August 26, 2010

My Homework Assignment

Cole came home from school with a letter from his teacher stating that since the kids would be doing homework soon "fair is fair so we would like you to write a paper for us."  It went on to talk about how parents know their child best, and then it said, "in a million words or less tell us about your child at Mance Park Middle School."  So, I wrote about my child only to be informed by him this morning that I did it wrong!  "Mom, you were just supposed to write about if there is a certain way they need to teach me or anything special they need to know about me. Now the teachers are going to think I am a dork."  He was very disappointed, but since it was 7 am and the paper was due today, I was not going to re-write it.  Besides, the letter I got said, "tell us about your child."  It didn't say anything about "special needs" or learning styles.  Below is the paper I wrote that Cole was so embarrassed about.
We Call Him Cole
I have the great privilege, honor and blessing of being mother to one of the greatest students you will have this year!  His name is Timothy Cole Newton, and we call him Cole.  He is named after Timothy in the Bible (who Paul loved like a son), and the Tom Cruise character Cole Trickle in Days of Thunder.  In the winter of 1997 when we found out we were going to have our first child, we decided to wait until the birth to see if our baby was a boy or a girl.  We were so happy when our firstborn son arrived in the early hours of the morning on August 20, 1998. 
From the moment of birth Cole has been a rule follower.  It is only more recently that he is beginning to test the waters and be more daring.  He has always enjoyed and excelled at school, but due to several school changes in his life he is facing this school year with much trepidation.  Cole has a big heart, an infectious smile, and a witty sense of humor.  He is kind and caring, but doesn’t want to seem too soft.  He is very concerned with doing the right thing and not getting in trouble, however he doesn’t always speak up for himself if he is being wronged. 
Cole is an amazing athlete and musician excelling in baseball, guitar (acoustic and bass), and trumpet with a few years of violin under his belt too.  Drawing is also a talent of Cole’s and an outlet for him when he is bored or unsure of what to do.  An avid reader, Cole finished all of the Harry Potter books prior to 6th grade, and he continues to read for pleasure when he isn’t reading for coursework.
 Being the oldest of 4 children puts a lot of responsibility on a child, and Cole handles his well. He is a typical brother to his siblings but helps out whenever needed around the house.  Cole is a “homebody” and would rather stay home reading or drawing than go to a store or out somewhere, unless that somewhere is a baseball game!
At the beginning of the summer we moved back to TX from CO where we had lived for the past 3 years.  In CO Cole was in the EDGE program at Horizon Middle School.  Only 32 students were accepted into the program based on grades, standardized test scores, teacher recommendation, and student interview.  He did very well in this program and he needs to be challenged in his school work so he doesn’t get bored. 
I hope that your interactions with Cole this year help you to learn about his personality, character and heart as well as his intellectual abilities.  I hope to see him grow and mature socially and academically under the care and guidance of his teachers at Mance Park Middle School.

So, what do you think?  Did I do a really horrible job, and will this scar my 12 year old son for life?  He was especially horrified by the first sentence! Either way, it doesn't really matter....the paper has been written and turned in!

August 24, 2010

Fun Filled Weekend

On my last blog I noted that Benjamin was sick on his 1st birthday which was not fun. What was also not fun was that Cole's 12th birthday was 2 days after Benjamin's 1st birthday, and Cole's birthday mirrored Benjamin's in much the same way. Where Ben went in to find Benjamin covered in vomit the morning of his birthday, I was awakened at 2 am to the sound of one of my children in the bathroom vomiting. I thought it was Jacob because he and Annalisa had both gotten sick the evening before, but Cole and I had stayed up until 10 making his requested cake, Tres Leches, and then we went to bed feeling fine. I woke up at 1:20 with the sickness and had gone back to bed to try to get some sleep, only to wake up 20 min later sick again. By the time 2 am rolled around I was a little delirious, so I sent Ben to the bathroom to check on Jacob, only he came back to tell me it was Cole. So, he found both of our birthday boys, on their birthdays, sick! Cole and I continued to be sick until 5:30 am at which point we were able to keep down some anti-nausea medicine Ben had picked up for us on his 4 am run to the store for a plunger! The night was filled with sickness and not sleeping! Soooo we spent the majority of Friday, which was Cole's birthday, sleeping. We had planned to take him out to lunch because traditionally we let our kids pick a place to eat on their birthday ,and we take them there, but those plans were canceled! Friday evening I started  Focus on the Family's The Truth Project at my church, and even though I wasn't feeling 100%, it was awesome! I spent all day Saturday doing it as well, and I was on information overload by 8 pm Saturday night.
I woke up early Sunday morning to make Benjamin's birthday cake and get ready for church. Mom, Logan, Dad, and Lynn all came to witness the kids' baptisms and celebrate birthdays with us. Ben and I are so proud to have been a part of our kids' baptisms, and we are excited to watch them grow and follow Christ!
It was HOT outside for the party, but beautiful, as always, in Ruby and Jim's backyard. Ben grilled hot dogs and we just spent time enjoying company. Benjamin was very tired during the whole party, so after cake and presents he went down for a 3 HOUR NAP!!! He hasn't napped that long in months! 
After Sunday evening church we made sure everything was ready for the kids' 1st day of school. Annalisa and Jacob were excited, but Cole was filled with trepidation. I know it is hard to be 12 and be starting a new school. I was so concerned for him and prayed--along with many others--for him to have a great first day. He wasn't excited when I picked him up, but he didn't hate it either, so that is pretty good! Annalisa hasn't stopped talking about it--even in her sleep--and Jacob is enjoying his school as well. I have started a college Bible course called Faith Bible Institute and after 3 years I will earn my diploma! I also spend my days taking care of my baby boy and all the other "mom" things that go along with it!
I hope everyone had a great summer and enjoys a new school year with new beginnings!

August 18, 2010

Benjamin Is One!

One year ago today I was HUGE and ready to have a new baby in my arms--not my belly!  One year ago today I was scared and excited at the same time.  One year ago today I was the mother to 3 beautiful children and anticipating the arrival of our 4th.  One year ago today I heard Benjamin's cry for the first time, felt his soft skin against mine and looked into his beautiful blue eyes. One year ago today I became the mother of 3 boys!  One year ago today I didn't know how happy one little boy's smile could make me every morning! One year ago today I didn't know how very blessed our family would be from the addition of one new life!  One year ago today I held my Benjamin in my arms for the first time and it felt good!  One year ago today I listened as the doctors told me that my baby had to be on oxygen and under the lights because he was jaundiced.  One year ago today I listened as the doctors told me my baby boy needed a blood transfusion and a blood exchange.  One year ago today I wondered how long my baby would be in the NICU before I could take him home.  One year ago today I delivered, loved, and prayed for my new son.  
This morning I woke up to his little cry and asked Ben to bring him to me.  He carried him to me with a pitiful look on his face as he said, "He threw up all over himself and his bed."  Oh! My poor baby!  I quickly took him to the bathtub to clean him up while Ben stripped his bed of all sheets and blankets and took them to the washing machine.  After I bathed him he fell asleep in my arms and slept most of the day on my bed as I sat next to him doing bible study and knitting.  All the while I was watching my sweet boy and wishing he didn't feel so bad on his birthday!  He has grown and changed so much over the past year! He started walking at 10 months and he has been 'on-the-go' since then.  He loves balls, Toy Story, and water!  The only fruit we have discovered that he doesn't like is grapefruit, and he is pretty much smiling all the time.  I love my Benjamin!!!
I made a slideshow of his 1st year, but it won't let me post if you click the picture below it should take you to the slideshow. Hope you enjoy!!!

Benjamin's 1st Year

August 1, 2010

God Is Amazing

Near the end of July every year there is a faint voice in the back of my head reminding me what happened "x" number of years ago. This year it happens to be 7 years ago.  7 years ago I experienced the worst day of my life while we were at a family reunion.  I remember getting ready to go to the family reunion  and how we were all excited to have a mini-vacation away from home.  We left on a Thursday and got there that evening--our destination was the hometown of Ben's dad--Kingsland, TX.  The first evening we grilled, and Ben played his guitar and sang while we listened. He had just learned a new song--"Cover Me"--by Bebo Norman, and he was singing it for us before we went to bed for the evening.  I remember the conversation I had with Ben that night as we lay in bed.  For some reason we were talking about if something bad happened to one of our kids (we had 3 at the time). We were telling each other that if something bad happened at least we knew we had each other and together (with God, of course) we could get through anything.
The next morning Ben woke up and went walking to take pictures of the landscape. He had just started in photography classes at Kilgore college and was doing well.  We all had breakfast, and then it was time for jet skis!  Cole and Ben rode together on one while Susan rode another one with their cousin Noah.  I remember sitting in a chair by the lake eating Skittles and thinking they had been gone a long time--I was wondering when I would get my turn--when I saw a jet ski coming toward us. I was happy that they were coming back so I could take Jacob for a ride. But then I realized that the person riding the jet ski didn't look familiar to me at all.  It was an older lady and as she got off the jet ski she was saying something about a man and a boy in a skiing accident.  She was saying things that didn't make sense to my brain, but at some point it started to compute that the man and boy she was speaking of were my son and my husband.  I couldn't breathe. I couldn't find Jim and Ruby. I didn't know where my other 2 kids were. I couldn't think straight at all.  I asked her if they were ok, hoping she would tell me they had a few cuts and bruises--maybe a broken bone or two--but were otherwise fine.  Her answer was short and honest, "Ma'am, I don't know." 
How could she NOT know? That means it is worse than I want it to beWhere are Jim and Ruby?  How do I find Ben and Cole?
Finally I saw Jim and Ruby come towards me, and as I was trying to tell them what I knew it just wouldn't come out right.  Jim drove us to try and find them. He was calling 911 while we were driving because we had no idea where to go.  I heard him say, "life flight" and my heart sank.  My head was spinning....Life flight????  That's my 4 year old baby.  I hope he isn't scared. I hope he isn't hurting. My husband is injured. Will I get to them in time?
I had no idea who was injured worse, or even how they were injured.  Once we got to the area where they were located I went inside the ambulance. They had Ben and Cole in the same ambulance, side by side, but Cole didn't know Ben was next to him there, and Ben had no idea either.  Cole was awake and talking. He was telling the medics my name, his name, his age---I was sooo proud of him!  Normally Cole wouldn't talk to a "stranger" let alone tell them anything personal, but he was telling them everything they needed to know!  He was crying and telling me his head hurt.  The medics were telling me they thought he may be bleeding from his ear and they thought he broke his jaw.  They gave him some medicine to help him sleep until we got to the hospital.
Ben was laying next to him, but when I looked at him and called his name I was answered with a blank stare and glassy eyes.  He was unresponsive and they were about to intubate him.  The medics told me that Ben was going in the 1st helicopter because it was faster and his injuries were more dangerous--he had a closed head injury.  Cole was going on the 2nd helicopter and they were going to allow me to fly with him.  I watched them load Ben up and fly off wondering if I would ever hold him, or talk to him again.  There was no time for goodbyes, no "I love you's" was scary and heartbreaking, and went against everything we had discussed the night before. We had talked about getting through something tough TOGETHER. I knew that I didn't have Ben to help me be strong for Cole. I didn't have Ben to help me get through this situation--this wasn't something we were going to get through together, but I still had my son I had to be strong for.  I got on the helicopter with Cole, and I remember that I was still in my swimming suit wearing flip-flops. As I looked down at my feet they were covered with burrs from the grassy field I had walked across, and I was thinking, "That's weird. I don't even feel those sticking to me."  I was oblivious to the pain that they normally would have caused.  As we flew to the hospital in Austin I could see Ben's helicopter in the distance in front of us, and I asked the medics (through my headset) if he was doing ok. They told me that they weren't allowed to disclose that information over the airways because it wasn't secure.  I remember thinking that could mean that he wasn't doing well, but I had this extraordinary peace that came over me as we flew. I am not saying I wasn't still scared--I am saying I was at peace.  I felt God's arms around me at that moment, and I knew I was being prayed for.  I knew I could not pray a single word at that moment, so all I did was sing the Rich Mullin's song Hold Me Jesus (which I also sang during the birth of my 2nd son).  The words to that song are easy for my heart and mind to sing when no other words are available:
Hold me Jesus, cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of  my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace?
I know that He was my Prince of Peace that day. I experienced Romans 8:26 that day; 26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
How magnificent is it to know that as a Christian I have the Spirit who intercedes in me and Jesus who intercedes FOR ME!!!  I couldn't get my brain to think one straight thought, but my Savior, my King, my Prince of Peace wasn't waiting for me to be able to think straight.  He was already ahead of me and the prayers were being answered as I experienced it.
There is a LOT more to this story, but this is what I want to leave you with-- if you are a Christian, Jesus continuously intercedes for you before the Father! Hebrews 7: 25 tells us: 25Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 
If you aren't a Christian, or aren't sure if you are, would you like to have such a High Priest that can sympathize with our weaknesses yet was without sin? (Hebrews 4:15--15For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin).
Do you want to know the One who has appeared in the presence of God for us? (Heb 9:24--24For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;).
For more information on how to become a Christian: