Thursday, April 30, 2009

reality stinks... somedays

I don't know.
Right now, my heart is heavy, and I am sad.
I know I have so much to be thankful for, and I am... I truly am. But today, reality seems really real and it hurts and it's hard.
You know, you always hear about situations, things people are going through, and you feel bad and wish you could help. Sometimes things hit closer to home and it gets you pretty shaken up, but you thank God that it's not your own flesh and blood or your best friend or something of that nature. But sometimes- it is you, it is your family, it is that person you love, and it is hard.
I don't think we walk around identifying ourselves as those in the midst of crisis. We live very normal lives, resume normal activities, laugh, joke, play. We have to... But every once in a while, you hear a song, see a commercial, that loved one has a rough day and life snaps back into focus: my little brother has cancer. It's not a reality I like to face, to be quite honest.
I would give anything, as I know so many others would, to take it all away, to make it all stop, to fix it once and for all, but the reality is that we can't. I, in my own power and strength, cannot do a single thing. Some days, that's the most discouraging and frustrating thought. Sure, we can do little things, maybe even big things to lighten the load, help make things easier... but we can't take away the pain, the fears, the uncertainty. We can't take away the hours of chemotherapy endured, the nausea and vomitting, the 5 surgeries, the 33 radiation treatments, the hairloss, the scars, the loss of vision.
It's days like these, though, that I am so thankful that we serve a big God. Like I said, I can't do anything... but He can. I'm thankful that we have a hope and a promise that we can cling to. Psalm 119:68 says "You are good and what you do is good"... I want to have a heart that always recognizes that- in good times and bad. When nothing else makes sense, I have no choice but to continue to cling to that- He is good and what He does is good. And that "all things work together for good for those who love God..." (Rom. 8:28). And that "We know and rely on the love that God has for us. God IS love..." (1 John 4:16). If God is love, even these trials, these hard times, are going to be used for our good. It doesn't always makes sense- but His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). We may never know exactly why... but I think we've gotten a glimpse of it already. He IS being glorified in this, we ARE being taken deeper into a relationship with Him. My heart is echoing a song we sing during worship:
Holy, You are still holy
Even though I don't understand Your ways
Sovereign, You will be sovereign
Even when my circumstances don't change
Lord, I don't deserve your tender patience

When my unbelief has kept me from Your truth
I want my life to be a sweet devotion
To You...
You are still holy.

And one of my most favorite verses:
Isaiah 63:3- You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Last night I did something that I haven't done in years.

Jordan and I packed up the double jogger, measured out a course and set out to run 4 miles. When we returned to the school where our van was, we felt too good to stop, so put in a quick, hard mile on the track, making our total 5.25 miles on the evening.

Man. It was incredible.

We chit-chatted, didn't have a watch going, just enjoyed the evening- no pressure at all. I've always, always wanted Jordan to run with me... but he never used to like to. It probably had something to do with the fact that I could beat him- just joking.. sort of. I'm so thankful that he WANTS to now! But anyway, he's been working SO hard since January on getting (and staying) in shape. (I'm so proud of him, btw, and he looks AMAZING!) It was so nice for him to be able to push me and keep me going! We both had our doubts about being able to complete 4 miles to begin with (which is really embarassing for this once nationally ranked runner...), but we finished it very easily, pushing the return trip into the wind and picking up the pace. Once we got on the track- I remembered all of the reasons I love to run. I worked into a nice pace, breath nice and steady, arms and legs moving fluidly. Gosh, I felt alive. I even found myself strategizing and picking it up here and striding out there. It was incredibly relaxing, motivating, freeing, enjoyable. I can't wait until my run today. And it's been a loooooong time since I've been able to say that.

Moving on, as I'm sure you're all bored to tears.
CALLING ALL MOMS: Do you allow your toddler to watch tv ever? What shows have you found appropriate? Movies?

We don't have any kid friendly movies (yet). I let Corban watch Curious George(which he's currently doing), and will flip on PBS random times during the day, but am feeling really convicted about it, after I heard DW on Arthur drop a "I could kill them" out of anger. I know to some of you that may seem small, but I see how impressionable Corban is. He picks up on attitudes, actions, phrases. I want to be so careful about what we're allowing in. Jordan says 'let's just get rid of the tv', which is half tempting, but there are days when it's so nice to pop in a movie for Corban, watch an episode or two of House during nap time, etc. So- what's on your tv??

Also heavy on my heart this week- my little brother has his 12th round of chemo today. That transpires to 24 weeks, or nearly 6 months of this. And it's getting hard. He's always had the most incredible attitude in all of the rough things he's faced, but this is taking it's toll. He dreads chemo... and if I could think of a stronger word, I would use it. Thank God, he's only sick chemo day and the day after, but those two days are pretty terrible. He has an MRI on May 19th, which will help determine the course of action from here. Please- keep praying!

I'm not kidding you when I say that he handles this better than the rest of us. And it's not naivety- he knows what's going on. He's an amazing, incredible young man. He told my mom the other day, with confidence, with a quit-worrying-about-it tone, that he knows all of the cancer cells are dead. Praying that he is oh-so-right. Mom was also talking to him about losing his hair (which, after 6 months, is just starting to happen- he lost it all on his arms and legs awhile ago, but just now is his hair obviously thinning). Anyway- she was talking to him about it and he very non-chalantly says "Mom- it's just hair. And it's not like I'll be bald forever. It'll grow back some day." Always finding the positive! I'm so so proud of the young man that he is turning into. I could learn a lot from him for sure.

And lastly- I found this incredibly hilarious and sums up my day yesterday:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Introducing: Mrs. HGTV

Okay, maybe not. But I sure felt like it as I completed this project this weekend:



I had planned on spending up to $100 dollars to get new chairs (and it would've been difficult to find them that cheap!). Instead, I'll end up spending about $15 when it's all said and done. Anyone else a fan of money in da bank? I'm still keeping my eyes open for a bench to complete my table though... and of course- I'd love for it to be another DIY project.
I also thought I'd take a moment and say, "Welcome back, curls!"
Here's to hoping my daughter ends up with hair half as nice as her brothers... if she ever gets any. :) I've been saying Corban was way past due for a haircut, but with those little curls resurfacing... we'll see.
Okay- I've got two diapers to change, puppy chow to make, a park to visit, and friends to see. Time's up!

Friday, April 24, 2009

on purpose defintes the word deliberate as "carefully weighed or considered; studied; intentional". So much of what I do, decisions I make fall into its antonym category of hurried, uninentional, accidental. I'm feeling a tug on my heart- in so many ways- to live on purpose.
* I want to deliberately praise my husband.
* I want to deliberately discipline my son.
* I want to be deliberate with the words I say, conversations.
* I want to be deliberate in our spending.
* I want to be deliberate in our eating.
* I want to deliberately schedule our days.
* I want to play purposefully.
* I want to be intentional in my prayer time.
* I want to decorate our house deliberately.
* I want to spend my time intentionally.
My list could continue on (and on and on), but that's not the point. What I'm seeing so much in the way I'm currently living is how much I do things based soley on feeling or desire, simply what I want to do. Because of that, things I need to do are neglected. I am missing opportunities, missing out on relationships, encouragement, ministry. I don't want to continue on in this. I want to be intentional in my doings, deliberate with my words...
I've been reading 'My Utmost for His Highest' off and on for years, and yesterday's devotions said this:
"God engineers everything; and wherever He places us, our one supreme goal should be to pour out our lives in wholehearted devotion to Him in that particular work. "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might . . ." (Ecclesiastes 9:10 )."
That scripture speaks to my heart. Do it with your might. There is a deliberate-ness to our walk with the Lord. I love the section in Daniel (1:8) that says "Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself..." What am I purposing in my heart? Am I purposing anything at all? Am I being deliberate? The unfortunate answer is not nearly enough. I want to intentionally follow Jesus with everything that is in me. I want intentionally be Mama to my kiddos. I want to intentionally love, honor, respect, praise my husband. I don't want to be emotion-driven, lazy, if-it-feels-good-do-it anymore.
It's time to live on purpose.
P.S. We went to the zoo today, on this 80* late April today. It was fantastic. See?

Friday, April 17, 2009

so what do you think?!

I totally changed my blog today. I need to do more resizing to the header, but I've wasted WAYYYYYYY too much time on this darn computer already. I only have 967,834 loads of laundry waiting to be washed and/or folded and I spent nap time giving my blog a facelift. I'm in the middle of spring cleaning, and have emptied out drawers, closets, etc. pulling out things that don't fit or don't get worn to pack up or give away. However, a lot of that stuff got stopped in transition, so there are clothes strewn all throughout my house, making it look quite messy and unwelcoming.
I also changed the 'name' of my blog. It previously was just a . , now it's 'the mcg family'. Woohoo! I'm considering making it a more widely known thing that I do this... mostly just a few friends and family members known. But I really enjoy doing it, and wouldn't mind a bigger 'readership'. Still debating though.
Lastly, this weather makes my heart very happy. We ventured out of our germ-hole/laundry pit this afternoon, and I took the kids on a nice walk. I ran into Mama Bears first to get a chai, and then ventured down the road, Cate in the wrap, Corban in the stroller. I somehow managed to spill a good bit of chai all over my flip-flop-laden-feet, however, so I was a sticky mess. Oh well, saved a few calories?! haha. We walked over Geist Resevoir, and stopped at a patch of grass to sit and watch the geese in the water. I loved hearing Corban jabber on about what he was seeing! I love seeing how his little mind grows and learns every day.
Anyway, I'm really getting off now. Enough is enough already! Off to fold the laundry that's downstairs at least. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

When my Corban Gabriel was born, he was 7 lbs. 10 oz. When we left the hospital, he was 7lbs and losing, and nearly too jaundiced to leave. I was a first time mom, and a nervous wreck. Breastfeeding went well for all of... 20 minutes, and we had nothing but trouble from that point on. We had been in the hospital far too long due to my stupid induction, and the hospital stay prior to the birth of our son (3.5 days, in case you were wondering) sucked all of Jordan's vacation time. We got exactly half a day at home as a family before Jordan went back to work. That night, our first night home, was the only night of Corban's babyhood that he kept us up all night. I was sleeped deprived, hormonal, and so in love with with my boys...
Jordan got up for work and I sat on the couch and sobbed like a baby. Corban wouldn't latch on to eat to save his life (ha), I needed Jordan there with me, but he (mistakingly, I'll add) was called into work. I was so afraid to care for this new little life all alone. I don't remember the details of the day or the time frame of the next series of events, but I know they were closely linked. Corban was barely nursing. We were using sugar water just to get him to latch, and even that wouldn't always work. I'll spare you the details, but for myself, aside from worrying about not nourishing my son, I was in excruciating pain nursing as well. We had yet another weight check, and he still wasn't gaining enough. And had thrush on top of that. It took all I had to not burst into tears right there in front of the doctor. I felt like I was failing at being a Mom. And I was scared.
I went from the doctors office to Target to fill his prescription. At this time, he was all of 7 days old, and I did not have an insurance card for him at that time. It was going to cost many limbs without insurance, and I couldn't do it. When the pharmicist told me the price, I lost it. She was so sweet and kind, and made phone calls and got it all worked out for me, bless her heart, but I was a wreck. I wanted my baby to be okay, I wanted my husband there with me, I wanted to not be crying, for crying out loud.
I don't know why I just told that story, other than them being some of my first moments as 'Mama'... first moments of realizing the depth of my love for that little boy, how I would give anything in the world for him to be okay, how I wanted to give and be for him everything he needed me to be.
Those things haven't changed.
Corban had a little bit of a cough yesterday, and I noticed wheezing after picking him up from the toddler room at church. He is just a wheezer- since he was 5 months old, colds just end up in his chest, it seems. But anyway, we got up this morning, he wouldn't eat, was very whiny, clingy, etc. We were snuggling on the couch watching Jonah (veggie tale style) when I realized just how labored his breathing was. First of all, I could hear it above the movie. His chest was going in, his belly way out with each breath. It was fast and whistle-y. That Mama instinct kicked in and said "Something is wrong!". I whipped out the nebulizer (okay, so maybe I searched for it for ten minutes first), and pinned him down... literally, and attempted to hold that darn mask over his mouth until the medicine was out. It was a long, arduous few minutes, I snuggled him, and then all was well. I put in a call to the doc because I was worried- he'd never been wheezy like that before, and I just wanted someone to tell me he was fine. In a matter of minutes, though, his breathing was back to just like it had been before the nebulizer.
If I hadn't of been driving to the doctor's office, I probably would've gone to the Emergency Room- that's how scared I was. He was just moaning, wheezing, coughing, grunting. No normal noises were being made by my boy. He was miserable, and his breathing was - what words to use?- I don't know- it just sounded terrible. Long story short- we were at the doctor for an hour. It took two of us to get him through a second nebulizer treatment (that had the same Albuterol that we use at home, plus another medicine), as he squirmed and screamed and twisted and cried the whole time. He took a dose of an oral steroid too, and then the doctor came to listen to him for a second time, after him having medicine to calm things down. She could hear the crackling that indicates pneumonia on his lower right lung. We were sent home with antibiotics, steroids, and instructions to use the nebulizer 4x a day until this clears up.
Those same feelings I experienced in the first few days of his life- the fear, the desire to make it all okay, the hoping, praying that I was doing the right thing,the depth of my love for that little boy, how I would give anything in the world for him to be okay, how I wanted to give and be for him everything he needed me to be- were there full force. I once read a quote somewhere about deciding to have a child is to decide to have your heart go walking outside your body. Okay, so it's a little cheesy, but you Mom's can attest- it's so stinkin' true. Have you seen someone hurt your little ones' feelings? Oh man. Heard your child laugh... that real, deep, innocent belly laugh? Seen them give? Watched them learn? It does something inside of you. Being a mother has taught me so much about love... what it means, what it looks like.. unconditionally. There's a great vulnerability in it, too. A lot of unknowns. A lot of hoping and praying. A lot of surrender. A lot of denial of self. A lot of recognizing ones selfishness. Oh, but the love. The joy. The absolute delight of seeing your baby's first smile. Hearing "I love you" for the first time... those giant bear hugs with shouts of "Mama!". There's nothing greater.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love being Mama.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

a nap time story.. or a story about nap time.

Once upon a time, I had a toddler boy. A rowdy, full-of-energy, curious, climbing little boy. A nearly-two-year old boy who was occupying the crib that his getting-too-big-for-cradle sister needed. There was an obvious, or so we thought, solution to this dilemma. Enter the "big boy bed".
Mama and Daddy made Corban a sweet new room with a sweet new bed, clad with covers and all. Have I mentioned, though, that said toddler hates covers? Oh, well he does. Since the day he was born, in case you were wondering. He managed to unswaddle himself at a day old, and wouldn't stand for a blanket on him from that moment on. Anyway, if I were a toddler, I'd be so excited at the prospect of an un-cagelike bed. But apparently that's just me...
So we gear Corban up for the tranfer. "Oh, you're big boy bed is so neat!" "Look at that cool pillow with the bear prints on it!" "You can even look out your window!" "Covers!" "Freedom!" Ahem. Maybe we should've left that last word out.
Day number one went a lot like this: Put Corban in bed. Turn around, walk to door, turn back around and put Corban in bed. Go downstairs. Listen to numerous thuds and wait for tears. When they don't come, stay put. When the thud is really loud, run upstairs holding breath for fear of what just 'thudded'. Put Corban back in bed. Go downstairs. Go upstairs. Put Corban in bed... and so on and so forth. It went just like that for two and a half hours. Yes ma'am. I climbed up and down the stairs for that long. And then finally, with tears in his eyes and nary a hair on my head left, I cuddled up next to him, sang Jesus loves me twice, and off to dreamland he went. Victory!
I prepped myself for Day 2 of nap time with a venti latte from Starbucks. (I ordered a tall, just so you know, but they messed up - to my benefit!). I tell Corban the whole way home about going to bed in his big boy bed, to which he responds with his new favorite word: No. Oh boy. Not the reaction I was looking for. However, when I went into the crib room to get his paci (Yes, he still takes one), he said, "No- big boy!". I proceeded to put him in bed, prayed with him, shut the gate, and walked out. I got wrapped up in a phone call, but was listening for those thuds and/or tears, but they never came. Sure, I heard him walking and jibberjabbing, but it was in his sleepy voice and didn't want to risk distracting him by going to see what he was doing. 30 minutes pass and I hear nothing. Nothing at all. Silence. What?! I tiptoe up the stairs, creep around the corner and cover my mouth to stifle my laugh.
There was my little boy, sound asleep, blankie snuggled under arm, facedown...
on his wood floor.
Right by the door.
In front of the gate.
The sweetest thing I've ever seen.
Okay- maybe not. But it was precious and priceless. I snapped a picture on my cellphone, but apparently am cellphone illiterate and can't figure out how to upload it onto my computer. I went back up an hour and a half later to try and get a picture with the camera, but he was semi-awake and sat up upon my arrival. Shucks.
Anyway, I'd considered day two a success. It took far less time, and didn't involve me at all. Maybe this transition will be easier than I thought afterall. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Thus concludes todays story.
The end.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I'm sitting here with my baby girl wrapped around me, sound asleep, snuggled on my chest. I'm not gonna lie- I could do this until she is 20. I have a new baby carrier, a 'cocoon wrap', courtesy of Jodi, and while I was initially VERY apprehensive and intimidated, it's safe to say that I LOVE it. And I might as well admit it here, I lost my second baby sling, the same way I lost my first... at the grocery store. I either left it in the cart or it fell off of Cate's car seat as I was putting her in the van. Regardless, I'm quite upset about it and now have to purchase my THIRD. I use it way too often to simply do without. While I do love my new wrap, I love the quickness and ease of the sling. I'm officially addicted to wearing my baby. And it's safe to say that the feeling in mutual: my baby loves to be worn. She'll start to fuss, I strap her on, and instantly- she's calm. Enough sling talk..
As I said when I started this, I'm sitting here with Cate strapped on me. What I didn't say was that I'm also listening to the pitterpatter of little feet above my head, mixed with random words, shouts of excitement, furniture sliding... What?! Oh yes indeed. Today is day number one of attempting to get my little boy to sleep in his 'big boy' bed. I just went to check on him and this picture is what I saw. Who needs toys?! He emptied out a box of ziplock baggies, pulled clothes out of his drawer.. and proceeded to shut the door in my face as I opened the gate to put him back in bed.
This is going to be much more difficult than I anticipated.
He's been up there for nearly an hour and is having a ball. We have NO toys in his room, only one book, and he's having a grand ole time. What's a Mom to do? What I really want to know though... is where the time went. One year ago, just twelve months!, that little boy was learning how to crawl. And now.. he's speaking in sentences, has SO much personality, loves to make you laugh, also loves to tell you no. He's learning so much and doing new things every day. There's nothing he won't try and climb. There's nothing that he won't throw. There's not a ball that goes unnoticed. He loves to 'pway' with his friends, look at books, and 'shoot it!', which is the most commong phrase heard in our house. We picked up a little basketball ball goal at a garage sale on Saturday, and have easily gotten the $5 worth out of it.
He really is an incredible little boy, and I need to remind myself of those things often- that he is incredible, and that he is a little boy. We're having some crazy discipline issues and I feel like I'm in way over my head, that I don't have a clue in the world on how to handle this aspect of mothering. At our Mommy's play group we have every Monday (which I love and cherish!), I was talking with my friend Wendy and she was talking about the difference between training a child to be obedient, and simply punishing. Really got my wheels turning, and I feel like I have such a long way to go! I wish you got a practice run before you were molding and shaping someone's life- haha. I've had a (big) handful of people recommend a book to me (Shephearding a Child's Heart), and I think I'm going to buy it this week. I know a book is not a solve-all, but I think it will be a good thing.
I just saw that Corban colored all over my door frame and refrigerator with a brown crayon. He's still moving things and shouting for joy up in his bedroom. I know he feels like he's got the keys to the world, being in there unsupervised and all, and I just feel a little overwhelmed at the moment. Anyway, I'm off to try, yet again, to get him to stay in his bed. I do know this- he will not be in a crib when he turns 16. We'll get it figured out. I can always put Cate in the pack-n-play until Corban's out of his crib. I need to cherish these days, I know, because they're gone too soon. Okay. Deep breath. Hear I go...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I'm itching to write. We've been sick, busy, tired, out of town, having fun. Way too much to pack into one post. We're in Cville visiting family- my grandparents are up from Mississippi and my brother from PA... we've spent a good bit of time with Jordan's family, and lots with mine. Jordan arrived home from Colorado on Tuesday afternoon. I welcomed him home gladly. :) Anyway, we'll end up heading home on Friday late afternoon, and I have plans of doing lots of relaxing and enjoying being home on Saturday. Sunday is Easter, and our plans aren't set in stone yet, so we'll see what that brings.
Anyway- we're alive and well! More to come someday!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

compare/contrast... sibling style

Wasn't that fun?! They were very close in age in all of these pictures... no more than a week or two apart. They definitely resemble eachother! :) I plan on writing a real update at some point in time.. but that requires time and free hands... a rarity these days. Posting pictures, however, just takes a mouse and no typing- thus all of the photo updates. Anyway, I have two crying children and a sick husband, so my free time is (way past) up! Enjoy!