Thursday, August 2, 2012

Prayer Request!

For anyone who follows or reads our blog, I would like to request that you please pray for our dear friends, the Smith Family.  Their son, Colby, is currently in the NICU at a local hospital, fighting for his life.  He was born at only 24 weeks into the pregnancy, so there are obvious physical and developmental concerns.  Please read more about Colby's amazing little life at http://ourcolby.blogspot.com.  I appreciate our family, friends, and other bloggers supporting this family in prayer and love!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Photo Dump

This post will be just a random photo dump. These are in no particular order and for all the facebook peeps, you have probably seen these, but I wanted to capture them on my blog too!
These pictures were taken within the past few months.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Hair!

Laundry Basket Time!


After Savannah's 1st Dentist Appointment!
I have to brag for a sec. She did WONDERFUL and didn't even cry! No cavaties, either! Whoohoo!

1st Night at Gymnastics!



This boy is SO BUSY and SERIOUS it's hard to get a good picture of him smiling! I love this!


Savannah's Silly Hat I made for her Awana Club meeting one night.




Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday...At Its Worst!

WARNING: I'm sharing about my horrible morning, reader discretion is advised.


Wow! It's 9:30 Monday morning. I've been up since 5AM and all I can think to do is blog about what I hope will not turn into the worst day ever.


Yesterday's church sermon was titled: Jesus, The Greatest Teacher. We are currently in a series about learning who Jesus is. It's pretty awesome. Anyway, after the service, I was convicted more than ever, that I needed to get up early in the mornings to have much needed quiet time. I have utterly failed at having any quiet time recently and boy does it show! I have often said I would get up early to have quiet time, but because my son has always been an early riser, that would mean I would have to get up no later than 5AM. For the longest time, I used that as an excuse. It's sad really. I am basically blaming my son for my lack of quiet time! The reality is, it's not his fault, but mine! So, with this in mind, I told myself, sacrificing an extra hour of sleep for an extra hour of time with God is so worth it! He longs me and I long for Him!
Now,here comes this morning, earlier than I would like it to. My sweet husband woke me up (as I asked him to) and I slowly but surely roll out of bed. Looking forward to a much needed cup of coffee, I get it ready and head back to our room. As I set my coffee down to grab my bible and journal, apparently still half asleep, I manage to bump my coffee cup so that it proceeds to flip over and onto the floor. There goes a FULL cup of fresh hot coffee! To make matters worse, our room, of course is far from neat and so the coffee is not only on the floor, but on clothes, mail, and some of Savannah's books. (NOTE: our room will be spotless by the end of the day)

As I start towards the kitchen to get 2 rolls of paper towels, thinking, "what a way to start a morning!", I notice a mess in the corner of our room. I noticed it, because it was COVERING my cute, brown, sparkly heals. (NOTE: our room will be spotless by the end of the day) What could this mess be? None other than Doggie Diarrhea! As I back up in horror (yes, it was that messy) I step in something cold and wet. Looking down reluctanly, it's doggie throw up, fresh with regurgitated dog food and grass! Can I please wake up from this nightmare!!!? Not yet. I don't know what it was, but something told me to look over towards the dogs bed, where they sleep on the floor. Oh yes, more doggy throw up! (I got lucky though, it was only on their bed, which the cover can be taken off and washed)

So there I stood, in complete dismay, that Monday morning had just slapped me across the face. Honestly, my first few thoughts were, "Really God? I actually make an effort to get up and spend time with you and this is what happens?"

Fast forwarding... Aric came home from exercising... I was still working on trying to get the diarrhea out of the carpet...we both are obviously not very happy...the stench is so bad, we decide, he HAS to go buy a carpet shampooer. Thankfully the kids haven't woken up yet, so until Aric gets back from the store, I decide I will try and squeeze in some quiet time. (praying that the kids will sleep just a little longer so I can at least get 15 minutes in) Because we are learning about who Jesus is in church, I picked a bible reading plan that helps you to understand who Jesus really is. It starts in the gospel of Luke. The reading for today was Chapter 1 verses 1-38. As I am trying to understand the words I am reading, I keep getting side tracked to how horrible this morning was going. I had already decided there was NO WAY I was going to have a good day. Just when I thought that, I read this, "For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37

Wow....I just sat there for a minute. I prayed and prayed and thanked God for my day. As I was praying, another thing hit me like a ton of bricks. I've been sad lately, as you read in my previous post, about my grandfather. My whole extended family does not have a relationship with Christ (that I know of) and I was beginning to think that they may never know the Truth. "For nothing is impossible with God." "For nothing is impossible with God." There is hope! There is hope that my day will not be as bad as I think it will be. There is hope that with God's help, the lost can be found again! With God, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!!!

Here is to a Monday that tried to chew me up, spit me out and leave me drowning in misery because of some spilled coffee and doggie messes. God is bigger and stronger and created this day! I surrender this day to Him, focusing on the many blessings that sometimes get forgotten because of my own self pity.


God Bless!

Emily

Friday, May 4, 2012

Hanging In There

When most people ask me these days how I am doing, my response is, "I'm hanging in there."
While it sounds kind of boring and blah, it's the truth! Let me enlighten you a bit.
Since the last blog post, I finished my short weight loss little experiment with the Y. I lost 13 pounds total and 5 inches all around. While I was pleased with the results, my poor self confidence monster, reared its ugly head and told me I can do better. I am still continuing to exercise, however, now more than ever, I am making exercising a priority, NO EXCUSES! (I have since lost 4 more pounds since the end of March...slow and steady, right?)
Aric has even begun working out with a buddy of his. He gets up at 445 AM (no typo there) and I am really proud of him becuase he does this 3 days a week!

Last blog post, I mentioned Thomas and his eating issues. We decided not to go to the feeding clinic for Thomas. He has shown improvement in his eating habits and we truly felt that with those improvements, he didn't need a special feeding plan. He still has his moments that I let stress me out way too much but, that is something I am working on. :)


Oh, before I forget, the picture of all of us above, was a combined one year and 3 year session for the kids, as well as family photos for us. It was taken last fall and almost turned into a disaster session. Notice how serious our children look? We couldn't get them to smile for anything. It had been way too long since any professional photos had been taken so I was NOT rescheduling.

Moving right along...some very sad news to share, I have recently lost my grandfather. It was expected but it was still very sad because I don't know his relationship with the Lord. Thankfully, we were able to visit him recently when he took a turn for the worst. He slept the whole time but I prayed. Aric and I prayed together and then I prayed some more. This type of sadness that I feel is another level of sad that I have never experienced before. I have always heard of people passing away and loved ones didn't know if they were a believer or not. Didn't matter much because it didn't affect me (honestly.) I have also always heard in church, especially since I became a Christian in 2006, that salvation, through Christ Jesus, is the only way into heaven. I firmly believe that still today, however, since I know of this truth, I feel like I have utterly failed in spreading this truth to everyone and anyone I know. I have realized I can't beat myself up and I can only continue to pray that he is in heaven and I will see him again one day. For anyone reading this, don't ever give up hope and know that Jesus is here. He is alive and ready to forgive our sins. He is ready for a relationship and loves you more than you can possibly fathom. Jesus has changed my life and while I still mess up, His mercies are new every day. There is hope for us, a place where we can stand, someone who understands more than anyone we know...Jesus.


Shifting gears to some exciting news to share. Our mission trip to Armenia is right around the corner! We leave May 26 and come back on June 3. Yes, we are taking the kids and let me just say, I'm so very excited! I've been reading this book by David Platt called "Radical". ANYONE and EVERYONE should read this book. It will definitely get you pumped up about spreading the gospel.
I was a little nervous about the travel part of our trip but I feel that God has given me this peace that only He can give. It's really amazing! I can't wait for Savannah to interact with people half way across the world. Thomas too! This trip could not have come at a better time. After the passing of my grandfather, now more than ever, I feel like God has called our family to be doing this. I know that. We are taking a small group of teens we minsiter to through the Prattville YMCA. We have prepared for months and prayed for a long time about this. While in Armenia, we will be working in one of the poorest villages in the country. This will be my fist international mission trip. I have been praying diligently that God will be glorified and these Armenians we encounter will be forever changed when they hear that the love of Jesus.


Savannah and Thomas' "school" year is about over. This summer I am keeping them out of MDO so hopefully, I won't go too crazy! I plan on lots of days at the park and pool. Boy am I thankful we can walk to and from the YMCA pool in no time! They will start at First UMC in the fall going 3 days a week!
Fun times are ahead with those two kiddos. Savannah is doing just about everything by herself. Bathroom, brushing teeth, getting dressed and undressed, she even will get in and out of the bathtub by herself! (not my favorite thing that she does)
Thomas adores is older sister. He watches her every move and sometimes even picks on her. ( we are working on the sharing and being gentle behavior now)He is a busy 20 month old who is all boy.

I apologize if this post is so boring but I figured it was time for some updates. As for the 'Hanging in There' title, for awhile, I was feeling like I was doing just that. Truth is, I have some pretty crazy days with a 3 year old and almost 2 year old, but God has shown me that I am SO MUCH MORE than just here. His plan for me and our family is wonderful and serving Him is something that is far from mediocre.


One last thing before I leave you, it's already May and for me that means it's my birthday month! I always love birthdays. They are just fun! I will be 29 years old! MY last year in my 20's! Scary. Exciting.Looking forward!


I hope you all have a great, fun, weekend. Don't forget to eat some mexican grub on Saturday and maybe wear a big hat for the Derby.


God Bless!

Emily


"Instead, ou must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.
1 Peter 3:15


Thursday, March 8, 2012

18 Months and Eating

Thomas turned 18 months old on the third of this month! He is one busy, needy, vibrant little boy. Him and his sister play well together a lot more these days. It is really cute when they are getting along because they will both start laughing hysterically. If you are having a rough day and then hear that joyous noise, you would be a fool to not have it brighten your day.

As bad as I want to compare Thomas with Savannah at this age, I will just explain how this sweet boy is doing. For starters, he likes to take things apart. We have an old cell phone we have given him to play with. We have downloaded baby games for him and he enjoys those for about a minute. After that, it is more fun trying to take the phone apart. If he can't take the phone apart, he will try and figure something else to take apart. Future engineer? Maybe?
When he is not trying to figure things out, he loves to be held. I have always tried to encourage my children to play on their own but, since he has been in this world, Thomas just wants to be held. I enjoy it most of the time because he is a great little cuddler, but it becomes very difficult when you are trying to watch your other child and/or get things done. I think Thomas is finally realizing he is just fine when he is not being held....whew! He still likes to cuddle but mainly when he is sleepy.
Thomas's vocabulary is getting better but limited to a handful of words. "Paci", "mama", "daddy", "please", "bye-bye", and "night-night". He has sort of started to say "milk". He may not say a lot but, boy oh boy, does he understand a lot. All I have to say is "breakfast" in the morning and he will run straight to the kitchen and either go to the pantry or the fridge. Sometimes, he will bypass that and go straight for the high chair! Also, at night time, if he is sleepy enough, we can say, "Thomas, are you ready to go to bed?" He will then proceed to go straight into his room and to his crib! Yep, this boy knows!

Thomas had his 18 month check up yesterday. I was a little nervous because Thomas has never been the best eater. His weight is never on the chart. (his height is, but even that progresses at a slow pace) Backing up for a minute, at his 15 month check up, his weight was 18 pounds. At his 18 month check up, he was 18 pounds and he had only grown 1/4 of an inch. We have explained to the doctor that he will eat but he just doesn't eat a lot. Dinner has been our biggest struggle. There are nights that we put him to bed and he hasn't eaten. I know it sounds weird but he will sleep through the night and in the morning he wakes up normal. He doesn't appear to be starving at any given time.
We have tried almost everything we can think of to get him to eat. I have even cut back on snacking. (even though I never let him have a lot of snacks in the first place) The doctor recommended a feeding clinic in Montgomery. Aric and I had never heard of such a thing but it supposed to be very helpful for children who struggle with eating. Basically, you make an appointment for your child and a nutritionist will observe your child eating. Once they can see how your child is eating, they taylor a specific plan for your child to help encourage better eating habits. We have no idea if this will even work but we decided to go for it because we figured it would be worth a shot.

His poor eating has been a cause of stress for me. It really shoudln't because, as I mentioned earlier, he sleeps fine through the night. He has A LOT of energy during the day and he is very strong! (he's skinny, but he's strong) But I guess, as a parent, seeing your child not eat, is never a fun thing to go through. Especially at this yound and delicate age when they are supposed to be growing and developing.
Thankfully, Aric has been a huge support. He doesn't stress like I do, so I have REALLY been able to lean on him for encouragement.

Our sweet boy is such a huge blessing and other than this eating issue, he is a healthy 18 month old. Everyday I give thanks to God for giving us to 2 healthy children.
I will be sure to update on how this feeding clinic goes as soon as I can.

Now, since it is alreay THURSDAY!! and I have lots of laundry to do, I better get to it.

Have a splendid day!

God Bless,
Emily

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pound for Pound..Losing it a little at a time

Starting Mid-January,I signed up for a program the Prattville YMCA was offering called, Inch-a-Weigh. It is 12 weeks long and was just what I needed to get on the weight loss wagon. I've never done Weight Watchers but if I had to guess, this program would be similar. The Y gives you a food and exercise journal that you are to record all your exercises and meals every day. In the beginning, you are weighed initially and all of your measurements are taken. Then, once a week, you weigh in (you pick the day and time), it is recorded by a staff member and you go on about your day; hopefully to exercise! Even though I knew doing this by myself would be challenging, I was totally up for it!
I began working out everyday only taking a break on Saturdays, sometimes Sunday. To mix things up a bit, I keep variety in my workouts. For example, on Tuesday and Thursdays, the Y offers this awesome class called Cardio and Tone. It is just as it sounds. I sweat A LOT in this class and love it! On the other days, I swap it up between, elliptical workouts, treadmill runs, outdoor runs. I also make sure to lift some free weights in between all the cardio. Two 5lb weights is all I need to get those arms burning! :)
As for my diet, I am still eating what I would normally eat but carefully watching my portion sizes. I have also cut out sodas which means nothing but water, baby! Going out to eat has been a little different. Normally, I would splurge and get whatever I wanted just because we were at a restaurant but, not any more. I try and go for the healthier options like grilled chicken and veggies. If I get a salad, I opt for the lighter dressing (any type of vinagrette or fat free option). My weakness is sweets. I have a HUGE sweet tooth! The solution: I don't buy sweets! Instead, I buy bananas or apples and fat free yogurt. Not only is it healthier and guilt-free, it completely satisfies my sweet tooth.

When I first started Inch-a-Weigh, my weight was 143.6. Today at my weigh-in, it was 137.1! So far, I have been losing about a pound a week. There has only been one week that I didn't lose anything. (but I didn't gain, either)The staff at the Y have been great and very encouraging. They have been able to review my food and exercise journal to make sure I am on the right track with my weight loss. So far so good, except for my snacking. Apparently, I am not snacking enough and need to incorporate more healthy snacks into my diet. That has been a challenge but it is being worked on. (fruit and yogurt!)
Losing about a pound a week is about right for healthy weight loss. (or so I have been told) One pound a week doesn't sound like a lot but I have REALLY been able to tell a difference!
I want to encourage any one out there reading this that YOU CAN DO IT! I really feel like exercising has been the key factor. Dieting doesn't hurt but if you can exercise, even if it's a little bit every day, you will see those pounds drop! Not only are my clothes fitting better and in some cases getting too big but I feel A LOT stronger. I can do crunches and girl push-ups without feeling like I am going to fall out. I can run for 2 miles without feeling like I'm going to die. I can lift weights and not feel like I am going to drop them on my toes.

My main source of encouragement has been myself. I just got SO TIRED of the way I looked and felt. I was fed up and had to do something about it. When I first started this and would have sore muscles for days, I just pushed through it, because I would rather have sore muscles than fat around my belly.
I still have a lot work to do and more pounds to drop, to get to a weight I am comfortable with. I am taking it one day at a time and staying positive. The week, I mentioned earlier that I didn't lose anything, I kept going and if anything pushed even harder!
Once I get to my goal weight, I plan on continuing to exercise and watching my portions. A healthy lifestyle cannot be built overnight, but it can be done! As my husband always tells me, "Rome wasn't built in a day!" How true that is!!

Have a great evening and God Bless!

Emily

Monday, March 5, 2012

Getting Settled In

Allright you faithful blog readers, February was a busy month! This post will be quite lengthy...hang in there!


Since my last post in January, I mentioned that I needed to decorare our new home. (WELL,I still have yet to decorate our new home. :( I know, I know, you're probably thinking, what in the world does she do in all of her spare time? Oh, you'd be surprised! I have been looking at stuff (online and in stores) trying to get ideas, chasing two very busy children, cleaning, cooking, traveling, sleeping, exercising.....I always thought once we moved in I would immediately want to/have to decorate and get everything just right. Well, I am far from having that Martha Stewart touch and quite frankly, I want to take my time. First of all, decorating costs money and if I am going to be spending money (even if it is gift cards to East Chase!) I want to make sure I get what we like and what suits our home. Second, Aric and I have very different tastes, so for me to just go out and buy stuff for the house I like, would be a very bad idea. Finally, between those two previous excuses, reasons, we are ok with having a simple home for now. By the way, we are thouroughly enjoying Prattville!

Savannah started her first ever gymnastics class at the Prattville YMCA. She already participates in the Big Green Bus at her school once a week, so thankfully, she already had some "experience" with gym stuff. The first day of class, she went right over and sat in the circle with the other children for roll call. She didn't even look back! I may have shed a tear. She is becoming so independent and excited to do everything
Among the other fun things she is doing, she is now the best back seat driver. She knows, Red means "stop, Yellow means "be careful" and Green means "go". And she will tell you that EVERY time we are in the car.
Savannah has come quite the singer and reader. At any given time, she is singing some sort of song she has learned in school or church and if she isn't singing, she is reading one of her MANY books. Aric and I both LOVE that.

Thomas, my sweet, sweet boy.....(insert and sigh and smile, here) He is so very busy. He started walking at Christmas is quickly working his way to running a marathon. It will be any day now, I just know it! He is such a smart baby but not nearly as independent as Savannah. He loves to be held and will not hesitate to let you know when he wants something. (I think he will let the whole neighborhood know.) He understands so much these days. He will be 18 months old March 3. We are now at the point where we can't use "oh, he's just a baby and doesn't know better" excuse. He KNOWS! Oh, does he know. We are working on that right now. :)

February also brought potential buyers for our old house. We were thrilled when someone came in and offered us full asking price! Of course, it was too good to be true! Shame on you! ;) Owner financing with A LOT of stipulations, stress and high blood pressure.(that was the deal in a nut shell) The deal fell through, but, I firmly believe, it was for the better. We are now discussing putting it on the rental market. It would be managed through our realtors agency and probably be what is best for us right now. I would have never thought this would be something I would want to do, but after much discussion and prayer, God is truly telling me to lean on Him. More to come to later and how that works out!


Here are a few pics of Savannah and Thomas in February.

First night of Gymnastics!
Honestly, the best picture I can get of this busy boy!
Forget to mention, we went to see Kirk Cameron speak in Montgomery. I was very starstruck!
This is Warren Barfield! AWESOME person! He is a GREAT singer also!