Thursday, May 27, 2010

Our May Belle

Mommy & Mary Claire
May 2010

Two years ago, on this very day at 7:55 a.m., God gave us the gift of a beautiful dark-haired, brown-eyed little girl. We named her Mary Claire for special reasons although we have discussed once or twice that maybe we should have named her "Maybelle" after Jan's Grandmother Hensley. After all, she was born in May and is our "Belle" and she strongly possesses the Shankle family look. Nevertheless, today is her special day! The boys and I went in together to wish her a happy birthday this morning when she awoke and before John Owen and I left for our last 1/2 day of school. (Woo-hoo!) Jan had left his special gift to her on the coffee table...he bought her an antique purse from one of the local antique shops to play dress up with! I know she will enjoy it and hopefully, treasure it as she grows.

Look at you!
I found you sitting here one night.
Hmm...I think I might have found someone who can take over the task of updating this family blog! hehe

Mary Claire's life has already been such a blessing in the time she's been a part of our lives. I believe with all that is within me that God has special plans for all of my children, but in Mary Claire's case, I feel like He has spoken to me (almost directly) and reminded me that a big part of being a Christian parent means trusting Him with the lives of my children. It's no secret to my close friends and family that in January & February I struggled with what the doctors told me about Mary Claire's brain anomaly. I think Satan was fighting for my thoughts and heart. I felt torn and unsure and afraid, like a war was raging inside of me! I confess that I still do some days, but I am so thankful for my mom and grandmother for the Christian love, advice, & support they gave to me. (When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee. Psalm 56:3)

Through the whole experience, I can honestly say God is so GOOD, and I am so thankful for the blessings He has given us. And I am gonna claim His promise that He is our protector & provider. He is the only one who knows tomorrow. He knew she would be exactly as she is today before I ever knew. Before any doctor ever knew. And I give Him all the thanks and praise for her...exactly as she is. She continues to amaze me every day. About 2 months ago, I started keeping a journal for the things she says and does. Now, I am happy to say that I am having trouble keeping up with the new words and things that I write down because she is doing so much! We go back to the neurologist next week, and I would ask that you would continue to keep Mary Claire in your prayers. I may not know His plans for today, but one day, I know He'll reveal His plans for us all and for our Mary Claire. 

This is my favorite picture of you from your Luau Birthday Party!
Splashin' in the pool with Sam Harris, Faith & Ema Li!
Happy 2nd Birthday!

Dear Mary Claire,

One day when you are older, you'll read this, and I hope you will know without a shadow of a doubt that we are so thankful for you. I cannot possibly imagine life without you! It makes my day when I get to go in and get you out of bed in the morning, and you greet me with, "Hey, Mommy!" or when you hug me tight and pat me on the back. (You get that from your Daddy, I think.) You are so funny when you give us "The Look!" You are a tough girl, too! I can see that having two older brothers has made you strong and possibly, a bit strong-willed, but that's OK. Hopefully, I'll do my job as your mommy and direct that strong-willed spirit in the right direction. :-) I love how you play "Ring-a-Round-the-Rosy" but you don't really like the "all fall down" part! And I have never seen a child who likes to go and do as much as you. I can't even get in the door good from work before you say, "Go!", and you take my hand and start for the van. And just this week, when you insisted on sitting at the bar with your brothers to eat your food, I nearly cried because I saw the end of your "baby years" rushing at me! You are turning 2 years old today, and as I held you this afternoon before your nap, I felt like it was just a moment ago when I held you as a newborn baby in the hospital. You are growing into a beautiful little girl. I love the fact that you look so much like your Daddy with your beautiful dark hair and chocolate brown eyes. My prayer for you is that God will protect you from any injury, disease, & destruction, and that He will use you as His servant. I know He has great things in store for you! Happy birthday, Mary Claire! Happy Birthday to you!!!


Cookies for your luau party

Some of your favorite things are balloons, yummy strawberries & colorful goldfish!

A luau cake made for you by Mrs. Mary Baugues

Playing in the beach ball sprinkler with cousin Hardy.
Watch out! I think he's aiming that water right at you! :-)

Fun in the sand with Harris and Hardy.
Cousins (all born in 2008) are so much fun!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dear John Owen,

Yesterday I looked on as you graduated from Kindergarten. And I can't believe how quickly this year has flown by! It seems like just yesterday that we walked you down the hallway to Ms. Nicole's classroom and stood beside you as you began Kindergarten.

Your 1st Day of Kindergarten
August 2009

Do you know I still remember when Mimi and Daddy Nick took me to school on my first day of Kindergarten? (You see, Mimi was really good about documenting our life's events on video, so I got to watch my first day of Kindergarten over and over again.) :-) I hope that you will one day look back at this documentation (and the video) and feel how proud we are of you. I hope that your Kindergarten year has been a great year. You have done so good! I have enjoyed getting to watch all of your programs and attending the special events, especially the Mother's Day Tea you invited me to. Most of all, though, I have enjoyed the time we have spent together riding to and from school...just you and me. I know that I don't always get to be with just you because my time is divided among you and your brother and sister, but please never forget that you were my first baby. You'll always hold a special place in my heart. 

You are growing up so fast! God has blessed you with many talents and my prayer is that as you grow, you'll learn to use those talents in a way that will glorify Him. Your talent for reading amazes me! (I think Ms. Nicole was pretty amazed, too!) And I can tell how much your classmates like you every time I see you with them. (We think you are pretty cool, too!) Thank you for being a good big brother with such a sensitive heart. Thank you for loving me and for being my son. I know your Daddy feels the same way...he would say so if he were writing this letter. And so, just like the song we've been singing together lately states...
My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to!
Congratulations, John Owen! First grade, here we come!

I love you-

Here's some more pictures to remember from Graduation Day!

Good friends in school with you this year in Kindergarten!

John Owen & Ms. Nicole Walker

Funny story about these 4...2 sets of siblings in the same classes this year! Chandler & John Owen in Kindergarten at ATES, Jonah & Lilly in Pre-K at TCPS. (We didn't know this until I met their mother a month or so ago and discovered who "Lilly" was that Jonah came home talking about!) Isn't she a cutie?

Jonah, John Owen & Joseph

Taking pictures with good friends, Hunter & Joseph

Friday, May 21, 2010

May Days

May = Baseball is in full swing! (no pun intended)

Wow! Only one more work week left for me, 4 1/2 days left for John Owen, and today was Jonah's last day of school! Can't believe we are about to start our summer break! The month of June is already "packed" with events in my daily planner. Really, you should see my planner! One of the ladies at my work saw my planner open on my desk the other day and commented, " Boy, I thought I had alot going on. Your daily planner is FULL!" Yep, that's right....ALOT goin' on. One day at a time, one day at a time...

Here's some things I want to remember from May 2010:

This is Jonah playing in the dirt on the pitcher's mound during his game.
Very typical behavior for the 3 & 4 year old teams along with swatting at bugs, pulling up grass, climbing the fence in the dugout. O.K. Can someone remind me of why I signed up to coach the team? :-)

Nevermind that last question...
this face is all the WHY I need for coaching his adorable team!

Our 2nd zoo trip of the year!
My 3 little monkeys gettin' excited about watching the monkey play around.
**Please disregard the rear ends of the strangers standing in the picture. They probably wouldn't appreciate this picture as much as I do. hehe**

"Oh, Buddha...if I rub his belly just right, can I make a wish and it come true?"
Don't know why she liked it so much! Maybe she thought it was a baby!

Jan & I acted like we were in college again last weekend and went down to the Hard Rock on Beale to listen to my brother's band, Delta Stone. Here they are rockin' it!
(My brother, Christopher, to the far left.)

Christopher and me after the show which by the way was over at 11:45 p.m. I was up WAY past my bedtime! And don't I sooo look the part of "band groupie" with my Delta Stone t-shirt?

And tonight, before we went to bed, we spotted a cool frog "hangin' out" on our back door.
We just had to take a picture of Mr. Frog!

Our May days haven't ended yet, but so far, we've had a month full of great things!
Coming soon(like, next week!)...John Owen's Kindergarten graduation, Mary Claire's 2nd birthday, & 
the start of SUMMER! 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Once Upon a Week

There are a few things in particular that I want to remember about this week, but let me go ahead and say it is NOT the stomach virus that I came down with Sunday night and have been dealing with every day this week. THAT hasn't been fun at all! You know that feeling that if you could just throw up, you might feel better? Yeah, well, no such luck here. (Sorry if that grossed you out.)

Despite the awful "crampy" stomach and nausea episodes, we, MOMS must press on! It's episodes like this that really make me appreciate what I got tonight as an early Mother's Day gift...I'll just disclose that it includes some much needed "Me" time. (Can you feel my excitement?)

I am glad the sickness wasn't something that kept me from still enjoying my children and being thankful for the privilege to be called "Mommy".  Mary Claire and I enjoyed the roses blooming outside her window a few days ago...

 I spotted these 3 roses sitting perfectly together & I couldn't help thinking about my 3 gifts from God...all beautifully made in His image. I looked all over that rose bush and never found another group of 3 like this one! I consider it a "God Stop" moment! (A moment you stop and know God is showing you or trying to tell you something.)

I looked up from taking some pictures of the roses only to find her CHEESE-ing at me from the open back hatch of the van! I couldn't resist!

On Thursday, John Owen's class held a Mother's Day Tea, so I attended as his special guest. And special I did feel! He stood up and told everyone he loved me because I was the "best mom in the WHOLE WIDE world!" Awww...
His teacher created a DVD of memories from the year which she showed to the moms! I should have taken my kleenex. Seeing my baby in his Kindergarten graduation gown and seeing the words "Class of 2022" brought tears to my eyes.
This next picture shows something I want to remember just like I remember trips to my grandmother's house in Jackson and how she would give us cups of Cool Whip to eat. Why Cool Whip and not ice cream? I don't know. It was good, though. And I think of that every time Mary Claire & Jonah say they want "whis cream" (Jonah still mispronounces this, but it's just so DARN cute, I don't bother correcting him.) or "i keem" (As Mary Claire calls it and ice cream!)
She'll tell me she wants a "ircle" (translation: circle)
So, Mommy draws circles & all kinds of shapes with Redi-Whip!!
Bet you never knew Cool Whip could be so educational!

Why use the spoon I placed on your tray when using your HAND is so much more FUN?! :-)

You can see how happy this makes us!

This afternoon I tried taking some pictures of Mary Claire in the backyard for her birthday party invitation. She will soon celebrate her 2nd birthday, and I just can't believe it!
I took lots of shots. Boy, taking pictures of a toddler is exhausting. Props to all you photographers of small children! (Oh, and if you wonder about why she has that HUGE flower in her hair? It's because her party is going to be a luau! Aloha! )
I thought that in this one she looks like she's thinking, "Hmm...if I can just get past her & that camera to that sandbox over there, I'll be home free!"

And this one was one of my favorites!
Happy Mother's Day to all you "Moms" out there!
May we all remember to cherish the moments.