Thursday, August 27, 2009

Scariest Google search I've ever been associated with?

Someone found their way to our blog by searching "post mortem on murder suicide". Seriously? I can say with certainty that they did not find what they were looking for. It has me questioning how Google formulates those search results.

And now I suppose this post will send more similar searchers our way . . .

A few laughs for your Thursday

Charlotte has been a little under the weather for the past couple of days, running a fever and feeling a little lethargic. I'm not quite sure what it is, but when she went down for an early nap this morning she felt slightly less warm than she has over the past 24 hours. We'll see how she's doing when she gets up!

She had her 9 month check up on Tuesday and she is finally growing some in height, but not so much in weight. I think she's gained a grand total of 5 ounces in the past three months. She did finally hit the 50th percentile for length though, so we're going to celebrate those little gains! Charlotte must have the most amazing metabolism, because she eats like there is no tomorrow. Caroline never ate nearly as much food as Charlotte does, but Caroline always hovered around the 50th percentile for weight. Our little Charlotte on the other hand hasn't gotten above the 10th percentile for weight since she was three months old. She is a very happy and generally healthy baby though - the past two days excepted. So, I thought I'd share a little video of her precious laugh to brighten up your Thursday:

video

Monday, August 24, 2009

Whirlwind

Isn't it called "onomatopoeia" when the word sounds like what it means? I'm not sure "whirlwind" falls into the definition cleanly, but there is something sweeping and all-encompassing about the sound of that word that expresses well our life over the past few weeks. We've been through some tough decisions about Caroline and school for the next year (and year after),

we've had family and friends visit,




we've visited family,


we've had visits to the doctor and hospital (for three out of our little four member family),


we've celebrated a birthday,


we've watched that girl start a new dance class,


we've watched our baby start to crawl, we've held that same baby as she experiences the pain of two more teeth coming in, we've played, laughed and photographed,

and of course we've had the drill of school, work, and home life thrown in too. Don't get me wrong; life is good and all of these things make me so thankful for my family and the blessings God showers on us. It's just busy too.

A couple of stories from the past couple of weeks:
Caroline and I started reading Charlotte's Web a couple of weeks ago. It's a pretty long book for a four year old, but we just decided that each night at bedtime I would read her a couple of chapters. It was great for me because that was one of my all-time favorite books and movies. I hadn't read it since I was a kid though, and I really enjoyed reliving it with Caroline. I remembered it being sad, but I wasn't prepared for how deeply it touched me. I literally sobbed through several pages in the last two chapters. Caroline wasn't quite sure what to make of my emotionalism, but she tried to soothe me (and her sweet little consoling made me cry harder) by telling me that Wilbur would be okay and he would make other friends and Charlotte gets to be with God now! Despite my tears, I enjoyed reading it again; it is a great story about sacrifice and friendship.

So, as I mentioned above, Charlotte is starting to crawl. She's been scooting around on her tummy for a few weeks now, but she has finally figured out how to get up on her knees. She kind of rocks back and forth when she gets up on all fours and occasionally even propels herself forward (or backward) a little bit. I tried multiple times to get a video of her actually crawling, but this is as close as I could get to a a glimpse at her new found skill:

video

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fantastic visit

Like I said in my last post, we were so blessed to have Allison, Jeremy, and Cooper visit us over last weekend. Jeremy's post will give you the play-by-play on what we did, so I'll just post some pictures and say that we are really lucky to have such good friends! Even though they live "far far away" (in Caroline's words), we still manage to see them once or twice a year, though it's not nearly enough for any of us. So if anyone has an idea for starting some kind of commune that can sustain itself with at least three kids, one accountant, two lawyers, and a youth minister-teacher-artist, please leave a comment below; we'd love to figure out a way to spend more time with them!






We went over to LSU and visited Mike.




Rolling down the Indian Mounds at LSU.






Caroline and Cooper on Caroline's trail that runs behind our house.


Climbing a tree in the backyard.


The kids and Allison and I made shortcakes for our strawberry shortcake dessert Sunday night. Cooper liked baking just as much as Caroline did and they did a great job taking turns and sharing (which can be hard sometimes!). They came out great.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Short update!

Caroline had a great birthday party this past weekend: Great friends, great family, great presents, great cake, We also had our friends Allison, Jeremy, and Cooper in town staying with us, so we had no only a birthday party Saturday, but also a weekend of having fun with wonderful friends. We've been busy recovering from the weekend and getting back into the swing of life with work and school, but I'll post some more stories and pictures soon. For now, here's a little series of a precious moment for a four year old: blowing out the candles on her Tinker Bell cake!





Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A stone instead of bread

So I stumbled upon this post by Tim Challies that is apparently creating a little storm in the blog-internet-webby- world; so of course I thought I’d throw my two cents in to the conversation. Abraham Piper has a much shorter, much better post on this than me and the comments over there are great too.

The piece is a doctrinal response to an email he received a few months ago from a young woman (it was not the response he sent to her via email, just to be clear). The writer of the email now counsels women who have had abortions or are seeking abortions (I think I’m right about that), but once found herself in the same shoes as those whom she counsels. From the email excerpt he prints, it appears that she had two abortions earlier in life. She comes to Challies with a heart-wrenching question about his beliefs about what happen to children who die as babies or in the womb. She makes clear that she had always found comfort in her belief that those babies were now with God in Heaven. After she read something Challies posted previously, she was calling that belief into question.

In my opinion Challies approaches her hurt and heart-felt question in a cold, calloused way. Perhaps doctrinally correct-perhaps not as well- but most certainly without feeling and with many assumptions and a lot of judgment. As I read through the post, as someone who has lost a baby before he had a chance to take his first breath, I was astonished at the tone and overcome by the thought: “This is one of the reasons people don’t like Christians.” He takes a woman at a vulnerable and broken place and speaks to her about doctrine. Theology. She must not have the right doctrine; she must have the wrong Theology about the ultimate fate of the souls of her unborn children.

Ultimately, I think Challies’s major mistake in his piece was the tone he took and the way it was a literary look down his nose at the young woman. I didn’t read the whole email, so maybe he was right to make some of the assumptions he did about her and her faith, but they came across really harsh and judgmental. It was the epitome of giving your child a stone when he asks you for bread; a snake when he asks for a fish (Matthew 7:9-10).

Where he was not mistaken is in the basic premise: we cannot know for sure what happens to babies when they die; the Bible simply doesn’t answer the questions clearly. He was not wrong to point that out, nor was he wrong to bring up the fact of original sin or the need to find hope in Christ and not in our children, living or dead. This is where he and I would part ways though. He may very well be right. Or he may be wrong. It is just as possible that all babies go to Heaven as it is that they do not. This is a question that hits too close to home for some of us for whom this is more a matter of the heart than the head though. It is not a question on which an individual’s salvation hinges, and I think Challies would be wise to save the brow-beating and doctrine trumpeting for matters with more eternal consequences.

As I’ve stepped away from his post for a couple of days now, I have tried to look back at it to see what I can take from it as a lesson. This morning as I read Oswald Chambers for today my eyes were opened to the lesson of it that anyone can walk away with no matter on which side of the argument you fall. Do I trust in God because of the outcome of any given situation? Because he allows/creates/causes good things in my life? Or do I trust in God because I believe his ways are best, he is trustworthy because of who he is and not because of what he does?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Youth Ministers!

This is really funny. Perhaps I got some extra laughs out of it because this is what Jeff does for a job (or one of his jobs ;-)), but if you've ever even just been to a youth group, you'll enjoy this one:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Four years ago today



Four years ago today, this little girl made me a mom.





When she entered our world and each day since she brought joy, laughter, insight, fun, hugs, kisses, challenges, tears, and more love than words can say.















When I was about 6 or 7 months pregnant with Caroline, I had a conversation with a man I've known since I was young. His eyes lit up as spoke about his own children and the capacity of our hearts to love them. I thought I understood him as I nodded and voiced my agreement, but oh how two or three months can change that perspective.

I know now what he was talking about. While Caroline entered the world at 6 lbs., 12 ozs, 21 inches long at 11:32 am, there are no numbers or words that can adequately express the weight she has in my life. It's that weight in the world, that God-given "Caroline-ness" that she is that has taught me more about that love each day.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Paging Dr. Shepard

Caroline stayed home "sick" today. It was really just allergies in my expert medical opinion. And in case you didn't know, I used to want to be a doctor when I grew up, but enter Chemistry at LSU and well, we all know what happened. So, I think that qualifies me to make some medical diagnoses on my children,right? In any event, Caroline came to the office with me for the morning and she was really well-behaved and entertained herself and around 2:00 I decided that she had been through enough and it was time for us to head home.

After we got settled and I brought in all four loads of who-knows-what we lugged with us to work, I let Caroline watch a show on TV (which is a rarity for her during the week, so she was super-excited). I headed back to our room to change out of my work clothes and no sooner did I step foot in my room than I heard a loud boom and a scream. I mean loud. Complete with crying. And not the fake, I need a little attention crying.

I ran back to the living room to see Caroline standing next to the coffee table, holding her eye, screaming and crying like she was truly hurt. I pulled her hand away from her face to see a nice little half inch slit above her eye that was kind o gaping open and bleeding pretty profusely. Through her tears, she was able to tell me that she had been standing on the couch and fell off and hit her head on the coffee table. If she was a little older and more manipulative, she would now be telling me, "See Mom! Because you never let me watch TV, I was excited during my show that I jumped on the couch and fell off. You need to let me watch it more often and things like this won't happen." But I digress. After putting a tissue on the cut, my first thought was that this might need stitches, or at least the medical opinion of someone who did more than dream about med school. So, I called the doctor and she said that they couldn't do stitches at the office and because the cut was so close to her eye, we should probably get it checked out at the ER.

I had to drag Caroline into the car because when I said the word "hospital" to Jeff, it did not invoke scenes of good-looking doctors hanging out drinking coffee or performed complex life-saving brain surgery for our little girl. She was petrified and we prayed on the drive over to the hospital that everything would be okay and that she wouldn't be scared.

Once we got there she seemed fine and they called us back after a few minutes of waiting, which really wasn't bad at all, not what I was expecting. The nurse practitioner was wonderful and made Caroline feel so at ease, getting her information, and looking at her cut. We did have to wait a while for the doctor to make his way in because there was an emergency that they all had to attend to for a while. He did some things to her little injury that I won't explain because I'm not sure how to without grossing everyone out, but in the end he decided that the cut was a "clean cut": very straight, not in a spot she'll likely agitate, no insides coming out (yuck), and not profuse bleeding an hour after the injury - so no stitches for us!

I am really thankful because I wasn't quite sure how I was going to sit by and watch them give my child a shot right by her eye. And of course because I didn't want Caroline to endure all that goes in to getting stitches.

She seemed to be doing pretty well when she went to sleep tonight. She's dosed up on Tylenol and Motrin and sleeping as upright as an almost four year old can. They did tell us that Caroline will have one heck of a black eye for a couple of weeks. Which is really convenient because we'll be visiting with family who rarely see her this weekend and then her birthday and birthday party are next week. Works out really well! I guess in the future we'll look back on all of this and be able to say, "Oh, yeah. That picture must be from your 4th birthday party because, look, you've got the black eye." Always looking on the sunny side!



My new addiction?

So I mentioned in my last post that Jeff and I had been saving up for a new camera for a while, and lusting over a few of them for quite a bit longer than that. Last week after a long and well-researched process, we did it. We bought the camera. THE. CAMERA. I know everyone has their own loves when it comes to camera brands, some people are Canon all the way or Nikon without question, but after talking to a lot of people and doing some reading, we decided to go with Pentax. I won't bore you with the details of why we chose it, unless of course you want those details, and in that case just leave me a comment or email me, but after one week and about 150 pictures taken, we happy so far. Amelia said that I need to prepare myself for this to become my new addiction.

The thing that blows me away is the sheer quality of the photographs. Granted we had an old, fat, small screen digital camera that we were used to, but the difference is really remarkable. I am no photographer; this is the first nice camera I've ever owned, but even on the regular "camera does all the work for you" mode, the photographs are unbelievable. I don't know how to explain it, other than to say that you can really "see" so much more in each photograph.

Here is a peek at the past week through the lens of the new purchase (and with a very, very amateur user pushing the button):


Our happy girl.


Our happy girls!


She was working hard on getting that last Cheerio into her mouth.


Caroline and I spent Friday night at a birthday party at a place kids love with an odd and incomprehensible love: Chuck E Cheese. This horse riding game was tops for her that night.


Caroline and I woke up early Saturday morning and did one of her favorite things: baked! We made banana bread and a cake and after all of that measuring, pouring, and mixing, my little girl was in heaven. She loves this new stirrer for some reason, so she's showing it off for all of you to admire!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Linkage!

I suppose this past week was a busy one; I'm not quite sure where it went, but I obviously didn't update the blog at all, so we must have been up to something! We did get a new camera that we've been drooling over and saving for a while, so I will post some early attempts to use it soon (as soon as I figure out how).

In the meantime, I'll let others entertain you with their more profound thoughts, intelligent discussion, beautiful photographs, and witty humor!

My brother Drew and his wife Amelia are expecting their first baby in a little over a month. We are so excited! As I've said before, Amelia is a gifted writer and photographer, so mosey on over here to get a taste of her gifts! And be sure to scroll down to the photographs they had taken recently, they are beautiful and hysterical all at once.

I'm going to stay out of the debate over the health care bill (on the blog I mean), but I think this sentiment is one that's hard to argue with, no matter your political leanings.

This guy has some really great music and an even better message. I am just linking to his blog home page and not a specific post, but I'd encourage you to scroll down especially to the "Beggar's Fortune" posts. Shaun is intimately involved with Compassion International, an organization I'll link to here and also encourage you to go find out how you (yes, YOU) can rescue a child from poverty.

This guy cracks me up! Click here, then you have to, have to, have to watch the Chick-Fil-A video and the Cletus Take the Reel video. Good for a Monday laugh.

Okay. So there you go, you'll be entertained until I can manage to get all of the photos I'm taking with the new camera onto the computer. And then onto the blog. Soon, I hope!