would keep them from throwing up, and b.) it wouldn't be a problem if it caused some drowsiness. As has happened before (but not every time), Joseph was up all night. It's like an adverse reaction. Most kids get drowsy and the patch helps them sleep. Not this kid. He gets wired. He wants to play, explore, talk, do things! Anything! All night long! No rest for the weary.

But after a short early-morning nap, he was ready to go play. Out to breakfast we went.

Classic sister move, taking over the picture. But can you resist this delirious smile? I can't.

As we expected, he crashed around 11am, so I took the monkey out for some shopping in the rain. We had a great time!

Two pictures, two stories:

Hannah crawled into this teepee on display outside a children's store. When it was time to move on, she wouldn't come out. An older lady walking out of the store saw what was going on and said "Hey!! You going to come outta there?....Santa's out here." He wasn't, and Hannah was slightly annoyed at the woman. It worked, though.

The picture above was taken right after she saw Santa Claus. We were out at a sandwich shop for lunch and he was sitting a few booths down. He wasn't in his red suit of course, but I am telling you: it was him. {It was him actually; he was the Santa in the Highlands parade the next day.} She was very shy when she first saw him, but typical of any Christmas movie, as soon as she caught sight of him her face lit up! Later, after he finished and got up to leave, he stopped by our table. "What do you want for Christmas?" Shyness gone, she didn't hesitate: "I want a bike."

Next up on our journey around the little town: Kilwin's for dessert. Both Josephs in heaven...

Saturday morning was the Christmas parade. We watched from a great spot with Aunt Kristie, Trudie and Jackson.

Peak in the background and you can see Mary on the donkey with Joseph walking alongside her.

Real camels!

Loud firetrucks!

Finally at the end, came Santa and Mrs. Claus. Hannah got to see him in his red suit.

It was a short, but great, trip. And the kids slept on the way home, by the way.