Saturday, August 28, 2010

August 28

I've written and rewritten this post in my head a hundred times in this last week.  And as I sit here tonight, I'm just numb.  The tears still flow freely, even after seven years.  I pray all the time that I will "get used to it."  But in some ways I'm quite selfish about the whole thing.  I don't want to get used to it if I'm being completely honest.  I am literally scared to death of forgetting; but mostly scared to death that "getting over it" means leaving Shawn out of my life.  And I just can't leave him.  I suppose I've learned to maneuver around the pain in general, but every single day still brings small reminders that one of my sons isn't here.   

But as painful as the hurt is here on earth, I am thankful every day that I'm one day closer to a reunion with Shawn.  Oh, how I ache for that embrace!!!  There is a song I sing quite often, "I Bowed on My Knees and Cried Holy."  I practiced it for over a year before I ever performed it because it is so powerful.  And in the past couple of weeks, I've been reminded of the beginning of the second verse and the images it conjures up in my head:

And as I entered the gates of that city,
My loved ones, they all knew me well!
They took me down the streets of Heaven.
Oh, the sites were too many to tell!!

And as I sing those lines, this is what I see and hear:

As I walk into the gates of Heaven,
Shawn comes running, grabbing my hand and pulling with all of his might.
"Momma!  Momma!" he cries!
"What took you so long?!  I can't wait to show you all the neat stuff they have here!"

That is my hope.  That is my promise.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Faithful One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.  Psalm 16:9-11

Friday, August 27, 2010

All Better Now

Action Jackson is back in full force!  He has spent the last two days getting into and climbing on top of anything and everything in the house!!  I'm so glad the new antibiotic is working for him--I didn't think I could take another day of his crankiness . . . now I just have to keep my running shoes on in order to keep up with him once again!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Good Reads

Before the boys were born, I was an avid reader.  In fact, I even had a layout published about the topic way back when I actually had time to scrapbook!  I had kind of given up on the hobby until last year when I read a couple of things here and there after I rediscovered the library.  So I decided several months ago that I was going to make time for reading, even if it meant staying up late to do it.  And even though I don't plow through them fast like the old days, I've enjoyed doing this little something for myself each day.  I thought I would share a few of my favorites from this summer.  Most of these are old news to anyone who reads on a regular basis, but for those who don't, they are great stories to cut your teeth on!
Loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  I wanted to be right there in the middle of the characters when they gathered together.  The story is told in letters between the characters and the style was so refreshing.  Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet deals with the Japanese internment period and is one of those that makes you think about topics our generation rarely has to consider.
I saw Same Kind of Different as Me at the bookstore and bought it on a whim--the title really grabbed my attention.  (It actually made me think of Clayton and how we are all different in our own way, some differences are just more visible than others).  It's a beautiful true story of a relationship between two men (how often do you read something along that line?!).  It's also a tearjerker, so have a kleenex handy!
I've read a couple of homeschooling books lately, but by far the one I've enjoyed the most is I Saw the Angel in the Marble.  It's a compilation of essays written over the years by authors Chris and Ellyn Davis.  It's a good one to read if you've just begun homeschooling or need a reminder/refresher on why you chose this "ancient path" in the first place. 
Like I said, these are pretty popular titles that most "readers" have probably already read, but I just had to put a plug in for them since I enjoyed all of them so much!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Simple? Never!

It seems nothing ever goes "normal" for us.  Clayton's issues are always throwing us out of tandem with the rest of regular functioning folks, and it seems Jackson wants his share of attention these days as well.  He seemed to be getting over his bout with strep by Sunday afternoon, but yesterday I noticed a light rash all over his belly and back.  Then he literally whined all. night. long. last night.  And when he woke up this morning, I realized the rash was worse, with raised bumps.  I knew he was probably allergic to his antibiotic, but also knew he needed a few more days on one to make sure the strep was gone for good.  By the time we saw the doc this afternoon, it was all over his legs and arms.  No trouble breathing, thank the Lord, but was he ever cranky!  So instead of just getting over strep like most kids, we had to take that extra step we always seem to need instead of doing things the simple way. 

Guess the Lord just loves to watch me wrestle a cyring one-year old, a wheelchair, and all of our stuff in a crowded doctor's office!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Night Away

This past weekend I was able to enjoy a rare night away from my family.  Our church held a ladies retreat to kick off our new Beth Moore study, Esther:  It's Tough Being a Woman.  We usually participate in district retreats with lots of women we really don't know well, so this gathering was so much more intimate (and better in my opinion!). 
I wasn't even gone 24 hours, but it sure does a Mommy well to get time away.  I enjoyed the time with my friends without the interruptions a child brings and without thinking of what Mommy task I was neglecting by having a little fun!  Now, that's not to say I didn't have some guilt----because in true form for our family, a crisis was going on at home while I was gone.  Jackson didn't feel well all last week and by Thursday was just downright sick.  On Friday morning, the doctor swabbed his throat for strep and of course it was positive.  (It's always something with us!).  So while I was "living it up" at the church retreat (read: driving to Sonic in the middle of the night for a midnight snack), Brian and my parents were nursing Jackson's 104 temperature and praying to avoid the emergency room.  Thankfully, Jackson is finally on the mend.  Brian survived taking care of him, and my parents survived Brian's version of mothering (read:  making lots of messes and obsessing over Jackson's every move). 
Here's to time with good friends, to a husband who managed without me, and to parents who are always willing to lend a hand whenever we need them!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Flashback Friday

Journaling:  This picture was taken on what I call your "Debut Sunday." We took you to church for the first time on August 8, 2004. You were finally well enough for us to show you off to everyone! The choir began the service with a special and you immediately started screaming and crying! You cried when we went up front--but you got a standing ovation and lots of tears were flowing. Everyone was so HAPPY! It was wonderful to see God's handiwork in the miracle you are.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Got Us a Gator!

Clayton is in heaven (as is Jackson for that matter).  A friend of Brian's brought this little gem over this week in honor of Clayton's birthday.  His son has outgrown it and they wanted Clayton to have it.  And since Clayton spends his fair share coveting our neighbor's John Deere mower, he was more than excited to take it off their hands!
The absolute best part is that Clayton can do it without any help (well, maybe just a little help, but who's counting?).  As long as someone puts his foot on and off the pedal and helps guide the steering every once in a while, he's good to go.  Jackson was a happy passenger too.  He jabbered on and on and smiled the whole time.  It was wonderful watching them do something together! 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Busy Week

Clayton was one exhausted kid yesterday.  And it's no wonder!  We've had an activity every single day this week, and he's had his regular therapy schedule to boot.  Monday, he went with me to the first homeschooling meeting of the year.  Tuesday, was his birthday celebration of course, and Wednesday he went roller skating with the kids at the church for the first time.  He had a BLAST rolling around that rink at record wheelchair speeds!  He even got to enjoy the games like the limbo--he wasn't "handicapped" in the least bit since he's right at home on wheels!
Thursday afternoon, we took off to the lake to visit with friends who were camping there.  We were in the boat until dark and didn't get home until 11:00 because of an unfortunate shortage of gas in the truck that I won't go into . . . (we made it home, but it was a close call!)  And so after his cousins left yesterday afternoon, it was time for Clayton to crash.  He was so tired that he was starting to act sick and I was not liking how he looked.  Thankfully, by the evening he had perked up a bit and he should be back to his old self in time for the new week to start!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Big Boys Don't Cry

Shall we take a trip down memory lane?  How about 2006, when Clayton threw an all out fit during the Happy Birthday song?  Or last year when he was all smiles until we all started singing?  Yep, Clayton's pretty much made it an annual tradition to tune up and poke his little lip out as soon as we utter the first notes of "Happy Birthday."  But I guess turning seven has a way of changing a boy since he didn't once act unhappy this year!! 
I'm so proud of him for joining us in celebration instead of getting emotional on us--makes the singing go a lot smoother when the guest of honor isn't in tears!  A good time was had by all, and Clayton seemed to enjoy every minute of his party.  The best part for him though was the coming and going of everyone.  Each time someone arrived, he just about jumped out of his chair in excitement!  And each time someone left, he demanded his seat at the window so he could watch them leave and wave goodbye!  It's amazing the little things that can make this boy happy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Little Candle

That one little candle was just Momma and Daddy's way of saying we wish you were here.  We love you, Shawn.  How I wish I could wrap my arms around you as I say those words!

Seven years and my heart still aches for mothering left undone. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Seven Years Old and More Precious than Ever

I love this child.  I love him so much!  And today, we celebrate the miracle of God that he is.  We CELEBRATE!  We celebrate the countless prayers answered, we celebrate the endless possibilities for his future, and we celebrate his sweet, sweet spirit.  He is so incredibly precious in His sight.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord.  Thank you for this beautiful child, who is Clayton.  Happy Birthday, sweet boy. 

Monday, August 09, 2010

Every August, Every Year

I spend the whole month of August every year reliving Shawn and Clayton's birth.  I still can't get over the shock of how our lives changed over those hours of my labor. 
If we look scared to death, it's because we were. 

Friday, August 06, 2010

Flashback Friday

Clayton's birthday is right around the corner, so I thought I'd flashback to his first birthday party.  His annual tradition of frowning and crying during his celebration started on this day!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Accentuate the Postive

Since coming home and getting well, Clayton's had a bit of a time, ahem, shall we say adjusting?  He's always been spoiled because we've always done exactly what he wants and when he wants to do it.  But these days, we're having to modify that rule of thumb and he's not liking it one bit! 

But here's the rub, how in the world do you discipline a child who doesn't DO anything?  It's not like you can "take something away" or have a "time out."  Time out from what exactly???  So, we've decided to praise the positive and hope that fosters some better behaviors.  His main issue is whining.  Whine, whine, and more whine.  Ugh, it is so annoying!  I started small by breaking up the day for his rewards because frankly I wasn't sure he would be able to get through whole days and actually ever receive a reward!! 

He's done well so far, but the whining is definitely not gone for good.  In fact, today he only got one star since he couldn't seem to turn it off.  But he knows exactly what he wants to do when he gets those five stickers---"Drive Daddy's truck.  That'd be fine," he says!!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Baby Steps

Stander time.  It's always been a struggle.  A struggle for both me and Clayton.  I hate dragging the big monster out (actually this one is much smaller than his first!) and he hates getting locked into a fixed position.  Can't say that I blame him . . .

At any rate, before he got sick this summer, we were doing good if he stood in it three times a week (and those times were usually almost an hour).  He complained the whole time, and I had to do lots of tricks to keep him entertained.  Why is standing so important?  Life in a wheelchair brings a whole set of problems to your body that most people are unaware of.  Sitting in a wheelchair means you constantly battle against scoliosis and hip displacement.  And both can get bad real fast if you don't stay on top of them.  Our hip sockets are formed by weight-bearing activities like walking and standing and when you don't do those things, the socket never really forms for the "ball" to fit in.
Which brings me back to Clayton's time in the stander.  Brian and I both go through periods where we get lax with Clayton's theraputic activities.  And then we'll get on a kick and get super nervous we haven't done enough.  Well, we're on that kick now about his hips.  We visited a lot last week with another family whose child lives with both hips out of socket.  How incredibly painful!  Didn't take us long to jump back on the bandwagon of including standing time in Clayton's daily activities.  Problem was Clayton has been out of practice and we just can't jump back in and pick up where he left off.  I put him in it last week and he nearly passed out he was so weak.  He barely lasted ten minutes and his little legs shook for the rest of the afternoon.  Not to mention the crying he did when I made him get in it.  I felt horrible, but knew it was a necessary evil. 

The good news is he stood in it yesterday for fifteen minutes and never complained a bit!  And his legs held up just fine afterwards.  I was so proud he had made progress over just a few days!  Baby steps is better than no steps at all, right?  And at least this way we'll know that no matter what happens, we've done our best to prevent his spine and hips from giving way. 

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

@ 14 Months

Our little miracle is growing and changing so fast these days, we can hardly keep up with all he can do!  Brian and I keep asking ourselves if all he is doing is just typical one year old stuff or is he just advanced?  We're leaning towards advanced, of course.  :)

And so, at fourteen months here are the details.  Jackson . . .

**isn't harboring hard feelings or ill-will towards his parents or brother for having missed celebrating his first birthday.  :)

**isn't harboring hard feelings towards Momma for having missed his 12 and 13th month blog posts or having neglected his baby book for the last three months!

**has got walking down pat, but still might walk like a drunkard at times.  He still gets where he is going with no problems and doesn't seem to get motion sick from all the wobbling he might do!  

**has decided that like his older brother, he prefers Momma and Daddy's bed to his own.

**has twelve teeth with molars coming in daily (at least it seems that way!)

**still prefers meat to vegetables and is a carb-loving baby.  Would rather have anything carb over all other food.  Momma's hoping he'll eat something green on a regular basis SOON!

**is IN LOVE with all technology.  The computer's keyboard and mouse are never safe and all remotes have to stay out of reach.  In fact, one remote has been missing for a couple of weeks.  We're pretty sure he threw it away since he also LOVES the trash . . . Because of this love of technology and buttons in general, I bought him a little cheap calculator and it will entertain him for at least 30 minutes at a time.  Phones are his weakness and he knows the difference between a fake phone and real phone (as well as a fake remote and real remote).  You give him your phone and he immediately starts typing away as if he is texting someone. 

**has decided he doesn't like the nursery again.

**plays peepie at the sound of "Where's Jackson?" and is pretty rough when he slaps his hands on his eyes and head!

**loves to be chased and play Hide-n-Seek.

**waves at everyone in the stores and all cars that pass us by.

**doesn't like naptime and has to be practically tied down to take one.

**has started bringing the ball to Clayton so that they can play catch.  (love this)

**talks CONSTANTLY, but rarely says anything we can understand! 

**has started flipping through books and will even sit still for Momma to read just a few pages to him.

**LOVES music--starts clapping and "dancing" as soon as he hears a tune.

**climbs on EVERYTHING (I think I've covered that one in previous posts!)

**loves it when Momma puts his snack in a bowl so he can sit and take it all out piece by piece.  :)

**has discovered his body makes funny noises and loves his stinky socks.  Momma will never understand this part of her boys. 

There is so much more that keeps us in constant awe of how fast he absorbs his environment and how quickly he learns the way of things.  We just can't help but sit and grin as he plays daily!  Thank you, Lord for this little blessing!