Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Give Thanks Always

Very high on the list of things that I want my children to learn is gratitude. I want you to understand that everything you have and will have is a blessing. I try to lead by example. I pray that I do what's right most of the time and that you'll want to as well. We should truly value what we have. I've been blessed beyond anything that I could ever deserve and I'm thankful.

I'm thankful for salvation. I don't deserve what I've been given. The gift of eternal life. We all have that choice. He waits for us to make the decision. If we ask and profess, we get the greatest gift of all. I'm thankful He died for me. I want to make Him proud. I hope someday my children will be saved. It would mean the world to me. I would be so.... thankful.

I'm thankful for my country and those that fight for it. So many sacrifices have been made by brave men and women, who don't know me, so my family can live free. They give up the opportunity to spend time with their family so we can live without the fear that so many around the world live with. If my children ever decide to serve, I will support them. I would worry daily but can imagine the pride parents of military personnel feel. To the men and women of our armed forces, I'm thankful for you. I love you.

I'm thankful for my state and my home in East Tennessee. I'm surrounded by God's wonderful work. If you've ever hiked in the mountains, chatted with an "old timer", or watched the Vols play in the Fall, you understand this blessing. You will get to experience this, Audrey and Bailey. Never take it for granted. I'm thankful for it. I personally wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

I'm thankful for my extended family. I'm blessed with so many wonderful uncles and aunts. Cousins and in-laws. They all help make me who I am. I'm proud of my heritage and my people. We have a strong foundation and I'm glad I get to bring my children into the world to carry on my name. My blood. I'm thankful of the place God has placed me.

I'm thankful for my brother and sisters. Through our battles and struggles, we have become so close. An unbreakable bond that nothing can destroy. We have had and continue to have moments of disagreements but our relationships are firmly planted in love. I would die for them. One day girls, you will experience that. I can only imagine the bond between twins. Nurture it. The bond with your brothers should be equally strong. I'm thankful for the love. A special bond.

I'm thankful for my mom and dad and step-dad. Without them, I'm not much of a man at all. My dad instilled in me that hard work, and nothing else, will get you where you want to be. My mom taught me that love is real and to love a child is the best way to be a great parent and mentor. My step-dad made me street smart. To think outside the box and solve problems. It's where I get my "can do" attitude. I'm thankful for them. They're the best.

I'm thankful for my kids. Yes you, Bailey, Audrey... and Jason... and Isaiah. You guys saved my life. If I wasn't a daddy, where would I be? I don't want to know. Some people never get to hug their child. Or say their prayers with them. Or pass a football with them. Or even play dolls with them.. sigh. (Kidding... Can't wait!) I'm thankful for the opportunity to raise you and teach you how to be good human beings. How to love others and appreciate everything that's given to you. Work hard for it. You'll be even more thankful for it. You kids make me a better me. I'm so glad we get to add 2 more babies to our family. It's a true blessing and a great responsibility. I love you.

I'm thankful for my wife. She's everything that I'll ever need. She builds me up. I wouldn't be able to be the daddy that I am without Mommy. You should be thankful for her too. You guys are so lucky to have a mommy that loves you as much as she does. She makes sacrifices for me and you guys all the time. She's a rock and the foundation to our family. I will love and protect her until the last breath escapes my body. She means that much to me. I'm so thankful for her. I'm so blessed.

I hope I've given you a little insight into what matters to me. God, Family, Home, Children, and my beautiful Wife. One day, I hope my kids will be able to tell my grandkids all the many blessings that God has given them. Love everybody, be yourself, and always give thanks. As we sit down to stuff our face on Thanksgiving Day, I know what will be on my mind. Gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

30 Weeks And Kicking

1:15 appointment for a check-up at the office we usually don't go to. Doctors these days usually have multiple offices and depending on the day of the appointment determines where you go. So.. here we are. We're at the point of the pregnancy where we'll have appointments every 2 weeks. That means we're getting close to the time that I get to see my little princesses. I'm sitting in the lobby of the doctor's office waiting on Mommy to arrive. Have you noticed this trend yet? Mommy is always late. That's ok though. She's worth waiting for. If Audrey and Bailey are like Karyn, they won't be delivered until June.

My wife finally arrived and we headed up to the office. This waiting room is much smaller than the other office. Less people too. It looks like an older crowd too. Not too many expecting mothers. Unless they're expecting grandmothers. Hope not. Eww. Karyn picks up the first magazine she finds. It's called "AKA Mom". I need to buy her a subscription to "AKA Always Late" but I digress. While she reads, I type. It's what we do. I feel like I should be mayor of the OBGYN waiting room by now. We sit here, hearing name after name being called, waiting to hear the magic words; "Karyn Smith". We finally do.

They call us back, weigh my bride, give her a cup for the pee sample, and sit me in a room. The room is tiny and the stirrups take up a lot of space. Hopefully we won't need the stirrups today because where I'm sitting would be awkward. No 3-D glasses would be needed if you know what I mean. They told us that she's gained about 15 lbs since the 1st visit. They checked her blood pressure and it was good. Glad they didn't check mine. I'm a little on edge today from lack of sleep.

She joins me in the room and takes her usual spot on the exam table. The doctor comes in shortly after. We listen to their heartbeats. They sound great! Karyn had mentioned to me that Bailey switched positions. The doctor confirmed it by touch. We'll see for ourselves at the next ultrasound. Everything is going as expected. The doctor asked Karyn if she's been keeping track of contractions. She said no. He wants her to. She won't. That's the only way to tell if she's going into early labor and we want the babies to stay put as long as possible. The doctor said we're at a critical time. Some twins come at 30 weeks. Every 2 weeks that she makes it after this point is a blessing. Our next appointment is December 7th. We'll have an ultrasound and get to see Daddy's princesses.

To my little angels: I talk to you every night and I already give you lots of kisses. I've been saying your bedtime prayers with you. I can't wait to hold and kiss you. Stay in Mommy's belly as long as you can so you'll grow good and strong. Besides, your brothers are waiting on you and they can be quite rowdy. Be easy with Mommy. You guys have been kicking her hard. I know this because when she has her belly against me, I can feel the kicks too! It's really cool, actually. I love you more than I could ever say. Hugs and kisses from Daddy. Xoxoxo.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Audrey and Bailey – Your Daddy asked me to write something to you for his blog which is totally dedicated to the both of you. You won’t understand anything about the blog for quite a while, however; as you grow into the beautiful girls that you will become, you will understand more and more about the special gift that your Daddy has given you!

I am your Grammy Faulk! I live in Massachusetts with your Grampy which is way too far from you! I am your Mommy’s Mommy (yes she does have a Mommy too)!

Even though Grampy and I haven’t met you yet, we love you both so much and are so excited to meet you in just a couple months! As I think about you every day, I envision what you both will look like but actually have absolutely no idea (only God knows that right now). I do know that you are very beautiful, cute, and precious. Your Daddy calls you his little princesses and his angels! I used to call you Cutie and Patootie but now that you have names, I love to call you by your given names!

Grampy and I pray for you every day! We pray for so many things for you. We pray that God will keep you both safe and healthy (before and after you are born), that you will be good to Mommy since there are two of you to feed and take care of, that you will love your family, and we are already praying for both your mates (shhhh don’t tell Daddy)! Most importantly we are praying that one day you will both receive Jesus as your Savior and love Him with all your hearts! That is the most important decision that you will ever make in your lives! We love Jesus so much and we want you to love Him just as much! And guess what – Jesus loves you even more than Mommy, Daddy, Grampy, Grammy, Nana, Pappy, and Papaw all put together! That sure is a whole lot of love!

When your Mommy was a little girl, she was so cute! She had the most beautiful long blonde hair that was always fixed up so pretty! She was usually very shy (until she really got to know someone – then look out)! She was extremely smart and very competitive! She was the tallest in our family. Since your Daddy is tall, I’m pretty sure that both of you will be tall also, just like your brothers! The funniest thing I can remember about your Mommy was that when she was about 3 or 4 years old, she loved apples but when she ate them, she wouldn’t eat and swallow the peels. She just chewed them up and kept them stored in her cheeks for hours just like a squirrel does with nuts! I guess she didn’t like the peels even though they were very good for her! Your Mommy grew up to be a very beautiful lady and I know that one day you will both be just like her!

Grampy and I are going to come visit you soon after you are born. We very excited to hold you, snuggle with you, feed you, sing and talk to you, and help take care of you! Your Mommy will be hurting for a while after you are born so after your Daddy goes back to work, I will be there to help Mommy! I am so excited and can’t wait! We need to let Daddy have his time with you first because once we get there, you will be all ours!!!!

Well little angels, I better stop writing now or Daddy might run out of room on the page. I love you both so much and will see you both in a couple months!


Monday, November 7, 2011

A note from Daddy

Hey girls! Thought I would write you a little note and tell you what's going on at this point in your development. I get a newsletter email thingy that tells me how much you probably weigh and what's happening with your tiny bodies. How you're getting more fat (it's a good thing). How you're about 2 lbs (like a cauliflower). You are 2lbs 4oz. You sleep and wake. Open and close your eyes. Suck on your fingers. And I bet you hear Daddy talk to you. I sing Rocky Top to you. I tell you both how much you and Mommy mean to me.

Mommy is doing a great job. She's taking care of you and she rarely fusses. I know that what she's going through isn't easy. She's very good to our family and loves you very much. One day you will look back and realize how special Mommy is. I pray that you appreciate her. We will try our hardest to help you become the type of lady that your mother is. Can you tell that I love her? One day, someone will feel about you the way I feel about Mommy. When you're 30 and start dating.

You girls still have some more baking to do before you arrive but I can't wait to hold my little ladies. I will kiss your little heads covered in soft hair. Comfort you when you cry. Wipe your tears.. and your butts. I will strap you in your car seats and drive slow enough to annoy a 90 year lady. I will squirt formula on my wrist 5000 times after warming your bottles to ensure it's the perfect temp. I will be there for you and I can't wait.

We have a great support system around us that lets us be us. We couldn't do it without our moms, especially. The wisdom and diapers. The advice and tiny pink wardrobes. The knitted blankets filled with all kinds of love. The love you'll get when Daddy and Mommy go back to work. Nana and Grammy love you girls (and your brothers and even your parents). I've asked them to write a little something for you two angels. Both have agreed and there is nothing better in this world than advice from women like them. Cherish it and them. Not many things that I'll teach you is as important as this.

OK.. time for me and Mommy to wind down the day. Time for you girls to listen for Daddy's voice. You'll probably just hear mumbling so I'll give you a hint of what it'll say, "Audrey.. Bailey.., Daddy loves you."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Crash Test Babies

8:30 appointment at the baby doctor. 27 weeks. It's going by so fast. It seems like just yesterday that we found out we're expecting. I was in my truck typing the above words when I got a call from my wife. She had a minor fender bender. It's a rainy day and anything can happen on Alcoa Hwy. A 20 year old girl slammed on her brakes in front of her and Karyn ran into her. All parties involved are fine but of course I freaked out a little. Who wouldn't? I was worried about her and the babies first. All seems fine. Then I'm wondering how we're going to be able to afford insurance for THREE women drivers one day. Scary thought.

Karyn arrived and we went on with the appointment. After all, we get to see the twins today! We've been waiting for another ultrasound for a while. I want to dote on the twins. All women in the waiting room except for me. Thats a lot of hormones, and frankly, I'm scared. What if one of them starts crying? I'm praying the nurse calls us back soon. Karyn left me and went to the restroom (of course) and now I'm all alone in the corner typing away.

Karyn came back and rescued me. The nurse called her name and back we went. My poor wife was crying over the wreck and me trying to comfort her just made it worse. The nurse that weighed her is expecting as well. She asked if she's ok. Karyn told her she was. They sat us in a waiting area and brought my bride a bottle of ORANGE drink for the glucose test. She had to chug it down within 5 minutes. She had it down in 1. Now we wait for an hour before being able to complete the test. I have her laughing at this point. It's a gift. We're waiting in a little room watching the "Today Show". Matt Lauer is talking about traveling the world. He better have car insurance.

Now I'm starting to be all emotional like my expecting wife. Seeing her cry makes me want to cry. She's reading a parenting magazine and I'm talking to you, dear reader. They finally called us back to a room for the ultrasound. The babies look great! Heartbeats are great. Audrey was playing with her foot when she wasn't kicking Bailey in the head. They can't measure their length because they're all balled up. They weigh 2 pounds and 4 ounces at this point. They are exactly the same size. That's incredible to me. The nurse doing the glucose test came in while we were watching the babies and took some blood from Karyn's finger. The results of the test were great! Everything is going well! Thank You God!

They gave us a paper to measure movements, a registration form for the hospital, and a list of pediatricians. The moment is approaching. We are so excited and blessed. Our little angels are growing right on pace. This is the time when we have to be ready to go just in case. Our next appointment is in 2 weeks. We'll have more ultrasounds and we're considering doing the 3-D. It would be an extra appointment and we're going to be here plenty. Keep sending those prayers up. They're working. Daddy's little angels (Mommy's little crash test babies) are doing well.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Doting on my little angels

We took a trip to my grandparents house this weekend, as a family. We celebrated my grandfather's 95th birthday. My dad cooked a Thanksgiving style meal since everyone probably won't be able to get together at that time. My grandma is pulling through her latest health problems (Praise God!) but she's still not 100%. Grandpa is doing as good as can be expected. He's sticking around for Grandma. I couldn't be prouder of them. They are what we all should be. The world would be a better place. We had a great time. The boys behaved, which was nice. Karyn was a champ. She took it easy and relaxed. I could see Grandma doting on her. I told my (smart and beautiful) wife that, and she asked what "doting" meant. That cracked me up. I asked my brother "Uncle Brian" to back me up that it's truly a word. He sided with my wife. I had to prove it. I need people to understand the word so they have a way to describe me once the twins get here. I'm "dotin", as we say in the South, already.

I said something the other day and it really got me thinking. I said, "If you've ever listened to your child count to 100, that's 1 minute 40 seconds (or 5 minutes) that you did right with your life." That made me stop and think about how I don't regret 1 single second that I've spent with my children. When I'm with them, I know what I'm doing is real. I'm teaching them how to be. How to grow. Molding them. We all screw up as parents in some fashion. There's no instruction manual. You do the best you can, pray, and have faith that what you did was just. I love my children more than I could ever explain to anyone that cares to listen. A father's love. If you've ever held your child against your chest, "fixed a boo-boo", or coached your kids team, you know what I'm saying. I'm so proud to be called "Daddy".

We went trick or treating on Halloween. Isaiah was a skeleton. No, really. We bought him a costume. Although he probably didn't need one. He is so skinny. Jay went as Super Mario. He was hilarious with his big mustache. I took the boys door to door while Karyn followed in the "Swagger Wagon". We walked up to one house where a little old lady stood half way out of her screen door and talked to a couple kids already standing there. I heard her say to the kids, "I have a bag of candy in here but I don't know where it is. I will give you DOUBLE the amount if you come in and help me find it." Um.. stranger danger, anyone? The two kids went in and my wonderful sons sat down in the chairs on her front porch with another loud mouth kid. I asked what they were doing. They said "waiting". A couple other kids started walking toward the porch where the boys were sitting and the loud mouth kid yelled, "YOU DON'T WANT TO COME HERE, YOU HAVE TO WAIT!" The other parents and I cracked up. The little old lady popped back out the door with the two kids but.. no candy (I told the boys it was probably raisins, anyway). I won't mention the face-plant Isaiah did at the next house when he jumped off the porch into the grass. That's between him and me. He was ok though. He got up and made sure he didn't drop any candy. Holidays are always special.

Karyn is doing a great job. She's holding up as well as can be expected carrying TWO babies. She told me today, "Women who carry 3 or more babies are my new heroes!" Two is very impressive too, honey! Her back hurts her. It gets worse as the day goes on, of course. I read something today, though, that said that laying down a lot isn't real good for her body either. I don't know how women do it. Better you guys than me. She's growing a lot. Unfortunately, so am I. I bet I've gained 10 lbs since she's been pregnant. I eat when she eats. She eats ALL THE TIME. It's good for her and my growing girls. We go back to the doctor this coming Friday and I can't wait to see Audrey and Bailey via the ultrasound. I may try to reach through the screen and start dotin' on Daddy's little girls.