"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Memories 2008

We had a great Christmas this year and we have tons of memories that will last forever.

Olivia Grace


We started at Granny Wheeler's Christmas Eve around lunch. I was surprised because Carter was very interested in the presents, wrapping, and bows. I thought he would be too young this year. Granny wasn't having the best day but every so often we would see a glimmer of "granny". Carter would start fussing and she would say, "give him to me" which is exactly what she would say if she didn't have Alzheimer's. Craig asked her if she remembered me asking her to scratch my arm or my back every night. She said, "yes" and immediately started rubbing my arm. I am not sure how much longer we will have with granny because she is always talking about "going home" (to be with the Lord of course) so I am very grateful for the time that the Lord is allowing us to have with her. Before she got sick, she prayed as hard, probably harder, than I did for OG. Before she got really sick, she used to say, "now that you have OG, all you need now is a little boy." I have no doubt that she prayed for Carter as well. I thank the Lord daily that she is here, even if not in perfect mind, to see the two miracles that she prayed so hard for and to see that I am that momma that I always wanted to be.

OG helping Carter open his presents.

Kerri, Cody, Brandon and OG

Kerri and Carter

We went to Nana's that night but I forgot my camera. Oops! She had great spinach dip like always but Carter insisted on eating his cereal and peas first. He also loved the bows and tissue paper at Nana's house. I think Nana and Papa actually missed Carter just a bit. They normally see him everyday because they are helping us out until we find daycare. Since school had been out, they had not seen him. He smiled as soon as they started talking to him so he obviously missed them a little as well.

Then it was time for Santa. I love, love Santa coming. I could work on it for hours - making things just perfect. But seeing the kids faces on Christmas morning is even better!

OG's first look at what Santa brought.

OG's Pile
Carter's Pile

His favorite was the cheap barking puppy. He noticed it first.

After enjoying what Santa brought, we went back to Nana's for lunch. It was yummy!!

Opening presents at Mammy's and Pappy's is our last thing to do on Christmas day. I remember when OG was small; she would be so tired by the time we got to Craig's parents' house that she would hardly want to open presents. Now that she is older, it is great because it really stretches out the Christmas fun! We all got so much we could hardly fit it into the car.

Pappy and OG - Two Peas in a Pod!

Mammy, Carter and OG

My two men!

My family is so blessed and the Lord continues to bless us everyday! I am grateful for the real reason for Christmas - Jesus!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Crafts

Olivia Grace was a sick little girl over the weekend. I don't think she has been that sick since she was about 2 years old. She woke up today feeling much better and begging to do a Christmas craft. I am not really sure where she gets the "craftiness" from because Craig and I sure aren't the crafty type. I did scrapbook when she was little but I don't do that much anymore. She loves making crafts and is always trying to come up with a craft to complete. When she woke up this morning feeling so much better, I couldn't tell her no when she ask to make something. I thought about the reindeer craft that I had made with my students for years. It is easy and she could complete most of it by herself. As we were working, she asked Carter if he would like to make a reindeer. So we decided to include him in the fun. Holding him still to trace his foot and hand wasn't very easy but it was so worth it. His ornament turned out so tiny and absolutely precious!! With the exception of mine, these are priceless memories that I plan to keep for years.

Monday, December 15, 2008

All I Have Ever Wanted

I absolutely love Christmas! I love the lights, the wrapping paper, the feeling you get from giving, the family gatherings, the excitement of children and of course the "real" reason for Christmas - Jesus! I was about 10 weeks pregnant last year during Christmas. For those that are unfamiliar with the beginnings of my pregnancies, they can be rough. I had severe morning sickness with Carter and didn't get any medicine for it until well after Christmas. Needless to say, last year was not a very good Christmas for us. I have been getting excited for Christmas this year for months. However, with the economy the way it is right now, Craig found out that his hours were going to be cut in January. That has really put a damper on things because we are trying to prepare for the significant pay cut to come. I was trying to finish up the decorating of "my" tree yesterday while Carter was asleep and OG and Craig were still in Andrews. As I was decorating, I was thinking and praying. I love, love, love buying and sitting out Santa on Christmas Eve. I also love, love, love to buy clothes for my children. As I was stringing the lights, I was thinking about how these two things have changed quite a bit this year due to our trying to save and get everything caught up before the new year. I realized that my family's "cup runneth over" even without all the toys on Christmas morning and even without that perfectly smocked dress or jon jon. I am really not as materialistic as this may sound. I just enjoy spoiling my little ones. But I realized that they are still spoiled because the Lord has always provided exactly what we need just in time and I know He will continue. I was reading a friend's blog tonight that really touched me. She has a little girl that is right around Carter's age. She had heard a song on the radio that said "all I want for Christmas is a family". She went on to discuss how she had been wanting someone to call her own, someone to tuck in, someone to call her mom and how the Lord had answered those prayers by giving her a new little girl. This really hit home for me because I remember having those exact same "wants". We prayed for 3 years for Olivia Grace and went through quite a bit of tests and medicine before the Lord answered our prayers. She only wrote maybe a paragraph and I was crying uncontrollably by those few sentences. So while I may not have a living room full of toys from Santa or a smocked outfit for each Sunday before Christmas, I do have a Savior that answers prayers and always provides. A perfect example of His work is that I have what I have always wanted for Christmas - A FAMILY!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Another First

Olivia Grace is asleep so I will have to tell her about Carter's new "first" tomorrow so that she can add it to her list. As you all know, Carter had a very rough start and now he stays with his Pappy and Nana so he is a bit spoiled to say the least. With Olivia Grace, I followed all the "rules" with feeding, sleeping, tummy time, etc. However, it is been a little different with Carter. Everyone tried to tell me that the second is very different. But knowing me and how paranoid I am about things, I really didn't think it would be that much of a change from the first. Oh, but it is!! Carter got cereal about a week before he was 4 months (the "official" time to start), he started on fruit about a week ago (the "official" time to start that is 5-6 months), and he is rocked to sleep for every nap and at every bedtime. I know, you should lay them down and let them learn to sooth themselves. I have read all the books, too. But when your baby cries for hours on end like he did for those few months, you will do whatever you can to just get them to sleep. He is doing sooo much better but we continue to rock him to sleep because he is used to that now and I can't really imagine him "soothing himself". Well...I am now the proud mother of a "self soother"!!! He played on the couch right by himself for about an hour while I looked for some deals on holiday clothes on ebay. I could tell he was sleepy because he was rubbing his eyes, but he was playing so I allowed him to continue. When I looked over at him, he had rolled to his side and was closing his eyes. I was so proud, I could hardly stand it. So while you might think this is a silly first to blog about, I am the proudest mom alive right now!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

OG's List of Things That Carter Can Do

Olivia Grace likes to talk about the things that Carter has learned how to do in the past four months. She is so proud of his "accomplishments"! Over the weekend, Carter has learned to take his paci out of his mouth with his hand. He tries to get it back in the right place but he hasn't quite mastered that yet. Today, OG said that we can add something to Carter's list and she started counting on her fingers and very proudly reciting his new "can-do list".

"First, he learned how to smile at me (one finger up). Next, he learned how to keep his paci in his mouth without me holding it (two fingers up). Then, he learned how to roll over (three fingers up). Now, he can take his paci out of his mouth all by himself (four fingers up). He is almost a big boy now!"

Being the mom, I thought that was just the most precious thing!!! :) She is actually keeping up with everything that her little brother has learned how to do.

"Oh Mom, I have a paci!"

"I think I can take it out!?!?"

"Oh, wow, I really did it!"

"Now how do I get it back?? "

Thursday, November 27, 2008


As this wonderful Thanksgiving day went by, I couldn't help but keep thinking about how blessed my family is and how thankful I am to the Lord for all these blessings. I have so much to be thankful for that I could never blog enough about what the Lord has done for me. However, I feel it necessary to share as much as possible in order to give God the glory.

  • I am so thankful for salvation and how the Lord seems to draw me closer to him as each day passes. Lately, I have really been trying to read my bible more. As I was thinking about a way to blog about how the Lord saw me through a very difficult time with postpartum depression, he lead me to the book of Job. If you are unfamiliar with Job (like I was), he went through a terribly tough time after an extreme test of faith. Let me start by saying, I don't hold a candle to Job! He lost his oxen, donkeys, sheep, servants, camels, and children. Even after all of that, he continued to praise the Lord. As with Job, I questioned why the Lord had forsaken me in one of my darkest times. I was the saddest I had ever been and didn't understand why. I new that the Lord had blessed me with the second child that I had prayed so hard for, but during those months, I didn't feel very blessed. I felt guilty for not being happy, I felt guilty for crying all the time, I felt guilty for not wanting to leave the house or talk to friends, but most of all, I felt guilty for not "acting" thankful for the precious blessing the Lord had given me. Don't misunderstand - I loved my baby and took very good care of him but I just didn't understand why I couldn't act happy or be happy. I wondered what I had done to deserve all the sad feelings and I wondered why I felt so alone. I won't sugar coat things - that was the worst 3 months of my life and I thought no one understood how I was feeling. When I started feeling a little better and went to church for the first time in a few months, the preacher gave me a word. Mr. Tommy said that no one understood my feelings but the Lord says that He knows and that my faith will be strengthened and I will come through it with a testimony. I left that day feeling, for the first time in a while, that the Lord was still in control. Unlike Job, I did not stand firm and praise His name. Instead, I questioned why He had forsaken me. Looking back, I see why I went through such a difficult time and how my life has changed because of it. I can now say that I am thankful for that time and the person I have become because of it. I am thankful for His forgiveness and the boldness He has given me to even discuss those three months.
  • I am thankful for my husband who is so understanding of me and such a great daddy. I don't tell him enough how proud I am to be his wife. I have gone through quite a bit in 31 years that has shaped and molded me into who I am today. I know that the Lord allowed those things in order for me to be the wife and mother that He wants me to be. I am sure, from Craig's perspective, that isn't always a good thing. :) I know that I think very differently about things because of my past but he tries not to criticize and he loves me despite of it all. That is a really good feeling!!
  • I am thankful for my two wonderful blessings from God. Olivia Grace was truly a miracle after a long three years of praying. We learned that the Lord works on his time, not ours. Carter was our second blessing that also was provided in God's time. I am thankful for Olivia Grace's love of Jesus and her desire to please Him. I am thankful for Carter's "rough start". His difficult time has drawn me closer to the Lord. I am thankful for the blessings that He will provide my children in the future and the help he provides Craig and I everyday in raising them.
  • I am thankful for my grandparents. Without them, I cannot imagine where I would be today. My "granny" loves the Lord more than anyone I know and I thank the Lord everyday for allowing me to have someone like her to model myself after.
  • I am thankful for my in-laws who so graciously invited me into the family that I never had. Because of the Lord's grace and my grandmother's prayers, I have what I have always wanted - a family to belong to!
  • I am thankful for all the material blessings (house, car, clothes, etc.) that the Lord has provided. Without fail, we always have what we need and more. I am thankful for the blessings to come, even in this difficult economic time.
  • I am thankful for friends who were put in my life for a reason. Friends who love and pray for my family because they truly care.
  • Lastly, I am thankful for the Lord's grace and mercy and days like today when He provides time with family so that we can reflect on all that He has done for us!

Monday, October 27, 2008


I know, I know...you have been wondering when I would update my blog. My computer has had a virus but now I am finally back online!! I have been thinking about this blog for months but now that I am able to sit at the computer and start writing...well...I need a little more time. I have tons to blog about but can't possibly get it all in tonight so I will just update you on the baby.

Carter is doing sooooo much better! For a few months, he had colic. He still has days that resemble the colic (like tonight - Craig has Olivia Grace's play vacuum sitting by he and Carter in the rocking chair) but for the past two weeks I have had a new baby. Our pediatrician prescribed Zantac for acid reflux and then another medicine with a really long name that causes the food in his stomach to go to his intestines much quicker. That is to prevent the acid from coming up into the esophagus so much. He was being prayed for by sooo many people and I am extremely thankful! I know the Lord has had his hand on Carter and myself since his birth because we have come through a difficult time with a testimony. Carter doesn't have daycare anymore because he was having such a difficult time. However, Craig's dad and grandmother have graciously offered to keep him until he is completely better and we can find full time daycare. He is getting there and we are adjusting well to our new little one. When I say new, I mean new as in the past two weeks new. Because, bless his heart, he really hasn't been able to go anywhere the past few months. He did go to church once or twice when he first came home but not lately. Saturday, we went to the beach to get Olivia Grace a Halloween costume and a few shirts for the winter. He did really well. He hates the car seat so he cried the whole way over there and back. But he did great while we were shopping. He also went to church Sunday and was in amazement. He could not get enough of the music and hands in the air. Becky was helping the praise and worship team so she came and got him and took him to the front with her to sing. The preacher prayed for him and he just laid back and took it all in. It was precious and I just cried thinking of how good the Lord is to see us through each difficult situation that comes our way. I do have a few pictures to share but I have to reload my photo software on this computer. I will post some this week. Thanks for checking in and thanks to those who have been praying for us - God is sooo good!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Meet My New Blessing...Carter

Carter arrived Friday, July 11th at 3:08 pm. He is the most precious little boy I have ever laid my eyes on! He weighed 7lbs 13.6 oz and he was 20 inches long. The delivery went well and I was very blessed to have lots of family and a very dear friend there the entire time. I will post again soon with more pictures and lots more details so keep checking back.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

For Olivia Grace...

One of my intentions for this blog was to save memories for my children, so I thought I would write notes to them at special times in their life. Since this is the last day that Olivia Grace will be the baby and the only child, I thought this would be one of those "special times".

To My Special Miracle...
Today is the day before your baby brother will arrive and you seem to be clueless as to how your world is about to change. While you run around feeding your dolls and strolling them back and forth to the store (your bedroom), I can't help but tear up thinking about how special you are to me and daddy. We went through a lot and waited a long time for the Lord to bless us with the special miracle that is you! But we would go through all of that again because that is just how much you mean to us. Everyone assures me that there will be enough love for both you and Carter. I know there will be but I want you to know that when he is crying and I can't help you change your doll, I still love you. When he needs to eat and you have to wait for your lunch, I still love you. When he needs my attention and you feel like momma is always too busy with the baby, I still love you! It may seem like things will never get back to normal but actually, "our normal" will change to include your new baby brother. You will now have a new friend to play with, take care of, and love. I pray that the two of you will have a special relationship unlike all others. When you asked me this morning if I remembered that lullaby that I used to sing to you when you were little, my heart broke because I thought that was the first sign that you weren't the baby anymore. Instead, I have decided that was your way of saying "include me, momma". So I promise to include you when Carter is crying, when he needs to eat and when he is requiring a lot of my attention. You will be my "big girl" helper. When I sing your lullaby to Carter, I will be sure you are there to help me remember the words that I used to make up as I went along. Even though things are going to change a great deal around our house tomorrow, I want you to remember that daddy and I love you very much. But the Lord loves you even more and I know you will make Him very proud when you become a big sister!


Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Nursery is Finally Ready for the Big Day!

It is official...Carter's birthday will be July 11th! Can you believe it? He will finally be here Friday - that is if he continues to go along with the plan and doesn't decide to come earlier. :) If you know Craig, he always has to have a plan. So much so that our friends, Claire and Daniel, can hardly stand making dinner dates with us because Craig complains if "the plan" is off by 10 minutes. So for daddy's sake, I hope that Carter can wait it out until Friday. I am so excited to see him and count his fingers and toes but, honestly, I am a little nervous. I think when I had Olivia Grace, I thought I knew what to expect but actually I had no idea. But this time...wow...I really know what is going to happen and how life is going to change. I think that is why I am a little more nervous. I just pray that everything goes smoothly - the baby's heart rate is perfect the entire time (Olivia Grace's kept decelerating), I progress well, there is never a talk of a cesarean and the biggest thing - the epidural works great!! So please, when you are saying your prayers this week, remember these things for me - especially the part about the epidural. :)

Since we know the baby will be here in a few days we have really been putting the finishing touches on the nursery.

We still need a floor lamp for behind the rocking chair and a table lamp for the dresser. Not only the lamp but we also need just the right colored green shades (that has been really hard to find) but other than that, we can pretty much say we are finished.

Well, it is hard for me to say I am finished because there are so many other "little" things that I could add or do but you have to stop somewhere.

I remember finishing up Olivia Grace's nursery just before she was born. I finally had the feeling that I was ready. I don't know if I have that "ready feeling" this time (because I am not ready for the lack of sleep...I didn't know about that the first time) but I am excited to be able change a diaper, to rock a baby and to hum a lullaby again. It seems like it has been so long since Olivia Grace was a tiny baby. I didn't realize until recently how much I missed being able to do everything for her. Don't get me wrong - she will always be my baby but she doesn't want me to do things for her anymore. She is a little like me. She wants to be in control and doing things her way. Except, of course, when it is time to pick up toys or put her clothes away...then she wants me to help her. Oh the fun of being mom. I can hardly even remember my life before I was a mother and I wouldn't have it any other way!!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Poor Dori :(

Saturday started out as a day of shopping for Olivia Grace and I. We went to Mount Pleasant to find a bookshelf for Carter's room and then to BabiesRUs to pick up a few more things we needed before he makes his appearance. It was nice and we were excited to find the bookshelf for Carter. Although, I am not really sure why because the poor baby doesn't have a single book. Olivia Grace's bookshelf was full before she even arrived. Claire and Becky assure me that I will get over this feeling of trying to keep everything "even" for the two. I sure hope so because I am feeling really guilty that I haven't bought him any books. Olivia Grace was nice enough to go through her books and find 3 that he would like and put them on his shelf. She is going to be a great big sister! Anyway...I digress...let's get back to "poor Dori". After the 3 of us put the bookshelf together (mostly me because Craig refuses to read the directions), Craig went to put the tools away and noticed that our beloved pet fish, Dori, was floating on her back. If you know our family well, you know how important all of our pets are to us. It is kinda like a farm around here but we wouldn't have it any other way. Craig and I couldn't figure out what to say to Olivia Grace so we just decided to make it up as we went along. We showed her how Dori wasn't swimming any more and told her that we thought Dori just got old and had to go be with Jesus. At first, she was adamant that Dori was just resting and she would still swim...all while she was tapping on the glass to "wake her up". We then tried to explain that she had "died". That is a very hard concept for a four year old...really for any of us but especially for a four year old. I started by saying we could put her in the potty to send her back to the ocean but Olivia Grace didn't like that idea and started to cry more. So then I changed it to having a burial outside...we didn't like that either because Dori wouldn't like the dirt. Then Craig said someone from the pet store would come and pick her up and send her to be with Jesus. Finally, Olivia Grace agreed to her own version of what would happen...someone from the pet store would come pick up Dori and the fish doctor would take her to the ocean where she could be with her mom and dad and sister and brother. I am not sure that she understands the concept of what really happened to Dori but we did our best and when your little one's heart is broken you do whatever you can to "make it better" so we agreed with her. We finally got her to stop crying after Craig assured her that we would get another fish. I never thought that it would be that difficult to explain, after all, it was just a fish. But all the pets at our house are loved equally, I guess!! :) We will post some pictures of our new fish when Daddy finds the perfect one...Olivia Grace has given him a list of characteristics that her new pet should have!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Welcome to the Casselman family's blog! We hope this will be an easy way to share our photos and stories with all of our family and friends. Becoming parents has truly changed our lives! Craig and I are very different now than we were when we were younger. It is amazing what children will do for you! :) We can't believe our adorable little girl, Olivia Grace, is four years old, will soon be a big sister and will start school in August. Everyone was right - time flies! She has taught us both so much and has made us see life in a whole new way. Now that she will be a big sister and will start school soon, what better way to share and document the upcoming events then by blogging. So save us in your favorites and check back often as we'll be constantly updating with pictures and stories since we will soon have "BLESSINGS TIMES TWO".