Monday, December 31, 2007

War Eagle, again!

Jonathan and I spent some time with old friends in Auburn yesterday. We had a great time and realized that we really miss it there. We brought the boys some new Auburn gear just in time for the bowl game tonight. My brother is in town, so he'll be enjoying the game with us. I'm sure there will be lots of joking about "hosses" and "refs" to feel like Dad is with us. Just so you know, "hoss" was my dad's term for a big, good ball player. It was his unique way of saying horse in this specific situation. Thats all I can say to explain it. It's one of the things that used to bug me, but now make me smile. So, War Eagle to all those tiger fans out there, and to Dad.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy Zoo Year!

We decided to bundle up and go to the zoo holiday lights festival tonight. We had a fun last Christmas hurrah before getting into the new year.
The little guys in front of a "peacop." Even a certified speech-language pathologist gets attached to the cute ways her kids mispronounce things.
We asked Gammie to join us and she and Ella looked very cute all decked out for the weather.

"It might be Sampta..."

is what Miles said excitedly when he heard our doorbell ring on Christmas Eve morning. It was great to hear the anticipation in his voice as this year was the first time he sort of started to understand things. I had to explain many, MANY times that Santa would not come until everyone was sleeping. This was a bit challenging this year since, due to the broken nose incident, Miles had been in a big boy bed for one night . He only came out to the living room once before "Santa" started working. And, the nose is doing great. It looks like it is healing straight. This is the boys on Christmas morning before we left their room. This is the "bike" Santa left for Miles. Unfortunately, his legs aren't quite long enough to pedal this one yet, but he's still very happy to have it.
This is Ella trying to feed her baby a piece of wrapping paper. What a good little mommy.
Santa even came through on the requested accordion for Eli. The Santa at the mall really tried to help me out of this one by saying that accordions are hard to find,but Eli told him to go get it at Cracker Barrel. Thanks for trying, Santa!
We had a great Christmas with our families. We hope yours was wonderful and full of happy memories.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Ella's first post

My name is Ella. This picture was taken when I was much younger - 6 weeks ago. My blog friend Baby #3 tagged me to have my very first blog post. This seems like a pretty big challenge for a 10 and a 1/2 month old, but since I consider myself to be more like 15 months I'll give it a shot. I'm sure Momma will help me anyway. So here are 8 things about me:
  1. I really enjoy making my oldest brother mad by turning the TV on and off while he's trying to watch it. He knows better than to hurt me over it, although he does yell at me...
  2. My other brother doesn't like for me to touch anything, even things that belong to me. This really gets on my nerves, but I still just have to get my hands on him and TRY to give him some love. Don't they say to kill them with kindness? I'm sure that's what I'm thinking.
  3. One of my favorite toys currently is a huge dump truck at my gammie's house. The truck bed goes up and down and makes loud noises at the touch of a button. Very cool.
  4. Miles told me that Sampta is coming to our house soon...
  5. This must be the guy Momma said is bringing my very first baby doll. The one she bought right in front of me the day after Thanksgiving. I loved it and couldn't keep my hands off of it. Then she paid for it and put it away for this Sampta to bring... what does she take me for? A ten month old?
  6. I am the daughter that my Momma always wanted and prayed for... and yes, she absolutely adores my big brothers and thinks little boys are so great. She's blessed to have the chance to experience boys and a girl - that's what she really always wanted - BOTH!
  7. I happened to show up at the perfect time, in God's timing, to bless my family after the loss of my Poppa. My momma thought the last thing she needed after losing her dad was another baby - but, as it ends up, I'm exactly what she needed. She is learning through me to wait and trust. And trust some more.
  8. I hate to wear my shoes. I have more shoes than Momma because she seems to be addicted to cute little shoes. And they are very cute, I just don't want them on my feet. At the first chance I have I remove them and my socks, too. Momma doesn't like this. She fusses at me and then I fuss back as she puts my socks and shoes back on. Is this the way it's going to be?
Now, I'm supposed to tag some friends to do the same: Lily, Cullen, Reese, Shey, Madalyn, K., Todd, and Liam. This was fun and some of you are MUCH older than me - like 2 or 3. You'll do great. Just leave me a comment so I'll know when to check your post. Merry Christmas. We hope "Sampta" is good to you!

Poor Miles...

has obviously been subjected to incompetent parenting. On Friday, he finally decided to climb out of his crib. There was no crash, no injury, just a little bitty guy opening his door after nap to declare "I'm awake!" Later we saw how he gracefully and carefully climbed out while trying to get the boys to bed for the night. Sunday morning was a different story. I was in the bathroom getting ready for church when I heard a crash, then screaming. Jonathan got to Miles first who was in such pain he had the "I'm crying but I can't breathe so you can't hear it all yet" cry going on. His nose immediately began to swell and bleed slightly. I thought I might throw up. We stared at him and tried to comfort him as we went through the "is it broken? surely it's not broken. I think it maight be broken..." kind of conversation. I put in a call to the on-call doctor, who ofcourse happened to be my least favorite of the bunch. He told me that if he seemed well other than the pain and swelling around the nose, to try to ice it (that really worked great, by the way) and give it 24 hours. Then he said, "If a child is able to climb out of their crib, they no longer need to be in a crib." Really? Look, I called to get your opinion on the nose. The NOSE! The one that's likely broken. How about helping me with that and not taking this particular moment to comment on my decision to let him sleep in the crib. Can you tell he made me angry? So, back to Milesy... at church we had a nurse take a look at him and she immediately said, "Yep, it's broken. But there's nothing you can do about it." She told me to give him Tylenol regularly for 48 hours, to expect two black eyes just in time for Christmas and that there was no point in taking him to see a doctor because they'd do nothing unless he's having breathing troubles. He's not. The swelling went down a good bit as the day went on, and when we put him to bed tonight, in the crib with the side rail totally removed and pillows covering the floor next to him, he said his nose felt "bery better" and "I not hurting." One of his eyes is turning very bruised underneath. Poor guy. Thank God it wasn't worse. The last thing he talked about tonight was "Sampta" bringing him a truck. Luckily Sampta is delivering on this request.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
It's about to get crazy around here, so I want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas! These sweet pictures were taken Wednesday outside of the boys' school. I hope you all enjoy the holidays and that you take special moments to reflect on our Lord. He left beautiful perfection and His Father to be born among animals in a feeding trough. Later to die a cruel death so that one day we will be with Him and our Father in beautiful perfection. He has done great things. Bless His holy name.

Eli the Innkeeper

Eli played the part of the Innkeeper at his preschool's Christmas pageant. We'd been working on his line - "I'm sorry there's no room for you here." He did a great job and spoke where he could be easily heard. What a cute little guy he is.

Different but better

This is Dad with Miles

Dad with Kell, telling us about next year...

On Christmas night, 2 years ago, my dad said goodbye to us without actually saying goodbye. He told us that he loved us, that that day had been his best Christmas ever, and that "next Christmas will be better, different, but better." We all knew what he was saying, but each in our own way sort of denied it and held tight to our desire and hope for him to still be with us the next Christmas. Last Christmas was indeed different. My brother and his family, my family, my aunt and Mom escaped to Callaway Gardens for Christmas Eve and Christmas night. I think it helped us to be away. There was a huge Dad-shaped void, but sweetly next to that void was my new 2-month old nephew. And sweetly, we were anticipating the birth of the family's first girl in my little boo. And yes, in a way, last Christmas was better because Dad was not suffering through it but was celebrating with Jesus. This Christmas, we will try and resume a "normal" Christmas routine. We will be at home. The Dad-shaped void will remain, as it does daily. But we will feel him urging us to enjoy our day, soak up the sweet time with our children, and surround our mom with love. Will do, Dad. Merry Christmas!

Baby, it's cold outside...somewhere

This serves as proof to all of us in the south that some places do have white Christmases. This is my nephew, Kell, on his way home from the bus stop after school today. I thought this picture was too cute not to share. I can't wait to see this little booger, his baby brother, my big brother and sweet sister-in-law next week.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

40 years ago today...

my parents were married. I look at this picture and think about how they had no idea what the future held. The plans God had for their lives unknown by them. They didn't yet know the ups and downs, the joy and pain they would encounter together. As they promised their lives to each other, they didn't know they would raise and love a boy and a girl. They didn't know they would have 3 grandchildren together and that Mom would go on to have 2 more within a year of Dad's death with another now on the way. They didn't know of the painful and too soon end of their lives together. I'm certain, though, that if they had the chance to go back, they'd change very little. I'm sure they'd still choose to love each other even for a shorter than desired time than to never have loved and lived together. My mom is so thankful to have loved and been loved by my dad. And I know how thankful he also was for her.

Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared 'neath the stars alone
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance

Holding you I held everything
For a moment wasn't I a king
But if I'd only known how the king would fall
Hey who's to say you know I might have chanced it all

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance

Yes my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain but I'd of had to miss the dance

Friday, December 14, 2007

Happy Birthday to Gammie!

After my morning breakdown (see previous post), I picked myself up and got ready to celebrate my mom's birthday. She spent the day with a friend and I spent the day sewing a purse for her, which turned out quite cute, and making a cake. It was fun trying to spoil the woman who always spoils me. We went to dinner at the Catfish House (yummy!) and then had cake at our house. Here you can see Eli helping her blow out her candles. No, she's not 6 years old. I decided to give her a candle for each grandchild - 6 because my brother is expecting his third in the summer.
Eli helped me with the cake. This means that he cracked open an egg not by hitting it on the rim of a bowl, but by squeezing it in his hand. He then watched my Kitchen-Aid with glee because I've recently introduced him to the dangerous practice of licking the bowl. My dad and I used to fight over who got to lick the bowl when I was little. Now I'll be fighting over it with Eli.
We had a fun little party for Gammie. Everyone got to stay up late. Will they sleep in tomorrow? Happy birthday, Gammie!

It's not fair!

I had a small breakdown earlier today. I was reading a few other blog posts that were about loss and I had a big, loud, good cry. Every now and then I just need one. The boys were at school and Ella was sleeping, so for a few minutes I just let it go. It felt ridiculous and wonderful at the same time. To let myself have a few moments like that turned out to be nice. It is interesting how many people have commented on my supposed strength since my dad died and during his illness. While I know I have been made stronger through it all and that God gives us strength in hard times, a good bit of the time I feel like a wounded and scared little girl who wants nothing more than to be held by her Dad again. I just crave the sight of him and the feel of those big arms around me. I long to hear his voice. It is still on my mom's voice mail. We just can't erase it. People also think my mom is doing "great." Sure, she's also been made strong and has received new mercies, but no one sees her when she cries by herself because she wakes up to an empty bed. It's not fair that she will celebrate her 40th wedding anniversary in two days without her husband. It's not fair that I can't have my annual Christmas shopping and movie day with my dad. It's not fair that only Kell and Eli will have memories of my dad - three year old ones at that. It's not fair that 4 of Dad's grandchildren will only know what they are told of their Poppa. It's not fair that I just recently deleted my dad's email address from my list of contacts; I just couldn't do it for the longest time. It's also not fair that I was on the phone with an 18 year old college freshman today who suddenly lost her Mom a couple of months ago. It's not fair that a little 4 year old girl died 2 weeks ago due to a non-cancerous brain tumor. It's not fair that my friend Gina is going through such a mess with her dad. It's not fair that my friend Melissa is struggling so hard for and wanting so badly to be pregnant. It's not fair that I know of an 11 year old girl who will not have her dad this Christmas - he died a few months ago. Sometimes I just want to throw my hands in the air and scream. But I have to hold on to the promises of God. I MUST trust that what he says he will do, he will do. I've learned that many of his promises to us will be granted to us when we are with him. We are not promised a fair life, a good life, an easy life. We are not promised tomorrow for ourselves or for anyone that we love. We are promised that he will never leave us. We are promised that he will not stop his good work in us until it is completed, which I imagine is when we are with him. We are promised rest for the weary and blessings on those who mourn. We are promised that he- God himself- will wipe every tear from our eyes. That the scorching sun will never been down upon our backs. That we will walk and not grow weary, run and not grow faint. So, although it's not fair, it's not fair, it's not fair(!), there will come a day when all of this will pass away. We will be reunited with those we love and crave to see and hold. We will be comforted by the Father of Lights. I just can't wait.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

O Christmas Tree...

The boys got to stay up late last Friday night to help us decorate the tree. We ate Christmas cookies and listened to Christmas songs and had a good time. Miles put on about 5 or 6 ornaments all by himself. All on the same branch. It was so cute and we left it that way until he was in bed. Speaking of that, we knew the party was over when he asked to be put in bed. I love having the house decorated for Christmas! Anita had several of us over Sunday afternoon to take Santa pictures. Her neighbor is a professional Santa and he was great. Miles wanted nothing to do with him until I told him to ask Santa for a bike - then he went up to Santa and turned on the charm! Eli loved being with Santa. Ella, not so much. Click here to check out a bunch of Christmas cuties.

We pumped it up!

We had a great time at Eli's birthday party. We certainly couldn't have entertained 27 children in our home for 2 hours. He had a great time as the birthday boy as you can see here. He's all about blowing out those birthday candles!
Miles and I enjoyed the slide (and enjoyed the slide, and enjoyed the slide). I love this picture of him - pure and simple joy on his face. On a different note, two days after his birthday, Eli and I took a tour of a school he may attend next year. It was sort of strange, exciting and scary all at once...but mostly I just became really sad. I was pleased with what I saw, but I just don't want him to go. Next year is going to be such a big step (for both of us) and a big change. It has just gone way, way too fast.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

My Eli is 5 today!

My first love is 5 years old today. The date for this post is early because I worked on a draft for a couple of days. Today is December 4. Here are a few baby pictures of him. These first two were taken during the first month of his life.

In this one he is around 10 weeks old.
This was taken on the night of his very first birthday. Right before bed that night we took cookies to the hospital for the nurse who had been with me for his delivery.

"Young boys should never be sent to bed, they always wake up another day older."
-- Author:Johnnie Depp as JM Barrie, from the movie Finding Neverland

If I didn't require tons of sleep myself, I might be willing to try this idea for awhile if it could actually keep my E from growing so quickly. As I put him to bed last night I realized that the next time I see him he'll be five. It happened at 4:49 am. He looks tall and slim-faced and not at all like a baby anymore. Didn't we just bring him home from the hospital? Wasn't it just yesterday that he took his first step or spoke his first word? He is five today. Five. All he wants to talk about is what spells what or how he'll soon go to kindergarten. Thankfully, he still loves to sit in my lap. He loves to cuddle. He likes for me to read to him. He asks me to sing to him each night after prayers. He usually wants to hear "Come Away With Me" by Norah Jones. I used to sing this to him when he was tiny and recently started singing it again. Because of this song, he frequently tells me he will never stop loving me. It is precious to hear him say this. All at once I am so proud that we've come so far and we've "made it" to five and I am saddened by how fast it has happened and wish I could go back for a short time to my baby Eli.

Courage is fear that has said it's Prayers...
-- Author:unknown
I hope I always remember that every night Eli prays that God "will not let him have bad dreams, but good dreams about big cheese." We still aren't sure what a big cheese dream is, but this has been his prayer for some time. The other night he added for Ella to have dreams about baby dolls and Miles to dream about tractors. So sweet.

Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.
Proverbs 4: 10-12
This is my prayer for Elijah on his birthday.

We'll be off shortly for his birthday party at Pump It Up. I'll post pictures later.

Saturday, December 1, 2007