Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Glory here.

Shuffield Photography

August 27, 2013
Sweet son,
I have looked through all of the photos we have of your brief time in our arms this evening.  It is the evening before your third year spent in Glory.  My eyes are glistening and blurry, 
but my heart is at peace because I know you are.
I am always astounded at the perfect details God created in you.  I see your sister in you which is a sweet gift from the Lord.  (I think your feet were as large as Grey's are now though.)  
You are handsome and perfect, and still take my breath away.

I remember my pregnancy with you as vividly as I remember anything I did yesterday.  It was one of the most special times in my life, for sure.  
The moment we first held you, that moment that was far too brief, I knew you would change me in a profound way.  And you have.

I miss you.
I get to work with three year-olds this year.  Did you know I miss teaching you to read? I know you are smart, and I was certain with a name like Holden Newell you would be scholarly.
I miss hearing you talk about your birthday party tomorrow incessantly, excitedly telling everyone the theme and how good the cake will be.  I am guessing you would be thrilled about football season for the first year too.  This would make your Daddy proud. ;)  I miss seeing you wear a matching Tech tee with your Daddy.

This year I have realized you would no longer be a baby.  You would be potty trained, know the alphabet, a soccer and t-ball player no doubt, and a big boy in every sense of the word.  My little baby has been difficult to let go of.  You are always a baby in my mind.  

I am grateful the Lord continues to teach me about Him through you, Holden Newell.
I am a better Momma to your little sister.  Did you know I fail a lot as a mom?  I lose my patience.  I choose to 'do it myself' instead of teach.  I rush life along.  These are moments that God reminds me of how precious life is, and how much I know that even more because of you. 

I still wonder why God chose us to be your parents.  Often I feel inadequate to be "Holden's Mommy". I fight against intense selfish desires to be your mommy here.  For three years I have felt guilty about wanting to give it all back to have you here; Holden Uganda, my new walk with Christ, our marriage, our life now.  All of it.  I would do anything.  
But tonight I realize I truly would not.  
I would not change the beautiful purpose God set out for your life. 
I would not deny you life in perfect Glory to live in this broken world. 

You are part of our life in a way we could never have you if you were on earth.
You will always impact us, and our prayer is to never let "normal" sink back in.  

We are celebrating your life.  
We are praising God for giving us 9 precious months with you on this side of eternity, 
and endless time with you one Day.
We get a tiny glimpse of Glory here every day being your parents.

We echo Paul, "Death is swallowed up in VICTORY!"

Tonight I am grateful for the HOPE we have through salvation in our Savior, Jesus Christ, to know you for all of eternity.  After three years of being your Mommy, 
I am always most grateful for this priceless gift when you cross my mind.  
A thousand times a day.

Happy 3rd Birthday to the person who made me Mommy.
I love you forever and always.

For you have made him most blessed forever; 
You have made him exceedingly glad with Your presence.  
Psalm 21:6

Sunday, August 25, 2013

17 Months and First Week of School!

Grey's first day of school!

"Momma, I'm a big girl! I can do this!"

Blowing kisses

Grey's first day of school was a bit full of tears (for both of us).  She has a great teacher though, so I know it will only get better each day.  She attends Trinity Learning Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I can teach the Jumpstart Reading program there. 
We are getting into a good routine of being a LOT more organized in the morning.  I get up at 5:00 and shower before Grey wakes up.  That way we have time to play, read, drink coffee (me) and pack a lunch before we drive to TLC at 7:30.  Chet is always gone very early, so I sadly I don't think he will ever get to drop Grey off at school.  

Such a HELPER lately!  She wants to do everything I do!

17 months - after a day of school

Grey's second day of school (Thursday) was a little better.  She still needs some adjusting, but she was so happy when we picked her up that she didn't even want to go home! :)  

On Friday I took my real camera to the park to get some 17 month photos of Grey, but I realized I couldn't figure out the focus buttons we had changed when the cousins were in.  My sister in law Charity is a photographer, and she offered to change them back to the "old" way, but because I clearly over-estimated my skills, I told her she didn't need to.  So much for the photo shoot...
But I did get some sweet (dark lighting) ones and a couple blurry ones to share. ;)
End of story.

Hammin' it up!

She is getting TALL!


We have enjoyed a rare family weekend this weekend.  I am so grateful for the rest and time together.  Chet and I even went on a date last night!!  (Thank you Carrie for keeping G!)  Such a beautiful end to summer.

Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.  Psalm 119:165

Monday, August 19, 2013

15 Month Well Check (at 17 months)

 I couldn't stop snapping photos of this hyper, happy little miss this morning.  She had another round of croup this past week/weekend, so feeling good made her a thrilled little girl. :)  I can't believe my sister and I were this age when our brother was born.  Yikes.  This age is SO busy.

Chase me Momma!

 That bunny.

I can't believe I am actually blogging this on the day of the appointment!  Grey's down and I have a few minutes to share her stats from today's well-check (she turns 17 months on Thursday, so we were a little late for our "15 month" appointment):

Head: 18 inches - 50th percentile
Height: 31.5 inches - 75th percentile
Weight: 21 pounds - 25th percentile

We are grateful for another healthy well-check!!  What a blessing and privilege we know it is to have a healthy child.  Grey's still not talking "per normal" though, so we have a referral to a speech pathologist.  Hopefully he/she will be able to give Grey some tools to help her speak more.  Other than that, Grey is definitely advanced physically and healthy otherwise.

Grey's first day at Trinity Learning Center is tomorrow!  She will be going Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I will co-teach the Jumpstart Reading program there.  We are praying the transition will be smooth and wonderful for us, as Grey learns from her peers and teachers, and I get to teach a precious group of pre-k children.

I will also use the afternoons Grey is at TLC to work on my Nerium business.  It has taken off and is such fun to be a part of!  This is my current "after" photo from today.  NO crow's feet! :)

I am hoping to blog about Grey's first week at school this week.  Summer has been wonderful, but I am craving a routine again.  Thankfully our fall is looking a lot "quieter", so I plan to get into a stricter schedule.  I continue to help with Holden Uganda, Hope Mommies (as the Hope Box Coordinator) and manage the homefront.  We painted Grey's room and our room/bathroom last week, so at least that is checked off my "to dos".  I want to burn autumn scented candles and start a fire already. 

I have been reminded many times lately just how precious and fragile life is.  Enjoy each and every minute.

Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.  James 4:14

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Family Fun!

This week with my sister and brother's families was so fun!  Saying goodbye was very hard yesterday.  Such a blessing to spend time with them, and I wish we could do it more often!
Our days were filled with chats, playing with the kiddos, Science Spectrum and Jump n Jungle visits, photos, coffee, tons of food and laughs.


Toured Tech's campus

Made the kids endure the annual cousin photo shoot.  Grey has won the "temper tantrum throwing cousin" 'award' two years in a row.  ;)  My talented sis-in-law, Charity, took some really sweet ones though, so I'm excited about sharing!

Had a great time with Uncle Joel and Hannah Grace.

Had lots of happy moments dumping Cheerios on the floor with our cousins.

Learned how to make homemade lattes.  Joel is a great teacher!
Snuggled precious Levi Justice

My heart needed this special time.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What we've been up to!

Summer has once again flown by.

This blog is going to be a compilation of what is going on as of late, and nothing will flow or make sense. ;)  

We are settling into our home slower than planned, as we dealt with a water leak that postponed painting - and that postponed hanging stuff on the walls - but we are glad to make this our home regardless.  

We love the Lubbock area and have enjoyed play dates with friends and everywhere we need to be within a 15 minute drive.

I am hoping to have the master bedroom and bathroom, Grey’s bedroom and the laundry area painted by the end of this month.  In September, an amazing friend from Shanty 2 Chic will be gifting us with some beautiful furniture (more to come on this ridiculously kind gift), so we will have everything ready to host guests by football season!  (Come stay with us anytime really!  We don’t need a dining table to have you over!)

My 30th birthday was the best birthday I have ever had.  My sister and I celebrated our birthday by meeting in Abilene and taking the cousins to the zoo and the Grace Museum.  It was a perfect start to this decade.  

We’ve also done some traveling this summer!  We had a great time at our good friends’ Brittney and Danny’s gorgeous wedding two weeks ago in Brookshire.  Grey was a flower girl, and I was Britt’s matron of honor, so we loved getting to be a part of such a special wedding.  I have never, ever had so much fun at a wedding, and danced so much in all my life (probably combined).  My feet are still thanking me.  

This past weekend I once again traveled to the Houston area for our annual Hope Mommies Planning Retreat.  Hope Mommies is a tremendous blessing in my life, and humbling to be a part of.  It is almost surreal to think that a little less than 3 years ago I met Erin (mommy to Gwendolyn, Holden’s friend in heaven), and just a few days ago I was sitting across from her, as she set huge goals to follow the Lord’s calling in her life for Hope Mommies.  I am leading the Hope Box portion of the ministry, which I am grateful to be a part of.  I am always humbled to help provide these boxes to grieving moms.

Since life wasn’t busy enough, I recently decided to start selling Nerium as a way to supplement our income.  It has really been one of the best decisions I have ever made.   I am hoping to earn my Lexus by the end of September (at the latest).  Nerium may be our answer to prayers for financially allowing us to adopt one day. 

Other exciting news for me: I will start teaching the early reading program at Trinity Christian School this semester!  I get to co-teach the 3 and 4 year-olds alongside the best teacher I have ever met, so it is a dream come true.   Grey will attend Trinity Learning Center on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, where she will learn about our Savior while playing with friends.  This is such a huge blessing for our family, and one I had prayed for ever since Grey was born.  Grey will still be with me most of the time, but she will get the opportunity to learn from Godly teachers and interact with children two days a week, while I help our family financially.  We both need this!

Grey’s updates:
Our big girl is 16 months old.  She is spirited, opinionated (who did she get that from?), smart (we are biased), active and loving. 
Her latest obsessions include her turquoise jellies (those are shoes for any of you who are not parents of young daughters) – which means we may have breakdowns when we are asked to wear different shoes, “playing” the piano (we were gifted a lovely antique piano that is perfect to learn on!), iPhones and all electronics, chairs of all types, running, coloring with chalk, animals, cleaning (she loves to sweep and use wipies to clean any surface), her baby doll and doll stroller, anything with lids, water, swimming, baths, taking apart anything she can get her hands on and anything forbidden…of course. J  She is a toddler in every sense of the word.  It's almost bittersweet how much she has grown up these past few months.  Sigh.

Her favorite foods are tomatoes, raisins, French fries, frozen waffles (unthawed), eggs, chicken, raspberries, green beans, legumes of all types and broccoli.  Oh and chocolate.  But what girl doesn’t like chocolate?

She adores other children and always wants to hug and kiss her friends.  She mimics anything older kids are doing, including talking.  [She still doesn’t talk much to us, so we think she is saving it up for long sentences soon.]   

One of our favorite things she is doing lately is singing.  She may not be able to say the lyrics, but she can completely follow most songs by humming (and it’s in tune)!  Chet loves this, and plays her favorite musicians for her all the time.

My brother and his family will be flying in from California, and staying with us TOMORROW through next Tuesday.  Our sister and her family will also be staying with us from Thursday through Sunday, so we get to all be together.  I am ever so excited that this has been able to happen every year; definitely a great tradition!  We love to have the cousins together, and enjoy catching up in person.  This is also the first time for us to meet Levi, so I am counting down the hours! 

Being August, I can’t help but mention Holden’s 3rd birthday coming up.  I have had a heavy heart more than I thought I would lately.  Getting to see Grey as a toddler makes miss him incredibly.  There will truly never be a day that he isn’t missed in our family though, so I try to remember that as this month has made me long for him even more.  I have such a desire for heaven.  
3 years.  Wow.  Hard to type.
We are planning a special family day to celebrate Holden’s third year in Glory, that will allow Grey to do something to honor her brother by serving others.  

I hope to upload some photos SOON from our crazy summer.  We are grateful to wake up each day saved by Jesus' grace and so very blessed.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.  
Romans 12:6-8