Mac-a-doodle-doo!

Lilypie Fifth Birthday tickers

Keegan Joy

Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Johnny

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

My girls

Today the girls school hosted an early Mother's Day tea in their class. We were invited to the school for playtime, circle time, a cute song, a delightful craft, and a meal with our kids. Matt took the day off so he could take Johnny to therapy and I was happy to devote time to my sweet girls. They delighted in showing me their classroom and introducing their friends. Apparently Keegan has made a great friend with one of the older girls in the class and it was fun to watch them hug and play. At circle time they were tasked with introducing us and telling what their favorite thing to do with mommy was. Keegan shouted out "playing and snuggling" and Mac curled into a ball and refused to answer. I was able to get enthusiastic nods from her in response to "playing basketball and reading". The craft involved making a flower picture with all of our painted handprints and they both loved painting my hand and helping me press it on the paper. 



After, we walked over to the school's culinary class and had a meal served to us!!! It was special to have that time with my girls and they could have given me the same pb&j they gave the girls and I would have been excited to simply sit, have a meal brought to me, and not have to clean up anything! I loved talking with Mac and Keegan about different aspects of their class and spoke a bit with Mac's buddy teacher too. She has been working hard with Mac on reading and writing and I have seen improvement across the board!

These pictures were taken by each of the girls-


Once that was finished, I went over to the elementary school we are zoned to and registered Mac for school. It made me nervous and sentimental and a little sad, not at her going, but at how quickly the time is passing. Six years ago we were just telling people she was on her way to join our family, relishing in our secret through the first trimester, and now she is ready to go off on her own, car riding to school in the morning and bus riding in the afternoon. It's such an odd place to be, I am anticipating this new step and all of her education years ahead with gladness, she will learn and grow so much, but I cannot believe the last stage, the at home and preschool stage, is coming to an end. I so enjoy spending time with her, I am going to miss her, but she is amazingly well prepared and ready to be in a big girl class in a big girl school! 



It's such a great time to be their Mom. I am lucky to have them and to spend extra time with them or to hear all about their day when we reunite!



Park

Today Johnny and I took a nice long walk around a "lake" at a local park, then met friends to play on the playground. There were several kids playing on the structure, running across the bridges, climbing up the stairs and ladders with ease, and going both down and up the numerous slides. Undaunted by the older kids running around, I plopped Johnny down in the mulch, stayed a few steps behind him, and let him explore. He quickly made his way over to the stairs, climbed them with ease, and scootched his way over to the tallest slide on the structure. At the top, I saw his happy grin and waited for him to decide if he wanted  to back down or be adventurous and take the slide. It wasn't a difficult decision for him, he wiggled his bum to the edge of the decline and waited for gravity to take over as he leaned his body forward, anticipation crossing his face with a gleeful smile. We did this, and other slides on the structure several times. All the while, big kids ran past him, over him, and a few times, nearly through him. 


I think it's important, for him to play just as he would if he was walking even if that developmental skill alludes us. It is important for him to get that exercise and to work climbing stairs and crawling over bridges. It is important for him to see that reward of hard work (climbing) being paired with fun (sliding). It is important for him to learn to move out of the way at the end of the slide. It is important for him to learn his limitations in the form of injuries, hopefully minor. It is important for him to get dirty as the sweat from sun and exertion meets dust from mulch and sand. It is important for him to have typical experiences within the realm of his physical limitations. 



I think it is important for others to see too. Any other two and a half year old would be out there playing and toddling around, so Johnny is too. Would we let him scootch across the grocery store floor to prove a point that he can still have typical experiences? No. Is it appropriate for him to play with older kids, under supervision, even if he isn't walking? Yes. I think it was also important for people to see that he can do the stairs or the slide, with just a few extra moments of patience. Nobody had to wait long for him to either go or to move to a different part of the playground and if they had, I would have encouraged Johnny to keep moving just as I would have the girls. It is important for others to see that he has fun and delights in the same activities as anyone else. 

I hope for continued growth and experiences with Johnny like this morning. I enjoy watching him grow and to make his own way in the world. We want to encourage that sameness when appropriate and to facilitate assistance when needed. We don't know when or how each experience will happen in his life, but we are thankful to be around for the journey. 

Rodeo 2015

I was hesitant about taking the kids to the livestock show this year. I skipped last year because the year before was so crowded that I was completely unable to enjoy it as I kept counting kids the whole time and I felt like the girls learned nothing because the mob was too large and loud. I wanted to give it another whirl and decided to run down there a few weeks ago on a slightly dreary day. I was hoping the mist and prospect of rain would keep crowds away and was met with a fairly enjoyable experience. 


We met up with friends for a bit and watched the kids run around the farm they have set up. It's the girls' favorite part and even Johnny got to participate from his stroller, holding out a basket and taking items as directed. Of course, the girls were most excited about the treat the earned at the end and both opted for a fruit roll up. 



After, we visited the petting zoo and I think the girls and Johnny could have spent the entire day there. Johnny loved reaching out for the animals, especially the alpaca. The girls quickly found the brushes and chased all the animals around, squealing in delight at each new and smaller animal. I am always surprised at how instinctually they care for animals. They know how to be patient and kind and to wait for the animals to approach them. Keegan did have a little issue with a very hungry deer trying to eat her dress. When I say, eat, I mean had at least a foot of fabric down its throat. I'm glad she wasn't able to see it!







We walked around numerous displays and learned about several different animals. Over and over again the girls exclaimed how excited they were to be there and how it was the best day ever. I'm so glad we enjoyed our time and braving the hassle was definitely worth it. Those three kids make it worth it all the time!

Reset Rant

Totally broke my New Year's Resolution. In a big way. And it avalanched and flooded and had a hurricane hit it with procrastination, guilt, and general life busy-ness. And I am not saying that we are more busy than others (although we keep ourselves VERY occupied). And I am not saying that I haven't had time here and there to keep up with writing. In fact, I am excited about a lot of things going on and want to record it all. So I am hitting the reset button. I am not sure what that means with regularly keeping up here. Sometimes I may write several times a day, other times, I may need a little break or extra day, or two, or three, to mull over or research topics that are important for me. But I am giving myself a break and getting back into it here. And while I am at it, I am re-committing to this being a record for myself and my family. What we do, what we think, what we want to remember is the purpose of this blog. We make it public to provide connections and possible communication with others, but "this space" is for us. It's important to me to have some record of what we are doing and it is a benefit that other's may get a glimpse into our lives too. So... Resetting... Now.

Dreaming

Before I had kids, I thought I would dream about them all the time. I thought they would hold such a place in my heart that even in sleep I would weave intricate stories and scenarios for them. I imagined rich dreams of fairy tale lives full of Olympic gold, names in bright lights, and exotic travels around the world. 


I do dream about my kids, but in a different way than I expected. Often I am trying to protect them, tornadoes are common and there is the odd running from the kidnapper situations as well. I also dream of another little girl, but that's another story for another day. 

A new reoccurring dream is one of the best dreams I have ever had. It's a dream that has deep colors and is sharp in clarity. It's a dream that gives me such emotion and happiness, that I can feel myself smiling in my sleep. It's a dream where I can hear my own laughter and sense the glee in my voice. Each time I have this dream, I raise my hands and think to myself, "Finally, it has happened!" It's the dream where Johnny stands up and walks. 



It's not that I covet the day he will walk, I know it will happen at some point and I am so pleased with his overall progress. I do, however, anticipate that day. I look forward to it and imagine how different he will look upright instead of scootching on the ground. I think about how happy we will all be to see his hard work pay off and I cannot wait to see the smile on his face as he toddles towards his desired destination for the first time. It's a fantastic dream. As soon as I wake up and realize it hasn't happened yet, I take time to revel in that space, where a dream lingers into reality. I know, without a doubt, that even this best dream cannot measure up to how extraordinarily special that day will be. 

As I poured over these thoughts this morning after waking from a "Johnny Walked!" dream, I wondered if my anticipation mirrored God's anticipation when He waits for us to walk with Him. I wondered if He sits, watching us struggle, seeing our progress, all the while looking forward to that day that He knows we will follow His footsteps. He loves each of His children even more than I love my son, and Johnny's physical footsteps are of little importance when compared to the spiritual footsteps God wishes us to take. And if God knows each day of our lives, which I believe He does, does He look forward to our journey turning to Him, just as I dream about my son's paths and how they will be travelled?

The anticipation is a nice place to be. Especially if I am in good company with Him while He waits as well. 

Juxtaposition

Thursday was a day steeped in Tiny Blessings Ministry. I had woken up early and finished two more hats to add to our stash for Methodist Willowbrook. I prayed for twins, a boy and a girl, fighting to grow strong in the Antepartum wing of the hospital, willing them to grow so they could have a twin set of hats delivered with our other items. I had painstakingly sewn on buttons to gowns and hats that would be the only item ever worn by the babies they were made for. It is tedious to put on those details, but we try to add them when we have the chance, showing love for the few moments their families will ever spend with them here. I looked forward to seeing an old friend, blossoming in the last days of her second pregnancy, happy for her to have the chance to take our gowns to serve more families. I reflected on all these great, ministry focused moments as I sat on the floor of the gym, watching Mac play basketball and busily working on a blanket. Methodist has asked us for more blankets to bless their families and I wanted to get to work at once, using one of my favorite yarns. 



As I worked, I received a text from a friend. She counsels at a faith based pregnancy center and was just made aware of a couple who had come in for counseling. The couple was pregnant for the third time and was leaning toward having their third termination. My friend urged us to prayer as they headed back to the ultrasound room and that is where their story, as far as we are concerned, ends. I doubt there will be more information that we are able to have, more than likely, the information we have toes the line of what is allowed and what isn't. Regardless, my heart breaks in this instance. 

As I immediately began to pray, asking for this couple to see God's own handprint on their child, for them to see the life bestowed upon them, I glanced down at the blanket quickly taking shape in my lap. My already broken heart sunk even further. All day I had spent time ministering to families willing their children to live. I had prayed for families that would only know their child as a medical concern and hesitatingly counted the weeks of pregnancy knowing their time with their child would end as soon as labor began. I had carefully made sure that all items were stored and paired together, showing care and concern for the last gift these children and their families would receive. I had prayed for the hearts of the families, friends, and medical staff who lovingly usher these children into their arms and back out again far too soon. Any one of these families would be honored and ecstatic to welcome this cast out child into their lives. 

How could I be busily praying for children who would pass away because of God's plan in one moment and be trying to pray for a child who would pass away because of man's plan in the next?

In "Mom World", when mom's miscarry and then get pregnant again, they are often referred to as "rainbow babies", in reference to rainbows coming after a storm. I often think of babies that are miscarried or who pass away when I see rainbow items. I now add the babies who lose their lives to the abortion industry in our country and around the world. The irony that I was making a blanket that naturally lends itself to a rainbow pattern wasn't lost on me. I pray that this couple chose a different route for the third gift they were given and that more couples and moms, seeking to end life, will make different choices in the coming years. As we pray for these decisions to change, we ask for loving support and care for moms in difficult circumstances and encourage you to find a local, faith based pregnancy center that can give guidance in these situations. 

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." -Matthew 19:14

Tiny Blessings Valentine's Event

This past Tuesday we had a small ministry gathering at my home to promote Tiny Blessings and simply enjoy fellowship with crochet-ers and non yarn aholics alike. We have been bestowed with even more great women joining us and pledging to make items for the numerous places we serve and it's wonderful to see so many details falling into place. The three of us "founders" that were present had a great time talking to our friends and compatriots that were there and wished we could have seen everyone that encourages us, supports us, and helps us along our way. I was also able to gather several donations in the days preceding the event and am busy sorting all the donations between the ministry opportunities we have. 






This morning I took some of those items to Methodist Willowbrook for them to sort through for distribution of Valentine's hats. I also grabbed a few blankets for them because they are always in need of blankets for babies in the NICU and for their bereavement donations. We were able to give 26 hats and 4 blankets today and will have more ready to go by the end of February, that was just the Valentine's hats!


Lastly, tonight, I took 13 gown and hat sets to a friend from high school for the hospital she works at. While they frequently get larger items, they were in desperate need for smaller gowns to give to the families they serve. We are hoping to at least fulfill this need for their hospital as we expand and move forward. It's a wonderful connection to have and it was so nice to see an old friend (who is almost due with a baby girl)!!!


Lastly, a few prayer requests-

First, that our ministry would continue to be God led and servant minded so we can be where He wants us as we work and serve. 

Second, that our ministry continues to grow and multiply. That more commitments are made to help us and that we are able to connect with CyFair Hospital to see what their needs may be. 

Lastly, one of our servicemen that we made a hat in honor of last year is nearing the end of his third deployment in Operation Enduring Freedom. Please pray for his safety in these last few days, for strength for his family, and some pure rest when he gets home. Prayers and thanks for all of our men and women who serve in our armed forces.