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this girl has my heart!

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yesterday kristy and i finally got our baby girl rachel out of the hospital.

both rachel and ricky had been suffering from a summer cough – a little viral thing that has been going around. in rachel it developed into pneumonia and she even had a partially collapsed lung.

saturday kristy and i were out working. when we returned to the house we were both uneasy about rachel’s wheezing and coughing. kristy made the call to take her to the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta urgent care clinic up the road. after a couple of hours there they put her in an ambulance and took her to the main CHOA emergency room.

she’s doing better now, but we still have some healing to do.

parents know that there’s nothing worse than a sick kid. even worse is a sick kid at the hospital. for 4 days.

lots of thoughts ran through my head during the last few days. one that i still can’t shake is that if we were your average african family my daughter would probably be dead or close to it today.

i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again – this world is broken. this isn’t how it’s supposed to be. God help us!

for those of you who knew about this and prayed for us – i can’t thank you enough.

kristy and i had a great weekend. saturday we had the opportunity to have an extended conversation with our best friend SPC Dave who is serving in Iraq. he’s doing well. technology is great. we even got to do some video chatting on skype. it didn’t work all that well, but we saw him and he saw us. it was a blessing.

Sunday my parents took the kids home after church so Kristy and I could have a nice date. we had a great afternoon and then we had dinner at Dailey’s in downtown atlanta. it was a blast. we called Honey and Poppy to check on the babies and neither of them was feeling very well..

fast forward to yesterday. Kristy picked the kiddos up after work and they were feeling a bit worse. this morning Ricky was in sad shape. Rachel is doing OK with just a runny nose and a little cough, but Ricky appears to be full-on sick.

leaving for work when your baby is sick is the most painful thing a Dad has to do. i won’t be right all day.

i got home from work a few minutes ago and ricky greeted me like this. he stayed that way for about 10 minutes.

it’s these moments that i cherish more than anything else.

this is heaven. i think this is exactly what it will be like when i die, except i’ll be the one being held.

i love you, ricky!

i’ve been a bit absent lately, but this is a GREAT post to get me back on track.

kristy has been working on potty training ricky lately and tonight we hit the jackpot!

he pooped on the potty for the first time tonight. it was fabulous. i never thought i’d be so excited about poop.. such is the life of a dad!

anyway, in true web 2.0 fashion, we commemorated the moment with a photo, and i’m going to post it here. we missed a picture of the deuce itself, but that’s probably best…

long story short. bought a new video camera for work, took it home to learn how to use it and, while playing with it, caught this video. unbelievable luck!!!

ricky says his prayers at night as he’s going to bed. it’s the cutest thing in the world.

ever since he was a very little guy kristy and i have prayed with him. he started to “get it” a couple of months ago, evidenced by the fact that he’d close his eyes tight and hold his hands together. it’s the most pure, innocent love you’ve ever seen and it melts our hearts.

a few weeks ago we laid down in bed and started to pray. out of the blue ricky says “pray honey?” asking me to pray for my mom, who the kids call honey. i was pretty shocked, but i was even more shocked when ricky asked me to pray for other people. “pray poppy”, “pray poppy’s knee” (my dad had a knee replacement recently…), “pray grandma”,  “pray grandpa”, “pray bee” (he calls rachel bee), “pray momma”, “pray diana”, “pray carlos”, “pray zach”.

ricky has even prayed his own prayers a couple of times. he mimics me and starts by saying “thank jesus” and then mumbles in his ricky-specific language, finishing strong with an amen. he opens his eyes and looks at me for approval. i am mush on the inside.

lately he’s tossed “pray people” into his requests. we pray for the people of the world and anyone group that might need some specific prayer like the starving, hurricane victims, and sick people.

the other day he said “pray ricky”. we prayed for ricky.

i’ve never understood that phrase “child-like faith” like i do now. it’s so beautiful. so honest. so sweet.

monday morning kristy goes back to work. monday evening i go back to school.

i really enjoy my graduate studies. this fall i’m taking two courses. i’ll be out until 10pm three days a week. it’s rough on the family but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel – i should begin my thesis research shortly and it’s all downhill from there.

working on a degree while working full time and raising a couple of kids isn’t easy. it’s a tough decision, but if i’m going to miss some time with the kids i’d rather do it now than later. plus, it’s not too bad – two of the three days i will be able to come home and see them for a little bit before i head off to class.

my friend shaun turned me on to a book by Andy Stanley called “Choosing to Cheat”. i plan to go pick it up this week and give it a read. any advice i can get on how to juggle this busy life is highly welcomed!

how do you balance your busy schedule with the truly important things in your life?

Arkansas Man Dies Tampering With Electric Meter After Service Shut Off

Darwin 1, Arkansas 0.

see my earlier post..

My Dad always told me there’s a right way to do something and a wrong way to do something. If it’s worth doing then it’s worth doing the right way.

This guy suffered the most extreme effect of trying to do something the wrong way. Luckily I’ve never suffered injury or come close to death because I chose to take the easy way out, but I have suffered some consequences.

At this point in my life I shoot for excellence with everything I do. Believe me, I don’t do it for myself, and I don’t do it for recognition or praise.

I do it because time is running out. My time is short here, and I want to do things in the best way possible. I don’t have time to “half ass” it anymore. Ricky and Rachel’s time is short as well. They might be little kids right now, but if I don’t lead from the front, encouraging them to chase excellence, then they won’t understand what it means to succeed. I figure the first 7 years of their lives will determine if they desire excellence or if they will settle for less. I look at it as part of my job to encourage them to do things the right way.

Even with all this effort I might still fail – thus the paradoxical life of a parent. I can do everything right but it still comes down to their choice, not mine. I chose to slack off in college despite my parents’ huge sacrifice to send me to a great private school and on to the university level. Ricky and Rachel might make the same choice.

God gives us each plenty of chances to do the right thing. I know in my 30 years I’ve made lots of good decisions but I’ve also made lots of bad ones. My prayer is that as I grow in wisdom I start making more decisions that fall into the good category, and that my kids pick up on this and save themselves some heartache.

What do you do to encourage your kids to strive for excellence?

i went downstairs this morning to leave for work and found some presents.

my little guy wanted to make sure i was ready for work. i had some dinosaur companions and a plastic hammer.