So...We're having another baby...Or not

That got your attention didn't it. 

Well, it got ours, too.

This one is a personal one, so you can stop reading if you don't like girl-talk.

But....If you choose to read it.... Make sure you read it all, k?

Here we go.

We got out BFP (Big Fat Positive) last week and were OOOOooo so excited. We were pregnant! Four (all positive) pregnancy tests later, we were sure and  pumped. Told our parents this past weekend.  Due January 17, my mom's birthday. 23 Months apart. Perfect. Bought AO her very own big sister shirt to wear around the house, so it could sink in with me.  Even had time to teach her to touch my belly and say baby. (So ignore that one if she does it to you.) Close in age will hopefully mean they will be close sisters. Because I just know it's a girl. (Silly, I know.)  I was already dreaming of a girly tweeny craft/music room instead of play room, making potholders and playing with baby dolls instead of playing play station, and hot pink and turquoise. (If we ever have a boy it's going to ROCK my world.)

Lets back up to 2010. Our first positive pregnancy test. It took soooo long the first time. We weren't trying - not like going to the fertility doctor trying. But we most certainly were not using any pregnancy precautions; and I was monitoring all that girly stuff you can monitor on your own to get pregnant. If that makes any sense. Then we lost the baby. And I cried. A lot. John did the "what if" game. A lot. And we grew closer. Our marriage got so much stronger.  Then (EXACTLY a year later TO THE DAY, total God Thing) AO was conceived. And (thank goodness) she had lots of baby magic (GOD) dust and stuck.

 But we never "struggled" with fertility problems. That's a different and much more difficult struggle entirely. We are just one of the millions of (what I consider) normal folks who can't flip the switch and have a baby.   In my crazy, glass-half-full way of thinking, I'm glad I never have to worry with birth control.

Back to the story.

So, last week, I made my doctor's appointments and signed up for blood work.

Then, Tuesday night, the bleeding started. Not to get too personal, but you can bleed pregnant. It's actually quite common. I never did with either of the past two pregnancies. Maybe a little spot, but this wasn't normal. It was worse than a regular cycle. The kind that wakes you up from dead asleep because you can feel it, not normal. (Sorry for the TMI!)

Long story short, we called the doctor, who suggested we come right in to the office. They wanted to do blood work and check the HCG levels.

Trying to get blood.  Not pleasant. 10 DIGGING sticks searching for a vein - even with the butterfly, the old timey syringe, 3 LPNs and 2 Lab Techs later for one itty bitty vial of blood out of the back of my wrist. That tender spot was the last resort, with the hospital lab expert they called in specifically to stick me. I seriously thought they would stick my foot any minute.  (In case you were wondering, I'm sore to match my black and blue today.) I was thanking my Granny again for her tiny, rolling, deep veins I inherited.

Later the same day, we got the dreaded phone call. "Your HCG levels are low. You need to come in tomorrow. It's really to early to make any conclusions, and Dr. E wants to do blood work again tomorrow." Heard that before. Like a 47 HCG at 6 weeks way too low. I knew exactly what this meant.  I keep up with these things. I knew my LMP and the conception date. This kinda bleeding with that number?

Possible miscarriage. Impending miscarriage. Whatever you want to call it.  But in my heart of hearts, I already knew the answer. I know what this means.

All I can say about this time... I thank GOD that this has been a faster process than last time. And that evidently getting pregnant wasn't as hard this time. (That's a bigggg whoopieeee!!! If you have ever struggled, you know what I mean.)  It's just staying pregnant that is the trouble.  And I am SO thankful that my body naturally miscarried (at least we're 90% sure) so that we don't have to go through the horrible waiting and waiting and DNC process. That part...where your brain plays tricks on you and you search online aimlessly for hours even though you know in your gut the truth....it is painful. Ultrasounds, bloodwork, more ultrasounds, misoprostol, then DNC, then more blood work drawn out over weeks so a quick closure is impossible. 
The only thing to do this time - keep getting blood draws until the HCG is zero. That I can handle. 

The God-given peace is SO extremely comforting this time. I don't have false hope. And I am so thankful for the peace.  I know it's better for me physically and emotionally. The first miscarriage was confusing, long, drawn-out and scary. This one - not so much.  I had another close friend go through one recently. And then, there's my bestie Kimberly's story.  Makes my little bitty suffering so much simpler.  And thinking about her pain makes mine hurt so much less. I truly don't know that kind of hurt and pain.  I have a child. I don't have a reason to make myself suffer this time. I am truly ok.

 Most people don't like talking about these type things. And I get it. It's personal. So very personal. But for whatever reason, it makes it easier for me to put it all out there. Plus, by putting it out there you get all the folks who tell you it happened to them. Which believe me, is a lot of people. When I think of my close circle, 75% have had a pregnancy loss of some kind. Blighted ovum, ectopic, molar. It happens, and it is extremely common. Maybe my thought is that by talking about loss, we up the chances that some girl out there will hear about it BEFORE it happens to her for the first time. Because that first time is the worst. So she's not so shocked and can handle it better. So she knows it is absolutely normal. Maybe, just maybe.

Or maybe it's more selfish. Maybe then we won't get the "so when are you having another?" questions, which I DREAD. If you aren't in my innermost circle, you don't get to ask that question. I hated it before Arleigh, too. I always want so bad to say (for 6 years before AO) "When God wants a baby to stick and grow in my uterus, you numb-skull."  (Not the most Christian like response, I realize.)  What do people think, anyway? What do you expect the answer to be? You want me to pull out my iphone tracker so you can see my ovulation cycle? (Sorry, I can be a little much at times.) If you are in the circle, you know all of this anyway.  So if you have friends going through this, for goodness sake be delicate on how you approach this situation.

I'm headed to go cuddle my precious (and ohhh so sweet) Arleigh right now. It's like she's extra cuddly just for me. :-)  My heart is definitely full with her. But there also seems to be a piece of our family that is missing. It's hard to explain. I'm just still torn on how the other piece of the family will fit. If you know us, you know I am oh-so-pro adoption. We have very precious members of our family and church who have adopted domestically and internationally - some because of fertility issues and some because they had that calling. But John has this idea that his kids are all biological. In my heart I know God will change his heart if it needs changing. Only God knows our game plan.  Maybe we'll be pregnant again in no time. Maybe God will make my family complete as it is in my heart. I'm not going to stress about it. That's all in God's plan. Just gotta trust it. 

The peace you feel when you just let go. That peace, the sweet relief that only comes from Him...I'm enjoying it. And I refuse to let this little bump in the road take my joy. I'm going to use it to draw closer. This life is way to short to spend it miserable.  So now you know. I really am okay with all this. 

Later Gators.  I'll leave you with this. Another Jesus Calling. Don't you just love it? There is something so comforting about Jesus talking directly with you. And I love this one. It's especially true right now. This one hits home. It's so hard to have this kind of trust and faith, isn't it? Trying to tell the human brain to not worry? But He loves us THAT much.
I, the Creator of the universe, am with you and for you. What more could you need? When you feel some lack, it is because you are not connecting with Me at a deep level. I offer abundant Life; your part is to trust Me, refusing to worry about anything.

It is not so much adverse events that make you anxious as it is your thoughts about those events. Your mind engages in efforts to take control of a situation, to bring about the result you desire. Your thoughts close in on the problem like ravenous wolves. Determined to make things go your way, you forget that I am in charge of your life. The only remedy is to switch your focus from the problem to My Presence. Stop all your striving, and watch to see what I will do. I am the Lord!

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
—Romans 8:31–32

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
—Micah 7:7

Happy Memorial Day weekend to you and yours.


Hope you have a "Whaley" good summer!

These were AO's end of year treats for her little school friends. Personalized Sand Buckets! 

Buckets were from the DOLLAR TREE. The hardest part were the icky labels. 

Hope you have a "whaley" good summer, too! 


Diary Entry - Here's Where Things Get Real

Oh man. We got some news today. Good news. Great news. But still scary news.

But with everything going on in my life, and the lives of my friends, it makes finding the joy in things hard. I know I serve a God who loves me. Who gave His son for me. But why do some receive blessings when others are in the midst of a hard, hard road?

I'm loving Jesus Calling right now. 

I am a mighty God. Nothing is too difficult for Me. I have chosen to use weak ones like you to accomplish My purposes. Your weakness is designed to open you up to My Power. Therefore, do not fear your limitations or measure the day’s demands against your strength. What I require of you is to stay connected to Me, living in trusting dependence on My limitless resources.When you face unexpected demands, there is no need to panic. Remember that I am with you. Talk with Me, and listen while I talk you through each challenging situation.

I am not a careless God. When I allow difficulties to come into your life, I equip you fully to handle them. Relax in My Presence, trusting in My Strength.

“For nothing is impossible with God.”
—Luke 1:37

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
—2 Corinthians 12:9 -

Equip me, God.


Homemade laundry detergent

My recipe is a bit different.Perfectly safe for HE machines. One tablespoon per load.

One Bar Fels-Naptha - Shredded
One Bar Pink Zote - Shredded
One big bag Baking Soda
One Bottle Purex Crystals for Smell Good
One Box Biz
One Container Oxyclean
Two Boxes Borax


Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

For a few months, John took over taking AO to school in the mornings. He's a mailman, and they changed their start time until later, so it made sense because he had extra time in the morning.

But this Mama didn't like it. I missed my morning rides to school with my 14 month old sweetie. I missed all the chit-chat with the teachers about what my kiddo was getting into. (She's the one with no fear...Also known as the paci thief.)  So I started taking her again. I soak up any moments I can get as a working Mama.

This morning, we were doing our usual sing-songs with Mama singing and acting like a nut.   We only have a two mile stretch to the church, but it's filled with nutty-Mama antics.  This morning, I was singing the old fashioned ♫ "Jesus Loves Me", except for every "Me", we say "Arleigh", just like we have done since she was a itty-bitty.

I got to the end - "The Bible Tells me Soooooo".... and once I finished, I heard a wee little sweet voice in the back seat go ♪♪♫♪♫ "da bi-buh...." (Translation - The Bible ♪♪♫♪♫) PRECIOUSNESS.  We've only sung this song every day of her life... But she's listening. And I love it. My baby is growing up on me.  Makes me really glad I hijacked back my morning daycare drops. :-)


I love my morning dose of K-Love on Iheartradio. I do country most afternoons, but K-Love is how I start my day. Tuscaloosa doesn't have a local station that plays K-Love, only AFR.

Anyhoo, this is my current favorite song.  I just LOVE the words. I encourage you to stop and listen. Even if you aren't in a dark spot, there are always some fuzzy moments where songs like this help. Mercies in disguise. I just love that thought.

My favorite line:
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near

I've SO been there before. Have you?  That point where all you know to do is get on your knees and pray "God, Help Me" - this song hits home.

Right now we're climbing a pretty good mountain peak in our lives, and in our marriage. But it always hasn't been this way. It's a challenge. Sometimes a daily challenge. (I have a hard time with the think before you speak thing...But I'm REALLY working on it.) 

I don't open up a lot about the journey I'm on because it's personal, but it's also a constant battle. I'm not always the best witness for my faith. Especially when I face challenges.  It's ups and downs. Then downs. Then ups. Then mountain peaks. Then the depths of the valley again. But it all makes sense. Because it's mercies in disguise. HIS mercies in disguise.

"Blessings"  Laura Story
We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

My Two Kids - Dog is Baby's Best Friend

I wasn't so sure how Clarence would be with a baby sister. He's a dog (shhh!) after all. 

When AO came home from the hospital, he was automatically a good kind of protective. He'd get between anyone new and her baby bed. (But not in a mean way..In a good, "let me check you out" kinda way.) 

He'd go up and lick her face when she'd cry. (And it worked...she would stop.)  That doesn't work now, but they've moved on.

Now they play together. 

Meet Clarence. Also known as Arleigh's favorite chair. 
He's the first one to wake her up in the morning. He plows past me pushing open the door and gate into her room and starts huffing, whining and spinning in circles until she wakes up. He also licks her face and feet or whatever body part he can reach through the crib bars. (He's REALLY happy to see her.) This little trick is not so adorable when Clarence thinks she's napped or slept long enough, and HE decides it's time to wake her. It happens, too, unfortunately for Mama. His parents aren't exciting enough now that AO is in his world.

AO kisses Clarence and gives him real hugs. Probably 10x as many as she gives her Mama and Daddy. I wish I were joking, because I would LOVE some of that TLC from my kiddo.  And they are just sporadic. She randomly goes up and plants a big ole kiss on his shiny wet nose. The hugs are pretty precious, too. Maybe I should spend more time down on her level. (I'm jealous, can you tell?)

They play a mean game of keep away. Clarence keeps something and runs from AO, AO gets something and runs giggling hysterically from Clarence. This goes on for what seems like hours.Sometimes concluding with a tug-a-war game and the parents intervening. Bless it.

AO is concerned about Clarence's nutrition, so she feeds him from her highchair. Sometime he even wears the food because she's flinging it so fast. She also shares her snacks. She doesn't understand why she can't play in his food or water, though.  We've even caught her licking her tray like Clarence does. Yuck. Not much for southern manners and grace, there, honey. Cuts down on the silverware, though.

We take her toys away from Clarence, AO immediately gives it back to him. Same way with him. We take his toys from her, He picks it up and drops it at her feet.  At least she is really learning to share. They have a "what's mine is his" kinda friendship.

She rubs his belly. He nuzzles hers and makes her roll over. And PUSHES her over while she's laughing.  He gooses her with the big black nose. Again, she giggles hysterically.

He lays on the bathroom floor when she takes a bath and gets ready for bed.

He's the last one out of her room when she goes to bed at night. (EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.) 

Did I mention they were best friends? Like, Seriously.

From the beginning, we let them find their own way to mesh together. We haven't pushed it. And we haven't discouraged it. There are times when we have to tell Clarence to be gentle, or slow down. Same goes for Arleigh O. (HE LOVES running beside her in the hall and goosing her into the wall. And she HATES it. That's her least favorite game. The "Clarence is so excited to see me he knocks me into the wall" game. She's not a fan. Neither is her Mama. Just like she has to be closely watched rubbing the belly, because she's pulled parts that shouldn't be touched on ANY creature.)  But the majority of the time, they mesh so well together, they don't need intervention. Of course we watch them very closely, because he's still (gasp) a dog.  That's the best advice I can give on the dog-baby relationship. Let them do what comes natural if it's safe. Even the (icky) licking and kisses. Just let them be. Clarence is a very gentle-natured dog. And we do trust him. But safely monitoring the trust.

I never thought I would be an inside-the-house dog person. But he's Clarence. And he's the best rescued from a gutter-mutt-black-dog-child-brother on the planet.


Teacher Appreciation Week - And Free Printable

"Donut" Forget the Teacher! We did this little number for Teacher Appreciation Week.

It's important not to forget the teachers of the wee-ones, too!

If you can't tell, we start artistry early. AO is a 14 month old who SCREAMS BLOODY MURDER when you take up her crayons or markers. She hasn't figured out the paint yet, though. She also eats crayons, but that's another story.

Donuts are a perfect little thank you.

Perfect anytime a special someone in your life needs a treat. Could be a friend, co-workers, church buds...Whoever needs a  thank you. And they are great for sharing!


We taped it to our doughnut box and voila! Easy treat to make someone feel special.

Why don't you print it out and give someone a special little thank you? 


New Mini Backyard Garden - DIY Style

 First step, a daddy who loves you.

Second, treated lumber and a way cool pneumatic nail gun and a willing Daddy as a teacher.

Third, a loving mother who has mad skills with a shovel and rake. (We took a 4' x 8' corner of the yard and turned the ground to loosen the soil.

Fourth, newspaper. Hopefully this will kill the grass underneath.

Fifth, lots of garden dirt and black cow manure. (And a strong Daddy to dump the bags.)

Sixth, a cute baby to crawl and walk all over new garden bed to pack it down.

Seventh, scrub down above mentioned baby and sit back and admire the work. ;-)

Hopefully now AO can learn more about her southern "roots" and take up gardening! Her NanO is a certified master gardener, and her Poppy plows and plants acres and acres each year.  AO has to have a green thumb in there somewhere!  The way she likes the dirt....I think we are off to a good start!

We grew up gardening each summer and composting. I want AO to see how food is grown so she understands it isn't just unloaded off a truck at Publix. Important life skills that are dying with the generations.

Market Street Saturday

I've always loved downtown Columbus. My hometown has some of the most beautiful antebellum homes in the country, and one of the most charming southern historic districts around.




Market Street is the "must do" yearly event in downtown Columbus. The weather is usually almost perfect, and folks in this region are pretty awesome crafters. For years Daisymaes had a booth. It's the place to catch up and have lots of familiar, sweet smiling folks hug your neck.

Arleigh O and I planned a much needed girls day with Nano for a little shopping. The one thing about going with Nano, I can gurantee you are going to hear 900 "Hey, Mrs. Sansing" from every kid she's every taught. 

AO loved riding in her stroller and didn't make a peep.
We had chicken salad fruit plates at an adorable little restaurant called the Gourmet Garage, behind Beard's Antiques. (This is where AO became a huge new fan of dehydrated green beans and okra.)


I bought this fabulous stained glass piece for $35. It takes up my entire kitchen window!

AO got her first balloon.... 
She went on her first carriage ride through the tree lined streets of the historic district. And took a nap....

We met sweet Swayze for Tutti Fruiti yogurt

And AO absolutely collapsed from her busy day. How was your weekend?


Folks love to post their idea boards. Wellllll, I thought I might need one to stay on focus with just a little more direction.

So far:
  • We have the $5 chandelier from the thrift store and $4 orange spray paint
  • The $18 striped bedspread from Freds (SO DIRT CHEAP I'm hate sharing my sources!)
  • The Think Happy, Be Happy $14 clearance aisle hobby lobby giant canvas wall art. (This may stay in my living room. I'm LOVING it in there now!)
  • $10 gallon can of grey paint from the clearance section at Lowes
  • $22 of Navy Chevron duck cloth Fabric to make some (fabulous in my head) curtains. (My splurge.)
  • $12 Orange chevron pillows (That have been on my living room couch, and will be relocated to their new home)
  • $10 Turquoise chevron lamp from Freds (A treat from my dear Mama)
What I'm still searching for the guest room:
  • A fabulously cheap rug that is orange or aqua and FUNKY. Found a great source on Ebay. I just haven't made the leap.
Product Image
  • The perfect frame dirt cheap from thrifting or yard sale so I can DIY my own Dr. Seuss look-a-like print. I've got it in my head that I can have my Office Depot connection print it jumbo size on the cheap.
  • I need accent pieces. I love anchors and owls. They go together, right? 

 I've finally decided that I am going to make my house what I love, and say to heck with the rest. Why not?

If you know me, you know I LOVE color. And lots of it. But I've just now decided I don't have to be scared of color.

What are you most afraid of with decorating?