Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Trains!!

Today, we visited North Park Center in Dallas. The sole reason was to see The Trains! I saw a news story about the trains last year, and this year decided we should go. They charge $6 for adults and $4 for kids over two (making Snugglebug free!), but all the proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House.

The trains are a collection of model trains that run through cities, around landmarks, and past people involved in their own little worlds. It is so incredible! They had the Dallas and New York skylines, the Statue of Liberty, and Mount Rushmore just to name a few. They had a winter wonderland that looked like you could just step into the snow and enjoy Christmas to the fullest. There was so much to see, we really could not take it all in! We were all three completely amazed!

Our amazing miniature train journey was followed by a children's choir singing in the mall foyer, a puppet Scrooge joking with the passersby in a hallway, and Santa reading a story to a passle of children in the courtyard. I had no idea a trip to the mall could be so entertaining!

As Scrooge the puppet pointed out, Snugglebug won't remember any of this, but hopefully this will be the first of many years to come (and those he will remember!)

















Thursday, December 10, 2009

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree


This year I decided we were ready to establish a Christmas tradition as a family, and I thought going to a tree farm and choosing our own tree would be a great one. I was all excited! I found a great tree farm about an hour north of us called Elves Tree Farm. What a great name for a tree farm, right?

They had a hayride to the trees where you could cut your own tree or you could choose a pre-cut tree. They also had some great play equipment for Snugglebug to play on.

We decided to forgo cutting our own tree this year, but once Snugglebug had played some we chose what I thought was the most beautiful tree I had ever seen. My husband thought that it might be a bit too big for our living room, but I thought we could make it fit.

Make it fit we did! The tree definitely does not fit in our living room. It is without a doubt wayyyyyy too big. I would even say it is probably twice the size that we should have purchased. But it is still quite beautiful. This is the first time we have had a live tree with the exception of our first Christmas together when I purchased a tree in a pot then planted it in our front yard after Christmas.

I chose to leave off the lights and to decorate with non-breakable silk Poinsettias because I knew the tree would be a great attraction to not only Snugglebug but also our three cats. I used a gold metallic ribbon to catch the light and add some shine to the tree. My sweet husband said it was "understated elegance." He's such a sweetie!

I'm thrilled that we were able to start this new tradition with our family. Next year...I'll take a measuring tape with me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pantene Beatuful Lengths

For the last 6 months I have been letting my hair grow out. This was something I have been wanting to do for the longest time; but every time my hair gets within donation length, I can't stand it any longer, and I cut it.

So, two months ago, after having already been three or four months since my last trim and 6 months from my last major cut, I decided to wait another two months before I cut my hair. In those two months, my hair grew enough to cut and donate to Pantene Beautful Lengths. Pantene's program receives donations from individuals like me and creates wigs that are then given to cancer patients. This is such an awesome program, and finally, I got to be a part of it today.



My hair is a bit shorter than I had anticipated. The minimum length to donate is 8 inches. For about an hour last night, I considered waiting another month just so my hair wouldn't be that short. But, I decided to go ahead today! So, it's short, but it will grow again, and someone else will be wearing my hair at Christmas and enjoying my beautiful lengths!!




Saturday, November 14, 2009

Reason #4 Why I Don't Have Time to Blog

#4 Daddy's Day Off

Mommy is napping so Snugglbug will do this post...

On Daddy's day off, we like to go to IHOP. I love to eat pancakes dipped in syrup. I also like to help Daddy with his puzzles. He couldn't do his puzzles without my help.


We also like to go places like the Pumpkin Patch! I liked splashing in the mud at the Pumpkin Patch!!

Reason #3 Why I Don't Have Time to Blog

#3 chores, chores, chores...

Chores are never ending and with a little one under foot, what used to take 10 minutes now takes all of an hour and sometimes more. I can't count the number of times I have folded a load of laundry more than twice! But, I have decided, if you can't beat them join them. So now, Snugglebug has his own chores!

Snugglebug's chores are feeding and watering the cats and cleaning out the dishwasher. (all with help of course)


Reason #2 Why I Don't Have Time to Blog

#2 Sometimes you just have one of those days....
























And you just need to veg with a good book or a good TV program....

Friday, November 6, 2009

Reason #1 Why I Don't Have Time to Blog

For your enjoyment...

Since I can't seem to find the time to blog, I thought I would share a few reasons why.

1. Because messes are constantly being made....


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Honesty--What Is It?

The following is entirely my thoughts and not a reflection of today's sermon. In fact, my thoughts drifted along way from the sermon's point. I'll post a link to the sermon when the podcast is available.

------
Our pastor preached on I John today and the importance of being honest with oneself and with God in regards to sin. The point of the message was that we are not perfect and need God's forgiveness, but first, we have to be honest about the fact that we have a sin that needs to be forgiven. He went on to explain that sin builds a barrier between us and God and breaks down our communication with God.

Following the sermon, a member gave his testimony that was so poignant! I had a lightbulb moment and realized, it would be so much easier to admit to our sin if we were not judged by those around us. It is so easy to tell a small lie or to be someone we are not when we are afraid of judgment.

Case in point: I once made a conscious decision to lie because I knew I was facing severe judgment. The incident was simple. I had not yet visited my newly born niece who lived three hours away. When asked about it the first time, I responded honestly and was profoundly admonished. The second time I was asked, and still I had not made the three hour drive, I lied to avoid judgment.

A friend of mine recently lied about the number of weeks she is pregnant because she had not shared the news with a relative. So she lied taking a month off her pregnancy so as not to be judged by the other person. Little did she know the other person would not have judged her, but it was her fear of being judged that propelled the lie.

With this thought in mind, I posted the following on Facebook:

When did honesty become devalued? Honesty with ourselves, honesty with others, and honesty with God is not given enough credit in our society. We should applaud anyone for being honest and not judge them for being honest. Yet, it is judgment that we receive for our honesty which in turn devalues that honesty.

While this post can be considered the age old question of "If my wife asks, 'do I look fat in this dress,' how do I answer?" It is not! The question is why can one not commit a sin--large or small--confess that sin and not be judged for it. Why can we not see past the sin and love the person where they are? God did so much more for us, and yet, we find it impossible to accept that people are sinners. We immediately judge and condemn their actions... as if we had that right.

Judgment is reserved for God alone. When a person shows true remorse and a desire to walk away from that seen and is seeking forgiveness, we should grant them the same love and forgiveness granted to us upon the cross.

I am not saying that punishment is not in store, but forgiveness should be in store as well. Dismissing the arguments about murder and the like, stop and think about those around you. I realize immediately that I have been judgmental, and in that I have sinned as well. My quest will be to stop judging and to be more forgiving. I also realize I have not forgiven one who has judged me, and that too is a sin.

Being honest with myself is not easy and being honest with others incurs judgment. Step back from the age old arguments about punishing murders or answering honestly about new haircuts.

How do we judge others on a daily basis? How do we extend God's mercy on a daily basis? Let he who has never sinned be the first to judge.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Quest For Time

Blogging has not been a priority lately. It's not that I don't have anything to say or write about; it's just that the time isn't there. I finally have a toddler, and there is really no time to do anything but run after him. People told me before we began physical therapy that I would regret teaching him to walk. I am sure this is what they were talking about. But, despite the fact that my pantry is in complete disarray, and I am stepping on toys, I do not regret a moment of physical therapy. I am still cheering. In my mind, I am still thinking, "Scooooooorrrrrrrrreeeeeeee). The cheering only gets louder with each day and each mess he makes.

In addition to physical therapy, we have now started speech therapy two days a week. My hope had been to work with ECI or perhaps a local therapist but alas, like all my other plans, it didn't work out that way. Instead, twice a week, we load up at 8:30 in the morning for a 45 minute drive one way for only a 30 minute session. By the time we get home, it is lunch time and naptime.

I'm told once again that I will regret teaching him to talk, but once again, I cannot see where regret would ever come into play. Just today, I heard several times a very labored, "Mama." It was so sweet. He has to work so hard to get the sounds out, but there it was. He has been signing Daddy for some time, but to finally request mama whether in sign or words is very sweet. I look forward to the day that he talks my ear off!

I have also discovered a support group for 7q11.23 duplication. I am still learning about its members but I am so excited to find parents who are experiencing the same sort-of things that we are with Gabriel. I will write more about the support group later.

My quests have taken me on a journey of self-discovery as well. But, that's another post for another day. I want to thank all my friends and readers for sticking with me during this dryspell (of posts). I will once again find the time to write. It just may be a little while longer before those missing minutes are found.

While I am away, you can catch up with our quest to discover and overcome Snugglebug's disorder:
Tying the Pieces Together, Part II
Busy Month

Housekeeping

I have discovered a whole new world opens up with a toddling toddler in the house. For 17 months, things have been rather laid back. Snugglebug did not investigate too much and certainly did not make messes. One cannot make a mess if you never go anywhere. But, now that he is walking everywhere, there are messes left in his wake. I cannot walk anywhere in my house without stepping on or tripping over a toy. There is no keeping up with the messes either. I have tried, and now find it pointless. Thus, my house is a disaster. But, I am okay with it. I'm not okay with it enough to post pictures. Perhaps, I will eventually be comfortable with that level of honesty. But for now, I admit that my lack of housekeeping is embarrassing.

At the moment, it is naptime, so I am taking on one task of housekeeping right here in blogger-land!

I have wonderful friends who also blog and I am embarrassed to say I have not even been reading their blogs. Chasing after a little one has left me with very little brain power left. Why is chasing a toddler so taxing?

One of my blogger friends has awarded me an award which I would like to acknowledge at this time. Thanks Tammy for thinking of me, and now I get to share this award with my friends!



The terms of this particular award are: Make reference to award and publish it, disclose rules, share 5 things you like to do, share with 10 blogs, inform each blogger (simply got to JeanneLee's blog and right click on the "circle of friends" button and click on 'save picture as' and save the button to your desktop, you can then upload it just like any other photo into blogger).

So here are my 5 things I like to do:
Spending time with my husband
Playing with my son
Chatting with my sisters on the phone
Catching up with friends via Facebook
Sleeping (not that I ever get to, but I do enjoy it)

I want to pass this award on to my friends:

Liz at It's the Bee's Knees!
Laura at The World Is Our Classroom
Becky at Young Readers
Cindy at The Carson Connection
Whitney at A&W's Ethiopian Adoption Adventure

and even though she's already been honored....
Tammy at Not Just Paper and Glue

These people are my wonderful friends with whom I share my daily life. They are my encouragers, prayer partners, kindred spirits, and most of all my friends. Hats off to you!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Payoff--Snugglebug Walks!!!

On Tuesday, we had our regular visit from our physical therapist through Early Child Intervention. She comes to our house twice a month to work with Snugglebug's gross motor skills and sometimes his fine motor skills. For the most part, we work on walking. She teaches me how to teach him. She is like a coach who wants to see Snugglebug succeed almost as much as I do.

Tuesday, Snugglebug took an extra long nap. After sleeping for almost 2 1/2 hours, I actually had to wake him for his PT appointment. After rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and drinking some water from his sippy cup, he was ready to go. It didn't take much coaxing to get him to get him to show off the last week's accomplishment! I set him in front of a chair, and once he had his balance he walked the five or six steps from the chair to me. He grabbed on to me, I turned him around, and he walked back to the chair. He did this once, then twice, then three times!

But, on the fourth lap, he bypassed me, turned the corner, walked around the sofa, and another ten or twelve steps before reaching his favorite push cart.

The therapist and I leaped to our feet at the same time! We each pointed at Snugglebug as if the other had missed the great feat! And we stood in shocked silence so as not to disturb the concentration now going into walking. His steps were shaky, but he was determined. Once stabilized by his cart, a round of applause rang out from both of us. We cheered for his determination, his accomplishment. And I cheered for ours!

Finally, the big payoff! After 8 therapy sessions in four months, he had gone from not even being able to crawl to walking by himself across the room! I rejoiced! I couldn't stop smiling or hopping up and down!

Finally, the big payoff! After 12 months of crying (me that is) everyday, 6 months of hardwork, and 26 doctor's appointments, lab appointments, and therapy evaluations, we had reached the big payoff! He was walking!

Six months ago, I had watched a two-year old playing with a train set and wondered if my son would ever be able to walk around a table and push a train. Six months ago, I had no clue what was wrong. I just knew something was wrong. On that day, I blinked back the tears, as the fears raced through my mind. We have come so far in six months. God has definitely heard our prayers and answered them!

I am reminded of a "conversation" my pastor and I had via Facebook. He commented that it looked like it was going to rain. I replied and said probably not since the radar showed the clouds moving away from us. He replied that he, being an optimist, believed in prayer even for rain clouds. Yes, I wrote, I forgot that prayer works for rain clouds, too. It didn't rain that day, but it did rain a week later.

Sometimes, God doesn't answer our prayers that day. Sometimes it takes time. What we see is only the starting point for God. It is not the ending point. The payoff for God is the amount our faith has grown through the challenge. I think my faith has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 18 months.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Let Us Now Speak Russian!

Imagine a doctor, other than your pediatrician, telling you that even though you are English speaking, living in an English speaking country, and are surrounded by English speakers that your child's native language is Russian. Of course, the first thought going through your mind as a parent will be, "that's impossible." But the doctor reiterates that if you want your child to speak, you must teach your child Russian. Sounds impossible and ridiculous, doesn't it? But that is exactly what has been going through our minds, mine and my husbands.

While my son is hearing, with only a small hearing impairment, which is correctable with pe tubes, he most likely will need sign language to communicate. See the duplication of 7q11.23 effects the part of the brain that forms speech. And even though Snugglebug can understand everything I say, the words just aren't there for him to communicate. The frustration is obvious on both ends, his and mine. The desire to communicate his needs is frustrating and my desire to understand him is heart wrenching.

So, each day, a dozen or more times, I refer to a sign language manual my sister gave me and an online sign language dictionary. (An aside: My sister is a sign language interpreter, and I believe God gave her that gift so she could bless me in helping me to communicate with my son. God works in awesome ways!) I look up words that we use over and over again such as bird, dog, cat, pear, apple, etc. It would be fine if I only had to remember four or five words in sign language, but an entire dictionary! It's daunting. Two hours later, I have forgotten the sign I looked up earlier and have to check it again. Because not only do you want your child to speak Russian, you want your child to speak it properly, and not like a backwoods hillbilly that no one can understand.

So, I race to look up the word for bird once again and by the time I find it, the hummingbird has left the feeder and Snugglebug is on to something else. I look up that word, too. As I sign the words to Snugglebug, I pray that eventually his speech abilities will kick in. Some studies have shown that adults with the same genetic syndrome have little or no speech problems. The question would be: Are they on the least end of the spectrum or the worst end? Did they "grow out of" their speech problems or were they less in the beginning?

Nevertheless, learning and teaching an entirely new language is daunting. Snugglebug is 17 months, and we have decided we need professional help learning sign language and teaching it to Snugglebug. So, it is time to enlist a speech therapist. The problem is that our pediatrician disagrees, or I should say her staff refused to allow me to pass on my request. The nurse turned me down flat and said I would have to make an appointment if I wanted a script for speech. I guess she is afraid I will give him speech when he doesn't need it and make him immune to speech down the road. Or perhaps the nurse was worried about me marketing the scipt on the street. I hear scripts for speech evaluations go for high dollar! And there is no doubting that some people get a thrill from the spoken word. I would hate to see a speech therapy session fall into their hands or mouths. Or perhaps, she interpreted my request to be a desire to have the youngest person ever in Toastmasters.

Whatever the nurse's reason, and I tried to reason with her, she insisted we needed an appointment before we could even consider speech therapy. Honestly, you would think I had told her I wanted to teach him Russian!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Mommy Obstacle Course

Yes, Snugglebug placed each one of these.
Then crawled off, leaving me to have to weave through the traffic.

Hummingbirds

We have been delighted with our hummingbirds this year. They are so beautiful and don't seem to mind us watching them from the opposite side of the glass. We have had several hummingbird feeders but settled on ones with a footrest for them to sit and drink. We had one feeder that I called a drive-thru because it did not have a footrest. The birds revolted and fought over the feeder that has come to be called the sit-down restaurant. Of course, the drive-thru is now out of business and has been replaced with a a third 5-star sit-down restaurant.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Milestones

We are getting closer everyday to Snugglebug walking. It has been a roller coaster ride to get to this point and I am overjoyed at God's goodness. He has put people in our path to direct us and teach us and Snugglebug. These people love our little boy as much as we do and have encouraged us while teaching us how to teach him to walk. Our physical therapist, who works with us through Early Childhood Intervention, visits us twice a month to work on motor skills. She has been so awesome that when Snugglebug walks, I am going to be sad to see her go. I know she will only be a phone call away, but she has been a wealth of advice on so many frustrating things that I am eternally grateful to her.

But, alas, the purpose of my post is to celebrate the milestone of first steps. For the last two days Snugglebug has been taking two little steps on his own. He did this for the first time in the church nursery and fortunately, I was working the nursery that day or I would have missed it. So, God works again in the small things. Today, I was taping Snugglebug sweeping, which delights me so much, and while taping he took 4 steps. I was amazed that I caught it on tape!

So, for your enjoyment....


Who says good help is hard to find?

My little man loves to help me around the house. He helps me move the laundry from the dryer to the basket and from the washer to the dryer. And, when Snugglebug showed an affinity for helping me sweep, I knew this was something I had to seek-out. See, my broom is perfect for my five feet but not so much for his 28 inches. So, I set out to find the perfect broom for my little helper. After searching three stores, we found the perfect broom at the 2nd Wal-Mart that we went to. When I pulled the broom off the rack, Snugglebug's eyes lit up, and he reached out and grabbed it. It was perfect. He's been helping me sweep everyday since!

And, yes, he is shorts-less. This was the end of the day, and we had already been through two pair.



Sunday, July 19, 2009

One Cool Little Dude

"Hey babe, I'll lose the old lady, then we can go back to my crib and party."

The picture was taken at the pool in Florida by Emily Fruge. The quote is courtesy Clay and Collette Ginn, two good friends of ours.

Gabriel was relaxing and yes, watching some girls playing to his right, when the mom of one of the girls asked to take his picture. I was cracking up and wishing my husband had come down with us, so he could take the picture. Alas, she not only took the picture but emailed it to me. Needless, to say we have had endless enjoyment from this picture. What was going through his little mind we may never know!

And just so you know it was his idea to sit on the step and lean back the way he is in the picture. I had been sitting him on the edge and bouncing him off into the water like he was jumping in. Then he decided he needed a break and scooted backwards and stretched out his arms. I was laughing so hard. I am eternally grateful to Emily Fruge for taking the picture!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Our Vacation

We are back from Pensacola. I have a long to-do list related to Snugglebug's next round of doctor's appointments next week, not to mention a long list of household chores that require my husband's help. You know what I mean...the items that need to be fixed.

But here's a snippet of our wonderful time on the beach!

Dolphin Cruise in Pensacola, FL

On Sunday morning, we went on a Dolphin Cruise. It left from Portofina resort and made a circle through the bay, under the bridge, by the lighthouse, and by Fort Pickens. We didn't see that many dolphins but the ride was beautiful. It was fascinating to see the sights from the water.

We almost didn't make it to the cruise. Snugglebug decided to go on a sleep strike. By the time Sunday morning rolled around, we had had 3 nights of very little sleep. We were extremely exhausted but we propelled ourselves out of bed and on our way. In the end, it was all worth it, and I was so glad we went despite our sleepy eyes!

One note: The picture with the para sailor is hard to see, but the parachute is a yellow smiley face.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fireworks

For those of you who love fireworks and have 1 minute 40 seconds to spare....

You might notice a blimp in some of the photos. He was flying right through the fireworks display. That advertiser got his moneys worth. Also the smaller fireworks in some of the photos are distant displays put on by other cities. Made for a very thrilling night!

Vacation!!!


So we have had a countdown running for weeks leading up to my husband's vacation! And now we are finally here! We are in Pensacola Beach, Florida!! And loving every minute of it.

Snugglebug met the beach for the first time and as long as he was in his daddy's strong arms he was ok. But the minute his feet touched the water, it was all over, and he was ready to go home. The sand was ok, but not of great interest. The next morning I took him out alone while his Daddy slept and Snugglebug was having nothing of the water. So, we sat and played in the sand till naptime approached. He started rubbing his sand-laden hands against his tired eyes, and I quickly realized it was time to go.

The pool on the other hand is quite a thrill for Snugglebug. He can't get enough of the pool. The water is calm and warm as compared to the ocean that is rough and cold.

We have had a lot of family time which Snugglebug is enjoying immensely. He gets upset if one of us leaves the room or sleeps in. He wants us all together all the time!

We also ventured out to the boardwalk over the weekend. It wasn't too crowded and it was great to see it alive once again. We were here last shortly after the hurricane and it was quiet, and the shops were desolate. We had some lunch in one of the shops. I had a salad while my husband had a burger and Snugglebug at his favorite, grilled cheese. The waiter/owner was Greek with a heavy accent. I asked the man to leave the croutons off my salad.
"Okay," he said, "no cheese," he repeated as he wrote.
"No, I don't want croutons. The cheese is fine," I corrected.
"No cheese," he repeated and showed me his pad so I knew he had written it down.
My husband chimed in at this point and said, "No bread for her salad."
"Okay, no croutons," he wrote as he spoke.
So I ate a salad with no cheese and no croutons.
We followed up lunch with ice cream, and Snugglebug tasted chocolate ice cream for the first time. He has had vanilla but never chocolate. He liked the ice cream just fine but found it hard to focus on eating when there were so many interesting people to watch.

On the 4th, we watched fireworks from outside our condo. From the 8th floor, we had a glorious view, and I was able to put my new photography hobby into practice. I took over a hundred and fifty photos of the fireworks. I had so much fun! I'll post a few of them in a separate post.





Busy Month

I just realized it has been almost an entire month since my last posting but what a busy month it has been. We have had 4 doctor's appointments, 2 therapy appointments, 1 birthday party, 1 family reunion/camping trip, 1 baby shower, and now we are on vacation.

July will be just as busy as June. It never really seems to slow down. I always think that once summer gets here things will slow down but they never do. This summer is even busier than the ones before since we have added so many doctors appointments and now physical therapy. I have decided that one child with special needs is the equivalent to four or five healthy ones. While healthy children go to the doctor with an ear ache or the flu, we go for hearing issues, growth issues, and digestive issues. I am incredibly thankful that Snugglebug has been healthy in all other ways. To add the flu or chronic ear infections to the already extensive list would be too much to handle.

I am learning more and more about 7q11.23 duplication syndrome. I am learning that most of Snugglebug's health issues are related to that duplicated gene. I also am finding myself amazed at the intricacies of genetics...that just one duplicated gene can wreak havoc on the system in so many ways is amazing. Granted, Snugglebug has more than one gene duplicated in that region but it all ties in together. Makes a person wonder how anyone could ever believe in evolution.

So much more research needs to be done on 7q11.23 duplication so that parents like me can have a better understanding of what life will entail. I pray for those scientists everyday that they will have a growing passion to seek out answers for the rest of us.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sorting, Sorting, Sorting

This week I have finally sorted the hand-me-down clothes from my sister and one of my friends. I spent three days sorting through bags of clothing and trying to determine what size Snugglebug should wear. He is not an easy one to fit. I determined that shorts and pants are one size and shirts and onesies are another size.

After determining what size he needed, I then sorted out the clothes that were too small for him from his dresser. This may seem like a small thing and not worth mentioning, but I haven't had to sort his clothes since October of last year. So this growth spurt is monumental!

Once finished with the sort, I was able to determine that I had way more clothes than Snugglebug could possibly wear. So, I was able to share my good fortune with someone else. While I put away, three boxes of clothes, and filled Snugglebug's dresser, I also filled three boxes of clothes to give away to someone else. Now, there's blessings for you!

Snugglebug Feeds Himself for the Very First Time

This video is actually from last Tuesday, but I am just now finding the time to upload it. We have been working on spoon-feeding for some time now, and he just hasn't grasped the concept. Most of the time the oatmeal ends up flung all over the floor, walls, and nearby chairs. But today, it clicked for him, and he was eating as fast as I could load the spoon.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Officially Eating Table Foods!!

So Snugglebug is officially eating table foods! We have gradually been introducing table foods and slowly with each meal he has eaten less and less baby foods. Today was the first baby food free day. For lunch we went to IHOP, and he ate a grilled cheese sandwich and a few slices of apple and drank a lot of milk to wash it all down. This was our first time to order off the kids menu. I was thrilled that he liked the grilled cheese. I was a little worried that he wouldn't.

We crowned him officially a toddler when he ate all finger foods for dinner. Nothing as good as grill cheese (pork chop, mac n' cheese, and corn) but table food nonetheless! My big boy!!

Excuse the quality of the pics. The lighting wasn't good and these were taken with my camera phone which also isn't that good.
He likes to sit with Daddy when we go out which doesn't bother me at all. It is the one time my husband gets to do all the work of feeding and holding, while also trying to eat. ;-)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Connectivity, Part 3

Originally, when I wrote my first post on Connectivity, I had no plans to make it a series. Yet, the one post has generated quite a bit of conversation. Part 3 is a result of a conversation with my dad and a sermon from this past Sunday at Pin Oaks Christian Fellowship.

My dad read the first post and suggested that to connect one need only listen to the other person. And it is true that people love to have other people listen to them. Andrew Carnegie states in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People "remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants than they are in you and your problems" (page 123). This is the 4th of Carnegie's 6 principles "to make people like you." Listening is very important, but after my dad and I talked it just seemed like there was one more element to connecting.

This past Sunday, Phil Morgan preached from Philemon 1:8-16. Verse 12 reads, "I am sending him [Onesimus]--who is my very heart--back to you." Phil explained that Paul understood on an incredibly deep level what Onesimus was going through, and he was going through the heart-ache with him. Phil explained that truely being connected to someone is knowing their heart, going through their troubles with them, and being there for them even when they don't know you are there (praying for them that is).

A light bulb came on for me, and suddenly, I understood that being connected is far deeper than what I had first thought. Being connected is being there for one another when things get really tough, and we have other things to do.

Phil explained that those with whom we share this deeper than the superficial connection are our support system. They are the ones we lean on, call upon, and depend on when the going gets tough. They are the ones we pray for and who prays for us.

As I write this, I realize that my first definition of co-workers was incorrect. My co-workers are not those with whom I share a job. My co-workers are in this job called life. They are the ones who know "my very heart" and I know theirs. I know what makes them tick and what keeps them going. I know what drives them crazy and what brings them to their knees. I know what makes them happy and brings joy to their day.

My epiphany is that I am deeply connected to some incredible women. These women know me better than I know myself. One friend told me that my son and I are a perfect match when she learned of Snugglebug's diagnosis. I wondered what she knew that I didn't. Now I know that she knew my heart in that moment better than even me. She is connected to me in more than a superficial gather-at-the-water-cooler-discuss-the-weekend-way.

In conclusion, Connectivity begins by listening but continues by getting to know the other person on a heart level. This does not happen overnight, and it is not one-sided. To open one's heart requires you to trust the other person. But, as Phil said on Sunday, "if you never take the risk, you'll never know the reward." We crave deeper relationships with people, but to have a relationship we must commit to being there for one another.

Note: I hope to obtain a copy of Phil Morgan's sermon and link it to this post. As I am not sure how to do that, it may take some time, so bear with me.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fleeting Moments

I love to take pictures! Since Christmas 2007, when my husband gave me my camera, I have taken close to 3500 pictures. Most are of my son, of course, but nevertheless, that is a lot of pictures.

But, recently, I have noticed that there are moments when a camera is not available to catch a memory. They are usually fleeting moments that last but an instant or two. They happen at all hours of the day, and in various places, and are never scheduled. All we can do is take another moment and imprint them on our memories.

These moments are moments like today at church. My friend Laura went to retrieve a donut for her little ones but never made it back to her seat. She had one child on one knee and another child on another knee and a third between her knees and they were all sharing the donut. It was a precious scene. I just watched telling myself to never forget that moment. Another moment was shared with the entire congregation as we gathered around the same family and prayed with them and for them.

It occurred to me just how precious these memories are as Snugglebug and I grocery shopped last week. Normally, he likes to throw the items on the floor and giggle as I bend over to pick them up. He also likes to reach and grab things off the shelves. (You've all seen it or been there!) But this day he was helping me. He would take the item and drop it in the cart. Never once did he drop it on the floor. Then in the produce section, I let him pick out the yellow squash. He would grab a squash and drop it in the bag. If it was a bad one, I would pull it out while he reached for yet another one. I suddenly realized that I can't catch every moment on camera. There are those moments that will only exist in memory.

Moments like my sister's son pulling up a stool and my sister allowing him to measure out all the ingredients in a dish she was making for dinner. Or moments like when my friend Liz set aside her chores to help me put Snugglebug's splint back on.

Even as I write this I realize that I miss dozens if not hundreds of these fleeting moments a day. I am too busy doing other things or trying to get to other things to realize the moment is a special one. I wonder just how different would life be if these moments did not go unnoticed. What would happen if I took a moment to imprint those moments into my memory?

The phrase "live in the moment" suddenly makes sense to me. To live in the moment is to realize how special that moment is and to plant it so deep in memory that it is never to be forgotten. All too often I speed through my day, multi-tasking, and planning the next activity. I take those moments for granted.

I've been replaying Snugglebug dropping squash into a bag all week. I don't ever want to forget it. That one memory has made me smile so many times. I can only imagine how much more positive my thoughts would be if all my thoughts were imprints like that one.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Busy, Busy, Week

Below: one of the baby goats at the Malone's Farm.


This week was busy, but oh, so much fun!! The fun of May is making up for the number of doctor's appointments in April.

We had a very social week which is very unlike me. I have acutally scheduled downtime in next week. I am very much an introvert. I like my alone time and getting out can be a real struggle for me. Which is not to say I have people issues. I just like being home.

But, I am changing my ways and am scheduling more playdates for Snugglebug and more time for myself. We finally were able to meet some of the moms in our local Mom's group. We had a playdate on Monday morning, prior to our Ortho appointment. I met two of the moms and two of the little boys, one of which is only days younger than Snugglebug. They were so cute playing together. On Friday, we had a meet-up at a petting zoo, which was very interesting, but boring to Snugglebug who found the hay far more interesting than the bunnies. I was able to meet more of the moms and feel I can safely say this is a great group. They were all so welcoming and friendly. I can't wait to get to know them better.

Wednesday we drove to Denton and met Miss Becky from Becky's Book Reviews and Young Readers for lunch. She and I have been good friends since college, and we love getting together whenevere we can.

Thursday we had dinner with the Malone family, who I have known for many years. Tammy writes Not Just Paper and Glue. My husband, Snugglebug, and I had a great time. We were even treated to homemade ice cream.

Friday was out petting zoo trip, and today is downtime for Snugglebug who is completely wiped our from our busy week. With naptimes rescheduled and some days completely ignored, he is in need of rest.

Next week, this social butterfly continues with a visit to the folks on Monday and another field trip with the mom's group to a Farmstead on Tuesday. And finally a couple of days of scheduled downtime.

We are having fun making new friends and visiting with old friends. It is nice to get back on track with life.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Snugglebug Reviews!!

Snugglebug has a review posted at Young Readers. I am also thrilled that we will be reviewing more in the coming months. We have a whole new box of books to review for Miss Becky! So visit Young Readers to see what we've been reading!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Snugglebug's New Leg Bling

Snugglebug figured out that is he wiggled his toes and flexed his foot, he could get his leg out of his splint. So Monday, we returned to Ortho and they put a cast on his leg. It goes all the way up to his thigh. He will have it on his leg till June 4th. Ugh!






Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Tale of Guilt and a Fractured Tibia


It has taken me several days, well four to be exact, to work up the courage to write this post. The guilt had to subside enough for me to be willing to share our tramatic experience.

Last week, we met church friends at the park for a playdate. Before we left, I opted to take Snugglebug down the slide. On the way down, the rubber of his shoe caught the side of the slide and popped to one side. He cried for a few minutes but seemed to be fine. After our slide ride, we said our goodbyes and headed home for naptime.

Snugglebug was his normal self and had no issues with naptime. He had had fun at the park, was worn out, and went right to sleep.

After his nap, I noticed he favored his leg. Then when he tried to pull up on the coffee table, he cried as he put his weight on his leg.

Now, I am incredibly grateful that my child only cried when he is hurt. This was true even as an infant. He cried constantly but only because of the pain of acid reflux. Since then, he complains only rarely. So, when he cried I knew something was wrong. I checked for swelling but found nothing. He didn't cry when I felt of his leg and ankle; it was only when he stood on it that it hurt.

Upon the advice of my sister and my sweet husband, I called the doctor who ordered x-rays as soon as we walked in. The x-rays showed a mild fracture on his tibia (the small leg bone between the ankle and knee). I looked at the x-ray and couldn't really tell that it was a fracture. It certianly didn't look like the x-rays they showed on ER. There was no massive gaping between parts of the bone, only a tiny little bump.

After a temporary splint was placed on Snugglebug's leg, we were sent to an orthopedist who replaced the temporary splint with a sturdier one that was to last three weeks. We were also given strict orders to immobilize him! Yeah right! How is this possible with a child who just learned how to crawl and pull up!

Needless to say, after only three days, the sturdy splint needs to be replaced and we are headed back to Ortho on Monday. Hopefully, they will understand that I just don't have the hear to pin him down for three weeks.

As for the guilt, it has waned over the last several days. Several people have told me the same thing happened to them or to friends of theirs. The Orthopedist even said the fracture is called a Toddler Fracture and that he sees them quite frequently. I felt so guilty the day it happened because it was my decision to take him down the slide. Yes, a freak accident indeed, but still I blamed myself. I realize how ridiculous this is but still it is hard to deny the guilt one feels.

Guilt is a whole other topic that I am focused on at the moment. Perhaps, I'll write a post on it in the future. For now, suffice to say, the best medicine against guilt is the encouragement of others. I called my sister and said, "you have to tell me I'm not a bad mom," as I wailed into the phone. She encouraged me and told me several stories about her kids that made me laugh. In the end, I still felt guilty, but her words resonated with me for the next couple of days.

Everyone I have met and that has heard our story has been so encouraging and has told me not to feel guilty. It has been a wonderful feeling knowing that the strangers who are all too often critical can be countered by the strangers who are encouraging and uplifting.

And finally, I can't forget the words of my sweet husband. The ever-calm police officer had no issues whatsoever with me or the accident, never blamed me for the injury, and was so consoling. He came home early and went to the doctor with me, never taking a moment to even change out of his uniform. He was the stability as I constantly pushed back the tears. And, as is usually the case, while I panicked, he was a calm rock, making jokes, and telling stories. So, I got a police escort from the doctor's office to radiology. Which made for great jokes for the nurses. They really enjoyed the irony!

Friday, May 15, 2009

My Day Before 9 a.m.

7:30--Snugglebug wakes; I crawl out of bed, get dressed, brush my hair and head down the hall
7:45--Snugglebug is up; diaper changed and ready to eat breakfast
7:50--My bacon is cooking and I am mixing Snugglebug's oatmeal
7:55--Oatmeal is ready and so is a very smelly diaper. I haul Snugglebug out of his chair and down the hall to change his diaper. I discover the diaper is a creep up the back dirty diaper and since he is now wearing a splint on his foot I can't take him to the tub as I normally would. So, I wipe and wipe and wipe. The poop is smeared half way up his back and all over his clothing. I peel the clothes off and finally, get him cleaned up and changed.
8:00--The bacon is burned, burned, burned. I put Snugglebug back in his chair and feed him his oatmeal.
8:15--Snugglebug is finished eating and since the house smells of burnt bacon, I open the windows and turn on the fans. Snugglebug is happy to be watching the birds through the now open windows, so I leave him and return to the kitchen to make my breakfast.
8:20--With my eggs on to cook, I return to the living room to check on Snugglebug and spot something wet and brown on the floor while also stepping in something wet. I determine it is cat vomit and return to the kitchen for paper towels. Only after closer inspection determine it is not cat related and while cleaning up the first two spots, step in another spot. My next thought was Snugglebug's foot landed in his own poop while I changed him and he was tracking it. But, there was no poop on his foot. I then realized it was dripping from his diaper!
8:25--I take the eggs out of the skillet and haul Snugglebug back to the bedroom to change another outfit and another diaper. This diaper isn't up the back like the other but still very full.
8:35--A third clean outfit is on Snugglebug and another clean diaper. I wash my hands thoroughly and finally sit down to eat my eggs for breakfast.

By now it is almost 8:45, and I post on Facebook: Cynda is all pooped out!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Connectivity, Part 2

I am incredibly touched by the comments left on my first Connectivity post. They reminded me of a news story years ago in which someone did a study of some kind and determined that with all our technology we are more disconnected than ever before. Here we have email, text messages, and cell phones yet we are not connected on any level to one another. How is it that we can have so many brief contacts with a person and yet still not be connected?

One must wonder if it is the lack of common denominators that keeps us from connecting with those around us, i.e. different religions, different jobs, children, no children. You get the idea. It is certainly harder to connect with someone if their religion is different or if they have children and you don't. It is hard to know what to say and what not to say. It is hard to build that foundation for friendship if you first don't fit into the same category.

Which leads me to the next question. At what point in our lives do we have enough common denominators that we feel like we fit in a category and thus feel connected to those around us? Is it when we are children? Some would argue that they didn't feel connected to their own families. Is it college? Is it church? Is it children?

I would argue that none of those create a common denominator to build the connectedness we so greatly desire.

So what do we need to feel connected? I have pondered this question for days. With each comment to my first post, I have wondered what it is that connects us. I have come to the realization that the connectedness I seek is partly with myself. Is it true that others need to connect with themselves in order to connect with each other? I can't say yes or no.

I have also come to the conclusion that I need to connect more with God. Perhaps, part of my trying times is to expand my Faith in God and to reconnect with Him.

What connects us? Obviously, it is not technology and I am not sure it is a common denominator of children or religion. I am going to continue pondering this question and may revisit it at a later date. It really has provoked a great deal of pondering on my part.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tying the Pieces Together, Part 2

Sweet relief. Sweet relief is what I feel today after our highly anticipated meeting with our geneticist. But, before I explain how all the pieces of the puzzle finally fit together, allow me a moment to express my gratitude to a very down-to-earth doctor and scientist, Dr. Angela Scheuerle, MD, FAAP, FACMG. Dr. Scheuerle took great time in understanding us, as a family, and our medical history. Talking with her was like talking to a friend. During our meeting today, she explained everything on a level that we, non-scientists, could understand.

She explained that we should have two of each chromosome and that a deletion or duplication (addition) is what causes genetic syndromes ranging from Williams Syndrome (caused by a deletion) to Downs Syndrome (caused by an addition to Chromosome 21).

Our son has a duplication of a gene. This gene is known as 7q11.23 duplication. This duplication was first discovered in 2005, thus not a lot is known about the problems occurring with this type of genetic syndrome.

We do know delayed speech, delayed motor skills, and slowed growth are all connected to 7q11.23 duplication. It has also been documented that autism or other type social anxieties as well as various learning disabilities have accompanied some with the gene, but others have no problems socially or educationally. The issues with social interaction and learning dissabilities seem to span the spectrum of severe to non-existent.

Dr. Scheuerle explained that there are many people walking around with the genetic duplication but show no symptoms whatsoever. This is very positive for us. Even though we have a 14-month old who is not talking and not walking, it does not mean we will be dealing with serious issues the rest of his life. It does however serve as a road map for us, telling us what may be ahead of us. In which case, we can be better prepared.

While constipation, a serious problem for Snugglebug, is not considered to be a symptom of this syndrom, Dr. Scheuerle surmised that it could also be related. This is the final piece of the puzzle. She explained when you have a vast array of issues that seem to be unrelated, they are typically related to a genetic syndrome from either a deletion or duplication of a gene.

Currently, Snugglebug is receiving physical therapy, and we hope to begin speech therapy soon. He is already progressing in his motor skills which thrills me. I've never been one of those moms who wanted their baby to stay a baby. I couldn't wait for him to walk, and I still can't. I can't wait for him to talk either. I can't wait to hear what his little mind is thinking about! I can't wait to have a conversation with him. All these things are going to come in time. I must hold steadfast to the fact that God is a gracious God, and that He will see us through.

I'm encouraged by all we have been through in the last few months and even more encouraged by what we learned today. The pieces of the puzzle have been tied together and presented with a solution.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Blessing a Stranger, and the Stranger Was Me

Today, we had a very disappointing visit with a Gastroenterologist. He didn't tell us anything we didn't already know. He didn't give us any suggestions that we hadn't already tried. He told us the same thing we have been told over and over again. Constipation really isn't something to be worried about. We left with nothing new to try and only hope that it might clear up on its own eventually.

By the time we left it was lunchtime for both of us. We went down the street to a Chik-Fil-A to eat lunch before heading home. Obviously, I was not in the best of spirits. After all, I had just spent $60 to hear that I was worrying too much and that Apply Juice was the cure-all. (What is it with Apple Juice, anyway?)

We ordered our food and sat down. Shortly after we had sat down in our booth, two men sat down in the booth behind us. One of the men immediately started praying over his food, asking God to bless his food and to give them grace and wisdom. I was immediately encouraged by a prayer that was for someone else's food and someone else's life. I'm not really sure why the prayer lifted my spirits. Perhaps, it was a reminder that God has a hand in all this.

I was also reminded that I don't pray over my food in public very often and that it could be a blessing to someone else to do so. I just never realized that praying in public could bless a total stranger who might hear it.

I'm trying to see the blessings in each day. Some days it is hard to find those little blessings, and other days it is quite obvious.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tying the Pieces Together, Part 1

This is day 2 of a very long week which followed another very long week in a very busy month. We have been taking Snugglebug to specialists of all sorts. If we haven't been to see a particular type of specialist, it has been recommended. We have also been drawing blood for different tests all in hopes of tying all the odd pieces together.

I have mentioned Snugglebug's battle with constipation, but he is also very small for his age. He is in the 1 percentile. We have a friend who's 6 month old is the same length as 14-month Snugglebug. He has delayed motor skills and delayed speech. In both areas, he is around average for a 9 month old.

We began physical therapy with him last week in hopes of getting our 14 month old mobile, and we are looking into speech therapy. After much discussion with our pediatrician, we decided to try to pull all the pieces of the puzzle together, and she started booking specialist appointments for us.

One of the specialists was a geneticist. She called yesterday and said she had found something. She asked that my husband and I come in to see her without Snugglebug in tow so we could discuss the results at length.

Our minds are racing with the possibilities. The fears that lie with a genetic disorder are huge! My husband and I spent a great deal of time on the phone last night discussing what it could mean for us and for our little guy.

Thursday, we see the Geneticist and will learn what is in store for us. We still have a gastroenterologist and possibly an Endocrinologist to see. So we may unearth even more causes for his various symptoms.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Connectivity

I was posed a thought provoking questions this week. The question was "what is your least favorite thing about being a mom?" I wasn't sure how to answer this question. I certainly did not want to answer by saying, "everything." But, at the same time I didn't want to put my laundry list of dislikes: getting up at all hours of the night, never getting eight hours of sleep, snot, a messy house, and oh, did I mention snot. Instead, I rambled on about how hard it was to balance...blah, blah, blah.

But after thinking on the question for several days, I realize there is one thing that strikes me as the most difficult part of motherhood. Disconnection.

Prior to being a full-time stay-at-home-mom, I had a job with a co-workers, a paycheck, weekends off, and specified holidays. All those things are great! I especially liked the specified holidays where I only had to worry about getting to and from grandma's. Now, getting anywhere on a holiday is about like trekking through the woods with a basket full of goodies. It is very difficult to make with everything intact. (Oh, the paycheck was nice, too.)

But, I digress, co-workers are such a vital part of life. You have a relationship of some sort with these people you see on a daily basis. You go home, live you own life, and come back the next day. You stand at the water cooler and share about the happenings, or perhaps a hit TV show that everyone is watching, or a bewildering news story. Even the people you don't necessarily like are connected in some way. Perhaps you can't discuss work issues without a confrontation but you both love Grey's Anatomy. You are connected.

Being a stay-at-home-mom is a very disconnected job. I have no co-workers, no one to share those interesting tidbits or to discuss my favorite show. And even though I have great girl-friends who are reading this blog, and even though we share the same type of job, there is still a bit of disconnect. The permanent tethering of this child to you prevents you from doing all the things that create such great camaraderie as you have in co-workers.

Twice in the last month, I had to cancel a play date with a friend who has a daughter Snugglebug's age due to illness (ours). I joined a mom's group and would have had a meeting with them today but it was cancelled due to weather, but I would have missed it anyway since I was taking Snugglebug to the doctor for bad chest cold. So, despite my efforts I am disconnected.

I am taking steps to change the disconnect. I have joined a mom's group and am trying harder to get together with my dear friends who are also moms. But, the transition from seeing co-workers on a daily basis to being home all day with one who speaks in mono-syllables is a difficult transition that no one warns you about. There is no water cooler at this new job. Thus no water cooler discussion.

I am also discovering there is a strange disconnect within myself. The person who once held a job and had co-workers must now redefine herself not as a co-worker but as a mom. How does one do that? I have realized after reading Scott Hamilton's Great Eight that I must perform a new routine. In my quest to live and think positively, I must first redefine the life I wish to live.

Interesting, isn't it, how one quest leads to another? I am still pursuing my quest to live positively, but now am on a quest to rediscover myself, my life, and my "co-workers" in this business of motherhood.

I'm not real sure what I will find on this quest. I doubt that it will be dragons, but it will still be an adventure.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Poop Is Good!!

So for the last three weeks, I have been battling constipation with Snugglebug. Seems our eating issues were directly tied to the lack of poop. Poop, or the lack thereof, has been an issue since he was about 3 months old (and only on breastmilk) and has gradually gotten worse.

Now at 14 months, he is taking enough Miralax to make a grown man poop constantly for an entire day. (If you know what I mean!) I have made so many calls to my doctor's office that the nurses don't return my calls anymore. The doctor is just now realizing the seriousness of the constipation and is starting to take me seriously.

We have spoken to a dietition who confirms he is getting enough liquid and fiber. So the idea that he has a bad diet that is contributing to the issue is not the case. Hear that nurses! (Not a generalization only the ones who are tired of hearing my voice on the voicemail.)

We have run blood tests which may indicate maybe a slight Hypothyroid, but they want to run the test again, which is a problem. The constipation is so bad that it is now causing dehydration. Wow, you mean there is a cause and effect situation going on here. My doctor wasn't sure when I spoke with her about it. It all makes sense, but "surely he isn't dehydrated" the doctor said. "Surely, he is," I said.

We have a passle of doctors lined up this month to determine the problem. Poop is just too important to be ignored. Unlike some who cringe at the thought of poop. I get all excited when that rank smell wafts through the room. And typically, dissapointment follows an empty diaper and the realization it was only smelly gas.

Poop is good. Poop is a way of life! So next time you hold your breath for that smelly diaper remind yourself, poop is good. It proves everything is working the way it should. So, let there be poop!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Read and Share DVD Bible Vol. 1

From Thomas Nelson, the Read and Share DVD Volume 1 has 13 Bible stories beginning with the story of creation and concluding with the parable of the lost sheep. The selection of stories is typical of any preschool Bible and is told with the same level of accuracy. The details are simple but well presented for little minds to grasp the concept.

The animation is very simple and could possibly be considered archaic. Computer animation has come so far that it is surprising to find this DVD to be so simple in its animation and graphics. If your little one is used to Veggie Tales or Baby Einstein as Snugglebug is, then your child will likely find this DVD to be uninteresting.

Most of the stories are narrated and sound like the are being read straight from the Bible which is a good thing, but today's little ones are used to the story playing out before them not being read to them from a television.

Considering this DVD is the same price as most Baby Einstein videos I would expect the DVD to much better quality. I am happy to play the DVD and have the Bible stories in the background, but Snugglebug will certainly not be sitting in front of the television absorbing the words as he does with Baby Eienstein.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Comfort Like No Other

Two weeks ago, our pastor preached about God protecting us. I can't sum it all up the way he said it. But, he talked about how he can't protect his little boy from everything and how much he needs God's help to protect him.

I found this to be true today in comfort as well. We can only comfort one another to a certain extent. We cannot reach the heart and soul as God can.

My precious Snugglebug had a second eye surgery today, and the anesthesia was awful. He was older this time and it was harder for him to come out of the anesthesia. He wasn't a happy camper. Neither my husband nor I could comfort him enough. Nothing would soothe him, not his favorite blanket, not his bottle, not mommy, and not daddy. He just cried and cried.

It broke my heart to see him so upset and to not be able to comfort him. Finally, as my husband held him, I placed my hands on his head and prayed for God to comfort him like I could not. A short time later, Snugglebug started calming down and even took his bottle.

I am reminded that God can comfort and protect us like no other. He is always there even when we think all is lost. In Exodus, he never left the Israelites, and if anyone deserved being left behind they did. They complained and griped and complained some more. But, God never left their side. He never stopped taking care of them.

It takes moments like today to be reminded of that comfort and protection. I am grateful God is there to handle those moments when we need Him the most.

Monday, March 9, 2009

This Season's Color is Pink!

I am no fashionista, and I don't think you could call me stylish by any means. My style is t-shirt and jeans, and at best, a t-shirt that is not cotton. When it comes to fashion, I am clueless. If it is cute and in one of my favorite colors, then I buy it. I don't worry about whether it is stylish or not.

But the last couple of years, the colors have been aweful drab colors. I like bright, happy colors--reds, blues, pinks. But, those colors haven't been instyle in a while.

Today, as I raced through Wal-Mart to get diapers, I was stopped in my tracks by a sea of pink. Yes, pink!! Pink is back in style. I had to pause and look at the pink striped blouses, polka dot pink blouses, pink pants, pink sweaters, and all the other beautiful pinks. I quickly reminded myself that my time was limited, as was my finances, and I continued to the diaper aisle.

Nevertheless, I am celebrating that pink is back in style. How wonderful to finally have a happy color on the racks. Even if I can't buy a new pink outfit, I will at least see more pink out there in the world.

A Hug to Make It All Better

So, Snugglebug is having issues with Acid Reflux and Constipation once again. My poor baby just can't let these two things go. We are working on it but the meds are still oh so necessary.

Because of those two issues, we are having a few tough days. Yesterday was a bit frustrating, and although, it was only the afternoon, as the morning was church, it was a very long day. I was trying to hold it together till bedtime.

As Snugglebug and I headed to the bath, I said, "Can you give Mommy a hug?" The sweetie through his arms around my neck and gave me the best hug ever! He held on for what seemed like five minutes giving me a hug that reminded me why I became a mom in the first place. It was the best hug ever and definitely made it all better!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Remnants of Lunch

Ok, I can't resist. This is just too rich. These pictures were taken after an hour and a half battle over lunch. We tried finger food pear, sweet potato, peas, and chicken. We also tried pureed broccoli and chicken noodle soup. In the end, he ate half a pear and 4 ounces of broccoli. Better than nothing!








Thursday, March 5, 2009

War Zones and Hunger Strikes

Do you ever feel like you're caught in a war zone? That's how I feel after the last several weeks, but especially the last few days. It has been a battle to get my son to sleep lately. That is nothing unusual for us. We have battled sleep since the day he was born. He wasn't one of those babies who would eat and go back to sleep. A full night's sleep for him was 3 hours and a nap was 30 minutes. I have learned over the past year that I don't function at all on 4 hours of sleep, and anything less than 6 hours is difficult, especially when those 6 are spread out into increments of 2 hours each.

And to make the war even more interesting, my sweet Snugglebug, who typically eats anything I put in front of him, went on a hunger strike yesterday. It was my husband's first double shift after having been home everyday for two weeks. He had returned to work on Monday with just his regular shift, so he was home in the morning. And, today was my husband's weekend, so he was off all day and home with us.

The only reason I say Snugglebug had a hungerstrike was that he refused to eat lunch, snack, and dinner last night. When he got up this morning, he refused his cereal.

That is until my husband entered the room. Hubby had taken a shower while I was preparing breakfast, so Snugglebug hadn't seen him. When my husband picked up the spoon, Snugglebug's mouth was open wide. Not only did Snugglebug eat, but he ate voraciously downing his entire bowl of cereal. He had a few bites left when my husband left to take the car to the shop. And Snugglebug once again buried his head in his arm and refused to eat.

So, I did all I knew to do. I put the bowl away, and loaded Snugglebug into the car. The plan was to pick up my husband and enjoy a rare breakfast at IHOP which is exactly what we did. We ordered our favorites and Snugglebug tasted pancakes for the first time. He ate about half a pancake, and he downed almost half a jar of Gerber breakfast food. As long as my husband fed him, he was perfectly happy. This trend continued the entire day. I tried to feed him lunch and, no, he wouldn't have any of it. Same with snack and dinner. The hunger strike continued as long as I was the one loading the spoon, and ended when my husband took over.

Tomorrow, my husband works the second double-shift of his week, so we won't see him the entire day. He'll leave at 7 am and return aroun 11 pm. It is a long day for him and for us. But, it is necessary not because we have a high standard of living, but because our health insurance rises each year and his salary does not. It is necessary for him to work 16 extra hours per week so my son can have his eye surgery and visit the opthalmalogist monthly. But, how do you explain that to a one-year old? How do you tell a one-year old who misses his daddy so much that he skips dinner that Daddy has no choice? I think it would be easier to convince the city that the police need a raise than it would be to convince a one-year old that he needs health insurance.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Book Giveaway!!

Well, I am discovering so many great things about blogging and following other's blogs. This week's incredible find is the Book Giveaway Carnival hosted by Bookroom Reviews. Joining the festivities is as easy as clicking the link above and going to the Carnival listings. Once there you'll see almost 150 listings. Peruse the list, click the link, and enter the contest. Each blogger has different requirements for entry. Some only require a comment. Others ask you to visit a sponsor's site and come back with a favorite item from that site.

It's that easy and who doesn't want to win free books. Oh, and did I mention that a few are giving away gift cards. Free books and you get to choose those books. That's even better.

Here are a few of my entries:

Rainbow Fun and Five Little Ducks at Young Readers.
Dolphins and Oceans, Oh my! at Becky's Book Reviews
The Rose Of Sebastopol Book Giveaway at Bookroom Reviews

I may enter others later as my time allows this week. The carnival leaves town on Saturday, so get your entries in now!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Traveling Light by Max Lucado

Lucado, Max. Traveling Light. Thomas Nelson: 2001

This is an older book, certainly not in need of a review. But, I was so touched by this book.

It is a commentary on Psalm 23. Each chapter covers a phrase of the chapter for a total of 18 chapters. I read a chapter a night, although one could easily read it much faster. I would be willing to say it could easily be read in one or two sittings. But I savored each chapter the way one would savor a really good piece of chocolate. I read a chapter, set it aside, and spent the next day pondering and absorbing it. Each chapter reads like a mini-sermon with personal stories from Lucado, commentary on the text, and application for everyday life.

I was struck by each chapter and how it ministered to me as I read it. I have long since memorized the 23rd Psalm but never had it taken on so much meaning. I suppose I had never really stopped to thing about the awesome message being conveyed through those simple words, "The Lord is my Shepherd..."

The final chapter or rather the conclusion brought me to tears as Lucado summed up the scripture as a whole. It became so clear that God has an insurmountable love for us and is conveying it to us in the simplest terms. Yet despite all that, it is hard to understand that level of unconditional love.

In my quest to lead a positive life with a positive attitude, this book is a must-read for me. I took away a great deal of comfort in the Grace of God.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Question of the Week #7 & 8

How behind am I on the Question of the Week from Operation Actually Read Bible. I think at least several. I am going to answer this weeks and last weeks and the rest will be left in the comments section at OARB.

Question of the Week #7:

Do you like listening to sermons? Have you ever subscribed to sermon podcasts? Have you ever listened to sermons on the radio? Do you have any favorites? What resources (if any) have you found on the web that you'd like to share?

I'm so excited to have a chance to answer this very question. My home church is Pin Oaks Christian Fellowship. If you are in McKinney/Anna area, then I invite you to visit. Otherwise, you can listen to us live every Sunday morning. We have been working on this for several weeks and have about worked out the kinks. I think you can view older broadcasts from previous Sunday's but don't hold me to that. I am not sure how that works.

I haven't actually watched a broadcast yet, but when I miss church or when I am working in the nursery, I get a copy of the sermon on CD and listen during the week.

Prior to our previous pastor moving to Brazil to be a missionary, we also had past sermons going back years on the website. Unfortunately, one of the requirements for becoming a missionary had something to do with taking down the sermons. But I would download at least one or two sermons a week and listen to them. This was great while my baby was too small for me to get more than one hand free for very long.

I also love the program E-Sword. It is free to download and has a lot of great resources right at your fingertips from concordances to various translations.

Question of the Week #8

Do you participate in Lent? Do you give up anything for Lent? If so, what? Why? What do you hope to gain from Lent this year? I don't know if 'gain' is the right word...what I'm asking is what are your goals this year, what are you hoping to accomplish or learn? Do you think that Lent is important? Or not so much?

No, I don't participate in Lent. I always think that I might, but then don't. I have known people who do participate in Lent and it wasn't necessarily part of their church's tradition. It is not part of my church's tradition and has never been a part of my family's tradition.

I had a friend once who participated in Lent. Every year she prayed about what she should give up, and this one year it was bread. Why bread? She explained that she loved to eat and savored bread at her meals. By giving up bread, she would be reminded how much she was blessed. She said each time she thought about whatever it was that she gave up she would take the opportunity to pray. Through her Lenten traditions she learned more about herself and gained a closer relationship with God. She was reminded to put God first and not let things get in the way of your relationship with him.

It was a great lesson; one that I have yet to try myself, but maybe someday. That is definitely an attitude I want to have.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Great Eight by Scott Hamilton


Hamilton, Scott. The Great Eight. Thomas Nelson: 2008

Nuggets, nuggets, nuggets. Reading The Great Eight is like panning for gold and getting fourteen karat nugget after nugget. Each page has a piece of gold to carry away and enlist as a life lesson.

Scott Hamilton, the world famous figure skater, shares his life stories as evidence of the importance of leading a positive life. He’s battled cancer not once but twice and still believes in the value of living with a positive attitude.

The Great Eight are Hamilton’s eight principles for leading a happy life, when you have every reason to be miserable. He talks about the importance of falling and getting back up, trusting God in every situation, turning negative situations into positive ones, communicating with others and making your feelings known, thinking positive, laughing, and smiling, putting others first before yourself, not being afraid of the unknown and learning a new routine, and finally learning to stand in the spotlight.

These eight have a lot of similarities to Cury's Think and Make It Happen. The difference is that Hamilton has lived the life and doesn't feel the need to convince you that he knows what he is talking about. Anyone who has seen the man perform or even interviewed can see he lives what he is writing about. That being said, it was so refreshing when in the last chapter Hamilton admitted that he too finds it difficult to live a happy life and focus on the positive. As he shared his own disappointment, I felt renewed in my own quest to live a happy and positive life.

Hamilton is honest, open, and inspiring. His Great Eight are within grasp of any person who sets their sights on living a happy life, even when they have every reason to be miserable.

Here are just a few of the nuggets that I tucked away in my jewel box:

Happiness is unique to you. You have to find what that is--and then know that you will definitely start falling down. (p.16)

Happiness is a fundamental, spiritual commitment to dedicating yourself to the things in life that bring you the most joy. (p.18)

When you start looking at everything that happens in your life as a God scheduled opportunity, it is amazing how it not only brightens your outlook, but how it infuses you with a greater sense of purpose, direction, and confidence. (p. 24)

I looked at what I believed to be curses as blessings, and now I realize that the ability to do so makes one a champion more than landing a perfect lutz does. (p.56)

It wasn't the circumstances that defined me, but my response to them. (p.56)

In life, when we knock the proverbial snow off our butts (getting rid of the evidence) and move forward with a smile, we have already succeeded. A smile not only tells everyone else you're fine, but also convinces you that you aren't going to dwell on the mistake. (p.98)

True happiness doesn't happen until you accept your flaws. (p.114)

We are always in the season of change, and with each change of season comes a new level of awareness and maturity and perspective. (p.149)