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!