Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Brody Boy!

You turned 2 yesterday, Jan 19th. It feels like not that long ago that you were 6 lbs 3 oz. And now you're in the living room going up and down your slide and reprimanding your brother all at the same time. The last year has been a crazy one for you with all the walking issues, but you've been a trooper. You've developed such a funny personality and are constantly cracking everyone up. You're also strong willed, which results in many spankings and "little talks." I know you hate that, but believe me, its for your own good.

You love your brother to the fullest..most of the time. You are concerned when he cries and you laugh when he laughs. I love watching you two wrestle. Carson can almost take you. He grabs a handful of your hair and takes you down like nobody's business. So you might want to watch out in the coming years. And he is only 7 lbs lighter than you, so you might want to start some weight training!

Don't ever stop thinking your daddy is a super hero. I love how you get so excited when he gets home and most mornings don't want him to leave for work.

You are such a great helper to me with your brother and around the house. Your favorite helpful task is going to get a diaper for Carson and telling me when he poops. Thank you for your sweet, heart of service.

We love you soo much Brody boy! We can't wait to see you grow and change over the next year!

Here are some photos from you birthday party! Hope you had a blast with your friends!

Mom and Caitlyn worked very hard on these jungle animal cupcakes. And they were a hit!

Waiting patiently for your friends to arrive.

Being silly with Madisyn.

Your balloon animal.

Making animals with Gracie and Ethan.

Ready to blow out the candles on your monkey cupcake.

The only bite you took out of your cupcake and it was mostly icing. Mom forgot you don't even like cake. I should have made you a special chocolate chip cookie.

You loved opening your gifts, of course.

Reading a new book with Shane, Ethan and Leigh Leigh.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Run Forrest, Run!!

Today was the big day. The day that Brody got his leg braces. When the guy walked in with them in his hand, I was thinking "Those sure are tiny to cost so much!" I fit them in my purse they are so small. I guess I didn't realize how tiny his little feet and legs are.

When we first started putting them on him, he was actually excited. He kept calling them shoes and thought they were pretty neat. They come in 2 parts. One part is for his ankle and just slips on like a little boot. This part doesn't seem to bother him at all. It's going to correct and strengthen his weak ankles. The second part slips around the boot and goes up his leg. This will hopefully prevent his knees from locking out as he walks. This is the part he is not a fan of. He can't wear this part without shoes and because they are a little bulky, he has to wear shoes 2 sizes too big. So his foot has to be crammed into the shoe and that obviously did not make him happy.

We have to start at today with an hour total. Then add an hour each day until he's up to at least 8 hours a day. This way its a gradual process for him to get accustomed to wearing them so they don't hurt him or cause irritation.

We weren't completely sure what to expect before today. Now we know. And we see that its not going to be easy. He's not going to like them. It's going to make life harder. But, its what's best for him and we have to stick to it and make it work. So we must have patience with him. We prayed this morning before we went to the appointment that he would have a good attitude about it and not fight us on them. It's going to take continued prayer to get us through this process that could potentially take up to a year.

Here are a couple of photos from the morning.

While we were waiting, we gave him his new pair of shoes that we bought for him to wear with the braces. Turns out that they won't work, but he was excited as you can see.

It looks like he has a sad face in this pic, but he was actually doing his "cheese" face.

Close up of the ankle boot part.

Brody was trying to help so he stuck it on himself. The part on his foot right now is the leg brace.

Practicing walking in the ankle boot. He can't walk without shoes in the complete brace.

I don't have any pictures yet of him in the complete brace. I'm sure there will be numerous posts about this journey so you'll get a chance to see what it will look like normally.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Another Year Older..and Hopefully Wiser

This past weekend I turned 26. I know what you that are older than 26 are thinking. "26 is so young. I wish I was 26 again." And believe me, I know 26 is young. But when you are married and have 2 children at doesn't feel so young. But in a good way. I would never want to go back to being 20 and immature. (even though I thought I was so mature for 20)

I had a great birthday. My wonderful husband had been saving up some money to spend on me for my birthday. He knew that I wanted new "after baby" clothes and I wanted to wait until I hit the 6 month mark so I could fit into the size I wanted ;) So he took me to Houston on Saturday to spend the day shopping. We had a great day spending time as a young family of four. He was a trooper with the boys and let me go into any and all the stores I wanted to and was so patient with me. It takes me a while to decide on clothes..especially pants. So he gave me his honest (I think) opinions of everything I tried on and seriously helped me A LOT! I am also bad about not wanting to spend money on myself. So he forced me to buy some stuff. Later that day, my parents, Andrew and Rebecca, and Nana met us at the mall. They helped with the boys while Matt and I finished up our shopping. Then we headed to Carrabba's, my fave Italian place, for dinner. I had a great birthday celebration and I have Matt to thank for putting it all together.

So like my previous post said, this year is going to be a good year. 26 is going to be a good year for me. I already feel like this year has started off great. A few things we've accomplished or plan to do:

I almost have my entire house completely reorganized (besides my kitchen which is in the middle of a makeover). I hope to finish up the couple of rooms I have left this week.

We decided not to take on anymore weddings this year besides the ones we have booked in order for me to make sure that my first priority at home is Matt and the boys. Knowing that I won't be stressed with an overload of editing and shooting already has me excited about the time I'll get to spend really training up Brody this year. He is hitting the age where he really understands so much and absorbs every little bit of knowledge we pour into him. So as much as I love shooting, I love my family more. We aren't quitting or anything, just making sure we don't take on more than we should.

We are about to start reading Sacred Marriage together. We know that no matter how great our marriage is, it can always get better and the devil will always try to sneak in and cause division. So we want to continue to find ways to grow together as a couple and closer to the Lord. We also have some other books on our list that we plan to read through and we get to take turns picking out the books. I'm really excited about this because we've never read anything together.

We got a chest freezer for Christmas and I'm hoping this will allow me to change the way I grocery shop and prepare meals. I could never buy in bulk or take advantage of great deals on meat because we had no where to store it. And now I should be able to have freezer cooking days as well. Time and money saver!

This is going to be a great year. I know it. The Lord is going to use us this year like we never imagined. I'm so glad I'm 26. I feel like an adult now for some reason. It feels different than 25. Bring it on!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hello 2010

We would have sent out this New Years card if we would have all been well and able to take good photos at Christmas. Plus, I ran out of energy after the holidays and sending birthday invites. So here's the digital version.

I think I'm writing this post mainly for myself. I don't really care if anyone actually reads it. Sometimes, I just need to type my thoughts out for myself. So, with that said, this may get pretty long.

I am so excited its 2010. I was ready for a new year. We had a lot of highs and lows in 2009.

Some highs:

The birth of our beautiful second son, Carson.

Really seeing our photography business take off.

Growing closer to our "new" church family and really understanding the meaning of service and community. (We still attend the same church, LHBC, but we started 2 new churches and many families left to attend those churches. So our church family looks different and is new to us.)

Some lows:

Finding out that Brody had some walking difficulties. Going through numerous doctor appointments, physical therapy, and finally being prescribed braces for his legs. (Hopefully we'll get those any day now.)

Really, that's the only low that comes to mind. I guess it seemed like many lows because it has taken so much of our physical and emotional energy. I know its going to be a long road ahead now as we deal with the new struggles that come along with Brody wearing braces. But we know God is in control of this situation, no matter how hard it gets.

So..on to 2010.

This year I want to do things differently. In 2009, I realized I was constantly comparing myself. Comparing myself to other mothers, mostly. Feeling like I wasn't doing something right because Brody wasn't as perfectly disciplined as other children seemed. Or I wasn't as good of a mother because I let Brody have chocolate in his milk sometimes. Or have a pop-tart for breakfast. Other mothers never let their kids watch tv or have a popsicle as an afternoon snack. I was constantly beating myself up because I wasn't a perfect mother whose child always ate the vegetables that were put in front of him and never acted out. And this year, I'm going to get over it.

We all know what's best for our own children. Yes, he needs vegetables. And he doesn't need junk food all the time. And I would much rather him color or play with toys than sit in front of the tv. But I've come to realize that its ok if he has treats on occasion. And if watching one 30 minute episode of Little Einstiens gives me 30 uninterrupted minutes to spend with the Lord, then great!

So, I'm over it. I'm going to strive to be an organized, disciplined mom who makes healthy, quality choices for her children. But, there is a time for convenience sometimes. A while back, Kendra had this on her blog.

"Realizing (again) and rejoicing in the blessings of motherhood...

There's a time for checking things off the to-do list
and there's a time for avoiding the composition of one

There's a time for delectable dinner preparation
and there's a time for leftovers

There's a time for spotless floors, toilets and tubs
and there's a time for letting the crumbs fall where they may

There's a time for frugal living
and there's a time for convenience

There's a time for washing hair
and there's a time for ponytails

There's a time for going places
and there's a time for staying in

There's a time for growing up
and there's a time for staying little..." 

It really reminded me that day (and today) not to compare myself to other wives and moms. Even if every single day their home and children are perfect (though I highly doubt that's the case), it doesn't matter. I should not base my standards on what other women think, but instead on what God says my standards should be.  I think its wonderful to get advice and wisdom from other mothers, believe me. But when things don't turn out for me exactly like it might for these other women, I need to be ok with that and work to find a way that does work for my family.

So, with that being said, this year I want to be more intentional as a mother. Be productive in the time that I have with my boys. There's days that I find myself just counting the minutes until nap time, instead of enjoying the moments I have with them. Brody loves having a playmate and I want to embrace that. I want to teach him, read with him, create with him, imagine with him. Matt and I want him to know God's love and mercy. We want him to know God's demand for obedience. So during our time together during the day, I want our activities to show these things.

I have plans and ideas of ways to make changes in areas such as time management, grocery shopping and other areas of my daily life. My ultimate purpose should be to glorify the Lord in all that I do. And I want to fulfill that purpose. And while I work on these things, I have to keep reminding myself that if I try something and it doesn't work, to try something different. Not to feel like I've failed. And that its ok to not be perfect. 

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

 I'm sure I'm not the only person who reflects back on the previous year and thinks of ways to do some things different. I guess that's why the neighborhood is full of people walking or running at the beginning of the year and we slowly see less and less runners a couple months in. All those New Years resolutions that slowly fade away. So lets not make New Years resolutions, but instead attainable goals that will bring us closer to God and as a family.

We wish you a happy and blessed 2010!! 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas Outbreak

We had fun plans for Christmas this year. Brent and Leigh Ann were going to be here all day Christmas Eve so Matt was off work. We planned to hang out, take family photos, and play games. We were going to be at Matt's parents' Christmas morning and then off to other family parties. Well, what was going to be a fun filled couple of days turned into the most memorable Christmas in history. On the Monday night before Christmas, Brody came down with a stomach virus. I woke up with it on Christmas eve morning so while I stayed home sick in the bed(and by the toilet), Matt took the boys on to his parents to start the celebrations without me. Because no one wanted me to be alone on Christmas eve, Matt came to get me later in the day once I was feeling a little better. Probably not the best idea...

Christmas Eve night the virus spread to Matt and his mom. So instead of getting up excited on Christmas morning, Dena and Matt had to stay in their beds. So instead of celebrating Christmas, Allen and Brent watched the kids while Leigh Ann and I prepared food for the other family Christmas gatherings that day. By Christmas night, the virus hit Brent and Leigh Ann. The next day we found out it hit a few more people. By the end of Christmas weekend, it had spread to over 20 people in the family. All by coming in contact with one of us who had already had it or had been exposed to it and the symptoms just hadn't showed up yet.  It was horrible. I have never seen something so contagious. So needless to say, if I ever get sick on Christmas eve again, I doubt anyone will care if I'm home alone.

We finally got to celebrate Christmas with Matt's family on New Years day. It turned out to be a great day. We spent the night at Matt's parents on NY Eve and got to hang out and play games. We woke up the next morning just as if it was Christmas morning and finally got to celebrate. And what was even better, we didn't have to rush off to other Christmas parties but instead got to just enjoy the time together. And you see no pictures here because I forgot my camera. I know, seriously, how does that happen?

This year was a real reminder that its not about presents and excitement and parties. While all those things are fun, its truly about the birth of our Savior. Christmas happened whether we were feeling up for it or not. Thank you Jesus for coming to save us. Thank you for being You even though we couldn't truly enjoy your birthday this year.