Thursday, February 26, 2009

A funny moment

Just wanted to share a funny moment with you.

The other day, Isaiah and I were talking.  It may help you to know that we have been studying bees this week.  This is a bit of our conversation.

Isaiah:  Do you know what my favorite word is?

Me:  (not knowing people had favorite words) No, I don't.

Isaiah:  Well, it isn't Isaiah because thats a name.  It's thorax.

Me:  (stifling a giggle at this point)  Really?  It's thorax?

Isaiah:  Yes, my favorite word is thorax.

A few days later, Isaiah is working on a math page dealing with money.  Rebecca overhears him talking to himself.  For a little background you should know that this is my child that LOVES money.  He talks about money every day.  He frequently offers to pay to get things that he wants.  Recently he offered to pay Christopher in order to get something he wanted.  This request was followed up quickly by another offer - a second payment - if he wouldn't tell Mom!  lol

Isaiah, as he is studying about money:  I think my favorite word is money.  Thorax is my second favorite word.

This boy just cracks me up!  The funny thing is that he often has no idea how very funny he can be because he delivers his lines with total seriousness.

I'm thankful for the gift of laughter and little people that give me plenty of reason to laugh.



Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A time of rest

I had a sweet week-end.  One that started on Thur after a field trip.  It had been a fun morning with my children and our Five in a Row group - a trip to the fire station and then a picnic and playing in the park. 

When we got home, I finished packing and headed off to a yearly "retreat".  Once a year, meeting up with friends from the FIAR website staff. 

Some of these friends I've known for over 10 years - when our oldest children were just starting on the homeschooling journey.  Some of these friends are newer friends with whom God has knitted our hearts.  I'm thankful to be part of a sweet group of gals (and one great guy!). 

The week-end was a time of laughter and tears, sharing and learning, praying and challenging - and fun.  Rest was maybe not the right word as there was not much sleep going on.  But, it was refreshing and encouraging.  I'm thankful that my sweet husband sees the value in this for me.

Here's a photo of our group.


Thank you all for a great week-end!  In the midst of the travel and business, I heard some sweet (albeit brief) words from God.  My heart has been torn and grieved at much of what I've heard and read lately.  I feel the need to *DO* something.  I'm praying, but it just doesn't seem like enough at times.  Does this make sense?  While talking with God, He reminded me of this truth.

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.  Isaiah 40:31

So, in the midst of my worry, God is telling me to wait on Him.  He will give me strength to carry out His plans when I wait on His perfect timing.  Isn't that an amazing truth?!

Why do I doubt?  God is in the details - even the small ones.  On my flight out, I sat beside an interesting man that had recently become a beekeeper.  We talked about what he did and the benefits of keeping bees.  (He even encouraged me to do this.)  What was the God moment in this?  We have been studying bees this week in school.  I was able to ask him a question that one of the children asked me (and I couldn't answer).  It was an interesting, enjoyable and helpful conversation.  God is sweet like that?

I have more to share,- but need to get some sleep.  More tomorrow, I hope.



Thursday, February 19, 2009

Visiting with cousins

Just a quick entry with a few pictures of some of teh fun we had while visiting my sister's family.  It was beautiful and we enjoyed the outdoors.



Towards the end of the trip - Eliana learned something new.  She wanted to be outside and had been brought in.  Well, she figured out how to get out all on her own.   We thought this was just too funny!


 Have a great week-end!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentines Day

Just wanted to share some of our Valentines Day fun.  Is there a better way to start the day than to be greeted by children giving you handmade cards?

We started the day with a beautifully set table.  Rebecca did the decorating and Roger gave me the beautiful roses.  :-)  We had waffles with strawberries and strawberry/banana smoothies - YUM!

The younger boys have been working on the Valentines Day Fold 'n Learn from Five in Row.  They liked having conversation hearts to go along with the lesson on this candy.  They were all quite interested in knowing what was written on each heart. 

One of my favorite conversations went like this.

Daniel - What does this heart say?

Rebecca - You Rock!

Daniel - Oh, I rock!  Said with great pleasure! 

Later in the afternoon, Rebecca and I want to a Keepers of the Faith meeting.  Our newest badge is Doll Making.  (I'll update my KOF blog soon on the details.)  The girls had fun learning about making dolls and starting the process by cutting out their pattern and then cutting out the fabric.  They started with a little bit of the sewing too.

We came home to prepare our traditional meal - pizza!  A heart shaped pizza with I love you spelled out in pepperonis. 

I had some great helpers in the kitchen.

Had to get a photo of Daniel actually eating pizza that he made!!!  Yippee!!!  I'm so glad that he is learning to like pizza!

Our next activity was sweet for me.  I watched my children wanting to do something that I typically do - plan scavenger hunts - two of them. 

First Joshua called us together and said, "I suppose you are all wondering why I have called you here". 

This was the start to his hunt.  One of the clues involved one of his favorite foods - mustard.

Rebecca also planned a hunt.  Hers ended with hand-made cards and bags with candy.  Isn't she a sweetheart!!!

Rebecca also made a beautiful  pink lemonade cake for dessert.  It was yummy - and also very tart.  Eliana enjoyed an entire piece of it!  Didn't Rebecca do a great job decorating it?!

We ended the day with a game of Mother May I.  I couldn't well do a scavenger hunt, now could I?  I had some books I wanted to give everyone (including Roger) and thought this would be a fun way to get to them.  We had lots of laughing and joking.

The evening ended quietly with everyone enjoying a book.  I'm thankful my children enjoy books!

Thank you God for all the sweet blessings you have placed in my life.



Wednesday, February 11, 2009

While we were ...

This has been something so heavy on my heart recently.  I've started and saved several blog posts (not posted yet).  This week though we learned about 2 little girls that were on Reece’s Rainbow (the adoption organization that we sponsor which helps kids with Down syndrome find their forever families). 

These girls recently turned 4 and were sent to mental institutions where they died from the flu.  How can we NOT do something to help the least of these?  Please read the following written by Meredith and pray about how you can help.

 While we were eating...
... they were hungry

While we were playing...
... they were restrained

While we were tucking our kids into bed...
... they were alone

While we turned up the heat...
... they laid in the icy cold

While we wrapped our children in blanket sleepers...
... they laid in their own excrements

While we sang songs and listened to music...
... they listened to the screams and cries of those around them

While we rocked our babies...
... they silently rocked themselves

While we hugged our kids...
... they scratched at their own faces and pulled their own hair for stimulation

While we cried over scraped knees...
... they moaned in their loneliness

While we brushed our daughters' beautiful hair...
... they had their heads shaven to stave off the lice

While we fought off the flu with love and nourishment...
... they got the flu and went Home.

No longer suffering... but so many more still are.

In memory of those that have never felt the love of a family, but have passed away alone.

Today we learned of the passing of these two girls in Eastern Europe

Update on Radiothon

Hi All,

Just wanted to update on our time at the Duke Children's Hospital Radiothon.  On our way over, Rebecca and I were listening to the radio and hearing of the special promotion.  Forester insurance had pledged to match up to $75,000 raised in a two hour period.  At the time (about 30 minutes into it) they had raised $26,000.  We followed this for the next hour and half.  More on this to come.

When we arrived, we greeted the people that we knew there - and Eliana proceeded to make friends with everyone that would look at her.  She walks up and waves or says "hi", gives high fives or just a sweet smile.  So many people told me how cute she is - and I could see how much people enjoyed seeing her. 

While we were waiting, I spoke with a woman as she was leaving.  Eliana had caught her eye and she started asking about her.  As we talked, she shared that she had lost a daughter when she was exactly Eliana's age.  She also had Down syndrome.  She died just 6 days before Eliana was born of an immune deficiency disease. 

Oh, this broke my heart and I just had to hug her neck.  She showed me a picture of her beautiful daughter.  She also told me that she has been fundraising for Duke Children's at her school since her daughter passed.  What a strong statement to the hope and care that they received at Duke.

We also talked about Down syndrome and what a beautiful gift it is to know someone like this.  And what a horror it is that so many of these children never make it to know life at all.

I wish we had longer to talk, but I know that I can pray for her.  She told me that she has since had a little boy who is perfectly healthy.  She seems to have a sweet spirit.

While we were waiting, we followed and chased Eliana.  She heard the phones ringing and would hold her hand to her ear and say "hello".  She also saw a large bag of change.  I told her that it was money and she hit her chest and said "mine".  lol  This little one is funny!

Rebecca made her donation at about 5:30.  Bless you friends who waited to hear her!  It was a brief time for her to share what she had done and why.  She told about how her little sister had been born with 2 holes in her heart and how Duke had taken great care of her.  She wanted to help other children that didn't have insurance to be able to be helped too. 

She was very nervous, but spoke calmly and clearly and did a great job!  I'm so proud of you Rebecca!  She donated ...


Since her pledge was made during the challenge, they told her that her donation was doubled to $6400.00!  Way to go! 

After this, we left to go home.  We heard the rest of the challenge - and they were successful in raising the $75,000 and more.  Total raised ...  190, 544 in two hours.

I'm thankful for this experience.  Who knew when Eliana was born that "hearts" would be touched in so many ways - both physical, emotional and spiritual.  I told Rebecca that God has given her some special gifts - a compassionate heart, a desire and drive to help others and creativity.  I'm incredibly blessed to see her using her gifts at such a young age!  I'm incredibly humbled that God would allow us to be used to bless others and that He would allow me to see Him at work in my children.  Thank you God for blessing us.  We pray that you would continue to use us to your glory!



Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Duke Children's Radiothon

Just wanted to share that tomorrow (Wed 11 Feb), Rebecca, Eliana and I will be going to Duke for their annual radiothon fundraiser.  Not sure yet if the boys - some or all - will be going with us.  We'll see.

Rebecca is planning to make another large donation to the pediatric cardiac unit.  I'm so proud of her work!  If you aren't familiar with what she has done - you can click on the link in my sidebar under Wholehearted Bracelets.

We will be there around 5pm to make the donation and talk on the air.  This time was selected for a big audience going home from work.  If you want to listen, go to this site and follow the link for listening on-line.

I'm not sure yet what we will be asked - probably just to hear our story.  I know that Rebecca will be nervous.  She already is.  I'm not sure I've done enough to prepare her - I just want her to be able to relax and share comfortably what she has done and why.  Would you please pray for calm nerves and an ability to share what God has placed on her heart.  (I'd love that prayer for me too - though I'm not nervous about it.)  I want God to be glorified in all that we say.

I'm thankful for this opportunity and thankful for the friends we have made at Duke.  I'm thankful to be approaching 2 years on a healed heart.  I was thinking back and remembering that 2 years ago, Eliana was in heart failure.  She was struggling to eat and I was struggling to feed her.  It was a hard time - and yet God was so faithful. 

God has blessed our lives in so many ways.  We are blessed to be able to share that with others.



Sunday, February 8, 2009

Couple of funnies,a week-end update and a prayer request

We left Friday to go visit my sister's family.  We had a blast and enjoyed having time to hang out with them.  I'll post more details - and pictures - if I can figure out how to upload the photos. 

I thought I'd share a couple of funny stories with you though.

At one point on Friday, the boys were trying to do chin-ups.  Isaiah was swinging on the bar, lost his grip and fell on his back.  He had the wind knocked out of him and I knew he was hurting pretty badly.  He did get up though and walk to the sofa so that I knew he was fine.  A little while later he was going down the steps when Joshua brushed past him.  Well, this bump set Isaiah's back to hurting again and he sat on the step and cried.  I called Joshua back and asked him to apologize and make things right.  Isaiah doesn't like to be comforted and Joshua didn't know what to do.  I told him just to sit there.  Joshua's next question just made me chuckle inside.  "Can I get a book?"

Earlier this evening, Joshua approached me and very seriously said "If we ever go to New Zealand, I don't want to go.

I asked "Why not?"

Joshua replied "Because of the cannonballs."

I was confused and just repeated "Cannonballs?"

He stated, "Yes, they eat people."

Huh?  I was confused for a moment and then said "Do you mean cannibals?  They aren't there any longer."  LOL

On a serious note, would you join me in praying for Eli?  He just 3yo and is going in tomorrow, Monday Feb 9 for surgery on his heart.   You can read more about it on his mom, Lisa's blog.   They have been waiting for this day for quite some time, and yet you can never be quite prepared for handing your child over for open heart surgery.  Lisa told me tonight that she was looking forward to having a ticker like mine that said the number of days "AFTER" open heart surgery.  It is much better on this side of surgery.  Praying for you dear friend!!!

UPDATE:  Eli's surgery was a success!!!  No complications and all went very, very well!  Praise God!  Please continue to pray for Eli's recovery and healing and for his family as they juggle all that is on their plates right now!



Friday, February 6, 2009

Durham Bulls

Guess what we learned about this time?  Need a hint.  America's pastime.

Another fun outing with our FIAR group.  This time we went to see the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP).  The Bulls are a minor league baseball team which is the AAA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.  We toured the park and learned more about how things work.

It was a very, very cold day - but the children had fun.  The little ones, including Eliana, had a hard time with the temps though.  She fussed and had a runny nose.  I began to wonder if she was getting sick.  When I finally was able to put her down, inside a warm area, she was fine.  I'm thankful.

This is the entrance of the ball park. 

This is a bull sculpture near the entrance.

We toured the rec room and the locker room.  Nothing fancy, but functional.  Christopher was amused to see a football in the locker room. 

This is a view from the home team's dug out.  If you look to the upper left, you can see the Bull.  When they score, his tail moves, his eyes turn red and smoke comes from his nostrils.  Also, if a home player hits the bull, he wins a steak dinner as does a fan.

Look again at the picture above.  Can you see the scoreboard (green in the middle of the blue wall).  Well, we were able to go see how it works. 

You enter from the right side of the "wall" and go down behind it. 

Then up onto a platform to look out the "windows" which is were each of the numbers are placed for the scoreboard.  This is a view out of one of the windows onto the field.

This is Daniel beside one of the windows and you can see some of the numbers used for scoring.  It is one person's job to change all the numbers for the game.


Next, we went into the press box.  Here is the view from there.

The stadium holds about 10,000 people and several "party boxes" for large groups and a play area for children.

This is just a cute picture.  You can't tell because of the sunlight, but Joshua is wearing a Durham Bulls baseball cap just for the outing.

At the end, we took a group photo and then went across the street to the Mellow Mushroom for a pizza lunch.  Daniel had a pepperoni sandwich again - and a bite of pizza!  Woo hoo!  It was yummy food and good to be in a warm place with friends. 

Looking forward to our next adventure - a trip to visit my sister and her family this week-end!



Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Do you know about iGoogle?

I had heard about it and have just recently started using it - and loving it!  It's really a great tool if you read blogs as it makes it so much easier to keep up with them!  I encourage you to try it.

I have "google" set as my homepage.  One of the options is "Google Reader".  You can add in sites/blogs that you visit (add subscription).  Whenever one is updated, you will see a note on your google homepage.  It highlights things that you haven't read so it is easy to see what is new.

Try it - I think you'll like it.



Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dental Appointments

Well, this is what took up most of my day - or seemed to anyway.

We had a slow start and didn't get much, if anything, accomplished this morning.  Then it was off to the dentist.  My 4 oldest were scheduled to be seen.  Thankfully, Roger was able to meet us there.  I was concerned at how I would handle being with the kids being seen while having the two youngest in tow, kwim? 

One of our children has had some real struggles with the dentist and he did much better today.  The dentist we see is so very patient!!!  This is the one child that so far seems to be the one who will be visiting the dentist a lot.  I think we are going to miss out on braces for the oldest 2 or 3.  I'm thankful for that!

While we were there, I asked the dentist to take a peek at Eliana.  Her bottom teeth (the two in the middle) are very crooked and pointed instead of smooth.  Really sharp!  Our ped was a little concerned that she might fall and hurt herself with them.  He looked and explained that the nerve would grow in the same shape as the tooth, so trying to file it wouldn't be a good option as it might expose the nerve.  Ouch!  He said he might be able to a very small amount over time to try to smoothe it a little bit - but not now.  We'll see.

The other thing that he commented on was the unique dental traits in children with Down syndrome.  I knew about the unusual order - Eliana's teeth have not come in the same order as her siblings.  He also mentioned that sometimes they have extra teeth and sometimes are missing teeth.  He thought that just by looking that she may be missing some teeth on the bottom.  :( 

She currently has the two in the center on the bottom and then none until the teeth in the back.  It isn't definite and I didn't think to ask him what this would mean.  (Roger asked me that - I didn't think to ask.  I'm not one to try to borrow trouble - not saying that he is, but I tend to just wait and see.)  If any of you reading have any experience with this, I'd love to hear it.

We then went home for lunch and Eliana's physical therapy.  She did a great job - worked hard and is making progress.  We are working on strengthening the muscles in her stomach and bottom.  Both are weak and affect how she walks and moves about.  It's cute now, but we are hoping to help her gain strength.

After therapy Eliana took a nap and I headed back to the dentist with Daniel.  Just the two of us.  He did great!  I was very proud of him.  I could tell that he was having some sensory issues with several of the things, but he pushed through it and did such a good job!  I was really proud of him. 

Whew!  What a day.  Daniel came home and took a nap - and so did I.  Not very productive on the school front today, but you have to deal with life as it comes at you some days.  Tomorrow looks full too.  We have 2 therapies and then science labs with friends. 

I was talking with a friend and sharing something that I'd heard awhile back.  It was a good reminder for me too.  When you have plans and are interupted, how do you deal with it?  Do you get frustrated that you are thrown off schedule?  I know that I do.  Instead, choose to look at interuptions as God's appointments for you for that day.  It really gives you a different perspective and hopefully a better attitude.  I needed that reminder for myself and I'm choosing to learn from what we did do today and not be frustrated by what didn't get done.