Saturday, February 21, 2009

Introducing My Newest Heart

Leon Wayne
Monday, February 16, 2009 at 1:24 am
7 lb. 4 oz. and 20 in.

Well, I'm really not sure where to begin. Sarah called last Sunday afternoon and said she had been experiencing some "uncomfortable pains," but wasn't sure they were the real thing. This being her due date, I asked if she wanted us to head her way. After all, she is almost three hours from us. She told me to wait, she was going to go walking, and she'd call if they got regular or more intense. About 7:45 that evening, she called to say her contractions had been about 7 min. apart for an hour. Larry, Shelbi, and I were in the car and on the road by 8:00 (my bags had been packed for a week). After an hour on the way, with almost NO CELL SERVICE, I was finally able to get through to Sarah. Some friends had taken her to the hospital, the pains were about 2 or 3 min. apart, and she was already close to FIVE centimeters. I was panicking for several reasons. Number 1, because we were still an hour and a half away from her. Number 2, I wasn't sure anyone was there with her. Number 3, when I had her I went from 5 centimeters to having her in an hour and a half. I called friends and asked them to pray we would make it in time. Finally, we got there around 10:30. She was in a birthing room all alone, and crying uncontrollably. The nurse checked her and said she was 7 centimeters. Sarah had planned all along to NOT have an epidural, but the pains were so intense she decided to get one. By the time she got it, and it took affect, it was almost midnight. An hour later, she was dilated to 9 cm. and they began prepping her. Larry left the room and Shelbi and I stayed with her. At 1:24 AM, Leon entered the world. Shelbi and I were crying, Sarah just seemed kind of shocked and relieved. It was definitely one of the most intense, beautiful moments of my life. The emotions were overwhelming and there are no words to describe watching your grandchild enter the world. I was so proud of Sarah. She did a great job, especially considering she had worked from 7 that morning to 3. She kept her calm through the contractions, waited to go to the hospital at the right time, and pushed with all her might in spite of being totally exhausted. There were no complications during her entire pregnancy or during the birth and Leon is perfect (except for a case of jaundice). We are so blessed!!

Sarah and Leon meet for the first time(on the outside).

Leon is named after two of the best men in mine and Sarah's lives. My grandfather (aka Poppa) was named Floyd Leon. My husband's name is Larry Wayne.

Proud Poppa and his little namesake.

Leon and Aunt Shelbi

Dressed and ready to go home on Wednesday. His sleeper says "Thank Heaven for Baby Boys" and he is wrapped in the same blanket I brought his Mommy home in. He looks just like his Mom's newborn pictures. :)

Here he is all dressed up for his first well baby checkup. He is a breastfed baby and jaundiced so he had to go for a checkup and blood work Friday morning. The bilirubin count was elevated so we had to go back early Saturday morning. Thanks to all the prayers of family and friends, he doesn't need "light treatments." Praise God!!!

Poor baby, his Mimi's favorite hobby is photography. He had his first photo shoot Saturday at only 5 1/2 days old. Hope he gets used to the camera. He's too beautiful not to snap away. :) I only took 200+ pictures between Sunday night and Saturday afternoon. That's not too many, right?

The beautiful new mommy and her angel.

Finally, my turn. Look at that little face!!!

Welcome to the world, Mimi's little Leo the lion hearted.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Funny "Little" Valentines

I scheduled this post to appear on Valentine's Day. I hope that today I'm loving up on my newest sweetheart! :)

Rebecca will do anything to get a laugh and she's such a camera hog!

Noah with his new smile courtesy of his Aunt Sarah. He's quite the ham!

Mason decided to make a "wig" out of Spanish moss.

I LOVE this picture of Lauren and the wild static hairdo!

Harlee did this while I'm trying to get a portrait. Miss Mess!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Prayer Request

Hi Everybody,
Sarah called today upset because she missed her appointment this morning with her OB. She overslept. When she called to tell the office she would be late, they informed her the doctor she's been using went out of town yesterday and will be gone a month! Then the receptionist said they couldn't get her in to see another doctor until next week. She reminded them she is due this weekend, hasn't been checked in two weeks and was 2 centimeters then, and told them he has not completed her birth plan, or even done the last ultrasound he was supposed to do. The receptionist just repeated that the doctor wouldn't be back for a month. Sarah is stressed out, hormonal (of course), and exhausted from two jobs and being nine months along. She wasn't just upset-- she was sobbing. I tried to comfort her, but it's hard being three hours away from her and she about had me in tears, too. I know as many people as we have lifting her up in prayer already, that God has a plan, is in total control of the situation, and has the doctor lined up that is supposed to deliver this child. Getting all of that through to Sarah (and I did share all of it with her) is not easy, especially in the mental state she is in. Please continue to lift her up. Unless, she makes it to next Wednesday, I don't think she will meet her doctor until she goes to the hospital. Be praying for whomever that will be. Thank you so much. God bless you.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ain't Love Grand?

One of the bloggers I follow (haven't met her in person yet) published a list of the things she loves about her husband for his birthday. I thought that was so sweet and wished I'd thought of that Thursday. I blogged about our granddaughter's birthday, but didn't even mention my husband's which happens to be the VERY same day as Becca's. Yes, that's right, he became a Poppa on his 46th birthday eight years ago. If your math skills are rusty, that made him 54 last week.

If not mentioning that it was also his birthday isn't terrible enough, I also realized I've introduced myself, our six girls, and all five grandchildren (including the future sixth one), but haven't even mentioned my hubby's name! I know, I know---- What is wrong with me????

Well, Honey, I'm SO sorry! I sure didn't mean to leave you out. Never in a million years would I mean to do that! Hope I can make it up to you by giving you your own post about how special you are.

First, a little background for the readers:

I wish I could say we met in some romantic way and fell in love at first sight, but our story is a little different from most couples. Larry and I met almost 30 years ago, but our lives intertwined even before that. My mom, Larry's dad, and Larry all worked together at a paper mill, so my mom met him before I did. Just a few years after they started working together, and I was just a teenager, my family moved next door to his parents and sister. His sister, Tracey, and I were both in the same school and quickly became best friends. I met Larry, his wife, and their two baby girls when they were visiting at his mom's and I was hanging out with Tracey. I actually ended up being his backup babysitter when Tracey or his mom were unavailable. :) I moved to Mississippi and married within months of my high school graduation. Larry's oldest girls, then 6 and 4, gave out rice bags at my wedding. By then, he also had another baby girl. I had two little girls of my own. During my six year long marriage, Larry and his wife separated and shared custody of the children. A few years later, my marriage, shaky from day one, also came to an end. My girls and I moved in with my mom until I could get back on my feet and eventually make a new life as a single mom. Larry's family and I were still all friends, including our little girls, and our parents were still neighbors, so I guess it was inevitable that we would end up running into each other often. He had not remarried. Because he was my only divorced friend, he became my counselor, sounding board, and shoulder to cry on. One talk led to another talk, sitting outside by our parents' fence into the wee hours as mosquitoes feasted on us. One night I knew my feelings were evolving past friendship. I pictured us raising a family, growing old together, and rocking grandchildren on our front porch. Our first kiss happened a few evenings later. Nine months later we married and combined our little families into one rather large household. Two years later we had another little girl together and thus completed our family.

So that's the when, where, and how of our meeting and "growing" in love. Since Valentine's is just around the corner I thought now would be the perfect time to share the whys... so, here they are in no particular order.

Larry is a godly man. Before he received Christ as his Savior June 2003, he was already a man of honor and integrity. However, since surrendering his life to Christ he has become more aware of God's presence, more sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and now is a praying man and husband. I KNOW this has made a difference in our family and a world of difference in our marriage. And my dream of growing old together will never end. :)

Larry is self-sacrificing. He always puts our children and me, and now the grandchildren, before himself. He never neglected his obligation to support his first three children. He adopted my children, accepting full legal and financial responsibility. Not every man would let another off the hook, while he paid child support faithfully. Even fewer would not resent doing it. His sacrificing to provide for us went beyond him just making sure we had shelter and food. He doesn't hunt or fish like most guys in our area. His interests revolve around cars and motorcycles. He has a classic muscle car and a old Chevy truck that he would love to restore. They have been neglected and abandoned now for years, because our family's needs have always come before anything he's ever wanted. A year and a half ago, we bought a motorcycle because he's wanted one for years. That is the first and only recreational thing he has bought himself in 20 years and he felt guilty. If we can't afford to get something our daughter can drive to college next year, he is willing to give his bike up. See what I mean? self-sacrificing!

He is a hard worker and good provider. For the first five years of our marriage, he was the sole provider while I stayed home with our children. The second five years, he was still our sole provider and supported me while I went back to college and obtained a teaching degree. He worked at a local paper mill for 28 years, working his way up from the wood yard to a trainer in the shipping department, until they closed the mill doors in July 2003. Three weeks later, he got hired at another mill 70 miles away. He had to start completely over, except for his benefits and years of service. When I wanted to move closer and save him three hours a day of driving time he refused because our youngest is still in school. He works 3 or 4 12-hour days at a stretch (or nights, depending on the shift), so that drive makes a 15 hour day. He never complains about the drive or the hours. Another example, also, of the sacrifices he makes daily.

Larry is also generous with his things and his time--- always willing to help someone. He not only takes care of all our yard work, but also his mother's who lives alone. He also does all of our vehicle maintenance, his mom's, sister's, and anybody else that needs help. He once worked on my grandparents' vehicle for a couple of days. He's helped other family members move several times, friends haul things, etc. They don't even have to ask; if he knows they need help he automatically offers. In fact, he's driving three hours away tomorrow to pick up Sarah's car, leave her his car, and bring hers home to try to get it in decent running order.

His compassion blows me away. When my Mimi's health started to fail and talk of placing her in a nursing home drove me to tears on a daily basis, Larry offered to wall in our carport so she could move in with us. (My dad and his brothers decided that they were more comfortable with placing her in a facility, since I work and private sitters were beyond our means.) The mere idea that Larry was willing to take my grandmother in just to make me happy means more than I can put into words.

Last, but not least, his love for me and our children is steadfast. After his divorce, his ex-wife and his children moved 7 hours away. For the two years they lived there, Larry spent his one weekend off each month driving halfway and back on Fridays and then again on Sundays just to spend time with his children. Just months before we became a couple, they moved back to our town. I have never seen a dad get so excited about the opportunity to spend more time with his children. When I became pregnant with our child, I begged God for a little boy. I knew Larry, being the only son of an only son, really wanted a boy of his own. Alas, the sonogram showed yet another little girl. I was upset, but Larry said, "It doesn't matter. It's our baby and she'll still be special." Almost nine years later, our first granddaughter was born. That night while driving home from a long, exhilarating day, he wondered aloud how you could love someone so much that you'd never met. He was overwhelmed with the love he automatically felt for that baby.

I really could go on and on, but this is getting really long. I promise I won't shortchange him in the future. After this extremely long post, anyone who reads it to the end should have no doubts that I not only have a husband, he is deeply loved and appreciated. I need to make sure to let him know that more often.

This picture is a flash from the past. This was taken at the courthouse in Arkansas where we were married April 12, 1990.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The "Birthday Box" Tradition

Every child is excited on their birthday, but my Nan gave us grandchildren something every year that was extra special. For years, she always gave each of us a silver dollar until they became very hard to find. Then she gave us two half-dollars. But the special thing we all remember from those childhood years is our "birthday boxes." She would fill a box with a collection of things, nothing expensive or unusual in and of itself; it mostly contained small things like magic markers or a T-shirt or trinket picked up on one of her many extended stays away from home. Poppa worked away from home sometimes for months on end and she'd travel with him. When she was away and had to miss our big day, the boxes arrived in the mail. She would collect things all year long for those boxes. That's what always made these boxes special--just knowing that we were on her mind year 'round. We couldn't wait to open them and see what treasures awaited us! It was a wonderful way to make each grandchild feel important. That's no easy feat when you have 15!! Because of the sheer number of us, and the expense involved, the birthday boxes ended when we turned 18. I know I took a lot of this for granted at the time, but I have one cousin that said she bawled when she got her last box. When I had grandchildren, I knew as soon as they were old enough to appreciate a "birthday box" this would be one tradition I would carry on. This year I took a picture of the one I just sent Rebecca for her eighth birthday Thursday. Because my next grandbaby could come any day now, and because Becca lives in Arkansas, I mailed her box to her this year. Hope I get to watch her open it in person next year. Becca called to thank us and her momma told me that Becca LOVED it and was SO excited. I hope she knows that much more than a collection of small things was packed into that box!

PS Thanks for making me a "Mimi." :)
What favorite family traditions are you carrying on, or are planning to carry on, with your children/grandchildren?