Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The things kids say...

So for all of you parents and non-parents alike , I'm just going to say it--parenting is not for the faint of heart! At the same time, just when you think you might lose what little bit of your mind is left, your kids do something to make you laugh, smile, or thank the Lord that you have them. Here are some examples from our family lately:

A few weeks ago, the five of us were at a restaurant and Maria and I were using our standard "code" to communicate about food we had brought for the boys to have after they ate their dinner. This code is well developed and hasn't been cracked for at least 2 years (the same amount of time we've been using it). Instead of the standard "spelling words out" code, we had to resort to spelling things backwards because Maxwell started figuring out what we were spelling. Now the backwards spelling has served us well, but on this particular evening, we had something for the boys and proceeded to "talk" about it. Maria said to me, "do we want to give them the 'y-n-n-u-b'?" Maxwell looked at us and spelled it back to us, "what are 'y-n-n-u-b'?" All we said was, "it is ynnub" as though that were actually a word. A few minutes past before Maxwell looked at us, with excitement in his eyes and voice, and exclaimed, "Bunny fruit snacks, that's what you have for us!" If you have any suggestions for a new code for kids who can read, and spell both forward and backward, feel free to leave a comment!

Last week, Maxwell and Miller went to spend a few days with my parents. One of the things they love about going to Nana and Grandad's is that Nana always has bubble bath for them. The last time the boys went to stay with them though, Nana sent some bubble bath home with them, but it wasn't the sensitive skin version that we have to use on Miller (otherwise, he gets horrible eczema, etc.). So this time around, Miller told Nana that he wanted to take a bubble bath at her house, but that couldn't use the pink bubble bath, "because I have skin." Every time they tell this story now, Miller knows it is funny and just starts laughing.

One other endearing thing we have heard from Miller this Christmas season - we have a "Little People Nativity Set" that the kids can play with (I mentioned it in the previous post), but instead of calling it a "Nativity" set, Miller always calls it a "Wu-tivity" set. We love it!

Hopefully, you are able to laugh and smile with your kids...even when it seems almost impossible to survive the day to day grind of raising kids!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Despite my inability to live in the moment most of the time, when I look back over the Christmas season this year, I am so thankful for many things. We are obviously mindful of the blessing it is to have 3 healthy children at home. After Mclaine's arrival and stay in the NICU, we were reminded that life is fleeting, though thankfully we have the gift of eternal life through Jesus, and that we should treasure this time in our lives. Although not comparable, when I read the Christmas story from the book of Luke this morning, Luke 2:19 took on special meaning for me, "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Some of the wonderful things I've been pondering this season include:
  • Family Advent and worship time - the boys really got into Advent this year and back in October we also started having family worship time each evening, so every night Miller would ask, "...are we gonna have family worship time tonight?" They also both love to sing, and it was wonderful to hear them each evening sing out on Christmas carols like, "Angels We Have Heard on High" (the boys' favorite), "Joy to the World", "Away in a Manger", and "Silent Night". I have some separate video clips of them singing and I'll try to upload those when I can (obviously after Christmas).
  • Christmas Eve service - we love our church and the Christmas Eve service has become a tradition in our home since we try to stay home for Christmas Day each year. The worship is amazing and the message each year is always spot on without being the same Christmas sermon you've heard before. Going back to the boys and their singing--I got a little teary-eyed last night when I looked at my two oldest boys and watched them worship the Lord at Christmas. If that doesn't make your Christmas, nothing will!
  • Jesus' birth - so can I confess, that I've always felt weird singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus? I mean, I know that we celebrate His birth at Christmas, but taking something so common, like the happy birthday song, has always been awkward for me. Having said that, this year was completely different because of the way Maxwell and Miller responded to the birth of Jesus. Several times a day, I would see them playing with our Little People Nativity set. Then today, we wrapped up the baby Jesus from the set and another baby Jesus that Miller made at a playgroup this month, and as we read Luke 2, we had the boys move Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, and the Wise Men (we also read the account that tells about them) into place, but asked where baby Jesus was. We then had them open their gifts to find baby Jesus waiting to be put in the manger. They were so excited to see baby Jesus...and my thoughts on having a birthday celebration for Jesus are forever changed.
Those are just a few of the highlights of our Christmas. Our prayer is that you are able to celebrate the joy of Christmas now and the gift of eternal life through Jesus forever--Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Merry Christmas!
Matt, Maria, Maxwell, Miller & Mclaine

Monday, November 8, 2010

A brother's love


I know I promised to keep everyone updated on our family through our blog after the whole ordeal with Mclaine in the NICU in Temple, but who knew transitioning to 3 kids at home and working full-time and teaching a graduate class could be so time consuming?! :-) Seriously though, I miss the outlet that writing became for me (and us) while we were in Temple so I'm going to try to do a better job of keeping this blog up to date. So much has happened since we came home so I'll just start with some of the more recent stuff and if I ever get to go back and write about the older stuff I will.

As a parent, one of the things that is so difficult for me is to keep my cool with the kids when they are acting up and the other day Maria was reminding me that we needed to step back and enjoy...not tolerate...but enjoy our kids. I mean, these are the lives we prayed and cried for as we waited on the Lord to grow our family! I honestly can't imagine our lives without them, but on a day-to-day basis, I find that I'm more annoyed by misbehavior and arguing and complaining and being disrespectful and all of the other things that bother me at that moment. In reality though, Maxwell, Miller and Mclaine are the answer to our prayers so while I am complaining about their misbehavior, etc. does the Lord ever look at me and think, "so what was that you were telling your kids about the Scripture that reminds us to do everything without arguing and complaining?!" Or what about stewardship? Am I being a good steward of the gift of children by losing my cool with them for things that may be important, but that don't warrant such a strong response from me? Can I get a witness here?!

So at this point, you are probably wondering what has caused such a change in my approach to blogging. Well, I discovered that part of our journey as the Upton family, is also about our journey as parents, as husband and wife, as friends, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and the list goes on. This is where the "update" comes in. After going through this process of realizing how much time I spent frustrated/annoyed and how little time I spent enjoying my children, Maxwell said just about the most wonderful thing you can imagine yesterday.

While driving down the road, Maxwell said, "Mommy, I'm praying for Miller and Mclaine," to which we obviously replied, "That is great Maxwell."

Maxwell: "...you know what I'm praying for them mommy?"
Maria: "What Maxwell?"
Maxwell: "I'm praying they will know Jesus and ask Him into their heart because we all need Jesus."

Now, I don't know about you, but sentimental or not, that has to bring either the biggest smile to your face or a tear to your eye (a happy tear!)...or maybe both depending on whether you are an emotional wreck at the moment. I think I mainly smiled, but I've been known to get misty every once in a while, too. Along with all of the other "things" that go on every day with our kids, I'm keeping this conversation on repeat in my mind as I attempt to do a better job of enjoying my kids.

May you enjoy whatever it is the Lord has given you--expected or unexpected--in this life.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Our God is in Control

I put together the slideshow below of Mclaine's birth and subsequent stay in the NICU and then homecoming last week. The slideshow is set to a song by Steven Curtis Chapman, "Our God is in Control", that really helped Maria and I through the fear, frustration, and faith building time while Mclaine was in the NICU and we were away from Maxwell and Miller. If you have or ever do find yourself in a crisis, our prayer is the words to this song will help you through that time, but more importantly that you turn to the Lord Jesus...He is the only way we made it through.

video

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Our New Arrival...a little delayed

On Tuesday, August 17, we welcomed Mclaine Elliott Upton into the world. He weighed 9 lbs. 7 oz. and was 22 1/2 inches long. Maria had a great delivery, but Mclaine had aspirated meconium in utero and was ultimately flown to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Scott & White in Temple, Texas where he spent the last 3 weeks.
If you want to read details of our 3 weeks in the NICU, go to our CaringBridge site at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mclaineupton, enter your email address and a password of your choice. Needless to say, this has been a trial of a magnitude we have never experienced before...but as of today (September 8) we are all home together in College Station!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Losing it!


After a few tears, we finally convinced Maxwell that tonight was the night his first tooth needed to come out. We've tried the "you'll get money" route, but that didn't seem to work. We tried the "your big teeth are already coming in (they are--see the picture on the right and you can see his adult tooth already growing in) and if you don't pull this tooth we are going to have to let the dentist pull it" route...that didn't work either. We tried getting him to eat raw carrots, an apple, anything to help loosen that tooth (actually both of his bottom two teeth in the middle)--all to no avail. Tonight though, it was just hanging on by a little bit and after trying 2-3 times, I finally got it to come out. It wasn't that it was hard to pull it, but when you have a 6 year old wrapping both hands around your wrists and pulling them away every time you even touch his teeth, it does increase the difficulty factor!

He quickly got over the tears though...until we both thought that I had dropped his tooth down the drain. I quickly stopped the water in the sink, thinking that I could take the pipe below apart to try to find the tooth if necessary. Thankfully though, it had landed on the bathroom counter and was safe.

I am a self-admitted sap, so I'm not going to conceal the fact that I got a little teary eyed at this milestone. It really has nothing to do with losing a tooth though and everything to do with the realization that we only have them for a brief moment in time. I made sure I loved on Maxwell a little longer tonight when I put him down--I know these moments will be gone before we know it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Water popping and a simple prayer

As we await the arrival of our newest family member, the boys continue to keep us laughing. Yesterday at lunch, out of the blue, Maxwell said, "Mommy, has your water popped?" After we regained our composure, Maria told him that when her water breaks, it will look like someone sprayed her with a water hose. Without hesitation, he got up from his seat beside her and moved to stand by me. It took a few minutes, but we finally convinced him that if her water broke it would not "spray" him...and he finally sat back down beside her.

Miller has been running a fever at night for the last few days and he has a mild rash on his skin so in talking to the pediatric nurse, she told us that if we had the baby while he still has the rash, he can have no contact with the baby. We obviously want him to be able to hold the baby when she/he comes, so we started praying that he would get better. While putting him down for bed last night, when Maria finished praying he asked her if he could pray. She of course said yes and here was his prayer:
"Dear Jesus, help Miller feel better, help Miller's fever go away, help Miller's rash go away...and help bubba not be selfish."

It was all Maria could do not to laugh out loud.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I WILL rejoice!

Our friend Larry (the patriarch of the famous Brown family who the Lord sent to us as friends over 11 years ago) recently sent us an email saying that the meaning of , "This is the day that the Lord has made I will rejoice and be glad in it" had shifted for him from being a statement, to more of a declaration with emphasis on "I WILL rejoice and be glad in it..." as a matter of choice, so to speak. Then a couple of weeks later, Maxwell went to Vacation Bible School at a local church and one song they sang really stood out for us because of what Larry shared with us. Here is a video of Maxwell (and sometimes Miller) singing a song for Mr. Larry--hope this is an encouragement to you Larry--we love you and your family!
video

NOTE: I realize that this post is a little different than usual as it is specifically written to a friend of ours, but is also part of me documenting our family history through the years.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I read it mommy, I read 'da book!

This story is one that won't be special for everyone, but I just couldn't resist posting it. This one is for our friends, the Browns, whose youngest son is coming to A&M in the fall and will be on the tennis team.

A couple of days ago, Maria was reading books to the boys before bed and realized their fingernails needed to be clipped. While she clipped Miller's fingernails, she gave the book to Maxwell to read and when it was Maxwell's turn, Miller told her he wanted to "read 'da book, too, mommy" so she gave him the book to read.

He then opened the book and "read":
"Jesus, help Daniel play tennis. Amen."

Followed by:
"I read it mommy, I read 'da book!"

Yes, Miller, you did read it...even if it was your own story!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The flood and the rainbow

Last week, we had the unfortunate experience of having the boiler valve on our 50 gallon hot water heater pop off and flood our family and laundry rooms. Keep in mind that my dear, sweet wife is 8 months pregnant (9 months this week--here we come August 10!) and it just so happened that every neighbor was gone at the time so she had to wait for me to drive from campus to our home at 80 mph. Thankfully we have a home warranty since we just moved in and what they don't cover, our homeowner's insurance covers (all of the water damage). After 5 days with fans blowing in our home, they removed the fans and dehumidifier this morning and now we can move forward with getting new carpet, the walls painted, and back into that room (where we spend most of our time together).

A great reminder occurred the same night after the water removal crew finished up and we went to eat dinner. While we were eating we looked out the window and saw the following (thanks to the Weirich family for taking this great picture)

Not one, but two rainbows to remind us that the our heavenly Father is a promise keeper and that He is with us even in the flood!

NOTE: We learned through this process that the boiler valve on most newer hot water heaters is now made out of plastic which, in the opinion of our plumber, is not a smart move. We actually have two hot water heaters, the one that blew is in the garage, but the other one is in the attic. We had the plastic valve on the attic one replaced today for $85--much better than the $1,000 deductible for our insurance! You might want to check your hot water heater out though...unless you want to swim in your house :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Family pictures

With the addition of another little Upton due in August, we had our sweet friend Erin Cole take some family pictures of the four of us in downtown Bryan. I could include the entire album (yes, they are that good), but rather than crash your computer or mine, I'll just share a few. One of our favorite family pictures is now the profile picture on blogger so I won't include that one again.
Isn't she just beautiful? Where did all the gray hair come from on me though? Oh, I think their names are Maxwell and Miller!


Uh-oh, pedi-go

This one will be short, but we don't want to forget this one! Miller has been verbal for quite some time now and as his speech gets even better, we see that we are "losing" many of the really cute things he says. One that he still says though is his version of "uh-oh, spaghetti-o". Instead he says, "uh-oh, pedi-go".

A few days ago, I was in the room with him, but not actively involved in whatever he was doing and I heard him, after dropping a toy, whisper to himself, "pedi-go". That is one memory I'll be replaying quite a bit, I do believe!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Kid's Day?

This morning for Father's Day my dear wife let me sleep in a little later than normal and when it was time to get up, she and the boys came in bearing gifts and cards. After I opened my two gifts and cards, Maxwell, in all seriousness, looked at me and asked, "Daddy, is there a Kid's Day?!" Nothing gets by kids, does it?! After I quit laughing, we reminded him that every day is a Kid's Day...when we go to the pool, when we go to the movies, when we go to Sea World for vacation...and especially when he has food and clean clothes to wear every day!

The truther movement

In an effort to not put shame on our oldest son, let's just say we've been having quite a few conversations about telling the truth in our home lately. Today we got in the car after church and I had the radio on KSBJ (the local Christian radio station for you non-Houston area folks) and someone was preaching and said something about being a hypocrite.

For those of you who have experience with kids, you know that you never can predict when they are listening and picking up on things. I must admit, I was a little surprised that Maxwell piped up and asked me what a hypocrite was. Here is the conversation that followed:

Matt: "Well, a hypocrite is someone who says one thing and then does another."
Maxwell: "Oh, like if Jackson (a friend of his) said he was going to come to my house and then he went to Blake's (another friend) house instead."
Matt: "Well, sort of...it would be more like if someone said they loved Jesus to you and then turned around and said something bad about Jesus to someone else." (don't judge the correctness of my description here!)
Maxwell: "Oh, so that would be lying, right?"
Matt: "That's right, he would be lying about Jesus and Jesus isn't a liar just like God didn't create you to be a liar."
Maxwell: "That's right, because God is a truther! (pause) Well, God is THE truth!"
Matt: "That's right Maxwell, God is THE truth."

Anyone want to join the truther movement we are starting at our home? :)

P.S. I had a great Father's Day with my family working in the yard and helping a friend out. What a blessed man I am...and I'm so thankful for my father, father-in-law, grandfather, and brothers-in law who are leading their families, too.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The power of the father/son relationship

Anyone who knows me knows that I love being a daddy. My two boys and the baby on the way bring many more smiles to my life than they do tears and fatigue, but I am also guilty of not recognizing just how powerful the father/son relationship is (and I'm sure father/daughter relationship, but I don't have one of those...yet). After you watch the video below I think you will be reminded and challenged to remember just like I was.

All Pro Dad Soldier Surprises His Son

I hope the video below not only makes you thank our heavenly Father for the men and women who protect us daily through the military (and other wonderful service careers), but also for the love He showed us in reaching down from heaven, through His Son, to give us life. Oh, the power of the Father/son relationship...I'm glad I get to experience this, too.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Excuses, excuses

I know, I know...not many updates lately, but I promise I have a good excuse...or several good excuses. You see, we moved to a new house a few weeks ago, my wonderful wife who is also 7 months pregnant somehow caught a stomach virus 2 weeks later, we went to Dallas for Memorial Day weekend, had a graduation party for the youngest son of some of our dearest friends the weekend after that and have been trying to finish unpacking, too.

Enough excuses though...we are starting to settle in and we love our new neighborhood. We even have trees in our backyard (we only had a single crepe myrtle in our old backyard) and regularly see hear birds and see butterflies flying around. We have plenty of room for visitors so feel free to stop by if you live in town or just happen to be in Aggieland sometime. Hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

When they make us LOL

Over the course of the past few days, the boys have been full of funny things to say. Now we recognize that they may not seem funny to anyone else, but since this blog is intended as an "update" and a record of memories, we want to record them before we forget them. The only downside I can see is that you don't get to hear or see the boys say these things.

MAXWELL
The other day we were driving down the road and out of the blue Maxwell said, "Daddy, I think I have a sweet tooth coming in!" After we were able to quit laughing, Maria asked him, "why do you say that?" to which he replied, "...because I like sweet things."

MILLER
Last night while getting Miller ready for bed he told me he wanted me to read him one of the Froggy books (one of the books in a series Maxwell has). When I told him we weren't going to read a Froggy book he looked at me with lips pouting and said, "I'mo tell mommy!" (no that isn't a typo--he adds the "o" to the end of I'm instead of saying "going to"). We then went into his room where Maria and Maxwell were waiting for our go to bed routine and he looked at Maria with his best pout (see the previous post from Maxwell's first t-ball game and you can see the look) and said, "Mommy, daddy tell Miller he no wead booky Fwog" (instead of Froggy book).

Tonight at Chick-fil-A was kids eat free and "Build-your-own-Sundae" night and they gave kids free ice cream to make a sundae with. When Miller had just about finished his sundae he looked at me and told me he wanted to play in the play area. When I told him no, he said, "play just a fewww minutes daddy." When I insisted that we were not going to play he stuck his lips out further than we have ever seen and gave me his best pouty look. We were in tears we were laughing so hard and then he just kept looking at us and saying, "why-you laughing?" with his hands out and his shoulders raised in confusion.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Maxwell's sporting debut


Tonight was Maxwell's first t-ball game and he did a FANTASTIC job! He hit the ball twice and both times he scored. He also had a couple of stops when they were fielding the ball. We couldn't be more proud of how well he played!




...and what post wouldn't be complete without a pouting picture of Miller. This was after we told him for the hundredth time that he wasn't big enough to play t-ball yet. He's ready!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

No need for cute here

As I was typing up the previous post with our bluebonnet pictures Maria said, "I wish I knew how we could make our blog cute like all of our friends," to which I replied, "I see that 'cutestblogontheblock.com' link on a lot of the blogs you read." Wanna guess her response?

"I guess our blog doesn't need to be cute though since you are the one who writes all of the posts."

So my question is, are there any background templates that are "manly" and yet, not camouflage. In case you haven't figured it out, I'm not exactly the camo kind of guy.

NOTE: After posting this blog I decided to wander over to the website mentioned above where I found what I believe to be a background that is manly enough for the Upton's Update blog. I hope you agree, but if you don't, please keep it to yourself :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

That time of year again


We are in the height of bluebonnet season in this part of Texas so we would feel like we were shirking our responsibility as Texans if we didn't post some bluebonnet pictures on the blog (I was born and raised here so I'm folding my entire family into that identity--Maria still doesn't fully claim her "Texanhood"). Last year, my parents were here to help us capture our annual bluebonnet pictures with the boys, but this year they are in California helping my grandparents out so this is also our attempt at helping them stay up on how the boys are doing (or rather, making them miss the boys and Texas even more than I'm sure they already do!).

I'm going to let the pictures say the rest--these were all taken out by the Bush Presidential Library complex at A&M (which is also where my office is so I get to drive by these beautiful fields each day).

...and what photo shoot isn't complete without a meltdown? Miller threw himself facedown in the bluebonnets and when we went to help him up, Maria said, "Wait! Let me take a picture!"
...you gotta love that face!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Maxwell wanted to share what he has been learning about the Bible this year in school with his Great Granddad and Great Grandma Upton (who live in California) so we made the two videos below. We love you Great Granddad and Great Grandma!!!

Love,
Matt, Maria, Maxwell, Miller & Baby
video


video

Friday, March 26, 2010

new house rule...

The title of this blog was the subject line of an email I received from Maria yesterday morning at work. The content of the email is below,

"he who complains about going to the grocery store, skips dinner that night!"

Maxwell started whining when she told him they had to go to the grocery store to get some things for dinner. After Maria told him the new house rule, she said she didn't hear a single complaint from him on the way to the store, while they were there, or on the way home. As our friend Larry said, "he didn't know it, but he was going to fast if he complained..." to which I replied, "yes, and whether or not he chose to pray while fasting was up to him!"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Unwanted Audience

I've gone back and forth in my mind about whether to post this, but since it is a record of our lives with kids, I thought it blog-worthy. If you disagree, I apologize in advance.

Recently, I have been experiencing what I have come to believe is a stay-at-home mom's #1 complaint--lack of privacy--and I'm not the stay-at-home mom here! I won't bore you with details, but let's just say that Miller is entering the stage in his life where he is interested in how our bodies work. As a result, I seem to have an audience each time I have to go to the bathroom. Unfortunately, the audience has even been known to grow as the family apparently chooses to congregate wherever the head of this home is. If only I got that kind of attention when I ask Maxwell and Miller to be kind to each other and share! Needless to say, I have found myself with more than one unwanted audience in the past few days.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Maxwell's first t-ball practice...and a special lady's birthday

Today was Maxwell's first t-ball practice and he did a fantastic job! In case you haven't figured it out by now, I'm not really the athletic type (shocker, I know) so we really weren't sure how Maxwell would do, but he quickly picked it up and so far has done a great job. Thankfully, Maria's family was athletic so she has helped fill in the large gaps in my parenting ability :)  Just look at the ready stance!

Despite my lack of athletic prowess, I am determined to help the boys (and the August baby--boy or girl) do whatever the Lord has gifted them to do. I've already borrowed a "t" from a work colleague and will pick up a borrowed baseball glove tomorrow so we are ready for our home practices between our team practices. Opening ceremonies are Saturday, April 10 at Olsen Field (where the Aggies play and where we took the boys yesterday for an Aggie Baseball game). I'm sure we'll have more posts about this as the season progresses, but you can also see how Miller got in on the action today (yes, we know his helmet is on backwards, but he kept putting it on this way).

On a very different note, today is a very special day because the love of my life, the mother of my children, and my best friend celebrated a birthday today. She was a real trooper starting the day with a Bible study at 6:30 AM, followed by breakfast at home, Kindermusik this afternoon for Maxwell and t-ball practice tonight. We were able to squeeze in some chocolate sheet cake and Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream so all is good. I love you, Maria.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Daddy's yammune system

As with all 5-year old kids, Maxwell is full of questions. Lately, the main questions are "Daddy (or Mommy) is that good for you?" or "Does this song praise Jesus?" He has become quite health conscious and last night when we were with some friends at, big surprise, Chick-fil-A, they gave the kids vanilla milkshakes with green food coloring in them for St. Patrick's Day. When he heard that the milkshake had food coloring in it, he promptly refused to drink it saying that food coloring isn't good for you (after we told him that a little bit of food coloring wouldn't hurt him, he decided the shake was good enough to drink!). He has even threatened to throw away all Cokes we have in the house because they aren't good for you (he is a water and milk drinker almost exclusively). Talk about being challenged to make changes (yes, I know I'm going to have to give up Diet Coke...and soon!).

Here is the funny part to me...any time he drops something edible on the floor, he now brings it to me and says, "Daddy, you have a good yammune system so you can eat this." I am then given some tasty treat that he dropped on our floor--yum! I must admit that I never thought I would eat food off the floor, or half-chewed up food from my kids, but I do. I either have the best "yammune" system or I'm going to have the worst because of all the dirt I'm ingesting!

Monday, March 15, 2010

His brother's keeper

A couple of weeks ago we went to a fundraiser dinner and the boys favorite babysitter, Rachel ("Rae Rae" to the boys) came over to stay with them. Now Miller has been known to suffer from a bit of separation anxiety (we mention the word church and he starts saying, "no church...mommy stay" because he doesn't want to go to the nursery), but Rae Rae can usually overcome that pretty quickly.

Apparently this night was a little different though. After a while of fussing, Rae Rae was getting Miller ready for bed and Maxwell asked him, "Miller, do you want bubba to put you down?" to which Miller quickly replied, "uh-huh". So Maxwell went into Miller's room, sat in the rocking chair, held him on his shoulder, prayed with him and sang a song or two--no doubt, one of the same songs we sing at night when we go through this routine.  Rae Rae then only had to help Maxwell put Miller in the crib because it was too tall for him to reach on his own. Talk about brotherly love!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hotels and Ouch!

In December 2007 we took a trip with Nanny and Papa (Maria's parents) to Atlanta to have Christmas with Uncle Skip, Lauren and McKinley. We made the trip there in two days and stayed overnight in Jackson, Mississippi. That was the first time Maxwell really remembers staying in a hotel--possibly because he threw up in the middle of the night, and possibly because it was the first time he remembers it. Since that time he loves the idea of staying in a hotel and gets excited every time he gets the chance to stay in one.

Many of you know that we are in the middle of a  house hunt so finding a place to live is on all of our minds regularly. As they were driving by a hotel here in town the other day, Maxwell told Maria, "Mommy, I think we should move to California and Great Grandma and Great Grandad (my 95 and 94-year old grandparents who live in California) should move here. Then when we come to see them, we can stay in that hotel." Now that sounds like a problem solved...or maybe not!
______________________________

On a separate note, Maxwell was helping me in the yard yesterday and I let him use my handheld rose bush shears to cut down some weeds in our neighbor's yard. At one point, I noticed that he had dropped them on his toe and he was hopping around saying how heavy they were and how they hurt his toe. I thought he was being dramatic...until he took off his shoe and his sock was soaked with blood right over his big toe. Apparently when he dropped them they were open and they went straight into his big toe, right on the knuckle. He has been a trooper about it (after a bit of a meltdown last night) and when I put the butterfly bandage on it tonight he said that made it feel much better.

In case you didn't know, anytime you get a decent cut on a knuckle you should go have stitches and that if you don't do so within 8 hours of the injury, they won't give stitches because the chance of infection goes up dramatically (information courtesy of Dr. Paul and Nurse Marianne Goen :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chip-e-chay!

I just love the excitement that kids approach most things with. We had an early morning doctor appointment today (at 8 AM and we made it there early with both kids!) and after that went to Chick-fil-A for breakfast before I had to go to work. As soon as we drove into the parking lot Miller exclaimed, with a huge smile on his face,

"Chip-e-chay!"

It is no secret to people that we frequent Chick-fil-A and, as a matter of fact, we will be going again tonight because we are having our house inspection late this afternoon and need to be out of the house during dinner time (the trip this morning wasn't planned--it was just the easiest place to go after the doctor appointment). If you are in town and want to join us, we'll be there right at about 5 PM. May you find the joy and excitement in even the small things today.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oh

Two days ago we celebrated Miller's 2nd birthday with just the four of us and then last night we had Nana and Grandad and our friends the Gills (their little boy Andrew is Miller's friend and their daughter Hannah is Maxwell's friend) over for birthday cake. I'm not going to do the obligatory "Miller you are so special" birthday blog though...instead, I'm going to share two funny stories about him. Now granted, one of them loses some of the translation in text, but I want to preserve it here for our memories as well.

On Wednesday morning, I had a meeting at 7 AM so I wasn't there to get Miller out of bed as usual. When Maria went in to get him, she told him that they had to get dressed to meet daddy for breakfast. She then said, "we are going to have a special breakfast--we'll go have a cinammon roll!" He looked at her, started crying and said, "no cinammon roll...birthday cake!" I can't say I blame him--he was ready for the cake! That evening when we got home from our trip to Temple (for our big ultrasound--everything looked great, didn't find out whether the baby is a boy or a girl so you have to wait until August to find out!), he asked for cake again and to appease him I had to give him birthday ice cream with 2 candles in it.

The other funny story involves something that Miller has started doing lately. Again, some of the humor may be lost in translation here, but if you could just hear him saying this, you would crack up, too. On our way home from Temple, we let the boys watch Finding Nemo it got to the part where the whale swallows Dori and Marlin. Here is the conversation between Miller and Maxwell:
Miller: "Dolphin! Dolphin!"
Maxwell: "No Miller, that isn't a dolphin, it's a whale."
Miller: "Oh."
On a fairly regular basis Miller will be saying something and we'll tell him something different and his response is simply, "Oh." No exclamation, no excitement, just a simply, "Oh."

By the way, we did have give Miller birthday cake at his "official" party on Thursday--complete with dolphins on it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Renaming the iPod

In my last post, I relayed the conversation Maria had with Maxwell about his iPod shuffle and when it was okay for him to listen to it. A few days later Maxwell had a sudden realization and ran to Maria to tell her. He said, "Mommy, I do have a wePod...look, I can take one of the ear things and give it to Miller so he can listen to it at the same time!" If only I could come up with such good compromises.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Vultures and an iPod

During our morning activities today, Maria had two funny conversations with Maxwell:

While getting dressed this morning, Maxwell came in and asked if he could listen to his iPod (it is a shuffle and it was a gift so no judging why my 5 year old has an iPod!). Here is the conversation that followed:
Maria: "Maxwell, what is it called? Is it a wePod or an usPod?"
Maxwell: "No mommy."
Maria: "Then what is it called?"
Maxwell: "An iPod."
Maria: "So do we listen to our iPod when we are doing things together as a family?"
Maxwell: "No ma'am."
Maria: "That's right...that is why it is an iPod, not a wePod or an usPod...and we only listen to our iPod when we are having time alone."
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Background for the story: I've worked in an ICU before and have seen many things people consider gross in my life, but for whatever reason, there are two things that I don't do well with - roadkill and vultures. Read on and the story will take on a new meaning.

After I left for work, Maria was taking the boys to run some errands and they passed a deer stand that a neighbor has sitting in his driveway. Maxwell asked Maria why it had windows and a door (my dad hunts, too so he is familiar with deer stands, he just hasn't seen one with a door and windows) and Maria was explaining to him that it is used when you go hunting.
Maxwell: "Yeah, mommy and you can shoot deer and pigs when you go hunting."
Maria: "Yes, that's right."
Maxwell: "...and cows."
Maria: "Well, we don't hunt or shoot cows, because we can get meat from the grocery store."
Maxwell: "Well, you can shoot vultures, too."
Maria: "Yes, but no one would want to eat vultures."
Maxwell:  "...but I can shoot all of the vultures and I am going to do that for daddy for Valentine's Day because he doesn't like them."

Isn't that so sweet? He is going to kill all of the vultures for me as a (late) Valentine's Day present (do you have a mental picture of just how sweet that is?!). That's my boy!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

So funny it made me cry...or maybe I'm just really tired

I have heard this comedian's "Chick-fil-A Song" which is hilarious, but then I found this link and it mae me laugh so hard I cried. Enjoy!


Tim Hawkins' Scary Bedtime Prayers

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thank you so much daddy

Miller was being particularly sweet and funny today. At dinner time, we were all done except for him and he started making these hilarious faces as he ate. Of course, we all laughed and, being a typical child/person, he started really hamming it up. At the end, he and Maxwell got a special treat and we gave them both some Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (you have to include the full name to get the full effect of how good it was, right?!). I gave both of the boys their bowl of ice cream and Miller said, "thank you so much daddy". When I put him in bed tonight after rocking him and singing some songs, he said it again, "thank you so much daddy". You have to love that!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Competition and contentment

This weekend we had some friends over for the Super Bowl and at the end of the night, I was in helping Maxwell and the other kids clean-up his room and I heard one of the other kids say to Maxwell, "your room is really little" to which Maxwell replied, "no it isn't!" I quickly diffused the competition by reminding the other child that his room used to be small before his family moved into their current home. While going to bed last night, I told Maria this story and said that I didn't think there was anything to it, but that I was surprised by the conversation. Since she spends all day with the boys and other kids she pointed out that at this age, this form of competition is their way to one-up each other. As you might imagine, she also said that it is hard to stay on top of this with kids, but that she and our other friends do try to watch for that.

This afternoon, Maria and the boys went over to our friends, the Coles, house to play. Maria said that she heard Maxwell and Paxson talking to each other throughout the day along the lines of "my toy/item/project is better than yours". At one point she jumped into the conversation and told them that she didn't want to hear them trying to one-up each other, but rather wanted them to encourage each other. Fast forward to them while they were building houses with legos. Maxwell looked over at Paxson and said, "Paxson, your house is awesome" to which Paxson said "thank you". Maria then asked Paxson what he should say to Maxwell. Paxson replied with, "Maxwell, your house is super great!" I can just hear the two of them trying to encourage each other and I had to chuckle.

All of this made me think though. What makes us want to one-up each other? Why does it matter if my house/car/toy is bigger or better? In what ways do I try to one-up my friends and in what ways do I lack contentment because I think someone else has something better than me? We tell our boys, and especially Maxwell since he is older, that people are more important than things, but does my life demonstrate that to our kids and those around me? The truth of God's Word really hits home at a time like this (on top of the conversations replayed above, we are trying to sell our current home to buy something bigger and with a room we can dedicate to homeschooling) - Matthew 6:25, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?" I pray our lives show contentment more than competition, but sometimes I'm just not sure.  

Monday, February 8, 2010

Jesus...help me obey

This morning Maxwell was doing some of his school work and Miller was having a hard time being patient. Miller desperately wanted to color and Maria kept telling him (4-5 times over a 10-15 minute period) that as soon as Maxwell was done with his school work, they could all color a picture. Before Maria realized what he was doing, Miller sat down in one of the chairs at the kitchen table, put his head down on his arm and said, "Jesus...help me obey". Maria didn't understand him at first so she asked him what he said and, again, he put his head down and said, "Jesus...help me obey". I continue to be amazed at how much he absorbs and picks up on, just by watching...Jesus, help me obey so my kids have an example of obedience!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

CORRECTION: Catching Up

So 2 days ago I posted a brief synopsis of our summer and all that had gone on since my last post at the end of May. The next night while we were laying in bed, Maria did her best to gently correct my recollection of the summer. I could tell she didn't want to discourage me from writing so she started out with a compliment that went something like this, "I'm glad you are blogging again and I enjoyed reading your post today...(short pause), but you didn't quite get the timeline correct."

I countered with a recollection of the timeline as I recalled it and, in the end, had to concede that she was correct (I have to do that a lot!). Maxwell didn't get really sick until July 4 (when we had to take him to the ER after an on again, off again ear infection that got pretty bad). The next week was when we decided he needed surgery and we were in recovery mode until the middle to end of July. So, you may ask, what did we do at the beginning of the summer?

Apparently we had a blast and I tend to focus on the negative aspects of our summer in my memory. Seriously though, Maxwell took 2 weeks of swimming lessons through the city and then another 2 weeks from our friend, Susan Myers, who teaches survival swimming. Miller also took lessons from Susan and both boys made great progress...until the sicknesses took over and apparently consumed our lives and my memory. Thankfully, we all survived and recovered and the record has been set straight. I still haven't figured out how I completely forgot all the good stuff that we experienced--I'm usually the one who is optimistic and positive. Why didn't my memory follow this time?  --Matt

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mood swings and stairs

What is it about little boys (maybe it is children in general, but my experience is only with boys) and their mood swings? They go from happy, happy, joy, joy, to meltdown mayhem in a matter of minutes.

Maxwell had Kindermusik today and I watched one of the other little boys in his class have a minor meltdown (all the while thanking the Lord that it wasn't Maxwell this time--trust me, he has had his fair share). Then I met Maria to look at a house (another post for another day) and Miller was thrilled to see me...at first. After a tour of the house, Maria started talking to our real estate agent, the one and only Pat Poston, he started crying and reaching for Maria as though I had just pinched him or something. I gave him to Maria and he kept fussing so I took him back and walked away so they could continue talking. He then started the all out crying fit while going limp in my arms. I just don't get the mood swings, but I must admit that there are times I want to throw myself on the ground and throw a good fit when things aren't going my way.

Speaking of houses, Maxwell loves it when we look at a two story home. Today when they drove up (I met them there from work) Maria told me that he said, "I knew it! I knew it! I knew this house was going to have stairs and look--it does!" I just love how excited they get over small things--I would probably just throw a fit about having to go up the stairs. --Matt

Monday, February 1, 2010

Catching up

So this is my attempt at catching up on our lives in our blog--I know I won't remember everything, but I do want to record some things.

The Summer
Whew! The summer had some high points, but part of the reason I quit blogging is because it just got a bit crazy around here. Maxwell had an ear infection in early June and one thing lead to another before we decided to have his tonsils and adenoids taken out. So the latter half of June was filled with Maxwell recovering from surgery. Thankfully the surgery was a success and not only did it help Maxwell feel better, but we saw an improvement in his sleep patterns, too.

After rescheduling vacation from the beginning of July (due to Maxwell just recovering), we finally made it  to Sea World at the beginning of August. What an amazing time we had there! We don't have digital pictures of our trip yet (no, we haven't developed the waterproof film camera we bought!), but we had a great time. The highlight of the trip was feeding the dolphins (at least that was what I think was the highlight).

We came back from vacation to find out I had jury duty 2 weeks before the fall semester began and, you guessed it, I was selected for the jury (felony murder, no less). Jury duty lasted for 6 days and I went back to work the Monday before the fall semester began--right into the middle of our new student orientation (that I plan and oversee).

At the beginning of August, we also found out that we were expecting baby #3. The next few weeks revealed that something wasn't quite right though and on Thursday (3 days after I got off of jury duty) our wonderful OB/GYN Dr. Davis discovered that the pregnancy was ectopic. His original suspicion was confirmed on Friday morning and Maria was rushed into emergency surgery. Thankfully, Dr. Davis discovered that the pregnancy was ectopic when he did because we were actually about 8 weeks pregnant (we originally thought we were only 4 weeks) and Maria's tube was hemorrhaging and just about to rupture.

As I try to recall the events of the fall, the only one that comes to mind right now is that the Lord has been gracious to heal Maria's body and, as you might have gathered from my previous post, we are expecting again--this time due in early August. I think that should catch us up for now--if I remember anything else I will add it in when I can. --Matt

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Good Ideas

I don't know about you, but when I have what I think is a "good idea" one of two things happens:
1. I second guess myself and never take action on my "good idea" because I think someone else has already had that idea; or
2. I get ready to take action on my "good idea" and discover that someone else has already had the same idea and actually done something with it.

The second option is how it is with my latest idea--writing letters to our two boys, our baby on the way, and my beautiful wife. Apparently there is a book out there called Letters from my Dad or something along those lines and there is a "movement" of men who are writing letters to their families. For me, the idea originated when we celebrated the life of a dear friend who went to be with Jesus a week and a half ago after a 7 year fight with brain cancer. I want my children to know who I am, but more importantly I want them to know about the great God I serve and strive to teach them to serve. I also want to do a better job of updating this blog (I know I've been terrible at that!) so I have our stories recorded for our family.

So for the 2 of you who read this, here is my request. Please pray for me that I am able to keep this blog updated and that I am able to make time to write to my children and wife. Oh, and you can also pray that I am able to lead my family, too! I may attempt a "catch up" post soon, but for now, we'll start with the here and now. More to come soon!  --Matt