Monday, January 11, 2016

Nathan [3.0xe]

xe = extra energy

We're glad to see this day, and it's been a busy one. We spent the day getting ready for your party, and then hosted at least 35 of your friends for your party, then Grandma and Grandpa at dinner. Okay, it was more like 13 friends or so, but seriously, I lost count. It was lots of fun, and you're still wound at bedtime.

Three and a half weeks ago, on December 17th, you got your pacemaker. The doctors told us your heart rate was dropping into the 30s overnight, and it was time. You have been so healthy that it's hard to believe that it was happening. You did splendidly through surgery, and have been a pretty good patient in recovery. And you're still proving the health of your lungs consistently.

We have been so loved through your surgery. Our family, church, and friends have all been so great. Through your surgery, Christmas, and now your birthday, you have received so many gifts! We have a insane amount of Cars! You're loving it. It's so fun to watch you play.

You're quite the talker this year. For the most part,  you are very determined to say things correctly, but there are still some really cute things along the way (bomboons= balloons; for a while Pikes Peak was "Pikesom Peak"). True to form for both sides of the family, you are highly opinionated and very strong willed. You're also very strong. It's been hard to keep you on that 5 lb post-surgery weight limit. You just pick stuff up!

You are so loved, my son. Your mom and I are more than blessed to have you. It's been a stressful year, but God is faithful. We know He has big plans for our bionic boy!

We love you. I pray Christ's protection and blessing for your life. I pray you seek Him and make Him your Savior.

I love you, my son.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Katelyn's First Day of School

Dear Katelyn,

I missed your "birthday blog" this year (it was a busy Spring).  You have been 5 for four months now, and I decided to just take care of it today, your first day of Kindergarten. 

You continue to impress and amaze people you meet with your intelligence and sweet spirit.  It has been great fun to see you challenge yourself in recent months, particularly in reading.  We had to make a rule that bedtime stories had to be read TO you, not BY you, simply because you were determined to read the hardest and longest stuff you could find.  The new rule is read to yourself all you want during the day, but bedtime belongs to Mom and Dad.  

You have been so excited to start school.  We told you quite a while ago that Kindergarten belongs to the 5 year olds, so come April 30, you expected to go to school the next week.  So, we had to break the news that it wouldn't start until September.  You were bummed, but always flexible, you went with it. 

Today was the "big day" and it seems like you had a good time.  As you and I were walking to school this morning, you heard a bell ring when we were still a block away and said, "We're going to be late!"  We still had time though. You were your bold little quiet self as you walked into the classroom. I guess it helped that we visited last year's classes a couple of times, so you knew right where to sit on the rug.  And those were some tired eyes when I got home and saw you on the chair, but, as usual, no nap for you.  It will be interesting to see how day 2 goes in that department.  Your mom and I could get used to this earlier bedtime, though.

I'm proud of you, my Sweetness.  You're bright, funny, creative, and beautiful.  I know Jesus has great plans for your life.  I'm thankful that you are beginning to understand God's love at work in you, and believe soon you'll be ready to place your trust in Him. 

We love watching you and Nathan play together.  While you prefer life as a princess, it's fun to watch you play with the boy's stuff, too.  It is wonderful to see your love for one another.  I pray that remains a lifelong bond for you.  

I pray God's continued protection and blessings for you, Katelyn.  He has great plans for you.  Seek Him, love Him, and He will give you all your heart's desires. We live in a hard, dark world, but I see the Lord's beauty in your innocence and sweet spirit.  Allow Him to touch the world with His love through you.
"For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29:11–13 NASB95



Monday, March 16, 2015


"I wan go outside.  Bike.  Red helmet."

So comes the rite of spring this year in Snukeville.  Nathan has always wanted to be outside, which is funny because he was born on the coldest day of winter. But whenever he decides it is the thing to do, don't get in his way.  

I haven't spent a lot of time on my bike the last couple of years, but this year is already starting dramatically differently.  As many of you have noticed, I've been trying to be disciplined about running.  In the meantime, I put Nathan on my bike a few times along the way, and in the process created a monster.  

Katelyn is getting braver on her "big girl" bike.  She was SO excited when we got it last year.  Then, she took one spill and that ended that for the winter.  She was terrified.  Since she's "almost five" we got her back on, and have been coaching her.  Really, it's just conquering the fear since she's on training wheels.  

Several times a week now, we are venturing onto the church parking lot (very conveniently located in our backyard).  Nathan has been toddling along for a few minutes on his balance bike, and Katelyn shaking in fear of falling off her bike, which has yet to happen.  

I am reminded of learning to ride a bike when I was a kid.  My dad was so patient with me, and now I realize he was likely just two steps from knocking my block off.  It's a fun process, but one that is also frustrating.  We're taking a different tactic with Nathan (balance bike) so we'll see how that goes.  It brings much fun, and great family time outside.  And generally a temper tantrum when the party's over.  

Fun days in Snukeville.
 Nathan in his seat on my bike
 Balance bike close-up
 Little man, big dreams
Katelyn learning to be brave

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Nathan (2.0)

Dear Nathan,

It hardly seems possible, the fact that you're two years old today.  I know most parents in their right minds who enjoy their kids say that, but it truly is the case.  

As I watch you wander around the living room asking me, "Who's that?" about almost all your toys (but particularly Larry the Cucumber), I am amazed that the little man you are.  You are so intelligent.  You work to master everything you learn.  I wish I had half the drive to learn that you do.  You've begun learning your letters, and along the way you are realizing there are letters everywhere! It was so cute the night you discovered that the funny stuff on the wall in your sister's room were actually letters.  And when you discovered the letters on the various shirts I wear.  It's just so much fun.  

You are SO LOUD! And you always have been, from moment one.  There is nothing quite like having the still of night ripped apart by a wail or a shout from your bedroom.  In some ways, those screeches are a sound of comfort. But not many.  Mostly, it's just loud. Both you and Katelyn have spoiled us by being generally great sleepers.  So good, that on the nights you aren't it is pretty miserable for dear old mom and dad.

I am so thankful for your sweet spirit.  You have been independent from the start, but man... you are a mama's boy! You and your mommy have quite the bond.  I am so thankful for the love you show her.  I pray that bond only grows, and you know just how much you are loved.

It's been a busy year for you.  You learned how to walk.  You've started talking.  You have developed an extreme fondness for VeggieTales (expressed in an awkward bond with a plastic Larry the Cucumber who most often has no eyes.  Seriously dude... it's just a plastic cucumber).  You love music.  You love Frozen.  You love animals.  You love your church and everyone who cares for you.  Your Grandma and Grandpa moved here in March, and that bond has just gotten stronger and stronger.

You and Katelyn are trouble... even now.  It will be interesting to see what you two come up with in the years ahead. I love how you join in on the fun with whatever story she has rolling in her mind.  And by joining in on the fun, I mean you generally body slam a toy (or her), steal a crown ("I King" walking around wearing a princess crown.  Oy), or pull her hair (and when you get caught... you hug her and say "AWW."  Yeah.  We've got you figured out, kid).  Be nice to your sister, Paco.  She's either your best friend or worst enemy!

I am thankful for the sweet boy you are.  I praise Jesus that you are so healthy.  To think back to the time when we were expecting you, and the stress related to your heart issues.  So far, it's just shown itself to be a funky heartbeat.  Your energy is through the roof, and the only trip to the hospital was that time we thought you might have swallowed a battery last Christmas (update... battery was found under last year's Christmas tree... not in your throat).  You are a trooper when it comes to your periodic monitors for the doctors.

I praise Jesus that His grace already shines so brightly in your life.  Most of all I pray that you trust in Christ for salvation and forgiveness early in your life, and that you are a faithful servant of the Most High God.  He has great plans for you, my son.  I pray you live in His grace.

I love you, Nathan.  Our gift.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Katelyn (4.0)

Hey there Sweetness,
You're 4. Yep. And everyone knows it. You also knew that even though your party was Sunday, you weren't really 4 till today. And you told everyone that, too.
This has been a good year for you, but not an easy one. You're one of the smartest children I've ever known, and I'm not just saying that because you're mine. You're brilliant. A few weeks ago you counted to 100 with only two prompts. You know the location of every state in the Union, and a good number of their names. You know where friends and family live, and if they've moved, you know both locations. You can write your name as clearly as some kids I've seen in 2nd or 3rd grade. You can sing countless songs, and like many American girls, know the Frozen soundtrack better than your parents want you to.
I can show you how to use a phone or tablet app and you figure it out in moments. I have also removed a few because they're too hard, but you will play them till you get angry (they must be conquered). You have grown into quite the creative little girl. And, unfortunately, you seem to have inherited your parents' cleaning habits.
You and Nathan are becoming quite a tandem. I have never seen a time when you can't make him laugh. I love how you care for him. I can't wait to see how your love for each other grows. Recently, your patience with his brotherly antics has been tried a bit. Hopefully your hair will grow back in the spots he's yanked it out. I hope you learn to share at least a little bit along the way.
This year has also brought an entirely new and special level to the term "independent". I must say that my desire for you to live life to the full has backfired a bit sometimes. I think you have a full dose of stubborn from both your parents. Unfortunately I have lost patience more than once. I pray you know that even in the times I seem to lose my temper, you are deeply loved.
You are such a precious, beautiful, intelligent girl. One of the great joys of the last month has been to answer your questions about Jesus' crucifixion. I pray you reach a clear understanding of the Gospel of Jesus and trust Him as your Savior and Lord. I pray you become a living testimony of the hope of His resurrection. I pray that day is soon.
As we get used to having Grandma and Grandpa in town with us, I know there will be a lot of new adventures. We hope to be able to bless you with many great times together.
I'm thankful you're my girl. You are loved by your mom and dad more than you'll ever know.
You're my favorite!
Love, Daddy

Monday, January 13, 2014

Nathan (1.0)

Well, little man, you're a year old. Considering your mom's doctor had never seen a baby with heart block survive pregnancy, you've blown away the odds. And you still are working on that.
You have had a big voice (and a lot to say) since day one. Thankfully, you don't remember your first days. Because I had the flu for the first time in my life, your mom and I were not allowed in the NICU. You were well loved by the nurses, and Grandma, Grandpa, and Katelyn all got to see you. After quarantine was lifted, we all came home to a whole new world.
Quickly, you have blown away the expectations anyone had that you would be slowed down at all. You've been a lean, loud eating machine from day one. You laughed early, and have done your best to be into everything your sister is. Because your mom and I have always been on the slow end of the "baby curve" we had some long nights for a few months. You have become a pretty good sleeper though. Good enough that the times you aren't really make for long nights.
You are strong and smart. You love and trust easily. You LOVE to play. You have a gentle heart... And a bit of a mean streak. And did I mention you can be VERY LOUD?
It's been a busy year for your whole family. When you were just a few weeks old your Gram got very sick, which made for a lot of travel and stress for a few months. She's doing really well now, and lives in Santa Fe near your cousins, who moved there when you were just a couple weeks old. I had a busy year working at the church, and we travelled a lot. You don't really like riding in a car at all. At ALL. We decided after the jillionth trip of the year in October to give you a rest for the rest of 2013. It was much quieter after that. Grandma and Grandpa are frequent visitors, and you always have a ball when they come. You have an awesome mom. I pray you quickly realize how blessed you, we all, are.
It's been a year of firsts for all of us. You are primed for a few more very quickly. It's just a matter of time till you're walking and taking the world by storm. We love you so much and know there are amazing things in store for your life. You're loving, talented, and more amazing all the time.
Because we know people will ask, the most frequent statement we get from our doctors about you and your cool heartbeat is, “no concerns.”
I ask many blessings from God on your life. I pray you trust Him for everything. You are our gift.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Blessings in the flames

Right now there are several wildfires burning in Colorado, threatening and destroying homes and property. The weather forecast today is not favorable to fire-fighting. As I prayed this morning for the rain we so desperately need to put out the fires, I thought about last year. While fire raged in Colorado Springs, devouring hundreds of homes, we gathered with Beth Moore at the World Arena for Living Proof Live. With women in attendance who had already lost everything, we prayed for rain to come and wash out the flames. We prayed earnestly, passionately, boldly, expecting to walk outside later that day and see water pouring from the heavens. But the rain didn't come. I wondered at the time, and I wondered again this morning, why not? I still wonder, but I was reminded of this truth:

Sometimes fire is a gift.

It doesn't seem like it at the time. It often seems like a curse, a punishment, a fiery trial to be endured. And yet, it can be more than that. Fire can refine us, restore us, and reignite us. It reminds us of what is truly important. Fire can take property, mementos, and even lives, but it can't destroy souls. It may forever alter our relationships, but it can't destroy them. In fact, it can mend fractured relationships and even heal broken ones by clearing away so much of what distracts us.

I'm still praying for rain. I'm definitely praying for all those who are putting themselves at so much risk to fight the fires and keep the damage to a minimum. I'm praying boldly, believing, asking for God's mercy to rain down on us. But I'm also reminded that God is sovereign, and He will do what it takes to accomplish His will. He is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29), and He can bring beauty from ashes (Isa. 61:3).