Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Dinner out with the Baby Mamas and Kitty Mama

Last night I went out with a group of great friends I like to call the "Baby Mamas" and one "Kitty Mama". We had dinner at Maggianos. I started with a nice glass of Merlot and Michelle had a glass of mint trees...but that's for another blog! Our waiter, "Big Daddy" was hillarious and I think a little scared of us, especially when the conversation turned to vasectimies, and yes, Banna Head it seems that one is is probably in your future. Just make sure you don't visit the same Doc as Chris, or do, and you may end up with the sweetest child ever...Back to Big Daddy, he was funny but so SLOW so we ended up being there for over 3 hours. That was just fine with me because I was surrounded by good friends, good wine and good food. What else could I have asked for? Well, my Bestest BFF wasn't there and we were missing Sherry and Anna. Anna is a brand new Baby Mama so she will quickly learn the value of a good night out with the girls! We talked about what most Baby Mama's talk about, kids, husbands, jobs and lauged about old memories. Poor Strippin Skip, we will still be talking about him when we are visiting each other in the old folks home!

Here is a little bit of info about the Baby Mamas and the Kitty Mama.

Jen R. - one of my dearest friends. We met 6 years ago at work and have been through some major stuff together. In the 6 years since we have been friends, she has gotten married, had two of the cutest twin girls you have ever seen. Even if they did teach my sweet Anna Claire WHO NEVER gets into trouble how to jump from the coffee table to the couch...I'm just sayin....Jen is going in next Friday to have a scheduled C-Section and will be a Baby Mama to a sweet little boy. Can't wait to meet him! Jen has been a great friend to me. She is the one who came to sit with me in the hospital the night before Ethan was born, even though she was in the middle of packing and leaving early the next mroning to go to NYC. She held my hand and cried with me and assured me it was all going to be OK. I will never forget how much she helped me that night. She is also responsible for Strippin Skip ....Oh, and I did save her life once - saved her from being sucked up from a Tornado.

Michelle B. - she is the sister of Jen R. and makes me laugh my tale off. She is my motivation, this girl is a rockstar. She has lost so much weight and is super fit. She is one Sexy Baby Mama! She is the Baby Mama of a Super Sassy 5 year old named Taylor who you will see one day in the movies because she headed straight to Hollywood. Hannah Montana better watch out because Taylor is coming your way.

Jenn F. - she is also a dear friend to me who I met through my BBFF (Bestestt Best Friend Forever). She is the most creative person ever. I have spent many nights scrapbooking with her and she is such an inspiration. She can also make some mean curtains! I wish I was half as creative as she is! She is the Baby Mama to 3 and one of those 3 is Gracie's BFF - Gwenyth. She is coming over tonight for her first ever sleepover. Don't worry, I'll keep you updated on how that goes tomorrow :)

Teresa - she is the "Kitty Mama". I met her through Jenn F. She is awesome, she is such a sweet person. She is so kind and has so much faith. I can't wait to get to know her better!

Katarina - she is one of my Clients and also now one of my Friends. She is extremely beautifuly, her beauty is amazing both inside and outside and her awesome accent only adds to it. She is a Baby Mama to 2 of the most handsome boys you have ever laid eyes on. I've already got Anna Claire married to her youngest. I love spending time with her!

We can't forget the Baby Mama's who were not there...

Sherry - she is a former Client who is now a Stay At Home Mom. She is awesome and so kind. She is also one of the smartest chicks I know - even after being home for a couple of years this chick can answer any HR question around. She is the Baby Mama to a son and daughter. Her Son Jacob cracks me up - he is quite a ladies man. He has a little crush on Jen R. and can't invite her to see his bedroom enough! We totally missed her last night!
Anna - I met her through one of my other friends who moved to away to PA. She is hillarious and just became a Baby Mama. She had a little boy a couple of weeks ago. I can't wait to get to know her more and her new little boy. He's got lots of friends to meet...

and last but not ceratinly least, my BBFF Anne Marie...

I could write a whole post about her and probably will one day :)
We have been friends for almost 9 years. We have been through so much together, job losses, moves, deaths, births, babies in NICUS. I couldn't cope without her. She is my rock. We talk on the phone at a minimum of 2 times a day. When one of us is on vacation - it totally feels like something is missing, because it is! It doesn't matter what is going on with our families and husbands I know at any minute she is there if I need her. Sometimes just to vent about husbands or MIL, sometimes to cry and most of the time to laugh. I love her like my Sister!

So, here is some pictures from last night....

Teresa, Jenn F. and Me

Michelle, Katarina and Jen R.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ear Tubes, Hospitals and What If's...

All the Hams were up bright and early this morning in order to have Ethan at the hospital at 7 am. The kids actually did a great job and the fact that we enticed them with breakfast out at the hospital helped a lot! I must say its pretty sad that even our kids know what to order at the Hospital Cafeteria and what to stay away from because in the last 5 months we have ate at the hospital more times than I would have ever thought.

We checked in at 7 and didn't officially get registered until 8 and than more waiting....Jake of course entertained himself with the DS and Anna Claire, Gracie and Chris walked the hospital - Anna Claire was especially thrilled with going up and down the escalator.

Walking into the hospital always brings back so many memories..the smells, the familiar doctors and nurses and yes even the cafeteria. I remember that long day back in March when his surgery that was supposed to take 3 hours took 7 and when the Anesthesiologist came out to tell us that he had to be put on a vent - my biggest fear. I wonder how long it takes before I can walk back into a hospital and not have my stomach drop to my feet and my head spin with all of the unknowns.

Last night as I laid in bed and thought about the last year and the many challenges and blessings we have had with Ethan, I couldn't help but go to a really dark place - the world of "What Ifs"...What if something goes wrong during this routine surgery? He has come so far and what if during this very easy surgery he stops breathing or his heart goes into SVT...what if, what if, what if. And than it hit me, oh my gosh, I didn't take any pictures tonight of him. So I thought to myself "just in case" I better take some in the morning. I hate those dark places that us Moms go to ....so I prayed and thanked God for the wonderful husband and the health of our family and asked him to put his hands on the doctors and anesthesiologist hands and protect our Sweet Ethan...and he did...

Ethan is doing great other than a little fussy but that is to be expected. This evening, I have lots to be thankful for and tonight when I lay my children down to bed and we say our prayers we will thank God for our outcome today and pray for all of the other children who are faced with health problems and whose Moms and Dads lay in bed tonight in that dark place in the land of "what ifs"...

Here are some pictures of today....

My early morning "What If" picture

Jake waiting and playing DS

The girls lovin on him after he got home

Sweet Ethan....before the Motrin wore off :)

Now I'm off to find some more Motrin....

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Shopping and BFFs

OK, I survived back to school shopping with Gracie. Yes, we disagreed on what was appropriate for a 6 almost 7 year old but we did end up getting some good deals that both Mom and daughter liked!

We met my friend Jenn and her daughter Gwenyth at the mall. First stop the former Limited Too now known as Justice. This is their "fav" store, with all the pink, glitter, clothes and webkins whats not to love??? I had a 40% off entire store coupon so I was lovin it too. The girls had so much fun trying on clothes, hats and rockin out to the Jonas Brothers that was playing on the radio. What could be better? BFF necklaces of course...the girls were so cute - they picked out the old school necklaces that have half a heart and one says Best and one says Friends. Come on, you know you had one, and you wore it every Friday night and rocked out to Michael Jackson at the Skating Rink! Same concept just a different pop star. They even had some BFF pictures taken in the photo booth.

It was so fun watching Gracie and Gwenyth, it reminded me of all of the sweetness of being a little girl and the innocence. Oh, if only we could bottle that up and keep them little forever.

I have such fond memories of growing up and hanging out with my BFFs! In fact, I'm still in touch with them. Of course, now we all have families and live in different parts of the country but thank goodness for Facebook, I'm still able to see the fun pictures and everyday wonderful moments of Sara, Erin and Melanie.

Now that I am all grown up, I treasure my BFFs - I couldn't do it without them. Anne Marie, Jenn and Jen have been through so much with me. I know that I can call them to vent about anything - from kids to husbands to just needing someone to call and laugh with, they are there. I always look forward to the dinner out with the girls or a scrapbooking night just the same that our little girls look forward to a sleepover or the newest Hannah Montana movie. It's really all the same, no matter what age you are you still need a BFF...

Enjoy some pictures from our glamorous adventure...






Friday, August 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Chris!

Today my sweet husband celebrates turning 36! Poor guy, he started his day off by taking all 4 kids to the grocery store AND BJs. What a great guy. He did have the afternoon "off" and got some quiet time, which is rare for a Stay At Home Parent!

We ordered chinese food and I picked up some yummy cupcakes from Two Sweet. I picked up his very favorite, Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing and for the kids, double chocolate - chocolate chip. You see, Gracie has a very strange aversion to Red Velvet Cake and has since turned the other kids against it....once my Mom made it at Christmas and Gracie got sick that night and blamed it all on Nannie's cake...the kid will never eat Red Velvet Cake again!

My husband is the most amazing man, husband and friend and I am so blessed to have him in my life, Happy Birthday, my love.

Here are some pictures from our wonderful evening!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What is YOUR purpose?

My Mom sent this to me today via email and I have to say, it really touched me. I read his book many years ago and I would say that it is a coincidence but really there are no coincidences in life but my husband found his book in the back of the closet and I noticed it this morning sitting out on the shelf. Funny I haven't seen that book in years and today I saw it and than I got this message from my Mom. It's not a coincidence - but a sign from God to slow down, read the book and remember what HIS purpose is for me...

You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now having cancer and him having 'wealth' from the book sales. This is an absolutely incredible short interview with Rick Warren, 'Purpose Driven Life' author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California..
In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said: People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.
I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity..

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.
Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.
We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer. I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth.

I don't believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life..

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.
And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.
You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems: If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain.' But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.
We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her- It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.

Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.
It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.
First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit..

We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.
Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call 'The Peace Plan' to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.
Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?
Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do.

That's why we're called human beings, not human doings. Happy moments, PRAISE GOD. Difficult moments, SEEK GOD. Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.Painful moments, TRUST GOD. Every moment, THANK GOD..

Monday, August 17, 2009

Family Ties

What a wonderful visit we had with my brother and his family from Arkansas. We had not seen them in over 3 years! Within those 3 years we both had two more kids. Crazy how time flies. Seems like just yesterday he was my little brother running around, riding bikes and spending time out at my Grandma and Grandpa's house riding on John Deere tractors. It felt kinda weird being at my parents and watching my parents with all 7 of their grandkids. To me my parents don't seem old enough to have 7 grandkids! It reminded me of all of those summers in Missouri when we would go and see my Dad's parents, it seemed like they had so many Grandkids. Let's see - including Step Children they have 10 Grandkids and 9 Great Grandkids! What a legacy!! Wow, my parents are not very far away from catching up with them on the number of Grandkids...pretty scary!

We had a great time swimming at my parents, hanging out and just being together as a family. I am so grateful that my children are growing up so close to their Grandparents. I learned so much from my Grandparents. They taught me the love of Christ and almost all of my happy childhood memories include them. I hope my children feel the same love and respect for their Grandparents as I do for mine.

Here some more pictures from our visit.

My Brother Rodney and his family

My new nephew, Johnny

All 7 Grandkids!

I love this picture of my Mom and Ethan!


Take a minute tonight to call your Grandparents and tell them you love them! I sure do...


I DID NOT lounge around in my PJS all day on Sunday.
I DID NOT only leave the house once on Saurday to go to the grocery store.
I DID NOT let my 2 1/2 year old eat only Peanut Butter for dinner on Sunday.
I DID NOT eat ice cream twice this weekend.
I DID NOT not clean the bathrooms like I was going to.
I DID NOT act completely lazy and NOT accomplish anything at all....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Another surgery for Ethan....

So we just got back from the ENT and Ethan failed his hearing test in his left ear for the third time. The Doc is concerned about the amount of fluid he has on both eardrums so tubes are going in next month. He is worried that since he has not started babbling and only makes noises that if we let it go any longer he may have significant hearing loss and need a hearing aid. While I know that having ear tubes put in is a very simple procedure, everything with this little guy turns into a major deal! He will have it done at Saint Mary's and we have requested the anesthesiologist that did his major surgery since there is a 15 - 20% chance he may have to be intibated due to his hypotonia. When I find out the date, I'll let everyone know but keep us in your prayers!

On another note - praise God a friend of a friend's little girl is going to be ok - the family had a health scare but with lots of faith and prayers she is going to be ok. Our God is a Great! Just thought I would add that praise after all of my self pity :)

Now we are off to the football field......

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I have already entered Fundraising Hell...

Second night into football/cheerleading and the fundraising has started. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about helping out an organization but DANG they call this a fundraiser for the kids but the parents do all the work. Am I the only one who feels this way? Does this make me a bad Mom? Ah, the guilt.... I HATE it when other people ask me to buy wrapping paper that costs $20 a roll or order a magazine subscription that I never end up getting. SO, I HATE asking other parents to buy from my kids but we still do it anyway.

With that said, I will say that I do like one of the fundraisers we are doing - the old restaurant card...$10 for a card and get a ton of discounts for local Mechansiville restauraunts - Mimmos, Giovannis, Outback, Cici's, Brusters, Chens just to name a few. AND it wouldn't be a discount card from good ole Mechanicsville without getting a free admission to the Richmond Drag way. The other fundraiser is the good ole cookies in a box. My husband is so excited and says we just have to sell 15 of those in order for Jake to get a $20 Under Armour mouthpiece!

So as much as I hate these fundraisers, I will put on Mommy hat and start the peddling...so if your kid does not play football or cheer for the Rebels, get your wallet out, the Hamilton's kids are coming your way....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I love a good deal!

Everyone who knows me knows that I NEVER pay full price for anything! I love a good deal and with 4 kids I'm always looking for one. Recently I volunteered to help set up a local consignment sell...boy was it worth it. I got an invite to a "preview" sale and stocked up on some great back to school clothes...all name brands of course. I'm talking Gymboree outfits for Anna Claire for $8! Some of them still had the original tags....A Ralph Lauren sweater...wait it for, wait for it - $4!!! Yes, you read that right!!! Oh and I also got her a pair of Stride Rite Shoes that had never been worn for $4. Oh, I'm in heaven.

The woman who runs this sale is so organized and is just the nicest lady...check out her sale in Mechanicsville and she is having another one in September in Richmond. Check her website out for more details and clean your closets out and consign with her..you will be glad you did! http://www.theclothesline.biz/

Monday, August 10, 2009

Welcome to the Blog World

I am starting this blog to keep family and friends up to date on the 4 little hams that we are raising. Our life is crazy and busy and full of lots of ham drama and often people tell us we should have our own reality show but I'm thinking that hasn't really worked out that great for some of those reality show people - I'm thinking Jessica Simpson, Carman Electra, Jon and Kate Plus 8 - just to name a few...so I'll stick to the blog world...

Let me introduce you to me....I work full time as an Assistant Vice President of Employee Benefits - really fancy title for someone who sells Employee Benefits. I am married to an amazing man I call Daddy Ham...he stays at home full time with the 4 little hams - God Bless his Soul! We have been married almost 10 years, amazing the changes we have seen in 10 years!

When I was a little girl I always said I wanted a lot of kids...than I had one and than two and decided two was good but than came three and so we said enough is enough and Daddy Ham went and got his Ham baked ...or so we thought...about 8 months after the lab swore to us that there would be no more little hams, Ethan Graham Hamilton made his appearance 6 weeks early and than the drama really began...

Jake aka Big Ham

Jake is our 8 year old smart, funny, handsome, athletic, strong willed, stubborn son. He will argue you with that it's day when it's 9 pm at night just to prove a point - I'm thinking he is going to be a good lawyer one day!

Gracie aka Medium Ham

Gracie is our 6 year old sassy, spunky, talk your ear off, curly haired singing daughter. She has a heart of gold and wears is on her sleeve. She would do anything for you and is the little Mama of the the house! I'm thinking she is gonna be one heck of a caregiver one day!

Anna Claire aka Small Ham

Anna Claire is a smart, sassy, getting into everything, tongue sticking out, potty training, never wants to wear clothes 2 year old. She has her Daddy wrapped around her little finger and I'm thinking she just might be a Judge one day - she can point a mean finger and yell at me to go to time out at any given moment.

Ethan aka Baby Ham

Ethan is our gift from God. God wasn't done when he gave us Anna Claire so he gave us sweet Ethan. When I was 16 weeks pregnant, my Doctor called and told us that my blood work came back that I had a 1 in 51 chance of having a baby with Downs Syndrome. What??? I was in my early 30s and had 3 healthy children, this couldn't be happening to us. We were told to go the next day to see a Perionatologist that was on a Thursday. The technician came in and scanned my belly and Daddy Ham and I saw a sweet baby with his legs kicking and and his mouth opening and closing and were in love. Very quickly the technician left and came back with the Doctor who told us our sweet baby was boy but he was very sick. He had 3 markers for downs and one of the markers was very enlarged kidneys. She told us we needed an amniocentesis and would need to make a "decision" about the rest of the pregnancy. "Decision" are you kidding me??? I was watching my child moving and breathing on a monitor - Downs or not there was clearly no decision to make. Fast forward....Negative for Downs but born 6 weeks early with multiple birth defects...Stage 4 Kidney Reflux, Bilateral Hydronephrosis, small brain bleed, ear pit with slightly deformed ear, spells of SVT in the NICU and loss of hearing in one ear. He spent 5 weeks in the NICU/PCN, 3 days in PICU for Urinary Tract infection, 13 days in PICU after his surgery to repair the kidney reflux, 10 days in PICU for RSV (thanks to the insurance company who wouldn't pay for RSV shots because he wasn't a "candidate"). Today he works with an Occupational Therapist to overcome his developmental delays but he is truly a miracle who has beaten the odds and for that we are eternally thankful to our God. The same God who made him PERFECT just the way he had planned.