Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Joseph turns 6!

 For Joseph's sixth birthday, he wanted to go with a Star Wars theme and a boys only party :-(. I was super sad this year about him not wanting to invite his girl cousins because it simply means he is growing up. However, after the party, I think it was a good thing we didn't have any sweet little girls here because it got pretty rowdy.

 This party was bittersweet for me. You see, we had his party the night of the Newtown, Conn. tragedy. That entire day I was saddened by the news and was extremely anxious to get my little man in my arms. On the way to pick him up that afternoon, I wept and wept the entire car ride to his school. Then I continued to cry buckets in the car line. When he was in the van, I was so thankful that I had him.

During the party, as I sat and watched our six year old (the same age as some of the victims), and the young boys that were the same age or close to, run around, I was incredibly thankful that we were getting this opportunity to celebrate and not having to receive the horrible news that we as parents hope to never hear. As Joseph was running around, I kept thinking back to that morning when I dropped him off. The car in front of us was holding up the line a little, so I was able to watch Joseph walk all the way to the door. I remember thinking, "he looks so cute in his school outfit, black Nike's and carrying a backpack that is half his size." All I could do was think of those parents of the victims and that being the last image they had of their child. I was such a wreck during his party. Trying so hard to not just go grab Joseph and sob. Can you imagine if I had done that? I probably would have embarrassed the snot outta him and his friends would probably think I was crazy. By God's grace, I was able to hold it together and enjoy my son with all his little buddies sword fighting, eating pizza, eating cake and whacking open a pinata.  But as soon as the night wrapped up and all our boys were asleep, I went to our room, buried my face in my pillow, sobbed, clung to Jeff and we both just started praying for the families.

This banner, I made with a table cloth from the dollar store, splattered some glow in the dark paint on it and a friend made the letters for me.
I honestly don't intend to take any credit for these light sabers, but man these were a huge hit. We ordered the pool noodles on line and we bought about 6 (cut them in half, so you end up with 12) of them for less than $7! Then I used electrical tape and duct tape for one of the ends. My boys love these things. Two reasons they love them: (1) They can take them on the trampoline and (2) Our little two year old can sword fight and not bloody his older brothers knuckles while in the process.

 Oh, (3) they can wail on each other....and do it in the house!

 After seeing him blow his candle out (picture on left), I have decided that I will never do a cake for a child's birthday again. I am so thankful I made cupcakes so that he could spit all over his own cupcake and we were all spared his germs.

You are becoming a little man these days. You are asking for chores to do, wanting to go with Dada early Sunday mornings to help set-up (and play the DS with your buddies), help with your little brothers and you are becoming very interested in video games.

We are so thankful that you continue to be a healthy boy. You are 83% for weight and 67% for height. You still have your sweet tooth and if we don't hide our sweets, you will find them and enjoy it very much. This past year, you started to really enjoy watching Power Rangers, Jayden (the red ranger) being your favorite. You have begun to love Star Wars. You received several Star Wars action figures for your birthday and Christmas and I would have to say those are your favorite toys to play with.

 You are and have always been such a sweet big brother. It's not too often you hear older siblings praying for another baby. You would pray for this before we were ever considering getting pregnant again. You have such a sweet heart, so much in fact, you wanted a baby sister so bad. You would also make this your prayer. The day we told you you would be getting another brother, you were a little disappointed. You were so convinced you were getting your sister! Even though you didn't get the little sister you had prayed for and wanted, you have accepted the idea of having another little brother. You have suggested some really cute names and you have even nicknamed him  "JoJo." We all love it, so that's what we call him right now.

 You have such a beautiful smile!
 This year, you participated in tball and soccer. You did great! The first tball game was challenging because you were so incredibly shy. After the first game, we started taking you out once a week to work on things and from the second game on, you blossomed so much! When soccer season came around, we didn't have to worry much about your shyness  because you had already begun to start coming out of your shell. The first soccer game, you were so lost and had no idea what was going on. After going out as a family once a week to practice, that quickly changed and things began to click for you. You have such a sweet spirit on and off the field, so much in fact that we had to work with you at being aggressive and sort of get a killers instinct on the field. It seemed to be when a boy from the other team had the ball, you didn't mind attacking and trying to get it, but if a girl had it, you were super gentle and didn't want to hurt her.
 You are such a joy to have around, even though we are going through a phase of talking back and arguing. I can't wait to get through this season :-). I know it's a learning experience for all of us on what's acceptable and what isn't, but it can honestly be exhausting where everyday we have to talk about your 'tone' and disagreeing with an adult.
 One of the highlights from this past year was you beginning Kindergarten. I can't believe this time has come. You have adjusted very well. The entire first semester, you were eager every morning to go to school, but then Christmas break happened. Ever since then, you drag your feet in the morning and tell me everyday that you don't want to go. Thankfully, it's not because of a bully or a mean teacher, it's because you tell me you don't like being gone that long without me and Christian around. You are doing well in school. Your report cards have been great, but we need to work on math. We aren't too worried about the area of math because we know that it will eventually click for you. Your reading has improved leaps and bounds. You went from being in the lowest reading group (at the very beginning of school), to the highest reading group in one semester. It's been pretty amazing to watch.

 We love you dearly and we can't wait to see what God has in store for you this coming year. We pray everyday that God shape you and mold you into the likeness of him. That your heart, eyes, ears and mind will be protected from the ways of this world and that you will accept Jesus at a young age and live a life that is glorifying and pleasing to him.

Love you Joe!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Year 2012

  This past year was a wonderful year for our family. I'm not saying that to be boastful or sound like I am bragging, but to show gratitude to our Heavenly Father. The previous two years were difficult years for Jeff and I. We were going through so much change in our lives. He was working a lot, traveling A LOT!, we had two children 20 months apart, Jeff was teaching two classes at church, I was exhausted all the time!, we were pursuing a career change but praise the Lord we declined, however, the stress from the thought of having to uproot your family, leave all your extended family and friends, live in a totally different state, find doctors, a church, new friends, can all take it's toll on you individually and your marriage. When we decided not to move to New Jersey, we started discussions about leaving our home church that Jeff had been a part of for 20 some-odd years and the church we first went to after we were married. We felt like God was tugging at both our hearts but to make that first step was very difficult. In the Spring of 2011, we decided to see what God had in store for us and boy has He been amazing!

   The year 2012 started off a little rough, not because we had anything tragic or dramatic going on in our lives, but because our three year old, in a span of 3 months, broke his arm, dislocated his arm and broke his foot. We saw his wonderful pedi a lot at the beginning of the year. So much in fact that I asked the receptionist if they could just take money from Jeff's pay check so I wouldn't have to remember my wallet for the co-pay every time we came in. By the time he broke his foot, I was a little scared they might call CPS on us because seriously, what kid is this clumsy? When I took him in for his foot, Dr. D poked his head in the door and just said, "lets go get xrays." No questions asked! He just knows our fearless and careless C-bear!

  Once the craziness of broken bones settled down, we had a great year. Here is what God did and blessed our family with in the year 2012:

Jeff: We are so blessed to have a hard working man in our home. God continues to bless him with job after job. He is in one of those professions where when a project is complete, he could be out of a job. But by the grace and provision of our Heavenly Father, He always has a job lined up for Jeff, sometimes before he even finishes one project. I know Jeff isn't a fan of being on two projects at once, but honestly, as his wife and him being the only one bringing in money, I am so thankful. He began playing music for our church this year and I am so proud of him. One thing about Jeff is he super dedicated to his family and since he's like that, he doesn't, in my opinion take a lot of time for himself and do things that he enjoys doing, like jammin'. He has made some really awesome friendships with other guys at our church and I am so thankful for that. Another thing Jeff did last year, and I am so proud of him for, is he trained and trained and trained for Tough Mudder. I was so proud that he was dedicated, committed and worked so hard and was able to complete a tough competition. He also made some awesome friendships through this as well, so I was happy to see that.  Jeff also coached Joesph's tball team in the Spring which was a special thing for him and Joseph.

Joseph: This little guy isn't so little anymore. He has been growing like crazy! He turned 6 in December and already comes up to my lower chest line. He is massive! This was such a fun year for us as his parents. In the Spring, he played tball for the first time. It was so much fun to watch him play a sport. The first game was difficult because he was so shy and timid, but he participated and I was so thankful for that. From the second game on, he did nothing but blossom, improve and really begin to love the game. In the summer, he took swim lessons and overcame his fear of the diving board. He had an amazing swim instructor and he was swimming on his own in four days! In the Fall, he played soccer. He was absolutely fun to watch. The first game, again, was a little difficult because he had no idea what was going on and he seemed to enjoy digging his new soccer cleats in the dirt rather than play soccer. After the first game, Jeff and I started going out one night a week as a family and practicing with him and he improved leaps and bounds!! He scored a goal and became an awesome defender and goalie. Actually, he took up 3/4 of the goal so really the other team had no chance of getting a size 3 ball past our gentle giant. He plays in a league that hands out a medal to one player after every game. For soccer, he received the one for humility. If you know Joseph at all, you would know this is a perfect medal for him. He can be a very humble, tender hearted little guy. He is also started Kindergarten which has been a smooth transition for him. He has a wonderful, young, Christian teacher so we are so thankful for that! I have met some of the mom's from his class and they are all wonderful Christian families! So Thankful!! He also lost 3 teeth last year. We were so blessed to celebrate another year of life with him. I am planning on doing a post of his party and him individually, but I always like to wait until he has his well visits so I can post his stats. His appointment keeps getting pushed back, so that post will be next. He has come to love Star Wars and Power Rangers, Nintendo 64 (Mario Kart more specifically), riding his Razor 360, and has adjusted to the fact that he won't be getting his baby sister that he prayed so much for :-(. He has nicknamed his soon to be baby brother 'JoJo.' This coming year he will be joining us during the main service and I am super excited about this. Now, I know the first couple of months are going to be exhausting because he is a 6 year old BOY and is going to have to sit still for an hour and a half, but  like everything, I know it's going to be just a phase. Once we get past the wiggles, I know my little questioner is going to be asking a lot of questions about the sermon, the songs and communion. I am excited that Jeff and I are going to have many opportunities to share the gospel with him this coming year.

Christian: Once we got past March, the doctors appointments, xrays, casts and follow ups, he had a great year. When he first turned three I was bracing myself for the storm that was about to come. As a mother, I have learned that the two's are not what you have to look out for, it's the three's! Holy Cow are the three's challenging. However, when Christian turned 3, it wasn't bad. He was still the same ol' happy, goofy, content C-bear he has always been. I was somewhat relieved. Then he hit 3 1/2 and there it was. The defiant, grumpy, whiny, complaining 3 year old phase that I remembered oh so well from Joseph. Oh well, it's not near as bad when you have been through it once and you know that it's all just a phase! I feel like I have so much to write about him, but really nothings new in his little life. I always think of him as older because he is always hanging out with his big bro and older cousins. He is DYING to play sports. As much as I want to put him in something, my hubby always talks sense into me. Every time a sports season comes around I am begging to put him in something, but then after we decide not to, I am always thankful that we waited. When I see the 3 years playing before Joseph and see the crying, them laying on the field, and having not a clue what's going on, I am so glad we didn't waste the money. Although, he is going to be very good at soccer and tball. He always practices with us when we take Joseph and he is pretty tough so he is going to be a lot of fun to watch! His vocabulary is starting to explode. Having an older brother who spoke very well at an early age and being a thumb sucker, he didn't talk much. Now, being at home without his big brother, it has forced him to communicate. He still loves his thumb and we aren't in any hurry to get him to stop. He has been sucking his thumb since he was 3 months, so to us, that's our sweet Christian!  The dentist isn't worried about it either, so if he says to just let him quit on his own, then that's what we are going to do. He is at the phase of coming into our room every night! I remember Joseph doing this for about a year straight! With Christian being the second one to do this, we aren't worried about it and we know there will be a day when he won't be coming into our room (hopefully that's next year!). He has a lot of growing pains so I think that's what's waking him up at night. This kid is madly in love with Legos!! He talks about them constantly and wants a new lego guy just about every single day! His favorites are Star Wars Legos and Ninjago. He is also loving Power Rangers right now!

Nathan: Since I just did a post on him turning 2, there isn't much more to say. The highlight for me regarding Nathan last year was how much he changed. He is in such a delightful phase right now. This was my fussy, clingy, screaming baby for 18 months. Once he started walking, something changed in him. He became more independent and not needing to be on my hip 24/7 which my body was so thankful for. He began playing and exploring more on his own, which  I think he discovered can be a blast. Now I will often find him in his big brother's room sitting and playing quietly by himself. Another big change in Nathan in 2012 was his language. It has absolutely exploded! We can have conversations with him and he can tell us what has happened. He repeats after everyone in the house, so we have to be careful what we say at all times. We were already monitoring this because of the older one's, but now we have to talk 'code' around Nathan. His latest word that he has learned from his oldest brother and it cracks both brother's up when he says it is "butt crack." Ahhhh, the joys of older brothers. I don't know if we will ever be able to keep him from saying it because once he knows he can make his brother's giggle about something, he will keep repeating the behavior. Nathan is love with cars, trains, and automobiles. He loves the song, "We Will Rock" by Queen and will sing it often. He can jump really well on the trampoline and do tricks. He is about to be transitioned to a big boy bed and will share a room with his new little brother this year.

As for me: One decision Jeff and I had to make in 2012 was whether or not to try for another baby. We were both pretty exhausted after Nathan and for a while, thought we were done. Once he grew out of his fussy phase and my OB thought it was safe for us to have another baby, we began talking and praying about what we should do. After a few months, we were both at peace and excited about the idea of having one more. Since before we were married, we always wanted four kiddos, so I think we both felt like our family wasn't complete without one more baby. I have been meaning to post often about my pregnancy, but it's been insanely difficult to sit down and do so. I honestly don't feel like there are enough hours in a day to do everything I want to do. I believe I am going to be 29 weeks this week. Yes, I probably should know this for sure, but I have had a hard time keeping up with this one. I go in this week for my glucose test which is to be at your 28 week appointment, so I'm not sure. I will know for sure how many weeks I am on Friday :-). Since my platelets dropped into the 70,000's with Nathan, they have been keeping a closer eye on them this pregnancy. I believe I have had 3 blood tests so far and the platelets are slowly dropping. Part of me is bummed every time I hear they have dropped some more, but then another part of me is at complete peace because we have plans of what we are going to do if they continue to drop. So, if you read this and think about our family, please pray that my platelets are at safe levels until the very end and as soon as the baby is here, they increase.  I was assured by my wonderful OB that delivered my last three, that what I have isn't life threatening to me or the baby, but it's just something we have to keep a close eye on. The plan is if the pl (platelet levels) are below 90,000 at 36 weeks, they will put me on a steroid to boost those numbers, I will be induced at 39 weeks because there is no reason to let me go any longer. All it does is allow time for my platelets to drop even more, if the steroids don't work to boost my pl, I won't be able to get an epidural, and if I have to have a c-section, I have to be put under. Oh, I may also have to have a platelet transfusion (Which I am praying against!). Other than all that, I have been feeling great. I am in a serious nesting phase right now and can often be found re-organizing closets and bedrooms. I recently went out and bought a bunch of paint and am in the process of recruiting people to come help paint. In 2012, we not only found out we were expecting, but that we would be expecting a healthy baby boy. Jeff and I were both excited to hear the news of expecting our 4th boy and that he is healthy. As most of you probably have heard, I used to tell people that I always wanted four boys. It's not that I don't 'like' little girls, because there are some pretty sweet one's. But, I honestly didn't think I would be a good mom for girls. I think other's saw it too. I distinctly remember in high school one of my good friends telling me, "you better have boys when you have kids." I can't remember what led to that comment, but she was right. As excited as we were to learn that this one was a boy, it hit me at lunch the day we found out that we are never going to get to experience pink, pig tails, squeaking voices, girls day, etc. I was a little bummed. I was also a little nervous to tell Joseph because he was so sure it was going to be a sister and he had prayed often for a little girl. He took the news pretty well. In 2012, I had a pretty annoying shoulder injury. I wish that I could say I sustained it doing something awesome, but I can't. I was trying to cross the monkey bars down and back and when I went to turn to go back, I tore, ripped and numbed every muscle in my shoulder. I finally went in and all I could do was rest and ice it. It took forever to heal because I still had my stage 5 clinger at the time and the arm that I carry him with was the one that I injured. In 2012, I saw God intervene in my marriage, in my job as a mother and in relationships that needed healing. Jeff and I grew and matured so much together last year and I hope that we continue to grow and mature in the coming years. One of my prayers for myself as a mother last year was to love my boys unconditionally and to be slow to anger. My prayer is that our boys know that I love them no matter what. That I love them when they obey, disobey, are kind or ugly. I want them to respond out of love and respect and not outta fear. As I prayed that at the beginning of the year, I felt God's presence so much in my parenting last year. To end the year, Jeff and I celebrated our 8th year of marriage. Our anniversary is on December 31. We went to a delicious steak house and then stayed overnight in a hotel downtown. We had a blast!

I am looking forward to the year 2013 and what God has in store. We will be welcoming baby boy Kirklin at the end of March. Christian will be turning 4 and we are praying protection over him right now that he doesn't break something in the next few weeks. Joseph will be playing tball in the Spring and soccer in the Fall. He will also start first grade in August. Some exciting stuff!!

I don't really make resolutions, but I normally sit down and write down some goals. It is now January 8th and I still haven't done it. My main goal for this year is just to SURVIVE with four boys! I know the first couple of months can be difficult so my prayer is going to be that the Lord give me strength and endurance.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and New Years!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Nathan @ 2 Years

 I figured since Joseph's birthday is about a week away, I should get busy with my 2 year post on Nathan. I tried posting several pictures that I took one day right after he turned 2, but for some annoying reason, they will.NOT. rotate for me. Of course, all the pictures that I posted of him not being cooperative and demonstrating his 2 year old behavior all posted just fine. Go figure!!!
Nathan has transitioned into a sweet little guy. It's amazing what unconditional love and prayer for patience can do for a child. He's never been a terror, but has been known (and may still be known) as a screamer and a weeeee bit DRAMATIC, but he is learning to chill and not get so upset over the little things.
Nathan at 2 years you:
-Wear size 2t pants and shirts.
-Wear size 7 shoes.
-Wear size 5 diapers.
-LOVE trains!!!
-You and Christian have started to bond a little more since Joseph has been in school. You are beginning to tolerate Christian more now too.
-You love jumping on the trampoline.
-You love your grandparents so much!! So much in fact, when you are sick or being disciplined you will ask for them!
-You love playing with your cars and LOVE lining them up...just like your brother Joseph did!
-You love babies, which is wonderful since we will be having one around here soon.

-You still love your milk and you recently discovered chocolate milk, which you love even more.
-You love gum and will chew it for the longest time. When we first gave it to you, you would always spit it out when you were done, but recently you started swallowing your gum, so you don't get as much.
-You have started becoming interested in movies.
-You love anything with pasta in it.
-You love cucumbers, carrots, and peppers.
-You love grapes, apples, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, but no longer love bananas.
-You love riding in Dada's truck.

-Your vocabulary has exploded these past two months and I can't even count how many words you can say! You started putting together sentences right before your second birthday. Some of my favorite words and phrases you say are: Awesome, Nice (when the boys do something that you think is cool), Coocoo (cookie), I sorry, and Jesus loves me (Chi-us luv mia).
-You can name a power ranger: Mia
-You love sword fighting with your brothers!

Your 2 year old Stats:

Weight: 28.2 (53%)
Height: 33.5 (26%)

This is the smile you get when you pick the coldest day in Houston to go take pictures. It was absolutely freezing this day!!!! 
Nathan, you are such a joy and we are so thankful and blessed to have you a part of our lives!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Halloween and Nathan's Birthday

  Since Thanksgiving is approaching, I thought I should sit down and post about our Halloween. It was a low key evening since 4/5 members of our household were just overcoming or in the midst of a virus. I didn't get a lot of exciting pictures from the fun evening, but honestly, they just wanted to get on with trick or treating  and so did I.
This year, Joseph was the Bumblebee Transformer, Christian was to be a football player, but as we were getting him dressed, he decided he wanted to wear his cape. So he became a SUPER football player, and Nathan was Superman.
 This display was much cuter before the pumpkins were all decorated.

Two days after Halloween, is Nathan's birthday. We went with a Cookie Monster theme since he loves to watch YouTube videos of the furry monster. Below are the party favors that we gave out. This was a revised idea from Pintrest.

 Nathan eyeballing his middle brother. It's a look like, "IF you dare touch that cupcake....."
 It's so nice to have older siblings enjoy your big moment.
 I know what you are probably thinking, but no, he's not upset that his cupcake is all gone. He is wanting his Mimi....his BFF.

This is such a fun and busy time of year for our family! Birthday's and holiday's plague our schedule from October through February! Hope you all had a safe and fun Halloween!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  One of my favorite things to do every Fall is to go to the pumpkin patch, pick pumpkins and take pictures. I honestly don't know why I enjoy it so much. Maybe it's a tradition that I want to have with the boys, maybe it's the fact that I love to go out and buy "Fallish" clothes and dress the boys up and try to get some good pictures, or it could be that going to the pumpkin patch makes it 'feel' like Fall around here. You see, we live in the Houston area and as of today (October 23) my AC is running and the boys are in shorts. We don't ever seem to get a break from the heat! So maybe it's getting the boys in fall colors and going to the pumpkin patch that makes me forget about the heat for a while and enjoy the Fall season, even when we don't have cooler temps to go with it.
   But, as you know, I have 3 boys and this year, I came to realization that this may be our last year to get the boys in something nice and try to get a good shot of all three at the pumpkin patch. Now, I am not saying we won't ever go back. The boys love pulling the wagons, picking up the biggest pumpkins they can find and climbing the hay bales, it's just the getting in something else besides your underwear and superhero tshirt and having to pose for pictures that drives them crazy.
   Before we were even out the door, my two oldest were in fits about having to wear the shirts I had picked out. Thinking to myself, "This is NOT going to be fun," I put an entire thing of tic tacs in my pocket and off we went.
  As you can see in the picture below, this pretty much summed up all their attitudes about having to sit for pictures.....
 It took a little while to get started because there were a lot of people moms there with their kids trying to get pictures and we just had to time it to where a large semi was unloading a ton of pumpkins, so that was pretty distracting.
 Okay, getting a little better....

   Had to pull out the tic tacs to get Nathan to look at me. As you can see, he is wanting one.

   Then they began to go from extremely bored...
   To, faking smiles just so we can be done and get the Sonic drink that I ended up having to bribe them with.....
   To Nathan being so annoyed with this entire day that he was willing to hitch hike his way home.
   But in the end, I was able to get a descent snap shot of each individual boy...

   And I was able to capture this during our time at the pumpkin patch. Not too shabby, I guess.

....Until next year's pumpkin patch, oh wait, never mind!