Dec 6, 2010

christmas gift from a perfect stranger

Today is Matt's birthday. I thought since his mom and girlfriend don't live near, I, as his older sister, would assume responsibility to try to make the day a little more special for him. I baked him a cake but needed icing to go on it, and knew he would love to add another Best Buy gift card to his DSLR camera fund. I decided to go to the Greenbrier area and kill 2 birds with one stone... grocery store and Best Buy right across the parking lot from each other. Here's the catch. Caleb was working at a job so that meant I was going to have to take all 3 kids with me to. Not a huge deal to some, but with Gioia in her current fit throwing stage it can get pretty ugly. Anyway,  I put on my SuperMom cape (aka, my nursing cover) and set out expecting the worst. (Okay, thats a lie, I didnt actually put on my nursing cover, but I did expect the worst).
By God's grace, we made it through Harris Teeter without a fit and without the normal running away. Went to Best Buy, got the gift card and got back out to the car without much of a fight either. They really did great besides the normal kid stuff. You know what I mean... staring at the candy and picking up every single bag of candy thinking maybe I will say yes to the peanut M&M's even though I already said no to the plain ones (if they were really smart they would have picked up the peanut butter ones. Hard to say no to those!) :) Not a difficult trip but with 3 kids there is a lot of juggling that goes on.

Anyway, I was just got the last one strapped in and climbed into my seat when I heard "Excuse me?!" There was a nice older lady who had come up to my car door. She was tastefully decked out in holiday cheer and looked rather cold. I thought she was going to hand me something I dropped along the way or tell me to enjoy these days because they go quickly. Instead she said "I remember these days. I used to have 3 little ones of my own and I can remember how hard it can be. I want to give you a little something." She then handed me a $20 bill. I said "are you sure!!??" "Yes, I'm sure. Please take it. I want you to have it." "Really?!" "Yes" she said " please get yourself a little treat." By this time we were both teary. I managed to squeek out a "Thank you" and then she smiled and walked away.

Talk about an unexpected blessing. I don't know if she believes in Jesus but either way He used her to encourage my soul today. I can't wait to do this for someone else.

Dec 3, 2010

all mushed together

That's kind of how I feel life has been these past few months. I don't remember the months changing to October let alone December. I mean, seriously, think about it... you cant tell what time of year it is if you go to Wal-mart, the Christmas trees have been up since before Halloween. You couldn't tell around here in VA because I saw green leaves still on trees on the way to church on Sunday.  If it weren't for the fact that the camera keeps track of what day the pictures were taken, I would still be marking them all about September 27th. Then today I walked outside and got a nice brisk reminder that it is indeed December. So, since i haven't posted since august, let me sum up...

He has been telling us lately that his legs hurt and has been seriously scarfing down any food put in front of him. That can only mean one thing... growth spurt. It is really becoming quite a little man... becoming more interested in helping Daddy fix things around the house, asking for big boy things for Christmas this year like a knife with a blade in it, and really developing in his thought processes. The most exciting thing is that the truths of Scripture really seem to be penetrating his heart. He seems to be very remorseful over his sin and also is seeing his need for Jesus. Nothing makes our hearts happier than to hear him talk about loving Jesus and telling Gioia about the Gospel. He believes Jesus died to pay for his sins that He is the only way to Heaven. He is beginning to realize that he cannot obey mommy and daddy and in turn please the Lord without Jesus. We pray this continues his entire life!!
My favorite prayer of Cole's: “Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for a nice day. Thank you for creating the world. Thank you for all you’ve done for us. We know we sin all the time and we all have problems. Uncle Matt has problems, Rachael has problems, Uncle Matt has problems, Momm- uh- Mrs Incredible has problems, Mr. Incredible has problems, Uncle Matt has problems. Thank you for all you’ve done for us. Thank you for creating the world. Heavenly Father, In Your name, Amen.”

What a sweet spunky girl we have on our hands! Though she is a constant battle, she is also a constant joy!  She is quite the little mother to both her pretend babies and her baby brother. She loves Cole very much, but also knows just what to do to make him upset. We are working every second of every day to be slow to anger. She is a fit thrower for sure, but is starting to understand she gets NOTHING she wants when she throws herself on the ground. You would think she would have learned her lesson when she dislocated her elbow throwing a fit a few months ago, but apparently, she did not. Thankfully, however, she doesnt hide anything from us. She is very upfront about how she feels about things, what she wants to do, where she wants to go and what she has done wrong. Its not uncommon for her to willingly come up to me and tell me she just disobeyed and hit _______.  I would take that characteristic in a girl any day! Hopefully it continues into her teenage years!! She is all or nothing and I love that. When she is happy, she is really happy, when she is mad, she is REALLY mad when she is excited she is really excited. I cant wait to watch her Christmas morning!! The other day I took her shopping and she put her arm around me and said "Mama, you're my best friend." MELT MY HEART!!! My favorite prayer of Gioia's:  “Jesus, thank you for happy. Mama’s happy, Daddy’s happy, Cole’s happy. Uncle Matt, thank you upside down. Amen.”

He is SIX MONTHS OLD! Talk about days running together?!? Where has my little newborn gone?! Well, there seriously is no baby sweeter than my Judah. He has the best little temperament and always has a smile for mama. He can roll both ways, say da-da, giggle, play with things, almost sit up on his own and he sure can scoot around the floor. He's not close to crawling at all, but that's just fine with me. We don't need to throw that into the mix yet!! He also has his first bottom tooth and its little neighbor on the way in. Not super exciting for me since he wont take a bottle. :) He LOVES his brother and sister. He seriously sits and watches them ALL DAY! He has tried cereal which he hates, and sweet potatoes which he might like, but at least tolerates.  I just love the way he lights up when I catch him staring at me... what a charmer.

So there's the CostonKid's fall in a nutshell. As for Caleb and I... we are still madly in love and extremely ready for seminary to be over! Caleb just registered for what should be his LAST semester in seminary! Come quickly, MAY!!!

Aug 8, 2010

July- part 1

And what a great July its been! VERY busy but so great. It all started with our last minute trip up to Philly for the 4th. We literally said good bye to my parents on Saturday morning, said to each other "so what are we going to do this weekend?" and half an hour later we were packing to go see our good friends Danny and Becky Adams. We hadn't seen them for over a year and decided that was way WAY too long. We had a great time with them. With great friends like they are, we don't have to run all over town to have a good time. All we need is a place to sit and the laughs start flowing! Sunday morning we enjoyed worshiping at their church then afterward, got a picture of our growing famlies. Are we seriously old enough to have all these kids?! It was yesterday we were running around Northland!

On Sunday night, we decided to go downtown to see the fireworks. There were TONS of people there. The Roots and the Goo Goo Dolls were playing which brought quite a crowd. So we were sitting there waiting, and waiting and waiting. 9pm... no fireworks... 10 pm... no fireworks... 11pm... we decide to pack up our 5 kids and leave. well wouldn't you know... as soon as we start walking away, they started.  I thought 'alright, being in the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed, these fireworks are going to be great!' Take my advice. NEVER go into downtown Philly for the 4th of July. Stinky fireworks and way too much traffic. If we go up next year, we will watch them on TV. :) But we were with our friends so the time was still really fun!

Then on Monday we crashed the Adam's family get together and Ian and Rachael's. We had a great time swimming, watching the kids play and fellowshiping.

Then about a week and a half later, Miriam, Caleb's sister, and her 4 kids came to visit for a few days. We went to the beach (of course!) where Marky and Maelyn looked like pros on the boogie boards. We went to the aquarium with Chick-fil-a afterward. We got to celebrate Cole's 4th birthday together with a morning spent crabbing, and a night of cake and ice cream. I think we started a new Coston birthday tradition. Each year, I think Caleb and I are going to make them a really fun, crazy, big deal kind of cake. This year, Cole's was hole 4 at the golf course, complete with a likeness of him, a golf cart, an alligator coming out of the lake and of course no golf hole would be complete without a sand rake for the bunkers. :) Not trying to toot my own horn, but it was awesome. :)

The day Miriam and kids left (Sunday) little did I know that night we were going to have more company stay with us for a few days...

Jul 12, 2010

so, who does he look like?

Its the question everyone has an opinion about. Who a baby looks like... mom, dad, brother, sister? You be the judge...

Cole Michael
Gioia Claire
Judah Caleb
I think he looks like his brother, but is going to have blue eyes like his sister. Whatever your opinion, you have to agree that they are just cute as can be. :)

Jun 28, 2010

one year ago today...

Its hard to believe that its been a year since I was standing at our church picnic wondering if my oldest son was going to live. Hard to believe its been a year since I was watching Caleb give him rescue breaths. A year since the worst day of my life.

We are so thankful our Cole Michael is alive. And not only alive, but living with no indications that he ever had a closed head injury. He is still smart as ever, and remembers more about as he calls it 'breaking my head' than I really wish he did! The only thing that was affected by the fall was his emotions. He has always been a quick crier, and we had been making great strides in that area, but after everything happened it was as if a year's time had been shaved off of his emotional development.   Honestly, he was an emotional wreck and, as the doctors reassured me, it was to be expected. I mean the kid almost died, spent over 48 hours in the PICU and another 48 on the regular floor in the hospital. Thats pretty traumatic stuff. Sometimes he would get so upset for no reason and at the silliest things and he would sob and sob and yell and yell and all I could do in those moments was hold him close and cry with him. As time wore on he got better and better at controlling his anger/emotions and though he is not completely done with the outbursts, I do feel like we are at least back to where he was before the fall.

I didnt deal with anything that happened until about 3-4 months afterwards. Don't get me wrong, for a long long time I recounted the events of that day in my head every day. I just couldnt get it out of my mind. But one night, it was just overwhelming. We were lying in bed, almost asleep and I started bawling. I mean seriously crying and crying. I had to hold him. I spent a long time in Cole's bed that night, praying, crying, thanking Jesus for letting me continue to be Cole's mama.

Like every mom, there are times when I start to long for different days. Days when I can go to the bathroom alone, or sit at dinner and not say the words 'take a bite, please' 800 times. And it never fails... its the days when I long to be kid free that I look over at my sweet Cole Michael, he smiles, and the Lord reminds me how fortunate I am to be a mommy. He reminds me to enjoy these sweet gifts He has given to Caleb and me because in an instant they could be gone.

Oh how we love our sweet children. The Lord has blessed us beyond measure. He indeed is gracious in all things!

Jun 24, 2010

3 weeks in pictures

Judah Caleb Coston

I cant tell you how many times I have sat down to write this the last 3 weeks. So glad I finally got a chance to finish it!

For those of you who care about the gory details of the birth story, this post is for you! Here we go...
So even though this was my third go around having a baby, I felt very much like a rookie. I had gestational diabetes with my other 2 kids but was fortunate enough not to have it with Judah. Standard practice for a pregnancy with diabetes is usually to induce, so both times I went into the hospital without contractions and left the hospital with a sweet baby in my arms. Honestly, it freaked me out a little bit when I found out I didnt have GDM with Judah because I knew that meant I could possibly go into labor naturally... and thats just what happened.

I had an appointment the Friday of Memorial Day weekend and she told me I was at a 3 and if I wanted to make it through the weekend without going into labor, to let everyone else do everything for me. (yeah right, like that was going to happen) Anyway, after the appointment I started contracting more that before and that continued through the weekend. We finished Mattyard Hideaway (!) went to the beach, relaxed, decided on a name, and tried to get a few things done with our long weekend. Well, Monday night around 8pm the contractions changed from Braxton Hicks to the real deal. That night they got down to 6 minutes apart, but never reached the coveted 3-5 minutes apart needed to go into the hospital. I couldn't sleep past about 5:30 am so I got up and contemplated calling the Dr. but instead I just called my mom. :) She was coming to our house that day and I knew she would be up. Well, within the next half an hour, my contractions went to 10 minutes apart and stayed that way the rest of the day. Talk about annoying, disappointing, frustrating etc! By 2 pm, after contracting for 18 hours, I called the Dr. and they fit me in for an appointment. She told me I was at a 4 and that she thought I would go into labor tonight. She was right! By 7 pm I was crawling up the walls, but my contractions were still not at 3-5 minutes apart! I just couldn't take it anymore so I called the hospital and they gave me the green light to come in. We packed up the kids and mom drove me to the hospital. Caleb left work and met us there just as we were arriving. After a wonderful epidural, a few hours of rest, a popsicle, and 3 count them 3 pushes, Judah Caleb Coston was born into the world! He came out and the Dr. said "its a boy! wow, a big boy!" He didnt look that big to me, but apparently he was! 8lbs 1oz 19 3/4 inches long and as beautiful as they come. The kids love their little brother (sometimes a little too much) :) and seem to be welcoming him into our lives. The big battle is to get them to get along with each other! :)

Its hard to believe Judah is 3 weeks old. I just love this kid! I think he might be getting a little spoiled, but I have a hard time just letting him sit on the couch all by himself! He is sleeping well, and is falling into a nice little schedule. Im just praying my milk supply can keep up with his appetite.

I leave you with the first family of 5 picture... we are so blessed...

May 14, 2010

mattyard hideaway: phase 2

Well, the boys have been working all non-Lifenet-working hours on Mattyard Hideaway. Here's the progress they have made this week.


 I know what you're thinking... and yes it is small. However the angle of the pictures make it look a lot smaller than it really is. I think he will have a nice little set up when its all done! Today they got 3 sides sided and some other little things done. This weekend and coming week are the push for the end. Tomorrow's plan is as Caleb says "to get stuff done". I think this means running electrical, finishing the outside completely and getting the insulation up. Then the rest of the week will be drywall, mudding, and flooring.

The only delay we have run into so far has been the windows. On one of Uncle Matt's many trips to Home Depot, he accidentally got side sliders which was realized after they were all put in and wouldn't stay open. This morning they took them out and took them back to Home Depot, discovering that the replacement windows were actually 50% off today! They only had to spend half as much as they took back! Then when they came home and told me about the deal going on, it occurred to us that maybe we should get all the replacement windows for our house today. So we ran back out and thank the Lord they had every size we needed. It seriously saved us probably $700-$1000! So glad Matt got the wrong windows the first time around!

I know they are going to get tons done this weekend. Can't wait to post the pics next week of the completed Mattyard Hideaway!

May 6, 2010

mattyard hideaway: phase 1 complete.

Last weekend and this week we have been working on round 1 of construction for Mattyard Hideaway. The goal was fence in, shed out before this weekend. So far, we are still on schedule.

Last Saturday the guys built this cedar fence in just one afternoon/evening! It helps they have built one or two before. :)

Through the week we were trying to get everything from this old shed to storage, tear it down and get it recycled. Success.

And this dirty faced little cutie was always right in the middle of things...with a popsicle in hand of course. :)

I kept out the baby necessities just in case I happen to have this baby earlier than expected. (one can dream, right?!) Now we just have to figure out what we are going to do with all the supplies and junk that the shed was hiding! :)

This weekend: Round 2: begin construction of shed. Caleb and Matt will be working from sunrise to sunset. I will be getting water, making lunch and then joining the ladies from our church for a Mothers Day tea at the Painted Lady during nap time. :)

Apr 22, 2010

April 23 2010, 11:59 pm

I am counting down the minutes... the minutes to the end of the seminary semester deadline. No matter how diligent Caleb is during the semester, it always comes down to a nightmare week or two before the semester is over. He even took 3 days of precious vacation time to try to get all of it finished, which I have to admit, I was NOT happy about! As many of you current and former seminary wives can attest to, this means your seminarian is literally gone all waking hours of the day and honestly some of the sleeping hours too! Consequently, things at home suffer and let me tell you, suffer this week they have!! I have been trying really hard to stay on top of the housework for the last few months (which is difficult when literally the minute you put something away it intrigues your child and they want to play with it again). My grade this week is a big fat F-! But in a mere 30 hours or so, we will have Caleb all to ourselves... for a few weeks until summer class starts. :) Since Im pretty sure the only thing Caleb is going to want to do for at least a little while on Saturday is sit on the couch and play with the kids, I am hoping to get LOTS done. After all, I only have about 6 weeks till this baby rocks our world!! Ive got a ton to do!

The big news of the week is that Uncle Matt's back at the Costons! He got a job at LifeNet Health, where Caleb works (and many of our friends too for that matter) here in Virginia Beach. So he is here indefinitely! The next few weeks before summer school will be filled with building him what we affectionately call "Matt-yard Hideaway". (its funny if you know that the name of our fence/deck business is called Backyard Hideaway) :) We live in a little 2 bedroom so there is literally no room for poor old Uncle Matt. So, we are building him a glorified shed in the back yard. :) Some people we tell feel bad for him, but not us. By the time they are done with that thing, he might have it better than we do! :) I might actually escape to Matt-yard Hideaway with a glass of lemonade myself. :) Goal for this weekend... take the contents of the shed to storage, tear it down and take it to the recycling place and if we get ambitious, clean up the garage. Lofty, but possible. Progress pics to follow...

Apr 16, 2010

for real this time...

Surprise, surprise... it's been forever since I blogged. Honestly I decided to not blog for a while to really decide why I was blogging and why I was saying what I was saying. Was I saying truthful things? Was I being completely real and transparent as not to give the impression that I am better at something than I really am? Where I found danger was this daily/weekly/monthly journal could easily be turned into a "brag" instead of a blog. I didn't want this or facebook statuses, or what takes up my conversations to be how my kids are the smartest, funniest, best behaved, worst behaved, or cutest... or how my life was the busiest, hardest or easiest... or to even give impressions that I have it all together spiritually, mentally, physically, parentally, motherly, wifely, homemakerly etc. Im super competitive and found myself trying to compete with others blogs or craftily word my facebook status to say that I was somehow "more ______" than the next person, and quite truthfully, pride myself in that fact. (Disclaimer: I don't have anyone in mind as I write this!)

However, there have been so many things that have happened in the last year that I wish I had recorded my thoughts on. Not to long ago, I read my facebook note about Cole's fall, and also read through some of these old blog posts. So many things I had forgotten about! I cringe when I think about my kids graduation and weddings when they will be looking through old pics for their slide shows and will find that I was just too LAZY to record their lives! Kids change so fast and I am constantly being reminded by others of things like Cole's first sentence "Jesus, thank you for jets." Thought I could remember all this stuff. Its just happening.

Also, as stated in a post about a year ago, I need to remember the works the Lord has done in our lives. Of course the big ones from the year stand out, such as the Lord allowing us to keep raising Cole, burdening a brother and sister in Christ to give us a car and allowing us to get pregnant again, but what about the day to day? For example today when allowed us to spot one of our neighbors who recycles trash and had a nice little bike on his trailer for our boy who is outgrowing his tricycle and been asking for a new bike? How many things like this have I forgotten about? tons, Im sure.

So, here's to staring anew. Maybe I should change the name of my blog to "costons, unplugged" or "costons keepin it real". Thats the mission: to consistently record our lives in a Christ-exalting, truthful, unprideful way. Im steppin up to the plate, hoping I don't strike out. :)