Monday, October 31, 2011

Tick or Treat!

Ty walked over half our neighborhood and would have kept going tonight had I not mentioned candy at home to persuade him to head that direction! He was a champ at trick or treating! He walked for an hour and a half getting "candy". He was on a mission and loving it. Kate enjoyed being the big sister who lead the way. She said, "Trick or Treat" at every house and he said, "one" no matter how many pieces were offered and several neighbors couldn't resist giving more than that as a result of the cuteness factor. Colby and Robyn joined us and that little guy was also so good! It was a great night.

Lauren handed out candy and decided being armed with Colby's golf club was a good idea when our first trick or treaters were older than 15!

Robyn said Colby was Peyton Manning after the injury because he will now play golf....I said he looked like "Aunt Jemima"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fall "Fun"?

So our church hosted a fall festival today. It was total chaos. I stood in lines with four kids for two hours so they could do three things. Let's just say I will neglect to put this on the calendar next year. I was a little saddened to hear secular music,see witches and monsters volunteering, and no one directing the flow of people who may as well have been at the mall for the difference our church did not make today. I feel as though we sometimes miss the balance of reaching the world vs being part of the world.

On the other hand, little man was bribed with candy to finally put on his costume! He decided he liked being Buzz once he was finally dressed. I've attempted this multiple times the last few months and  had all but given up on it. He was pretty stinking cute. The bribery continued throughout the afternoon to keep him confined in the stroller in previously mentioned lines.

In the end, Ty said, "it was FUN!" That counts for something.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ryan's Story

Lauren got upset at school on Monday because her peers were laughing about drug abuse as they prepared for a mock trial they're presenting in class Friday. She needed a break as this has been an ongoing observation and something she hadn't been comfortable speaking out against for fear of judgment as a "goody-goody". One of her advisers noted she needed a break and allowed her some time away from her studio and then inquired as to why this topic upsets her so much. She shared Ryan's story and felt like it was time to finally say something. Her advisers empowered her to put together a presentation and invited all three studios to join the discussion. She spoke in front of 100 or so peers this morning. I'd like to take a second to mention that she was unable to do a group presentation a few weeks ago for biology because she's never spoken in front of anyone. This was clearly something she felt was important. I went in to support her and was amazed once again by her school and came away as proud as ever of Lauren. 

Lauren's words:
I know everyone thinks it is cool to laugh about drugs and no one wants to listen to adults who think they know everything but I don't laugh and I don't think it's funny. People who use drugs hurt the people who care about them. They hurt people when they don't mean to. Their decisions effect others whether they realize it or not. I want to tell you my story. When I was six years old, my family was really close to another family in our church. We were in the same gymnastics, preschool and cheer leading groups with their kids and our families spent a lot of time together. They had three kids and we had three kids. I was in the middle of two sisters. The mom got pregnant during that time and the baby did not belong to her husband. She asked us to adopt her baby. We were really excited, especially once we found out he was a boy. We named him Ryan and planned his room and bought him a few things. Ryan was born three months early on December 20, 2003 and only weighed one pound two ounces and was ten inches long. He was so sick I was never able to see him in the hospital.  We found out when he was born that his birth mom was addicted to drugs and that is why he was born early and was so sick. He died nine days later. I miss the little brother I was supposed to have. I know he was supposed to have a life with our family and we loved him as our own. Some days are still hard on all of us. So, this is why I can't joke around about drugs. This is why I can't do drugs. This is why it matters so much to me that my friends take care of themselves and not do drugs. I hope Ryan's story makes a difference and people will stop and think before they take drugs. Your decisions affect more than just you. The baby ring I wear around my neck is Ryan's. I know some of you have asked me about it but I just said it was my brother's. I thought it was private but now I think I need to say more so maybe more people will think of him and not take drugs.

She was amazing, strong, poised and started a dialog with her peers that lasted an hour. I was grieved hearing some of these young teens talk of addiction in their families and personal lives. Several stated how long they have been clean after starting drugs in elementary school with their parents. Some admitted to using now. The stories were tragic and authentic. I loved watching them trust their advisers enough to be honest. The advisers were also great about re-capping at certain intervals in order to make points about destroying relationships, throwing away dreams and ruining their bodies for a temporary high. A few articulate teens were able to share reports they've studied on the brain's chemical response to "artificial highs" from drugs and how the "natural high" our brains have naturally is destroyed by drug use, leading to addiction because eventually you can't be happy or pain free without that drug in your system. I could go on and on. These kids were incredible. Like Lauren, I think Ryan's story should be told. It may not impact everyone but if we tell his story perhaps we can see meaning beyond our personal grief. How amazing is our God?  Eight years later using our sadness to speak to the hearts of teens.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Colby James

Colby took three steps today. Right after he was hit in the eye by a flying book. Ty went to time out and Colby quit crying before I quit shaking. I feel badly enough when it is one of my own children, but one who is trusted into my care? It hurts.

And yesterday Colby quickly discovered one of the cabinet locks was broken over the weekend.......
The lock has been replaced and he now shakes the heck out of the cabinet doors in hopes of making them open again!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oh Kate!

Remember the post about how strongly Kate felt about her school photo? Oh my goodness! We got the results today.....think Ramona and Beezus. If you've not seen the movie, you must. It's adorable but this shot makes me think of poor Ramona and her attempt at a great school photo gone wrong.

First, I'd like to point out the last name? And then I can't help but laugh at the creative little sales pitch, "last chance to order. Pictures this good would be a shame to miss!" Ya think?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lauren Ellis....finally!

Lauren has a friend who lost her mom to breast cancer two years ago this month. Lauren has mentioned dying her hair pink in honor of her friend's loss a few times. She's pretty amazing.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Updates and A Photo Dump

Paige has recovered beautifully thus far. She is home today, two days earlier than expected! Go Paige! She will be spending a few days with us this week recuperating (as much as one can recuperate with a bunch of kids running around!). For those of you not in the loop, she had to have her top right rib removed because she had circulation in her arms cut off by a condition called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. She will have the same procedure done on her left side in two months. The surgery required her lung be deflated and five small incisions. It has been quite a journey for a 13 year old! Ongoing prayers for her recovery and upcoming procedure would be appreciated as we just adore that girl.

Kate went to the zoo with Jennifer and Shelby to trick-or-treat and as usual, had a great time.
He was trying to convince me he needed a no-bake cookie....evidence indicates he'd already had one!

Lauren is camping with her class this week. We hope she has a great time and is able to stay warm! She is struggling with her decision to try an alternative school. We are still impressed with the program and want her to continue learning in that environment. She made a really good friend in her studio who moved away rather suddenly and that set the stage for complaints about not liking it. We hope this week proves to be a bonding time full of fun so she once again realizes how blessed she really is to be there.

Mom and Dad came down for a visit this weekend since Dad couldn't make it two weeks ago. We took them to see Paige which took a few hours thanks to the bridge issue. Let me just pause here and say I would be on blood pressure medicine if I had to make that commute on a daily basis. But we all know God is working on me and my lack of patience. I didn't think to grab my camera at all this weekend but realized I have quite a few photos that need off the card which MAY explain the random shots among random's been an interesting couple of weeks and my thoughts are a lot like this post. ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE.

My sister lost her beautiful dog, Kenya suddenly on Monday. She was a healthy 11 year old Rottweiler who laid down at Theresa's feet and passed away. So very sad for their home and quite a blow to Lauren who always tried to puppy nap her.

I have been struggling once again with the upcoming season. Why do I do this to myself? I really don't like it and would love nothing more than to turn the calendar from October to January but clearly, I can't. I have been praying for a lady who is friends with my friend Anne for several months now. Her son Levi was born with health issues detected in utero. Levi passed away this weekend after a six week fight for his life. Watching that heartbreaking situation unfold has weighed heavily on me. It just takes me back to the NICU where we loved Ryan and said goodbye. No mother should go through that pain. I just wish I could take away her grief. Anyway, I am sure that has triggered my feelings, scattered and unreasonable as they may be. So, I started a dialog with the older kids about their favorite Christmas traditions and what they don't consider important. Their answers surprised me. Baking with me was at the top of the list. Stockings and sibling gifts were next. They don't find the tree and decorating necessary? And they'd like to relax more as a family once Greg is finally off work at the end of December. All in all, I'd say their priorities are quite reasonable and it helps me gain some perspective on how thinly I should stretch myself during a time I typically crave solitude. I can't believe Ryan would be 8 this Christmas. There are times I get caught up in "life" and don't think much about it but then moments like this make it seem like yesterday.
A classmate of Erin's wrote this book and is working on another.....pretty impressive?
And this little stinker is as busy as they come right now! He and Ty make up quite the demolition crew! You never know what he'll be into next and I suspect he'll be walking all too soon as he's attempting it with concentrated effort now.

I'll leave you with some shots Kate found important. She likes finding things that look like "Fall".....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

For Paige

Because she harasses me for not updating the blog often enough and because I love her, a post for Paige. Paige feels like a member of our family. She always compliments my cooking (because she picks and chooses what days to eat here) and makes me smile with her constant antics. Paige has a rough couple of days ahead of her and I want her to know we are praying for a speedy recovery and can't wait to have her around again. We love you Paigie-Poo!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Apple Picking Adventure

My friend Anne and I took the kids to our local farm to pick apples today. We rode a wagon out to the orchard and watched our little busy farmers pick apples to their heart's content although I suspect the highlight for them was tossing the spoiled apples. And by tossing, I mean hurling them as far as they could.

Once we rode back to the market, Kate took over as photographer and here's a sampling of what she considered worth recording.

This pumpkin was grown locally and weighs an impressive 1080 lbs!

This one is now my screensaver.

I need to include one quick shot of our current foliage. It is gorgeous around here!