Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Could We Be More Blessed?

So much has happened in the last few weeks! I'm just going to list things here and insert pictures every once in a while. And just so you're warned, I'll probably be annoyed by the fact that the formatting looks different in my editing window than it does on the published page, so the photos will likely be displayed in an annoying fashion. Anyway, here goes...

We took at trip to MO to see some family. It took me 6.5 hours to drive to St. Louis with the boys. Chet made the same drive the next day, and it took him a little over 4 hours to drive the same distance by himself. Hmmm.... Then, on the way back home again, our drive was equally long. We're scheduled to travel double the miles to see Chet's family in a couple of weeks, and for some reason, I'm dreading that car trip. It will be worth it to see everyone, but I'm not exactly sure how the ride is going to go. Maybe it will be faster when both Chet and I can go. Then one of us can help each child when we need to stop. I'm just SO GRATEFUL that neither of the boys is very fussy during the drive--it's just the stopping that takes a while.

Amber and Titus were able to come up from Texas to hang out with us too. It was so much fun to see Titus and Ladan play together. Even in the last two months since our March visit, they've grown in their ability to communicate and cooperate with one another.

Chet was able to come to STL for a couple of days too. We had a small celebration for Chet, Titus and Ladan since their birthdays are right around this time. Actually, Ladan and Titus exchanged gifts, and Chet received one lingering gift from Robyne (my step-mom), so it wasn't anything massive. The funniest part was when Titus laid his body in one cake while trying to blow out the candles in the other (see photo below).

Chet also retrieved our grill from my mom's garage. This is huge for us, as we've been not-so-patiently waiting to be able to use it for two years (our first apartment in Louisville wouldn't allow grills)! We've already used it a couple of times.

May 23rd marked the third anniversary of my dad's death. Amber and I got the boys ready that morning, took them to Garden Ridge to pick out some flowers for the grave site, and we took them to the cemetary for a bit. It was Gabe's first trip there. Man, Dad would have enjoyed him! He just sat in front of the grave stone eating grass! Our little rain boots were still there from last time, so the boys just used them for their vase again.

My brother safely traveled to and from Sudan! While he was there, he was able to be there for the opening of the second orphanage (located in Lura, Sudan). He was also able to tell two children that arrangements have been made for surgeries they need but cannot pay for. Please check out his blog for video footage of these two children.

Gabe started pushing himself up from his tummy into a sitting position. It's kind of funny, because he doesn't crawl yet, but he can get around. If he wants to get something that's out of reach, he sits up and then lunges his entire body at the item. If he's still not close enough, he sits up again, lunges his body forward, and repeats this until he can reach the item. He's going to be crawling in no time. Here are some cute photos of him:

We had a really great time hanging out with friends last night. We grilled, the guys played Baggo, and the kids did their thing. We were all able to celebrate with our friends, Donnie and Rebecca, who found out that they are going to be able to adopt a baby boy from Taiwan. They have been praying that the Lord would bless them with a baby for more than two years, and now they're parents!!! We are more than excited!

We tried having Ladan sit with us in the church service on Sunday. He did great! We'll have to work on having him sit still on his bottom (he complained a couple of times when we asked him to stop climbing down from his seat and back up again). Overall, I'd call it a successful experience!

I started my job at Old Navy, and I'm really enjoying it.

And, in closing, here are a couple of funny stories for you.... Tonight, Ladan had gone to bed, but he was crying out for me. When I went in, he said he had a scary dream and that he had to go potty. I brought him in to his potty chair, and he sat down. He saw my book in my bag and asked if he could read it. It's "Future Grace" by John Piper, which is a larger book.

Ladan asked, "Mommy, is this my Bible?" I explained that it was not the Bible, but rather, a book about things in the Bible. He replied, "This is the Word about God." And then he proceeded to "read" the book for quite a few minutes. Perfect potty reading, I guess.

And one more fun anecdote... When Ladan sees my brown purse, he asks, "Mommy, is that my brown person?" When I respond, "No, that's my brown purse," he says, "Oh, that's YOUR brown person." I think it's hilarious that he corrects his declaration of possession, but he doesn't notice that he's used the wrong noun. Man, kids are GREAT!

Friday, May 11, 2007

A Momentous Occasion

I could be talking about the fact that Chet is now 29 years old. Or I could be talking about the fact that he just finished his last exam of the year, marking the half-way point in his degree. But I'm talking about something that could quite possibly top all of this and might even go down in history...

Ladan ate real beef for the first time in his whole life!!! (I'm not counting the baby food version that looks and smells like it should be labeled refried beans. Plus, he hasn't eaten that since he was barely a year old.) And it wasn't just one bite... it was something like 6 or 7 whole bites that he actually chewed AND swallowed!!!!

Before tonight, he has only eaten chicken in surprisingly small portions and usually only in the form of poppyseed chicken. There have been about three or four other occasions where he's eaten popcorn-like chicken (i.e. from Chick-Fil-A), but other than that, it's poppyseed chicken or nothing. So I'd say that he's probably eaten chicken a total of about 20 times in his life. And I have to remind you that, outside of a few successful poppyseed chicken meals, he's only eaten about three bites total at each of these 20 sittings. But he has ALWAYS spit out his beef, turkey, pork, fish, etc. He even finds it in spaghetti sauce, eats around it, and spits out the meat.

So you can see why we were shocked when we sat down for our meal at Cheddar's (in celebration of Chet's birthday and the end of the semester) and Ladan asked for a bite of Chet's steak. Chet actually told him that he probably wouldn't like it. He wasn't being selfish. You'd say this too if your kid spit his food out in public all the time because he didn't like the texture. It's disgusting, and it's why our almost-three-year-old still wears a bib when he eats. Anyway, when he asked a second time, Chet agreed... and the kid ATE IT!!!!

Chet and I concurred that this was quite possibly the best birthday surprise he could have received... a son who is no longer a carbetarian (we couldn't call him a vegetarian, because we struggle to get him to eat veggies too--thank goodness for fruit!). I felt compelled to document the occasion with a few photos so we could prove it to those of you who know Ladan.
There IS meat on that fork!
Eagerly waiting for ANOTHER bite!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Happy Birthday to Chet!

Today is Chet's birthday!!! He has officially reached the big 2-9. For real. He has one final on his birthday and one on Thursday, and then he'll be finished with his second year of seminary. We are really proud of all his hard work! I'm anticipating that this weekend will be full of all kinds of celebration... or maybe sleeping. I told Chet that just as long as I'm the one who gets to sleep, we're in good shape! Speaking of sleep, I better get some. It's now 2am. I've been working on a project for our church for the last few hours. I still have to switch the laundry over and at least rinse the dishes from dinner before I hit the pillow. And, since I hear screaming from Ladan's room, I guess I'll take care of that too....

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Joys of Apartment Living

You thought I was going to be sarcastic here, but I actually am going to talk about the joys of apartment living. A few weeks ago I mentioned that we are really excited to have our new neighbors on the other side of our wall. And I might have mentioned that I feel like my life has become significantly easier since they moved in. Just tonight, Jessica had to go pick Glen up from work (at about 11pm). So she was able to leave her key and her baby monitor with me just in case their little girl woke up while they were gone. They have done this very same thing for me several times so I can run to the post office or other such place while my children are napping.

Then, when they arrived back at the homestead tonight, we stood in our doorways chatting for quite a while--a couple of hours, actually. Jessica is pregnant, and she ended up getting tired of standing. So I just went in and sat with her and Glen for a while. Our front doors were open (they face each other), so when Gabe woke up to eat, I was able to hear him on the monitor (which was still in its normal location in our apartment). We talked about all sorts of things, from Glen's and Chet's course selections for summer and fall; baby carriers and slings; differences between small private and large secular universities; how to effectively carry two children and lots of stuff all at the same time... the list goes on.

I've also been able to get to know one of our upstairs neighbors and the folks at the end of the building... along with many families throughout the neighborhood.

The point is that we are experiencing a blessing of close community that I don't think many people in our culture ever get to experience. I'm just reminded once again of how grateful I am to the Lord for directing us to move here. There are some who would consider this place to be a step down from our previous dwellings, but I think it's a step up. Sure, the last couple of places we've lived have been very nice, spacious, and carefully manicured. But all of those things will fade away or burn in the end. Relationships will last forever. Even if we don't all keep in contact until we die, just realizing that we are impacting each other's lives in ways that we'll never forget is totally worth the trade.

So, tonight, I'm thanking God for the smallest apartment I've ever lived in. And for four of the biggest blessings... sleeping on the other side of the wall (I'm counting the baby girl we'll get to meet in July).

Friday, May 4, 2007


This song gets me every time. I cannot imagine going through the trials of life without the LORD. May this song direct you straight to the arms of our gracious Father!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

What Did You Do Today?

As a mom, there are many days when you can look back and say that you did many things... and then there are the days when you feel like you did only one thing. Today was just one of these days. So, what is it that I did all day? Can you hear the drum roll in the background? ...

I tried to get Ladan to pee.

That's right, I spent 12 hours trying to get my child to go potty. Kind of funny that I've been spending the last four weeks training him to hold it (at least long enough to get to the potty), and then I needed him to go today, and he held it... for 12 hours!

For the last couple of days, he's been displaying signs of infection (fever, loss of appetite, general crankiness, darker urine, etc.). And for the last few weeks, he's been going in the potty really well. Basically, he says he needs to go, he sits on the potty, and then he immediately goes. Well, today, he kept trying and complaining that he couldn't go. I called the doctor's office to determine if these things could point to something fairly normal, but they wanted me to bring him in.

Let me back up and say that he didn't go to sleep until about 1:30 am last night (this morning) because he was trying to go to the bathroom, and he woke up again at about 7:30am. In between there, Gabe woke up twice to eat in the night (a lot for him at this point). So I started out the day completely exhausted.

On our way to the doctor's office, I was trying to explain to Ladan that we were going to go see the doctor and that we were going to get to do some fun things, like play with the trains in the office, stand on the black square (the scale), and speak kindly to the nurses and doctors. He was excited about standing on the black square... until we pulled into the parking lot and he recognized where he was. Immediately, he started saying, "Mommy, I can't stand on the black square. I can't stand on the black square."

We made it in, and the drama began. We had to sit in the exam room for quite a while before the doctor came in. Ladan was refusing to pee in the cup (not surprising). So I suggested we put one of those urine collection bags on his little body. We did this, and they let me leave for a while, which was great, because by this time, Gabe was starving and screaming bloody murder. This horrific sound doesn't come out of him very often, so added to Ladan's very angry screams at the doctor and nurse, it did not make for a pleasant listening experience. The doctor was sure to comment on their shrill voices. I was sure to respond with a smile and a nod.

So we loaded into the car again and headed across the street to sit and watch the construction crew building a new structure. It was pretty cool, and Ladan really enjoyed it. Still no pee, so we went on to Target for a while. Still no pee, so we went home to try to take naps.

By this time, Ladan had gone #2 just a bit in his pull-up, so I went to change it. There were probably about 2ml of urine in the bag, which is all they would have needed (for those of you who are unfamiliar with liquid measurements, this is about 1/5 of a teaspoon--not too much). The problem was that the bag wasn't sticking to him all that well anymore, so the stool had contaminated the opening to the bag, and I had to throw it away.

So I stuck him on the potty chair with the sterile cup inside the well of the potty. Didn't work. We moved the potty seat into the shower so the warm water on his feet and the sound of the shower might prompt him to go. Didn't work. I called the doctor's office to find out if we could work more on this tomorrow so I could put my exhausted child down for a nap. They wanted the "specimen" today.

Chet was gracious to come home right after class instead of staying for a regular meeting he has. I was SO GRATEFUL! I was able to leave Gabe sleeping while I packed Ladan back into the car and went back to the doctor's office. This time I took his potty chair with us hoping that it might prompt him to go.

We went into an examination room and settled in. I positioned the sterile cup in the well of the potty again and sat Ladan on it. Then I sanitized the seat of one of the chairs for use as a table and busted out his Goldfish (to make him thirsty) and full glass of water. He'd already had 3 glasses of water by that point, but I thought it was worth a shot. So we sat there for another hour and 15 minutes. Still no pee. They put another bag on him, and we went home with instructions for how to take his "specimen" (I keep putting this word in quotations because I think it's a strange word, and I'm not sure how I feel about using it) to the hospital lab after office hours.

All the way home, Ladan was saying, "Mommy, I'm not going to pee in this bag." Whatever. We got home, and he ate a little bit of a snack. It was about 5pm, and he was starving but didn't want to eat. He needed to go to the bathroom, but he "couldn't" go. And he was so exhausted that he couldn't fall asleep. So he basically just screamed a lot for about an hour and a half. Chet took him to his room and laid down with him. It was 6:30 at this point, and we still had no pee.

At 8:30, Ladan woke up. We thought that surely he'd have something by now, given the amount of water he'd consumed throughout the day. WRONG! He kept saying, "Mommy, I'm not going to pee in this bag."

So I took it off. I got out a third sterile cup, positioned it in the well of his potty seat so that there was no way he'd miss it, and sat him on it. We told him he could have an airplane if we went peepee in the potty.

At 9:20pm, he looked and said, "Mommy, I'm going weebee (his new word--he's had many along the way) in the potty." I could hear it, and it sounded like there would be plenty. He stood up, and you'll never believe it! There was a ton of pee in the potty, but not a single drop had fallen in the cup!!!! Chet said, "Just dump it in and be done with it." So I did.

At 10:00, I was heading out the door to drop off my little boy's pee at the hospital. I couldn't find the entrance to the emergency room (not exactly great signage in my opinion), and the parking lot was totally full (also not ideal when people are experiencing crises). I decided to park across the street and walk. I entered a very busy emergency room where a little boy (probably about 18 months old) was vomiting profusely, and I had to try to figure out what to do with this cup of pee. All I could think about was how I wanted to help the seemingly desperate man with his little boy. I heard something about another guy having chest pains, and sensed an underlying feeling of panic in the emergency room (probably due to the impossibility of getting these people all checked quickly enough that they could be treated in a timely fashion). I was reminded of how grateful I was at that moment to only be in the ER because I was dropping off a cup of pee.

I approached the security desk where there were about 10 men in uniform checking in for their shift. I had to tell them what I had and where I was going. I said, "I have my little boy's pee, and I'm taking it to the lab." They all tried to hide their sly grins, and they kindly directed me to the right, up the elevator to the second floor, to the right, to the left, and down the hall.

I reached the lab at 10:20 to register my kid's pee. Kind of funny. They asked me all the questions they would ask if I were checking him in for a procedure. By 10:50, I was back home again.

When I walked in the door, Chet informed me that Ladan had gone #2 in the potty and had peed quite a bit more. In the next hour and a half, Ladan peed about four more times. All in his own time. I had to laugh as I was trying to get Ladan to go to bed. He kept insisting that he had to go potty some more. He looked up at me from his potty and asked, "Mommy, I'm going to go potty some more. Okay, Phyllis?" This is the first time he's ever said my first name in my presence. He went potty one last time, and went to sleep with his new airplane.

I have no idea what the results of this test will be tomorrow, but at this point, I'm just excited to say that I did accomplish something today... even if it was just getting my kid to pee.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Nine Days and Counting....

That is, until the semester is over for Chet and the summer can begin!!!!! There are so many reasons that I'm looking forward to this summer even more than usual. As I traced back through the summers since we were married, I realized that, while there were many exciting things that happened, these were generally all on the top 10 list of major life stressors. Here's a brief picture for you:
  • Summer 2000--We got married! Aside from working and moving into our apartment, the wedding was pretty much the summer's activity (of course, this was no small thing)... along with about 10 other weddings of our friends and family. Fun times!
  • Summer 2001--I graduated and began working at the University of Missouri--this was a relatively low-key summer except for a bit of traveling with the band.
  • Summer 2002--Chet had just graduated, and we started raising support for him to go on staff at the church plant in Columbia; he was working three jobs and playing in the band at the time
  • Summer 2003--We moved across town in Columbia; Chet's sister, Megan, moved with us
  • Summer 2004--My dad died (in May); Ladan was born in June; Titus (my nephew) followed 9 days later
  • Summer 2005--Chet applied and was accepted at Southern; we looked for a new place to live; we moved to a new state; Chet found a new job, and we did all the things it takes to uproot and plant ourselves
  • Summer 2006--Moved across town to a new apartment; I was VERY pregnant with Gabe
So, as I consider this summer, I am already feeling the coming refreshment! Here's why:
  • We don't have to move... to a new state OR a new house/apartment
  • We don't have to unpack
  • We don't have to look for a new place to live
  • We're not having a baby, and I'm not huge! (Although I do still have a few inches to lose before I can fit into my normal clothing.)
  • BUT, I can actually work out consistently because WE'RE NOT MOVING and I'M NOT HAVING A KID this summer.
  • Chet is not taking any classes. He's going to begin preparing for Hebrew, which he'll take this fall. But he doesn't have to worry about crunch time or deadlines for a few months.
  • I think my Old Navy job is going to be GREAT!
  • We get to retrieve our grill from St. Louis (we weren't allowed to have it in our last apartment, and we haven't been able to get it here since we moved last summer). We can cook out with the neighbors, play Baggo, and just enjoy the sunshine. If I can't track down any Smart chicken, I'm going to request that our grocer begin to stock it. It's amazing, and I've been craving it for TWO YEARS! (May those of you who have access to Smart chicken never take it for granted!)
  • I'm looking forward to full green trees, flowers everywhere, and opportunities to run and splash in the rain. Ladan should be able to join me on my adventures in the thunderstorms, which will be so much fun!

I'm sure there are others, but for now, you get the point. Unless the Lord does something to shake up my world (which is ENTIRELY possible and maybe even likely), we may just end up with a pretty chilled out summer! Praise God!!!