Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top Ten (and then some) of 2011

Brian mentioned today that he wanted to start an end-of-the-year tradition, and while it's a great idea, modge podge and two toddlers does not sound exciting for me.  :)

However, the idea was writing down our top five blessings of the year and creating canvases each year to represent them.  I loved the thought of looking back to see what God has done this year.

So, here they are, my top ten moments and blessings of the year 2011 in no particular order:

  • Finding joy in the days following December 31, 2010.  We said goodbye to our fourth child that day after a miscarriage, and despite the sting and pain of loss, we were able to rest in the JOY and sweet excitement that little baby brought.
  • The success of Samuel's surgery...  We knew it was non-invasive, but the idea of our 11 month old being put to sleep and going under the knife was quite tramatic.  His skin tag was removed, and it turned out to be even more of a miracle when we learned that the tag was actually a part of his ear, which currently shows no signs of problem.
  • Celebrating Daniel's 2nd birthday in our backyard with a train party!  He was too cute when he saw his very own train tracks spray-painted silver through his yard and again when he ate his third cupcake of the day.
  • Taking a trip with my husband to Alaska and sharing life and memories with dear friends.  Nine days away (without the boys) did us such good, the revival services were uplifting, and the experiences and sights we encountered will last us a life time.
  • Visiting Michigan and Missouri for revivals and spending time with our brothers and their adorable wives and children.  From zoo trips and Silver Dollar City to honest talks and hilarious laughs, we spent our time in church and hearts were bound with our friends.
  • Watching Samuel push his 1st birthday cake away...  He did NOT enjoy all of the attention, and his brother ended up eating his cake.  We had an amazing picnic party in the backyard and shared sweets and fun with Samuel's friends and family.
  • The suspicion that I might be pregnant and the reaction of the positive pregnancy test on September 11, 2011.  While we weren't trying, the two lines shocked us!  We were so excited and scared of what was to come.  Here we are 20 weeks later, and we still don't know the baby's gender. 
  • The unexpected job offer that landed Brian working for the Nashville Rescue Mission.  We knew the Lord wanted him back in the work force, but we had no idea Brian would end up working for the place he volunteered at for eight years.  His faithfulness was rewarded in such an awesome way!
  • The provision and protection that God brought to our family this year.  From surgery and emergency room visits to airplane rides and daily walks down the street, God always kept us safe and healthy.
  • The pure innocence and enjoyment of the holidays with toddlers.  Daniel and Samuel melted our hearts this year with their love of lights, presents, and spending time with family.  Daniel began calling every nativity scene, "God-Jesus," and Samuel started saying, "Love you."
Honorable Mentions:
  • The scares, laughs, and memories of spending four hours in the ER with both boys who had managed to drink 40 mL of hydrocodone cough medicine. 
  • The fun and excitement of our family vacation in Gatlinburg.  My mom and dad spoiled us all so rotten and gave us one of the greatest vacations ever.
  • The surprise wedding of my sister!  It was such an honor to share that with her.  I couldn't have imagined it any other way.
  • The alligators and sharks Daniel claimed to see at bedtime.  He began sleepwalking and talking this year, and it's been quite entertaining.  Daniel's stories and explanations are hilarious!
  • Seeing the "light" come on in Samuel's little mind...  He speaks so incredibly well, and he is picking up on personality despite his usual timidness and shy disposition.  He says sentences and explains things very clearly at 18 months old.  Samuel amazes me!
  • Watching my husband find pleasure in both preaching and working...  He strives to be the best at every single thing he does, and I'll be honest in saying that I wasn't sure how being a pastor and a full-time counselor would work for him and our family.  However, he doesn't just make it work; he excels at it and still finds time to love our family.  I'm honored to be his wife, friend, and biggest fan.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Big Christmas Surprise

I have to be honest, there isn't much that really surprises me.  However, this year despite awesome gifts, what caught me by surprise was the overwhelming response I would receive when answering the once-a-year question, "What is Santa going to bring you?" 

I, of course, answered for each of my children when this question was turned in our direction, because let's face it, our kids don't know who that white-bearded man is!  In fact, Daniel calls him, "Snowman."  Almost every stop we made during the weeks leading up to Christmas met us with this age-old question, and I was shocked and overwhelmingly disappointed at people's responses when I explained that Santa wouldn't be visiting our house.  I would quickly exclaim that Daniel and Samuel would be getting three gifts from their parents just as Jesus received three presents from the wise men.  We'd be celebrating the true miracle of Christmas, the One who lives in our hearts, and not the one in the world's imagination.

Well, you would think these people believed I was depriving our boys due to the fact that Santa wouldn't be coming, when I feel as though we are giving them the greatest gift there is - truth and life!  I wish I could explain the looks on these women's faces as the disappointment welled up within them.  I wish I could tell you how sorry I felt for each of them.  I wish I could have shaken their shoulders and helped them to understand that our decision was best for our family.  There was no way to do this, because the pitiful truth is that "Santa" has become what Christmas is about. 

Whether we'll admit it or not, our society is obsessed with Santa Claus.  He is everywhere the day after Halloween, and strangely enough, he is a whopping 66% off the day after Christmas.  How sad is that?!  We wrap ourselves up in this falsehood that has nothing to do with what this holiday was intended to be about, and I am absolutely certain that my children are better off without him.

However, what would break my heart is knowing that I didn't take the opportunity each year (and on a daily basis, more importantly) to teach our boys about the Baby that came to die for their sins.  He came to take away the sadness the world experiences once Christmas day is over.  He came for them as the most precious and priceless gift that was ever given, and He was given to them

What surprised me most this year was the fact that people could not see how important this Baby was to our family!  We turned to Him rather than a man in a red coat to give gifts to our children.  And you know what?  Our boys were thrilled with their three gifts!  They are the gifts they are still playing with three days following the holiday.  My heart is overjoyed with the miracle that is Jesus Christ, and I pray that one day, He'll surprise my children with the great gift of salvation.  This is what Christmas means to me.

Friday, December 9, 2011

In Fearful Awe

I've been blessed to have taken our two boys to the Emergency Room on Monday.  Although that sounds much like an oxymoron, today, I feel it is tremendously true.  As I watch them run around in their pajamas on this cold December Friday, I realize how blessed I am to have them after the scare we had on Monday.

My husband called at 10:46 a.m., asking me to look in the office for his yellow notebook as he had written some important information in it and had left it at home.  Four minutes later, I walked into the living room to find the boys in the floor with one of our red cups.  I immediately grabbed the cup out of Daniel's hands and smacked his leg, as he is quite aware that he is not allowed to drink from a cup in the living room.  However, to my surprise and fear, I realized that the liquid in the cup was not a drink my kids should have been drinking.

A few days earlier, I had been diagnosed with bronchitis, and on top of an antibiotic, I was prescribed a cough syrup with hydrocodone in it.  I was to take the syrup, a 5 mL dosage, nightly before bed to help ease the cough I'd been "plagued" with.  This, of course, did not need to be in the reach of my children, and yet this is what I found in the red cup I'd pulled from Daniel's grip.

My heart sank.  I knew that a small amount could be very dangerous in my two toddlers' bodies, so I emptied the remaining syrup from the cup back into the prescribed bottle and crying, called the pharmacist.  While she was very calm, the immensity of the whole situation was alarming to me, and I could not stop crying.  She felt that the boys had drank approximately 40 mL of the syrup and that I should very closely observe them and not allow them to sleep more than thirty minutes at a time.  I was also told to call the pediatrician to make them aware of the situation.

When I called the pediatrician, the situation became much scarier.  I was to call Poison Control immediately...

I imagine that at this point I should explain how I believe Daniel and Samuel got the medicine to begin with.  It was on top of the kitchen counter in the pharmacy bottle.  Daniel used his Sit-N-Spin to climb the counter, grab the medicine bottle, somehow get the childproof top opened, pick a cup out of the sink, pour the cough syrup into the cup, then climb back down and share with his brother.  I am still in awe of my two and a half year old's actions that day.

Upon speaking with Poison Control, I became quite hysterical.  I was to get in the car, drive to the ER, and make certain that neither child fell asleep.  IF one were to fall asleep, I needed to call 9-1-1, as the hydrocodone could keep the boys from breathing.  Somewhere in these quick minutes, I had called my sister, who had sped over to help.  She was able to keep Samuel awake in the van while on our way to the ER.  Thankfully, Daniel never even acted phased.  He was his typical energetic, humorous self.  He was actually explaining to Aunt Ca what he had done.  "I got Mommy's med-cine.  It was yucky.  Yes, I share with Samuel.  He can't not like it.  He spit it out.  It nasty." 

I'll spare the details of our 5 hour observation in the Emergency Room, as it was just that.  Five hours with two toddlers in an emergency room with no television and in their pajamas.  The best parts of that adventure were the graham cracker snacks with peanut butter, Daniel's pee-ing in the urine bag :), and receiving red popsicles once we learned that the tests were negative and the boys were okay.

The ER physician believes that either Daniel's body handled the medication well or that the bottle of medicine didn't have the correct amount of liquid in it when it was prescribed to me.  Either way, he was laughing at how adventurous my life must be on a daily basis.  I was finally able to laugh too...

It was on the following day that I broke.  I dropped the boys off at Mother's Day Out, and Daniel cried for me not to leave.  Oh, how my heart was filled with such relief that he and Samuel were okay!  No one knew how scared I'd been the day before, how guilty I felt, and how close I'd come to having some very sick children.  The tears continued to fall the entire five hours the boys were at school.  I couldn't believe how God had taken this terrible situation and caused my heart to ache for my children.  I really wanted to see them.  I didn't like them being away from me.  I had learned to appreciate their sweet faces and actions and how to NOT take them forgranted in one short day.  Holding them that afternoon after school was one of the best feelings I've ever had.  I'm in awe of how good God is.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Daniel and Christmas Decor

Daniel:  Mom, Daniel wanna go see Mickey Mouse (as we are pulling into the subdivision).
Mommy:  Okay, wait just a minute.  I have to get through the stop sign.
Daniel:  Okay.
Mom:  Look, there he is!
Daniel:  He's so pretty.  Go see Daddy.
Mom:  (turning the car around) Tell Mickey "Good Night."
Daniel:  Night Mickey (and noticing the nativity scene to Mickey's left), bye-bye God-Jesus.

Daniel:  It's our tree!
Mom:  Do you like it?
Daniel:  I love it!

Mommy to Daddy:  I cannot understand why he (our neighbor) would decorate the front and the back of his house with lights.  Seems like a waste.
Two Days Later
Daniel:  Look, look!  (standing at the kitchen window, admiring the back of our neighbor's house)
Mom:  What is it?
Daniel:  It's lights!  Come look, Mommy.
Mom:  Oh, I see.  They are wonderful.
Daniel:  They are on the trees, on the house...  They are big, big!

Daniel:  (pulling in the driveway)  I wanna see more, more lights.

Daniel:  Can Daniel's house get lights?

Mom:  Daniel, look out Samuel's window.  I see a big tree with lights!
Daniel:  I can't not see it.
Mom:  Keep looking, baby.
Daniel:  I can't not like it.
Mom:  Why?
Daniel:  It's too little.

Daddy:  Jesus is the what?
Daniel:  ...the light of da world!

The 18 Month Stats

Samuel went for his 18 month well visit yesterday, and while I'm certain not many of you are interested in this numbers, I happen to be!

Samuel is 23 pounds.  This puts him in the 35-40th percentile for weight.
He is 30.75 inches tall.  He is in the 5th percentile for heighth.
His head circumference is 19.  Again, in the 35-40th percentile.

So, our little bit is actually quite little.  These stats just helped this Mom realize why Samuel is still wearing 12 month clothes!

Monday, November 28, 2011

18 Super Sweet Months.

In Samuel's 18th Month, He:
Weighed only 22-23 pounds.
Wore a size 4 diaper.
Wore size 12 months in clothes.
Shoe size was a 5.5 extra wide.
Was very shy.
Was the best eater.
Was a picky eater.
Did not like to try new things.
Was frightened by many situations.
Was attached to his Mommy.
Had a harder time falling asleep.
Went through about 20 bananas in a week!
Was sick for over a month.
Coughed, wheezed, etc.
Breathing treatments and 2 antibiotic rounds.
Had 4 pediatrician visits in a month.
One of those included a trip to get a chest x-ray.
Cried because Mommy couldn't hold him during it.
Had an infection in his lungs despite all the meds.
Was Sir Topham Hatt for Halloween.
Really liked candy.
Went on vacation with his whole family.
Liked Gatlinburg.
Slept in the van a lot.
Loved to sing.
L-O-V-E-D Five Guys and Fries restaurant.
Enjoyed playing on the playground at Ober Gatlinburg.
Was becoming quite daring and more independent.
Gained himself an attitude.
Said "no" all the time.
Talked up a storm.
Said words that surprised us!
Mimicking many adult words.
Pretended to pray like Daddy.
Disliked getting dressed and having his diaper changed.
Liked talking on the phone.
Followed his brother.
Bit his brother often.
Hit his brother often.
Told brother "no-no" all the time.
Began saying, "yeah" for yes.

Some of Samuel's Favorite Things:
Food(s):   Spaghetti, Pizza, Sandwiches, Macaroni and Cheese
Toy(s):  Elmo, Lightning McQueen car, Books
Show(s):  Sesame Street
Movie(s):  Elmo in Grouchland, Dora
Snack(s):  Bananas, Chips
Song(s):  Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Amazing Grace
Color(s):  Green and Yellow
Thing to Do:  Sing, Pretend to Song-Lead
People:  Mommy
Samuel's Popular Words/Phrases of His 31st Month:
  • Peez.  (please)
  • Shhh.
  • Dan-yule.
  • Sit.
  • I hungee.  (hungry)
  • Nana.  (banana)
  • Bol.  (bowl)
  • MMM, good.
  • No-no, Dan-yule.
  • Yeah.
  • Funny.
  • Ow-side.  (outside)
  • Sowwy.  (sorry)
  • Tank you.  (thank you)
  • Hi.  Bye.
  • Schoo.  (school)
  • Pa.  Mimi.  Ca.  Duttin.  Mom.  Daddy.  Adlie.  Pop. 
Some of Samuel's 18th Month Highlights:
Chips, his favorite snack.

Chowing down on his very first, TWO S'mores.

Sir Topham Hatt was under the weather
on Halloween...

Despite the fever,
he seemed perfectly content
to eat snacks as a bribe
at his doctor visit.

His favorite seat.
The rock fireplace at the condo in Gatlinburg.

Singing, the very first thing he does
every morning after waking way too early.
Here, Grandpa joins in.

Ketchup makes everything taste so good.
He's saying, "Good."

Rocking with his cousin, Adlie (Natalie).

He didn't eat this "All-You-Can-
Eat-Pancake" by himself.
They should advertise the fact
that "All-You-Can-Eat" means
the size of a large pizza.  Goodness!

Getting brave, looking super tiny, and riding
the carousel with Uncle Duttin (Dustin).

Who's that in the rope tunnel?!
Oh. my. word.  It was SAMUEL!
We were all in shock that
he was that courageous!

Samuel enjoyed the turtle
much more than the bears, owls, raccoons, etc.
Wildlife is for the birds.
Turtles are for Samuel.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

31 Months Old...

Daniel will be three in five short months...  Yikes!  So, I am going to cherish these monthly updates until then, because I am going to have to slow down after that, as Daniel will be welcoming a new sibling into the family.

In Daniel's 31st Month, He:
Still wore a size 4 diaper.
Wore size 8 1/2 in shoes.
Wore some 2T and mostly 3T clothes.
Weighed about 33 pounds.
Was extremely sassy and bossy.
Was a ridiculous climber.
Was very sneaky.
Was not a big eater.
In fact, he almost never ate.
Was Thomas the Train for Halloween.
Talked in sentences...  Paragraphs even.
Did not like to stay at home.
Did NOT like to be laughed at or with.
Hated wearing socks and shoes.
Peed in the potty some on his own.
Cracked a whole carton of eggs onto the coffee table.
Took a family vacation to Gatlinburg.
Saw a black bear in Cades Cove.
Loved riding the train at Ober Gatlinburg.
Disliked outlet shopping.
Could not sit still in a restaurant.
Rode the chair lift with Daddy.
Came down the alpine slide with Daddy.
Ice-skated for the very first time with Daddy.
Liked talking with Grandpa.
Was always wanting to snack.
Got quiet when up to no good.
Loved to run and slide.
Liked hiding and "building" towers and tents.
Woke atleast 3-4 times a night.
Sleepwalked and talked.  Yikes.
Had a fear of the dark, alligators, and sharks.
We had no idea why.
Swore there were alligators in the corner of his room.

Some of Daniel's Favorite Things:
Food(s): Spaghetti
Toy(s): Puzzles, Towers
Show(s):  Word World, Wild Kratts
Movie(s):  Cars, Toy Story, Annie
Snack(s): Gummy Snacks, Apples w/ NO peel, Candy
Song(s):  ABCs
Color(s):  Blue and Black
Thing to Do:  Climb the Fridge, Oven, or Counters
People:  Grandpa, Mimi
Daniel's Popular Phrases of His 31st Month:
We still aren't sure where he gets his bossy attitude!
  • Stop it!
  • Stop that!
  • Shhh.
  • Be quiet.
  • Shut it.
  • I not like it.
  • I stay here.
  • Daniel go to timeout.
  • No no spanking.
  • Listen to me, Mommy.
  • Pst...  (to get your attention)
  • Excuse me.  (after certain actions were made)
  • It's God-Jesus!  Look! (upon seeing churches, crosses, or baby Jesus)
Some of His 31st Month Highlights:
Giving little brother some lovin'.

Eating Cheetos in the living room.
What was Mom thinking?!

Having a taste of his very first S'more.

Where Daniel was often found...
In the kitchen sink,
in the pile of dirty dishes,
water running over,
with Dawn bubbles he'd poured in himself!

Sir Topham Hatt and Thomas the Train
make a stop at Pop and Gran-Ju's house.

With Mommy at the Old Mill Restaurant
in Pigeon Forge.
As a side note, Daniel loved feeding the ducks,
but despised when the pigeons came near and
stole their food.

Smiling and sharing with "Atlie" (Natalie).

We take this kiddo to
Five Guys and Fries
for a burger, and
what does he want?!
Cereal and peanuts, of course.

Taking a ride on the Grandpa "horsey."

Riding the Chair Lift with Daddy
to the Alpine Slide.
watching this.

First time ice skating
in Gatlinburg.

First time seeing real bears
in Gatlinburg!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Overwhelmed Much?

I am reminded on numerous occasions how overwhelming being a stay-at-home parent really is.  I wish I could say that most days are rosy and that the boys and I are busy doing crafts and learning their ABCs, but let's face it...

Just Tuesday afternoon, while I ran into the master bath for a quick restroom break, I had no idea how overwhelmed I'd be once I walked into the living room.  In the short time it took me to use the restroom, Daniel had snapped two of his train sets together on the coffee table, opened the fridge (on his own), climbed the fridge shelves, got out the carton of eggs, brought them into the living room, encouraged his brother to partake in the fun, and proceeded to crack every single egg onto the tracks, which of course, ended up all over the coffee table, my carpet, and the two of them!  I should've taken a picture, but I was so frustrated with the situation that I didn't even yell.  "Daniel, really?!" was all I mustered up to say.  The clean-up process literally took an hour.  UGH.

Then, on Wednesday morning, I had the great privilege of sharing our pregnancy news with my local MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group.  When asked what the ages of my other children were, I replied that I'd have kids that were "3, 2, and new," and to my not-so surprise, the women (who are all mothers themselves) gasped...  All 50+ of them!  Moments like that are both exciting and overwhelming, because I realize that having three under three will not be easy.  Having two isn't easy...  Honestly, having one isn't easy. 

Having children is a constant OVERWHELMING adjustment, and it's one I adore most of the time.  There are days that I wonder how God decided I would be capable of this.  However, I'm realizing that God's grace is enough for me.  It's sufficient in these overwhelming moments of parenthood.  I'm learning that I cannot survive without His grace.  In fact, each day would be even more challenging than it already is without my life in Christ.  It's a blessing knowing that this is the life God chose for me.  He decided that the two boys who are destroying my nicely, vacuumed living room right this minute would be perfect for me.  I get shell-shocked everytime I think of that.  What's really overwhelming is that God gave me this beautiful, little life, and it's mine to enjoy if I will.  How can I not be overwhelmed by His grace when I picture these overwhelming moments like that?!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just a Side Note...

Samuel is feeding himself yogurt with a spoon for the first time...

Need I say more?!

The view from my seat is amazing!  I'm truly blessed to watch our boys learn and grow on a cconstant basis.

Strange Sightings

I woke to the sound of Daniel screaming my name last night around 3 a.m.  While I wasn't exactly coherent, I came to find that he wasn't either.  Upon my arrival, he had pulled his pillow and blanket into the floor and was hiding underneath them.  I uncovered him only to discover that he wasn't really awake...

"Alligator, watch out!" he exclaimed.

I tried to get Daniel to explain this profound sighting, but he continued blabbering on about the alligator.  He was telling me it was green and that it was on the basketball in the corner of his room.  He was so clear in his details that I almost believed him.  I didn't think I would EVER calm him down. 

I got down in the floor, and he covered me under his blanket, still explaining that the alligator was in the room.  This literally went on for 15 minutes, until I realized he was scared.  I picked up him, his pillow, and his blanket and carried them all into the living room and put them on the couch, where he was still certain that we needed to "watch out" for the alligator.

Daniel has done things like this before, but now, I'm absolutely certain that we have a sleep talker on our hands!  It was the sweetest, strangest thing I'd ever seen, knowing he was fast asleep but was carrying on a very serious conversation!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

17 Months, Already...

Samuel turned 17 months old on October 23rd!

In His 17th Month, Samuel:Weighed 23 lbs.
Was 30.5 inches tall.
Walked and ran (quite wobbly though).
Wore size 12 month clothes. STILL.
Could wear SOME 12-18 months.
Wore a size 5 1/2 extra wide in shoes.
In size 4 diapers.
Had really sensitive skin.
Disliked the sun in his eyes.
Was becoming quite independent.
Preferred his Mom over anybody.
Started in on his "toddler" age.
Liked to be left alone.
Loved to be going.
Always was pretending to sing.
Liked trees, being chased, and running.
Started to dislike the carseat.
Was a great car-rider.
Visited Louisville, KY, for a week-long revival.
Went to the Louisville Zoo.
LOVED the giraffes.
Pointed at everything.
Pretended to talk on the phone a lot.
Still would NOT make the sippy cup switch...
Super attached to bottles.

Favorite Things:
Food(s):  cupcakes, spaghetti
Toy(s): balls, books, phones, and Elmo
Show(s): Sesame Street
Movie(s): Elmo in Grouchland, VeggieTales
Snack(s): goldfish, raisins, chips
Song: I'm a Little Teapot; Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
New Words He was Saying: hello.  dink (drink).  Atlie (Natalie).  baby.  eat.  nana (banana).  apple.  go.  side (outside).  brudder (brother).  veggie (VeggieTales)
Thing to Do:  watch movies, ride in the red cozy coupe
People:   Mommy

Some Other 17th Month Highlights:

Eating a leftover cupcake
from Mommy's 10 year high school reunion.
Thanks, Bec, for the leftovers!

Trying the sippy cup out.
Super baby blues!

Being a little mischievious,
jumping on the couch during church.

Trying to hold brother's hand before bedtime
in Louisville.

Calling Mimi from Louisville,
telling her, "Hi, hello."

Becoming less fearful and enjoyed being
tossed up in the air by Daddy.

Reaching up for the sky!

Spinning around with Mommy
always got a laugh out of Samuel!

Brothers holding hands

Sitting on the Rhino statue at the Louisville Zoo

Enjoying his first look at the baby giraffe

His very favorite...
Elmo was at the zoo!

Walking the path to the polar bears...

The zoo wore Samuel out!

Making his ever-popular
"surprised" face!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dressing the Part

Disclaimer:  These are only my opinions!  Do not feel you must adhere to them in any way.

Now, that the Halloween season has passed, we've dressed our children as characters and our stomachs are way too full of candy and chili, I want to give my honest opinion on the matter.  As a new parent a couple of years ago, I struggled with holidays in general.  I did not know how we would handle a dark night and another in which a man "comes down" our chimney (which, in fact, we do not have).  I wanted, mostly, to be among the secular mind frame and play the part.

Until my husband stated his opinions on the matter...

I was crushed when he first told me he was opposed to Halloween, Santa, the Easter bunny, etc.  In fact, I went against him on Daniel's first Halloween and dressed him up as a lion, took him to our loved ones' homes, and filled his little bucket up with treats.  Silly, right, considering Daniel was only 6 months old?! 

Time has passed since then, and now the parent of two boys, I'm realizing that I want to be less worldly and more Godly.  Yet, I'll admit that I thoroughly enjoy costumes and presents.  I've asked myself (and many friends in the faith) how to be Christian yet partake in these holidays.  I've even felt guilty when I learned that other Christian families have opted out of these traditions altogether because I personally enjoy them. 

How can I be Godly in seasons of ungodliness?! 

Halloween is filled with spooks, scares, and secular activities that I honestly don't want any part in, but since it is also filled with such sweet innocence and fun, I have searched the scriptures to know my stand on the issue.  For instance, Jesus said in John 17, And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they (His words) are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil I am to keep myself and my children from the evil that is in the world. 

Is Halloween evil?  Not necessarily, but if you spent any time out last night, you were certain to see children younger than ten with blood-covered faces and demon-draped costumes.  That, to me, is evil: pure and unnecessary evil.  What were those faces saying to my boys?  That this world is evil.  That even young children are being exposed to things they should never see.  That I have a huge responsibility to teach my children be an example, a light, to those around them. 

Christmas in no way is evil unless you consider lying evil, and I do.  I know we all have to "lie" to our children at times, but blatant untruths that we can avoid should be avoided.  This, to me, means that Santa shouldn't be played up as the most important part of Christmas.  Why is his face all over the place from November 1st to December 25th?!  If I'm not mistaken, the reason "Christmas" was originally celebrated was to honor the birth of Jesus Christ.  Whether He was born in December or not, that time of year was set aside to honor and celebrate His miraculous birth.  Isn't HE the miracle of Christmas?!  Isn't HIS FACE the one we should be looking to during this time of year?!  With that in mind, my heart aches for children (and adults) who look forward to Santa's arrival but have no clue about the arrival of the One who came to offer them the gift of salvation. 

So, what did we do on Halloween?!  Our children dressed up as the cutest Thomas the Tank Engine and Sir Topham Hatt we'd ever seen!  We didn't mention trick or treating, and we didn't take them to see anything haunted, though we couldn't avoid the scary things we encountered just going to Mimi's house.  We visited our friends and families' homes, and the boys got to hug the necks of those they love.  Those they love spoiled them with some of their favorite treats and took pictures of their adorable faces.  We were in this world, but definitely not of it.

And, what will we do for Christmas?!  Our children will be surrounded by those they love the most.  They'll enjoy meals and hugs and hear stories from holidays past.  They'll be given things they want and definitely do not need.  :)  They'll each receive three gifts from Mommy and Daddy as Jesus Himself was presented with three items surrounding the time of His birth.  Finally, they'll come home and hear the true story of Christmas under our "Scripture" tree which will be decorated with ornaments that individually represent the life of Jesus. 

I know it's hard to be different when this world wants us to "fit in," but I'm striving to be a parent that is different because Jesus Christ calls me to be peculiar and set apart.  While I realize some choose to distance themselves from these holidays and events, we've taken the stand for Christ and decided to be Christians amidst (and despite) the things of this world. 

Samuel was Sir Topham Hatt this year.

Running to show Mrs. Becky from MDO
his Thomas bucket at Temple's Trunk or Treats.

Getting a treat from Mrs. Becky.  :)

Excited to see his treats!

Visiting Pop on Halloween

The only picture of both boys dressed up.

Eating treats with his friend, James Luke,
at the Carver's house.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

30 Months Old...

That makes Daniel sound super old. However, he's still a sweet, crazy boy who is very young at heart!
In his 30th Month, Daniel:
Weighed 33 pounds.
Wore sizes 2T and 3T in clothes.
Wore a size 8 1/2 in shoes.
Still in size 4 diapers.
Loved to hug his baby brother.
Liked to annoy his baby brother.
Became more and more dramatic.
Was very, very bossy.
Had to be reminded of his manners.
Colored all over the carpet.
Mommy was super thankful for her carpet cleaner!
Peed in the potty for the first time!
Liked candy and prizes.
Really enjoyed pumpkins.  :)
Took a trip to Louisville, KY.
Daddy preached a week long revival there.
Had an adventurous and active week.
Went to the awesome Louisville Zoo.
Loved the elephants and baby polar bear.
Fell out of the full-size bed in our KY "apartment".
Some of Daniel's Popular Phrases:
  • Now.
  • I want that.
  • Gimme that.
  • I hit you.
  • I love you, Mommy.
  • I get you.
  • Wanna go outside and slide.
  • Take a bath now.
  • I hiding.
  • I stay here by myself.
  • That was funny.
  • Daddy, I did it by myself!
Some of Daniel's Favorite Things:
Food(s): Spaghetti and Pizza
Toy(s): Puzzles
Show(s): Curious George, Word World
Movie(s): Spiderman, The Incredibles
Snack(s): Gummy Snacks, Bananas, Apples
Song(s): I've Got the Joy, Joy, Joy
Color(s): Red and Blue
Thing to Do: Take Bubble Baths
People: Bekah and Natalie
Some of His 30th Month Highlights:
Someone used his crayons all over the carpet.

Meeting Mommy's best friend, Amanda,
for the first time!

Playing on the "trampoline" in the nursery
at church with good friends.

Holding hands with brother before bed in KY.

His treat for being good on the drive home
from KY to TN with Mommy.

Going back to KY to see Daddy.

On the rhino at the Louisville Zoo.

Walking through the Toy Story section
at the Louisville Zoo.
Doesn't Daniel make a great "Sarge"?!

Looking at the lions with Dad.

Face to face with a gorilla.
That glass, as thick as it was, made Mommy
a nervous wreck.

This one's for you, Aunt Ca.
In the Willy Wonka section of the zoo.

Leaving the Zoo.

Daddy earned some "cool points"
for setting the tent up in the house.

Being "horsey" for Samuel.

Playing with cousin, Natalie, at church.

Taking a nap in the swings in our backyard.