Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Today's devotional...

I (and my mom, coincidentally!) am reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young for my morning devotional. I didn't read it this morning but just read it tonight and wanted to share how cool God is in speaking through this book. I mean, you would think He actually knows what's going on in my life (wink.)

(March 31)
"Taste and see that I am good. The more intimately you experience Me, the more convinced you become of My goodness. I am the Living One who sees you and longs to participate in your life. I am training you to find Me in each moment and to be a channel of My loving Presence. Sometimes My blessings come to you in mysterious ways: through pain and trouble. At such times you can know My goodness only through your trust in Me. Understanding will fail you, but trust will keep you close to Me........."

Love it:)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Celebrating Titus!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm going to go ahead and post this, and I'll post what Derek wrote once he finishes writing it:)

Well, family and friends, we're celebrating Titus' life at such a deeper level now!! Last night at our church homegroup, Titus ventured into the swimming pool. He is okay, but I want to share the whole story with all of you. We're not sure if he fell in or went in willingly. He climbs into the bathtub at home by himself, so he might have gotten in pretty slowly and then (obviously) not been able to stand/swim. I am better at writing than talking about things I need to think through, so I'm going to do that here. This way, you can all get the whole story (since I know I'm leaving things out when I just talk about it), and I can sort through my feelings. One of the main reasons for this blog is for us to journal about good times, fun memories, and our favorite pictures. This is obviously not something we like to think about, and certainly a time we will never forget, but it happened for whatever reason and God was so gracious in sparing Titus' life. Derek and I are so thankful for our boys and are SO grateful to the Lord for letting us keep Titus. I'll get on with the story...

Last night at homegroup, Derek had been in our friends', Dawn and Brian's backyard with Justus and Titus. The back door had been left open since we got there, because it was such a beautiful evening. I sat down to change Eli's diaper, and I let him hang out on the couch for a little bit since he had been held so much at Titus' party. (I figured he wanted to have some "down" time.) Derek, Justus, and Titus came in for a few minutes, and then I saw Titus go back out the backdoor. Derek came and told me he would take Eli so I could walk around and visit with friends. I said, "There's no way Titus can get in the pool, right?" Derek said he walked around and thought it was all secure (it's fenced in), but then he said, "Well, just walk out and see if you see him." (He ended up following me to check the gate around the pool one more time.) I walked out the backdoor and noticed the gate/door to the pool was open, so I just ran towards the pool and saw Titus in the water, face up (the water was covering his whole body, face, and everything.) His eyes were wide open, and he was panicking. His face looked so scared, and he was flailing his body around. As I was running towards the water, Derek was running after me, yelling "No, Titus, no!" I jumped in and grabbed him and held him up so Derek could take him. I was saying, "He's okay. He's okay." (I knew he was "okay," since his body wasn't lifeless or anything...and in retrospect, we really think he might have JUST fallen in when I saw him.) Derek took Titus outside of the fenced-in area, to the grass, and squatted down by him, held him close, looked him over, etc. I got out of the pool and went over to be with them. (I left my shoes floating in the pool.) At this point, everyone had come outside to see what was going on, and a few of the guys got together to pray for Titus. Justus was by our side by now, and as I was getting out of the pool, I saw our friend, Dustin, picking Eli up off the grass. (Derek had laid him down right outside the gate as we were running toward the pool.)

Titus was crying as soon as I got him out of the water and was still crying when I got to them in the grass. Derek and I don't even remember him gasping for air or coughing or anything like that (another reason we think he might have JUST fallen in before we got there.) Someone brought us some towels, and I went inside to change into dry clothes. I joined Derek, Titus, Justus, and Dawn in Dawn and Brian's guest bedroom. (Jessi was holding Eli at this point, and I think he was sleeping.) When I went in the room, Derek was holding Titus (still wrapped in a towel.) Derek was crying, so I just sat down by them and hugged and kissed them both over and over. For those of you who don't know, Derek's brother drowned when they were kids.

The rest of our time there was pretty normal, as far as the boys are concerned. Dawn held Eli while he slept, and Justus and Titus ran around like crazy boys. I think Titus was loving the attention at this point. Derek ate a little something, everyone hugged us and asked if we were okay. (to which I think we both answered that we were just shaken up) Kasey sat with us for awhile in the room (holding her sleeping baby, Mabry) and listened to me talk through what happened, my feelings, etc. Derek listened to Titus' chest off and on to make sure there wasn't water in his lungs or anything, and then once we got home, he listened again with his stethoscope.

We packed up, headed home, and put the boys to bed. Derek and I were so worried about "dry drowning" (I guess that's what it's called), because Derek had heard and read a horror story about a boy who died (hours after swimming) from water he had inhaled. We just did NOT want to make a mistake about not taking him to the ER after we felt like he had just escaped death!! We also felt like we were maybe worrying too much...he really didn't act lethargic or confused, and he wasn't coughing (all of which are signs of dry drowning.) Anyway, Derek and I got ready for bed (after talking and talking about what happened and our feelings and all of the "what if's," and then Derek brought Titus to sleep on the couch with him, so he could keep a close eye and ear on him.

Derek came to bed sometime in the night, and he said Titus had opened his eyes really wide, grabbed Derek's face, and went "Aaaaaaaah" like a monster. Derek said, "What are you doing, Titus?" and Titus responded, "I don't know." haha Aaaaah, our little Titus:) Derek went in to check on Titus numerous times throughout the night, and I don't think Derek nor I got much sleep at all...but we're so glad we're all still here!!!

I cannot even express how precious it is to hear Titus talking, breathing, laughing, and crying today. He yelled "Justus" so loud this morning when he was ready to get out of bed, he fell a couple times when he and Justus were chasing each other and cried, he and Justus had so much fun in the bath this morning with a new Veggie Tales bath toy Titus got for his birthday (thanks, Brian and Lauren:))...It is so wonderful to hear him ask for "Arthur noodles" for lunch like he does for lunch and dinner EVERY SINGLE DAY; I'm so thankful I get to roll my eyes when he says "yuck...I don't like it" when I'm getting Justus a pickle..."Yes, Titus, I know you don't like it...you don't like anything but oatmeal and yogurt and Arthur noodles.":) I cannot stop hugging and kissing him today, and I think everytime I look at him, I shake my head and sigh.

God is truly to be praised, because He was in control of every single second last night. He literally had Titus in His hands, and He was even in control of my and Derek's thoughts, thought process/pattern, etc. during the whole ordeal. (Thinking back about everything, I remember while I was running towards the pool, thinking that I just wanted to look over and see Titus on the basketball court...Surely he's just playing over there or somewhere in the yard and not in the water. I don't think there's any way in my right mind that I would have NOT checked the pool first, but the THOUGHT of that thought keeps running through my head.) Thank You, Lord, for sparing Titus' life. Thank You for blessing us with him 2 years ago, and thank You for letting us keep him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On a side note, my phone was in my pocket when I jumped in the pool (in my white shorts, by the way!!!), so I won't be accessible via my phone until I get a new one:)

Titus' Barney Party

The Barney balloon flew away, and I didn't take any pics of the Barney plates, napkins, OR cake. Oh well:) It was a beautiful day for playing at the park, and the kids had a lot of fun with their kites. Thanks for coming, everyone!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Eli is 4 months old!!!!!


Eli is 4 months old today. He is rolling, laughing, making his voice heard, and doing other normal 4 month old things:) His newest fave is watching us eat...he has his mouth wide open and will watch the food from your fingers/fork to your mouth, and then he'll give you a huge smile like he's so proud of you...haha. He's almost always happy as long as he's moving around, has company, and changes in scenery. We love you, Eli:)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Titus is 2 today!!!!!!!!!!!


Wow. I can't believe it:) Two years ago today, Titus was born. I hung streamers in Titus' doorway last night (a family tradition), and Justus and I went into his room this morning singing "Happy Birthday to You!!" He wasn't too enthused...He sucked his thumb, twirled his hair, and listened and then asked for his oatmeal and milk once we finished singing. After breakfast, though, I gave all 3 boys a bath, and Mimi called to sing to him. He LOVED it this time and had a huge smile on his face. Justus and I have been talking all day about it being Titus' birthday, and by lunch, he was singing "Happy Birthday" to himself. hahaha

Titus is such a happy kid. He loves to smile and laugh, and he copies EVERYTHING Justus does. He is getting very good at running and actually has the "correct form." He looks so cute with his arms bent...like he's really running with a purpose now:) His favorite toys are his football guys and Shrek toys (still!) He will play with them for an entire day, and we actually have to take them away when he gets too obsessed about it. (He will get to the point where he wants to gather every single football guy and helmet in his arms when we're leaving the house.)

Titus loves "Jesus Loves Me" and will often sing it to himself before he falls asleep at night. It's so sweet. He keeps us consistent about praying before dinner, and he yells "Yea!!!!!!" while clapping when we say "Amen." He still doesn't eat much, but he's certainly beginning to talk about being a "Big boy." Yes, Titus, you're a big boy...all 20 pounds of you:)

Speaking of talking, Titus has become quite the loquacious child. He will talk to just about anyone, about just about anything:) The other day, someone at church asked him what his name was, and Titus proceeded to tell her everything but his name..."Justus, jacket, Eli, Mommy, Daddy, etc." He's very observant and a little more timid than he used to be, but I definitely wouldn't call him shy. I think Titus is going to be an outgoing, adventurous little guy.

Titus, we're so blessed to have you in our family. You are a great cuddler, make us laugh all the time, and oh, that smile! You may be small for your age;), but we can't wait to see the big things God has planned for your life. Happy birthday!!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Convictions

I have been reading articles this morning from people's blogs, Mothering.com, and different websites, and I am so discouraged by people's judgmental, "this is the way it is" opinions. It always bothers me when people talk about their religious/spiritual "convictions" as their opinions. If you really BELIEVE that Christ is the one and only way to Heaven, I don't see the need to say, "Well, that's just what I believe." If you ACTUALLY think that Christ is the only way to Heaven, then it's not "JUST" what you believe, you think it's true for everyone else, too, right? ...even if THEY don't believe that!

Anyway, that's not what I got on here to write about:) After reading all of these articles about people's opinions on parenting issues, such as breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, selective vaccinating or not vaccinating at all, circumcision, breastfeeding in public, etc., I was so annoyed. I actually AGREED with all but one article I read, but the opinionated and judgmental way everything was being stated as FACT drove me nuts. I think most people agree that "Breast is Best," and the vast majority of researchers and people don't agree with the prior thinking that circumcision was necessary for the health of the male. So many parenting issues, though, are actually inconclusive and cannot just be stated as fact!!! Sleeping with your baby is great for some people, including our family. I love talking with my friends about the benefits of that (and encouraging them to do so), but I'm certainly not going to say it's the only way to do it...and you'd better believe that I'm not going to say you shouldn't put your baby somewhere other than your bed. People can make their own decisions!!!! It's the same with the vaccination issue. We have made our decisions based on our own convictions and research, but when people ask us about it, we strongly believe the choice should lie in the hands of the parents BECAUSE THEY ARE THE PARENTS!!

God is an all-knowing God, and because of that, I believe He has ordained each of us specifically to parent the children He has blessed us with. I believe He placed certain children with certain parents, based on the child's personalities and the child's specific physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. I guess I was frustrated this morning after reading what I thought was going to be good material and needed to vent about the opinionated articles that, in reality, might only make people LESS encouraged or inclined to open their minds to new ideas or new ways of parenting.

When I was a first-time mom, I had no idea what I believed. I had not formed my opinions yet, so I picked up a couple books, read them, and followed them to a "T." Now that I'm on baby #3 and have been exposed to many different parenting views, I have had the chance to form my own opinions and beliefs about things like circumcision, breastfeeding in public, co-sleeping, etc. I simply want other parents to have that chance, and so many of these articles don't offer that.

Christ IS the only way to Heaven. I just know that and don't feel legalistic or politically incorrect saying that. It IS my belief and what I base my life on, and it's what I am here on earth because of and for!!! Parenting issues, on the other hand, should be decided by the parents God has placed above the children in their care. We cloth diaper because we believe it's the best financial issue for our family, it's healthy for our kids, and it's great for the environment. We breastfeed, let the baby sleep with us, and I stay at home with the kids, because we feel those are great, healthy ways to bond with our children and show them love.

Thanks for reading my vent:) Apparently, I was feeling the need to be an adult this morning!! My prayer is that I will never come across as judgmental on these and other parenting issues. I do NOT know what is best for your children. Have a happy, hopefully non-opinionated Thursday!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Give me Jesus

I've been singing THIS song all morning:)

Also, here's a second verse to "Jesus Loves Me" I've been teaching to Justus. I stole these lyrics from a friend...

I love Jesus, does He know,
Do I often tell Him so,
Jesus needs to hear me say,
that I love Him everyday.

Yes, I love Jesus
Yes, I love Jesus
Yes, I love Jesus
I often tell Him so!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Things to keep in the car during the summer

We are big park-hoppers when the weather is nice. Anytime we are bored or stir-crazy, we go to a park. Anytime we have some time to explore, we go to a park. We went to one of our favorites today, and we were lacking many necessary park supplies!!:) I have decided to stock our car with the following items TO REMAIN IN THE CAR THE ENTIRE SUMMER (haha, yeah right like that will happen!).....

1. sand toys
2. balls (all sizes, shapes, and sports)
3. sidewalk chalk
4. bread for ducks, turtles, birds, and fish
5. change of clothes for EVERYONE, including myself, AND including extra diapers, wipes, underwear, socks and shoes
6. Eli's wrap
7. a picnic blanket
8. J and T's kites
9. a couple beach towels for wiping off wet slides, etc.
10. random park toys, like little cars and animals
11. toys for Eli to play with on the blanket


Looks like I need to go clean out my car before I add all this junk to the mix! Don't ask me where the stroller and kids are going to sit! ;) Oh, and don't worry, my camera is always in my purse:)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Jesus!!!!!!



There's nothing like listening to "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me and hearing your 3 year old shout JESUS!!!! with such excitement when they sing His name. While Justus doesn't entirely get the whole Jesus "thing";), I love his innocence about it all.

I made a cross out of sticks and some string today while we were playing outside, and Justus was telling me about Jesus dying on the cross. When I asked him why Jesus died on the cross, he said "so cars could drive on it"....What?! I don't know where he came up with that one!! We talked about how Jesus died and rose again and was in Heaven. Justus then told me that he wanted to go to Heaven when he died. It's so exciting to hear him say that:) We talked some more about what all of that meant and what believing in the truth of God and Jesus could mean in his life. It was such a precious time, and so funny to hear some of his explanations...hahaha

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

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