Monday, June 30, 2008

Amy Beth Weed

I'm not being very consistent at blogging. I'm sorry about that. It's not for lack of material - just lack of time.

Now it's time to talk about my baby daughter, Amy Beth. A couple of years ago, Harris informed me that he wanted a baby sister. I told him he needed to pray and ask God to give him one then. Personally, I had mixed feelings. Part of me loved the idea of having another baby, especially if it was a girl this time, and part of me thought my hands were full enough with two energetic boys.

So, he started praying. He remembered to pray almost every night for a baby sister. I asked him if he would be okay with a baby brother. He said he would be okay with that, but he really wanted a baby sister since he already had a brother. Harris prayed for probably a year when we finally found out that there was a baby on the way! When we told Harris, he was adamant that it was going to be a girl. The ultrasound at 19 wks. confirmed that Harris had gotten his prayer answered - he was getting a baby sister!

We had some options when it came to baby names. I knew I wanted my mom's name, Amy, to be a part of it somehow, and Preston has always liked the name, Beth. However, we kept thinking of Beth as just a short form of Bethany or Elizabeth, and not as a name in and of itself. So, we tried Amy Elizabeth, Bethany June (June was Preston's mother's name), and others. For one reason or another, none of them seemed to fit, and Harris didn't like any of them. Then, I thought of using Beth on its own, and came up with Amy Beth - and calling her by both names. It was so different from what we had been considering, that I prayed about it before asking Preston or anybody else what they thought about it. God had made it so clear what we were to name Harris and David, so I trusted that He would do the same for this baby. A few days later, I had lunch with a friend and she told me about a dream she had had 3 times in the past week. In her dream, I kept referring to the baby as "Amy Beth"!!! There was my confirmation! The really amazing part is that all of this dream and conversation happened before we had even found out that we were having a girl!

Amy Beth was born in January this year. Her one minute and 5 minute APGAR scores were both 9, and it would have been a 10 except that the nurse said they never give 10s for some reason. I have a memory of her birth that I will cherish forever. She had just been born and was screaming at the top of her lungs. They did a preliminary cleaning up and wrapped her in a blanket, and brought her around the drape so I could see her. (I had a C-section so I everything was draped with sterile drapes and my arms were secured to the table, so I couldn't touch her.) I kissed her soft little cheek and then put my cheek against hers, and she immediately stopped screaming! When they took her away to finish cleaning her, she started screaming again. Isn't that amazing?! And to this day if she is upset and I put her cheek to cheek with me, she calms down almost immediately. She has been such a good, sweet baby from day 1. She's been a good eater and sleeper for the most part. She loves her brothers, and they adore her. Whenever they come into her view, her whole face lights up and she starts kicking and waving her fists at them. Because she is such a laid back baby, it's hard to get her to really laugh, but the boys can do it easily. She finds their antics most amusing.Now that Amy Beth is 5 mos. old, she is sleeping through the night most of the time - and really has been doing that for a couple of months now. (Hallelujah!) She is rolling from her back to her stomach, and pushes up on her hands. When she is in her bouncy seat or bath tub, she tries to do her "sit-ups", so it won't be long probably before she is sitting. She makes all sorts of noises, and entertains herself with them when there's no one else around to entertain her. On more than one occasion, the boys have been outside playing while I'm trying to get something done in the house. Amy Beth will be in her bouncy seat or her play mat. If I'm not in the room with her for a couple of minutes, she'll start making her noises. (I sometimes stay out of the room on purpose just so she'll start talking.) After she's gotten a good start on her babbling, I'll peek in at her and she'll be grinning from ear to ear - and usually staring at her hands or a foot that she has managed to grab. It is too cute!

I am a bit musical. I love to sing, and I play the flute. So I have always secretly hoped at least one of my children would be musical. Harris likes to listen to music, but so far doesn't have the least bit of interest in participating in music in any way. David goes around singing all the time, to his own made-up songs. But Amy Beth already seems to appreciate music on a different level from that. Whenever I sing to her, she stares at me transfixed. Whenever music is playing, she strains her head to see where it is coming from. And she sings...
Amy Beth has one of those Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium on the side of her crib. When the music is playing and she is either going to sleep or waking up, she'll make these long, soft, ahhhhs in different pitches - I swear she is singing to the music!!

So there is the story of my three amazing gifts from God. We are blessed indeed!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

David Matthew Weed

Sorry I'm just now getting back to this. Lately, by the time I get a chance to sit down and blog, my brain is too tired to construct a cohesive sentence, much less a story.

So David is one of our surprise babies, meaning we were not trying to get pregnant, but we were not being very diligent in preventing a pregnancy either. After celebrating Harris' first Christmas and his first birthday, I remember thinking I was more exhausted than I could imagine. I knew I had been busy, but it still didn't explain this kind of exhaustion! It took a few days before it even occurred to me that I might be pregnant. This time I took a home pregnancy test, and that pink line popped up immediately. I was delighted, but in shock at the same time. After all, this meant I was going to have 2 children less than 2 years apart and at the time that sounded a little overwhelming. But among the lessons I learned trying to get pregnant the first time was that God's timing was perfect, especially when it comes to babies.

Unlike with Harris, I had no clear "feeling" about whether this one would be a boy or a girl. I was hoping for a girl since I already had a boy, and I have to confess that I was a tad disappointed when we found out he was a boy. We knew that if we did have another boy, his first name would be David, but we had the hardest time trying to decide on a middle name. Finally, I prayed and said, "God, Your Word says that our names are written in Your book before the foundation of the world, so You know what David's name is supposed to be. Would You please let me know what to name him?" A few nights after praying that, I had a dream where everyone kept coming up to me and telling me to name my baby Matthew. I would tell them, "that's a good name, but we've already decided to name him David." Finally someone came up and suggested that we use Matthew for the middle name. I thought, "David Matthew"...I like it, even though it might make some people think of the Dave Matthews Band." Then 2 thoughts immediately came to me in the dream, "This is the answer to your prayer" and "Look up the meaning of the name Matthew". The next day I hit the ground running and didn't think about that dream again until my eyes fell on the Baby Name book on the end table. I thought, "It seems like there was a name I was going to look up the meaning of." Immediately, the whole dream came flooding back. I looked up the name and found out that Matthew meant "a gift from God" and I already knew that David meant "beloved". It fit this baby to a T, he was already beloved, and he was definitely a surprise gift - he was even given to us around Christmas time! So David Matthew it was.

The first 3 months of his life were very difficult. He had really bad acid reflux so that he was always spitting up, always fussing, and never slept for more than 2 hours at a time - EVER! We tried everything the pediatrician suggested, to no avail. He was just miserable. Yet during that time, he and I bonded so strongly. Probably because the only way he would sleep most of the time was lying on my chest, while I was propped up in a recliner. My mom finally convinced me to take him to our chiropractor and see if an adjustment would help him. The idea of taking my 3 mo. old to get an adjustment seemed ludicrous, but I was desperate enough at that point to try anything. The chiropractor, Dr. Chris Harrison, said David had a sudal (sp?) hernia, meaning his stomach was pressed against his diaphragm, which kept the stomach from being able to empty properly. He gently pushed and massaged the area. That night, David slept for 6 straight hours!! I took him back for a second adjustment a week or so later, and after that David was a different baby. He went from being a very fussy baby who never slept to being the happiest baby I ever saw and sleeping like a log. Hallelujah!!

David is now 3 years old. He asked Jesus into his life this past Easter. He is a happy, funny boy who loves to laugh and to make other people laugh. Where Harris is our cautious, studious, make-sure-I-can-do-it-right-before-I'm-willing-to-try child, David is our adventurous, learn by doing, jump-in-with-both-feet child. He is a natural problem solver. If he can't reach something, he will figure out a way to get to it. He is also amazing with puzzles. He was doing small jigsaw puzzles by the time he was 2, and he can now do 100-piece puzzles all by himself. David loves to play with his big brother or friends, but he also knows how to entertain himself when necessary. David loves Lightning McQueen from the movie "Cars" and Thomas the Tank Engine. He is also amazing at imitating sounds - from animal noises, to machines, to sirens, to voices. (Yes, that particular talent can be somewhat unnerving at times.)

David is a blanky baby. He loves his blanky!

David is extremely generous to his friends and loved ones. He is always insisting on you trying a bite of whatever he's eating and gets very excited when he has 2 of something so that he can give one to somebody else. I don't know that I have ever heard him tell someone no when they have asked to play with something of his, but I could be forgetting something. However, he does have a temper (I wonder where he gets that from...) and has been known to hit or bite. Praise the Lord, he seems to be outgrowing that stage, though.

Overall, David is a delightful little boy who brings a lot of love and laughter into our world. He is proof that our Heavenly Father delights in giving good gifts to His chidren.

1. David crashed while enjoying 2 of his favorite things: Thomas the Train and "Cars"

2. I call this his "Calvin and Hobbes" impersonation because it reminds of one of their strips that says, "Don't you just hate it when your boogers freeze?"

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Our Firstborn - Preston Harris Weed, IV

So, one month after my "Isaac Moment", I found out I was pregnant! I was ecstatic. I also felt very strongly from the beginning of the pregnancy that the baby would be a boy. Now, before we were even married, I knew Preston wanted to carry on the tradition of naming our firstborn son the same name that he, his dad, and his grandfather had - Preston Harris Weed - but our son would be the Fourth, so Preston Harris Weed, IV and we had decided early on that he would go by Harris. However, after having identified so much with Hannah and her baby son, Samuel, I really wanted to name our son, Samuel. I started talking to Preston about it (mind you, this was still very early in the pregnancy and I didn't even have proof yet that we were having a boy). However, Preston was resolute, we would follow the tradition and not waver from it at all (I had suggested Preston Samuel). I was a little upset because I felt like God wanted me to name him Samuel, but I also knew I needed to submit to my husband's authority. So I prayed about it. God led me to look up the meanings of the name's "Samuel" and "Preston". Samuel means "asked of God" and Preston means "priest's estate". Do you see it?! The meaning of Samuel described our son, because we definitely asked God for him, and the meaning of Preston is what Samuel was!!! Samuel was given to the Lord and raised in the temple by the priest, he was the priest's estate!! How cool of God to do that for me and to lead me to discover it!

So Preston Harris Weed, IV was born in December of 2002. (note to future parents: don't ever say you don't ever want a child to be born at "such and such" time of year, because God has a sense of humor and will allow your first born to be born at that time. not that it matters now. we wouldn't have changed it for the world.) He was your average baby, not to difficult and not super easy, either. I was a nervous wreck about the reality of being a mom, though. But we made it through those early days and loved our little blessing will all our hearts.

Okay, here is where I start bragging a little. Harris loves to learn, and learns quickly. He always has. He also has amazing control over his emotions - when he chooses to use self-control. When he was just two years old, my mom accidentally knocked a small pillow off of a shelf in a department store and it hit Harris in the face. She could tell it startled him and thought for sure he would start to cry. His eyes welled up with tears, and his bottom lip went out, but he just looked at her and sucked his breath in like he was trying to keep from crying. Before he was 20 months old, Harris knew his ABC's by memory and recognized their shapes, and he could count to 10! By the time he was 3, he knew all the sounds the letters made. By 4 years old, he could count to 100 and sound out small words. Now that he is 5, he can read any of the "I Can Read" or "Easy Reader" books and he can read words off of signs, boxes, bottles, just about anything. If he can't sound out a word, he'll ask what it is and from that one time, he'll know it the next time he reads it. He will start Kindergarten at my alma mater, Shades Mountain Christian School, in August.

Harris prays at his 2 year-old birthday party.

Harris also knows the Lord as His personal Savior and Lord. I prayed all throughout my preganacy that he would come to know Jesus personally at the youngest possible age. Right before he turned 3, there were lots of programs and talk in general about the Christmas story, and one night we watched a local station, which aired a church's musical that told the whole story of Jesus's life on earth, from birth to ascension. Harris watched the entire thing with me and asked questions all throughout it. "Why is that baby in the hay?" Why is that man hanging on the cross?" Why are all those people shouting at Him?" How did He get out of that hole?" I was praying the whole time that God would give me the ability to explain it in such a way that his little mind would understand and that God would use it to convict him of his need for Jesus. After that program, he kept asking questions, and those questions eventually became, "Do I have sins in my heart?" "Does Jesus live in my heart?" "How can I get Him to?" I explained what sin was and why everyone has sin in their heart, and I explained how we pray to ask Jesus to come into our lives and wash away our sins. Finally, 2 days after he turned 3 years old, at bed time he prayed with me and accepted Jesus as His Savior! Praise the Lord!!

Harris and Amy Beth // Harris and David - Harris, 2; David - 3 mos.

Harris became a big brother when he was just 2o months old, and he is a great one most of the time. They love each other so much and play so well together. In the winter of 2006, he started telling me he wanted a baby sister. I told him he would need to pray and ask God for one. (I wanted another baby very much, but Preston wasn't so sure about it.) He prayed almost every night for a baby sister (not a brother, because he already had one of those). One day he told my mom, "I'm going to have a baby sister". Mom asked him when and he said, "I don't know, but she's coming." So, in May of 2007, we found out we were pregnant again. When we told Harris, he said, "My sister is coming!" We told him it could very well be a boy, but he was insistent that it was a girl. Sure enough, at the appointed time, the ultrasound confirmed what Harris seemed to have known all along, he was getting a sister! Since she has been born, he has been the sweetest, most loving big brother we could ask for. He is so careful with her, and is such a good helper with her. And she loves him, too. Whenever, he comes into her view, she gets a big grin on her face and starts kicking and waving her arms.

Harris is by no means a perfect child, but he is a blessing to us, and we are so thankful God entrusted him to us.

Harris' 4th birthday party! // Being silly is one of his favorite pasttimes!

Monday, June 2, 2008

My Children - The Beginning of the Story

I've decided to exercise the "mother's prerogative" and use the next few blogs to tell you all about my children. I must warn you, I am going to brag at least a little. I try really hard not to be one of "those" moms. You know, the ones you want to run from when you see them coming because you already know they're just coming to brag on their kids; the ones who use every conversation as an excuse to interject something about their wonderful children (and it usually doesn't have that much to do with the conversation). Fortunately, I don't know very many of said mothers, and I completely understand their desire to talk about their children. Every child is a blessing and a gift from God. If I do brag, please know that I do not take credit for how wonderful my kids are. I give all the credit and glory to God because they are "fearfully and wonderfully made".

I will, of course, start at the beginning. Preston and I decided to wait 3 years after getting married before we would start having children. Most of my friends implemented similar plans and met with success rather quickly, so I just assumed we would follow suit. Well, God had other plans. Fast forward 2 more years and a lot of disappointment and heartache. Every time I heard a friend tell they were expecting (one with a "honeymoon baby") it was all I could do to keep from bursting into tears. Some friends noticed the moist eyes and thought they were tears of happiness for them. To those friends, I confess, they were really selfish tears because I wanted what you had. Every month I was tormented with all sorts of thoughts, "Is there something wrong with me?" "Does God not trust me with a child?" "Doesn't anybody understand how badly this hurts?" "Do they even care?" I was raw and depressed. Virtually all of my married friends had babies at this point, and we were the only childless couple in our Sunday School class, so I started avoiding all of them. It was just too painful to be around them and their beautiful babies. (wow, this is really bringing that pain back like it was yesterday.) Then there were the well-meaning, but still hurtful, comments like, "Aren't you and Preston ever going to start having kids?" "You do know where babies come from, don't you?" or the worst one, "You just won't understand until you have kids of your own someday." (another confession, I wanted to slap people for that one.)

In the midst of this pain, I am glad to say that I was drawing near to God and not pushing Him away - only by His grace and not because I am that smart or good. My relationship with Him was becoming so much richer and deeper. I knew He understood. I knew that even though I didn't like it, He was in control and it was for my good that I wasn't getting pregnant. He drew me to Himself and let me cry on His shoulder. He assured me of His plans for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11) Now, I did have my moments of anger and down-right tantrums with Him for not giving me what I wanted when I wanted it, but like the perfect loving Father that He is, He was always ready to forgive me and let me crawl back up into His lap, soothing away my hurt and anger the way a mother soothes her child.

One night, shortly after I had discovered I was once again not pregnant, I was in the bathroom getting ready for bed and talking to God. (For some reason, I have some of my best conversations with God in the bathroom. I guess because there isn't much to distract me from listening to Him in there.) I was thanking Him for the relationship I had with Him and rejoicing in His goodness to me. I was telling Him how much I loved Him, more than anything, and I didn't want anything to keep me from growing even closer to Him. Immediately, I "heard" this question, "Do you desire a growing relationship with Me more than you desire to have children? Are you willing to sacrifice that desire in order to pursue a relationship with Me?" (I remember that so clearly. I remember where exactly I was standing and how I was standing. I now refer to it as my "Isaac Moment") I knew the "Sunday School" answer was "Yes, of course." But I also knew that that wasn't my heart's answer. I fell on my knees, sobbing, wrestling with this call to sacrifice my desire to be a mom for the greater good of following God without distraction. Praise God, it didn't take very long before I was able to lay it on the altar and walk away! Hallelujah! What peace and joy flooded my soul - peace that I had not had in months!

Meanwhile, I had found I Samuel 1 & 2 - the story of Hannah, who also desperately longed for a child. God blessed her with a son, Samuel, whom she dedicated to the Lord. One day, in the Bible study group I go to on Wednesdays, they asked for someone to sing a new song from Scripture. God impressed upon me to "sing" Hannah's song from I Samuel 2:1-10. The very next week, I discovered God had heard the cry of my heart, and rewarded my sacrifice with the desire of my heart because I chose to delight in Him. I WAS PREGNANT!!!!! HALLELUJAH!!! I didn't want to take a chance with a home pregnancy test, so I went to my OB/GYN's office and let them do a pregnancy test. When it was positive, I was so happy I was laughing and crying all at the same time. I'm sure they thought I was crazy.

Now I know there are others whose story is a lot harder than mine. Perhaps you've suffered a miscarriage, or you've gone through the stress and cost and pain of fertility treatments only to find that nothing is working. My heart goes out to you and I pray for you right now. "Dear Heavenly Father, be with the lady who is reading this right now with tears in her eyes. Minister Your perfect peace and comfort to her right now. I pray that you would heal her emotions and soothe her hurt, anger, and frustration. Ease the heartache. Father, I ask You, in the name of Jesus Christ, to hear the cry of the barren one and bless her with the desire of her heart. Whether it's by opening her womb and creating life within her, or whether it is through the miracle of adoption, bless her with a baby. And I ask that you would do it soon. She has been waiting and hurting for so long, Father. In Your mercy, please don't make her wait anymore. We give you the honor and praise for what You are going to do in each life that reads this. Not because of anything I've written, but because You are God. You can do it and You want to do it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

If you are one of those ladies, I would love to pray for you by name on a regular basis. If you would like, leave a comment with your name and any details you want to share. Or you can email me at and let me know that way. If you are someone like me who has been there, and has a story of God's blessing you with a child, please leave it in the comments section to encourage others.
I will end this post with "Hannah's Song"found in I Sam. 2:1-10

"Then Hannah prayed and said:
My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in Your deliverance.

There is no one holy like the Lord, there is no one besides You.
There is no Rock like our God.

Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the Lord is a God who knows, and by Him deeds are weighed.

The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more.

She who was barren has borne seven children,
but she who has had many sons pines away.

The Lord brings death and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and raises up.
The Lord sends poverty and wealth; He humbles and exalts.

He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
He seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.
For the foundations of the earth are the Lord's;
upon them He has set the world.

He will guard the feet of His saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.
It is not by strength that one prevails;

Those who oppose the the Lord will be shattered.
He will thunder against them from heaven;
the Lord will judge the ends of the earth.
He will give strength to His king and exalt the horn of His anointed."