Thursday, June 23, 2016

I Might be Making a Comeback

So, a couple summers ago, I started a different blog.  But life got busy and I didn't make it a priority to write and that blog is going away.  So I copy and pasted some of the old posts just so I would have them.  A huge part of my blogging is to keep track of my day to day life because with kids there are so many great things that we just don't remember later on from when your down in the trenches.  Writing is also an outlet for me.  So there are several posts below that are just transplanted onto this blog.  And now that we've added another baby to the family since I last posted on here a few years ago, I'm thinking I may try to at least write a little here and there.  It's all about the memories people.  This life goes by way too fast and these kids don't stop growing!!

I'm Back

(Originally posted on 1-31-2015)
I know, I know.  It’s been a while.
So sorry about that.  But life happened and I put this blog on the back burner.  Between all the holidays, family in town, sick kids, moving into our new house, and Brooks being in Ohio for ONE MONTH training for his new job (uh huh, I was a single mama for one whole month), I felt swamped.  So this was the first thing to go!!
But I’m happy to report that things are a little more stable.  Brooks is HOME from all his training and he is teaching pilots in the simulator.  So he drives into work, does his thing, and then COMES HOME EVERY NIGHT.  You guys.  We’ve been married for 7 1/2 years and he’s ALWAYS traveled overnight on trips because that’s what pilots do.  We are extremely thankful for this job.
We moved into our house, which happens to be on the same street and only 4 houses down from the house we built in 2012!!  Y’all we’ve come full circle!!  It’s like we went on a journey for a year, learned a lot in the process, and came back with a better perspective and a deeper reliance on Jesus.  I’ll take it.  I just saw a sign that read, “Wrong turns are as important as right turns.  More important, sometimes.”  I couldn’t agree more.
Anyways… we’ve moved, the holidays are over, school is back in session, we are getting used to our new routine of being a complete family, and I feel like things are a little less chaotic.  At least for the meantime.  So I’m hoping to breathe some life back into this blog.  Stop by when you can!  I’ve missed you!!

Losing Teeth and Growing Up

(Originally posted 11-01-2014)
Our first-born, Ella, came home from school yesterday with her tooth in a zip bag.  Her FIRST tooth to fall out.

We had been waiting for this day for weeks.  At the first sign of a slight wiggle she was over the moon excited.  I, however, get a little creeped out by wiggly teeth.  There’s just something kinda gross about it.  Teeth firmly rooted in a mouth… fine.  Teeth in a bag or being spit out of a mouth… not okay.  Even though during my days of being a nurse, I saw PLENTY of grossness, wiggly teeth (and phlegm if you’d like to know) still top the charts for me.
Anyways, I knew this tooth was going to come out one of these days but what I didn’t know was that I needed to prepare myself for this.  Nobody ever told me, “Hey, when you’re a mom and your first kid loses her first tooth, you might cry.”  That would have been helpful because that’s what happened.
I think all at once, as I held that zip lock bag with her tooth inside and looked at the vacant space in her grin, I realized that  because of that tooth, I experienced my first teething baby.  Mothering a teething baby deserves a badge of honor.  That tooth made my first baby look a little more grown up.  That tooth was a sign of her getting older when it first popped through her little gums at 8 months and now at age 6, when she lost that tooth, it’s giving me the same sign.
And I don’t like it.
I don’t like when there are blatant signs of our babies growing up.  I don’t want to mourn the past because I love seeing who my kids are becoming and I believe the best is yet to come, but there are such fond memories of our kids so small.  Memories I want etched into my heart forever but sometimes I’m afraid I’ll forget.  Being a parent is such a privilege.  And parenting small children is such a fascinating and fleeting season of life.  There are days you would give anything for your little one not to need you constantly. And then as they grow, you realize that the thought of them NOT needing you so much scares you.
So that little tooth in the zip bag is my reminder.  (No I’m not going to keep it… but do you just throw it away??  I’m new to this!)  It’s my reminder that they are only in our home for a short amount of time in the grand scheme of life.  It’s my reminder to make every day count.  My reminder to cherish each day and each new phase they enter and keep a record of it, so that when they are older, and B and I are older, we’ll be able to look back at pictures and read stories of these moments and milestones.   And it’s my reminder to thank God for making me a mom and for giving us these three precious lives to mold.

The Thankful Jar

(Originally posted on 11-10-2014)
It’s November.  The air is chilly, the leaves are falling, and Thanksgiving is fast approaching.  I’m afraid that for many people, Thanksgiving has turned into a day to indulge in lots of yummy food and sit around and watch football.  Perhaps you might jog in a little Turkey trot on Thanksgiving morning so you don’t feel so guilty about all those calories you’ll consume later that day.  I’m afraid the giving thanks part has become the last thing many families focus on during this season.
I didn’t want that to happen to us.  We have much to be thankful for.  Even when you are trudging through a messy part of life, there is still room to be thankful.  Gratitude should always be present.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”  Being thankful in all of your circumstances can be a difficult thing to do.  That’s why sometimes you have to be intentional.
Last year, when we were in KS and I was having a hard time being thankful, I started a new tradition for our family.  I put a jar in the middle of our table.

Every day during the month of November, we wrote down something we were thankful for and put it in the jar.  The kids did this too.  (And if your kids can’t write yet. they could draw a picture or tell you their “thankful” that day and you can write it for them.)  After a few days and we had collected a few “thankfuls”, we started the next phase of the thankful project.  At dinner time we would pass the jar around the table and everyone got to pull out one piece of paper and read it.  This was a great way to cultivate grateful hearts in our children and in my own heart as well.  It focused our hearts on all the that the Lord had done for us, not on what we felt we were lacking.  I want my kids to understand that NO MATTER WHAT there is always something to be thankful for.  God has done great things and he is greatly to be praised!!  So we are doing it again this year. Does your family need a thankful jar?

Toddler Meal Times

(Originally posted 10-27-2014)

Meal time with Chase, our 15 month old, often looks like this….
The one finger smoosh.
The frowny-faced, one finger smoosh.

The you can put it in my mouth but can’t make me swallow it, spit out.

The lock eyes with mom and watch her freak, drop.

The chuck it across the kitchen move.
It’s annoying.  It makes me crazy.
I’m constantly trying to figure out what I can feed him that will actually make its way into his stomach and not end up on the floor.  The fact that he’s not doing a stellar job growing coupled with the pediatric endocrinologist telling us to feed him high calorie foods whenever his mouth is open puts just a TINY bit of pressure on us.
I know we aren’t the only ones with a picky eater or a plain old food refuser.  I know there are other kids struggling on the growth chart.  I’m just venting for a moment.  He has his good meals now and then where he’ll do well.  And then he’ll have his bad days.  And if there are days that he’ll only eat a bite of banana and graham crackers, I’m learning that it’s ok.  It has to be ok.  Because there’s nothing else you can do about it.  Am I right?
Ok, toddler feeding vent over.  Now please excuse me (and say a prayer) while I try to get him to eat lunch….

In Good Times and Bad

(Originally posted on 2-16-2015)

So, 16 days ago I said I was back.  I guess that was a lie.  It’s a good thing I didn’t make an actual new year’s resolution to blog.  It would have been busted just like my resolution to not drink Coke for at least a month.  That lasted 15 days.  I was half way there and in a moment of weakness, those bubbling chemicals won.  It’s pure addiction.
Anyways, for now, for today, I’m here with a few things I’ve been thinking about recently.  So let’s get started.
You know how life seems to have a general flow to it?  One season is good, the next is hard, then things start to look up again for a while, and then the bottom falls out and you’re back in a difficult place.  For me, I seem to learn a lot while I’m at the bottom, in the hard seasons.  It’s during those times that I cling to Jesus, seek his will, and am constantly in his word.  But in the past, I have been guilty of kinda winging it when life is good.  When there’s nothing going on that is driving you to depend on Jesus, it’s easy to forget that He is the one who has brought you to your current place of ease or peace.  And just because there’s not an immediate problem or need that you want Him to cover, you still need Him desperately, daily.  We may know this, I mean of course we need Jesus daily.  But are there times that you are guilty of not clinging as closely to your creator when life is unstressful and uneventful?
I’ve learned the profound importance of needing my savior just as much when life is good as when life is hard.  It’s during the good times that we need to be in his word and in prayer, soaking up his goodness, memorizing scripture, and getting ready for the battle that will eventually come.  Seasons of trouble are guaranteed in this life.  So before things get crazy and your husband loses his job, a family member passes away unexpectedly, or your little one is admitted to the hospital, you’ve GOT to prepare for the fight.  Think of it as strengthening the armor of your soul.  Preparing your heart and mind with truth when these things come will enable you to stand up during these times.  Our pastor’s wife, Holly, preached at church this weekend.  Her main scripture was Jeremiah 17:7-8.
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out it’s roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.   
I love these verses because I want to have strong roots.  My roots are strengthened when I carry what I have learned during difficult seasons over into the next season.  We’ve got to remember how the Lord brought us through situations in the past.  But my roots are also strengthened during the good days where life is peaceful but I am still leaning into God just as much as I do as when I “feel like” I need him more.  Do you see how this verse says the tree is planted by the water and sends its roots out by the stream?  We’ve got to plant ourselves by the living water.  And if we are planted, it means we aren’t moving around.  It means that during the good and the bad times our roots are stretched out towards him.  If we do this, our foundation will be so strong and secure that nothing that comes against us will stand a chance.
Where are you planted?  How strong are your roots?


(Originally posted on 10-11-2014)

It’s over.
It’s finally over.
We’ve prayed and waited for 13 months for this day and it’s finally here.  Brooks has gotten a new job back here in Charlotte and he’s driving home TODAY!!
14 months ago we moved to Kansas City and about a month in, we looked at each other and said, “What have we done??”  We had just moved with a THREE WEEK OLD.  (I still get downright EXHAUSTED  just thinking about that little fact.)  Brooks’ job/schedule turned out to not at all be what was promised.  And we were overcome with the feeling of regret.  So we started praying and Brooks started applying for jobs.  He applied for a job with US Air on September 22 among other jobs.
And then we waited.  Month after month there was NOTHING.  It was silence.
We were apart so much it hurt.  Brooks is a pilot and his job in KS was to fly a corporate jet, not for the airlines.  His schedule was terrible.  He was gone 12 days, then home for 3.  And that’s how life has been since last August.  Just me and these three kids for twelve days in a row.  And then only three days of him being home before he had to leave again.  It killed him to never be there.  He missed Ella’s 5th and 6th birthday, Hallie’s 3rd birthday, Thanksgiving day, and Christmas day.  It was torture because we thought we had moved our family to Kansas so we could be together MORE.  And this was the exact opposite.
In the meantime, while we waited and prayed for a new job, we had a few other things to deal with…
  •  We bought a newly built home when we moved to KS and once we moved in we realized the floors were slanted and it was an unfixable problem which resulted in a legal battle with the builder and putting our house on the market.
  •  A truck T-boned Brooks while he was on his way home from work in a snowstorm.  His car was totaled.  A few days later he went to the ER because he was still having headaches and they found some scary stuff on his MRI.  The words multiple sclerosis came up and we were terrified.  He needed to see a neurologist.
  • Chase wasn’t growing appropriately and we needed to take him to an endocrinologist.
There were a lot of dark days. A lot of days Brooks and/or I just wanted to give up, pack up the family, quit his job and move somewhere, ANYWHERE, just NOT be there.  Days where we felt like we just COULD NOT function like this anymore. We felt hopeless. We felt alone. We felt defeated. We felt like we couldn’t even see God anymore. Where was He in all of this?
Our faith was tested more than it had ever been before.  As the time went on and no good news ever came, it felt like the weight of regret grew heavier each day.  It felt like NOTHING could go right in Kansas.  When it felt like the whole world was against us, I had to DAILY remind myself that God is GOOD and God is FOR US NOT AGAINST US.  That God’s timing is perfect and He is our provider and ever-present help in times of trouble.  This verse was on our kitchen chalkboard for months…
I will bless you with a future filled with hope- a future of success, not of suffering. 
Jeremiah 20:11 (CEVUK)
A few weeks after Brooks’ accident we met with the neurologist and she said she wanted to do another MRI in 6 months to check on the spots they had found but for right now she was not concerned about MS.  She said they could have always been there from some virus in the past.  PRAISE JESUS his 6 month scan was unchanged and no new spots had formed.
Chase’s endocrinologist checked his growth hormone level and they were on the very low end of normal BUT he had grown and he told us to follow up in 6 months.
After showing our house 48 yes, FORTY-EIGHT TIMES, and reducing the price every weekend, someone finally made an offer.  48 showings and ONE offer so we took it, counted our losses, and RAN!  We had to disclose that the floors were crooked so obviously nobody wanted it. Until the Lord sent the perfect family who DID!
We closed on our house at the end of May and had no idea what to do.  We were still praying and believing God would provide a different job for Brooks so we didn’t want to buy another house or even sign a lease for a rental.  So that’s when we packed all our stuff, put it in storage, and drove to Ohio.  The kids and I spent June and July at my parents cottage on Lake Erie.  Brooks flew into Cleveland for his days off and flew back to Kansas City to start each 12 day rotation.  We really were hoping, praying, believing, that by the end of July, Brooks would have another job.
Well, that didn’t happen.  Still not a single word from US Air.  I will never understand the way airlines do their hiring and why it’s all so top secret!!   Anyways, we went to Hilton Head for vacation at the beginning of July.  On our way back we stayed in Charlotte for a couple of nights and got to go back to our old church.  Brooks said that during the very first song, he knew we had to move back.  We had really struggled to find a church home in Kansas.  And we knew that  an excellent church, where we could raise our kids planted in God’s house, was worth moving back for.  So just like that, we decided to move back.  It was that clear.  And I had been praying all week that Brooks would hear something in church that weekend that would help him to realize we needed to come back to SC even without a job.  Brooks called the movers in KS who were getting ready to load up our truck to move into a rental and said STOP.  We need you to bring it to South Carolina instead!
Within two weeks of our Hilton Head trip we moved BACK to SC.  But Brooks still didn’t have a job here. So we continued with our 12 days of him out west, 3 days of him here with us.  But SLOWLY the pieces were fitting together.  We were getting there.  The only missing piece, although a huge piece, was his job.
In August, Brooks company offered him an upgrade.  An opportunity to fly a bigger jet and make more money.  The only catch was that he had to pay back the cost of training on the new jet if he left within a year.  Although the pay raise was tempting and we still hadn’t heard a word about a different job, Brooks turned it down.  We had been trusting God to provide a new job for Brooks for so long and although we hadn’t seen anything yet, we were still believing He would do it.  We felt that by taking this new position we would be saying to God, we kinda trust you, but we’re gonna take things into our own hands in just case you don’t come through. So by faith, he turned it down.  Everyone at work thought he was crazy.  In the aviation world you NEVER pass up an upgrade!
You know what, God TOTALLY honored our faith because in September, Brooks flew with a guy, who knew a guy, at a regional airline called PSA (US Air’s regional airline).  They were looking for a simulator instructor IN CHARLOTTE.  AND BROOKS GOT AN INTERVIEW!!!!!!! And not only that it was ONE YEAR EXACTLY from the date he applied for the job with US Air.  They usually never hire guys from outside of the company for jobs like this.  But Brooks interviewed and a week later they offered him the job!!!!!!!!!!!
We had been praying this verse for so long…
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask of think.  Ephesians 3:20
YOU GUYS.  This job is a job where Brooks will drive to the simulator building, teach new guys how to fly the plane, and then drive home LIKE A NORMAL PERSON.  No more 12 days gone.  No more single mom with three kids for 12 days.  And the other amazing news is that anyone who works for PSA gets a guaranteed interview with US Air when your seniority number comes up.  It’s a few years out but this instructor gig is PERFECT until then.
I get my husband back!
The kids get their daddy back!
And today he comes home for good.
This is THE BEST FEELING EVER.  The past year was rough.  There are days I wish none of it ever happened.  But then there are days where I know, that I am stronger and more importantly my faith is stronger than it EVER would have been without that difficult season.  Our marriage is stronger because we relied on God TOGETHER.  I know the heart of my savior so much more intimately now, than I did before all of this.  It felt like we were in that valley for so long.  And now I know that when I looked out and couldn’t see God in front of us and I was wondering where he was… now I know that he was behind me.  Pushing me forward on the days where I didn’t have the strength to get up and do it all over again.  Pushing us forward when we wanted to give up.  He was always behind us, letting us lean on him because he is our strength when we have none.  I’m so thankful for a God who is ALWAYS working on our behalf, even when we can’t see him.