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By mtpilotmom

Another Birthday Story

Happy First Birthday, Carter Brett Lawson!

Dear Carter,
Today is your FIRST BIRTHDAY! I am so excited about seeing you later today. It is so hard to believe all of the changes since you came into our lives. What will be ahead for you and all of us?
You were born 365 days ago, but God had chosen the exact day, long before. When I look back, now; it seems like a very short year compared to the long, long time we waited for you. Your Mommy and Daddy had prayed and prayed for a baby boy or girl to come into their lives. A lot of other people were praying, too. After some time, they decided to ask some other people to help them bring a new child into their family.
They talked with the wonderful people at Bethany Christian Services. They filled out a bunch of papers, talked with a bunch of people, started saving a bunch of money, and even making special efforts to get a bunch of extra money.  There was lots to do to get ready for a baby!  One of the most special things your Mom & Dad was to make a book about themselves along with a video for Birth Mommies to look at in order to decide if they would be a forever family for her little baby.  Your Mommy and Daddy did a lot of thinking during this process.

They talked about how they wanted to parent, how to share their faith and wondered about who you would be.  I was fascinated with how they communicated with each other during this time.  They were tender and sweet and sometimes very playful about this subject of a child!  Your Lolli & Pops and Skipper & I wrote letters to the Birth Mommies, too.  It was very hard to write a letter such as that.  We didn’t want to sound like we were begging for a baby, but that is certainly what we were doing to God in our prayers.

The day came without warning.  Your Mommy and Daddy called to tell us they had a call from Bethany.  It was Ash Wednesday.  How fitting that as I write this, Ash Wednesday was only two days ago!  Your Mommy called me at about 3:00 in the afternoon.  They went to meet with Mr. Mark and Ms. Terri at Bethany and were told that they could pick you up the next morning!  You were two weeks old on the day you were WELCOMED into their home, hearts and all of our lives.  You were such a little boy!  Skipper & I were so happy.

That night, your Mommy and Daddy went shopping for bottles, formula, diapers and the real necessities.  The next day, Auntie M and I went shopping for little bitty clothes for you to wear.  Then, on Friday, your Daddy called to say that we could come to see you!  My heart beat so fast, all the way from Pilot Mountain to Knoxville!  When we arrived, we thought we were seeing an angel!  You were and still are the most precious little boy, EVER! (Don’t tell your Daddy and Uncle Jeremy.)

During the year that has passed, we have watched you grow.  You are more than three times bigger than you were when you were born.  You have learned SO much!  You can talk and walk, play with toys and books, feed yourself and many more things.  Your parents have learned as much as you have.  The biggest thing they have learned is that their hearts can hold a whole lot more love than they thought before.

Your little personality is developing every day.  You have the sweetest smile that melts my heart and you are rapidly learning how to use it to your best advantage!  You have a funny expression that indicates you are going to be a little mischievous!  You don’t cry much compared to most babies.  You don’t sleep well when you are in a strange place.  You are a very healthy eater, thanks to your parents!  Each generation of parents seems to be much smarter about this, thank goodness.  You have a lot of patience for a little boy.

On your birthday, I have dreams and wishes for you.  I pray that you will be a strong and faithful Christian.  I hope you will be well-educated and have a fulfilling career.  Most of all, I hope  you will be happy and healthy.  I already know that you are loved beyond what we humans can measure.  I hope that you will always know that your family supports you and that you can call on us any time you need help or just a listening ear.

With ALL my love, Ju-Ju

P.S.  Miss Megan, you will always be my hero!  Thank you for loving us and trusting us…


2/10/12 11:53 pm
Today is Uncle Jeremy’s birthday! Tonight, Skipper and I have celebrated with our two youngest children and their families. Before I finish writing, it will be Maggie’s birthday.
All of a sudden, it seems odd to try to write about Maggie without calling her “Mommy”. Yet, I have never called her that until very recently! Yes, my youngest offspring is now a Mommy. Wow.
So much has happened in the years since my children were babies. I realize, now, that as they were growing up, I never imagined what kind of parents they would become. I could never imagined how wonderful it is to watch them parent their own children. I am sure they will tire of hearing that before I tire of saying it.
Birthdays are milestones that every individual uses to mark the stages of their lives. It is VERY important to celebrate the milestones and accomplishments. We often don’t understand (until it is our turn) how good it feels to have one day each year that you are recognized for being special just for who you are. Gifts aside, it is awesome to have that one day when your parents remember the exact time and date you entered their lives.
It has been the most wonderful privilege to remember three human’s first breaths, first words, first steps and first everythings (well, almost everythings). It is probably a very good thing that I missed just a few of the firsts. :/
See the definition of sarcasm if you do not understand…
I am grateful for my own birthdays. I am also grateful that I am still young enough to celebrate what I hope to be many more birthdays. God has blessed me with an abundance of experiences and opportunities, some unfortunately wasted. Hopefully, I will not be wasteful with what I have coming in the future and that each birthday will see me grow as a person, wife, mother and grandmother.
Happy Birthday, Jeremy and Maggie! I love you to the moon and back!

2/11/2012  12:12 am

Starting the Day with a Smoothie

I recently began a new habit that has changed my life quite a bit.  I am enjoying a smoothie every morning. It’s not about just drinking the smoothie; but changing several habits that were revealed by the smoothie idea.

Recently. I enjoyed a day of cooking with my daughter Maggie in order to fill her freezer before her baby was born.  It was an all-day event that was rewarding and VERY exhausting for both of us.  She is enjoying the luxury of having pre-made meals now that her life revolves around a tiny human.  I, on the other hand, have developed some great habits the were born out of the experience.

One of the things that we prepared for Maggie’s freezer was smoothie bags.  In a small zip lock, she placed a cup of frozen fruit and a cup of yogurt.  She planned to add juice and blend just before serving.  The idea intrigued me enough that I stopped on the way home and purchased the fruit, yogurt and juice.  I had no idea that this little project would change my life in so many ways.

The first thing that came to mind was the simple convenience of having something prepared that wouldn’t require much effort on my part.  (You have my permission to laugh.)  Especially in the morning, I have a hard time getting started.  I also knew that this was a healthy thing to do!

Juice is not usually on my menu because it normally has a fair amount of added sugar and none of the natural fiber that comes from whole fruit.  Therefore, juice is not on the frequent list in a diabetic diet.  I like juice!  Here is a way that I can enjoy the flavor of juice without ingesting a large volume of the tasty liquid.  I chose a juice made from veggies and fruit that came in a “diet” formula.  Also, there is the benefit of a little dairy protein in the yogurt.  Super!

At first, I made the little bags ahead of time.  Then, I decided to just make them fresh every morning and save the cost of the baggies.  I had only enough ingredients in each bag for my smoothie with just a little left over for Randy to taste.  He seemed to enjoy the sample, so I increased the recipe for both of us to share.  “Thank you” causes a fantastic feeling when it is said with gusto!  That helps start my day off with a smile!  I found that when I went to retrieve the smoothie ingredients, it caused me to pause and think about what I would prepare for dinner, later.  Problem solved!

Since the big cooking day, I have been preparing double and triple recipes at dinner and freezing the extra meals.  I cannot afford to do a big cooking day like I did with Maggie.  I also do not have the stamina to do it by myself.  My daughter-in-law, Cassie was the first one to introduce our family to freezer cooking; and she is totally exhausted after her big cooking day.  She uses a website based program called Once a Month Mom.  Her planning  ahead, couponing and careful shopping have saved her family a LOT of money!  She has modified the plan a little to fit their needs, but it has made a big difference in the amount of time she gets to actually spend with Chris and Carter.

One of Chris’s favorite things Cassie does in her plan is a breakfast burrito.  They thaw and reheat easily in the microwave.  I tried my hand at this recipe a couple of weeks ago, and we have thoroughly enjoyed the burritos.  I made 20 of them in less than an hour.  We really like being able to have a complete meal without having to clean the kitchen, afterward.  My kids are just filled with fabulous ideas!

Now, it is easy to throw those pre-filled ziplocks into the crockpot, or call home before I leave work and have Randy preheat the oven and toss in a casserole.  Having chosen healthy recipes makes the whole thing better for us than stopping for fast food on the way home.  Just this morning, I laid out a chicken pie to thaw.  When I prepared the pies, I wrote the directions for reheating on the foil wrapper with a sharpie.  No questions!  I will be looking forward to the warm deliciousness all day!

Organization is NOT my strong point.  (You may laugh again.)  This little effort to start my day in a better way has spilled over into another idea.  A Pinterest inspired project has happened.  I have no idea if I will be able to keep this up, but I have created a cleaning task schedule that is supposed to help me keep my house clean in  just minutes a day.  At first, while my house is pretty much a disaster, it will take a bit longer.  But, yesterday morning, I cleaned my bathroom from top to bottom.  Now, every Monday, I will need to do a fifteen minute cleaning and keep it nice.  Next Monday, I will deep clean another bathroom and “freshen” the one I did yesterday.  Every day has a chore except for Sunday.  I really do hope I can keep this up!

If I can stick with this plan, I will have more guilt-free time to knit!  My knitting/music room is almost complete.  This little renovation has taken more than 4 months, but I can see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.  I will not hesitate to start another room if the cleaning project helps me do what it is supposed to do by freeing up more time without having to feel guilty about dust bunnies and dirt monsters!

Thank you Cassie, Maggie and the almighty smoothie!


By mtpilotmom

Today’s Lesson: Don’t Judge Others by their Looks

Dear Carter and Lily,
Judging other people by their looks is often hurtful and really serves no purpose for good. When you judge other people by their looks only, you can’t get a full picture of what your looking at. You also risk missing something really important about the person that is good and could be a blessing to yourself.
Carter, your birth mother is a kind and loving person. Many times, I have told people that she is my hero. She has been criticized by at least one person that I know about for “giving away her baby”. That person is probably not very mature and was not in a kind mood when they said that. I am NOT judging by looks here, because I don’t even know who this person is. The true fact is that your birth mother made a very courageous decision and chose to make an adoption plan for you AND herself. She knew in her heart that she could not give you things, take you some places, and provide experiences that she wanted you to have. Yet, she was judged. Maybe not by her looks in this particular instance, but that could have been a part of it. Your birth mother is very young, yet she has true wisdom. Our society, today, is more accepting of adoption and its benefits than when I was younger, but some ideas are hard to suppress for some people. Those who judge your birth mother for her decision and her youth might miss the fact that she had your best interests at heart, loves you very much, has a contagious smile and is a loving woman (just to name a few of her traits).
Lily, you are only one day old and your Mommy has been judged by some of her nurses for her youthful looks! Your Mommy is about to be 23 years old, but she does look a little younger. I wish I could go put a sign on your room at the hospital that says: “The mother in this room is a graduate of Wake Forest and has a B.S. in Biology. She is a research scientist. She has been a special needs caregiver and (in the past) earned her spending money as a babysitter for more than 5 years. Her experience with children and babies is extensive. Please do not assume that she knows less than you do about HER BABY. She has read everything there is to know about newborns. If you disagree about something she is doing, please explain why and ask her reasons for what she is doing . Then, maybe you can relinquish control of this situation by mutual agreement.”
Whew! Sorry, now that is out of my system. See, judging a person by their looks can cause a lot of frustration, even if you are not the one being judged.
Be nice to people! Find out what makes them tick. Love all people, regardless of their looks and circumstances.
I Love You, Ju Ju

Welcome to Our World


Dear Lily,
Happy Birthday to YOU! It seems like such a short time since we discovered you were coming into this world. And, it seems like such a long time since we started thinking you were coming really soon. Ju Ju is not confused. She’s just tired.
Since your Mommy told us you were coming, the excitement has been building every day. That was almost 8 months ago. It was VERY happy news! This kind of anticipation is good for the soul. Sure, there have been times when there was a little nervousness, but that was pretty mild compared to our excitement.
Yesterday morning, your Mommy called me to tell me you would be here real soon, at least two weeks before we expected you to be here. That’s when the real emotional roller coaster ride began. I was extremely happy to know our wait was almost over, but the last 24-plus hours have seen a myriad of feelings come across my heart.
I have been a little worried that you might be a teeny tiny girl because the doctors have told us you wouldn’t arrive for another couple of weeks. I have been a little worried for your Mommy because it is hard work to bring little people into this big world. But, she has been an amazing waiting Mommy. She is very patient. She has been very brave.
Since I am writing this while your Mommy is still working hard to get you here, I still don’t know how big you are or what you look like. I have so many questions about you. I am sure God has created you perfectly and that you will be more wonderful than we could have dreamed you would be.
It feels like a very long time since you started making your way here because so many things have happened since yesterday morning. Your first 15 hours of your journey seemed to go by VERY SLOWLY! You didn’t appear to be coming fast at all. In fact, there were a couple of times when it seemed like you weren’t sure about coming to us! But, when you decided to come along, things went quickly. In only about 4 more hours, we were told you were almost ready to be born. Then, there was an other delay. The doctor that was going to help your Mommy get you here got busy bringing another baby into the world. He wanted your Mommy to wait a little longer! We became a little impatient. Well, at least Ju Ju did!
Now, Ju Ju and Uncle Jeremy and Aunt Nicki are waiting in a special room while your Mommy and Daddy finish the last bit of work to get you here. Skipper is waiting at home because he doesn’t feel well and he doesn’t want to take a chance on giving you a bad cold or the flu. Uncle Chris, Aunt Cassie and Carter are at work and daycare in Tennessee where they live. They will visit in a couple of weeks. Your Nana and Aunt Britnie and Uncle Cooper are on the way to the hospital where you are going to be born. Your Grandpa Bohannon is hoping to hear of your arrival, soon, too!
You have a great big bunch of people praying for you to get here safely. All of your family, their co-workers and a whole bunch of their friends are covering you with prayers! You are VERY IMPORTANT! You are a special girl! WE ALL LOVE YOU!
I will finish this day’s story in a little while, I began writing at about 10:30 and I’ve been writing for 30 minutes (Ju Ju is slow!). When I write again, You will be here with us! 🙂

Well, Lily it is now almost 8:00 in the evening on the day of your birth and Ju Ju is just now getting settled down to finish the rest of your birth story.

You were actually born right before I finished writing this morning!  A nurse came out to get me and your Nana about 30 minutes after I stopped writing.  She took us to the room where you were born.  Your Mommy and Daddy seemed a little upset.  You had been working so hard getting here, that you were very tired!  So tired that the doctor and nurses weren’t sure if you would not need a little help with your breathing.  Your Mommy was sad  because she didn’t want the nurses to take you to a special nursery where she couldn’t be with you for a while.  The nurses saw how upset it made her to even think about being apart from you.  They decided to give you a little extra time with your Mommy and Daddy.  They encouraged them to tickle your cheek and move you around to help you remember to breathe right, and it worked!  You began to breathe deeply and they were amazed at how you progressed so well!

It is a wonderful thing for me to watch your Mommy and Daddy be your parents.  It makes me really proud because they love you so much and are looking forward to being the best parents they can be.

Your Mommy is making milk in her body to feed you.  It is special milk that is designed especially designed for only you!  All babies have to learn to drink their milk and that is the biggest thing I will be praying about tonight.  I am asking God to guide your Mommy in her teaching you how to eat.  I pray that she will be patient and that you will learn how to nurse quickly.  I hope the nurses don’t forget and give you a bottle, because when you drink milk from your Mommy, that can be confusing for a little baby.

Lily, I love you and Carter so much!  There isn’t any other love in the world like the love a grandparent has for their grandchildren.  It is different than the love I have for your Mommy and her brothers.  It is hard to explain. Some people say that it is better than love for one’s children.  I’m not sure it’s all that, but it is really close.  And, it’s really different at the same time.

As I have reviewed what I had written this morning, I see that I haven’t told you how we felt about you and you precious little self!  You are an absolute perfect blend of your Mommy and Daddy.  You definitely have your Daddy’s mouth.  On you, it is petite and beautiful.  You have your Mommy’s sweet cheeks.  I could just kiss them over and over.  Wow!  It still amazes me how God makes babies that share their parents traits.

I am thanking God tonight that you arrived safely and that you and your family are off to a GREAT start!

I Love You,  Ju Ju

By mtpilotmom

You Just Can’t Please Everyone

Good old Facebook led me to read an editorial in a local newspaper, last night. The writer was perturbed with a local restaurant . Seems that he had gone in about thirty minutes before closing and gotten upset that the waitstaff had their sidework underway while he was eating. In the article, he reported that he retaliated by eating slowly and ordering dessert that he really didn’t want or need.
It behooves me to say that I have never read this particular writer’s work, before. He began the article by saying that HIS schedule was the problem, but berated the restaurant for keeping theirs!
As a small business owner/operator, I know both sides of this argument very well. As a restaurant owner, I understand that this equation does NOT balance. There is no truly happy ending.
This patron was served. He didn’t remark about the quality of his food. No one “rushed” him, although he reminisced about a different restauranteur who had done that in a different eatery. Apparently, the waitress offered refills and other service appropriately. However, his account of the event was quite emotional. He wrote that he, himself was rude!
We serve right up to closing time, at our little Soda Fountain.  But, after the magic hour passes, our employees always explain that we close at 2:00, but that they would be happy to provide drinks, ice cream or a simple sandwich. Of course, they continue cleaning as the patrons eat after closing time. Not only do they want to finish their shifts and get home to their families, but they know that they are not earning gratuities during that time. Even though they are paid for their hourly time far more than regular wait staff, it makes a big difference!
Mr. Late Diner never mentioned leaving a tip and I would be willing to bet that he didn’t. His complaint that the atmosphere was completely ruined by the end of shift activities was overstated several times. I wonder if the situation would have turned out differently if he had tried to engage his waitress in a polite conversation.  Yes, ask for what he really wanted, personal attention!
The really unfortunate “end of the story” is that this person who makes a living trying to convey his thoughts to others, forgot the true solution to problems, COMMUNICATION.
I am pretty sure that upon request, the employees working in this diner’s section would have been willing to help co-workers in another section if they received the same in return after this disgruntled left the establishment. How sad that this man wrote his dissatisfaction for all the county to read without trying to solve his own problem!  It was obvious that he was trying to decry the restaurant’s reputation.  However, he actually told the painful truth about himself.   Personally, I hope his editor reads this!

Another New Year in Labor

Well, 2011 is in the hospital.  Almost in paliative care.  By the time I finish this post, she will have only 12 hours or less to live in our presence.  She will move into time heaven known as “THE PAST”.  While she (2011) is being remembered in our memory as a pleasant experience for some and a hard time for others, 2012 is squirming her way down the calendar’s birth canal.  Do we mourn the passing of this year, or celebrate the arrival of another?

I guess this is my opportunity for both.

The love of my life has had a difficult year.  The frustration of being retired, not by choice, has been a frequent topic of thought and discussion.  His ability to handle this has truly amazed me.  There have been emotional ups and downs, but he has continued to remind me of his love and devotion.  The highlight of this subject was the evening he told me I was doing a good job keeping the drugstore going.  I’m sure he has no idea how much I feed on his approval and praise.  Watching him handle the physical pain of his illness has been tough, to say the least.  I hear him when the pain causes him to catch his breath and hold it for a second and it makes me want to cry.  Sometimes his sighs can fill a room with sadness, knowing he cannot do the things he wants to do.  His visible disappointment with the delay in receiving disability benefits has been frustrating for me, as well.  We see many people every day who don’t suffer like he does who enjoy those benefits that we feel he deserves.  But, most days, he tries to be happy.  He is still my rock and I still look to him for guidance.  Now, here is where wisdom can be found.  Maybe I should get him to start blogging!

My favorite memory of 2011 will always be the afternoon of March 9th!  I was visiting a friend in her office (there is absolutely NO remembrance of what we were discussing) when I received a phone call from my sweet daughter-in-law, Cassie.  She repeatedly asked me if I knew what day it was.  I assured her I did.  It was Ash Wednesday, March 9th!  “I just want to make sure you remember what you were doing when we called to tell you we were on the way to Bethany,” she said.  I’m not sure I heard much more than that.  After many months of paperwork, fundraising and prayer, she and Chris were on the way to the office of Bethany Christian Services to hear of their “situation”.  Thank you, GOD!  The next call informed us that there was a 2 week old little boy waiting for us to be his forever family.  We had already learned all these new terms:  birth mother, adoption plan, forever family and had continuously tried to practice patience.  A shopping trip ensued the next evening after Carter Brett had been united with his parents and then, Skipper and Ju-Ju, followed by Maggie, Jeremy and Nicki made the journey to meet this little miracle.  And as any grandparent will tell you, It was worth the wait!  God is so good.

What will 2012 bring?  We know of at least one thing, another grandchild!  Maggie, our youngest, and her wonderful hubby are expecting a little girl in February.  Yes, if you read my first post, you were mistaken to believe that we already have 2 grandchildren.  The second is not quite here.  This is a VERY different experience having to wait for a pregnancy to pass.  I almost think it is easier to have short notice for an arrival of this magnitude.  Not knowing that God was making Carter for us, there was no worry about Cassie’s health during his formative months.  Nor was there any fear that he would be early or unhealthy.  This pregnancy thing is altogether different.  Being an observer is hard for the first time.  When one is pregnant, she has control over much of what can affect her body.  Grandmothers don’t have that security.  Not that my daughter would do anything to harm her unborn child; she has been the utmost example of a healthy mother-to-be.  But, I cannot “do” anything to help this child along.  That is a strange feeling that I didn’t have the opportunity to worry about with Carter.  You’d think I learned to trust God with that one, huh?  Well, a mother is always prone to worry.  Watching Carter grow and explore and learn will be another thing to look forward to in the new year.  And, Jeremy and Nicki, “our middle two” have an opportunity for new beginnings, as well.  They are such a fine example of devoted love.  They have overcome some hardships in 2011 and have a plan for success in 2012 that I am praying over diligently.

For me, I am still looking to grow.  I need to grow in my spiritual life, in my professional life and I need to be a better wife and mother.  I am grateful to have breath to continue to try and better myself.  I am looking forward to finishing my “knitting room” and USING it.  I am looking forward to more beach and boating trips.  I am looking forward to more time to love on my family!

Eleven and 1/2 hours to go and counting….

Here we go!

Really? Am I ready to blog? Maybe so.
I recently joined a web-based knitting group and I noticed tonight that the only open space on my profile was a link to a blog or web page. I just decided that I needed to fill that space! So, here we go!
I am still not really sure where to start, but I think that this will be the perfect place to share with my grandchildren. I have been writing to my unborn granddaughter in a little journal for some time, now. Her Mom hopefully will not see this until I have shared the journal with her. However, I feel like I am leaving my grandson out on these little sessions and that is the last thing I would want to do. Carter is the love that I never knew existed. He lights up my heart with every thought of himself. However much wisdom they will find here, I do not know.
After all these years, even though they may or may not admit it, my children are showing me what kind of parenting job I really did. This is the tale they cannot hide! Watching them become parents really does give me insight into what I did right and what I did wrong as a mother. The things they are doing like I did, I must have gotten right! The things that I do not see in their parenting techniques, I probably screwed up somewhere. That doesn’t mean I feel like a terrible parent, but we are human and we do make mistakes. I also know that parenting as an art must evolve with our ever changing world. Shoot, technology requires as much.
My point is that I can see the goals that I reached as I watch my children teach someone else to be a valuable human being. So far, so good! This is absolutely one of the most gratifying seasons of life, and I am blessed.