Monday, February 24, 2014

Be Thou My Provision

And we know all things work together for good for those who love God; for those who have been called according to His purpose. -Romans 8:28

I sigh a deep sigh when I begin to type. My blog is usually filled with fun family pictures for friends and family to enjoy and to serve as a digital journal of sorts for me to remember things. However, today I am going to share some more personal things. I hope that someone will find hope and peace through my transparency.

Justin and I got married on July 19, 2008. Before we got married, we had made the decision to move to Auburn, AL for Justin to attend Auburn University for his Master's degree. When we visited the campus and town our senior year of college, I left and called my Mom, telling her, this is where we're moving next year. We both had great peace about the decision, a peace only the Holy Spirit could provide. In the coming months, things fell into place including a TA position for Justin, my first teaching job at a great school system, and a home.

I could go on and on about our 3 years in Auburn, but in a nutshell, God flourished our lives with people and opportunities. Blessings abounded (some tough to see as blessings and others easy). Through our time in Auburn, we made life long friendships that we still have today. Upon Justin's graduation from Auburn, one of the hardest decisions we ever had to make was to leave a town that had become our second home. I kid you not when I say I cried all the way to the Mississippi line when we pulled out of our drive way on Dumas Drive.

Before beginning my thoughts on Arizona, I want to preface it with the fact that Justin and I have agreed to discuss our process. I would not share this if my husband was not ok with it. When we moved to Arizona, I did not have a peace about this decision. All I can explain is that I didn't feel that was what God wanted us to do. We moved to a new place where the town could not be more opposite of Auburn, nor the school I taught at. There were huge shifts for me personally, emotionally, and spiritually. Though we made some friends in Globe, our community at large was much different than where we left and I often felt very dry emotionally and spiritually. The 10 months we lived in AZ was very difficult for our marriage and for our relationships with God.

Thankfully, God sustained us through this time and used Justin's work experience to open a door for us in Washington State. Again, a lot of prayers were sent up and a lot of tears were shed about the decision to make yet again, another cross country move. While doors were opening and closing, I began to have a peace that God wanted us to go. We packed up, yet again, to make another big move to the Seattle area.

God continued to show his faithfulness in providing us a nice apartment and a great teaching position for me. He also showered financial aide to us through Justin's grants for his PhD and for Jude's school. We gave us another great church and a new set of great friends. The blessings continued to be showered upon us. I must add that the term blessing is not always what we seem as good, but what God sees as best. There have been times when Justin and I didn't know what we were going to do financially, but God placed exactly what we needed in front of us. There have been times when I felt very lonely, and a friend would invite us over for dinner. There were also times when I really missed my family, and the praise band would play my parents' favorite hymns. God truly is a God of details.

And, we are now facing another move. Though we are remaining in WA state, a good job opportunity has opened for Justin and we were be relocating about 5 hours away. More good byes, more moving boxes, more new beginnings including finding a church, doctors, and learning how to navigate my chosen grocery store. This will be our 6th home, 5th state, and 4th town we've lived in during our 5.5 years of marriage.

It's hard y'all. It's hard to finally make a set of friends to have to leave them. To finally begin a friendship that you feel comfortable enough to discuss personal things and have to say good bye. To find a church where your children know their teachers by name. To plan a birthday party for no one because your child's friends are 5 hours away, your family is across the country, and we won't be in our new town long enough to make friends.

This is not a complaint, but a testimony of how our God provides. In every move, He has been our Provider, Our Supplier, Our Healer, Our Hand holder, Our Sustainer. There have been bumps and even pot holes along the way, but God has brought us through it. I have missed big things. I could not rush to the hospital when my brother was having brain surgery. I couldn't be there to see my nephew's birth. We have missed weddings of close friends, birthdays, and even Christmas, but God has been here with us. The things that are special, in the midst of missing those things, God has turned what could be bitterness and resentment into thanksgiving for all He has provided.

This has been a daily journey for me to get here. To see His goodness in all this craziness and He is good y'all. He will work all this for His good, we just have to sit with our hands and hearts open.

So, another move, a new town, a new place, a new we come.

And, 2 of my most precious blessings...couldn't post without sharing these sweet faces.

Friday, February 21, 2014

3 Months Already?

 We were greatly blessed to have Justin's parents, Nana and Papaw visit us for a week! What a blessing. Jude and Sadie got loved on and we got to show them fun things to experience in our neck of the woods.

We took them the the fish hatchery in Issaquah, Pike Place Market, and the University of Washington to experience some of our favorite places. It was typical Seattle weather most of their visit, meaning cold and wet, but we still had a nice time.

We are so thankful for them coming out to meet Sadie and visit with us. It won't be too long before we make Sadie's first trip to NC at the end of March. 
Miss Pris turned 3 months on the 17th. Here are her 3 month stats:

Length: 23 in. (35%)
Weight: 13 lb 13 oz (66%)
Head Circumference: 16 cm (80%)

I looked back in Jude's baby book and he weighed 13 lb. 6 oz at 10 weeks and these were her measurements at 14 weeks, so even though she's on the bigger end, she is still smaller than brother.

Sadie has a very sweet temperament. She likes to suck on her thumb/fist. She "talks" non stop and enjoys her new toy (pictured above). She continues to smile and laugh often.

After a growth spurt at 10 weeks, she has had difficulty getting back on a good schedule and has regressed some in her sleeping at night. I am way more laid back with her though. I try to keep her on a good schedule during the day and I know night time sleep will come. She still does 6-7 hour stretches most nights. She is a great example of how you can do the exact same things with 2 different babies and get different results. At this time with Jude, he was sleeping consistently 8-9 hours per night, every night. She's not, but that's ok; it will come.
Jude continues to be a little indifferent about Sadie but he decides to show a little love here and there. He will give her kisses and shares his toys, which is quite sweet.

We took Jude for an early 3 year check up. He weighed 34 lb. (80%) and is 36 in tall (60%). This amazed me because when he had to go for a booster shot at 2.5, he weighed 34 lbs then and was 33 in. tall. He has grown 3 in. in 5 months but not put on an ounce. He's really shot up and is looking so much like a big boy.

Jude did not prefer the doctor's visit, inspite of the role playing and preparation I've tried. Poor guy kept screaming "I don't prefer dat!" He is so sweet.
Sadie is in size 2 diapers at night (we try to use cloth during the day) and I'm slowly putting away her 3 month clothes already as they are getting snug. Because she's on the shorter end, pants still fit, but she needs 3-6 month tops because of her sweet rolly arms.

I can't believe we will be celebrating Jude's 3rd birthday in a few weeks. We are beyond blessed to have healthy and happy children.

Thank you Lord, for your many blessings!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Potty Training, Down and Dirty

I wanted to share my personal experience with potty training. If you know me at all, I am a perfectionist, by the book, scheduled, organized, blah blah blah. Type A at it's finest. With that said, I read books, follow them, and expect results.

2 weeks after Jude turned 2 we did Potty Training Boot Camp during my spring break (This was last April). He was showing the signs he was ready. We had done everything you're "supposed to do" like  have the potty seat in the bathroom for months before so they get comfortable and familiar with it, talk about it, let him watch us, yes, all of it. I had my prize baggy ready loaded with M&M mini's and gummy bears. We had a sticker chart. I had Gatorade and Sprite (drinks he'd never consumed) and new big boy undies. We were ready.

Pretty much, we let Jude go around with no underwear on for day 1. I fueled him with salty snacks and lots of liquids so he could have lots of chances to have success. We had a few accidents but a lot of success. Day 2 we put on underwear and the same, a few accidents, mostly success. By day 3, did better. Pee and Poop were going in the potty. We got 1 small treat for success and a dance and a BIG DEAL. If he had an accident, there was no consequence, we just talked about how it wasn't ok and we would try better next time. By the end of the week, we were taking Jude every 1.5 hours with success, though he still wasn't requesting it. We were happy with this and took him to school in big boy undies the following Monday.

He REFUSED to go at school. His wonderful teachers took him every hour where he would scream and cry. He would hold it until he had an accident 4 hours later. This happened all day Monday and Tuesday morning. Tuesday afternoon, he started having diarrhea. Tuesday night, he and I were both throwing up (and yes, I was 8 weeks preggo). He and I continued to have massive diarrhea and vomiting for the next 6 days, so needless to say, no one had the energy or ability to try potty training.

Once the virus was gone, Jude was terrified of going poop because it had hurt him so much while he was sick. He also wasn't doing it at school...Justin and I had no doubt we needed to just take a break until the summer when he was home with me again.

Fast forward until the end of June. Jude was 2 years 3.5 months. For 3 days I let him stay outside at my parents all day with no undies on and he got the feeling of peeing again. He was really proud of himself but he didn't want to go in the potty. No amount of rewards, praise, etc mattered to him. He only wanted to pee outside. Ok, no biggie, he's not peeing in a diaper. 2 weeks later while at the beach, with sugar free gum, new incentive from Mo Mo, he started peeing, by request, in the potty. That was it, no turning back. However, poop, another story. This child would scream, refuse, have a total melt down if you asked and/or told him to poop on the potty. He did do it a few times over the summer, but it was a battle.

I must say, Jude's natural BM time is early morning or mid day, times he wears a diaper or pull up b/c he's not ready to sleep without anything. So, having counted from July 2013 to February 2014, we only had 13 opportunities to even try to poop in the potty. The child always would wake up poopy. We practiced sitting on the potty multiple times, tried the BIGGEST rewards again, cut a hole in his diaper so he could sit on the potty with a diaper and let the poop fall through. Nope, refused. Would hold it til his tummy hurt and then go in his sleep. So finally, about a month ago, I asked him, "When do you think you should poop in the potty?" His response, "When I'm free (3)." I told him, "Ok. When you're 3, I'm throwing your diapers away." He said, "Ok Mommy, I'll be weady then." So, we've been talking about that and he seemed confident in that decision.

Last week however, he woke up early one morning crying because his bottom was burning. Apparently he had more acidic poop than normal and it had caused bad diaper rash. I told him that if he pooped in the potty, he wouldn't have to go through this any more. Last Wednesday afternoon, per request, he sat on the potty and pooped. Did it again Friday (no poop Thursday) and again on Saturday. That was it. Give him a little say, a little diaper rash, and he was ready to dang poop in the potty.

Why write about this you may ask...because there is no book that explains it all for all children. I have ready A LOT of blogs and apparently a lot of children have issues with #2. I would not have believed it had I not saw it with my own child. Since you can't force your child to have a bowel movement, we really can't control it. I'm a special education teacher people so I get behavior modification when it comes to things like this and no reward was worth it to Jude. And y'all, we offered BIG rewards. He really did have to get ready. So, yep, that's our story.

Good luck all you mothers potty training. :)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

These Are The Moments...

An oldie but a goodie came to mind for me today. While standing at my sink rinsing dishes and singing hymns, I thought Jude was finishing lunch. I then felt my sweet boy come up behind me, squeeze my leg tight and say, "I love you Mommy." I immediately teared up, dropped to my knees and gave him a huge hug in which he squeezed back. I said, "I love you too baby. What made you come and tell me that?" His response, "I like it when you sing." I know Edwin McCain meant for this to be a love song, but the lyrics of the chorus also made me think of my sweet babies today:

I could not ask for more than this time together
I could not ask for more than this time with you
Every prayer has been answered
Every dream I have's come true
And right here in this moment is right where I'm meant to be
Here with you here with me

These are the moments I thank God that I'm alive
These are the moments I'll remember all my life
I've got all I've waited for
And I could not ask for more

Being a Mom is so hard. Tantrums, diapers, endless laundry, meeting physical, emotional, and spiritual needs; the list goes on and on. I often question, "Am I really going to mess these poor babes up?" Moments like this one are the ones that make those hard moments worth it. I know that something I'm doing, by God's grace, is right. I also had some wonderful snuggle moments rocking Jude and reading to him. I also got to dance with him and eat snack in his tent in the living room. I say "get to" because there are arms that are empty, longing for a child. Or, there are empty-nesters, missing these Elmo filled and messy lunch time days. 

Then, there is my sweet Sadie girl. She's not even 3 months old and she wakes up happy already. She laughs when Jude and I dance. She toots every time she coughs. She loves to snuggle, smile at me while feeding, and hold my hand while drifting off to sleep. Every moment is a blessing.

These truly are the moments that I will remember all my life...trying to point my children to our Savior, loving them with His love and trying to show them His grace. I could not ask for more.