Wednesday, July 30, 2008
The party was a blast! We dressed in 70's attire (if you could), brought our favorite toy from the 70's (my mom would prbably be pleased to know I brought the Madame Alexander doll she gave me when my brother was born), watched 70's TV shows & commercials, and played the Newlywed Game. David and I came in 2nd place - just a half point behind Nina & PJ! If David had answered correctly on the question about how long it we waited from the time we met until the time we first kissed, we would have won! I couldn't believe he got that wrong - we've told everyone for six years how we were friends for 2 years before we even thought of each other as more than just friends...then he goes and answers ONE year to the question! At least he still remembers that it was when we got engaged! Personally, I think we should have gotten a half point for that (which would have tied the game) - but that's OK...I still got to take David home...so that was prize enough for me (wink, wink)!
I would love to post pictures of the party for you...but silly me left the memory card in the computer when I posted pictures from the Hyatt Coconut Point on Saturday...so even though I remembered to bring my camera, it did me absolutely NO good since I didn't have anything for it to store the pictures on! SO...I guess you'll just have to use your imaginations!
Well, it's getting late and I really should get to bed. Just didn't want another day to slip by without posting. :) Does this mean I've become addicted??? Hmmmm.....
Saturday, July 26, 2008
I could just sit in the pools all day (fully sunblocked, of course). Once we discovered the zero entry Adventure Pool, that's where we spent the bulk of our time. It was easy access for Christopher to get in and out & I could lounge back in the water that was just deep enough to cover me, but shallow enough to stretch out my legs! Not to mention, the area around the pool was amazingly beautiful! Waiters & waitresses periodically visited the pool area, but never interrupted your fun - they were just available in case you needed something to eat and/or drink. Centrally located between the pools is a little outdoor restaurant where you can sit down at a table and get something to eat. And there's no need to worry about taking cash with you to the pool - everything can be charged to your room!
Last night, David had a dinner as part of the conference - so, Christopher spent the night with Grandma. The dinner was held near the waterfall pool and was fabulous! After dinner, David and I took a walk & found even more treasures on the property! There's a boardwalk that goes to the marina (pictured above with the hotel in the background), a fire pit for roasting marshmellows and/or making s'mores (they even sell the s'more kit in the Kofe Nut - a little coffee shop & convenience store in the lobby area), and a rock wall! I told David that I really want to come back sometime when we can spend time together at the hotel (he was at conferences during most of our stay) - maybe for our anniversary or something. I think this would also be a great place for a family reunion...that is if our family would make the trip!
Oh, by the way, just in case all the amenities on the property aren't enough...just across the main road (US 41), is a HUGE outdoor mall! We went there for dinner Wednesday & Thursday nights and saw just a portion of all they have there. I'm going to have to go back sometime and really check out the place (one of the advantages of living nearby). It's just about a 30 minute drive from our house - not really in town, but close enough!
P.S. All pictures included in this post were taken by me on the property of Hyatt Coconut Point - isn't this place absolutely amazing???
Friday, July 25, 2008
The following school year, we were moved to different grade levels - Kim taught 1st grade and I taught Kindergarten. At the end of that year, Kim, Mike (her hubby & Cole's Daddy), and Cole all moved over to the east coast of Florida near Ft. Lauderdale. We made a commitment to get together at every opportunity - such as school holidays and such. Usually, we meet at Sawgrass Mills Mall, which is about half-way for both of us - but lately, we've been branching out to other places of interest! Last month, we went to a science/art museum for kids - it was great! We had the best time - we always do when we're together!
With the wind blowing & just getting out of the water, Christopher decided he was cold - so I let him wear my shirt back to the hotel. No apologies to those of you who would be offended at a boy wearing a shirt that looks like a dress...especially an Avon one with pictures of make-up on the front...a Mommy's gotta do what a Mommy's gotta do! In the picture above, the boys are standing in front of the trolly bus outside our hotel - we'd just gotten back. After this, we went up to the hotel room and changed clothes. Then Kim & Cole headed back home. Christopher was sad to see his buddy leave...but we'll see him again soon - we're planning at least one more get-together before school starts!
Gotta go for now...Christopher's been begging all morning to go to the pool again! They boy really can't get enough! I got him interested in a cartoon so I could get this blog posted...but it's almost over, so I know the pleas will start again...and I'm not even dressed in my swimsuit yet...imagine that! :)
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
The kids had corn dogs and the mommies (and Jack's dad & older siblings) had chicken salad. I was so surprised to see Christopher eat a corn dog - he's such a picky eater and has always turned up his nose when I've tried to get him to eat them (though he LOVES hot dogs). Guess a little peer pressure can be a GOOD thing sometimes! We also had watermelon that Hunter's mommy brought and the boys had cotton candy yogurt! YUM!!
As promised, here's a picture of Hunter's little brother, Nathanael. That's one of Jack's big sisters holding baby Nathanael. Jack is the youngest of 4 - he one brother and 2 sisters. Jessica (pictured above) is the closest in age to Jack. She's eleven - and loves babies as much as I do! I thought this picture was just precious!
While baby Nathanael was sleeping (and Jack's oldest sister Laurin was babysitting), we went to the community pool where Jack lives. Here's another place were a little peer pressure can be a good thing! Christopher has always been terribly afraid of water & refused to go in the pool. When he was a little baby, I took him to the Mommy & Me water classes at the YMCA - and he screamed through all six weeks of the classes! I was sure he would get used to it...but he never did. So, we never signed up for another class. I love swimming and lounging in the pool and I so wanted Christopher to love it, too! But, despite being a Florida boy, he hated the pool! When our water park opened last summer, we got a little closer - the toddler area is very shallow, so he was fine in there. But, if we got in water that was any deeper than his knees (which is really not that deep), he would cling to me and cry! Well, there were no such tears shed on this day! He got right in there with his buddies - and even put his face in the water! I was so proud! It was just what we needed to get the ball rolling...
Today, we checked into the Hyatt at Coconut Point because David has a conference here for work. As you can see by the picture above, I finally have a Florida boy who LOVES swimming! He was still a little hesitant at first, but litte by little, he gained his confidence! When I blew up his floaties, he was excited - he said, "Just like Jack and Hunter!" They weren't enough to keep his face completely out of the water, though - so, I blew up the swim ring we bought at Wally-World (Wal-Mart) last night - and that was all it took! Now, he can't seem to get enough of it - while we were at dinner tonight, he told us we needed to go back to the hotel so he could go swimming! Of course, now that his fear of the water is gone, it's time to get some swimming lessons!
Sunday, July 20, 2008
His new seat is on the opposite side of the car from his other seat (which is anchored in), so he gets a new view from this seat - and was completely amazed by it at first! "I'm way up higher, Mommy! I can see the grass by the road!" were his first remarks about sitting in his new seat! Now, when we go somewhere without Cobh, Christopher gets to pick which seat he sits in (slight power trip for him)! Usually he picks the big boy seat, but every once in awhile, he picks the baby seat! :)
In other "check this out" news, Christopher has a new-found love of helping in the kitchen! He loves helping put the dishes away from the dishwasher. Right now, he's just responsible for the non-sharp utensiles (spoons, forks, & butter knives) - but as he gets older, his responsibility will increase! We can't wait -and I hope he always shows such excitement for this job!
What's better than cleaning up the kitchen? Getting it dirty in the first place, of course! Christopher also loves to help us cook - and to reap the rewards afterwards - especially if Mommy is baking a cake or brownies! :) His favorite kitchen duty? Cleaning up the spoon while the brownies are in the oven!
This post has been somewhat of a rambling...thanks for indulging me! I've been trying to keep up and do a post a day (though I've missed a few here and there) - and there's a lot of everyday moments that I've been meaning to post, but just haven't gotten around to posting until now. I hope you don't mind. I'm really enjoying this blogging thing - so glad my friend Terri encouraged me to do it! I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy posting! Thanks so much to those who leave comments and/or email me! I love hearing from you, too!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
While the boys played together, Terri (Hunter's Mommy) and I had time to chat and catch up on each other's lives - in between tattles, that is! These boys really love each other - but even the best of buds will tattle on each other at this age! In some ways, I hope they always keep each other in check as they grow up - not necessarily by tattling, but certainly calling each other to Christian accountability! Somehow, I think they will! :) I also got the joy of holding Hunter's baby brother Nathanael while I was there - you all know how much I ate that up!!! Sorry, I didn't get any pictures of that - I was too busy loving on the little guy! Maybe next playdate!
The boys are looking for deer in Hunter's back yard - but we didn't get to see any this time. :( Terri even tried throwing some corn to try to entice them to come out, but they weren't interested. Maybe it was the noise that two little boys make when they are having fun that scared them away! Hunter's house is out a bit from the city - so they get to see a lot of wildlife out their way!
Christopher and Hunter really enjoy spending time together. When it was time for us to go home, they were certainly NOT ready to end their fun! We'll have to plan another playdate with Hunter again soon! Mommy had just as much fun as Christopher did! Thank you Terri for being such a great host - and for the wonderful lunch!
Monday, July 14, 2008
Is it really true? Could I really be THIRTY-NINE years old??? Yes, it's true - the little baby girl pictured above is now an old woman! Yesterday was my 39th birthday. How did that happen? And my aunt was so kind to point that fact out to me (that I'm old) in a birthday email (as she does most years) - of coure, she should know...she's a decade ahead of me! Just remember Carolyn...you'll hit the BIG 5-0 almost TWO FULL MONTHS before I hit the big 4-0 next year! Ha! Ha!
My aunt and I are more like sisters - we may pick at each other, but our love for each other is so strong that we'll fiercly defend each other if anyone tries to hurt one of us! Below is a picture of us setting the table at my grandparent's house (a few years ago), where our whole family often gathered together for dinner! It must have been someone's birthday! Hee! Hee!Seriously, though - this birthday hit me harder than most. Even turning thirty didn't hurt so much. I guess because when I turned 30, my life was really just beginning! I had just completed college and was looking forward to my first teaching position! Little did I know it at the time, but I was also about to move 650 miles away from my parents to find the man God had chosen for me! God was just about to send me on a journey of blessings beyond my wildest dreams!
Somehow, though, by realizing that 40 was just a year away, it made me feel like I'm running out of time to conceive and give birth to a child. I guess it doesn't help that the baby we lost to miscarriage was due this month. So, I guess it's a little bit of everything hitting all at once that gives me the sudden desire to pull out all the stops and do everything humanly possible to conceive a child! It doesn't matter - we couldn't afford it anyway. Yes, I know all things in God's timing - I just wish sometimes (ok, most times) that He would grant me a little peek at His calendar (not that He needs to keep one - but you know what I mean)! :)
But, if we could afford it, I don't know what we would do. On the one hand, I think it would be amazing to go through the whole process - and David so desires to be in the delivery room and witness the birth of our next child (he was asked to leave the delivery room right before Christopher was born). On the other hand, it seems almost selfish for us to spend that money on a "chance" of another child, rather than using it to adopt a child who needs our loving home. Don't misunderstand me - I am NOT saying that those who have chosen IVF are selfish - far from it! I believe God has a plan for those children. Without IVF, the world would never have known Mason, Hunter, Parker, Tanner, Taylor, Blake, or Lily (seven children who have been conceived by friends of mine through IVF). God has a special plan for each of those seven lives, just as He has a plan for Christopher's life (which included being conceived by a different couple, but being raised as our son), and all other children in the world! I don't understand His plan - and I would never be so arrogant as to suppose one plan for a child's life is superior to another. I believe God leads us each on different journeys - and it is not for any of us to judge the other person's journey.
I guess I'm just trying to say that I have no idea where God is leading us on our journey (not that anyone really does). For now, we're in that all-too familiar waiting room - just waiting to see where God wants us next! Another option I've thought a lot about is embryo adoption - taking the frozen embryo of a couple who no longer needs it (because they have conceived all the children they can through IVF) and giving that child a chance at life in my womb. David and I aren't so much hung up on the idea that a child has to be ours biologically (obviously) - we just would like the experience of knowing our child from the earliest moment possible - in the womb! Perhaps...or perhaps not...it's all in God's hands!
I'd love to know your thoughts. Sometimes God speaks to us through the words of others. Perhaps He'll give me the wisdom I need in something you have to say! :)
Saturday, July 12, 2008
HE LEADETH ME
He leadeth me, O blessèd thought!
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.
Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, over troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.
Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.
And when my task on earth is done,
When by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.
We have some friends who are facing what the last stanza talks about. Jason Weathers, who is in his 30's, discovered this past January that he has leukemia. He has been in and out of the hospital fighting this disease since then & is losing the fight. He has been unresponsive for several days now and the doctors say there is no brain activity. The family made the heart-wrenching decision to take him off the ventilator today & last I heard, he's still breathing on his own. While we are still holding on to that tiniest thin shred of hope that God will perform a miracle and restore Jason's body to complete health here on earth, all signs seem to point to the fact that God plans to instead give Jason perfect healing in Heaven. Please keep this family in your prayers. Jason and his wife Stephanie have 3 beautiful children - their youngest was born during all this. We don't know what God's plan is in all this, but we do know He has one. If you feel so inclined, you can read their story at:http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jasonweathers Here's a picture of their family:
When I think about the struggles they have been through over the last few months, and now the very real possibility that these children will grow up without their father, I'm awed at the faith that this family continues to show in their posts on his Caring Bridge site. It is just further proof that our God is an AWESOME GOD! Even when things aren't as we'd like them, they are exactly as He has planned for us - and even when we don't agree in the moment, His plan is so much better than anything we could come up with!
It was not my plan to wait until I was 33 to get married. It was not my plan to struggle with infertility. It was certainly not my plan to finally conceive a child after 5+ years of trying, only to lose that child to a miscarriage. But, it WAS God's plan! If I hadn't waited until I was 33, I might never have married David - and wouldn't have the awesome blessing that marriage has brought to my life! If I hadn't struggled with infertility (and worse yet, suffered the cruel remarks of an insensitive fertility doctor), we wouldn't have the blessing of adopting our precious Christopher & the joy he brings to our lives. If I hadn't had the miscarriage, I would not have been blessed by so many women sharing their own stories of miscarriage with me and how God blessed them through it. I'm sure God's not done with that one yet...can't wait to see where He's leading! :)
Tonight in our BLG class, Bruce asked each of us to tell what awed us. David and I both picked Christopher. David focused on how Christopher sees the world and just watching him grow up. Mine is how God orchestrated every event in our lives (yes, even the horrible ugly ones) to bring us to the exact point and place where we needed to be so that He could give Christopher to us!
So, as the Hymn of the Day says, "What 'ere I do, where e're I go, still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me." And I'm so glad He does. I'm so glad He didn't listen to my plan - but leads me step by step through the perfect plan He has for me! I can't wait to see just where the next steps will lead! May God bless you today in a mighty way!
***Edited 7/14/08 - Jason went home to be with the Lord Saturday. Jason and his family love God - they are a testamony to what a real Christian family is like! I'm certain Jason heard that phrase we all long to hear from our Father in Heaven, "Well done, My good and faithful servant!"
Thursday, July 10, 2008
We have officially joined the Wii Fit club - the latest hard-to-find game! My mom gave us a Best Buy gift card so we could get one when it came in. This was David's and my birthday gift from my mom. Well, we've been checking Best Buy and harrassing them with frequent phone calls to see if it's in yet...but no such luck. Well, today was the day! I called this afternoon and was told that they might have some later tonight - call back around 6pm. So, I called and they told me they had some on the truck, but they weren't out on the floor to be sold yet - call again. So, we ate dinner and I called again around 7pm and voila - they were finally out and ready for sale. I asked the girl on the phone if she could hold one until I could get there - after getting permission, she said she could. So, off I went - gift card in hand - to collect my prize! :)
Now, for those of you who think that all video games are the same - and that they are just for kids - let me tell you, the wii is different! While it is true there are games where you can sit on your duff and exercise nothing more than your thumbs, most of the games have you moving your body! Before we bought the wii fit game & balance board, my favorite was playing tennis on the wii sports disc that came with the game system. I've never played tennis in real life - but David has, and he says the wii version in pretty close to the real thing! I can tell you, I certainly work up a sweat playing...but it's very addicting! I can play tennis on the wii for about an hour - but in real life, I doubt I'd last more than 10 minutes!
David bought the wii console for me about a year ago, for my birthday. I have to admit, I didn't use it as much as I should have - but when I did, I really got a workout! Now, with the wii fit - there's accountability involved! You put a stamp on each day you use it and bank the minutes you spend doing the training sessions - these minutes unlock other games for you to do. I banked 30 minutes tonight alone - a little yoga, a little hula hooping, a little soccer, some skiiing, a good bit of step-aerobics, and even a little tight-roping! It was a lot of fun!
My goal is to use the wii for at least 30 minutes every day. I get to put a stamp on the wii fit calendar for each day I log in - and it even keeps track of my progress! Pretty cool!
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
Whaddaya know...it worked! The picture above is one of Christopher goofing around at Wal-mart. He was so cute, I just couldn't resist the urge to snap the photo!
This picture is Christopher in his "Big Boy Bed" - he LOVES it! It used to be his Daddy's bed, and belonged to Grandma and Grandpa Jansen before that! This bed has a lot of history! Right now, Christopher's into Cars (hence the theme of the room)...he likes Lightnin' McQueen, but I think his real favorite is Mater...bless his heart...embracing his Alabama roots! Ha! Ha!
This is a photo from Christopher's brief experience wih t-ball...he was fine with taking his turn...but once he'd rounded the bases once, he was done as far as he was concerned! He was more interested in the swings on the nearby school playground! Oh well...maybe next season! We know he'll be great...the boy can hit a ball and he can sure run fast! WOW!
I chose the name Jansen Junction because, well obviously, our last name is Jansen - but also because David and Christopher both love trains! And of course, I love the alliteration aspect of the name! :)
Ok - so, here's a biography of our family for those who don't know, or who just might be interested...
David and I started our journey as simply friends in the Singles class at our church. We were among a group in this class that had annual passes to Universal Studios/Islands of adventure an would make a trip together every month or so, as we were able. In those days, we would get 2 rooms at the Hard Rock Hotel - one for the boys and one for the girls - and whoever came, piled into the gender-appropriate room! We would then hit the parks at our own pace - with a few of us taking at least one night to hit the local outlet mall. Well, it was on one of these trips that David and I began to see each other as more than "just friends." You see, prior to this if anyone had asked either of us about the other regarding dating, we both responded (independently), "I just don't think about him/her that way." But...God had other plans!
Fast forwad about 3 months...and on Easter weekend 2002, David knelt by the fountain at our church as asked me to be his bride. It was one of the happiest days of my life...I could barely get out the words, "Yes, I will!" because I was laughing so hard!
Finger back on the fast forward button until September 27, 2002 - what would have been my grandparents' 57th Wedding anniversary (my grandfather was already in Heaven), David and I each married our best friend! It was a beatiful day - one that fully lived up to every dream I'd had about that day! If there's anything I would change about that day - it would only be to put someone else in charge of getting the flowers to the church (I left them in my fridge and had to send my cousin Karen to pick them up)!
We knew right away that we wanted to be parents...and since we were getting a late start, we decided to try right away. But, God had a better plan for us than anything we had imagined! After a year of not conceiving a child, we were referred to a fertility specialist in a neighboring town (the only one in the area at the time). Unfortunately, it was the most humilating exprience in my life (and I've since learned this is his horrible bedside manner with everyone)...but on the plus side, God used that experience to put us in the right place and time to adopt our precious son. We started the process in November 2003 with our application to Family Creaions, Inc. We completed our home study in December 2003, and were blessed beyond belief when we were matched in January 2004!
On March 6, 2004, we had the blessing of being at the hospital when our son was born - and I had the double blessing of being in the delivery room and watching his birth! It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen! The experience of watching his birth mother in such pain so that I could have the joy of being a mother gave me a small glimpse of what Jesus went through for us when he gave his life on the cross so that we could have the joy of eternity in Heaven! And just like I wouldn't have been Christopher's mother if I hadn't accepted the gift his birthmother offerd me, we can't have eternity in Heaven if we don't accept Christ's gift of salvation that He offers to everyone!
After 4 months of hugging, loving, and enjoying life with newborn Christopher, a judge made our family official on July 9, 2004. The judge warned us that as cute as Christopher was on that day, one day he would grow to be a teenager...and even then, we would not be allowed to give him back! We wholeheartedly assured him that we had no intentions of EVER giving this gift back! The judge told us it was his great honor to pronounce the adoption official! After a brief photo session with the judge, Grandma, Daddy, Christopher, and I went to Cracker Barrel to meet the lady whom God had used to bring us to Christopher. You see, in my research about adoption, I came across a wonderful godly woman named Kaycee who told us about Family Creations. She now has 4 adopted boys of her own and was a blessing during this time. Until this day, we had only known each other through emails - but we finally got to meet her face-to-face on the day Christopher officially became a Jansen! Thank You, Heavenly Father, for bringing Kaycee into our lives!
It's now been almost 4 years since that day - and I'm still amazed at what a blessing that little boy is in our lives and so very thankful that God brought him to us! He's the smartest kid in the world, with the best personality and the kindest heart (me, partial? nah!) - I just love being his Mommy!
Well, that's about the long and short of it. I promise my other posts won't be quite as long...or at least I'll try...but I can for sure promise I won't try to cram 6 years of livng into a single post again!