Friday, November 26, 2010

Being Thankful: A Matter of Perspective

It seems I blog a lot about perspective, but only because the word describes a lot of what my feelings and emotions are based on these days.  I guess we all make those "I'm thankful for . . ." lists each year.  And while most often the items on the list rarely change, I think sometimes they are rearranged.  Of course I'm thankful for my material posessions this year.  We have been blessed above and beyond with so many things we simply want.  But I have to say the following non-things are at the top of my list this year:

1.  MEDICAL ADVANCES:  I love my Clayton so much.  I hated seeing him so sick this summer.  THANK YOU, LORD for allowing his healing through the work of doctors, nurses, and modern medicine.  This summer made me realize (again) just how precious Clayton's life was and how each day with him is an AWESOME GIFT to be enjoyed and LIVED!

And on a much smaller scale, thank you, Lord, for the field of Urology and a urologist who works on Thanksgiving weekend.  Brian has been battling a kidney stone for over a week, and finally had it removed by the doctor this morning.  And while his pain isn't completely over, at least that blasted stone is out and Brian can get on with his life!  It's been interesting seeing him go near stir-crazy from battling this thing all week.

2.  ACTION-JACKSON:  How sweet it is to have this ball of energy running around the house!  (Sometimes exhausting and annoying, but still very sweet!)  Thank you, Lord, for giving this beautiful boy to us!  He is simply amazing to watch.  Tiny miracles each day that remind us never to take normal for granted. 

3.  MY PARENTS:  How many times this year alone have my parents dropped what they are doing just to help us out in a time of crisis?? (We seem to have too many of these!)  Not to mention their countless hours of babysitting throughout Clayton's life.  It doesn't matter what I need of them or from them, my mom and dad always come through for me.  Thank you, Lord for my parents, who make AWESOME grandparents!

4.  MY BROTHER AND SISTER-N-LAW:  This summer, Josh and Nicole helped us out big time when Clayton was in the hospital (Josh was in Memphis the moment I asked and Nicole kept Jackson when my parents needed a break).  And this past week, they were there again in our crisis.  When Brian went to the E.R., Nicole was happy to drive into town and pick up Jackson for me.  Josh was on call all week to take Brian to the doctor.  I was so glad I didn't have to worry about Jackson and definitely glad Josh was willing to get up in the middle of the night if need be!  Thank you, Lord for family!

Like I said, these things are always on my list.  But this year they seem especially important and at the top for sure.

I am blessed!

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Must Be Dreaming!

As I'm sure most of you know, Clayton was forced out of our bed became a big boy when I was pregnant and started learning to sleep on his own.  He is still on that journey it seems, since one of us has to lay with him each night until he actually does go to sleep.  I love my babies, and I want nothing more to cuddle and hold them each night.  I feel like they are only small once, and I need to soak up that time of holding them since they are sure to outgrow it sooner or later.  BUT, that being said, Brian and I found ourselves each night spending a majority of our evening time getting someone to sleep instead of putting our kids to bed and then going about our business like most parents usually do.  We're just suckers I guess. 

And while we've still got a long row to hoe with Clayton, I was determined not to get into the same rut with Jackson.  And we started out doing well.  When he was an infant, he slept most of the night in his crib and the only problem we had was him waking up Clayton if he did cry at night.  But as he got older, he started wanting to snack all night--and this was well after he was weaned from the breast.  He had weaned himself off the pacifier early, so I guess his bottle (and eventually sippy cup) became his pacifier.  And to keep things quiet on that side of the house, I would bring him to our bed around 3 or 4 in the morning.  He seemed to get lots of rest, but it was at the expense of me and Brian.  He sleeps like a worm in hot ashes and spent most of his time in the bed doing gator rolls and beating us with his feet. 

I was pretty nonchalant about the milk at night thing until I had an epiphany when I read about "bottle rot."  I wasn't about to let his pretty little baby teeth get ruined just because I was a weakling when it came to bedtime routines!  So I immediately replaced the milk with water, but I wasn't so great at forcing him to sleep in his bed all night.  I still let him beat up on me each morning.  Doesn't make for a great way to wake up!

I got more serious at this point.  Teeth brushing every night, two/three books each night, bedtime prayers and of course I would lay with him in the toddler bed until he went to sleep and then put him in the crib.  (Sound familiar?)  Even though it still wasn't good that I was staying in there until he was asleep, it worked fine until we went on vacation.  When we came back, bedtime routine went wild!  He absolutely refused to go to sleep unless he was laying in Momma's bed.  (For some reason his eyes closed right up on Momma's pillow).  So here I was again, spending all this time each night trying to get my child to sleep!  Two weeks ago, I told Brian I had had enough and I was finally going to get tough.  And you know what?   IT WORKED.  Oh, he cried the first night (worst 10 minutes I've had in a long time!).  But the second night he cried maybe five minutes.  And the third?  Not a peep.  This week his habit has been not to cry but after about ten minutes of being in bed, he calls me: 




I go in there, lay him back down, and then I don't hear another peep until deep in the night.  And when I go back in then, I keep him in his room.  ::patting myself on the back::  It's amazing how different I feel each night.  One burden lifted!  And I have some of my time back! 

Now.  If we could only get Clayton on the bandwagon, we'll be homefree!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Clayton's Turn

When Clayton was in the NICU, I let a lot of things slide, including the upkeep of my hair.  Not only was I caught up in taking care of a sick baby, I wasn't all that happy with the girl who had been doing my hair for a couple of years.  But alas, I am a "rut" person, and stuck with her anyway.  I finally got desperate enough to ask a friend who did her hair and she recommended Chasity.  I haven't looked back since.
When it came time for Clayton's first haircut, I was worried to death about how it would go.  I shouldn't have worried.  Chasity has been a true Godsend when it comes to Clayton.  She has gone above and beyond the call of a "hairdresser."  Twice she has come to the house when Clayton was too sick to leave but still needed his hair cut.  Who does that these days???  She is extremely patient with him, doesn't get in a hurry or force him to "deal" with the haircut.  She is awesome at dealing with his sensory issues and gagging spells caused by the hair, and puts up with his endless questions and most imperative (he thinks) needs:

"What is that?" (asks this no less than 100 times)
"What kind of shampoo?"
"What kind of clippers?"
"What kind of towel?"
"Where'd Chasity get those?"
"What store?"
"What's Chasity doing?"
"I can't like it" (referring to the spray bottle, the clippers, the wax for momma's eyebrows)
"I need towel"
"Put me by the window"
"Where's the truck going?"
Clayton and I get our haircut in the evenings since Jackson came along (tried it during the day with Jackson and Clayton DID NOT like him intruding on his time at "Chasity's work!") And even though she's tired and looking forward to going home, she doesn't mind at all when Clayton needs a break or needs to inspect her tools before she uses them.
Brian and I figured out a long time ago that we would have to surround ourselves with people who accepted Clayton and people who didn't mind making accomodations for him. 

Chasity is one of those people.
And she's like the rest of us--under Clayton's spell.  What he says, she does.  He usually bosses her over to the window for his haircut so that he can watch the traffic.  And when the traffic dies down, he has to turn around to see what everyone else in the shop is doing. 
**I have to stop here and give a shout out to Laz and Leslie who work at the shop and also dote on Clayton's every whim.  Even if it means driving their vehicles around an extra block just so Clayton can wave at them and check out their rides.**
I'm so glad I get to call Chasity our friend as well as Most Awesome Hairdresser Ever. 
And as Clayton says, "Thank you, Chasity . . . for my hair."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Big Boy Haircuts

Haircuts are a big deal around our house.  Chasity has been cutting my hair for seven years and she is the ONLY one who has ever cut Clayton's hair (besides the neurosurgeons, of course).  It used to be that Clayton was the one who most looked forward to going to "Chasity's work," but I'm thinking Jackson's becoming fond of the place himself. 
I did hold him during his first haircut, but from the second one on, he's been a big boy and has been sitting in the chair all by himself.  Granted, he does get a little restless.
 And sometimes needs a toy or two to keep him busy. . .
But for the most part, he's a patient little fellow who enjoys the attention he gets from Chasity (and everyone else in the shop for that matter). 
My boys love Chasity.  I'm pretty sure she loves them right back since she kinda spoils them.  =)
(Notice the usual "I'm ignoring you, Mom" look???  I think I'll try to get that same look from Clayton when he gets his haircut this week).

Monday, November 15, 2010

Historic Arkansas Museum

Clayton toured the Historic Arkansas Museum with our homeschooling group last week and I was so proud of him!  HUGE THANKS to my mom for keeping Jackson, which I think helped a lot in letting Clayton remain focused on what was happening. 
I wasn't sure if he would even pay attention to the guides, because he has a horrible time with distractions.  But he only asked about Daddy and the truck one time and that was after I asked him to write on the chalkboard (and we all know he isn't a fan of writing!).  During the first session, the guide passed around several items used to bathe and dress in the 1800s and she handed most of them off to Clayton.  He looked at her funny at first, but took all the items, including soap and a toothbrush and a woolly coat.  BIG deal for a kid with major sensory issues! 

I can't help but say I enjoyed myself as well.  The boy behind Clayton (hidden for privacy) always volunteers to push Clayton for me, so I was able to sit back and just let Clayton be a part of the group!  I love those moments when I feel comfortable enough with the people we're with that I'm able to let go and watch him find his place in the world.   

Friday, November 12, 2010

Flashback Friday

Hmmm . . . you think he looks like his Daddy??!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Last Stop: Family Reunion

Both of Brian's parents are one of nine children.  This makes seeing "everyone" a logistical nightmare for those of us who live 900 miles away!  When we were first married and had more time and energy, it was nothing for Brian and I to hop all over North Florida and South Georgia visiting aunts and uncles and cousins.  Not so anymore.  It's just not doable these days . . . that's why it's a good thing his dad's siblings get together each October.  We've not been able to attend these gatherings since Shawn and Clayton were born, but this year things were finally stable enough (the stars lined up!) for us to make the trip. 
 Brian and Clayton with Brian's dad and sister, Hannah.
Jackson took right up with his distant cousin, Rhett, who didn't mind at all entertaining a one year old!
He kept Jackson giggling forever just by running back and forth.  It's the little things that they love the most!  He also loved on Jan (Rhett's mom and wife to Brian's first cousin, Michael)--he "needed" her to hold him A LOT during this long afternoon.
And as soon as Rhett took a seat on this rock, all of a sudden Jackson had to sit there as well.  Monkey see, monkey do!

Clayton preferred (as usual) hanging out with Aunt Cynthia in the kitchen and around the fish frying.

 Brian, with more cousins.  And yes, those are my kids who won't look at the camera.
And Jackson with his first cousin and our niece, Emily.  Can't believe this little girl (who was our flower girl in our wedding!) will be 18 this month!!
I'm normally not a huge fan of family reunions, but I'm so glad we went this year.  We're hoping we'll get to this gathering more often now that Clayton is older and doing better.  Most of these people are the kind of people who you just pick right up with no matter how much time has passed.  I like that comfortable feeling!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Earning Your Keep

The whole time we were in the garden with Grandma, all I could think about was the story that Brian has told many times.  When he was little and stayed with her, the grandkids couldn't eat lunch until they finished shelling the peas they had picked.  Talk about another era!  I'm sure that practice would be in violation of some child labor laws these days . . . :rollingmyeyes: 
But I say it's those very lessons of hard work that have made my husband the go-getter he is today!  Thank you, Grandma!

Monday, November 08, 2010


Last year, we surprised Grandma with our first visit in three years, and she was just as excited to see us pull up again this year.  We found her picking peas in the garden, and it was a joy to see her in her element.  She had just been released from the hospital days before (and ended up back there two days later), but when we saw her, she was just the same old Grandma she's always been!
Clayton is still talking about "sneaking up on Grandma" since she wasn't expecting us.  He wants us to tell the story over and over and we can't forget about Grandma's hat!  (He always loves a story that includes a hat!)
Jackson was mostly concerned about getting a hold of her cane.  He spent the whole time trying to take it away from her!  How do you explain to a one year old that your near 92 year old Great-Grandma's cane isn't a toy, but her support when walking?!

 He was briefly distracted by the bucket of peas, but it didn't last long. 
 He was back to the cane in no time.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Discovering the Beach

Jackson didn't quite know what to think his first day on the beach.  Once we got off the boardwalk, I put him down in the sand and he just wouldn't move!  It was like that all day--put him down, and he stayed in that exact spot until someone rescued him.  Almost like he didn't think it was possible to walk in the sand!  He was also a little overwhelmed by the sounds of the sea.  The waves were pretty high that day and when the water took away the sand under his feet, he had a small meltdown.  Brian was eventually able to get him to wade back out for a second and third go-round. 

Here he is waiting for a rescue:
We had to demonstrate how cool the sand was to dig in MANY times before he actually decided to investigate.  It wasn't until the second day that he decided that there were treasures to be found--this is when he started filling his pockets with shells.  By day three, he was an old pro. 
Meanwhile, Clayton was happy to hang out in the shade of the pier (perfect place on the beach for us!).  He spent his time watching the people walking by and the boats on the horizon. 
Brian waded out into the water with both boys, and even took a swim by himself, but I was content to keep my toesies dry--it was hot, but not hot enough for a dip in the ocean in October!  They all three even got in the pool, but that water was even colder.  I'm just not much into swimming past September!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

First Stop

Our first stop on our trip was outside of Atlanta to visit my aunt and uncle.  They haven't lived there too long, and they couldn't wait to have some company from home.  We were more than happy to oblige!  David and Gail are like a second set of parents to me, so I love seeing them with my kids.  Clayton was happy to be helping Gail in the kitchen and Jackson was happy playing daredevil in their backyard.  (Yes, that is my husband encouraging him--totally out of character since he is normally the "helicopter" parent). 
They live in a beautiful part of Georgia, but the traffic!  Oh, the traffic we had to endure just to get to them!!  We'll definitely have to plan for better timing on our next trip.  Anytime but 4:30 on a Friday afternoon again!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Up and Running!

Our computer is finally working again!  I know there are more important things, but thank you, Jesus, for protecting that hard drive!  I have all of my stuff backed up on an external drive, but I was still having small panic attacks about the fate of my years of digital pictures.  Proves even more how important it is to BACK YOUR FILES UP!

We are finally back into the swing of things after our trip to Florida and Georgia.  It's been a bit nippy here these last couple of days, so it's hard to believe we were in our bathing suits on the beach just last week!
We spent the week at what's become our usual place, and although it's definitely not the emerald waters of the gulf, I've come to enjoy the Atlantic side for its unique beauty.  And for me personally, this trip was much more enjoyable than last year since I wasn't breastfeeding Jackson the whole time!  The only minor hiccup we had this year was a touch (or was it a hit?) of food poisoning.  Brian and I had a couple of days where we just had to grin and bear being sick away from home.  Wasn't fun, but we managed.  We were still able to enjoy the beach as a family and we got some much needed downtime.  Renewed our energy for the busy season ahead of us!

(Photo by Brian--most of you know I don't get up early enough for sunrise pics!)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Still No Computer

But at least I can suffer through typing on the iPad to check in. . . It's actually amazing what you can get done when you aren't surfing the net in your free time! I've spent all afternoon putting photos in chronological order and into photo albums (that I bought two years ago!). It feels great to finally be getting something done that's been on my to-do list forEVER!