Another Birthday Story

Happy First Birthday, Carter Brett Lawson!

Dear Carter,
Today is your FIRST BIRTHDAY! I am so excited about seeing you later today. It is so hard to believe all of the changes since you came into our lives. What will be ahead for you and all of us?
You were born 365 days ago, but God had chosen the exact day, long before. When I look back, now; it seems like a very short year compared to the long, long time we waited for you. Your Mommy and Daddy had prayed and prayed for a baby boy or girl to come into their lives. A lot of other people were praying, too. After some time, they decided to ask some other people to help them bring a new child into their family.
They talked with the wonderful people at Bethany Christian Services. They filled out a bunch of papers, talked with a bunch of people, started saving a bunch of money, and even making special efforts to get a bunch of extra money.  There was lots to do to get ready for a baby!  One of the most special things your Mom & Dad was to make a book about themselves along with a video for Birth Mommies to look at in order to decide if they would be a forever family for her little baby.  Your Mommy and Daddy did a lot of thinking during this process.

They talked about how they wanted to parent, how to share their faith and wondered about who you would be.  I was fascinated with how they communicated with each other during this time.  They were tender and sweet and sometimes very playful about this subject of a child!  Your Lolli & Pops and Skipper & I wrote letters to the Birth Mommies, too.  It was very hard to write a letter such as that.  We didn’t want to sound like we were begging for a baby, but that is certainly what we were doing to God in our prayers.

The day came without warning.  Your Mommy and Daddy called to tell us they had a call from Bethany.  It was Ash Wednesday.  How fitting that as I write this, Ash Wednesday was only two days ago!  Your Mommy called me at about 3:00 in the afternoon.  They went to meet with Mr. Mark and Ms. Terri at Bethany and were told that they could pick you up the next morning!  You were two weeks old on the day you were WELCOMED into their home, hearts and all of our lives.  You were such a little boy!  Skipper & I were so happy.

That night, your Mommy and Daddy went shopping for bottles, formula, diapers and the real necessities.  The next day, Auntie M and I went shopping for little bitty clothes for you to wear.  Then, on Friday, your Daddy called to say that we could come to see you!  My heart beat so fast, all the way from Pilot Mountain to Knoxville!  When we arrived, we thought we were seeing an angel!  You were and still are the most precious little boy, EVER! (Don’t tell your Daddy and Uncle Jeremy.)

During the year that has passed, we have watched you grow.  You are more than three times bigger than you were when you were born.  You have learned SO much!  You can talk and walk, play with toys and books, feed yourself and many more things.  Your parents have learned as much as you have.  The biggest thing they have learned is that their hearts can hold a whole lot more love than they thought before.

Your little personality is developing every day.  You have the sweetest smile that melts my heart and you are rapidly learning how to use it to your best advantage!  You have a funny expression that indicates you are going to be a little mischievous!  You don’t cry much compared to most babies.  You don’t sleep well when you are in a strange place.  You are a very healthy eater, thanks to your parents!  Each generation of parents seems to be much smarter about this, thank goodness.  You have a lot of patience for a little boy.

On your birthday, I have dreams and wishes for you.  I pray that you will be a strong and faithful Christian.  I hope you will be well-educated and have a fulfilling career.  Most of all, I hope  you will be happy and healthy.  I already know that you are loved beyond what we humans can measure.  I hope that you will always know that your family supports you and that you can call on us any time you need help or just a listening ear.

With ALL my love, Ju-Ju

P.S.  Miss Megan, you will always be my hero!  Thank you for loving us and trusting us…



2/10/12 11:53 pm
Today is Uncle Jeremy’s birthday! Tonight, Skipper and I have celebrated with our two youngest children and their families. Before I finish writing, it will be Maggie’s birthday.
All of a sudden, it seems odd to try to write about Maggie without calling her “Mommy”. Yet, I have never called her that until very recently! Yes, my youngest offspring is now a Mommy. Wow.
So much has happened in the years since my children were babies. I realize, now, that as they were growing up, I never imagined what kind of parents they would become. I could never imagined how wonderful it is to watch them parent their own children. I am sure they will tire of hearing that before I tire of saying it.
Birthdays are milestones that every individual uses to mark the stages of their lives. It is VERY important to celebrate the milestones and accomplishments. We often don’t understand (until it is our turn) how good it feels to have one day each year that you are recognized for being special just for who you are. Gifts aside, it is awesome to have that one day when your parents remember the exact time and date you entered their lives.
It has been the most wonderful privilege to remember three human’s first breaths, first words, first steps and first everythings (well, almost everythings). It is probably a very good thing that I missed just a few of the firsts. :/
See the definition of sarcasm if you do not understand…
I am grateful for my own birthdays. I am also grateful that I am still young enough to celebrate what I hope to be many more birthdays. God has blessed me with an abundance of experiences and opportunities, some unfortunately wasted. Hopefully, I will not be wasteful with what I have coming in the future and that each birthday will see me grow as a person, wife, mother and grandmother.
Happy Birthday, Jeremy and Maggie! I love you to the moon and back!

2/11/2012  12:12 am

Starting the Day with a Smoothie

I recently began a new habit that has changed my life quite a bit.  I am enjoying a smoothie every morning. It’s not about just drinking the smoothie; but changing several habits that were revealed by the smoothie idea.

Recently. I enjoyed a day of cooking with my daughter Maggie in order to fill her freezer before her baby was born.  It was an all-day event that was rewarding and VERY exhausting for both of us.  She is enjoying the luxury of having pre-made meals now that her life revolves around a tiny human.  I, on the other hand, have developed some great habits the were born out of the experience.

One of the things that we prepared for Maggie’s freezer was smoothie bags.  In a small zip lock, she placed a cup of frozen fruit and a cup of yogurt.  She planned to add juice and blend just before serving.  The idea intrigued me enough that I stopped on the way home and purchased the fruit, yogurt and juice.  I had no idea that this little project would change my life in so many ways.

The first thing that came to mind was the simple convenience of having something prepared that wouldn’t require much effort on my part.  (You have my permission to laugh.)  Especially in the morning, I have a hard time getting started.  I also knew that this was a healthy thing to do!

Juice is not usually on my menu because it normally has a fair amount of added sugar and none of the natural fiber that comes from whole fruit.  Therefore, juice is not on the frequent list in a diabetic diet.  I like juice!  Here is a way that I can enjoy the flavor of juice without ingesting a large volume of the tasty liquid.  I chose a juice made from veggies and fruit that came in a “diet” formula.  Also, there is the benefit of a little dairy protein in the yogurt.  Super!

At first, I made the little bags ahead of time.  Then, I decided to just make them fresh every morning and save the cost of the baggies.  I had only enough ingredients in each bag for my smoothie with just a little left over for Randy to taste.  He seemed to enjoy the sample, so I increased the recipe for both of us to share.  “Thank you” causes a fantastic feeling when it is said with gusto!  That helps start my day off with a smile!  I found that when I went to retrieve the smoothie ingredients, it caused me to pause and think about what I would prepare for dinner, later.  Problem solved!

Since the big cooking day, I have been preparing double and triple recipes at dinner and freezing the extra meals.  I cannot afford to do a big cooking day like I did with Maggie.  I also do not have the stamina to do it by myself.  My daughter-in-law, Cassie was the first one to introduce our family to freezer cooking; and she is totally exhausted after her big cooking day.  She uses a website based program called Once a Month Mom.  Her planning  ahead, couponing and careful shopping have saved her family a LOT of money!  She has modified the plan a little to fit their needs, but it has made a big difference in the amount of time she gets to actually spend with Chris and Carter.

One of Chris’s favorite things Cassie does in her plan is a breakfast burrito.  They thaw and reheat easily in the microwave.  I tried my hand at this recipe a couple of weeks ago, and we have thoroughly enjoyed the burritos.  I made 20 of them in less than an hour.  We really like being able to have a complete meal without having to clean the kitchen, afterward.  My kids are just filled with fabulous ideas!

Now, it is easy to throw those pre-filled ziplocks into the crockpot, or call home before I leave work and have Randy preheat the oven and toss in a casserole.  Having chosen healthy recipes makes the whole thing better for us than stopping for fast food on the way home.  Just this morning, I laid out a chicken pie to thaw.  When I prepared the pies, I wrote the directions for reheating on the foil wrapper with a sharpie.  No questions!  I will be looking forward to the warm deliciousness all day!

Organization is NOT my strong point.  (You may laugh again.)  This little effort to start my day in a better way has spilled over into another idea.  A Pinterest inspired project has happened.  I have no idea if I will be able to keep this up, but I have created a cleaning task schedule that is supposed to help me keep my house clean in  just minutes a day.  At first, while my house is pretty much a disaster, it will take a bit longer.  But, yesterday morning, I cleaned my bathroom from top to bottom.  Now, every Monday, I will need to do a fifteen minute cleaning and keep it nice.  Next Monday, I will deep clean another bathroom and “freshen” the one I did yesterday.  Every day has a chore except for Sunday.  I really do hope I can keep this up!

If I can stick with this plan, I will have more guilt-free time to knit!  My knitting/music room is almost complete.  This little renovation has taken more than 4 months, but I can see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.  I will not hesitate to start another room if the cleaning project helps me do what it is supposed to do by freeing up more time without having to feel guilty about dust bunnies and dirt monsters!

Thank you Cassie, Maggie and the almighty smoothie!


By mtpilotmom