Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Little Blessings

Well, looks like I missed posting on Monday.  I was so incredibly tired, I could not even muster words!
Today, like most days was a series of ups and downs, but always leaving me at the end most grateful for my boys.

My mom came over and brought me a most beautiful vision-a box of k-cups from BJs!  A decent cup of coffee is a wonderful gift.  Michael went off to school and I spent the day doing a lot of paperwork I needed to catch up on.  Isaiah was most unhappy for pretty much the whole day.  I felt a little tooth pricking out of his gums so I am hoping the Tylenol will soothe him.  My camera is here amongst a flurry of blocks, books and pretty much everything else you can possibly imagine.  I must find it tomorrow so I can snap as many gummy-smile pictures before it is too late!  Also, Isaiah is now upright, with the assistance of the train table for balance and it is the cutest thing ever. 

I found early in the day that we did not have enough formula to make it until the end of the night.  Staring out the window at the rain, I was not looking forward to making the journey with Isaiah to pick some up.  Enter my very good friend to my rescue.  Another life-saving gesture made towards me, now we have enough until the morning without getting wet and most likely annoyed! 

It took Michael approximately 20 minutes after he came home from school to turn nearly anything not bolted down upside down.  He is so curious and very fast!  We escaped disaster as well:  he climbed into the bottom of the sit and stand stroller to play with the straps and was completely stuck.  After calming him down and letting him know mommy would somehow free him (and a few bites on my hand!), I was able to shimmy him out.  I honestly had NO clue if I would be able to accomplish this, but I did. 

Had an encounter with some very rude people in the lobby again.  Apparently, it bothers them that Michael is in a stroller "at his age".  "Oh, mommy must not want to bother walking with him..." one lady commented.

There are lots of things that I did not know when I started this journey with Michael, but one theme that has been running this past week is this:  I had no clue that my every move would be criticized and that I would constantly be defending myself.  From people looking at me down their nose in a disapproving glare, sarcastic comments and then the quick "Oh, just kidding...", to the nosey strangers when we leave our apartment, it is really starting to get to me. 
I never knew how much people would be bothered by us.
I am beginning to feel unwelcome wherever we go. 
Today I was reading a poem about being a parent of a child with Autism,
written by Cindy Waeltermann.  One part struck me very deep and it is exactly what various people are saying, whether it be verbal or through their very obvious body language:

“He needs discipline,” they say “Just a well-needed smack,
You must learn to parent…” And on goes the attack
I tell you.  I am just over it this week.  And it is only Tuesday!  I did have to think about that for a moment, if I was on the correct day of the week!  Just when you think that you are all alone, a stranger can also surprise you.  While waiting for my friend in the lobby, a woman tapped me on the shoulder.  She told me, "here you go.  Put this on tonight and hold your babies".  It was a t-shirt that reads "World's Best Mom".

Immanuel.  Always with us and ready to offer the most simple, yet wonderful reminders of His
love just when we need them most.  His grace is so amazing.

Tomorrow I am going to introduce you to two little angels. Bryce and Baen.  If you read any post in this blog, please read the one coming tomorrow.  Their story will change you forever.
Not a night can be wasted without prayer, so I will post this link for now.
If you have a moment, please check out their Facebook page and pray for them tonight, and could you also remember their parents?  I cannot even begin to imagine what they are going through. 
The closest I can come is remembering the pain and whirlwind of Michael's NICU stay...
and then multiplying that by about 5,000. 

That is the other thing that you are not prepared for when becoming a parent-
just how much room there is in your heart. 

I pray that for tonight, God will surround himself around the Hurst family and give them all some much needed rest.  Lay your healing hands on those beautiful baby boys and comfort the weeping hearts of their mommy and daddy.  May the same power that resurrected our Lord and Savior work a miracle in this family from the hairs on their heads to the toes on their feet.  Amen. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Cuteness Fix and a Christmas Wish

I am having a hard time remembering that it is only Saturday! Between our recent time change and the long weekend, my brain is quite scattered. Yet, we march on. I am not even going to discuss the
un-human hour I woke this morning because by now, you all got it. This house wakes early
and I am starting to become accustomed to the fact that this is life around here!
No need to bore you all.

I do have some fun pictures from the wee hours of the morning, however! Isaiah fell asleep in his Jumperoo after an hour or and I let him sleep. He seemed to be breathing much better upright
and I NEVER EVER wake a sleeping baby!

Aren't his chipmunk cheeks so cute? I snapped probably a dozen of these pics in different angles because he looked so sweet. Michael became a bit jealous of all the attention
and wanted his picture taken as well:

He did not want to look straight at me because that is his way of telling me he is not happy with me!

Once the fog started lifting from our heads, Michael was ready to go! He brought me a can of tuna and placed it into my hand, waiting for me to read the entire can. Nutritional information and all. I find it fascinating that at his age, he is so interested in the alphabet and words. He must know what EVERYTHING says, from books to shampoo bottles. I have began to show him how to write letters because he likes holding my hand and having me trace them in books. We'll see where that goes!

So Christmas season is officially in full swing. I do consider this Christmas season and am teaching my children to do the same because this is a home that serves our Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ and we will be observing His birthday on December 25.

The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is something that I celebrate every day. Yet, there is something so sweet and tender about the Christmas season to me. To look at my baby and think that Jesus Himself was once that tiny and how Mary must have felt when she held Him...to think of all the promises that His birth resembles...I just really love this time of year.
I can do without the snow, however so that can just go ahead and not come. :)

In the past few weeks, I have noticed much debate in other people's posts regarding the terms "Happy Holidays" and "Merry Christmas". I have been giving this subject much thought lately, more so than in previous years, although I do not know why. Perhaps it is because of the talk of calling the
White House Christmas trees "holiday trees" or maybe it is all the Facebook posts. I have also noticed these posts are getting meaner and meaner by the day. If I were not Christian and saw some of these messages "supporting" Christmas, I surely would not be quick to run to any alter calls any time soon! Some of these messages are just terrible. All caps, saying things like "DON'T TAKE MY HOLIDAY" "LEAVE THE COUNTRY IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT", etc., etc.

First, please remember this: NO ONE can take your faith from you. NO ONE can take Christ from you, no matter what laws are passed or what a tree is called. If you are starting to feel like you are losing your faith, then you need to GET INTO THE WORD. This is something that you and the Lord need to work out and no one on Facebook is to blame.

Second, please remember that each of us are to be spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that every ear may hear. If you are snarling at a cashier a Kohl's because she said "Happy Holidays", you are not spreading the Gospel. If you are in a Wal-Mart taking part in trampling a worker to death so you can get your children a flat screen TV for Christmas, you CERTAINLY are not helping to spread His Word. When someone writes "Happy Holidays" on your Facebook wall, are you hitting the caps lock button and ready to tell them a thing or two?

If you are doing these things, then let me gently tell you this: you are just as far removed from Christmas as those who do not believe. You are not helping to plant any seeds for His kingdom by carrying yourself in that manner. Christmas is not about knowing God and keeping Him to yourself. This is a time of reflection, celebration, and thanksgiving. The next time someone says "Happy Holidays", there are a few things you can say. If you simply find yourself unable to be nice, a simple "thank you" is better than representing the rest of us in a poor manner. You could ask the person what holiday they celebrate and get to know them a little.

What God would really love for Christmas is for His children to get a long and treat each other with love (hmmm...parents, can you relate?). So, this season, lets join our Jewish friends in their Festival of Light and "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16.

If someone tells you Happy Holidays, one of the most powerful responses you can give them is this:


God Is With Us.

Friday, November 25, 2011

All Ye...

What a day.  Black Friday was not spent shopping for deals, at least not in this house.  Kids up bright and early and I decided to make it washing day.  We have had a nasty cold virus running through the house for months.  So gross!  Poor kids are always coughing and noses always running.  Once Isaiah was down for his morning nap, I decided to do the wash.  All the bedding, clothes and even Brian's winter coat.  This is NOT an easy feat with Michael in tow.  First, he would only wear one shoe.  Then he insisted on bringing the Wii remote.  Once I had 2 loads worth in the cart, I grabbed my home made laundry detergent (recipe in upcoming post) and my keys.  Our laundry machines require a plastic re-loadable cash card to operate for our "convenience".  The convenience part is quite laughable to me, because no matter what safe place I put it in, I always end up tearing apart everything looking for the stupid thing.  Twenty minutes later, we are off to the laundry room...this time, with Michael wearing no shoes and carrying the Wii remote in one hand, a letter block in the other.

As SOON as the door opens, he takes off running up the hallway.  Here I go, chasing him so that I can catch up to him before he gets to the laundry room door.  Once I meet him there and get the cart halfway into the doorway, he slips past me and runs back towards our apartment.  Leaving the cart to hold the door open for us, I run off to catch him.  Giggling and squealing, he manages to escape my hands for 5 minutes before deciding to sit on the ground and scream.  Oh, well gotcha this time!  And we finally get to start the laundry.

The next trip to switch the loads was quite similar, except this time he almost escaped to the open elevator and I received a disapproving look from a woman about 30 years my senior.  "Think you can do better?  Have at it!" I thought and smiled to myself.  I love how so many people feel that they are such experts.

Today was a bit warmer outside so I was able to open the windows while I sprayed the house down with my Thieves spray and my vinegar, lemon and eucalyptus mixture for good measure.  Michael proceeded to steal the cordless and call people on my speed dial at 8 a.m.  He likes to seize the day, what can I say?  :)

I made another loaf of bread today.  It is amazing what simple yeast, water, flour and salt can create inside of a dutch oven.  The dough had been rising all night long and this time I followed the instructions, giving it only a second rise.  I did not have any more parchment paper, so I sprayed the bottom of the dutch oven with a little olive oil spray, hoping for the best.  This is my best loaf thus far.  It is probably non-existent at this point, as I have left Brian alone with it for over half an hour!  This is fine with me, as I get my slices and then I don't feel tempted to eat more.  You must try this for yourself, head over here for the recipe.

Did anyone else see the story about recalled canned pumpkin?  I still cannot believe that they waited until Thanksgiving day to let us all know that brands of canned pumpkin sold at Giant Eagle and other local stores needs to be tossed immediately.  I hope that no one got sick because of this.  Good news, if you bought a tainted can, you can choose between a refund or a free pie!  No, that is not a sick joke.  They really are offering free pie as a choice.  As if you would even want to look at a pie if you happened to have fallen ill from this. 

Such a long day.  Brian took Michael to the store with him this afternoon.  Michael was not happy when he woke from his nap.  I really think that he understands way more than we think.  Today I decided no matter who telephones us, if the conversation turns to the part of Michael that is Autism, the conversation goes on the balcony where he cannot hear.  He was biting, hitting, and he just looked sad.  He had this look that tore my heart in pieces.  It said to me "YOU think this is hard for YOU?  Imagine what it is like for me!".  He insisted that he must have the cordless phone and when I tired to take it from him, he became even more upset.  Not even brownies could budge his tight grip of his pudgy little hand from the phone.  So off to Marc's went Brian, Michael and the cordless phone!  He was a much happier little camper upon return, so that is all that matters to me. 

It is only 8:14 p.m. and I am writing this from my bed!  There is something so lovely and comforting about fresh sheets, isn't there?  Baby Isaiah is sleeping sweetly a few feet from me and I've left Brian to watch his hockey and requested his help folding all this laundry.  My body is tired and my heart is too.  I have had a lot on my heart today.  A friend reported that one of her teenage daughter's classmates was killed in a car accident yesterday.  Another one called me out of the blue so distraught over very severe marital problems.  Her soft voice asking me to pray keeps echoing in my head.  Oh, I am praying honey! 
I am thinking of the two babies, Bryce and Baen that are fighting for their little lives and their parents that must be in so much pain watching it unfold.  They are the only documented twins in the world that have been diagnosed with Hurler's syndrome. 
I am thinking of the young Skelton brothers that went missing from Michigan one year ago yesterday.  Every time I see their pictures I wonder and pray.  Andrew, Alexander, and Tanner, if for some very miniscule chance you ever stumble upon this blog, know that your family is looking for you and the whole country is rooting for your return home.  Scream, yell, run, whatever you have to do.  Everyone by this time knows your last name.  Yell it very loud and say that you need help.  Help WILL come.
I am thinking about each and every one of you reading this.  Whatever you are facing, whether you are suffering or celebrating, my heart is in some small way with you tonight.  So I leave you with this:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I've Been Up, I've Been Down...

It’s the eve of Thanksgiving.  What a crazy day!  I have been through just so many emotions today it is nuts. 
5 am: “Bang.  Bang.  Bang.  Bang…”
Me:  “Ugh…what time is it?” 
Husband mutters something I can’t understand.  Tired and cranky, I start muttering as well, until I realize there is a baby in a swing next to me and I do not want him to wake up just then.  I stumble out of the room to see my toddler peeking out from his door and smiling at me and flapping his arms.  Realizing there is no chance he might lay back down; I reach over the baby gate in his room and pick him up.  After our kisses, I tell him how much I missed him while he slept, a ritual we have done since he was born.  “Too bad you didn’t want to sleep a bit longer…” I think to myself with a sarcastic laugh.
And he’s off.  There go the toy bins, turned over in 3 seconds flat.  Like a tornado, he starts to rip through the living room of our apartment, making all of his things just the way he likes them:  everywhere!  I set off to make my coffee and get him juice and realize I need to change his diaper.  After a few fast thinking hops and jumps over blocks and toys I manage to catch him and get him changed.  Hear the baby start to cry and time to get him situated as well.  Must at least get a few sips of coffee in so I can think! 
By noon, we have had a lot of action.  Baby cried his head off for an hour and did not want to be consoled, many things went crashing to the floor, several bumps and bruises from toddler running too fast into things, my busted lip because he threw his head back too hard into my mouth, and somehow there is a broken door. 
Finally sitting down to my now cold coffee I think about the two smiling little faces both taking naps.  What an insane morning, but I am so thankful for every minute of it.  All I can do is laugh, looking around at a now completely destroyed living room and kitchen. 
“I’ve been up, I’ve been down, I’ve been Yes, and I’ve been OH H—L NO!!!” starts playing from my ITunes list and all I can do is start dancing and turning it up as much as I could without waking the kids.  I realize that these lyrics mean something completely different, but for me, I listened with flashbacks of the morning.  That is the great thing about listening to music, instead of letting a video tell you what the song should mean to you:  you make the song whatever you want. 
Later, I managed to make brownies for my little toddler.  He has autism and is on a diet that restricts gluten and casein.  If you have a child on the GFCF and want to give them a treat, get the GFCF brownie mix and mix it with a can of pumpkin puree and bake!  Let me tell you, these brownies are amazing! 
So, since I did not use egg in the bowl, the spoon was safe to lick.  The little guy looked so surprised when I gave it to him!  Oh my gosh, there are chocolate hand prints everywhere!  So it is time to change the little guy’s diaper and my ITunes library has shuffled its way to “Blessed Be Your Name”.  The song that I sang in my head for 7 days straight in the hospital room that our little family called home after Michael was born.  Watching, waiting, rocking, pumping, praying, anything but sleeping we waited until the medical team at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital gave us the all clear to bring him home.  The song I softly sang in the middle of the night to calm him after bringing him home.  The song I sing every night before the Lord in quiet time…and the same song that I sang when the doctors told me that I delivered a healthy baby boy last April. 
Yep.  I am tired.  I don’t even want to describe what I look like right now, horror of all horrors!  But as I look back on all the little smiles and shrieks of delight to games of “Peek a Boo” and “Here Comes the Bear”, spinning and dancing to “A Bushel And  A Peck”, and slobbery infant kisses…I am so extremely grateful. 
Lord, Blessed Be Your Name.
Happy Thanksgiving