Friday, May 27, 2011

curls be gone

Everett's hair looked like this:

I loved it. I mean, who doesn't love baby curls. Answer =Aaron. He hated it and insisted that he wasn't "going to have a kid with a mullet." He had actually started to threaten me that one day I'd come home and Everett's hair would be cut. Finally, I relented and we went to Snip-its. The place was pretty impressive. They had distractions by the dozen and well trained hair dressers. I was amazed at how well the girl cutting his hair did! She was really patient and sweet and didn't try to rush to cut off his curls. Everett started melting down about half way through the cut. At the beginning, she pointed out the lollipops. I smiled and said thanks but no thanks, while in my head I was chuckling. Did she have any idea that the closest he's come to candy is a strawberry? that he doesn't even really drink juice? Mid meltdown I swallowed my "non sugar mom pride" and shoved that lollipop in his mouth. Everett was thrilled and so was I since my child wasn't screaming at the top of his lungs, nor having his hair unevenly cut because he was flailing around. The rest of the cut went smoothly and I ended up loving it. He looked like such a big boy with all his curls gone.  Sigh... this is going too fast.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

perfect provision and a career change

I have been a teacher at a large public high school in the suburbs of Philadelphia for the last 5 years. I can't say I've loved every minute, but I've enjoyed most. The worst part of my day is the dreaded 5:30am wake up call. The best part has been my students and the ability to not only invest in their education but in their lives as well. I thought I would teach forever, but after Everett I had another career that I wanted- I wanted to be his mom, all day, every day. It wasn't something that I was expecting. It wasn't that I didn't want to be a mom, I just thought I'd be a mom and a teacher at the same time. After nearly a year, I can say that being a working mom is one of the hardest things I've ever done. So, after Everett was born we started praying. Praying that somehow the Lord would do a miracle with our finances... you see we need half of my salary in order to make ends meet. We prayed for 6 months that I wouldn't have to go back to work, but come August we were not any closer to me staying home. The Lord was providing for us in other ways though, like with the blessing of having Missy watch Everett during the week.

Work started and in some ways it was easy enough to fall back into my routines. I knew the curriculum and have worked really hard with lessons and projects and ideas so it wasn't stressful trying to plan, but as always there's the grading and revising and just plain teaching involved. The hardest part was being away from Everett. I often cried to Aaron feeling like Everett wasn't getting the best of me, but simply what was left after 8 hours with rowdy teenagers. I felt like I was "doing all my jobs" (wife, mom, dog owner, home owner, teacher) but I wasn't doing any of them as well as I could. It was a real struggle for me, because I have always been someone who never likes to give anything less than 100%. So, I just kept going, but daily feeling exhausted by the many jobs I had to juggle. We continued to pray, still believing that the Lord would provide. In November, Aaron had a review. We were praying and praying- Lord let this be it! Aaron's review went great and we anxiously awaited news of what that great review meant. We didn't find out that news until 2 months later! It was during those months that I saw the Lord really pushing me to be patient and wait on Him. It was hard and Aaron can attest to the fact that I wasn't the best at being patient.

I got a call from Aaron on his way home from work one night in mid January- finally the news we'd been waiting for. Aaron was given a promotion and a pay raise. Not just any pay raise, but the EXACT dollar amount that we'd been praying for. And no small amount either. Aaron was given a 40% raise in a bad economy. We could do nothing but praise the Lord for his perfect provision down to the dollar amount. What an amazing testimony of the way the Lord answers prayers, the way He is our provider!

We were left with decisions now. Could I just quit? I wanted to. I wanted to just stop that very day and stay at home, but we realized that wasn't what the Lord was calling us to. After much prayer and a few tears, we decided I would finish out the school year. It didn't make all the jobs I was juggling any less daunting, but it was light at the end of the tunnel. Looking back I can clearly see that the Lord needed me to be at school this spring. Needed me to be with my sweet friend Sara to support her and love her and be with her daily.

So here it is, one month until the end of the school year. One month and one day until I won't be a teacher any more. The thought brings tears to my eyes for so many reasons--- the realization of prayers that have been prayed for the last 14 months, the end of a career that I have loved with students and colleagues that I will miss, and a little anxiety for this next stage of life.

But--- the thought of June 17th also brings me sheer, undeniable, uncontainable JOY be able to play, invest, teach and love my sweet little boy all day long. How thankful I am for God's amazing provision, for a husband who works incredibly hard so that I can stay home, for an amazing little boy that I have the opportunity to raise.

Psalm 145:3-7... Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

Monday, May 16, 2011

MRI update- amen and amen!

Last Friday, Everett had an MRI at CHOP. It was a follow-up to his 12 month cardiologist appointment. If you don't know why Everett goes to the cardiologist- read this blog post from last summer. Long story short, Everett was born with a heart murmur which we came to find out is a heart condition called aortic valve stenosis (a narrowed heart valve) and a ballooned artery past that valve. Our doctor wanted to see a more definitive picture of Everett's heart and specifically that ballooned artery. He was concerned because during Everett's 12 month echo that section of the artery was measuring at 20mm and 15mm is the normal measurement. We got a call from our doctor tonight with amazing, prayer answering news. He said that the MRI gave information that he couldn't be happier about. The news is twofold: Everett's narrow valve (aortic stenosis) is operating at 90-95% which is great news! Secondly, remember I said the echo  measured the artery at 20mm? Well the MRI measured that same ballooned artery at 16mm!!! The difference of 4mm in a tiny little heart is immense! Our doctor was SO happy with the MRI results and told us that the difference between Everett's artery and a normal artery is so slim, that he isn't even sure that the original diagnosis of the ballooned artery is correct.  Typically, in children with Everett's valve condition, the artery is enlarged for a time, so Everett's artery appears to be relatively normal, which is what prompted the doctor to tell us that Everett may grow out of the ballooned artery!

I know that's a lot of medical terminology and information, but bottom line, we got the best report possible, other than hearing that he is completely healed! Everett doesn't need to go back to the cardiologist until next summer. Our doctor is really positive about Everett's diagnosis and we are just beyond thankful that the Lord continues to heal Everett. We are so in awe of the way that the Lord answers prayer and hears our cries. Thank you Lord for faithfully walking beside us in all of this.
Amen and Amen!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

mothers day- take 2

A year ago I had a tiny little two month old. This year I have a running, laughing, wild 14 month old. It's crazy how much has changed about Everett--- his looks and all the things he can do and eat, and yet there's so much that remains the same... his sweet smile, his happy attitude, and the JOY and the fullness he brings to my heart. There are so many blessings in life, but one of the greatest is being this little boys mom! 

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm not Catholic, but I found myself agreeing with the Vatican today...

The Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi

"Osama bin Laden, as we all know, had the very grave responsibility of spreading division and hatred amongst the people, causing the death of countless of people, and of instrumentalizing religion for this end," he said. "In front of the death of man, a Christian never rejoices but rather reflects on the grave responsibility of each one in front of God and men, and hopes and commits himself so that every moment not be an occasion for hatred to grow but for peace."

I woke up this morning to about a million status updates on facebook about Osama Bin Laden. I had fallen asleep on the couch (for about the 3rd time last week) and didn't hear the news until this morning. Aaron and I talked about it as we got ready, Sara and I talked about it at work, students talked about it in class. I think if this occurred 5 years ago, I may have been celebrating today, but the Lord has been changing my heart. I used to think death penalty- yes! war-yes! MY idea of justice- yes! Today though, I didn't feel much for celebrating. Not that I don't believe that Bin Laden was guilty of every charge against him and the heinous things he has done to our country and our world, but simply because what does his death propel... an end to terrorism? peace in the middle east and our world? bringing back the people he killed? No, it very much does the opposite. I guess the Lord has been challenging me on what I believe justice looks like and recognizing that justice is HIS. That he is the only one called to be judge and jury. All this being said, it doesn't mean that I am not incredibly thankful for the military and their willingness to sacrifice on my behalf. I believe those Navy Seals completed the task they were asked and with courage and valor. I just wish their orders might have been different. And I am praying tonight for peace in our world. Praying that each of us would reflect on the sacrifice that Christ made for us and recognize that we don't need to worry about justice because in the end it will be the Lord's.

***Sorry for the political post. I usually avoid these but there was just too much going on in my brain to join the ranks of another Bin Laden facebook status. I'll get back to pictures of Everett and his cheerful gap toothed grin soon :)