• {The following pictures were taken while I was still trying NOT to turn into a baked potato :), when my first niece was born.}

    I am in those last days of pregnancy.  The last few weeks, when each seven day slice begins to feel like a month as your body unfurls.  I feel like I hold strong for months on end, trying–not to regulate–but at least to moderate my cravings, continue my exercise, and dress to compliment my ever increasing size.  And then, between 4 and 6 weeks before delivery, a shift occurs.  I am sick and tired of regulating, and it doesn’t seem to do a bit of good anyway.  I feel as though I watch all my months of work turn to waste as my body does what it has been aching to do all along–blow up and fall apart.


    Caloway Ann Cleveland. Born May 20, 2013. 9lb, 1oz and totally edible.


    One glance at these shots make me remember why I keep becoming a potato over and over again.

    While I can only fit small amounts of food in the space my body has (so graciously) left for my stomach, and while I cannot eat anything I really like (without paying dearly with the heartburn that ensues), I find that what food I CAN fit in there, I don’t want to have to think one red minute about.  I don’t want to wonder whether it is good for me, or not. The level of full body exhaustion I have, just from hauling this new body from one place to another–keeping up with the schedules of two active girls and one 18 month old boy who still wants to be held by his Mommy most of the time–is enough to leave me in tears by the end of the day.  Who would be crazy enough to add OPTIONAL exertion on top of that, even if they do say it will make me less tired overall and keep the swelling out of my legs.  Bull.  And as for dressing, I am over it.  Makeup on my swollen face looks comical, and no matter what I wear it is sure to either impede my already-shallow breathing ability or put pressure on the enormous bump and give me a day filled with uncomfortable and distracting contractions.


    There’s nothing more miraculous than a baby fresh from heaven.


    And the love that surrounds them the moment they enter the world…Missing you in these pictures Caroline!

    I was thinking about it the other day, as I waddled back and forth from one side of the bed to the other going through the penguin dance of making our bed…I feel like a baking potato.  I’ve done my duty.  I have gone through being pushed down in the dirt, sprouting, growing leaves, and climbing daily towards the sun.  Now, all my hard work has left me just where it was supposed to leave me–big and round and filled with life.  What happens to the potato, once its work is done? It’s wrapped up and placed in a warm, quiet place to soften until it is just the correct amount of ripe to offer its life to the waiting world (and if you want to take the analogy one step farther it’s also cut open and prodded vigorously when the big moment arrives ;)).


    It was an exceptionally long (3 day!!!) labor for poor T. Sorry to post a picture of you straight after being split open, but I didn’t feel like I could leave the Momma out of this post. So proud of you!! And I love that little Cali Ann… 1 sister down, three sisters to go!

    Would somebody please wrap me up and put me somewhere quiet?  I feel like I deserve it.

  • When I moved back to my hometown, I dreamed that my days would be filled with moments like today.  Today, my sister Kendall and I, had a birthday brunch–in her new home–for our grandmothers.


    How many people can live in the same town with both of their–not only living–but healthy enough to pop over for brunch, grandmothers.  We feel so blessed, and I am ashamed that I don’t take advantage of my ability to soak up their love and wisdom and grace and humor more often.


    Kendall clipped these yellow roses and Queen’s lace from my Aunt Alice’s yard.  Then, she mixed some of Mom’s china with her own to complete our sweet table.


    Kendall, I’m sorry that the only picture I took of you was when you lit the candles for those few minutes…before we realized that it was too cheesy to have candelabras burning at 10 am.


    My tomato tarts were photo-worthy, if I do say so myself.


    As was Kendall’s DELICIOUS fried okra salad.  I ate mine and then finished Mimi’s off when she wasn’t looking 🙂


    We also made a ham and swiss quiche, fruit salad, and pistachio muffins.  It was good.  I tell it like it is, and there wasn’t a bad thing on that plate.

    Along with the food, we reminisced over memories of Mimi’s husband–my Papa–who was Sheriff for 16 years and never once carried a gun…apparently he was intimidating enough without one.  I remember the man who used to take me with him to the barber shop, and bought me a gingerbread after his appointment was over.  A pig farmer, who let me ride beside him in his truck while my cousin Boyd (6 or 7 at the time) playing gate man–wordlessly hopping out of the truck each time Papa paused, to run open and close each gate that we drove through.

    We also heard about how Mimi’s opinion that I was “plum crazy” for delivering a baby without medication.  She slept peacefully through the births of all four of her children, with the use of “some kind of gas”…I think I may request that this time around.  Sounds like a good deal to me!


    Evelyn Runnell Clark, “Ruby Pearl”, Mimi, my Dad’s mom

    We talked about the way Grandma still loves to sleep with her face touching “Sollie’s” back–despite the fact that he has been having recurring bad dreams about snakes, during which he nearly knocks her out of the bed. Is anybody else laughing out loud?

    We compared my Uncle Greg’s night-time terrors as a six-year-old to Pace’s night-time terrors and decided that maybe she inherited her sensitive heart from him.

    We laughed about how, with her first baby, Grandma followed her doctor’s instructions so to-the-letter (He TOLD her that her water would break and THEN her contractions would get closer together and she could come in to the hospital.  When her water never broke, she kept refusing to go to the hospital–despite the tremendous amount of pain she was in.) that she nearly gave birth at home with only “Preacher” (her nickname for Grandpa) to help.  Apparently the nurse said, “If you had stayed home any longer, you would have just spit that baby out.”  My water never breaks until the baby comes either 🙂


    Catherine Evelyn Sollie, “Sister”, Grandma, my Mom’s mom

    As you can see, Kendall and I may have rocked our brunch menu, but the priceless part of the day was the quiet, uninterrupted “girl talk” we shared with the these women we love.  Happy Birthday Grandma and Mimi!!! I think we should make this a new tradition.

  • That we are having a baby!!!

    That I am already 26 weeks along and due on August 6?

    That it’s looking like these may be the ONLY two men in the Maddox family?

    That in this picture all FOUR of us are expecting (even though Caroline didn’t know it yet)?


    These are my sisters, in case you didn’t know. And I have good reason for the crazed look in my eyes.

    That in a 6 month time frame, my Dad and Konie are going to double the number of grandchildren they have–from 5 to TEN?!

    That we are all a little worried that we may burst with joy or craziness…and we’re leaning toward the crazy at present?

    Life is full, and we feel so very, very blessed.  I am not going to make any more promises or vows about being back soon, but I do miss this space ever so badly.  I am still constantly writing blogs in my head and hoping that there will again come a day when I get to put them down on paper. Right now though, I feel certain that I can only handle the things jumping up and down at my feet and screaming for my attention…Maybe we could invent a computer that screams as loud as a baby if you don’t pay attention to it?? 😉