Tuesday, February 22, 2011

14 Years! Really?

So today is our 14th wedding anniversary!  I cannot believe that we have been married for 14 years!  We have seen many mountain tops and have gone through many valleys over the past 14 years but the most important thing is that we had each other.  I love Eric more now than I did the day I married him.  We have both changed over the years into completely different people than we were when we met.  The wonderful thing about those changes is that it has made our relationship stronger and our individual relationships with our Heavenly Father deeper.  I am so thankful for Eric...he is a loving husband, wonderful father and an amazing best friend.  I look forward to many more years to come!!

In honor of our anniversary I decided to post a little memory lane of photos.  I will try to keep them in order but I don't remember all of the actual dates.  Hope you enjoy the pictures!

This picture was taken in February 1995

This was Eric & I at a church Valentine's Banquet in 1995

 The next 4 pictures are from Church Camp 1995...we "got together" at Church Camp 1994 so this would have been our 1 year "anniversary."

 These next 2 pictures were taken in the fall/winter of 1995 to beginning of 1996.

This picture was taken in December 1996 at Eric's graduation from Texas A&M University.

Our engagement pictures.

This picture is crooked BUT one of my favorites.  It was taken after our rehearsal dinner the night before we got married.

Our wedding day:  Saturday, February 22, 1997 - 6:00pm

I LOVED this picture because it was so different then the usual "ring" picture with the hands on the flowers.

Another favorite of my Dad signing our Marriage License since he officially married us.

Eric & I at my sister Elisabeth's wedding - March 1998.

I think we are in San Antonio at some friend's house sometime in 1998.

Eric & I at my sister Sandi's wedding - February 1999.

I know this picture was taken in Oklahoma at John & Mishele Perry's wedding but I have no idea what year.

Eric & I at Brent & Danielle Williams' wedding in 1998...I think.

This picture is either late 1998 or early 1999.

This was Halloween 1998.

I know this was at David & Hollie Carnahan's house in San Antonio - early 1999.

New Year's Eve 2004.

Church Camp 2006 right before we moved to North Carolina.

Eric & I on our cruise - October 2009.

Thanksgiving Day 2010...right after I had Baby Luke.

That's all for now!  Can't wait to watch our family over the next 14 years!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

What's in your hand?

This particular blog post has been a long time in the making; mostly because it is a difficult tale to tell.  But it is a story I feel compelled to share, with the hopes that somehow God will be able to use my story to help someone else.  It’s the story of my journey through autism…the darkest, saddest days of my life so far.   For me to be able to share this story honestly with you I must confess that even to this day I struggle with Austin’s diagnosis and on really bad days I still grieve for the future I thought he would have.  My heart aches for the child that was taken from me, knowing that I will never be able to see what Austin would have been before autism.  Before that dreadful diagnosis came and stole my beautiful little boy in what seemed like a blink of an eye.  But every now and then I take this little trip down memory lane to remind myself that God’s hand has ALWAYS been on Austin’s life, even in the midst of autism.  And He is still there, right in the middle of my personal storm.  To be the Rock that I cling to when the waves are so high I think I might drown.  I remind myself that since the very beginning it has always been my prayer that on the other side of autism, no matter what that may look like, that God would get ALL the glory for Austin’s life.  So pull up a seat and get comfortable while I take you on a little trip down memory lane…
My second child, Austin Wade, made his entrance into this world at 5:52am on Tuesday, February 26, 2002 in a hospital in Dallas, TX.  Not many people were there to welcome little Austin into the world since it was so early in the morning.  It was just me, Eric and my older sister Sandi.  And even though there wasn’t a huge crowd like there was when Michael was born, there were still loved ones celebrating with us in spirit.  I distinctly remember my sister calling my Mom and Dad, who live in Ohio, to give them the news.  She told them his name (we had kept his name a secret) and held the phone up so they could hear him cry.  When my Mom heard his little cry she began to cry.  This was her third grandchild, but it was the first grandchild that she wouldn’t be able to hold at birth since they lived so far away.  It was a bittersweet moment for me.  For a brief moment it almost felt as if they were right there with us, welcoming this new life into the world.  That cold February day marked the beginning of a life-long journey that I was about to take...a journey that would lead me to the highest mountain tops and some of the lowest valleys…a journey that I would NEVER have chosen for myself.
Over the first couple of months of his life, little Austin proved to be a pure joy!  He was polar opposite of his older brother Michael, which is one of the things that I loved most about him.  He was a chunky little thing and I couldn’t resist squeezing and loving on him every chance I got.  He was very mild mannered with a smile that was infectious.  At every check-up Austin continued to make growth, constantly meeting all of his milestones right on schedule.  He rolled over at 4 months, sat up at 7 months and crawled at 8 months…right on target.  Even though he was a quiet baby he was very social.  Always smiling and laughing.  He had eyes only for his Mommy, he loved playing peek-a-boo and patty-cake with his brother and loved sleeping next to Daddy on the couch.  Around 9 months of age he started to wave his chubby little hand and say “bye bye”, he also said Momma and Dada beautifully.  And just like his brother he walked at 14 months to the day.  Smiling and laughing as he waddled to Mommy with a foam toy in his mouth.  So adorable, so precious, so perfect.  But all of that was about to change.
I took Austin to his 15 month check-up on a Friday at the end of May 2003.  His check-up was routine.  He was growing beautifully, still meeting his milestones…nothing to worry about.  He also got shots that day which were routine as well….again, nothing to worry about.  I remember this day because that next Monday was the day we left for Church Camp.  Eric had just started his job as a Youth Pastor at our church and one of the main summer responsibilities was taking a group of kids to Church Camp.  It was not our first year to go to Church Camp but it was our first year to go as adults in charge.  We were very excited about it and since we would be so busy with the youth kids all week I asked my older sister to keep Austin for me.  I wanted to be able to spend time with the teenage girls without the responsibility of dealing with an infant too.  She agreed and was so sweet to come to my house and watch Austin that entire week while we were gone. 
While we were at camp I kept in touch with my sister several times every day.  On Tuesday, when we spoke she mentioned that Austin started having diarrhea the night before and he wasn’t eating well.  She also mentioned that he was gagging on his foods.  I thought it was a little bit odd but he didn’t have any fever so I didn’t think there was anything to worry about.  He wasn’t acting sick so I told her to just make sure he stayed hydrated and let me know if it got worse.  I thought it might be related to his shots because Michael had gone through something similar with his 12 month & 15 month shots so I really didn’t think there was anything to worry about it. 
On Wednesday of that week I had planned on helping out in the Children’s Chapel with the puppets instead of going to Youth Chapel with Eric and the youth kids; but at the last minute I changed my mind and went to Youth Chapel.  I sat down hoping that I could stay awake through chapel since we had been up so late the night before laughing, talking, stuffing our mouths with marshmallows and eating all sorts of other unhealthy foods.  I had hoped it wouldn’t be boring.  So I settled in like everyone else to listen to what he had to say.  When the speaker got up on the stage the first thing he said was “Hold out your hands in front of you.  Open your palms and close your eyes.”  Then he asked us this question, “What’s in your hand?  What are you holding onto so tightly that you won’t let God have it.”  I immediately started to cry.  I knew EXACTLY what was in my hand that I was afraid to give to God.  It was my children.  I had struggled with giving God my children since the day Michael was born.  I like to be in control of things.  Giving control of something as big as my children was something I wasn’t willing to do…not even to God.  So the instant that question was asked my resistance failed and God was finally able to break down all of my walls.  I sat through that entire message crying because I knew what God was asking of me and I was terrified to do it.  What if He takes my children from me?  How will I go on?  What if I don’t let God have the control over my boys’ lives?  Will he take them from me anyway to punish me?  All these thoughts ran through my head as I struggled against the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.  I am not sure what else the speaker said that day because my mind was elsewhere deep in thought.  I just couldn’t get past the first question “What’s in your hand?” At the end of the message the speaker offered an invitation of sorts to everyone.  He said if you were willing to let go of what was in your hand, walk down to the front, write it down and nail it to the cross.  I am positive that I was the first person out of my seat that day in a room full of about 200 people.  I walked straight to the front, tears rolling down my face and I wrote “My children, Michael and Austin” on a piece of paper, picked up a hammer and a nail, walked over to this huge wooden cross and nailed my children’s names to that cross.  In that very moment I told God that he could have my children…they were His anyway.  I was done holding onto them.  I was giving Him control of their lives.  He could do whatever He wanted to with Michael and Austin.  And then I prayed that whatever He decided to do with them that He would give me the strength to be able to handle it.  I wasn’t in control anymore.  I remember getting up and walking right up that center aisle towards the back door.  I had to get out of there…so much emotion.  I was a mess and needed some time alone.  As I left the chapel all I could hear was hammers hitting nails into the cross.  I felt like a weight had been lifted.  What a beautiful thing.  I wouldn’t think about this day again for another year and by then my decision would have a whole new meaning to me.
Over the next couple of months Austin lost his infectious smile, he lost his eye contact, he stopping talking and he even regressed in his eating.  It was like he forgot how to eat solid foods overnight.  He gagged on all of his solid food so we went back to baby food.  It was the only way he would keep food down.  His pediatrician recommended he have a barium test done so we took him to the hospital for that test.  His results showed that nothing was wrong physically with his GI track so they referred him to a pediatric therapy center for Speech Therapy and Occupational therapy to help with his eating problems and sensory issues.  After he was evaluated there they recommended he have his hearing checked to rule out the possibility that Austin was deaf since he wouldn’t respond when his name was called or when anyone spoke to him.  And by anyone that included me.  I would walk into a room and he wouldn’t acknowledge my existence.  I would call his name and he wouldn’t look at me.  When by chance he did look at me he just stared at me with hollow eyes.  There was no life in his eyes.  The light was gone.  Austin’s hearing test came back normal.  I could have told them that.  I knew he could hear because he would come running across the house when he heard Elmo on the TV.  What didn’t make sense to me was that he didn’t seem to hear anything or anyone in his environment.  It was almost like his body was there but “he” wasn’t there.  He just seemed empty. 
In August, after all of the testing was completed, Austin started Speech Therapy & Occupational Therapy two times a week.  By this time he was 18 months old.  I drove him to therapy twice a week and sat there in the therapy room baffled at his behavior.  I would watch him and wonder what is wrong with him?  I would ask his therapists “What makes a child lose their eye contact and their language?” or “Why does he walk circles around objects on the floor?” or “Why won’t he respond to me when I talk to him?”  The answer was always the same “Let’s wait until he is 2 and if you still have these concerns we can refer him to a Developmental Pediatrician to evaluate his delays.”  I was fine with that answer…it seemed reasonable enough to me.  After all I really didn’t think there was anything seriously wrong with Austin.  I just thought maybe he was a little bit behind and he would eventually catch up to where he needed to be.  I was totally “fine” with that answer until right after Austin turned 2.  Then everything changed.
I remember the night I realized something was really wrong with Austin like it was yesterday.  It was a Wednesday night and I had stayed home from church because I wasn’t feeling well.  I had kept Austin home with me and sent Michael to church with Eric.  It was March of 2004...Austin had just turned two.  I was sitting on the couch watching the Disney movie “Dumbo” with Austin.  It was one of his favorite movies.  He would get so excited when the pink elephants on parade part would come on.  He would run around the room flapping his arms with excitement.  After the movie was over Austin kept walking back and forth behind the couch, running is hand along the back of the couch, staring up at the ceiling.  I sat there and watched him for a few minutes and then I called his name.  Nothing.  I called his name again this time a little bit louder.  Nothing.  I knew he could hear so why wouldn’t he acknowledge me when I was speaking to him?  I was 5 feet away from him.  The next time I yelled his name.  Still nothing.  He just kept walking back and forth, running his hand along the couch looking up at the ceiling.  My heart sank into my stomach.  At that moment I knew that there was definitely something wrong with Austin.
The next day I took him to therapy like usual.  I walked with him into the therapy room.  I sat down and looked at his therapists and told them I thought that there was something wrong with Austin.  They just looked at each other and told me that maybe it was time to send Austin to a Developmental Pediatrician.  I agreed and we started the paperwork.   I left that day in what seemed like a fog.  I remember sitting in the parking lot at Walmart crying.  I called my Mom and told her that I thought that there was something wrong with Austin and she said “I do too.”  My fears had been validated and my heart dropped again.  She told me that she thought he had autism.  I asked her why she never said anything to me before and she told me that she had prayed that God would give her peace about when to say something to me.  I guess today was that day.  I looked at Austin in my rearview mirror and thought…autism?  Like Rainman?  How did that happen?  I went straight home, got on the internet and immediately started researching autism.  He seemed to fit the profile.  My heart just broke into a million pieces.  I lay in bed that night praying that God would give Eric and I wisdom about where to go from there.  I asked that God would give me the grace to be able to accept his diagnosis no matter what it was and that whatever the outcome was that God would get all the glory.
On April 22, 2004, Austin was diagnosed with moderate to moderately severe autism.  To say I was devastated would be an understatement.  I was incredibly sad.  I felt like I was grieving and in part I was grieving for the child that I had lost and the future I had dreamed for him.  I knew that I wouldn’t make it through this unless I leaned completely on the Lord and that is exactly what I did.  I quickly began my search for treatments that might help Austin.  I worked tirelessly on this…day in and day out.  I spent hours on the internet looking at different types of therapies that we could try and then I would go to bed and lay awake crying for the child that I had lost. 
That summer of 2004 in the midst of gathering information on Austin’s medical history for an appointment we had with a specialist, God reminded me of that wooden cross and the promise I had made to Him the year before.  I was sitting in the youth room with Eric and the youth kids one Wednesday night for our weekly lesson when it happened.  Eric asked the kids if they could think of a time when they were in a church service and they felt the presence of the Lord in the service.  One of the kids said that they had felt God’s presence at Church Camp the summer before.  That’s when it happened.  I heard that still small voice saying, “Remember your promise?  You gave Austin to me.  You told me that I could have him.”  That’s when I realized that Austin’s onset of autism had begun the very same week I made that promise to God.  The same exact week.  That wasn’t a coincidence.  That was God’s perfect timing.  If I had seen the storm that had been brewing I wouldn’t have stepped out of the boat.  I honestly don’t think I would have released the control if I had known what was going to happen. But I am so glad I didn’t know then what I know now.  I am so thankful that my heart reacted with blind faith to the fact that God would take care of my children better than I ever could.  After all, He loves them more than I ever could.  This realization encouraged me and gave me strength.  It was a reminder to me that God has ALWAYS been in control of Austin’s life.  From his very first breath of life to his onset of autism…God was always right there.  Even in the middle of the storm. 
I often have friends (and even people I don’t know that well) tell me about this story they read, this show they saw on TV or this kid they know that had autism and one day just snapped out of it.  I think they tell me this as a means of encouragement.  They think that they are giving me hope that maybe just maybe that might happen for Austin.  But the reality is – it probably won’t happen for Austin.  I know with all of my heart that God chose autism for Austin and I am OK with that.  I will probably never know the reason why, but I trust that the loving God that I serve has a plan for Austin’s life.  I don’t know how this story will unfold but I can’t wait to see the ending!  I can’t wait to see what God has in store for my sweet Austin and see how He will use Austin’s life to minister to others.  Because in the end I know that God will get all of the glory!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


In the previous post I told you that I was working on #6 of my 35 new things to try this year but I wasn’t ready to share it with you yet.  Well, after getting a few things in order, I am finally ready to share!  This particular “new thing” is by far the one that I am most excited about!!  I hope those of you who know me well, will be able to share the excitement of this new experience with me!
#6  College
It has ALWAYS been my number one regret that I didn’t stick with college and get a degree.  My first semester of college I had just started dating Eric and my mind was most definitely NOT on studying.  At the time I had only one goal…to get married and start having babies.  I wanted to be a wife and mom more than anything else!  So needless to say, finishing college and getting a degree was not even on my radar; so I dropped out.   Well, that was almost 17 years ago and I am a totally different person now then I was back then.  My husband might even say that I am a better person now…in almost every way.  And the Jeannine of 2011 wants to go back to school!  So I am finally going to take the plunge…to step outside of my comfort zone (once again) and start working on one of my dreams.  I no longer have to sit and wonder what it would be like to go back to school and get a job doing something I would love to do…I am actually going to do it!!  I hope to start taking classes this summer working as a “pre-Nursing student” towards a Nursing Major.  Becoming a nurse is something that I have wanted to do for a very long time…a private little dream of mine.  I’m glad that I am finally taking that leap to turn that dream into a reality.
I know it will be challenging to juggle being a mom and wife while going back to school – but I welcome the challenge.  I have the drive to work hard, the motivation to get it done quickly, the discipline to stay on top of it and most of all, the support of a loving husband who wants to see me succeed.  That last part is the most important thing to me.  I have Eric’s support and he is willing to help me every single step of the way.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The BIG 3-5

So I turned 35 a few days ago.  I have been dreading this birthday for a while now.  I guess mostly because it means I am halfway to 40.  After I turned 30 I fooled myself into thinking that even though I wasn’t in my 20’s anymore as long as I was under 35 I was still young.  But once I hit 35 all bets were off…I might as well be 40.  As it turns out turning 35 wasn’t so bad after all.  I had a great day with Eric and the boys.  I even got a nap and I can’t complain about that!
Anyway, since my birthday is so close to New Years I decided to lump one of my resolutions in with my birthday.  I decided that I was going to try “35 New Things” in 2011.  Now I have to admit that this resolution is not original.  I got this idea from a friend of mine who turns 30 this year (lucky girl!) and I have to give credit where credit is due.  Thanks Mary for the great idea!!
I am so excited to say that I am well on my way to trying new things.  As of today, I have already tried 5 new things!  Hooray for me!!  I am realizing that I like the feeling I get when I try something new.  It’s kinda like the way you feel when your child tries a new food for the first time and actually LIKES it!  You almost feel proud.  That is how I feel…proud of myself that I actually got out of my comfort zone and tried something new.  Anyway, I thought I would share the first 5 with you.  I am actually in the process of #6 but I am not ready to share that one with you yet.  It’s a BIG one!  Maybe I will be ready to share that in a few months (and no I am NOT pregnant!  Remember I already tried that one in 1999, 2001 and 2010) but for now, here you go!
#1 – Blogging
I already listed my reasons for blogging in my very first post and I have no intention of boring you by repeating myself.  So let’s just say that so far I love to blog!  I could probably do it every day but once again I am trying not to bore you.  You’re welcome…you can thank me for that later.
#2 - New Hair Color
I tried a new color of highlights.  I normally only get blonde highlights in the summer to go along with my tan but I have had an abundance of grey hair pop up since I got pregnant with Luke.  Since my hair is naturally dark I felt that this new unwelcomed color was really noticeable and it bothered me.  My solution to the “grey problem” was highlights.  I didn’t want to go blonde since it was winter time so I did something I NEVER do.  I told my hair stylist to do something different…whatever SHE thought.  Yes, I actually gave up control of something!  For those of you who know me you know how hard that was for me to do!!  I had to dig deep on this one!  Anyway, she suggested a caramel color to blend in with my natural color.  Sounded good to me so I went with it and I actually love it!!
#3 – Risotto
Last week I went out with some friends of mine for our monthly Girls Night Out.  Not only did we try a new restaurant, I tried a bite of my friend’s Risotto.  When I first heard her order it I thought NASTY!!  And to be honest when it came out I thought it looked nasty too.  Like a blob of mush with spinach and carrots (I think it was carrots) mixed into it.  It didn’t look good at all.  But before I could stop myself I asked her if I could have a bite.  Graciously, she agreed.  Believe it or not…I actually liked it!  Now I know that the next time I go there I can order the Risotto and I will like it.  Thanks Rebekah for letting me taste your dinner!
#4 – Homemade Pie Crust
Believe it or not I have never made a pie crust from scratch until Saturday.  I normally buy the rollout Pillsbury pie crusts that come 2 in a box.  Somehow I have managed just fine for 34 years and 364 days by using store bought pie crusts…until Saturday.  I guess I just  wanted to try something new AND I wanted a homemade pecan pie for my birthday…that was really my motivation.  I decided to try Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pie Crust recipe to see what all the fuss was about.  She is like a celebrity or something so her recipe MUST be good, right?  Right!!  It was not only amazing, it was super easy to make!  Turns out cutting the Crisco into the flour isn’t as scary as I thought it would be.  I should have tried this a lot sooner!!  No more  Pillsbury pie crusts for me!
#5 – Yoga
I always thought that Yoga wasn’t really exercise.  But according to Bob Harper on the Biggest Loser it is an excellent form of exercise!  So I thought I would give it a shot today.  Well I am here to tell the naysayers that Yoga is most definitely exercise because my muscles are feeling it tonight!  It was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  Never realized how uncoordinated I was!  Even though it was hard I did enjoy it and I look forward to doing it again later on this week.  Hopefully, in a month or so I will be able to stand in the Palm Tree position and do the Downward Facing Dog position with ease!
That’s all for now folks.  Thanks for letting me share numbers 1-5 with you!  Can’t wait to tell you all about 6-35!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Where did that come from??

There isn't much to love about autism.  Just trust me on that.  But one of the things that I love about autism is the crazy things that Austin will say out of the blue.  Most of those things come from his memory of movies he has seen, books he has read, songs he knows or computer games he has played.  While the majority of these things are random there is the occasional statement that seems like it almost fits the situation.  Since I shared with you in the last post things that I love about Michael I will dedicate this post to my sweet Austin Wade or Austin Waddles as I like to call him.

Lastnight was my night to get up with Luke (Eric and I rotate nights) so I was very sleepy this morning.  Like every other person on the planet I needed some caffiene to get me going...but I am not a coffee drinker.  I love the occasional frappachino, latte or cup of coffee punch (yummy!!!) but a cup of Joe each morning is not for me.  So to get myself going this morning I staggered downstairs to get a Diet Dr Pepper....my morning cup of caffiene.  As I walked into the kitchen I saw Austin sitting at the table.  He had headphones in his ears and he was playing on the computer.  I leaned down to kiss him and he looks at me and says "Air pollution is a BIG problem!"  Ummmmm.....where did that come from?  I looked down at the computer to see a flying monkey on the PBS Kids Eeko World website talking about air pollution.  According to the monkey "air pollution is a BIG problem" and Austin thought I needed to know that...thanks, Buddy!  That's good information to know.

The other night Austin asked me for some blue cookies (mini Oreos...he calls them that because the bag is blue) so I got some for him and put them in a bowl.  As I was walking towards him with the cookies he looks at me and says "Come to Papa!"  Totally random but so hilarious!!  I think he got that from Toy Story 3 but he said it at a time that would have been appropriate.  I couldn't stop laughing.

Recently, I was holding baby Luke and Austin wanted my attention.  He walked up to me, pointed to baby Luke and told me to "turn it off."  So sweet that Austin thought it was that simple.

I could go on and on but I won't bore you.  Eric told me not to make my posts too long or no one will want to read them.  I guess that is true.  But before I sign-off I have to say that Austin has totally stolen my heart.  He shows me unconditional love each day no matter how I behave or how much time I get to spend with him.  Much like my Heavenly Father does with me.  I love that little boy with every fiber of my being!  I wouldn't change a thing about him.  What an honor and a priviledge it is to be Austin's Mommy.  I am humbled to know that God chose me to take care of one of His most precious creations!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Michael is my first born son who was a millenium baby....born in the year 2000.  He made his entrance into this world on Thursday, April 6, 2000 at 5:54pm sreaming at the top of his lungs and he hasn't quit talking since!  Seriously, his constant chatter can make a person slap CrAzY!!!  And while his chatter can get under my skin sometimes, if I am honest, it is one of the things that I love most about him.  He has quick wit just like his Aunt Beth and can recite almost every movie he has ever seen.  Most of the time he has us rolling on the floor laughing and other times he has me running for the bottle of Advil.  Nevertheless, I love Michael Reed with all of my heart and I am so thankful to be his Mommy!  Since Michael was born in 2000 and we just closed the chapter on the year 2010 I thought I would list for you the Top 10 Things I Love Most About Michael.  Some of them are funny and some of them will warm your heart.  All of them put together make my amazing son Michael.

#10 LEGO Masterbuilder

The kid can create the most amazing things you have EVER seen out of Legos and believe me when I say we have at least a million Legos in our bonus room.  His creative mind is always working overtime!  I love seeing all the things that he creates.

#9  He is a Rule Follower

If you give Michael a rule by golly he is going to follow it!  He follows the rules to a fault!!  For instance he gets so upset when I go through the exit door at Walmart instead of the entrance door.  The rules are on the door and he expects everyone (me included) to follow them!  While it can be annoying sometimes I know that I will appreciate that about him even more in the years to come.  Especially when he starts driving!!

#8  He Dreams BIG

Michael told me this morning on the way home from church that he dreams that one day doctors will make a potion to get rid of autism.  That's a tall order to me but to Michael it seems realistic.  Sometimes his dreams of what he wants to do or what he wants to be when he grows up are just outrageous!  But I want him to know that the sky is the limit.  He can do amazing things if he sets his mind to it.  So I say...dream BIG!

#7  He is Honest

Michael is like George Washington and his Mommy...he cannot tell a lie.  He is honest even when he KNOWS he is going to get in trouble.  For instance, we had some friends over for New Year's Eve and Michael was playing around with one of the kids and he accidently pushed her.  I told him to tell her that he was sorry even though it was an accident.  Well he wasn't too happy about that...he said that I was embrassing him in front of everyone.  He eventually apologized and we moved on.  Well about 10 minutes later he came up to me looking like he was physically ill and he said "Mommy I have to tell you something.  When you got on to me I got angry and when you weren't looking I rolled my eyes at you."  DUMB!!!  Somebody needs to tell him that you aren't suppose to be honest about that kind of thing!  However, I smile on the inside every single time he is honest with me about things he has done, said or thought even when no one else knows about it.  I hope he stays that way.

#6  OCD

Michael is OCD which I can admit he gets from me.  And while it drives me NUTS to hear him say "Tuck me in when you're ready, wake me up at 6:30 and is it going to rain" no less than 5 times EACH night - I am not sure what I would do without it.  It has become the bedtime routine.  It's like I can't go to bed without hearing him say all of that even though I am rolling my eyes wishing he would stop talking!!  I guess it takes an OCD person to understand one and I guess that is why I secretly love this about him.

#5  Michaelisms

I talked before about Michael's quick wit and it really is true...the kid is hilarious!!  For those of you who know me you know I am not lying about this one!  I ALWAYS have funny Michael stories.  And as an example I will give you one of his stories which I like to call "Michaelisms." 

This morning before church Eric and I were talking with Michael about the fact that Christmas break was over and reality hits tomorrow when they go back to school and Eric goes back to work.  Michael was complaing about the fact that I couldn't wait until they went back to school.  I tried to explain to them that I get alot more done around the house with them at school and Eric at work.  Not to mention I can keep the house cleaner when it is just me and Luke.  Michael thought about that for a second and he said "I look at this situation like BEES.  The queen stays home while the workers bees go off to work and school!"

#4  His Desire to be Used of God

Lately, Michael keeps asking me "Mommy, do you think God has a special plan for my life?"  Last week it changed from a question to a statement "Mommy, I KNOW God has a special plan for my life!"  Michael wants to serve God and he wants to be used.  He has a servant's heart and is an empty vessel waiting to be used by God.  I pray that his desire will always be towards God and what He has for Michael's life!

#3  His Love & Patience with Austin

Our middle child, Austin, has autism.  Michael loves Austin with all of his heart.  The diagnosis process was some of the darkest days of my life.  Days that Michael was too young to remember or understand.  But he understands now.  He knows his brother has special needs.  He knows that he needs extra care.  He knows that he needs to have more patience with him.  He knows that he needs us to protect him.  He knows that because of Austin's disability more is required from him...in the chores, at the grocery store, at school, at church, everywhere...all the time.  He knows all of this and he loves him even more.

#2  His Love for His Family

Michael has such a great love for his family.  I know without a doubt that Michael would do anything for his family.  One time he came to me and told me that he loved Austin so much that he would die for him.  My heart just melted!  That is not something that you hear very often from a 10 year old boy.  I pray that the love he has for his family (especially his brothers) will only grow stronger over the coming years!

#1 His Sensitive Heart

Michael has always had a sensitive heart towards others...especially his brother Austin.  He is always the first one to think of someone else's feelings and is always protective of those less fortunate than him.  What amazes me the most is his sensitive heart towards God.  At a very young age Michael was very sensitive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  It is something that I think is very rare in children these days and I pray that his heart remains sensitive and always able to hear what God has to say to him.

Thank you Lord for allowing me to be Michael's Mommy!

So this is Blogging??

First of all let me say that I never would have imagined that I would EVER be a blogger especially since I don't even like to journal - BUT since we don't live near any family I thought maybe this might be a good way for them to keep up with our family.  That of course is assuming that anybody would actually want to keep up with us!  Who knows I might be horrible at this and quickly give it up.  I hope not...but you never know.  So here goes nothing....

The year 2011 is finally here and with that comes the infamous New Year's Resolutions!  I have never been good at keeping those stupid things but once again I made a list with the hopes that I will actually accomplish them.  I feel like making realistic resolutions is the key - so this year I tried to be practical.  Can you guess what one of my resolutions was???  You got it...Blogging!!  I feel like if not for any other reason my blog will be an account of our daily lives for my children to read later on...a legacy if you will.  A way for them to reflect on their childhood and maybe get a glimpse into my life and what it was like to be their mother.  But most importantly a place to reflect on all that God has done for us!  Hopefully, as I enter the year 2012 I will have pages and pages of posts to give a testimony of what a wonderful life I have and what a mighty God I serve!