Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Meeting Daddy

This is what happened one year ago today.  I was in Louisville, trying to sleep as it was 3am in KY, though I was waiting on the "call" to know JT had Tedi.  It never came because of poor service... Finally I called...(see second picture below)...Tedi would talk on the phone, and rarely does now, but to know he was there and with JT was amazing.  Our cell phone bill that week was so expensive because I could not stand to know that my son was without me... The picture below of JT and Tedi is one I will cherish my entire life.   

First Time Tedi Talked to Me.... he thought I was crazy

Monday, June 27, 2011


 A few pictures from his last few days with mommy.... Gotta love his Run DMC shirt (JT has a matching one)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Erasing Hate

As I write this, JT and I are watching an msNBC documetary about a former skinhead racist with body-covering tattoos.  Tonight is the first night this special aired but the link, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036750/, (or watch the clip below) shows a clip and small article about the documentary.  Please check this out.  I find it unfathomable that such deep seeded hate exists in the heart of anyone.  It is both an eye-opening and interesting story while showing the slow redemption of someone once consumed by hate.  I also feel convicted because I am so guilty to look at someone like the man featured here, with his face covered in tattoos, and instantly judge without knowing him....knowing his story.  So while it is easy to sit and judge this man and this culture, it also forces you to look inward.  I would normally say "enjoy" but rather, this time "learn".

51 Weeks

Tedi has been in our family for fifty one weeks.  Yes, this time last year JT was in Ethiopia... (i was crying nightly and starting residency)..  Be ready for some cute posts coming up!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Organization Wanted.....Needed

 So, let's be real.  I am not organized.  It has even turned into a joke on my NICU rotation.  I still do my work efficiently without issue, but I am not the girl with the 3-ring binder, divided into sections for each patient.  I am not the person with an organized office.  I do not have a closet system....my clothes are a HOT MESS in the bedroom floor.  Tedi's toys are pseudo-organized.  My car, well, that is a different story.  Just ask my dad. 

Well, I am trying to slowly morph into a more organized person for multiple reasons.....to pay bills ahead of time, to avoid messes on our entry table, to coordinate our ridiculous schedules, to be a better mom and wife, and to just feel better each day when I walk into our house...  Sarah had Pottery Barn catalogs and I caught a glimpse of the below pictures....  I can not afford these but they are beautiful and, in theory, they would make my organizational world better.... maybe I can piece these together, TJ Maxx and gifted style, along the way....  (but I did organize books, mail, and my bathroom storage tonight...so there is a start.  Goal for this week: clean the car to find Dr. Franco's video, put up dad's wine from the car, and organize the closet)
I will welcome these as a wonderful gift :-)

And this, or something similar, is definitely something that will be present in my future organized house.....but this is just for being "home-y" 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father....not a DNA-Dependent Relationship

I see so many men...well I really do not see them because they are not around.....that provide their DNA for my patients but never love or provide for them.  Yet, I meet men whose DNA composes no child and still they love them, raise them, and FATHER them.  Therefore, father is a relative term....not one necessitated upon biology but rather on love, sacrifice, and teaching.  Fathers, whether stepfathers, adoptive fathers, biological father, or otherwise, make such a huge difference in the lives of the children in which they involve themselves.  We look around at society and wonder why children act the way do....I would contend that there are a lot more single moms or even married ladies trying to do the job of a man and woman.  While us women are strong, enduring creatures, fathers, real father figures, play a unique role in a child's life, and their absence can devastate and destroy the path of a child, a culture if some intercession is not made. 

I say all of this as preface to my real point.  I, unlike so many people I meet daily, am lucky.  I have a father, a daddy, that loves me daily and unconditionally.  I have a step-father who loves me as if I were his child by birth.  I have husband who has transformed into a fantastic father.  I would like to take today's post and briefly honor the fathers in my life....

1) Bob, my step-father
My mom married Bob when I was in the fifth grade.  Tough year for any change, much less a family change.  He has been around ever since.  He showed up when I started my period at school just a few months after he joined our family, cheered at most of my basketball games through high school, and was present at my wedding.  I can think of such funny stories with Bob.....like him being brought along for many day long shopping trips with my mom or hiding the phone from us because we always left it off the hook or honking the horn for 20+ seconds as I walked into junior high school.  If you asked me to think of Bob, I would see him in a polo shirt, khakis and loafers, all neatly ironed with creases....probably playing golf, talking politics or now, being silly with Tedi.  I love him very much.... below is that very thing, Bob being very silly with Tedi...pretending to be a walrus.

2. Jimmy, my father in law
My father in law was not raised by men.  He lost his father as a toddler then his grandfather as a very young boy.  His mother also died when he was a toddler.  Raised by his aunt and his grandmother, he still became a strong man, father and leader of his house.  In his retirement, he has forfeited golfing and sleep to spend time with my son.  Never complaining, he participates in car pool and still goes to construction sites to throw rocks and play in water.   I deeply admire Jimmy for the way he raised my husband and how he loves my son. 

3.  My Dad
I love my dad.  He is the hardest working man I know and demands nothing less from me.  Maybe working these 30 hour shifts is tolerable because of what he taught me.  He had no option but to work hard.  He was the 13th of 15 children to parents that were tenant farmers in rural Tennessee.  He started working at twelve years old, the age when many now have iPhones.  He was in the Navy and thereafter began working for State Farm Insurance without a college degree.  He has worked his tail off for everything he has.  He loves me and my sister unconditionally.  He is even getting to where he loves JT, I think :-)  It is amazing to see him now as he loves on Tedi and to hear Tedi say "That's MY grandpa Kevin!"  When I think of my dad, I hear Mark Cohn's "Walking in Memphis" playing in the background. We are sitting on the boat listening to Zac Brown Band or our shared love for diet Mtn Dew or his fudge or any of his cooking really.  I hear him saying "Now sis..." or  "I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just sayin' " or "You're my girl".  There is so much I think of when I think of my dad.  More than anything I am just thankful to have been gifted with such a man when so many children are not.

4.  JT, my dear husband
This is the first year that my man and my partner is a daddy.  Together we became parents this year...not by creating a little bitty baby inside of me but adopting one of the most beautiful, fun boys I have ever met.  A perfect fit for our family.....God knew what he was doing when Tedi became part of our family almost a year ago.  JT is so patient with Tedi.....especially when I am not.  He teaches him to change light bulbs and fix vents and to tell his mommy she is pretty even when she is not and to hold doors open for ladies and to say his prayers as night and to love Jesus and give kisses and to follow directions the first time (working on this).... all of this and so much more make JT an unbelievable father.  I fall more in love with him each time I watch him with Tedi.  We did not know we could love someone so much until Tedi joined our family...making us parents and yet better people.  I love my husband so much and even more now that he is a daddy.  When I think of JT, I hear Notorious B.I.G. and Conway Twittytshirts.  I hear more loud singing and conversations.  I see my life being lived one day at a time for the rest of my days.  I see a father to more children than Tedi. 

"I used to believe my father about everything but then I had children myself & now I see how much stuff you make up just to keep yourself from going crazy." ~storypeople.com

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Eulogizing......my way.

A man I loved left the world late Tuesday night.  I met him when I was in sixth grade.  I was standing on the newly poured concrete basement foundation of my dad's house in Hustonville, Kentucky. I stood facing south (I think) watching this red headed girl about my age with her parents standing on the foundation of their house, also on Hancock Street.  My stepmother at the time was a teacher at the school in Hustonville and knew this family well.  We walked down the then gravel road and met the Luttrell family.  Both around 12 years old at the time, Sarah and I stared more at our feet than talking to each other.  We both had those bad mid-90s, for lack of a better term, "turd-roll" bangs.  It was on that day I met Steve, Sarah's dad, and her mom Cynthia.  Little did I know on that day in sixth grade that Sarah and I would become best friends, not just in junior and high school, but now as adults. 

Steve ended his long battle with multiple myeloma on Tuesday night at the young age of fifty-seven.  Ever by his side, Sarah and Cynthia sat.  As devastated and heart broken as I was to hear the news, I could not fathom the million pieces my best friend's heart was breaking into.  She, like her father, are always strong, driven and focused.  Losing him is losing her second self....and yet her best friend. 

Sarah is an only child and a girl.  Her gender did not matter to Steve.  He bestowed upon her his love of cars... I never remember the Luttrells having less than three cars at their house at any given time.  Steve's mustang, Steve's Jimmy, Sarah's Pontiac after we were 16, and then Cynthia's car, which varied between a hunter green Mercury Sable, a white mini van, and a gray Jeep Cherokee.  It was in that Jeep Cherokee that we drove to many cheerleading tournaments...me of course watching because THAT was not my thing...Steve and I would sit and complain but cheer Sarah on, nonetheless.  He also imparted his love for golf to Sarah.  Remember I said they are both stubborn....(strong-willed :-)  Well, I only golfed to get out of basketball conditioning and so that Sarah and I could hang out more.  I remember being privy to several trips to Hickory Hills golf course in Liberty, KY with Steve and Sarah.... by the end, they would be so frustrated with each other, one was throwing their hands in the air.  Yet, every golf match we ever played Steve meandered hole to hole, not only watching Sarah but me and our friend Gentry as well.....offering encouragement and pointers when our own parents could not be there.

The world took back a special man this week, though one that needed not to suffer any longer.  We will all laugh a little less because of Steve's absence but enjoy who he is by living life with his wife and daughter....by enjoying his collection of antique barber chairs and the Mustang and his manicured yard and his stories of hitchhiking while in his 20s, remembering dinner at their house with my new husband or the time JT showed up to visit without me... and Cynthia was in her robe and Steve laughing so hard at this, or explaining our whereabouts in high school multiple times...always being caught.  I will remember Steve and Cynthia (and Sarah) driving to Bowling Green, KY and sitting in 100 degree heat to watch me graduate from college.  Who does that????

I pray for their hearts' grief yet I always pray they see the deep impact that permeated wherever Steve went...the effect he had on many beyond him.  I pray that the Lord comforts Cynthia after losing a husband of many years and Sarah for the loss of her daddy during the week of Father's Day.  But I hope they know this.....Steve lived well and Steve lived on purpose.  That can not be taken back.  That is not stolen by the grave.  I loved this man and considered him family .  I write both the funny and sad of this post with a huge "I'm on call and crying would be awkward" lump in my throat.  Please pray for the Luttrells as they endure the funeral proceedings....and then try to live life.  I love these people so please love on them in your prayers. 

"I still remember the day the world took you back & there was never time to thank you for the thousand scattered moments you left behind to watch us while we slept" ~storypeople.com

Steven Randall Luttrell

349 Days....

.... is how long my son has been home from Ethiopia.  I can not believe it myself.  Within a week of coming home, we took Tedi for his first checkup with the doctor (shocker, since I am a pediatrician myself).  At that time, he weighed 36lbs and was 39 inches tall.... Going with the birth date we were given (making him three and a half at his appointment), his weight was 75% for age and height was 50%.  Yesterday, 348 days after coming home, that boy weight 43.8 pounds and was 45.5 inches tall.......meaning he was between the 75-90% for weight and >95% for height with a BMI of 15.5 (50%)...again, I am in peds so cut me some slack with the percentiles. I do plot my own kid's growth.  YES, he GREW 6.5 inches in a little less than a year.  I can not even believe it....I guess all that bone growth weighs a lot because he is still as thin and athletic as ever.  Do I think he is truly four and a half years old....probably not.... Are we sticking with that age? Yes.  We understand the Ethiopian dating system is not always accurate..... so my son will always be that kid with his height beyond the growth chart.... It is amazing what love and food can do.  I am not sure in his previous arrangements he could have managed to grow that much in one year. Before you know it, he will be taller than me. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This and That

1. Bragging:  I first must brag on my man!  Two weeks ago JT earned a promotion at his work.  His friend Brian left for another job leaving the position open.  Having earned it, JT was thrilled to get the nod and take the job as Associate Director of Development for Family and Children's Place.  I am so very proud of him and needed to share with everyone. 

2.  Boys Only Trip:  Over Memorial Day weekend, JT, his dad and his brother took Tedi to his first Cubs game!  (I worked..... Shocker) JT grew up watching the Cubbies on WGN and now our little Henderson family are true Cubs fans.  They ate Giordano's pizza and ballpark hot dogs and said "Go Cubs."  That is what Tedi thought the trip was all about!  Below is a pic of the souvenir Tedi picked out....

3.  Reading: I was an English major back before med school....before that, I was the nerd who loved to read.  So in preparation for adopting Tedi, I collected books.  We even had one of our showers that focused on books, not clothes and toys.  Well until this last week, Tedi quite honestly had no interest in reading....as much as me or his teacher, Ms. Johnson tried.   Now, to my surprise, Tedi all of a sudden wants to read and I am totally digging it! Our favorite...... "LLAMA LLAMA Misses MAMA"  We love it! Below, JT caught a pic of Tedi and I doing our nightly reading.

Yes, this was my boy praying at bible study. It does not get much better than seeing this. 
 ....Glasses shopping with mommy.... he is still darn cute in the glasses. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Henderson Family Pictures

So I had an idea.... I wanted to somehow get all of Tedi's grandparents together for a picture... Elizabeth, one of my best friends and our initial Celebrate Adoption photographer, helped me make this happen.  Yes, I got my mom, stepdad, dad, stepmom and JT's parents to stand together, smile together for a picture that Tedi will have for the rest of his life.  All of these pictures I adore.....we are so thankful to have each other and these pics...Aren't they wonderful!?!....these are just samples of the ones Elizabeth posted on our facebook. To see more of our pictures, go HERE.  I hope you enjoy the pictures below of Tedi, our family and my friend's work... 

 Left: Tedi with my dad and stepmom, Granpa Kevin and Grandma Terri
Right: JT's parents, Pop and Granna
 Left: Me with my mom, Granny Sylvia and Tedi
Right: Us with Granny Sylvia and Bob (my stepdad who Tedi calls "Harv")
 Our Little Family
 My Absolute Favorite
 With Elizabeth, left, and our friend Taryn
 Tedi and his girl Tedi
 Loving his Ring Pop
If you know me, this is the REAL me

Friday, June 3, 2011

11 Months Home

I am on call in the NICU.  JT is at a church retreat in Gatlinburg.  Tedi is sliding down houseboat slides on Lake Cumberland with my dad.  We are all three apart tonight.  Nevertheless, today is 11 months that Tedi has been part of the Henderson family.  I can not wait for one year....it is amazing how things change! I will post tomorrow with pictures and some funny things but for now, I am just really blessed to call him my son. 

Sorry, no pics.  If you want to see the most recent Henderson Family pictures with grandparents and all...click the link and check out the shots Elizabeth recently checked.