Friday, December 5, 2014

Catch Up and Gratitude

It has been a long time since I posted!  It has been so busy at our house.  So I will play a little catch up.

We did get moved.  We were all moved in by November 1st.  It has been so nice having all this extra space to move around in.  The kids are loving their rooms and all the outside space to roam and explore.  We are mostly unpacked and settled in.  There are still a few remaining boxes here and there.  It was a whirlwind weekend with moving, Halloween and trying to get our old house ready for our renters that showed up the evening of the 1st.  We got it all done though!

Along the way we have celebrate 3 birthdays.  Makenna turned 13 on the 15th.  She got to have a couple of friends over to help her celebrate.

Six days later Maddi celebrated her 14th birthday.  Can't believe she is old enough to drive!  Not that I am going to let her anytime soon :)
Three days after that Michael celebrated his big four 0!  He's hoping to retire soon and get senior citizen discounts. 

We got to spend Thanksgiving together and with friends.  We had the missionaries from our church come over and eat with us.  It was nice to have them in our home.  Then we had some friends come over for dessert that night.  It was a nice day.  The next day the kids and I went Black Friday shopping.  We had fun getting out and seeing all the things in the stores.  That weekend we also went to the lighted parade in Hendricks and enjoyed some of the festivities there.

We got the house decorated for Christmas.  I love sitting by the fire place in the evenings with the logs crackling and the Christmas lights on. I love this time of year!

 Basketball season is in full swing now (another reason I love this time of year).  The five oldest are playing.  Dillon has already had several games with another one tomorrow.  Maddi and Makenna play their first game next week.  I love getting to go watch them play!

Life is good.  Last week I had to speak in church about gratitude.  It made me think a lot about all the blessings we have.  There have been things lately that have been discouraging me and having to focus on gratitude really helped me to see all the good things I have.  It didn't take away the things that are discouraging but it did give me a minute to pause and see all the positive, wonderful things in my life.  It reminded me that I am not alone in this.  I have a husband who is right by my side.  I have friends and family who support me and help me.  Most of all, I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and is always there no matter what.  He knows me and my situation.  He knows my needs and my desires.  He will bless me and take care of me.  Matthew 6:28-33  "And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:  And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?   (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.   But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

If I do my best then God will take care of me.  It will not always be easy, but it will all be ok.  If I acknowledge His hand in my life and thank Him for all the blessings that He gives me daily, then He will continue to bless me.  Doing this will bring me closer to Him.  Thomas S. Monson said, "
My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven."  Gratitude will help drown out the negative and fill our lives with the positive.  Our eyes will be open to all that we have, our hearts will overflow with His Spirit and we will feel heaven at our fingertips. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

20 Days and Counting!

Let the countdown begin!  We have 20 days before we get to move.  Right now our current house is a big, crazy mess full of boxes, kids, homework, school bags and who knows what else.  It drives me crazy but it will have to get worse before it gets better :) 

We are very excited for the opportunity to move.  We feel very blessed.  This just kind of fell in our laps and, while there has been a few bumps and frustrations, everything is falling into place for us. 

20 days may seem like plenty of time but I am feeling the pressure to get it all done!  During that time we have school, parent-teacher conferences, two volleyball tournaments, a cross country meet or two, gymnastics, church activities, scouts, and long harvest hours.  We also have to finish our current bathroom, paint the living room, clean carpets and do a few other upkeep things so our house will be ready to rent as soon as we are out.  My hours are limited and few.  My stress is slowly climbing but we will get it all done I am sure!  I was very happy to hear that they will be cleaning our new house for us so I won't have to worry about that! 

Even though our current state is making my head spin, I look forward to all that lies ahead.  I am excited to get moved in and settled - especially since it will be right before the holidays start.  Moving back to this area has been a huge blessing to our family. Some of the blessings we knew would be here, but there have been so many others that we didn't expect.  This is another one of those and we are excited to continue building our lives here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Spinning!

My head... My head is spinning faster than I can keep up with!  I haven't even had time to let things sink in.  So much is going on right now.  My days start at 6am.  The kids join my day at 6:30am.  We leave for school about 7:25.  My day consists of 26 first graders needing to go to the bathroom, sharpen their pencils and tell me about everything that pops into their heads - all at once!  While I love every single one of them, they do make my head spin faster at times!  By 3:30 all my first graders are gone and I spend the next little while trying to regroup and get ready for the next day.  My evenings are filled with football practices, cross country meets, volleyball games, church, and the nightly routines of homework, bathes, drum practicing and eating (several times because they are always hungry).  Three out of my five school days, I don't get home until after 7pm.  We put in some long hours on the courts, fields and roads!

I don't think I have really sat down and let Zeke sink in.  Today they educated his class on Tourette's.  I was told it went well and that the kids were really accepting and even shared some of their own little quirks, habits and anxieties.  I was nervous for him all day and it was such a relief to hear that it was all ok.  His tics have been worse lately.  I know that will calm down as all this fades back into the background but today it was front and center.  I knew I didn't need to be in there when they were telling the class about it, but I so wanted to sit outside the door and listen.  It is just another step into our new reality for him.  I am again grateful for an amazing teacher and counselor who have handled this so well. 

I have also been sick (thank you Makenna) for the last 3 or 4 days so that adds to my exhaustion and lack of patience.  It makes the days a little longer than they would normally be :)  Nyquil is my new best friend at night and Diet Dr. Pepper is my friend during the day.

Then we had to throw in moving.  While it is a huge blessing that I am very grateful for, the thought of trying to pack and do repairs on the house is a little overwhelming.  I am glad we have until the first of November but I know that will come quicker than I think! 

In reality, despite all the craziness that is going on, life is good.  We are being blessed in ways we didn't expect,  things will get done, and in four more weeks I will get to sleep in on Saturday! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Diagnosis

What a week!  During the middle of the day Monday I got promoted to first grade teacher when the real first grade teacher decided it was time for her to have her baby!  Neither one of us were expecting for that to happen so we were taken by surprise.  That was the start to a whirlwind week!  Monday night we tried to get the house cleaned, the kids packed and everything ready to go Tuesday.  The school day went by fast as I tried to teach and prepare for a sub the next day.  After school the kids went with their temporary families and Michael, Zeke and I headed off to Rochester.  Maddi had a cross country meet that afternoon that I had to miss and Makenna had a volleyball match.  I would have loved to cheer them both on in person but there was no way to make it happen.  We got to the hotel around 10pm.  Zeke finally wound down around 11pm and we went to bed.  I did not sleep well and we were all up at 5 the next morning getting ready for the day.


Our appointment was at 7:30 but we had to leave the hotel at 6am so we could get there on time.  I could tell Zeke was nervous.  On the shuttle ride over he snuggled up to Michael and just looked out the window the closer we got to Mayo.

We got there a little before 7 and got all checked in and waited. 

The appointment lasted a little over an hour.  I really felt comfortable with the doctor and what he was telling us.  He did say that Zeke does meet all the criteria for Tourette's Syndrome.  There is no specific test or anything that you can take, you just have to go off observations and documentations.  Zeke did well at first kind of suppressing his tics but by the time we were done he was not able to hold them in.  The doctor said he was glad he was able to observe him doing the tics because that just confirmed even more the diagnosis he gave.  The doctor also confirmed that Zeke has ADHD.

After the appointment we had some blood work done to check his iron levels.  He does not sleep well and the doctor said low iron can affect sleep.  Then he wanted us to see a psychologist that works a lot with kids who have Tourette's and these other disorders.  We were able to get an appointment at 3 that afternoon.

It was a very long day of waiting.  Zeke had a really hard time.  He had a lot of tics and noises and couldn't stay still and focused.  There was not a lot to do there so it was quite boring for all of us! We were very glad when we were able to get back on the shuttle and get to our car! 

We got home around 9 that night.  We are so thankful for all the people that helped with our kids.  They all had a place to stay Tuesday night (and Wednesday night for Olivia) and then when we found out we would be late Wednesday night we had a friend bring in supper to the kids and she even did my dishes!  Thank you Pam!

The rest of the week was busy and crazy!  Thursday I tried to catch back up on subbing and get things ready for Friday.  Maddi had another cross country meet that I had to miss and Makenna had another volleyball game that I had to miss.  I did get to see the boys play in their football game Thursday.  I am very glad we have nothing to do and no where to go tonight!

So, how do I feel about all of this?  To be honest, I don't know.  I haven't really had time to let it all sink in, yet all it did was confirm what we already suspected.  All it did was take away the false hope that I was just imagining things and that I would wake up and it would all be gone.  It created permanence to the situation.  It is sad, I will admit.  I know there are other kids and families dealing with much worse.  At least Zeke is healthy and strong.  But, it is still something that we have to learn to deal with and accept.  We have to realize that this is life now and learn to deal with all the things that will go along with Tourette's and ADHD. 

I am grateful we found answers.  I am grateful for the kindness we received at Mayo.  I am grateful for the friends we have that helped us get there and back.  I am grateful for an awesome school that is totally supportive of all the kids that go there.  I am grateful for amazing teachers and staff that will do all they can to help Zeke and make his school experience successful.  I am very grateful to his counselor.  She is amazing!  I don't think she will ever know how much she has helped me, Michael and Zeke.  She has gone way above and beyond her call of duty.  This is the second time she has had such an impact on our family and we are very blessed because of her.

As I stated in an earlier post, I am most grateful for the knowledge I have that this is not forever.  This life will be full of trials and hardships and uncomfortable things, but it is not forever.  Someday the things that ail us here will be taken from us.  Someday the disabilities and illnesses that we endure will be gone and we will be made whole.  Because of Jesus Christ we will live again and we will be perfected in Him - physically, emotionally and spiritually.  As I listen to Zeke tic and see him struggle to control himself, I am very grateful.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Appointment is Set

This morning we faxed off our information about Zeke to the Mayo Clinic.  I was not expecting to hear anything back for a little while.  However, sometime during my run this afternoon they called and left a message.  I called them back and we have an appointment scheduled for next Wednesday at 7:30 in the morning.  We are in the process now of pawning all our kids off to people so we can go up Tuesday night and spend the night since our appointment is so early in the morning.  I am glad that we heard back so quickly.  I am nervous too.  I know it will be ok and I am thankful that we will be (hopefully) getting some answers soon.  I am grateful to the friends who are taking my children into their homes on a school night and taking care of them for the day.  I am also grateful to all our friends and family that have said so many prayers on our behalf and have offered so many words of support and understanding.  I am especially grateful to Zeke's teacher and the school counselor.  They have done so much to help Zeke ease into this year and to help me as I try to understand it all.  We are very blessed.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Next Step

Today I took the next step in our journey.  To be honest, it was kind of hard.  I don't know why, it just was.  I made some phone calls and found a doctor that has had experience with kids and Tourette's Syndrome.  He is at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.  He has requested that I write up a summary of our observations of Zeke and fax it to him.  He will read through it, determine what all he wants to do with Zeke and then set an appointment with us.  The first appointment will be an evaluation that will last about 2 hours.  I don't know right now what will happen after that.  I will spend the weekend trying to get that put together so I can fax it to him Tuesday and we can keep the ball rolling.

School has gone ok for Zeke.  He was very concerned the night before he went to school.  He was afraid if the kids at school found out he had Tourette's then they would not want to be his friend.  We told him that they would like him no matter what.  He has had several incidents when he was making noises or movements that he couldn't stop and kids had said something to him.  It made him feel bad but he got through it.  He also took it upon himself to tell some of the kids about Tourette's as best as he could and told them that he may have it.  Some of those kids have actually stood up and told other kids that he couldn't help what he was doing when they were giving him a bad time.  His evenings are kind of rough with lots of noises (although he usually keeps them quiet) and mouth movements.  He also gets very wound up in the evenings and has a hard time settling down.  He has a hard time sleeping a lot of nights so that gets to him sometimes too.

His teachers and the school counselor have done a wonderful job helping him, watching him, talking to him about his concerns and keeping me informed.  I am very grateful for all their help and support of him and of me.  I know he is in good, caring hands.  As I said before, if we are going to have to go through this, I am so glad that we are doing it here.  It really is the best place that Zeke could be right now. 

So for now, we wait for this next step to begin.  I hope and pray that the doctor will be able to help us understand Zeke and what he is experiencing and that we will be able to find a diagnosis for him and then move on from there.  Some days I think, oh, I was just making this up.  He's fine.  There is nothing going on with him.  It was just a weird day.  Then I listen to him quietly tic or see him sitting there with his mouth movements and reality comes back that I wasn't just imagining it.  It is hard because it is kind of an unknown thing. We don't know exactly what all his tics will be.  We don't know how severe or mild it will be.  We don't know exactly how it will affect him.  I don't understand it and I don't understand all that Zeke does right now.  I don't know what is a tic that he can't help, what may be just ADHD stuff or what is Zeke just being a funny little boy.  He doesn't really know either it seems. 

We take it one day at a time.  We are grateful for the calm, uneventful days and we work through the longer, frustrating days.  We are very grateful for all the prayers and thoughts that are sent our way.  Everything will be okay.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

First Day of School!

We all started school this week.  I started Monday with meetings and prep time.  The kids had their open house Monday night.  They were excited to get to go see their new classrooms and teachers.  Tuesday night Maddi and Makenna had their fall sports meeting.  Wednesday the kids had their first day of school!  Maddi and Makenna are both in jr. high this year. 

Maddi is in 8th grade.  She is running cross country again this fall.  I can't wait to watch her run again!
Makenna is in 7th grade.  She is going to play volleyball this fall.  Her first match is next week.  I am excited to go!
 
Zane is a 6th grader this year.  He is the top dog at the elementary school!  He is playing football this fall and is a percussionist in the band.


Dillon is in 5th grade.  He joined the band this year as a percussionist and he is also playing football.  He and Zane are on the same team.  They have their first game in a few weeks and they are very excited!
Zeke is in 3rd grade this year.  He decided he would give football a try this year like his older brothers.  He is on the 3rd/4th grade team.  He says it is hard but he likes it.
Princess Olivia is in 2nd grade.  She loves being back at school and being with her friends!  She loves to talk and socialize :)  She is going to do gymnastics this fall.  She is very excited!
I am the new elementary assistant.  I do a lot of everything and anything.  We have a lot of new kids this year at school so I will be helping the teachers in and out of the classroom, helping in the library and the office and doing a long term sub next month. 
 
It is crazy to think that another year has already started.  The kids are all growing so fast!  It is fun to watch them grow and change though.  I am very proud of them and who they are becoming.  I can't wait to see what this year brings for all of us!
 First day of school 2014
First day of school 2013


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A New Journey for our Family

This is my third time to try to write about this.  I struggle to know what to write and how to write it because I struggle with how to feel about it.  I'm sure some of you have read my previous blogs about some of the struggles we have been having with one of our children.  Well, that child is Zeke and we think his struggles are because of Tourette's Syndrome.

Over the last little while we have watched as Tourette's has made it's way into Zeke's life and our family.  At first the tics weren't really noticeable so we decided not to tell him or the other kids.  We just let the adults in his life know what was going on.  This summer things have changed.  Tourette's is manifesting itself differently and the tics, along with ADHD, have become such that he has noticed, the other kids in the family have noticed and so have others outside the family.

We talked to the other kids about it and requested of them patience as we learned and started this journey.  We talked to Zeke about it.  I'm not sure how he feels or what he thinks.  I don't think he quite understands things yet.  We have talked to friends who interact with us right now.  We have talked to his teacher, the school counselor and the principal.  We have talked to his church teachers.  At this point, we feel that the more people know about it, the better it will be for Zeke.

To be honest, I struggle with it.  I know it is not a life threatening thing he is dealing with, yet it can be life altering.  I know he will be successful and have a life filled with joy and goodness.  Yet, I know he will have struggles he will have to overcome (we all do, I know) because of this.  Struggles that the rest of us won't have to face.  I keep thinking that I will wake up in the morning and things will be back to how they used to be and it will all have been a dream.  But it doesn't happen. 

I struggle because I can't take it away, I can't fix it and I can't protect him from it.  I struggle because I don't understand it completely and how it works and why it does what it does. 

I struggle because I am his mother and I love him.  But, because I love him, I am going to have to learn to deal with it and all that it brings in a positive way.  I am going to have to let him know that it is okay and that it doesn't matter what people say or do - he is okay.  My reactions will teach him how to react so I am going to have to step up, let it roll off my back and be okay with it so that he can do the same.

We are still learning and progressing on this journey.  We are still observing and documenting.  We will do it for a few more weeks and then we will take him to a specialist for official diagnosis.  Maybe the specialist will point us in a different direction.  If that happens then we will reset and start from there.  In the meantime we are doing our best to take things one day at a time and help people understand what we believe Zeke to be experiencing.

If you would like to know more about Tourette's Syndrome you can google it or go to tsa-usa.org.  That is the webpage for the National Tourette's Syndrome Association.  Right now Zeke has physical and vocal tics.  He blinks and darts his eyes, and does head and mouth movements.  His vocal tics vary from animal noises to nonsense noises.  Sometimes they are quiet so only the person next to him hears it, sometimes they are louder so most everyone can hear them.  We also believe that he has ADHD which adds to the Tourette's.  It is hard to differentiate between the tics and the ADHD behavior.  It is a struggle for him to learn what he can control and what he can't.  There have been times where I have asked him if the noises he was making were ones he could stop and he would say yes.  I would ask him to stop but he would not be able to or he could for a minute and then he was making them again.  Other times he was able to stop them.  It is a learning experience for all of us.

One thing that I hold tight to during the rough days is the knowledge that I have of the Savior.  He came to this earth, He died for us and He rose again.  He lives so that we might live again too.  When this earth life is over, we will live again and all these shortcomings and limitations and illnesses and disabilities will be gone and they will plague us no more.  We will be made whole through Him.  When Zeke sits in my lap struggling with his tics, my heart aching for him, I have that to hold on to. 

This is all temporary.  My dad having gone through this life not able to walk because of polio will walk.  My grandpa who passed away with cancer will be cancer free.  My sister who died from a liver defect will be healthy and well.  Zeke will be tic free.  All of us will be free from the things that ail us. 

In the meantime, we will do the best that we can.  We will take things one day at a time.  We will get up each time we fall.  We will have bad days and we will have amazing days.  So to my sweet little Zeke, be strong - I will be your strength when you feel weak.  Keep your chin up - I will help you hold it up when you can't do it yourself.  Remember who you are - a son of God.  Look to your family and your friends - they will always be there for you no matter what.  And always know that I will love you.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My Thoughts

These are my thoughts as I lay in bed last night with the events of the day racing through my mind.  It may not make sense to most people or to anyone at all, but I guess that kind of describes how we are feeling right now as we search for answers of help... I don't always like to share my writing because I feel it opens me up too much.  I prefer people not to see my own weaknesses and things so deep in my heart.  It makes  me feel vulnerable and open to judgments that may not always be kind or needed.  But I also know that there are others out there who are also experiencing hardships and challenges and that maybe just knowing that they are not alone will help them on their journey.  So I will share...

 
My heart is torn and hurting.
Exhaustion is beginning to overpower
While patience desperately tries to stay on top.
Beside me you still struggle
Trying to stop but not being able.
Feeling shame because you cannot control.
Frustration is showing on your face.
I wish I could just take you and hold you.
I want to understand who you are.
And to help you understand too.
Your eyes show me the turmoil that's building inside
And the sadness when I ask you to do something you can't.
My requests to be quiet and settle down reflect my weakness not yours.
Please forgive me for my lacking and ignorance.
I know you are doing your best.
As we start on this journey together,
Know that I'll always be there.
Keep your hand in mine and together we will walk.
There may times when we stumble and fall,
When our hands may slip apart.
But you reach out and I will grab hold
And help you rise to your feet.
I will always love you no matter the day
And no matter where the path leads.
My hand will always be there to hold.
Our hearts always intertwined like our fingers are now.
As we move down this path together,
We will face it with hope and faith.
For we know that there is healing and wholeness
Promised to each of us.
Our Savior has come and suffered.
He has power to heal all that consumes us.
These struggles, though hard, are just for a moment.
And if we endure them well
We will one day find rest in His presence.
Healing and comfort wrapped in His arms.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Another Tough Day

I held hands with a sweet, troubled child for many hours today.  We all went shopping.  Michael was out of town, the kids still needed a few odds and ends for school so we headed out this afternoon and spent the rest of the day shopping and eating.  As the day progressed, the behaviors escalated.  The only escape was reading a book in the car on the way home.  I held his hand, hoping the physical touch would calm him.  Usually it helps but not today.  So I then held his hand just to keep him close and contained. 

Again, his eyes were different.  They weren't his happy, shining eyes.  He said he was trying to stop but couldn't.  He knew what he was doing but did not have the ability to stop it.  I could see in his eyes that what he was saying was true. 

By the time we were done getting all that we needed, I was exhausted.  I can't imagine how he must have felt.  I finally sat down with the other kids and told them that we were all going to need patience and love as we went on this journey.  I tried to give them as much of an explanation as I could so that they could be more understanding of the situation.  Now we will just have to move forward, search for answers and say a lot of prayers.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Exciting Stuff!

 
The other day I got my very first, official letter from the school :)  I have been waiting to tell everyone about my exciting news because I wanted to make sure it was all official before I said anything.  I think it is official enough now that I can make the announcement that I have been hired to be the new elementary assistant at Deubrook!  I am so excited!  I have been subbing at Deubrook for 2 years now.  I have grown to love the staff and the students there.  The staff at Deubrook are some of the most amazing and caring people that I have ever met.  I got to sit in meetings with them last year before school started and I was deeply impressed.  As I sat there listening to all that they had done and all that they still had to do it really opened my eyes as to how much time and effort they put into our children.  They love our children, they love their jobs, they love each other, and they love the school.  They do such an amazing job and I am so excited to be able to join their team!  My kids are excited because now they won't have to ride the bus anymore.  I guess there are perks for all of us! 
 
Summer is winding down for all of us - less then three weeks away.  On August 18th I will start my new adventure.  I am a little nervous, but mostly excited!  The kids will start on the 20th.  They are also excited to be back with their friends and meet new classmates and teachers.  It is going to be a good year!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Child's Eyes

A child's eyes can tell you so much about what they are feeling.  You can look in their eyes and see excitement, joy, comfort, security, love, fear, sadness, confusion, hurt, frustration, so many things.  Lately one of my children has been having a struggle.  It is something that has developed over the last couple of years.  It wasn't until the end of this last school year that we got some answers that finally made a little sense to us.  It explained him and some of his tendencies.  Summer started and he relaxed and most of his symptoms kind of disappeared.  The last few weeks though they have started to come back with even more added to them.  However, the new symptoms have kind of thrown me for a loop and I am not sure where to go with them.  It is frustrating and at times maddening to try to deal or help him deal with things at times.  Yesterday was an especially hard day for him.  By the time the day was over I was at a complete loss as of what to do.  I feel the other kids need some sort of explanation, yet I don't even know what it is I need to explain.  Sometimes I feel he needs an explanation, yet I don't know what I would tell him either. 

Through out the day I kept looking in his eyes.  His eyes made me hurt inside.  I could see the anger, the frustration, the sadness.  As the other kids would tell me how he behaved, his eyes would fill with tears.  I knew he was struggling and I felt so helpless.  I wanted to protect him from whatever it was he was feeling.  I wanted to make it all better but I didn't know how.

After all the other kids had gone to bed I sat him in my lap and talked to him.  He had no explanation for his behavior.  I didn't know what he understood, if anything, about what was going on.  I didn't know if he was aware of some of his actions.  I didn't want to add more burden if he wasn't aware but I wanted to be able to explain things to him if he was aware.  He was very teary eyed and emotional.  He could hardly talk without crying.  I asked him if he ever did things he didn't want to do but couldn't stop or if his body ever did things that he couldn't control.  He started crying really hard and said yes.  He said sometimes he gets really mad and he doesn't want to but he doesn't know how to stop it, then he does things that he doesn't want to do. 

We rocked a little longer and he calmed down.  Then he started crying again.  When I asked him why he was crying he told me that every time he thinks about what he did he feels so bad.  This little child of mine is one of the sweetest spirits I know.  He is always looking for ways to help, always asking what he can do.  He leaves notes on my bed and draws me special pictures.  He hugs me and loves to be with me and his daddy.  He is extremely smart and remembers everything!  He is gentle and kind.  That's why the things that are happening are so frustrating for him and for me.  We don't know why.  I don't know how to help or where to go with it.  I don't know if everything that is happening is connected or if there are multiple things going on.  All I know is that it hurts. 

Today his eyes are better.  There is calm in them and a lightness about them.  He has had a much better day.  Today his eyes make me smile and bring me peace.  Today we will embrace that and make the most of it.  We will enjoy the happiness of today and do our best to keep the shine in his eyes.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Valley Fair and the Horse Races

This last weekend we took our annual trip to the horse races.  We also decided to go to Valley Fair.  It is the first time we have ever been and the kids were really excited to go!  We got up at 5am Friday morning and headed out around 6:30.
 
We got to Valley Fair around 11am.  It was the perfect day to go.  Cloudy skies and not too hot yet warm enough to be able to do the water rides and go to Soak City.
 
We spent about 11 hours there.  Some of the kids were dare devils and went on the thrill rides with Michael.  Some were not as daring and went on the smaller rides.  Every one loved Soak City and Bumper cars.





Zeke was the most daring.  He went on everything and had no fear!  He did the Power Tower (shooting up and falling down), Wild Thing, Extreme Swing and everything in between.  The Wild Thing even had mechanical difficulties on the way up to the top of the first drop and he still loved it and went on it another time!

They all relaxed a little on the slower rides in Camp Snoopy, played in the water for a few hours at Soak City and even took a ride on the carousel.




Saturday morning we got up and went to visit our friends, Bob and Lorie.  She cooked us a big breakfast and then the kids swam in the pool for a while.  It was nice to see them.  Then we went to the horse races.  We love going there every year.

(Yes, we took some selfies at the horse races!  We had to have proof that we were there!)
 
When the races were over they had a human cannonball come and get shot out of a cannon.  It was kind of cool to see.  We had never seen one before.  The kids stood right on the ground near where he landed. 

 
It was nice to get out of town for a day or two and spend some time together.  There was no fighting or arguing and everyone seemed to have fun.  The kids are already talking about what rides they want to go on next time we go!  Now it is back home and back to reality.  School starts in 3 weeks!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

You Have a Big Butt!

It is true.  I have, once again, been blessed by the bluntness of a child :)  It's okay though.  They are right.  I do have a big butt!  Bigger than I would like for sure.  Sometimes I get down about my big butt.  I work out every day.  I count my calories.  I don't even buy ice cream on a regular basis any more, or chocolate!  Yet, it is still there and as pointed out, it is still big! 

Since hearing this comment I have done a lot of thinking and observing and remembering.  My big butt has been through a lot in the last 14 years.  There have been six kids brought into this world and a miscarriage in 6 1/2 years.  There has been a broken tail bone too, just to add a little more fun to life.  There have been 6 huge moves where we have loaded up and relocated our family and our lives.  There have been many smaller moves too where we just moved to a new house.  Some of those moves have been made while I was pregnant, during sickness and with lots of tears. 

My big butt has spent many nights up with children - feeding them, taking care of them when they were sick or sitting in the emergency room with them hoping we would get to go home soon.  This big butt has spent countless hours reading stories, baking cookies, singing silly songs, rocking babies or chasing little ones around the yard.  This big butt has made birthdays special, Christmas magical, even the first day of school something to look forward to. This big butt has bandaged knees, mended hearts and cried many tears over the years.

This big butt has sat on bleacher after bleacher watching basketball, volleyball, football, indoor soccer, and track meets.  It has even ran around golf courses cheering at cross country meets.  This big butt has coached baseball, basketball and cross country.  This big butt spends summers working out with the neighborhood kids and parents to help them get ready for the fall. 

This big butt has taught her children to work, to respect and serve others, to love those around them, to love God, to pray and to live a life that leads to joy and happiness.  This big butt has done what so many other big (and small) butts have done.  So, here's to all you butts out there - thank you for who you are and what you do!  May we all find time to sit on our butts, enjoy a diet Dr. Pepper and relax!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Olivia

Last summer when the kids and I went to Wyoming and Idaho we went to church with my parents.  Olivia was a little shy so instead of going to Sunday school with the kids she came to my Sunday school class with me.  Of course she got bored so I let her play with my phone.  I was going through pictures the other day and came across the pictures she had taken that day!  It made me laugh :)  She is such a goofball! 

















 
It did keep her very quiet and she would be very embarrassed if she knew I posted all these but I couldn't help myself!  Her personality is huge at times and she always keeps us laughing and on our toes!