Friday, December 21, 2012

Where have I been?!?

It's Christmastime again! And once again, I am spending every free chance I have just making memories! It's so hard to get caught up in the whirlwind of activities that comes with this time of year, and while we've been plenty busy, I still find myself enjoying every minute of it! Here are just a few highlights! Enjoy! Oh, and if I don't come back before, Merry Christmas!
At the Christmas Tree Farm

Daddy had too helpers this year!

Went to the Christmas parade with Aunt Richie, Anthony, and some friends, Mike and Susan. We even saw Daddy and Noah on the firetruck!!!

Noah, prepared with his list (that's my boy!), got to talk it over with Santa!

Nicholas was not so prepared for Ho Ho! He was fine with him until I sat him down in Santa's lap!!!
Church Christmas Party where we each decorated a table.....mine was a Crimson Tide Christmas! We were happy to have my folks with us!

Then we went to MS to spend some time with Derrick's sister and her family! We went ahead and had Christmas with them!

Noah thought Aunt Gina had a good taste in presents!

That ball has all the NBA teams on it!

Nicholas fell asleep about 2 seconds after opening his presents! Hah!

He was so very cute!

Aunt T and Bubba even got sweet baby Cole a little something!

And don't leave Dad out!!!

We also celebrated my mother-n-law's ??th birthday. She made us all swear not tell anyone, which didn't stop my hubby from posting her age on Facebook! Once a rebel, always a rebel! Of course, when I get to be her age, I'll be braggin' myself!
She was so glad to have both of her children, and all of her grandchildren, there together for one big shin-dig!
We wish you many more!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Noah's Homework

Every Wednesday, Noah is given a journal topic from his teacher to write at least five sentences about. Tonight's topic is "A Christmas Story." Without any help from anyone, this is what Noah wrote:

One day our King was born in Bethlehem. His name is Jesus. He never sinned. Every year at Christmas we have a manger scene. It is Jesus and His family. We celebrate Jesus's birthday at Christmas.
That boy has one proud mama and 2 proud Fathers!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Late night thoughts.....

Today, I had the honor of attending the funeral of a friend's mother. This is what I have to say:

1. I grew up with this friend. We went to school together, had sleepovers together, went to the movies together, registered for middle school together, went to the pool together, double-dated together, laughed together, and cried together. We sometimes had disagreements, and slight falling-outs, but overall, I'd say we remained pretty good friends.

2. Once while visiting church with her, I met the man she would eventually marry.....we had no idea then! Maybe she did, but I didn't! He was a cut-up for sure! I think he was the only person who really made her feel special a lot of times. Him and his family have been good to her, from what I have seen.

3. I met his parents at their firstborn's first birthday party. I probably met them that time I went to church with her, but I do not remember. I met his parents and his sisters. He has lots of sisters. Anyway, they all seemed oh so nice, and they really did seem to care a lot about his wife, my friend.

4. When telling my sweet Aunt Ruby one time years ago about who my friend had married , she realized quickly that he was the son of her friends, and they went way back. As Aunt Ruby would put it, "As a matter of fact, he went with me and Dennis on one of our first dates!" In Aunt Ruby's younger days, she met these folks, I'd have to say in the 70s, and she knew them until she passed. She told me that even though they were all wild in their younger years, that family was definitely a good family for my friend to marry into, she was blessed to be married to their son, according to Aunt Ruby.

5. Fast forward to today. My heart literally broke when I felt my friend's heart break. I know that this will definitely be hard for my friend to grasp, that she will not see her mother-n-law again on this earth, but I know that she is strong, and with lots of prayer, she will make it.

6. My friend's husband preached his mother's funeral. I never would've pictured him as a minister. Well, he's a fine one. I know that today, not only would he have made his mother so proud, but I know that he pleased Jesus as well. I was captivated by his words.

7. I have a new goal. When I am 112, I hope my sons can get up at my funeral and say things half as nice as my friend did for his mother today. It's made me think, what would people have to say about me at my funeral? That's kinda morbid, but hang in there. I mean, what legacy am I leaving? His mother left a legacy of love, she truly loved everyone. Even if I hadn't known her, I would've been convinced today simply by her son's words.

8. My friends have 2 children, who are both "buddies" with my Noah. Noah got to stay the night with them this summer, and he told me that he just loved being at their house. Everyone was so nice to him. Who ever would've known that someone I always had sleepovers with would have a son, and I would have one the same age, and they would stay the night with each other also?!?!? I keep forgetting I am old enough to have a son!!! Haha! Anyway, I told him last week that their grandmother is in Heaven now, and that sweet boy said, "Oh no mom, I have to pray for them. I know they are so sad." Perhaps I have already instilled a few good things in one of my sons like prayer and compassion.

9. Life is short. I've really always understood that. But, I do wonder why some people waste it so. I mean, not waste their lives, they live. But so many people do not live following the will of their Father. I know that I have imperfections and I know that God uses His ways to pull me closer to Him. I know that I have a whole Book, The Bible, God's Word, to use as an instruction manual, as comfort, and as inspiration. I know that it's who I am, it's Who's I am. I know that my God has never left me or forsaken me. I know that the Lord has plans for me. I know that I have never seen the righteous forsaken. I know that He is for me. I know that through His mercy and grace, I die daily to myself, and try my best to live wholly for Him. I know that Jesus lives and reigns. I know that I have been set free, and whom the Son has set free, is free indeed. And I am convinced that nothing will separate me from His love. I know all of this, do you?

10. Today, I have tons of emotions running through me. I cannot get my friends' grief off of my heart. My Pastor's Wife tells a story of how when she was sick in a hospital bed for 21 months, she would always pray for the morning to come, because joy comes in the morning. Then, in the morning,  she'd wake up with the same symptoms and plagues from yesterday, and she'd pray for nighttime. And why did she pray for nighttime? Because after the nighttime was over, it would be morning and joy would come in the morning. Then one day, after all of those months, her joy began to come back, she was being healed, and little by little, she made it back from her darkest night. I know that this is a dark time for my friends, but I do know that they too will have morning.

11. Today, it was said that while his mother was passing from this life into the next, he knows that she left a legacy in him, and his siblings, and his children, and theirs. And that she will live on in their hearts, and in eternity.

It has been my goal to live on in Heaven eternally as well. So to her I'd say, "Brenda, this is not 'goodbye'............this is simply 'see ya later'!"

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I cannot believe I did it!!!!

I totally thought I had already posted Days 29 and 30. I know I thought about doing them, I must've sat down to type them out, and got sidetracked (no, not me!) I am sorry!!! Better late than never....
Day 29- Friends. I have several friends, folks who I enjoy being around, and hanging out with. Then I have my true friends. Other than my husband, I have about a handful of true friends. I also know that the next opportunity I get, I must get good pictures of me and my friends!!! haha!
These are the ones like my neighbor. We share her daughter, and lots of laughs! She is constantly doing things for me, and my children. She cuts my hair, and rips up a check if I write her one. She takes Noah to school, just to save me the trip. She gets things on sale and gives them to my boys. Just because. She's even washed my dog before!!!  She's been a great friend.
At Noah's 5th birthday party
With Buddy Boy!!!

I have 1 million pictures with "our" daughter in them, but I like this one from this summer.

I have another friend who lives a few doors down. She is the one who has seen me in my jammies, and never judged! We've worked out together, we've laughed together, we go black friday shopping together, she even came to me the night my aunt passed away (which was around 12:30 am) and we cried together. She didn't leave me until Derrick got home (he was one of the firefighters on scene).
This is my baby shower with Nicholas. She's in the background, helping, without being asked, and not to be seen!!!
Here she is at her baby shower with her twin girls.....recognize that shirt?!?!
Carrying her beautiful twin girls....they joined a big brother at home!!!

 I have another friend around the corner who has helped several members of my family.....she is a Court Referral Officer!!! haha! She has loaned me maternity clothes, a cradle, given me baby clothes. Called just to say hey. Had Noah over to play with her son, and did all sorts of things with them. She's sat with me through award ceremony's at school, and we've been to 2 silent auctions
Visiting baby Nicholas in the hospital
Our first born are besties too.....they share the exact same birthday!!!
Awards' Ceremony Feeding!!!
  I have others, but those three seem to be the real deal. And of course Jesus and Derrick! Hah! But, I too, try to be just as good of a friend to these ladies. I could never list all of the things these three do and have done for me, and for that I am thankful. I cannot describe how much they mean to me, and for that I am thankful!!! They expect nothing in return though, and for that, I am thankful!

Day 30- Life. I am thankful just for life. For some reason, God thought I needed to exist, and just because He had enough love in His heart to create me, I am thankful!
See my newest haircut from friend number 1?!?!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 28

Day 28: My siblings' spouses and all of their children!!!
I am so thankful for my siblings-n-law and my nieces and nephews!!! They too add something to my life that could not be replaced or reproduced!!!
My brother, his wife, their son. Richie has introduced me to the wonderful world of Coffee mate, we've had fun shopping trips together, we get our Christmas trees together, we watch football together......once we scheduled birthday parties for the same day (oops!).....we've boated together, we have fun family times together. I would also say I am closer to my brother now, because she brings him along too!!! haha! And of course, there is no one else quite like Anthony Cooper, that sweet and spunky nephew of mine!

My sister, her husband, their children. Steve has been my other big brother since 2002, and has done a mighty fine job. He's always looked out for me, and we even worked together for a year or so. We have several inside jokes, and have had lots of fun times. Through the fires of his life, rather than coming out smelling like coal, he's came out smelling like refined gold, and I am so proud to have him in our family. He's added two precious children to our bunch, and I love those kiddos just like the rest of  'em. And of course, Aunt T's Boo, pictured in the middle, has always been my sweet girl.

My sister, her husband, their son. While all of this is new, I can already say that Jason is one heck of a guy. He seems to really make Tiffany happy, and be a superb dad to Austin. They both have a great sense of humor, and family togetherness. Noah asks me all of the time when he can go back to Happy Harbor with Uncle Jason!!! What a wonderful memory they made together! Roll Tide Austin!!!
I have an awesome family, with great ones married in and born to, and for that, I am thankful!!!

Day 27

Day 27: Noah's SPEECH!
That's not just any turkey #3 pictured above......that's Noah, and when he was a toddler, I was told he may not ever be able to talk!!!! On days like the one above, I was more than thankful that my boy can talk, and he did a mighty fine job of it!!! This may take a while for you to read, and if you are me, a big box of tissues......but read on about God's goodness.
      When Noah was 1, he could say Mama, Dada, juice, cup, bite, cow, pig, dog, plane, you know, about 10-15 baby gibberish words. By 2 years old, he couldn't say any of them. In between there, he had a bunch of the regular immunizations. I don't know if it's related or not, maybe a coincidence. He's had all shots since then. Anyway, Dr. thought he needed to go to a neurologist because he wasn't talking, wouldn't always answer to his name, would scream when someone approached him, say in a store, like "hey little guy, what pretty eyes!" he'd scream as loud as possible and not look at them. He would get bored easily with his surroundings, which was a sign of a “high-functioning child.” He also lined up everything he played with, organized by shape and color, and had lots of "autistic spectrum tendencies".
    Dr thought maybe asperger’s syndrome (a developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to verbalize and communicate with others). First, we took him to have his ears checked (to rule out hearing loss) and believe it or not, we were at the audiologist's for 1 ½ hours, and Noah wouldn't be still or quiet enough to do the test!!! Let me say this, WE SOUGHT GOD ON EVERY CHOICE WE WERE MAKING WITH NOAH! We gave Noah to the Lord, and didn't want to do something that wasn't of Him, or in His will. So, we left. I had asked for the confirmation that if it was God’s will, show me. There was no way I’d know on my own. Then, someone told mom at Dr. Craine's about the school system, and an early start type program they offer. I thought that sounded like it was worth a shot. We try to stay away from doctors as much as possible, and if the neurologist suggested therapy, none of it would be covered by insurance, plus it'd be in Mobile or Pensacola. So, I decided to try the school thing, and if that didn't work, or if they suggest neurologist, we'd go. Otherwise, we didn't feel lead to go to neurologist.
            So, I met with about 7 people from the school at the Loxley office (including the school nurse, and a student nurse!) and they felt he qualified for further evaluation, and that they would start by doing a hearing test. We got there to the hearing test about a month later (Noah had just turned 3.) and he sat there good as gold, did the test, and had 100% hearing in both ears! So, it wasn't that. He started in January at speech in Summerdale, his paperwork, which I still have, says "totally nonverbal at this time, can make around 7 sounds of the English language. He grunts, and speaks broken gibberish!" Speech teacher said he really needed something more to help him, even before the further evaluation (which took about 6 months to get!), so in March of that year he went to Robertsdale elem. special ed preschool (which is at the elementary school, Summerdale doesn't offer it, only bigger schools have the program).
            I called the Dr., and told him all of this and Dr. Eberly said "well, good luck with that because without proper medical care, he may never get better, he'll probably never talk" and I told him thanks!
            Noah did great at the preschool program. On the first day I took him, I told God I needed physical confirmation, if this was God's will, I wanted Noah to tell me bye, and blow me a kiss, and I told God if it wasn't His will, to let Noah cry so hard, the teacher would call me to come get him. When I left Noah, he waved, said "bye bye mama" (he hadn't done that in forever!) and he blew me a kiss!!!!!
            I cried all the way down the hall, all the way to the parking lot, all the way home, and all the way until 11:15, pickup time!!! GOD IS SO GOOD! HIS PROMISES ARE YES AND AMEN!
            Noah went 2 days a week, half days. That summer they evaluated him, a special ed teacher, and a psychometrist maybe, it's in the papers, I just can't remember who did it right now. They diagnosed him with having a developmental delay. He went the preschool that year again, 3 days a week, ½ day. He turned 4 that year. Within months, he was talking. He would substitute certain sounds where he couldn't say one, like "frog" was "stop", "Noah" was "Waddy", we still don't know why, but with speech it's been corrected. He went that whole year.
            Then in 2009, he went again, 3 days a week, full days. They started doing something called "inclusion" where they'd put him in the regular K4 class for about an hour a day. They said it was good for him to be around “typical peers.” I asked that teacher how he was while with the “typical children,” and she said, "Honey, I don't know he's any different!!!" After years of special ed, she didn't know he was different!!!
            He turned 5 that year in October, and in January 2010, he no longer qualified for special ed services.
     He now has articulation delay, not developmental delay. So, he quit preschool, and went to speech at Summerdale again (different teacher now! she's amazing!) and did that twice a week. August of 2009, Noah had 52 articulation errors, in September 2010, he had 13!!!!! PRAISE GOD! In May 2011, he was down to 4 errors! It’s almost over!!!
      He started regular ed kindergarten August 2010, his teacher did not believe me when I told her he was special ed, she read his paperwork, and still didn't believe it! He's so normal now! we had his yearly meeting in January 2011, and his speech teacher noted all of his progress. She's amazed at how fast he's caught on to new sounds. And, his K teacher (Maria Parsons, her hubby is a pastor in R'dale at Family Harvest Church, and her little boy Caleb went to be with the lord after battling cancer in 09) told me that Noah made the highest score in her class on the dibels test, which is a statewide test giving by the reading coach. And he continues to amaze me everyday with his learning progress. At the end of his Kindergarten year, Noah had an IQ test, and I sat across a table from a psychometrist, a speech teacher, and his K teacher, and I was told that Noah is in the upper average range overall for his IQ. He scored above average in one area, and close to it in others. We always knew he was smart, but these ladies shared with me that Albert Einstein didn’t talk at all until he was 5 years old, because he was just too smart, his mind moved so fast, that his development was delayed!!! By the way, we switched pediatricians, he now goes to Dr. Skinner in Fairhope, who is amazing. My cousin is a RN at Thomas in the women and children's dept, and she recommended her. Also, while I would never blame Noah, but one reason I didn't have another child sooner was because of this battle. But it's all God's timing anyway! I’ll also tell you that God has changed me so much through all of this!
       Hopefully, if you knew me before,  you wouldn't even recognize me anymore! First of all, I have enough faith, that one day, I’m actually going to walk up to a physical mountain and tell it to move, and I’m positive it will. And think of Noah's testimony, when he stands before hundreds in a church, or even behind a camera, and says "Look what the Lord has done!" I'm thankful for the battles we've been through. God took our pain, and pulled us closer to Him with His ways! I would sometimes wonder why Noah had to go through such torment. But, it's for such a time as this! It was hard when he would want something, and I couldn't guess what it was, and he couldn't tell me! Try going a day without talking, and see if you could do it! He'd start screaming, and we'd go to the fridge, and I’d have to point at everything until I could get it right, whatever he wanted. He couldn't say, milk or juice or food or water. He couldn't say he was hot or cold. He couldn't tell me where he didn't feel good at. Now, he won't stop talking!!! hahaha. He used to not play with others, he'd be in a room full of children, like at the church nursery, and would go to the corner by himself, now every weekend he wants to have a friend over. Oh, and the reason he'd scream when folks talked to him, is because he was self-conscious. He couldn't say hey back to them. Anyway, all is well now! He loves speech, does great at school, and drives me nuts at home, like a typical child!!!! 
    And I really can’t believe I didn’t trust God enough without the physical confirmations, but you know, my Father cared enough about such details, He looked out for me, just like I would for my children. Ain’t God good?!? Let me tell you, all the time He is so good, nothing could separate me from His love, and He will never ever forget His promises to us!     
             I’m so thankful that we have done well enough the first time with our child, of course with God’s leading, that's He's given us another blessing to raise for His glory!!!
            I’m sure this whole experience will touch so many lives. There is never a way I could forget all that God did for us over these years. This is a shortened, compacted version, of a very long story and battle. We didn’t do much talking about it while it was going on, we had no reason to give the devil any room to boast. The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue...” We wanted to only speak life over our son. We would not settle for less. Was it tip-toe through the tulips?Absolutely not. When the Lord be a blessin’, the devil be a messin’! We are still constantly attacked. But let me finish with this, “Greater is HE in me!”
I wrote all of that when Noah was in Kindergarten, when a friend of mine asked me why Noah had speech troubles. Some of it has local locations and people in it, only because the person who asked me knows all of them. I will add to it as he grows. My boy is a non-stop talking 2nd grader, and for that, I am thankful!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 26

Day 26-Healing
 I am so thankful today for God's Healing touch. He has more than one time healed my body, He's healed my spirit, He's healed my mind, and He's healed my heart!!! I know that without Him, I would not be here, and I would not have been made whole. I know so many people who suffer daily in their bodies and minds, and I do not, and for that, I am thankful!

Day 25

Day 25-Outlaws/Inlaws!
I am thankful for my inlaws! My husband has his parents, his sister, her husband, their 3 children, and a nephew-n-law, and this March we will add a great-nephew! I am thankful for all of them. It has been amazing to watch his niece and nephews grow, and to be with this family through its life seasons. I know that no family is perfect, and they all have problems, but I can truly say it could be worse!! haha! Derrick's family is my family, and for that, I am thankful!

Day 24

Day 24-Cookbooks and Crock pots!!!
I am thankful for my cookbook collection and for my new crock pot!!! My cookbooks have rescued me many times, whether at home, what to take to a potluck, or when a friend is coming over, I have made very good use of my cookbooks. And my trusty ole crock pot finally hit the fritz on me, so Thanksgiving night, I was at Wally-World getting myself an early Christmas present for $9.44!!! I cannot wait to open it. I also have a couple of wonderful taste testers, one of whom is pictured here, and for that, I am thankful!!!!

Day 23

Day 23-Siblings!
I am thankful for my siblings.....old and new!!! I look pregnant in this picture, but I was not, and I have lost 18 lbs since then.....and I am thankful for that too!!! Anyway, I am thankful for my siblings. They are each unique, and they each play a different role in my life. God could not have blessed me any more with any better ones, and for that, I am thankful!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Day 22

Happy Thanksgiving Ya'll!!!!

Day 22....Thanksgiving......I am thankful for EVERYTHING!!!!
I think Noah definitely summed it up!!!!
When I look around and see the good things God has done for me,
I know, I am unworthy of them all.
For His blessings He so freely gives,
I know I owe my life to Him.
I have so much to thank Him for.
I have so much to thank Him for, so much, to praise Him for.
Can't you see?!?!
He has been so good to me.
And when I think of all He's done, and where He has brought me from, I have so much to thank Him for.

Day 21

Day 21-Sunshiny days!!!
I am thankful for days filled with sunshine. Some places, such as the rain forest, never see such a beautiful site. The sun shines upon my face, and for that, I am thankful!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Days 17-20

Day 17: Heritage. I am a good mix of Native American and German.....the red-skinned and the pale-face!!! Haha. But, I am thankful for my American heritage, as well as my family heritage. I am forever proud of my family, my roots, and where I came from. Those before me had to fight for their heritage, and I do not, and for that, I am thankful.
Western Art Museum, Cartersville, GA 

I like to think my descendants would have looked just like this!!!
 Day 18: My hubby!!! I know, you just lost your lunch, but I could never begin to describe to you just how thankful I am for my husband. I was very young when I got married, and I definitely found out quick-like that my husband is "different" from most people from my "generation" but I will tell you that what doesn't tear us down will make us better, and I am thankful for all that I have learned from my husband. I am thankful for all we have shared, for all that we have acquired, for lessons learned together, and for being together!!! Some people do not have such a determined, knowledgeable, and hard working person to serve the Lord with together forever, and I do, and for that, I am thankful!
Mr and Mrs 01-01-04

I truly am just as happy now (well most of the time) as I was then!!!

And he's still that same ole stud!

Day 19: School Holidays!!! I am so thankful that I get a few extra days during the year, to have my firstborn home with me! I do miss Noah when he's at school, some days more than others, and I love having him home on days that are not busy weekends. We are all still in our jammies today, and it's after lunch, and for that, I am thankful!!!  
School holidays also give us the opportunity to visit NaNa!!! She was ready for the picture to be over, and Nicholas kept calling the pumpkins behind him "balls"
 Day 20: Grace. I am so thankful that God reached way down in the miry clay, and chose to pull me out, and put my feet on solid ground. I am thankful that no matter what, God is married to the backslider. He holds our pain, and uses His ways to pull us closer. I am very thankful for God's Grace. I have been forgiven, and given a second chance, and for that, I am thankful.
Grace-noun-Mercy, Pardon.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ok ok....days 14-16

Sorry I've had to interrupt this blog....but motherhood calls!
I was somehow called upon to be the costume creator for Noah's Thanksgiving play that I am going to later on today! I cannot wait! Anyway, here are Days 14-16...
Day 14-Vacations! We have been so blessed to be able to save and travel, even if it's just staying with family, and I am so thankful! We've been on big vacations to Ft. Walton, FL; New Orleans,LA; Gatlinburg,TN; Baton Rouge, LA; Helen, GA, St, Augustine, FL; Nashville, TN; Waverly, TN; Bowling Green, KY; Jackson, MS; Orlando, FL; Ocala, FL; and Chattanooga, TN. We've been on several weekends and overnighters all along the way! It's fun to get away, and have nothing to do but spend time with the ones you love! Most young families cannot say the same, and for that, I am thankful.

Day 15-Parents/Grandmother! Here's Nana, with me and the boys, and she has always been such a hoot! I love her dearly, and while I am just recently realizing that she won't be around forever, I am so glad I've had so many wonderful years with her. She's feisty, she's been through a lot, she always makes time for us....and for that, I am thankful!

It's mom....with  a cake! ha! Words could never tell how thankful I am for her! I truly do have the world's best mom, and for that, I am thankful!

It's daddy.......with a cake! ha! My dad has been a powerful influence in my life, and is always there when I call! I suppose he's there when I don't call....but either way, I have the #1 dad, and for that, I am thankful!

Day 16-Humor! Funny pictures and stories are so important in life. Laughter doeth good like a medicine. These are some of my most recent favorite funnies! I have thousands! I have a sense of humor, and for that, I am thankful!

Looks like my attempts at recipes!


Another one that is definitely me!