Sunday, November 30, 2008

A is for Aidan, B is for Becky . . .

While having our traditional pancake breakfast on Saturday morning, Tucker and Cade started to show us how they are learning the alphabet.

Cade: "C is for Cade".
Tucker: "T is for Tucker"

I asked them what is mom. They both piped up "B is for Becky".

So, then I asked them "What is P?"

And Tucker spurts out "P is for Pee in the Potty!"

Noah adds "That's what Nana has been teaching them."

Great - with all the P names we have in the family: Paul, PeePaw, Poppy, PawPaw, Patti, you might think the P would stand for one of them. But no, now we know that P is for the potty.

Thanks Nana!

P.S. Titus if feeling much better. His fever stopped yesterday and his breathing continues to improve on the antibiotic. Thanks for the prayers.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Titus has a Virus

Titus has been running a fever for the last week with a lot of increased secretions. We've been to the doctor twice this week - and he put him on an antibiotic on Monday, but now that the fever is continuing, the doctor believes it may be more viral - so we just have to wait it out.

Poor little guy - you can tell he just doesn't feel well, but even with a fever, he's not very cranky. We have increased his breathing treatments to every 3 hours (we were down to twice a day) and started CPT (which we haven't had to do in months). It helps him tremendously on his breathing and loosens all the gunk so we can suction it out, but it's the fever that comes and goes that tires him out.

So, he stayed home yesterday with Meemaw while the rest of us did the Turkey Trot, and then he celebrated his first Thanksgiving at home with the family. We kept flashing back to last year when he was in the hospital at Thanksgiving (and Christmas and New Years). It is so much better having him home.

And, we received his approval from insurance for his cochlear implants for his left ear. They will only do one ear at a time. Since our insurance is changing in January, we are praying he will be healthy soon so we can schedule the cochlear implant in December.

Please pray for these things:
  • Titus' fever will go away
  • His breathing will improve and his lungs will be clear
  • His cochlear implant surgery will be scheduled in December.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Give Thanks

DiscipleNow weekend (or D-Now if your hip) was a blast. We had a good group of 6th grade girls and great leader (Halley from Lake Charles, LA). It is amazing how well behaved they can be when they know the consequence for not behaving is picking up dog poo in the back yard.

Over the weekend, I became the Bible Answer Man for several of their questions. On Saturday morning at breakfast, I was asked if Thanksgiving was a Christian holiday. This led to an interesting discussion (ok - some may say historical dissertation on my part) about the background and significance of the first thanksgiving.

But after all was said, I asked the girls why they say "thank you".

And the responses I got were interesting. All of them said "to be polite".

So, I probed a little deeper - and the secondary response I got was "to be respectful".

Then I asked them what the meaning of the words were. When you say thanks, are you showing gratitude and thankfulness because someone has provided something for you or is it the automatic response that comes out of our mouth because when we were young our parents would hover over us and say "What do you say? . . . What do you say? . . . WHAT DO YOU SAY!!!!" until you squeaked out those 2 words.

Somewhere along the training of the action, we have forgotten to train the moral reason behind the words. And frankly, I was a little surprised that even in 6th grade, these good girls knew the right words, but had not stopped to think about the meaning behind them.

As we enter into a week of thanksgiving, my prayer is my words relay the intent of my heart. I have so much to be grateful for, so much to be thankful for, and just . . . so much.

One last thought about the weekend. It never fails in a gathering like this, there is always one who just speaks a little louder than others, has just a little more knowledge than others, has an opinion more expressed than others and by the end of the weekend, you feel as if your head my explode if you hear one more word. We had one like that. But as the weekend we progressed, we learned she does not come regularly to church and her family chooses not to believe.

But Sunday morning during the worship service, God touched her heart, and at the end of the service, she accepted Christ. And again, I am amazed and grateful of how God works. He still touches the hearts of 6th grade girls who may feel like they already know it all. I pray that her new life in Christ will be wonderful and full of knowledge and thankfulness of the One who made her.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Disciple Now Weekend

As if last weekend was not busy enough with Titus' birthday and 2 Polar Express Parties, this weekend we are hosting 6 6th grade girls for Disciple Now on Friday and Saturday night.

Now, since we are a house full of boys, I'm not sure how it's going to be having a house full of girls all weekend long. As I once said, with boys you get noise, with girls you get drama. I'm sure it will be a drama-packed weekend! But I'm also sure it will be fun.

Please pray for the girls this weekend and their leader Haley. I'm sure God has incredible things in store for them.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Titus

It's here! Titus is one year old today.

The last year has been a whirlwind. We have gone places we never dreamed we would have gone. Our emotions have been all over the map. Early on, someone told us the first year is the hardest - and it's been hard. But, there has also been an underlying sense of peace that can only be explained as the "peace that passes understanding".

There were days early on that we weren't sure if Titus would see the next day, much less make it to his first birthday.

But, here we are! Right now, Titus is suppose to be taking a nap, but I hear him playing in his bed. He's just jabbering away - and it's such a joyful noise.

To my youngest son. You have taught this old man new lessons in love and fatherhood. You have taught me to appreciate the little things in life. You have inspired me with your courage, your strength, your will power, your tolerance for pain. You have taught me to trust others who care for you in areas I could not, and to place you in the hands of God when all I want to do is hold on. You are a hero to so many. And one day, you will know all the people you have blessed.

For those of you in the area on Saturday, November 15 between 4pm and 6pm, please stop by for a piece of cake and join us for a prayer of thanksgiving at 5. You can email for directions. We are looking forward to seeing you and thanking you for all you have done for us this past year.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Becky's Surprise: Part 2

Becky was working the Neath the Wreath show in Plano this weekend with our friends at The Hollywood Ranch. And, the 4 older boys went camping with their Nana and Aunt A, so Titus and I decided to paint the kitchen.

This wasn't too big of surprise since we have had 4 paint swatches painted on the wall in the kitchen for the last 2 weeks, but everyone decided they liked the green. I liked the green, but thought it might be a little too light, so "I" decided to go a shade "darker."

I honestly feel the guys in the paint department at Lowes should issue certain warnings with some paint colors before choices are made since paint is not a returnable item. Warnings such as

"Did your wife pick out this color?"

"Does your wife know how bright this color is?"

"Are you painting an entire room this bright or just using it as an accent?"

"Are you sure you don't want to try a sample first?"

And last of all
"What's your back-up plan?"

But thinking that I knew what I was doing, I barged head purchasing two gallons of "Gilded Pesto" green. As I started the first coat, I thought, "Gee, that's a little bright", but knowing that paint always dries darker, I forged on and painted the kitchen with the first coat.

Becky came in that night and raved about it - she LOVED it - (ever the supporting wife).

The next morning, prior to leaving for work, she walked in and said "What do you think about the color?" I could tell by the tone that the expressed LOVE from the night before had changed to FEAR.

I went to the kitchen and after my eyes adjusted to the eye-popping, neon-blaring green, came to the same conclusion that Becky did. It's really hard to describe, but overnight, this green had invovled into an incredible-hulk shade of pulsating green. There was nothing "gilded pesto" about it. I told Becky something must be done or people or going to laugh. Of course, I could always blame it on the children since they are the ones who really liked the green.

So, Titus and I went back to Lowes. Fortunately, another paint guy was there - one older, more mature, and full of advice. We went with "Olive Grove" this time. And, after 12 hours and 2 coats of Olive Grove, we now have a green kitchen. Becky came in last night and again declared "I LOVE IT". And then she said "it's a little more apple green than olive" . . . (sigh.)

As I told her this morning, next time I have a whole day and 2 gallons of paint, we can do it again. If anything, we are definitely ready for Christmas!

Next - is the downstairs bath. Becky has picked out Regal Plum. Please Lord, don't let it be bright!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Life with Boys

You would think with 5 boys we would have learned most of the things you need to know about raising boys . . . but there's always something new.

Cade (who is the taller 4 year old) needed to go tinkle. And this is how the conversation went.

Cade: Mom, I need to go pee.

Mom: Make sure you sit down!

Cade: I wanna stand!

Mom: No, it will go everywhere - sit down.

Cade: No MOM! It won't go everywhere.

So, Cade stands.

And it goes everywhere.

Mom: Here's the rag - clean it up.

And Cade precedes to dip the rag in the toilet (that he hasn't flushed yet) and clean up his mess.

(sigh) . . . boys!

Monday, November 3, 2008

You're Invited!

In just a few days, Titus will be celebrating his first birthday on November 14. What an incredible year it has been - one that we never would have imagined and yet, looking back, it has been a journey that we are thankful for.

To celebrate, we would like to invite you to stop by on Saturday, Nov 15 between 4-6 pm for a piece of cake and to let us express how much we appreciate all the prayers, all the help, all the love you have shown our family this past year. So to our family, friends, neighbors, doctors/nurses/therapists, co-workers, and prayer warriors, you are all included/invited/welcomed to stop by and celebrate. At 5pm, we will have a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing.

Now, I know some of you are thinking we aren't serious, but we are. We know these emails have been forwarded out, printed out, and passed out to hundreds of people we do not know or have never met, but we would love to meet you and share with your our thanks on this special day. So, if you are in Frisco, Texas on Saturday, Nov 14, please stop by. I'll send our address and directions when you RSVP (via email). And please - no gifts - you all have already blessed us and provided us with so much.

Titus is doing great. There has been an awakening of sorts in the last few months. He has made great strides in therapy and although we still have a very long way to go, it's encouraging to know he is showing promise. He is really beginning to "play" with toys, provide us with cues that let us know to continue and he lets us know when he is enjoying an activity. He has become quite mobile on the floor, pushing himself around and rolling over occasionally. When you have him in a sitting position on your lap, he is leaning forward (or doing crunches as I call it). When he leans forward, he gets a kiss on forehead, and then he laughs, arches his back to go back down, and then does it again. He does this numerous times until he's worn out.

As mentioned on the blog, his surgery for his cleft palate is scheduled for January 15, 2009 unless there is a cancellation sooner. But, looking back, Titus has not had any major setbacks/illnesses/hospitalizations since April. This in itself is amazing.

Titus has a night nurse that comes and sits with him 3 nights a week. Although his sleeping has improved and he is sleeping through the night, it gives Becky and I a break to shut the door and sleep uninterrupted knowing that Vanessa is in there taking care of him. Vanessa loves him dearly and Titus knows when she is there. He melts into her arms and goes fast asleep. We tell her she can put him in the crib, but we think the two of the enjoy their time together. Last week, I was finishing up feeding Titus when Vanessa arrived. As she walked into the room, he turned to her, smiled, and he just knew she was there.

During the week we have two aides that come during the day to assist - Becky's mom and Melissa. They take Titus to therapy, assist around the house, wash the dishes/clothes, and love on Titus. Again, what a blessing they are to us. Starting this week, we will also have several hours of nursing visits start to assist in watching over him. This provides Becky time to continue homeschooling the boys.

I have so much more to share, but it's late and I'll save it for the party.

The Weekend

Have you ever had one of those weekends that was non-stop? That's how the last 72 hours have felt.

Becky worked First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Tx over the weekend. For those of you in Texas, you know what First Mondays are all about. But for those of you outside of Texas, think of one giant flea market, arts & craft show, pet store, & swap meet all in one place. This thing is BIG. Since Becky was gone, that left me with all the boys for the weekend.
But that was not until after the boys dressed up and went trick-or-treating on Friday night. The older 4 rummaged through their closets to come up with their costumes and Titus was all warm and snuggly in his puppy costume. The boys had passed out their "Scare Away Hunger" flyers the week before, so they were excited to see how many canned foods they would be able to collect. "Scare Away Hunger" is a canned food drive that our church participates on to stock our local food pantry. As a result, our church along with 2 other local churches collected 5,500 cans of food over the weekend. And when you think about, giving a couple cans of food to help someone who needs it is a lot more beneficial than giving my kids (or me) more candy!

Here's a few pics

Aidan and Noah went as Mad Scientist - Noah as pre-experiment, Aidan as post-experiment.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Seventeen Weeks

Tonight we completed our Growing Kids God's Way class. As many of you know, we have facilitated classes for the last 9 years and are key couples in the Dallas area for Growing Families. We were incredibly blessed (again) with a great class of committed, eager-to-learn, and teachable parents for the last 17 weeks.

As always, Becky and I learn more from leading the class and are convicted in the many areas we need to work on in our parenting with our kids. And, as leaders, we were so challenged by this class to really take our discusions to a deeper level - to not just train an action, but to reach the heart of our child.

As I closed the class out tonight, I reminded them that as parents we can not lead our children any further than we ourselves are willing to go. I can train my children in first-time obedience, but more importantly, they need to see me, their earthly father, practice submission and obedience to his Heavenly Father. And that, is much easier said than done. But I want my boys to see that living a life out loud for God is not a "some time" thing, but a daily thing. I want my boys to know that our training on "good, better, best" is not something we do so that they will be "good" kids, but we do it so others will see God living in us.

So, to Brett & Brennan, Shane & Malissa, Hillary and Chris, Jennifer & Jakob, Amy & Mike, and Dan & Marci, thanks for your commitment. We love you guys!