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.