Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cue the 'tude....

Let me just start off by saying that I love my children very, very much. They are some of the biggest blessings I could ever receive on this earth. I often tell Cooper, "You are my favorite Cooper in the whole wide world!" (After all he can't be my favorite son anymore now that we have 3;))

But let me also say that discipline has always been a challenge. Coop is our only child we've really had to discipline so far, other than an occasional "no, no" to Sawyer since he's only 11 months. We've been through the getting into things he's not supposed to, the tantrum stage, the multiple strong willed seasons, the hitting, the biting, the not sharing of toys, the throwing of food, the getting out of bed and coming out of his room 5 thousand times, and many other seasons. But he is now 5, headed off to Kindergarten, and.....wait for it.....

Cue the 'tude!


Oh my word, we have entered a whole new season of sassy attitude. We are really on top of it and talking a lot about honoring and respecting Mommy and Daddy, his heart attitude, and why God wants our heart to be joyful and kind, not grumpy and mean. Does anyone else have this issue? I know Cooper is trying to exhibit some of his own power and will, figuring out who he is and what he thinks about the world, but man it's so hard not to feel frustrated and angry at times.

His current saying, just to give you a funny example (one that I laugh at and he doesn't get in trouble for....or maybe he should, I don't know;).....When I ask him to do something, like "Hey buddy, can you bring me brother's bottle," or "Hey dude, please go get your shoes so we can go," I get the response of .......

"You got it BOSS!"

He's not being mean or disrespectful in those situations, he's just got this little attitude. Oh me, oh my. What's a mom to do?

Do any of you have wonderful teenagers that love the Lord and show respect and honor to not only you, but other adults? I'd love some Mommy advice on what you did to move through this little season besides pray ALL THE TIME and teach him God's Word:)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tyler's Glory Day- Year Two

On the morning of June 24th, we had yummy cinnamon rolls (Pioneer Woman I might add;), brought to our house by our sweet friend Brittany. Then we headed out to the cemetery to see Tyler's spot and take some flowers and a card.
Brothers;)

Daddy and his boys;)

Mommy and her boys;)

Another sweet friend, Shara, stopped by to bring coffee and say hi, and then
we headed out to Wild Water for lunch and part of the afternoon. It was just so relaxing and felt like we could just be in the day. I'll try and post pics of that later...

That night, we went out to dinner with our precious friends, the Vissers. We went to California Pizza Kitchen and had a ball just talking and laughing. The Vissers lost their son Kade coming up on 4 years this fall. This family has walked beside us since the day we lost Tyler and we are so grateful for their friendship.

I don't think we could ever say 'Thank You' enough for all the sweet emails, texts, cards and messages. Whether people were near or far, we felt very loved by people reaching out and recognizing the loss of our sweet baby boy;)




Saturday, June 25, 2011

Celebrating


Yesterday we celebrated Tyler being with the Lord now for two years. How can we call it celebration when we don't feel much like celebrating here on earth, and the truth is we really wish he was still here? I do not celebrate the fact that he is gone, because to focus on that would feel completely hopeless. My focus must be eternal, because after all, God's Word points us directly to the fact that our life here on earth is but a vapor. Here today and gone tomorrow. None of our moments are guaranteed, and after experiencing loss, one learns to live more in the present because the future is never certain. My focus must be on Christ Himself, the very one who has rescued me from the depths of my sin and reconciled me with the Father, as He has all believers. HE is the only one who makes our future certain. Without Him, there is no assurance of salvation, and without Him, we could never be "good enough" to live in a manner worthy of eternity with the Lord.

We celebrate because of that very hope, the assurance that we will one day be reunited with Tyler. We know that our lives here on earth MUST matter, and that He allows us to go through many trials and hardships in our lives to prove that HE is all we need, and that through those experiences, we have a choice to either reject Him or draw close to Him.


I remember the day that Tyler died, all I could muster was, "This is all my fault." I remember feeling this way for two reasons. One, I had allowed him to go down for his nap with a little blankie and I blamed myself that that's what may have killed him. Two, I made a direct correlation with me not spending enough time in God's Word and Tyler's death. I blamed myself, feeling like "if only I had been in the Word more, God wouldn't have punished me like this." Oh man, to know how that must have grieved the Lord. Don't get me wrong, God most certainly desires for me to know Him and to love Him. He desires for me to be in His Word so that I can do just that. But He does not seek out to punish me. If the Lord had caused Tyler to die because I was not in the Bible enough, that would be purely based on works, which would be entirely contrary to His very word when He says, "we are justified by faith alone, not by works." (Romans 3:28).

Whewwww.

What a process of understanding that, sitting in that, and embracing that, though. But what a precious TRUTH! He does not love me conditionally (what I have to offer Him), He loves me unconditionally (nothing can separate me from His love). What SECURITY!

The day that Tyler died is one that will forever be marked in my brain. My blog is currently being redesigned, and with that, I will include Tyler's story beginning to end for those who would want to hear it. I can recount every single detail and second of the day. Thankfully some of those memories have faded just a bit, but others remain vivid and in full color. The amount of love and support that we experienced after Tyler went to be with the Lord was nothing like I had ever experienced. It was a beautiful picture of the body of Christ coming together to care for a grieving family. I wish I could share the incredible stories, but many would probably prefer to remain anonymous;) To say that we have been overwhelmed with love is an understatement.

A few precious friends have blogged about Tyler, and I received a few emails and face book messages yesterday stating that we have walked through this journey with "grace and faith." Can I just express some of my insecurities and be really honest?? I am so thankful that the Lord has used Tyler's life and death as a way of pointing back to Him. I am thankful that people may perceive that we've walked through this well, but do not let that deceive you. I have A LOT of hard days. I have definitely questioned the Lord. I have not turned my back on Him, but I have asked Him some significantly hard questions. I have had to dig into His Word and look at the consistency of His character because I needed to make sense of the train wreck our family has experienced. I have lost it with Cooper many, many times. Both in anger and in sadness. I have taken things out on Jerrod countless times because of my grieving. I have acted out of emotion more times that I can recall. I have been a basket case in public restrooms, in my car, at other peoples' house, at the hospital with every ER run I made with Sawyer, and a slew of other places. I have cried so hard (on multiple occasions) that I have induced a panic attack (lovely).

I just want people to know that we are putting one foot in front of the other, and many times not too gracefully I might add. I struggle with feeling super insecure about how we've dealt with this loss, because being in ministry, you live in a glass house a little bit. I would never change that and I am thankful for the accountability, but we are so far from perfect. We still struggle through sin and selfishness just like we all do. I still struggle with insecurity (on multiple fronts) of "what will people think." It's a monster that I wrestle everyday and know that I must take those thoughts captive.

I just needed to confess all that and be really honest. I appreciate all the encouragement, but I wanted to be real and let you in to the "real us." ;) We are very imperfect people, living in an imperfect world that includes bills, cars breaking down (that also have an odor mixture of in-n-out burger, sweat, and soured milk), children who do not obey, sleepless nights, weeds that need to be pulled, dirty shower grout, sticky floors and dust an inch thick on most pieces of furniture. Thankfully we serve a perfect God, one who is sanctifying us to become more like Him and who doesn't really care about all those silly details*. He just cares about our hearts.


THAT is something worth celebrating;)

(* The Lord very much cares about the smallest of details in our lives, especially things that are close to His heart like our children, but I think he's less concerned about the dirtiness of our home and car, and more concerned about the state of our heart;)

* These 3 month pictures of Tyler were retakes because he was super grumpy during the first ones. I remember the only thing that would make him smile was when I got right behind Cori and smiled at him. Just a precious memory of my sweet boy;)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Two Years in Glory

Today's been a tough day, harder than we expected in a lot of ways. I don't have a lot of energy to put into a blog tonight, but wanted to share Tyler's laughing video again from the day before he died. We love you precious one...


video


I will blog more from our day today tomorrow. Thank you everyone for every sweet email, text and facebook message. We were blessed by every single one;)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Day Lillies



Precious reminders of God's faithfulness.....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What's Gnu?

During the summer, it's important to me to maintain some sense of structure now that preschool's out. Besides that, with Coop starting Kindergarten in the fall, I want to do a few educational things with him when I can.

If you haven't seen all the games by "Thinkfun," you are missing out! They are at Target, and here is one that will be wonderful, especially next year and as Coop gets better at reading and spelling.

It's called "What's Gnu?" Pretty cute, huh? It's pretty simple, but you lay out all the game cards that have letters and blanks on them. One person slides the letter cartridge to reveal two letters. All the players look at the letters and the game cards and try to complete a word. The player that makes the word, takes the game card. Whoever makes the most words "wins."



Just a few of the words I helped Coop make:)


Some of the other games at Target we like are Zingo and Smatch....they are more on a preschool level, but Jerrod and I have been known to get a little competitive while playing as a family;)

They make great birthday gifts at around $17 a piece too!

What are your ideas for summer educational stuff??

Friday, June 17, 2011

More Firsts

Somebody's in his "big boy" seat (facing backwards of course for a little while longer:)


Loving having a little more room:)

We took a fun trip to Wild Water this afternoon with our season passes. Jerrod and Coop went all the time last summer while I was giganto pregnant.


Coop hiding under the waterfall.

Happy boy on the slide

I had to add this one. Thought it was worth a good laugh:)

Sawyer and I hung out in the baby part while Daddy and Coop headed to the wave pool and the tubes.

Love my boys;)
(And p.s., Sawyer has his tongue hanging out at least 50% of the time, so here's proof for later;)

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Get Over It

I'm sure there are many an individual who thinks we should be "over" Tyler's death and that our lives should have moved on already. And I'm sure there are maybe even more people who think that since Sawyer's arrival, our lives are all better.....

That somehow by one's presence, we no longer grieve another's absence.

When you experience trauma in your life - true, expected, life-altering, tragedy - it's amazing the things that can trigger a response at a moment's notice. It takes on the form of post traumatic stress and can be brought on by a number of things....places, smells, sights, familiar experiences, seasons, or times of the day or year. In our specific case, summer time (June), the day lilies, swimming with the boys, walking by Tyler's old room, 2:00 p.m., sirens of any sort, seeing someone's baby swaddled too tight or covered by a blanket, holding a four month old, places we took Tyler (to the coast or the mountains), seeing a two year old (or however old Tyler would be at the moment), are just a few things that can promote a trigger. For me, sometimes when I experience these moments, my chest tightens, it's hard to breath, and I feel suffocated. Pretty much an anxiety attack.

With Tyler's glory day approaching, I feel like I am living in a series of events that are causing me to revert back to so many similar emotions. It's incredibly hard to explain, and many times I have a hard time recognizing it, like on Monday when I felt like no matter how many deep breaths I took, how many times I tried to talk to myself about how things are okay, the boys are fine, etc., I still felt short of breath.

Today was another day with those de ja vous moments. We went swimming, and I about had a heart attack placing Sawyer in Tyler's swim floaty. I flashed back and was immediately back in June 2009. All that ran through my head was "two days." Two days till Tyler passed away after being here, now I'm placing Sawyer in here. My anxiety had nothing to do with fear of something happening to Sawyer, but rather just an erie feeling. A post traumatic stress flashback.

We are approaching Tyler's glory day in a few short days, four days after my birthday (yet another trigger), and it feels surreal to be coming up on 2 years. How has it been that long? It grieves my heart to think people feel like we should "get over" Tyler's absence on this earth. The truth is, we will never get over his death. We will never stop missing him or wishing we could hold him one last time. But one thing I do feel confident of is this - that with the hope we have in Christ, we will get through it, not over it. And that my friends, is the very HOPE we can all experience if we will surrender everything over to Him, trusting Him with every detail, even things as precious as our children.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Nutella Cupcakes...yea, they're that good!

Nutella Cupcakes...seriously as yummy as they sound, and most definitely as delicious as they look!
My sweet sister-in-law sent me a link with this recipe and it has been such a hit that I had to share! Thank you Ashlea...they are a fave everywhere we've taken them;)




My fancy shmancy way of putting the batter in the cupcake liners (ziplock with the batter inside and a corner snipped with scissors...much less of a mess).

I used Sawyer's baby spoon to put the Nutella into each cupcake. Worked like a charm.

Swirl it in with a little toothpick action.

Bake it and Voila!
Then for the butter cream icing! And by the looks of those 5 ingredients, we are not looking at low fat! That's what makes them so yummy of course;)

Again, another ziplock with the icing to top each cupcake.

Now this is the part that looks a little different than the blog pics. Sorry if I offend anyone, but when I began icing the cupcakes, it kind of took on the appearance of poo. Yep, that's right. Soooo, I rounded it off with a spoon and then took a toothpick to do a little design.

Top it off with some chocolate sprinkles:)


And of course, Coop wanted to top a few for the kiddos with some fun colored sprinkles;)

So, save up your calories for the day, cause these bad boys are incredibly worth it. Yum!
Happy Monday:)

Ingredients:

Devil’s Food Cake Mix 3 eggs

½ cup oil ¼ cup milk

½ cup water 1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sour cream 24 teaspoons Nutella (1 per cupcake)


Nutella Buttercream:

¾ cup Nutella ¼ cup butter, softened

1 ½ -2 ½ cups powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla

3-4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 24 muffins tins.

2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, oil, milk, water and vanilla.

3. Sift in cake mix and stir in sour cream.

4. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full and then place a teaspoon of Nutella on top of each one. Using a toothpick, swirl the Nutella into the batter.

5. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until the sides spring back. (The tops will stay gooey because of the Nutella.)

6. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and place directly into airtight containers so seal in moisture.

7. Buttercream: Beat the Nutella and butter for 5 minutes. Add vanilla, then alternate between adding powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream. Taste the buttercream until you reach your desired sweetness. You may need to refrigerate the buttercream before piping it onto cooled cupcakes.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's Summer!

Summer's here, which means no more preschool and hello swimming!
We've had a fun couple days off with Daddy just relaxing. We went to Chuck E. Cheese's to celebrate Cooper finishing preschool and went to a fun swimming birthday party for Cooper's friend, Drew.


Coop excited on the way to Chuck E. Cheese's.


Sawyer's very first time on a ride:)


I thought this was hilarious...Coop couldn't reach this game, so while Coop looked through the 3-D part, Daddy did the "shooting."




Seriously, Cooper is too funny. Here he has goggles, a noodle and a squirt gun in hand.

It was a little chilly but nobody complained:)
Sawyer's first time in the pool. He LOVED it! He just splashed and kicked his feet:)


How sweet is he?


"Oh mom....."

And just one more...this is Tyler on June 22, 2009. He died two days later. This was his first time to go swimming too;) Just wanted to share my third sweet boy. I miss him so much and can't believe that his two year Glory day is approaching. The day lilies are beginning to bloom in our front flower bed, as they do every year during this time. They are yellow which seems very fitting as they remind me of the joy we have in Christ and the hope of sweet reunions one day because of Him.