18

18 years ago today ~ you lit up our life ~ you continue to do so ~ whether being funny, sarcastic, sensitive or crazy ~ you have so many sides that sometimes I think there are two of you!

2 Logans

There is the nerdy book-side of you that is happy to read anything from the Magic Tree House Books to Charles Dickens. Then there is the you that plays on the floor with your sister and makes her face light up. There’s the you that writes crazy  songs about Frying Men and there’s the you that is quick with a hug when someone seems down.

in a book

There is the over achiever in you that likes to graduate early from school and make sure all things are lined up correctly even if that is just the empty coke cans you put in the kitchen but don’t quite get them into the trash. There’s the you that doesn’t study for hardly anything because you don’t really have to (which is annoying).
kindergarten

There is the you that loves classical music but also loves Pink Floyd. Then there is the you who loves Christmas music and knows almost all the Conway Twitty songs word for word.

Logan 5

There is the you that wants to travel the world and see everything and the you that loves to stay holed up in your room for hours on end.  There’s the you that loves with your whole heart and the you that doesn’t care to speak you mind when you believe in something.

Logan Smile

I love all of these parts of you and they make you the best son a mom could ask for. So today, you are an adult. You can buy cigarettes and playboy magazines, lottery tickets and go to clubs. Thankfully, because of who you are, you won’t do any of those things and I love who you’ve been, who you are, and who you are becoming.

These gifts, these traits will take you far because you know who you are, you know what you believe and you won’t be swayed from what is the right path for your travels. It has been my honor to even have fostered any of these traits in you these last 18 years and I love you! It is my prayer that you have the best year ever and that you continue to grow in the grace and mercy of God and be the best adult Logan you can be.

Mom

Months 10 & 11

Just because I’ve not been on top of my blogging game lately doesn’t mean we’ve stopped taking pictures or enjoying all the new things Cooper does on a daily basis. It is so hard to believe that in less than one month she will be one.  As she sits beside me jumping up and down and going from laughter to tears and back, I realize just how blessed we are with this fiesty, funny, emotion-filled, cuddler that brightens every single day of our lives.

Here are her 10/11 months Photos.

10and11 months pictures

It seems like every day Cooper does something new. Like seriously, she can be throwing a fit with tears streaming down her face and then laughing like two seconds later. This child is really coming into her own and she is very opinionated.

Things I like to Do

Here are the last two months in pictures ~ Christmas, New Years and so much more. She now crawls everywhere and pulls up on everything. She is over 20 lbs now and can say Mama, Dada and Bye Bye ~ she says other stuff that only she can understand.

3 Christmases Collage

 

Christmas Morning Collage

She would rather eat on her own than let you help her so meal time is always interesting. She still sleeps about 10-12 hours per night but her day time naps are few and far between.

Making Messes While Mama Works

 

1-25-13 Logan Watches Cooper

 

 

Crazy How I Sleep Cooper and Evie Do Lunch New Years Eve

 

As you can see, we’ve been pretty busy and now it’s time to plan for my birthday party coming up very soon!

Hope you’ve enjoyed catching up with us!

 

Shelly

One Word

If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge. Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time.It’s very important to be aware of them every time they come up.” Deepak Chopra

My cousin, Nichole, has been doing this One Word challenge for a few years. I’ve decided to take it on this year. As I struggled to decide on a word I thought about pastors message yesterday and how we need to examine ourselves in every aspect of life and see where we did well and where we need to improve.

Well, I have a lot of areas to improve, I can promise you that but the one area that touches EVERY other area in my life is control. The need to control or tightly grasp situations, timelines, work situations and often my loved ones.  It is hard to have a childhood where you had no control and so in my life, I’ve tended toward the control end of things. The “if I control it, it cannot control me” mentality has been something that was a coping mechanism as a kid and eventually became the way I did things.

When I met Brad, he challenged me on that in so many ways and I really feel like that was why God made him the perfect match for me.I can be crazy and emotional and controlling and he just looks at me blankly and will ask me if I’m done or if I feel better for acting that way. He’s a brick wall to that side of my personality and when I met him, it was the first time in 30 years that anyone had that effect on me.

It’s crazy really, when you think about how God places things. Brad was broken as a child by his abusive father and he had let go of ANY emotional feelings. He knew in his head he loved me and he wanted to marry me, but he didn’t have the emotional feelings of love and those butterflies that tend to make us deal with people even when we don’t want to. So, he wouldn’t deal with me being flat out crazy and controlling like I was when I met him in 2004. I have come a long way but like I said, I have a long way to go.

So here we were, two broken people, me overtly emotional, him a brick wall of emotions but I knew God had a plan. So, Brad would play defense to my offensive nature and when I wasn’t being crazy, I would try and help him ‘feel his feelings’. We were such a mess that when I look back on it, it is either really sad or almost funny. We went through so many things to prepare us for our healing and no matter how unemotional he was or how crazy controlling I was, we both knew the other one had our back, always.

I remember almost giving up a few times. Feeling like I had made a huge mistake in marrying someone, knowing that they did not have the emotional capacity for love. I am sure that Brad wondered (and probably still does) why he chose the crazy lady to spend his days with. I mean really, if you are going to wait until you are 40 to get married, at least pick a nice sweet girl, right? There is a moment in grained in my mind that will be in my heart until the day I die. We were sitting together talking and Brad tilted his head a bit and his eyes lit up and he smiled at me and I said what is wrong with you? He said, I just got butterflies looking at your face. I knew then that there is so much love in this world that even abuse and pain and fear cannot snuff it out completely. There were so many days that I held onto that moment when I wanted to quit and to just walk away.

As God continued to heal Brad’s brokenness, mine continued to be at the forefront. I always chalked up the way I was to being strong but it was weakness hidden inside a really hateful exterior. There were moments when God was healing Brad’s heart and I would come and rip him to shreds and he would retreat back inside that emotionless state for weeks even months and at those moments I realized that power of my words and my actions. So, thus was our healing process, one step forward, three steps back. But somehow, we continued on, loving each other with the short skill set we had.

God has done alot of healing in our hearts and in our lives over the last 9 years we’ve known each other but nothing like he has done in the last year. This year, 2012, has been an emotional roller coaster both good and bad for the Deason’s. When Cooper was born, a piece of Brad’s heart opened that he never knew was even there. He likes to say she was the first footprint on that part of his heart. He loves open and freely and our entire family can see a difference in where is has came from to where he is now. I have had a lot of healing this year too, and I have learned all that I thought was my strength was really my weakness and that I have to find a new strength. I am finding a new strength in letting go.

So I have chosen as my word for 2013 and it is RELINQUISH   I am going to let go of the things that don’t matter and focus on the things that do. I am going to let my fist loosen it’s grasp on the things that aren’t even an arguing point and try and relax more. I am going to focus on the big picture and who I want to be and not on the tiny daily details I tend to obsess over and over again. I am going to give it up to God and let him control things in my life and my ministry and my job and my family as never before.

re·lin·quish  

/riˈliNGkwiSH/
Verb
Voluntarily cease to keep or claim; give up
Synonyms
Abandon – renounce- give up – quit – waive – leave 
It’s scary, the letting go,  but I sign off today with my hand held open wide, holding onto nothing but the promise that He will be there to catch me and to help me through the mistakes of figuring it out.

9 Months +

I’m behind on this. I would like to say it’s because we had our 9 month check up and I wanted to update her stats with you. That’s partially true but it’s also true that I am just behind.

Front Cover Picture

Today we had our 9 month check up and she is doing amazing and hitting the marks that make the doctor happy, especially with her being 4 weeks early.

Weight ~ 19lb. 3.8 oz

Height ~ 27.5 inches tall

9 month collage

We’ve had a busy month and it seems like she gains leaps and bounds each month on the things she is interested in and how much she grows:

  • She now will go forward and backward in her walker
  • She continues to love both baths and showers
  • She would rather eat food than drink a bottle and at times will drink out of a cup
  • Favorite foods are banana puffs but she doesnt really care for the yogurt bites.
  • She got two teeth, the two bottom front within days of each other
  • Table foods that Cooper has enjoyed this month include: french fries, green beans, mashed potatoes, biscuits, toast, oatmeal, rice, bananas, apples, banana pudding, chocolate pie, cream corn and cheerios.

Cooper likes to “ride dirty” ~ she acts crazy when you put her in her carseat or a buggy at the store. Here is a glimpse of her craziness.

riding dirty

We had our first visit with Santa and it went really well. She was intrigued with him and really took some good pictures.

Santas Lap collage

This month was Cooper’s first thanksgiving and she spent equal time with my family and Brad’s family. Here are some picture of her and her cousin Portlin, He is 3 months younger than her but you can’t tell because he is a big guy.

Thanksgiving

We had our annual Ugly Christmas sweater party on Dec 7th and Cooper was surrounded by her her friends Aiden and Evie. Here are the three cutest ugliest sweater participants.

ugly christmas sweater

Cooper also had her pictures done with Ms. Katie again and it was so much fun! We did our usual poses and then we did some super cute Christmas pictures as well as some of all three of us. Katie says that the pictures turned out so well that she is having a hard time choosing which ones to edit. Here is a sample of the ones she took and have showed us so far.

katie letcher collage

 

Cooper loves to be read to and a few weeks ago this was her and her daddy at Red Lobster reading a new book.

out to dinner

 

and while I get behind and I get busy and don’t post like I should, everyone knows that this little girls is definitely. . . . . .

myheart

Banks, Chains and Freedom

This day has been building in me for a while, and by a while I mean about 33 years. 

My mom walked out the door to take a deposit to the bank.  On a good day, I was outside playing and would ask to go with her and usually get told no, I understand why. Can you imagine taking 5-7 year old Shelly anywhere and not wanting to beat me? Yeah, me either. Anyways, those were the days that I would ride my bike around the block and wait for her Blue Capri to pull back in the driveway. That was back in the days where I rode in the front seat standing up all around town until I was so tall my head touched the ceiling. It’s a miracle I wasn’t killed. Those were days when I was home free.

Those were the days I wasn’t molested.

But many days, I was in my room playing with some Fisher Price toy.  It was like a village because I had every toy, there was the house with the family and the playground and carousel they would visit. They might fall down and take a trip to the hospital, and lay on a plastic white gurney that had actual Velcro straps. Then the nurse with the big plastic red cross on her cap nursed the wound. If it was  pretty day, maybe they would get in the airplane and visit some far away place and ride on the Ferris Wheel. That’s  where I wanted to go on those days, far far away.

On those days, it was  a game of cat and mouse, a game of whether I could get to this door before this lock was put on it. I can tell you every single detail about this lock and door and only took a picture because it’s hard to really explain how just below the lock there is that darker wood and how there are  a few niches knocked out of the door frame by who knows what but that door is etched in my mind and forever seared with the hopes of getting to the other side before the chain slid on.

 

On those days, I was molested.

Those days that the chain beat me I knew it was time to play with my granddad. That’s what he called it, playing. What 5 year old doesn’t like to play, right? What 5 year old is defiant in all aspects of her daily life but plays these games and doesn’t tell. This one did and it changed her for life. The details of these dark days are not something I will put here, they are in my mind and I can see them as clear as yesterday. That is part of the secret, I’ve always said I don’t remember the details, but I do. There are things that I haven’t voiced to one soul in those 33 years. Things my eye can see in a second, textures that my hands believe are real in this moment, things I push back so far that sometimes I think that they are just a part of my imagination, but deep down I know, I know. Not all of them, but most I remember. I remember. I remember.

I’ve always considered myself to be open and forthright about being molested as a child. Like it was something that happened to someone else. A story I would relay when I was connecting with someone to let them know I felt their pain. I realize now, that I’ve separated myself from feeling my feelings about what happened.

At a recent family event, we began to speak candidly about what had happened and for the first time, it made me uncomfortable. It seemed like for the first time we were talking about me, about my life and that was pretty uneasy for me. I weaved myself in and out of the conversation, moving around the room to ‘check on cooper’ or get a refill on my drink. It was too much for me and honestly, that surprised me. The girl who talks about abuse like it’s a bad haircut that you had to live with for a few months was gone and in her place was me, raw and emotional but keeping that smile slapped on all the same.

The last few weeks have been building to this but it still took me by surprise that this is where my demons would rise. That this is where I would face them head on. I expected some church service about putting your past in the past to happen and me crying in the altar and giving it to Jesus ‘one last time’ so that I could be free of it all. I didn’t expect my aunt to say “so what happened, I never knew”. There you are, deer in the head lights wondering what you should say, what is crowd appropriate, thinking all the while you thought your whole family knew the sordid details and just pretended it didn’t happen. The urge to run from the room crying was replaced by saying to myself that this is the place and the time to let your heart heal. To share what you can and let someone else in so that’s what we did, my cousin and I. Mainly her, which is weird because I am the talker but that’s what I needed, to just be a part of it and hear it about me and be acknowledged that it was wrong and that we were loved.

So now, I feel like I can start to move forward but I still have my moments.

There are moments that I am still angry for that girl, whose family swept it under the rug by going to family counseling and moving on as if life were  hunky dory.

As a mother, I am outraged at the thought of someone doing that to my child and them still having breath in their body, let alone still living in the same house with said abuser.

There are moments when forgiveness bursts within in me and I realize that my abuser was abused and thankful the pattern stopped there and that I didn’t become an abuser.

There are moments that I feel so badly for my mother because I know she regretted then and still does today that she made the choices she made.

There are moments that I don’t really care how she feels and only care about my damaged emotions and how it has taken me years to feel half way put back together.

There are moments when I hold Cooper and look into those blue eyes and wonder why on this earth people can be so cold and callous toward a child and sleep at night.

These are the moments when I am glad that this world is not my home.

These are the moments when I thank God He kept me through it all, that he gave me a husband who loves me through my emotional messes and never gives up on me.

Why here, Why now?

Why tell this? Who really cares after all these years? Normally I would say (and mean it) that I am doing it show others there is hope and freedom after abuse. Normally I would say that everything happens so you can help others through their problems. While all that is true and noble, that is not why I’m doing this today. I want to face these demons and let them know that they don’t control me anymore. Through prayer, faith and the strength of my family I am free and this is my final note to make it know, I AM FREE. The chain on this door will never ever hold me back again, it will never keep me from being free.

This is how the door will always look in my mind, and you can take that to the bank.

 

8 Months ~ What a busy month

 

Last month was a busy one ~ and mainly you are going to see our vacation photos because although it was only for a week, we packed as much as we could into it. This is as much a family blog today as an 8 month blog for Cooper. Cooper is doing new things every day. Sitting up better, rolling to where she wants to go, eating more food than I think is possible for her little body. She is still such a good girl unless she is tired, hungry or dirty.  For that, we are very thankful. With as many photos as I had, I didnt really have the time to blog on each photo so I will just give a bit of information about each one. This one needs no introduction though:

 

We went to California Oct 13th -20th and we were able to spend some much needed time together as a family. We left on Saturday afternoon and headed out west. Here are some pictures from before and on flight. By the time we got to our room that night, we were spent and no more photos were wanted and or needed. Cooper was an awesome traveler, it was just a long way and the rental car took forever and then we had over an hour to travel after we actually got our car to make it into where we stayed in Santa Ana, California.

 

Sunday morning we slept in a bit and got our luggage arranged a bit better and headed to  Huntington Beach to meet some old friends and some new ones. We Took family photos on the beach and then got in some more comfy clothes and hung out for a while there. It was a cool day so we kept Cooper pretty bundled up. We were able to spend some time with the West’s and with Regina and Morgan, all old friends from Tennessee we haven’t seen in years. We also met some new friends and Caitlin went Boogie Boarding with them.

Here are a sample of our family pics:

 

And here are some of Cooper’s first experience with the ocean. She loved looking at the waves and the seagulls were facinating to her. But, she hated having her toes in the sand or ocean. . . and she made that clear. LOL

 

After spending much of the day at Huntington Beach, we took the scenic route up Pacific Coastal Highway to Santa Monica Pier. We ate dinner at Bubba Gumps and then we took Cooper on the Ferris Wheel. She loved looking at all the lights but she was asleep way before we got to the car. The day had wore her out.

 

Monday we took the kids to Holly wood and honestly, it was disappointing for them and us. We thought it would be neat for them to see the walk of stars and all the touristy things but it was dirty and hot and street hawkers (not walkers) were everywhere. We did manage to get Cooper a cute sun hat though and we ate some awesome hamburgers at a little hamburger place there.

Tuesday morning was family day and we had the best time with all three kids. We started the day in San Diego. We ate lunch on the beach at Kono’s and headed over to Balboa Park. These pictures are of Balboa Park.

 

After Balboa Park we went to LaJolla Beach to let the big kids look for sealife in the tide pools. Here is my favorite picture of Cooper mesmerized by the sand and sea an surf coming in.

 

We left LaJolla and started the scenic route back to Santa Ana as the sun began to set. We stopped at a beach side restaurant and watched the sun set as we ate dinner and these pictures were made right after the sun set.

 

Wednesday morning we had to take Caitlin and Logan back to the airport and then we just chilled after we got back. Logan does such a good job with photographing Cooper in her own elements. He took these series in the car seat on the way to the airport on Wednesday.

We did a little shopping on Thursday and went to eat dinner with our friends, Shane and Dana. They live in the High Desert area and it has a beauty quite different from the beaches. There are mountains everywhere and it is so gorgeous.

Friday was our last ‘day’ so we decided to head to one more beach. We went to Balboa Island and took a ferry over to a small island with very cute shops and restuarants. Cooper had on her sun hat as it was windy but very hot. Here she is modeling it for me:

 

After that, we headed for our final sunset in California and what a pretty one it was, I am thankful for the family time we had there and the memories that we made. Here’s one last look:

 

We got home and discovered that while we were gone, it had gotten cold. We had to get a hat for Cooper and on the first blustery day, she was sporting it for some super cute pictures. These pictures show she is not always into having her photo taken:

 

Knowing how stressed  I was from all the running we did this month, my mom took mercy on me and came and stayed with us for a week. She did laundry and we went through all of Cooper’s clothes and packed up what is too small. We headed to Murfreesboro for lunch with Caitlin and to see her new apartment.

 

Finally, we enjoyed Cooper’s first Halloween at the Green Hills mall. Nichole, who graciously provided Cooper with this adorable costume, went along to see her enjoy it. She smiled at all the attention she got and we all ate her candy, not gonna lie about it.

 

October was crazy busy and November has not slowed us down any at all, so I am going to try and do better about taking notes through the month so I wont be behind on my blog at the turn of the month. I can’t wait to share with you pictures from Cooper’s first Thanksgiving and of special time spent with friends and family. Until next month. . . .

7 months

This month has flown by ~ it is sad that Cooper is now closer to being a year old then being a baby. The rest of this year is going to be filled with so much business with vacation in October and then the holidays in November and December so I can’t imagine how fast these next five months will fly by.

Here she is, pretty as she can be, getting her 7 month picture done

There are so many new things that Cooper experienced this month. She sat in a buggy at the grocery store and sits up pretty much unassisted. Cooper still has no interest whatsoever in tummy-time and will let you know it is not where she chooses to be.

This month Cooper learned to push her walker backwards and can reach with both hands for anything she wants.

Cooper now reaches for someone she wants and whines for them to take her.

We had Katie Lecher take Cooper’s six month pictures and here are a few sneak peeks she has sent to us already. We also had family pictures made that same day. Wearing sweaters on a hot day in front of the fire place was a challenge but it’ll look good on the Christmas card, right?

Cooper had a cat scan to make sure the bones in her brain were fusing correctly and the results came back that everything was fine. When she came out of sedation she was drunk for about five minutes and she would switch from laughing to crying in a matter of minutes. This is us right as she was put to sleep.

We went to Wendell Smith’s for lunch with Uncle Chris and Aunt Leigh and Cooper sat in the high chair for almost the whole meal ~ she ate mashed potatoes and gravy and really enjoyed it.

 

We also got to spend some time with Cooper’s friend Evie ~ remember the picture from when they were about three months old? Well here they are today, Cooper has finally caught up with her as far as size goes.

Cooper spent three nights away from home with Aunt Heather and the girls in Kentucky. She came back much spoiled and quite loved.

This past weekend Daddy married Lauren and Johnathan, two of our Eklipse kids. Here is Cooper all dressed up and later in her PJ’s. She danced with Uncle Gus and will all the Eklipse girls.

We are headed out to California for vacation in four days so we will have lots to talk about next month. See you then!