Tuesday, January 31, 2012

13 and 14 Months

So, I totally didn't write a post for Will's 13 month update. Perhaps it had something to do with the craziness of the holidays, the craziness of my 13-month-old, or the craziness of life in general (it's pretty crazy around here!). Whatever the reason, I didn't do it, and one day when Will is reading the blog books I've printed for him (I know it will be his favorite pasttime), he will say, "Wow, Mom. Thanks for forgetting about my 13th month of life." Will, if you're reading this at some point in the future, I didn't forget, I just didn't have a chance to blog about it. or sit down. or breathe.

Anyway, I'll try to combine months 13 and 14 in this post, so I can remember what was going on, and so Will knows I didn't totally skip out on one month of his life.

I don't know his exact weight and height, but I do know he went through a huge growth spurt. I'm pretty sure he grew 2 inches or more in the span of a month. Pants are too short, jammies are too small, and he's almost as tall as some of his friends that he's never even been close too. His weight didn't seem to increase as fast, though, and he's looking kind of skinny these days. Maybe he's just losing some of that precious baby fat. Whatever it is, he is starting to look less like a baby and more like a toddler every day.

He definitely does not act like a baby. I can't believe all the things he can do. He just amazes me every day.

His vocabulary has really picked up over the past couple of months. He can repeat tons of words, but he has actually started using several words to communicate on his own. Some of his favorite words are tractor, ball, more, milk, touchdown (complete with arm motions), and his favorite of all...NO! I have to say, I'm already tired of him telling me "NO!" and I know I have years of this to look forward to. He can also say all done, bath time, Grandad, and DVD.

Speaking of DVD, he has become much more interested in TV shows and movies. His favorite shows are Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Sesame Street. He loves Elmo (Mo). What is it about Elmo that kids love so much? I don't get it, but it seems to be universal. He also loves watching his Baby Einstein on the Farm dvd and his Sing Along Songs dvd. He will bring me both remote controls and say "DVD?" I try not to let him watch too much TV, but when he asks so sweetly, I sometimes have trouble telling him no. I am, however, getting VERY tired of watching the same two dvds over and over and over again.

Thankfully, we've had a very mild winter, so we've been able to play outside quite a bit. Will loves playing outside, and I am so ready for spring and summer to get here! Hopefully, we won't be dealing with 100+ degree heat every day like last summer, but we plan on being outside. A LOT.

He still has a great appetite and eats just about anything that's put in front of him. Sometimes I'm amazed by the quantity of food such a small person can consume. I dread my future grocery bills! Some of his favorite foods are bananas, blueberries, pumpkin muffins, meatballs, green beans, and any type of bread. It's funny, because even though he will eat just about anything, a lot of his favorite foods are still the same as when he first started eating solids.

This month has brought an obsession...yes, obsession....with jumping on the bed. I'm pretty sure he would stay on my bed all day long if I'd let him. Sometimes, I'll be on the computer, or washing dishes, or getting ready, and he'll come grab my hand and drag me into the bedroom. He'll walk up to the bed and stand there saying "up,up,up." I lift him up onto the bed, and look out! He is a crazy man. He jumps, he falls flat on his face, flat on his back, he walks to the very edge and looks at me just so I'll careful, Will!

He loves testing the limits. To him, "no" is just an invitation to do whatever you don't want him to do. In the same way, "be careful" is an invitation to step a little closer to the edge of the bed, or the couch, or the street. It is fun and scary to see his personality emerge. I can see some of the battles we are going to face, but I can also see the strong, independent man he is going to become. He won't be afraid to question things, to test the limits. Sometimes, this might be dangerous, but I can also see it being very beneficial. I can see him being a leader. An adventurer, ready to test uncharted waters. I know he will get into his fair share of trouble. I know he will probably be an ornery little boy and very likely an ornery teenage boy and an ornery adult. However, I pray that God will take those qualities - his strong will, his adventurous personality, his curious nature - and will develop them and shape them to be used for His glory.

I know my sweet Will was created just the way he is for a purpose, and my prayer every day is that he will become a man who seeks God and follows Him in every area of his life. If He does, I know God will use him and that strong personality to do great things.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Remembering Brandon

January 17. 2005. I remember this date seven years ago as if it were yesterday. It started out like any other day and ended like no day I had ever experienced.

I was a freshman at OBU. I was taking J-term classes, so I had already been back at school for a couple weeks. I woke up and went to class - Government with Dr. Litherland. I sat through my class, went to lunch, and went to track practice. After practice, I went back to my dorm, showered, and got ready for dinner. Very ordinary.

To finish off my ordinary day, I went to our track Bible study that evening. It was led by my friend Daniel, and I always looked forward to it. We met at his apartment every Monday night, and it was a great way to start the week. In an attempt to practice good cell phone manners, I put my phone on silent before we started the Bible study. I'm sure our study didn't last too long. I can't remember exactly. 30 minutes. An hour at the most. Little did I know that in that short amount of time my entire life would change.

After we were finished, I looked at my phone and noticed I had several missed calls from my mom and dad. It was not weird to have a missed call from my mom or dad, but it seemed like they were trying pretty desperately to get a hold of me. I also had a new voicemail, so I checked it to see what was going on. It was very short and vague...Hey, Meagan. It's Dad. Call me as soon as you can. No details, but I could sense that something was wrong.

I called my dad and from the moment he answered, I knew it wasn't just that something was wrong. I knew something really terrible had happened. The tone of his voice, the seriousness I could feel through our connection over the phone.

Hey, Dad. What's wrong? (My mind is jumping to a million conclusions at this point)
Meagan, it's Brandon (my 7-year-old cousin). He collapsed at basketball practice.
Is he ok? He's ok, isn't he? (It was one of those moments where I knew he wasn't ok, but I was just praying my dad would say, Yes, he's fine.)
No. They tried to save him, but there wasn't anything they could do. He's gone.

I stood there in shock. Things like this didn't happen. 7-year-olds don't just collapse and die at basketball practice. I was dreaming. Having a nightmare. This was too impossible to be true. It didn't make any sense.

I burst into tears. I stood outside my friend's apartment door, sobbing. Uncontrollably. I don't remember much of the rest of the conversation with my dad. He told me my cousin Amanda was coming to pick me up to bring me home. I couldn't really process anything.

I hung up the phone and walked back into my friend's apartment still sobbing. Theron met me at the door and hugged me. I hysterically explained what was going on, and Theron and I went back to a bedroom away from everyone else for a little while. I just sat there and cried still trying to process how this could be true. Theron just sat there and held me and let me cry. We had only been dating a few months, and I knew he probably thought I was absolutely crazy, but I didn't care. I couldn't do anything else but sit there and cry.

I finally pulled myself together enough to get back to my dorm room and start packing a few things, so I could go home. My cousin Amanda came, and we headed home together. I was so thankful for her. Thankful that I didn't have to drive by myself. I don't really remember much of that car ride. It is all a blur.

When we finally got home, we went to my Nannie's house where a lot of my family had gathered. It was comforting and horrifying all at the same time. I was so glad to be there with them, but it made it so much more real that he was really gone. I didn't sleep that night. I'm pretty sure I didn't really sleep for a few days. I would drift in and out, but every time I got close to real sleep, Brandon's precious face appeared in my mind.

A seemingly ordinary day, ended up changing my life forever. A matter of a few moments impacted the rest of my life. From that point forward, I begin to see the importance of each and every day of my life. If a 7-year-old could die could I. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. I had always known this, but this experience made it so much more real.

I am so thankful for the life of Brandon Beach. In his short 7 years and 1 day (he died the day after his birthday), he taught me so much. He brought so much joy to my life. He was a natural-born athlete. Any and every sport came easily to him. I remember when he was only about 3 or 4 he didn't want to hit the baseball off the tee, he wanted you to pitch to him. He loved sports, and he loved OU. He did a great Mack Brown impression. He could tell you all of his favorite players. A lot of times, he wasn't Brandon, he was Kevin Bookout, or whoever he decided to be that day. He was competitive. I remember playing this dice game called Horse Race with him just a few weeks before he died. He wanted to win SO bad and hated to lose. He was the first little kid I got to babysit all by myself. He was my little buddy, and I loved playing with him.

Everyone just knew he had a great life ahead of him, but God had a different plan. I still don't understand why God chose to take him when he did, and I probably never will. However, I know God has a plan for my life, and I don't know how many days that life has in it. Since I don't know, I have to make the most of each and every one He decides to give me. I can't take even one for granted because I never know when it might be my last. Each one has to count.

Like I said, this whole experience changed my life. It made me value and appreciate time with my family. Now that I have a son, I realize that he is not mine. I have been given the privilege of loving him while he is here with me and entrusted with the responsibility of raising him and teaching him how to love the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. I have been given a sense of urgency, knowing that the people in my life, those I know well and those I don't, could be here today and gone tomorrow, so I can't waste a moment with any of them. I have a responsibility to share the Truth...that even though our lives on Earth may be short, we can spend eternity with our Father in Heaven. I am so thankful that because of my relationship with Jesus, I will get to be reunited with Brandon one day.

I was given a gift shortly after his death. God allowed me to have a dream where Brandon visited me and let me know that he was ok. Some of you may think this is crazy talk, but I know it was a gift from God. I woke up sobbing when the dream was over because he had to go, but he reassured me that everything was ok and that he was fine and that I would see him again some day.

Please remember that each day is a gift, and we are not promised tomorrow. I know I will hug my family a little tighter today and say a few extra prayers for all the blessings I've been given. I hope you will, too.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Goals for the New Year

Hey, everyone! I feel like I haven't see you guys since last year! Hahaha...I'm still as funny as ever. Or not. You don't have to think I'm funny, but please don't tell me and burst my bubble.

How's the new year treating you so far? I have to say, I can't complain. I didn't get the best start to 2012...I was sick. I had a really high fever and felt like I had been hit by a truck. At times, I was wishing the truck would've just gone ahead and finished me off. Thankfully, I made a full recovery, and I think the rest of 2012 can only get better!

I've never been a huge fan of New Year's resolutions. I feel like real resolutions are made any time throughout the year when a person decides they need to make a change or do something differently in their life. I often thought people only made New Year's resolutions because they felt like they were supposed to, not because they truly saw a need for change. Always having my Psychology major tucked away in the back of my mind, I know people will not truly change until they see the need to change and are ready to do what is necessary to make it happen. Because of this, I thought the majority of New Year's resolutions were pretty pointless. While I haven't changed my mind entirely, I do see some benefit in using a new year for somewhat of a "fresh start." It is a nice time to look back and reflect on the past year and to think about some things you would like to challenge yourself to do or to change in the coming year. That's why I have made New Year's Goals rather than New Year's resolutions. These are goals that will be constantly looked at, evaluated, and revised throughout this year and possibly years to come. So, here they are. You can all hold me accountable.

- Say at least 5 positive things to my husband and son every day
- Take time to read to and play with Will every day
- Spend less time online (email, Facebook, blogs...this will be a struggle)
- Run a half marathon (I'm shooting for the OKC Memorial half)
- Exercise at least 5 days a week (this should be easily accomplished with my 1/2 marathon training)
- Make an effort to get to know my neighbors or get to know them better
- Eat fruits and veggies every day
- Drink more water
- Be more bold in sharing my faith.
- Read through the New Testament
- Find a place to volunteer on a regular basis (and actually follow through with it)
- Blog at least once a week

These are just a few things that have been on my heart over the past few weeks. I'm sure more goals will be added, and some of these may be modified, but I always like to have an idea of things I'd like to accomplish and things I need to be aware of in my daily life. I have a few other adventures I may be embarking upon this year. I will be praying about them and thinking through them and will be happy to share them when the time is right. For now, I will focus on these goals, a few specific things God has put in my heart for 2012. I can't wait to see what this year holds!