Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Memories

I love Christmas time. I love everything about it. I especially love making memories. I have three favorite Christmas memories. My first favorite Christmas memory was when I was around 7 years old. My mom came to me and said that Santa Claus might not make it to our house that year. (I loved being a child. I never knew that we were poor.) Momma explained to me that I had been a really good girl that year but that Santa wanted me to give my gifts to other kids that didn't have any toys. Truth was, she didn't have the money to buy anything. She was already working 2 jobs to pay the bills. She told me the story of Jesus and how he was born in a manger. Not a heated room. That he slept with the animals on hay in a tiny bed. I thought Jesus had it made. I mean, I was a tomboy and to sleep outside with the animals sounded awesome to me. However, I understood her point. I learned that Christmas that it wasn't about receiving gifts but giving them. Just like Jesus did for us. Well, we didn't have a tree and definitely couldn't afford to buy one so we found green paper and we cut out our very own paper tree that we hung on the living room wall. We popped popcorn and used a needle and thread to sew them together. We used construction paper to make rings that made our garland. We had the prettiest tree ever that year. My mom and I made it together. I went to bed. When I woke up the next morning I walked into our living room and saw a huge Christmas tree decorated with real ornaments and lights that lit up the room. Underneath the tree were boxes that were wrapped and addressed to me from Santa. And in the tree was an envelope addressed to my mom. My mom's best friend provided Christmas that year for my mom and I. She did it out of the kindness of her heart. No expectations in return, just because. That Christmas I learned about the miracle of Jesus and that Christmas wasn't about getting gifts but rather understanding the sacrifice of the gift that was given to us. However, I did enjoy playing my new Nintendo all day long that day.

The second of 3 favorite memories was Christmas 1999. Joe and I were a couple and had been dating for a few months. Of course, we had known each other for quite sometime. Joe came over to our house that morning and asked me if I could help him carry gifts inside. As I went outside he asked me to sit down. So I sat down in the driver seat of his little car. He got down on one knee and said this "this driveway was the first place I ever told you that I loved you. I do love you. Will you be my wife and marry me?" My mom and dad were looking out the living room window watching it all. I of course accepted with pure joy. We went to my grandparents house afterwards and I loved showing off my beautiful engagement ring.

My most favorite Christmas memory was in 2003! I've shared my testimony before so I will not go into detail but that was the first day that Joe and I got to hold our little boys for the first time. That was our first Christmas as parents. We celebrated in the hospital but it was such a blessing. It's hard to believe that was 7 years ago almost.

I love Christmas. I love memories. I am looking forward to making many more.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Halloween, Anniversary, Thanksgiving and more...

So, it's been a minute. I'm terrible at keeping up with my blog. I have a friend that blogs almost everyday. She's so good at it. I always wonder what the point is and wonder if anyone even reads them. So, I will take my chance and update you on what's been going on.

Halloween: Quite possibly my least favorite holiday. I just don't get it. I never cared for dressing up and going from house to house to get candy from strangers. I mean, we teach our kids not to take candy from strangers. All the same, I refuse to be the fuddy duddy mom. We did the usual pumpkin carvings. The boys picked out their pumpkins and even a carving kit. When we got home I asked them which kit they wanted to use and they both said that they wanted a Christian pumpkin. They wanted thier pumpkins to represent them and who they are. So, with the help from a note their teacher sent home we carved our pumpkins into Christian pumpkins. This is the little poem we used to carve our pumpkins: Dear God,
As I carve my pumpkin help me say this prayer:

Open my mind so I can learn about You;
(Cut the top of the pumpkin)

Take away all my sin and forgive me for the wrong things I do.
(Clean out the inside)

Open my eyes so Your love I will see;
(Cut the eyes out in heart shapes)

I'm so sorry for turning up my nose to all you've given me.
(Cut a nose in the shape of a cross)

Open my ears so your word I will hear.
(Cut the ears shaped like the Bible)-we did rectangles

Open my mouth so I can tell others You're near
(cut the mouth in the shape of a fish)

Let Your light shine in all I say and do! Amen.
(Place a candle inside and light it)

I could not have been more proud of my sweet boys for putting a Biblical spin on a holiday based from paganism. This year Ethan dressed as a Knight, Bryce dressed as a fireman and Maggie was a flower. They were adorable.

Anniversary: This year Joe and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. I cannot believe 10 years have come so quickly. And what an amazing ten years it has been. Joe and I married just a few months after I graduated from highschool so my wedding dress was very small. So to make a long story short, after 2 pregnancies and working my booty off getting weight off, I was able to fit into my dress. I was only able to get it zipped half way but to be tactful, it wasn't because of my weight.

Joe and I were able to celebrate our anniversary with another couple that we've become pretty close with. Their anniversary is November 30th so they were able to celebrate at the same time. For our anniversary, we were given a weekend to the mountains. We stayed at a gorgeous cabin. We were told once we got to the top of the driveway NOT to stop and to punch it. was cold and damp. I was driving. We were going up and up and up this hill and we reached the top when we got stuck! Tires were spinning and gravel was flying. I was so nervous. Our friend Shanna gets car sick very easily so she got out to prevent that from happening and her husband Jason got out to help me figure out the best way to go. My car ended up at the bottom of the hill with the help of Joe guiding Jason down the weavy entrance. We definitly got our workouts in walking up and down the hill. It made for some pretty good comic relief. We pretty much stayed at the cabin the whole time. We bought groceries and played games. It was nice to get away and relax with friends.

Thanksgiving: Quite possibly my favorite holiday. I love getting together as a big family. Joe's family is HUGE. I will never forget the first time I joined the Wilburn clan for Thanksgiving. He has so many aunts and uncles and then you add cousins/2nd cousins/3rd cousins, etc. It's ridiculous how big his family is. Usually Joe will deep fry a cajun turkey but this year I baked a cajun turkey. It was really good and looked good too. I was pretty proud of myself. I'm not exactly Betty Crocker but I try. I was really hoping to be in a new home this year but I know that God's got it out there and He's just waiting for the perfect time to give it to us.

So, now we're approaching Christmas. I hope that each of you have a wonderful Christmas and I hope that you all remember why we celebrate it. Merry Christmas to all of you!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

House update

Well after 3 offers on the house that Joe and I both thought to be our future home, they finally came back to inform us that someone else had outbid us. The house that I already had decorated and could see Thanksgiving at was going to another family. I wished I could say that I was ok with it because this is ultimately what we had been praying for (God to slam doors) but I wasn't. I was truly bummed. My hopes were up and I had convinced myself that this was our future home. I saw our kids playing in the backyard and in the basement as teenagers. Now, I can finally say that I am at peace and I KNOW that God has a plan for us. We're still on the house hunt so if any of you know of a house (preferably in Jonesboro and in the Walt Stephens Rd./Jodeco Rd. area) let us know.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Prayer Requests

There is so much power through prayer. Someone once told me to pray outloud. Satan cannot hear us unless we literally speak outloud (just goes to show you how much more powerful our God is.) When we pray outloud Satan gets to hear our conversation with God which makes him weak. I loved that.

A few weeks ago I posted about my asthma acting up. Let me first say that I am not a hypochondriac. I LOVE being healthy and I DO NOT want to have medical problems but I will not lie, having the Factor V Leiden (blood clotting condition) scares the mess out of me. Maybe it's because I've had a clot and understand the severeity that they can cause. Now that you get my picture, I was afraid that it wasn't my asthma acting up and maybe it was a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs.) So I googled (big mistake) to see what the symptoms of a PE were.

Go figure, the symptoms were exactly what I had. Here I am at 1:00AM, crying because I was scared (I had a moment of weakness, sorry! Hehe!) that I had a clot in my lungs. I woke Joe up and told him, which he responds with, "have you given it to God?"

Nope. I hadn't. So, we prayed together outloud and went to sleep. Joe did offer to take me to the ER but we both knew it wasn't necessary.

The next morning I made an appointment with my hematologist and to make a long story short...NO CLOT! They did find some scar tissue on my right lung which the doctor suggested it could have been from a prior clot or it could have always been there. It's actually quite common for people to have scar tissue without any knowledge or any reason as to why. But what they did find was nodules on my thyroid.

They did blood work to check my thyroid when I was diagnosed as being depressed and all was fine.

So, I am asking for a couple of prayer requests. One being for me personally. I always need prayer, but specifically about my thyroid and whatever these nodules may be. I am going for an ultrasound this Thursday and then I will follow up with my PCP. This could be what is causing some of the tightness in my chest. Especially if the nodules are pressing down on my wind pipe.

The other prayer requests I have is for my family. We have officially outgrown our house. We recently made an offer on a foreclosed home. After a week of waiting, they gave us a counter offer. They didn't budge on the asking price but did agree to all of our other requests. We made another counter offer and are once again waiting for the banks response. We are just asking that if this is not the house that God wants for our family that he will slam the doors shut leaving us without any doubt but that if this is His will for us that this be a smooth process.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Empty space

This past January I had a doctor tell me something that I would have never imagined hearing and I've heard a good bit. After listening to me, making me take several blood tests and other tests he diagnosed me as borderline severely depressed. Apparantly there are 3 stages, mild, moderate and severe. Each stage is through a certain number. For example high moderate depression ends at 69 where severe depression begins at 70. I was that 69! I was one of those people that thought depression was all in your mind but it's not. I was a miserable person. I can remember crying to Joe and telling him that I didn't know who I was anymore. I even remember the moment that I wanted to die. I was that unhappy. I didn't have a reason. I have always been the person that never believed in suicide or wanting to die before your time. It's so hard to describe but I never believed I would have a doctor, one of which is a Christian man that doesn't believe in treating depression with medicine but with prayer, looked at me and said he was going to prescribe me a pill to help me "overcome" MY depression. Still the hardest thing to do was to come home and tell my husband what just took place.

I sat on our bed and as he held me in his arms I cried and I cried. I didn't want to get the prescription filled but did so anyway because I was scared of things getting worse. I made the "executive" decision that I was going to try something else. Joe and I prayed together for God's strength and comfort during the next few months and also for the will for me to lose weight.

So, we didn't have the "extra" money for me to spend going to weekly Weight Watcher meetings and I had pretty good success with WW and with also doing the South Beach diet so I came up with my own plan. I ate somewhat what I "wanted" and a little extra things here and there but I ate until I was comfortable and tried to never get "full." Then at the annual CFA seminar I signed up for personal attention from a nutritionist and a personal trainer. They put me on a new plan that included a workout routine and meal plan. Before I was focusing on weight loss and now I have learned to focus on staying fit and healthy. Which I need to be doing anyways. Because of my blood clotting condition I have to keep weight off so I don't have an extra percentage of developing a blood clot.

Well with the cold weather quickly approaching I literally got to go through my closet and completely clean it out. Leaving me with NOTHING to wear. I refuse to keep those clothes because I refuse to ever be the size I was again. So, Joe took me for a mini shopping spree. I am so excited to be my new size. I am a size away from being the same size I was right before Joe and I got married. I would love nothing more than to put on my wedding dress for our 10th anniversary in a little over a month.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mi familia

When we went on our trip to the Dominican we promised each other that we would get together every so often to play games. We played cards each night in the DR. We would play garthapotamus, Bull and spoons.

This past Friday we got together for our "familia night." We call it that most in part because at the camp in the DR, the children would constantly ask if the younger girls were our children. Ours meaning mine and Joe's and the other married couple, Jason and Shanna. So, since we were the "adults" of the trip, they became our daughters! Shanna adopted Claire. Claire is 16. Joe and I adopted Raegan who is 22. Yes, that would have meant that I had a baby at 6! Joe and Shanna became brother and sister (which I will discuss in a minute). Anyways, silly or not, we call it that and we enjoy it.

Well we played the games we played in the DR and we played a little Nert's (which Shanna and I KILLED the men at!) We had such a good time. We love being with our "children" and spending time with each other.

So, like I said. Joe and Shanna are brother and sister. Seriously, this could so be true! I don't think I have EVER seen so much in common between a female friend and my husband. They talk sports (especially baseball. Shanna is a pro at softball) and even some of the things they do is so in sync. We have truly enjoyed getting to know Jason and Shanna. They actually have twins as well. In fact, they are backwards compared to us. They have an almost 6 year old little girl and 1 year old twin boys. I love seeing them all together. It reminds me so much of my family and it reminds me of the boys younger days.

The DR has forever changed us and I'm so thankful it did!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

They'll say anything and give you anything

So a few days ago I blogged about my experience and purposefully left out the name of the hospital. Most in part because I'm sure there are some good doctors there and because I have a few friends that work as nurses there. They do not work in the ER but still, out of respect I didn't say anything. Well...yesterday I went back to the doctor. This time, to McIntosh Trail Family Practice which is my primary care practice. I told the doctor about my experience in the ER and he shook his head. You know the kind of head shake, the one where he is in disbelief. Well, anyways. To make a long story short the ER said I was having an anxiety attack sent me home with nerve pills and vicodin for chest pain. This doctor said that you could clearly hear that I am struggling to bring in oxygen. All though my oxygen level is in the normal range my lungs and surrounding muscles are working twice as hard to make it that way and had the ER doctor listened to my lungs he would have noticed this right away. So, to make a long story short, I was having an asthma attack and wouldn't be in as much pain as I am now if the ER doctor would have paid a little more attention.

This isn't the first time our family has had a misdiagnosis with Southern Regional Medical Center! The first time was in 2005 where because of the doctors misdiagnosis, Ethan could have lost his little life. Ethan had a severe case of the roto virus and the ER doctor at Southern Regional said he had a urinary tract infection. He gave Ethan a double dose of antibiotics and sent him home with the same meds. Ethan was so dehydrated he couldn't even keep his head up and they didn't do anything about it. Instead, the antibiotic they gave to my son caused him to have diarrhea which made him more dehydrated. We ended up having a 3 night stay at Egleston. They doctors told us if we had waited just a couple more hours, Ethan might not have made it. When I called to complain I had to wait a month to hear something back from SRMC. The doctor was terminated but they would not refund me our co-pay. They did, however, tell me that I had a case to sue the doctor for negligence.

After these experiences, I'm really wondering where they get their doctors from. One would think they would have doctors in the ER that actually cared. So, needless to say, I would not ever recommend anyone to go to Southern Regional's ER. Next time, I'll take the advise of my friends and go to Fayette.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

On cue

Right before Maggie's first birthday I was getting ready to give her a bath. Just playing around I sat her on the toilet and said "go poo poo!" Little to my surprise, she began grunting. I called Joe up to see and she did it again. I then called my mother in law up to see and she did it again. On cue every time I said "go poo poo!"

I did it for a few nights. I personally think she's a little too young to be potty trained. As much as I would like for her to be out of diapers, she is our last child and I want to cherish every "baby" moment with her.

Well this past Sunday after church we were eating at a Mexican restaurant. Maggie decided it was the perfect time to go "poo poo" which she did for about 5 minutes. Thinking she was finally finished I took her to the bathroom to change her. We realized that we were on our last diaper.

When I took off her diaper she had VERY little there and I knew she wasn't finished. We were not going home immediately after lunch so she had to finish. I didn't want to put a soiled diaper back on my daughter so...I put her on the toilet. And yes, I did use a seat cover for her :). I tell her the magic words "go poo poo" and she did! When she was finished she shook her head no. I was so excited and couldn't wait to tell someone. Thankfully we saw some church friends eating at the same place and we were able to tell them.

Like I've said, we've just been playing around with the whole potty thing so we went a few more days until yesterday. Maggie was eating lunch (there must be something about lunchtime) and she began the process. I asked her if she wanted to go to the potty and she got excited. She held her little arms up for me to pick her up. So off to the bathroom we go. I say the magic words and again...she goes! Once she was finished she shook her head no.

I think once she finally decides to walk I am really going to focus on potty training her. She knows what she's doing she just doesn't know how to express it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What a night

A little over 12 years ago I was diagnosed with asthma. It usually acts up when I'm exerting myself too much or because of the different seasons. Before yesterday I've only had 2 severe attacks. Once going into my junior year of high school and the other a few months ago where I ended up at Henry Medicals urgent care center. My oxygen level was in the low 90's, my BP was elevated and my heart rate was abnormal. They gave me a steroid shot and monitored me for a little while. You noticed I put the words "before yesterday." So, yes I had another attack yesterday. I had gotten worked up and couldn't get a grip on my breathing. I took my inhaler but it was too late. Since I'm not a pro at asthma attacks I began panicking. We ended up going to the ER.

When we got to the ER we had to wait to sign in. The nurses were looking at me and standing there. Some were actually working. I signed in and Joe told them I was having a panic attack instead of an asthma attack. They brought me on in to get my vitals. My BP was elevated, my heart rate was abnormal but my oxygen level was at 100% of course it was on 100% before they put the monitor on my finger and even after they took it off :/ so I don't know if their machine was messed up or what. Considering the rest of my visit it wouldn't surprise me if this was a standard number to "help" patients.

Anyways, a male "nurse" (I use that word loosely) and told me I needed to control my breathing. Ha! That was the reason I was there! Are you kidding me? He kept getting rude with me telling me to stop breathing so hard. Finally another nurse came in and told me to breath in a brown paper bag. She said to focus on the breathing. When she walked away the other nurse told me I was doing it wrong. The other nurse came back and told me not to listen to the man. She calmed me down and helped me focus on my breathing. She wanted to get an EKG because of my heart rate and because I was having chest pains.

To hurry to my point I got the test done and went out to the waiting room. As Joe and I was sitting in there we were so disgusted. This place was truly the nastiest place I had ever seen! There was trash all over the place. The walls were full of filth and the stench was almost unbearable. There were crumbs and liquids all over the floors. Now I'm the person that is usually disgusted by going into ER's because of the people and why they're there in the first place but never because I was afraid to sit in a chair.

As Joe and I are sitting down, another male nurse tells us that we might want to move because 2 chairs down someone had spilled some kind of liquid. His words to us were "y'all might wanna come sit over here. That spill is not something you want to have a part of. I'ma get somebody to clean that up." So this lady comes out with gloves and a towel. She throws the towel onto the ground and uses her shoes to clean up this spill. Then picks up the towel and heads back to the back where they're taking other people's vitals. ??? If this spill was so serious to the point of us having to move, why on earth did they not get a mop and bucket??

So we wait and we wait and we wait! I completely understand that this is an emergency room. Sadly, we witnessed someone lose a family member. I get the wait. I understand the wait. Yes it's annoying but it is what it is. They finally call back a large group. I believe there was about 5 of us. As we all walked like a heard of cows to the back she tells me to go into the first room. Then tells the second person to go into the first room. WHAT?! I have to share a room?!? Are you kidding me? I have sat out in this nasty place with screaming kids, having difficulty breathing, my chest (and now back) is killing me and now you're putting me in a room with another patient?

The doctor comes in. His "white" coat is more of a stained tan look. It must have been reddish/brown polka dots on it as well because I refuse to believe it was blood stains! I'm not trying to be rude or ugly as I describe this man to you but I want you to understand my thoughts...his clothes were about 2 sizes too big, wrinkled and un-tucked. I have never had a doctor like this before. This man had a very dirty appearance about him. He begins with the questions. The first? How are you? Ha! Why do they ask that? I mean come on! If I was good would I be here? OK then! Then he asks about my medical history. Now I have no idea about this but what is the patient confidentiality stuff all about? The paperwork I have to sign every time I see a doctor or my kids see a doctor? The ones that state they are not allowed to discuss medical history with or in front of anyone. (side explanation: One of my false alarms with Maggie, the nurse would not allow Joe to come in the same room with me because she said I could sue her for breaching my privacy and she wasn't putting herself in that position. This might have been the only time I've ever gotten rude with someone in the medical field. She said that the new HIPPA or HIPAA laws said that my medical history is mine and mine alone. ??? I don't know) I kept looking at Joe. The doctor looks at me and asks me why I'm worried? What I was afraid of. I told him I wasn't worried or afraid but uncomfortable discussing my history with other patients in the room. Speaking of other patients in the was a woman with her little boy. Every other word out of her mouth was a cuss word. F this and BS that. She belittled the baby's father to the little boy. She made a scene with the nurses and cussed them. She even made the comment that she was sorry for being ghetto but she had **** things to do. Sorry, back to the story.

The doctor says he was sorry but there's nothing else he could do. So, what choice do I have? I've waited, I'm hurting and I need answers. I told him about my factor V Leiden and he (the doctor) asks me what that is. Huh? So, he calls for an x-ray. By this time, my breathing was normal again but my pain in my chest and back had increased pretty bad. The X-ray lady came in. Again, I had to share an x-ray room with ANOTHER patient. Oh forgot. On the way there, I'm wheeled past someone being guarded by a security guard who is telling them they cannot run into patients room because it was a a violation of the patients privacy. Ha! So I get into this room and have to change...where? There wasn't a place and I was in the room with another man. Uh, I don't think so. Again, feeling like I had no choice, I went into a back corner and well...whatever. I had to put my chin on the machine and again...the smell! The lady didn't bother to clean it. My chin had to go on to this thing that smelled like a dog that hasn't had a bath in years. And no, I'm not exaggerating.

To finish up this horrible night the doctor came in. You're fine! All your tests look good. I'm going to give you something to calm your nerves, something for your pain and more inhalers. Now I have a pretty high pain tolerance. I developed that after having the boys naturally. My pain was pain but I wasn't screaming about it. The doctor ended up giving me vicodin and a nerve pill. Something to ease my pain and something to calm my nerves. No explanation of what was going on, just some paper work and prescriptions. He gave me VICODIN! I am upset! Why? Because I didn't go in because of pain. I went in for breathing but after waiting 4 hours my breathing became normal. I get the nerve pill because I was panicking and needed to calm down but VICODIN? Yes my chest was hurting but could it have been due to the difficulty breathing? It just amazes me. I have seen and been to so many doctors that are quick to prescribe you a pain pill to "make you happy."

Needless to say I will never return to this particular hospital. I was literally more afraid of catching something from the wall, floors, toilets, toilet paper, water, soap, pens, chairs, etc. than I was from another patient. The doctor was terrible. I mean he was a nice man. But he never told me what was going on. He didn't even say, it could have been an anxiety attack or abnormal chest pain that wasn't heart related. He simply gave me prescriptions and sent me on my way. The smell of every room in the ER was terrible. So, to all my medical field friends, is this common? Is this what we should all expect from our ER's? Has anyone ever had an experience like this? What did you do? I want to make a complaint but because I hate confrontation, am weary of doing so.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Princess turns 1!

It seems like just yesterday we were making our way to DeKalb Medical. It's definitely hard to believe that our sweet Maggie has been a physical part of our lives for over a year now. I still remember her first cry and how so special it was to have just our party of 5 enjoy a family moment with her until the others came in. What a special day that was.

Maggie is doing so many things these days. She crawls around everywhere. She's slowly gaining the courage to let go and just stand there. She loves to "walk" around holding on to at least one finger from someone else. Or she likes to walk from one person to another within a few feet from each other. I'm not sure the word walk is accurate considering she takes maybe 2 steps and lunges forward.

She loves people. She says "hey" to just about everyone she sees. I think she's going to be smart like her brothers. She learns so quickly. Just today I did the "shhhh" with my finger at my lips and she copied exactly what I did. She will hold up her first little finger as if saying "1" when you ask her how old she is. She can point to her eyes, nose and ears when asked and she knows who everyone is. We will ask her "where's Bryce or where's Ethan" and she looks right at them and points.

Its been so different having just one baby this time. There's so many things that keep coming back to me from when the boys were that little. I still cannot believe we did it with two at once.

So, we had Maggie's party. Her birthday (8/17) was on a Tuesday and we did it the following Saturday. We did bright pink, green, purple and yellow colors. There were balloons everywhere. An amazing woman from our church, that was also Maggie's first Sunday school teacher) made her birthday cake and smash cake. It might of been the most beautiful AND delicious cake ever (and I'm a picky cake person!) We had a full house of family (and friends but they're so awesome they're considered family!) We took a few pictures but we didn't get any picture of the guests. Go figure!

We also celebrated her birthday on her actual birthday. Joe took the day off and we went to La Parilla for lunch. Maggie had her first cheese quesadilla and she ate every bite! Then for dinner we went to Olive Garden and Maggie had her first fettuccine Alfredo and garlic bread, which she also loved. We bought her an over sized cupcake and let her dig into that. She liked the cupcake OK. I noticed at her party she was the same way with her cake. I don't think she cares too much for the icing. That will make her daddy happy. He doesn't like icing either. We just enjoyed that week of celebrating our little girl.

Maggie definitely completes our family. Unless God chooses otherwise, we are finished with our baby making factory.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Never be the same

This summer has been quite a busy one! The boys went on many trips with their Grandparents and Joe and I got to go on our first Missions trip to the Dominican Republic.

It's amazing to see how God works but I really love seeing it when it is happening. That's what happened with this Missions Trip.

A few months ago, our children's minister put on his facebook status that he was looking for people that wanted to go on a Missions Trip to the Dominican. Of course, I was very interested but Joe was skeptical. As time passed we still were undecided about going. During the week of VBS, our friend Patti came up and asked me if Joe and I were going on the trip. She said that her daughter was probably going to go and wanted us to make sure she would be OK. Not that she isn't capable of doing so (she's an extraordinary girl) but because she's 16 and going off to another country. Then the same day, our children's minister came to me and said the airlines dropped the ticket prices $200. So, we booked the trip.

We arrived in Santo Domingo. We had a local Pastor waiting for us to take us to our Taxi. We went to our hotel to check in and I think we all thought the hotel was OK, nothing to brag about. We went sight seeing and then back to the hotel. Joe and I were terrified to brush our teeth with the running water so we kept a bottle of water in the bathroom.

The next morning we headed about 2 hours north to camp. We were going to a VBS type Christian camp to help with about 400 children from ages 5-16. I was not expecting to live the way we did for the next few days. It was so hot and so humid. The room we were in had a portable fan and that was all the air we had. The running water was cold and more of a drip than running, and the thought of washing my hands made me nervous. There were bugs, spiders and lizards everywhere. The shower water would come and go as it needed. We had to keep Off bug spray on us 24/7. If you know me, you know that this is a far stretch for me. I'm not the outdoorsy type much less the camping type. The first day at camp was one of the longest days of my life. I didn't know how we were going to survive 4 days living this way. That is until after dinner that first night. A little girl came up to me and grabbed my hand. I looked down at this beautiful little girl (about the same size as my boys) and said "hola." She spoke hardly any English and I speak little Spanish but I was able to learn her name and that she is 7 years old. She followed me to our room where we met the rest of the people in our group (there was 6 of us!) The little girl (Marie) showed me so much. She trusted me. She didn't know me and she came up to me, took my hand and followed me. The first night went a little quicker than the day.

The next day, many of the children were coming to our group. Throughout our time there we led praise time, we led an entire worship time (with a translator of course), we presented cardboard testimonies translated in Spanish and we prayed with the older kids. We helped with crafts and played sports. We sat talking to the kids, teaching them English while they taught us Spanish. The time flew by. We had such a great time with the Dominican children and Joe and I had a great time with our new friends or family which we now call them.

This trip has forever changed me. I realized what a spoiled American I am. I have so much to be thankful for and all though I am, it wasn't enough. The people in the DR have so little material wise. Their houses are as big as a shed. For most, camp is the only time they even get to look at a pool. But they're happy. The love of Jesus is more than enough for them. They didn't complain they praised. That first day, we all complained and we didn't realize it until our attitudes had changed. I am so thankful God showed me how He blesses me each day. I have forever been changed. I've learned that material things are just that...material! Life is about relationships, especially with Jesus.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Absolutely Pooped!!!

Yesterday started out in it's normal chaos. Procrastinating to get out of bed and get ready for church started it, as it normally does. We walked out of the door all with little attitudes. We apologized and everything was great from there. Typical Sunday morning...Satan tries everything he can think of to prevent us from going to church.

After church we came home, let Maggie take a nap and the boys go down to Joe's mom and dad's. After Maggie's nap, we went to Tanger Outlet. Shopped for just a few minutes then went to Babies R Us to buy Maggie's big girl nap. I have been quite excited about getting her this seat for quite sometime. Maybe it's because I did so much research on the "best" seat or maybe because it's a cow print. The lady at the checkout register said "that is the Lexus or Mercedes of car seats" so I was even more excited. We paid and came home. I got the seat out and begin looking it over making sure I knew how to operate it. Joe and I went out to the Pilot (yes! We traded in the van and got another black pilot, except this one is much better :) ) Here we are, in the hot hot sun trying to install this seat. I promise this is not the first convertible car seat I've ever installed but if you would have seen us, you would have thought differently. So, like I said, here we are in the HOT sun, getting extremely aggravated that we cannot figure this seat out. We get an attitude with each other and become quite snappy. Yes, it came with instructions but like I said...this isn't my first rodeo (I know, not an excuse.) FINALLY! We got it, duh...the instructions work! We got the kids and gathered in the pilot. Wait! Maggie's belt buckle was too far back! I told Joe I would just stay at home and he said, "it will be fine just to grab a bite to eat." So we did.

We got our food and got back in the Pilot. Joe made the comment about smelling poop. He asked if Maggie pooped and Bryce said that he had passed gas. So, we're heading home. I was riding in the middle with Mags when I look over at her and see that the bottle that she's playing with right next to her mouth. I grabbed the bottle and realized it was POOP! We made it home. Getting aggravated once again, thinking that we just spent a good bit of money on this "Lexus" car seat and Maggie has had a blowout in it. Of course, I didn't realize just how bad it was. I went to unlock the buckle when I see this big brown blob. EEEEK! Poop was EVERYWHERE! All over Maggie, all over her seat. I got her out, holding her at arms length. Joe is trying to get the boys and my niece Taylor inside, carrying all the food and turning off our home alarm. He came back to help me and just as I passed Maggie to him we hear PLOP! We look down and poop is falling onto our carport. So, I tell Joe to take Maggie straight to the bathtub. I needed to clean the carport off (flies are SO NASTY! They came right over!) so the poop wouldn't dry and needed to clean the seat off so it wouldn't dry on there. I got it all cleaned and went up to tend to Maggie. I walk in to the bathroom, where my niece and the boys were now watching Maggie and began choking. My boys had sprayed so much of our home fragrance spray from Bath and Body Works that I couldn't breath and it was all over the floor making it slippery to walk. I got the windows opened and the fans going. Now when I asked Joe to take Maggie to the bath I told him that it would be fine to keep her in her clothes. I was assuming that he would go ahead and run some water to make it easier for me. There is a reason we are not to assume. Maggie is in a dry tub, poop is all over the tub and she is crying. I get the poop off of her, let Joe take her in his lap and get the Clorox out to clean the tub. I get the tub cleaned and I'm running super hot water to make sure all the bleach is out and then run bath water to actually bathe Maggie. Joe says "I'm glad I put a pair of shorts underneath her since she doesn't have a diaper oooooon." Then I see him grabbed Maggie up and move her over as if she was....yep...peeing, and all over Joe and my bathroom rug. At this point the aggravation is at an all time high. All we could do was laugh. If you could only imagine what we went through in less than 2 hours.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pay attention to now

Joe and I were watching videos of the boys when they were little. Oh how cute they were (and still are!) But we noticed something, all though they have changed physically and mentally...they are still the same. When Bryce was little he was anal about everything. Everything belonged somewhere and if it wasn't in it's place he would get all bent out of shape over it. He also loved playing with the broom. This sweet little one year old would try his very best to sweet our kitchen. When the broom fell, he would try desperately to pick it back up. It usually got caught in between his legs. And Ethan, he LOVED to fight. We would ask him "ya wanna fight?" and he would ball his little fists up and come over and to start fighting. There was one part of the home video where Joe was playing in the floor with the boys and they were "fighting." Ethan jumped on top of Joe, took his little hand, hit the floor saying "1, 2, 3...ding ding ding." I won, I won! If only we would have took a second to pay attention to what they were doing then we would have been able to see what they're doing now. Bryce still loves to clean. He will make his bed without being told, vacuum his room and help me. He loves doing the dishes, dusting, cleaning the cars, etc. He just doesn't like cleaning his own room. Ethan still loves to fight. He recently earned his gold belt in karate. This is his 3rd belt (white, white/gold, gold.) He wants to earn his black belt so bad. It was so sweet watching them on the video. It reminded me of so many things. It's hard to believe that my boys will be graduating kindergarten next week and in less than 3 months my little girl will be 1. Time flies. I am trying to cherish every moment I have with my children.

Monday, May 10, 2010

50? Hmmm....Now what??

For my 50th blog I decided to follow a friends idea.

Here are 25 things you might not know about me...
1. I am shy! I know I can talk to anyone but you have NO IDEA how many times I tell myself "you can do it!" Once that happens the shyness wears off.
2. I am scared of the dark but I LOVE to be in it as long as someone else is with me.
3. I am terrified of being all alone (especially at night time.)
4. I would rather hear sounds than pure silence, which is why I sleep with a fan at night.
5. If I have a story to share and I know in advance, I will practice it out loud over and over again to make sure I include every fact that I find interesting.
6. I tell the longest stories and I don't mean to. I just like to talk.
7. I am insecure.
8. I have the WORST memory! I NEVER intentionally forget something, it just happens!
9. I can look at you in the eye as you're talking but have the hardest time having eye to eye contact when it's me doing the talking (goes back to my insecurity)
10. I learn from my own mistakes and not from self help books or someone elses mistakes.
11. I purchased my wedding dress before I purchased my senior prom dress.
12. I do not know how to swim underwater without holding my nose.
13. I love organization, so much so that my DVDs are alphabetized and my clothes are categorized by colors in the Rainbow pattern!
14. As much as I love organization, I HATE cleaning! I wished we had a maid!
15. When I get nervous, I tug on my ears.
16. I am not good at keeping a conversation going and I sit and think about what to say.
17. I am not good at apologies. I feel like I can never make up for what I did.
18. I shave my arms! I do not like hair on my body!
19. I am a natural blond, especially before kids!
20. I wear kid shoes! Seriously! All of my tennis shoes are a size 3-3 1/2. I can wear a 5 1/2 in women's heels.
21. When I was little, I did not like my name so if I met a new person I would tell them that my name was either Monica or Tracy. By the way, I like my name now.
22. I've had 3 different last names!
23. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a boy! All of my friends were boys so I didn't really know better. I even tried to potty like the boys. Now, I'm a high maintenance diva.
24. I cannot donate blood. I nearly died giving birth to our twins so they gave me a blood transfusion. Because of the transfusion and a blood clotting condition, I cannot give. So, side note: Please donate blood. It might just save someones life!
25. I hate confrontation. I want everyone to be happy and I struggle when they're not.

25 things I've come to know about myself:
1. The more I learn about Jesus, the more I learn about myself.
2. It's ok to admit you've made a mistake. People are more forgiving than I realized.
3. Loving Jesus more allows me to love others more.
4. I am a better person because of my husband.
5. I am a stronger person because of my children.
6. Believing in something that isn't true is still a lie, no matter how I word it.
7. I can be 100% of myself around the people that care.
8. Some people will never like me no matter how much I want them to.
9. If I put my mind to it, I can accomplish it.
10. I will not stop trying no matter how many times of saying "I'm tired of putting forth the effort."
11. My sins do follow me and will continue to follow me until I confess and repent.
12. I am addicted to NKOTB so much that you can almost call it an obsession.
13. I focus too much on weight loss and not enough on being fit and healthy.
14. I am getting older...I'm not 18 anymore!
15. I must get at least 8 hours of sleep or I'm not exactly myself.
16. Coffee IS awesome! Told you I was getting older!
17. I am not alone with my feelings.
18. I read into things too much.
19. I CAN ask for help. They offered because they wanted to, not just because they knew I would say no.
20. Breakfast does make me feel better throughout the day.
21. I am a minority! Joe and I married when I was 19 and he was 20. According to statistics, we should be divorced, remarried going through another divorce OR living the stereotypical single life. Instead, we will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. I can honestly say I love him more now than I did then!
22. I do like getting flowers and small gifts. I never thought they really mattered but now I think it's just a nice way of saying I was thought about. (not meaning to sound shallow...and not talking about elaborate gifts. I used to think and say to Joe that they were pointless....see I feel like I have to explain now.)
23. Constantly saying the word "like" annoys me. "And, like, I, like, totally, like, do not like, like it when, like, people, like, do this. Like, you, like know what I, like, mean?
24. I am a rule follower (does this make me lame?)
25. When I stop and listen, I can hear so much.

Wow! This was really hard for me. I do not like talking about myself. I can talk about my husband, kids, friends or pretty much anything much better than I can talk about myself. Well...THAT'S ALL FOLKS!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Friday for Mom's

What a sweet day today has been. The boys school had a Mother's Day luncheon for all the mommy's of Kindergartners today. We waited until they allowed us to go down to the classrooms and then got to go in. The boys teacher, Mrs. Lavinka, had the room decorated so nice. She had a "big" chair for the moms and the children's little chairs for them. When we arrived to the classroom the kids were out playing while Mrs. Lavinka shared with us some ideas and a story. As I sat and listened to the story I tried to think of something else because I could feel the tears building up in my eyes. I didn't want to cry but I couldn't hold it any longer. As I looked around the room, I quickly noticed I wasn't the only mom trying to hold back tears and failing miserably. So, because this story is not only very sweet but it is so true. Here is the story:

A young mother writes: "I know you've written before about the empty-nest syndrome, that lonely period after the children are grown and gone. Right now I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry and muddy boots. The baby is teething; the boys are fighting. My husband just called and said to eat without him, and I fell off my diet. Lay it on me again, will you?"

OK. One of these days, you'll shout, "Why don't you kids grow up and act your age!" And they will. Or, "You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do . . . and don't slam the door!" And they won't.

You'll straighten up the boys' bedroom neat and tidy: bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked and smooth, toys displayed on the shelves. Hangers in the closet. Animals caged. And you'll say out loud, "Now I want it to stay this way." And it will.

You'll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn't been picked to death and a cake with no finger traces in the icing, and you'll say, "Now, there's a meal for company." And you'll eat it alone.

You'll say, "I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around. No demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear?" And you'll have it.

No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti. No more bedspreads to protect the sofa from damp bottoms. No more gates to stumble over at the top of the basement steps. No more clothespins under the sofa. No more playpens to arrange a room around.

No more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent. No more sand on the sheets or Popeye movies in the bathroom. No more iron-on patches, rubber bands for ponytails, tight boots or wet knotted shoestrings.

Imagine. A lipstick with a point on it. No baby-sitter for New Year's Eve. Washing only once a week. Seeing a steak that isn't ground. Having your teeth cleaned without a baby on your lap.

No PTA meetings. No car pools. No blaring radios. No one washing her hair at 11 o'clock at night. Having your own roll of Scotch tape.

Think about it. No more Christmas presents out of toothpicks and library paste. No more sloppy oatmeal kisses. No more tooth fairy. No giggles in the dark. No knees to heal, no responsibility.

Only a voice crying, "Why don't you grow up?" and the silence echoing, "I did."

Erma Bombeck

I find myself crying just as I write the story. I get compliments all the time about how well mannered and well behaved my boys are and what a sweet baby Maggie is, but I am the first one to get on to them when they slip up and forget to do something. I have to stop and remember that my boys are a gift from God. They are not good children because I made them that way, they are good children because of God. I should not take the praise when someone compliments me but, give the praise to God. He deserves the glory! After all, I didn't make myself a mom. He allowed me to become one. He has guided me and shown me, even if it did mean learning from my own mistakes at times. I am so thankful to celebrate my 6th Mother's Day this coming Sunday. I love my children so much.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Weighting Patiently

Huh? Weighting Patiently? That girl cannot spell! Hahaha! Oh but, yes, you get has to do about...weight! Several months ago I was getting ready to go out of the house. I was ready to face the day. My make-up was on and I was having a good hair day (those are few and far between sometimes!) I made my final stop to the mirror where I could double check to make sure I looked decent. To my surprise, there was another woman looking back at me. She was chubby. She had chipmunk cheeks, Fred Flinstone feet. Her clothes were just about too tight and she looked sad. I did not recognize her at all. Not until one of my boys came up and gave me a hug. That other woman was me. I have never struggled with weight. On my wedding day (in my dress!!) I weighed 104! I gained a few pounds after being married but never topped 115. Then of course, got pregnant, and reached a weight of over 240 pounds. Yes I was pregnant with twins but come on, lets be realistic. Both of my babies added up to 12 pounds! It wasn't all pregnancy weight. I joined weight watchers after them and hit a weight that I was comfortable with. Then, we decided to try for Maggie and quit WW. Now that Joe and I are both at peace with not having any more children, I decided to give my weight loss one more chance. I am so excited! I have worked my booty off! I am now at my "comfortable" WW weight and still losing! I have a healthy body mass index and I have more energy. I have more confidence and I feel like I smile all the time. I am so excited. My ultimate goal is to become addicted to exercising (because I still battle with that one!) and have a passion for staying fit and healthy (which, I'm pretty much there!) The hardest thing for me to learn is that pounds don't shed by themselves. You have to change and wait patiently to see the results. So, today, I am patting myself on the back. I want to be around for a long time. I want to see my grandchildren...ONE DAY!

Friday, April 16, 2010!

Life is becoming quite hectic in the Wilburn house. Ethan decided to take Martial Arts lessons. He's doing a great job too. When we first joined I seriously wondered if this was really for Ethan. Now, he's gone up two belts and has learned so much. he's really enjoying it. He wants to become part of their black belt club. A club that is committed to getting their black belts. All though, I am super excited that he's learning and having fun, you have to sign a 4 year contract. We're talking about a 4 year contract for a 6 year old. If he decides he's finished with karate, then what? We would pay for lessons for the remainder of our contract and I'm not prepared to take that leap of faith just yet. We already have to sign a year contract. We will pray and see where the Lord leads us.
Bryce didn't want to take karate. He wanted to take piano. So, a lady at our church, that is also at our church's preschool program, teaches piano to children. She's an incredible woman and has a true passion and gift for teaching young children to play the piano. She was also Bryce's 4 year old children's choir teacher last year. He's doing such a great job and has his first recital at our Spring music concert at our church. I'm so excited. He will be playing "Jesus loves Me." He's really excited about it too. I cannot believe how much they have grown this past year. Their personalities are so different. I am so thankful that God gave us twins. We were able to learn VERY early that every child is different. We learned not to compare our children with other people's children, or to each other. We learned that they learn differently and respond differently. I think God might have intended for us to learn so fast. Especially for me. As an only child (all though, I do have a half sister, but we never lived together and rarely saw each other) I really struggle with some of the things that my boys do, ESPECIALLY when they argue. I just did not get it. I'm better now but man! Just leave each other alone. However, I'm also so thankful. They have a built in best friend. They can play so well with each other when they want to and Ethan really depends a lot on Bryce when Joe or myself are not around.
And now Maggie Grace. She will be 8 months tomorrow. My, my, where has the time gone? I was thinking about this time last year and how miserable I was with the heat. Now, I look at that sweet face and just cant help but thank God for His love and His mercies. She has such a sweet personality. Her smile can light up a room. She does not have a single tooth and has been teething since about 3 months. Ethan and Bryce both had their first tooth at 4 months. She's not crawling yet but don't underestimate her. She will roll all over the room to get what she wants...well until she gets stuck under our coffee table in the living room. She loves to wave bye bye at everyone and everything. This morning when Joe walked into our room she just smiled and said "Hey, Dada, Byebye." Of course, she has no clue as to what she says. She does know who her dada is. We always say Hey to her and of course when we taught her to wave we did so by saying byebye. She's just so much fun and let me just is so much easier than two at once! However, adjusting to 3 children has been, well, difficult. I didn't think it would be any different but it really has been. I was talking with my friend Cindy. She and her husband Bubba have 6 children. She asked me how I was adjusting and I told her. I felt bad because she has double what I have but she lovingly said that 3 was by far the hardest number. She even said that most women that have more than 3 will agree. She was right. Everyone I know that has more than 3 has said that 3 was the hardest. Now, I don't feel quite so bad. It still doesn't make me want anymore though. It's too much. My body and pregnancy just does not agree. Unless God has other plans for our family, we have decided we are perfectly happy with our 3 crazy kids!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

God's been good!

Before you began reading today, please scroll down and pause my play list. Then come back and press play to start the youtube video. The video is just images and doesn't apply to my blog but the song fits perfectly!

As we were practicing this song last night in choir rehearsal it made me look back on my life and how God has blessed me. My life hasn't always been easy. Especially the first 8 years of my life. I really do not remember much about my early childhood. Not because it was my "early" childhood but because I blocked out so many memories. I had things happen to me as a child that no one should ever endure. The few memories that I have that are good, I cherish dearly but the other memories...well, let's just say that life's challenges can be tough. In 1991 my life took a turn. My mom married a wonderful man in March and in September I learned about Jesus. I had heard about him all of my life. I knew that my mom trusted Him, that my Nanny asked for Him to heal her sick body. I knew what prayer was and what heaven and hell are but I didn't know what it meant to have a relationship with our Lord. So, that year, I asked Jesus into my heart. It wasn't a moment of drastic change. As I grew older I refrained from getting into trouble. I was a good child with minor mishaps of course. I met what would be my future husband when I was 15 at the Forest Park Chick-fil-A Dwarf House. Joe and I began dating when I was 17. He asked me to marry him on Christmas day of 1999. On November 18, 2000 we became Mr. and Mrs. Early of 2001 I began experiencing some pretty serious stomach pains. I went to doctor visit after doctor visit. They gave me pain meds after pain meds. I hate taking medicine so...I didn't take the meds they gave me. Plus, the one time I did, it made me loopy! Finally I saw a doctor that looked me in the eyes and said she was very sorry but that I would never be able to have children. Not too much of an explanation. So I did what any woman would do and got a second opinion. That doctor too said the same words. So, I cried! Joe and I had been married less than 2 years at this point and two doctors said we would never have children. All I could think was the worst. They knew what they were talking about. They went to school for years. This is their speciality. So, we did what any other couple would do and got a THIRD opinion :) This time, the doctor said he thought it would be difficult but not impossible. So, after 4 months of tests and fertility drugs our hope was dwindling. Our doctor referred us to a fertility specialist. So, we went. I went back on fertility pills and we even did a procedure called intrauterine insemination. After about a month it was time to take the dreaded pregnancy test. I had two (and you know I planned on taking them both!). The first test came out a very faint positive. The next day, I took the second test and it came out negative. With mixed emotions I called the doctor. After more tests, I got a call. There was good news and potentially not so good news. I was, without a doubt, pregnant. However, whatever it is in my blood revealed that I was pregnant either, an egg that was fertilized with twice which would result in loss of the baby OR I was pregnant with multiples. I asked "like twins" and they said "more like a minimum of triplets, which in your case you might need to reconsider things." We made it to our first ultrasound. To our surprise it was twins! Phew! My expected due date was January 22, 2004. Now, Joe and I weren't active in our prayer life. We went to church on Sunday mornings and that was pretty much it. The rest of our life revolved more around us. We weren't bad people and we didn't do bad things, we just put our priorities first rather that God. I went through my pregnancy like any woman would...morning sickness, bloating, swelling, etc. I developed gestational diabetes which is more common in a multiples pregnancy. I had that under control. Then, on December 17, 2003 after a day of light shopping I noticed that my right leg was much more swollen than my left and my right foot was blue, cold and numb. I called my doctor right away and he told me to head to the hospital. When I got to the hospital they admitted me because of my blood pressure and they weren't yet certain what was going on with my foot. The next morning it was discovered that I had a blood clot in my upper thigh. It was 99% blocked and it was the kind of clot that can easily travel to your heart and lungs and instantly kill you. They put me on strict bed rest. Not even a visit to the porcelain bowl. They started me on a blood thinner called heparin. My blood pressure stayed pretty high and they said I was showing signs of toxemia. Joe stayed with me for as he could. Then on December 22, the night he decides to go home, my mother in law was staying with me until I feel asleep. The nurses were allowing me to have pain meds because I was having constant contractions and had been since they admitted me. I was going to play a trick on my MIL and tell her that my water broke when I got what felt like this huge gas bubble. I kept thinking to myself, if she doesn't hurry and leave I'm gonna get really embarrassed (come on now, you know how pregnant women are with flatulence!) Then all of a sudden I felt this odd pain that went away quickly but then a sensation like I had just wet myself. Sure enough, my water broke on it's on. They immediately stopped the heparin and wheeled me up to Labor and Delivery. Joe of course came rushing back. They gave me a shot of stadol to minimize the pain until I could have an epidural. I finally asked for the epidural and the anesthesiologist came in, flipped his papers and said I could not have an epidural. My blood platelets and hemoglobin count were dangerously low and there was a real possibility of bleeding to death. My blood pressure kept creeping higher and higher. I finally made it to 10 centimeters and was ready to push. They took me back to the operating room just in case they had to perform an emergency c-section. Here I am, pregnant for my first time, with twins, weighing OVER 240 pounds, no pain medicine anymore (and like anything can take away the pain of contractions!) I was so scared. On December 23, 2003 I gave birth to Ethan at 8:10AM and he weighed 4lbs. 10oz. and was 16" long. I gave birth to Bryce at 9:20AM and he weighed 5lbs. 13oz. and was 18" long. Both babies were taken to the NICU. Ethan for his weight and Bryce because he came out not breathing and because they were more than 4 weeks early. They got me together and took me to my room to recover. They started me back on the blood thinner. My blood pressure still would not go down. On December 24th I wanted to see my little boys. The nurse came in, helped me out of bed as Joe gathered my I.V pole full of bags and bags of medicines and fluids. As soon as I got in the wheelchair I felt a strange feeling. Something wasn't right. I told the nurse I didn't feel right so she took my blood pressure. My blood pressure had been staying around 200/100 but at this point it was 60/40. The next thing I remember is them throwing me back in the bed and taking my blood pressure over and over again. I knew that I was getting worse and we were getting word that our boys were not doing to great either. I didn't get to see my babies that day except in a picture that the hospital took for Joe to have and some that my father in law took. They posted them up on the wall for me to look at. By this time, Joe had to go back to work. He was still an assistant manager at Truett's Grill and they had just gotten a new operator. As supportive as he was and as understanding of our situation there was no way we could take him or Chick-fil-A for granted. Each night Joe left the hospital I would cry. I knew something was wrong and I was so afraid of never seeing him again. I was afraid I would never get the chance to hold my sweet babies. I was able to hold Ethan for a second but I wasn't able to hold Bryce. I thought about them never knowing me. I thought about Joe raising two boys on his own with the love and support from his family. Well... I got a visit from my doctor and he informed me to tell every doctor, dentist, surgeon, etc. that I am allergic to heparin, DEATHLY allergic to heparin. They took me off of that blood thinner and started me on another. On Christmas morning of 2003 I was feeling a tiny bit better. I was actually able to get up, take a shower and put on make up! We celebrated Christmas that morning in the anti-partum part of the DeKalb Medical hospital. Presents and all! But the best present that day was when they wheeled me and my IV pole full of medicines in to see the greatest Christmas gift ever. That morning, Joe and I both got to hold our little boys for the first time. The next day, my nurse came in and said that my platelets and hemoglobin were still dangerously low and they highly recommended a blood transfusion. I received 2 pints of blood. My blood pressure was almost back to normal and I was gaining strength. So were my boys. They were moved from the NICU to the special care nursery. I was released to go home on December 30 but my boys did not get to go with me. Thankfully, both of my boys got to come home on January 3, 2004. As we came home and settled in with our new little family we learned of about God's hands at work. It begins with my doctor. He was the doctor that was "on-call" the night my water broke but was scheduled for surgery the next morning at 8. But the patient called and CANCELLED her surgery that day!!! For those that have had children, you understand how comfortable you are with your own doctor. Especially since mine has his own private practice. Not too long before being admitted, I went to the hospital for a "false alarm" but found out that instead of being contractions, one of the boys turned from the breach position to head down. When they wheeled me into the operating room to deliver my boys, I had family members praying to God that never pray and I'm not even sure if they're believers. I believe that my doctor is Muslim and even he said that God was in that operating room that morning. My nurse that I had when my water broke ended her shift at 7 that morning and came to the OR room to be with me and help me just because. As I was pushing, I constantly thought of Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me!" The day I left the hospital I was informed that because of my blood clot I would have to be on the new blood thinner for the next 6 months and then a smaller dosage for the rest of my life. I was also told that I would have damage done to my veins and quite possibly have a light pain where the clot was. I was referred to a hematologist. I went every week and at my three month mark, she sent me for a full ultrasound, focusing primarily on my right leg. The ultrasound tech had this confused look upon his face. He looked at me and asked me my name again and asked why I was having this procedure done. I told him about the clot. He went and got another ultrasound tech. She had the same confused look. A few minutes passed and I received a call from the hematologist...they were unable to find any evidence of a past clot nor any evidence of any clot. My blood was normal. So, because of my age and the possibility that it was caused from my pregnancy, the hematologist took me off of my blood thinner. When the boys were 4 months old we had them dedicated at our church. We also rededicated our lives. We joined the church, joined a Sunday school class and chose to put God first and not ourselves. I feel like God gave me a second chance at life. He gives me second chances everyday but this was at life. I want to live it for Him. We decided last year to try for another child. We wanted it to be God's will. We didn't want to go through all the fertility that we did with the boys. We prayed and asked for His guidance. This past Christmas we were able to tell our parents that we were expecting our third child. Of course, Maggie Grace was born on August 17 and named after Joe's Grandmother. She too was dedicated to the Lord. My pregnancy with her was a breeze. It's amazing how wonderful life can truly be when you live it for the Lord. God's been good to me!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Reaching generations

Our church is undergoing some major renovations. We have already started the process with our sanctuary being first. The "old" sanctuary was a pinkish/rose color and the carpet was the original carpet that was laid over 20 years ago (with the exception of the duct tape that held wires down.) The pews were old and outdated and falling apart. All though it was a beautiful sanctuary it needed a face lift. They are extending the choir loft, taking away the hard pews and putting in individual, CUSHIONED seats with movable arms. Adding more room to walk through and more seats to sit at. We will still have the traditional pews for those that aren't willing to change. You could say our seating would resemble a theatre but the company that we're using only puts their seats in churches so, it's not technically theatre seating. Anyways...all of this is leading up to my point. Our Pastor invited the entire church family to come and write their favorite or life verse on the sanctuary cement floor before the lay down the carpet. So, as you see from my pictures (woo hoo, I remembered how to post pics) that's what we did. We allowed the boys to write their favorite scripture wherever they wanted. Ethan chose to write his on the choir loft stairs. His favorite scripture (at this stage in his little life) is John 3:16. He wrote it out word for word according to the NKJ version of the Bible. Bryce wanted to write out Psalm 23. And he did so, ALL OF IT! Bryce wanted to write his verse on the alter, which is where we wrote our family verse. We wanted to write our family verse on the alter because that's where we go to pray, that's where people are saved, that's where people re-dedicate their lives...basically that's where lives are changed. Our family verse is Joshua 24:15, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." I wrote my verse where I stand in the choir loft (well, where I think I stand, it could be a row off) and Joe wrote his verse at the stairs of the alter where we pray. It was such an amazing experience. Before we left, our Pastor came in and was walking around. The boys wanted to get their pictures taken with him and their verse. This was such a special day for our family as well as our church family. We are truly grateful to be a part of God's immaculate plan. Our sermon today was on Grace. Gods Riches At Christ's Expense! Oh how gracious our Savior is! This renovation is because of God's grace! Everything we have is because of God's grace, not because we worked hard to get it. Thank you God! Thank you for all you have blessed me with!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Humans and Cowboys

Kids say the darnedest things! We've all heard that before. And how true it is. Last night we were winding down and like each night we asked the boys to pray before bed. Bryce said his normal prayer (which is the God our Father song, adding his own special touch of "help us have a goodnight sleep, help us not have bad dreams" ) and then Ethan said his. We have really encouraged the boys to pray for specific things and not just a singing routine, which they have both done very well. However, last nights prayer from Ethan got a chuckle out of all of us. He said "Dear Jesus, thank you for this beautiful day and thank you for humans." We said amen and just smiled. I looked at Ethan and told him that it was time we tell everyone the truth, that me and him are aliens. He looked a little scared and kept asking me if I was "for real." We had another laugh and a great night of sleep with no bad dreams. Thank you God for humans. Then today Bryce came in from outside and said something smart to Ethan then he said "listen here cowboy!" My boys constantly make me laugh with their sayings, words and actions. They are hilarious and once they realize it, they keep going and going like the energizer bunny.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

cRaZy doesn't even come close!

The past month and a half or so has been the most hectic in my life!!! Don't get me wrong, it's been wonderful and my family has truly been able to see God and His blessings at work but the word crazy doesn't even describe what the past month and a half has been. It started on a Sunday right after church. Everyone was great. Ethan was playing and Bryce helped me clean the house. Joe went to the store to get a few things for us and Bryce came down the stairs. He said his belly was hurting and he felt like he was going to throw up. If you know me, you know that I am terrified of vomit. Most in part because if I see it, smell it or hear it, I become the sympathetic one and will throw up with you! The only person that can truly relate to me and really understand is my friend Angie. Everyone else just accepts it and tells me to get over it. I'm working on it. But that is neither here nor there. So, trying to be a good mommy I followed my sweet boy upstairs to his bathroom, where, yes, he began throwing up and yes, I stayed but was sitting on the end of his bed not looking at him and trying not to listen. About 30 minutes later, Ethan came upstairs and guess what! Yep! He started throwing up too. As I'm freaking out, Joe (who is absolutely amazing!) tells me to do whatever I needed to do. So, I took Maggie and we went down to Joe's parent's house. A few hours passed and we ended up taking the boys to the Egleston ER across from Emory downtown. Bryce threw up over 20 times and Ethan was around 10 or so. So, we went home and were doing pretty good for a couple of days. Then I got the stomach bug. We managed to get passed that. The Wednesday following the week of nastiness, Bryce came home from school complaining of a sore throat and running a fever. I took him to the doctor and he was diagnosed with strep throat. The doctor gave him an antibiotic. He was supposed to have had a total of 4 dosages by noon the next day but ONLY by the GRACE of GOD he only had 1! At noon Joe called me to the boys room. Bryce had a pretty bad rash all over his belly and bottom. I took him to the doctor (yes the next day!) and he said that Bryce was having an allergic reaction to the meds. So, change of meds and now benadryl. As the day progressed, Bryce's rash became worse and worse. It eventually got to the point of making Bryce's lips turn blue as well as his fingernails and toenails. So, I took him to the CHOA clinic on Mt. Zion. They said it was still the allergic reaction and gave him an oral steroid. This was a Thursday. We came home thinking our troubles were over and we were on our way to healthy children. On Friday I went on an overnight ladies retreat with our Sunday school department. I had such an amazing time and most importantly regained a strong desire for God and His word. As I was on my way home I called Joe to let him know where I was. I called his cell phone thinking he would be at work. To my surprise, he was at our house. I asked him why he was at home. He said that he had to come home because our home alarm had sounded and our security company had called out the police. Apparently, someone tried to get into our home through our front door at 11:28AM! BROAD DAYLIGHT! Then his exact words after telling me about our home was this "that's not all!" He then told me that someone broke his store's drive thru window, crawled through and walked around, probably looking for money. The boys were at his mom's already but he had Maggie. So at 1:30AM he had to take our daughter to his store where someone broke into. Then he said these exact words "that's not all!" At this point I'm wondering what is happening. I've had an amazing spiritual night and Satan instantly starts attacking me as soon as I got off the grounds of our stay. So, I asked what else was going on. He then said that Bryce had started throwing up again. I just couldn't believe it. I honestly thought I was in a bad dream. I knew I had some things to get off of my chest that I had been holding on to. I wasn't me. I was hiding behind a mask trying to pretend like it would all go away. Was God punishing me because I had not confessed my sins to Him? I asked Him for forgiveness but was that not good enough? Or was Satan trying to make me believe that he is more powerful than God. Oh Lord! Help me! Well...I came home and Joe ended up having to take me to an urgent care facility. I couldn't breathe. My heart was skipping beats and my breathing was, well becoming almost non existent. I was having an asthma attack as well as an anxiety attack. We ended up staying the night with my parents. Ethan and Maggie was with us while my mother in law took care of Bryce. To make this so long story somewhat short, Bryce ended up going to the doctor a total of 6 times in 7 days. They finally did blood work and he had a virus. I'm thinking it was the flu but we're not certain. Joe and I got on our knees and had a very intimate prayer time with our wonderful Father in Heaven. Things got better and praise the Lord, even through the storm we were able to see God at work. No one was home when our home was (almost) broken into. All the money was in a safe at Joe's store and no one else got what Bryce had. God wasn't punishing me. I asked for it. I asked Him to help me be a better mom and a better wife. Joe and I needed our intimate prayer time. We ALWAYS need God. And, remember how I said I was terrified of vomit? I actually stayed in the room and watched Bryce as he threw up in a bucket. I even took the bucket away and put it on the floor. I couldn't pour it into the toilet because it would've made me sick (baby steps here!) God is always so faithful even when we're not. We managed to come out of our sicknesses and fires as we called it. However, sadly, we said goodbye just yesterday to Joe's aunt Jenny. She had cancer and went to be with Jesus on April 2. She and her husband exhibited a love for each other that was clearly evident to everyone they came in contact with. There was never a question about their love for each other. They were truly a testimony to any marriage, especially mine. Their love only makes me want to love Joe more, and I really love my husband. I know this was a lot and I shouldn't wait so long to update but like I said...cRaZy doesn't even come close but God is still God and His word stands strong. I am so thankful for His love and His forgiveness.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Isn't it ironic?

I love to update my status on facebook. At times I post things asking for prayer, thanking someone (most of the time my husband) or just things that are on my heart. I try to never post anything negative...I'm just not a negative person. I love life. With that being said, I recently posted a statement regarding my opinion of marriage. I believe that marriage is a promise made to God in front of friends and family that you will love, honor and cherish your spouse. In sickness and in health, for better or worse and for richer or poorer. I do not believe that a marriage is about the wedding (i.e., gifts, dress or party.) Well to my surprise, I began getting comments like crazy. The first being that I was full of (a word to be left to your imagination...but not a nice word.) A few others commented with "lol." Then one that really caught my attention...this person basically said that I am not a Christian. Went on to say that I lie about my life and need to get over myself. A few minutes passed and this person left more comments including that they better watch out or I would "sick prayer" on them and then called me a "Jesus Freak." How ironic! Now why would I "sick prayer" or be a "Jesus freak" if I'm not a Christian??? I'm a little confused. I never said anything to this person, simply because I felt as if I should just turn the other cheek. Then my sweet friends came through. One even stated that the devil was out hot and heavy that night and how true she was. The more and more I thought about what was going on I started realizing that not only was the devil out, he was dancing as others were laughing. All though my friends stood up for me as well as their beliefs I became ashamed. I should have responded to the comments. I should have told my friends thank you for your kind words but the greatest words we could say would be prayers to the Lord for this person. Oh how it saddens me that there are people out there that are so far from knowing Christ. How it saddens me that people think the way they do. I am so confused at the attacks that came my way but I know that God is always on my side and as long as I allow Him to direct my path, I will never stray...I just have to always allow Him. I'm not sure why I felt the need to write this blog, maybe for prayer and strength or maybe just to get it off of my chest. It has really bothered me. I've never before been attacked about my faith. I got just a small portion of what people in other countries struggle with everyday. I had one person upset about my beliefs (and for some reason my life) but there are people that have to hide their faith or they will be persecuted. I am so thankful that I am free to talk about my faith and free to tell others. I apologize to anyone and everyone of my friends that might have been offended by what that person said. I am extremely embarrassed by their offensive language and harsh words about Christianity.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A new day to celebrate

"For whoever calls upon the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13
For quite sometime our boys have been asking a variety of different questions regarding the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour. One day the boys came upstairs and informed me that they were going to heaven. I actually think I've already spoken of this before. Well we answered many of their questions but when they said they wanted to truly ask Jesus into their hearts we started asking them questions. I am pleased to say that my boys answered each question with confidence and with quick response. Then they said they wanted us to pray with them as they asked Jesus into their hearts. What a day! Joe and I took them upstairs. We first took Bryce. We asked a few more questions and Joe prayed as Bryce echoed what he said. Then when we went down for Ethan he said he wanted us to hurry up because he was ready to ask Jesus into his heart. So Bryce went out and then Joe prayed as Ethan echoed his words. After we finished with each child we read Romans 10:13. So we will celebrate their Christian birthdays on January 24th. I am so proud and honored to be their mommy.