Kidnapping a grown man

Ben’s 30th birthday

I’ve been quiet on my blog lately. Why? I don’t really know other than I haven’t particularly felt compelled to write. I’ve had enough adventures and happenings and thoughts to fill at least 4 blog entries, but I just haven’t had the itch? Maybe Raynershine’s days are numbered! 🙀

Anyway, in early May, I decided to begin planning for Ben’s 30th birthday. I had exactly zero clue as to what I should do. There are all kinds of ideas available on the world wide web: surprise cancun trips, surprise party, blah, blah blah. Ben is not what I would call the party type. He’s the spend quality time with family type. I even asked him offhandedly what he would like to do for his birthday and he said, “I don’t know. Nothing. Hang out with you and the kids.” Yeah… not giving me much to go on, dear!

So I decided to plan a getaway. I talked to my mother-in-love and scheduled her to take both kids for the night and booked a cottage in Ocean Springs. I asked one of my sweet Phi Mu sisters, a Gulf Coast native,  for her suggestions on what to do, where to eat, that kind of thing. Following her suggestion, I made reservations at a restaurant in nearby Biloxi, and I told Ben that he needed to come home early on the Friday before his birthday. And that’s as far as I got for a while. Ben’s starting of a new job combined with the end of the school year was even further complicated by Clark’s medical scare and kept me busy. So, before I knew it, the getaway was only 2 days away, and I didn’t even have anything else planned. Yikes. So, I decided that on Saturday we could have breakfast in Ocean Springs and tour Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis, before heading back to Baton Rouge.

Friday morning arrived and I dropped the kids at daycare, got gas in the car,  packed our bags, put them in the car,  went on a quick run, came home and showered, and then panicked. Because I didn’t have a card or gift or anything cutesy to tell him where we were going and I needed a new dress because I hated everything in my closet and this idea was basically a stupid disaster. He was going to be home in an hour and there were no lunch plans, or any plans at all besides showing up at our cottage and our dinner reservations at seven. This is his 30th birthday, y’all. He just graduated from his third and final degree. I am trying to do this thing right! You see, fortunately or unfortunately, Mavis is my mother 😜, and I just couldn’t not have all these extras. I ran to the grocery store and picked up champagne, glass-bottled Cokes because they are way cuter (obviously), cheese, and fruit. I bought a funny card with naked old people on them (those always make me laugh) and a new dress.  I raced home and got out the picnic basket she gave us on our wedding day, packed it up and placed the card on top. I then “cleaned” the house with a quick once-over and waited.

Ben walked through the door, saw the basket, and smiled, saying, “What’s all this.” “Read the card.” The card explained that he was henceforth kidnapped and would be allowed a short bathroom break before following me to the car. He looked a little confused and said, “Wait. We’re going for the whole night? What about the kids?” “Your mom is watching them.” “Wow. Okay. Let me pack!” “Your bags are in the car. Move it! We’re leaving.” “Wow. Okay!”

And we took off to Ocean Springs, snacking on fruit and cheese and those bottled cokes. We got to our precious cottage, put our stuff away and then walked downtown to the stores in Ocean Springs.

There were so many restaurants, bars, and boutiques. The downtown area is just beautiful with large live oak trees framing the shop-lined streets. We grabbed coffee and just enjoyed talking to one another without diapers needing to be changed or babies needing to be fed. It was incredible, and it struck me just how important this time together actually was. I could look at this man and remember the boy he was when we first got started. The first birthday we celebrated as a couple was his 23rd birthday. He had just moved to Michigan, I was still in nursing school in Mississippi, and everyone said we weren’t going to “make it.” Now we were hand in hand on a pier in Ocean Springs celebrating his 30th birthday after 4.5 years of marriage and 2 children. It was a strange, almost wistful feeling to say the least.

That night we went to dinner at the White Pillars restaurant and it was pretty amazing even if I did think that the tiny complimentary tasting was the appetizer we had ordered. I was feeling pretty cheated! The bourbon-based drinks and delicious entrees were only eclipsed by the amazing White Pillars chocolate bar dessert. Seriously, I was living my best life for that plate.

The following morning we had pancakes at a local breakfast joint and then went to Beauvoir. It was beautiful and coincidentally it was Jefferson Davis’ birthday so they did a whole salute and shot cannons to mark the occasion. Also. Cupcakes. So I’m counting that as a win in my book. Ben and I love history so it was the perfect end to our trip.

And that’s how I kidnapped my husband. It was great, and I highly recommend it. Also, that boy better spoil me for my 30th, but it’s a while until then because I’m his much younger and hotter wife 😈.

When you’re just keepin’ on, keepin’ on

Or, life lately

We had our appointments with our OB (regular baby-doctor) and our MFM (Maternal/Fetal Medicine aka high-risk baby-doctor) physicians this week. It started off with the MFM appointment, which Ben couldn’t come to. I went in, did all the vitals, etc. Then they asked me to lie on the reclining table thing while the tech scanned me. This was awful. You see, on a daily basis since about 18 weeks, I feel like I cannot breathe. It was a major complaint of mine when I was pregnant with Darcy, but it is 10x worse this pregnancy. No position helps unless I am sitting straight up, or leaned forward like a 75-year-old man with COPD.  So, after about five minutes, I said, “I’m really sorry, but I need to sit up now.” They said, “Oh, we’ll raise the head of the bed. That will help.” “No, I am going to puke if you don’t let me sit straight up.” Then everything starting going black, and I started sweating, and I thought I was going to die. So, my sonographer finished the scan with me sitting straight up. “Wow. You’re really symptomatic, how do you sleep at night? Reclined?” First of all, thank you Captain Obvious. Yes, I am super symptomatic because I CANNOT EFFING BREATHE. Secondly, reclining is terrible. You’ve just witnessed this. And I do not sleep is your answer. I wake up every 45 minutes to an hour to try to readjust. Well, this information concerns the MFM physician, and he says I might have congestive heart failure. WUT? Then he follows that little pearl up with, “I mean, do you exercise?” “Well, I ran a half marathon last December, and ran 5-10ish miles a week up until 15 weeks with this pregnancy.” “Oh okay, then. You’re probably fine. We just don’t see many small mamas with this much trouble breathing.” Anyway, he examined me and determined that I was just “super symptomatic,” and I wasn’t in congestive heart failure.

That was how things began. Then we discovered that based on my scan I have borderline polyhydramnios. This means I have almost too much fluid, which can contribute to a litany of pregnancy issues including “breathlessness.” Clark looks the same—skull is funky, foot is clubbed–AND is measuring a couple of weeks ahead of my due date. Also, because he is a wiggle-worm, MFM couldn’t get great images of his pulmonary artery, and I’ve been referred for a fetal echocardiogram. I also failed my 1-hour-glucose screen that day, so depending on my results of my 3-hour-test that I took today, I might have gestational diabetes, too.  Then the doctor said he wanted me to get another genetic screening test done, but the first we had done wasn’t covered by insurance (you do not even want to know the price tag on that one). So, I asked if it would change the treatment plan, and he said no, so we declined the test. Anddd, basically Tuesday’s appointment was a huge pile of suck.

I’m okay with it all now, but Tuesday, I was distraught. I try to stay positive, and I know that these physicians’ jobs are to rule out any issues, but I’m at the point where I do not desire to know one more possibly negative thing about this pregnancy. I just don’t care to know. If it isn’t going to make a difference, then I don’t give a damn to know if or what kind of chromosomal abnormality MAY exist in Clark. Unless I start passing out, I don’t want to know if my heart function is shitty because of CHF. I have enough information at this time to decide I DON’T WANT TO KNOW ANOTHER DAMN THING. Because everything is “possibilities” and “probabilities” and “increased chance of” and/or “potential problem.” For some, knowing everything brings peace. For me, it brings doubt, and I don’t want to give Satan any more reasons to tempt me to doubt the goodness of God. I just don’t. I truly believe that God will give me the strength to deal with whatever comes our way WHEN it actually comes our way. One of my favorite books concerning faith is Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place. She was just an incredible woman filled with wisdom, and she kind of agrees with me on the worrying thing.

Corrie ten Boom said, “Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

And the more information that something “could be significant” or “could be nothing,” the more I worry.  Ben and I have different perspectives when it comes to hardships and faith. Ben always believes that things will get better. That it IS going to be okay. I personally believe that saying things “will get better” is an invitation for things to become exponentially worse. I’m truly not pessimistic, but even you have to admit that the scales of fairness, statistics, and equality seem a little warped, and not in our favor. I believe that Clark won’t be healed, but that God will give me the strength the deal with whatever comes our way when he is born. My sister keeps telling me, “Clark will be who he has been created to be.” And that brings me comfort. God has allowed all of this. He has created Clark for His purpose, and He loves this baby far more than I could ever imagine. Just like He loves me. And that is good. It is the good stuff in the ugly situation, y’all. Beauty from ashes, and it will be beautiful.

As for grad school, I withdrew from one of my classes. It was an exhaustive, research-based, labor-intensive class, and I just don’t have the get-up and go for that and my other clinical-based grad school class, 40-hour work weeks, being a high-risk baby incubator, and existing as a functional human. It’s beyond my abilities at this point. So, this skews my overall ‘graduate as quickly as possible’ plan. I now feel at peace with this decision, even though it felt like a huge personal failure at the time.

Darcy is hilarious. She is rough and tumble and so, so much fun. She loves to run to me and shove her face in mine and just giggle. She also has about 10 bruises and six scratches from her legs to her face, and both knees are skinned and scabbed. Kid plays hard. Also, we got an incident report from her daycare because of an altercation regarding possession of a toy. Darcy had toy, friend wanted toy, a struggle ensued, and Darcy bit the hell out of friend. Ohmylanta. I’m sorry, mom of bitten child. My daughter is unreasonable and will fight to the death for her teeth to be brushed, so a perceived threat over a toy will likely continue to be dealt with a heavy hand (teeth). Sorry. She doesn’t bite at home.

Anyway, that’s all for now in our lives! I promise, I plan on writing a fun, non-heavy blog later on in the next few days detailing our first trip to Ikea with baby Darcy. Bless you, if you’re still reading along. Love to all.

Thoughts on turning twenty-great

Yep. As of tomorrow, it’s here once again. My birthday! I used to be such a firm believer in birthday weeks and celebrating every last minute of the 24 hours of my birthday. This year, well, I can’t say I’ve even noticed it creeping up. This summer I’ve been super busy with school, and a new job, and Darcy, and getting food poisoning, and being pregnant, blah blah blah.

So, I only get two more years in my twenties. I’m not particularly sad about that, but it has made me somewhat reflective on where I thought I would be 10 years ago at the ripe age of 18. If I look back 10 years when I was about to start my freshman year at Delta State, I can honestly say that my life IS different than what I had expected, but also not. I figured or hoped I would be successful and finished with any schooling, happily married to the man of my dreams with child(ren?). So okay, 2/3 ain’t that bad. I had also hoped I would be living in a city bigger than my small hometown and have my own dog. Check! Check! Oh and I *really* hoped there would be lots of money. Let’s just take a minute to laugh about that one. LOL

So as you can see, my goals have kind of been checked off, but I never really thought about the journey I would take to see these things to fruition. I didn’t think that choosing to major in nursing would impact my life as much as it has. That it would wholly influence my perspective and outlook on life. For instance, if you have ever witnessed a child dying of cancer and seen the absolute devastation experienced by her parents, the important things in your life will forever be exponentially highlighted. Small stuff is small stuff, and it’s usually stupid, too. Nursing has changed my life. Before I married my husband, I never considered the hearts I would break, or even my own heartache I would experience along the way. *Sidenote–he was totally the cause of a lot of my distress at one point* Just putting that out there. I never knew that having a miscarriage would be one of the most heartbreaking experiences I would face thus far in my life. I didn’t know the JOY a healthy baby could bring into my life, either! I didn’t know that the traffic associated with “city bigger than my small hometown” would steal large amounts of my time and happiness, THANK YOU FOR THAT, BATON ROUGE. Anddd I never anticipated the amount of “inedible” crap my dog could eat and survive. I have a sudden vision of Libby dressed in camouflage, running to the sounds of Destiny’s Child “Survivor”. She’s eaten: 2-3 pair of underwear, too many to count socks, a bottle of ibuprofen, a tube of mascara, an entire bag of Hershey kisses, at least three roaches that were poisoned, and god knows what else. She’s seven and never looked so good, although I wouldn’t recommend this tried and true anti-aging diet of hers to anyone else.

The point of my ramblings is that I’ve already “met” the goals that I think mattered most to my 18 year-old-self. My sweet family is everything to me, and adding my husband and his family and our daughter to my list of people to love on has been one of life’s biggest blessings. I say blessings because considering this gift an accomplishment of mine just seems so wrong. God so lovingly sent my husband to me, and has continued to bless and grow our family. School and career and money are all important things, but they pale in comparison to the Big Stuff. And one day I think I’ll have all that other stuff, too. But without them, my life still feels full and exciting. Without my family and the loves in my life, I don’t think I could get out of bed.

So at the end of the next ten years when I’m pushing forty (now that kind of hurts), I have a few different goals in mind; some material, some not. I want us to build our forever dream home. Where? I’m not sure yet. I want to be DONE with school. Whether I finish NP school or not, I just want to be done. I want to finish up my family. I have no idea what that means at this point. I want to grow in spiritual maturity and live a life reflective of loving Jesus. Maybe that will mean less cursing or more praying or not honking at people who ruin my chances of catching a green light or because they are just generally stupid drivers. Or maybe not. Honking is rather satisfying, after all. Love to all you people out there.

So, I’m starting a blog

Hello any and all readers! I’ve been urged by multiple friends and family members to write a blog for several years now. Why? I don’t really know their reasons, but the more people asked about it, the more I thought I might like to start one. About 3.5 years ago, I decided to do it! I had just gotten married, moved to Virginia, and all these awesome adventures would NEED to be documented. I thought of the perfect name, “Rayner Shine” because my new last name was Rayner, and how cute is that?! I told my husband, he agreed it was a good idea, but here’s the thing–I am a major procrastinator. SO. Almost 4 years, 3 moves, 4 job changes, and 1 baby later, here it is! I will backdate some blog entries on some of the more interesting occurrences in our lives, but first we have to agree on a few things.

  1. I am not a professional writer, mmkay? I say things, I write things, but I doubt you’ll see much symbolism,creativity, or special enlightenment that makes your head explode. So seek that on a different blog. Sorry.
  2. Grammar Nazis:  go away. I’m going to write in a conversational tone, end sentences with prepositions, use made up words and contractions because it’s a free country, and you can nitpick elsewhere.
  3. Weird stuff happens to me that doesn’t happen to normal people. I’ll write about it here, and I swear I’m not lying. You’ll have to just believe me.

Now that we’ve crossed that off our list, I’ll have to tell you that my life is chaotic. I know, I know, whose isn’t? But you see, my husband is in school full-time for engineering. Part-time he works as an engineering intern. I also am in school full-time to be a nurse practitioner. WHILE WORKING FULL-TIME AS A NURSE. Also, I have a 15 month old tyrant toddler. Help me, Rhonda! No, seriously, send help. I would say send wine, but I am also pregnant. 17 weeks to be exact. Anddd, I start a new job on Monday. Life is busy, time and money are short, but Ben and I laugh a lot. If you’re game to read along, I’ll gladly share our crazy with you. Love to all.