Saturday, April 30, 2016

Playgound Principles

Most people would agree that denying a child everything he or she wants is healthy and encouraged. If children were given everything they desired, there would be a lot of toothless, obese, lazy, uneducated adults. Well, hopefully they would desire a few healthy alternatives, but it'd be a pretty spoiled society to say the least.

Why then do adults not deny themselves every natural inclination? Why do we get mad when things are taken from us? Why are we astounded when we don't get what we think we deserve? Why are we constantly thinking about how things will affect us? Why do we look first at ourselves in a photograph? Why are we quick to hold on to things we have deemed valuable in our lives?

There are many life lessons learned in infancy and childhood that seem to escape us in adolescence. That natural teenage rebellion seems to resurface when we begin making our own living. When we are no longer under the roof of our parents, something happens. We become rebellious towards God's discipline. We convince ourselves that we know best. We trust in the things we can see, whatever is in the here and now. We focus on planning for a comfortable retirement and a future we think we can control, rather than trusting our Father will provide for each of our days like we did as children. Kids don't (or sadly shouldn't) worry about where their next meal will come from or whether they'll ever have another fun day. They just assume these basic principles will continue. However, as adults, instead of enjoying every present moment, we lament over the difficult seasons and wish for a tomorrow of ease. We dream of our next vacation or time off. How is it that we can't see the connection between little one's need for discipline, the answer "no," or death to self and that of our own?

If more people practiced the basic principles of the playground, we may live in a more beautifully simplistic world filled with love, hope, and make believe.

Here's how we are enjoying our season-

Tower building

Vegetable garden- check

Now we need to build the fence to keep out the coyote roaming in our woods

Quiet learning time

Wood chip play (could do it all day)

The "foo foos" (aka finger puppets that were bought for Levi) are now part of the family.

Couldn't help but steal a lick.

Slowly making it to the big boy table.

I think Saturday mountain hikes should be a new part of our routine

Little sleeping Levi tried a new toddler formula (higher calorie) that he didn't throw up anymore than the baby stuff, so we'll start that. Plus we are seeing a couple new ENTs  this month, so please pray we continue to get good ideas for helping him get bigger and stronger.

Lots of love from the Smiths- living and playing and always drinking coffee.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Not my own

I've mentioned many times what a blessing it's been to experience those things I once feared because then they no longer instill fear. I have also stated multiple times what a blessing it's been to grow in faith through various trials we've experienced the past few years. However, just when you think you have conquered one mountain, there's always a new one around the corner. It's one thing to boast in Christ, but another to take that strength and believe it's all your own. I'm seeing the difficulty in relishing in the Spirit's strength when there are decisions to be made that affect another person.
When it comes to the unknown and things are typically out of our hands, it almost becomes easier to embrace faith and trust when there's nothing you can do. When Paul was given a "thorn" in his flesh, he had to succumb to Christ's strength during his own weakness. Paul had to embrace the fact that grace was sufficient.
I'm currently struggling with a thorn that hasn't just been in my own flesh for the last year, but in my flesh and blood, Levi. Instead of just trusting that Levi will stop throwing up every time he eats, I actually have to make decisions that affect that outcome. I have responsibilities and insights questioned by doctors to get him to a better eating scenario sooner, rather than later. While faith and trust play a big part of everything we do, it still pains me to see my son constantly vomit multiple times a day. Forget about the logistical, practicality of daily regurgitation, it also just becomes frustratingly exhausting. We've tried so many different things, but it doesn't feel like we are any closer to helping him keep down all his food.
Not only is Levi very volume sensitive, but he still has issues with excess mucus production (sorry if you're snacking right now). While removing his adenoids has come up in different conversations, we don't know if this would solve the problem, nor is our ENT comfortable performing that operation on such a tiny little guy. So we wait (while continuing to try little things that I confess I doubt will change things).... and that's when faith and trust come into play again. If I'm going to boast in Christ that I've learned to have faith, I must remember all He's done for me. When Levi was born, we didn't know whether he would live or die, whether he'd have brain damage, or multiple disabilities, and we had daily decisions to make. In the same way that God saw us through that time, I know he'll see us through this season.
Psalm 105:5 says, "Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles..." when we forget the miracles He's performed time and again, our thorn seems to grow in size, but when we focus on God's strength instead of our own, that thorn ceases to exist in our minds.

Thank you for continuing to pray for our little Levi, and for our continued faith and trust in his strength and growth!
He passed his hearing test on Tuesday! What a blessing that we must not take for granted!
When he's not about to throw up, throwing up, or covered in throw up, he's the sweetest and happiest little boy! For that, I will always give thanks!

Check out those teeth!

He loves the swing we put on the new playground!

He can even finish eating while swinging. Can't do that at the park!

Our cilantro is out of control. Not sure what to do with it all.
I was worried how Silas would do finally back at Sunday school now that cold and flu season is over. We picked him up with a sticker that said "I shared today," I couldn't have been more proud!
Love watching these boys grow together.

Thank you for loving us!

~Coffee CubBuster

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Happy 3rd Birthday Silas!

Thank you for teaching me oh so much.
Whenever mommy isn't dancing, singing, or her usual self, you come in with that perfect touch-
I'm given free hugs and kisses, or a toy to play,
Or you tell me, God's always with me so everything's okay!
No matter what's going on you just want everyone to smile.
You make us all better people and have for a while.
Whether your rhyming, reading, or singing ABC,
 I can't wait to learn more from you now that you're three!
Thank you for teaching me so much sweet boy.
Your a gift from God- a true bundle of joy.

Silas was taught by his sweet daddy to give ladies flowers. After pulling out all the real flowers from the yard and seeing how quickly they die, he decided to give me this the other day. My heart smiled.

Silas named this airplane- PO76. I have no clue where that came from, but I was impressed.

This is the face of a boy watching his brother dance around the kitchen.

Dee Dee came to the aquarium with us for Silas' b-day. It was a blast!

A special birthday surprise showed up in the back yard!

Thank you T-Pop and Daddy for all your hard work!

Everyday he wants to go to our "park" in the back yard. :)

Happy Birthday Bud!

Prayer requests for little Levi-

Levi had some good a bad news this week:
- Bad news: he lost 9 ounces of weight. We are trying different things, and working to trust God through this thorn that still persists. He had a cold last week, which didn't help eating drive or throwing up, but hopefully working with GI doc, we will turn the corner soon.
-Good news: Levi is almost army crawling! He has finally popped two bottom teeth! He "waved" hi in his own non-traditional way, and he started eating a lot more by mouth the last 24 hours (maybe a growth spurt!).

Please pray for his weight gain/eating/throwing up, as well as his ability to turn his hand in supine position (think looking at your own palm). Also, we go back to the ENT for another hearing test on Tuesday. Praying he does great at that!

Thank you so much for continuing to care for our family! Love you!

~Birthday Buster3

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Dance with me

I may not take too many dance classes anymore, but I love that I always have dance partners at my beck and call. The boys love dancing in the kitchen with me! There's nothing better in the world (besides a good cup of coffee) than dancing. It just makes everyone happier. Happy Thursday!

The boys already know about afternoon coffee time!

Just a random trip to the Atlanta Children's Museum. Our first time, definitely won't be our last!

Here's two T-bones for you daddy. I know you like meat!

He always sticks out his tongue if he's really jazzed or really concentrating.

Now that we have Levi's spitting up down to a science, and we all know exactly when to "grab the bucket," it is a little better. But we go back to GI doc, as well as the boys' annual ped appointments next week. Hopefully we can get a continued plan of attack for my littlest man's eating regime. All his other therapy seems to be progressing well though. We even get to add more OT through our Babies Can't Wait program! So thankful for great therapists! Meanwhile, we are all just counting down to Silas' birthday this Sunday because he literally asks every day if it's his birthday yet. There will be fish, sharks, penguins, cake, ice cream, and plenty of dancing!

~Dancing Buster