Sunday, November 11, 2012

Twenty

I have been dreading this day for a long time.  My poor kids....  I think other parents celebrate their children growing older and mine have to hear about how devastated I am that they are getting so old;-)  They love me anyway, I think.  I go through this process every year.  I am always shocked how quickly time has gone by and where we are already.  This year just seems different, though.  Twenty.  Davin Bruce is 20 years old today. I am now a Mom of kids in their twenties.  Crazy. 

20 years ago, yesterday, my water broke.  That had not happened prior to labor during my previous three pregnancies.  It was an odd sensation to say the least.  Off to the hospital we went.  Considering that my second labor was exactly four hours and my third labor was exactly two and a half hours, I expected our baby to be born quickly.  This labor needed a kick-start, though and I was induced when I got to the hospital.  Being induced took longer, but eventually we welcomed our second baby boy.  God knew I loved things to match.  I had been preparing myself that it would be okay if we had three girls and one boy and if the rooms were not balanced with two children in each room.  I was thrilled that God gave me the surprise of a little brother for Cheney and my matching sets of two girls and two boys:-) 

Davin was known as "Baby No Name" for the first day and then the second day, I began calling him Elijah Bruce.  After much thought and going over names a lot of times, I realized if this baby did not fit in with the first three who were all in ABC order, the cost of therapy for him was not going to be worth me picking the name Elijah that I loved.  We settled on Davin Bruce moments before packing Davin up and heading home. 

It is truly amazing to me when I think back to the young mom who brought home her fourth baby.  My ideas were so different.  I expected that Davin would some day run after his older brother.  I didn't realize he would still always be with his big brother.  It would just be a little different.  His big brother would carry him instead.  I knew my boys would love each other, but I had no idea that in their late teens and early twenties, they would still snuggle with each other and that Davin's face would light up every single time he saw his big brother. 

It has been amazing.  It has been different. 

As Davin was growing up, I never could look too far ahead.  It scared me.  It overwhelmed me.  I could not picture what things would be like to have a disabled adult child.  I am thankful that God allowed me to be content in the moments and enjoy where we were and not fret about where we were heading. 

It is amazing to me that God knew exactly who I needed.  I needed that Davin Bruce boy who talks to me with his eyes and his crooked little pointer finger.  He was fearfully and wonderfully made and I am so blessed to be his Mom and call him my baby son:-) 




                      Happy Birthday Davin Bruce!!!  I love you more than words can ever say!!! 

Sunday, November 04, 2012

P is for Power

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Chris: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth..."  ~Romans 1:16

Power was the main subject of conversation in our area last week.  We talked about it at home, at school, at therapy.  We didn't have power for almost the entire week and we sure did miss it. 

If you have been an Awana Sparky or been an Awana Sparky leader, you are familiar with the above verse.  It is part of the Sparks Code.  I could not help but think of this verse during all of the "power talk" during the last week. 

I am so thankful that Hurricane Sandy could take away the power in my house, but nothing can take away the power of God in my life.  My salvation is to keep. 

(By the way, we cannot complain even a little bit.  During all of the week without power, we were blessed to be able to stay in my in-laws' house and Davin was kept warm, toasty and clean!)

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Crazy Dog Lady

I am not sure when it happened.  I guess like alot of things, it just happened gradually.  Maybe I didn't notice until I was too far gone.  I am now a full-fledged "crazy dog lady".  I don't know how else to describe it.  I talk to Rocky.  I explain what I am doing to Rocky.  I am always looking at him and exclaiming to Alan that he should look how cute Rocky is.  Sometimes I make myself late, because I come back in and pet Rocky a couple of extra minutes.  Is it pathetic?  I don't know.  Alan seems to think so and yet I also think he has come to terms with it and accepted it:-)

As with all of my children, I am never quite ready for them to go.  Not to school, not to camp, not to graduate, not to college and don't even bring up getting married, because I am simply hoping that Cheney will be able to walk back down the aisle without me hanging on his pant leg.   (I am kidding....sort of.)  Since Davin had to go to school at three years old and I expected for all of my kids to stay home with me until they are at least five, Cheney needed to be homeschooled the extra two years that I lost with Davin not being home.  Sorry to smother Cheney a little bit extra, but I had to do what I had to do;-)  He seems to have survived. 

Well, my dog is no different for me (okay he is different, but you get the point).  Although technically Rocky Balboa came to us as "Bethany's dog", I adopted him in my heart.  He came to live with us and months later, she was back at college and I was taking care of a puppy while having a very sick child following Davin's hip surgery.  He bonded with my dog, Buster and that made me love him even more.  Then, Buster died, and I gained such comfort from that little half beagle dog.  He made it bearable to lose my Buster Elvis. 

A few days ago Bethany took Rocky to her apartment to live.  I wasn't ready, but I know that she needs him more than I do.  He has been with her through quite a few trials as well and he is going to make her new apartment feel much more like home.  I know that.  I am still sad.  I do have an arrangement worked out for weekend visitation and I am clinging to that. 

Thank goodness I have that Davin Boy!!!  (Please don't be offended that I am comparing my children to my dog.  I told you I had turned into a crazy dog person.  You were warned!!;-)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Much Better This Way

Almost two years ago, I left a young woman on my front porch with tears in her eyes.  Bethany was just months post-wedding-cancellation and Alan and I and Davin were moving to Rochester.  As much as I knew it was the right decision for me to follow Alan, it broke my heart to leave my girls.  It seemed unnatural and wrong for us to be moving away from her.  Sure, she was grown and could do fine on her own, but it just wasn't the way I thought things should progress. 

On Sunday, we loaded up a moving van and moved Bethany into an apartment that she will share with a friend.  Ashleigh and Kevin asked me if I was sad.  Although I miss her presence at the house very much, this is the way it is supposed to be.  She is going and spreading her wings (although she did live on her own the whole time we were in NY:-), and this time it feels so much better.  It was much easier to leave her there in the new apartment, ready and excited to make her place her own. 


I miss you baby girl, but am proud of you and excited for this next chapter in your life!!! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Shopping with Davin

Davin has some money and we have noticed that he is interested in clothes now.  Now Davin has never grown very fast, so his clothes last a long, long, long time:-)  I decided that since he had his own money, it was the perfect time to let him do some shopping and replace some things he has had for many, many years.  I thought this was his time to show his preferences and let him pick out his own clothes. 

I had a few spare hours today, so I told Davin that he had a couple of options.  He could go right after lunch with Bethany and me and look for clothes, or he could wait until after dinner, and go with Bethany and her friend Lexi. (Frankly, the idea of me not being there at all, left me feeling a little like things were totally out of my control.  I have always picked out his clothes!  ;-)  He didn't want to wait.  He wanted to go right away.  So we did. 

We decided to go just to one store where we knew the clothes would fit him.  Not every store has clothes that fit very small waists.  As soon as we got into the store, Davin was very clear.  He wanted the outfit on the mannequin.  And then he wanted the outfit on the next mannequin.  In fact, he only wanted the clothes from the mannequins!  If we showed him something else, he pointed to the mannequins as if saying, (and I realize I take some liberties when I read Davin's expressions;-) "Those clothes are not on the mannequin.  Someone has already come in and made some really good outfits, so why would we mess with that??"  He was just so funny!  Bethany and I were laughing and laughing at this boy who so obviously knew what he liked.  So, we walked through the entire boys' section and looked at every. single. mannequin. 

We gathered up two very spiffy looking outfits and a pair of jeans that are just too cool.  (Also, as a side note, one of the outfits from the mannequin does not match at all.  Between the t-shirt and plaid shirt and pants, none of the pieces have the same colors and yet I have to admit they look cute together.  This was a very big stretch for a mom who really, really likes things to match.)  When we went to pay, I mentioned out loud to Davin that I knew he would want to pay and gave him his money.  The sweet, sweet cashier walked around the counter and took the money from Davin.  She then got the change and walked back around to hand it to him and counted it out for him. 

My boy could hardly go to sleep last night after we picked out his clothes and set them by his bed! 

Monday, October 08, 2012

A Case of Mistaken Identity

We were flying into Chicago's O'Hare Airport to visit Cheney at Wheaton College.  We wanted to get out to visit Cheney at school one more time since he is in his last semester.  Alan, Davin and I were traveling together and we pretty much have our system down to a science.  Alan carried Davin off of the plane for me and placed him in his toxic green wheelchair that was waiting for us at the gate.  Alan walked back onto the plane to get our carry-on luggage while I got Davin situated in his chair. 

I was concentrated on what I was doing with Davin, so wasn't paying close attention to what/who was around me, but do remember that there were lots of people waiting for their gate checked bags and there were a couple of young airline employees in front of us with wheelchairs for other passengers.  I heard two of the young employees talking about one of the Chicago Bear football players.  It caught my attention because this player's name is very close to my son's name.  Just off by one letter.  His name is Devin and he has our same last name.  I remember hearing them talking about what they would do if they saw this football player and that they planned to take a picture with their phone.  I glanced up from what I was doing and saw them using their phones and I am imagining they were looking the player up online so they would recognize him. 

Nothing struck me as odd yet.  I thought how crazy it was that this player was on the same plane with us and I hadn't even heard anything about it.  Then, I finished Davin's seat belt on his chair and looked up and saw one of the empty wheelchairs sitting behind Davin's.  In HUGE letters on the back of the chair it said "HESTER".  OOOOHHHH!!!  The chair was there for Davin!!  The chair was also enormous!!  I looked at the young employees who were still anxiously awaiting the football player's entrance and I broke the news to them.  I told them that my son was Davin Hester, that he had his own chair and that he would definitely not need one quite so big:-)  They said they were sorry.  (I am not sure why.  They did not do something to offend us;-)  They said they could see the resemblance and I said that it made sense since their physiques are so similar.  Ha! 

It cracked me up for the rest of the day.  My Davin weighs a whopping 69 pounds.  I have never paid that much attention to the football player other than to look up when I hear his name, but I am guessing he probably has at least 200 pounds on my boy. 

I told Davin we should have offered to sign autographs while we were there! 

Friday, October 05, 2012

If I'm Late...

If I am late to church or any other meeting please know that...



Davin may have had a hard time eating this morning.  Some days he eats quickly and other days needs a lot more time.  Some days he coughs and coughs while eating and I have to slow way down.  Some days I shed some tears while dealing with this.

Right before leaving, I may have realized that Davin really needed a nebulizer treatment.  It takes time and I can't mess around with him not having one if he needs it. 

Davin may need to be changed (again), except that I didn't realize it until he was already in the car.  I then had to take him out of the car, take him in the house, change him and get him back into the car.

Maybe Davin's breakfast got all over his clothes and I had to change his shirt or pants before heading out the door.  If I had to change his pants, then I may have had to take his MAFOs and shoes off as well.

Even though I look like I have things together, I don't always.  Sometimes I am frazzled.  Sometimes I am overwhelmed.  I like to look like I have things under control.  Know that on the outside, I may be handling things, but on the inside, I may not be.

When you met me and asked me how old my kids are and I answered 19, 21, 25 and 27, that is really very deceiving.  You think I am a parent of all adult children and can easily come and go.  I do not go anywhere very easily and have spent 26 of the last 27 years with a baby in a lot of ways.  As hard as I try to be the parent of adult children because that is the normal progression of things, I have to realize that in many ways, I am not.

Please know that I am still feeding my child every.single.meal that he eats every.single.day.  I will never be able to remind him to eat his breakfast and then be able to walk away and get myself ready. 


I am writing this post more to me than to you:-) 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Blessed



All of my children have student loans.  A lot of student loans.  (Well, except for Davin because he decided that college is stupid and he is not going:-)  It has been a struggle to even secure the loans for them.  We have taken out loans and they have taken out loans to complete their education. 

Cheney went into his last semester at college this year with no idea how it was going to be paid for.  We knew he needed to go.  He needed to finish, but Alan's job was ending in September and we did not feel comfortable taking out one more loan in that situation. Cheney is already carrying so many student loans, that he did not know if he could swing another one.  So, he returned to school last month knowing that we had until the end of the semester to figure it out and we waited.  I was just praying yesterday or the day before about it.  Asking God to please provide a way for his semester to be paid for.  Not knowing how in the world it could happen. 

Last night we got a call from Cheney Alan.  He received an email saying that "an anonymous donor had graciously paid his ENTIRE bill for this semester".  The bill was $15,000 and it is paid.  My heart is overwhelmed and humbled by a God who meets our needs and doesn't need our help to figure out how to meet them. 

The picture above is from Cheney celebrating a strike while bowling, but it seems like it might also reflect how he feels now:-)  A celebration as a burden is lifted by a God who loves us very much and laid our need on someone's heart. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Hips Don't Lie

Davin's hips don't lie.  Neither do his hip x-rays:-(  After watching Davin's right hip (He has major surgery on the left one almost five years ago.) for the last several months and seeking the advice of our long time physical therapist, we went to the orthopedic surgeon today with our x-rays in hand.  Sure enough...Davin's hip is out of the socket.  Bummer...  Five years ago, his left hip was going out of the socket, but not yet out and that is an easier surgery.  Our doctor assured us that in general, kids who are older teens do not have tone that changes sides, so that the good hip should stay good (at that time, it was the right one).  Well, Davin is a tricky boy and his tone did change.  It changed a lot. 

Our doctor feels that he is leaning toward just leaving it alone.  Davin is not experiencing any discomfort and can still do all of the things that he did before.  Although we are struggling with much tighter muscles for some reason (maybe growth spurts), he is still able to sit well while assisted and is permitted to be in the stander.  In six weeks, we will go back and readdress the situation.  That gives our doctor some time to think things through and also for us to consider the options. 

Davin had been nervous.  I had been explaining my concerns to people and he was really worried.  He was not happy about having the x-rays this morning, either, and I wasn't sure why.  I am wondering if he was thinking that if he didn't get the x-rays, then the doctor couldn't say he needed surgery.  Anyway, once the doctor said he was leaning toward no surgery, Davin was beside himself because he was so happy.  Love that boy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Triangle Eyes

I have triangle eyes and some day you may see me with scotch tape holding up my eyelids.  Don't laugh.  It's true.  It's in my genes.  I have wrapped my head around the whole idea and, as I am now 45, I start to feel my eyelids are just a little bit heavier than they used to be.  In my family, I am not the only one with triangle eyes. 

My grandmother was one of four girls.  Their names were Alberta, Gladys (real name Esther, but she liked Gladys better:-), Hazel and Marjorie.  How great are their names?  Gladys was my Nanny.  Well, those girls had triangle eyes.  When I saw one of my aunts in the mall quite a few years back, she had scotch tape on both of her eyelids.  I was rather surprised.  I had never seen someone sporting scotch tape.  After discussing it with my sister, she told me that her eyes (the triangle ones) had started to droop, but insurance would not cover the surgery yet.  Her eyelids were impairing her vision, so easy fix...scotch tape on the eyes.  Much cheaper, quicker recovery and it is clear:-) 

I inherited those triangle eyes, but I hope I inherited something so much more from those Sooy Sisters.  They were quite a bunch.  The four of them got together once a week (with the two husbands who were still living) and played cards as far back as my earliest memories.  I remember that once I had my four children, I wanted my children to be like the Sooy Sisters.  I wanted them to love spending time together like my Nanny and her sisters did.  Then, one of the sisters was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  My Nanny (who was not particularly brave about medical stuff and told me definitely NOT to call her when I went into labor, but only after the baby was born!) moved her sister Alberta into her house, and those sisters took care of her.  The other sisters would come at different times during the day to ensure Nanny wasn't there alone.  I did not live nearby at that point, but through many, many phone calls, I heard all about the sacrificial love those sisters poured out as they said goodbye to their biggest sister.  I was proud.  Proud to be the granddaughter of Gladys.  Proud to have such love and devotion in my blood. 

When I look in the mirror and see my eyelids drooping a little bit more, it doesn't really remind me of getting older.  It just reminds me of love.  Passed down through an incredible example. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Little Obsessed??

I took Davin to meet a new doctor last week.  I answered a ton of questions about Davin, but for some reason when the doctor asked how "weight was" I wondered if he meant mine or Davin's.  Quickly, I caught myself before blurting out how I had lost 26.2 pounds:-)  I simply asked him if he meant Davin's weight.  He looked at me and said yes and said he didn't mean mine or his and that he had put on a couple of pounds.  I did sneak in, "well, I lost a couple", but that was it:-)  Hmm, maybe I am a little obsessed with my exercising and weight loss, you think???

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Re-Moving

I must say that it is rather strange to re-move into a home.  There is also something very comfortable about it.  The area is not new, the house is not new.  It fits. 

We moved  back to our little house on the meadow one week ago.  Davin and I have been packing, unpacking and sorting for almost two weeks now.  I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that Davin is over it!  He is ready for his life to have a little fun in it and I am pretty sure he does not want to see me organize one more closet or unpack one more box.  Poor Davin.  Last night we did take a little break and head over to my in-laws for some dinner and visiting.  Davin was thrilled. 

I feel like I have a new attitude since coming back.  Maybe God needed to move me away to deal with my heart.  There was time that was wasted since living in NJ.  I never seemed to quite be settled in some ways.  I kept waiting for something else to happen.  When we move into our own house... When we put an addition on the house...  You get the picture.  So do I.  No more living like that. 

So, I have taken our cute little house and organized it like crazy.  I have hung new pictures on the wall and taken a lot of time to arrange the furniture.  It feels like home. 

I have one more room to tackle today to make my goal for the week.  You see, a certain Cheney Boy is coming home from vacation with Renee's family tomorrow.  He will be here for one week and then be moving back to college and onto the rest of his life.  I am ready to suck every second out of the next week with my boy. 

I feel like singing, "I've Got a New Attitude"!!! 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Learning

I learned a lot of things in the last week.  We had our first opportunity to have foster children in our home.  They were here for a very short time, but there were so many lessons learned. 

*I can't do this if Alan is not with me.  If he ends up with a job traveling all the time, we would have to change our course. 

*I absolutely can be a parent to a child who has a different shade of skin color than me:-)  This has never been an issue for me, but this last week just confirmed that in my heart.  Color just doesn't matter.  I am very thankful for my school years where I learned this lesson.

*Having children in my home is HARD.

*Davin needs to have his own room for many reasons.

*Alan and I are a team. 

*Instead of looking for children who are already freed for adoption, it is my hope that we are the first home that our kids come to, that we can all work through the issues together and that they will remain in our home until they become freed for adoption.  (Even if that means that we have foster kids and they don't end up staying with us forever before we end up with the kids God has for us.)

I don't want to write any specifics of our time, but I will share that it was much harder than I even could have imagined.  In the end, though,  both Alan and I decided that God has called us to this and we will continue to walk this path.

I can tell you that there were tears, there were frustrations, but there were also smiles, laughs and funny things said. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Double Life

I am almost finished living a double life.  It hasn't been a secret double life, but it has been a double life in so many ways.  I am kind of a resident of two states.  I have two homes.  I do continue to keep my same husband in both lives, though, so I think that is good;-) 

One week from tomorrow, I will have my apartment packed up and ready to head back to my little house on the meadow and my other three kids.  This will be move #18 for me, I believe. 

I have such mixed emotions about the whole thing.  No mistake about it, I have missed being near my older kids!!  I have missed my little house on the meadow.  I have missed my dog:-)  (Bethany, don't argue!)  I have missed our extended families and some dear friends.  It will be wonderful to be back. 

But....I still consider upstate NY home.  I can't help it.  It is the place where I have spent the majority of my adult life.  I have the most memories with my kids here. I have wonderful friends and a great church.  I like the pace of life in Rochester and I love the people here.  Davin's school here is AMAZING! 

I live two lives, but not for long now. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

  "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;"
                                                -Philippians 1:6

What a blessing this verse was to me this morning as I prepared for my Bible study this evening.  I have been stressed and concerned over some things that are out of my control.  I have seen God at work and I know He will continue it. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Juice Fast Acceptable Alterations

At least these are my acceptable alterations.  Alan would disagree with me;-)

1.  Chocolate covered raisins continue to be a healthy snack and you may eat a few if you just "need a little something sweet", especially if you have just had some juice heavy on the broccoli and wanted to vomit.

2.  If your body is needing a piece of chicken, EAT THE PIECE OF CHICKEN....and I did:-)

3. Since you make up the amount of days you want to do the juice fast, you may change the number of days without guilt.

On a serious note (well, the above is pretty serious, too), we did get a lot out of the juice fast.  Alan totally did the juice fast for three days, not the original five, but he felt like he had no energy.  I decided to eat one meal a day and for my body that worked great.  I think we will keep juicing in our eating plan at least for one meal a day.  Currently, we are still juicing at breakfast and feel great getting such a good blend of nutrition right after working out. 

Probably the biggest problem for me is me:-)  As much of a rule follower as I am, there are just some things that I hate to be boxed in about.  I think my eating is one of them.  By giving myself some grace, I do much better about it. 

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Balance

I always love to have Davin home, but during times where he is off of school, I can very easily get entirely focused on the work of it all.  I can go from meal to meal and all of the chores while forgetting to just relax and enjoy my boy.  Alan balances me perfectly in this way.  He is never in a hurry to get Davin into bed or rush through the day with him.  He reminds me that we are not in a hurry and the work is no big deal.  I think I will keep both of them:-)

Friday, July 06, 2012

Interesting People



Davin and I were out and about today for most of the day.  As we are out and about and people watch me getting Davin in and out of the car and stores with "my system", it is so interesting to see how people react to me.  I freely admit that much of "my system" looks awkward to an outsider, but it works for me and I have it down pat. 

Among the various people we encountered today, one sweet older man came up to me and asked if there was anything he could do to help me.  I told him I so appreciated his offer, but that we were good.  We headed over to Wegman's for our last errand (maybe Friday afternoon is not the best time to run into Wegman's if you happen to be using a wheelchair and a cart) and as I went out the side door near our car, I opened the door with my backside and wheeled Davin outside, while holding the door open and then while watching Davin so he didn't roll away, I pulled my cart outside while still holding the door with my foot.  It was then that I noticed the young Wegman's employee who probably had "helping hands" embroidered on his shirt.  He quietly waited over to the side as to not be in my way;-)  Very nice of him, indeed.  (Okay, maybe that was a little sarcastic.)  Truth be told, I never mind looking like Wonder Woman juggling the chair and groceries and the door:-)  I know it is prideful and I am working on it, just being honest. 

So Far...

So far the juice fast is not...well, let's just say that I am not loving it.  I am not hating it, either.  I am pretty sure one of the other people living with me is hating it, though.  I don't want to mention any names, but one of my guys is very crabby and miserable about not eating.  Not sure I have ever seen him whining and complaining like this.  Maybe he learned it from me;-) 

So, I think I am adapting my program for the next five days.  I think (but am not positive) that I will eat one meal a day and juice the other two meals.  The other person I mentioned before is not budging.  He insists that this is "the program".  Five days.  I tried to tell him that we made up "the program" and we can change it if it is not working for us.  Silly boy. 

One of the other men in my life is loving trying all of the different juice creations.  Some he likes and drinks a bit of and some he doesn't like.  I am super excited that this may be a way to get some different foods into him that he can't normally eat.  I still haven't mentioned any names, right?  ;-)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Juice Fast

In our journey to a healthier lifestyle, Alan and I have tried and adapted many things in both our eating habits and our activity levels.  The next stop on our journey is diving into a juice fast.  Our first juice fast starts Thursday morning and will last five days.  The fruits and veggies have been bought and the Vitamix Professional Series 500 arrived on our doorstep today.  We have done some research and gotten recipes.  Let the next adventure begin!

A Garden Visit

We have been blessed this week with a visit from my parents.  Prior to my Dad's traumatic brain injury, my parents did quite a bit of traveling.  Nothing too far, but lots of weekend trips and things like that.  Since my Dad's TBI, it is a much bigger deal for them to think about leaving the comfort of home and their daily routine.  I was so excited when I mentioned they might want to return to upstate NY with us and visit for a few days, and they said yes! 





Yesterday we visited a local mansion and it's beautiful gardens.  We had a great time and it was a beautiful day for it.



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Adoption Update

After going through the process and becoming home study ready in upstate NY, we are now getting ready to leave and move back to NJ.  We have to start over from scratch:-(  Last week, we attended the orientation meeting (Yup, we even have to attend the orientation meeting again!) and got our application.  It appears that the process here will be much quicker and for that we are so excited.  I will keep you updated, but for now, it looks that it will be several months before we have the possibility of having children in our home. 

God knows why we needed to do the whole process in NY and then move without our kids.  He knows where our kids are and He knows when they will be ready to come home with us.  We can't wait.  Pressing on.....

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Humbled

Once a year, we have a golf tournament called Duffers for Davin.  It raises money for Davin to attend special intensive physical therapy.  It has provided the funds for us to be able to do this for the last 11 years. 






Each year we go and I am just amazed and humbled at the whole process.  To think of 70 or more golfers coming to support Davin is overwhelming to me.  Our family is truly blessed by both these people who have known us a long time and those who only know us through the golf tournament and yet they all feel led to support my boy.  I am so humbled and honored. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Star is Born

Well, I knew Davin might be sad to leave camp, but tears???  Real ones???  I wasn't expecting that.  As soon as he saw us, he hardly made eye contact.  Much to concentrate on to get ready for the program:-)  I understood.  He was enjoying his last little bit at camp.  But, then, I saw his eyes.  There were tears in his eyes.  He actually shed some tears every now and then during the couple of hours that we were at camp.  A small part of me was sad that he wasn't the son who was hugging his Mom so glad to see her.  A huge part of me was SO thankful that my boy had such a great time at camp that he hated to leave.  How awesome is that?  My non-verbal, non-ambulatory, feeding-issue, boy with asthma goes to camp just like lots and lots of other kids!!  I am so thrilled for him.  Feeling so thankful tonight and blessed that a fantastic group of people loved my boy for five days and took excellent care of him while giving him fun, fun, fun and helping him to grow spiritually.  Also excited that Davin can go to this camp for the rest of his life!

As if I didn't know my Bubby was dramatic, he had a part in the drama today during the closing program.  Complete with costume and everything.  Adorable!! 

I have so much more to write about, but can't seem to make much sense right now:-)

Love

Cheney and Renee are living far away from each other this summer.  I know it must be hard to be engaged and not be near each other.

Since Renee is now part of our family and we have Davin's golf tournament on Monday, Renee is coming today!!  So, my Cheney Boy gets to go pick up his girl from the airport:-) 


They are pretty cute, aren't they? 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

25




25 years ago, after exactly four hours of labor, we welcomed Bethany Alyssa into the world and our family.  Hard to believe.  Celebrating who she is today:-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Living Two Lives

I am seriously living two lives presently.  I have one life in upstate New York.  Things are well organized there.  I have one husband and one child and a routine that is comfortable and stress free for the most part.  I am living in an apartment, so if something is wrong, I can call the very nice man and he will come and fix it.  I can clean the whole apartment in about an hour and a half. 

Then, I have a house in South Jersey.  I have gardens to take care of that have been neglected for the year and a half we have been away.  I have a basement under construction.  I have a house that has many, many jobs waiting for me when I visit. 

My life in NY has me up early every morning and  busy for the first few hours, but then the pace slows and I have choices to make as far as what I want to do with my days. 

My life in NJ is filled generally from the minute my feet hit the floor in the morning until I am collapsing into bed at night.

I love both of my lives, but they are so different, it sometimes startles me when I switch from one to the other. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Camp Veteran

Well, I dropped my littlest (so far) boy at Handi-Camp this morning.  After days and days of making lists and checking them twice, we were ready to go.  We had the bag for the nurse.  We had the bag for the cafeteria.  We had the towel bag.  We had the bag of extra bandannas.  We had clothes!! 

In case anyone thinks Davin does not remember things, he was totally psyched when we pulled up for his second time at camp.  The counselors rushed over to him and said hello while he was still in the car and I was unloading the luggage.  We met his new counselor (I thought he was having Sam just like last year and was surprised that he wasn't, but I did not let it throw me:-)  and saw Sam once again.  Davin was thrilled to see Sam again!!! 

My boy knew the drill.  After all, he is a veteran camper at Handi-Camp.  We went through registration, and the other registration and the first nurse station where we went over his meds and then the other nurse station where they checked him out.  Then, he was ready to roll.  Davin was pointing to go and get on with his week.  His attention was SO not on me.  It was not on his Mom Mom and Pop Pop who were there dropping him off with me.  He was in the camp zone:-) 

So, after letting his new counselor (who I was SO impressed with) ask me some questions, we said our goodbyes and let my boy be at camp.  It is where he belongs this week. 

It is a funny thing how God prepares your heart and changes your mind about things.  Last year, I could not wrap my head around taking Davin to camp and leaving him there for five whole days!  I made the appointment for us to be interviewed and went through with it.  I sent in the forms they required, but I just KNEW that I was. not. going. to. be. able. to. send. Davin. to. camp.  I mean, really, can someone else take good care of him?  Can they even come close?  God led me to send him last year and stretched me in a lot of ways.  I am thankful. 

This year, I was excited for Davin and today, although I do miss him and find it odd that he is not here, I am happy that he is at camp.  I am so thankful that he has camp memories just like my older kids got to have.  His have come a bit later in his life, but that is okay.  I don't even have to feel guilty about him missing out on earlier camp memories since he can go to camp for the rest of his life!  How great is that?

The only downfall to me about camp is that literally... What happens at Handi-Camp, stays at Handi-Camp:-)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Pistachio



Davin looked quite spiffy in his pistachio shirt last night.  We picked up one tired Davin and he certainly didn't want to get up this morning, but I think it was worth it.





The woman in the picture with him is "Miller" his teacher.  She is awesome and he adores her even though it doesn't look like it in the picture:-)

We also learned last night from one of Davin's friends that "Davin is mad popular at school.  I can tell you that."  That just cracked me up! 

Monday, June 04, 2012

Combo Pack

My husband and sons have always been big fans of the "combo pack".  I am not talking about food or anything like that.  I am talking about a shirt and tie that come together in a pack.  Since Cheney was young and started buying ties for school, he and Alan have loved the combo packs. 

Davin has his dinner dance tonight!  He is super excited and actually stayed up part of the night coughing and maybe dreaming of how he will be getting his groove on tonight;-)  We went out shopping on Saturday for a new outfit for him.  We knew going out that if we could find a combo pack, things would be grand. 

We first looked in the adult section and tried on the smallest shirt we could find.  Davin thought it looked great, but he was basically swimming in it.  He also picked out two suit jackets that he thought would look quite handsome on him, but I suggested we go to the big boys' section and look a little further to see if we could find something that fit.  (Not to mention that if he wore a suit jacket, he will probably sweat himself silly and then he will smell terrible and that is a whole other problem!)

We got to the big boys' section and like the clouds parting and a bright light shining down, we found "the combo pack section"!!  Ahhhhh!!  Alan's eyes lit up.  We had found the gold at the end of the rainbow.  We had limited selection of colors in his size, but eventually (after begging to have a black shirt that was not in his size) he picked a pistachio green shirt with a navy paisley tie.  He is going to look fantastic tonight:-)

First thing this morning, Davin wanted to get dressed in his shirt and tie.  I didn't think we would make it through the day with the outfit still being really clean by the dinner dance, so we decided to wear our school clothes until after school. 

So excited my boy gets to have such a dress up night out with his friends and teachers! 

Friday, June 01, 2012

His Story

I needed to update Davin's story for his website, so I thought I would share it here, too:-)


Davin Bruce was born on November 12, 1992 in a small hospital in Pennsylvania. We were thrilled to add our 4th child to our family and he was a delightful baby. Davin did a couple of things that caused me to call the doctor and make sure that everything was okay. The doctor assured me that I had a good baby and to enjoy him.

As time went on, we noticed that Davin seemed to stay curled up in that newborn position and that he did not move his arms. His arms stayed down and to his sides. However Davin passed his 2 month check-up and his 4 month check-up with no concerns. At 5 months of age, I took my concerns about Davin's arms to the pediatrician. Davin saw another pediatrician in the practice and he assured us that we should watch him for 4 weeks, but that it was nothing neurological because that would start in his legs and his legs appeared to be developing normally.

I took my baby home and tried waiting, but only made it for about a week before calling Davin's pediatrician and requesting that he look at Davin personally. When we saw Davin's doctor, he didn't feel it was neurological, but sent us to be evaluated at Easter Seals. He also mentioned that if Easter Seals offered to have Davin evaluated by a neurologist, we should take them up on that offer.

Davin saw his first physical therapist when he was six months old. He was evaluated and given an appointment to see a neurologist at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia.

On June 11, 1993, Davin saw the neurologist and my mother-in-law and I were told that, "Davin has cerebral palsy. Any questions?" It was a shock and I felt like his words crushed my perfect world. He also gave us a list of tests that needed to be done on Davin in the near future. There was no test to show that a child had cerebral palsy. There were only tests to show that he didn't have something else.

We drove home after my mother-in-law prayed and gave the situation and Davin to the Lord. I then had to go home and tell my husband and my other children what the doctor had said. It was a difficult day.

My husband, Alan, said something the day Davin was diagnosed that will always stay with me. He asked me if Davin was any different than he was yesterday. I replied no, but somehow everything felt different. Alan said that Davin was the same baby that he had been the day before, except they had given this disorder a name. He was right and that has become our family's approach to raising Davin and our other three children. Davin is our child. There are things that are different. I am not sure that anything is harder or more challenging, than our other kids, just different.

After Davin was diagnosed, he began receiving physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and eventually special education. Our time with those therapists that helped us through those first couple of years was so sweet. They provided much more than therapy. They were an emotional support and a source of knowledge, love, and acceptance for someone who isn't exactly like every other kid.

Over the years, Davin has made slow gains, but we are thrilled with each new development, no matter how small. He rolled over for the first time when he was 2 years old and had some success feeding himself for the first time much later.  In between, there have been many other things, like learning to pick something up, being able to hold a crayon in a certain way, and being able to right himself when he leans over in his wheelchair.

I have sat and held Davin while his entire body seized from a seizure disorder that he was diagnosed with at age 2, I have sat in the emergency room with Davin for 15 hours while doctors tried to determine if Davin had appendicitis or not. (It is very difficult to tell things like this because Davin is non-verbal.) I have sat in a therapy room in Mielno, Poland as Davin received intensive therapy and prayed for his body to respond. I have sat by Davin’s bedside in St. Christopher’s Children’s Hospital while Davin struggled to breathe following a hip surgery.  Were any of these things any harder than the things that I have been through with my other kids? Probably not. Just different.

When Davin was little, it sometimes pained me to look at other “typical” kids his age.  My heart hurt to see where he “should” be at a certain age.  I mourned the life that Davin would not have….the life I thought he should have.

God has done great things in my heart since then.  I have PROUDLY watched my son participate in bowling for the Special Olympics (and by participating, I really mean making sure that everyone was watching him), I have dropped him off at a dinner dance as my heart soared looking at my handsome boy in his shirt and tie and experiencing what his siblings have experienced.  Just last year, I dropped Davin off at camp for five whole days and nights and wondered how in the world someone else would take care of his needs.  They did and he survived and more surprisingly, I survived.  (The camp staff wasn’t so sure I would make it.) 

I can now celebrate Davin’s differences.  Or maybe I don’t celebrate the differences, I just celebrate Davin.  I love who he is.  I love what he teaches me every day.  I love his perseverance and the way he can convince most anyone to help with him do things even without speaking a word.  I love the way he adores his siblings and they adore him.  I love the impact he has had on the lives of those around us.  I just love him. He happens to have cerebral palsy.  That is all.  Nothing more and nothing less.  

My perception of “perfect” has changed so much since 1992.  I am thankful and I am blessed to be Davin’s Mom.  It has been one of the greatest joys of my life.


Joy

I have always loved watching my kids do things.  If they were playing on a team or sitting on a bench on a team, I was there and I was watching them.  I love it.  I always said I like watching a Hester play anything. 

Davin is now practicing track and field for his special olympics team.  Yesterday was our first day to the track.  Every single time Davin was pushed for a race, my heart swelled.  Just swelled.  I KNOW that he is being pushed, so he is not actually doing any of the work to run in the race, but I see his face.  He is proud.  He is excited.  And tears well up in my eyes every single time.  Love it.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Being a Mom

I had big dreams.  I never even had time to take a lunch during my junior and senior years in high school.  I was too busy taking college prep classes and business classes so I would have skills to work my way through college.  It was important to me to have a good career so that I could be self-sufficient once I had a family.  I wasn't preparing myself for a divorce, but I wanted to make sure that I could take care of myself and my children.  I planned to major in business in college and then go on to law school.

Then, I found out I was pregnant with Ashleigh.  I graduated early and attended one semester at community college while the rest of my class finished up their senior year.

Everything. Changed.

Those dreams that I had seemed unimportant.  Even before she was born, I knew.  I knew what I was meant to do with my life.  I am not sure I can explain how I knew.  I just knew.

I can remember seeing a show where a bunch of teen moms were asked if they would do it all over again if given the chance for a do-over.  None of them would.  I would.  In a heartbeat.  I absolutely could not change having that girl in my life. 





Processing

So much on my mind lately.  Being a Mom to adult children has not been an easy transition for me.  I have always said I was a good mother of young children.  I am still figuring out so many things.  Lots of deep thinking going on in my head. 

Had a discouraging conversation with our case worker yesterday.  She said that we need to wait to proceed with the adoption until after we have moved.  NJ says that we will have to start all over again with the home study process.  So discouraged.  We are calling some other agencies (private ones) and seeking some advice and hope that we can be matched with our kids in the very near future.  Not sure what God has planned.  We feel so ready.  We know there is a need. 

Besides all of that serious stuff going on in my head, I really consider chocolate covered raisins to be a healthy snack.  Don't you? 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vacuumitis


I have a couple of issues that come up from time to time.  I can get lost VERY easily.  My strategy when I am lost is to turn down any road that sounds familiar to me.  If I have ever at any time been on the road, my logic tells me that getting on that road will get me closer to home.   I would like to thank Rochester, NY for having a road system that works with my technique.  Unfortunately, Philadelphia, PA does not really work the same way.  

I also have a tiny issue with vacuums.  My Mom has probably had 2 or 3 vacuums and she has been married for almost 50 years.  I cannot count the number of vacuums I have owned.  I know there was a period of about 6 years where I got a new vacuum every single year.  I have had to borrow vacuums because mine was not working.  Alan has fixed each and every vacuum that I have owned many, many times before we finally break down and buy yet another vacuum.  Alan feels like I am the common denominator with the vacuum problems, but things happen.  For many years, I could try to blame it on one of my kids using the vacuum.  (Don't judge;-)  

I feel like I am unfairly judged concerning the vacuum situation in part due to a small incident that happened so very long ago and yet keeps getting brought up over and over again.  One day I had just picked my vacuum up from the repair shop.  (Yes, I have had my vacuums repaired by professionals several times, too.)  I was driving our Suburban and needed to drop the vacuum off at home and head out again with the kids.  Since I was in a hurry, I put the vacuum on our front lawn temporarily and started make a k-turn with the truck.  I forgot that the vacuum was in the way and I ran the vacuum over.  Oops.  I got out and looked at the smashed hose on my canister model and knew this was not going to be easy to explain to Alan.  Not only had he purchased me vacuum after vacuum after vacuum, but we had just paid quite a bit of money to get this one fixed.  

I believe one of my children was quick to let their Dad know what had happened.  (Aren't they so cute when they tattle on their mother?)  Anyway, that day has been pretty hard to live down.  

Yesterday my vacuum was not working, so my very patient husband fixed it for me.   I was pretty excited (I always am because it is so often broken) when I could use the vacuum again since I was doing a lot of deep cleaning.  I hated to even mention to Alan that when I began to use the vacuum, it wasn't picking anything up AGAIN.  

Alan started to take the vacuum apart and I could just see the look in his eyes.  I told him that I didn't want him saying anything to me about something being stuck in there.  (Okay, through the years, there may have been some strange things stuck in the hoses.)  I knew the familiar look in his eye and I just knew I had not sucked up anything odd.  



Alan held up the end of the hose and "someone" had sucked up a plastic knife, still in the plastic, from a fast food restaurant.  Of course, I was blamed immediately even though Alan had vacuumed the day before.  Next thing I knew, the whole "car running over the vacuum" incident came up, blah, blah, blah.  

By the way, if you have ever accidentally run over your vacuum, could you please leave me a comment?  Alan said if I can find one person who has done it, he will let that story go.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Biggest Sister's Perspective

The following is from Ashleigh.  She had just turned seven when Davin was born and was still seven when we learned that Davin had cerebral palsy.  She has held him while he was seizing, stood up for him, and taken care of the entire tribe when Alan and I would go out on dates.  It never seemed a burden to her to have a little brother who was maybe a little different than other little brothers. 

When Ashleigh writes of her and Bethany and Cheney's protective nature with Davin, it is no joke.  I won't go into detail, but there could have been an incident where a younger child was in some hot water with my bigger kids and we decided that from then on, we would drive them to school instead of them riding the bus;-)
 

Here are her words....

When my Mom asked me to write how it was growing up with a sibling who had special needs, I didn't know what I could possibly write. I remember when Davin was born, but I honestly don't remember my parents telling us that he had cerebral palsy or how I reacted. At that point it didn't matter. Davin was my brother and he would forever be that to me no matter what label was placed on him.

 My other siblings and I wanted Davin to be around us for everything and that's what we tried to do. If we thought Davin could do it with us, he was right there next to us. We would drag him downstairs to watch TV with us,we would put him in the laundry basket and push him around, we would lay him on the trampoline and fling him around. We treated him the same as we would any other sibling. We didn't baby him because that's just not how we roll in the Hester family.

 All 3 of us other siblings are very protective of Davin. We grew up hearing lots of different things when we went out and we all knew when that happened we would give “the look”. Davin is the youngest and is in a wheelchair, so we felt like we had to step up our game. I remember that we would all get so mad if anyone ever said anything about him or to him even if it was just a curious little child who had no idea. I would always think, "What kind of parents do they have where their parents have not taught them that God made us all different? And how rude and hurtful it can be to stare or point at people who don't look the same as you."

 Growing up, I felt bad for those kids because they didn't have a Davin in their lives. I never thought of it as a hardship being his sister, having to give him baths, feeding him when my parents were away or just laying in bed reading him a book. Davin was considered normal to us kids because that's what we grew up with. Everyone else looking in saw something different, but to us it was all we ever knew and we wouldn't have traded it for the world. Davin changed our family and our hearts without us even realizing it. All of us kids have a different relationship with each other and none of us are the same, but I believe because of Davin it brought us all closer together. We may all live in different states now, but we love each other and the bond that the four of us have will never be broken.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I'm Working On...

I have realized lately that I do a lot of "eye rolling".  Yup.  Eye rolling!!  So, this week, my goal has been to not roll my eyes.  So far, I think I have slipped once and also made some rather strange faces to keep myself from allowing my eyes to roll;-) 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Davin - An Insider's Look

The following is what my son, Cheney Alan, wrote.  Cheney is just 21 months older than Davin, so he knows nothing different than having a brother who has "a little problem" (a quote from 3 year-old Cheney:-).  He is also the brother who as a 4 or 5 year-old started carrying his little brother downstairs so they could watch cartoons on Saturday mornings.  He promised when he was little that when Davin was big, he would find him a wife and if he didn't, they would just live together like the Baldwin Sisters from The Waltons.  (Love that!)  He wondered if Davin was faking being disabled so he could get new toys.  (At that point, therapists were always bringing toys to the house to do Davin's PT and OT.)  As a teenager, his youth pastor watched Cheney scoop a crying Davin out of his chair in front of the other teens.  As a young adult, he came to Alan and I and asked that he be Davin's legal guardian if we cannot do it.  He always thought he knew what Davin was thinking and he probably did.  Davin can still convince his 21 year-old brother to sleep with him.  He just points to the pillow where Cheney is to lay his head.  I have walked in to see Cheney barely on the bed with a little brother tucked all the way under his armpit.  Lest you think he is perfect, he also tied a small Davin to the bed with a Batman rope Davin's first night in his big boy bed.  It seems that Davin was fine with it until his brother left the room leaving him dangling in between the ladder of the bunk bed. 


Cheney and Davin's relationship is probably the one that I mourned the most.  I knew what my sister and I had.  I knew what special relationship my two girls had.  My boys were born 21 months apart and I wanted that same kind of relationship for them.  God has shown me something much more beautiful than I had envisioned.  I had such limitations on relationships.  God didn't.  To say that my boys adore each other is an understatement. 

These are Cheney Boy's words...




Growing up with a disabled brother has allowed me the opportunity to see life from a different perspective.  He has given me traits that I would not normally have developed.  The ability to understand people without speech.  My brother does not speak but that does not in any way keep him from communicating.  My brother has taught me that sometimes you just need to enjoy the little things in life.  Like sitting on the couch with someone you love watching TV or even just looking outside the window.  From a very young age I've known the feeling of someone who depended upon me.  I have known compassion and understanding for people in different places than I am.  My brother has enabled me to have so much that I feel it is literally the least I could do to help him with whatever he needs for as long as he needs it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

From a Big Sister


I asked my older kids if they would write something about their journey as a sibling with a special needs brother.  Maybe you are at the beginning of your journey with your special needs blessing and can use some encouragement.  Is Davin's relationship with his siblings exactly as I always pictured it would be?  No.  Is it amazing?  Yes. 

This is from Bethany, one of the biggest blessings God ever gave me.....


 
When I think of Davin I think of his smile, I think of how he is the happiest, most endearing person I have ever met, how his smile lights up the room and draws people to him. When I see him I see someone who makes me laugh and loves to be a twirp. I don't notice Davin's wheelchair, or all of the differences that the world may see. When I look at Davin, I see my brother, I see one of my best friends, I see someone who I would do anything for. Growing up with a disabled brother changes the way that you look at people and the way you see life. Davin has given me a greater appreciation for my abilities, and also a greater appreciation for the little things. Davin has taught me to help stand up for those who can not stand up for themselves. He has given me a heart for people who may appear to be somehow different from what we consider normal. Growing up with a brother with a disability has been a true gift. While I may not have picked this life for my baby brother, God knew just what He was doing. He truly works all things together for good. I have watched Davin touch so many lives, in ways I would never be able to. Davin has been an inspiration not only to me, but to nearly everyone he comes in contact with. Of course there have been times where I wished he could run outside and play with me, or I wished that I could hear him talk to me, but then I think about the way he screams when I pretend to steal his yogurt, or how he will continue to yell and point to me when he wants to sit down on the floor with me, and I remember that I do hear him talk. It may not be the conventional way of communicating, but Davin has a unique way of talking to each member of our family. We all have a different connection and relationship with Davin and I wouldn't change mine for the world.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Check It Out

If you have never read Adeye's blog, you are missing something.  She has a heart for children, orphans and in particular orphans with special needs.  If you scroll down far enough, you might even recognize someone:-)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bad Teenager:-)

I have come to realize some things as I have gotten older.  I am NOT the fun parent.  I never have been and I don't think I ever will be.  I have fun with my kids, but I am not generally the one to think of the crazy fun things to do.  That is Alan.  He is the fun parent. 

I am however FUNNY.  My kids know it because I TELL them!!!  (Just to be sure they know.) 

Yesterday I asked Davin if I was funnier than his Dad and he shook his head (repeatedly) NO!!  What??  Then, he threw his head back and laughed and laughed.  I again asked the question.  Maybe he did not realize what I was saying and thought I was asking if I was funner than Dad.  Nope.  Same response.  Complete with the laughter at the end.  Hmph!!! 

A Little Time

Sometimes I can go with the flow.  Other times, I need some time to wrap my head around things.  I have learned over the years that giving myself that time is okay.  It's not whimpy and doesn't make me weak to take time to sort things out, process them and feel sad if I need to. 

My Cheney Boy left yesterday and headed "home" to NJ.  Just a few short weeks ago, we learned that everything was working out perfectly.  Our move back to NJ was scheduled for the middle of June.  We would spend the summer with Chey.  I began turning my attention away from our temporary living quarters here to my "home" in NJ.  I started thinking about the changes I would make, what colors I will paint the walls and where I would arrange furniture.  I had a timeline in my head for when things would get done. 

I contacted schools, told our pediatrician and the hardest thing of all, told the bus drivers that we would be moving in June.

The middle of last week, Alan's boss decided that we needed to stay here longer.  Wasn't it their idea for us to move in June???  Yup.  It was. 

So, our perfectly timed move is now not looking so perfect.  Of course, we have a car and will be shuffling back and forth to NJ so we can see our Cheney Boy (and Ashleigh, Kevin and Bethany, too:-), but it has thrown me for a bit of a loop. 

To top things off, the adoption process has me baffled.  We have been actively pursuing adoption for well over a year now.  We have made it a priority and yet our beds remain unfilled.  I am not waiting for a baby.  I am looking to have children that are hard to place.  I feel so ready. 


I do not like to feel discouraged and yet I am. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

If You Think...

If you think that you have to be verbal to talk back, you are wrong. 

If you think you cannot be willfully defiant because you are in a wheelchair, you are wrong.

Did Davin and I have an "incident" this morning?  Perhaps;-)

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Renee




I don't know if I have any right to be so proud of her, but I am.  She is not technically my daughter yet, but in so many ways she already is.  Cheney's fiancee Renee graduated from Wheaton College on Sunday with her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with certification in ACS BioChem.  Are you impressed?  I am!  She is not only super smart, but she is a sweet, sweet girl with a heart for Jesus.


Next up for Renee, Pharmacy School and then marriage!!! 

We are so proud of you Renee and are so thrilled that you are part of our family!


Are they not just the cutest?  And, do you notice the bling on her finger?  ;-)

Thursday, May 03, 2012

I Would Have Missed This

Almost two years ago, we had a big decision to make.  Alan had been working in Rochester for almost a year and his temporary job had been extended for another year.  It would be a temporary move and to a very familiar place, but one thing was very different....we now had grown children.  They would not be coming with us.  I had a choice to make. 

I think Alan would have continued commuting if that is what I needed him to do, but I knew what the answer needed to be.  I needed to choose Alan.  I needed to say yes to going with him, even without the rest of our family.  It was a really hard decision and one that I wasn't sure I could go through with.  I know that God comes first and then Alan comes next, but in practice sometimes he gets shoved behind the kids. 

This was the time for me to show him that he is my priority.  This was the time for me to be a good example of a godly wife to our grown children and follow their Dad to Rochester.  It was hard.  Very hard. 

The rewards that I have gained from this past year and a half are many.  How many people get a "break" in the middle of their lives to regroup, reconnect and reorganize.  We have spent some wonderful time together as a couple.  With only having one boy in the house again, we have evenings to be together once again.  We have spent a ton of time with Davin Boy.  We have gone on lots of walks.  We have gone out for ice cream.  We have visited the touristy places in our area.  We have lost weight.  We have been exercising for 14 months.  We have grown spiritually.  We have bonded with our kids through many phone calls.  We have been blessed. 

If I said no, I would have missed all of this. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

He's Coming


Cheney finishes up his semester at college this week.  That means he is coming HOME!!  I am beyond excited and yet there are also many bittersweet things about this summer. 

This week I will get his room ready.  I will make sure he knows he is loved and he is wanted here.  Davin and I will talk about all of the things we will do when Brother is home.  We will plan to go to Sticky Lips together.  Maybe we can convince him to go with us to Niagara Falls, too. 

While I am getting his room ready, I will not forget that this is the last summer that my boy will come home to our home.  Next year, I will share (I know it is more of a hand-off, but I thought share implied that I was gladly doing it and not trying to get rid of him;-) one of my most prized possessions with a sweet young woman named Renee.  Next summer, he will go home to THEIR home after their wedding at the beginning of June. 

I know this is what we prepare them for their whole lives.  We want them to find the person who is their other half and who they can make a fabulous life with.  Somehow, it is still hard.  So, I will find my list of a thousand things to do for the last time before my baby boy gets married;-)  He will probably go along with most of them because he is sweet like that. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

And a Hush Falls Over the Crowd....


Davin making his way down court.

...literally, ever single person on the court (both players and their partners) were completely silent as they waited so patiently for Davin to decide who he would like to pass the basketball to:-) 

Davin joined a Special Olympics basketball team in our town 2 weeks ago.  It has been so fun to go and watch them practice.  The kids have varied levels of basketball abilities, but they are all so encouraging and patient with one another.  I love to watch them. 

Davin seemed nervous when we first walked in last week.  I had already explained to him that he would have a partner who would help him around the court.  He quickly made the decision that person was NOT to be me.  That is okay.  I can take it:-) 

Yesterday he was much more comfortable and was getting the hang of a few things.  (The boy has sat through quite a few basketball games in his life!)  Our goal for yesterday was to try to concentrate on trying a little bit harder to help to pass the ball or put it into the basket. 

How did we do on our goal?  Well...it is good to have goals;-)

The post scrimmage huddle.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

It's Risky


Adoption is risky.  Adoption through foster care is full of unknowns.  Children don't end up without their parents without some kind of trauma to their young lives. 

The last couple of weeks, I have had serious doubts.  It just didn't seem there was a way for God to come through.  It seemed impossible. 

Because God is good all the time, he spoke to my heart specifically through my Bible study every single day this week.  (From Captivated by God, Women of the Word series) "First, God wants us to trust Him for impossible situations in our lives, and then He wants us to depend on Him entirely.

There are so many risks, so many unknowns and so many chances for my heart to be broken in this whole process.  Our kids are worth every. single. risk.  I am ALL IN. 

Afraid to Love by Matthew Hammitt~


Afraid to love, something that could break,


Could I move on, if you were torn away?

I'm so close to what I can't control

I can't give you half my heart, and pray it makes you whole



You're gunna have all of me, you're gunna have all of me,

Cuz you're worth every fallen tear, you're worth facing every fear

You're gunna know all my love, even if it's not enough

Enough to mend our broken hearts, giving you all of me is where I'll start.



I won't let sadness steal you from my arms

I won't let pain keep you from my heart

Trade the fear of all that I could lose, for every moment I share with you

You're gunna have all of me, you're gunna have all of me,

Cuz you're worth every fallen tear, you're worth facing any fear

You're gunna know all my love, even if it's not enough

Enough to mend our broken hearts, giving you all of me is where I'll start.



Heaven broke into this moment, it's too wonderful to speak

You're worth all of me, you're worth all of me

So let me recklessly love you, even if I bleed

You're worth all of me, you're worth all of me



You're gunna have all of me, you're gunna have all of me,

Cuz you're worth every fallen tear, you're worth facing any fear

You're gunna know all my love, even if it's not enough

Enough to mend our broken hearts, giving you all of me is where I'll start



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Right Now I am Loving...

sparkly pencils
talking about adoption
listening to Cheney's excitement about his upcoming wedding
getting phone calls from Ashleigh and listening to her taking care of the twins that she nannies for
anything Davin brings home from school that he has made (even if I am not sure what it is)
my pink Kindle cover (never read with my Kindle, but now I have a pink case and suddenly, I love it)
talking about weight loss/fitness/nutrition
7am (that is the time of day when our workout is wrapping up and I have 23 hours until I have to do it again)
purple
knowing that I have new windows in my house even though I haven't seen them yet
getting phone calls from my Bethany telling me about her day
that Davin was so sad when his Dad was leaving last night for a meeting
my Bible Study on Thursday nights
frozen yogurt
Friday morning talks with my dear friend
watching Alan scoop Davin up so he can sit with him
knowing that Cheney Boy will be home for the summer in a couple of weeks!!
working on a new color scheme for my living room/dining room

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Friends Forever

A couple of weeks ago, I had a lunch date with a dear friend and two of her little granddaughters.  It is amazing what a couple of little girls can do to boost your spirits for weeks.  To start off, one of them mentioned to her grandmother that I was pretty.  The other one told me that I was nice.  I figured the day could hardly get any better than that.  I was already bouncing around on a cloud.  At the end of our lunch, before walking out the door, one of the girls told us to put all of our hands in together and shouted "Friends Forever"!!  It just got better!!!  I left there amazed what a couple little encouraging words could do to encourage me for days and days. 

I went home and recommended to Alan that he try it with his team at work.  (He did not feel led to follow my advice.)  I told my sister that she and her co-worker should do it in the nurse's office where she works.  (They laughed about it, but didn't do it.)  I told my Bible study girls and we did it before leaving for the night!! 

Why not end every gathering with a "Friends Forever" cheer??  Try it!!

Mexico Pictures









Better late than never??  ;-)