Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Happy Gotcha Day, Chloe!

Today marks one year since we adopted our sweet Chloe.  When we got her, she had been rescued from a life of being an outside dog tied to a tree, fighting four other dogs to eat out of a single bowl of food.  She was understandably aggressive with other dogs in the beginning, but she has come so far in the last year!  From the very beginning, Chloe was wonderful with the kids.  We often have to peel them off of her, tell them to let go of her collar, or keep them from piling toys on her.  Through it all, she wags her tail!  Her love for "her" kids is obvious.

I'm so thankful for this sweet girl!  We plan to celebrate with a walk on the boardwalk and some extra treats!  We love you, Chloe!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Florida 2014: Lego Land!

On Sunday and Wednesday, we headed about an hour away to visit Lego Land.  It was a big hit with everyone!!

My sister made these adorable shirts.  She is the queen of iron-on tshirts.  I am just not creative like this.  It's hard to see in the picture, but their names are on the heads in the Lego font too.

This is the face of a super-excited boy before we go into Lego Land!!

At the entrance to the park.

They had a whole "Build and Test" lab where kids could build their own cars and race them.  All of the kids got really into it!

They also enjoyed driving and boating school.  The parents realized we have a LOT of work today before we let them out on the road by themselves!

The main characters from The Lego Movie came out for pictures while we were eating lunch, so the kids ran out to get their pictures taken before the line got too long.

One of the hardest rides was the Firetruck Relay!  You had to pump the truck to make it move down the track, and it was HARD!  I may have needed the help of both employees working there in order to get our truck to where it needed to be...

Caleb and Abby both loved these horses that rode around the track.  Caleb swore that he went faster when he clicked his heels and yelled, "Giddy up!"  :)

The parents got to enjoy some rides too!

I have lots more to share from Lego Land, so stay tuned!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Two Weeks

We leave two weeks from today for Philadelphia.  Between now and then, I have bills, packing, laundry, cleaning, appointments, and phone calls...and I'm doing it pretty much all on my own because it's summer and we know what that means for the wife of a youth pastor.

But I have also managed to cram as much fun stuff as possible too!  We will have a visit to the American Girl doll store, go on a special World's Greatest Day:  Preschool Edition adventure with friends, go swimming (I plan to do lots of water activities, since Abby won't be cleared to do anything with water for several months, including sitting in water for a bath), celebrate Chloe's Gotcha Day, let the kids have some friends over, and go to the science center.

I'll be honest.  I'm doing the fun stuff as much for me as for the kids.  I need the distractions and sitting at home causes my mind to wander to less pleasant things, like hospitals, surgeries, IVs, and pain management.

If you see me out in public and ask me how I'm doing, I'll probably smile and say, "Oh, we're hanging in there."  Or, "Oh, we're fine."  Those are my go-to, safe answers.  Matt and I have learned that a lot of people really can't (or sometimes don't want to) handle the specifics.  Ignorance is bliss, and a sick kid isn't a fun topic.  We get that, and we try not to say too much unless you really want to know.  Nothing kills a conversation like sharing about our sick kid.  We've seen the uncomfortable looks and watched people try to figure out how to delicately excuse themselves many times.  Fun stuff.

If you do attempt to dig any deeper, be ready for tears.  I'm 100% fine with sharing, but I am emotional.  It is tough to think about your kid enduring so much.  It's even harder to consider the alternative to surgery.

So, no, I'm not fine.  This sucks.  (Sorry, Mom.  I know you hate that term.)  I'm awake half the night worrying about the what ifs.  And I am so thankful for the people who just acknowledge that it sucks and avoid the Christian cliches in an attempt to make me feel better.  Unless you have willingly put your child through a surgery that you know will result in years of pain, additional surgeries, reduced mobility, and put her at a high risk for infection and complications, you don't get it.  Remember that agreeing to this surgery means agreeing to about 30 more.  This won't all be over any time soon.  And the possibilities of a trach and/or gtube are less than thrilling too.

But whatever we face, God will face with us.  So I am learning to just rest in the knowledge that He has planned every event in Abby's life:  every surgery, every set-back, every triumph.

This song means a lot to me these days.  I hope you like it too!

"Holding My World"
By:  Kristian Stanfill

And this is Your world, you made it
And all of creation is breathing because You sustain it
Jesus, by your powerful word
You spoke out the earth and the heavens

So I will not worry or fret
My God is the God who will never forget
All of His goodness and all of His promises
He's holding my world in His hands

And these are Your days, you give them
All for Your fame and all for Your glorious kingdom
Jesus, You have ordained
All things to dwell in Your purpose

So I will not worry or fret
My God is the God who will never forget
All of His goodness and all of His promises
He's holding my world in His hands

And I am your child, beloved
And all of my days, my future is laid in your promise
Jesus, to the end of the age
I am not alone or forgotten

So I will not worry or fret
My God is the God who will never forget
All of His goodness and all of His promises
He's holding my world

So I will not worry or fret
My God is the God who will never forget
All of His goodness and all of His promises
He's holding my world in His hands

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fly a Little Higher by Laura Sobiech


Every now and then, I read a book that makes me feel like I'm actually getting a glimpse into the writer's mind and heart.  Fly a Little Higher is one of those books.  But to call it merely a book seems so trivial.  It's a memoir, a way for a mother to tell the world about her amazing son who wrote a song and changed the world.

The book journals the Sobiech family's journey of Zach's diagnosis with Osteosarcoma.  Eventually, Zach is diagnosed as terminal and has a choice to either wait quietly to die, or live his life.  Zach's message of living each day to the fullest and choosing joy in the midst of trials comes through loud and clear in his mom's writing.  He died too soon, but I think he did an awful lot of good work in his 17 years.  He was a boy filled with faith, courage, and joy.  This was a beautiful, inspiring book to read.  Just keep the tissues handy!

Here is the song that started it all:

(All proceeds from "Clouds" go to fight osteosarcoma, so you might consider downloading it on iTunes!)

If you have 20 minutes and our interested in learning a little more about Zach's story, watch this mini-documentary about his last days:

Disclaimer:  I'm a Book Looks Blogger and receive free books in exchange for honest reviews.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Florida 2014: Chef Mickey's

After a fairly uneventful two-day trip down (the kids were SO good!!), we made it to Florida on Saturday.  After dropping our stuff off at our condo, we headed to The Contemporary to eat at Chef Mickey's for a character dinner.  The kids were going to be able to meet and get autographs from all of the major Mickey Mouse Clubhouse characters.

Owen, Sara, Caleb, and Anna loved meeting the different characters and getting pictures.

Abby did not...

Nevertheless, it was a fun experience!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

No Place to Hide by Lee Warren

I'd read a few reviews on No Place to Hide, and they all commented on how wonderfully this book was written by a first-time author.  I decided to check it out, although I am usually not too interested in present-time war books (I'm typically more of a WWII girl!)

I simply could not put this put down!  I had the iPad with me constantly, trying to get in a few more pages in between tasks.  It helped that we traveled 14 hours for vacation, so I had lots of time to read in the car!

Warren's account of life as a military neurosurgeon in war-torn Iraq was eye-opening and heart-wrenching.  He not only shared his day to day tasks; he also pulled the readers into the story and stirred up emotions as he shared the tragedies.  His writing style kept my interest and I never felt like I got to a "slow" part of the book.  It was excellent from beginning to end!

Disclaimer:  I am a Book Looks Blogger and am given free books in exchange for honest reviews.  All opinions are my own.