Friday, August 31, 2007
Some of you all have asked about our Sonogram, which was supposed to be on Aug 30th (yesterday). Well, Joe took the 1st half of his ordination exam yesterday and the second will be today (you can pray for him and the other 3 guys! Joe's exam is at 1pm). We both decided to wait yet another week in suspense...so our Sonogram has been rescheduled for next Thursday (9/6) at 10am. We are praying most of all to see a healthy little baby, but we would be thrilled if we could see if it is a little boy or girl!! We'll keep you posted. Now I am off on a "personal retreat" today. I am so excited. Reba & I have traded watching the girls so we could each have a day (an idea I'd highly recommend!)
Monday, August 27, 2007
These pictures make me laugh SO hard! Maybe it was because I was there with her, at least twice a day, taking a bubble bath while in MD. I actually started wearing my bathing suit because my family kept requesting to see the mountain of bubbles I would talk about. These pictures are a great representation of the FUN Alathea had in the bath (more like a pool to her), but actually a poor representation of how high the bubbles would get. One time I stood up and the bubbles reached my shoulder- seriously! The jacuzzi jets helped the bubbles grow & grow. Alathea loves baths to begin with, but a bubble bath in a huge tub with jets...WOW! And my grandma bought her not only bubble bath, but ELMO Bubble Bath. Could it get any better for an 18 month old??
After our last minute & extremely full trip to MD, praise the Lord, Alathea & I made it home safe & sound. We got in around 1am last night, after a long, long trip home. I've never met an 18 month old who has traveled as much as Alathea has, and she typically does very well. This trip home was a different story...we left MD around 4pm driving home with Kendra & Shaynah who were visiting Md for the weekend as well. Alathea was great until 8pm, when she started fussing, which turned into crying, and didn't stop (except for a brief 45 min) until we finally arrived home over 4 hours later. Wow...that was a test of my patience, which I can honestly say I didn't pass well. God bless the other girls in the car...they were extremely patient.
Anyways, I repented this morning, and now I can reflect on all the good that happened this weekend. I had many wonderful conversations with my Dad, brother & sister. I was able to meet the lady my Dad has been starting to date this month. For those of you who have known how difficult this situation has been for me, I can honestly say that Sherrie is wonderful. It was very helpful to meet her. Alathea & I also got time with my Grandma Bowers and My Grandpa & his wife. We also had fun during the day at a local water park...with fountains & huge water slides (which I really enjoyed!). Alathea enjoyed a daily trip to the park down the street. Being at my Dad's is like an ultimate vacation for her...he has a dog (whom she adores!), a huge yard & garden to play in, a fountain outside to splash in, a jacuzzi tub that is awesome for bubble baths, a piano that Rocky plays with her, lots of beds to jump on, a house 3x as big as hers to run around in, stairs to climb (a novelty when you live in our 1 story house), a park down the street, as well as having Pop-Pop, Aunt Julie & Uncle Rocky there (and my Uncle Bill).
I enjoyed all the time with my family & extended family. I also loved getting so much time with Alathea without having chores & other distractions. We had a blast together! We both missed Joe (Alathea asked for him constantly) and are thrilled to be home with him.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
...late Tuesday night Joe & I had a great conversation about my family, and we both agreed that it would be best for Alathea & I to make a VERY last minute trip to MD this weekend. So about midnight Tuesday we booked a flight for 6:30am this morning and here we are in MD now! Crazy, huh? Theres a lot of reasons why Joe & I thought it would be best to visit soon...too much to get into now, but so far this trip has been wonderful. Alathea & I miss Joe terribly already & are sad to miss important events like M28's kick-off field day & a special little boys 1st birthday party, but as had as that is it seems clear its the Lords will to spend this weekend here. Pray that the weekend is fruitful!! And also, say a prayer for Joe as he is studying hours & hours & hours this weekend for his ordination test on the 30th. Lord willing we'll be heading home on Sunday...
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
As I wrote two days ago, today marks the day my dear mother entered Heaven. While it has been a very emotional day and had its ups and downs, I have to say I have been floored by the love, kindess & compassion I have recieved from so, so many. Today has been a day of intense remembering of my Mom- which is so bittersweet, and something I love to do. But I have never experienced remembering her in the company of so many. So THANK YOU to ALL of you who prayed for me & my family today. Your prayers really carried each of us today, as I felt the Lords nearness & comfort in a way I haven't experienced as intensely except for the day she died. Thank you for the many of you who came over to see me today, who brought flowers and starbucks and beautiful plants & homemade bread. Every one of those acts of kindness meant so much. I also so appreciate the countless people who e-mailed, sent hand written notes and called me. Honestly, I didn't expect one bit of it. I felt the Lord displaying His comfort through each & every one of you. I will remember this day with sweetness.
I also have learned today what it means to "bear one anothers burdens" and to "mourn with those who mourn". Christ-like love was on full display! I want to learn to be less consumed with my own life to notice when others are in need of care. You don't realize how much small acts of thoughtfulness & care mean until you are on the receiving end. Today would have looked much different if it weren't for my family in the Lord expressing such love. What wonderful examples I have to emulate!
Sunday, August 19, 2007
August 21st, 2007 will mark the one year anniversary of Mom's death. It struck me today, that it was August 19th, today, just one year ago, that Mom was last "concious". This very morning, one year ago, my Mom lay in her bed propped up by pillows and enjoyed her favorite activity- watching her baby granddaughter laugh, coo & play on her bed with her. Mom was probably less than 80 lbs, hadn't eaten in days, on Morphine, yet she still had the energy to smile and soak up every bit of Alathea playing beside her. She was an amazing Grandma, even if only for 6 months. God was so kind to allow my Mom to see her first grand child while still on earth. Mom always looked forward to being a grandma. Sometimes I wondered at Gods timing in only giving Mom 6 short months with Alathea- but His ways are perfect! Alathea was a beautiful sunshine in the midst of a violent storm that summer. She was "the best medicine" as Mom would say...and that was true for all of us. Gods ways are always perfect. After a few hours of Mom enjoying Alathea & using all her strength to form short sentences to me like "I love you" & "You are the best daughter", both Mom & Alathea needed a nap. So both Alathea & I kissed Momma good night and I went to lay Alathea down. Little did I know I would never see my dear Mother awake again in this life. She had slipped into a coma and died two days later. I thank God that he allowed me to share those sweet moments with her the week of her death. I'm so grateful that I was able to spend the nights in her room that week, often holding her hand as she has trouble sleeping. I would wake up and find her looking at me...I think she was enjoying every moment, knowing her life would end soon.
So please pray for my entire family this week, and in particular on Tuesday (21st). Pray for my sister (Julie), brother (Rocky), Dad and all of Moms seven siblings who miss her very much. While our hearts & souls are in a good place, we are still grieving the loss of our sweet mother. But, I must add that we are so grateful to God that this is just a temporary goodbye. Mom is in the Heaven, the place she longed for, and where we will be reunited with her again.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Somewhere out in the Huntersville/Davidson area is this adorable little white house called the Bradford Store. Reba & I had heard so much about it, we decided to make a trip there with our girlies. We spent a few hours there! Its a generations old, family run store, set in the middle of this families farm. They had home-grown produce, homemade bread, jams, salsa, ect. Alathea was thrilled that they even had a little table full of old-fashioned toys & games for kids (she was actually so upset because she did want to leave that one of the ladies whom she befriended that worked in the store had to hold her hand and walk her out to the car with me:)
Reba & I had a field day taking pictures of the kids- in the gorgeous garden (you can buy fresh cut flowers), on the front porch rocking chairs, on the tractor (I forgot to include that picture!), ect. It really was a fun place to take the girls. They had old fashioned coca-cola bottles, ice cream, checkers, rocking chairs & a beautiful view- all asking you to stay a while. Both Reba & I came home with lots of goodies to taste in the coming week.
Alathea had so much fun, I think I will take her again on "dates" on a regular basis. It felt like we went back in time. Oh, an added plus- inside the little shop there was A/C! Check out Reba's blog for more picts.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
My little princess turns 18 Months Old today! WOW!!! It seems like just yesterday we had her 1 year old birthday party. Today We decided to "celebrate" her b-day again (which I want to do every year since she has a yucky winter b-day) by having cinnimin rolls for breakfast (Joe said a cake may be over the top :), went to the pool during the day and a special Chick-fil-a lunch (she claps when we go to Chick-fil-a...and she says "moooo" the whole time we are there :). Its been a lovely day so far. I spent a bunch of time this afternoon thanking the Lord for the precious gift that she is. I know every mom says this, but I couldn't ask for a sweeter, more precious child. There is not a day that goes by where she doesn't make me smile huge or laugh hysterically. Lately as I drive in the car I look in the rear view mirror and she's blowing me kisses the whole trip...makes my heart melt! Every night after dinner Joe & I have been "rough housing" with her on the floor in the family room. She LOVES it...especially when Joe throws he way up high & then tickles her till she's laughing so hard tears are coming out. She's a blast. I also love how much she adores her Daddy. The best part of our day is seeing his little white car drive up in the driveway. She literally sprints to the door...bangs on it & yells "Da-da-da-da!!" Joe is one awesome Dad. Alathea has also been so sweet to me lately as we are approaching the one year anniversary of Moms death (Aug 21st). I have been tearing up a bit more often and she always looks incredibly concerned and showers me with snuggles & kisses. She truly is Gods gracious gift to me! I just love her! And I never imagined I 'd love being a Momma so much...thankfully I learned from the best example in the world...my own dear Mom.
***All the pictures are from Kristen Snyder (my sisters dear friend in MD)...kristenleighphotography.blogspot.com***
Monday, August 06, 2007
While Julie was in town (see below post), Alathea became an avid softball fan. Well, I guess its really just an avid Daddy fan, and she's always been that. She was too cute cheering "Da-Da! Daaa-Da!" as he was up to bat or running around bases. As good of a cheerleader she is, too bad it has't helped the boys win more games :)
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Check out our new house in the background :) Actually, this is the Schaaf's new house where Mike & Sarah (pictured below, just for you Kel!) had there wonderful reception.
We had another incredible visit with my Lil' Sis. Aunt Julie continues to reign as Alathea favorite person. She'd follow Julie around the house saying "ju-je". Julie has been in town since Wednesday and came down to visit us, her many, many friends (she was out past midnight every night :) and for Mike & Sarah's wedding.
We spent lots of time at the pool as working on Julies tan was high priority (Rocky & I have made fun of her since she was a kid for having the whitest skin in the fam...so now she works EXTRA hard to prove us wrong :). We also enjoyed nice lunches out thanks to my generous Dad, treating us to meals while in MD. We ate at Julie's (and now my) favorite restaraunt, P.F. Changs, which just opened up at Northlake. We also had fun at Joes b-ball game, sonic & girly breakfasts out.
I'm so grateful for such a beautiful, fun , godly sister who is one of my best friends. There is hardly anything I love more than her visits! Alathea too...she actually cried quite a bit when Julie left. She then walked from room to room in the house calling out her name. The only thing that made it better was talking to her on the phone. So, Julie, we can't wait until you visit next month!
Friday, August 03, 2007
Alathea has been really affectionate lately. She loves to "snuggle" with Mommy & Daddy. Before bedtime she will cuddle with me for a while. She loves all the normal things for kids her age- sitting on our lap, holding our hand as we walk, resting her head on our shoulder. She loves giving kisses- both pecks on the lips and blowing them across the room. She often gets in moods where the whole room gets kisses, so she goes to every single person. Her latest thing has been giving out hugs- especially to her friends. Below are sweet pictures of her hugging Aunt Julie (who is in town right now- Alathea is in baby heaven!), Avery, Andrew & CJ (all three of them are very patient with her as she hugs them a lot). I have some sweet picts of her hugging her Daddy, but I still can't figure out how to post vertical pictures with out them ending up horizontal (and help??). The above picture is one of my favorites- a spontanous hug from my girly- caught beautifully by Julie's friend Kristen (www.kristenleighphotography.blogspot.com).
I think hugs are the greatest things about being a Mom :) I savor every single one.