I was here.  I was all in.  I was committed…and then I was just gone, wasn’t I?  I am sorry, but I do have some good excuses.  First, I got a cold.  The regular kind with fever and chills and stuffiness–that makes you reticent to get out of bed on cold mornings to care for a wailing baby, much less to write.  Then, on Tuesday November 5th my cold suddenly morphed into such severe abdominal pain that we (Ashley and me–Jeremiah assumed I was being overly dramatic ;)) went to the ER, believing I either had appendicitis or a small Triceretops running loose in my abdominal cavity.  I was willing to accept either of those as a diagnosis, but it turns out I had a ruptured ovarian cyst.  I left the emergency room approximately 30 minutes before my sister Kendall checked IN in labor–to the very same ER.


John Clark Downs, 8lb 3oz and 21 inches long

My nurse told Kendall, “You sister JUST walked out of here!”  I wish I had stayed, because a few hours later John Clark Downs made his way into the world:


He is marvelous, isn’t he?  Fresh from heaven.  And Kendall and Watson’s childbirth experience was the kind you would expect to see in an old black and white movie.  Contractions began, Watson drove her to the hospital.  She was admitted and a short time later was given her epidural.  Kendall slept through most of the night after her epidural, only waking occasionally to be checked.  Then, early the next morning, her doctor WOKE HER WITH THE NEWS THAT IT WAS TIME TO PUSH.  Did you think that kind of thing actually happened in real life???  I didn’t.  Kendall said it felt very much like waking up on Christmas morning, because, after 20 minutes of pushing, she was holding the most soft, wriggly, and wonderful gift she’s ever received.



Papa and John Clark


Alas, the black and white movie reel ended a day or so later with the postpartum pains, awkwardness of a mom and baby trying to teach each other how to do something that neither of them has ever done before–nurse, and realization that it was now time to care for the helpless wonder–OUTSIDE of the safe hospital.  This is where I like to butt myself right up into my sisters’ lives.  I get to come in and stay with them and act like a know-it-all ;).  It has always been hard, all three first babies that I have gotten to share with Taylor, Caroline, and now Kendall, but it is also such a privilege to be a part of those first days of life.  The uncertainty, the endless little tasks, the fragility of newborns and hormone swings–coupled with the freshness of new life, wonder of a teeny tiny baby, and joy of welcoming a new member to our family.


This is Watson’s family’s first grandbaby, and I LOVE this moment…Everyone in awe of the diaper change, and the diaper change requiring BOTH parents 😉


John Clark and his Yaya

Kendall had her Christmas present, to be sure.


And the sweet little present could not decide what in the world to do with his hands. This works as well as anything else, I suppose.

And Watson was the most googley-eyed new Daddy I have ever seen.  At one point he told Kendall, “I want 10,000 of these.”  At another time, he said, “I just want to surround myself with babies.”  One night Kendall and I were talking in the kitchen and Kendall said, “Abby, I think Watson may love John Clark even more than I do…”  No, no I began to reassure her.  That is not possible…but then we both peeked into the den where Watson was holding the baby.   He had no idea we could see him, and he was lying on the couch, John Clark asleep on his chest, simply beaming at that baby.  I had to admit their love levels might be a toss up.


Strong boy!


Aunt Mary Grace, Yaya, and Pops


Mama B was doing a WHOLE lot of deep cleaning while I was there. I felt a little worthless as she worked circles around me.

I left Kendall’s house last Wednesday and as I tried to re-adjust back into my own (barely manageable) life I realized that I only had two days to plan Pace’s birthday party, which I had sent out invitations for just before John Clark was born.



The Shack, in all her glory


I wanted to get party favors that they may use…maybe. It’s rare to find a useable party favor, isn’t it?



My Mae came to the party!!!

Oh, you know, somewhere between the cold and the hospital stay.  It was a panicky couple days of pulling things together, but it turned out to be a fun party…I think.


I love my snickel Dace


Elle, Pace, and Mary Aplin


The first clue reading for the scavenger hunt. Seems like it was very serious business for me.


So serious, that I didn’t think my daughter issued enough drama with her reading. Here I’m giving it a try, and scaring the little girl in front of me.


These girls sprinted! from one clue to the next and found all 8 clues in about 1/4 of the time I had anticipated.


I was really proud of my little rhyming clues. I thought yall might want to read one because the girls didn’t care at all 😉


The surprise at the end of the hunt!!!  The birthday girl was on the verge of heat exhaustion, apparently.


How come I’m the only one smiling at the camera? Don’t worry, Mary Aplin didn’t fall out.


Next, we had a quick lesson on how to make cane syrup from sugar cane and since the work horses were already put away for the day, we let the girls be the horse and grind some themselves.


Big pot of cane juice, trying to boil.


Happy birthday to you, Pace!


It was a fun day.

The end of this lengthy recap, is that we left our computer and internet at the Maddox’s house after the birthday party…I just got it back last night.  So I really haven’t been procrastinating the blog, just swept up in a whole lot of life.




4 Responses to “Where I Fell When I Fell Off the Face of the Earth”

  1. MG says:

    Cutest party ever!

  2. Azurae says:

    “Don’t worry, Mary Aplin didn’t fall out.” was my favorite part of this whole thing. Ha! Love you all!!

  3. Anne says:

    You don’t know me…I linked to your blog years ago from Darby’s blog..but I like reading what you write. I love your parties…you remind me of me in the department. Had to laugh about your comment on the clues…I planned a scavenger hunt for my daughter’s 3rd grade class party once. I was so proud of my clues…hahah the kids…I don’t think they even noticed haha Oh well…I’d do it all again. Love the picture of your daughter beaming at the cute cake. Keep having those parties…the kids love it. My daughters are 25/28 now…their friends still tell me how much they enjoyed all the parties over the years. It’s all your little details, thoughtful favors, etc.; not to mention the Fun!

  4. I think this is my favorite blog that you’ve ever written!!! Keep writing my dear! And you need to get workin on that book!!! xxxx

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