Monday, September 28, 2009

Movie Monday: Jackson's 3rd Soccer Game

Jackson's kicks off the ball here (if you blink you might miss it), then the best 3 year old player ever (who is on our team) takes it to the goal in less than 30 seconds. Thankfully, Jackson does not get frustrated about it and has the best time out there! It was raining on Saturday and I am so thankful that my parents had Abigail for the weekend.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

29 and Holding

I had a great birthday yesterday! My parents met us for lunch at Harbison and we had a "birthday party" (Jackson called it) at Chill's. My parents took Abigail back to Spartanburg for the weekend. This is the first time I have been apart from her since she had some trouble sleeping at night. We were able to take a 2 hour nap yesterday which was such a blessing. Today Charlie's parents where able to come to Jackson's soccer game, and took us out to lunch afterwards. I have had a wonderful birthday weekend!

I am 29 years old now and holding. I am really not that uptight about turning 30, because God has granted me so many desires of my heart. I have a wonderful husband and will have been married for 6 years. I will also have a 4 year old and an almost 2 year old at thirty. We are in full time ministry and seeing God work in unbelievable ways, and I never wake up in the morning dreading my day. God has richly blessed in more ways than I could have ever dreamed of.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Our Goals for Jackson with "School"/Speech This Year

Jackson is not going to Preschool this year. I have prayed about this a lot, and the bottom line is that he is not begging to go to school. Also, I have learned how to be his teacher through all of our wonderful therapists that we have had in the last year (not to mention the $100 a month two-day-a-week fee plus a non-refundable $100 deposit at the beginning for preschool).

I feel pretty certain that God has given me the gift of teaching. Since I know that He has given both me and Charlie the gift of teaching, for
Jackson’s 2 year old year and maybe even his 3 year old year we will be teaching him at home. Because of his September birthday, He is only in a two year old class and I know what his school goals would be. He does go to Oak Grove Elementary every Thursday morning bright and early at 7:45 am for an hour for speech and he did great this week! The teacher said he was a parrot.

I do not feel very confident in teaching 2 year olds, or Preschool-age children, but God is teaching me so much about my role as teacher. I feel really nervous about ever teaching him how to read since I did not learn to read using phonics. I learned to read in the 80's using some crazy memorization way (this is one reason why my spelling is so bad). I want to go ahead and start learning how to teach my children to read when they are ready, so if you have any recommendations and good books on Preschoolers learning to read or any books explaining how to teach little ones to read,
I would love to know what books you recommend.

Since I am trying to have school time with Jackson at least twice a week, hopefully more, I think I will start posting some recommendations on what is working for us (especially since he has speech delay) on Thursdays of most weeks.

Most Southern Baptist churches use the "Wee Learn" Curriculum from Lifeway for their Preschools throughout the year. You can actually go online and view it and see a lot of great ideas. The first section is entitled "Learning About Myself." The first unit is entitled "I am growing." They encourage you to spend a week teaching about how your little one grows in height, and how Jesus grew in height as well. A song that relates that you can sing with your two year olds is "Head Shoulders, Knees, and Toes." We plan to teach this curriculum at church on Wednesday nights to our bored 2 year olds.

Overall his goals in school are:

  • Being able to copy me when I build a tower with blocks. He really just wants to build a tall tower his own way. When we have school time, we mainly play with toys while he is strapped down in a high chair.
  • Him to copy me when I draw a circle, straight line, etc.
  • Him to speak in short sentences and to have 1,000 words (that we work on all throughout the day).
  • Him being able to point to the correct object when asked, "What do we watch our shows on? (Answer: point to the TV).

If your child has speech delay and is not talking much or at all (we were there not so long ago), I would strongly recommend having "school time" and strapping your little one down to a high chair and it least trying to say the beginning sound of a word. For instance, with Jackson, I would say to him, “Say, ‘f’ for frog.” I would step away if he got frustrated, but never gave up hope that he could say the "f" sound. When he finally said the sound I wanted him to say, I would give him a high five, and go on and on about what a great job he did. I would start out with working on 10 words from the First Word flashcards that you can get pretty much anywhere. Start small, and do not be frustrated if they can not say the entire word. Just saying the first sound of a word is a huge step! At first we would only do school time for 5 or 10 minutes. Now, just the other day, we were able to do it for 30 minutes.

If you have a child
Jackson's age and even if they go to Preschool, figure out what the next step is for them. I am sure that there are times of the day when they are bored at the house, and it would be a great time to push them to the next level. Maybe they can even practice writing their name or letters during "school time." Let me know if you have any more suggestions on how to have "school time" at your house with a child Jackson's age.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday's Word: Everything is For His Glory

Recently, God has been reminding me of how everything has a purpose.

Why were we created in the first place?

The Answer: To glorify Him.

I know you have heard that a million times, but do you really, I mean really, think about what that means? He created the heavens and the earth to show His glory. We live to show His glory.

Many times in Scripture when David prays to God that his enemies would be crushed he does this so that God's glory may be revealed.

Help us, O God of our salvation,
for the glory of your name;
deliver us, and tone for our sins,
for your name’s sake!

Psalms 79:9

Throughout the entire Old Testament there is story after story of men and women failing, and then rising up through God's power (not their own) and then glorifying His name.

I would go as far to say that even Jackson’s and other little ones’ suffering is for His glory. Sin is the ultimate cause of their suffering, but God uses it so powerfully to show His glory and to glorify Himself through sin and living in a fallen world. When I think back on why
Jackson has had to struggle through so many things that should come easy for children, I know that the journey of it all was to show God's greatness and faithfulness and power. It was all for His glory.

The end result of any type of suffering should ultimately cause Christians to die to themselves and to depend on God. Isn't that God's perfect plan for our lives? To die to ourselves, and to completely rely on Him for healing.

So next time when we are praying for our babies, ask God, for His glory, to heal your baby, and know that only Jesus can heal. Ask God to give us the right motive for praying and living, which is for His glory and for His glory alone. For others to come and know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior through your suffering and your experiences, ultimately glorifies Him for eternity.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday's Tip: $25 Restaurant Gift Certificate for $3

$30 Weekly Grocery Challenge writes:

" is running another great promotion. Get a $25 gift certificate for $3. Go here to see what restaurants they have. If you are planning a trip, you may also want to check and see about restaurants in that city as well.
If you need to use it today, you will be able to print it immediately after purchase.

New to Go here to read about my experience."

I am really enjoying $30 Weekly Grocery Challenge's blog, and she has many money saving ideas. Be sure to check it out!

What about you? Do you have any money saving tips for us this week?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Jackson's 3 Year Old Stats

Weight: 30 lbs 4 ozs (36%)
Height: 36 1/2 inches (27%)

I knew Jackson looked skinny to me but I could not believe that he has lost 2-3 pounds since the Spring. I remember him being almost 33 pounds after his frenulum surgery.

  • Jackson needs to gain some weight!
  • He eats great for breakfast and lunch, but then hardly eats any dinner and does not care. He is also now playing two hours of soccer every week.
  • Jackson needs to drink milk!
  • Keep buying milk and chocolate milk and pray he drinks it. He has gone an entire day without drinking but sips of milk, just so he does not have to drink it.
  • The doctor recommended Carnation Good Start for weight gain. If he refuses to drink milk, not sure how he is going to eat this.
  • If he does not eat dinner at 6 pm strap him back down at 8 pm to eat dinner.
  • Pray in Jesus name that he starts to eat more food and that he starts to like milk. Pray this request desiring God to get all the glory, and so Jackson will glorify Him. I am also praying that if Jackson's Miralax dosage is too much, that we would know (sometimes I think him taking miralax everyday is hindering his weight gain).
Do you have any more solutions?

Overall, the doctor's visit went well, we were just a little shocked about his weight. He did not receive any shots, and they did try to get an eye examine (unsuccessful) and they took his blood pressure....ha!

He should have 1,000 words by age three, and he has a couple hundred, but we knew that. We are working on drawing circles and straight lines, as well as copying me when I build a block tower. We have some new goals since he was evaluated by the school. Since he is only in a 2 year old class, he is not going to Preschool anywhere this year, he will just be going to Oak Grove 1 hour a week for speech with two other little girls. Last week was his first week at Oak Grove and it went well, but he did cry for the first 15 minutes. More on what I am doing at home this year since we are not sending him to school later. Hopefully, I will post that on Thursday of this week.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Abigail's 9 Month Stats

Weight: 19lbs 11 oz (65%)
Height: 28 inches (63%)
Head: 45 1/2 cm (88%)

We had both Abigail's 9 month well check up and Jackson's 3 year old check up at the same time this morning. I definitely could not have done it without Charlie going with me. I guess this will happen once and a while since they are exactly 2 years and 3 months apart in age. They only ended up giving Abigail one shot and taking her blood. Overall, it went well, but we did end up mainly discussing Jackson.

She is doing what she is suppose to be doing motor skills and daily activities. They say a baby can start to use "mama" or "dada" appropriately at this age. She does say "hey, mama, and dada," but I do not think she is using it appropriately yet. She has great tongue movement and is always lifting it high, but it looks like she might have a connecting frenulum (but we will have to see) at the top like Jackson, but that should not affect speech much.

She is a lot of fun and wants to eat whatever Jackson is eating, so she is eating a lot of people food now such as cereal bars, Cheerios, crackers, grill cheese, chicken, etc. She also has 1 jar of fruit and 1 jar of veggies a day. Jackson was also right at 20 pounds at his 9 month check up. The are similar in so many ways. Recently, she has been sleeping from 9 pm to 9 am and then only taking one big nap when Jackson naps from 1:30-4 pm. Her sleeping has really done wonders for our family!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday's Word: Satan vs. Demons

Growing up I never really thought about the difference between Satan and demons. As a little girl I never really felt attack by Satan or his demons.

However, upon starting seminary, I definitely started to feel demonic attacks. And once we entered full time ministry, we were pretty much constantly being attacked. By who though? Satan himself? Probably not. I am so thankful that God allowed me to take seminary classes, and in my Systematic Theology class we discussed subject of Satan – What are his characteristics? Is he the polar opposite of God? Is he everywhere?

Satan is not omnipresent. I repeat, Satan is not omnipresent. He can only be at one place at one time. Therefore, he can only attack on person (or group of people) at a time. Did he attack Martin Luther? Probably. Did he attack Billy Graham. Probably. Is Satan himself personally attacking me right now? Probably not.

Satan has demons, however, that work for him. Satan's demons number in the thousands upon thousands. In fact, Scripture tells us that Satan’s demons make up 1/3 of all angels! So, his demons could certainly be attacking my family. How have they attacked? They’ve attacked through fires, misrepresentation of me and my family, etc. Anything they can do to distract my family from Jesus and spreading His word, I completely believe they will attack and have attacked.

Demons are not always the answer to when bad things happen. Bad things happen because we live in a fallen world, and we sin ourselves, but when you are preaching Jesus and seeing lives changed and children accepting Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, watch out for demonic attack on your life.

The children's ministry in general is growing like crazy and Charlie had his biggest week in attendance that he has had since he has been here (287 in Sunday School). Spiritual warfare is so difficult. It is so hard not to sin in your words and actions when you are attacked. It is so easy to focus your thought life on problems and complaints, and not on solutions and Jesus. However, if you just focus on problems and have no solutions for problems, then you yourself become part of the problem.

My point of this post however, is that I really want us ladies to think of events in our lives as spiritual. And the next time you hear someone say that the Devil is just after them, I hope you do not cringe like I do (demons definitely could be after someone but there is a very small chance that it is the Devil himself) Ha!

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Baby Boy Jackson is Three!

I cannot believe Jackson is already 3 years old. We have been through a lot with Jackson, and I am so proud of him and so happy to see how Jesus has answered our prayers. It is still hard for us to watch video when he turned 2 years old, because he was not talking and we could have helped him earlier by having his tongue clipped, but God was so gracious to reveal to us what Jackson's physical problems were! It is so funny when people ask us how we found out that Jackson had a short frenulum, I tell them God revealed it to us after we were on our face in prayer asking for answers. God gets all the glory and it is a beautiful testimony of HIS faithfulness.

Back to Jackson's birthday. I love to plan, but I had never planned a birthday party for my own children. So, it started off that we would just invite three of Jackson's friends since he was turning three. Well, it then ended up being 9 of Jackson's friends...
  • So first, I did not want to spend our hard earned money on invitations I did not really like, and I wanted to somehow get Jackson's picture on the invitation without spending a lot of money. Ashley told me who did Price's invitation and it was a friend of hers who works for little bug design. She is a graphic designer and charged $20 to do the invitations but then she sent them to Walmart and I only spent $2.50 on 15 of them. She was gracious enough to go through my kodak galleries and find a picture of Jackson that would work.They turned out perfect! Email me at for her contact information.
  • Second was the cake. Again, Ashley told me who did their cake and it was a lady who works out of her house and makes her cakes from scratch. Vintage Bakery is who did Jackson's cake and it was delicious. She charged $38 which I think is almost what I paid for Jackson's cake last year from publix (Publix's cakes are wonderful as well).
  • Third, was what should we do at the party? At first, I thought about having a slip and slide, but then the thought of everyone coming into the house all wet was not very exciting to me. So I thought about what was Jackson's favorite thing to do besides playing sports? As I was thinking about it, he was jumping on the couch, so I thought great we will have a bounce house. The children's ministry had one we could borrow.
  • Ashley J did the shirt for Jackson that said "3 Jackson." I just got her a shirt and some fabric from Hobby Lobby. I loved his shirt!
  • Finally, what do we eat? Hamburgers and hot dogs are easy (looking back now I should have just done hot dogs). I just had plain potato chips and Charlie's mom made her great chili to go on the hot dogs.
  • Overall, Jackson had a great time with his friends and was so excited for them to be there. I really liked having a birthday party at our house and opening up our house to friends. However, the other issue was that there was not enough room for everyone in our house, so I wanted everyone to be outside and was hot!
  • What are your suggestions on how to have an inexpensive birthday party? I had one mom tell me that I can have a birthday party at the fire station and then go across the street to a park for cake and presents. Who knows what I am going to do for Abigail when she turns one. The best advice I have gotten is whatever your child enjoys doing, have a party doing that!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Abigail Has Changed a lot in 7 months!

Abigail in February of 2009

The first picture is from September 2009. Babies change so much in looks, especially girls!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Great Post on How to Make Your Own Baby Food / Update on Jackson

Go here to see an excellent post on how to make your own baby food by Money Saving Mom. I totally agree with her and think that baby food is way overpriced. Lately, Abigail has been eating a lot of people food. She wants to eat whatever her brother is eating, so the other day she had cheerios, cereal bar, cracker, grill cheese, etc. Since she swallows so much paper, I thought I might as well teach her how to eat real food. She is now 19.3 pounds! She still eats two jars of veggies and fruit.

I really meant to post yesterday, but this has probably one of the busy week I will have all year. Jackson's birthday is Saturday and we are throwing a small party here at the house (I started off by just asking 3 friends since he will be 3 years old, but of course it got bigger). Also, we are having a million transitioning meetings with the school, and I am trying to get all my stuff ready for the tot trade which is very time consuming (there are many rules!)

The school psychologist called yesterday and said that Jackson does not qualify for the school at all. He is where he is suppose to be, and he is not even close to qualifying for the school. All the glory goes to God! It is a miracle where he is right now. He is singing, and telling me what he did when he goes to Puggles, Sunday School, etc. He will say, "Fun Puggles, coloring, play with toys, singing." I am very emotional this week just thinking how far Jackson has come in 2 months. Even in May and most of June, he was not saying a whole lot. We did see some immediate results right after his surgery in March such as him saying "yellow," which he had never said before, but then he seemed to regress some in May and June.

It is unbelievable where he is now, I probably cannot count how many words he says a day. He speaks in phrases all day long. He can sing his Abc's by himself now as well as God our Father song, count to twenty, can say all his colors, and shapes. God is good all the times, all the time God is good. He will still go to speech therapy once a week at Oak Grove with two other kids his age for one hour. His tongue is still 40 percent weak and I will continue to do oral motor exercises on him. God was so gracious to send us the best speech therapist ever, and we are going to miss her so much.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Movie Monday: Abigail Bouncing at 9 months Old!

Saturday, Abigail turned 9 months old. Time has flown by with her. Abigail was a dream baby the first three months, slept through the night and all. Then around 4 months, she came out of her shell and she is still the sweet Abigail I have always known, but she has all of the sudden had a lot of energy. Some days she reminds me of a girl version of Jackson. She does not like to sit still too much, and she does not even watch TV much. She does not seem to like to sleep as much as Jackson, and I tried to change her from nursery water to purified water and that did not go over very well and she woke up 3 or 4 nights in a row in the middle of the night wanting to eat. Needless to say, we are back to nursery water. She loves to eat paper and will find it in the craziest places. Charlie thinks she might be part goat...ha! She recently got one of her incisors teeth on top, so now she has 3 teeth.

I love her zeal for life and her sweet disposition. Every day I am thankful for her, and the joy she brings to our lives.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Jackson's First Soccer Practice!

Yes I know this picture is blury, and I am not sure why. I have a Sony Cyber Shots. If you could tell me what I did wrong I would love to understand why my pictures turn out blurry sometimes. Oh how I long for a professional camera...

Last night was Jackson's first ever sports practice. Jackson has always loved balls. When he was 9 months old he would throw a ball against the wall and try to catch it. He can throw a small spiral with a football, and will play any sport that has a ball for hours. So, I was talking to Jackson's speech therapist about how he might not qualify for the Preschool now at Oak Grove since he has made so much progress and she said I should enroll him in soccer to get all his energy out. Last year, for his two year old birthday he got a soccer goal and has been kicking it a goal from whenever he could run which I think was about 14 months old.

So, we signed him up way late, and Charlie checks that he would like to be an assistant coach (there is a discount involved). The nice S.O.A.R representative called us when she got Jackson's application and really needed Charlie to be the head coach. You know Charlie could not say no, and he was excited.

We get out to the field last night and Jackson was so excited he could barely contain himself. He did not fuss when he had to wear shin guards, he was too excited to fuss. In fact, I do not think I have ever seen him so elated over something. He did really great the first half of practice and copied what the other kids were doing, but then when it was time to play a real game, he was not interested in taking the ball from the other kid. We teach him over and over again not to take things from other kids, so it might take a while for him to understand that the point of the game is to take the ball from the other team. However, I do not think many three year olds take the ball from the other team, so next practice I will just say to run, run, run, and wait till it is our team's turn to say to go get the ball.

He was not interested in taking the ball from the other team, or waiting his turn, so he went and got his own ball to kick and then rolled down a hill in the mud, while I was changing Abigail's dirty diaper in the car. I definitely could have used some help with Abigail since the parents are really suppose to be out there when their child does not understand something. It is a good thing that at this age there is no goalie and no officials. I guess they do not take score either but I am sure Charlie will know the scores of the games.

Overall, he had the best time of his life, and that is all that really matters at this age. He kept saying," no hands." And all today all he can talk about is how much fun he had at soccer. He keeps saying, "fun soccer, I kicked ball, no hands, daddy the coach, one ball."

Charlie and Drew T did a great job and all the kids had a blast. His first game is on his third birthday. I am sure I will have some stories.

Free Junior Tag Leapster Book!

Common Sense with Money had a post about getting a free junior tag book from Leapster at the beginning of August. I love learning toys and really enjoy Leapster toys. It did take me a minute to fill out the information but I did get a free $10 book in the mail and a coupon for $5 off a junior tagger last week. The Kmart next to the Bush River Road Chick Fil A that we always go to on Tuesday nights is going out of business so they had the tagger 10 percent off so I got the junior tagger for like $20 (I think it is more like $30). Jackson loves it and it has so many different questions and songs in each book (the tagger comes with a book as well).

She writes, " just signed up to get a free Tag Junior Book from leapfrog by linking my son’s Tag Junior reader to his learning. To get your own all you have to do is go to this link and sign up for a learning path. If you have not registered with leapfrog then you will need to create an account. Then enter your child’s info and then link your Leapfrog product to your child. It doesn’t need to be a Tag Junior Reader (although you will need it to be able to use the free book) It could be a Leapster, Tag reader, Crammer or more. Then a couple more steps and you will be signed up for the free Tag Junior Board Book. Thanks Ana!"

To see the full post go here

What are you favorite educational toys?