Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's that time! Has it really been 3 years?

Oh my little man...  Wow, didn't think I'd get so emotional, but thinking of my baby boy and what he means to me burns my eyes.  3 years ago today, I was in labor.  I was 36 weeks and 6 days.  I drove to the hospital after teaching a full day of kindergarten and had Brent drive from Sumter to meet me there.  I called the assistant principal in tears while alone and pacing the hospital room.  I told her that they weren't going to let me leave and that they wanted to proceed with induction due to leaking amniotic fluid.  I wasn't due until January 8th and I had planned to do so many things in those last few weeks.  We did not have bags packed, we had planned to purchase our travel system over Christmas break, which was to start the following day.  It was a Thursday and I had been looking forward to the class party on Friday and I felt I was letting my kids down.  Plus, I'm a planner and this wasn't part of my plan, but I put it in God's hands, and Brent coached me through a natural childbirth.  Our sweet Asher was born at 1:30 am, Friday, December 19 weighing 6 lbs. 2 oz. and 19 in.

The Miracle of Life



Sleepy but so in love...



Our first family picture



I remember that first night of sleep.  Such an amazing feeling.  So in love with my new baby boy.  I slept in the hospital bed with Asher in his bassinet right beside me and Brent on the couch on the other side of the bassinet.  Any little noise Asher would make would stir us and our hands would often meet as we both just had to put them on our little miracle while he slept.  It was surreal thinking that our love and marriage created this beautiful life. 

I was in love.


And I still am.


I'm treasuring the last hours of being able to say that I have a 2 year old.  When he wakes in the morning, he'll be 3, and I'll be in denial.  The love you have for a child is so amazing.  Oh my has he been able to push my buttons recently.  He really wants nothing to do with me.  He's all about his daddy.  He gets me every day and much of that time is distracted time while I'm doing other chores or caring for Sloan.  He gets daddy for an hour every evening, on Fridays and the weekends.  Daddy time=play time.  I'm Ok with this.  Because I get to stay at home, he doesn't think my time with him is as valuable, but I also know that Brent is an AMAZING daddy.  My children are so blessed and I don't blame Asher for loving him the way that he does.  One can't help but making the correlation between the unconditional love we have for our children to the love of the Father.  God loves us even when we push his buttons and want nothing to do with Him.  I thank God daily for Asher's health, sense of humor, pride, strong will, shocking intelligence, and sweet, sensitive heart.  God has big plans for our little 2 year old.  I'm so glad I was chosen as this precious boy's "mom."  Happy Birthday to my "little man" and Brent's "best buddy."  We are so blessed to have you, and it's hard to remember a time before you, but one thing is for sure, you make our day's brighter, our arms fuller, and our hearts overflow.         





Monday, October 17, 2011

A little video...

So, I'm thinking this little lady is going to be an athlete like her daddy. I feel like she's been scooting forever. This video is even several weeks old so she's much faster now. 



video
(Pause music at bottom of screen)



             

video


"Umm...I'm going to give her coffee."  Glorious!  He's done this several times, I just always seemed to miss getting it on video.  So glad I captured this one.  If you're my friend on fb, you've already seen this.  I, personally, could watch it over and over.  Sweet girl, she's such a trooper.  : )  Oh, notice how he takes the time to scrape the cup clean.  Love my kiddos.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

I have a minute!

     Look at me!  I'm back!  It's 10:30 and I should be doing other productive things but Brent is in the backyard with friends watching football around the fire pit and the kids are asleep.  So, we just got back from a mountain vacation with my parents to Sapphire Valley and it was AMAZING!  I ate so many sweets.  I truly acted as if my entire mission for the trip was to find pastries.  I always complain that there's no small bakery in Lexington or even Columbia that I can visit.  Yes, we have cupcake shops and Krispy Kreme and oh yes, I am a fan but I'm looking for a non-chain bakery that smells of yeast and sugar when you open the door.  Ones that sell bow ties and bear claws and apple fritters.  There's Tiffany's over on Two Notch but if you know of others, please share.  Wow, I seriously sound like I have a problem and I do have a small one.
     Anyway, I would love to share pictures but they have yet to be loaded to my laptop and I really don't want to take the time to do it now.  My laptop is basically out of space so I now have to work through my external hard drive and it's just not too fun.  So, I decided to open a recent folder and share a few from it.  I immediately found myself smiling and loving these next few pictures.  They were taken in September while we were at Fripp Island.  They are so genuine.  A true moment captured through the lens.  It's one of my favorite times; Mornings that Brent is off from work, first thing, but hopefully not too early.  Usually, Brent goes to get Asher.  Seriously, you should hear the disappointment from him when it's me.  I go and get Sloan.  We then meet back up in bed to cuddle and chat.  

Test Shot
(No flash looks best but often leads to blurred shots.  If you know how I can change this, please share.)


Attempt #1: Ha!

Attempt #2:  HAHAHAHAHA!


Attempt #3:  Well, not frame worthy but I SO love it. 

     Yep, that's my family.  My little family of 4.  I am often amazed at the love that I'm capable of feeling for these guys.  I'll admit, the first 2, maybe even 3 months of Sloan's life I wanted to fast forward.  I was having emotional issues, Sloan had colic, I was sure I would never leave the house again, Brent went out of town for 2 weeks, and my perfect Asher schedule had been rocked.  Well, Sloan just turned 6 months, Asher is almost 3 and they could not be more fun. 
     Asher tells the best stories that always begin with, "One day...," he's so, so smart, he has the best sense of humor, and he says the best blessings.  One night after dinner at the mountains, a man stopped me as we were walking out of a restaurant and said, "So, is the whole family a Gamecock fan or just the little guy?"  Ha!  He had heard Asher thank God for the Gamecocks in his blessing.  Well, the man ended up being from Chapin so we all had a good laugh.  Asher's blessings are different every time.  You never know what he's thankful for: The light, a lamp, a fan, obviously whoever is sitting around the table and he names each one, food, the day.  Just to name a few.
     Sloan is basically pulling up and pretty much crawling anywhere she wants to go.  She has a bow or ClippityCUTE (these are made by a dear friend of mine) in her hair ALL THE TIME.  Yes, they're precious but the sweet girl needs them to keep the hair out of her face!  She's got her 2 bottom teeth, lets you know what she wants, thinks her brother is her personal jester, and has a smile that will make you melt. 
     This afternoon, I took a blanket out in the front yard and sat with Sloan while Asher rolled through the grass, rode his tricycle, pretended to mow, and just showed me how fast he could run.  Tears come to my eyes when I think of how special these guys are to me.  I know I mentioned "blessed" in my last post.  Well, it is so true.  Now, I wish I could just put time in Slow Motion.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wowzers!

     Ok, it has been MONTHS since I've made time to sit and do anything with the blog.  You guys have been neglected but it's all good.  I'm back.  Maybe not for long but this is a start.  Obviously, we are now a family of 4 and I could not love my kids more.  As you can see, they're pretty fond of each other as well.   




     Today, Asher even pretty much suggested that I have another baby sister for him.  Well, don't know about that, but love that he even liked the idea.  He also told me that when he gets older he's going to have a baby in his belly.  Well, I explained that his wife would have the baby in her belly and that he would be the daddy.  He then just restated that he would have a baby in his belly when he grew up so I moved on to the next conversation.  He has been the best big brother.  When she was younger, he would jump at the opportunity to lay out my supplies for a diaper change.  He now jumps to be the one to make her laugh when she's beginning to get upset. 
     My little guy will be 3 in December and Sloan will be 6 months on Monday.  They fill my days.  Period.  I would love to be a stay at home mom forever.  I'm not sure Brent agrees but I would love to pick them up from school every day if I could.  I mean, at what point will your children not need you?  I'm 31 and I certainly don't know what I'd do without my mom.  I thank God for her often.  Well, I don't have long.  Just wanted to do a little updating.  We're happy.  We're healthy.  We're busy.  We're Blessed.







 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Today, I am thousands of miles away from the love of my life, but the realization of her role in my world could not be clearer.  She is among so many things, the mother of my children, and today, I want her to know what that means to me.






When we chose to bring our children into this world, we became parents.  For better or for worse, we were it.  They were “stuck” with us. From the moment their little hearts began to push life through their bodies, they depended on us.  They depended on their mother.  For nine months, during their development, Mom sacrificed a comfortable life for aches, pains, heartburn, physical alteration, mental and emotional strain, and a limited diet.  Day after day providing life to our children; first from inside their fluid home, and into the countless feeding required for another 9 plus months of life.  I have to pause just to let this sink in a little.  My son and daughter, I would do anything for, but never have I HAD to do anything for them to sustain their lives.  My wife, their mother, is solely responsible for keeping them alive for 18 months straight.  Protecting them, feeding them, keeping them warm and giving them the love only a mother can give to nourish the heart and soul of a child.  I try to imaging the satisfaction that it caries but I cannot get past the colossal weight of responsibility that overshadows everything else.  I know she loves it, and is happy to do it, but it takes God given strength on so many levels to be a mother.












Now that we have two children, our world has changed.  Kristen continues to sacrifice day in and day out as I am at work.  She has very little time if any for herself as her daily and weekly list never seems to end.  Every moment of her life from the time she wakes to the time I get home (late) she is giving to our children.  I try to help when I get home and am able to do what I can, but She is still on as Mom.  I know as Sloan gets older she will grant some more time to Kristen for non-mom roles, but right now, Kristen is on duty 24-7.  I know this post could apply to most, well, a lot of moms, but there is more than just fulfilling the duties of mom I recognize in Kristen.  It is her willingness to be the mom she is, even when I cannot be the dad that I need to be. 
I know my wife loves me, and my children adore me, (Sloan has smiled at me a coupe of times) but I often do not make life easier for Kristen, and I realize this.  I work an hour from home so I leave most mornings before my family awakes at 6:45ish.  I own a business and am a working member who has many roles throughout the day.  I hold the integrity of my company very high so my days are very busy as I am very happily involved in day-to-day operations.  Phone calls and texts are sparse throughout the day and it is not often if ever I leave the office before 6:45 or 7:00 putting me home at 8:00 at night.  By this time Asher is either ready for bed, or ready for a bath to get ready for the night.  That means Kristen is without me for 13-14 hours a day.  I do get Fridays off which is very nice, but 14 hours is a long day to be a mom without help. (Not including the time I work from home on “days off”)




















Along with my passion for my work, I try to stay healthy and fit.  This takes time.  More time away from my family and wife.  I am usually out of gas after work, so the weekend tends to be the times I squeeze in activity.





















And then there my nature, my desire, my propensity to get involved with things that ultimately take me away from my family.  Some fall into the category of fitness such as the Mud Run, 5k’s, Adventure races, volleyball tournaments, mountain biking.  Some fall into the category of work like weekend presentations, conferences, half week and week long trainings, after hour meetings, events, sponsorships, etc.  Some are just plain amazing like my trip to Utah to play one on one volleyball in the desert, the 2 weeks at the inaugural Warrior games last year, my visits to Florida, training camps in San Diego, and now another 2 weeks at the Warrior Games this year.



















Combine all of this with my nature to “do” and be active and what you get is a man who is not always the best help at home.  With a small glimpse into my world, it becomes very clear how much the mother of my children sacrifice for me. 

I do recognize that much of what I do has a positive impact on my family and wife.  I want financial security, a long healthy life, and world experience for them and that does not come without some sacrifice.  But the point of my rambling today is to give credit where it is due.  Kristen, my wife, in all of her selflessness gives me the ability to be the man I am.  She provides for our family what I do not, cannot, or have not to ensure that we are a family, and an amazing one at that.  She allows me the opportunity to do these things, sometimes against her will, and for that, and for so many other reasons, my wife is an amazing mother, and an amazing wife. 


So today, as I am thousands of miles away from my family, I want Kristen to know, I want everyone who reads my words to know, I am thankful for the mother she is, the wife she has become, and the family that she has created.  I Love the mother of my children and thank God for her.
I am sorry this mother’s day will not be what she would wish for it to be and that I can not be with her face to face, but she has not left my side from the day I met her.
Happy Mother’s Day My Love.


Monday, April 11, 2011

So, we pull into the hospital, contractions every 4 minutes, 8:30ish and after about 30 minutes the contractions began to get more intense...really really intense.  Kristen fought through and did so well.  I couldn't be more proud of her. Kristen was a champ as they continued to pick up in intensity and as the time grew closer we called in the big guns. 
The Dr. came in toting his bag of magic and began to describe the epidural process.  He was awesome and made an instant connection with Kristen and I, right before he plunged a 2 inch needle into the area adjacent to her spinal chord.  "Here comes the bee sting."  He stated. 
"That's nothing compared to contractions"  Kristen replied. (mind you she endured 3 contractions while he was prepared to insert the epidural.)
Now it was time to check and see how far along Kristen was...Oh my, ready to go and not even able to feel the effects of the meds!!  The Dr. came in and said let nature take its course and give her some time, so we waited.  The epidural had set in and "Contractions" was once again just a word and not a declaration of unparalleled pain. Time passed and Kristen's mom was here and the nurses asked if Kristen was ready to push.  Kristen tried and with amazing success Sloan's entry into the world began.  A few very painful (yes painful, epidural took away the contractions...but the rest was for her to feel) a few pushes later our daughter was born.
 
In that instant, our family of three became 4.  What an amazing feeling.  I was now the proud father of a daughter, and a son.  She was amazing.  8 lbs. 5 oz. and 21 inches long.  She was awake, loud, and curious about the world around her.  Having a second child was different, but no less amazing and special.  I fell in love with my wife and my life all over again. 


We never would have guessed she would have dark hair...and decided to style it like daddy.  She was beautiful.  Troy and Papa were very patient and it was all worth the wait!





Wow.  What a experience.  Now it is time to soak it all in and spend some amazing time with Sloan and Kristen in the Hospital.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Lesson in Patience

     So, it's Thursday.  On Monday, I'll be 40 weeks and my due date will have arrived.  Every morning I wake up and think, make the bed, put on real clothes, keep the house clean, put on makeup and do hair, because today just may be the day!!  Every night I go to bed, I actually hope that nothing happens.  I would feel so bad calling on a friend to come over in the middle of the night to stay with Asher as Brent and I are off for the hospital.  Also, I just find the idea of having contractions during the beauty of the day much more appealing.    
     Bags are packed and on the dining room table, a small list is compiled of last minute items to grab such as cell chargers, pillows, Brent's razor, etc.  The baby carrier is in Brent's car ready to bring baby Sloan home.  Asher's embroidered, "Dr. Asher" scrubs are out so that he can wear them when he sees his baby sister for the first time.  Cameras are charged and cleared ready to be filled with photos and video never to be forgotten.  Monday, I had my 39 week appointment and was told by the Dr., that things were happening and he didn't think I'd make it another week.  Tuesday, I dusted the house, washed clothes, and had an old friend visit with a precious outfit for Sloan.  Wednesday, we had Toddler time at the library, lunch out with friends for a dear friend's birthday, I vacuumed, and ended the night at Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey.  This is a class being offered by our church and while Brent makes the money, I pay the bills, and thought it would be beneficial.  Although, last night was about Insurance and I'm just lost.  (Ok, sorry for my ADD moment.)  Today, I started the day thinking, "Oh, what a beautiful day to have a baby!"  I spent the morning giving Asher my quality time, on the floor, playing with his toys.  I then pulled him around the neighborhood in his wagon before ending at the playground where a neighbor stopped by and shared parts of his train with Asher.  It was then time to head home for lunch.  Well, while walking, we passed a little girl and her babysitter having lunch on a little table in her driveway.  While passing by, I spotted CHEETOS!  Ok, yes, they've always been good but for some reason today, I knew I had to have some.  Fortunately, I'm quite a food hoarder and I knew there were some in the top of our pantry, I was just hoping they had been tightly sealed because it had been a while.    So, we headed home, spread a blanket out on our front porch, and had a picnic.  Although Asher normally drinks water, I let him indulge in a Capri Sun Roaring Water because he had kept his pull up dry all day!  Asher, not being a fan of peanut butter, had a ham and cheese sandwich, grapes, and cheetos.  I had an all natural peanut butter (Smuckers is the best) with strawberry fig preserves (made by my grandmother) sandwich, grapes, cheetos, and milk?  Yes, milk.  For some reason, it just went perfectly.  Wow, this blog is really showing my ADD side but basically, I'm saying I've stayed active and I'm ready to welcome little Sloan whenever she's ready.

Wednesday at the library

Today on the playground

     I'm also saying that I've realized there are some things we just need to enjoy and not take for granted. If Sloan had come Tuesday, it would be amazing, and I'd have my daughter, but think of the little things that would not have occurred.  God, has a plan and God has things happen in His time.  Asher has been the most amazing little boy today.  So sweet, making good choices, and letting me love on him.  This morning, he came across a small insect near the windowsill of our kitchen.  Our conversation went like this (I actually wrote it down)...Asher: "Mom, mom, look, bug."  "It's not moving."  Me: "Oh, well, it might be dead?"  Asher: "Put batteries in it!"  
     I guess I am continually amazed by the things that we take out of God's control.  A while ago the doctor mentioned that once I got to 39 weeks we'd start talking about an induction.  Well, sure enough, on Monday the doctor asked if I'd like to come in the next morning and either schedule the induction or actually go ahead and have it.  I wasn't paying much attention because I knew Brent and I agreed that wasn't our choice.  Would it be convenient to have one?  Absolutely.  Would it be exciting?  Of course!  Would I be selecting Sloan's birthday and taking timing out of God's control?  Unfortunately.  I understand there are times that they are needed and if I get to 41 weeks or more, that may be our choice. My mom actually went a week over with me and I was 8 lbs. 6 oz. but she ended up going into labor naturally without the help of drugs.  Oh, and believe me, Sloan's size is surely on my mind and every day that goes by I'm thinking..."there's one more ounce!"  I'm just working on letting go.  Every night during our prayers with Asher, Brent and I both mention patience and God's timing.  So, that's just something that's been on my mind.  Please keep us in your prayers and I'll surely keep you updated!  For now, I'm going to enjoy giving Asher my undivided attention.