Saturday, October 31, 2009

Inflatable Fun!

Our friends at church, Tonya & Eric, had a bunch of us over on a random Tuesday night a couple of weeks ago to play on their new inflatables and to eat yummy Fall food: grilled cheeses, hot dogs, & chili! Yum! It was Mason's first time to play on an inflatable and he was a little hesitant. Plus, most of his friends here are 2 1/2 years old, so he hasn't yet really figured out where he fits in. He just kinda chases all the big kids and tries to do what they're doing, but he's just not really big enough yet. It's kinda sad! He just stares at all the action. I guess at that age all the kids are ignoring each other or fighting with each other anyway, so I guess he's not missing out on too much! :) Anyway, it was such a fun night and there ended up being a big group of us there. Marc's mom was staying with us a few days since she was here having cataract surgery by Marc's partner, so she got to go with us to this shindig. She kept her eye on Mason while Marc and I got to chat with our friends. Except the beginning of the night, Marc and I were joining in the inflatable fun and perched ourselves right up on them! Oh, the night also included an inflatable obstacle course relay race, started by Melissa McMillen and me. She beat me, but everyone agreed it was only cuz I had socks on and she didn't! Hee hee! She ended up being undefeated by the end of the night, including even beating our husbands in the race! It was pretty hilarious to watch all of us grown adults racing through those thangs like maniacs! Especially the dads who had come straight from work in their dress clothes! :)

The Moore Family slidin' adventure...
Grandy C lovin' on Baby Luke Jones ... if there's a baby around, she's sure to get her hands on him or her! :)
Audrey's awesome playhouse... Her daddy is soooo talented! It is the cutest thang ever!

Mason trying to play dinner table with Audrey & Zoe... didn't quite work out...

On your mark!
Get Set!!
Marc strugglin' during his race with Matt Jones
Hilarious! Marc was getting the most beat up in his dress clothes!
Marc didn't stand a chance racing against a fireman!! Matt was out like 5 minutes before Marc! Well, not really...
Matt beatin' Josh Owens
Back to jumpin' for a minute...
Melissa's & my celebratory dance after we completed the first obstacle course relay race. She won, but I was still a good sport! :) Oh, I'll beat 'er in the future!
Matt Jones smilin' like always!
That was AFTER he got up from his very ungraceful ending to the race below! :)
Lydia & Mason enjoying storytime with Grandy C
Marc gettin' him some Baby Luke time... he looked soooo tiny next to Marc! I just love seeing Marc with little babies.

Thanks Tonya, Eric, and sweet little Audrey for inviting us all over to play! Oh yeah, and we all agreed that Audrey definitely has the coolest backyard, with 2 huge inflatables, a custom-designed playhouse built by her daddy, and all!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Tribute to MaMaw Thomas: March 22, 1914 - October 23, 2009

The words I spoke at my grandmother's funeral on Monday, October 26...

My Words for MaMaw Thomas… Inspired Sunday, October 25

I could talk to you all day long about the wonderful memories I have of my MaMaw Thomas. She moved in with us from the time I was born to help take care of me and free up some of my parents’ very-much-needed energy to keep up with my then 2 ½ year old brother, Joseph Jack. So, I have spent my entire 30 years of life around my MaMaw. I have always referred to her as one my very best friends. She introduced me to hot chocolate using those little packets of Carnation chocolate mix, cottage cheese, chew gum, keeping Kleenexes under my pillow, Totino’s pizza, jokes about dogs that my cousins and I would try to get her to repeat over and over, and last but not least, my favorite drink of all-time, Root Beer! More importantly, she taught me about serving others. Ever since I can even remember, she took me up and down the elevators of the Trevecca Towers delivering meals to residents who were unable to get down to the cafeteria to eat. What I cherish most about those times was being invited into these people’s apartments to provide them company. As an insanely shy 7 year old, I then and there developed a love for the elderly that has stayed with me throughout my life. I was probably the only elementary-aged child who watched the 6 o’clock news with 80 year olds in my spare time! What else have not only I, but many other members of our family inherited from Nola Thomas? Blue eyes, silliness that only we understand, and stubbornness that unfortunately those around us are forced to put up with!

I am so blessed to have been able to be by my MaMaw’s side when she took her last breath on Friday, October 23rd. The moment I got the call the night before, I quickly packed and drove Mason and me to Nashville to pick up my dad and head on to Sparta, TN where MaMaw had spent the last few years in the last of several nursing homes. We sat by her side for 13 ½ hours until she passed away. Even though according to medicine, MaMaw’s body was failing quickly, we all knew there was still a chance she would pull through like she had every time before. She is the strongest woman I had ever known and has fought this battle of Alzheimer’s with all her might since January 1998. For the petite, 5 foot tall little lady she was, she endured many trials during her 95 years of life.

The beautiful words of Paul from First Corinthians 15: “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law, but thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I will never forget those last moments of MaMaw’s life as my brother Jody, our cousin Cathy, and I snuggled up beside her in her bed. Our moms, mentally & physically exhausted, were getting a little bit of rest wherever they could find a spot in the room while my 2nd cousin Makena was thoroughly entertaining my very active 17 month old, Mason Thomas. So, it was us 3 grandkids left to keep watch. We watched her breaths get slower and slower. She had run 104 temperature for about a month and her lungs, heart, and kidneys were failing. She had also developed pneumonia. The nurse came in at 7 am that morning to tell us that MaMaw’s heart had completely filled up with fluid, making it more difficult, and soon impossible, to breathe. That was when the reality truly set in for me that we were losing her. I was so dreading the gurgly harsh breathing sound that I knew would mean the end, along with severe pain & discomfort. She was breathing so quickly and loudly from the minute I arrived that Thurs. night and I knew what was to come next. All we ever wanted was for MaMaw to not be in pain. God answered our prayers. She did start the rough breathing that I just described, and we immediately called the nurse. They said they would start giving her morphine every hour to help keep her comfortable. They started those rounds of morphine immediately. That was when we were piled in the bed with her. Within minutes the horrible breathing turned into slow, peaceful breaths. I looked at Jody and Cathy and said, “I think this is it. Should we wake our moms”? We waited a few minutes so that we could watch her breathing to see if it picked back up. During those minutes something happened. My MaMaw looked more beautiful than I could ever imagine for someone who was dying. She had beautiful rosy cheeks, perfect wrinkle-free skin, her silvery white hair was perfectly in place, and she had the most content look on her face. She definitely did not look like a 95-year-old lady in the final stages of Alzheimer’s. She looked like an angel. She was done fighting and ready to meet her Heavenly Father. I just kept saying over and over “She looks so beautiful!” Cathy started counting the seconds between breaths. I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest as I thought each breath was the last. The last breath came as our moms awoke. There are no words to describe that moment. We were touching her hands and face and could feel the fever immediately leave her body. Peace filled the room. Her body was whole again. Her sight was made perfect. Her memory came back after being stolen from her 11 years ago. She was experiencing Amazing Grace!

I am now forever changed by what happened during those last 10 minutes of my grandmother’s life. I saw death like I had never seen it before. We were crying tears of joy that would have been tears of anger, bitterness, and resentment if we did not know that this world was not our home. MaMaw was on this earth for 95 years and we all knew it was time to finally let her go. It would have been selfish to keep her here any longer.

We can use this time to look at our own lives. Has the sting of death been taken from you? My grandmother was a woman who knew where she was going, not because of what she had done, but because of what He had done. Life was not always easy for her, but through it all she trusted that God would carry her and her family through. Nothing says it better than my favorite Bible verse that was handed down to me from my PaPaw Myers :

Romans 8:18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us.

My MaMaw Thomas has left a legacy. I pray that my faith can be as strong as hers and I pray that for you as well.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Let the punishments begin!

So, now that my sweet boy is 17 1/2 months old, he thinks he's big enough to do all these big boy things. He did MANY new things today, which I'll write about later, but let's just start with this one. His favorite thing for the last couple of months is to pilfer with our flat screen t.v. He loves getting the remote control and acting like he's going to throw it through the screen. This week he has learned how to actually turn the tv on and off, and he pushed the pause button on the remote today to be able to stop his movie when the doggie came on. Well, we tell him "no" over and over and have tried every thing else to make him realize how dangerous it can be messing with the t.v.

This week he has been especially trying to show off since his Grandy C is here visiting us (Marc's mom). So, today I introduced him to the concept of "time out." He was turning the t.v. on and off and was not listening at all when I was telling him that he was not obeying mommy. I picked him right up and put him in a corner in a hallway by the living room and explained that he was in time out. I told him he did not obey mommy so he had to stand in the corner by himself for a while. I am not even kidding, he did not even move an inch. He stood right there in that corner and just stared at me with the most serious look. He SO knew it meant he was in trouble! He tried to walk away, and I went and picked him right back up and put him back in that corner. He kept looking at me with that same look. I was really proud of the way he stood there. When Marc got home from work we told him the story and he could not believe it. So, we demostrated the "timeout" for him tonight when Mason was naughty with the t.v. once again. Only this time Mason kept running away from the corner and was fussing, I guess thinking daddy would save the day. Little did the little stinker know that Daddy was with Mommy on this one!

We will try this new form of discipline for now on and see how it works. It's actually one of the cutest things I've ever seen in my life to see my son standing in that corner just being so good. I thought it would make me sad to punish him, but it really doesn't. It actually is good to see different types of discipline working, because sometimes saying "no" just doesn't cut it.

By the way, a huge shout-out to Brian Petty for teaching me all about putting a child in time-out when I taught Ty's Sunday School class when he was 1 1/2! Brian's my inspiration! Hee hee! :)

We're Home... Again!

Mason & I got back from our road trips with my family Monday afternoon. We ended up spending 7 days away from home to be with my grandmother at the nursing home in Sparta, TN and in Waynesville & Clyde, NC for a few days at my uncle's funeral. It was an emotional, exhausting week, but we were so blessed to be surrouded by our wonderful, HUGE family! I was reunited with cousins, 2nd cousins, and 3rd cousins who I had not seen in YEARS and most of them had not even met Mason. We were so sad to be away from Marc and I know Marc missed his baby more than words can say, but I really needed to be there with my family during all of this.

We buried my uncle on a super cold, rainy fall day in the middle of God's beautiful mountains. It was an outside military service by the grave. The moment the 2 soldiers handed my Aunt Bea the American flag, was the most surreal moment. Aunt Bea seemed so strong, but I know she's just still in shock. She had so much to think about at once... selling their house in Sparta, TN, moving to the new house in Clyde, NC, selling their cars, taking care of financial stuff, her mother dying in the nursing home, and losing the love of her life for 55 years. I just could not imagine. Her 4 children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were right by her side. My uncle became a Christian a few years ago, so we are at peace that he is in Heaven. His body is COMPLETELY whole again! Praise God! His suffering is over. I know it will hurt for a long time, walking into the living room and not seeing him with his oxygen tank sitting in his recliner, but Aunt Bea knows Uncle Everett is exactly where he is supposed to be.

To update you all on my grandmother, like always, she has taken a turn for the BETTER! This has happened so many times. Except that this time, we still know that it is almost the end. We had "the" meeting with the nursing home staff last week. It was my immediate family; my parents, brother, and me. Jody was kinda the spokesperson for us all. We discussed MaMaw's living will and if we wanted to change the "do not recessitate" order. We, of course, are not goin to change that. We do not want to prolong her suffering any more than we have to. Her heart, kidneys, and lungs are failing. Her blood sugar is out the roof, and her poor little 95-year-old body is exhausted. Internally she is dying, but all of a sudden last week while we were all there, she sat up and started eating, talking, and making eye contact! All of the nurses were in complete shock. She hadn't eaten in weeks, or has barely said a word in months. She was talking to me and reached up and held my mom's hand. And when we walked out of her room for the last time before leaving Sparta, she waved at us! We were happy to have these times with her, but also sad for her that her body is having to work so hard, again. My mom had a talk with her and told her that we understand if she wants to "go home." There are so many people in heaven waiting for her and we will be sad, but will not be angry at her for leaving us. MaMaw nodded her head like she completely understood. We hated to leave her alone, but we had to all get back to our lives and just pray that we can leave MaMaw in God's hands. We really were expecting to stay out-of-town for TWO funerals, but our family is also thankful for a little break.

So, please keep praying for MaMaw. It could be days, weeks, months, or even years, knowing her fighting spirit. Physically though, the nurses are saying that her little body is shutting down and it is not possible for her to live much longer. So, once more we go on and just wait! I truly feel I can be patient through this and just know that MaMaw is not alone; our wonderful God is right there by her side holding her sweet little hand!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Please pray for these special people!

My family is in the midst of a heartbreaking week. Last night, my Uncle Everett passed away. He was the husband to my mom's older sister, my Aunt Bea. He has always been like a 2nd dad to my mom and her siblings since their dad died when my mom was 12. Aunt Bea & Uncle Everett were a lot older, so they took such wonderful care of my mom through her teen years. The funeral will be this weekend in North Carolina. Mason and I will be traveling there with my parents and the rest of our family.

Tonight my mom called to tell me that my grandmother (MaMaw Thomas) may not make it through the night. She is 95 and has been in several different nursing homes since the summer of 1998. She is such a strong woman of amazing faith and has some stories to tell. She has always been my inspiration, as well as inspiration to everyone she has come in contact with. I am now sitting on my parents' couch at 11:45 pm. Mason and I drove here tonight from BG and arrived around 10:15 pm. We are now waiting for my mom to finish packing and then we're heading to Sparta, TN. This is where Uncle Everett & Aunt Bea have lived for many years and where MaMaw is in the nursing home. So, we are heading to this town, along with several other family members, to face all of this.
Mason meeting his Great-Uncle Everett in July '08 when he was just 2 1/2 months old. This was the same day that he met MaMaw Thomas.

Mason being loved on by his Great-Aunt Bea
Mason & Uncle Everett in Sept. '08 at 4 months old

Mason meeting his Great-MaMaw Thomas for the first time (2 months old)

Mason visiting his Great-MaMaw again at 4 months old

SO thankful that Uncle Everett has finally found some comfort and is pain-free in the arms of God! My prayer now is that my MaMaw will also find this comfort and will be whole again. My whole family truly appreciates your prayers during this time! I know God is with us! Love you all.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mason & Colt Lovin' the Animals

Our child LOVES animals almost as he loves eating & throwing balls! He was not scared at all of the petting zoo animals at Jackson's Orchard yesterday. His big boy friend, Colt, wasn't quite as excited as Mason was at first, but with a little pep talk from his little buddy, Colt became a little less hesitant. They would get the most excited; Mason would start screaming with glee, and then Colt would follow closely behind. They were in their own little world. Mason was sticking his little fingers right into those animals' mouths and I cannot believe I was letting him do that! I'm the biggest germ freak around! Not to even mention the whole safety factor! A lady next to us assured us that donkeys just have teeth in the back, so they can't hurt you if you put your hand in their mouths. She said she used to own 30of them in Florida. Thank you.

There were all kinds of interesting animals. See my post below about the most unique one of them all; the infamous ZE DONK!! It was not very pretty at all. And there was this one animal that was sitting down so we couldn't really get a good look of what it was. We each had our own theory; one person said a camel, another said a llama, another said a donkey, and then Carrie's dad had to end it with guessing it was a bull. Thank you. It never stood up so our mystery was never solved! Anyway, these are the sweetest pictures!!

the dirty llama... poor thang!

the mystery animal... is it a camel with that hump? is it a cow with that head? hmm... we will never know!

the Ze Donk... has anyone ever seen one of these??

I wonder what they're talking about here... Colt is pointing out something

I mean, they have been discussing this goat for 20 minutes now! And the goat is all involved in the conversation, too!

Colt, come back, I promise she won't hurt you!
See, she's nice! She'll even let you stick your finger up her nose!

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