SAL-VA-TION: by grace

E-LEV-EN: children from 1984 to 2006

HOME-SCHOOL-ING: since 1990

DOWN-SYN-DROME: susie and gabe

GRAND-CHILD-REN: since 2010

FAITH-FUL-NESS: my steadfast rock, my biggest supporter, my leader, my friend, my love, my husband

Friday, February 25, 2011

Purple for Kaylee Hope

Joey and Jamie called yesterday to let me know that the preliminary tests results are in and they do have a little girl who is missing a chromosome--Turners Syndrome. Joey posted about their daughter, her name, her favorite things, making as many connections to her beautiful personness as possible in whatever time they will have with her. You can read his tender words here.

From now until Kaylee Hope's birth, or her death, whichever comes first, my blog will be purple and I am going to wear something purple. It will be my constant reminder to pray for her. I don't really think I need a reminder, I don't think I could make myself stop, but I want an outward expression of the reminder. I want a visible sign that I am cheering for her and loving her and her parents and brother and sister. I figured that if she's a girl who likes the smell of lavendar, the feeling of being twirled around in the air, and the taste of RMCF carmel apple then she would definitely prefer purple over 'sackcloth and ashes'.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Anniversaries--so different, so alike

Nine years ago one of my dearest friends, Paula, died after a 2-year battle with cancer. She left four devastated children and a grieving husband.

Four years ago today my firstborn son, Joey, married the love of his life, Jamie.

So different.

Today, these two anniversaries come together and form a stong connection in my heart.

When I think of Paula and her ordeal with cancer I think of the day she called me to tell me she was dying. She gave me all of the details, drawing out the events of the past months and the search for medical answers until she came to the horrible conclusion. She had cancer, everywhere. She had it in her ribs, her spine, her pelvis, and her brain. There was no escaping its invasion, only efforts to delay its final victory, trying to buy time with and for her family.

The day she called me was clear and sunny but it suddenly looked bleak, physically dark and bleak. I could see the sun and the blue sky with my eyes, but not with my heart. My mind and my stomach just stood still--one thought, no appetite. All I could think about was my friend, and her life ending, and leaving her children. I walked through my day in a fog, going through the motions, doing what had to be done but my mind was only on Paula. I specifically remember walking through the Shopko parking lot and seeing people talking, laughing, and going about their day. I remember thinking how very strange it was that the world was going on as if nothing was wrong, as if Paula wasn't dying. I didn't feel like a part of the world.

This year, on this day, my mind is in the same surreal state. The days are going on and the activities buzz and my children laugh and ask me questions. I do what I need to do--cook, clean, teach, get to appointments--writing out lists to keep me focused and on task. But my mind is with Joey and Jamie. I am in continual prayer. All of my thoughts hold of piece of them. So much is known, but so much is unknown. My faith feels large, all of it is God's gift, lifting up my spirit as well as my prayers. I keep thinking, "Faith is the presence of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." So much is not seen, and so much is hoped for.

Joey said in his blog post today that they have a name picked for their baby which they will reveal today when they learn if she is indeed a girl. I am looking forward to putting a name to all of this love and hope.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Praying for Miss Beautiful

Last year our family experienced great joy as we were blessed with four grandchildren, the beginning of a new generation. They are loved, adored, and treasured.

Last year we also experienced sorrow as we mourned two grandchildren who did not live long enough to be held or breathe their first breath.

Yesterday we learned that another grandchild, due in July, is not expected to survive. Joey and Jamie just celebrated their twins' first birthday and they are now thrown into a chaos of grief and turmoil and disbelief and sadness.

There are more questions than answers but what we do know can be found in Joey's blog post this morning, I Love You, Thadwick.

Please join me in encompassing them in prayer.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My day off

Yesterday I had a rare opportunity. Keith took Bryce, Owen, and Lisa skiing for the day and I was homeschool-free. It was just me and Gabe. Troy and Shane would be in school and at basketball practice. I had visions of extreme productivity. It was going to be like a day off!

I had two goals. One, catch up a little on cleaning around the house--just a little. Second, make some headway on a scrapbooking project.

Maybe I shouldn't have thrown "crack down on toilet training with Gabe" into the mix, but I did. It didn't take much time, but it was on my mind all day--do you have to go? do you have to go now? how about now?

I decided I better take our weekly trip to library story time with Mr. Tom. It also doubles as my time to check out the books for the next school week and I didn't know when I'd get that done with two birthdays and a kid party to orchestrate in the next 5 days. I got the books and Gabe enjoyed his time. When asked by his brothers last night who he saw at the library he answered, "Mr. Tom"! I don't think Gabe has ever accurately answered a "who" question in that context (meaning something other than "who is that") correctly.

At lunch time Troy came home for a quick 20 minutes to try to consume 2,000 nutritious calories. In between bites I got updates on his day and plans for the evening.

I got thrown a bit of a curve ball in the form of a doctor appointment to have Shane's sprained ankle worked on. Ninety minutes gone. But not wasted, it's part of loving and caring for my boy. We drove together, talked together, laughed, and made medical progress with his ankle.

While I was out, and after dropping Shane back at school, it only made sense to stop at the store for just a couple items on my list and, oh yes, Keith's birthday cake for Saturday had to be made Friday so I had to get those ingredients, too. No potty training during the out and about, I'm not that crazy.

Home again, a simple early supper for the four of us, cleaned up the dishes, put away groceries, finished cleaning off and organizing the counter to get the scrapbooking going.

Got a text, surprise, the skiers are almost home and boy are they HUNGRY! Somehow they forgot to tell me that "all day" meant 3/4 of the day. Back to the kitchen...

I had such high hopes. Neither one of my goals was met, not even touched in fact. I'm not sure if they were unrealistic to begin with or just got rolled over by family life. I think it was the latter.

I wanted to be frustrated, but I really couldn't. And I knew it wouldn't change anything. The day was just what it needed to be. As a mom, it doesn't matter if you have 4 kids or 6 kids or just 1 kid at home. It really is a full time job.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kauai, Hawaii in pictures

Sorry to my kids who've been looking for these for a few weeks. I'm sacrificing to get them done now, but don't see another way. I'll have to have coffee for breakfast.

We returned from our wonderful week-long respite a full 3 weeks ago now. I came home so relaxed and refreshed that I seemed to just float in la-la land for a couple of days. Then bam. Life found me again. I was laid flat by the flu for two days and needed two more to get back on my feet. A few others joined the sick club, basketball games were on the calendar, field trips were scheduled, school had to get done, meals, laundry, cleaning, real life for sure.

But I still feel the effects of our week away. I smile when I think of how simple it all was. If we wanted to go somewhere at 8, we did. Just like that, we just left. When we put something down, it stayed put. When we cleaned something up, it stayed cleaned. When I washed the dishes (notice I didn't say 'we' this time) they stayed washed. It was surreal. It was so easy. It was utterly relaxing. It was a wonderful break. But I don't want to move and I don't want to retire just yet. Breaks are good, but living the crazy, busy, scattered life that I do is better in the more permanent sense. And getting away makes that clearer. The love and appreciation I have for my family and home is always keener after a step back and time of reflection.

The very best part, of course, was being with Keith and not having anything to think about but being with him. We could do everything together all the time, and with the exception of a .3 mile spur on a 9-mile hike (I passed), we did.

Kauai is called the Garden Island for good reason and the pictures pretty much speak for themselves, so I'll keep the text to a minimum and let the pictures do the talking.

Keith is a marvelous trip planner and researched some spectacular hikes. We logged over 20 miles in our six days. Warning signs were abundant, we are not faint-hearted hikers.

My "tow rope" when the uphill switchbacks got to be a bit too much.

We did not leave feeling cheated out of relaxation.

Loved the trees

Loved the sunsets

Some typical tourist activities:
Visited the falls best known as the "Fantasy Island" falls. Tattoo points over them and says, "Boss, da plane, da plane!"

Historic walk through Waimea, the landing spot of James Cook, with 80-year-old native guide Aletha--a wealth of information, she had a fantastic memory and shared all we wanted to hear. What a treat to get a personal account of her memory of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the pre and post-statehood days of Hawaii.

The Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon

A luau

We also saw whales, dolphins, seals, and turtles, birds and birds, and too many chickens. We took a boat trip, snorkeled, shopped at the open markets for local produce, and visited the largest coffee plantation in the US. We hiked like we were young and played shuffleboard like we were old.

But best of all, we added to a precious pool of memories of enjoying being together.

Friday, February 11, 2011


I was in the van with Gabe yesterday when he said to me: Want glasses.

I said: You're the one who lost them. Where did you put them?

Clear as a bell he replied: In a hot air balloon.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Round 2 with the Preschooler

I guess the mess made this morning wasn't enough. During lunch my trouble maker, Gabe, dropped/threw his bowl of tomato soup on the floor. Perhaps he just needs more of an outlet for artistic expression and design and only wanted to enjoy the rather interesting pattern made by the bowl, soup, and sandwich pieces. In any case, the clean-up procedure was the same as with the syrup, only without the change of clothes.

They say that little ones grow up too fast and one day they'll be gone and I'll be wishing they were little again. I think I'm going to agree with one of my mother-in-law's favorite sayings,
'They say' are the biggest liars there ever were.

Preschool Percussion

FYI--If you hear your preschool son making an innocent tapping noise, check it out.

What you do not want to find is the preschooler straddling a dining room chair and tapping an inverted, full bottle of maple syrup into his lap.

The bad news--I had a full 12-ounce puddle dripping from shirt to pants to socks to chair to floor to clean up.

The good news--the work we've been putting into music training is paying off; the tapping was done in a nice, steady, rhythmical beat.

Friday, February 4, 2011

"Sick" Humor

Very recently, as I was laid low from the flu, one of my wise-guy-kids just couldn't resist a little joke.

I'd been flat in bed for a straight 36 hours (with just 24 more to go) and I woke up to see a fresh glass of crushed ice by my bedside--awww.

Taking a closer look I noticed the secoond "gift".

Nothing cheers you up like a distressed GI Joe!

I wasn't so sick I couldn't appreciate it (only so sick I couldn't move or eat). Later, one of my boys came in to visit for awhile and I mentioned that if nothing else this was a good sidekick to my fitness/diet plan. He said (seriously) I should spend more time on the Wii Fit. I told him I thought I would just stick to the Wii Sick--what could be easier, do nothing lose eight pounds!