Could you really be 9 today? Wasn't it just yesterday that I took a pregnancy test and was overcome with an overwhelming sense of joy and fear at the thought of bringing you into the world. We were 26 years old and had just moved into and remodeled our first home together. I had just started teaching 2nd grade and Doug was busy working to build his career with Buford Thompson Company. Doug had gone off for a 11 pm softball game (yes, you can do that when you don't have kids to care for) and I had finished a workout. I hadn't been feeling 100% and that day I had become overcome in nausea on the school playground during recess. Joking, a teacher had said "I think your pregnant". So ... as I got in the shower, I did the whole pee on a stick thing .. never thinking it would read positive. Forgetting completely about it, I went about getting ready for my shower, and getting my things ready for another day at school. Just before I stepped in, I looked at that stick .. once, then twice, then a third time. I remember looking back at the box ... two lines meant what? NO .. it couldn't be. I stepped into the water, put my head under and began to soap up when I realized ... I AM PREGNANT! I AM PREGNANT! I became overwhelmed in emotions and began to sob. Tears of complete joy overcame me and the next moment .. complete fear .. did I have what it took to be a Mommy? Next thought .. I'm scared to death of childbirth (oh the horror stories I had heard).
I remember Doug coming home that night and me sitting on the couch. One look at my face and he knew something wasn't right. Before speaking, I clarified that "it's not Grammy" (his then 80 something year old Grandma). Out of my mouth it lept "I'm pregnant .. your a Daddy". Then it came ... super man's chest bowed, a huge "S" appeared in the place of his team name and that same smile I saw as I walked towards him down the isle swooped across his face. REALLY! REALLY!
So .. though we weren't "Planning" on starting our family ... there was joy and elation from our new found news.
Over the next months, we prepared and prayed! On June 23rd, 3 weeks before his due date, Canyon entered the world. My water broke at 1:00 am .. which is a hilarious story .. one filled with Doug in such a panic that he left me sitting in the car as he rushed through the doors of the ER. Needing to get that wife who was in labor in quickly .. he grabbed the bag and went. Little did he realize .. that woman was having a contraction and stuck in the front seat! It could have been a movie scene!
7 short hours later, the most beautiful baby boy entered our lives. From day one he was nothing but joy! He was an easy baby, cried little and smiled and laughed lots! We have enjoyed our days with him ever since!
Canyon, the Lord has wonderful and amazing things in store for your life! Your enormous heart and your infinite wisdom is incredible! When you speak, you bring a mixture of whit, humor and a maturity that shouldn't come out of the mouth of a 9 year old. You are athletically gifted, and academically advanced! You are the joy that comes in the morning! Thank you Lord, for knowing better than us, the amazing plan and child you had created for our family and for your glory!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY PRECIOUS BOY!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Posted by Cristie at 5:58 AM
Saturday, June 20, 2009
This summer is packed full with camps. Between my 3 kids, they have 7 camp adventures and then we will also be going to a family camp in September. I am not sure what I was thinking when I signed them up for all of these camps but one thing is certain, the word BORED should never enter their vocabulary during the Summer of 09! Getting to see them in their fun is so worth playing taxi Mom - isn't that the fun of being a parent - watching your kids partake in fun!
Dakota has finished Horse Camp (read the post below) and Canyon has completed Golf Camp at this past week, Baseball Camp. Three down Four to go!
Canyon enjoyed Golf Camp but he absolutely shines and radiates when it comes to Baseball. He had a blast attending University of Incarnate Words baseball camp all week. He thought it was very cool that the head coach, Danny Heep played in the Major Leagues for 11 years and the World Series twice. Coach John Maley is UIW's pitching and recruiting coach and helped put on the camp. His actually hands on coaches for the camp, however, were some of the players themselves. Now, for a 9 year old ... that is all cool stuff!
Over the past year, we have been deliberating back and forth about allowing Canyon to try out to play "Select" baseball. It is a more competitive league where the kids have to actually make the team. Practices are more intense and their are tournaments on weekends. It is definitely a commitment and one we haven't been sure we're ready to make time wise or financially. The problem with not doing select is that Canyon at this point that he isn't really being challenged in the regular organizations. The boy definitely has been blessed with talent but his head for the game and his heart and passion definitely blows me away!
This past week may have sealed the deal that he is truly ready. By Friday, Coach Maley came and found me. He asked if Canyon would go ahead and sign a letter of commitment to play ball for him in 10 years at UIW. Laughing, I told him as long as a full scholarship was involved. Coach Maley said that Canyon definitely had a great deal of talent and asked if he was playing "Select". We then talked about his desire to want to try out and our deliberation over the decision. The conversation ended with him say that he doesn't tell everyone this, but that Canyon was more than ready and he'd love to see him give it a try if we thought he was ready and wanted it. Coach Maley also is the pitching coach for a local Select organization .. the same group that some of our dearest friends boys play for. He told me to give him a call if we were interested and he'd help us get him lined up for try outs etc. That was some pretty good confirmation for us parents that Canyon would at least benefit from Select and would do well. We'll see what the future brings ...
Some of the players that were coaching Canyon were giving him a hard time at the end of the day. Apparently they ran some relays and Canyon beat UIW's Center Fielder in a leg race. Of course, Canyon had a few feet head start but the sweet guy said that Canyon can run like the wind. Of course, that was music to Canyon's ears since this young man is not only their Center Fielder but also a lefty! Very fun!
A Momma loves to hear great things about her boy, that is for sure. The best part of it all is that Canyon just loves it out there and so as long as he is happy and excited .. so are we! Canyon's biggest problem (if you can call it one) is that he really excels at whatever he has done athletically and he enjoys it all. This week though, he decided that he thought that he wanted to work real hard and to play baseball for a college someday. I told him Texas A&M had an awesome field ... I think an adventure over to Olsen Field is on our plate for the fall. He thinks UIW would be a great place as well (just getting to be out there impacts a kid). I told him wherever the Lord took him and his heart wanted to go .. we'd be thrilled and so proud! Of course ... we told him it would take a lot of work - work I know he could do!
If I know my Canyon ... He won't give up until he makes his dreams a reality! You want an autograph? He says he'll be in the MLB's someday. Canyon .. I don't doubt you son! Do I get season tickets ... Looks like my retirement years could be some busy ones!
Canyon with the UIW players and camp Coaches!
Canyon with Coach Maley
Up to bat!
It's all about intensity!
Working with a Coach on fielding!
Posted by Cristie at 6:34 AM
Monday, June 15, 2009
Dreams really do come true!
While some princess's may loose themselves in dreams of magical castles, twirling dresses, sparkling shoes and fairy tale rescues, my Princess had a whole other vision in mind. This past week, a fairy tale dream came true and it encompassed rustic barns, dusty stalls, riding boots and days spent in the hot Texas sun! There was one element, however, that can be found in every grand fairy tale adventure .. The magic of a beautiful lady on a majestic horse!
This past week, Dakota had the sheer joy of spending 5 solid days learning the ins and outs of caring for and riding one of God's most amazing creatures. For a little girl who spends her days playing with "Patriot", "Penny" and "Steps High", our 3 favorite American Girl horses, this was an awesome opportunity and one that won't soon be forgotten. As a gift from Nana and Papa for our girls 7th birthday, Dakota joined my niece Andi for Horse Camp at James Town Morgan Farms in Marion, Texas.
Each day the girls spent time brushing, saddling, and cleaning the shoes of the horses. They prepped them and helped care for them before and after their riding time. As a Mom, I love that Mrs. James not only allowed them to experience the magic of the ride, but allowed them to see just how hard it is to care for a horse. It could be easy to line up each girl, get them up on their horse and let them ride, but then what would they really learn about the ins and outs of being a true horseman? As Mrs. James handed each girl their certificate at the end of the week, it read "In recognition of the Horsemanship program at JamesTown Morgan Farm". That is such a small statement for what really goes on in such a wonderful place.
JamesTown Morgan Farm isn't just any place where a girl can take lessons and attend a camp. Mr. and Mrs. James have created a ministry where they spend as much time pouring into the girls who are blessed to romp around the land of the farm as they do caring for the beautiful horses that are like one of their family. As followers of Christ, JamesTown Morgan and the girls who ride out there has become a place where the Gospel is not only taught but made a priority. Each day, along with riding and swimming, the girls spent time studying the word together and finished every day in a time of prayer. They would sit in a circle, hand in hand, and go around and pray out loud together - 12 disciples and their teacher - Mrs. James. On the last day, the parents and grandparents, siblings and friends that came out to get a peek into the world our girls had experienced and had the opportunity to conclude our time the very same way. Hand in hand, every voice praised the Lord and thanked him for the gift of a place called JamesTown Morgan Farm where little girls dreams come true and the Gospel is made priority! What a special and intimate time it was for Dakota. Mr. and Mrs. James host one camp, for one week every summer. This summer 12 little girls came to enjoy each other and did they ever!! I was amazed to learn that some of the girls come as far as Dallas and even Mississippi to attend. I can see why now, it is something you just can't find anywhere else.
So, the final day, we asked Dakota if she enjoyed her time with the horses, the girls and Mrs. James. Her sparkling blues could have said it all. As we got in the car she asked "Can I start taking lessons now?". Looks like we could be adding some riding boots to our ballet and tap repertoire. With the twinkle in her eye and a smile I can't resist seeing .. who could say "NO"?
Well, I am going to post a few pictures from the camp finale. The ones of Dakota riding I have to get on a disc. They are all on hard copy .. taken by Mrs. James during the day. Mommy didn't stick around each day for the mid-morning riding lessons. Mrs. James did get a few awesome pictures of her riding so I tried to go to HEB before posting this to get them scanned and put on a disc. Wouldn't you know it .. the scanner wasn't working. So, until I do .. you'll have to enjoy a few of these...
Posted by Cristie at 4:16 PM
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
So along the way in blog land and in the land of motherhood, you often get to praise your kids and boast of all the wonderful things they are up to. There is another side of life though that often doesn't get shared but is so critical! You see, I think we learn from one another's trials and circumstances. Perhaps by sharing our true parenting moments and by being transparent, we can not only let the world know that we are indeed completely and 100% "normal" (and so not perfect) but the Lord will allow opportunities for a community of sharing and learning from one another.
SO .. The whole truth .. I am currently in a phase where I am struggling DAILY with my precocious yet adorable 3 year old. We have waged a full out war and yet I am trying so hard to figure out which battles to pick and fight on a daily basis.
As I have mentioned in posts past, our Maliah is incredibly bright. I don't say that just because I am her blessed Mom, I say that with so much honesty. I have had complete strangers, watching from afar, come to tell me that they cannot believe how intelligent she is. I remember in Padre a few years back there was a woman watching Maliah for so long that Doug began to narrow in his distance to her and wonder what the woman was up to. A short time later, the woman came to Doug telling him she specialized in Early Childhood Education and she had been watching Maliah for some time because she was amazed at her abilities, language skills, reasoning skills etc. Yes, I am a proud Mom of her for so many reasons including those gifts but life with Maliah isn't always a rose colored glass.
Since our arrival home, Maliah has struggled with controlling situations and well .. me! She loves attention and must at all times be in the middle of it. Sounds like a lot of three year olds doesn't it? I have thought that for some time, that it is simply a part of her very independent spirit and personality, however, the older she is getting, the worse it is getting. I have found in recent weeks, that she will do the very opposite of whatever it is I ask, just to spite me and to make her point or control a situation at all cost. Even in little things! Before bedtime, I ask her to try and Tee Tee (for obvious reasons). EVERY DAY she screams her head off and refuses to sit on the potty. All I ask is she try and yet it becomes a huge ordeal and battle. Because I am not a Mom who gives in, she indeed is forced to sit in the potty in full tantrum tears and well, what do ya know, she usually 100% of the time goes .. LOTS! Can you say control? She tells me how her covers must be, where I am to sit, and how every detail must be done. Of course, I don't always (well, actually seldom) give in to her demands and so we often get melt downs.
Lately, along with the control issues, we have an increase in a spirit of sheer disobedience. As you read in a post past, she found her way not once but twice into the bathroom to play "paint the bathroom" with the tube of toothpaste. This week she also took the play dough and proceeded to smear it all over the carpet. She is bright and she knows just what she is SUPPOSED to do with the play dough .. keeping it at the kitchen table. When I ask "why did you do that", I get "the look" and then "I don't know". While I know that all kids will get into things and be disobedient ... the situation is so much different. There is a spirit that sits in the room and in her countenance that screams intentional.
And yes "the look" .. you know, the one that says, I'm going to do anything I can to defy whatever it is you have asked. Usually, I can see what is coming just by looking in her eyes. The beautiful almond eyes that simply draw you in, turn into eyes that scream ... I'm doing it my way just to push your buttons.
So, yes, the whole truth is, that lately, I have wanted to put a for sale sign on my wonderful and beautiful little girl. I have found myself more than one time feeling like I could loose my cool completely. I have left the room she is in or put her in her room and left just so I can walk away and not react to her. I know that she is looking for a reaction and so with all I have .. I am trying not to give her one. I am trying to be consistent, firm, yet loving. I am trying to praise her when she does good things so that all of my time isn't spent correcting her (because I am so hating this stage). I just feel lately like I am at the end of my rope. I need new tools.
I also find myself wondering if the behavior I see is more than a typical 3 year old, strong willed child. In the back of my head, i find myself second guessing the way I am parenting her. Is she struggling with so much more ... the adoption world brings on a whole new set of things to think about ... attachment, bonding, spirits of rejection and abandonment, and more. Is there something I am missing ... is there something the Lord is trying to show me and I am just too proud or stubborn to see or admit it? Lord, she's your child, you created and know her. Give me the tools to parent her, the willingness to hear your tugs, and the openness to admit if you are trying to teach me something. I am so willing to listen but you know me best ... I so don't hear whispers and often need more than one confirmation.
The Lord used Maliah from day one to show me the very thing I do to him ... I'll never forget the moment he used my best friend to speak the words he was so trying to get me to hear. After 6 months home, I had cried out to Cindy and shared with her how even after being the only one to care and take care of Maliah, that she continued to reach out and seek others to meet her needs and it was destroying me. After pouring into her, I felt like I didn't have her heart and that something was just not right. The Lord had continued to give me a spirit of caution. Each time I went somewhere and Maliah so eagerly could have someone else care and hold her and seemed so disconnected to us felt like a knife in my heart. Then he spoke ...
Cindy called one morning and shared that she had been spending time in prayer over Maliah and me. She said that while sitting in the tub, the Lord began to speak to her about the situation. She went on to share different scriptures and a message that he wanted me to hear. I could never possibly retell what she said but the one phrase I will never forget is when she said "The Lord showed me that Maliah has a DIVIDED heart and hasn't been willing to give you her WHOLE HEART. He wants you to pray against the spirit of rejection and fear and that she would be willing to give her whole heart to you". In those moments, the message became not just about Maliah but about myself and my relationship with him. Didn't I do the very same thing to my Lord. Didn't I hold some of myself back? Did I have a divided heart? Was I willing to give him my whole heart? I can remember feeling my stomach fill up with knots as I realized that the Lord was using Maliah and the pain I felt to show me the very thing I do to him! UGH ... that hurt tremendously and yet, how incredible is He that he doubly blessed me by giving me Maliah AND use her to draw me closer to HIM!!
So, without a doubt, there is so much of me now that wonders what the Lord is up to in these trials. I know the Lord is victorious and that he designed my family. I love Maliah with every ounce of myself and would lay down my life for her. I know these things and so I beg and plead with my Lord that he would direct me in my parenting and pave a way for me to be a better Mom to the beautiful little girl he has so perfectly chosen for me!
So there you have it, the truth isn't always as pretty as the pictures we post is it? In my pursuit to be transparent, I wanted to share my trials because I know in doing so that I will bring to light the very things the enemy would so love to keep hidden in the dark. It is only in the light that true Victory can be won! HE will indeed win this one too!
Thanks for your covering!
Posted by Cristie at 7:24 AM
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Today during church, like every Sunday, the offering bucket went around to collect the offerings for the week. As those doing the collecting passed by our row, I gently squeezed my way to the left and dropped in the check Doug had written and sat back giving little notice to what was going on around me. Out of the corner of my eye, something caught my attention ...a child, standing and dumping out all the coin/bills in his pockets into the container held by the man collecting the offerings on the right side of the isle. I then looked closer and realized that the kid giving the gift .. was MINE! Watching closely, I watched my precious son pull dollar bills and coins out of his left pocket and place them in the container and sit down without a word. Glancing at Doug my eyes asked "Did he just put in an offering"? Knowing my thoughts Doug answered audibly ...
"I didn't even know he had brought his money".
My eyes began to swell and tears rolled down my cheeks. My son, without prompting, went into his money jar before church (thinking ahead no doubt), gathered his money and gave his first fruits to the Lord. Our seeds are beginning to bear fruit, one small piece at a time!
Posted by Cristie at 3:22 PM
Saturday, June 6, 2009
So today we had Dakota's Dance Recital. She was beautiful and I will be sure to honor her in her very own post soon. I wanted to, however, share another Maliah moment because I think everyone needs to have a "Maliah moment".
After the show, we were all taking pictures of the big star. Of course, I wanted a family picture. As soon as we asked Maliah to join the pictures she began to throw a tantrum and cry for no apparent reason other than to just cry and make her 3 year old point - sticking it to Mom that she can control a situation. We proceeded to take our family picture ... Hey, I suppose 4 out of 5 smiles isn't bad and besides --- she wasn't winning!
The moment came a few minutes later when a sweet friend of mine was also taking pictures of her dancing star, Holly. Maliah walked over and Mrs. Debbie asked if she could take a picture of Holly and Maliah (not knowing the drama that had just unfolded a few minutes prior). Smiling, Maliah gladly got in with Holly and showed her pearly whites .. no tears to be found. Once the picture was taken, she marched right over to me and proclaimed --
"I smiled in my picture wif Holly"
Though she didn't say it with her words .. the heavens proclaimed and so did her eyes .....
NANNNY NANNNY DOO DOO
Posted by Cristie at 9:26 PM
The federal adoption tax credit made our adoption to Maliah so much easier and more affordable. The tax credit is set to expire in December 2010 unless Congress votes to continue it.
The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009, H.R. 213, would keep the adoption tax credit from being repealed, and may make the tax relief measure permanent.
It only takes a few minutes to email or call your senators and congressmen — it’s important for them to hear from families impacted by the tax credit.
Write your U.S. Representative https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
Write your U.S. Senator
If you have a blog, you can post the widget/button about H.R. 213 to your sidebar to raise awareness about this legislation
Currently... this is where the bill is...
April 2009 – Current Summary
A current bill, the Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act 2009, is now in House Committee.
This bill’s aim is to make permanent the expansion of the 1997 Adoption Credit
originally introduced by Bill Clinton. For the tax year 2009, adoptive parents may take
advantage of up to $12,150 in tax credits to offset qualifying adoption expenses. The
current Adoption Credit expansion will sunset in December 2010. Unless this sunset is
opposed by House and Senate Committees and an extension is made law, this current tax
credit will revert to its original $5,000 credit cap ($6,000 for special needs adoption).
Posted by Cristie at 9:08 PM
If you have spent more than a few minutes with our Maliah then you will know she is precocious, mischievous and yes, brilliant. I am starting to believe that children of high intellect are often those who also create trouble wherever they go. Our Maliah, if left alone, is sure to be getting into something ... breaking it and trying to put it back together while her little brain figures out how it works. Today, we had put the very tired and exhausted empress down for a nap. A few minutes later, a big sister came running to my side ...
"Mom, I went in the bathroom and there was a HUGE mess EVERYWHERE"!
"What sort of mess"
"Um, you should probably go and see"
So... up the stairs we went and THIS is what we found .... looks like nap time was just a big bore!
And after some time out in her room ...
"I pwomise, I won't do dis eber again!"
Posted by Cristie at 5:12 PM