Monday, September 28, 2009

8 Weeks

Gavin is now 8 weeks old! Can you believe it's been 8 weeks!

My little guy is getting so alert and observant. His big eyes seem wise beyond their years, or shall I say weeks.

Gavin seems to love music and is instantly calmed by Chloe's favorite Barney songs or by worship in church. I prefer the latter.

He's still not sleeping through the night, but is improving, sleeping 5 hours at a time.

And he's still a little guy, not yet breaking 10 pounds and measuring in the 20th percentile for weight and 30th for height.

Gavin spits up all the time, and I mean all the time.

He's learned some new tricks, like rolling from his stomach to his back and smiling.

He loves to be held and cuddled, which works out quite nicely since I love to hold and cuddle him.

And he still looks like his brother Cooper.

Most importantly, Gavin's ears are better, and seems so much happier and content.

I'd say 8 weeks looks pretty good on him...

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Friend's Family Photos

I haven't had much of a chance to take any photos of my own family lately. Shocking, I know! But I have taken a lot of photos of others in the recent weeks.

I had the privilege of taking photos of a friend and her beautiful family. It was such a special privilege because these are their very first family photos since adding two kiddos to their family.

I am overjoyed whenever I see children who need a home finally get a home. But even more joyous is knowing that these two cuties are now part of a loving, God-fearing family that will raise them in His ways. Now that is a praise!

Please join me in prayer for Sarah, Jay, Max, and especially for their two newest additions, Zachary and Makayla, as they transition into a whole new life together.

Let me tell you, this is one photogenic family of five!

Brothers & Sister...

Max...he knew how to pose!

Zach...what a cutie pie.

Makayla...this girl is the sweetest and has the prettiest green eyes.

Mother & daughter...I love the soft focus filter on these next two shots.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cooper's Prayer

Cooper has some pretty unusual prayers. I guess that's what four-year-olds are all never know quite what they're going to say. Cooper's prayers are sometimes funny, sometimes random, but always sincere. He is such a sweet little man.

Tonight at supper Cooper had a whopper of a prayer. After he ended with an Amen, Jason and I looked at each other and both said, 'write it down.' We didn't want to forget this one.
So here's Cooper's prayer from tonight. Enjoy!

Dear God,

Thank you for bunnies and kitties. Some people don't have bunnies and kitties. But that's okay, 'cause they can take some money and go to the kitty store and buy some bunnies.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cast Your Cares

Tonight I feel tired. Not just tired physically, but emotionally tired. Don't worry, nothing tragic has happened. It's just that feeling you get when you're so physically tired and emotionally tired that you just want to cry? It's truly almost a mini breakdown, but one that cannot be explained by any one incident. Do you know that feeling? Or, am I the only one?

I admit it, I am not one that holds back tears. Well, actually, I do try not to cry in very public places where it feels like the whole world can see. But tonight, I couldn't help it. There at church I let those tears flow. I tried to stop them, but couldn't. And the little thing I was crying about really wasn't that big of a deal. But to a physically and emotionally spent mom like me, it was. So I cried, and the whole world saw.

But now that I am in the comfort of my home and the kids are asleep and my husband is not yet home from work, I am able to reflect a bit in the quietness that is so very rare around our place these days. And I keep coming back to one of my favorite Bible verses, 1 Peter 5:6-8, which says, 'cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.'

It's a simple verse, one that I memorized a long time ago and that has come in handy time and time again, both when comforting another who is going through hard times, or when I myself have experienced hard times. And again tonight, for my tired and weary soul, this seemingly simple verse speaks volumes. Whatever is going on in my life, I can give to God because He cares! He cares about the big, and the not so big things in our lives. I would even venture to say that those things that we call not so big
are big to Him, because He cares for us in everything. That truly is a comfort and brings peace to my oh so tired soul.

I don't know why I felt led to write about my less-than-great night. Believe me, blogging was the last thing on my mind when I came home tonight. I actually just felt like crawling into bed, under my covers, and hiding until the morning came when I would be refreshed and have a whole new perspective. But I felt I needed to 'chat,' regardless of how one-sided this chatting may be. And I felt led to share my heart and my first-hand knowledge of the comfort God can provide.

If you're reading this and have also had a rough day, please cast all your cares upon Him tonight. Believe me, you'll be glad you did!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Praise for Gavin

I just wanted to write a quick post thanking everyone who has been praying for Gavin and his ears. I took him in this afternoon for an ear re-check and received excellent news! Both ear infections are gone! And to top it off, there is no fluid present in either ear! Gavin's ears are completely healed, thank you Lord!

Please continue to pray that his ears will stay well and that these first few weeks of life plagued with ear infections will have been just a fluke.

On a different note, with the ear infections gone, I now have nothing to blame Gavin's poor sleeping on but bad sleep habits. I guess we'll need to start working on sleeping through the night next. I'm afraid my little guy has gotten to be a spoiled little sleeper. These three hour stints of sleep just isn't doing it for mom...I am a tired mess!

Hope you all are having a wonderful Friday and a great start to the weekend! I know I am!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sleep Deprivation

It's funny how much sleep, and lack thereof, can affect a person. Take me for example. Gavin is six weeks old, seven weeks this Friday. I've estimated that since he was born nearly seven weeks ago, I have gotten no more than five hours of sleep at a time, and that's on a good night. Lately with the ear infections he's been battling, it's been more like 3 hours of sleep at a time. And let me tell you, it's wearing on me.

In high school and college, I was able to get little sleep and still function fine during the day. But those days are long gone. Now that I'm the big 3-0, I seem to need more sleep than ever and I'm just not getting it. I've even tried going to bed earlier since I tend to be such a night owl. I would prefer to stay up at least until midnight, but last night ten o'clock hit and I was out! Unfortunately, Gavin woke a few hours later and after taking care of him I was so wide awake I just laid there thinking about the very subject I'm writing about, how important it is to get our sleep!

These days the sleep deprivation is definitely taking a toll, and it's apparent in more ways than one. I've missed not one, not two, but THREE appointments because I just can't remember anything anymore. I write the appointments on the calendar, but then
forget to look at the calendar. And I'm constantly misplacing things around the house and finding them in the strangest places, like the hairbrush I found in the refrigerator. Last I knew, hairbrushes did not require refrigeration. Oh and then there was the time that I...wait, what was I saying? I need sleep!

With the exception of Gabe, my other two children slept through the night, I'm talking 8 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night, by five weeks old. We're now nearing seven weeks and it's like Gavin is still thinking he needs to be on a newborn sleep schedule.

But all this aside, I know this stage in life is just as fleeting as any. And even though the lack of sleep isn't pretty for my functionality or my face, I am still cherishing every moment. Minus a few bouts of crying {from me, not Gavin} as he wakes in the night, the majority of the late night wake-ups are spent with me gazing at my little guy and marveling at God's creation. How blessed I am, even in my sleeplessness. How awesome it is to hold a little baby that God has entrusted me with and think that he's mine, on loan from God. He's mine to mold, and to help grow and to help equip with the knowledge he'll need to get through this life that can be so hard. He's mine.

I pray that God will help me to remember that my sleeplessness is fleeting, but the blessing of Gavin will last a lifetime and beyond!

{Oh, and in conclusion, I hope this post makes sense. Please excuse any errors, random thoughts or run on sentences. After all, as the post explains, I am lacking some much needed rest.}

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Have you heard of the term EGR? It's a term I first heard within the realms of Christian lingo referring to another brother or sister in Christ who may be a bit hard to handle or difficult to get along with. EGR means Extra Grace Required. And I have to plead guilty...I've used this term a time or two.

I'll be the first to admit, I am not the best at dealing with people one may describe as 'EGR.' When it comes to children, I have all the patience in the world. But for those adults that require some extra grace, I seem to lack the extra grace needed. Instead, my first inclination is to avoid those who have hurt or offended me.

Yes, I've prayed about it. I've asked God to help me deal with the people in my life that may be a little harder to tolerate and that require me to express a little extra grace. But I never seem to get the answer from God I was looking for...that extra grace I thought I needed.

Then as I was spending some time in God's Word today, I felt as if God gave me rude awakening. There’s something fundamentally wrong with this picture, with the term extra grace required and with my way of thinking. As I was reading Ephesians 4:25-32, I was especially struck by verse 32, which instructs us to be “kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another…”

Am I really being kind, tender-hearted and forgiving if I can think of someone else as an EGR? It implies that I think I need less grace than they do, which just isn’t true. I can be just as difficult to get along with as anyone. I think at times, we can all require a little extra grace.

So instead of God giving me the extra grace I thought i needed to extend to others, He is showing me that I need to remember the grace He extends to me everyday!

That’s what I see in this passage from Ephesians. On our own, we’re all ornery people, prickly and fussy and self-centered and stubborn. And the only way we can make it in this life together is to understand how much we’ve been forgiven. If we really understand the depth of forgiveness we’ve received from God, we become humble.

If I can see myself alongside my 'EGR' sister, but from God’s point of view, well, then, I have no basis for putting myself above her. I have to forgive whatever it is about her that sets me off, whatever it is that has hurt me, 'even as God in Christ has forgiven me.'

After all, where would I be if God Himself had looked down on me, in all His perfection and in all my imperfections, and had chosen to just avoid me because I required a little too much grace. Where would I be if He hadn't cared enough for me to forgive me for all the wrongs I have done, and to extend grace and compassion to a sinner like myself. Where would I be.

As that infamous Casting Crowns song says, "Who am I? That the Lord of all the earth would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt." I'm no better than anyone else, and require no less grace than the next person. We all need forgiveness. We all need some grace.

I can't say I've achieved the ability to see others from God's point of view, but I can say that this will be my prayer and my desire. I am making it my goal to cover those 'EGR' people in my life with prayer, asking God to show me ways to be kind, tender-hearted and forgiving.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ear woes, weddings and fish hooks too

Hope you all had a lovely labor day weekend.

Unfortunately, ours was not so lovely.

How can it be when your little guy has two ear infections?

That's right, Gavin has now had three ear infections in his first six weeks of life. I'd say that's not a very good average!

I took Gavin to the doctor today because he had been running a fever overnight and sure enough, both of his ears were infected. We're hoping this is just a fluke, but it's not looking too good for the little brother of three older siblings who have all had tubes in their ears.

Can't say we're surprised.
But if you could pray for Gavin and his ears, that would be great!

Gavin wasn't the only one needing medical attention this labor day weekend. My dad participated in some holiday weekend fishing and while de-hooking a walleye that he caught, the fish jumped and he managed to hook himself with a rather large fish lure.

Instead of going to the emergency room on a Saturday night, my
fiscally conscious {or shall I say cheap} dad called up Jason and asked him if he might be wiling to perform 'surgery.'

Of course, Jason was game. It gave him a chance to finally use his head lamp in a medical procedure {remember this post.}

I didn't take many pictures because my dad was in so much pain. {I thought it was a bit cruel to be clicking away with the camera as he's moaning and groaning.} But I couldn't resist taking a few photos...

See the pained look on my dad's face...

And Jason's steady hand {and head lamp...}

I'm happy to report that Jason did get my dad off the hook {sorry, bad pun.} And the injured finger seems to be healing quite nicely.

On a happier note, we {Jason, Gavin and I} attended a wedding on Sunday night while the other kiddos stayed home with my mom.

And let me tell you, this was a dream location for a wedding!

Picture this: It's seven in the evening on a beautiful end-of-summer night. Through the trees is a clearing where 400 white chairs line the hillside. As the couple say their vows, the setting sun seen directly between them serves as a reminder of how beautiful it truly is when God brings two people together whose life goal is to serve Him, together.

Of course, this girl teared up just looking at this picture perfect setting.

But more important than the setting was knowing that this boy we met when Jason first became a youth pastor, the boy who once acted as a human vacuum cleaner by sucking lemonade out of our living room carpet with his mouth {long story,} has grown into a mature young man of God. And seeing that this young man has found a mature young woman of God to spend his life with is just a cherry on top. How awesome it is to see youth group members of the past all grown up and choosing to make their faith their own and live their lives for the Lord! That's the true reward of ministry.

Anyway, hope your Labor Day weekend was filled with excitement too, maybe with a bit less need for medical attention.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Perfect Angel No More

Once upon a time, a teacher once told me that my little boy was a perfect angel. He never got his name on the board. He never was disciplined at school for being naughty or causing problems. He was good...until today.

The perfect record Cooper had built up in three-year-old preschool was tarnished today when he got his name moved to the yellow light. You're probably thinking, 'Yellow light? What's that even mean?'

Well, let me explain.

This year in preschool, they're using a stoplight system to access behavior. If a child is well behaved, his name stays on the green light. If a child is disciplined for poor behavior, his name is then moved to the yellow light and the child loses 5 minutes of play time. Further misbehaving then leads to a move to the red light, resulting in a conference with the parents.

Cooper has now experienced preschool discipline, losing 5 minutes of recess today due to failure to listen and follow the rules.

I can't say I was overly surprised. There was no, 'no way, not my child,' reaction coming from this mom. Yes, Cooper may appear to be a perfect angel as he has been described, but I know better. He is not perfect, none of us are. And when the teacher once described him as such, I just chuckled because I know the real Cooper.

But today Cooper was devastated, I think in part because he can no longer proudly boast that he never gets in trouble at school. {Wish that were the case at home!}

Regardless, Cooper now says he will listen better and stop making jokes because apparently, he learned the definition of a 'class clown' due to his behavior today as well. Teasing and making jokes when the teacher is being serious is not 'susceptible' {meaning acceptable,} as Cooper said when he explained to me what he learned from his behavior.

But really, he does still look like a little angel, doesn't he?

Well let me tell you, looks can be deceiving!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Baptism by Bath Water

Since our kids are 'preachers kids,' we've definitely heard our fair share of 'You Know You're a Preacher's Kid When' kind of jokes and stories. Like when our first son was born and his full name, Gabriel Elijah, was announced in church. Or when Cooper answered every question at preschool last year with the Sunday School answers of 'God, Jesus or the Bible.' Or when Chloe adds, 'In Jesus name, Amen,' at the end of any prayer being said.

Yes, we've definitely heard our fair share of those jokes.

Last night after overhearing the boys participating in some role playing, I definitely have a new story to add to the list. Gabe and Cooper were taking a bath and I was folding some laundry. I could hear from the open door to the bathroom everything that they were saying, and what I heard intrigued me, so I went to the door to eavesdrop.

What I witnessed was Cooper doing the back float in the bathtub and Gabe positioned at his head. Gabe then said, 'In the name of the Father,' and proceeded to tell Cooper to go under water. Gabe helped Coop up from the water, placed his hands on Cooper's head and said, 'In the name of the Father, you are holy.'

It made me laugh so hard. Gabe was so serious as he proclaimed Cooper 'holy.' Speaking of which, I think Gabe may need to work on his theology a bit before he performs any more baptisms.

But really, who else but pastor's kids practice baptizing each other during bath time.