Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tommy at 33 Months

You are so close to becoming a 3 year old!  In many ways, you are already there.  We’ve noticed an increase in, shall way say, challenging behavior, that lets us know the Terrific Threes are on their way.  

You just started telling stories in the past few weeks.  They go something like this:  Yesterday, I saw the farmer, and he went up the ladder, like this [imitates climbing].  And then he fell down.  And he got a big ow hurt.  And then he went up the ladder, like this, and he fell down.  And then he played trucks.  They’re so entertaining and we can definitely see a lot of your daily life in them!  

Your favorite books:  I’m Dirty!, I Stink!, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!, and Green Eggs and Ham.

Your favorite food:  You’ll eat almost anything except meat and fish.  Your favorites include strawberries, blueberries, cheese, tomatoes, and broccoli. These are things we can put on your plate, look away for 10 seconds, and find them scarfed down. Of course, you also love crackers, pizza, and hot dogs, but what kid doesn’t?

Favorite activities:  Playing legos.  You like to build “tall tall towers” and then carry it around the house to show Daddy and me, at the risk of it being knocked down by Little Brother.  You also like to color with markers and crayons.

New things in your life
We’re working on memorizing simple Bible verses and you’re very good at remembering.  This week’s verse is “Even a child is known by his deeds.”  I explain the verses as best I can in 2-year old terms and I’m hoping someday it will all sink in and help you be a good boy.  

You also have a new Habits Chart.  Each morning after breakfast and each evening before bedtime you have a series of ‘habits’ you complete on your own with very little help from me.  In the morning you clean the table after breakfast, brush  your teeth, use the potty, and then dress yourself.  You’ve always been resistant to learning to dress yourself, but lately you’ve been insisting on doing it, I think because it helps you complete your task on the chart (sounds a lot like Daddy!).  In the evening you clean up your toys throughout the house, brush teeth, use the potty, and put your PJs on.  You seem to really like following a series of ‘habits’ that you can do all on your own.  

You’re also starting to do chores.  Each day you have a chore that corresponds to my own.  While I’m dusting tall furniture, you are dusting the shorter furniture.  You also help with sorting your laundry while I’m folding.  

I can hardly believe you’re almost 3 years old!  In so many ways you still seem like a little toddler, but in many other ways you are a very big boy.  I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of a 3-year old you will be. 

Friday, July 17, 2009

"Mommy, Can I Color?"

Tommy’s latest interest has been coloring.  He lives to color.  As soon as he wakes up for the day and after naps he asks, “Mommy, can I color?”  I usually let him color as often and for as long as he wants because I’m happy he finally has an interest outside wheeled objects.  

Side story about Tommy’s life-long obsession with cars/trucks/trains:  We were at Aunt Cameron’s house the other morning, where because it is a girls’ house, there aren’t many cars lying around.  I kid you not, the boy started driving the Etch-a-Sketch around the floor because the knobs looked like wheels to him.  How’s that for obsessed?  Finally Aunt Cameron took pity on him and pulled out her small stash of cars she keeps on hand for when the boys visit.

Here are some of Tommy’s recent coloring creations:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Church Boys

Here are the boys before we left for church this morning.  I’m just so happy I got them both smiling and looking at the the same time!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Answered Prayer

Here’s the quick news:  Mark is getting a vasectomy reversal next month, on August 12!!  This means that we can start trying to get pregnant again starting in September! Read on for full details...

I know this is a very long post, but I felt I couldn't cut any of the details out without defeating the purpose of it, which is to glorify God. So if you want to read about God's work in my life and how He has changed, uplifted, sustained, and been faithful to our family, keep reading!
I scarcely even know where to begin. Let me try to begin by telling you about my prayers for the past 5 months since my miscarriage.Not knowing what to pray about at first, I simply prayed that God would give me wisdom and show me what I could learn from the experience.Besides learning the obvious, which is how to care for people going through a miscarriage experience, He began changing my thinking about family size.  He seriously changed my thinking.  

You see, before the fatigue of pregnancy ever graced my body, I always thought I wanted four kids.  It just seemed like a good number.  After we had Tommy, we didn’t even wait three months before decided the little guy was so great that we wanted more.  The plan was to have two children close together, wait a few years, and have two more close together.  

Then Ben came along and my world came crashing down.  I never knew fatigue, frustration, and impatience like I did parenting two children under age two.  For the first 6 months of Ben’s life, I literally had no free time for myself.  I don’t mean I didn’t have time to get a pedicure or browse the bookstore, I mean I couldn’t sit down on the couch for 5 minutes to catch my breath and read a few pages of a book that wasn’t about parenting.  I displayed anger I never even knew I possessed.  As the months wore on, things got a little better.  With God’s help, I took control of my anger and reconciled my lack of free time.  And as the months wore on, the boys got a little more independent and I established a solid routine, life got a little easier, but was still very difficult and energy-draining.  I began thinking that I never wanted children again, because it would only be more of this.  

I went off my birth control pills (long story) and began searching for alternative, non-hormonal forms of contraception.  There wasn’t anything we felt comfortable using, so we began talking about taking permanent measures to ensure we could never get pregnant again.  We talked seriously about a vasectomy, but never felt like it was the right way to go.  Then I got pregnant with Samuel in December and we thought that was the confirmation that a V. was the right thing to do.  We prayed about it now and then, but did not wait for an answer from God that it was indeed the right thing.  That was our first mistake.  

Fast forward to after the miscarriage in March.  I was down to only two children again just when I was beginning to get used to the idea of three children. This is when God started to change my thinking about the burden of children.  I began to pay closer attention to larger families (4+ kids by my definition) at church whose children were polite and well-behaved, and whose mothers did not seem to be the frazzled mess I always envisioned would be the case with so many children.  Mark and I heard a mother and father of four grown, God-fearing children talk about the joys of raising a large family and the harvest of blessings so many children bring later in their lives.  We felt our hearts desperately desiring more children.  

No longer did more children equal messiness, disarray, impatience, less time to ourselves, less ability to buy nice things, a cramped house, and unstable finances.  Now, more children meant relying on God for our needs.  

If we felt we couldn’t emotionally handle more children, that meant we needed to bring our needs to God and ask for help.  If my current children were not behaving in a way that made me want more children, it meant I needed to be more diligent in my discipline, and rely on God for patience and wisdom in this area.  If I was worried more children would mean less free time for myself, I need to change my priorities.  After all, the world tells me that everything is about me...I need me time, I need to do what makes me happy.  But that is not what God tells us.  He tells us that we find our strength in Him alone. He is our rock. He is our fortress. We find our rest in HIM. 

Now that my heart had been changed to want more children, the next step was to figure out where these children would come from.  A reversal was out of the question because Mark had such a traumatic experience with the first surgery.  We briefly, but very seriously, considered adoption.  We talked with families at church who had adopted and thought this was the best route. But this door was closed quickly and I was heartbroken at first, thinking my chances of having more children were gone.  

So I began to pray.  I prayed for miracle to happen in Mark so that we could get pregnant.  I prayed that either his vasectomy would miraculously reverse or that he would change his mind about the surgical reversal.  I prayed like my life depended on it, many times throughout the day.  And God answered my prayers.  

Without me knowing it, Mark started to research reversals and learned everything he could about it.  He even learned about the doctors and narrowed down a short list to contact. When he told me he wanted to get the surgery, I was thrilled, but I can’t say I was surprised.

So now we are getting a reversal.  The surgery is scheduled for next month, August 12, which amazingly is the same week I was due with Samuel and also two days before our 5th wedding anniversary.  It will be done in Oklahoma by a Christian doctor who charges very little for the surgery because reversals are his ministry.  The doctor himself has a very high success rate, and Mark’s reversal is very likely to be successful because the first surgery was done so recently.  The earliest I could possibly get pregnant is probably October, so keep a lookout for a pregnancy announcement!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Summer has officially arrived with the introduction of the home water slide!