Friday, March 26, 2010

Thirty thanksgivings as I turn 30

  1. I am thankful I was raised by two strong, God-fearing parents. I was pretty sure they were the strictest people around growing up, but yes, now I understand. Now they are my biggest cheerleaders and I have yet to meet anyone with a more generous spirit than my mom and dad.
  2. My precious husband, who respects my opinions, accepts my quirks, above all loves me, and whose company I still enjoy more than anyone else.
  3. Good health. I know that life can be turned upside down in a second with a bad diagnosis. Today, I am thankful for my good health and that of my family.
  4. Laughter and the sound of it frequently echoing off our walls
  5. Jesus, my Lord. And his forgiveness of all my shortcomings.
  6. My bright, lovely daughter, who wears funny mismatched clothes, twirls around the living room, and asks, “Mommy, am I beautiful?” Yes, sweet Ella, you are.
  7. My gorgeous baby boy, who finds delight in everything and whose sweet smile brings so much joy to my heart.
  8. I am thankful that both my and Chris’ parents have met our children. Both my mom and dad lost a parent when they were teenagers. Many times through the years, my dad has commented that he wishes we had been able to meet his mom and she us. I realize being able to share your children with your parents is a gift not everyone is given. I’m so very grateful I have been given that gift.
  9. The big, loving family I inherited when I got married and the fact that they love and treat me as one of their own.
  10. My brothers. There are few people in life who just accept you, no questions asked. They are three of those people to me. Plus, they can make me laugh harder than anyone.
  11. Books. I love them. Ella is following in my footsteps. Cade, on the other hand, prefers ripping them to pieces to reading them.
  12. The sweet smell of my baby as he falls asleep with his face tucked snug into my neck.
  13. A handful of good and true friends, who listen without judging and who know all about me and manage to love me anyways.
  14. A strong body that has carried, nurtured, and delivered two spectacular, little people into the world, and being able to experience the miracle in that.
  15. Comfy pajamas
  16. The beauty in nature. My mom taught me to look for it, always calling for me to come see a pretty sunset or little squirrel or hummingbird. She still does this and I laugh. I appreciate it though, and always think of her when the sky’s lit up with ten beautiful colors.
  17. I’m so thankful that, after many months of looking, we finally found a great church that we love and is so close to home.
  18. Piano music
  19. A good job that allows me to help provide a comfortable life for my children.
  20. A nice house that is rarely clean, but always full of hugs, kisses, and the pitter-patter of little feet.
  21. Strong black coffee
  22. I am thankful I was born in America and thankful for the freedoms we have that so many others across the globe do not. Sure, there are things I would like to see different in our country, but there is no other place in the world I would rather live and raise my children.
  23. Others who take the time to say thank you.
  24. Dry humor
  25. Lots and lots of old photographs that allow me to remember and relive many precious moments of my thirty years
  26. Red velvet cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory
  27. Growing up on a country road where everybody knows everybody. I love the convenience of living in the suburbs, but I hope that someday my children can experience what it’s like to ride bikes all day and only come home when they hear me calling them for dinner.
  28. I am so thankful that my kids get to spend their days at home with me instead of in daycare, and that my husband and I agree on sacrificing other things to make that happen.
  29. The many lessons I have learned from being a nurse and spending time with people when they are at their most vulnerable.
  30. I am thankful that every weekend at work, someone asks me, “How old are you? Are you old enough to be a nurse? You don’t look a day over twenty.” When I was a new nurse and fairly insecure in my role, it kind of bothered me. Now, I just smile and say (in the kind words of my coworker, Jason), “Don’t worry. I may look young, but it’s not my first dance! I know what I’m doing.” Here’s to hoping that in another ten years, I won’t look a day over thirty!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

From a nurse's perspective

Some things have been on my mind since I worked this past weekend. Being a nurse is an eye-opening experience in so many ways. I see people at their worst. I have a front row view as people are told the last thing they want to hear. I also get to share in small victories as people are told good news, or that their prayers have been answered. I have learned so many things in the last six years, but two that I consider the most important. Lessons about people and humanity in general.

The first is that nothing, especially resentment, is more important than family. I have seen men and women on their deathbeds whose daughters or brothers will not come to visit because of harsh words spoken twenty years ago. What good can come from this? Have my parents and brothers said things that hurt my feelings? Sure. We all have. Am I going to live with resentment in my heart or cast them out of my life because of it? No way. Jesus told us to let he who is without sin cast the first stone. There will always be times we disagree. That’s life. There will also be the times we love and share happiness and sadness and support each other and grow together. And I have seen that at the end of life, nothing is more important to someone than family. I need to hold these special people close while I have them. LIfe can change in an instant.

The second thing I have learned is that everyone belongs to someone. Everyone is someone’s son, or husband, or sister. It’s an invaluable lesson that has changed my way of thinking and altered the way I care for my patients. I try to treat others not just the way I would want someone to treat me, but the way I would want someone to treat Cade or Chris or my dad. My hope is that someday, when roles are reversed and it’s me or someone I love needing the care, someone will return the favor. Friday night, a patient of mine was not doing well. We knew he was dying, but we didn’t know it would happen so quickly. His brother had stepped out for a few minutes and the patient passed away before he made it back and before I could contact him.

Visibly upset, the brother stated, “I shouldn’t have left. My mom would be so upset if she knew he died all alone.”
“He wasn’t alone,” I told him. “I was here. I held his hand and he wasn’t alone.”

His words were the very sentiment in my mind as his brother passed. I couldn't help but think of his mom. And my hope is that someday, if it was my son in that bed, someone would return the favor.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Little man has the craziest alfalfa sprout and I just love it! It goes perfectly with his ham-it-up personality and that sweet, scrunch-nose grin he gives me every morning.
At least a hundred times a day, I say to myself (or whoever will listen!), He has got to be the most adorable, little boy to ever walk the face of the Earth! I am just crazy in love with him!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Purdue's on...

...but Daddy went fishing instead!! hahaha! Chris was not very happy about this. Cade, on the other hand, thought it was fantastic and was quite proud of himself. =)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Enjoying the sunshine

Easter eggs

I found these Resurrection Eggs at the Christian bookstore. They are such a neat way to teach Ella about the true meaning of Easter. Each egg has a token highlighting different parts of the Easter story and Jesus' crucifixion. I love the fact that she has something real to hold in her little hands as I read each part of the story. I think it makes it that much more real to her.
Studying the crown of thorns
She said, "Mommy, it's the cross!"
She was so in tune with the story and was very emotional as we read about Jesus being crucified for us. She said, "But, Mommy, I love Jesus. I don't want Jesus to die." And as we read about the stone being rolled away from the tomb and the tomb being empty, she said, "I knew it! I knew Jesus was alive! He's alive!"
What a precious, little moment God gave me to teach her about His love for us. I'm so thankful for her pure and open heart.

My love letter

I came home from work this past weekend to find this love letter from Ella waiting for me. Just one of those sweet, little gifts I will carry with me forever.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy birthday, Mamaw!!

"Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children." -A. Haley
We missed Mamaw's birthday! Not in reality, but in our blog world. =)
So, here's a special post to Mamaw- we love you so much and are so thankful to have you in our lives. Happy birthday! We hope it was very, very wonderful!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

He's a toddler!

Our sweet little boy taking some of his first steps...

In good company

I have so many pictures from the past week. We have had company every single day for 8 days and it has been so much FUN!! Last weekend, Papaw and Mamaw came up and kept the kids for us, so Chris and I could go out for his birthday. We are so appreciative of that!! Kyle, Kellie, and Payton came up on Sunday and we had a nice dinner and lots of fun, once again celebrating Chris' bday.
Enjoying a carrot

The only look I could get from P-Money

On Monday, Jared and Katie came up with her family to go to Ikea. We hung out for a little bit, and Jon and Donna treated us to lunch.
Cade quickly made a new buddy.
Tuesday afternoon, Jason, Carla, and Carson came by, because they were in town again to meet with their builders. The kids got out to enjoy the pretty weather. Ella was so excited to see Carson, but all Carson could think about was the "tractor" in the garage (Chris' riding mower :).

On Wednesday, Jared and Katie came back up to spend a couple days of their spring break with us. We feel pretty honored that two college kids would think we're that much fun. =) It's been great having them around and Ella and Cade have been totally spoiled.

They were brave enough to accompany me to Bananas Jump. Ella had a ball and we all had some good laughs.

At our favorite local eatery, "Rancho". They loved it, too. =)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Happy Birthday, Daddy!!

Happy 31st, Baby! We love you so much. Here's to another great year!

Daddy's hat

The first thing Cade does every night when Chris walks in the door is grab that hat off his head and put it on his own. He loves it! It's such a sweet, little thing between the two of them.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

One for the record books

Wow. Today was a rough one. An extraordinarily unlucky, rough day. Just one of those days that feels like if something can go wrong, it's probably going to. It started with a sleepless night last night. Cade is going through a difficult phase, not sleeping for long periods at night, and waking up and staying awake for 30-45 minutes at a time, just wanting me to hold him. Finally, after getting up with him 4-5 times last night, I brought him to our bed. It's something we did a lot with Ella, but rarely do with Cade. That's a whole different story, but last night, I didn't care. We both needed some sleep.

I woke up early to the sound of Ella crying, "Mommy, help me!" Not knowing what was wrong, I jumped out of bed, making sure Cade was sleeping soundly and surrounded by pillows. I thought that would somehow slow him if he woke up and started moving around before I made it back. I ran down the stairs to find Ella in a crappy state. That's all I can call it. The girl had gone #2 in her panties, except it didn't stay there. I think her stomach was upset. The result was poo everywhere. And I mean that. It was everywhere! Ella was covered in it from head to toe. It was all over the carpet in her room, the hallway, the stairway, the dining room. The bathroom was even worse- it looked as though she had tried to finger paint in the stuff. As I'm standing there, trying to deal with Ella in her panicked state and trying to determine a plan of action, I hear a loud thump.


In my state of disbelief and trying to deal with all this crap, I had completely forgotten that he had been asleep in my bed. I left Ella and ran upstairs to find him laying by the bed, thankfully moving all his extremities, and more ticked off than anything. I tried to soothe him for a minute, all the while Ella is screaming at the bottom of the stairs, "Mommy, you've got to get this off of me!" Not wanting to take the chance of Cade crawling in one of the many piles of doodoo laying around, I stuck him in his crib with some toys and left him to deal with my other child. Needless to say, he was not the least bit happy, and, well, neither was I by this point.

After an hour of scrubbing the carpet and bathroom and throwing Ella in the shower, I finally had that horrible mess cleaned up. I decided we were going to get out of the house and hit the gym, figuring some exercise would be good for my mental state. The kids were both dressed, playing happily in Cade's room. I was putting my shoes on, standing 20 feet away, and I hear, "No, Bubby, don't put that in your mouth! You're not supposed to do that!" I ran over and asked Ella what he was putting in his mouth. She answers, "A screw! And he just swallowed it!"


I swept his mouth with my fingers, not finding anything. He wasn't choking or gagging, but Ella insisted that she had had four screws, had given one to Cade, and he had put it in his mouth and swallowed it (And yes, the big question is, what was Ella doing with screws in the first place? She had found them on a shelf from when Chris had been doing some work at one point, and thought it was a good idea to share with Cade). Anyways, I searched the carpet around where they had been sitting and couldn't find an extra screw. He didn't appear to be in any distress at all, but all I could think was that if he had actually swallowed a screw, it could perforate his bowel, or worse. I kind of lost it at that point, more in panic than anything else, but also wondering what else could possibly go wrong and how in the world could I be such a horrible mom?!

I called Chris and we decided we should call the pediatrician for advice. As soon as I hung up the phone, I looked over and saw a shiny screw in the carpet right where Cade had been sitting. Ahh, relief. But once I showed it to Ella, she said, "No, Mommy, that doesn't look like the one he was playing with," and then she decided that she had five screws instead of four. Back to square one. The doc agreed that we should have Cade scanned just to make sure there was nothing there, or if there was a screw, that it was in his stomach/bowel instead of his lung, and we would know to watch for it. So... two hours and two xrays later, our little boy was declared foreign-object free. Crisis over. Thank God for my wonderful hubby who rushed home the minute I called and saw me through that mess. I didn't even ask him to come, but I'm pretty sure he could tell in my voice that I needed him there.

Though we had no more trips to the hospital, the day just kind of continued from there. Ella spilled ice tea all over the couch and carpet. Cade, in turn, pried the lid off Ella's cup and spilled her cranberry juice all over the couch and carpet (Don't worry, I've added carpet cleaner to my grocery list since we've gone through an entire bottle today!). Tonight, he decided to wash his milk bottle in the toilet bowl. However, I did manage to catch him at the last second before he tipped his highchair over and knocked his head on the tile floor. Yay for me, right? Pretty sure that's not going to win me any Mother of the Year Awards today.

I try so hard to be such a good mom and then I have days like this. I know everyone does, but then the fear and self-doubt creep in. I find myself wondering, Do I have what it takes? Can I do this? I believe with all my heart that God gave these two particular children to me for a reason. He didn't give them to someone else. He chose me to be their mommy and I am so very thankful for that. There are things I am supposed to teach them that no one else can; lessons that will make them into the people God intends for them to be. I find a lot of comfort in that. God gave me these children in good faith. I know I have to have faith in me, too, but, man, sometimes it is so hard. I am praying for a better day tomorrow. It is Chris' bday, and I'm hoping for a super-fun and special day, accident-free. Keep your fingers crossed for us!!