Sunday, August 30, 2009

Which Look?

In THREE DAYS, Nikita, Sue (Jamie's mom), and I are off to Tennessee for five days of horse riding and fun at Sequatchie Valley Bed and Breakfast. The trip is to celebrate (belatedly) Nikita's 13th birthday.
Nik has been taking some riding lessons the last few weeks and so has been on a horse recently; however I fear Sue and I are in for a lot of sore muscles coming up !
We just found an old pair of cowboy boots in the closet, and Nik is trying out the cowgirl look:

I like the jeans tucked into the boots.
We are so excited!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Life Skills

I have a loosely formed list of priorities for my little kid's educational goals over the years. First of course is my desire to impart to them a love of Jesus, and to love one another.

I'd like them to learn to read and do basic math. Going deeper in education would be great, but life skills will be more important than learning history.

Starting them now on that road is not too early, despite being so young and having Down Syndrome. It is actually a way for me to channel Amelia's energy and assumptions that she already can do it all! Tonight Amelia helped me make pasta for dinner. Quite literally. Here are some photos of her rolling out linguine:

I know that making pasta is not your normal life skill, but I could not let her boil it, and this was not only a learning experience, it gave her a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. (And saved me money on boxed pasta!)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's Good to Be Home

We arrived home Friday, but yesterday our house still had that just arrived home look....suitcases everywhere, bags of food on the counter, piles of laundry.

And my poor garden! We had absolutely perfect weather all week- 90 ish temperatures and bright sun every day. Perfect for our vacation, not so perfect for a garden left untended. It had been a rainy summer, and I have had to water my garden only three times so far. Each time it rained within 12 hours. Friday I watered the garden for over an hour...two hours later a storm swept through. Go figure.

I did spend over an hour finding some vegetables growing in my weed patch. Some critters have been enjoying the butternut squash, and I think they might be Zach's pullets. This was my first year planting potatoes, and I am just amazed that they grew so well. Last night for dinner we had green beans and potatoes from the garden, and the roast was actually from "Buster" up the road. A home grown meal in every sense of the words.

So, I've done 4 loads of laundry, made some bread, cooked up another batch of laundry soap (saves me soooo much money!), gotten a start on the weeding, and am getting all the school supplies/books organized.

Vacation was wonderful and relaxing, but it is good to be home and busy again!!

God is good!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Our Week at Rumney Bible Conference

Off to New Hampshire! Our 10th time venturing to RBC for vacation, Sunny's first!

Going fishing.

Sunny was so good in the canoe! Alexander and Dad took her out fishing with them.

Dante's happy face- by Wednesday he was floating alone in the tube and loving it!!

Pig pile on Zachary. He's such a pal.
Nikita and Pattie out kayaking.
Sunny and Amelia playing some chess during down time.

Dante chilling with me.

Having fun is exhausting!!
A week of canoeing, kayaking, swimming, biking, tubing on the Baker River (Dad and the teens), playing board games, watching "Dukes of Hazzard", reading novels.
We love our vacation time at Jamie's parents' cottage.
God is good!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dante Swimming

I mentioned a while ago that Dante is taking a swimming class at the YMCA, and they let him in with the parent/baby class. Jamie, being the wonderful Dad that he is, has been taking Dante. Today Amelia and I went along to watch and take some pictures.

In this one Jamie is singing "Humpty Dumpty" and Dante is about to have his fall.
This is a happy face. Dante does his unhappy face when it is time to float on his back. He prefers to be on his stomach with Daddy spinning in circles. Dante does also like the circle songs when they get splashed up and down, and blow bubbles.
Today was his last class, because we will be on vacation next week. I am considering signing him up for another class in the Fall, since he enjoys it so much. There are only two problems with that... I would have to pull him out of school one morning a week for it (unless I find an afternoon class), and I would have to actually go in with him. It is so hard to get used to that water!!
In the meantime, I am very thankful that Jamie has been such a great husband and Dad, being willing to go every week with his baby boy.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I never knew that was a word, but I guess it is. Today my mom's urn was put in with Dad's at the military cemetery in Elmira, NY. I was originally planning to be there, but changed my mind on Sunday because it would take two days and too much money. My brothers understood, or at least I think they did.

It has been just over 4 months since mom was taken home. I have had so many conflicting emotions in that time. I know absolutely that she is with her Lord, and that she is experiencing true peace and joy.

Sometimes though, I find myself contemplating her last months here on earth, and my interactions with her. They were often less than stellar. Mom had Borderline Personality Disorder, and that made her a difficult person. The three months immediately after Dad's death, when she lived with us, were the three most difficult months of her life. And mine. The twelve and a half months she lived on her own after moving out of our house were a miserable, lonely time for her.

Mom had 4 hospital stays in the 3 months after Dad died. All for her mental health. How does that happen to a Christian? It bothers me that some people think Christians who suffer from mental illness, or any kind of emotional/psychological difficulties are lacking in faith somehow. As if a Christian could never encounter esteem problems, anorexia, anxiety, emotional trauma....the list could go on.

Do those people really think she chose to have BPD?? She hated it. I know she wrestled with herself, and with God. She did have faith. But she also had a lot of conflict going on in her, and would often lash out at me and my siblings without apology. Asking for help was simply not something she could do, because she could not admit to needing help.

While reading up on Borderline Personality Disorder certainly helped me to understand her, it did not always help me in the moments of our interactions. I do have regrets about some of my behaviors, but not guilt. Quite frankly, some of it was to protect my children from the emotional aspects of her disorder. And it is done now, God took her to be with Him, so it would be silly for me to dwell on what I think I should have done differently. He's in control, and I like that.

If someone is struggling, it cannot always be just prayed away. There are Christian counselors who can help, and it is my prayer that a struggling person would seek help, or be led to it, instead of feeling shame as a Christian in need.

God is faithful, God is good, all the time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Breezy Summer

I often think Summer school vacation is overrated. Eight weeks or so of bored kids, hot sticky weather, and no routine?? I do love it though, because it means my husband is home for the Summer. That is a HUGE perk for me and the kids. And making it to 7AM is sleeping in!

Despite the abundance of rain, this has been a pretty good Summer. It actually has not even reached 90 degrees here in Massachusetts- which is just fine by me. As a person without air conditioning, I have always personally preferred winter weather to that of summer. In the winter I can watch the snow fall, and curl up with a book and afghan. In the summer there is not a lot I can do about the horrible humidity. Each season leaves us thankful for the other!

Yesterday we had our first family Summer outing. (Am I supposed to call it a "stay-cation"?)

We went to Breezy Picnic Grounds and Waterslides, something we do once each year. Here are some pictures:

I love the one where Amelia jumped behind Micah to make a face.

Micah, Amelia, and Sunny also went on the waterslides, and had a blast. We double up with them, because when we hit the pool at the bottom it would be too difficult for them to quickly get on their feet and move towards the edge. I think Micah would probably be over his head anyhow!
All in all, it has been a good Summer, and it isn't done quite yet. Tonight the teens have six friends hanging out and staying over. Jamie and I had some fun lobbing water balloons at them, and I helped Amelia sneak up with the super soaker one of the girls brought. They have let Amelia hang out with them all afternoon.
God is good, in every season.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


This afternoon Micah asked me if he could go outside to play. I said he could if he put some shoes on. A few minutes later Micah came to me and showed me his shod feet-- a pair of Sunny's slip ons, on the wrong feet.

Cute, but according to my directions he did have shoes on, so I told him he could go out to swing.

Little goober, he walks to the shoe rack, kicks the shoes off, and walks out the door. Apparently I needed to clarify that he has to keep the shoes on.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

More Haircuts...

I asked Nikita if she would give my hair a little trim. She brought out the trimming kit so she could use the scissors, and while waiting for me was fiddling around with the smallest electric trimmer.

Most people realize that when you turn on a trimmer and hold it up to the head, the hair is indeed going to be cut off. Apparently Nik was not fully expecting it to work when she held it up to Micah, the lad who happened to be sitting next to her. In order to cover up the bald spot, she had to trim all of his hair. But then it wasn't quite even. No wait, still not quite even...
In the end, he did still have plenty of hair left. And I still let her trim my hair. Wait, not quite even, just a little more...