Google Analytics

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas {2011}

Well, I don't have much to say except that it was really wonderful getting to visit both sides of our family during the Christmas holiday. We ate too much, the boys got too many toys, and I took way too many pictures. I wish that I could post them all on here but there is just a ridiculous amount! So, here's some of my favorites:

Jordan's Side:

My Side:








Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas {2011}

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

The Birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1-14)
1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. 2 This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.
4 And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, 5 to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

8 In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:11 Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”
13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
14 Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people He favors!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Elijah Neal {9 months}

Dear Elijah,

Holy cow! I seriously do not know where this past month went! All I know is that I have a 9 month old now and I'm not so sure how it happened so fast. And to think that you will be walking soon! I'm in trouble...boy, am I in trouble!

Since last month's update, you have been letting go of whatever it is you are using to hold on to while standing up...and each day your balance gets better and you can stand on your own for longer periods of time. 

We have also put you on almond milk (with your doctor's approval) because it is so much healthier for you than formula.  You really love your almond milk, too! I know that you will despise this one day but I have taken to calling you my little "tub tub" because well, you are pretty tubby right now!

Oh, and I am happy to announce that once we made the transition from the pack-n-play to the crib, you started sleeping so much better at night.  Unfortunately, you haven't been sleeping that great this past week because we have been traveling for the holidays. I think that you are going to just be one of those kids who needs to be in their own bed for a good night's rest. 

Here's some other random tid bits:

You are really loving guacamole right now....and taquitos. We discovered your love for taquitios when you snuck one off of Josiah's plate and demolished it.  
You have 4 teeth...two on top and two on bottom.

You are still in a size 4 diaper.

You want to play with whatever Josiah is playing with.
You love watching Toy Story and Veggie Tales.
 You have the cutest smile.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Earth Declares His Glory

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands." (Psalm 19:1)

"For His invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." (Romans 1:20)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Big Boy Beds

So this post is about two weeks late...but that's just how we've been rolling lately! Anyway,  a couple of weeks ago we decided to upgrade the boy's beds since we had been putting it off for awhile.  Not wanting to go buy any new furniture with an inevitable move in the near future, we moved the guest bed from upstairs to the boy's room. And Elijah is now sleeping in the crib that Josiah was sleeping in.  I must say that I really wish that we would have done this several months ago when Eli went from sleeping through the night to waking up every couple of hours.  He was sleeping in a pack-n-play and it turns out that he just wasn't comfortable anymore...I'm happy to say that moving him to the crib made all the difference in the world! However, the past week we have been traveling and with family for the holidays and he has taken to waking up a lot during the night again.  I'm almost 100% positive that this is because he doesn't have his own bed.  I guess he is just going to be one of those picky little sleepers!

Josiah LOVES his new bed too! At first, I thought the transition was going to be rough since there wasn't going to be anything stopping him from getting out of the bed.  Thankfully, there has only been a handfull of times that we have heard little feet running across the wooden floors after laying him down.  It's actually pretty hilarious to watch him run and jump back in bed as fast as he can when we catch him in the act! He loves his new bed so much that during the day he will gather up his toys and put them in his bed to play with. He even grabs me and Jordan by the hand and brings us to his bed to play with him on a regular basis now.

Here are some pics of them in their new beds:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Journey with Josiah {1}

I think I have touched on it in previous posts, but I will mention again that Josiah, who is now 28 months old, is still not talking.  He chatters incoherently but there has not been much of an attempt on his part to try to communicate much with us.  There are a few words that he says but not very consistently. And as far as understanding us goes, he seems to understand some of what we say and can follow very basic instructions but they usually have to have some kind of visual stimulant to go with them.  For example, if I tell him to go get in his eating chair, he won't do so unless I am holding his tray of food. 

At Josiah's two year check up, his pediatrician was concerned and sent in a referral for Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) to begin working with him.  Shortly after, a lady named Beka was sent to our house to do an evaluation on him to make sure he needed the therapy.  He passed the cognitive skills with flying colors but his social skills needed some improvement and obviously his speech/communication needed a lot of work. So now Josiah has a speech and developmental therapist (Sharla and Lacy) who come to work with him weekly.  I took the news kind of hard at first.  I was beside myself trying to figure out how this had happened.  I could not understand why my child, who I have given so much care, love and attention to, could be experiencing these problems.  I mean sure, I had seen and heard of children with those kinds of delays before but they usually came from parents who weren't fit to be parents and neglected their child/children. And that was not me or Jordan. So why was this happening to Josiah?

It was not until talking a lot with my sister in law that I eased up on myself. Her youngest child, Micah, who is one month older than Josiah, was experiencing the same delays plus others.  You can find her blog here. And a few months ago he was diagnosed with high functioning autism.  By the grace of God, they found this doctor who is working to turn his autism around without putting him on medication.  And so far, the improvements that they have seen in Micah are proof that they have chosen the best avenue for him.

So after talking with LouAnn and doing a lot of research, it became very clear to me that there are a lot more moms out there like me, who are experiencing the same speech delays with their toddlers.  And not only that, there seems to be a direct correlation between vaccinations and the rise in speech and other developmental delays and even autism.  Like Micah, I read countless stories of children who were thriving and developing normally until they recieved the MMR vaccination and turned into different children overnight.  The proof is in the pudding.  Now Josiah has not experienced this regression or reversal like these children, but I am still under the impression that his speech/communication delay is linked to him being vaccinated.  I have seen and read too much and I can no longer ignore all the signs, which is why we have chosen to stop vaccinations from here on out with our children.  Am I anti-vaccines? Absolutely not.  I think they are a good idea, but I also think it is time for a little reform in this area.  For example, I would like to see vaccines made safer. With all the knowledge and technology out there, why hasn't anyone created safer vaccines?- without the metals and foreign substances that our bodies are not meant to be injected with? And why do we give so many vaccines during our children's first year of life?- when their immune system isn't fully developed and their little bodies aren't ready for all that junk shooting through their little veins? Is this doing more harm than good? Maybe not in every child, but I have seen with my own eyes the damage it has done to many children.

Fortunately, if you can catch all of this early, the harm done can be reversed.  With the huge help of LouAnn, I found a doctor for my children like the one that Micah sees in our area. She does not administer vaccines and is committed to their overall health...and very holistic.  I had my first consultation with her yesterday and I am excited to get things rolling with her. Here is her link.  This week she is mailing me a kit for a hair analysis to do on Josiah to see if there are any traces of metal or any other harmful substance in his brain from the vaccines he has received that could be causing his communication delay.  From there, the plan is to detox his body of any harmul substance. I also have a phone consultation with her scheduled for this Friday on the best foods to be feeding my children. Oh, and since I mentioned food, that reminded me of Josiah's dairy allergy.  Here is a little history: When I switched Josiah from breastfeeding to formula when he was a baby, eczema showed up all over his body.  Of course, at the time, I didn't make the connection that the milk was causing the eczema.  So after two years of dealing with it, I finally figured it out. (I'm ashamed that it took me that long but even more ashamed of his doctor for prescribing him a topical steroid instead of getting down to the bottom of it...just another example of our medical field going to pot) Anyway, it wasn't until after doing some more research and more talking with LouAnn that I became convinced that it was a dairy allergy that was causing the eczema.  So I took him off of dairy and within three days his skin was beautifully clear! Why am I mentioning this? Because I found out that food allergies can also cause developmental delays including speech delays.  And since taking Josiah off dairy, we have seen some improvement in his behavior and even with him trying to talk a little more.  We are hoping for even more improvement after the detox.

As of right now, we have not had Josiah tested for Autism.  Josiah's speech therapist and I both agree that he does not appear to be autistic because the only area that he seems to have a problem in is his speech/communication.  But anytime you are dealing with a speech delay like this, there is always a concern about Autism and it is best to try and rule everything out. Plus, the Autism spectrum is very wide and some kids are very hard to diagnose whereas it is very obvious in other kids. So his therapist suggested that our next step be to have his hearing checked...and we will go from there.

Wowzer. I feel like I could go on for hours about this subject.  But I'll refrain.  I would like to extend a huge thank you to all the people who have been supportive of this journey that we have embarked on with Josiah. I wish that everyone had been as encouraging. We have heard many comments like "well you just need to leave it in God's hands and realize that He will talk when he is ready" or "I think you are taking this out of proportion and should just lay off."  All I have to so say to that is, "Shame on you!" Though I am always open to advice, please try to understand that we do not need any discouragement in this area.  You are free to have your own opinion but keep it to yourself if it's not encouraging.  The truth of the matter is, I know my child better than anyone, seeing as how I am with him all day and everyday, and I know that there is something going on here...something more than "he will talk when he is ready".  And as far at leaving it in God's hands goes, that is exactly what we have been doing.  I cover Josiah in prayer on this matter day in and day out.  I know that God is in control! I also know that if God decides to never have Josiah talk, then that is for the best.  His will is always best even when we don't understand. But just because I have placed my full faith in God concerning this, does not mean that I can shed my responsibility as Josiah's mother to be proactive and seek help for my son.  The Lord has not called me to laziness as he does not call anyone to laziness! So, let's keep the advice and comments encouraging please!

As always, thank you for reading.  It must not have been easy making it this far in this post with all it's randomness, so thank you! I will be updating on our progress with Josiah as we go along.

Oh, and follow this link to watch a very good video from Jenny McCarthy on some of the things that I have touched on in this post.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Laying Down My Guns and Eucharisteo

It's no secret that our short time in ministry has been difficult that these past three years might as well of been ten. And no, I'm not writing this blog to vent, cast judgement or ridicule anyone. They will have to answer to God for what they have done one day and until then, they will have to live with themselves.  That is punishment enough.

No, one of  the  points of this post is in, laying them down.  This has been a constant struggle and learning process for me.  When my husband or children are attacked-be it physical or verbal-my first instinct is to attack back...and it is usually with my words.  I have been told that I am good with words but I have also been told that I can kill someone with my words. And I hate to admit that I have tried.  Is this a fleshly response? Absolutely.  It is an area that the Lord has been working to refine in me. 

So this time around has been different...this time around I have bit my tongue so hard that it is a wonder that there aren't any holes in it.  Oh, how hard it is to humbly surrender and not take it upon myself to seek revenge.  So what has stopped me? Mainly this verse:

"Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." Romans 12:19

I have been clinging to this verse with all my being.  It has kept me quiet when my lungs have threatened to burst and my fist has wanted to punch through a wall (or someone's face for that matter).

The Lord says that vengeance is His.  There is something comforting about that.  I guess it is the fact that he loves and cares for us so much that he will do the dirty work for us...that he will bring justice without us ever having to lift a finger or suffer the consequences that often come when we try to seek justice ourselves. 

So how do I find joy in all of this surrendering? this humble submission? all this uncertainty? That is what I have been dealing with.  My quiet times lately have been on the topic of thanksgiving (Eucharisteo) and I have found that thanksgiving is at the heart of joy...or is it that joy is at the heart of thanksgiving? You see, they go hand in hand. Inevitably, where there is thanksgiving, there is matter the circumstance, trial, or hardship. 

So this is the hard Eucharisteo...Eucahristeo when  there is no job right before birthdays and Christmas? Eucharisteo when you have to put the house you love on the market with little chance of breaking even?  Eucharisteo when you can count on both hands how many time you have moved in the past four years? Eucharisteo when you feel betrayed? Eucharisteo when you feel beaten? yes, yes, yes, yes and YES!

As Ann Voskamp puts it:

True saints know that the place where all joy comes from is far deeper than that of feelings; joy comes from the place of the very presence of transcends all other emotions.  Though my marriage tree may not bud and though my crop of children may fail and my work produce little yield, though there is no money in the bank and no dream left in the heart, though others may choose different ways to live their one life, till my last heaving breath, I will fight to the death for this: "I will take joy." (Habakkuk 3:18) I will struggle to heed this until I am not more: "Dear brothers and sisters, when trouble come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy." (James 1:2)

So yes, I can have joy when I have no idea what tomorrow brings. I can have joy.  I can have joy!...for my joy is in Christ. My joy is in Him!