Jim....is home - from his close to three-week stay in Europe.

Jake....is home - from his three-night stay at my parent's house beginning Wednesday night.

My camera equipment....is home - and is all in one piece and just waiting for me wrap my hands around it.


It just doesn't get much better than this!



This blog is so full of it!

Well...in photographs anyway. After all, a chick is doing all of the writing.


Today, I thought I would remedy that and show you some recent photos I snapped of my niece, Emily.

I took in nearly the same spot where my sister drove our two pride-and-joys on my dad's junker riding lawnmower.

It was the month before she turned 5.

But my sister thinks she looks like she's 7 in this one.

I agree. And I think it has everything to do with her smile.

I'll also agree to the fact that she can make a plain old field of grass look way better than my dog, Nate, used to when I took pictures of him sitting next to fresh bales of hay.

When I think about it, not having to watch our step in fear that might we land ourselves in a major present one of the cows had left for us was way better too!



Today…I have none.

But I need some.

I want some.

I’m hoping I’ll get a second wind by tonight and accomplish as much as I did last night.

It started with me cutting the grass (I rode while my dad pushed the back yard and all the other little parts I couldn’t get to with our riding lawn mower). Then I pulled down every storage bin in Jake’s closet (other than the few that I know are for sure keepsake items that I’ll never part with), and started a major organization overhaul and “let’s get rid of this because it’s too stained to ever be worn again and besides he’s outgrown it anyway” redo of his closet. I even went as far as tossing out old underwear and socks. I’m so proud! Only now I have to convince Jim that all of these things are definitely out the door and that I’ll need his help with a major yard sale in the next few months. He’s more of a, “I’ll give it to someone who needs it or someone I know before I’ll sell it for nothing to a complete stranger.” He’s so helpful this way. Not! But I love him no less. And I miss him so terribly even though he is already giving me a hard time about my non-packrat habits.

And since I have blogged in over four days, I guess it’s about time to update you on what we’ve been doing these past 96 plus hours.

Jake I left home on Friday afternoon. I decided on a whim to go home to my parent’s house a whole two days earlier than what I had planned. I picked Jake up from school, went home to pack, and we hit the open road with dogs in tow. Our weekend consisted of lots of co-sleeping (I was just too tired to care), Jake destroying a few pieces to a brand new game my mom had just bought for he and Emily to play, him crying because Emily ripped an earring from him ear (my response…Well Baby, boys really aren’t meant to wear earrings anyway, so that’s what you get), two shopping excursions (after all, it wouldn’t be a good weekend without shopping involved), me waiting patiently (at times, impatiently) for Jim to call (he was in Scotland playing golf at St. Andrews…the Old Course…needless to say, he is one happy camper), my dad celebrating his 66th birthday, playing Spinners the fam, and eating home-cooked meals.

Yesterday, I had a routine doctor’s visit. Yes, my doctor wondered where I had been. Yes, I confessed everything. No, he didn’t seem surprised. He’s probably seen it all right about now in his career. He was just happy to see me, no matter how long it had been, and to know that all things are going beautifully. He also mentioned that what he loves most about his “business” is that he gets to witness miracles. And that’s what I love most about him…he sees this new life as a miracle.

I can't believe...


it's been just barely over two years since Jake...

learned how to do this!

Just Another Ordinary Miracle


Impossible situations can become possible miracles. – Robert H. Schuller

Seven weeks ago, I decided that I had lost this baby.

I had had one ultrasound that showed a healthy baby with a heart beating strongly, but the sac surrounding it was oddly shaped. I did the worst thing I could possibly do…I wandered around on the Internet, and everything I read said that most obstetricians would go ahead and prepare the patient for a miscarriage. Mine did not. He, in fact, said it did not concern him at all. What was most important to him was seeing a healthy, growing baby. And we did.

But then my lab work came back. My progesterone level had fallen, and this is something that shouldn’t happen during pregnancy. It should only rise and continue to rise until the baby’s birth day. I did manage to find one, single opinion that said it can fluctuate depending on the time of day, etc. But everything else, said it shouldn’t. My mind said it shouldn’t. Dr. Waller also said it shouldn’t; but he, once again, wasn’t alarmed. He said his concern would intensify only if it dropped a second time. He started me on a daily suppository to make himself and me both feel more at ease that we were doing “everything possible” to sustain this tiny life.

Days went by, and the spotting began. It began as brown, then pink…then finally a spot of red blood.

From experiences past, I knew red blood is something you just don’t want to see when you’re pregnant. And at that moment, I had concluded I was losing this baby. I had “been there done this” before, and I even declined to go back in even for blood work just to see how things were progressing. I just couldn’t do it. I just wanted to be left alone. Against my nurse’s wishes, I rescheduled my appointment to see Dr. Waller for a later date, and assumed by that point, I would have passed all tissue.

I spent the day with Jim since he was in Montgomery on his second round of teaching at Maxwell for two weeks, and we just enjoyed each other. We talked about how amazed and thankful we were for Jake. We talked about what God’s plan for our lives would be from this point on, and consoled ourselves with the fact that “This was a surprise anyway. It’s not as if we were trying or praying or even hoping for another addition to our family.” We could handle “this one” so much easier because we had Jake, but oh how different things might be if he was not part of our lives.

Don't believe in miracles - depend on them. – Laurence J. Peter

Jake and I drove home that day, just the two of us. I began to process what (I thought) had happened and what (I thought) was to come in the weeks ahead. I cried the whole way home and decided that I would share my feelings and my pregnancy on my blog. I deleted websites that I had added to my favorites for bedding that I loved in case we were having another boy (because really, the odds are hugely against us ever having a girl), and I held onto Jake like there was no tomorrow. I stopped doing the suppositories Dr. Waller had prescribed and even quit taking my prenatal vitamins to “get everything out of my system”. And last but not least, as I put it yesterday when I was talking to one of my very best friends, I laid this little life at the feet of my Savior, and I crawled into His lap.

In that place, He gave me comfort, He counted ever tear that fell to my knees, His perfect peace covered me like a blanket, and most of all, He held me – and didn’t let go.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein

The weeks passed by, and all of the things that I would have considered to be pregnancy symptoms were just played off. They were ignored and chalked up to my hormones taking time to get back to normal – after all, I still had not fully miscarried - but that would “just take time…it did before.” I missed another doctor’s appointment (shucks) and once again, rescheduled for a later date.

Jim came home, and we went camping. We came home and argued because he felt as if I was being overly impatient with Jake. He couldn’t understand why I was so tired and why I had this huge lack of energy. He saw me struggling and had no idea what to do to help me get out the slump I was in. He stressed big time because he knew he was leaving again – this time for England and for nearly three weeks.

Not long after, I amazingly felt like “me” again – besides the fact that my body was looking more and more like I was pregnant. I was actually embarrassed and started worrying about what kind of diet I would go on if Dr. Waller couldn’t determine what was causing my abdomen to grow and me to gain weight (if, in fact, an ultrasound determined that in some strange way I had definitely passed everything I needed to). I started drinking more water than ever and watching what I ate. I even told one of my girlfriends that she wouldn’t catch me dead in the Jack’s drive-thru (no matter how much I love their gravy biscuits).

Which brings me to last week…

The most incredible thing about miracles is that they happen. – G.K. Chesterton

Last week I had had enough of wondering what was “wrong with me”, so I called my nurse, and she immediately suggested I go for blood work to determine whether or not my hormones were definitely getting back to zero. So I went.

With me still waiting on the results, my mom and sister came for a visit this past weekend. We had so much fun…shopping, breaking up arguments between Emily and Jake, grilling hamburgers, my sister opening her birthday gifts, Jake opening three packs of baseballs cards that he wasn’t supposed to and tearing his new foam airplane into 50 pieces, and watching a great chick flick together. They also took one look at me, and told me they had no doubts in their minds that I was still carrying this baby. They even inspired me to take the last pregnancy test remaining from the box of two I bought almost two months ago and yep, it was positive. For the very first time in over six weeks, I thought…Really? Do you think? No way! Maybe? What if? I couldn’t wait for Jim to call and tell him I had the feeling we were going to be in for (yet another) huge surprise. Yeah, his response…“No way!” My response…Hmmm….I’m not so sure about that, Buddy.

I left home Monday morning, Montgomery bound to have an ultrasound.

And with everyone baffled and waiting to see the results of this one, heads were shaking, mouths dropped open, tears were cried, and we saw a baby! - a baby who had been there all this time with only the One who created him or her knowing it.

I’m not even sure at this point how to describe what I’m feeling, but the first word that comes to mind is overwhelmed.

And while I'm still trying to put down into words those feelings, this is what I know…

I’m still in awe (and still feel like I deserve the ultimate idiot award). I know that God is in control, and that with Him, all things are possible. I know that He is glorified to the fullest. I know that I feel loved by my Creator more than ever…more than I’ll ever be able to comprehend. And I know now…I’m going to be a mommy once again…and I couldn’t be happier.

He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. – Job 5:9



is still in England for one more week...

had plans to be at the British Open this past weekend but unfortunately did not get to go. Apparently his rental car reservation was lost...or was eaten...or they gave his car to someone else...I'm not sure. Needless to say...he was disappointed...

saw The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, The London Bridge, Westminster Abbey, The London Eye, Big Ben, the famous guards in their red coats and black hats...and St. Paul's Cathedral this past Saturday...

ate at Hard Rock Cafe London but opted to pass on buying souvenirs when he saw the line that consisted of about 200 people just to get into the memorabilia store...

is still not used to driving on the "wrong" side of the road...

bought a calling card so we can talk on the phone for more than 10 minutes per phone call (which is definitely most exciting for me)...

played 9 holes of golf on Lakenheath AFB yesterday after work and ate Burger King for dinner...

has gotten lost twice since he's been there and has informed me that if we were ever stationed there, I would never, ever, under no circumstances be allowed to drive off base...

has watched F-15's take off, played in a flight simulator, been a chauffeur, and will have covered pretty much every area of Lakenheath by the time he leaves next week...

is counting down the days, like I am, until he comes home (Well...he hasn't exactly said it in those words, but I'm pretending he's as ready to come home as I am for him to)...

found out yesterday he is going to become a daddy for a second time after all!

And yeah...just as soon as I figure out how to explain this one, I'll post more about Baby L "2" later.

Random but True


1. Big Brother 12 has only been on for one week...and it's consuming my life!

2. Tomorrow, I'll have visitors. My mom, sister, and Jake's cousin, Emily, will be here for a "Family Slumber Party". Yes, they are staying overnight with me, and I.can't.wait!

3. Absence is definitely making the heart grow fonder while Jim is away. It's so different this time! Maybe it's the combination of knowing he's in another country, he's asleep while I'm awake, and we talk on the phone for no more than ten minutes a day. Yep. I think those three just about do it for me.

4. The retail world is a better shopping place with Hobby Lobby in it. I went there last night on a shopping spree for my office at work.

5. Also last night, Jake informed me that he really, really, really misses his daddy, and that he loves him very much. He also backed that statement up with the fact that if I will buy him a new train, he will feel "all better." Amazing what a new Thomas engine can do for a 3 year old, huh?

6. The sleeping arrangements in our house just aren't what they used to be. Turns out, Jim and I have what feels like is going to be a permanent pallet on the floor beside our bed. It's sole purpose in life is to keep Jake from crawling into our bed somewhere in the vicinity of 3 and 4 each morning.

7. My toenails are currently what has become one of my absolute favorite colors of nail polish...Lincoln Park After Dark by O.P.I. Love it!

8. This weekend, Jake will finally get the lunchbox of his dreams. He saw it in a magazine a couple of weeks ago, and he's been asking me every.single.day. when Spiderman will be here. Thankfully that's tomorrow when his Grandma gets here to give it to him. No, she just couldn't resist it because she had seen it too and knew he would love it almost as much as he does me. She will be his hero completely when he sees it.

9. I realized this morning that I left the light on in Jake's room all night long. This is nothing new for me, though. Stuff like this happens pretty regularly while Jim is away. Reminds me of the time when he came home to a 300 dollar water bill. It's a long story, that one. And because to this day, I'm still sticking to my guns on that scenario and say there's no way I should be held responsible for that one, I won't go into detail. Otherwise, 5 minutes of my 10-minute conversation with Jim tonight will be us going back and forth about whether or not I could have possibly noticed the puddles of water collecting in our yard for over a week. Maybe the grass was really thirsty, right?

10. My cousin Jim's wife, Christine, is one of the sweetest human beings on this planet. She sent me two boxes of clothes that her son, Ethan, has outgrown, and Jake will be able to wear them all this coming Fall!

11. Speaking of clothes, Jake has a shirt that says, "My Dad Has Super Powers!" He wore it last week. I just hung it up in his closet. The one I didn't hang up was the one he was wearing when I took him to TCBY. Unfortunately, the chocolate yogurt stains have not completely come out.

12. I've consumed more water in the last week than I have in probably 6 months. Obviously, this is something I need to work on. So I am.

13. If you've been planning a trip to the Hallmark store in the McFarland Mall...don't plan anymore. It's closed for remodeling. As you can tell, I've been there. Yeah, that went to Plan B.

14. In case you were wondering, I still have photos to share from our camping trip we went on the weekend of July 4th. Thank goodness because seriously, I'm not sure how many posts to this blog I can do without uploading an image or 2...or 20. They'll also keep me from convulsing on the floor because I still really, really, really (as Jake puts it) miss my camera.

Back to Me


I am sooooo ready to get back to the "me" I knew...oh about two months ago...pre miscarriage days. (Repeat 50 times).

And honestly, it's not as bad as it was. I felt like I had totally lost the "old" me up until about a week ago. My emotions were still running high, and I felt like one raging PMS cycle that would.not.end. But finally now (and if Jim or Jake were typing this, they would probably include things like: Thank God!, We can come out from hiding in our closets now!, Hallelujah!, and Cindi, Mommy, where have you have been? Oh you're home! We thought you'd never come back!), that has subsided, but I in no way, shape, form, or fashion, do I have my body back. I still look like I did when I was twelve weeks pregnant with Jake, and I just don't think my body has really "gotten it" that it doesn't need to keep growing to house another human being for 6 more months. And if I keep going like this, I'll try on another pair of pants this morning when I decide it's time to get ready for work like I did yesterday, and they won't fit either! I'm just not feeling it anymore. I'm over it. (Repeat 50 times).

So today, it's for blood work that I go. I called my doctor's office yesterday, and they've formed a game plan to start there and see where my blood pregnancy levels are just to make sure they dropped to rock bottom or are at least in the process of going down.

In other news, I'm having major camera withdrawals. It's because I've let Jim take every single lens that I own to England with him. He'll be there for two and a half weeks teaching cadets, seeing the countryside every chance he gets, and watching the British Open this Saturday in Scotland. I think this all went down after I got my "feel good" back on last week, and I started comprising and loving my family again. As I type this, I can hear myself saying, Oh no, Sweetie, I won't need them. You take them. After all, you're going to Europe for two weeks. And you really may need my zoom lens while you're watching the Open. You may see Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, and you'll want to get as close up as you can. Jim kept asking and asking if I was sure. But I insisted, and now I feel like I've given up caffeine completely.

I mean, just in the last two days, I've missed out on showing you things like the lizard that Jim caught and left in an empty garbage can in our garage for Jake to see when I brought him home from school on Monday - and yesterday, the mountain of stickers he had stuck to his face when I picked him up and made him remove before we went to the mall to shop for birthday gifts for my dad and sister (I figured the spaghetti on his shirt and mysterious brown spots all over the front of it were enough to get the stares from people going, much less a pile of dinosaur stickers stuck to his right cheek).

Thank goodness I didn't bother changing his shirt, though (My fashion sense said Yes! Change his dirty shirt!, but my conscience said, No! Don't do it!) because after the trip through the drive-thru to redeem the "Free Kiddie Cup" coupon at TCBY that he got from his pediatrician's office (Yeah, I think we have two more of those laying around since we've made so many trips here lately.), he managed to add chocolate yogurt to the list of items that are currently under the stain-removing power of Oxy Clean.

Okay, time to go to work...and see if I can find something to wear that fits!

Camping 102:


Search for Food from Your Environment and Explore Your Surroundings

With fishing poles, tackle box, and squiggly worms in hand, we set out to see just how many fish Jim and Jake could catch.

Or maybe...just maybe...we would catch the shark that Jake was still certain was out there waiting for him to reel in.

And oh yeah...this net was going to hold him when he caught him.

Fortunately for all of us (and everyone else in the park come to think of it), this net never scooped up a shark.

But what it did hold was many, bright, plastic lures that Jake managed to hold onto the rest of the day. Nope! He never even lost one. In fact, I think two of the neon green ones that match the shirt he's wearing are hanging out on our garage floor right now.

Of course the attempt to catch regular, edible, non-dangerous types of fish continued for...




And even when one nothing was biting in one area of the lake, it didn't stop Jim from searching out a much farther and quieter place to try and catch at least one fish.

No...discouragement didn't get this one down. He kept moving all around the lake, going where no man should go...literally. I think he could have gotten in trouble for doing this...or at least hurt.

Sadly for Jim and Jake, I think this next photo says it all when it comes to what we was on our dinner plates that night...not that we would have eaten anything different anyway (Who am I kidding?). But the look on Jake's face would have been priceless if they had managed to pull at least one fish out of the water. Sniff, sniff.

Oh, well. Better luck next time, right?

And at least we got to see this while we waited for Jim ever so patiently to fish (And believe me, it wasn't a hard thing to do...wait for Jim. Not with scenery like this...and of course a million puddles of water to splash in and rocks to climb on.).

The next morning, we got up, ate a hearty breakfast (McDonald's hot cakes and sausage...so much for roughing in on that meal), and went to Little River Canyon.

It was just up the road...about 7 miles from Desoto State Park.

And it was equally another great place to explore...

get our feet wet...

and smile lots and lots.

Camping 102: ....A+ for the Landers Family!

Camping 101:


Pick Out Your Campsite of Choice and Set Up the Campsite


Sounds like a plan to me!

So that's exactly what we did this past Saturday when we arrived at Desoto State Park at around 10am.

We scouted out every single spot that was available to us, and at last...

Number 9 it was!

Ahhh...Number 9. No, it's not necessarily a "lucky" number. There's really nothing special about it per se'. But it was level...and available...and was really quite large compared to the majority of our choices.

So we snagged it and got super busy immediately unloading an entire truck bed full of equipment, food, first aid supplies, wet ones (like those were going to do any good when every inch of square footage around us was a little thing called dirt), and most importantly, the 3 containers of OFF! I figured we were going to need just to survive (and also keep me from zipping myself into our tent and refusing to come out).

Speaking of the tent...

that was next on our list of "Things to Do".

Jim whipped out the directions and got right down to it.

And of course, Jake was there waiting to help.

He mostly stood with his arms folded asking over and over again if he could help. Great thing for him (and all of us for that matter...after hearing him ask at least 30 times), Jim was able to give him several "jobs" to do.

And before we both knew it (and after I had put my camera down a few times to lend my helping hands)...


The tent was up and ready to house 3 sleepy people when the time came (which wasn't very long because we all ended up taking a good nap later that afternoon).

And so began our first and extremely fun and exciting 24 hours of camping, a true roughing-it, outdoors experience that we've been waiting for the opportunity to do for months now.

The repeated reminders to Jake that there is to be absolutely No running! also began, literally within the first hour we were there.

Actually, I think the tent was up completely for no more than 10 minutes when this happened...

Oh yes! My baby took a flying leap when his camo croc hit part of a tree's trunk that was sticking up out of the ground.

The sad part about all of this was the fact I wasn't trying capture this moment on camera - it honestly just happened - I was truly trying just to get a picture of our tent in all its completed glory - but I admittedly laughed until I cried when I realized that I got this shot. I just couldn't help but think of the stuffed flying squirrels we had just seen at the Country Store when we checked in.

I mean really.

Look at him!

Both his arms and feet are completely off the ground and in the air like he's doing a take off or something. I just couldn't help myself!

Of course, I wasn't laughing when I was helping him up, and I definitely wasn't laughing when I was dragging out the neosporin and bandaids I had brought with us (At that point, I was patting myself on the back in my mind for being so smart to think of it and giving myself serious brownie points on that one.).

Unfortunately, this was the first, and it wasn't the last of scrapes and bruises or the last time I whipped out the neosporin and bandaids. Heck, even I ended up needing them. I somehow managed to slam my finger in the truck door in the dark.

Come to think of it...maybe that was my punishment for laughing at my sweet baby boy being caught on camera as he was flying through the air about to make a crash landing on hard ground.

It was still funny, though. Sorry, Buddy! Hopefully one day you'll find it in your heart to forgive me.

Up next...

Camping 102: Search for Food from Your Environment and Explore Your Surroundings

Sage's and Scenery...


While I'm still sorting through all of the photos I took while on our camping trip this past weekend, I thought I should show you a few more from mine and Jim's overnight date to Callaway Gardens two weekends ago. (Otherwise, I will feel like I am "behind", and that's just not good for me. It literally makes me crazy and haunts me in my sleep. And I really do want to get some sleep tonight...especially since the last few nights have been not-so-restful...with Jake having an extremely congested chest and all. Oh, the price we've paid to go camping! More on that later too.).

This is Sage's.

It's the old-fashioned ice cream soda shop I mentioned in my first post detailing our trip.

Not only was the food great, I absolutely could not get enough of the nostalgia of this place!

The menu had items on it like a vanilla ice cream root beer float...

hot dogs, homemade chicken salad (something I got off the menu, and it was sooo goood)...

fresh squeezed lemonade...


and something else I tried (And I reeeeeally shouldn't have because now I'm addicted!)...the best chocolate milkshake I've every had in my life!

This place just oozed with families, food, and a totally fun atmosphere, and I can't wait to go back again.

Because, believe you me, if you were to try one of those chocolate milkshakes, driving a couple of hours to get one would not be a ridiculous idea.

And last, but definitely not least, here are few more shots of the surroundings we took in during 24 of the best hours I've lived in the last two weeks...

Is this place just gorgeous or what?