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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Elijah Neal {4 Months}

Our sweet Eli will turn 4 months this Saturday.  These four months have flown by way too fast.  It still amazes me how fast babies grow in their first much they change from month to month.  This is one reason why I'm constantly taking pictures of my boys.  There is no pause button in life so I try to capture as much as I can so as to never forget each stage that they go never forget how precious each and every moment never forget all the details of how the Lord has blessed me through them. 

Even since last month, Eli has changed so much.  He no longer looks like a newborn and he has become much more independent.  He is really enjoying the exersaucer and bumbo now. And the boy can talk loud...really really loud.

His little personality is really started to show as well.  Jordan and I can get him to laugh hysterically but when we get around a lot of people he puts on the most serious face I have ever seen a baby his age make.

He has really started to pay a lot of attention to his big brother too.  When Josiah comes around, Eli's eyes get real big and he often smiles at him.  He already loves Josiah and this makes me happy. 

As far as schedule changes go, he has started to nap longer and stay up longer in between them.  He takes about 4 naps a day...each one lasting 1-2 hours. 

I love this little guy so much.  I'm so thankful to be his momma. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Boys {2011}

So it has just been too stinkin' hot to play outside this summer.  With temps reaching 112 degrees on some days here in Vernon, we have become homebodies.  That's right, no tan for me this summer.  My skin is as pasty as it was in January! But on some evenings, when its oh, 105 outside instead of 112 (ha ha), we make our way outside to  help daddy water the garden.

We got a late start on our garden this year and our plants are just now beginning to bare fruit...or, I guess I should say plant, not plants. Our squash plants are the only ones looking promising.  It's a miracle that they are even producing with all the odds stacked up against them--extreme heat+no rain...but we are happy to have them!

Not only do we water the garden, we also water Josiah:

And E man...well, he just chills probably thinking that his big brother is a big goober! Either that or wishing he could join him! soon enough little guy...soon enough...

So since we have been in the house a lot this summer, I've taken a bunch of pictures and videos of Josiah acting crazy and what-not...FYI: an extremely energetic, almost-two-year-old locked up in a house all day is not a good combination! See for yourself:

why yes, these are mommy's clean towels on the floor!

did I mention they were neatly folded on the table before I pulled them off?

I needed some new reading material so I decided to raid mommy's books...of course, I had to throw them all on the floor before I made my selection!

I got tired of destroying everything and decided to rest in bubby's exersaucer!

...then I decided to pester bubby...

bubby doesn't like to be, not so much! So then I decided to go back to destroying things and getting in trouble...

I tried to get as close to Bob and Larry as possible but mommy didn't like that too much...

she didn't like me climbing on her table either...

or diving off of it...

I'm realizing now that this should have been two blogs instead of one...I should have titled the second blog "A Day in the Life of Josiah"...oh well, too late now! But seriously, this child gives me a run for my money.  He has also taught me a thing or two about patience.  I am currently re-reading Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson.  (a big thank you to LouAnn) I'm reading it again as a reminder to myself that boys will be boys and I better get used to it now.  Josiah is probably only going to become, well, more like a boy, and I'm sure E will follow in his footsteps.  All I have to say is: oh boy!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Keeper of the Pacies

Josiah has always loved his paci. If the house was on fire, he would run back in to save his paci.  Or should I say pacies. He has about 5 of them floating around the house that he changes out throughout the day.

Before Eli got here, we were starting to wean Josiah from the paci and we would only give it to him when he took his nap and at night.  Word of advice: Do not take a baby's best friend away when he is about to get a new brother! It's just too much change all at once.  After Eli came along, Josiah would whine and whine for his paci during the day.  We caved and let him have it.  The funny thing is, when we give it to him, it is only in his mouth for about one minute before he spits it out.  He really just likes having it near and knowing it is within reach for whenever he wants it. 

So now that Eli has been here going on four months and Josiah has become pretty well adjusted, it is about time to wean him from the paci for good.  Josiah will be two next month so I figure now is a good time to start.  I don't want him to be three and still walking around with it.  I have to say that I am going to miss Mr. Paci though.  He has been just as much a friend to me as Josiah.

Eli, on the other hand, would cry when we tried to put the paci in his mouth.  He preferred to chew on his fingers, that is, until he found his thumb and kept gagging himself.

Eli right before he gagged himself

I felt so bad for our E man.  The poor baby just wanted something to suck on.  So, I decided to make one last attempt at the paci.  And to my surprise, it worked! I was one happy mama!

Eli finally figuring out this whole paci thing!
So now we have two boys with pacies.  This should make weaning Josiah off of his fun.  NOT! He already likes to pull Eli's paci out of his mouth and take off running with it.  I caught him red handed a couple of days ago:


It's a good thing that Eli is such a good trooper!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Our Story

It was the summer of 2006 and I had just graduated high school when this good-looking thing messaged me on MySpace.

I wish I could remember exactly what the message said but it was something like: "hey, I came across your profile by accident and it just really stuck out to me.  So, I just wanted to say hey." 

Normally, this kind of message would have had "stranger danger" written all over it in my mind.  But for some reason I didn't have any red flags go up when I read this message.  Looking back now, I'm positive that it was God who gave me a peace about it.  So, I pretty much studied his profile and my dad checked San Jacinto Junior College website to make sure he was actually who he said he was.  Sure enough, we found his profile under the baseball roster and everything checked out.  The truth is, his profile really stuck out to me as well.  I mean come on...good-looking baseball player and from what his profile said, a very strong Christian at that? Count me in!

So I messaged him back.  I must have been playing hard to get because all I said was "hey".  (okay, I'm seriously cracking up thinking about how all this played out) From that message on, we talked back and forth for about a week on MySpace until he sent me a message with his phone number in it and told me to call him if I felt comfortable doing so.  So I did.

We talked for hours each day. These phone calls did not lack conversation at all.  We talked about everything but mostly about God, our beliefs, theology, doctrine, etc.  In a matter of days, we practically knew everything about each other. Without having ever seen each other except in pictures, we struggled not to say the L word over the phone.  After conversing this way for about one month, the opportunity arose for us to meet.  Jordan had been in Illinois all summer playing baseball and he was getting ready to come back to Texas.  He stopped at his parents house in Dayton, Texas long enough to say hi and then he was headed to the Mount to see little ole' me! At one point he called my dad to get directions and he could hear my brothers messing with their shot guns in the background.  I was mortified.  I was also extremely anxious and nervous.  What if we weren't even attracted to each other? What if he wasn't everything he said he was? These thoughts flew through my mind but I cast them aside, got in my car and drove to the parking lot of the church in the middle of town where we decided to meet.  (We thought it would be too awkward to meet for the first time in front of my family) Jordan arrived at the church a few minutes after me and I know my heart must have hit the ground when he stepped out of his car.  I will never forget his huge smile as he walked up to me, hugged me and said, "Even better than I had imagined." ....very smooth, Jordan...haha

And that is where our story together began. That same night we said "I love you" to each other for the first time.  The date was August 15, 2006. Never would I have imagined that God would use MySpace to bring two hearts together.  But His ways are higher and I am so thankful. 

We dated for about one year, taking turns driving to see each other on the weekends, until I decided to transfer from Stephen F. Austin to U of H Clear Lake to be closer. However, I didn't do all the research that I needed before I moved because UHCL required 50 hours to transfer.  I only had 29.  So I ended up going to San Jac with plans to transfer to UHCL after I finished my basics.  I began working at Regions Bank in League City in July of 2007.  That was totally God.  I had no problem transfering from the Regions in Nacogdoches at all.  It happened very quickly. 

Jordan had graduated from San Jac with an associates in business right before I moved to Clear Lake and was drafted by the Chicago Cubs. However, he turned it down and started his junior year at Rice University where he continued to play baseball. On September 30, 2007, after dating for about 14 months, Jordan proposed to me at Calvary Baptist Church, where his father pastored in Dayton.  I said yes, of course.

We set our wedding date for July 5, 2008 and I moved into a bigger apartment in Webster in March.  Jordan's lease on his apartment was up so I quit my job at the bank in May and went home to the Mount to help my mom get everything ready for the wedding and Jordan moved into the Webster apartment. 

On Saturday, July 5, 2008, we were married at Landmark Missionary Baptist Church in Mount home church and where we first met. 

It was a beautiful wedding and I couldn't wait to spend the rest of my life with this man. Jordan's parent's wedding gift to us was our honeymoon.  We had no idea where we were going until Tony handed us an envelope after our reception with the directions to Pine Creek Lodge in Nacogdoches. 

Shortly after our honeymoon, I was re-hired at the bank in League City.  I went back to school at San Jac and Jordan started his senior year at Rice.  On December 12, 2008, one day after Jordan's 22nd birthday, after only being married for 4 months, I got a positive pregnancy test.  I remember the days that lead up to me taking the test.  I felt horrible and I had to go to the bathroom every time I turned around.  Since we had been taking precautions, I was floored when two lines showed up on the stick.  I called Jordan crying, who had just got done umpiring a game, and told him that he needed to get home.  He thought something was seriously wrong but when I told him the news he was ecstatic.  I couldn't believe he was happy about it.  I mean, we both knew we wanted to have kids but not until I had finished school at least.  In the days that followed, the fact that I was carrying our first baby really began to grow on me and by the time I heard the heartbeat for the first time, I was beyond excited. 

I started the spring semester but ended up having to drop my classes because the morning sickness was so bad.  It was hard enough to go to work every day, not to mention classes, homework and house work.   Plus, I knew that once I had the baby, I was going to be a stay-at-home mom anyway...finishing school was no longer a priority. 

That spring was filled with work and baseball. Though the Houston heat and humidity was rough on this pregnant woman at the time, I was at as many baseball games as my work schedule would allow watching my man do this:

On March 30, 2009, we found out that we were going to have a baby boy.  After the appointment, I went back to work.  Unfortunately, I had gotten a bad sunburn that weekend while at one of Jordan's games, and passed out from dehydration at work.  My boss had to take me to the hospital and I had to get an IV to rehydrate me.  Thankfully, Josiah was perfectly fine. 

On May 9, 2009, Jordan graduated from Rice University with a B.A.(double major) in Ancient Civilizations & Classical Studies. This was as closely related to a seminary degree that he could get from Rice. 

That July we celebrated our one year anniversary in Destin, Florida.  (insert a BIG thank you to my parents) We had a great time but I was miserably 8 months pregnant.

After our vacation, I quit my job at the bank for good and Jordan accepted a youth ministry position in Brenham, Texas.  Josiah Neal was born shortly after on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 12:58 am in Clear Lake. He was 9 lbs. 8 oz. and 20 3/4 inches long.  It was love at first sight!

On September 7, 2009, not even two weeks after Josiah was born, we moved to beautiful Brenham.

On July 7, 2010, we moved to Garrison, Texas and served in the ministry there for two short months.

On July 16, 2010, a few days after our second anniversary, I got a positive pregnancy test. (this time it was no surprise) We were thrilled!

Josiah turned one on August 26, 2010 and we had a Veggie Tale themed party for him at my parents house.

That September we moved to Vernon, Texas where Jordan is currently the youth pastor at FBC.  Jordan is also working on getting a seminary degree from Criswell College.  We also bought our first home here in Vernon, which we are slowly fixing up.

 On October 4, 2010, we found out that we were having another boy! It was then that I realized how outnumbered I was going to be!

On Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 1:55 pm, Elijah Neal (Eli) was born weighing 9 lbs. 5 oz. and 22 inches long in Wichita Falls.  Again, love at first sight.

Today makes 3 years that Jordan and I have been married. We have been through so much together in these three years and even more in the five years since we first met.  Through the joy and the pain, we have become stronger by God's grace.  And yes, there has been some pain and hiccups that I have chosen not to share in this blog.  Neither one of us will forget the mistakes that we have made or the pain we have inflicted on each other or other people, even if it was unintentional.  But by remembering, we are given the ability to learn from our mistakes and avoid repeating them.  Though these past three years have been hard at times, they have also been the most rewarding and happiest years of my life.  I can't even begin to describe how much I love my boys.  Better yet, how much I love my God.  He is truly mighty to save, renew and transform.  I thank Him for his blessings as well as the trials.  For it is through the trials that we learn to persevere and through the blessings that we realize how thankful we are that we did persevere through the trials instead of giving up. (I totally just came up with that...hope it makes sense!) Anyway, Jordan, if you are reading this, I love you above and beyond explanation. happy anniversary my love.