Thursday, June 28, 2012

From the Mouth of my Babe - Volume 6

Read more of Ethan's funnies by clicking on the sidebar button!


A couple of weeks ago, I was relaxing on the couch when Ethan came over and began to look intently at my lower leg.  He rubbed his hands over my stubble and said:

"I need to take these out."

 Confused, I asked him, "Take what out? And why?"

He replied:

"These [my stubble].  Because you have cactus pieces!" 

No one ever told me it was quite that bad.


Yesterday, we were walking through a store with my mama when Ethan informed me that he was going to Chuck E. Cheese today.  Thinking he and Mama had made some pact behind my back I inquired: 

"You are?! Who's going to take you?"

In the sweetest voice possible he said: 

"You are.  Do you want to take me to Chuck E. Cheese tomorrow?"

It's a good thing it's the end of the month.  I may have had a harder time saying no otherwise!


Every now and then I'll use pet names when I'm talking to Ethan.  You know - honey, sweetie, baby, etc.   One day, I was congratulating him on a job well done and said:

"Way to go, pumpkin! I knew you could do it!."

As serious as could be, he looked up at me and stated matter-of-factly: 

"I'm not a pumpkin! I'm a BOY!"


And, only the cutest boy ever - in my humble, completely biased opinion.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rash, be gone!

 (Check out the update to the update on the previous post if you haven't already!)

I have another deep thought for y'all this morning ... ready?

Prayer works.

No sooner than I posted on our Facebook page that Ethan's body was covered in a red rash, and we all began (or continued) to pray, it started to disappear.  I'm not even joking.  I called Jeramie over just to make sure he was seeing what I saw, and we both agreed that it was getting better.

And y'all know what I did?

Instead of thanking Jesus for that gift of healing, I went to Google to re-diagnose my son.  Because, [insert sarcasm here] there's no explanation for a 10-day rash disappearing in just two hours aside from a misdiagnosis.  Right?

Seriously?! Why do I do that to Him over and over, even when He's proven himself to be faithful to me and my family time and time again? Why can't I just accept that we asked Him to take away Ethan's fever and rash and He did? Simple as that.

Maybe one of those lessons He's teaching me over the past few days is that this really isn't all that complicated.

Lord - thank you for hearing our prayers and restoring Ethan's health so quickly.  Thank you for faithfully caring for my family.  Forgive my doubting heart.  We love you. 

Last night- Falling asleep looking out the window

Monday, June 25, 2012

An Update

An update to the update: Ethan broke out in a rash this afternoon.  In just one hour, it had spread from his bottom and the soles of his feet to his entire body.  We now have an official diagnosis: Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease, and the throat ulcers to prove it.  Your continued prayers are greatly appreciated!


Thank y'all so much for the prayers for Ethan and encouraging words for me last night - y'all brought me to tears on more than one occasion.

I'm happy to say that Ethan is fever-free this morning! He hasn't had any medicine since 8:30 last night and is 100% back to his spunky, mischievous self today.

I've got to admit, though.  It felt like salt in the wound when he crawled into our bed this morning and we realized this was just some 24-hour bug.  As in, my Mama has taken care of sick babies before and probably could have handled this one and we could be waking up in the Hilton, kind of sting.

Dang you, hindsight.

But, he is happy and healthy and that's exactly what I needed.  And ... the upside to unpacking when you didn't actually go anywhere? No dirty laundry! Can I get an amen?


A couple of sickness funnies for you...

1.  Yesterday afternoon, Ethan finally passed out around 4:30 after being up since 4:45 that morning.  He slept for a solid two hours, talking in his sleep and moving around quite a bit.  He woke himself up by yelling "aaaaaaaahhhhh", then giggling.  He sat straight up, looked at Jeramie (completely confused), glanced around the room and said, "What was that noise, Dad??"

2.  A 4:45 a.m. wake-up call + the Motrin high = feeling just good enough to be delirious.  For the record, we have no idea what he's saying, either.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Today, Jeramie and I have been married six years.  My mama asked me last night if it felt that long and I responded with a resounding, "Yes!".  The past three years, especially, have aged our marriage in a way I never expected.  I like to think that we've also become more mature as individuals, and as a couple, but there always seems to be room for just one more temper-tantrum (and not from the resident three year old).

Case in point: the past twenty-four hours.

After a birthday party yesterday morning, the three of us drove down to my parents' house.  Our plan was to spend the night, eat Sunday dinner (that's country talk for a really big lunch) together, then leave Ethan for a few days while Jeramie and I spent some time celebrating the past six years.  That was the plan.  However, as whatever would have it, Ethan spiked a fever of 103 around 4:00 yesterday afternoon.  By 8:30 last night he was even hotter, and absolutely miserable.

Given that this is our fourth go 'round with this mess in the past six months, we knew that the fever would most likely spike through medicine, hang around for a few days, then disappear as quickly as it came.  We also knew that he would be incredibly clingy, restless, and in an all-around crummy mood.  It didn't take long for us to decide that we needed to cancel our anniversary plans.  The problem, however, is that those plans included a non-refundable night's stay in a posh downtown Wilmington hotel overlooking the Cape Fear River.

*Let me just take a minute to recommend Expedia and the Hilton Wilmington Riverside.  Both parties were compassionate, understanding, and more than willing to work together to give us a full refund.  We were blown away by their generosity and human-ness.

Once Jeramie got all of that settled, I felt better about driving back to Raleigh and not losing a chunk of change in the process.  But.  I cannot say I was happy about it.  Everyone was disappointed - me, Jeramie, my parents, and Ethan (even after losing his lunch in his car seat) and I loathe disappointing people.  On the ride home I told Jeramie that, as minute as canceling anniversary plans sound in the grand scheme of things, I was kind of ticked off at God.

I specifically remember making the hotel reservation and getting to the screen where we were informed (yet again) that we were reserving a non-refundable room.  We sat in front of the computer, staring at that screen for a solid three minutes, wondering what to do.  We considered closing the browser and nixing the idea altogether, but finally decided that we would only be doing that out of fear of the unknown, and we've agreed to not make decisions based on fear alone.  We had no reason to think that Ethan would get sick, and I've specifically prayed for his general health and protection from the "v-word" in the past few weeks.

Surely God would hear those prayers and let us enjoy our night, right?

As I was packing to head back home this morning, thinking about all of this and getting more and more angry, something occurred to me.  It's kind of deep, though.  Are y'all ready for this?

God is God and I am not.

It's that simple.  I can't control Him any more than I can control the weather or invading viruses, and I think sometimes I like to use prayer as a joystick in the game of life.  When prayers are answered exactly as I prayed them, it gives me the illusion that I made that happen, and not that I simply serve and love a benevolent God who wants to give good gifts to His children.

But, every now and then, He needs to teach us a lesson or two.  I went on to tell Jeramie that God's "I've got this" came in the form of Him putting money back in our pockets when it seemed highly unlikely. And, as my earthly Daddy sang to us last night, "you can't always get what you want...", I got the feeling God was using him to help me see that this isn't about me and what I want.  But, that if I try sometime, I just might find ... I get what I need.


So, what I need right now is a healthy boy.  Forget hotels, and pools, and moonlit walks down the riverfront ... I need Ethan to be well.  With every fever spike comes a spike in his heart rate and, as with every other time he's been sick like this, I hate thinking about what that's doing to that beautifully broken heart of his.  We're rotating Tylenol and Motrin and he finally gave in to sleep about half an hour ago.  Please pray for my boy.  Last night was rough and tonight we need rest in the comfort of our own beds.  It's not the Hilton, but it's home, and I'm here with the two boys who have completely stolen my heart.

Monday, June 18, 2012


strange (adj): 1. unusual or surprising in a way that is unsettling or hard to understand.

In the ever present stream-of-consciousness conversation that happens in the depths of my mind, the word "strange" has popped up quite a bit lately.  As I was walking through Wal-Mart Saturday afternoon I realized this fact and let my thoughts wander to all the strange things that have been happening lately.  Then, I felt the need to write.

For starters, I was a "single" woman over the weekend - no husband, no child - and could not shake how odd it felt.  With both boys off on their own weekend adventures, I had every square foot of the house to myself and had no idea what to do about it.  I slept nine solid hours on Friday night, without the slightest interruption from Jeramie's snores or Ethan's middle-of-the-night bed stealing, and had no one expecting breakfast when they woke up in morning.  I took my time running errands and going to the gym (more on that in a minute), only keeping in mind my "schedule" for the day.  For 48 hours I was just Joye, doing what I wanted and when I wanted to do it.  It was bizarre and refreshing and strangely familiar, but I'm very thankful to have these two home safe and sound.

Thankful for laughter.

So, onto the gym thing.  Sometime last week I decided I was done with the jelly-belly.  Gaining weight, along with the public knowledge that we're trying for #2 (now it's officially public), is not a great combination.  I've gotten more questioning glances lately than I want to admit and if I was brave enough to wear a shirt that screams, "I'M NOT PREGNANT!" I would.  I've struggled with my weight since I was in elementary school but, in spite of that, have felt surprisingly healthy during certain phases of my life.  My goal is not to be a size 4, but to look and feel healthy.  I've worked out four times in the past week and if that's not the definition of strange, I don't know what is! But, here's the thing.  I already feel better and I've lost a couple pounds in the process.  And, I'm kind of in love Zumba (and the jacuzzi treat afterwards).

By far the strangest (read: hardest to understand) thing lately is Michael's "presence" over the past week.  Don't worry, I'm not going to go all reincarnation on y'all, but every few months I find myself really struggling with his death.  Last week, after dropping Ethan off with my parents, I stopped by his grave site.  I hadn't been there in a while and I found myself making the same silly, desperate plea to God, "Just give me a sign that he's OK."  I don't know what I expect that to look like, but the hardest thing for me to accept about Michael's death is that I have no idea where he stood with Christ.  So, I've begged God to shed some light on that for me.  I don't know if I'll ever get an answer, but it always seems that after I've hit the bottom of the sadness barrel I'm given glimpses of him - his twin in a bar last Saturday night, with the same smile and eyes; his cologne on nearly every man in Wal-Mart Saturday afternoon.  Those things still evoke sadness from my core but, almost two years later, I can smile about him every now and then and remember the profound effect he had on my life.

Thankful for Michael.

Is that strange enough for a Monday morning?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Daddy's Day

I love these men!

Happy Father's Day to all the daddies out there!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

One Thousand Gifts - Collage 2

For the story behind the collages, start here.
To see all the posts related to this project, use the sidebar button.


17.  memories
18.  energy
19.  date night
20.  grace
21.  sunset
22.  silliness
23.   promise
24.  zack's
25.  uncle nick
26.  michael
27.  mama's garden
28.  daddy time
29.  motivation
30.  the cross
31.  bubbie
32.  home group

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mission: Accomplished

For a girl who loathes the process of painting as much as I do, the finished result makes me downright giddy.  This was the first time I had painted entirely without Jeramie's help and I almost threw in the towel when I realized I'd have to climb a ladder.  I did it, though, and I was pretty darn proud of myself by the time Jeramie got home Thursday evening.

I really enjoy what a fresh coat of paint can do for the overall feel of the house.  Even though our bathroom is currently a wreck, the upstairs just feels clean thanks to a shop vac and paintbrush.  And, don't tell anyone, but I secretly enjoy the smell of paint.  And gasoline.  But that's neither here nor there.

I'll leave you with some photos, and then I need to go clean everything else that's been neglected over the past two days.  Ethan comes home tomorrow and - let's face it - even at 30 years old, I still feel the need to clean my room before my Mama sees it.

Happy Saturday, y'all!

Before - YIKES!


After - SUCCESS!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

When Ethan's Away...

When my parents offered to take Ethan for a few days this week and weekend, it sparked an urge in me to be productive here at the house.  And, by productive, I don't mean keep milk in the fridge and toilet paper in the bathrooms - although, now that I think about it, we could use both of those things right now...


It dawned on me that since the day we moved into our house five years ago, and two burly men set-up the washer and dryer upstairs,  we haven't so much laid a finger on those appliances except to do a load of laundry every now and then.  The thought of what had built up in there disgusted me and simultaneously propelled me towards an idea: Jeramie would move the washer and dryer out of our laundry room closet, and I would spend two days cleaning and painting my way into a love of laundry.

I'm not totally convinced that the loving laundry thing is gonna happen, but I am ready to get my clean on in there! When I arrived home tonight from dropping off Ethan, Jeramie had already moved the washer and dryer into the hallway, leaving an empty closet which instantly made me want to gag.  It wasn't quite as bad as I had imagined, but I don't do dirty.  And, I'm here to tell you - it's not clean by any stretch of the imagination.

So, what exactly does five years of built up laundry leftovers look like?

Sixteen used dryer sheets, eleven bobby pins, nine socks, one guitar pick, one bra underwire, one paper clip, one safety pin, twenty-four cents, and countless dust bunnies.

I am not proud.

But I am even more motivated and, tomorrow, that closet won't know what hit it.

Key word: tomorrow.  Tonight, there's a bowl of Reese's Cup ice cream calling my name.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


It seems odd to title a post with the subject of an entire blog, but I felt it was time to devote some words to my boy - my sassy, independent, bright, defiant, affectionate, curious boy.

Y'all, Ethan has been a hot mess lately.  Some days I thank Jesus that Ethan didn't turn out to be a girl; I'm not sure I'd be able to handle those PMSing years if right now is any indication of how they would be.  He can give Jeramie an unprompted kiss on the cheek one second, pull away, and smack the other one two seconds later.  I wish I understood that brain of his, but I just don't.

We've had a really rough couple of weeks lately and there were days I fantasized about going back to work full-time.  Jeramie would come home from work and I'd want to throw both of them into the doghouse by bedtime.  It took empathetic looks and hugs from some mama-friends, lots of grace from Jeramie, a few come-to-Jesus meetings for me, and a trip to the grandparents' for Ethan before I finally felt like we got our groove back.

But, back it is, and I couldn't be more thankful.

Apart from his mood swings, Ethan is super fun right now! He makes me laugh multiple times a day and blows me away with the stuff he knows and remembers.  He asks about a million and five questions a week, most recently wanting to know what things are able to talk.  "Do fish talk, Mom?" ... "Do cars talk?" ... "Do toys talk?"

Thank you, Pixar.

He has also become increasingly curious about when he was a baby.

(Side note: I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but Ethan will become a cousin in September and I'll have my very first nephew! We couldn't be happier for Nick and Lori Ann and we've been talking a lot about the baby in LA's belly.)

All of that talking, paired with some photos I recently had printed, have piqued his interest.  Every day for the past week, he has asked to see pictures of "me in your belly" (ultrasound images) and photos from the hospital.  The first day we spent about half an hour looking through pictures and I was so not ready for what he would ask and how I would explain it. "What's that thing in my mouth, mom?" (breathing tube) ... "What's it for?" ... "What's that in my nose?" (NG tube) ... "Was I sick?"


With tears in my eyes I explained that yes, he was very sick, but that many people love him and prayed for him and that the doctors helped his heart.  I don't want him to focus on, or begin to worry about, all of that right now, so I felt short and simple was best.  As he becomes aware of his differences, I want him to know that he is exactly who God made him to be - special heart and hand included.

On a lighter note, he is going to be so ready for preschool come September! I can see his social skills maturing and I think the structure of a classroom setting is going to do wonders for him. We've been working through a preschool workbook in the afternoons and two things have become apparent to me.  One - I am not called to home school him and, two - the boy is smart.  With every letter sound he sings, line he draws, and problem he solves I whisper a prayer of thanks.

I've confessed to a few friends (and now to y'all - my bigger group of friends) that because of his smarts I find myself setting absurdly high expectations for him.  When I don't recognize that, our days are long and tiresome, and we both end up crying at some point.  But, when I take a step back and remind myself that he's three for crying out loud, I find I truly enjoy his unpredictable self.  This song has become my anthem, and I thank God for strengthening my ever-failing self.

Ethan is going to be visiting his grandparents a lot in June, with the first long stay beginning tomorrow, and I find myself missing him already.  I am grateful beyond words that he is already forming such strong bonds with mine and Jeramie's parents, and that God continues to give us days and moments to express to Ethan just how much he is loved.

I have a feeling he knows.


Check out The MOB Society (Moms of Boys) to read more great posts on raising godly men!

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