Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Home Study Update

We are still waiting (patiently????) for our case worker to complete her part of the home study.  She needs to get the written home study to us and then we make changes and then we are ready!  From that point, we can start to inquire about sibling groups.  We have one sibling group that we are all very interested in, but we can't ask questions without the complete home study.  Unfortunately, we have been at this exact same point for about 2 months now.  I felt so patient for so long and now I am having a harder time. 

We are talking about our kids out there somewhere waiting for us, their forever family.  It is kind of a big deal.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


I heard someone mention "caregivers" the other day.  I supposed I fit into that category.  When did that happen?  When are you just a parent and then when does that crossover and you turn into the "caregiver"?  The answer is definitely not when your child can't do the usual self help skills when they are supposed to.  Davin couldn't dress himself or feed himself when he was eight years-old, but I was still a Mom, not a caregiver.  Hmmm....

I can just add that to my list....mother/legal guardian/caregiver.  It just makes him more mine and I am good with that:-)

Monday, December 05, 2011

Reason #4,698

Just another reason why I love him.  When this happened...

(as he was leaning back to check the water temperature for Davin's bath that was at least half 1/3 full), he simply smiled and said, "Well, I guess I am glad I just took my wallet out of my pocket." 

Just so everyone knows, Alan is aware that I am sharing this story with a picture:-)

Monday, November 28, 2011

She's 70!

She didn't have the best childhood.  She remembers sitting in bars as a child waiting for her parents to be done.  There were things she did not know the truth about until she was a grandmother, even down to not knowing her Mom's real first name.  She made the very best of it.  Her only brother became a product of what having a hard life so often does to a person.  She didn't.  She may not have had the best example (although there were some awesome adults in her life as a child), but she became a wonderful example of a godly mother.  Sometimes I take it for granted that my Mom was a Christian, and then I think about what the odds were that she would be who she is today.  I am in awe of her. 

I have my Christian heritage because she chose to follow Christ and take her two little girls to church always.  She did not have the support of a husband in her faith.  She had to be the spiritual leader on her own.  She prayed and stayed in the Word and eventually saw my Father come to Christ.  Her life has been such an example. 

I am who I am today because of who she is and who she was. 

On Friday, my Mom turned 70!  I can hardly believe it.  We had a party for her with all of her children and grandchildren present.  She got a way cool ipad2 and we made her a book with a letter from each of us telling her what she means to us.  It was a wonderful day.  It was so good to celebrate the woman who has celebrated me for my whole life. 

P.S. My one complaint would be that it would have been nice if my Mom had given me her "no-gray-hairs and don't dye my hair even though I am now 70" genes.  I am just saying it would have been nice.  Also, it is not nice when your mother is much thinner than you are and therefore you have to workout and lose weight;-) 

Happy Birthday Mom!!!!  You are the best!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Admitting It is the First Step

For the last 8 1/2 months I have worked so hard to change my health and my body.  I have changed how much I eat, what I eat and how often I eat.  I have worked out five days a week nearly every single week.  It has been a gradual change that I have seen, but I feel so good about the progress that I have made.  I feel good that I am not starting tomorrow like usual:-)  But.....then......Davin had his birthday.  I ordered him a cake from a fabulous bakery.  I LOVE a good bakery cake.  I adore butter cream icing. 

The day of Davin's birthday, I had a couple of pieces.  One was very small, by the way:-)  Then, the next day, I had two more pieces.  After that, I realized I was eating way too many calories.  So, I did what any reasonable lover-of-butter cream-icing would do.  I started eating the icing only and ditching the cake down the garbage disposal.  Oh my.  Things were going downhill fast.  I told Alan about my brilliant idea of just eating the icing and saving myself the calories of the cake.  He seemed more concerned than impressed. 

Finally yesterday, I admitted, the cake needed to go.  Admitting I have a problem is the first step, right? 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another Very Special Day

Today was a very special day for Davin.  We got a letter in the mail that he would be given a special award today and that during the ceremony there would be something read about Davin and why he was getting the award.  I didn't realize that only 4 kids are chosen out of his school 4 different times during the year to receive such an award.  The staff recognizes each recipient for their own special strengths and growth. 

While Davin sat in the front of the room in front of the principal and vice principals and other guests, the following was read:

Davin Hester joined Creekside in the middle of last year, and the minute he entered Creekside he made a huge impact.  His smile affects everyone who meets him and people are instantly drawn to him.  He is a jokester (at this point Davin started cracking up) who enjoys pulling pranks on people as much as he enjoys having pranks done to him.  His laugh comes from his belly and is deep and sincere. 

Davin is very intelligent, and keeps up academically with his age equivalent peers from other classes while at the same time he charms the staff.

Although Davin is highly intelligent and funny, he has a devious side.  This is the side that will steal purses from the teacher's desk or off of the back of a wheelchair.  This is the side that will take a stick and knock things off of the teacher's desk.  this is the side that could have had him sent to the Principal's office on more than one occasion!

Davin is a wonderful person who comes from a loving family.  We all feel that we have been blessed to have met him. 

So....I went back and forth between gushing with pride to wondering if my son had just gotten an award for being a twirp:-)  In the end, I realize what he got the award for.  He got the award for being who he is.  The staff and students at his school celebrate who he is and I am so thankful for a place like that.  Why would Davin not want to go to school? 

Davin's award also got me to thinking.  The things that were said about Davin and how drawn people are to him is true.  He makes an impact.  He makes an impact most places that he goes.  Davin can't walk or talk or write or play sports in the traditional way, but he makes an impact. 

In general, we feel badly for someone who does not have the skills or abilities that we have, but am I using those "extra" skills that I have to make an impact?  Do I impact people the way my son does?  If he can touch lives the way he does without ever uttering one word, how much of an impact can I make with my words?  Davin uses what he has and he does a great job.  Do I? 

Bubby's Birthday

Saturday was Davin Bruce's 19th birthday!!  Both sisters and one special brother-in-law came to celebrate with us!!  It was a fun day for sure. 

When I think back to the day my Bubby was born, things seemed so different than they are now.  I had no idea how much that boy was going to change my life.  All of my children changed my life in many ways, but Davin's presence in my life has made me different.  I am a different mom because of him.  I stand with the proud other moms who have a special needs child to raise and I am so thankful for that.  I have a different perspective on perfection and on endurance and on unconditional love.  God knew just what I needed when he blessed me with that 7 pound 1 ounce boy 19 years ago. 

Happy Birthday Bubby!!!  I love you so much!!

Friday, November 04, 2011


I have been shaken...but not moved. 

In general, when I am not blogging, there are things going on in my life that I can't or don't want to share, even in person.  I guess everybody decides what kind of blogger they will be, and I have chosen to share limited information.  It is a good fit for me. 

I see God working and I know that I can trust Him.   

In other news, Alan has been gone for the last 10 days.  I wish I could say I have had a great attitude and have been glad that he has been enjoying his trip.  I do wish I could say that.  While my attitude has been less than excellent, that cute boy that I share my life with has been awesome.  He has eaten every meal so nicely and has slept so soundly ever single night that we were by ourselves.  Now, for my attitude adjustment.....

Monday, October 10, 2011

My Pleasure

Davin and I recently headed down to NJ for a dentist appointment.  A sweet side benefit is that I got to spend time with my daughters.  I have been missing them so much.  One day, I got to take my Dad with me to meet Ashleigh and the twin girls that she nannies for.  We met for lunch.  To be honest, I knew this time could go either way for my Dad.  He has always been pretty head strong and if he decided the girls were acting up or we had driven too long to get there, his mood would be hard to change.  I held my breath.  Lunch could not have been better.  My Dad and I got to watch Ashleigh do what she loves to do.  She takes such excellent care of the girls.  They are 21 months old.  As I got to watch Ashleigh, it just affirmed what a wonderful mother she will someday be.  She is making such a difference in the life of this family by training their children so well.  The girls were adorable and my Dad enjoyed them so much.  The sweetest part of the trip was when we were getting ready to walk out and I asked E if she would like to hold Pop Pop's hand on the way out.  She is just a tiny little peanut, but she reached up and grabbed his hand and held it all the way to the car.  I watched my Dad whose normal strides are long and quick, slow down to keep pace with little E.  So sweet. 

I also got to be present for Bethany's first day at her new job!!!  She now has a job working in her field!!  Woo hoo!!!  I got to be there to make her lunches for the first few days, and I was blessed to be able to make dinner for us to eat together when she got home from work. 

When my kids were younger, they had to make their own lunches and do other things around the house, too.   Now that they are older, I find that when I the opportunity to serve them in that way, it blesses me.  It is just another way for me to show them that I love them and still love to take care of them. 

Any Changes?

As we prepare to bring more children into our home, Alan and I have been discussing guidelines once again.  Will we do things the same as when our other four children were growing up, or are there changes to be made?  We will most likely be adopting at least one teenager, so how do we give guidelines that may be different than what they previously had?  We have been talking through cell phones, texting, and facebook.  We seem to both be on the same page with these things, but I think it will be tricky to give a bunch of guidelines to a teenager who is brand new in our home.  I kind of think we will need to gradually do it, but I am not sure. 

As for cell phones, we are pretty set on the fact that you don't ever need one unless you are driving.  That opinion hardly made us the cool parents before and I am pretty sure it won't now.  I think texting may want to be avoided all together for quite a while.  It has proven to be a very easy way for inappropriate discussions to take place. 

Any thoughts?  When did you let your kids have a facebook?  How much internet time do you allow?  How much television?  What is your opinion of cell phones and kids? 

Although these issues are issues that Alan and I need to have covered together, I know that our kids will need love and support the most.  The other things will come, but the love and stability will make us a family. 

Thursday, October 06, 2011

On the Same Page

If I am to be honest, Alan and I are so very different.  I know that is not shocking to anyone who knows both of us.  If we make a list at any given time of the things that are our top five priorities (as far as things that need to be done), our lists would vary greatly.  Alan thinks I stress about silly details too much and I think he ignores them too much which makes me stress more;-) 

As we have gone through the steps of becoming home study ready, we have talked a lot.  It is so crucial that we are on the same page and have the same or similar priorities for this.  This is big.  We had a conversation the other day about getting the beds put up and all that goes with that so that the bedrooms are ready.  We actually were in total agreement! 

I don't say that to say that Alan and I disagree a bunch.  As far as parenting goes, we always back each other up and think so much alike.  In general, things that need to be done in the house, though, have us on different pages.  The fact that we were totally in agreement is one more affirment from God that He is instructing us to walk this path. 

I guess I need lots of reminders or at least I appreciate it every time God reminds me. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Yesterday I made sugar cookies.  I took out my cookbook that I have had since I was first married.  I opened it and all of the sudden, my Mom's cookbook flashed through my mind.  She uses the same one, but hers is an older version.  When I looked at my cookbook as I opened it on the counter, I suddenly saw the wear and tear on the well-worn book, the pages that were no longer attached.  I saw the yellowed page color and the stains from food dripping onto the pages as I cooked another meal or dessert.  When did I become the older mother?  When did I become my Mom? 


Monday, September 26, 2011


I have no other way to explain this, except to say that I am nesting.  Does that happen when you are adopting, too?  It has become absolutely necessary for every single thing in our apartment to be organized and in a place that makes sense.  Is that because my world is about to be turned upside down???  Bring it on!!  (and I will have very clean closets as a bonus;-)

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Day

Today is the day that I met Ashleigh Diane.  I was never the same again.  From this day forward, 26 years ago, I was not just Heather.  I was Ashleigh's Mom and I loved it. 

Happy Birthday Ashleigh Diane!!!  I love your passion for life, your loyalty to your family and friends and your desire to be who God wants you to be.  I am so glad you changed my world 26 years ago.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Her Time

This time of year, especially this week, takes me back.  It takes my thoughts back to 26 years ago and a very overdue pregnant 18-year-old.  The doctor was concerned that I was overdue and told me to go get a non-stress test.  My due date was September 6th.  Well, I was a non-tylenol-taking kind of girl, so I just assumed that I did not want to get a stress test.  I also declined getting ultrasounds with my first two babies because I thought there were risks to the baby.  I guess the doctor should have thought to explain to me why I needed the non-stress test and what exactly it was.  I just went back home.  The next week, the doctor was a little more emphatic that I HAD to go right to the hospital and get the test done and explained a bit more to me about why it was necessary.  Since I was so young, I was sailing on unchartered waters and figuring things out as I went along.  So, off for the test, we went.  The baby was great, but they gave me a specific date.  If the baby didn't come by Monday, I would be induced. 

So, I went outside and played badmitten and I walked around to try to encourage this baby to come.  Alan was away in Great Lakes, IL having just graduated from boot camp just 6 weeks earlier.  He was anxious to come home and his 19-year-old not-knowing-anything-about-pregnancy self thought that I could make myself go into labor.  He would tell me when was a good weekend and tell me to really try.  Silly boy. 

Soon, my whole life would change.....

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hello Bunk Beds

I believe it was just over a year ago that I had a post titled "Bye Bye Bunk Beds".  We had been living with bunk beds for forever it seemed and I was excited to be saying goodbye to them.  Well, as God has made it clear that we are to adopt a sibling group, guess what we are getting ready to put back into our bedrooms??  Yup, bunk beds!  I am so excited to have bunk beds again and to think of the children that will fill them while dreaming at night.  I guess there is a season for everything.  Even bunk beds.  Sometimes there are two seasons for them:-)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Bubby

One really special thing about this time in our lives is the amount of special time we have spent with Bubby (Davin).  For Davin's entire life, he kept up with our older kids and we took him everywhere and included him in everything.  This time of life is so catered to him, though, and I am enjoying that.  We go to movies that Davin likes.  We take walks together because Davin loves to be outside.  We spend time just hanging out with him and talking with him. 

While we continue to wait for our "new" kids to come home, we will continue to enjoy this time with Bubby. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Milestone Met and One Around the Corner

I have been out of blog land:-(  Do you remember when I wrote about struggling with finding a balance with computer time?  Well, my heavenly Father who loves me and knows what is best for me, took care of that.  My laptop broke quite a few weeks ago and although I have access to a desktop, I am leaving it on the floor, so that when I use it I do not get too comfortable:-)  I have missed checking in here, though. 

As of the beginning of September, I have hit my 6 month mark into my new healthy lifestyle!!!  I have been working out 5 days a week consistently for 6 months!!!  For a girl who rarely ever finishes projects, this is a big deal.  I feel so good about it and am hopeful that I have made it such a part of my life that it will stay.  It has been such a blessing to be on this journey with my best friend Alan.  Some mornings we don't even say a word until we are all done, but we are doing it together and I love that.  We have both decided that our very favorite time of the day is 7 am.  That means that we have 23 whole hours to go until we have to start the workout again;-) 

We are about a month away from having a home study complete!!!!  This realization comes complete with both excitement and terror.  Well, maybe not terror, but it is hard to believe in so many ways.  The last things on our list are to get a few safety items for our house and then to get the beds!!!  That's right, the beds for.....the children!!!  Wow!!!  I continue to be in awe of a God who can give such peace as He guides us through this process.  Every time I hear a word that speaks fear into my heart, God takes it and lets me know that He is in control of this.  He already knows what our lives will look like in a year, in ten years, and we don't have to worry. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

He Misses Him

Cheney is back at Wheaton.  He is so excited to be back and so thankful that he has the opportunity to return for his junior year.  Since things were up in the air about him returning, we did not prepare ourselves mentally to say goodbye.  We decided on a Wednesday morning and Alan and Cheney boarded a train for Chicago that night. It was hard.  Davin had gone to bed that night since he still had school the next day.  Cheney went in to lay with Davin for a while and then told Davin that he needed to go take a shower, but would come back.  Davin (who usually goes right to sleep) waited for Cheney to be done.  I went in and asked if Davin would like to get up and sit with Cheney a while.  Davin just pointed to his pillow where he wanted Cheney to lay down.  Cheney hopped in with his brother and laid with him while Davin fell asleep.  I think that is the hardest part for me.  When I watch them together, I feel like my heart is hurting to think of them not being together.

The next night, it was just me and Davin.  Davin had been fine in the morning, but he does not usually see Cheney in the mornings.  After he had been in bed for a while, I went in to check on him since he was still awake and that was odd.  I believe there were tears in his eyes.  I thought my heart would break.  He missed his brother.  It is hard to say goodbye to your  big brother.  Davin had a rough night trying to sleep that night and the next day his teacher wrote me that he looked lost and sad.  Poor Bubby!

Thankfully our Bethany Alyssa arrived here on Friday and we get to enjoy her company for a week and Daddy returned home today:-)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Which Way?

We are having some major problems with Cheney going back to Wheaton this year.  He was all set to head back, but finances are far from situated.  I'm watching a young man try to figure out what to do and be pretty content with whatever way God leads. 

Lord, whatever you have to do in Cheney's life to grow him into the man you want him to be, please do it.  If you can do it at Wheaton, please provide a way.  Please let us be content and know that You are in control. 

Saturday, August 06, 2011


Davin has quite a few cousins.  They all love him.  They are all happy to see him.  No doubt about that. 

There is one cousin who has a special relationship with Davin, though.  I got to watch them together this week.  It was priceless.  My boy has had friends through his life, but very few friends who talked to him, included him, and understood him.  Trey is that kind of friend. 

Aside from Cheney, I do not think I have ever seen someone else know that Davin wanted to hold their hand as they were walking beside his chair.  Trey knew.  As soon as Davin reached out his hand, Trey (who is 13 years-old, by the way) took Davin's hand and held it as he walked next to Davin. 

Every day that Trey was here visiting, he made sure he was outside in time to see Davin get off the bus.  He knew how excited Davin was to see him. 

Trey takes the time to figure out what Davin wants to do and he spends time with him.  It is a beautiful thing. 

Friendships for our kids can always be difficult to watch.  We watch our kids be ignored at times, left out at times and treated badly at times.  When you have a child who cannot speak, it happens a lot.  Many times other children just don't know how to include Davin.  I don't know why Trey knows how to do it, but he does and I feel blessed to have watched their relationship this week. 

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Can You Tell?

Can you tell Davin is glad to have his cousins here?

We went for a walk tonight and I am pretty sure that most of our town could hear Davin squealing, hollering and laughing:-)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Passing on Some Memories

My sister and I are only 18 months apart in age.  My kids are quite a bit older than hers, though.  My kids grew up with my parents pre-traumatic-brain-injury.  There is a difference. 

When my kids were growing up, my Mom and Dad would come and visit us in upstate NY.  My Dad would always ask for a volunteer to go with him to Wegmans.  Without fail, while in Wegmans, they visited the HUGE bulk candy section and came back with HUGE bags of candy for everyone.  It was special because it was just my Dad and one of my kids at a time going on an adventure.  My Dad still talks about those trips to Wegmans. 

My sister's kids are young enough that most of their memories of my Dad are after his traumatic brain injury.  My Dad no longer has a driver's license, so he can't just take one of my sister's kids to the store or to Burger King or to look at birds in a favorite spot. 

Today I got to take my niece and nephews to Wegmans and show them the HUGE bulk candy section.  It was a big hit.  My Dad wasn't there, but it is still part of his memory.  I called my Dad and left a message letting him know that his grandchildren got to experience Wegmans' candy section.  I know it will bring a smile to his face and now Jen's kids share in this Pop Pop memory just a little bit:-)

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Beach

To me, growing up in New Jersey, the beach is at the ocean.  In upstate New York, the beach is at a lake.  Today we visited a state park and swam in Lake Ontario.

My sister and her kids are here visiting this week:-)

Friday, July 29, 2011

I Will Miss This

I will miss this when Cheney goes back to college.  I love watching the way they love each other.  I love seeing Davin's eyes follow Cheney until Cheney talks to him or goes over to him. 

Hands down, watching my kids' relationships has been one of the best things about being a mom. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Have Clearly Lost My Mind

Yesterday in Davin's communication notebook, I got a note saying that he is to be in charge of the limbo at school on Friday.  At first I thought it was because he is non-verbal and they were trying to find a way to include him.  Then, I thought about it and realized that all of the kids in his class are non-verbal and he is just probably the bossiest, so he got the job:-)  His teacher is very funny and loves Davin's sense of humor, so she asked me if Davin had a coconut bra to wear for the limbo contest.  I have clearly lost my mind because I went out today and bought one.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Another Lesson

One morning last week, Davin was not on board with the schedule.  I explained to him why we were on a very tight schedule and exactly what I needed him to do.  He did not feel like doing what I asked.  I was frustrated.  I gave a big speech about how Jesus was not very happy with his behavior and that neither was I.  I went on to add that life does not revolve around Davin and maybe he needs to stop living like it does.  How many times has my Heavenly Father probably had the same thought about me?  Heather, the whole world does not revolve around you, so maybe it is time to stop living like it does. 

I learn so much by teaching my kids.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Same is GOOD!

Davin and I drove down to NJ yesterday and had his neuro appointment at 8 am this morning.  Now we are already back "home" in NY.  Thank you to all who prayed for our appointment.  I had such peace going to the appointment.  After I spoke with the neuro on the phone about a month ago, I was left wondering if Davin did not actually have CP, but had something that was changing.  Today I had all of my questions answered.

I have never had neurologist that I liked.  Never.  Until today:-)  Today we went in expecting to see the doctor that I spoke with on the phone, but instead we saw a nurse practitioner who was amazing.  She answered all of my questions.  She went over the results of the MRI with me bit by bit and explained everything.  She asked me a couple of different times if I had any additional questions.  She sat next to Davin and rubbed his arm every once in a while, looked in his eyes and smiled at him.  Davin was acting like wild thing, but it was funny. 

Today I learned the underlying cause for Davin's CP and for the severity of his CP.  He has a condition that happened when his tiny little brain was first developing.  The NP said that I probably didn't even know I was pregnant when all of this happened.  There is some possibility that genetics is involved.  The NP is going to speak with the geneticist and let me know if she feels we should dig further. The only reason it matters at all is just for our other children to know.  Finding out anything else does not change anything for Davin. 

And that, my friend, is the good news!!  He is the SAME!!  The things that his MRI showed are not new things.  They are things that happened and all explain his CP.  I am assuming the MRIs are different or this information is different than it was 18 years ago when Davin was diagnosed and had his only other MRI. 

The other cool thing that God did through this is that He let me off the hook.  When other people would talk about kids with disabilities they might say things like "God doesn't make mistakes".  I, of course, know this to be true, but  never felt like it applied to our situation.  Generally CP is a brain injury that happens before, during or right after birth.  When Davin was diagnosed, the wonderful (I jest;-) neurologist told me that there was no reason to investigate why Davin has CP because it would just make someone feel guilty.  Can you guess who took on that guilt?  Yup, that was me.  I was always afraid I had someone hurt Davin or allowed him to be hurt.  Today I am freed of that.  Thank you Jesus. 

By the time I got to the appointment today, I knew that if Davin's condition was getting worse or if it was staying the same, I had the same huge God walking beside me and everything was in His hands.  He has equipped me for the journey so far and He will continue.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Least Favorite

Davin has a doctor appointment tomorrow with my least favorite kind of doctor.....the neurologist.  Apparently the MRI that he had done in April came back with a lot of abnormalities, etc (which is weird since when he had his first one done, I think the doctor said it was "normal" whatever that meant).  He had not had one done since he was an infant, so we do not know if things look differently or not.  It is not an appointment that I am looking forward to, but I also have peace.  Oh, how these neurologists can rock my world.  If you would pray for me tomorrow, I would appreciate it.  My biggest concern is that I will have wisdom as to if Davin needs to leave the room when the doctor is talking.  There is no reason for Davin to feel badly about himself and I need discernment for the right time, if any, to let my sister take him out with her.  I have peace, but I sure will be glad when it is over. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Would I?

I live in the world of "different". I live in the world of "doing things another way". I live in the world of "disabilities". I didn't choose to live in this world, though. (and of course, you know I went kicking and screaming as is my usual course:-)

Today I was pondering how I got here versus how many other families get here. I read a lot of blogs about adoptions. There are so many families that choose to live in the world of "different". Would I? If God had not chosen this path for me, would I have been able to choose it for myself?

I am very thankful for the view from here...this world that is slightly different. The perspective is different from here and I am so blessed to be able to see it.

The Best Part

The best part of the morning was the bus pulling up and my friend "A" waving to me!!  "A" happens to sport an extra chromosome and he waves to me most every day when Davin gets dropped off.  For summer school, he is on the bus in the morning, so that was a BONUS!  I am not sure I would recognize "A" if I saw him in person somewhere.  I only see him through the bus' tinted window, but he sure brightens my day:-)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Fun Continued!

Whew!!  We packed a bunch of fun into one week!!  We finished off the week by taking a family trip to the Corning Glass Museum.  Did you know that kids and teens are free, there??  Fantastic!! 

Even my biggest boy (who wasn't free because he is no longer a teen:-) enjoyed the day and took one of the classes.  Watching Cheney in his class, reminded me of when he was 7 and took an art class.  Head down, concentrating on the task at hand.   Alan took a class, too, and made me a necklace.  I can't wait to get it in the mail!! 

Best part of the trip...spending the day with my best guys! 

Cheney may have bought a special prize for "someone", but sorry I cannot show a picture of that;-)  She sometimes reads this blog and I don't want to ruin the surprise!

Friday, July 08, 2011

When you go to school in the summer, you need to cram a lot of fun into a couple of weeks of summer!!  So, we have been busy doing some fun things with Davin.  In the picture above, Davin is moving a can up a belt to feed a goat that was just waiting and waiting for some food.  Davin is not unhappy here although it does look like he is. 

We went out for dinner to Sticky Lips and enjoyed our boys. 

We picked cherries with our friends that Daddy and big brother later got to enjoy:-) 

Davin pumped water.

It has been so nice to have Davin home for a couple of weeks.  He is enjoying sleeping in and having some lazy days in addition to our busy, fun-filled days!  Tomorrow, we are off to Corning for a visit to the glass museum and Norman Rockwell Museum.  Don't you just love summer?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Doesn't Get Any Sweeter..

It doesn't get any sweeter than watching your littlest boy hold out his hand for your biggest boy to take it and then watching the biggest boy know right away what the littlest wanted and hold his hand while walking down the street. 

Too bad I couldn't get my camera out fast enough. 

Another Difference

Alan and I have been on a journey together.  We are walking the same path, but we walk it quite differently. Our goals are even different, and yet the journey so much the same.  At the beginning of the year, Alan decided he was going to eat healthier.  After much kicking and screaming:-), I jumped on board a couple of months later.  We have been exercising five days a week, we are always looking for ways to get "more cardio", and we eat very differently than we used to.  Fast food has basically been cut from our diet and although we do splurge sometimes, we really think through our choices. 

We have both been loosing weight steadily.  Alan's whole goal in this is to be healthier.  He tells me over and over again that it is NOT about the weight.  It is about his overall health.  I, on the other hand, announce every half a pound shed with my hands up in the air and my knee bowed like I have just won some great prize!  Next, I sent out texts to my girls and my sister.  Alan rarely ever mentions his weight even when I am bugging him to tell me!!  He really believes his philosophy and I really believe mine.  My goal is to weigh a certain amount and I love to see my clothes get looser and try on things that were tight before.  Alan tries to tell me that his clothes always fit that way and there is no difference. 

The best thing about our journey is that we have been doing this together.  We are supportive of each other and feel like we are on the same team.  We are both excited when I buy a new healthy cookbook and give a new recipe a try. 

It sure is nice to have him, even if we are just a little bit different.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

All About the Food

Tonight Alan, Davin and I went down to a local fish hatchery and park. Davin quickly caught on (because he is so stinkin smart:-) that some other people were feeding the fish.  He nicely pointed out the fish food dispensers so that his Daddy could get him some to feed the fish.  After that, Davin pointed out every single dispenser even though he was told repeatedly that we were done feeding the fish for the night. 

Because we live in upstate NY, we had to go out for icecream afterwards:-)  I have never lived in a place where going out for icecream was such a way of life.  I love it!

Friday, July 01, 2011


We just had the 10th annual Duffers for Davin golf tournament.  I am so humbled when I think about the last 10 years and God's provision for Davin to attend intensive physical therapy.  Some of our faithful golfers and sponsors first started with us back when Davin was 9 years old.  We are blessed. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

That R Word

I know I used to use it.  I know I am extra sensitive about how harsh it sounds now.  I read a lot of comments on facebook that use the word retarded and I cringe.  Somehow it hurts me to read it, to hear it.  I have heard my kids say it.  I read a lot of posts on facebook that use that word in their status updates.  Sometimes I want to respond, but I usually don't...until the other day.

A couple of days ago, a teenager that I know used it.  He was comparing something that he didn't think was very good to someone who was retarded.  I thought and decided to write something.  I simply said that the item he was talking about must be amazing and wonderful.  He got it.

Very shortly after I left the comment, the post was totally deleted and I had a sweet message in my inbox.  He said he was very sorry for insulting me and Davin and that he was glad I had said something and that it helped him to grow.  What a sweet boy.  He would NEVER have hurt Davin on purpose.  Never.  I told him that I knew that. 

So, maybe that is how we make a person at a time:-)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

His First Baby Girl

My girls have always adored their Daddy.  Our Ashleigh and her Daddy fell in love the moment they met.  Alan was not present for her actual birth, but met her when she was about 9 hours old.  It was love at first sight....on both sides. 

When Ashleigh was little, Alan was away a lot since he was in the Navy.  She had such a hard time handling long periods of time without her Daddy.  When Alan was gone on a med-cruise for 6 months, she carried around a picture of Alan holding her when she was a newborn and she would not just cry...she would sob....she would wail.  It broke my heart. 

Alan and Ashleigh are alike in so many ways and that always gave them a bond while Ashleigh was growing up.  She always felt like her Dad handled her much better than I did during some difficult times in her life.  I don't necessarily agree with that statement, but I am glad she sees things that way;-)

Now that Ashleigh is married, she doesn't spend as much time with her Dad, but she loves him just the same.  Alan just got the sweetest note from her for Father's Day and it meant so much to him.  There is just something special about a Daddy and his girl.

Monday, June 27, 2011


After a week at camp and a super early morning today with Davin's golf tournament, Davin is exhausted!! 

By the way, camp was a huge success.  If only I could get some information out of Davin, though.  I guess what happens at Handi-camp stays at Handi-camp:-)

Monday, June 20, 2011

He is There.....

We spent all weekend packing up and making sure Davin had everything he needed for camp.  It was all a bit overwhelming to try to write down everything that his counselor needed to know, but thankfully I have a bossy boy and Davin will help his counselor out if needed:-) 

This morning, Davin, Ashleigh and I headed out and drove an hour to Camp Malaga.  Davin was checked out (he offered to show his stomach, of course, but they did not find that necessary), checked in, and got a new camp t-shirt.  (Of course we put it on right away!)  I stayed for a little while and showed Sam (Davin's counselor) where I had put things in his bag and then showed how I feed him. 

Then, it was time....I wasn't sure how I would feel leaving him, but I just knew.  I knew it was time.  He was ready to start the camp experience and he couldn't do that while I was there.  God was gracious and gave me enough time to feel comfortable that Davin was in great hands.  It also helped that his counselor has been doing this for 20 years. God so knows I am a baby step kind of girl. 

Here is a picture of Davin and Sam:-)

P.S.  I have already received a phone call from the camp nurse.  Just Davin up to his old tricks:-)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Big Kids

I have been the mom of big kids for quite a while now.  It is not the same as being a mom to younger children.  It is an amazing time, but it is very different.  There are a few things that I have learned so far and have been pondering...

Be a cheerleader!  The bigger my kids got, the more I saw a need for a lot of positive reinforcement and less correcting.  This is a hard one for me to work on.  When I see things that need work, I want to address them, but have found it better to bite my tongue a  lot more.  (At times to the point of it bleeding!)  It is also very difficult because the bigger the kids, the bigger the problems can be, but I want to be that Mom that my kids know is in their corner and believes in them.  The training has been done (well, most of it;-) and now it is time for them to use what they have learned.

Put your hands on them!  Especially when my kids started getting into their teenage years, they would not always want me to touch them anymore.  I did not let that stop me.  I continued to love on them, hug them, and touch them when I was talking with them.  I am convinced this continues to show love to them.  Even now, when I put my arm around my 20 year-old Cheney during church, he doesn't get upset with me.  I think he still sees it as love.  (Maybe inside he doesn't;-)

Be Dear Abby!  Although I try not to address every issue I see in my children's lives, I try to be available for those times when they want advice or to talk something through.  I try to make that a priority, even over the other important things in my day.  Just yesterday, my biggest girl called me and I was in a store.  I usually hate to answer the phone when I am in a store, but I just slid into an aisle where there weren't other people and we had a great conversation about a big decision she was making.  I try to be better about listening and helping them sort things out. 

I still have so much to figure out, but I am thankful for this time of life...a time when I look forward to being with them, talking with them and enjoying their company.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Know the Look

This is my fourth time around having an 18-year-old in my house and all that comes along with that.  I have raised at least one very verbal child, at least one medium verbal child and one non-verbal child.  All of them, no matter how verbal, had the look to go with the saying "I am 18 years old and I will do what I want."  It has become kind of a joke in our house.  I am guessing since the world says that at 18, you are officially grown, that my kids have bought into that big time and we spent a lot of their 18th year hearing that familiar phrase and seeing the look that goes along with it.  Just because Davin is non-verbal, don't think I don't see the same look and I KNOW what he is thinking. 

This morning was one of those mornings.  I had to remind him over and over again what our purpose was during breakfast.  He knows we have a strict schedule in the mornings and I am pretty sure he is familiar with the routine by now!  It seemed that he had other plans for today, though.  After a rather frustrating breakfast time, Davin looked at me rather pleased with himself and I saw it.....the look.  It was as if I could read his mind.  I know.  I know.  You are 18 and you will do what you want. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Quite a Difference

I find it so interesting that in order for me to welcome an adopted child into my home, I am asked if I have screens in all of my windows, what my childhood was like and how I dealt with my grandmothers passing away.  To welcome a biological child into my home, I only needed to produce a satisfactory car seat.  To raise a child that has a severe disability, I was simply sent on my way with a list of tests to further overwhelm me. 

Of course, I will do it, because it is so worth it, but what a difference. 

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Mercies in Disguise

We pray for blessings

We pray for peace

Comfort for family, protection while we sleep

We pray for healing, for prosperity

We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights

Are what it takes to know You’re near

What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise  - by Laura Story

I have heard this song before.  I love the words.  I heard it in the car twice yesterday and it spoke to me differently this time.  I found myself looking back.  Looking back at those times in my life where the bottom seemed to have fallen out and I was lying in a heap with no hope in sight.  Dark days.  Days where my very soul seemed to have been crushed and I could not catch my breath. 

I can look back on those times and see God's hand in my life during those times in such a huge way.  The devastating thing that was happening at the time was God's very best for me.  It did not feel like it was at the time.  It did not feel gracious.  It did not feel loving.  It did not feel kind, but it was.  That is the kind of God I serve.  He is the kind of God who blesses me above what I deserve. 

I immediately thought back to that day on June 11, 1993.  "He has cerebral palsy.  Any questions?" My "perfect" world was rocked to its core.  How in the world could that be what God wanted for me??  It was.  For many years, I compared. It seemed like God had given me "less" than what he had given other people.  Not who Davin was, but what he could do v. what I thought he should be doing.  It was hard to sit in the nursery.  It was hard to have a bunch of kids over to play.  Hard to go to the park.  I just thought about how "different" everything was.  I can honestly say that taking Davin to his dinner/dance last night, I felt none of that.  No regrets with what Davin can do or who he is.  Maybe it once was a blessing in disguise, but not any longer. 
God allowed my world to rock when my Daddy had a traumatic brain injury combined with a staff infection in his heart.  Life would never go back to the exact way it was.  However, in the last 8 years, I have spent a day a week with my Dad almost every single week up until moving a few months ago.  As difficult as that was, there were so many blessings. 

Sometimes it is almost as if I have in my mind where God "should" take my life and I am on my way there.  Then, he lovingly changes MY course to be his course. 

Tears...yup, I cried buckets full.  Sleepless nights....absolutely.  I am thankful that God loves me too much to give me lesser things.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

A Little Dinner, A Lot of Dancing!

Yesterday when Davin got home from school, the preparations began.  I had his pants and shirt ironed.  His tie was out.  His dress shoes were ready.  He was going to his school's dinner/dance to celebrate the graduates!!  Davin could not like dancing anymore than he does!!  (I wish I had some pictures of the dance, but I was strongly encouraged not to stay.  Hmph!!)

When we picked him up he was hot and sweaty from all of the grooving he did!!

This is what Davin is doing tonight after his big night out last night!!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

A Favorite Trick

Each of our Pastors over the years has been "blessed" by a different trick of Davin's.  I like to think of them as a little test for the pastor.  Frankly, it helps us to know if that is a church for us if the pastor can work through that.  If a pastor can't deal with Davin's special little tricks during the sermon, and if it makes him too distracted, then we probably shouldn't be there. 

Let's see, Pastor Vansant dealt with a lot of tricky things.  I guess one of the biggest tests was Davin bursting into tears any time there was a skit or something he thought might be scary.  We caused our share of scenes there:-)  Pastor Green put up with a lot of shouting!!!  Davin was just shy of being a teenager when we started going to Pastor Green's church and for some reason, Davin really liked people to know he was there.  We would remind him over and over again, but there was a time where we had to just stick it out and deal with his loudness.  He was taken out of a lot of services, but eventually that became the trick, so we stuck it out and things eventually got better.  Pastor Green was a trooper and never seemed to be distracted and we even joked about Davin's test for him:-)  Our new church is blessed by a trick that has been used for a long time, but sparingly.  Now, this trick has been brought to the top of the favorite list and the very best place to perform it is during the morning service at church.  (Okay, also small group:-) 

Davin's new favorite is that he loves to lift his shirt and show you his stomach.  Not just a little, either.  Now this is a quiet trick, so that is a bonus.   It is not just a shirt lift, but he also looks around to see who might be watching.  Hmm, not sure he is paying enough attention to the sermon. 

I know that he has worked very hard for his abs with all of his exercises and so I don't really blame him.  This trick is not exclusive to church, but it is used most often there.  If you come to our house, he will show you (especially if you are visiting us for the first time), when we go to doctor appointments, he likes to show the doctor.  I know what you are thinking.  What kind of mother does he have who lets him lift his shirt all during church and regularly smiles when I see it? 

Today we visited a church in York, PA.  Davin probably had his shirt up for at least half of the service.  I tried to keep on a handle on things and pull it back down, but he had a pretty tight grip, had it hiked up as far as he possibly could and felt really strongly that he should be doing that.  Oh dear;-)

Friday, June 03, 2011

My Struggle

I have been mulling this over for a while now, but lately, I feel it's grip has a much stronger hold on me than before and it is time to make a change. 

I have a lot of "free" time.  For the first time in a very long time, my days are not planned out for me by children or ministries or a job.  I can choose what I want to do.  Since finding all of this free time, the computer has kept me connecting with friends and family and I am grateful for that.  However, it has become a huge time-waster for me.  Instead of taking out a project or reading a book, I grab the computer to just check my blog or facebook or email one more time.  I am spending more and more time on it and I have not too much to show for it.  I do not want to give it up altogether (although am considering that, too), but I need to make a change. 

A friend offered to do an intervention for me:-), but I am thinking more along the lines of limiting my daily time on the computer.  I am also thinking about going off of facebook for a while, at least.  There are so many good and worthwhile things to do with my time.  Certainly one of them is to stay connected with my family and friends, but when it starts to overwhelm me, it is time for a change. 

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Next Best Thing

I think the next best thing to having my girls here is to spend time with Bethany Ann.  Some of you may recognize her:-)  Bethany and her son Josh came over for dinner tonight.  I made Josh some cookies special for him and sent him a bag full to take home and share with his Daddy.

Josh had a great time checking out Davin's wheelchair and playing with Buzz Lightyear.  Alan, Davin and Josh wrestled for a while, but Josh did not care for it when Alan was winning.  They tried thumb wrestling and that went a bit better.  Come again Josh and I will have the cookies ready for you!!  (You, too, Bethany Ann:-)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Rib Fest

Today we went to The Rib Fest with some friends.  It was such a beautiful day and we got to try some really tasty ribs.  There were 7 different rib places there and during the time we were there, you could try one of their ribs for "A Buck a Bone".  The drill was that you waited in line and got your rib and then while eating your rib, you waited in the next line.  We had a great time chatting while we were eating and my favorite of the day was the Jacked Up BBQ ribs from Forked River, NJ.   

Cheney's girlfriend Renee is here visiting us, so it was fun to take her along:-)