Friendships

So, Ella has been napping (in her swing) for an hour.  I prioritized and worked on church stuff first, so hopefully she’ll snooze long enough for me to blog too.  We’ll see…

This past weekend I had the priviledge to serve as a bridesmaid for one of my longest & dearest friends, Christie Lynn Grubbs (now Christie Brust – that sounds odd).  Christie and I have known each other since we were youngish – late elementary, I think.  We met at Oak Hill Christian Service Camp and saw each other at area-wide church things.  She was perfect.  So smart – she could sing you anything you wanted to know about the Bible and probably still can.  We both attended Music & Drama camp and both returned to become counselors of that week.  That is where our bond formed.  There was one particular summer where there was a shift in staffing at M&D.  For those of you who don’t know – this is a RARE thing.  We had two female staff members choose to do other things leaving Christie and I as the two “young” staffers.  We stayed together a lot on tour that year.  And we’ve stayed close ever since.  When I was planning my wedding to Jeff in 2006, it was Christie (co-deaning with me by then) who would meet me at church, take me by my shoulders and say, “Okay – now we need to talk about CAMP for one hour.”  She is a great grounding force.  She was my bridesmaid that year and I returned the favor this year.  It was nice to get to wait on her Saturday since it usually works the other way around…especially with Ella tagging along.  I’ve said it on facebook and now I’m saying it here.  IT WAS A HONOR TO STAND BESIDE CHRISTIE AT HER WEDDING.

I’ve had lots of friends in my life; and quite a few “best” friends.  My first “best” friend was Melissa Crane.  We went to Skipwith together.  We spent a lot of time at each other’s houses, too, since we lived around the corner from each other.  After I moved to another school zone I had three besties: Mary Hairfield, Carrie Cauthorne, and Lisa…oh, I’ve forgotten Lisa’s last name.  We also had coordinating boyfriends who were best friends too.  It was fun.  Our parents actually dropped us off at Ridge Theater for a group date in fourth grade.  What parent now-a-days would drop off six 4th graders saying, “See ya in two hours.  Don’t cause trouble!”  None.  I can recount that day in great detail.  Especially that they had two theaters showing the same movie (ours) and we lost Jason & Lisa and did cause trouble trying to find them in the middle of the movie.  I’ve lost touch with all those people these days, but that was so long ago.

I changed best friends in middle school.  I started with a girl named Jenny and ended up with a gal named Miranda – who remained one of my besties until 2001 when a large fight split us up.  There won’t be any details of that here.  I will say that Miranda and I were “those” best friends.  We dressed alike – not always matching (but yes sometimes head to toe), but we loved to buy the same exact outfit in two different colors.  We were always “the same, but different”.  I still love that phrase.  We switched houses for a weekend and lived with each other’s families.  We kindof stole a car together when I was 16.  (We BORROWED it – it was going to be Miranda’s but she was too young to drive and we needed to go rent movies.  I say “stole” because we in no way had permission to drive that car anywhere.)
When I got to RBC (now MACU) in 1996, I ran into a childhood friend named Erin from whom I became inseperable.  She had a roommate, I didn’t.  Her roommate had a computer and Erin’s t.v. worked better in my room on the opposite side of the building.  So, her room became the study haven and my room became the place to chill.  Since I had an empty bed, Erin spent lots of nights in my room.  I even covered for her (and a handfull of other gals) after accidentally telling a staff member (who was dating Erin) that we’d watched “Seven” (rated R).  I wouldn’t confirm that I watched with with anyone other than myself.  Luckily, I escaped major punishment, too.  She was in my first wedding and I was in her only wedding.  Our friendship lessened after we were living in different states, then cities, and now countries.  I’m friends with her on fb, but have yet to send her the message I have started a hundred times.  I want to tell her everything that has happened since we lost our closeness.  There is just so much to say…especially that I miss her very much.

I didn’t have any good girl friendships for a while after that.  Actually…not until 2005 when Melissa Hess moved to town attached to the church’s new youth minister.  Mo and I quickly bonded and she quickly became like a sister to me.  We went on trips together (with and without our hubbies) and there was a point in time that we did something together every Friday or Saturday – and sometimes both.

Around the summer of 2006, I also became good friends with a former camper – Bobbi Jo.  Now, to know Bobbi Jo is to love Bobbi Jo.  Well – for me.  She’s one of those people who you’re gonna love her or you’re not, but there is little inbetween.  We were both bridesmaids for Christie this weekend and one of the stylists (not Kathy, but her coworker who doesn’t know us well) asked if BJ and I were sisters because we bickered/picked with each other like sisters do.  It was a great feeling to be mistaken for her sister.  I a certain brother-in-law would get to a point he was ready to date someone seriously, I’d be hooking BJ up so that we really could become sisters.  Oh, that would be FUN!!!

Then, along came Ella.  Wow – how my world changed.  Jeff and I could still choose to do something on Friday and Saturday night, but that would require (1) exhausting our moms as they alternated care or (2) paying Katie Quinn a lot of money to babysit.  Needless to say that our social life has suffered.  People actually stop asking you do things after you have a kid – do you know that?  People just assume that you’ll say no.  We’re adjusting to this new form of life okay, though.

After about 6 months of being home and not being very social (we did take Ella to the Hess’ new years eve party and I was feeding her as the ball dropped), I needed some mommy friends.  Gals who had little ones too and could talk “shop” with me.
[Ella wakes up screaming…be back later]

And thus began my venture into the world of RichmondMommies.com.  Thanks to that site I have found four good girl friends (Amy, Bridget, Katie and Whitney) who I get together with at least once a week (with our kids).  As seen on a previous post, we went out withOUT our kids on my birthday and are planning to do something for Whitney’s bday this month.  And this Thursday night Amy and I are heading out to a preview for a consignment sale this weekend.  They’re having give-a-ways and other vendors on hand offering discounted and free services.  I’m so excited.

There are other friends not mentioned here – my sister-in-laws, for example.  And I didn’t go into detail about the fact that I didn’t have many female friends at all until the last five years.  That is when I met girls who weren’t girly-girls and then met a few girls (Bridget) that are girly-girls and inspire me to want to be girly…sometimes…

I guess the point is that friendships come and go; or change as life changes.  I wouldn’t trade any of my friendship experiences.  They’ve made me a better person.  I savor my friendships now.  Like all relationships, friendships require work.  I’ve always known that, but now I’m proactive about it.  Who are you favorite friendships?  Have you thought about it lately?

Okay – back to my angel.  Gotta Go!

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Perfection

I’ve been thinking a lot about “perfection” this week.  First, there is this entry on my sister-in-law’s blog.  I have been deep in prayer for her over this since she posted.  I have so little to offer her.  As my good friend Amy said (while we were out on my birthday), I had the “perfect” pregnancy and no room to every complain to anyone about it.  I agreed with her whole-heartedly.  The comment to me came after another mom-friend said, “I just never can understand those women who say ‘I loved being pregnant’.”  I was THAT mom.  I loved being pregnant.  I never had morning sickness (well, twice, but I call that never).  I didn’t swell to odd proportions.  I didn’t bloat in my face to the point you couldn’t recognize me.  And I didn’t have a rash covering my body (all my love to Amy & Katie K here) and making me miserable.
The conversation that night continued on about labor & delivery.  Whit was hopitalized two weeks before she delivered and knew everyone in the maternity ward when her time came then ended up having a c-section.  Katie told me stories that blew my mind.
Now, I had a not-so-short delivery.  They induced me (broke my water/gave me pitocin) around 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday night and Ella didn’t make her appearance until after 7 a.m. the next morning.  HOWEVER, I was also comparing birth stories to my mom, aunt, and grandmother whose longest labor (i.e. from “I think it is time” to “Baby’s here!”) was around 6 hours.  I was hoping that was genetic, but it was not.  Of course, I was induced and none of them were…inductions always seem to take FOREVER.  There was only one major problem during my delivery – Ella’s cord was wrapped around her neck.  This wasn’t known until she made her entrance and instead of being placed on my chest, the doctor quickly unwrapped the cord (as horror appeared on my mom’s face) and handed her off to the nurses to be checked over.  She passed her Apgar with FLYING colors.
I had the “perfect” pregnancy and the “perfect” delivery.  And now, I have a PERFECT child.
I am lost in reflection on this after being pointed to a blog by a women who delivered a Downs Syndrome baby girl in January.  I posted the link to her daugher’s birth story on facebook yesterday.  I have since taken time to continue reading through her blog.  I’ve only gotten through January’s posts and haven’t started Februarys yet.  I read and I feel a bond with her.  I know – not normal, as we have little in common.  We each have at least one daugher.  That’s it.  Here is where my emotional tug is…
Before I was pregnant with Ella I attended the funeral of a child.  I had been friends with his dad and dad’s extended family from years ago.  This child was a precious, special child.  I didn’t know him.  I only went to show support for his dad and that extended family.  I sat there like stone listening to what people had to say about this precious child of God.  I believe he was autistic.  But that isn’t what people talked about.  They talked about how special he was to the world of people around him.  How he laughed.  How he smiled.  How he made you feel special.  I carried that day with me.  I had worked in special education as a substitute teacher in our county.  I was one of the few who willingly signed up to sub in special education classes.  I loved it.  I loved working with kids who needed that extra attention.  I wonder all the time what has happened to the class of kids at one Elementary that I can to work with every week and loved dearly.  I was allowed special permissions to know their stories because I was working with them so closely and so often.  Have you ever heard of chiari malformation?  I hadn’t.  It is amazing.  Can you imagine have a child that never sleeps?  That is one unique strain of chiari malformation.  One of the girls in that class had it.  She had no body fat.  She was restless.  Her mother slept while she was at school.  It was their only way to cope.
Two of the kids had severe emotional disorders.  I watched one throw a computer through a window.  The other and I became good friends.  When he got mad, he threw desks.  When he got mad, if you sat in a chair right in front of him and put your face within a foot of his and started counting backwards from 100, he’d calm down.  I loved learning that.
Two of the children were downs syndrome.  Oh, how I loved them.  The sweetest beings alive – full of hugs and loved playing hide-and-go-seek.  Oh, how I loved those children. 
Why does this consistently weigh on me?  Why do I always, ALWAYS think about it?  I have no idea.  I can tell you that one day during my pregnancy, I became acutely aware that something was going to be wrong with Ella.  I just knew it.  I never told Jeff.  I still haven’t told him.  (Hi honey)  I knew…I just knew.
But there is nothing wrong with my child.  She is SMART.  She is BEAUTIFUL.  She is IMPORTANT.  (Sorry- I read The Help recently).  She can say “two” after I say “one”.  Of course, all numbers are “2” and all letters are “E”.  She can recognize her name when it is written down.  She can repeat “E” “L” “L” “A” when prompted.  There is nothing wrong with my child.
People have been asking me lately when we’re going to have #2.  Today – it could be tomorrow (well, after April).  Yesterday – I only wanted Ella.  We may get there…
People have also been asking me what I’m going to do for work once I return to work (do I ever have to?).  I think, perhaps, that God hasn’t been speaking to me about MY child, but instead about others’ children.  I think I might go into special education by choice.  I’m not so sure I want to teach in a regular school.  I think I’d like to work with specific children.  I’m not going to make up my mind yet.  But I had to get it off my chest.
To my sister-in-law, Kristen – you are a wonderful mother.  Your son adores you.  Your son is perfect.  Your delivery was not.  Please don’t let it define your motherhood.  Motherhood is so much more than that.  THAT is what I wanted to say.  It just took me a week and this blog to find the words I wanted to say.
To you- my friend & reader…I leave you with two pictures of my PERFECT CHILD:
 Here she is conducting her own business meeting in our living room:
And here she is getting ready to run the rounds with my parent’s cat Cricket:
And now my angel is crying to me from her crib.  She took a near two-hour nap there today.  See – perfection.  Gotta go!

Already broken my resolution to post…

Oh well…such is life, eh? I planned on posting Friday, but with a sick little one I just didn’t get to it.

Baby sickness stinks. Let me tell you! And we have been extremely fortunate where this is concerned. We went Ella’s entire first year without a major illness for any of us. Granted, for the first two months of her life we had some tenuous moments with the feeding stuff. She’d gorge herself and throw up, but we all thought there was more to it. It took about 4 weeks to work it all out, but once we did we never looked back.

As soon as she turned one, she got strep throat. Then an ear infection…then another. We’re currently preventing #4. Thursday (1/21) we went to story time at the library and then to a playdate at our friend Whitney’s (Becca). All was well. We came home & I put Ella down for a nap. Twenty minutes later she was up screaming. She hates to nap in her crib during the day and always cries when she wakes up in it, but this was different. She was irate. I went to get her and she was burning up – a fever of 103. HUH??

So off to the doctor where we have every test known to man run to eliminate anything not viral. It’s viral. So home we go with instructions to alternate Tylenol & Motrin every 3 hours as long as her temp is over 100. Then Friday, we’re still hitting 103 at least once every 3-4 hours. So back to the pediatrician we go (their call) to be sure something worse hadn’t developed in the 24 hours since Thursday’s visit. The only difference? Her ears are starting to look gunky (not yet infected) and they don’t want to go into infection #4 so she gets a shot of a powerful antibiotic and we get a script for more oral antibiotic.

We’ve been fever free since Sunday morning and I’m thankful. I’m also thankful to a great mom & hubby who carried the brunt of Ella-care on Sunday. Both Jeff & I were scheduled for praise team and I didn’t want to expose the tiny baby in the nursery to anything so mom came to our house to care for Ella while Jeff & I went to church. Then Sunday afternoon was Christie’s bridal shower. The plan had been for Ella to go with me & mom, but after a diaper blowout during church time, Jeff decided to keep her home. Good call since he had another diaper blowout that afternoon.

Yesterday we only ventured out to the library (quick visit for me to pick up a hotly sought after book) and Target for needed essentials (like wipes). Other than that we were home in sweatpants.

Today, my mommy friends convinced me that being fever free for 48 hours meant it was okay for Ella to play so off to the playdate we went. It was a lot of fun and I really like my mommy friends. They are wonderful. Thursday we’re going to Maymont to see the animals before the weather predicted for the weekend.

Wouldn’t you know it – they are calling for a FOOT of snow and Jeff had bought me tickets to The Wedding Singer musical for Christmas. Oh…my present better not be ruined. I may cry. Oh well…

Oh – and Ella has a black eye! Our world is fun. You should join us.

Wow…a lot has happened in FOUR MONTHS!

Hello Friends…Sorry I’ve been a bit absent for FOUR MONTHS!!! A lot has gone on since that last post in September. I’m taking inspiration from Kristen and I’m going to blog more.

Let’s see…where to start…
How about a New Year’s Resolution? That I’ll post at least once a week. Feel free to email or text me if I haven’t posted and it is Friday. Maybe I’ll need the reminder.
Since that last post, Ella and I have been meeting up with Amy (Jackson) and Whitney (Becca) along with another mom, Bridget (Nate), at least once a week – except for Christmas/New Years. Including Nate, all the kids are within 6 weeks of each other so it makes for good conversation and it helps to have all that encouraging feed back. Ella can almost say “Jackson” now.
—insert 30 minute break for screaming toddler up from a 30 minute nap—
So, what was I talking about? Oh yes – our playgroup. We all met through Richmond Mommies (RM) and it is a great group! I highly recommend RM for all new moms who are the first mom in their group of friends or when you find that your friendships change after you have a kid. You’ll find a group of mommy-friends who understand all you’re going through.
Okay, moving on…A LOT has happened since September. If you aren’t on Facebook, join and friend me so that you can keep up with us and see what you’ve missed. I update their Monday-Friday and occasionally on the weekends.
First of all – Ella has a cousin!!! Jerry & Kristen welcomed J.J. (Jerry Alvin Stone, IV) on September 30. Ella likes to look at her baby cousin and I’m sure she’ll like him more once he can move about on his own. Hopefully she’ll be better at sharing by then, too.
Halloween was so different this year. We didn’t go anywhere because we like to give out candy to the few kids that are trick-or-treating age in our neighborhood. Ella was dressed up as Cinderella – a costume her Uncle Warren bought for her.
Less than a week after Halloween (11/06), Ella turned ONE! We had a big party for her at the church – there were so many people we couldn’t have it at our house. Mostly it was family, but we did invite a few friends including Alastair Amos & her new friend, Jackson. She had a great time at the party and was in a great mood the whole time. What more could a mom ask for?
Thanksgiving took us to Nags Head to spend a couple days with my mom’s family. And next came Christmas. Christmas this year was a lot of fun. First, we got our tree up and put ornaments on it. Ella loved looking at the tree (and still does since it hasn’t come down yet). She also enjoyed the present aspect a bit more this year. She still doesn’t understand the whole unwrapping thing, but had a lot of fun playing with her new stuff as it was revealed.
She also enjoyed the time with her Uncle Warren & Aunt Rachel!!!