Ruby's Third Month

Wuby Jeams,
I just can't believe you are already three months old. When your sister was born, those first three months were the longest months of my life and I thought I would never survive the newborn/new mother fog. I guess I know what I'm doing now...at least a little more than I did six years ago.

Firsts: Thanksgiving, birthday party for your great-grandparents, Christmas parade (except you stayed in the warm house with Debbie while she fed you a bottle), Galaxy of Lights, Sunday at Mommy and Daddy's church where they met, baby shower for Mav, making a Gingerbread house with your brother and sister

Favorite Toy/Activity: You still love your floor gym and your bouncy seat. You aren't quite ready for the exersaucer or bumbo seat yet so there isn't much else for you to do for entertainment. 

Mommy's Favorite: hearing you coo and talk to people and toys

Daddy's Favorite: same as Mommy's

Lily's Favorite: talking to you

Scott's Favorite: He loves to hold you, although he can't do it on his own yet. He still talks to you in a high pitched voice when he sees you. "Hey Ruby!" 

Milestones: You are officially sleeping through the night. You were at two months, but I wasn't sure if it would stick so I didn't get my hopes up. You consistently take your last bottle anywhere between 9-11 and sleep until 7. You eat every four hours, taking five 5 oz bottles at a time. This is the longest stretch you have gone without a growth spurt or having to change up your bottles. You are in size 1 diapers. You enjoy tummy time a little more than before and are working on building those neck and back muscles! You rarely need help going to sleep. You have discovered your thumb, and while I prefer the paci and offer it to you often, I'm okay with you being able to soothe yourself to sleep. 

Weight/Length: Probably a little over 11 pounds

Like Mommy: Your big grin

Like Daddy: You are a deep sleeper 

Like Lily: Most mornings you wake up in a good mood and occasionally you will stay in bed and talk before we come to get you

Like Scott: I still think you favor him more than Lily. Your smile is definitely big like his was as a baby. 

Best Memory: Thanksgiving! 

Biggest Challenge: You share a room with your sister, so it's been a challenge trying to figure out nap times and bed times. But it really hasn't been a big problem since you can sleep through most things. 

How We Spend the Day: You wake up every morning at 7 and have a 5 oz bottle. You play, nap, and eat again at 11. You eat every four hours. You still take several cat naps during the day instead of a couple of long naps, but that's due to you having to conform to everyone else's schedule. When you aren't sleeping, you are playing on your floor gym, in your bouncy seat, laying on the bed in your sister or brother's room (because they love your company), or sitting with mommy and daddy and talking. You take your last bottle somewhere between 9-11 and sleep until the next morning. 

Nicknames: Wuby Jeams, Miss Ruby, and Ruby Sue (from Christmas Vacation-you can thank your uncles for that one)

Funniest Moment: When Uncle Ben drew fake eyebrows on your forehead with a black marker 

How We Celebrated: Mommy had plans so Daddy got Zaxby's for dinner and got you and your siblings in bed. I know that's not necessarily celebrating, but that's what our day held the day you turned three months!  

Daddy with some of his cousins at his grandparents' 80th birthday party

Aunt Kim finally got to hold you! 

Your great-grandparents holding some of their great-grandchildren and their first great great grandchild, Lilly Ann! 

Napping at your cousin Maverick's baby shower

He adores you! 

Gingerbread house making with the siblings! 

This lady right here is a treasure! We go to Debbie's house most years for the Christmas parade. Mommy teaches with her. She offered to keep you in her warm house while the rest of us walked a block away to enjoy the parade. 

Lily feeds you anytime she gets a chance! 

Lily made Indian feathers for everyone at Thanksgiving. You are busy practicing your Indian chant. 

Post-turkey nap with Granddaddy

Your Thanksgiving feast was no different from all the other meals you eat

Another post-turkey nap

He's proud of his shenanigans

A close-up of your awesome new eyebrows

Happy Thanksgiving from these three turkeys!

Looking lovely in your new monogrammed gown

Talking with Daddy before bedtime

Three months got here fast! Your fourth month will be eventful with your first Christmas, NYE, and going to school. We love you, Ruby! 


Lily is SIX!!!

Lily, you are six! Wow! That means in four years you will be 10 and in 10 years you will be driving.

I looked back to read about your 5th birthday and apparently I never wrote anything. Sorry! I guess our Disney trip will have to make up for the fact that I didn't record your 5th year. It was full of Disney princesses and more Disney princesses.

I think I can say you are officially out of the older preschool phase and moving into your true kid years. You have interests and hobbies and friends and like to just play in your room by yourself (or with your brother when you don't have a choice because he thinks you are the bomb dot com).

I think the best and most important milestone of your life happened on May 2, 2015. You became a Christian! We believe the Lord had been working on your heart for a while leading up to this point. While we were in the car driving home from Uncle Ben's college graduation you initiated a conversation with us and after a long conversation, and one that only a 5 year old would be able to have with the prompting of the Holy Spirit, you decided to obey and follow Him! We haven't made a huge deal about this publicly because we want to make sure this is a genuine heart transformation. We are already seeing evidence of a repentant heart and that is giving us confirmation that the Holy Spirit is dwelling in you.

You started kindergarten this year and although you've already been in school since K3, school is the real deal now. You have homework, you're establishing friendships, and you're learning to read! You've always loved books and you especially love them now that you can read the words! You also love to draw and create things.

Favorite Toy/Activity: Barbie Dream House (which is actually the Barbie Glam Getaway House) and playing school

Favorite Movie: Tangled

Favorite Show: Sofia the First

Favorite Chore: Cleaning the bathrooms (you are going to wish you had never said those words)

Favorite Song: Shut Up and Dance, 12 Days of Christmas

Favorite Food: Donuts

Favorite Bible story/verse: Baby Jesus, Luke 2:11 and Psalm 100

Best Friends: Emma and Noah

What you want to be when you grow: a teacher or a dentist

Hobbies: Dance

Make Believe Friends: Chelsea and Dirt

Your Favorite Memory: playdates with Emma

Just as I've said for six years now, you are a pure joy to have in our family. You are funny, smart, creative, kind, a great friend, helpful, compassionate, and completely beautiful inside and out. We love you and pray you will continue to heed God's voice and follow His perfect plan for your life. You will always be our baby girl, even when you're "87 and wrinkly". Here's to another year, Lily!


All the words, Thomas Holt


Tears already filling up my eyes, just typing those two letters.There aren’t words that contain the grief we all feel in your absence. As a son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, friend...in any relationship you held on this earth, you are missed in a way that can’t be expressed.

I’ve wanted to write this for nearly a year now. I’ve hesitated and procrastinated because I don’t know what to say. I just know I need to do this. Writing is how I process.

You called me BB when you were little. I thought it was pretty special. Being 8 years older than you, I spent a lot of time babysitting you and your brother. I used to love to make you laugh. That was very easy to do.

You made me laugh a million times more, especially as you got older. I always looked forward to spending time with you. I knew it would involve a good dose of laughter. You always challenged and encouraged me to laugh at situations that could be stressful, unexpected, or just plain stupid. You had genuine laughter at times that I normally would not.

You had the perfect balance of humor and adventure. You looked at life through a fearless lens and it made my careful self very jealous. Outdoors among trees, mud, water, and wildlife was your element. That’s what made you come alive. Nature was all you needed...accompanied by some sort of engine of course. Truck, dirt bike, 4wheeler, gokart, jet ski. All the things I hesitate to get near. (I did DRIVE a 4wheeler through the woods to your graveside on your birthday...I hope you noticed because I did not find it enjoyable. I did it for you.)

When you went to college, I worried. College and the freedom that comes can really create a battle in your heart for who your true love is. The world or Jesus. It’s easy to choose the world. It’s incredibly difficult to stay on the narrow path. It’s normal for me to worry about these things, I did the same when Ben went off to college. I just want the people that are closest to me to love Jesus and I know that there’s so much in life that can dull our passion for Him and cause us to forget His goodness and faithfulness to His people. I didn’t want you to forget.

I knew you had your ups and downs in college. We all do. Yours seemed harder though. I couldn’t really put my finger on it, but something inside of me hurt for you.

I remember your brother giving his commencement speech as SGA President of Briarwood Christian School in May 2014. We all sat in that huge sanctuary, you, Ben, Brent, mom, and me all on the same row. We cut up for most of the time we sat in those wooden pew benches. I remember you had a cast on your wrist. I asked you about it and, gosh, there was just something about the look in your eyes when you answered me that I couldn’t shake. In that moment I knew that something about you wasn’t okay. You were hurting. 

I talked to Ben, knowing that he’s been around you more than I have in the past 10 years. Being eight years older than you, married with kids, and in a different city, I lost touch with you. I hate that. I did then, and I really do now. Sure, I saw you at all the major holidays, beach trips, and all the random days in between, but that was not enough to really know you in your young adult years. I realized after talking to Ben that there was so much I didn’t know. And I didn’t need to know, I just needed you to know how much you were loved. I hoped for an opportunity to speak to you face to face, just to tell you I loved you and that I was fighting for you in prayer.

That same summer at the beach (our last with you), I told God that if he would just give me an opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with you that I would take it in a heartbeat. I’m ever so grateful that He gave me just that. We were eating at Tacky Jack’s in Fort Morgan and while everyone was paying for their dinner, you went out on the pier to see the fishing boats that were coming in. God made it so clear that this was that opportunity I asked Him to give me. I walked out beside you, where you were standing alone watching the ships come in, and I asked how you were. You must have known my question was not the typical “how are you” because your answer wasn’t a quick “I’m good”. Instead, it was a hesitant “I’m okay.” I didn’t have to say a word, you knew exactly what I was getting at because you said in the most humblest and grateful ways, “Thanks for noticing.” The conversation didn’t last even five minutes but I had the chance to tell you what my heart needed to say. I felt your burdens. I was hurting for you. I loved you. I hoped for life to become normal again.

That beach trip was the last time I saw you. Imagine if I had not taken the opportunity to stand beside you on the pier that evening. I’d be so full of regrets now. Thanks be to God for His Spirit that nudges us at just the right time.

I don’t think anyone knows how often God and I talked about you. I have your name written in my prayer journal countless times. To be honest, after that summer I didn’t know if I should pray for salvation or healing, so I just fervently prayed for both. I poured out my heart before God for you. TH, I just wanted Jesus to reach down and rescue you. So I begged Him for that over and over again.

And, boy, did He reach down and rescue you, just not the way I was expecting. On December 3, 2014 he brought you home. I imagine He said to you in a tender and loving tone that you fully understood, “Thomas Holt, it’s time. Let’s go home, son.” You heard his familiar voice and found comfort and relief in letting go. Your burdens lifted, your life made new, your sin gone forevermore. In an instant you were ushered into eternity with your Savior.

I’ll never ever forget the phone call. It was around 8 pm on December 3. Brent had just walked out the door to drive to Birmingham for work. The kids were settled in bed. I was walking downstairs to watch TV before going to bed myself. My phone rang before I got to the bottom of the stairs. It was my mom. She asked me if Brent was home. No. She asked me if I was sitting down. No. Something was strange about her voice. I honestly thought she was calling to say she’d found out something exciting about our upcoming Disney trip. To hear “Thomas Holt has died” was a huge shock. I didn’t sit down. I fell down on my knees and starting crying out, trying to figure out what in the world I had just heard and how to process it. My parents were driving to Mentone to tell Mom and Pop. Your parents were driving to Starkville to tell Cleveland. Ben was home by himself. Mom said I needed to call Brent and tell him to turn around. I told her I’d be ok. I spent the rest of the evening on the phone with Brent, Ben, and Granny Rosie and I was never able to fall asleep.

For a split second I was consumed with great fear and a sick, sick feeling in my gut over your eternal destination. But I can not explain in words the peace that rushed over me as soon as that thought entered my mind. It was a powerful peace that drove out the darkness. I knew that it was Jesus assuring me that you were with Him and that I would see you again. Knowing that God is the father of peace, that true peace can come from no one but him, and having peace about your soul...I knew that God wouldn’t fool me into the reassuring peace I had. That would make him a liar. I knew we could all move forward and process this with peace from God in our hearts, despite how hard this was to swallow.

I certainly didn’t imagine in May 2014 we’d hear your brother give a commencement speech, and 7 months later we’d all be back at Briarwood as your brother stood in the same place to give your eulogy. Where I was once asking about your injured hand, 7 months later I was grasping that lifeless hand and studying your face for the very last time on this earth.

There was so much to celebrate in the 21 years you were with us on earth. So much adventure. So much laughter. So much joy. So much love. And with all those celebrationworthy memories, comes much sorrow.

When I think of you, these words come to mind:

Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. Jesus, in John 13

You loved others well, TH. No one that knew you can disagree with that. You’re missed in an infinite amount of ways. Ways that surprise us all. We can carry on about our day and suddenly have that hollow gut feeling because something small and unexpected has reminded us of you.

For me, it's when I hear Christmas music, especially “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” because you won’t be home for Christmas; it’s when I saw Lily ride the pony at Winterfest because she did the same last year and that was my last good memory before the news of your death; it's when I look at Scott and remember that you were once a little boy in love with cars, trucks, and trains; it’s when I see a Mississippi State sticker on a car; it’s when we cut down a tree in our front yard and it almost hit our house, I swear I heard you laughing; it’s when I see any truck or 4wheeler; it’s when I hear “Talledega” by Eric Church or “Over You” by Miranda Lambert or “I Drive Your Truck” by Lee Brice or “Drink a Beer” by Luke Bryan; it's the beach; it’s all the small things that make me face reality again. You really aren’t here anymore. I stare at pictures of you because there's something about looking at a moment in your life that makes me feel like you're still here.

I’m so thankful that we don’t grieve as those who have no hope. Our hope is in Jesus and he secured our eternity on the cross. You are living forever in perfect fellowship with your Maker, the way it was always supposed to be. We will meet again and it will be cause for great rejoicing.

I can’t wait, TH.

Until then...we’ll celebrate your life. We’ll cherish and laugh at our memories. We’ll praise God for His goodness. We’ll wait with eagerness to see you again.

And I promise to never forget sound of your laughter or the brightness of your smile. 

You are so loved. 


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