Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bullying~Confidence in Motherhood~Surgery

I know the title of this blog is all over the place but I did warn y'all these are "random" thoughts by Jewels. Ha!

I was watching part of The View the other morning and they showed about a 10 second clip of the new movie "Bully" and after 10 seconds I was literally crying my eyes out.  Here is one of the trailers.  I don't know why I am so sensitive to this issue.  I cannot remember even one instance in school where I was bullied, nor do I really remember paying much attention to any bullying that went on.  I have talked to some teachers who tell me that bullying has been over exaggerated and it is really not an issue in schools at all.  I am not on some type of crusade to expose bullying in schools.  I just know that it is a very real issue and as a mom it breaks my heart to even fathom either of my boys ever having to go through this. 

On the flip side I have told Garrison that if I EVER caught him being mean to or making fun of other kids there would be severe consequences.  I think as parents we need to be fully aware of how our kids are behaving and take responsibility and accountability for their actions.

A little boy in Garrison's class the other day pooped in his pants and some of the kids were making fun of him.  I asked Garrison if he made fun of the kid also and he said that he would never make fun of someone for doing that.  I asked Garrison if he stood up for this little boy and he said no.  I explained to him how maybe next time he can tell the kids it's not nice to make fun of people... I am trying so hard to teach my son not only to be kind to others but to stand up for others.  Just my two cents on the matter.  

I am not saying I am a perfect mother by any means but over the last six years I have learned how important it is to have confidence in your ability as a parent.  My husband and I are a team, no doubt about it.  That being said, I think it is so important that each parent in a family has the balance of nurturer and disciplinarian.  God forbid if something were to happen to one of us I know that we are both able to love, show affection and consistently discipline our children.  That is so important to me.

We definitely (and surprisingly with our different personalities) co-parent very well together.  I think one of the most important things we do is to NEVER contradict each other in front of Garrison.  For example, if Garrett tells Garrison he can't watch tv for the rest of the week for something he did at school and I think that is a harsh punishment I keep my mouth closed.  This doesn't mean I don't have a say in the matter... I will have my say later when Garrison is not around.  This just shows Garrison that we are a united team and will always be on the same page. 

It is so much easier on me to know that Garrison has the same amount of respect (and healthy fear) for me that he does his dad.  This just means that when Garrett is not around I have confidence that Garrison will continue to be well behaved and have respect for me.  Again, just my two cents and hopefully some helpful advice for those of you that may be starting out with kiddos.

I have ear surgery (stapedectomy) tomorrow.  I have a disorder called otosclerosis where over time I lose complete hearing.  This usually just happens in one ear but lucky me had it in both ears.  Thankfully this is correctable with surgery.  I had the surgery on my right ear 3 years ago and am just now having it on my left ear.  I would rather have 50 shots than throw up and with this surgery messing with my equilibrium there is definitely some serious nausea involved after the surgery.  I am not looking forward to it but I am SO looking forward to being able to fully hear again.  It has been 6 years since I have had full hearing.  Prayers are much appreciated for a successful surgery!


Thursday, April 19, 2012


I'll be 29 next month and when I think about that age I realize how young it really is in the cycle of life.  I look back on the last decade and realize how much I have changed.  I realize I started early getting married at 19 and having my first kiddo at 22 but I still feel like I have really learned who I am as a woman, wife and mom, especially over the last 5 years. 

It's funny... I hear older women all the time say they didn't really "find themselves" until they were in their 30s or 40s... and maybe that's true for some people.  But I know that three of the most incredible life changing blessings I will ever receive came in the last decade:  (1)  Marrying Garrett  (2)  Giving birth to Garrison  (3)  Adopting Ethan. 

I have such a strong understanding of the woman God intended for me to be and I find amazing comfort in that.  I am by no means saying I am perfect or have the wisdom I will have at 40, 50 or 60.  I'm just saying that I feel blessed to have experienced so much of life at my age.  I am grateful to have parents that taught me about the importance and unconditional love of Christ as such a young age so I didn't have to go through life searching for something or someone to fill some type of emptiness.  I have always known that only He can fill emptiness.  The rest is just cherries on top!

Just some random thoughts by Jewels*...

Monday, April 16, 2012

My First (New) Blog - Ethan Gregory Thomas

Wow... it has been since May of 2010 since I last blogged.  It has been so long I even forgot my old e-mail address and password so this is the new (and hopefully improved) blog!

So much to catch up on... so let me me just fill you in with the basics.  I married my high school sweetheart, Garrett, when I was 19.  Some said we were too young to get married (and maybe they were right) but we have grown up together and with God's help we have made it work.  We just celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary in February!  We welcomed our biological son Garrison into this crazy world in September of 2005 and I cannot believe he is already 6 and in Kindergarten!  Garrison has been the light of my life and I am truly blessed to call him my son. 

We have had a BIG change in our lives recently and his name is Ethan!  He is our little miracle baby!  Many of you were probably shocked when I randomly posted on Facebook that we had adopted Ethan.  Here is the story of how it all came to be...

During a girls' night out in October I mentioned to a couple of friends (and a couple of girls I had just met) that Garrett and I had briefly discussed adopting.  We were obviously able to have biological children but for some reason we had both casually thought about adopting.  I was asking the girls how you would even go about adopting if you did not want to go through an agency.  Garrett and I had even joked that the only way we knew how to do this was to post a sign on a college campus: "Pregnant?  Looking for an adoptive family?".

Christmas Day (night) we were driving home from my in-laws' and I got a text from a dear friend (who was at the Girls' Night) asking if we were still thinking about adopting.  She knew of a baby boy who was born on Christmas Day whose mom was looking for an adoptive family.  By this point (yes, only a mere two months later) Garrett and I had long moved past that crazy idea.  We literally had a month by month savings plan laid out and were set to start trying for a child soon.  Oh yes, we had an anniversary trip planned (already booked in fact) for February and I had planned on taking him to Mexico for his 30th birthday... blah, blah, blah.  Plus, Garrett had always said he wanted a girl... so why would we adopt a boy?!  I told her I didn't think we were interested anymore, but not wanting to be rude I told her we would pray about it.  After all, tt was a little coincidental that there was a mom looking for a home for her baby.

Garrett and I kind of laughed it off as a coincidence but both said we would think/pray about it.  After some initial thinking (not praying) I kept having negative thoughts about adoption.  "How could I ever love another child the way I love Garrison, especially if I did not give birth to them myself?"  "What if this child grows up hating us?"... the thoughts went on and on.  And I can honestly say I know that was the devil trying to discourage me from God's plan for us.

At this point I had reached out to the sister in law of my dear friend just to get a little more info on this baby.  At this point I knew he was born on Christmas Day and came 2 months early only weighing 2 lbs 15 oz.  I decided I did not want to string her or the birth mother along any further with hopes that we would be adopting this child.  So one afternoon I called Garrett and told him I was going to just go ahead and let them know we were not interested so they could find an adoptive family.  Garrett told me we need to keep praying about it.  At that point I knew the Holy Spirit was working inside my husband.  He is not usually the one to say we need to pray first before making a decision.

I tried to put all of this out of my mind because I didn't want to think or stress about it.  A few nights later Garrett was grilling out and I was in the kitchen making sides for dinner.  He came inside and just like that told me he is positive that God wants us to have this baby.  He said he had never felt anything so strongly in all his life.  Let me pause and say that my husband is a VERY traditional man.  He is stubborn and once he makes up his mind that is the way it is.  He had just told me a month or so before that we were not going to have another kid until we got a boat (his dream)!  I had hoped that I would be as convinced as Garrett but I still was not.  I continued to pray and pray about this and I received confirmation at church that following Sunday that this baby was meant to be in our home.  There was a guest speaker preaching and he said we should not fight God's will for our lives and went on to talk about helping orphans and the helpless.  HELLO CONFIRMATION!!!  I came home from church not only convinced that God meant for this baby to be with us but EXCITED about God's plan for our family!

I later found out that the sister in law of my friend could not recall who had recently talked about adoption but after much prayer my name popped into her head and that is how they came to contact me.  God thing?!  Most definitely!!!

Through the help of an aunt who works for the CPS I contacted an amazing attorney who told me what the next steps should be.  Long story short I contacted the birth mother who said she wanted a semi open adoption (we send her pictures once a year but there would be no contact between her and us or her and the baby).  We set a time to meet at the hospital later that week.

It was kind of an awkward meeting with the birth mom.  She seemed very businesslike and non emotional but this was a huge relief for me.  I know she wanted what was best for that baby and she made the decision very early on that she was not going to get emotionally attached (never held the baby).  The NICU only allowed two people back at a time so I first went back with the birth mom.  There in the incubator lay the tiniest little miracle I had ever laid eyes on.  Then weighing 2 lbs 13 oz and all hooked up to wires and only in a diaper lay my future son.  I can't even describe the feeling and love that ran through me.  She only stayed a couple minutes and then Garrett was able to come in and hold his new son.  We stayed for a couple of hours just holding him and admiring our new little addition.

The next month and a half was very stressful and tiring.  This full time working mom had to work, come home and try to keep a normal routine for Garrison and then go to the hospital (45 minutes from home) most every night to spend time with my new little guy.  God gave me the energy and strength I needed to
get through this trying time.  There were stressful moments, like the birth mom taking a long time to sign the release papers, but I know all was in God's timing.  On February 10th Ethan was able to come home and Garrison was FINALLY able to meet his baby brother.  What an awesome day that was! 

I know that was a long story but I feel like I have to tell the whole thing so everyone truly understands God's hand in all of this.  We now have our family of four and while it did not come the way I expected (and always planned) I don't know what I would do without Ethan in my life.

I have been home on FMLA with Ethan since February 10th and am loving every minute.  Now if only we could win the lotto so I could stay home all the time with my beautiful boys!  Here are some more recent pics for y'all of my beautiful boys.

This was is of Garrison on the Duck Tour in Branson.  We just got back from there with family and had an awesome time!!!

Until next time....