Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You know...

Having phones that don't work, internet service that is currently spotty at best, and a cell phone with a mind of it's own (ringing only when it wants) makes it hard to feel connected to the world. I mean really--it's okay to be without those things on vacation (and I prefer it that way!) but at home it's more than a minor inconvenience. I'm finding it hard get much done this week.

Hopefully the phones will be fixed before the promised Saturday by 8pm; the internet will quit flaking out; and my cell phone will start ringing normally more regularly than it typically does. Soon. Or you just might have to come visit me at the funny farm.

Monday, August 24, 2009

camping pictures

summer memories

It started out as a compromise, a way to keep kids happy and make sure I did what I needed to do too. It turned into a tradition.

Before our summers were consumed by sports, we camped. A lot. We enjoyed weekends out exploring the area, spending time together as a family. And we usually planned our weekends and made reservations in about April. 1999 was no different. We had several short trips planned and were looking forward to all of them. The last trip was set for late August, just before the whole "back to school" thing kicked into high gear. Everyone was excited. But I was trying to make a decision. There was going to be a baby shower for my youngest sister, and it was going to be the same weekend as our family camping trip. After much discussion, it was decided that Jim would take the kids (ages 10, 8, 7, and 5) and I would stay home to attend the baby shower. After all, it was my sister's first baby!! My family had a wonderful time, and I thoroughly enjoyed my "weekend off." I don't remember what I did besides the shower, but it was fun and relaxing and very pleasant.

Since then, the "Dad and kids only, no Mom allowed" trip has become an annual event. Every summer, we pick a campground and I cook some food. I help pack the trailer, then send them off with hugs, kisses, and enough food for their 3 day adventure. And they have a BLAST! Even though there's always a bit of grumbling beforehand, when they come home there are stories galore about the funny things said and done, the sights seen, and the adventures enjoyed. Those stories come up time and again through the winter, then in the spring it turns to thoughts of what they might see and do this year. They all love it. And yes, Jim takes ALL the kids! Ryan joined us in November 2005 and his first time on the trip was August 2006. Logan started going last summer, just 3 months after he got here. As a bonus, Brent was able to join them for a brief time this summer. Special times for everyone!

And me? Well, I stay home. This year I had planned to take a trip south to meet up with an old friend, but some things got in the way and it didn't happen. Instead I attended a beautiful wedding, thoroughly cleaned the kitchen, bathroom, and floors downstairs, watched lots of "chick flicks," ate dinners that I love and no one else can stand, read books without interruption, and hosted a ladies night for some friends. What fun! They started arriving at 8pm, and we laughed, giggled, ate, talked, and had a wonderful time until 2:15 in the morning!! It was a totally relaxing enjoyable weekend.

When Jim and the kids came home yesterday, I was ready to see them. Helping unload the trailer was fun, not work like it is after a camping trip that I go on. I can clean the trailer and get it ready for winter without feeling stressed and aggravated, since I'm not hot, sweaty, and tired. It's a pleasure to be out hearing their stories as they work beside me. Listening to them talk about the smores they ate, with "brown crackers and cock-late and toasted mushrooms" (Ryan and Logan's description--they get marshmallows and mushrooms confused!), about the jellyfish they found, about the crab they held--those are the things they'll talk about this year. Jim gets a chance to enjoy some time with his crew, I get a chance to enjoy some peace and quiet, and we both find a new appreciation of our spouse and his or her willingness to make this a special weekend for all. In addition to great memories for them, it's one of the things Jim does for me that I appreciate most.

As the big guys get older, it gets harder to schedule the trip. Brent isn't home anymore to come, and starting next summer it's likely he'll be totally out of the picture. Hailey's summers with them are limited, since she's starting at UW in a few weeks and I fully expect that her summers will get much busier. Em graduates in June; it's not likely that she has too many summers left with the group either. But the tradition will continue. After all, there are still places to go, things to do, parks to explore, and little boys to do it with. Once they're grown? Who knows! Maybe by then the grandchildren will be part of the scene!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

and in other news....

Logan had his physical therapy and occupational therapy evaluations this week. He had some done when we first brought him home but all of us (Jim and I, the pediatrician, and his speech therapist) felt it was time to reevaluate and see where he was. There were just too many areas that seemed red-flagged to us.

Turns out we were right. Logan's fine motor skills are on target, and that's awesome. Not a particular surprise either--he loves to draw, cut, and write. It was fun to see huge progress in those areas, especially since he was just barely borderline in previous evaluations. When it comes to gross motor skills, he has fallen further despite of his progress. We've seen great advances this year, but even as his skills get better his peers continue to advance and the gap has widened. Last year, he tested out in the 26th percentile, just barely into the "not needing therapy" side. This year, his gross motor skills tested in the 2nd percentile, well below the maximum for therapy of the 25th percentile. The therapist was great--she tested his motor planning skills, not just simply his abilities. One of our big concerns about his speech has to do with apraxia, which is "an inability to execute complex coordinated motor efforts" as it pertains to speech. The motor planning evaluation revealed a significant problem in this area, so a diagnosis of "Childhood Apraxia of Speech" is highly likely when we see the craniofacial team next month.

What does it mean? Well, Logan will now get occupational therapy as well as speech once a week. The gals are awesome and they are trying to coordinate their schedules so I only have to make one trip a week. They'll look at his sensory integration issues, where motor planning falls, and see if we can integrate exercises into our daily routine to help him out. And we're going to pray that by helping his large muscles become more organized and able to execute complex coordinated motor efforts, we'll see a payoff in his oral motor skills too. We'll see--we start on Thursday!

jumping around

In our front garden, there's a rock that's just the right height for little boys to jump from. And they love to! For them, it's even more fun when Mom (or a sister) brings out the camera... Here they are having a ball.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thanks are in order

I only wish I knew WHO to thank!

It seems that someone loves our oldest son...and us. When Brent and I talked Saturday night, we talked about him coming home for Tim's funeral. He said he wanted to and would look Sunday afternoon to book a plane ticket, but that he just wasn't up for it that night. We talked about some other alternatives, then moved on. He assured me he'd let me know what his schedule would be.

Later Saturday night I was online and I got an email. It was an itinerary for Brent, flying home for a long weekend. It surprised me a bit, but I didn't think much of it, just assumed that Brent had taken care of things sooner than he anticipated. But it turns out he was as surprised as I was. Maybe more! Someone booked him a round trip flight from Boise home using their frequent flyer miles. They sent itinerary notices to Brent and to me. Our boy will be home for a weekend! There aren't words to describe how grateful I am..... Knowing that we'll be able to spend some time with our guy, to give him some hugs and see for ourselves that he's really doing okay, to just be able to love on him...what a gift!! This young man of ours is headed off to a new adventure in a few months, and time with him is beyond precious. There's not a day that goes by that I don't miss him, don't wish that he could be home with us for a bit longer, don't wish for some way to have him around NOW, not just in October and November. And God has answered the prayers of this Momma.

Whoever you are, know that your gift is greatly appreciated. More than words can ever say. As a matter of fact, there are no words, only tears of joy. You have blessed us immensely, and I am incredibly grateful. God bless you.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

hurting tonight

"There are only two kinds of people in the end, those who say to God 'Thy will be done,' and to those to whom God says in the end 'Thy will be done.'" ~C S Lewis

I love that quote! It's quite profound, and tonight it has extra meaning. Our oldest son Brent called home tonight. He was in tears, heartbroken. A good friend of his, someone he has spent lots of time with, was killed in an accident today. Brent is devastated. My heart hurts for him and his pain. And I found myself wondering where his friend is tonight. Is he one who said to God 'Thy will be done?' Or did God have to say to him this afternoon 'Thy will be done!' Because I don't know the young man, I don't know the answer. But God does.

Do YOU know the answer? What do you say to God? And what will He say to you in the end? While I'm nowhere near perfect, I know for sure what He'll say to me, and I can't wait! I long to hear Him say "Well done, good and faithful servant." You, too, can have the same assurance. If you want to know more, drop me a note.

My prayers tonight are for my son and his friends, the young men and women who knew Tim, that they would SEE how short life truly is and understand that there are only two choices. And that they would choose wisely...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

more vacation pics

I wanna go back...

Watching the kayakers on the lake

Sad to have the evening come to an end...

Long time friends are the best kind!

LOVING time on the mat with Alec, Hailey, and Carla. The little guys were absolutely in heaven.

Tubing with Daddy.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Aahhh...vacation. This year was amazing! Every year we spend a week on a lake in eastern Washington; this year, it was so much FUN!! The girls each took friends with us, so there were a total of 12 of us using the trailer (but not for sleeping!) Somehow we even managed to hit "Blue Lake Nirvana," eating nearly everything I packed for the week.

Some of the highlights of the week:

*Seeing Ryan and Logan decide that the LOVED swimming. They probably swam out to the swim dock 4 or 5 times every day, and jumped in about 50 times a day. They got quite the workout!
*Watching the little boys take their first innertube ride behind the boat. They were in heaven.
*Riding the jet ski with Jim. I love being out on the lake, but spending time on the jet ski made me realize something: I much prefer the "quieter" approach to the water. I would spend most/all of my time on my float, enjoying the sights and the quiet.
*Seeing the girls have a blast on the jet skis. Thanks for bringing them Rick!
*The look of utter joy as Ryan and Logan both drove jet skis with Jim. Ryan was so proud of himself! He could read the spedometer, and told me he went down the lake at "Firty, Mommy. I went firty!"
*The total fun on the "water mat" at a friend's cabin. I thought we'd never get the kids off!

Most of the group...

Water wrestling. Please let your brother UP once you get him underwater...
Logan heads off...

More pics tomorrow--the rest are still on the camera. And for what it's worth, we're LOVING the new camera. It's a Nikon D40. Right now I only have the standard lens, but my anniversary, my birthday, AND Christmas are coming!! :)