Monday, June 30, 2008

Stanky and Sweet

Last night after church, our family went to Sonic. This is something we almost never do. Joe is a chef, so as a family, we are blessed to have him cook dinner for us almost every night, since he no longer works nights. (thanks honey) Anyhoo.....last night I just thought it would be nice to grab a burger and give Joe the night off from cooking. Asher always contemplates the perfect meal to order, right down to the choice of beverages. Last night was no different. He did however decide to try to place the order himself. As soon as the order was placed, Asher yelled (trying to be heard in the speaker) ...."I need a stanky bread sandwich". I kid you not! That child.......where does he come up with this stuff? A few weeks ago, we were out somewhere (can't remember where) and Asher decided he needed to use the public restroom. I recall that it was a clean public restroom, and that there were a few women in there (he's 3), and out of nowhere, Asher announced, "Mommy I don't want to potty in here...it's stanky in here". There is that word again. I can only tell you that he didn't learn it from us.

To switch from "stanky" into something totally sweet.......here is a video of Shawn (less than 1 minute), learning how to climb down off of furniture, without falling. I'm so proud of his progress. He is so stinkin cute........not stankin cute.....StiNKIN cute! Enjoy.

video

Sunday, June 29, 2008

my bbf

Asher recently started doing this tender sweet thing. He approaches me with puppy dog eyes, looks square at me, and with the softest voice and head tilted slightly to his left, he poses the question: "friends?" The first time he did this, my response was, "of course!". He explained to me that I'm just supposed to nod my head and say "friends!". Once we've done that once or twice, he tells me I have to start it. So, here is a video of me starting it. It's only about 25 seconds, so surely you can invest a moment here....


video

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cute Butts

It's difficult not to comment on cute butts in my house. Shawn's butt is forever high in the air as he does his perfected bear walk/run. If you haven't a clue what I am talking about, you'll need to watch a previously posted video.

On the days that my boys don't get out of the house, Asher runs around in his underwear all day, and sometimes just without undies at all, if he has gone potty but waited to address the need for assistance pulling his underwear up. (It's funny to me that he can just play without underwear on and not think about it).

I just got home after a long day of work (good long day). I've spent several days this week working, away from my children. Right now I'm relaxing and my boys and their little butts are running around making me very happy and very thankful to be their mommy. They are the reason I work so hard.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Asher slip sliding away

I knew I loved Asher. I guess I need to post a video to prove it. Here is 1 minute and 37 seconds of slip-n-slide fun. See if you can guess who is having the MOST fun?

I love that Asher tries 4 different approaches at this sport. Too cute. He takes my breath away.


video

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shawn digs 80's music

As promised, another video. It is pretty self-explanatory. I tried to edit it down, but somehow failed at that. It's about 3 minutes. You need to at least watch through the part where I turn the music off and then turn it back on. You'll love Shawn's reactions.....both reactions.

Enjoy...and hey....don't be afraid to dance a little. It's good for the soul.


video

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Video Bonanza

I don't really know what Bonanza means, but it seemed appropriate to just fall off my fingers at the keyboard. But basically what I'm sayin is.....I think I'll post a video every day for at least a week! Why? Because I just uploaded 13 videos from my Flip and somebody needs to see them.

I'll admit, they are mostly Shawn. I only have one video where Asher is the spotlight, and that precious video is 16 minutes long....so I do indeed love him muchly. For now though, Shawn is growing and changing so much that I'm just trying to capture as much as possible. We are so excited to see the many things he is doing, and doing well!

Here is a video from last night, where Shawn is learning to chase Asher around this house with his extremely brisk bear walk. He occasionally stands up and takes some very brave steps. We think he'll be walking within a month....(yay Shawn!). Here we go.....enjoy:


video

Stay tuned for much much more...and as always....if you ever hear of someone who is having, or recently has had a child with Down syndrome, please direct them here for some peace of mind. I'd love to offer encouragement.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Fear of Being Too Tall

I go to church early on Sunday nights to greet. Joe drives separately with the boys. The boys always ride home with me, in my car. It's usually Ashers idea, and I always oblige.

Tonight in the car on the way home we passed a fire station and the truck was "out". Asher got so excited and stated he could drive a fire truck when he gets a little bigger. I agreed and encouraged him. He freaked out and told me with much emphasis on the drama, that he in no way wants to get big. He sounded like he was fighting back tears...and truly....I was fighting back tears because I feel his pain. i don't want to him grow up either

Asher: Mommy, I just want to stay little forever. I want to stay at home because I just love everybody.

Mommy: Yes Asher, I know honey....

Asher: I don't want to be big mommy....what if I get to tall to fit in daddy's jeep?

Mommy: Oh Asher, you'll never get so big that you can't ride in Daddy's jeep with him!!

Asher: Well, Mommy, I just want to stay little because I always want to be a little boy. I don't really want to drive a fire truck. I want to stay little and stay with you.

Mommy: me too precious boy....me too

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Simple Day

Coffee - check
Talk to mom - check
Feed kids - check
Watch Disney - check
Run errands - check
Eat - check
Smile - check
Pray - check
Meet client to write offer - check
Eat more - check
Deliver offer - check
Blog - check

Thursday, June 19, 2008

It's ON!

I am so excited to be able to report this next bit of news....and let me tell you...you won't be nearly as excited as me! But here goes....

Shawn & Asher get to start preschool together, in a blended environment on August 11. We received our acceptance letter. We've been on the waiting list for over a year, but just 2 weeks ago they told me that we are still so far down on the list that they couldn't possibly take my children before fall of 2009. I was so distraught at this news that I literally cried on the phone. (That is not typical of my character). I have no idea what kind of strings God pulled for us......but I'm overflowing with gratitude.

Shawn and Asher will get to go to preschool together, in an environment where 50% of the children have special needs. The academy is **EXCEPTIONAL** to say the least. Shawn will begin to receive all of this therapies there too, instead of me driving him all over the place. Asher can get all the learning he craves....and at the same time, be exposed to more children with special needs and hopefully forever adoring them.

I'm just so excited. So if you know anyone who needs to buy or sell a home....don't hesitate to send them my direction.......cuz our life is about to get way more expensive! : )

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ahhhhhh Finally

My oldest son (19) and I had a painful parting of ways a couple of weeks ago. We didn't agree. We argued. We hurt each others feelings. I have never asked him to go and stay with his Dad, but I did on that day. 2-3 weeks later, I haven't seen him. It has been so hard. So hard. So hard. So hard. That is my baby and I miss him so much it hurts.

Day 1 sucked. It sucked hard.
Day 2 was hell and I puked.
By about day 4 we were having decent chats on the phone and simple texts void of anger. By week 2, he was back to telling me he loves me and misses me (oh me too me too). By the beginning of week 3, he had his first ever fender bender, and he called me. HE called ME! And by today....he sends me a text message that I didn't initiate. Right now, I feel like I have my son back, even though I haven't seen him. (Praise you Lord)

His first year of college didn't go quite the way he assumed it would. Next year is not going to go the way he thought it would (we already know). There has been change. There has been failure (the kind that grows character). There have been disappointments. There has been the diagnosis of a sleep disorder and struggle associated with trying to correct it. There has been depression. There has been pain. Now there is distance. I miss him. I just love him and want him near me.

Spencer is going back to Belmont this next semester. He will either live at home with me or at his Dad's house (oh pick me pick me).... but either way, he will be well. We will survive. I may never get the apology I was hoping for......but I've put on my big girl britches and I'm going to love him through the tough times. He's my first precious sweetheart, and he is a good kid. He is coming over on Sunday to babysit his brothers and I cannot wait to see him. He is amazing and beautiful and funny and dear. He is joy to me, even amidst the gunk. My sweet.



In this pic, Asher is hugging Spencer and Dana. Spencer is a sweet big brother.






Spencer doesn't like this pic, but I love it. He's feeling a little cornered by the camera...but a momma's gotta do what a momma's gotta do....

Friday, June 13, 2008

what a view! I LOVE TENNESSEE!

Yesterday, I spent the day at a retreat with my managing broker and the other agents in our firm. It was pretty fantastic. First of all, we were in a private mountain residence on Monteagle with this view....



Secondly, we had a blast encouraging each other and building community. But who needs a second point when that view is so spectacular! I LOVE TENNESSEE!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Have a Cow!

Well, I'd like to admit upfront that I have no idea what the future holds. Don't we sometimes think we do? Well, I'd suggest we do think we know, because of all the plans that we make...we must be assuming something. But then how often are plans derailed, or a new path shown? The answer to that, in my case, is "more often than not". But that's cool....I'm okay with that.

Here are some plans of mine that never did manifest into reality in my life:

1. I was going to marry Paul Story, the love of my life. He was killed in a car accident. (Derailed)
2. I tried to join the Air Force when Spencer was very young. They wanted me, but God allowed Spencers father to serve as a road block in that plan. That plan was supposed to help me provide for Spencer and secure a college scholarship for myself. (Derailed).
3. I wanted to open a children's clothing store several years ago. I couldn't come up with the funds. (Derailed)

Here are a few realities that I never planned:

1. Joe and I never intended to have children when we got married. God changed both our hearts after the first year. (New path).
2. I never intended to work in Real Estate as a full time career. Through an involutary job change and the needs of my children....it became a necessity. (New path)
3. I planned on giving birth to perfectly healthy, "normal" children. (New path)


I look back on the plans I had that were derailed. I'll be honest.....I've never been blessed through the loss of Paul. I'd have him be alive and well right this minute. But I can say that being forced to let go of a love, and being forced to KNOW that tomorrow isn't promised, has made me stronger, and more realistic. The other derailments were total blessings. The childrens' clothing store for example.....if I had to be tied to a retail business today I'd be miserable, and I thank God that He didn't allow my strong will to win that battle.

The new paths have been incredible blessings as well.....in such monumental proportions that I cannot describe them in words. I love having these tots in my house. I love that Shawn is "special" and I completely appreciate the career that I have. If I were to thank God a million times a day, it would not be enough.

I'm in the process of making another plan. I do not know if it will be in accordance with God's will, if it will be "derailed", or if we will be shown a "new path" instead. I'd love to sell our house next year and buy something on a piece of land where we could have a horse and a cow. I have always always forever and a day, I have wanted a horse. I always will. Joe wants a cow. I know....whatever.....but if I get a horse then he should have a cow. I'm excited that my dear friend Pam has horses, lives nearby, and is willing to teach me how to take care of them....so that I can know for sure if that is something I can handle. I just think it would be great fun for the family...and depending on what God provides, might even be fun for the community. We shall see. For this to happen for our family, we would most likely move into a tiny house and sleep in bunk beds....but I don't really care. : ) I wonder how this will turn out.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Nothing grows where a seed is not planted...

I have been fairly overwhelmed this week by the ways God has used both a literal and a metaphorical garden to mean so much to me.

I'm not great at drawing paralells and telling stories wrapped up in a neat little bow...so please have patience with me. I'll use pictures to help me give this post the deeper meaning that I desire for it spill.

I began planting a flower garden in my back yard about 3 or 4 summers ago. I dug it out completely by myself, and I still honestly have back aches from it. It is a larger space than it appears to be at a glance. I get excited every summer to see what comes back, and how much larger it will be compared to the previous years, and subsequently, how much more beautiful and breathtaking to my soul. And I continue to plant new plants every year. I believe after one more summer, it will be full.
I have placed a chair and ottoman at the window to my garden so that I can enjoy it. I usually do my bible studies in the "garden chair". It's the only place in the house where, even if there is noise, I can block it out. (small miracle?). Several months ago, I took over hosting my bible study (community group) and I moved the chair and rearranged the other furniture to accomodate more people and more eyes to be directed to the TV because our studies are DVD driven. To my surprise, without the garden chair in the right spot....I lost some of my motivation to do my studies, and got behind. Last week, I moved everything back to its original position, and my studies are back on track. My soul is better. My mind is clearer. My heart is more well than it has been in a while.

Some funny (not so funny), coincidental (not so coincidental) things have happened to drive home to me the value of my flower garden:

First, one of my beautiful sisters in Christ came to the bible study this week armed with this gift for me Sharon did not just bring me flowers....she brought me beautiful fresh flowers and herbs from her very own loved garden. She merged her garden with my heart and has reminded me that Jesus loves and desires for us to plant a seed.


Secondly, our bible study this week discussed in brief, Genesis 2:8 "Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east; and there he put the man he had formed". Everything else it seemed that God spoke into exsitence, but according to this verse, God planted the garden Himself. And not just any garden, but the ultimate paradise, Eden. Do you think God loves a garden? And not just floral, vegetation and evergreen.......but us. He wants us to sow the seed of his word, and from his word, bear fruit and grow. He wants us to grow in Him. And where His wind blows us, He wants us to plant and sow more seed.

Genesis 3:8 suggests that God walked back and forth in the garden in the cool of the day. Can you imagine? (Even God avoids the heat????? Just kidding! - but Amen!)

Lastly, I've read a great book over the past few days called "The Shack" by William P. Young. I believe this is a sweet gift from God for anyone who reads it. The garden plays an almost silent, but extremely significant part in this book, and in tying in God's love. The metaphors are still dancing around in my head to a beautiful song. I love what my garden represents to me now.

Here she is this morning:

I am an amateur...and I did design her just for me!



Here is my view of the garden from my "garden chair"



And fianlly, here is my garden chair. This is not staged.......it really looks like this! I am doing my current bible study....getting caught up on the daily lessons from the last study, and just finished reading "The Shack". And of course....my Bible (full of seed for sowing).



My garden is full of wild bursts of color, the beauty of roses and the shocking bite of its thorns. There are weeds in places that seem to want to strangle out some of the more delicate species. There are some plants that need no attention, and others that seem to want to fade quickly if not tended to. There is disease creeping into the leaves and stems of one of my rose bushes, and one other plant whose name I have forgotten. There is one plant that has multiplied and grown so much it almost doesn't fit, and then others that seem as small and unnoticable as the day I planted them. There is even one species that seemed to come out of nowhere this summer.....I don't recall planting it....ever. The ground is hard today and the roots of weeds won't come up without delicate but intentional digging. My coneflower is thirsty. And my burning bush (no joke) is struggling to fit in. As the gardener here...I play many roles. I have a lot of work to do. No matter how difficult the work, how painful the stabs from the thorns, no matter how heavy the sweat on my brow, and no matter how much loss and disease....I must work with joy. I must cultivate and nurture with love. I must be patient. I can enjoy the variety, and the patterns do not have to make sense to me. But I must never stop sowing seed, if I desire for something to grow.
In my life, it is no different.

Friday, June 6, 2008

learning is fun

I have been struggling with my children's pre-school situation.....or lack thereof. Both have been on a waiting list for a year, for a school that takes a balance of typically developing children (aka normal) and children with special needs. I really desire for both Shawn and Asher to do this together. It is a GREAT school. The problem is....the waiting list is pretty treacherous. We think maybe they might get to begin in October, but that isn't definite.

This past week I have decided that Asher needs a true learning environment so badly that I have decided to "home pre-school" him this summer, so as not to wait too much longer. We started yesterday, and he had a blast. He was sooooooooooo excited and so proud of his accomplishment...that this mornig, it was the first thing he wanted to do. Well, it wasn't the first thing mommy wanted to do, so we waited until Shawn took his nap...and we started to roll. Asher blew my mind. He immediately recognized a letter that he learned yesterday. He also did much better today with left vs. right. It was so fun. Asher is such a sponge...and I'm actually digging it too. How could I not enjoy it when Asher keeps saying..."what am I going to learn NEXT mommy?" What a precious joy he is.

I need to brag about Shawn too, for he has learned so much in the past couple of weeks. His latest knowledge comes in physical form.....he can CLAP, wave BYE-BYE, slap a high-five, lean in for a KISS, stand up and take one step, climb all the way up the stairs (fast), and is beginning to inch back down the stairs. He will throw a ball to us and is beginning to say the word "ball" (his first), and he can touch my nose when prompted. There is evidence that his brain is making brilliant connections.....what a blessing.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Keeping up with the Big Bucks

I simply could not resist this play on words! Our next door neighbors are The Bucks. Literally, their last name is Buck. Well, we love the Bucks (the human ones and the green ones)...but in this case, I'm talking about the human ones that live next door.

Here are a few reasons we love them and feel blessed to have them as neighbors:
  • they are sweet
  • they are fun
  • they have a beautiful son named Grayson who our Asher adores
  • they have us over for burgers
  • they have loaned us their push lawnmower while ours is being repaired
  • they don't have wild parties (well....when they do, we're invited)

Well, the Bucks recently must have had some extra bucks laying around, because they bought sweet Grayson the mack daddy playset you see in the photo above. The problem is.......do you see where they placed it? Just on the other side of our fence (aka border, boudary, brick wall, road block, prison bars). This photo was taken from my back door, on our patio. When Grayson is swinging, you can actually see his head rise up above the privacy fence. This is the FIRST thing Asher sees when he walks into the backyard. It is also visible from the bonus room window and our great room window. Of all the places in their back yard, you would almost believe the Bucks intentionally chose to torture Asher (and us subsequently) by their placement decision. Now, I'm positive that was nowhere in their minds..... but seriously....(insert your own string of foul language here).

I've never worried about keeping up with the Jones' before.....but now that the Bucks have obviously proven that they love Grayson more than we love Asher, we are gonna have to keep up with the Big Bucks. Not today....but soon. Asher is pitiful and its becoming a source of drama/trauma around here. Ha!!!!!!

Sorry Bucks.....I know I opened up a can of worms......we do love you, but I'm not brining over a pan of brownies anytime soon. : )


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What the?

Ok......I don't know how this happens or what the remedy might be....so if you know please tell me.

Over the past 3 days, I have not been able to post comments on some of my favorite blogs. There are some blogs I love to read and they are very interactive, so in many cases, posting a comment is critical for me to get the most out of the messages in the blog. I have discovered that when I post a comment, it doesn't show up. I sent an email plea to two people to let them know, in a desperate scream...."H E L P M E , I CANNOT POST A COMMENT".... only to discover that I had ended up in their spam/junk files. WHAT? HOW COULD THAT BE? I am neither spam nor junk (amen!)

So what have I done, or what has been done to me for this to be the result? I haven't added any programs.... I did sign up for twitter...did this somehow interfere?

For now I am at the mercy of bloggers willing to seek me out in their spam file (yea that'll last a minute and a half!). Let me tell you what it feels like..........has anyone ever asked you a question but then when you open your mouth to answer, they cut you off??? OR.....you are talking on your cell phone and the person on the other end starts saying "hello....can you hear me" and you can hear them......but they just do not hear you and then they hang up. Or, how about when you are in a large group and you have a comment and you raise your hand but never get called on! If you are a talker.....(i'm just saying).....this can feel like death, entrapment, bound and gagged torture.

I am a victim today.... a victim of being labeled undeservingly as S P A M! I feel like someone has written spam across my forhead in bright red letters. I feel like my comments have been tagged as useless/nonsense/garbage/crap/boring/blah blah blah. Oh spam gods, please release me..........I don't know who else to turn to...there are no magic de-spamming buttons.........please spam gods, surrender to the one and only GOD. GOD, please smash them and let me speak. I'll be nice.