Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Good days

So much to blog about....

Friday night- We had a great time with our Pathfinders SS class at Julie & Scott's house. Great gumbo, delicious desserts and a hilarious Newlyweds game. Jeremy and I have a slight advantage over a few of the couples in our class. We've been together for 8 years and married for almost 6 and you get to know a person without realizing it over that many years!! We also realized that we have a very nontraditional marriage compared to most!! He's the one that cooks & usually cleans and I'm the one that rolls in at 6pm and asks "So, what's for dinner?"

Saturday- Jeremy and I just vegged at the house for most of the day. It was nice not having any plans and no where to be at a certain time.

Sunday- Jeremy got a call around 9am from our friends, the Cuttshaw's. Dianne had collapsed at home and Charlie was worried. Jeremy rushed over to help but they had already left for the hospital. Jeremy stayed with them until it was clear that the ER was not going to be of any help (they stayed for over an hour and NOBODY was called back to see a doctor during that time). Dianne was feeling better and felt like she would be better off at home. Meanwhile, I went on to church and then picked-up Jeremy at home for a lunch at La-Ha.

Monday- Weird day. I didn't have to be at work until 11am because it was Parent/Teacher Conferences from 11-6pm. Very odd to get up and then not have to go to work immediately.
I ended up eating dinner with Sara and Ashley after work and caught up on what's going on the main building. I'm always clueless because I'm out here by myself in the great band abyss.

Tuesday- Normal school day. After school, 18 of my students auditioned for a local honor band. Last year, I was thrilled to have 6 of my students accepted... This year we had 12 band students accepted to the honor band!!! WOW!!! They all worked hard (even those that didn't make it this year) and I know that each year our school will be well-represented by these talented students!!

Today- We have church dinner at 5:30pm and Ash Wednesday service at 6:30pm. Honestly, we do not regularly attend Wednesday night services. I know... very bad. But Jeremy has ALWAYS had a Wednesday night class until this semester and I've just always been in the habit of using Wednesdays as my errand/shopping day since we weren't home together. Maybe we can break our bad habit and be more involved in Wednesday night activities!!

FRIDAY!!- I love Friday's anyway but this week we are going to see the GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH in Huntsville (the circus for those of you who didn't get it). I love the circus and have been with Jeremy one other time back when we were dating. My sister, Jessica, has always been our personal family clown but when she was about 6 she called in to a radio show (we were buddies with the DJ) and won a ton of circus tickets and a chance to be in the circus! How cool!! She had a choice between riding the elephant or being a clown... Not a hard choice for "never-met-a-stranger" Jessica. She was wearing a little girl's sailor suit that night so they made her Popeye the Clown's baby!! It was so funny! Ever since that fun night, I've always had such great memories of our family fun together and the circus is definitely a big part of that! I'm also looking forward to a much anticipated dinner at Surin Madison (Thai)!!

On a baby note... THIS CHILD HAS A SCHEDULE AND STICKS TO IT!! I wish I were so dedicated! I feel small movements all day but if you want to see the big show you'll have to be up around 10:30-11pm. I'm convinced that on an ultrasound we'll find the boom-box and breakdancing cardboard box that the baby uses at night! :) Lots of fun getting to feel Baby movin' and groovin' each night.

Love you all,

ps. Jeremy's birthday is Sunday, March 8th!! The big 3-6!! "And no grays" (that would be what Jeremy would add to that) :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

You've got to be kidding

Let's talk about maternity clothes for fat chicks. They bite. Really they do.

My major pet peeves with Plus-Size Maternity Clothing are as follows:

1. Ridiculous patterns akin to those regularly seen on re-runs of "Mama's Family"

2. Tent-like construction. I'm pregnant...Not growing an entire village.

3. The strange attempt to relocate your anatomical parts

4. Is black my only choice?? So now I look like the Fat-Catwoman

5. Assuming that because I am chubby and pregnant that I am also blind and oblivious. I want to wear FASHIONABLE clothing. Not necessarily trendy but not completely devoid of interesting detailing.


If you are co-worker (or someone not comfortable with my ranting about crotches and saggy butts), please stop reading this... stop now before you want to crawl in a hole and never lay eyes on me again.

Now I'm at the point where I believe that full-panel, granny-panty style, low-crotch, no pockets maternity pants are approaching. I'm dreading it because if you've ever been fat and then stuffed that fat into any sort of poorly fitting 3% spandex clothing items, you understand my fear. Looking like a dimpled oddly stuffed sausage is not my thing and hopefully will never be my thing.... Oh, I can hear you know. "Why don't you try looking online for plus-size maternity clothes?" I've done the online purchasing of clothes bit and had some success (not much but some) BUT maternity clothes do not fit like regular clothes. For example, because you are fat and pregnant, clothing designers assume that your anatomical crotch has been relocated.... Somewhere near your knees! WhAT??? Wait... I just checked. And mine is still where it's always been.... AT MY CROTCH. It's a cruel, cruel joke being played on us.

Enough about crotches... Let's talk about rear ends. Mine is big and wide, yes, but amazingly, pre-pregnancy I regularly found pants that fit and draped appropriately and looked decent. So WHY, do these maternity designers make their pants skin-tight in the thighs and loose in the butt??? What sicko would do that to an already lumpy woman???? Couldn't they reverse that fit.... Snug in the rear and straight through the thigh??? Now I hear you asking this "Maybe you've just gained weight in your thighs and that's why everything is fitting oddly." Nope. Only gained 4 pounds in 23.5 weeks and that's probably baby, uterus and blood volume. If anything, I'm smaller in my thighs (not much but a little) and I'm still wearing my PRE-maternity pants (unbuttoned and partially unzipped). Seriously, co-workers still reading this, please do not check to see if I'm really wearing my pants unbuttoned and unzipped... I am. Jeremy and my sister can attest to the scary sight.

How to solve these desperate fashion issues:

1. I purchased three Bella Bands in brown, white and black and could NOT have imagined how they would stretch my wardrobe! Because there is no fluid, I'm not "showing" as much as I would otherwise but my belly is definitely different. These amazing little stretchy tubes keep your pants up and support your growing belly. Pass this along other preggers friends that are desperate for something that will help them get through what has to be the worst shopping days of our lives.

2. Old Navy- Although they carry maternity clothes up to a misses 18/20 (xxl) that is not the size I wear. BUT they do carry cute plus-size clothes that can be used as maternity for a while. Their tank tops are generally longer than most and many banded-style tops look maternity. Some of their pants are low-rise and fit really well with the Bella Band but I have a pair of jeans (not sure what rise) from Old Navy that have that "mom jeans" look in the waist and crotch and are too lumpy to wear with the band.

3. Lane Bryant - Get it while it lasts!!! They have very few things left in their maternity section but I scored a few (albeit black) items just after Christmas for about 75% off their regular prices. They are discontinuing their line of maternity (probably because they weren't smart enough to have a small section of it in their stores) and everything is cheap!

4. I've also heard that JC Penney has plus-maternity but I have not purchased anything from them. Motherhood maternity is a popular place too but I HATED their selection. Cheap fabric, no details, boring, cookie-cutter, fat-girl clothes. Would not recommend if you are picky like me.

5. If all else fails, accessorize. Distract them with dazzling costume jewelry, or bright scarves or incredibly cute shoes. Or green eyeshadow (my newest thing). It probably doesn't really work all that well but I'm going to have to believe that it does or I will not be able to leave the house for months.

My Maternity Purchase thus far:

3 Bella Bands
5 Maternity Tops
1 Maternity pant (no panel just low rise but they are pretty ugly)
3 Maternity dresses (Must mention that I had a "Janet Jackson" moment in one of them at church. Note To Self: Buy more safety pins)

Thank you for reading this rant!! Baby has to use the restroom. My bladder has become his new trampoline.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Brag Session

School started back on Wednesday, January 7th and we received the official MFMC diagnosis on Friday, January 2nd. Yep, only 5 days for me to get "okay" enough to return to school. My counselor (and good friend) came down the first day back and talked with my classes about what was going on with me and the baby and STRONGLY encouraged them to be helpful and on their best behavior at all times this semester. Of course, being a music teacher, I've had many of my students for 3 years now and we know each other well. They were so excited for Jeremy and I when we found out that we were expecting and they have been very interested in all things baby ever since.

Most teachers can attest to this statement.... If you are sick or in a bad mood or just generally not yourself, you have about 2 days of student compliance before all heck breaks loose and you kinda loose your mind. BUT, my students have been TREMENDOUSLY kind and understanding this semester (and we're going on 2 months now). They have sweetly and regularly asked about the baby (kids are not scared to ask anything and these kiddos are especially interested in boy or girl) and wisely avoided me on bad days.

My band students attended District Assessment last week and not only had near perfect behavior the whole day but they performed well under the pressure. I feel like I've let them down because I haven't been myself and most certainly haven't been the teacher I normally am.... There were days (especially the first few weeks) that it was all I could do to get dressed and make it into the building, let alone actually constructively teach. On those days, I gave them an individual or group practicing assignment and tried not to burst into tears while attempting to busy myself with paperwork. They are remarkable students to have accomplished the goal of participating in District Assessment DESPITE their lackluster teacher this semester. I am very proud.

Now my band kids are busy practicing for a local honor band audition (Tuesday) and I hope that many of them will be prepared enough to make the ensembles. They are really busting their tails on scales, etudes and sight reading and I hope it's enough for a few of them to see positive results from their efforts. Good kids.

Meanwhile, my chorus students are hanging in there with me (I'm generally exhausted by the end of the day) and learning 3 contest style pieces for their spring trip (April). Again, great kids that have been patient and sensitive (most days) to what's going on with me.

Thank you to my wonderful students and your patience with me this semester!! You are the BEST!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's a........!

Yesterday afternoon, we had another OB appointment with Dr. Stutts. This was the visit where I had to drink the glucose solution in advance and they drew blood to test for gestational diabetes. Still waiting to hear about those results but hopefully they will be normal....

Otherwise the visit went well and we got to see Baby for a while on the ultrasound screen. He was moving and grooving during the whole procedure and was in a good position for a "crotch shot" but there just wasn't enough contrast for our technician to see any sex determining items. The baby has grown since the last visit but is still a little behind gestationally (as can be expected). We saw a flailing hand at one point, legs (no feet visible due to positioning), heart beat (136) and other baby parts.

We also made plans for a Birmingham delivery. Of course, we have a plan to deliver close to home as well should things progress and require us to deliver here.

As of today, I am 23 weeks and 4 days so we are praying to make it another 14-16 weeks before Baby decides to make his entrance. Our doctor also warned us that we are at a higher risk of a fetal cord accident due to the lack of fluid. Most people think that cord accidents are when the cord becomes tangled around the baby's neck but it can cause death even if wrapped around a leg or arm. Please pray that the baby's cord stays far from his limbs and torso for the remainder of the pregnancy.

Just so you understand the difficulty we are having in actually "seeing" the baby during an ultrasound, I've posted a pic from yesterday. Can you find the baby in this picture?? Every part of the grayish-white background should be BLACK and the baby should be a light gray/white.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!! 42 years seems like a long time..... Because it IS a long time! Thank you for being not only an example to us kids (including the boys) but to so many couples that you have touched during your marriage. I'm sure you would both say that every day hasn't been easy but that every day has been worth it. Like Mom said to me many, many years ago, "I don't always like your Dad but I always love him." And Dad, I'm sure you've thought the same thing but didn't dare say it! :)

I love you both more than I could ever adequately express!! You are my heroes, my friends, my cheerleaders and my advisors. Go enjoy a meal at Chic-fil-A, you wild dirty hippies! Turn the air conditioner on and give the cats a bag of Oreos on the porch. :)
Johnna and Jeremy

Monday, February 9, 2009


Let's face it... I'm pudgy and I'm pregnant. Therefore, I want cake. But who knew that my mom, post-menopausal and recently a Lifetime member of WW also desperately wanted cake. We celebrated Mom's birthday this weekend and I made a cute cake using the skills learned this summer at a Wilton Class (Hobby Lobby). I hate Wilson icing so I looked up a different buttercream type icing and tried it instead. The cake looked really cute (9" round - 2 layers) and I was nervous that it wouldn't taste okay. Well, I wish I could say that there was a little cake left for you guys to try but we ate it.... all. Me, Dad and Mom. No one else. I'm not sure what to say other than "Fat kids love cake."

Jeremy didn't get to come to Pelham this weekend but he's almost caught up at work and feeling a little less stressed!! Woo-hoo! If you don't know Jeremy, then you're missing out! He comes off shy at first but once you get his New Jersey started there is NO slowing down. He's a fast talker with strange stories from the land of Yankees. He's also an AWESOME chef and likes to put his own spin on classics. I've cooked maybe 10 meals during our entire marriage and it's not because I can't cook.... he's just so much better at it!!! If you ever come over for dinner, ask for either Beef Stroganoff, Spaghetti w/ Cannonballs or General Tso's Chicken w/ sticky rice.

I also got to see a ton of FBC Pelham folks on Sunday morning. My family joined FBC Pelham in July 1992 and this church has GROWN so much over the past 17 years. Bro. Mike and Mrs. Mary have been (and will always be) like family to me and my family. They are the type of people you just want to hug and LOVE. I didn't tell Bro. Mike this after church because we were both a little weepy but during his sermon, he got really loud at one point (not unusual for any minister especially him) but Baby really started moving when Bro. Mike got loud. I wonder if Baby was saying "Amen" or "Use your inside voice." I'm always telling our dog, Dewey, to use his inside voice.

After the sermon Sunday, the word FAITHFULNESS has been on my mind. I began thinking about the faithfulness I have seen from those I love the most....

-My sister has shown me her faithfulness by continuing to be my other half, my joke box and my "ask anything" baby sister. If you do not have a relationship with your sibling(s), work to develop one NOW. My mom has always told us that when she and Dad are gone, we will only have each other and that has strengthened our bond. We have a very unusual sister ESP and have always had a special connection that is hard to explain.

-My parents have shown their faithfulness to us through their constant prayers, their devotion to our needs and their support of our decisions. They have shared their strength and wisdom in the darkest of moments. Their faithfulness to each other has SHOWN me what love looks like year after year after year.

-Jeremy has shown his faithfulness to me during this time by being the decision-maker, the provider and the leader of our home. He has comforted me and given me love every day, even those days that I do not deserve it. Although his tender heart has been broken many times over, he remains the gentle giant that I loved from the moment I met him.

-God's faithfulness to me is shown through the Family he blessed me with and the Husband he chose for me. God has shown His faithfulness to Jeremy and I by giving us comfort. God will be faithful to us during this entire journey whether that ends with a miraculous healing of our Baby or our Baby's final breath. His faithfulness will continue as we either raise our precious Baby or mourn our deepest loss. We KNOW he will be faithful to us and give us the strength we need. Our responsbility is to continue our faithfulness to HIM and be mindful of His plans for our future.

Love you all,

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


My friend, Rene, just sent great news about her husband, John's condition. He has really improved over the last 2 days and they have cut down his ventilator to a 4. He also does not have an infection of any sort and is being taken off antibiotics. John has been in and out of the hospital for different things over the past year and I know he and his family are ready for him to be home and on the road to recovery. Keep praying for his complete recovery and their safe travels to and from Huntsville each day.

I know you are all praying for our sweet baby and for us often. Thank you again for your love and support. I'm not good at asking for things for myself (Jeremy might occasionally disagree with this statement :) but I've had some bad days lately. Things are finally sinking in and I'm not as okay as I thought I was at the beginning of this journey. I cannot accurately describe what I'm feeling because I've never felt this way before. If you know my family, you will understand this sentence.... I have lived a wonderfully blissful and blessed life (notice I didn't say perfect because God truly knows my many missteps). I've been blessed with Godly parents, Precious sister, Perfect husband, Loving family, Happy career, etc... I have never in my life experienced the pain and sorrow that I'm faced with each waking day and I've never leaned so heavily on God and my family before either.

Generally speaking, I'm uber independent and rarely ask for help but things are different for me now. When tragedy strikes, you are immediately surrounded by love and support but as you continue your daily trudge, others go about their life (as they should) and you can begin to feel alone. I'm sure many of you have experienced this feeling before and can relate. The difference for me is that I have a miracle growing in me everyday and feel incredible guilt for letting sadness be a part of my life. Mainly because I know and feel that God's hand is on me and my baby!! He is the only reason I'm able to get up and get dressed most mornings and go about my required activities. Just keep praying for us (specifically for me these days) and of course for sweet Baby Stafford...

On a more positive note, I do think that the last Dr.'s appointment was off a little in their measurements of Baby because over the past week I can really see a difference in my big belly. My uterus is higher (top above my belly button now) and since the baby is transverse, I regularly feel kicks to my sides (or as Jeremy would call them; haunches). It is an amazing thing to see God's miracle of life transform even my pudgy body and I'm grateful for every weird but awesome change. I believe that the baby may be closer to 1 lb. now even though the head measurement may reflect a smaller weight when we see Dr. Stutts again. Sorry if that was a little TMI for some of you....

Love you all,

Monday, February 2, 2009


Another weekend quickly passed.... How does it go by so fast?? Truthfully, I've had a few down days (kinda started Thursday) and haven't really picked-up yet. Jeremy and I know that there will be ups and downs but I hate it when I feel low and cannot focus on anything.

Charles came down on Friday and left early this morning. Jeremy really enjoyed getting some "brother" time and I know that it helps when we can be around family.

My mom had a birthday on Thursday of this past week and we are going to Pelham this weekend to celebrate with her. My parents are also going to be celebrating their 42nd anniversary on Tuesday of next week. So we will be able to do alot of celebrating while we are there. 42 years.... Wow!! I could be so much older than I am... That's weird.

Baby is very active at some point each day (still usually late afternoon to evening) which always makes me feel relieved. He gets going when I'm settling down for the day (I say 'he' because that is the appropriate pronoun when you are being non-gender specific. We do not know HE or SHE at this point but I'm going to use 'he' as my pronoun of choice until I know otherwise. FYI).

We have an appointment with Dr. Stutts on Tuesday, February 17th and with the Maternal/Fetal Medicine Clinic on Friday, March 13th (thanks, Dad). So, we're just waiting until then to find out more.