Friday, June 28, 2013

Goggles make everything more fun

We swim often at the Y.
The kids adore wearing goggles.
Last year, we had several pair but only two seemed to have survived the winter.

At Target, I happened to score a 3-pack yesterday.
Jake needed a colorized pair to help protect his eyes.  He has a coloboma in one of his eyes which makes it very sensitive to light.

Due to weather that looked like it could thunderstorm at any moment, we elected not to go to the pool today.
Jake and Zoey were quite disappointed.
In an attempt to salvage the day, I suggested they play in the sprinkler.
Soon a chorus of, "But can we still wear our new goggles?" filled my ears.

Of course not.
Who needs goggles to run through the sprinkler?

Apparently....this one does.
As does this one.
We are stylin' in our new goggles.
See?  The goggles are a necessary item for frolicking through the sprinkler.
Or standing still and plugging your nose, as the case may be.
Otherwise, one would have to stand there with nose plugged and eyes closed, which would severely dull the experience.
This is super fun.
Gnarly surf, dudes.
"Getting pelted with frigid water was totally worth being able to try out my new goggles."
"Thanks, Mom!"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sweet Summer Days

I cannot believe it will be July next week.  Cannot.
It seems like we have been waiting forever for summer to come back and now it is slipping past us way too fast.

What does your family love about summer?

Some of our favorites are:
Eating dinner outdoors on our deck
Corn on the cob
grilling out
swimming at the Y
sleeping in
playing in the sprinkler
riding bikes and roller blades
the beach
Basically anything we can do outside...even weeding.

Notice how Jordan never stops eating his corn in these next two pictures.  Priorities, People! And I love how Jake's tongue is hanging out as he tries to put bunny ears over Kate's head.

Jake's dirty feet.  No clue why he decided to lay on a chair and stick his feet in the air.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Here's your sign...

The other day I noticed a new sign on the door of the boys' room.

"No girls aloud.  Only Mom.  Think you!"

Bahahahahahaha!  It totally cracked me up.  

The following day, there was an answering sign on the little girls' door.

"No boy alound.  Only Girls.  Dad can!  Thank you."

Take that, boys!

At least they are practicing their penmanship and sounding out words.  I have to give the prize to Jordan for spending time trying to make the sign look nice - as opposed to Zoey scribbling out her sassy comeback as fast as she could.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Birthday Rainbow

It was Molly's birthday the other day.  She's 13.  (sob)  Where did the time go?

Shortly after blowing out her candles, Taylor came running into the house telling us there was an amazing rainbow outside.

Amazing is a gross understatement.


I have never seen a rainbow like it.
The colors were so vibrant and strong that it took my breath away.

I yelled for the kids to go tell the neighbors while I went back inside for my camera.

Camera's don't pick up rainbows all that well.  Even when you can see one quite clearly, it often looks pale and almost invisible in a photo.  So keep that in mind as you view the shots below.  I didn't have a wide enough angle to get the entire rainbow--which stretched in a perfect arch across the sky.  And then there was a double...

Yes!  A double rainbow above the first!  It was less vibrant but still beautiful.

As the sun began to set, the second rainbow disappeared but the original one stayed.  The light totally changed as the last of the sun lingered and lit the clouds with gold.

So Molly....  God sent a beautiful double rainbow on your birthday, which makes me remember the verse He gave me for you before we knew who you would be:

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a Hope and a Future."  Jeremiah 29:11

We love you, sweet girl!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Is God just another Santa Claus?

A friend of mine called me yesterday.  She had recently talked to a friend whose child has a special need.  This mother is a Christian but mad at God for allowing her child to suffer. 

I think we can all relate to that if we are honest.
No one wants to see their child suffer.

My friend tried to encourage this mom by reminding her of God's promises of faithfulness, of His promise that everything He allows in our lives will ultimately be for our GOOD.

The mom rejected this notion as a platitude and has decided her course of action will be anger at God.

I am disturbed as I see this line of thinking more and more these days.
"If God is good, bad things should never happen to us."

Well that is just not so.  It's NOT one of God's promises.  In fact, He clearly says, "In this world, you will have trouble. But fear not, I have overcome the world."

It is through our difficulties that our character is formed. 
It is through difficulties that we get to know Him better. 
As Provider. 
As Comforter. 
 As Healer.
As a Rewarder.
As a Restorer.

If you never had a lack, how would you know that He could meet your need?

Nature is full of examples to help us understand the concept of how a Good God can allow things in our lives that we don't think are 'good.'

They need sun.
They need rain.
If they had all sun, they would die.
If they had all rain, they would die.

Brilliant beauty.
That beauty only comes from a lump of coal that endures much buffeting to produce a diamond.

We all know people who have suffered much and yet are the most amazing people to spend time with.
And we also know people who have been handed everything in life and are not all that pleasant to be around.  In fact, we might say they are completely self-absorbed and shallow.

So, is it good for people to never have a lack of anything?
I would say it isn't.
And I would go so far as to say that a parent who gives a child everything is not a good parent.

So if God allows some problems and suffering (or rain if you will), is that for our GOOD?
Yes, I would say it is.

Is it good when a child gets cancer? many ways it is not.
But can God bring good out of a tragic situation?
Yes, He can.  And that is the miracle.
In the midst of pain and tragedy, God can bring beauty from ashes.
And He knows exactly how it feels to lose a child, because He actually GAVE His Son, Jesus, to save us, knowing that His extravagant gift would be mocked, tortured, and killed.

I don't pretend to know exactly why two of my kids were born with congenital heart defects, one was born without an ear, one was born without an ankle bone, or two were missing toes.  But I KNOW that God is good and that He will use their circumstances to mold them into the amazing people He created them to be.

Just as we know it is bad for our children to do whatever they want or receive everything handed to them--because it will ruin them--God does not give us a life of perfection and ease.

Because that would not be for our ultimate GOOD.
And He is GOOD.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What to do on summer vacation...

I am already hearing some faint rumblings of, "What is there to dooooo?"

The other day, Jillian asked if they could play with a box that had been in the basement.  She took it outside and all the kids started playing with it.

Just for the best parenting advice?  Give kids boxes.
Lots of them.
And let them play for hours.

I just might go and BUY some boxes at a local moving store if necessary.
They are worth their weight in gold.

Back to the story...

At first it was used as a fort.
Then they decided to play some variant of 'tag' where the person who was 'IT' had to tackle and drag the victim to the back steps.  Zoey was IT pretty much the entire time because she LOVES any excuse to tackle her siblings.  Not sure what role the box played in this part of the play time.

Zoey enlisted Jillian to help her carry those who were 'out' because Jillian decided she didn't want to be tackled.

"I'm coming for you, Jakie!"

"Down you go, Jakie."

Jake fakes an injury in an attempt to salvage a bit of dignity after being taken down by a girl.

They played that game for a ridiculously long time because Zoey didn't get tired out.

After a bit, Jordan wandered back over to the box and tried to stand up and put it over his head.  No matter how hard he tried, the box kept collapsing.

Seeing his problem, Jillian came over to help and soon he was in business! 

Two kids fit nicely in the box so they thought it would be super fun to walk back and forth across the yard in the box.
It was their very own little Flintstones 'car.'
Or something.

Oops...over they go!

Boxes are FUN.
Go get some.
No need to thank me.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

I was trying to compose a Father's Day post when I was alerted by a friend that Jeff and SaraGrace were on the Facebook page of Give Kids The World today!  GKTW is where SaraGrace went on her Make A Wish trip several years ago. 

They said it well on their post, so I will just post the screenshot I just took of it to wish my dad, Jeff's dad, Jeff, and all the other dad's I know a HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

We have some graduates!

Yes, we do.

The teen.
The oldest daughter.
And the youngest child.

I'm not a fan of the idea of having graduations for Kindergarten and 8th grade.  It ranks right up there with giving every child a trophy just for showing up for a few games.

Seriously.... who doesn't make it out of kindergarten?

And since we are required to go to school past 8th grade, there isn't much point in throwing a party over that either.

But 12th grade....ahhh...yes.  That is not required and not everyone makes it.

Our teen decided to work his senior year and get a GED instead.  He has worked his way up to assistant manager at a local restaurant with a goal of going to cooking school this fall.  We are proud of him for sticking with it and getting his certificate.  As for a current photo...I have been asking him to do his senior pictures but I keep getting the brush off.

The 8th grader is uncooperative--no, make that makes me promise I won't post stuff about her on the blog.  Sigh.... 

So the other night, the kindergartener reminded me that he wanted his big graduation moment and wondered where his gifts were.
Yeah.  There will be no gifts.

However, I did indulge him slightly by going upstairs and rooting around in a closet until I located his brother's slightly bedraggled graduation cap.
I plopped it on his head and we headed outside to take a few pics.

So happy graduation, Jake!  ENJOY!

"Uh, Mom?  What's up with this rope thingy?"
"Is this where you give me all the gifts?"
"Jake, there are no gifts."
"Hahaha, Mom!  You are so funny when you tell me there aren't any."
"Jake, there are NO gifts."
"So you're telling me I have a chance."
"No, really, Jake.  No gifts."
"You're such a jokester, Mom!"

"Wait.  Are you telling me there are no presents?"
"You're catching on, son."

"Oh least I got to wear the cap!  Jordan will probably be mad about that."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Update on Chloe

Miss Chloe is doing very well!  The first week she needed pain meds fairly regularly but she doesn't need them anymore.

We went back to Shriners on Monday for a post-op check.  Everything is healing well.  She is not allowed to put her full weight on her leg for another 6 weeks, so needs to continue using the crutches until then.  After six weeks, they will do an x-ray to see if there has been enough bone growth to support her full weight.  Where they drilled the hole (horizontally from one side of her knee to the other), there is only a sliver of bone holding it together. 

Other than feeling bored the first few days and needing to adjust to her temporary normal, she has not complained at all.  She manages to find ways to amuse herself and all of the kids have taken turns staying indoors to play with her.  She is really missing being able to roller blade and ride her bike.  The good news is that the doctor said she can take her leg brace off to swim once the pool opens at the Y.  We will have to get her over to the edge, take off the brace and then help her slide in. 

Nothing like a rousing game of Uno to take the edge off boredom.

Jordan plots his strategy as Kate inadvertently shows everyone her cards.
"Mouhahaha....I've got a Draw 4 with your name on it."

"Yeah?  Me, too.  Bring it on!"
Kate, not a savvy card player, likes all the pretty colors.

But all is not fun and games.  We needed to move a pile of mulch and all the kids pitched in to help.  They were like a small army of workers.

Don't laugh at our choice of equipment.  We were all fighting over the snow shovels because they worked the best.  Who knew?

There weren't enough shovels to go around, so those who couldn't lift as much had to make do with whatever they could find.  Kate used a frisbee to fill her bucket.  And when it was full, she wouldn't let me help her lug it to the flower beds.  She did it all by herself.

Zoey was a work horse.  I had to force her to stop and drink water.  It was hot and I didn't want her to get dehydrated.  She did end up with a bit of heat sickness that night--headache and just not feeling so great.  She was good as new the next morning though.

Jordan watches in amazement as Zoey stomps the shovel.

Jake repeatedly filled his wagon and dumped it in the flower beds.

All done.  And more fire damage!  Jeff fixed it good as new.