November 29, 2010

Landon's Hospital Photo Shoot :)

...And Baby Makes 5!!!! :)

I'm going to attempt to remember all the details surrounding our most recent experience of bringing a baby into the world...
Saturday, November 13, 2010
We took Livi to the zoo the weekend prior to Brooks' birth, so we thought we'd give it a try this time, too! We had a great day looking at all the animals and watching Brooks run around like a little wild man! We shared some hot french fries and a slushy BEFORE going to the petting zoo :) That night, I ate some jalapeno poppers with cream cheese! I wanted to see if maybe the combo of the zoo and something spicy to eat would bring sweet Butterbean to me sooner!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Woke up kinda bummed because there were no contractions. Obviously the zoo and spicy poppers had not done the trick :( At church, we asked our SS class to pray for us in the weeks ahead, as we had a tough decision to make. We weren't 100% sure we wanted a c-section for this Butterbean, but I was a little apprehensive about trying a VBAC. There were risks with both, but at least the c-section would be scheduled and not willy-nilly! We went to a friend's birthday party and then to Bible study, where we again asked friends to pray for us and this decision.
Monday, November 15, 2010
7:30 am - My feet hit the floor. Was that a contraction? No. I don't think so. So I got the kids up, fed 'em breakfast (skipped breakfast myself), and started getting ready to go to Target. Was that another contraction? Can't be, can it? I called a neighbor (THANK YOU CORY!) to hang out with the kids while I went in to see my doc and make sure. Around 9:45am we confirmed that, indeed, they were contractions (and strong ones at that!:) I was already 4cm and 70%. We decided to go to the hospital for some monitoring. I figured they'd send us home in an hour or so once they realized my contractions weren't leading anywhere, just like any other normal Braxton Hicks. While Matt was frantically packing the car, I was hugging Livi and Brooks and watching cartoons. He couldn't understand why I was so calm, but I just didn't believe this was it! By 11:00am I was hooked up to a machine at the hospital. The nurse couldn't believe I was "rating" my contractions a 4 out of 10 on the pain scale, as they were off the chart...literally...but kinda few and far between. Matt and I watched some Sports Center, talked, prayed, texted, talked, I slept a little between contractions...but then they started getting more intense and we realized we weren't going home today! Around 12:30 pm I was another cm dilated and moving downstairs to the labor/delivery wing! By 2:00 pm my IV was pumping, antibiotics were flowing (Group B +), and I was just waiting (patiently) on my epidural (Got it around 2:30pm!! Whew!!) At 3:20 pm my water broke on it's own and by 4:28 pm I informed Matt (rather calmly) that he needed to get the nurse b/c it was time! :) Our nurse came in and realized that she needed the doctor, as in, RIGHT NOW! Dr. Levin was pulled from another labor/delivery room to help us. 10 minutes and 4 contractions/pushes later...Matt gleefully announced, "Holly, IT'S A BOY!" 4:38 pm - Landon Tate Warren made his wonderful entrance in to the world. He had a head full of dark hair! We thought he looked just like Livi and Brooks. He cried for a few seconds, but stopped immediately when put on my chest. There he was! Looking at me, face to face! The big beautiful eyes I'd been dying to see for so long! 8 lbs even, 20 inches even! I couldn't even describe the instant joy he brought to my life. It's like nothing else. Immediate love. Unconditional.
 Kisses for her new little "bruvver"

 What a precious face!

 I just wanna squeeze him!

Cute rolls, wrinkles and a snarled lip! :)

It's amazing how God uses prayer. We prayed for months about a c-section vs. a VBAC. I worried about it from time to time, but nothing like the weeks leading up to our due date. I didn't feel 100% about either direction. We asked so many people to pray with us, that we would do the right thing. I knew I really wanted God to choose the due date, but I also knew I didn't want a crazy, whirlwind delivery like with Livi. In the end, I think it's so amazing that God took every ounce of worry and removed it from my life. He took control and said, "Today's the day. No more wondering." He saved me from the stress. He took the decision out of my hands and made it His own. Thank You Lord for the wonderful blessing of Your guidance! Your love is so overwhelming, so complete, so undeserved! Thank You for Landon's life and your hand in it! Thank You for his health and his future! I pray he comes to know You at an early age and can be a witness to everyone around him. I pray he'll surround himself with friends who also love You, but will reach out to those who may not know You. I pray he'll marry the Godly woman you have set in place for him and that he'll be the leader of that household in every Biblical way you've described in Your Word. I pray his life will be a blessing to You!

November 9, 2010

Livi's Chilly Birthday!

With the rest of the week looking great, how could we have known we'd fall victim to a cold snap on the day of Livi's party?! We considered changing the location from the park to our house, but in the end it all worked out! Praise the Lord the sun came out and the kids had a blast! The star of the party had to have been the cake...I had NO idea it would cause such a stir! Thanks Publix! :) Livi had a great time with family and friends! Thanks to all who came! Here are some pics (and 1 from Halloween!)

 Our lil' skunk and sailor girl :)

 "Welcome to my castle!" - - Livi's new playhouse! :)

 Lots of help with blowing out the candles!

Publix icing is good to the last lick!

Our lil' princess!! Happy 3rd birthday, Sweet Pea! :)

October 26, 2010

In Christ, There Are No Goodbyes

Wednesday, October 13th. Matt came home early and I was so excited...til I saw the look on his face. He informed me that my dad and his siblings had been called to go home and see Granddaddy as quickly as they could. What happened to 3 or 4 months?! I was in denial. They must be wrong. This was too fast - he was only diagnosed with cancer a little over a week or so ago. But it was real. It was happening. Of course, being the amazing husband he is, Matt told me to go. I worked out the details in my head, packed, and left.

On the trip to Ashburn, I received several phone calls of opposition to my coming. At 34/35 weeks pregnant, I knew traveling was risky. But how could I not?! I had to see him 1 more time. I had to see him for myself. On the way there, I listened to a sermon on the radio that dealt with death of all things. (Isn't God amazing?! You can't truly think that's a coincidence!) The sermon was about the rich man and the poor man. It's a parable Jesus told his followers. The preacher went on to explain how the rich man was in hell before the "coroner" had been called. The poor man was in Heaven before his body could be thrown into the garbage pile outside the city walls. What a contrast to the lives they lived on earth! I remember later telling my dad how I thought it's the coolest thing that Granddad was blessed to be "rich" on earth AND in Heaven! You don't see that much these days. Matthew 19:24 says, "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Yet he did it!

When I arrived, Granddaddy was already asleep and I was NOT going to be the person to wake him! I wouldn't even touch his arm I was so afraid of disturbing him! I could barely leave, knowing anything could happen overnight. Somehow (thank You Lord) I slept well that night. Just knowing I was there and I could get to him 1st thing in the morning was comforting.

I got up bright and early the next morning to the sound of Granddad's cows mooing outside (I was at the farm house). Best sound in the world. I got ready and went directly to the house in town. He was still asleep. I was literally itching for him to wake up! Ate breakfast. Talked with family. Finally, he woke up around 9am. He was having trouble breathing and couldn't really respond to my words (I'll keep those for myself for the most part). It was a precious time. He squeezed my hand at several points when I would mention something he liked or remembered. I just thanked him for a million things. I helped him put his hand on my belly and this sweet lil' butterbean kicked him! That got a hand squeeze :) I knew I had talked his ear off and I knew it had to be frustrating for him to be unable to respond. I had not made out a single word he had uttered...til I stood up to kiss his forehead and with tears rolling down my cheeks I said, "I love you, Granddaddy"...and he said, "Love you, baby" as only he could. It's that southern "baby" that comes out more like "behbeh" :) It took everything in me to hold it together. Thank You Lord for allowing him to get that out and allowing my ears to hear it. Those minutes went by too quickly, but there were others who wanted to see him. That would be the last time I would talk with him.

I left a few hours later, there was nothing more I could do. The Hospice nurse said he expected him to go on a few more days and that would be it. I called my aunt to let her know I'd made it home around 7pm that evening and she informed me that he had just passed. I hate to say it, but I was relieved. How many more days could he have gone on like that? While I was driving home, pouring over hundreds of memories with this sweet man, he was meeting Jesus face to face.

At his funeral, it was amazing to see the number of lives Granddad touched. From his buddies at the stockyard, to business owners in town, to friends who traveled many miles to honor and remember him, they all had the same thing to say..."We just lost an honorable man. A gentleman through and through." And even more than that, I knew that we had lost a true man of God. As is typical with his generation, he wasn't overly vocal about his faith. It came up from time to time. But it was always evident in how he did business and how he dealt with personal relationships. His church surely knew it. I've never seen so many grown men cry as I did that day. Tough, rugged "cowboy" types, just sobbing. I tried to save my tears for private, I don't know why. I wanted to celebrate him more than mourn our loss. But it was so hard.

I'll never forget how he taught me to drive (starting at age 7 or so, and really letting me sit alone and take the wheel around 12!), how he sang so loud in church, stopped on the side of the road to help me pick blackberries, knew everybody's name everywhere we went (they all knew him, too:), the funny things he'd say to the cows as we'd drive through the pasture, how he chewed a toothpick and then fell asleep in his chair after a big meal (and they're ALL big:), smelled good whether he was going to dinner or going to the stockyard, found a little orange paintbrush for me so I could keep the stockyard office clean (it stayed there year after year), took a second to wink or wave when we'd make eye contact at a cow or pig sale, played basketball with us in the driveway, baited my hooks (Lord knows I wasn't doing it!:), came to events of mine in high school and made it to my college graduation, drove to SC to meet Livi and Brooks soon after their births, how he'd always ask if we'd "washed our feet" before a meal, how he'd just stand up out of nowhere in the middle of a conversation and motion for me and Matt to go with him (knowing we were kids and we'd probably rather be at the farm:), how he stood to salute Papa's casket at the funeral, let me comb his hair and fix it up just right (I have a picture of this somewhere?!), he always had to pay for everything and couldn't let us leave without checking our tires and finding something wrong with the car, and how (later in his years) he would tear up and eventually just wave us off and have to go into the house to avoid us seeing him cry.

Well, now we're the ones crying. But just as he'd cry temporarily, knowing we'd come back soon, our tears should be temporary. They'll be spread out. Some now, some later, some for years to come. But knowing I'll see him again makes them more bearable. Love you, Granddad. Miss you already.

October 12, 2010

Living Out John 16:33

Nothing could have prepared me for this news. I'd always thought my granddad was invincible. He'd weathered storms before, medically-speaking. He was always out and about in his big truck - shaking hands, visiting others who were ill in their homes, checking on the cows at the farm, making sure things were running right at the stockyard. Then one day, a doctor walked into the room and put an approximate expiration date on his life. Months! Not years? My family was just down there at the end of August and he was doing ok...not great...but he drove us out to the farm (telling us every piece of precious history he knew about the passing roads and pastures)...he played with the kids, allowing them to empty a box of toys and pile them one by one in his lap. So to hear how quickly it was all fading, I just couldn't comprehend. I didn't even cry at first. It didn't seem real. But when I'd had a few minutes to replay the conversation, and in the context of knowing I shouldn't be traveling long distances this late in my pregnancy, I lost it. Bad. I knew he wouldn't take treatment in place of going home and living out his days in his own house. But it just broke me.
I've spent a lot of time searching scripture for uplifting words...not for him, as he won't take many phone calls or visitors right now...but more for me. I'm gasping for words to make me feel better, to help me cope with the thought of losing the man who'd spent so much quality time with me through the years - fishing, driving around town and country, sipping Mt. Dew at the Huddle House with his buddies, hanging out at the stockyard...proudly showing off me and my brother every leg of the journey. He'd made the trip to SC twice to meet my kids soon after their arrival - that's HUGE for a man who loves nothing more than the simple life in a simple town.
The scripture I've rested on is John 16:33..."I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." God never said it would be easy. He promises trials. He guarantees heartache. Those things are the results of a fallen world. Before sin there were no trials and there was no heartache. But He promises, too, that He has overcome those things. He has defeated death - and we can, too, if we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. I can't put into words what a relief that is! My pain on earth won't end when my sweet granddaddy goes to be with the Lord, I will miss him immensely. But knowing that Christ has overwhelmed the grave and we have victory in His name, how can I not rejoice?
Snuggling w/Livi - Christmas 2007

Playing outside w/Livi - Christmas 2009

Meeting Brooks - April 2009

Hanging out w/Brooks - Christmas 2009

October 9, 2010

Happy Fall Y'all!

We're trying to take advantage of every day we have with Livi and Brooks before our lil' Butterbean gets here! Can't believe we're 7 weeks (or LESS) away! Here are some pics to show what we've been up to lately!
 Auburn vs Clemson = Heartbreaker!

 Weekend in Charleston - courtesy of Aunt Fox!! :)

 Cheering on (some) of the WA War Eagles @ Homecoming!

 10 year high school reunion!

 Swinging @ the park :)

 Brooks' favorite thing to do :)

 The boys!

 Ballerina OR Karate master?

 33+ weeks!!

 Harmon's Tree Farm

Squinty kiddos :) 

Off for another adventure! 

 Time to rock! :)

 Taking a breather!

 Ready for the hayride!!

 The girls :)

 Great beginning to a GREAT game! USC 35 - Alabama 21

Butterbean's 1st USC game! :) Go Cocks!

September 24, 2010

"I Will Rise" - Chris Tomlin

I cannot listen to this song without crying. It just speaks to me. To know that no matter what comes our way, no matter who puts us down or disappoints us, no matter who comes in to power or changes our way of life, we already have victory in Jesus Christ - what an amazing freedom we can have, not to worry, "It is well"! As my granddad (my dad's dad) is in surgery today, I'm reminded of losing Papa (my mom's dad) last year. Had I known this song, it would have been such a comfort. "The grave is overwhelmed!" "I will rise when He calls my name!" Will YOU rise when He calls your name? Will YOU hear the angels sing, "Worthy is the Lamb"? I pray you will! :)

There's a peace I've come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul
I can say "It is well"

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

There's a day that's drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

And I hear the voice of many angels sing,
"Worthy is the Lamb"
And I hear the cry of every longing heart,
"Worthy is the Lamb"

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise
Miss you, Papa!