Monday, September 29, 2008

Strolling Down Memory Lane...

Christine tagged all who read her blog and I have really enjoyed reading her trip down memory lane as well as Rachel's. So, here is mine. Let's see....

23 years ago, I was 18 years-old and a brand new Mommy. Alan had just left (maybe yesterday) to go back to Great Lakes, IL where he was stationed in the Navy. I would be moving out with him as soon as I went in for my six week check-up. I was totally nervous about moving away from my Mom. I was also totally in love with being a mom. I loved everything about it and knew right away that was my "thing". That was to be my career.

19 years ago, I was 22, and I had two little girls who were 2 and 4 years-old and we were living in Virginia Beach, VA. We were counting down the trash days until Daddy came home from the ship "far, far away" as Bethany would say. Alan was on a Med-cruise and had been gone since May. His return date was in November and we counted trash days because the trash came once a week. It seemed less depressing than counting each day. We missed him terribly and although it was one of the hardest things ever, I learned so much and grew so much. I remember trying to find at least one thing to do each day that was outside of the house so the days would not seem too long. We watched the "Daddy tape" that we made of Alan and the girls before he left just about every day. I sat down and wrote to Alan every day of the Med-cruise except for five. I LIVED for the mail man to come. There was no email back in the olden days:)

15 years ago, I was 26, I think, and learning to deal with the reality of my son being diagnosed with cerebral palsy. We had just finished doing a bunch of tests through the summer. What a devestating time for me. I felt so responsible for him being injured. I had the most amazing pediatrician who was such a cheerleader for me. I was dealing with therapists coming into my home and it seemed like I was being crushed by new things all the time. It wasn't until that December that I really let myself start to grieve.

13 years ago we had just moved to Ontario, NY and were looking for a new church. God was so amazing and so clear in his leading. It is a long story, but God lead us to an incredible group of people who would support me through many things. Of all the places we ever lived (and there have been many) that is our home. This was also the time of year when our oldest turned double digits. I spent my days taking care of my house and taking care of my boys while my girls were at school. The kids and I would "living room dance" lots of nights while we waited for Daddy to come home. It was a wonderful time in my life.

5 years ago, I had an unhappy daughter at Word of Life Bible Institute. Although she now realizes how much she learned there, it was a tough time in her life. Therefore, it was tough in my life. God also lead us to NJ to be near to our families. My Dad had just had a traumatic brain injury in March and I had been traveling back and forth alot. I did not know what kind of care he would continue to need, but I knew it would be hard if it all fell on my Mom and sister. I am so thankful for the opportunities that God has given me to be with my Dad (and the rest of our families, too).

Today I got a call that a certain husband had forgotten the cord to his laptop, so I ran that over to him. From there, I went to work and then had a dentist appointment. No cavities!!! I stopped at the pediatrician to pick up a form, stopped by the job site to have some checks signed, went to the bank and back to work for a few minutes to drop off another check. I got lunch, came home and waited for Davin. Davin and I made cookies and I threw in some laundry. I fed Davin, went to pick up Cheney from soccer practice and then took him to look for some cord thing for his cell phone. Dropped the boys off at home (dinner was in the oven) and headed over for a youth group dinner with the girls. I came home, did a bit more laundry, found Cheney's soccer shorts that he was sure I lost and did the ironing for tomorrow.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

First Night, Great Start

Last night was our first night of Awana for the new club year! I am crazy busy on Awana days and especially yesterday. I was very excited for last night, but I really had not thought through the details of the night. With the help of many others, everything ran very smoothly, I think and we had a great time. I love teaching K-2. They soak up so much of what you are telling them and generally they are pretty willing to go with anything you are doing at the moment.

The most exciting thing of the night came later when Bethany called me to tell me about her night. Both of my girls (and Kevin:) work in Awana, but they work with the older kids. Last night Bethany had been able to bring the boy (B) that she nannies for. He is in 4th grade.

On the way to our house last night, B asked if he would have to learn Bible verses since he didn't like the Bible very much. Bethany told him that he didn't have to, but if he did he would earn points for his team. (He is very competative) So, after club, he could not stop talking about the night. One of his leaders had given him a Bible (which he previously had not liked very much) and he was going to read it! He was so excited that he had his own. He also was working on learning a verse on the way home. He told Bethany that he was struggling with the one verse and Bethany recited it for him. He was shocked that she knew it! Bethany explained that she had gone to Awana and learned the verses. By the end of the car ride, B had learned two verses, so he will be able to pass them next week. Bethany was beyond excitement when I talked to her! To think that B could give his heart to the Lord this year... wow! Bethany didn't even really dream of this. To top things off, B's Mom PAID Bethany (which gave her gas money since she drives for at least an hour one way to Awana). Bethany also told me that even though the Mom is not very "religious" as she puts it, she sees that Bethany is different. She said that she knows there are not many young people Bethany's age that live the way she does. What an encouragement to Bethany! People are always watching our lives. This Mom is thinking that when her boys are Bethany's age, she would like them to be the same way, so she sees value in sending her boys to Awana now.

Wow! Bethany wasn't sure she would even be able to sleep. This was just a job for her in the beginning and now she was able to really minister to B. You never know what God is going to use.

What a great start! I can't wait to see what God has in store for this year:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

And The Answers Are......

Such suspense, I know. The funniest thing about my list of "who did it", was that even my girls were not quite sure they knew all of them. It took Ashleigh quite a while to figure out who in the world was expelled from school for three months!

1. Cheney Alan (my climber) scaled down the outside of our house. He tied a rope across the hallway on his sister's door knob and then strung it across his room and out his window. I thought he was upstairs playing, so I was very surprised when my five-year-old walked in the front door with a huge grin on his face. He was very proud! (He's still pretty proud of that story, actually)

2. Ashleigh broke the glass out of our front door while pounding on it so that I would let her in. She had run out of the house in anger, so I decided to lock the door and not let her decide when she was coming and going. Needless to say, she was a bit angry and started banging on the door. She was shocked when it broke and VERY remorseful.

3. Cheney ate the middle of a cherry pie and somehow questioned the rest of us as to who ate the crust? Like it was his personal pie or something!

4. Bethany cut her thumb with a small axe while we were away visiting friends. She came running in holding her thumb and screaming. I was afraid it was cut off and hated to look. Alan decided that we did not need to go to the ER and could just use butterfly band-aids to fix it up. The next day we went to our peditrician (since we were home now) and he said it should have had stitches. Immediately tears were in my eyes. My pediatrician (he was soooo awesome and knew me so well) was not even facing me, so he did not know I was close to tears and without turning around, said very sternly, "Listen, this is not a big deal. This is her thumb, not her face. We would have stitched it yesterday, but you don't need to worry about this. He had been through all of Davin's tests and diagnosis with us and he was such a big supporter.

5. Davin boy was kicked out of school. It is a BIG long story that I probably could have pursued legally, but in the end he was kicked out of school for feeding issues. The school just neglected to tell me. So, on the first day of school, Davin got ready and sat in his wheelchair looking out the sliding glass door. So, he waited and waited and waited. For hours, we waited and finally called to see where the bus was. School, even then was not forth coming as to why Davin was not enrolled in school. Really long story, really touchy subject for me. Can you tell? Anyway, when people would see Davin out with me, they would ask about school and I would tell them that he was kicked out. Davin would smile really, really big! He loved it. Then, people would look at this sweet-looking little boy in a wheelchair and ask, "What did he do?????". It was funny.

6. Ashleigh had the stalker. (Nan, I think you are thinking of a different stalker person:) I won't go into this much, but eventually this boy made a threat to kill someone and I had to go to school and remove Ashleigh from the school, call the person who was threatened and have him taken out of school, and eventually involve the police. Tough day.

7. Bethany Alyssa lied about eating the brownies. This is a famous story in our house. We told the kids that we were going to punish everyone until the person who did it came clean. She did not come clean. Cheney eventally took the blame for it. (He confessed, but was lying because he really didn't do it) About three months later, Cheney came clean that he had lied to cover for Bethany.

8. Cheney had tubes put in his ears when he was just 10 months old. That is the youngest any of my children have had surgery.

9. Bethany shaved her legs when she was just a little toddler and shaved huge chunks of skin off her leg. She has a scar to this day because of that. She really was made of steel, that girl.
10. Davin was tied to the bed his first morning after sleeping in his big boy bed. Cheney had a little bat man rope thing and was pretending to tie Davin up in between the bed and the ladder. I guess Davin was having fun until Cheney left him there and went to do something else. Davin was crying and when I went in there was this little itty bitty rope and Davin was wedged in between the bed and ladder.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Ashleigh Diane!!

23 years ago, my Mom and I were in a labor room. She was my labor coach. Alan was away in Great Lakes, IL in the Navy and was waiting for the Navy to give him clearance to come home to be with me. We were hoping he would make it before she was born. Nope! My Mom and I got to welcome little Ashleigh Diane into the world. I was 18 years old and didn't really know what to expect. I thought babies were born chubby, so I was very surprised that she was skinny:) Things are very fuzzy about those first hours. I remember having her and the pediatrician being called in for the delivery because there might be a problem. My Mom watched as the doctor skillfully and calmly removed the cord that was wrapped around Ashleigh's neck. Alan did not arrive until a little after midnight. I had already been asleep and he came in (in his dress whites, I believe) and then headed over to see his new daughter. For some reason I will never understand, I did not go with him. What was I thinking? Maybe he needed time with her. Maybe I just was too tired to be thinking clearly. I waited and waited and waited for what seemed like forever for him to get back. I thought he would be anxious to get back to see me, but what I didn't realize quite yet was that there was another blue-eyed girl in his life now. Another love. Alan walked into the nursery and literally fell in love with Ashleigh. I think he had a hard time leaving her to come back to my room. That love has lasted and never wavered.

So, Ashleigh, (because though you never comment, I know you read this:) you are not so little anymore. I sure am thankful that 23 years ago today, you came into my world and pretty much became my world. You have added so much laughter to our lives. You have added some (just a little bit) of drama, as well. I think my life would have been pretty boring without you. Now that you are an adult, I am learning things from you, as well. I hope today is a great day for you (your first as a married woman) and I will see you for your birthday dinner. I am going to start working on it now:)

*By the way, the kids always get to pick what they want for their birthday dinner. Ashleigh's menu is as follows:

baked ziti with sausage
garlic bread
banana cream pie (with chocolate in it)
brownies (for her husband)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Who Was It?

You all know I have four children and they are a bit older now. Over the course of their childhoods, they did some interesting things. I am wondering if you can guess who did it?

1. Who, at 5 years-old, scaled down our two-and-a-half story home on a rope and then headed inside the front door to announce what he/she had done with a huge smile?

2. Who broke our glass in the front door by pounding his/her fist on it?

3. Who ate the entire middle out of a cherry pie at 3 years-old and then was upset that someone else ate the crust?

4. Who cut their own thumb with an axe when he/she was about 8?

5. Who was expelled from school for three months?

6. Who had a stalker and at one point, I had to call the police?

7. Who lied about eating the brownies without permission even though his/her other siblings all had to take punishment until the truth was told?

8. Who had surgery at the youngest age?

9. Who shaved his/her legs when they were 2 and shaved the skin right off of the leg? (This still gives me the willies)

10. Who was left tied up to the bed by another sibling on their first night in their "big" bed?

So, was it Ashleigh, Bethany, Cheney, or Davin??? (Ashleigh, you can not answer these questions:)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I Am A Big Fan

I am a big fan of my husband. There are lots of reasons why. I was just thinking of some of them.

I am a big fan of a man who has been working so much, and realizes that he does not want to be that man who is ALWAYS working. I didn't have to tell him that. He doesn't like to miss out on his family. That's pretty cool.

I am a big fan of a man who would take his daughter's car to help her financially, but then give it back to her when she needed it back. He never complained and was glad to help her.

I am a big fan of a man who teases said daughter so much, but loves it because he loves her so much. (Hi Ashleigh!)

I am a big fan of a man whose family is so important that he started a business that he knew very little about so that he could employ his family members. He jumped in with both feet and learned everything about that business and as I would listen to him talk, I was amazed. Even I couldn't tell that just a short time before going into that business, this stuff had been foreign to him.

I am a big fan of a man who wins a trip for two in a contest. I sat and listened to our kids try to figure out which of them he would take. They did consider that their Dad might take me for a moment, but then for various reasons, each one explained why he would probably pick them. That is pretty cool to always think you are the favorite.

I am a big fan of a man who calls his wife to see when she is getting to church so he can make sure he comes out and helps get the wheelchair out of the truck.

Frankly, I am a big fan of a man who has loved me for the last (almost) 26 years.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Awesome Report from Sandy Cove

I just got the following letter from our TKCS Knightly News. I had told you Cheney is on a retreat with school and they sent the following report. Their words, not mine. I don't want to steal credit for writing:) It filled my eyes with tears as I read it. God is so good.

"Apparently, God Didn’t Get the Memo

As everyone knows, nighttime bonfires at Christian teen retreats are supposed to be carefully scripted and planned in advance. They’re supposed to start on time and end on time, with a few tears, a few yawns, and a few shallow commitments which everyone knows will soon fade away, some even before the campfire smoke clears. They’re supposed to be led by the adults, the grown-ups who know better and have years of experience staging worship experiences.

Tonight, here at Sandy Cove, apparently God had other plans.

Apparently, He didn’t even notice the sound system that was set up, because the kids didn’t use it. Instead, they raised their voices loudly in prayer, one by one, the young men first, the young ladies following, all praying openly and unashamedly for forgiveness, for God to work in their broken lives, for God to continue burning in their hearts in the days and year to come. They prayed for revival.

Apparently God forgot about the guitar that sat, unused, on the bench in the back. Instead, He filled the students’ hearts with the songs they have been singing for years. Chorus after chorus, hymn after hymn, about 25 or 30 different songs, one right after the other, for well over an hour and a half, all sung without instruments, without PowerPoint, without hymnals or song sheets, without thought to those around, only to the One being sung to.

Apparently, God wasn’t watching the clock or the color-coded retreat schedule, because the bonfire service wasn’t supposed to start until the pizza event was all over, and the chaperones rounded up the reluctant kids and urged them to the fire. Instead, the seniors took it on themselves to get the crowd moving to the hillside overlooking the bay, where they began singing, “Our God is an Awesome God,” over and over and over.

Apparently, God didn’t see the benches set up neatly in rows a few feet from the fire, because no one sat in them. Instead, they marched 200 yards across the field, arm-in-arm, singing the whole way, and directly to the fire, surrounding it, three people deep. For the next 90 minutes, some stood, some kneeled, some raised hands, some wrapped their arms around the one next to them, some drifted off to the hillside to cry or pray with a friend, and then rejoin the rest. Young men hugged each other, said “I love you,” and yet no one giggled.

Apparently, God forgot that the school’s Minister of Spiritual Life or maybe the retreat speaker, or at least some other adult is supposed to keep the “program” moving and keep the kids focused on God. Instead, God used the student body president, and a few other senior guys to do that. Guys? Since when are they the spiritual leaders in a Christian school? The adults just sat to the sides, quietly praying and letting God do what He was going to do.

Apparently, God forgot all of the standard protocols for Christian teen events.

Instead, He just showed up, got everything else out of the way, and did what only He can do—speak to the passionate, open young hearts of the next generation of disciples and world-changers.

Apparently, our job, as adults, isn’t to do God’s job for Him. He can do just fine on His Own. Instead, like the apostle Paul with young Timothy, we simply want to “fan into flame the gift of God,” by mentoring, encouraging, and discipling those who, tonight, worshipped God in spirit and in truth."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Time to Retreat

Cheney left this morning to head to his high school retreat. They will be heading down to Maryland for three days. They will have a guest speaker and lots of activities. It is always nice for my kids to be able to get away on a spiritual retreat. They always come back refreshed and pumped up!!

Meanwhile, things will be quiet at our house once again. With Alan working long hours, it is me and Davin for a good part of the day after school.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A New Van?

We are in the market for a van. Not just any van. We are in the market for a wheelchair accessible van. I have really mixed feelings about getting one, but I do know that it is time. Just a couple of weeks ago, Davin got a bunch of new parts for his wheelchair. It changed the whole thing. It changed it so much that I can no longer easily put the wheelchair into the back of my Jeep. I have been picking up wheelchairs and putting them in the back of my vehicles for almost 12 years, I guess. I know I look awkward doing it, but I was used to doing it and it was no biggy. But, now, when I lift the chair and have to put it in sideways, it's not good. I can tell I could really hurt myself and that is a big No No when you have a child who is not ambulatory. You can not have a hurt back!!! So, today there was a special showing of accessible vans at a special dealer and we went. I pretty much know what we are looking for, so that is not a problem. We also have some funding to make it MUCH easier to afford because all of the adaptations are VERY expensive. The biggest difference will be that I have to be careful where I park. I have to park where there is the big handicap strip (for the lift) and it has to be on the correct side of the van. I also wonder if it will take me a lot longer to put Davin in and out of the car with a lift. We shall see!

Davin is totally excited about getting a new van. Today, he wanted to go in lots of the vans. Any of them that had the ramp already out for him, he wanted to go in and he was so excited to sit in there and see if it had a television screen in it. He is so funny.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

Today I will share 13 things about my favorite sister Jennifer.

1. Jen is my only sister.

2. She is 18 months younger than me.

3. She used to have straight hair, but every time she had a baby it switched. Back and forth, etc. It ended up being quite curly.

4. My sister now lives 15 minutes from my house:)

5. She is a nurse.

6. Jen is the only one in my family who went to college.

7. She loves m&ms of all kinds and calls them "vitamins". I love that I can go to her house and have a few vitamins whenever I feel I need them.

8. Jen has three children (including one that we nicknamed "the big-eyed baby" when he was little. Adorable.

9. I laugh so much when I am with her (especially when we go through a Wendy's drive-thru)

10. We have a lot of inside jokes and we always think they are really funny.

11. She does not highlight her hair, even though I tell her all the time that she would feel so much better if she did.

12. She is a godly woman and a very good example to me.

13. Jen is my best friend and has been for a very, very long time. I am so proud that she's my sister, even though I had nothing to do with it.

14. Jen married her "high school" sweetheart even though they parted ways for a while after high school.

15. She has been known to use a bit too much butter in recipes:)

16. She makes fantastic chicken and dumplings.

17. She is ALWAYS thinking of other people first.

18. My sister was a HUGE support while Davin was sick. Not only was she there as a sister, but since she is a nurse, I was able to ask her so many questions. She even was willing to come over the minute Davin got home from the hospital to show me how to work all of the equipment.

19. Jen saved up her own money to buy herself a bike when she was young.

20. She has a pair of yellow sandals that she calls her "happy shoes".

I do realize that is more than 13, so I will now call this, "Thirteen Thursday plus a little bit more".

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Sarah Palin Thoughts (Getting really real)

I really like Sarah Palin. I have enjoyed hearing about her and I agree with much of what she has to say. She seems strong, she seems loving and is very personable. I can not help but ponder some situations in her life right now that must feel quite overwhelming. (The nomination aside) Sarah is in the middle of three rather huge, life-changing times. I guess maybe I have been thinking so much about this, because when I have been in these three situations, it nearly took the breathe out of my lungs. I have dealt with these situations one at a time, she is in the midst of all three together and she is campaigning. Wow.

First off, SP is getting ready to say goodbye to her son as he heads off to Iraq. I can not say that I ever sent anyone to war, but I did say goodbye to my husband for 6 months at a time. Even without the war aspect, it took a huge amount of energy and time to keep up with my husband (write letters, send packages, pray). This is a huge event in the life of a family.

SP is also dealing with a huge diagnosis of her baby boy. I know that she knew about the diagnosis before his birth, but still...... it's HUGE!!! There are feelings to deal with, there are questions from people, there are initial doctor appointments, there are therapy appointments. All of these things are so burdensome, especially in the beginning when you are trying to deal with the diagnosis and your dreams of what life is supposed to be like. I remember the first year after Davin's diagnosis and I really can't put into words the amount of times that I felt crushed. It's huge and it changes many things. It is one thing to accept the diagnosis, but that is really just the beginning.

SP is also dealing with her daughter who is 17 years old and pregnant and I have heard is planning to marry her boyfriend. I have never been a mother of a pregnant daughter, but I have been the 17 year-old pregnant teen and have married my boyfriend. I can not tell you the amount of energy this crisis took. I do not know how much energy it took for my mom, but I can imagine it was a great deal. There are so many things to think through, there is the space distance. Will her daughter be far away and really need that advice from her Mom? It's such a difficult time.

As I have thought about these things in her life and how much she does represent normal life and difficult things that women go through, I can not stop and think that that is a lot on any person's plate. And then, what if you are asked to run for vice president of the United States?????? Oh my goodness.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

6 Random Things About Me

I was tagged by Kristina. I do not know how to link her name in this post, so if you go to my sidebar, you can go to her sight. Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you (but I don't know how)
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. List 6 random facts about yourself
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post
5. Let each person know they've been tagged by commenting on their blog
6. Let the tagger know the entry is posted on your blog

1. I am humming most all of the time. I always have some song in my head. Alot of the time it's "Bill Grogan's Goat". Did any of you sing that at camp when you were growing up??

2. I love to watch "The Office". It is so pathetic now that I am often quoting things from the show that apply to my life. It's sad. I do not watch my t.v., but like to watch this show on DVD.

3. I really like anklets. I don't wear them often, but I really like them.

4. I often do not get jokes. The other day someone asked my son if he still had his girlfriend and when he said, no, they asked what happened? Did she get glasses? For the rest of the night, I was thinking that Cheney must have said something to him before about not liking girls who wore glasses. Alan and Cheney found this very funny when it came up.

5. I used to have such a problem with worrying that I would throw up.

6. I LOVE highlights! If you don't have some, you should get some. They are fantastic!!!

I will tag Michelle, Melanie, Christine, Angie, Carla, and Kelli

Monday, September 08, 2008

A Washing Machine is a Beautiful Thing - especially if it is in your own house!

Since school has started back up, I am dedicated to working for our small construction company three mornings a week. Last year, this totally overwhelmed me. I could never get anything done in the house, it seemed and I wasn't caught up in my work, either. Thinking back to last year, I realized that for about 7 months, I guess, I did not have a functioning washing machine at my house. I would cart my laundry over to my wonderful sister's house (whom I am SO thankful for - she let me use her washing machine and NEVER made it seem like an inconvenience!) and that took me a couple of days a week to do that. Also, I was picking Davin up two days a week and taking him to PT. Before that, I had been taking him to speech two times a week for the last couple of years. This year, Davin is not attending extra therapy outside of school AND I have a washing machine that works beautifully and the best thing is, it's right in my house!!!! My stress level with working is SO much less because other things in my life are not quite as demanding of my time.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Ah, the Weekend

One of the best things about school starting is being able to enjoy the weekends in a different way. During the summer, they are sometimes not that different than any other day of the week. But, during the school year, it's so nice to be able to sleep in late (except when Rocky wakes me up early anyway) and figure out what we want to do for the day on Saturday. Today I think I may sit down and scrapbook. That is the plan anyway. A plan that is often thwarted. I have already made a batch of cookies, folded a load of laundry,fed Davin, and have a load of laundry in the washer.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

First Day of School

Yesterday was the first day of school for both Cheney and Davin. Things seemed to go very well. Davin was a bit nervous and with good reason. This year, he is over in the high school wing of his school, he has a new teacher and he does not have his aide anymore. He has a new one. (Sobbing, sobbing) The sobbing is from me because I get so attached to the aides. It is like we have joint custody and I trust them to care for Davin for half of the day. Miss B had been with us for three years and she did such an excellent job with Davin and he ADORED her. I'm sure his new aide will be great, too, but it is a time of adjustment.

This year Cheney is president of his senior class, so he is already busy with meetings and things. I think he is excited about all of the activities he is involved with this year.

On a side note, did you all watch Sarah Palin last night? Did you see little Piper (her daughter) holding Sarah's youngest son? Oh my goodness. It was adorable enough when she was just holding him, but then she started smoothing his hair down and when that wasn't enough, she licked her hand and then smoothed his hair down some more. It was adorable!!!