She did it!

Thursday, July 30, 2009 1 Comments A+ a-

So, I think between the two of us, Courtney and I have finally convinced Christine to join this fun world of blogging. And someday we'll get Allison to join us too.

Please head over to Living In His Faithfulness and welcome Christine. (There's also an adorable video of my niece, Elliana Faith.)






Psst... I've been busy working on a little something for myself too.

I'm almost ready to go live.
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Great Investment!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 2 Comments A+ a-

Best $15 we ever spent!

We're off to the pool now....
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I need your help!

Monday, July 27, 2009 1 Comments A+ a-

So folks, the countdown to the big 3-0 is starting. Six weeks from yesterday to be exact! I gotta admit that I was approaching this birthday with trepidation, actually, I was being dragged kicking and screaming into my thirties. I have since come to my senses...

Truth be told, I’m getting so very excited about my thirties. I know that I’m more confident and sure of who I am and what I value in life, key ingredients to a successful venture into a new decade.

I want to do something as both a countdown and a way to commerate this milestone and I need your help to do it. Would you, dear family and friends, be willing to share a memory of my life with me and the readers of this blog? It can be short, long, meaningful, silly, fun, or deep, I just ask that we keep it family-friendly. =) If you want to participate with me, just send me an email and I’m going to post them in chronological order. I think this is going to be fun!

You can either email me at biggest_blessings (at) yahoo (dot) com, or any of my other personal email addresses. Thanks everyone!

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Now Girls, Play Nice!

Friday, July 24, 2009 3 Comments A+ a-


video

A quick video of the cousins, Elliana and Reagan, interacting with one another. But don't let this video fool you, Reagan has been known to make Ellie cry too.
(You will want to turn the music off first.)

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Special Agent Moments

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 5 Comments A+ a-

Have you heard, or seen, Disney’s new show called Special Agent Oso?
Special Agent Oso,
a unique, stuffed bear.
He’s on a special assignment,
to help a kid somewhere.
It’s a new favorite show around this house and we have many, many moments to prove just how big an impact Special Agent Oso is having on Devyn.

Moment #1:
Devyn has recently started walking from room to room, turning off lights, fans, etc. I gave her a funny look when she first started, and she responded with, “We need to save energy, Mama.”

You go, Girl!

Moment #2:
Part of the charm of Special Agent Oso, is his ability to complete any task in three easy steps. When I told her it was time to clean her room, she looked at me and said, “What’s the first step?” I told her to put her books away.

After she put them away, she came back to me. “What’s the second step?”

If only all jobs could be completed in three steps...

Moment #3:
I wondered aloud if we should plant a flower garden next spring. “I can help,” she announced. “The first step is planting the seeds. Then you have to water them. And then you have to wait a long time for the flowers to come up.”

“Wow, Paige, I’m impressed. How’d you know that?” I asked.

“Special Agent Oso taught me.”

What a smart bear!

Moment #4:
Jon was in the bathroom on Friday, when suddenly the door opened and an arm snaked through the opening. He suddenly found himself sitting in the dark.

“Devyn?” he called. “Why’d you turn off the light?”

A muffled voice came from the other side of the door, “We need to save energy, Daddy.”

Ahhh, Special Agent Oso Devyn, we do need to have the light on for some things, child.
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Every... single... time!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 2 Comments A+ a-

I could hear my coworker’s voice getting a little louder, a little more shrill, and wondered what was going on. Whoever she was talking to on the phone was obviously agitating her. Her conversation continued, her voice rising, then falling, only to rise again. I knew her family was going through a hard time, an extremely hard time, so I just hoped that everything was ok.

Approximately a half-hour later my coworker emerged from her cubicle and came to apologize to us for being so loud. She then sighed in frustration and said the one word I could completely and totally empathize with, “Sisters!”

Within minutes there was approximately four to five women congregated as we discussed siblings, past histories with siblings, and commiserated with each other. It was in that moment that something very profound came to me, and I said it out loud, to which every woman there nodded her head in complete agreement.

“It doesn’t matter how old we get, how mature we grow, siblings will always be able to bring us back to the maturity of an eleven-year-old, and we will fight as children.”

I brought up the same topic to Courtney on the phone last night and even she completely agreed. It’s true. At least in our case, its true.

I am able to disagree with friends or coworkers and have a mature conversation about the differences. When there’s a misunderstanding, I can go to the person and talk it out. When I feel I’ve been insulted, or wronged in some way, I can confront them without a hint of accusation, anger, or tears in my voice.

But if it’s a sister? Watch out, my inner child breaks loose! I’m serious. I am an almost 30-year-old woman and just this past 4th of July, I perceived a wrong from the sisters and refused to answer my phone when they called to explain themselves.

"Hi, my name is Jenn, and I fight like an adolescent."

Christine, Allison, and Courtney know exactly what buttons to push to get the reactions they want, and I seem unable to stop myself. It’s ridiculous really, how childish we become, but its the behavior we revert to every time. The only difference between now and then is that we realize how silly we’re being a lot sooner than when we were younger. And I hope, please tell me if I’m wrong Court, that I’m more willing to admit when I’m wrong now.

I’m sure when all four of us are in our fifties, we will still be fighting and arguing like adolescents. And at that time our own grown children will have to tell us to play nice.

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Short Stories

Sunday, July 19, 2009 1 Comments A+ a-

One of my dearest friends from high school, Kim, came home for a visit. As we sat around catching up, we wondered at the odds of three of our best friends in high school all being due within two weeks of each other. (Seriously, Jamie, Amy, and Marianne, how DID that happen?!)

When out of nowhere, Devyn piped up, “Because God made them.”

**********

Hudson has learned how to say Devyn’s name quite well lately, and that’s pretty the only thing we here around here. Depending on how many syllabels he uses and the inflection of his tone, we get a good idea of what’s going on.

“Dev-yn” = Let’s play.
“De-e-e-vyn!” = I am telling on you!
“De-vy-nnn!” = I just heard Mom and Dad discipline you, now I'm going to too.

Poor Devyn! She gets blamed for everything too. Girl can’t catch a break.

**********

The same night we hung out with Kim, Devyn came inside from the backyard where she’d been playing with Hudson. When I asked her where Hudson was, she replied. “He’s in the back yard.”

Pause.

“But don’t worry, there’s adults out there too.”

**********

Another night we met up with friends to eat pizza and visit. This particular pizzeria is located in a courtyard of sorts, with tons of sidewalks, fountains, specialty shops, etc. When the kids started getting riled up, Jon took them to play outside. It was then that Hudson and Devyn started racing, and of course, Hudson fell and got a goose egg of a bruise.

It stayed around for a week and anytime someone asked Hudson what had happened, he pointed to his sister and said, “De-e-evyn!”

**********

I’m not sure if anyone is familiar with this version of Cinderella, or this one, but Devyn has recently learned how to say the word “impossible” and is asking me to this song over and over again. I find that the words are running through my head even in my dreams.

Impossible,
for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage,

Impossible,
for a plain country bumpkin and a prince to join in marriage.


Impossible, things are happening everyday.
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I want a faith like hers...

Saturday, July 18, 2009 0 Comments A+ a-



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The Confessional

Thursday, July 16, 2009 9 Comments A+ a-

Confession #1:
I have tried remaining calm in the face of this storm involving Hudson and his “failure to thrive” issues, but last Friday, I failed miserably at this.

At Reagan’s six-month check-up, we spent most of the time talking about Hudson and the results of his appointment with the pediatric endocronogolist. As we sat there talking with Dr. Susie, she brought up the possibility of Cystic Fibrosis, not once, not twice, but a few times. Quite frankly, the mere mention of CF sent me over the proverbial edge. I tried going back to work, but after breaking into tears twice, I decided I needed a mental health day and went home.

I truly don’t believe it’s CF, he just doesn’t show any of the symptoms. There’s no respiratory issues, no salty taste to his kisses or skin, and deep down, my gut says no. But it was just one more thing, a mere suggestion, that tipped the scales in favor of my finally breaking down about this whole situation. I just want answers, and I want them now. Only when we have answers can I start to “fix” the situation.

In the mean time, Hudson is eating an ice cream sundae every night before bed (the doctor’s suggestion) for an extra 200 calories, we conducted a fecal fat sample and are waiting on the results, and our appointment with the Pediatric Gastro-Intestinal Specialist is on Monday, August 3rd. One more step on the road to answers.

Confession #2:
My dad asked me if I was pregnant again the other day, referring to the size of my waist. Now before anyone overreacts, my dad often says things without thinking, but never with malicious intent. Trust me when I say that he feels horrible! And now he won’t stop apologizing.

Truth be told, this is the most I’ve ever weighed without being pregnant. I’m a good 15 to 20 pounds heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight. Lucky for me, the pounds came off pretty easily after having Devyn and Hudson. This time around, though, it’s a different story. I’m not sure if its because this is the third child, if my metabolism is slowing down now that I’m close to 30, or any combination of things. Regardless, all 15-20 pounds have taken up residence on my hips and stomach.

I am not a fan.

So, I am working out, trying to get back in shape with good, old-fashioned exercise. I’d much rather exercise than change any of my eating habits. Or so I thought before I started Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred. Now I’m rethinking that thought and might just start eating more sensibly.

Nah!

Confession #3:
Just curious if anyone else feels like a peeping tom when reading another’s blog. I’m not talking about the family and friends who have blogs, because quite frankly, they all know I have one.

I’m talking about the blogs that I found through a friend of a friend’s, or the blogs of women who have commented on my own site, or the blogs of the women I’ll never meet on this side of heaven. I highly doubt this person has any idea I’m reading, that I’m following along on their adventures, and wouldn’t know me from joe-schmoe next door. And whenever I notice a blog flips over to private, I stop and wonder if it was my IP address or location, that caused them to wonder if a stalker was lurking about and close up shop.

Am I the only one that wonders about these things? Or is it just me?

[Edited to add, please don't think I'm referring to anyone who reads this blog. I am referring only to myself...]
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6 Month Portraits

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 3 Comments A+ a-


Have I mentioned how in love I am with her?!
What a wonderful six months!

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Who said you could grow up?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 0 Comments A+ a-

Our baby, Miss Reagan, has already passed her six-month birthday and I'm in awe of how fast time is flying! She is sitting up by herself, she is eating rice cereal and other soft foods, she coos and giggles non-stop, she adores her sister, tolerates her brother, and has Daddy wrapped around her little finger.

Within the past three to four weeks, her personality has just bloomed. She has the most precious, sweet, and laid-back personality. However, don't let that fool you, behind that brilliant smile does lie a temper. A couple of weeks ago, as I fed her, she grabbed the bowl with both hands. After I pried her hands off the edges of the bowl (she is a strong little thing!), she threw herself back and proceeded to throw the biggest temper tantrum I've ever seen a six-month-old throw. Oh my!

At her six-month check-up on Friday, she weighs 12 pounds, 5 ozs, and is now 23.5 inches long. Yes, she is also tiny and only in the 1st percentile for both height and weight. Oh my precious, baby girl! She is the delight of our lives right now!

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Motherhood is So Glamorous

Monday, July 13, 2009 5 Comments A+ a-

  • We took the kids to the drive-in on Friday night and had an absolute blast! Ice Age 3 and The Proposal, a perfect combination in my mind. I think the third Ice Age movie is the best out of the three and The Proposal is now my new favorite romantic comedy. Hysterical! Even Jon enjoyed it, and that’s saying something.

  • So, apparently, my youngest looks like a Cabbage Patch doll. Courtney has thought so since Reagan was about two months old. However, a complete stranger came up to me on Saturday to coo over Reagan. She looked at me and said, “She looks just like a Cabbage Patch doll.” Seriously?!

  • I started the 30 Day Shred yesterday and today my legs will barely allow me to walk and up down stairs. I didn’t even get to finish the first 20-minute session of LEVEL 1! Now that is a blow to any woman’s self-esteem. And if I hear Jillian Michael’s say one more time, “If you want to look like this, you have to earn it!", I might scream. It took everything within me not to chuck my hand weight at the TV. But then all I’d have is a broken TV, and that’s not going to do anyone any favors. Besides, I’m not sure I could have hefted that weight anyway; my arms were limp noodles a mere 8 minutes into the workout.

  • Sarah and friends celebrated her 30th birthday on Saturday with brunch and shopping. I didn’t get to join her in the shopping trip, but the brunch was absolutely divine. Complete with mimosas (this is the correct spelling, Courtney), quiches, and dear girlfriends. It was wonderful to celebrate Sarah’s big milestone that way.

  • Dr. Susie has issued an order for fecal sample from Hudson, this is to test the fat in his stools. This morning I get to attach this tiny “pee bag” to keep away any urine from contaminating his sample. Then I have 30 minutes to get it to the lab after I’ve collected the specimen. Ahhhh, the joys of motherhood!

  • Devyn is finally learning her way around a computer and asks for Disney.com all the time. Its amazing watching how fast she catches on and solved quite a few Mickey treasures hunts with the click of the mouse. She is growing up so fast, that girl of mine. In fact, she just woke up and is already begging for her turn on the computer.

  • Now that one is awake, the others will soon follow and its time to start my day. I have a pile of laundry that needs attention, oh, and can't forget, poop to collect too.

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Designs on the Mind

Friday, July 10, 2009 3 Comments A+ a-

Anyone up for a free design? I can't say that I know what I'm doing, but I'm having fun. Shoot me an email if you're interested.

biggest_blessings (at) yahoo (dot) com

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Taking My Own Advice

Thursday, July 09, 2009 2 Comments A+ a-

I'll admit it, I've had a bad attitude lately. Don't get me wrong, I love my babies, but if I'd heard one more whine... I'll leave the end of that sentence for your imagination.

Yesterday, nothing went right. I've come to adore my early mornings with a cup of coffee, the bible, my study, and silence. Those quiet times have become my saving grace. So when Devyn woke up before I did, with Reagan following close behind, I knew it wasn't going to happen, and I resented the interruption to my daily routine.

My heart needed an attitude adjustment. And then I thought of Devyn.

In trying to curb her whining, I've started asking her to tell me why she's thankful. Her list runs the gamut from her brother and sister, to getting to watch Dora the Explorer, to what she's eating, to Mama's help with cleaning her room. It's working.

And I decided that I needed to follow my own advice. I started making my own list, of the blessings, both big and small, in my life. Guess what? It's working.
  • Chubby, dimpled toddler hands patting my back, or rubbing my arms.
  • Listening to Devyn and Hudson sing-along to either our kids praise music CD or Johnny Cash.
  • Listening to Devyn pronounce the words "Daddy sings babies, and Momma sings dinner", instead of the actual lyrics "Daddy sings bass, and Momma sings tenor."
  • Jon's hand at the small of my back.
  • Sleepy, baby eyes and big, baby smiles.
  • Little boys that catch frogs, then declare they are "icky".
  • Little girls that will happily hold the frogs their little brother caught.
  • Little ones sleeping on me.
  • Private glances between Husband and Wife; knowing exactly what the other is thinking without having to say a word.
  • Phone calls from doctors saying "All is clear."
  • Girlfriends, old and new, sharing in life's trials, tribulations, and milestones.
  • Play dates.
  • Hudson's giggles as he chases Bailee the puppy around and around our front yard.
  • Coffee dates.
  • The quiet of Devyn "reading" to her siblings.
  • The look of awe on Reagan's face at being included with the big kids.
  • Christine and her contentment in finally being Mommy.
  • Hudson's growing vocabulary.
  • Realizing that you're not the only mama who has felt this way from time to time.
  • Coffee, a good book, and "me" time.
  • A husband that recognizes I'm a better wife and mother with some "me" time, sending me off with his blessing.
  • Stable jobs in an unstable market.
  • A God that provides.
  • New truths revealed through bible studies.
  • Brothers-in-law that are so dear to my heart!
  • Sisters who love and accept me for who I am, bad moods, bad attitudes, and all.
  • Family.
  • Baby hands that seek my skin for comfort.
  • Furtive looks from my four-year-old, wanting to ensure that I see her practicing her name and wanting praise for her efforts.
  • A husband that I can fight with, argue with, and the knowledge he will still love me at the other side of it.
  • The ability to make him laugh.

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Leave a Message

Wednesday, July 08, 2009 5 Comments A+ a-

"I'm sorry but Jennifer is not available right now; she has currently taken her mind on vacation and doesn't expect to return any time soon. The allure of beaches, the smell of the ocean, a hammock, and a cocktail have taken precedence over reality for the time being. Please leave your name and a brief message. She'll be in touch as soon as she can get a grip. Thank you."


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NEXT!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009 2 Comments A+ a-

I feel like we're playing a guessing game. A game where everyone is trying to get to the root of Hudson's (lack of) growth issues, and we have yet to find the culprit. In other words, I am happy to report that I just got off the phone with the pediatric endocrinologist's office and everything in Hudson's blood work came back normal. This included testing for:
  • Anemia
  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Celiac Disease
  • Thyroid Issues
  • Growth Hormone Markers

It ALL came back normal! Praise the Lord!

Next up: Gastro-Intestinal Specialist.
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Fun with Pictures

Sunday, July 05, 2009 1 Comments A+ a-

I'm having some fun with a new photo editing site. Can you tell?


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This Journey

Thursday, July 02, 2009 6 Comments A+ a-

There's something about a specialist expressing concern that seems scarier, as opposed to a general practitioner. The specialist sees these cases day-in and day-out, this is a specialist's area of expertise, they know when to be worried. And as the specialist faced us on Tuesday morning, I felt my stomach drop out from underneath me.

We've been on this roller coaster for over 22 months now. As we reviewed Hudson's history, each question I answered brought to memory each time we proactively pursued a solution for Hudson's lack of growth.

His weight starting falling off his curve at six months, which coincidently is the same time he started crawling. Chalk it up to an active boy. His 9-month check-up came and went, and still Dr. Susie was not overly concerned. "He's an active little guy, isn't he?" We exchanged knowing smiles, after all, he'd just started walking a month earlier.

Then came the 1-year check-up and there was still not a significant growth. "I'm sending you to a nutritionist," Dr. Susie said. "I know you guys are doing the best you can, but let's see what recommendations the nutritionist can give you." We went and with each suggestion, I nodded in the affirmative, that yes, we're already doing that for his diet. We left with a longer list of high fat food items to add to our list and proceeded to follow a high-fat diet for the next nine months.

At Hudson's 21-month check-up, Dr. Susie frowned at the numbers on the scale. "Jenn," she said, "We need to be a little more aggressive with this." I hugged Hudson tighter to my chest. "I want to run a blood panel on him and rule out some things." I tousled his blond curls and nodded my agreement, not trusting myself to speak without crying. After the vials were drawn and his tears were dried, she clicked her pen closed and patted me on the shoulder. "We should have the results in a few days. In the mean time, let's start giving him two pediasures a day. Its an extra 500 calories and I have no doubt we'll see huge improvement."

Those were the longest two days of waiting. I battled against the thoughts that threatened to consume me, fears that something more serious was wrong. I shook as I hastily answered the first ring. Caroline, Dr. Susie's nurse chirped. "Everything looks great, Jenn. All the blood work came back normal." I sagged against the couch in relief.

Six more months continued, drinking two pediasures a day. Hudson a little more finicky regarding his food and choosing when/where/what he eats. I chalked it up to the age and was thankful that at least he was drinking his pediasures without a problem every day. Jon reassured me, family reassured me, friends, and even strangers reassured me. "He's just small, look at his mother." "He's so healthy and such a boy. Does he ever sit still?!" "Look at that arm! He's going to be in the major leagues someday." "He'll shoot up, I wouldn't worry about it." And I didn't.

Then I got a message, telling me I had to bring Hudson in for a weight check. And all the fears came flying back. I swallowed the panic as Hudson clung to me and cried when it was his turn to climb on the scale. Then I anxiously watched the numbers and knew we hadn't done enough. It was time for us to take him to the specialist.

On Tuesday it was deja vu all over again as Hudson climbed my body to get away from the big, bad scale. No amount of comfort or cajoling would allow Hudson to sit on the scale without crying. And when the nurse announced the number, my heart sank again. He'd lost another 5-7 ounces.

The specialist continued, talking about statistics and charts, his concern about Hudson's BMI, his doubt that hormones are to blame, he talked about absorption issues, the words "malnutrition" and "malnourished" were used. I sat there watching my Hudson "vroom-vroom" his car all over the examining table, seemingly unaware and unaffected by the conversation that was literally tearing his mom to pieces.

Two weeks we wait for the results. Two weeks of not knowing, of wondering, of worrying. And two weeks of praying. Praying for answers, praying for peace of mind, praying for strength. I could let this paralyze me. Heaven knows that in the past, its taken much less to bring me to a point of paralysis. Satan has already tried using the dark hours of early morning to bring me to tears over worry for Hudson. And I won't lie, I succumbed. But no more.

As a friend pointed out, this little boy was given to me for a reason. If for no other reason than to be his advocate, to be his protector, to be his comfort. We will find answers, we will get to the bottom of this, and we will come out stronger on the other end.

And between today and two weeks from now, I'll be treasuring our early morning cuddles before his sisters wake.


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My Artistic Side is Showing

Wednesday, July 01, 2009 2 Comments A+ a-

I did two new designs over the past couple of days.

Stephanie @ Life Together
Stephanie is one of Courtney's dearest friends from high school. They both married within a year of each other and are experiencing the blessings and pangs of the newlywed years together.

Rebecca @ Schug Bug Blessings
Rebecca and her husband, Pete, have been friends of ours since the first couples bible study years ago. They recently returned home from Asia.

I hope you ladies enjoy them; I know I had a blast working with you both!
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