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

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Carter's First "Official" Haircut

With all that has been going on the past few weeks, it was nice to celebrate another of Carter's first on Tuesday. As most of you know, he was born with more hair than some babies have when they are a year old. I knew he would need a haircut long before OG had her first but didn't expect it to be the week he turned 8 months old.

I have to admit...I did cut the back of his hair when he was four months old because it was soooo long that I couldn't take it anymore. That wasn't an "official" haircut so it didn't count.

His grandparents and great-grandparents have been begging us to get his hair cut for at least 2 months. I was just so afraid that he wouldn't look like my little baby anymore. I really want him to stay a baby as long as possible! It is kinda sad to think that he may be my last baby and he already has to have a haircut.

I noticed this past week that his bangs were hanging in his eyes so I decided I finally had to do it. I had to cut my baby's hair even if it meant that he wouldn't be my tiny baby anymore. We went Tuesday. I held him and Becky took the pictures. He was so good! I was actually surprised at how still he was sitting.

In the end, I was actually very pleased with his new haircut. She just rounded it around his face, got the bangs out of his eyes, and shortened it over his ears and in the back. He actually still looks like my little baby. I learned with Olivia Grace that they grow up way too fast so there is no need in pushing them. I want to enjoy every minutes with my babies because, before long, they won't be "my babies" anymore!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

No Second Chances

This has been a really rough week and tomorrow may be even more difficult. I have learned a lot through the trials and tribulations during my life. I really do think I am the mother, wife, and friend that I am because of the things I have been through. I am trying very hard to have faith that the things I do and the decisions I make are done and made because it is His plan, not my own. My faith has been tested this year but I am determined to believe that the Lord is in control and He is taking care of me even when I may feel alone. While I pray that every decision I make is made with His help, there are definitely times when I question why I did or didn't do certain things. I have certainly questioned myself this week.

This week I learned that no matter whether decisions that are made are the right ones or the wrong ones, there are times when there are no second chances. Sometimes things can't be changed. I want everyone in my life, or at least those who read my blog for now, to know just how important they are to me.

To my friends and coworkers:
It is a blessing to know that I have friends from high school that choose to stay connected through this blog and others who I may see everyday but have such an interest in my family that they choose to follow our blog. I am blessed to have the friends that I have and can't believe how thoughtful and caring you all can be! You are the best!

To Becky:
You are a blessing from God. You support me when I need it. When I am down and feeling alone, you are there with just the write words of encouragement. I can't imagine not having you to lean on. Spiritually, you have filled granny's shoes. She was always the one that reminded me that the Lord loved me and that He has a plan but now you have taken on that job. You are the world to me! I love you!

To Claire:
You mean more to me than you will ever know. Like I have said many times before...the Lord put you in my life for a reason. We aren't friends because we have things in common. Our friendship isn't just a coincidence. You are part of His plan for my life and I am soooo thankful. You are a wonderful mother and you have the most caring heart. God knows what I need and provides that through our friendship. I am so blessed to have someone that cares about me and my family. I love you very much!

To my in-laws:
You are the family that I have wanted for so long. God always provides what we need even if it isn't in the way that we expected. I love knowing that you love me regardless of my faults or my crazy feelings on things. You accept me for who I am and understand why I think the way I do about my children. I am so blessed to be a part of your family and I thank the Lord everyday for answering prayers. I love you!

To Craig:
You are my world! Simple and sweet - I don't know what I would do without you. We don't always see eye to eye but you love me anyway. You put up with me not because you have to but because you love me. I don't tell you enough how much you mean to me. You are a great daddy, a wonderful man and an answer to prayers. I love you!

To Olivia Grace and Carter:
You two are the blessings that I prayed for, the loves of my life, and my reason for living. You are the best two children a mother could ask for. I thank God everyday for allowing me to be your mother. I never want you to wonder if I love you! I will teach you to listen, follow directions, be respectful, clean your rooms, pick up your toys, brush your teeth, be compassionate, share, tell one another "I love you", go to church, do your homework, work hard in school, be independent, love the Lord, be thoughtful, drive carefully, play nicely, and take advantage of every chance you have all because I love you. I will do everything a mother should, not because I should, but because that is just how much I love you!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

God Provides...He Even Provides Doctors

I am a firm believer that the Lord puts people in your life for a reason and I received validation of this belief today.

Olivia Grace's doctor used to be Dr. Principe at Georgetown Pediatrics and Internal Medicine. I absolutely LOVED him. He was wonderful so you can imagine how devastated I was when he got a job at the hospital and left the practice.

I went through all the stages of grief. First was denial - he really isn't leaving. Second was anger - how dare he leave us. Then came bargaining - I would be willing to pay a little extra if he could just stay. Next was depression - I was soooo sad that he wouldn't be our doctor anymore and all I could think of was would we ever find anyone as good as him. The last stage was acceptance and boy did that take a while. When I got pregnant with Carter, I was very worried about who his doctor was going to be. I even went as far as listing another doctor in the practice as the pediatrician on my file for the hospital.

In August, Olivia Grace had her four year old appointment and shots for school. Dr. Ratz was the new doctor taking Dr. Principe's place but I didn't have high expectations. After the appointment, I was extremely impressed. He was young, had children the age of mine, and seemed very knowledgeable. I guess I really had made it to that last stage of grief - acceptance. I actually accepted Dr. Ratz as our new pediatrician. I was so impressed that I even changed the pediatrician on my file for Carter. After Carter was born, we were totally hooked. Dr. Ratz was great! He stole Craig's heart because they actually had something in common - the love of sports. Carter wore a Clemson hat after he was born. When Dr. Ratz got him to circumcise him, he put a piece of tape over the tiger paw with Penn State written on it because that is his alumni.

Dr. Ratz is a great pediatrician but today I realized that he isn't just a pediatrician that happened to take the place of Dr. Principe. The Lord put him in our lives for a reason. I had to take OG to the doctor today because she was running a very high fever last night. We found out the she had the flu, even though she had flu mist. Everyone in the family could be treated for the flu except for Carter because he is too young. Once he told me that, I was a bit upset. I replied by saying just our luck...if it is around, we are going to get it. Well...Dr. Ratz quickly put me in my place by saying, "Tanya, the flu is much better than something long term. We want to keep the cancers and such away so we will settle with things like the flu. It can be treated and we are done with it in a short amount of time." I knew right then that was the Lord! He was making sure I knew that He was taking care of my children, even though I was being ungrateful. As I was driving home, I found myself praying over and over. "Thank you, Lord, for taking care of my children. Thank you for covering them and only allowing them to get things that can be treated and have no long term effects. Thank you for putting Dr. Ratz in our lives to make me aware of how grateful I should actually be."

I thought I should share this story with all of my mommy friends because we get so caught up in how bad these viruses and colds can be on our little ones. Dr. Ratz (which is now the BEST doctor in the world) made sure I understood just how blessed we really are. Thank the Lord for people like Dr. Ratz!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Boys vs. Girls

Carter is extremely mobile and has been for a few months. I haven't really compared my children much but I knew Olivia Grace didn't crawl until much later. I took out the baby books today and compared just a little. Much of what I learned in college about the development of children seems to be true. Girls develop faster, verbally, than boys and boys develop faster, physically, than girls. Olivia Grace didn't crawl until she was nine months and Carter has been crawling since he was six months. However, she was saying da-da (daddy) and boo-boo (bye bye) at eight months and he is just now starting to say different sounds. I am getting a little worried that he may walk sooner than she did as well. I remember wanting her to take those first steps sooo badly. I would sit for hours and call her so that she would try to walk to me. I know better now! Once they start walking, it is over!

Any privacy you may have had in the bathroom is gone!

Cooking or cleaning without "help" is over!

Keeping your cabinets and drawers straight and organized is over!

Relaxation in the tub is gone (even daddy can't contain the walker)!

Most importantly, and the one that makes me the most sad, is that the baby stage is over! No more sitting and rocking...you officially have a toddler that can and wants to get into everything!

Carter is trying to pull up on the side of the couch. He is very unsteady but the fact that he is trying worries me. I found him in a new position yesterday and finally got a picture of it today. I must admit, it is absolutely precious to see him sit in this position and try to play with toys at the same time. I guess this may be another way of strengthening his legs in preparation for standing or it may just be something crazy that he likes to do for no apparent reason. Either way, I had to share!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Pirate" Parts

I will go ahead and apologize ahead of time...this post may discuss more than you would like to hear about but I couldn't let this experience pass without sharing it.

I like to think that Olivia Grace is pretty innocent compared to many children today. I realize she is only four, but working in a public school will give you a clear idea of what you don't want your four year old to know about. Up until Carter's birth, she really didn't realize that boys were any different than girls. Since then, she has noticed that his "tuu-tee" doesn't look like hers and she is totally amazed by it. She has now learned that his isn't called a "tuu-tee" but instead we call his a "winky". For quite some time, we called them the same thing but Claire made sure to inform me that we could not do that.

I have been allowing them to take a bath together because Carter loves to splash and OG thinks it is hilarious to make him splash harder by laughing each time he hits the water. For the past month, she has been more interested in Carter's private parts than I would like for her to be. I know that it is just something different and her interest will soon pass. However, I have started trying to explain to her that each person has private parts that only belong to them and no one should look or touch except for mommas and dads. She seemed to understand and I thought my continuous reminding was working because she hasn't said anything the past week or so in the bathtub or during his diaper changes. Tonight, we were all three in the tub and Carter was overly excited about splashing in the water. Olivia Grace looks at me and says, "look, his "pirate" parts shake when he kicks". I thought I would die!!! I had to tell her that they were called "private" parts because that is what moms should do, right? I really just wanted to start laughing hysterically but I kept my composure, corrected the word and pulled the plug in the tub. It was time to get out!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

When Big Sisters Teach Little Brothers About "Dress-Up"

Poor Carter!! I guess he has a lot to look forward to since he has an older sister that is a bit bossy but still very protective of her little brother.

Olivia Grace played by herself for much of the day but decided to include Carter when it came time for dress-up. She did try to choose clothing that was not specific to a particular gender. I tried to put a pair of her dress-up shoes on him and she quickly told me, "a boy can't dress-up in girl shoes". Oh, sorry!!

He is pretty laid back and will do whatever she wants him to do (which is good because, remember, I said she was a bit bossy). He looks at her with those big, brown eyes and smiles no matter if she is...

dressing him up,

feeding him her pretend baby doll food,

pushing him down the hall in his walker as she pretends they are on a ride at Disney World,

helping him play her Hannah Montana keyboard as she plays the guitar so they can "make a band",

checking his lungs and heart with her stethoscope like the pediatrician does,

fixing his hair with her hair clips,

pretending to read him story after story as he sits and glares at her as if every word were meant just for him...

He just looks at her and smiles the most precious smile - and as I watch them, I realize just how precious the sibling relationship can be. I pray that they continue to have the relationship that they have right now...that he always looks at her like he did today - in amazement at his beautiful, big sister - and that she always takes care of him just as she has for the past 6 months.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Proud Moments

The ride home today wasn't much different than any other ride home. Usually, if everyone is in a good mood and not too tired, we sing along with either a christian CD of songs that we sing at our church or a CD that Olivia Grace calls "Connor's songs" because it was a favor from Connor's birthday party.

OG asked to hear the "glory song" so we were singing along and enjoying ourselves. When the song ended, it got quiet enough that I could hear Olivia Grace talking to Carter. I decided to turn the next song down a bit so that I could hear what she was saying.

I could have never imagined what was coming out of her mouth...she was witnessing to her little brother. She said (as best I can remember), "Carter, do you want Jesus in your heart? Do you want him to live in here (I guess she was pointing to her heart). Jesus can live in your heart. He really can, I promise."

I have never been so proud in my life! I really struggle with the religious questions that she is starting to ask (last night the questions was "what is glory?") and I often worry that I am not doing all that I could to help her understand God and Jesus and all that goes along with those very abstract concepts. If she doesn't get any of those concepts that I have been trying to help her with, she has learned the most important - We all need to have Jesus in our heart!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Carter's Christening

We had Carter christened today and it was absolutely wonderful. We had our closest friends and family there with us and everyone enjoyed dinner after church. We had to wait longer with Carter than we did with Olivia Grace because he had such a rough start. But today he was the most perfect little boy. He didn't cry once! He is truly a different child.

I really looked forward to both of my children's dedication because I feel like it is my way to say in front of everyone just how much I appreciate the Lord trusting me with these precious gifts and how hard I plan to work in order to be that good Christian mother that protects them, guides them and teaches them how awesome and powerful God is. How he is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end...how he created everything we see and yet knows each one of us by name...how he is all powerful but chose to exchange all of his power and splendor for poverty here on Earth just to pay our debt. Our outward notion of "giving" them back to the Lord is just our simple way of saying we are going to do our very best to "train them in the way that they should go". I am so grateful for my two precious blessings!

Pastor Tommy did a great job at making this day special for my family.

He even included Olivia Grace by asking her if she would be willing to help teach Carter about Jesus and show him what is right.

Carter absolutely loved Pastor Tommy. He was enthralled by every word he spoke.

Becky - the American Idol winner of our family! She is the best!

Our Family

Our Family and Our Extended Family

The dinner after the service

The cake was done by a good friend, Paula Ackerman of Cupcake Betty's. She did a wonderful job - much better than what I could have imagined. It tasted as good as it looked. She also took all the pictures which turned out as good as the cake.

Claire - the greatest friend in the world that would do anything for me including attending church at Maryville PH - and Wilson!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Appreciating Special Times

The past week or so hasn't been quite as relaxing as I was hoping it would be but as I was thinking about the time that I have had off, I realized that even amidst the craziness, there are times to appreciate.

Olivia Grace had a very bad virus right before Christmas that lasted about 5 days. We ended up going to the doctor and getting a prescription for nausea to help her through Christmas. She is feeling much better now but she was a very sick little girl for those few days. I am sure all of you mothers can relate when I say - I hate it when my kids are sick!! Once they start feeling better after being as sick as OG was, it makes us moms really appreciate the time we have with our little ones.

Craig has been selling fireworks this Christmas in order to supplement our already pitiful income so he hasn't been home much to help out with the kids. To top that off, he now has a staph infection so I won't allow him out of our bedroom for fear that he might touch something. I definitely won't allow him to touch the children just for the sake of helping me out. When I talked to our pediatrician, he said not to treat Craig like he had the plague. Bless his little heart...we have treated him worse. We have treated him like a leper. When he does leave the room, I follow him around with the Clorox wipes wiping down everything he comes in contact with. Since I haven't had much help, I plan to be more appreciative of the help he gives me in the future.

As a mom, it is often easy to take for granted those little things that happen. Since Craig has been sick, the kids and I have moved into OG's room. I had to wake OG up from the couch in order to get her in the bed last night. It wasn't easy while holding Carter and trying not to wake him up. She was half asleep when we laid down and she immediately grabbed my hand under the pillow. Carter is a snuggler so when I rolled over his way in order to better hold OG's hand, he grabbed hold of my other finger. As I laid in the bed holding my children's hands, I found myself thanking the Lord over and over for allowing me that precious moment. My eyes filled with tears and I began to wonder how often things like that have happened before and I have taken them for granted. As crazy as it sounds, I never want to forget how I felt last night holding the hands of my precious babies. They will soon be married and have their own children to enjoy so I only have a short while to appreciate the gifts that God has given me - to appreciate them as they are now while they still want to hold my hand that is. I don't think I have ever felt as thankful as I did last night - and it was something so small. Now, I am determined to pay closer attention to the "small" special times that I usually take for granted!