Mel & Steve’s other kids

****before I get into this post, I need to say this: please pray for Mel. She went into labor again yesterday and we may meet Ginny this week. Medically this is too early, but we are just gonna trust God that HE knows what He is doing. Even if the doctors are confused.****

Some folks have been asking me to show you Mel & Steve’s other children.

I asked Mel and she was happy to grant me permission to introduce you to the three I have photos of. You see Mel and Steve are raising three children, but Steve has other kids from before. I’ve seen photos and they are all adorable, by the way. We will be teaching Ginny to consider them ALL as her siblings and will want to introduce them to each other one day, but for this post let’s just work with the three youngest that Mel & Steve are raising together.

They are Mekenna (age 4), Adrianna (age 2) and Kannon (age 1)

Here’s the photos I have of them;

Adrianna & Kannon

Adrianna & Kannon



Aren’t they adorable?

Kannon’s pensive look makes me want to just pick him up and snuggle him.

Adiranna’s expression in that photo reminds me of Missy’s little girl/demon child Maggie. Something about the slightly evil “no really I’m innocent” grin as she looks up a the camera perhaps? Missy? what do you think?

Mekenna actually reminds me very strongly of a little girl I know here in Atlanta named Jessie.

All three kids are currently staying with Mel’s mother. They miss their mama and she misses them bunches too. Heck, we miss them and we haven’t even met them. But I’ve seen LOADS of photos of them and Mel told me all about them.

I’d love to just adopt the entire family. But we can’t. However it is nice to know that we are being grafted into such a sweet clan of people who love each other, even when they don’t get along.

Just like my family. 😉


happy 3rd anniversary

To My Martin,

Happy third wedding anniversary. three years ago today we were doing this:



and this:



and this:



These three years have been crazy. Lots of family emergencies. Seemingly endless commutes to and from work, endless piles of laundry, the constant battle to have children. We’ve buried your dad, your aunt and your dog Toni as well as a dear friend in Knoxville. We’ve watched our nieces and nephews grow like weeds. We’ve become more and more active at church.

I’ve watched you blossom into the spiritual leader and head of our home. Your counsel is valued, by myself and by others. I’m so proud of you for letting God work in your life.

We’ve moved your mom and mine to different homes. We’ve finished and furnished attics and basements. We’ve taken in “strays” and found them new homes.

And through it all, you are there. The same guy, making the same funny faces at me, loving me through all my ups and downs. Loving my family. and always laughing.  Joy lives in your heart and you give it so freely to all around you.

Martin, you are amazing.

and while I was typing this, you walked into my office with 2 dozen roses.

roses on my desk

roses on my desk

How did I get so lucky?

thank you LORD for Martin.

Packing a lifetime into two days

How do you pack a lifetime worth of memories into two days? You get very little rest and you come to work tired on Monday. I am seriously sleepy today.

We went to Kansas to see Mel & Steve again this weekend. We really adore these two and want to spend as much time with them as we can before Ginny is born because we know we will be exhausted after she gets here.

So we stayed up late talking Friday night. On Saturday we borrowed a wheelchair and wheeled Mel around the mall. She hadn’t been able to get out of the house much since she is supposed to be on bed-rest and they had previously been walking everywhere. They have no car you see.

Anyway, while we were at the mall we went to the Build-a-Bear store. We built twin bears and put four hearts in each one. So each bear has a piece of each of us in it. The bears are named using initials. See we think that since Ginny won’t get to meet her brother and sisters very soon that she needed a substitute, so we decided that Ginny’s bear would be a boy. And since the brother and sisters that the bear is standing-in for are named Mekenna, Adrianna and Kannon, we decided to call the brother bear MAK. MAK’s twin sibling is being called VAAR right now, representing Virginia Altie Aspen R..

For those who have been paying attention you will notice that Ginny’s name has gotten a little addition. That was at Mel’s request. She really likes the name Aspen and requested that we use it. Martin and I were happy to oblige.

The other reason for the bears is that Martin and I will be stealing an idea from a friend of mine and taking a photo of Ginny next to MAK every week and sending it to Mel & Steve. They can use the twin bear to compare to the photos and see how much Ginny has grown.

Before anyone jumps on me, yes, we KNOW that a teddy bear is not a substitute for a baby or for siblings. We are just being sentimental, silly and cute. But it is a fun connection and gave us all a chance to have something concrete to hold onto.

After the mall we went swimming. Actually I’m not sure you can call it swimming. Mel and I floated on pool noodles and the boys spent all their time jumping in and out of the water, splashing each other (and us) and in general acting like total cut-ups. We loved it. Watching our men have fun together was a real blessing. We should have gotten photos of that, but when everybody is dripping wet and having a great time it’s hard to remember to stop and go get the camera!

Steve cooked dinner, we looked photos of their families (really cute kids by the way), and then we all went to sleep. Swimming really makes me sleepy.

Sunday morning the guys went to play frisbee golf before church!!!! Steve & Mel call it “Discin” which is a term Martin and I are still getting used to. I am very glad that I slept in because apparently Martin had to go swimming in a local pond to retrieve a disc at one point. Ick!

Just a note, we really love the church out there. If we lived in Wichita I would SO being joining at Metro East. Their pastor, Todd Pruitt preaches from God word and God’s heart.

After church we got back together for lunch, then some quick shopping for a few nice things for their apartment and then Martin and I had to go get on a plane. I can’t believe we’ve only had two weekends with them. They are such a huge part of our lives now. Oh and let me tell you we LOVE Wichita. It is such a JOY to arrive late at an airport and have the security guy take one look at your boarding card and say “here, go through this gate, I’ll get someone to put you through quickly since your flight is ready to leave” WOW. In Atlanta we would have been doomed to miss the flight, but Wichita is such a small airport that they can afford to care. It is totally spoiling us. 😉

Here are just a few photos from the weekend.

MAK & VAAR at the Mexican restaurant

MAK & VAAR at the Mexican restaurant

Mel (and Ginny) & Steve

Mel (and Ginny) & Steve

camera happy crazy people

camera happy crazy people

Martin, Deirdre, MAK, Mel (Ginny), VAAR and Steve at a really good Mexican place just around the corner from their house

Martin, Deirdre, MAK, Mel (Ginny), VAAR and Steve at a really good Mexican place just around the corner from their house

don’t arrive at the party too early

Martin and I are going back out to Kansas this weekend to spend more time with Steve & Mel (and Ginny).

Mel is currently on bed rest in an attempt to keep Ginny in for a while longer.  We had a scare earlier this week where Mel went into labor, but the doctors managed to stop it.  Our job this weekend will be to keep Mel occupied, happy and entertained, but OFF HER FEET.

I have had a couple of people say to me in the past few days “oooo maybe Ginny will be born while you are out there! I bet you just can’t wait!”

um…….yes we most certainly CAN wait.

Folks there is no way that we would want Ginny to be born this early.

If she comes early, then that’s that.  But under no circumstances would we WANT her to come this early.

Ginny is 31 weeks and 5 days.

Ginny has all her fingers and toes and has been confirmed again as a girl.

Ginny only weighs 2 pounds and 15 ounces.

Yes, she *could* live outside Mel’s body, but there are all kinds of possible problems that situation could cause for Ginny and we would just rather her stay put.  Unless something goes drastically wrong she is FAR safer right where she is for now.  Modern medicine can’t really imitate the perfect environment of the human gestation system.

Yes we want desperately to meet our baby girl, but we can wait.  Till God and Ginny are both ready.

btw, Mel has new sonogram photos that I will post as soon as I can.

how to treat others

Do to others as you would have them do to you

Luke 6:31

This of course is a great rule to live by in human relations.  But I just discovered that it works really really well on my scanner at work too.

First thing this morning our accountant handed me a short document to scan.  I put it in the scanner, hit the scan to PDF button and reached for my mug of tea.  That mug of tea was just perfect by the way, fragrant, just strong enough, just barely sweetened enough, just enough cream to smooth the flavour a bit and exactly the right temp for drinking.  …in short the perfect cup of Earl Gray

The ultimate cup of Earl Gray was on its way to my lips when I heard the noise of doom

sort of a grinding, sliding…..whirrrrr splonk ca-chunk ……beep.

slowly I turned.

I glared at the recalcitrant little machine.

I put down my perfect cup of tea.

I reached out and strangled the little bugger um I mean opened it up and un-jammed the document.

I checked, the document didn’t seem to have anything wrong with it.  No crinkled edges, no previously unnoticed staples that may have caused the jam.  I checked the machine.  It was smiling brightly at me.  Blithely unaware that it has caused me to miss out on the ultimate moment to enjoy my perfect cup of tea.  GRRRRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

okay breathe.

Now I must digress for a moment here and mention that we have excellent faculty here.  They do occasionally live up to the “absent-minded-scientist” image and some even recall images of the infamous Mr. Hyde, but most of the time, the over whelming majority of them are nice, sensible people.  They do however have some quirks.

One of those quirks is that some of them tend to treat equipment like it has a personality.  And who am I to say.  I suppose it IS possible for an  scanning electron microscope to get cranky, or for a Mass Spectrometer to have a bad day.  I wouldn’t know.  the most complex machine in my office life is the coffee maker.

Any way, Dr. MacBeth sometimes comes down and uses my scanner at night.  She logs onto my computer and scans long documents and other items for grant proposals and such.  One morning I asked her if she ever had any trouble with the scanner.

“nope. I just pet it and tell it what a good little scanner it is and it works just fine for me.  Why?”


So as I am sitting here this morning, wanting desperately to kick the scanner across the room I remember what Dr. MacBeth told me.  “pet the scanner”

I straighten and restack the document.

I place the document to be scanned in the document feeder

I take a deep breath

I reach out my hand

I glance furtively around the office to make sure no-one can see or hear me as I ………pet the scanner and murmur to it “good scanner, nice scanner”

I hit the button and wait.

the document scans perfectly.

the scanner sits smugly on my desk.  basking in the glow of my approval.

I smile.  mission accomplished.  lesson learned.

Be nice to your office machines.

I reach for my tea……..which has gotten cold.

oh well.  I’m off to go have a talk with the microwave now.  If I’m really nice to it, maybe it won’t make my tea taste too harsh when I reheat it.

So pet your office machines folks.  Give them a word of encouragement.  It works.

gratitude (a sigh of relief)

Ginny is staying put for now.

That is what I am profoundly grateful for this week.

At only 31 weeks and a day old it was still too early for Ginny to consider being born yet, but for some reason she wanted to have an argument about it.

She insisted that she really did want to come early and the doctors insisted that she really needs to sit still a little while longer. Children don’t like to sit still apparently.

I don’t know if she is pouting or not about it, but Martin and I are very very grateful.

So thank you Lord, for the doctor’s that did right by mama-Mel and baby Ginny.

Thank you for sending her a doctor that is treating her with respect and tenderness.

Please be with mama-Mel as she learns to stay off her feet in the coming weeks. Send friends to her doorstep and give her sweet hubby Steve the patience to help her without making her feel helpless. Bless all the members of our weird, extended, crazy family as we wait for “the time to be accomplished” for Ginny to be delivered to us. Healthy, whole and happy.

the final touches

the sign on Ginny's door

the sign on Ginny's door

Last night, under the influence of a “the-baby-could-come-any-moment-and-we-are-NOT-ready-yet” style panic Martin and I finished the nursery.

It was already mostly done, but it HAD been very unisex. NOW it has gone from a general story book theme, to a Fairy wonderland/storybook theme. I still have a mural I’m planning for one wall, but that can wait a bit.

drawing the sign

drawing the sign

family "heirloom" crib

family "heirloom" crib

the crib used to belong to my niece Ivey. Ivey is now 15. My mother has waited a looooong time for another Granddaughter.

the reading chair

the reading chair

We looked for a comfy chair that the adults would love and that won’t tip over when Ginny starts to pull up on it (and swarm all over it) Pay no heed to the evil-eyed kitty. that’s just Kenya. She’s mostly harmless.

You may notice the bugs and butterflies all over the room. They are thin wood items I found in a craft section. They were really cheap so I got tons of them and we have glued them all over the place. They are layered, so they will be fun for Ginny to touch.

Here’s a couple of close-ups.

butterflies and a dragonfly

butterflies and a dragonfly

lady bug

lady bug

So that’s the updated nursery.

The reason it got done so fast last night is that Ginny’s birth mommy (Mel) went into labor yesterday afternoon. (we had THOUGHT we had till Sept 25th !!!!!!) The doctors gave her something to make it stop and something else to make Ginny’s lungs develop a little bit more quickly (just in case). So we rushed to finish the nursery and we will keep rushing to finish other things around the house every night this week, hoping we can get it all done before Ginny decides to arrive.

Mel, Ginny and Steve are back at their home now, resting comfortably and watching movies.

Please pray that Ginny will continue to develop and grow inside her birth-mommy for at least a few more weeks. We are only barely into week 31, so it’s a bit early still. But at least the room is ready. Just like the place in our hearts. Ready and waiting for Virginia Altie.

Welcome to Ginny's room

Welcome to Ginny's room