Monday, December 15, 2008

I've Been Tagged


I almost forgot, I have been tagged by Caci. The tag is to post the fourth picture from the fourth album on your computer (unless it is something truly distasteful I am assuming...:)) So, here is mine... oh yeah, and I am tagging Jaime, Beckie, Christina, Emily, and Kim... good luck!

Rock Out

*** don't forget to pause the playlist music before starting the video :)
video

This is a little video footage I took of J.T.'s school musical. In case you can't tell, it is a version of Christmas Don't Be Late by Alvin and the Chipmunks, except they "rock out" at the end playing air guitars and such. J.T., as you can see, is a little bit reserved. If they had done the song, say, 3 or 4 more times, he would have most certainly joined in. Or maybe not since he is on antibiotics for pneumonia!!! On a brighter note, for us at least, he slept in his bed all night long last night. He almost did the night before, but he did wake up once and I had to take him his Incredible Hulk flashlight... last night we tucked him in with it. I don't have the time to go into all of the details, but J.T. is a sneaky little man and ends up in our bed EVERY night since I got pregnant with Finley... who is almost 2 years old! Needless to say, this is one of the main reasons I have had to take a blogging break - I am soooo tired! Hopefully, consistency won in the end and he will continue to do well. I guess we will see. Stubborn parents yield stubborn children I guess...

Happy Holidays,

Meredith

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Find a Happy Place, Find a Happy Place






It's 6:55 p.m.... do you know where my kids are? IN BED! I posted recently that J.T. has been really sick, and now that he is feeling a little bit better - John and Finley came down with something else entirely! I won't go into all of the details, but John has been in bed ALL DAY! And in case you didn't know, it has been blowing snow all day - thankyouverymuch - and hopping in the car to head to McDonald's or Chick-fil-A to enjoy their playland was out of the question. Soooo, we had to find other things to do, while trying to stay out of the "infected" areas. Did I mention it has been snowing all day. Okay, just checking.
Back to finding my happy place, I wanted to post just a couple of sneak peaks from our photo session a few weekends ago. No, J.T. did not wear his Darth Vader shirt, but it was a precious photo op and I'm glad Melissa captured it.
Speaking of hide and go seek - no we weren't really speaking of it, but it is my blog, my transition! Anyway, hide and go seek was one small thing we did today to pass the time. Finley isn't the greatest hider, but most certainly the cutest!
Where's Finley?
There he is!

So, back to the snow. J.T. has been wanting to build a snowman soooo badly, and even though he has been super sick, I decided it was easier to bundle him up and get it over with than fight him all day long! Thankfully, Gigi (my mother) sent us a snowman kit a few years ago with everything you need to build a snowman - you know - except for the snow. Here is the finished product:

By lunchtime - oh yes, we're not even through lunchtime people - I was ready to pull my hair out. Not that I don't enjoy spending time with my children, I do, but I really like our weekends to be mommy and daddy time. I should also mention that at least 3 or 4 times every hour, the boys tried to go into, beat on the door of, yell at the top of their lungs into my bedroom at said daddy.. who was, in all honesty, laying on our marriage/his death bed, pale as a ghost and smelling of things ungodly....
Next please...
Speaking of lunchtime and minus the yucky smells, I ordered pizza online today for the first time ever! (Okay the second time this week (end), but the first time online!) One small feat accomplished! If only they could eat once a day! All of this to say that online ordering is one of the best things to ever happen to me - seriously - it was great!
After naptime (for Finn because J.T. gave up sleep for lint or something and never took it up again) I thought that some cookies were in order. Today, however, Finley wanted to help and J.T. (shocker) decided that it would be okay to let him! So, in case you wanted to know how to make Christmas cookies:
Preheat the oven to 375 (yes they are premade - I am all about convenience these days!)
Remind the child very loudly and multiple times that we don't eat them yet, just put them on the baking sheet
Very slowly (12 minutes) put each one on the sheet and cry when mommy moves them the 2-3 inches apart from each other that they need to bake
Let them cool off! (more crying involved)
I didn't get a picture of them eating the cookies because I was so frazzled by this point! Needless to say, we had pizza (again) for dinner, clean-up, a warm, special Wall-E Bubble Bath party, and off to bed. (after hugs, kisses, reading Space Chimps with sounds effects twice of course)
Thank goodness John brought home this wonderful treat earlier this week! All in moderation people - find a happy place.
Now that my kiddos are sleeping soundly and I have had a chance to wind down a little, I noticed that throughout this crazy day I have done most of the laundry, cleaned the house, mopped the floors and dusted the dusty.... and now I want nothing more than to curl up on the couch in my warm, cozy house and read a good book and drink a glass of wine! It is going to be needed, I am sure, as I am most definitely not sleeping in the "infected" room tonight! The only question left: bunk beds or the couch???

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008 and other stuff

Okay, I know it has been over a week since I posted last, but we have been having soooo much fun decorating for Christmas. We decided to put our tree up early since I had to work the Thanksgiving holiday, and we didn't stop there! John and I just love this time of year, and decided that we love our house the most when our Christmas decorations are out.... so we put them out! So, we spent the week decorating - a little at a time - and of course J.T. got sick - really sick actually - so we dealt with that - and my blogging little fingers had to sit idly for a while. That being said - I feel like I don't have the words to say it all - but I thought a numbers post would work quite nicely!!!
Here goes:
12 - number of hours I had just worked before embarking on my "black friday" adventure.
2 - parking spaces from the front of the store (Target). Score? Meredith - 1 The world - 0
1 - lovely husband to stay home with the kiddos so I could enjoy such an occasion
11 - the hour I arrived home in time to hop in the car with the fam to enjoy lunch
3 - number of children everyone thought I had - J.T., Finley, and Finn's atrocious diaper
2 - number of children I actually had
2 - number of Hot-N-Spicy McChicken's I consumed all by myself
2 - again - number of hours I slept before being awakened by needy children.
0 - number of hours J.T. slept!
12 - number of minutes I was in the warm, bubbly bath before J.T. got into the hair products
4 - seconds before I decided it wasn't a battle worth fighting
5 - products J.T. used while I was in said bathtub to fix his hair: water, gel, hairspray, Estee Lauder perfume (I don't get it either) and sunglasses for Finn to put on so he wouldn't get any hairspray in his eyes ( so thoughtful)
16 - number of times J.T. asked me if he could get in the bath with me (yes, I counted)
10 - number of times Finley turned the light on and off before I thought to just move the stool so he could no longer reach it.
5 - minutes Finn cried before getting over it!
22 - minutes it took our Pizza to arrive
22 - seconds it took to put a smile on not only my face, but everyone's faces
0 -you guessed it - number of meals eaten at home today
However, there is:
1 - crockpot full of yummy oatmeal with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon that will be ready when we wake up tomorrow
8 -cups of Vanilla Biscotti coffee set to auto brew - also for tomorrow morning
and
1 more chance to start a new day, cook for my family, wrap some presents and tell my family how much I love them!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Run Finley Run


Sorry about the title. I just couldn't help myself. This past week Finley was "casted" for his new leg brace (yes, just one - for the right foot) and I found myself in his closet looking for his old ones. I don't know why. I just wanted to see them. I remember the first day he got them. I put on the brave face while Jen put them on and we watched him crawl around and walk with assistance. I thought I was doing okay until I was strapping him in the carseat and I teared up (I know - shocker) just looking at him. It is amazing to look back and see how far we've come.

Sometimes we just need a gentle reminder.

I took this picture this evening. I didn't remember setting these down on his dresser. I just did. And while I was putting him to bed tonight and praying for him to grow to be a strong man of God, they caught my eye. You know what happened then? I smiled. Actually, I laughed. What a beautiful reminder of the Great Physician that we serve.

Finley will have these braces for a while I am sure, if not forever. I know that people will ask me why he has them, what happened, etc. and I welcome the opportunity to tell them.

Too bad that when we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior we don't get a little souvenier, some physical reminder of the glorious change that has taken place. Or maybe we do.

Maybe our lives and the way we live them are someone else's gentle reminder. I wonder when they see us... what do they see? Is it obvious enough that someone will ask why we are different?

Just thinking,

Meredith

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Night Out with the Retro Housewives

Last night I had the opportunity to play Bunco with 11 of the funniest women I have ever met. To make things even more playful, we dressed up as "retro housewives" for the event. For those of you who do not know exactly what that is, think Pleasantville the movie or June Cleaver.... What a blast!!! My kids are currently having breakdowns, I mean tears and all, one is actually on the floor rolling back and forth like he is in pain... so I need to go for now.

Angela and I both won prizes!!!
My new kitchen shears.... LOVE THEM!!!
The coveted boa... BUNCO!
Angela... looks like she stepped out of the Cleaver Household
Look out Stepford

Hope you all have a great weekend!!!

Meredith

The kitchen shears were the prize I won... didn't mean to confuse anyone!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

How to Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Today J.T. decided it was time to make his own peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Up until recently, I would have never allowed it. Too messy. Takes too long. I can do it better, faster. Not today. He effectively made the best and most tasty PB&J in the history of the Templin family. Even Pappaw would approve, peanut butter on the bottom! Let's observe:


Peanut Butter

Then Jelly


Put it together
I did it... all by myself

Enjoy perfection.
Other exciting attractions in our house this week:

J.T. and Finley cleaned the floors and staircase with socks on their hands.




Couldn't have done it better myself.


In the words of my favorite "Flylady", "Housework done incorrectly, still blesses your family!"



Finley in therapy... hardly looks like therapy.





Picture day at school.


Oh yeah, and J.T. gathered up every toy downstairs and made a HUGE pile. Impressive.



Have a good weekend,
Meredith

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Free



For the past 21 months I have felt every emotion imaginable to say the least. I felt tremendous joy at the birth of our second child, fear when he stopped breathing hours after, anger with God and everyone around me for something I couldn't control, guilt that I didn't speak up for something I could control, uncertainty if he would survive at all. We rode a roller coaster of emotions from one moment to the next when Finley's life hung in the balance. However, to say that these were the worst times would be a complete lie. It was the months to follow, until very recently actually, that held the darkest times of my life. Fear is a funny thing. We all need fear to survive. A healthy dose of fear. My fear, however, has consumed me. I should probably start at the beginning.

On January 22, 2007 I went to my routine doctor's appointment and, being 39 weeks with occasional high blood pressure, we were discussing induction. My doctor decided that it wouldn't be a bad idea to start that evening, so my mom and I headed home to get everything ready. Before leaving the hospital, my doctor changed my plans just a little by asking me to deliver in a different hospital. He just felt better at this particular hospital because they were more "established". So, we went to register with Labor and Delivery so I would have a room. In the registration lobby, we saw the cutest baby stroller. We went over to take a peek and discovered that the baby inside had Down's Syndrome. We smiled and congratulated the new mommy and were on our way. This, for me, is where it all began. I cannot describe how I felt that afternoon. I looked at my mother and teared up. I said, "That was a bad omen mom." Of course, I have been known to be a little emotional, so on we went. Fast forward to that evening, we dropped J.T. off at aunt Lissa's house with his new Diego pajamas among other things (guilt is so powerful with my debit card). There were lots of hugs and kisses, more guilt on my part, lots of tears from me as well. I would later find out that after we left, at dinner, my niece Emily prayed for God to be with baby Finn.
God is still in the small things.
Our first night at the hospital was uneventful. The next morning I decided to get an epidural before the pain got too bad. My labor progressed at a normal rate and I started feeling the need to push. I told my nurse when she came back in the room as to not inconvenience her with the call light. She very politely blew me off and because I didn't want her to be upset with me, I waited a while before mentioning it again. She was, after all, an experienced nurse and probably knew what she was talking about. Finally, a few hours later, she called my doctor and it was time to have a baby. My doctor came in and 2 pushes later, we had our beautiful baby boy. He cried on cue, had pink little lips... a perfect baby boy. They wrapped him up and we all took turns holding him. John, my mother, and I all held that perfect baby and took pictures galore. Now, remember my "omen" that morning.... I had, for the rest of that day, told my mom I just didn't feel right. "I just have a bad feeling." My mom looked at me holding my precious boy and said, "See, Meredith, everything was just perfect." I conceded and decided to be grateful for my newest addition. The newborn nursery came to take Finley down the hall to give him a bath and give us time to rest and eat before J.T. arrived to meet his new brother. And then our lives changed. Forever.


A nurse practitioner came to tell us that Finley had stopped breathing in the nursery. She asked a lot of questions. "It's probably just an infection." Something about blood work. Being a nurse, I know that these things happen more than most people realize. I tried not to worry. I had to be strong for John, so he wouldn't worry too much. The practitioner left. I called my best friend Jaime to ask what the possibilities were. I worried. I cried. I didn't eat.
Not too long after that, the NNP came back in to tell us that Finley stopped breathing multiple times since our first meeting and they were admitting him to the NICU. I couldn't get out of bed yet but John could go with him. John had been with Finley for most of this time and I can only pray that the Lord will heal him from what he saw that night. No one should ever watch their child be resuscitated. No one should ever have to watch it more than once. John watched multiple times. By the time I was taken in a wheelchair to the unit, they were in fullblown CPR and intubating my baby. (a breathing tube to breathe for him with a ventilator) The NNP told us that apnea (to stop breathing) with no other symptoms in a newborn points to neonatal stroke. We would need a CT scan. It would be hours before they could fit him in. I don't know if you have ever seen my husband in action, but Finley was in and out of CT within the hour after John was done with them. (Good job baby!)
This is where our journey really began. We couldn't go with Finley to CT and J.T., Jimmy, and Melissa had arrived in the meantime. Jimmy and John stayed with J.T. My mom, Melissa and I stayed in my new room to pray. I remember hearing my mom and Melissa praying over me. I remember asking my mom if God would really take my baby. I remember feeling heat and cold and anger and an overwhelming sadness. Before we were given the results, I talked it out as reasonably as I could. Apnea is a sign of infection - babies get infections all the time - we are good people - we are christians - he couldn't have had a stroke - it's an infection, it's an infection, God it has to be an infection, please. We all prayed again. I heard voices, but I approached my God at my weakest moment. I prayed the hardest prayer I have ever prayed.

God, if it is your will to take my baby, then I want your will to be done. But please remember that I am a mother. Please remember that my heart is breaking. Please give me your peace.

Moments after I prayed this prayer, we returned to the NICU for the results of the CT. "I am so sorry. Finley has had a stroke....." I remember my face on fire, so hot, blood rushing in my ears. Everything was in slow motion. People were looking at me and their lips were moving.... no sound.. breathe. Pain. Breathe.
That night was a blur. I remember walking in on John praying out loud over Finley in the NICU (thought I was dreaming), I remember kissing Finley and telling him things that will forever be between him and me, I remember praying one more time for peace before I was forced, seriously, to take Ambien.
You know how when something bad happens, you dream about it all night long. The restless, awful, evil feeling that ensues. You awake and wonder what really happened and what you dreamed up.
Not me.
... a peace that passes all understanding.
I cannot describe the peace that came over me. But I can tell you that it was not the Ambien. It is good, but not that good.

As you all know, Finley survived. Our fair-haired soldier. He is a fighter. He came into this world fighting and hasn't stopped since.


And neither has satan.
The closer we draw to God, the harder satan fights to keep us away.

I can honestly say that in my life, more often that not, he has been successful.
Here's how he works. A few months after Finley's birth, J.T. had a knot in his neck. The nurse in me knows that this is probably an enlarged lymphnode from a strep infection since J.T. is prone to strep. However, the nurse in me was sleep deprived, scared, anxious, barely making it from one day to the next with a baby with colic. Satan knows this. He knows I am clinging to my babies for fear of losing them. So he invades my thoughts.

probably lymphoma, you will bury your "healthy" son, you've been neglecting him to take care of your "sick" son

you wouldn't have a "sick" son if you had been a good mother, if you had stood up to your nurse, took up for your baby

everyone blames you, your husband blames you, your only job was to carry a healthy baby, to be a good mother

you're a failure

He is the father of lies. He will breathe down your neck at your weakest moment and he hits below the belt. He is a deceiver. He will kill your hopes and dreams if you let him and turn your eyes to anything but the only One who matters. This is what he has done to me. This is the only thing he can do.

Want to know why?

Because the battle for my soul was fought before I was conceived. My fears and failures were fully known to the One who made me. The one who died for me. The one who is living within me.

He is still on his throne.

Today I felt the Lord's presence like I feel my toddler's tugging at my pants. Urging me to trust in Him. My grace is sufficient for you...

I have to let go of the fear. Fearing for my children will not change their future. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

What am I afraid of? That if I stop worrying about them, then God will forget about them?

I have to let go of the guilt. I know the plans that I have for you..

If I stop feeling guilty, then what??? I realized today that my God is so much bigger... bigger than a nurse or an infection or a stroke! Nothing that I could've done would have changed my little boy's life.... because he's not mine. He is God's. And nothing I could ever do or want for him compares to the plans of the God I serve. He makes no mistake. How blessed are we to serve a God who is able!!!

If I could go back and change one thing, or any thing, I can't say that I would. We are where we are and who we are because of what our Lord has done for us. His grace IS sufficient. Looking back, I wish I had realized these truths months ago and given God the glory through these times instead of sulking in self-pity and remorse. However, starting today, I am telling Satan "No more!" I serve a God who knows my thoughts and everything I have ever done.... and he has forgiven me! I am free..

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween - A Christian Holiday???





Hi everyone! Recently, I feel like I have been under fire for my beliefs as a "christian". I just wanted to clarify what it means to be a believer. This is what I know to be true. That there is one true God, the creator of the heavens and the earth. That He had a son - Jesus, who came to live on this earth without sin and die for our sins. All sins, any sin you have ever and will ever commit. That those who believe in these truths, and ask him to come into your heart and forgive you of these sins, will have so much more hope in this life because we are assured of our destination for eternity. That being said...


Yes we are christian and yes we celebrate Halloween... maybe celebrate is too strong of a word. We participate in Halloween. Why? Because we have too many battles in this world for our children's souls and not allowing them to dress up as a superhero and participate in a fantasy for a day isn't a battle we are choosing to fight right now. We are teaching our children that we are in this world and not of it. Do we "believe" in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny? You bet we do! But we also stand firm in the Bible and the birth of Christ, His crucifixion and resurrection. Our salvation. We are trying to model their heavenly Father daily so that they are prepared to make the only decision that matters when the time comes. In the meantime, the reality of this world will be fully known to them all too soon and I choose, as a mother, to give them all of the luxuries of childhood that I can. I am allowing them to be innocent!
We do not take more pictures with Finley on purpose I promise... J.T. just was more into handing out candy than posing with mom and dad. Also, we had to put a profile picture of Finn the giraffe for all to see. He was so precious!!! At every house he said, "tyu" (thank you) and "bye bye". Hope you all had a blast! We sure did!!!
Happy Fall,
Meredith

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Great Read

I just wanted to encourage you all to read Angie's "Ransom" post on her blog - www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com. She is such a talented writer and has encouraged me spiritually over the last few months. Just click on this link or the "Bring the Rain" blog to the right and scroll down a little until you see "Ransomed". It is a beautiful posting - get out your kleenex!
Smiles,
Meredith

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mommy's Little.. Sorry.. BIG Helper

J.T. has been such a wonderful helper lately. A few weekends ago John went to the grocery store for me (what a man) and brought the bags in for me to put the groceries away. I put away the cold items and freezer stuff first and got busy with other things. This left the pantry food and misc. items still in the bags on the floor. You can imagine my surprise when I came downstairs to find J.T. had "unpacked" all of the bags, thrown them in the trash (remember John went to the grocery store and he doesn't take my "green" cloth bags), and neatly stacked all of the remaining items in the middle of the floor.
My surprise was even greater because he came and got me, took me by the hand and told me to close my eyes. WOW! What a big helper! I snapped a picture for obvious reasons - I just can't help myself - and filed it in my memory. This morning, I brought towels up from the basement to fold (John made me) and J.T. immediately went to work folding the towels.
I decided that even though they aren't folded to my standards, I should forget my standards and be thankful that he wants to help. I told him he was hired and I would pay him in goldfish.. I'll let you know how that works out. Please don't think I'm kidding people - these towels are going straight to the linen closet! I truly don't understand folding the towels anyway. Seriously, growing up we got our clean towels out of the dryer. I think we should bag them out of the dryer and hang them on the back of the shower door. Do they really need to be folded so we can unfold them, dry off, and throw them in a jumbled mess on the floor? Yes - I said on the floor - because that is where they land in my house! I even bought a duck and frog - yes frog - hampers and tell the kids to "feed the duck and frog your clothes and towels". I digress.




Hope you guys stop and smell the roses today - or in my case the clean and FOLDED towels - because our little ones are only little for so long. Enjoy them!
Happy "we're so close to the big candy fest" Halloween,
Meredith

Monday, October 20, 2008

Flashback


This picture was taken in the fall of 2005, the day after our first pumpkin patch visit with J.T. I still remember that shirt and those pants.... I still remember that day! It is funny how some things never change. I was still working nights, we carved in the same place, that is even the same trailblazer in the background. I can't believe how big he has gotten and how much he and Finley resemble each other. Sigh... tears...
Meredith

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Punkin' Patch

Oh boy oh boy!!! The day finally came to go to Anderson Farms Pumpkin Patch. John and I took J.T. for the first time when he was just a little younger than Finley is now.... and we hope to make it a family tradition. When we were in Louisiana last year, we were truly sad when fall came and went without our visit to the patch. This year, as in years before, we met up with Jimmy and Melissa (John's sister and her husband) and their brood. Thanks guys for a wonderful day! First line of business - to see the animals. Llamas and goats and chickens and roosters. John actually pulled Finley's finger out of the chicken fence just in time... a rooster would've taken his finger off for sure. Finley also started saying chicken... too cute. Next, the kids played on the hay bales (not sure how to spell that). This is actually a maze with hay stacked up all around it, but the majority of the children there just want to run around on top and jump over the paths in the middle. There was also a jumping castle this year and everyone enjoyed that as well. Then the time came that we had all been waiting for... to jump on the hayride to the pumpkin patch. At the beginning of the hayride the driver stops to let you feed the cows, but we went so late in the day, I think they were full already - they just sort of stared at us. When we arrived at the "punkin patch" as J.T. says, the kids couldn't wait to find the perfect pumpkin. We must've looked at 30 pumpkins before we found the one for us. I also got to snap a few pictures in the meantime. After the finale, we went to eat dinner at a place called Cinzetti's, and let me tell you it was FANTASTIC! If you ever get a chance to eat there take it because the food is delicious and it is now possibly my new favorite restaurant. (kudos to uncle Jimmy for recommending it)








You can't buy a pumpkin and not carve it! We started Sunday afternoon cutting out the tops and "scooped the goop". J.T. and Finley really enjoyed this part. I grossed J.T. out though pretending to eat it - yuck mom! Next, we used some really neat stencils that daddy got for us to make a Haunted House and - J.T. picked this one out.. a WITCH! The boys played outside in the beautiful fall weather we are having while John and I labored away detailing the pumpkins. Okay that's a lie! We were like two kids again - so giddy to be outside having fun. However, when we were done the pumpkins didn't look like we thought they would. But, being the stubborn couple that we are, we didn't let on. Tonight though, when we lit them up with the candles, they looked exactly like they were supposed to - SCARY and so wonderful! Now we can't wait for Halloween!!! I hope everyone enjoys the pictures - they are the only reason for blogging you know :).









Happy Fall,
Meredith
PS... I carved the witch by the way... just so you know.