Sunday, March 27, 2016

Weeks of Easter Fun...

Celebrating Easter with the kids this year has been such an incredible experience, in that they get the meaning of Good Friday and Easter Sunday on a whole new level!  Abigail had a soccer tournament this weekend, two games on Friday and two games on Saturday, so we weren't able to make it to our church's Good Friday service, so we had Good Friday service at home where we had a great discussion and Scripture reading about what exactly Jesus did for us on Good Friday and all that went into His physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual sacrifice.  We talked about how the brutality of the event seems far from "good," but that as believers it isn't just a good Friday, it's the best Friday, because of the redemption it affords us (if we accept that we are sinners in need of a Savior, Jesus Christ) and the hope it provides in that He literally arose 3 days later, conquering death.  We even had a time of worship together where we listened to and sang some of our favorite worship songs.  While our Good Friday service didn't take place at church, it was all kinds of sweetness and a precious memory!
Happy Easter!!!

Grace is officially a professional Easter egg hunter!

Another huge hug from God, He has worked in and through Grace, making her a mighty prayer warrior.  She has short, but super sweet prayers that she will just bust into spontaneously.  Prayers that go something like this... "Dear God, help Dadda knee, Amen!" or "Dear God, help Bubba not sad, Amen!" or "Dear God, Ryan go Grace's school, Amen!" The last prayer was in response to finding out that one of her new little friends was touring her school that day.

-We celebrated Easter early with the cousins last weekend.  We always love cousin time, so the addition of swimming in Grandma and Grandpa's 75 degree pool, Easter egg hunt, lots of good food, doing nails, scavenger hunt, dying eggs, playing games, wrestling, lots of Chinese hop scotch, and a sleep over is just gravy!

We were a strong Easter egg hunting team ;-)

Grandma and Grandpa have made it a tradition to get the grandkids swimsuits for Easter (we love the tradition) and they came in handy as the kids decided to test them out in their 75 degree pool water!

Jamberry nail party hosted by Aunt Becca!

Lots of tasty food...  Abigail's face cracks me up in this picture, clearly not everyone thought it was tasty.

This was a few minutes into our drive home the next day...  Cousin time is exhausting :-)

-March 21st was World Down Syndrome Day!  Seeing so many kiddos rocking their crazy socks at school in support of genetically enhanced individuals like Grace sure made my heart smile with gratitude!

-We haven't redecorated our living room in 10 years, so we were thrilled to have our decorators and dear friends give our living room a major overhaul.  If you have any decorating needs (they do so much more than just decorating) let me know and I will gladly pass along their contact info.  Thank you Susan and Deborah!!!

-After getting home from a loooong day, we got to attend a free Christian concert featuring Andrew and Grace singing everything from Amazing Grace to Soul on Fire on the microphones in the playroom.  It beats any concert we have ever been too ;-).

-I was just telling David that we need to take down the play set in our backyard because it's super old and rickety, especially before Grace is able to climb up it... then... too late, Grace just scaled the rock wall all by herself and went down the slide!  I'm overjoyed and proud of her for accomplishing such a big task, but now there is an increased sense of urgency...  we need that thing down now!!!

-Abigail had a soccer tournament this weekend (2 games on Friday and 2 games on Saturday).  This tournament was special to Abigail because she got to play on the same team as one of her close friends, who during the regular season is on a different team.  4 members from her team joined 8 members of her friends team for this tournament and they played their hearts out in every game (Abigail has lots of skin off her shoulder, bumps and bruises to show for it ;-).  As I've mentioned before, Abigail goes hard at everything she does, so when she fails or doesn't do as well as she expects from herself she is so hard on herself (especially if that means that she let her team down) and nothing we can say seems to make a difference.  This weekend the Lord allowed her to learn another tough lesson that you can work your tail off and sometimes things don't work out the way you hope, but it's how we respond to that failure that matters.  Do we get bitter or better?!?!  During their third and most intense game (which was the deciding factor as to who advanced to the championship game), three times Abigail worked so HARD and did an incredible job of getting past multiple players to make a break for the goal and her plans were thwarted by either her taking one too many touches and the goalie getting their hands on the ball before she could get a shot off, a girl pushing her down, or a missed shot.  She was visibly upset and discouraged on the field, which broke my heart because I just wanted to hug her and give her a pep talk, but obviously that's not an option.  They ended up losing the game 3-2.  As Abigail started to walk across the field I just wanted to scoop her up and love on her, but I was so grateful that I had to wait to be able to do so because one of her trainers got to her first...  he got down and spoke words of encouragement to her, telling her all the things that she did well.  I started to walk towards her and again, but again I had to wait because her coach (he wan't coaching this game because this wasn't her normal team) stopped her, got down, met her at eye level and also encouraged her.  Finally, I was able to get my hands on her, but I can't tell you what it meant to me that two of her coaches took the time to build her up as she was dealing with such discouragement and frustration.  There's no question that their words helped in a big way, but what also softened the blow was that by God's grace they were tied with the second place team, but based on a head to head comparison Abigail's team had beat this other team, which meant they would go on to the championship game, meaning they would play the same team in the championships that they had just lost against.  The girls went out there hard for the championship game and WON, 1-0!!!  The one goal that was scored, Abigail again worked hard to dribble the ball all the way down the sideline, she crossed it to a team mate in the center and they scored!  It sure did make for a sweet victory after such an emotional day.  As I'm sure many of y'all would agree, it hurts a momma's heart to parent your kiddo through disappointment, but it is such a great teachable moment that our failures and our successes are not out identity.  Our identity is in Christ alone and what He says about us!  This parenting thing sure does keep you humble and on your knees ;-).

Tournament champs!!!

Abigail and her sweet friend, Parker, got to play together in the soccer tournament!  Such a treat!

Three amigo's!

The little brothers passing time during a long weekend of soccer games!

Hope y'all had a blessed Easter!!! He has risen!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Playing Catch Up...

My absence over the past few weeks has not been intentional, we have just been a little crazy and chaotic around here...  to say the least!  Here are some highlights...

-Grace continues to be the toughest kid that I know!  When she goes in for a blood draw she just walks in, jumps in the chair, puts her arm out for the tech to take her blood, sits there without the least bit of concern, jumps down and even thanks them on the way out.

-We have gone to the rodeo twice in the past two weeks.  The rodeo has alway been one of our favorite family activities, but this year the rodeo experience has been taken to a whole new level thanks to this kid...

Grace LOVES all things rodeo.  She narrates the whole thing and won't let you off the hook from cheering, not for a second.  If I get distracted, she will get my attention and say "Momma cheer!"  Then, for days after she's talking about the rodeo, so we recreated the rodeo at home.  Andrew dressed Grace up as a cowgirl, while he put a brown blanket over him and pretended to be the horse and bull from the rodeo.  They acted out bull riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, and barrel racing.  If you could talk to Grace about the rodeo here is what she would tell you...  "Bull bucking... cowboy hold on... wait for beep... then all done...  bull obey and go home (meaning leave the arena like they are suppose to verses running around and making people chase after them)."  

-I don't know if I mentioned it before, but Grace will go to Boston for a heart cath to prophylactically dilate her valve on May 27th, so Lord willing, David and I will head back to Boston with her on May 25th for pre-op, etc.  Will you please pray for every detail?  Thank you!

-David had surgery for ACL reconstruction and two meniscus tears just over a week ago.  I don't think either of us had any idea how labor intensive the recovery process would be.  He came home with a nerve block pump still in his leg for three days (it kept his entire leg numb), a giant knee brace that is locked straight (making mobility very difficult), an hour long PT (that is super painful) three times a week, but I think the worst part is the level of exhaustion that he's experiencing.  Those of you who know David well, know that he doesn't sit down unless he has to and he requires very little sleep, so for something to knock him down like this, it can be a little discouraging.  Not to mention, for some reason he has felt very "off" (super lethargic, dizzy like he's going to pass out, and sweats) everyday for the entire afternoon for the past week.  It got so bad last Sunday that I insisted that we go to urgent care to get lab work done, etc to make sure that we weren't missing something.  Not to mention, we have already met our max out of pocket for the year (I think that's a record, even for us, meeting our max out of pocket in early March :-/), so what's another ER visit to make 3 weekends in a row that we visited the ER (I'm still waiting for them to create a punch card for ER visits).  They found that David was very dehydrated, despite the fact that he has been drinking more water than he ever has in his life.  They gave him some fluids and we were on our way.  So, the 3 ER visits came from David's initial knee injury, Andrew fell off a high slide during one of Abigail's soccer games and injured his arm (thankfully it wasn't fractured, just sprained)...
 and then the visit this past weekend for David's odd symptoms.  There is no question that we continue to be in God's classroom learning full dependence on Him.  He is good, can be trusted, and is most certainly worthy of our praise in all circumstances.

-Andrew had Reading Restaurant at school.  It's one of my favorite activities that they do at their Elementary School.  He did an amazing job and was so stinkin cute as he served us.

-Sweetness...  when Abigail was at a sleepover with a friend down the street, Andrew was so lost without her and missing her.  I got a speeding ticket on Monday :-(, but I thought it was so thoughtful that Abigail was so interested in how much it was going to cost because she was trying to calculate how she could do enough extra chores to earn money to put towards my ticket.  Simple gestures like these give me just the perspective that I need.

-I'm a terrible photographer and even worse videographer, so I greatly appreciate that one of the mom's of a girl on Abigail's soccer team takes some amazing action photo's.  Here are a few...

We closed out a wonderful Spring Break by celebrating an early Easter with the cousins, so I will post more about that sweetness next week (Lord willing :-).

Tomorrow is one of our favorite days...  World Down Syndrome Awareness Day.  It is March 21st because our genetically enhanced kiddos have 3 copies of the 21st chromosome (get it 3-21?).  In celebration of Grace and all her friends, don't forget to rock your crazy socks!!!

As always, we love and appreciate you, sweet Village!!!