Sunday, December 4, 2011

Josiah's Baby Dedication - Coastal Community Church, Virginia Beach, VA - December 4th, 2011

We dedicated Josiah Timothy Gerdes to the Lord today! At the beginning of the ceremony, I was asked to give a little 1-minute "schpeel" and this is what I said: "Good morning! My name is Courtney Gerdes and this is my husband Jeremy and our sons, Jeremiah and Josiah. Today we are here to dedicate Josiah to the Lord. In just a few minutes, we'll be promising, before God and you all, that we will raise Josiah in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We want you all to know that this is not a vow that we take lightly. Jeremy and I were both blessed to grow up in Christian homes and we each agree that we learned SO many valuable and important things from our parents as we were growing up, which we hope and pray to pass along to our kids. To most people, today, December 4th, is just another day. But to my family, this day has special significance. On this day, 16 years ago, God graciously spared my father's life, after he suffered a heart attack. At that time, I was only in 7th grade, and had I lost my father at that point in my life, I feel my life would be very different and that I would not be the person I am today. My dad has had an extra special influence in my life. He's always been my knight in shining armor. In my eyes, he is one of my biggest heroes, besides God and my husband. Since his heart attack on December 4th, 1995, he's also suffered through a brain tumor, spinal meningitis, and a brain bleed, among other things. In these types of situations, most people would feel sorry for themselves or ask God "Why me?" Not my dad. He's used EVERY situation to glorify God. He views each health challenge as a way to reach out to others and testify to God's mercy, grace, and healing! That's the kind of life I want to live! I want to glorify God in everything I do. Jeremy and I hope and pray that our boys will seek to glorify God in everything THEY do. We know that we can not make the decision of salvation for our boys, so we hope and pray that through our example, and through the examples of others in their lives, like our parents/their grandparents, they'll someday make the decision to accept Christ as their savior. We are not perfect parents. But we know that God's grace covers our imperfections. We will keep that in mind today as we make these vows, on this day, December 4th, 2011."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Josiah's 1st Birthday!

How is it possible that my "baby" is ONE YEAR OLD today?! It just blows my mind! This past year has flown by SO fast, I can hardly believe it! Maybe it's the fact that my two boys keep me so busy, or possibly the fact that we've had three different addresses in the past year. Maybe it has something to do with Jeremy being on night shift for the past three months, making life seem even more of a "blur" than usual! Whatever it is, I am just shocked that my precious Josiah Timothy is one year old TODAY!

I'll never forget Josiah's extra special entrance into the world - via successful VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)! It was something I had prayed for and desired for SO long and God blessed me with fulfilling that deep desire. If you have not read Josiah's birth story/my VBAC testimony yet, please feel free to read it (it can be found in the 2010 archives).

Josiah is SUCH a precious baby! Since the minute he was born, people have always commented "all that hair" of his and his gorgeous blue eyes! Once he figured out how to smile, he never stopped! He is ALWAYS smiling! I was so proud of him when he smiled all the way through his 1 year photos the other day. So precious to see those six little teeth (4 top, 2 bottom) when he smiles! What a sweet boy! He absolutely ADORES his big brother and loves to follow Jeremiah wherever he goes. One of my favorite things to do is to listen to Josiah giggle. Who can make him giggle nonstop? His big brother Jeremiah, of course! It's absolutely precious to witness! Seeing my boys interact warms my heart in such deep ways!

Because he wants to keep up with his big brother, he is on the move constantly - he was sitting up/rolling across the room at 5 months old; crawling, cruising, and climbing the stairs at 8 months old; and just recently took his very first steps at 11 months old. WOW! Josiah's first word was "mama" (yay!)at 5 months old, and shortly after that, he added "dada," and most recently added "hi, bye, uh-oh, and ni-ni" to his vocabulary. It's hard to believe that he'll most likely be speaking in two word phrases/short sentences by next year at this time.

I'm very happy to report that at one year old, Josiah is STILL nursing! This was a HUGE goal of mine and I am SO happy we made it to a year! From the get go, he has been a great little nurser, and I am SO thankful for the precious bonding time that nursing has given me and Josiah. I know it sounds crazy - but sometimes I miss waking up with him at night (he started sleeping through the night at 2 months old), as now he only nurses about 2-3 times per day. I don't plan to "wean" him, but rather let him decide when he is done. I am assuming that when we start adding whole milk to his diet next week, he won't have much more need for "mommy milk." We'll see!

To celebrate Josiah's 1st Birthday, we are having a party at a nearby park (Oak Grove Lake Park) and are inviting lots of the boys' friends to play, have lunch, and eat cupcakes. We are SO excited to celebrate with our friends! God has blessed us with such an amazing "family"/network/group of friends here in this area! We are so thankful!

God is SO good to give us such an amazing, precious, adorable, smiley, snuggly, giggly, loveable little boy!

Josiah Timothy Gerdes - Our lives were forever changed when God brought you into the world one year ago! We are so very thankful for you and we love you SO much!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Today, Jeremiah turns 3 years old! WOW! Where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday that we were rushing to the hospital, when my water broke two weeks before Jeremiah's due date! How was that 3 years ago, already?!

When Jeremiah came into my life 3 years ago, he fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine: to be a mommy. I am SO blessed to his mom and I praise the Lord for giving Jeremiah to me! He is SO precious to me! It's been such a joy to watch him grow, learn, and develop during these past 3 years and I am very excited to watch him become the young man that God wants him to be someday. I pray daily that he will choose Jesus to be the Lord of his life and will walk in the truth!

Jeremiah has been through TONS of changes in these first 3 years of his life. Praise the Lord for resilience in children! Jeremiah spent his first year of life in day care while I taught first grade for the third year in a row. He was well-loved and taken care of there, but I definitely missed out on some precious moments and am SO glad we made the decision for me to stay home after that. What an adventure we've had together these past two years, traveling for Jeremy's job, 2 times to Washington, and once to California. Just recently, I realized that in Jeremiah's 3 years of life so far, he has had SIX different addresses! WOW! That's A LOT of changes for one little guy! But he sure has done well, considering all of that! We all look forward to "settling down" soon, as God closes this "traveling" chapter of our lives.

Speaking of changes for Jeremiah, one of the biggest changes in his life occurred when we welcomed his baby brother, Josiah, into our lives this past October. What a precious time for all of us! I'll never forget the first night that we came home from the hospital with Josiah, after a day of LOTS of brotherly hugs/pictures/moments, and I looked at Jeremy, right before we went to sleep and said, "Our family feels complete. I love this feeling." Truly, I LOVE my husband, our boys, and our life together. God has blessed us tremendously. Yes, there are moments where I feel overwhelmed and struggle with with certain issues such as potty training, discipline, etc. But overall, life is GOOD! The boys and I always find ways to have fun together, whether it be through play dates, play areas, parks, toddler classes, etc. I really enjoy watching my boys interact. Josiah has the cutest little baby laugh, and Jeremiah is the one who is able to get him to laugh the hardest! It's so precious! Josiah loves to watch big brother Jeremiah play, dance, sing, etc. His face lights up the minute he sees his brother! I am really looking forward to watching their brotherly bond form over the years. Also, what fun it has been to put the boys in matching outfits! SO FUN for a mama!! :)

One of the most precious things to watch is Jeremiah's growing love and interest in God. During the past year, he's become quite the little prayer warrior, and LOVES praying for his friends, family, and those in need. I've heard it said that God finds children's prayers especially precious. I'm sure God is smiling when little ones are praying! I just know it! Jeremiah enjoys going to Sunday school, listening to his "Bible songs" (Cedarmont Kids), and hearing Bible stories. His two favorite Bible stories, which he can help "tell," are of Jesus's Birth, and Jesus' Crucifixion/Resurrection. Soon, we hope to start working on Bible verses together. He still LOVES to sing and dance. His favorite "Jesus songs" (in his words) are Jesus Loves Me, I Love You Lord, Down in my Heart, and Open the Eyes of my Heart Lord. When I hear him singing these songs on his own, my heart swells with joy and I feel like dancing!

Jeremiah also has started independently singing other "kid songs" such as Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Ring Around the Rosie, Head/Shoulders/Knees/Toes, ABCs, and many others. One of these days, I need to record his precious little voice singing these songs! Speaking of his ABCs, he's starting to be able to identify some letters and their sounds. This makes the "teacher" in me VERY happy! He knows most of his colors, animals/sounds, can count to 20, is starting to learn some of his shapes, and even knows a few Spanish words. SO proud of my big boy! We are very excited about sending him to Greenbrier Baptist Weekday Preschool in the Fall on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. There, he'll enjoy daily Bible songs, Bible stories, crafts, Chapel, field trips, and will solidify many of the emerging skills mentioned above.

While we've been here in Bremerton, Washington for Jeremy's short term job transfer, Jeremiah has especially enjoyed going to toddler classes at the YMCA. On Tuesday/Thursday mornings, we go to a class called "1-2-3 Grow With Me" where the kids have "free play" with TONS of toys for about 45 minutes (any toddler's dream!), then the clean up the toys, and sit down on the carpet for a few stories, a snack, and songs. What fun! On Wednesdays, we attend a "Tiny Tots" class, which is a toddler tumbling class with mats, obstacle courses, a trampoline, ribbons to dance with, scarves to wave, and more! SO much fun! This past Thursday, while at Jeremiah's "1-2-3 Grow With Me" class, we celebrated his birthday, by bringing in goody bags and cookies for all of his friends! They all sang Happy Birthday to him and he was beaming! What special memories!

In today's post, I'll include the collage I made from Jeremiah's little party at the Y. Today, we are taking Jeremiah to Chuck E Cheese and Great Wolf Lodge to celebrate his birthday! We are all SO excited! So, sometime next week, I'll post other collages of our weekend birthday activities, along with Jeremiah's (and Josiah's) professional photos that we had taken recently.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Jeremiah Daniel Gerdes! We love you and praise the Lord for you every day! We are so proud of you for the big boy you are becoming, the great big brother you are to Josiah, your growing love for the Lord, and the love you show us and others around you! We hope you have the most wonderful day today, as we celebrate YOU!!! :)