Category: family

Life is too crazy when we move. I have been neglecting the blog anyway — and now it’s just ridiculous. I sent a “catching up” email to a few friends, so I realized I could use a few excerpts to update here as well.

On Tuesday, July 5, I took the kids to playgroup. We went to Sterling Skaggs park, and it was SO bloomin’ hot. But they got to see the Hughes’ and the Wrights, and the Fergusons and the Parkers and the Chirchs and Davies and the Purtells and probably a few others I’m forgetting at the moment. When it was time to leave, I just cried and cried pulling out of the parking lot. Susannah said, “Mommy, you cry a little bit?” and Jonas said, “It’s okay, Mom. When we get settled in you will feel better and won’t cry so much.” (I guess we’ve been using that “get settled in” phrase a lot.)

By the time we got home the packers were done! Jonas laid down on his sleeping bag and napped pretty hard, and Susannah napped in her crib (which they hadn’t taken apart yet).

Wednesday morning the crew arrived late – which was frustrating, because when we called the main office they couldn’t reach the driver (apparently his cell phone was dead!?) so he had no idea when they were coming. They finally got to our house a little after 10:00, and I left for the mall with the kids. We took home Chick-Fil-A for lunch, ate with Chris, and by then the downstiars was loaded on the truck. So we went down there, put a movie on the laptop, and gated off that bottom doorway to keep the kids out of the movers’ way. BUT IT TOOK THEM FOREVVVVER! The driver had had heart attacks and told us he wasn’t allowed to do lifting :-z So instead of 3 guys working, it was just 2 and they didn’t finish until after 6 pm.

At that point, we still had to finish the cleaning up, get the kids some dinner, and then we had a four-hour drive ahead of us. I just didn’t think I could do it – I mean, I’d be driving probably 7-11 pm! And then we’d have to unload our cars to even be able to put the kids to bed. Not good. So we put the kids right to bed, finished cleaning up the last few things, and set our alarms for 3.am.

We got up EARRRRLY Thursday morning (July 7), loaded up the cars, and hit the road. If you’re on Facebook I’m sure you saw my posts that morning– we were only five minutes down the road when Jonas threw up the first time. And then it happened every 15 minutes for the next 3 hours. Poor guy!! I still don’t know if it was a real virus or just his nerves about moving. We had gotten both kids a bag of “yay for moving day” little gifts, and one of Jonas’ was a Pillow Pet Mini, and he puked on it the very first time and I had to stick it in a bag to be washed. (Luckily as soon as the washer/dryer was unloaded, we started washing the puke laundry and he got his Pillow Pet back the next morning at the new house.) He went through all his clothes, all the towels we’d brought with us (can’t pack all of them if you want to take a shower that last day!)…. the booster seat cover was gross… Ugh. It was just awful. And I felt SO bad for him, he was pale and shaky and miserable. Susannah, on the other hand, could not have cared less that he was barfing right beside her — I guess I’m thankful for her iron stomach. 😉

About an hour away from Owensboro, he finally stopped, and when we got here he was totally perky again. Running through the house, putting Batman stickers on the wall of his room 🙂 –he really cheered up.

The movers got here at 11:30 and they were done unloading by 3:30. THAT was a good feeling! We started unpacking the kitchen, but that was about all we tried to tackle the first day. We had two minor issues – one leg of our coffee table broke, but two new clamps from Lowe’s and a little wood glue fixed that – and one drawer-pull on my dresser broke, but I think I can fix it with SuperGlue. But overall, we were really happy with their work.

Friday and Saturday we kept unpacking, and made trips to Walmart, Target, and Kroger. Whew! It’s amazing just how tiring it can be.

Sunday was dramatic (another repeat if you’re on Facebook!) — first visit to a new church, and Jonas caught the business end of block with his face. SO, lots of blood and crying and swelling and sadness. Then he pulled his own tooth out and felt like a million bucks. Chris took him for ice cream (which is their lost-tooth tradition) and I broke out the new circular sprinkler (worth every penny of that $9 at Target!!!) for both kids to run through. So the day ended on a nice note, at least.

We continued unpacking, and Chris took his degrees over to the office – they will hang them in one of the exam rooms. I’ll have to pop in and take a picture at some point. 🙂 We’ve been shopping for a kitchen table and found one we all really liked, so that was nice. One of the ladies at Chris’ office recommended a second furniture store, and they had the same table for $200 less! They had to order it for us, but I’m happy to wait “three to six weeks” to save that much. We’ve taken care of new drivers’ licenses, new car tags, new voter registrations, new library cards… and we went back to Settle Memorial UMC this morning for a much less eventful visit.

I was feeling very stressed and frustrated this afternoon about everything we still need to do around here – I feel a little bit like everywhere I look is just a bare wall, an empty space, a box that still needs to be unpacked. Chris was really good about reminding me of everything that IS done, so I’m feeling better. (Moving is emotional. Pregnancy is hormonal. Combine the two, and there’s bound to be a few meltdowns, eh?)

I’ve been making these neat-o pin boards at Pinterest with ideas for decorating and furnishing all these new spaces, and I think it’s helping me organize my ideas a little bit and plan the priority list for what we need to buy first.

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Leo Donald Maxwell
(my paternal grandfather)
September 14, 1921 – November 10, 2010

“13-14And regarding the question, friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus.

15-18And then this: We can tell you with complete confidence—we have the Master’s word on it—that when the Master comes again to get us, those of us who are still alive will not get a jump on the dead and leave them behind. In actual fact, they’ll be ahead of us. The Master himself will give the command. Archangel thunder! God’s trumpet blast! He’ll come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise—they’ll go first. Then the rest of us who are still alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master. Oh, we’ll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master. So reassure one another with these words.” ~1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Today, my family is sad. We will miss Granddaddy so much! We know that Grandmama will have many hard days ahead of her. They were married when she was still a teenager and just celebrated their 59th Anniversary; it will feel so strange to come home to an empty house after all these years. We have known that Granddaddy’s heart was failing, that his body was wearing out, so this isn’t completely unexpected. But still, we are sad. We will cry, we will share old photos and old stories (like this one: when we were kids, every time we asked for seconds of something at the dinner table, he would quickly answer, “Nope.” To our surprised faces, he would continue: “You might EAT IT!” and then break into a teasing grin as he handed the dish our way. Every.single.time.) and we will hug each other and sniffle together.
But we do NOT mourn ‘like those who have no hope.’ We know that Granddaddy had a deep faith – he knew Jesus as his Savior! He was a quiet man (at least during the years I’ve known him – I wonder if I’ll hear stories from his youth that are different?) and he wasn’t prone to preaching or lecturing. But he knew the truth: that he was loved by God, and forgiven by God. And today, he walked into the arms of God. As hard as it is for those of us who remain, we are comforted to know that he is worshipping Jesus face-to-face after 89 years of doing it from a distance.
Please keep the Maxwell family in your prayers over the coming days. My grandmother’s name is Erma, and their children are Twila, Daniel, Jud (my dad), Angie, and Alice. There are also numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and their first great-grandchild is due in four months.

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I mean, seriously…. SNOW!? The first weekend in November!? Who wouldn’t love that?
Okay, I’ll admit: Susannah is clueless. She will yell “SNOW!” with us… and she did enjoy the waving “noman” she saw at a store last week… but she has no real memory of snow. And Chris, it must be confessed, does not think the month of November ought to include a forecast of white fluff. He can handle the first few snows of the season (when they come along at the appropriate time – late December, in his thinking) but by the end of January he is “over it.”
Jonas and I, on the other hand, are absolutely thrilled. We keep checking the weather channel to make sure it still says there’s a chance for snowy mix. Jonas has BIG PLANS for hot chocolate and marshmallows. I really don’t care if it’s one flake or a whole blizzard… I just love the prospect of snow!

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October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. As the parents of three babies who we never got to hold, this day is close to our hearts. Our losses have become easier to think about as more time has passed, but I still remember the pain of those days.

I think one of the hardest thing about a pregnancy loss is that it feels very isolating – it’s hard to talk about, and it can feel like no one else understands what you’re going through. When I found a few books and websites that eased that feeling – and gave me a sense of community and hope – I was so grateful. I thought I’d list them here.
SHARE (website for national organization)
Books:
Infertility: A Survival Guide for Couples and Those Who Love Them (from a Christian perspective, excellent book)
Motherhood After Miscarriage (looks like it’s out of print now, but may be available at your library; more technical information than the others, but still helpful in its own way)
If you’ve never lost a baby, but you know someone who has – you might not know what to say. I’d urge you to do a little reading on this sensitive subject, and to be in prayer for that couple. And if nothing else, I think it’s always okay to say, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” When we had our miscarriages, I was pretty open about what was happening in our lives, but most people just didn’t really talk about it. After our third loss, I was on the phone with my mom one day when she said, “I know today must be really tough… I’ve been thinking about you and praying for you.” She remembered our baby’s due date, and took the time to let me know she remembered. You may not know a due date, but if you happen to remember the anniversary of your friend’s loss, it’s okay to mention it. Moms who’ve miscarried remember those anniversaries, and sometimes we feel like we are the only ones remembering our babies. Knowing that others remember means A LOT.
In memory of our three babies: Lost September 2003 at 6 weeks (due May 2004); Lost April 2005 at 4 weeks (due January 2006); Lost January 2007 at 11 weeks (due August 2007). We hold you in our hearts.

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This week is going to try my patience. My nerves. My mothering abilities AND my driving abilities. For this week, my friends, I’m going to be driving from Elsmere to Calhoun to Doraville to Thomasville to Midway to Decatur to Elsmere. In seven days.

Tomorrow morning we’ll head out early, put in at least six hours on the road, then make a layover in Calhoun to see Mimi and Aunt Andrea (who’s been stuck at college the last few times we’ve blown through town) for a brief pit stop. Then we’ll buckle back up and drive another two hours to my brother’s house. Unna Jay-jase and Shay-ray (in Susannah-speak) have graciously opened their home to us for an overnight – and we’re really excited about seeing them & Dylan again.
Monday morning, we hit the road again and head south for Thomasville, where my Grand-Maxwells will meet Susannah for the first time! (Ack. Feeling a little guilty that she’s a few months shy of TWO and I haven’t taken her down there yet.) I am already anticipating that leg of the trip, actually… I’ve been pulling into that driveway, roadweary and worn, at least once a year or once-every-couple-years for my entire existence. There is nothing quite like coming home to my Grandmama’s house.
We’ll head out Tuesday afternoon for Midway. My mom’s chemo schedule has changed, so we will likely be taking her to Savannah for her appointments on Wednesday and Thursday (glad I planned at least a *few* days to stay and help out). Then we’ll pack up again on Friday morning.
That afternoon, we should cruise into Decatur to see my dear friend Holly. We saw her back around Christmas, but it has been awhile and I’m looking forward to an evening of our nonstop girl chatter. We can seriously cram more words into any given minute than seems humanly possible.
Saturday morning I will probably feel more like kicking my car than driving it… but we will once again head ’em up and move ’em out. Destination: home. Chris will be back from D.C. and off work, so at least I’ll have that to motivate me on the drive back. When we arrive here, I fully plan on giving him a quick kiss, handing over both kids, and going to sleep for at least six hours. (I think I’ll deserve it, don’t you?) At that point, I might feel somewhat human again.

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We rolled into Midway on Tuesday, expecting that my mom would start chemo the next day. There was some confusion or miscommunication with her doctor and his office staff/schedulers, though, so she actually had her first treatment on Thursday.

She got several “extras” first (fluids, anti-nausea meds, a corticosteroid) and then an IV each of carboplatin and taxotere. We were all really thrilled with how well she has tolerated these drugs! The first day after chemo she felt pretty great – she had enough energy to fold a load of towels and point & direct me in re-organizing a couple of pantry shelves that were getting on her nerves. 😉 Day two and three found her much more tired, which is to be expected, and she has started having some nausea – but she says it’s really not the sensation that she’s going to throw up, it’s more like vertigo or seasickness when she moves around.
It’s been a good trip. I’ve been able to do quite a few things for Mom (I’ve made two meatloaves! Chris said, “Every time I talk to you I think you’re making meatloaf!” LOL – hey, if she’s hungry for meatloaf & will eat it, I’ll gladly make her a dozen!)…. some cooking, some light cleaning, a plenty of organzing. Her “catalog basket” was all out of order — she keeps them alphabetized, for Pete’s sake! — and she wanted to refresh the greeting cards that are on display in the living room since so many new ones had arrived. So we’ve done those little projects, and I’ve driven her into Hinesville for a couple of doctor’s appointments, and we’ve just had nice relaxing time to chat.
The kids have been loving it, too. Our last trip ended up being much longer than I’d anticipated and they started getting restless toward the last few days. This time I brought a bag of crafts and diversions, which was good. Plus, Mom wasn’t in the hospital this time, so they have been able to see her and Dad each day 😉 My dad took them out to dig up sweet potatoes on Sunday afternoon — what a hoot! They were both COVERED in sandy soil when they came inside – Susannah even had grit in her ears. Jonas had his hands deep in the dirt and sighed, “I *love* being at this house.” How precious to hear that.
My brother Jason and his wife Sharon came in late Friday night and stayed through Sunday morning. Susannah started calling him “Unna Jay-jase” and didn’t quite manage a name for Aunt Sharon, but she did warm up to her compared to our last meeting with them. Of course, Jonas loves them both to pieces and was quickly jumping all over Jason, playing shooting games with him, and talking about Ironman, Spiderman, and Batman until they were blue in the face.
On Sunday, Mom wasn’t feeling up to heading into town for church, so Dad went early for both hours and the kids and I followed for worship service. Jonas & Susannah really love seeing Granddaddy up in the pulpit. When it’s time to pray, Susannah shouts out, “AMEN!” before they get started, and when Granddaddy starts preaching, she hollers, “Mo’ Jesus!” (This kid has soul, what can I say?) Jonas even left the service to go to Children’s Church.
She’ll have her next chemotherapy session on October 1st, so I’ll probably plan to come down again the week after that.

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Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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