Fingers Crossed

The plan was for Mama and baby Simon to be home some time this morning -- but because Mr. Simon is now dealing with jaundice issues, it's unclear when he will actually take up residence in the Cottam household.

They will be doing another blood draw at 5 (in 1 hour!) -- and if the numbers line up, Dad, Mama and baby could be home by the time Grandma, Grandpa, Maya and Mason return from the ward Trunk or Treat.

Keep everything [fingers, toes, eyes, whatever!] crossed. We have 2 sweet kiddoes who are in love with their new baby brother and would really like to have him home with them tonight.

Not to mention Mama - - she is done with the hospital!



Natalie called early this morning from the hospital with the news that the baby is doing well. The pneumothorax seems to be doing what some of them do -- which is responding to the oxygen the baby has been given, and resolving itself. What a relief!

So this morning, I dropped Miss Maya at preschool for her Halloween party, and Mason and I went over to really meet baby Simon for the first time. Mason was very taken with him -- couldn't get over his tiny hands and feet, enjoyed holding him, kissing his soft little head, and generally marveling over what a sweetheart his new baby brother is.

I had my chance to hold him as you can see [shiny forehead, yesterday's clothes and all] -- and he is beautiful. He's a calm, sweet baby so far and once he learns to nurse a little better, he will be perfect, I'm sure. They will keep he and his Mama in the hospital till tomorrow as they are still keeping a close eye on him but at this point, I know your prayers have been heard and answered.

Thank you!


Baby Simon is Here -- Prayers Needed!

Just a quick note -- baby Simon arrived sometime around 6 p.m tonight. Natalie was induced this morning, but was in a triage room for some time due to emergency C-Sections at the hospital. When they got her into her own room [finally!] sometime around noon or a little after, they broke her water and between that and the pitocin, the baby came fairly quickly after that. She said the pushing seemed to go on forever, but ended up with no tearing or stitches and feels really quite good.

We got to take Maya and Mason to the hospital to see the baby -- he weighed 8 lb. 11 oz., and was 21 1/4 inches long and is completely adorable. He looks a lot like Mason and Maya did as babies, I think.

We did not get to hold him or even see him except through the nursery window as he has had trouble breathing. Natalie just called me from the hospital to tell me that he has a pneumothorax -- they are treating it with oxygen and are watching him carefully. If it improves [he's already had several x-rays and will have more] then they will be able to have him with them and all should be well. If not, they will move him over to the Dell Children's Hospital [in north Austin].

We are all hoping and praying that this is just a little glitch and that he will be well and happy very quickly - -but we could use all the extra prayers we can get for this precious little boy.

Natalie sends her love to all -- and we will keep you posted as we know more.


Hope + Faith + Work = Primary Success

"Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier." ~Author Unknown

Our Primary Children's Sacrament Meeting presentation is coming up and we had our first practice yesterday in the chapel. Because we are the middle ward in the building schedule, we don't get much time in the chapel before others need to get in there, so we have scheduled not the usual 2 weeks of practice, but 3. Yesterday we got the seating assignments made [Kristi is a rockstar and had it all mapped out - perfectly!] and ran through a few of the songs in the chapel, giving the children an idea of what it will take to really fill the room with their voices.

Next week, we'll get them seated [quickly, I hope] and then run through the program, letting each child take their turn at the pulpit, giving them a feel for what that is like. Then, the final week we'll just go straight through the program, time it, and be ready for the actual presentation.

I was pretty doubtful before we got started yesterday but the children followed directions beautifully, sat quietly, sang like angels [even in the chapel -- usually it takes a few weeks to get them adjusted to singing in a room that size], and even the Sunbeams did pretty darn well.

So I'm going to keep on hoping, praying and working -- and it will be better and better every week! Oh, how I love our Primary kiddoes!



That's me today.


Senior Moments?

Today my new visiting teachers came, and it was great fun to get to know them a little bit. One of them is someone I've always wanted the chance to know better, and the other is a sweet new lady in our ward who is now a Primary teacher [yay for Primary!]. We visited and chatted and then I did something that I hate doing -- got off on a story that really did have a connection to the topic at hand -- then couldn't remember why I had done it.

Sigh. I hate that. Eventually I did remember -- but the above spoke to me today. Loud and clear.

At least if you're in the bathroom, the choices are easy.


How to Live

"People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It never was between you and them anyway."
~Mother Teresa

How I love reading the wise words of Mother Teresa. The last line says it all: in the end, it's between us personally and our Heavenly Father. Our job is to do good, love others, and be happy and in the end, He will judge. Life is between us and Him, no one else.

Knowing that, then, my responsibility is to do what I think He would do if He were here. That knowledge makes life's choices simple and clear.


Roses in October

"God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December." ~J. M. Barrie

A few months ago, we [OK, Mark] dug up our front flower bed and redid it completely. When we moved in, there were bushes, but they had become completely over-grown. I understand what was done, I think. When the former owners planted, it would have been impossible to foresee those tiny bushes taking over that flower bed. Which is exactly what happened. We had a jungle in our front yard.

There was one rose bush there to begin with and it's the only one that is original. It's a crazy one -- Mark prunes it way back periodically and before you know it, there are a zillion more beautiful pink roses again and branches everywhere. So we figured it was a no-brainer to fill that box with rose bushes. And that's what we did.

It's not December yet, but I know there will be roses in December because I've seen them here in the past. But this is what we have in mid-October. I smile every time I walk past.

Beautiful, no?


Catching Souls

“Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.”~Mother Teresa

We have had a 2 week hiatus from 'regular' church -- first we had General Conference and then Stake Conference. That's given us 2 weeks off from the routine of weekly Primary, with the accompanying Sharing Times, talks, scriptures, etc. -- all the stuff that goes into doing Primary every Sunday. Someone asked me after our last week of 'regular' church if I was ready for my vacation.

I really wasn't -- I love Primary: being with the kids and seeing their spiritual lights that shine so brightly. I miss it when I don't get to be with them, hear them sing, give their talks and feel the spirit with them. My gospel fire is brighter because of theirs.
I also know how hard it is to step back into the routine -- it's much easier for me to just keep going than it is to stop and then start up again.

So as we met as a presidency last night, we were all a bit tired, I think, and with the Trunk or Treat and our Sacrament Meeting Presentation staring us in the faces, there's a lot to be done right now. I think we all felt it last night -- and honestly, for me it would have been easier without this 2 week 'vacation' that we're coming off of.

I loved the above quote by Mother Teresa [who else? She's the one who knows all about loving, isn't she?] -- that's what I'm fixing my sights on this week. I'm going to go into Primary on Sunday feeling joy: joy that I'm back with the children, joy in our wonderful teachers, joy that I get to share the gospel with all of them, joy that we have both fun and important Primary events coming up. Mostly just joy in their presence.

With that joy, we can do just as Mother Teresa has said -- we can catch their souls. It doesn't get better than that.

And now I'm not feeling so tired anymore.


I Can Skip!

As a brand new owner/operator of a DVR, this one tickled my funny bone today. I am proud [and happy] to say that not only can I skip with my feet, I can skip with my remote too.

Progress!! AT&T U-Verse is awesome.



We had Stake conference yesterday, where our former Stake presidency was released and a new one sustained. We listened to the humble, overwhelmed comments of a new Stake president and his counselors and the grateful comments of the stake presidency that had been released after nearly 10 years of service.

I loved hearing all that was said, but what struck me most was what our outgoing Stake President said: how he had been unable to sleep and was up at 3 a.m. thinking. He said that he realized he needed to re-commit himself to do and to be better and made that commitement as he spent the middle-of-the-night time pondering and praying.

Bear in mind that this is a good, good man and one who probably has very little to regret or repent of in his life. But he felt he needed to re-commit and do better-- which, as I apply that to myself, means that I have much more to do.

But he inspired me. He really did. I too want to do and be better. And I too am committing [again] to try harder and improve myself.

At least with me, there's lots to do and lots to choose from! Maybe that will make it easier!


Happy Birthday to Mark!

"Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be silly at the right moment." ~Horace

Today is Mark's birthday -- and as I think about him, I realize one of his best qualities [and he has a lot of them!] is that he is able, at a moment's notice, to be silly and to find the silliness in just about anything. We joked yesterday about how we look at everything in life in an opposite way -- we like different things [and we have strong feelings about them], we have very different tastes in just about everything and we are amazed after all these years that we are still together. Really, the only things that we both like are each other and our family. But that's the gift, right?

I met Mark when we were both really young and dumb, we survived lots of years living at poverty level [at least that's how it felt], we have moved together all over the country and back, raised a lovely family together and now are enjoying very silly moments with the most beautiful 4 [nearly 5 now!] grandchildren you can imagine. Every one of those precious little ones adores their Grandpa and wants to spend time with him.

He's wonderful. He's funny, he's spiritual, he's the hardest worker I know, he's pretty dang cute, and he's a wonderful head of our family.

Happy birthday to my sweetie!


Picture Tag

I've been tagged! [I think what really happened is I've been ganged up on -- Sarah, Rachel and Renae all called me out.] So here's my 4th picture in the 4th folder of my pictures file.

And look who it is: Baby Masey, the dinosaur! I have to say that I thought the chances of ending up with a good picture were pretty slim but I got lucky with this one. Clearly, time has marched on: this little boy is now a tall, funny 2 1/2 year old instead of the baby you see here.

How can this be Mason?? Mason is the boy who loves Cars, likes to pretend he is a doggie [or a baby!], and loves to tease his Grandma. "Masey, are you going to kiss me or not?" "I not!" Which is my cue to grab him, tickle him, and cover him with kisses while he roars with laughter.

What a fun trip down memory lane! Thanks, Rachel, Sarah and Renae!

Tag? Anyone who wants to try it!

Making Me Smile Today

I'm slightly cranky -- Time Warner Cable [which we have, for one more day] has not picked up the local NBC station - they've had some issues and haven't been able to resolve them. Which means, to those who don't get it, that I can't watch 'Jeopardy' or 'The Biggest Loser'. Sigh. This feels unheard of -- not to be able to watch the local NBC station. Just plain weird.

But tomorrow? We become subscribers to the new ATT Uverse which will include their high-speed internet, TV [more channels -- not that I need any more, but I do need NBC!], and digital phone as well. We are moving into the new milennium.

Yay for us. And yay for AT & T -- they carry the NBC station. Now is that so hard?


What I Learned

Oh, how I loved General Conference. My favorite? [could I really pick just one?] Well, I think it would have to be Pres. Monson's Sunday morning address when he talked about loving people and letting them know it. As I listened to his words, I realized that there are way too many occasions when I do appreciate something or someone, I do have those loving feelings and thoughts in my mind and heart, but never articulate them. I am going to do better because I know from experience how much it means to have someone let you know the feelings of their heart.

Mother Teresa said it this way: "Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor... let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting." She really knew how to get to the heart of things, didn't she?

Now I am impatient for the church to get the talks online so that I can re-read and re-think about many of them.

Combine a wonderful General Conference with some family time, a good soccer game, and a sweet husband who remembered family tradition and brought home not only donuts but ice cream as well after the General Priesthood meeting -- and it doesn't get much better than that.


General Conference

The above made me smile -- I know that has to be how Heavenly Father feels about me sometimes -- He just wants to box my ears and make me listen. And this weekend is my big chance to do just that.

I'm excited that we get to experience General Conference again. It's a unique feeling, knowing that so many people who share my beliefs and values will be gathering, literally all over the world, to hear the words of our living prophet.

I'm grateful for the chance to find some great insights, some thoughts that I know I will feel are just for me, and for the chance to slow down and really feel the spirit.

Have a lovely weekend!


The Big 8

8 Favorite TV shows...
1. The Amazing Race
2. Project Runway
3. Jeopardy
4. Cash Cab
5. Survivor
6. Dancing with the Stars
7. House Hunters
8. The Biggest Loser

8 Favorite Restaurants...
1. In-N-Out Burger[absence makes the heart grow fonder, apparently]
2. The Melting Pot
3. Willy O's [fabulous burgers and fries]
4. Pei Wei
5. Chuy's
6. Pok-E-Jo's (BBQ -- really, almost any Texas BBQ place is a favorite]
7. Popeye's Chicken
8. Thundercloud Subs

8 things that happened yesterday...
1. Taught an adult class on the Sermon on the Mount
2. Laughed at Mason: when I called his name, he said "That's my name" -- cracked me up
3. Was amazed by Mason when he managed to call me on the phone all by himself. No one knows how he did it.
4. Had a sub from Thundercloud. So yummy.
5. Looked at Maya's amazing growing/shrinking horse
6. Drove down to the temple in San Antonio -- barely made it in time.
7. Forgot to get my white chocolate raspberry bundt cake from Natalie. Sigh.
8. Drank Diet Coke too late last night and then couldn't sleep.

8 things to look forward to...
1. A new grandbaby -- soon! Can't wait to meet baby Simon.
2. General Conference this weekend
3. Stake Conference the next weekend
4. Maya's birthday & big party on Monday
5. My sister's BD on October 8
6. Mark's BD on October 9 [October is a good birthday month for us!]
7. More beautiful Austin weather. I love the warmth here.
8. Trunk or Treat -- Seeing our Primary kids all dressed up for Halloween makes me happy.

8 things I love about Fall...
1. The color change -- which we don't see here, but I am enjoying it via the blog world.
2. Watching Miss Maya play soccer. She's awesome.
3. Slightly cooler weather. I guess everything is relative!
4. Halloween - the enjoyment of the kids is infectious.
5. Holiday shopping (& sales!)
6. Just the feeling of change in the air. I'm all about change.
7. School being in session -- the feeling of routine and scheduling. I like that.
8. Our upcoming Primary program -- I love those.

8 things on my wishlist...
1. For baby Simon to arrive safe and healthy, and for the birth to be easy, easy, easy on his Mama.
2. A new kitchen table and chairs
3. Someone else to clean my bathroom. I am not into cleaning and our bathroom is bad.
4. A new house -- sometime. This is a good house but it's not 'my' house.
5. Time with family. So many of them live way too far away.
6. That my family is all safe, happy and well.
7. That I get to stay in Primary forever.
8. That Mark's spots would fade away completely.


She's not quite at this point yet, but she's close!

Me? I can't wait to meet Baby Simon. Hurry up, little boy!