Monday, December 31, 2012

Girls Night

I will get back to our regularly scheduled Christmas posts very soon, but first I have to share our girls night with you. I got to spend the night with this cutie while we were at PawPaw and MiMi's house.
Usually the only time SK sleeps with me is when she is sick, very sick and I need to be close to care for her throughout the night.  This time though was entirely different, this was just for fun.
It didn't take long for sister to fall asleep once we went to bed.  It was after 10 o'clock though so I really don't blame her.  Christmas vacation takes a lot out of a girl. I watched her for a while after she fell asleep, her breathing was quiet and regular.  Just as sweet as watching her fall asleep was waking up with her the next morning. Well rested and ready for the day, SK always wakes up so happy.  I was there to see that first stretch and that first smile.  I watched those big brown sleepy eyes squint and blink as she woke up.  I heard her breathing become louder and louder as it does when she's awake.  I rubbed her back and shoulders listening to her little sighs of brief relief from tight muscles...there constant and beaming was that smile.  In the midst of all that is going on there is always that smile.

Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!!
Isaiah 9:6 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Friday, December 21, 2012

Things money can't buy

Observing a moment of silence as a nation as the bells toll 26 times in Newtown, CT marking a week since these innocent lives were taken.  My heart hurts deeply for these families, there is nothing to say to ease their pain.  There will be a different feeling in our home over Christmas break this year.  A gentle, grateful spirit as we deal with the quarrels that will inevitably arise between brothers.  Less irritation as I clean up the kitchen that seems to get more filthy every minute they are home...they never stop eating you know.  The dirty clothes on the floor, the Legos strewn about their room, the globs of toothpaste left in the bathroom sink and the shoes left here, there and everywhere will only comfort me with the knowledge that they are here...home.

Their laughter, squeals, hugs and just their presence in our home is a blessing.  It's the regular, everyday things I am grateful for...watching a movie together, sitting down to supper together, playing games...being intentional and in the moment in this sweet season with them.  A bit more love, patience, forgiveness and gratitude is what is needed this year.  Our Savior demonstrated that as he humbly came to live among us.  He came not with all the pomp and circumstance worthy of such a King, but as a baby born in a Bethlehem stable.  He came with love to serve and ultimately save us from our sins with His death and resurrection.
 Merry Christmas from our family to yours, may Jesus be at the center of all we do this season.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Overcome

As I drove my daughter to school on Monday morning, I found myself overcome with tears.  The closer I got to our primary school the harder they came down.  I took Sophie Kate into school that morning as I do each morning that she goes to school and I walk the halls with these K-2nd graders.  It fell hard on me Monday morning.  I have a preschooler and a 1st grader at our school and I was just overcome.  

I know that sweet age so well.  I have a six year old son.  I know the smiles and silliness, the laughter and love that they bring to life.  What I don't know is how it feels to lose one of them and I pray to God I never do.  I am heartsick and heartbroken for the families of Sandy Hook Elementary.  

I have a five year old daughter with special needs as well. In dark times like these I am thankful that she will never know the evil in this world.  My boys will have to face the realities of this selfish world too soon, but little SK will never be aware of such atrocities.  

I couldn't wait for my children to get home to me last Friday afternoon.  I just needed to put my hands on them. I didn't allow the kids to hear any information regarding the school shootings.  I just want them to be kids.  Yes, we have since talked about it with our oldest to answer some of his questions, but only as they are able to handle it.  

We spent quality time together as a family this past weekend with my thoughts constantly going to the families in CT and the tremendous loss they are experiencing.  I knew nothing more to do than to pray for them and hold my four close.  

A family in our church hosted a Christmas party this weekend for special needs children and their families. This is the second year they have done this and it is such a sweet, tender time together.  
Santa insists that Sophie Kate sit in his lap.  He wants her out of her wheelchair and with him.  He speaks so kindly to her as only Santa can, I'm not sure she will ever get too big to sit in Santa's lap.
Thankful for these moments with my children, may I never take them for granted.

2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Their Prayers

I love to hear parents tell me of their children praying for Sophie Kate.  There is nothing like the simplicity of a child's prayer.  It's so pure and genuine and heart felt, so in the moment.  I feel like my prayers have a hidden agenda at times (of course not hidden to God, I am only fooling myself if I think that).  My selfishness takes over and I want God to do what I want over His sovereign will.  I have different angles and different thoughts running through my mind and I may not give the attention to prayer that I need to.    However, listening to a child pray for another child is different entirely.  Their words are so simple, why do we try to make it so complex?  Their intentions are so pure, why do we try to muddy it up with our own agendas?  

I have had people tell me of my boys asking prayer for their sister at church when she is sick.  My sister has shared with me about the prayers of her children (my nephew and niece) for SK.  A fellow special needs parent told me of her typical son praying for SK a couple of weeks ago when she was so sick.  This young man's brother has passed away, he misses him greatly and sends up prayers for his brother's friend who is struggling with illness.  A friend recently shared of her daughter's regular and steadfast prayers for SK's health, even through her surgery last fall.  I am so humbled that these little hearts would be turned and burdened for our girl.  I wonder what God thinks and feels when one of those little ones bows their head in prayer.  

God's Word tells us in Mark 10:13-16, "People were bringing little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them.  When Jesus saw this, He was indignant.  He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.'  Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.  And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them and blessed them."

They truly are all precious in His sight.  Thank you friends for sharing the prayer of your little ones with me, such a blessing.    

Monday, December 10, 2012

Worship

My boys joined me in worship service this Sunday.  I realize that may sound a bit weird but usually they are in Children's church while the grownups are in worship service or "big church" as it is more commonly known.  I appreciate that they have a worship service more kid friendly and tailored to them and all their wiggles and giggles, but it is also a very nice change of pace for us all to worship together.  Because of their ages now, it is a more enjoyable experience, more worship and not as much work (as I remember it).   

My youngest stood on the pew seat beside me and I could hear him singing along with all the songs, such beautiful words and music to my ears.  I think I am too used to sitting in worship service without them and it shouldn't be that way.  They need to see their parents in worship and I loved having them with me.  It was a very meaningful morning.  

I have found that I am coming into contact more and more with others who are hurting or going through difficulty. Maybe I am actually being a bit more aware or sensitive to it, but I know it is all for a reason.  They may not be hurting or going through the same difficulty that I am but I am moved just the same.  Believe me, that is progress for me because for so long there was no one that could possibly hurt as bad as I did unless they to had a child like my daughter.  All other hurts in this world paled in comparison to mine and I had it way worse than anyone else.  

Let me tell you what a work God has done in that area of my life.  It is nothing I have done, but with patience and time God has changed my outlook and my heart.  I will never say that I have arrived, but I can see progress in that area of my life that I have prayed over for so long.  I hope this is all coming out right.  I have said before that I don't want all that has happened in our family to be in vain.  As a follower of Christ I am called to more than just surviving it, I am to comfort others with the comfort I have been given. I am to listen, support, pray, serve and share what God has done in the life of our family...what He has done in my life. In a place where I believed no joy could ever live again, God has placed healing, love, relationship, joy and even laughter once again.  That is what my Christmas will be full of...my cup runneth over. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Frank

The short version as to how we came about getting Frank is that we finally wore Chad down.  The longer version is that the boys have been wanting a dog for some time to which we have continually said "no," up until the time that they wore me down and I decided to join forces with them, it was much easier that way, ha ha.
 Frank, with Cooper on the way to his new home



Frank hit it off with everyone right away. 

We went back and forth for a while trying to decide between a big outside dog or a small inside dog.  I think SK finally made that decision a bit easier for us because we knew we wanted a cuddle companion for her too.  

I think we found the perfect fit...


We took him with us one Saturday to the boys' flag football games.  He wore himself completely out and rode all the way back to the car sitting with SK in her lap in her stroller. He's too cute!
photo by Brad Curfman

Seeing how much the boys enjoy him and how sweet he is with Sophie Kate has made it all worth it.
photo by Brad Curfman

A big thanks to my brother-in-law Brad for the last two pictures.  He has some serious camera skills and captured our little buddy just perfectly.

Sophie Kate is feeling much better and is back in school this week.  Thanks for all the prayers, concern and help last week.  She's definitely weak, but is looking more and more like her smiley self each day.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Just Sick

I mentioned in the last post that Sophie Kate was sick. Well, here we are 7 days into this thing now and she is still sick.  It has been awful helplessly watching her go through this for the past week.  It's being called a flu-like virus, I will spare y'all the gory details.  Let's just say she's miserable and so are we. 

The last time she was this sick outside of the hospital was her kidney infection last year.  In fact it was exactly this time last year, what is it with this time of year?  These things hit her so hard and take so much out of her.  Her smile is gone, she is unable to sit up even with support and in it's place is completely lethargy.  I haven't seen her eyes but for about 5-10 minutes each day...that's not my girl.  

My nursing skills are certainly heightened.  My stethoscope is out, the suction machine is out and the thermometer is out.  Our family room looks like a very comfortable hospital room.  I just pray we can keep her here.  

I wanted to introduce y'all to the newest member of our family today and I am still going to do that...
This is Frank, our 8 month old dachshund. 
He has hardly left her side this week and has completely endeared himself to me.
I will certainly devote an upcoming post entirely to him because his cuteness knows no bounds, but for now as you can clearly see we are all very busy caring for and comforting our baby girl.  

A huge thanks to our friends and family that know how difficult things become when our girl is sick and step up and help out in many ways, y'all are the best.  Please pray that she will start feeling better soon and that she won't get any secondary infections from being sick for so long.

Thanks for checking in on us.   

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving break in Mississippi. My only complaint would be that it's over way to soon. We had great food, great fellowship and a wonderful visit with my family.  I very rarely make a short trip to my parent's house, when we go we intend to spend some time there.  I want to have a reason to unpack suitcases and hang clothes in closets.  I want to have time to spread all our stuff out and just hang out.  I want to stay long enough that we have to look in every nook and cranny for all our junk when it's time to pack up and that's just what this Thanksgiving break was...days to spend hanging out and catching up.

Sophie Kate is sick and has been for a couple of days.  As we were driving home yesterday, I was constantly tending to her trying to make her as comfortable as possible while she was fitfully in and out of sleep.  I was dreading the drive home with my sick girl, knowing how miserable it could have been for all of us.  We did it though and that seems to be a running theme for us.  We are still going and doing and it's not easy, in fact quite the opposite it's very difficult.  The planning involved in just being out with her for part of the day is unreal, including all the work involved just to get her out the door, but we're doing it.  It leaves Chad and I exhausted at times, but I am glad we are able to get out with her and the boys and do things as a family.  

Chad kept a very sick Sophie for me to be able to go shopping with my mom and sister and then again for me to take the boys to a movie with their cousins.  We still got to visit with family and do all the things we normally do at my parent's house because Chad and I have this thing down to a well oiled machine.  When sister is sick, it's just a different mode for us and unfortunately a familiar place as well.  There's feedings to be adjusted or discontinued altogether, along with suctioning, hydrating, even more meds, temperature readings and lots and lots of laundry...but we did it.  

It amazes me what we are able to accomplish together, we are definitely stronger together than we are individually. We make a great team.  It just seems fitting with Chad's birthday coming up on Wednesday for me to say "Thank you."  I couldn't and wouldn't want to do any of this without you.  I find love, friendship, strength and support in our relationship and can't imagine doing what we've done alone.  

So yes, she's still sick and we still had a very blessed Thanksgiving and Daddy will still have a very Happy Birthday because five years ago on that very day our little girl came home from the hospital and he has been very happy to spend his birthday at home with her and us every year since.  
Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thankful

We had our Thanksgiving meal at church this past Wednesday.  I love this time of coming together.  We gather as a church family and enjoy a wonderful traditional Thanksgiving meal followed by music and the Lord's Supper.  Since Grey has recently asked Jesus into his heart he was able to take the Lord's Supper for the first time.
My eyes welled up with tears as I watched him read along and sing the words to the song "Forever God is Faithful." As I looked around the crowd gathered I saw a room full of people that I dearly love and that dearly love us.  They have been on this journey with us too...coming alongside supporting, doing, loving and praying.
Our pastor spoke of how intentional Thanksgiving becomes when you are in difficult circumstances....that's so very true.  It's easy to give thanks in times of plenty, but a different thing entirely in times of trial.  For many this will be the first Thanksgiving without their loved one, for others jobless and wondering how they will make ends meet and still for others facing a difficult diagnosis and wondering what there is to truly be thankful for.  I've been there.  We spent Thanksgiving five years ago going back and forth to the NICU, with news that our baby girl would be little more than a vegetable and there was no end in sight to our nightmare.  

Five years later we sit together at the Thanksgiving table, all six of us.  The answer to our prayer is "no" at this point but we are still thankful and blessed.  I watched my youngest son take the Lord's Supper...beaming from the assurance in his heart and life that he serves a risen Savior. Just ask him, he will tell you that Jesus died for his sins and rose again and he wants Jesus to be the boss of his life. If God did nothing else for us, he provided a way, through His Son Jesus, for us to be forgiven of our sin and spend eternity with Him in heaven...if He did nothing else for us isn't that enough??  But he didn't stop there, the blessings just keep coming and coming even though we are undeserving...He loves us that much!

I'm not talking about things and stuff, but of family and togetherness and love and friendship and doing for others. And as I looked around that room and back at my daughter, sons and husband I couldn't help but be overcome with thankfulness.  Be intentional in your thankfulness this season, it's not about what the world has to offer but what God wants to offer you. 

Hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving, rich in relationships, love and of course food.    

Monday, November 12, 2012

Our Weekend

Our "no plans" weekend ended up with the changing out of the all the boys summer clothes to winter clothes. Unfortunately our closets aren't big enough to house all the boys clothes all the time, so I have to do this most dreaded of tasks twice a year.  I end up being buried under a mountain of clothes and hangers and it seems they just keep coming and coming, but it's done now.  I'm good for another 5-6 months.

I have barely even made a dent in SK's clothes, because as you all can imagine that is quite a task.  Her closet is busting at the seams with all manner of summer and winter clothes and everything in between.  Chad inquired as to why Grey only has one quarter of one row in SK's closet for his clothes while Sassy's clothes occupy the rest of the it.  Poor Grey it's true when you look in SK's closet there is this small sliver of boy shirts smashed together while the rest of the space is a sea of pinks and purples, smocked dresses and embroidered shirts, and leggings and tutus.  

It's so easy for them though, they just have to throw on a pair of athletic pants and a t-shirt and they are good to go. SK on the other hand has certain pants that only match with a particular shirt, or a shirt and a skirt which might then need a cute pair of leggings or knees socks with it, or maybe a sweet dress.  You just never know...and don't get me started on the shoes and hair bows, sister likes to look good.

Grey was sick over the weekend and unable to go anywhere near his sister, he was in quarantine if you will.  SK is just getting over a sinus infection and is still quite a bit junky and we don't want her picking up anything else if at all possible.  You can imagine how well this went over with Grey.  He asked me on Sunday "Mama how much longer until I can touch Sophie?"  He's not happy when he can't hug on his girl.  I love how he loves her.
Romans 12:10 "Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Champs and Checkups

In all the excitement of SK turning 5, I forgot to mention that Grey's flag football team took the top spot in their division.  

Trussville Chargers, 1st and 2nd grade Champs!

 They were so excited, what a fun season.  

I can't believe it's only a few weeks until Thanksgiving.  I have got to start shopping for Christmas.  I am usually way more on top of things than I am this year.  With flag football being over, we have seamlessly transitioned into basketball.  We had basketball evaluations this week but we'll actually have a few free weekends before practices get started...yay!!

So you've turned 5 Sassy, now what?  Well, you get a trip to the doctor's office for a well checkup and shots, "Happy Birthday" to you.  She's the only kid I know that still leaves the doctor's office smiling after 4 shots, she took it like the tough little girl she is.  I should probably refrain from telling her weight although it is certainly nothing to be ashamed of, but she may be a bit too old for that. However, for those of you that see her on a regular basis and always comment on how tall she is...well, your right...she's 47 inches tall which puts her in the 97th percentile for her age.  

She's doing so well, growing, happy and still smiling.  Her birthday has come and gone and I do feel a sense of relief. As I let go of all that "5 years ago" stuff, I can't help but think that SK was post surgery last year around Halloween and her birthday.  She wasn't able to get out or dress up or really have much of a party last year.  She was in that brace for so long and we were home bound.  So thankful for the healing that has taken place, for the health she has enjoyed over the past year and for that smile that continues to right our world.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Party

The cake...

The presents...

The birthday girl...
In trying to keep my mind focused on the goodness of her birthday, I reminded myself that on her birthday 5 years ago I was not able to spend every minute with her.  In fact there were hours upon hours that I was not able to be with her and when I was with her I was not able to touch her.
This year, I spent every minute with her.  I touched her, kissed her and held her whenever I wanted.
I helped her open her presents and read all of her cards to her.
There were no machines separating us, no ventilators, no tubes and wires, and no restrictions on visiting hours.  It was just family, at home and all together.  
 You give us way more than we could ever give you, Happy Birthday baby girl!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Happy Birthday Princess

Happy Birthday Princess!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

Can you believe we let these three hang out with our beautiful Cinderella?  We were told there was a creepy old man that kept following us around, ha ha...Cooper's mask was disturbing to say the least.
If you look closely you can see the red eyes on Jacob's phantom costume.  His eyes would fade in and out, it was an eerie sight to behold.  Even my sweet little Grey went to the dark side a bit in his ninja costume.  No more Tigger or Mickey Mouse costumes for my boys, they wanted to go scary this year.  The only thing I asked them to remember was that Cinderella lives here and Cinderella is about to turn five.  We have a big weekend ahead of us, more to come on that later. 

Thanks for checking in on us.

  

Monday, October 29, 2012

This time 5 years ago

Our girl turns 5 years old on Saturday.  November 3rd falls on a Saturday this year,  SK was born at 9:08 on a Saturday morning.  Everything seems to be taking place in "real time" this year.  Halloween was on a Wednesday in 2007 and three days later that year, our world changed forever.  

Last week was difficult for me and I don't expect things to improve this week.  No matter what I do I can't keep my mind from going to "this time 5 years ago."  This time 5 years ago my baby girl was healthy, her brain was not damaged and she wasn't having seizures.  The weight of it all settles on me in the dark early morning hours and it comes so hard and heavy that I find it difficult to breathe. It hurts to the core of places that I didn't know could hurt.

I have to keep telling myself, it's not 5 years ago, it's today...and today she is happy and smiling and able to go to church and school.  She's growing and her seizures are under control (for the most part).  She's able to give and receive love.  We are rich...rich in relationship with each other, rich in understanding, rich in love.  God has shown us these things through our girl. We are changed because of her.  We have scars that still hurt, but God has stitched our wounds back together and we are stronger than we were before.  God has dealt gently with us with patience and love.  He has shown us the joy that can come from difficulty and the beauty that can come from devastation.

Pray for us this week, that our hearts and minds can stay focused on the truth and not be taken captive to fear and lies.  Thank you for your love and prayers.   

Friday, October 26, 2012

iPhone Pictures

Here are some of the pictures off my phone over the last few weeks...
I can't remember why I even took this one of SK still in her bed, I guess so that I could share with all of you what a ray of sunshine she is each morning.  I get to wake up to this every day!!


Grey's spot for our Friday night family movies...I so want to be him.
Same Grey,different night, different movie.  Him and SK falling asleep together...priceless.
 It seems as though every season of SK's clothes have a theme.  This fall/winter is the season of the skirts and tights/funky knee socks.  I am so loving this look on her, precious.
Oh and a close up of her fabulous boots.
And lastly my mantle with those little jars of candy corn that I told y'all about.  Yes, the boys are still getting into them and yes I am still refilling, ha ha.
The weather here has been absolutely perfect...warm days with cool mornings and nights.  We wrap up regular season flag football this weekend and head into the playoffs.  I would say that we're almost done, but as soon as football wraps up we jump into basketball, but at some point in between all that we have a little girl turning 5.  A big day of celebrating is in our near future, we are so thankful and blessed.  Thank for checking in on us.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Road Trippin' with the Boys

It's weird not to have posted for a whole week, but I did something this weekend that I have never done before.  I went out of town with just the boys.  Yep, after flag football games on Saturday me and the boys went to my parent's house in Mississippi and daddy stayed home with Sophie Kate.  Let me just say you haven't lived until you've been driving down the interstate singing "Call Me Maybe" with three boys.  We took turns picking songs off our ipods and let's just say that we hit on every style of music imaginable. We went from country to pop to rock to contemporary christian to Disney all in about a 4 hour span.  I so enjoyed them.


We went for a quick trip this time because my niece was in her children's theatre production of "Alice In Wonderland." It was just darling and she was wonderful.  We bought her flowers and the boys presented them to her after her performance, so sweet and she was thrilled. 
We were able to see family that we have not seen in awhile over a dinner of potato soup and taco soup that my mom and sister had made, it was a nice evening.  

We were supposed to head back home on Sunday but as you all know, this group doesn't travel uneventfully. Cooper got sick (sore throat, cough and fever) over the weekend and I ended up at an urgent care facility with him on Sunday afternoon so we ended up staying one more night.  After some meds and rest he was much better the next day.  Of course, no one seemed to mind being "stuck" at Mimi and Paw Paw's house.

Daddy and Sophie Kate survived their weekend together too, ha ha.  I missed her like crazy but I know she was in good hands.  I have never been away from her for two nights before and it was very weird.  My life revolves around her schedule and I caught myself repeatedly checking the time and thinking "it's almost 4:00, time for SK's water and meds."  I constantly found myself wanting to check on her and look for her, because we are always together.  I am blessed to have a husband who can and will provide complete care for her when I am away.  He is very capable and proved that in a big way this weekend...that folks is a real man!!

I had a great time with my boys and so enjoyed that time with them.  Grey and I couldn't wait to get our girl back with us Monday afternoon and we have all been smiling ever since.  Thanks for checking in on us.    

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Feeling my Age

How 'bout those Bulldogs!!  We are 6-0, what an unbelievable season, loving it!!  I must confess though that I am not a fan of the 8:00pm kickoff.  At around 6:00pm when Chad announced that we were still 2 hours away from kickoff, I knew I was in trouble.  

OK, let me back up a bit, you see on Friday night we served as a host home to 7 sixth grade boys and 2 interns for our church's preteen weekend.  Sixth grade boys don't need to go to bed early because they can still function the next day on only a little sleep...parents can't.  I was comatose for most of my game, waking for only brief periods of time to check the score.  I was trying to will my eyes to stay open, but I was powerless to the exhaustion that overtook me. Even Sunday afternoon/evening, Chad and I were still commenting on how tired we were.  Am I that old?  It now takes me 2 days to recover from one night of staying up until 1:00am...sadly I'm afraid it's true.

Our 5th and 6th graders were mentored by high school and college age guys and girls.  I think it's wonderful for our kids to spend time with these interns, sometimes they will listen up more when it's not coming from their parents, you know? I love that they have these godly role models in their lives. 

Once again, our weekend was full and fun.  We had beautiful weather for our boy's flag football games and it looks like this week will just keep getting better and better. The outside Halloween decorations are out and gone are my cute smiling ghosts and pumpkins and in are the skeletons, phantoms and graveyards.  The boys wanted our house to go scary this year...all I asked them to remember was that Cinderella still lives here.  I am so enjoying fall, football and family. Thanks for checking in on us.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

A House Divided


I am a Tennessee fan.  You will catch me rooting for the Orange and White on just about every Saturday in the fall…every Saturday but the one coming up this weekend.  Chad and I usually root for the same team on any given Saturday…any one but this one.  You see I was a Mississippi State fan long before I became a Tennessee Vol fan.  I hold degrees from both schools but I graduated from MSU first and it is nearest and dearest to my heart.

The bond we usually share as we root for any team playing Alabama (ha ha just kidding, not really), will be replaced by weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth (mainly by Chad of course) as we argue with the referees and mumble about the plays we would’ve called for our teams. I foresee Cooper and Jacob siding with their daddy while Grey and Sophie Kate will cheer for the Maroon and White.  This weekend we will truly be a house divided.  

There’s a lot on the line seeing as how this particular match up does not occur every season.  There will be bragging rights for the winner for years to come…and with my Bulldogs going into this game 5-0 and playing at home, I think those Vols are ripe for a Bulldog smack down. Hopefully I'll have a reason to ring my cowbell Saturday night, either way should be a fun football weekend.    

Monday, October 8, 2012

A New Understanding

Last Wednesday (Oct. 3) Grey, my 6 year old, came in from school and in the midst of homework, after school snacks and lots of conversations taking place all at once, he said he was ready to ask Jesus into his heart.  Stop the presses, stop all the insanity...I immediately stopped whatever I was doing because whatever it was it wasn't important.  I talked to Grey about what it meant to ask God to be Lord of his life and indeed he was ready.  So, right there with me, his brothers and his sister Grey prayed and asked Jesus into his heart and life.  There it was, child-like faith right in front of me, so close I could reach out and touch it...so real, so genuine, so simple.  

We went on to pray a prayer of thankfulness for our Salvation...each one of my boys have made their own decision to follow Christ.  As we discussed each of the boys and their decision to follow Christ, I saw my oldest son glance over at his sister and I knew the wheels were turning.  I knew the next words that were going to come out of his mouth by the look on his face.  With his eyes watering and face somewhat contorted trying to choke back the tears all he could get out was, "Mama, what about Sophie?"  

I finished his question for him, "Are you wondering if/how Sophie will go to heaven?"  He nodded yes.  He wondered how, since his sister is unable to speak, she would be able to pray the prayer of Salvation.  I could see how heavy that concern weighed on him and I prayed I would have the right words to comfort his hurting and questioning heart. You see there isn't a certain age at which God holds everyone accountable, it is according to our understanding.  

When we understand that we are a sinner and that our sin separates us from a relationship with God, then we can understand our need for a Savior.  When we understand that God loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sin and rose from the grave three days later forever defeating sin, then we are able to pray to God with a knowledge and understanding in our heart that we want to follow and live for God for the rest of our days. I told him that Sophie Kate will not be held accountable before God for her sin(sinful nature) because she is unable to understand at this time.  She's not able to comprehend her desperate need for a Savior due to the injuries she suffered at birth.   She will go to Heaven sweet boy, just like you.  Again he nodded, but this time a few tears managed to escape and were making their way down his cheeks. Tears of relief, tears of a heart so full toward his sister that words rarely escape him concerning her, but a heart so full nonetheless...compassion and concern for her.  She's always on his heart and mind.

Thank you God for these boys and how much they touch my life each and every day.  Thank you for the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.  I'll end today with the first Bible verse Grey memorized, John 3:16.  "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life."    

Friday, October 5, 2012

That's just not who we are

On a random Wednesday, we pulled into the church parking lot and as I was getting Sophie Kate in her wheelchair, Grey says to me, " Mama you know those people who have babies that can walk and talk?"  "Yes, Grey I know those people," I answered him.  He then said, "That's just not who we are."  To Grey that's a true statement, this life we live now is all he's ever known.  He was only 20 months old when his sister was born, still a baby himself.  

I couldn't help but think, yes Grey I know those people, I'm one of them.  I had the children that walked and talked when they were supposed to and I took it for granted.  Yes, it was a milestone that we celebrated at the time but it was expected of all of them.  They walked and talked and we "ooh'ed and ahh'ed and then we got over it and moved on. I didn't view those sounds and steps for the miracles and blessings they were. I see kids the same age as my girl and their ease of movement mocks me.  It's not even something you think about until you don't have it and then you find yourself watching them and imagining your child in their place...longing, wishing and dreaming.

Grey had it right, "that's just not who we are." That one statement sums us up pretty good.  I don't want us to be like everyone else.  This should change us, we don't want to be the people we were before our girl changed our world. May we be kinder, more patient with each other, more loving and more in the moment and appreciative of the gift of each day.  "That's just not who we are" and may nothing that we experience be in vain, may we learn from it and be changed...less of us, more of Him.

2 Corinthians 12:9 "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Right Now

Another weekend has flown by and I find myself at the start of yet another week.  We had some of Cooper's friends over this weekend for his birthday and as long as we kept the food coming every few hours they were happy. It was pretty low key and didn't involve me or Chad much at all.  It's a far cry from the planning and activities that used to go into the parties when he was younger.  Some video games, food, movies then popcorn and that was really it, ha ha.

Sophie Kate has now lost 2 teeth.  She's got quite a gap on the bottom, it's so cute.  Friday, I met with SK's teacher and all her school therapists for our annual IEP meeting to discuss her progress and set new goals for the school year. It went very well, we are so blessed to have such caring people in our school system and wonderful resources as well.  This will be Sophie Kate's last year in preschool.  She will be in Kindergarten next year, I can hardly believe it. We talked just a bit about what next year may hold for our little girl and everyone was very excited about the new things she will get to experience.  I found myself very emotional and unable to breathe, no surprise there.  We love her preschool class and cannot bear the thought of leaving Mrs. B.  We'll have to take that transition in small doses for sure, but it was so great to hear the excitement in every one's voices about what the next few years will hold for our girl in school.

Flag football is in full swing and we are loving our football mornings with the boys and all the games.  I have some random information that I have been meaning to include for some time.  It will mean nothing to y'all but I have to record it here so that I can look back on it one day and cry, ha ha.  For some reason one day a couple of weeks ago we measured everyone to see how tall they were.  I have no idea what set all that in motion but nevertheless for one moment in time their heights were as follows (in inches): Sophie Kate-45, Grey-50, Jacob-55 and Cooper-65.  Isn't that crazy?  Like I said, for one moment in time, I know it won't last long.  

Thanks for checking in on us. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

12 Years Ago

That day 12 years ago is still so fresh in my mind, September 25, 2000.  I remember the room, the excitement, the smell and all the feelings I felt all at the same time.  Your daddy was right beside me the whole time, both of us with no clue what lay ahead as we anxiously awaited the arrival of our firstborn.  That day we added the most important title we would ever carry to our resume...Mama and Daddy.

At 3:44pm an 8lbs. 4oz. baby boy made his way into the world and into our arms.  We were then thrown into a crash course, Newborn 101 in which we were required to function on little to no sleep and jumped up to every cry, fuss and squeak we heard come out of that tiny body.  Out of necessity we became adept at diaper changes, bottle feedings and burping (the baby not us, ha ha).

I would start the phone calls after every well child visit reporting on his weight and length.  I bet he wouldn't find that to cute if I were to post his stats today, huh?  He's a bit to old for that I guess.  He's too old for 9:00 play dates at the park and his Thomas the train set.  He's old for his big Tonka dump truck and his favorite show "Bear in the Big Blue House" too.  A play drum has been traded for the real thing and pretend phones have been replaced by the real deal.

We are in a constant state of change from the time we are born until the day we are called home and while I can't hold him in my lap anymore (not comfortably anyway) I love the age he is at now.  We have some wonderful conversations and at least for now he still wants to talk to me and spend time with me.  

Yes, things are different than they were 12 years ago.  He's different and I am different, but I wouldn't change a minute of this wonderful journey we have been on together...mother and son.
Psalm 71:6-8 "By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother's womb; My praise is continually of You.  I have become a marvel to many, for You are my strong refuge.  My mouth is filled with Your praise and with Your glory all day long."

Monday, September 24, 2012

Our Weekend in Pictures

Our weekend started out like this...

Can you see the football at the very top of the screen?  It almost got cut out completely thanks to the photography stylings of one Chad McManic.  In case you were wondering, Cooper only wears one glove because he likes to keep his flag pulling hand glove free.

Next up was this guy...

Not the best picture quality because I had to zoom in so close to get the shot.  He was a lot farther away from me than this picture shows, but a great catch nonetheless.

And then there was this guy in his flag football debut...
 Pulling flags

 Getting the play call from coach

I see these pictures and the obvious comes mind, I know y'all are thinking it too....umm...Heisman trophy...yep I thought so.
Where were all the college scouts?  Don't they know they need to be on the 1st and 2nd grade flag football field, ha ha.

So there you have it, our weekend in pictures.  Chad, SK and I didn't do much more than watch a lot of football games.  We did manage to venture out for something other than football Sunday afternoon though.  We went to see the movie Unconditional with our church family.  Cooper went with us and our church provided childcare for the others.  This movie isn't for the little ones but it was a great message of God's unconditional love in the darkest of times.  I highly recommend it and feel that as Christ followers we should be out supporting movies like this.  If we want to see more movies like this in the theaters then we have to support them when they are released.

Shout out to our awesome church...when they provide childcare for different things at the church I never assume that SK is included because I know she is more involved and her care has to be planned out specifically.  Thanks to our friends who love to take care of her and rise to the occasion whenever they are needed to give Chad and I a break.  They act like it's no big deal at all, but it's a big deal to us!  Thanks to all who love and care for our girl.