Sunday, February 28, 2010

46 Mommas Shave for the Brave

So yesterday I posted a video about kids living with cancer. There are thousands of kids living with cancer right now. Many of those kids won't be here one year from now. I won't bore you with the statistics... if you've read here long enough, you already know them.

What I want to tell you about RIGHT NOW is a very special group of moms... moms of kids who have, or had cancer. Some of these kids are still fighting, some of these kids are in remission, some of these kids are in Heaven right now, leaving a void here that can never be filled.

And so, these moms have gotten together and decided to shave their heads. WHAT?! Seriously. Of course they're not just doing this for fun. They are doing this to raise money to get more research... and to find a CURE! And I? Am helping them fundraise! ;)

I want to tell you about 3 very special moms and kids in this group:

Meet Tiffany and Miranda Beamer. Miranda was diagnosed in 2007 with Ewings Sarcoma. She is a Vanderbilt kid and we spent a lot of time inpatient with her and her family. Kennedy and Miranda are just days apart in age, and when they felt well enough they enjoyed playing together in the halls. Tiffany and I spent a lot of time talking... about motherhood, cancer, our Faith and lot of other things... we attended funerals together for our friends... friends that should still be here today. Each of us are so thankful we have our girls and are fighting to keep the memory alive of the many friends we have lost along the way.

Tiffany is the team leader of this fundraiser. She is shaving her head for her daughter Miranda and you can find her page here.

This is Shannon Barry. I first posted about her son Keeghan a little over two years ago. Keeghan had a brain tumor called Anaplastic Astrocytoma. He was diagnosed when he was 10 years old. Less than a year after I first posted about him, Keeghan was gone. Another victim of childhood cancer. Gone way too soon.

For obvious reasons, Keeghan was always one of my favorites. There's just something about that ultra cool name that makes an ultra cool kid! ;) I like to think he's up there in Heaven looking over MY Keeghan now... and really, he couldn't have a better guardian angel! Shannon is shaving her head in memory of her son Keeghan, and you can find her page here.

This is Mimi Avery with her son Julian. They are no stranger to the Internet world! Prayers went up all over for King JuJu while he was battling medulloblastoma, and when he lost that battle on January 19, 2008. Mimi has been a dear friend to me and has given me many words of encouragement and lots of prayers through Kennedy's battle with Leukemia. If you don't know Julian's story, I've posted about Julian a lot on this blog... here, here, here, and here.

Mimi is shaving her head in memory of her son Julian, and you can find her page here.

These are just 3 moms out of MANY who will be shaving their heads on September 13, 2010. They each have a story... they each have a child who has an amazing story of his own. They are each heroes. Go support St. Balricks and 46 Mommas who are going to Shave for the Brave!

QOTD #40

This one is for all you moms out there (which really, is the majority of my blog readers! LOL)

What is your favorite diaper rash cream?

I'm talking, fast acting, powerful, can clear up ANY horrid diaper rash out there type cream. Talk to me.


The what what? The LOO LOO! :) WHAT is a LOO LOO you ask? WELL I asked that question too the first time that I got an email from Bill Gillespie. Bill found my blog through this post (wonder WHY?! LOL) and he introduced me to his revolutionary new product, the LOO LOO.

And I said, "That would be cool... if it works..."
And he said, "It WORKS!"
And I said, "Yeah, but you MADE the thing, of COURSE you would say it works!"
And he said, "All right then you doubting woman, I will SEND you a LOO LOO so you can SEE for yourself that it DOES work!"

OK so that conversation didn't actually happen, but he did send me a LOO LOO! In fact, he sent me a bunch of LOO LOOs! And since I don't have seven bathrooms in my house, thank goodness, I have 6 LOO LOO packs for 6 lucky winners!!!

SO what do you have to do to win? Go to the LOO LOO website, look it over so you can see what the LOO LOO actually IS, and leave me a comment and tell me why YOU would like to try the LOO LOO! That's IT! Come on, if nothing else, you can tell your husband you're getting a LOO LOO in the mail and get him all excited! ;)

I will pick 6 lucky winners next Sunday, March 7th!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kids Living With Cancer

I'm still weeding through my email box, and my friend Mary Lee sent this video to me about a month ago. I hadn't had a chance to watch it until today... and wow. If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a kid living with cancer, take some time to watch this video. They did a wonderful job with it! More on this subject later.

You can watch the video here.

An Olympic Hopeful

So, if you follow my facebook page somewhat closely, you probably know that I'm not a huge fan of the Olympics. I really just find them boring. And if you've already yelled at me about that, please don't do it again! LOL So I've watched little bits here and there because my dear husband and I happen to disagree on this subject. HA! (He just got lots more fans huh?! LOL) So if it's on, I will glance at it, comment on a tacky costume or how the announcer's voice is irritating, and then go back to whatever I happened to be doing before. I know, I know. I'm un-American or something.

However, the other day Frank had saved something for me and when I sat down he said, "Babe you GOTTA watch this!" I said, "OK..." thinking maybe someone fell or a fight broke out in the stands or something. But no... it was a story about Olympic hopeful Kevin Pearce. While training, he injured himself badly and is still recovering. More than a heartbreaking story though, this is a story of love and family, and one very special brother... watch the video and have some tissues ready!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Family update

Just a quick update on everyone here:

Frank - He's been busy getting ready to deploy. They've been keeping the guys hopping at work and we're hoping for a little downtime as deployment day draws near. Please start praying for his battalion, as well as all the families, now.

Me - My strep like illness has turned into an annoying hacky cough, but I feel better for the most part! I'm hoping to catch up on some sleep this weekend! Thanks for all your prayers!

Kassidy - Not much to update on her... she's doing great in school, great at home, great great great! :) She wanted to play soccer this Spring but then our school system had to go extend the school day for 30 minutes through March and April so we decided against it. That would have been really hard to do homework, soccer practice and showers/baths, and still get to bed on time. Her practices always ran so long as it was. Hopefully it will work out for the Fall. As soon as it gets warm and my mom opens her pool she'll be starting swimming lessons again anyway :).

Kameron - He's doing great too! He won the spelling bee for his class this week and gets to compete in the school spelling bee next Friday! We are so proud of him! :) He's still not interested in any extra activities, but he will do swimming lessons again when it's time.

Kennedy - She is status quo... having fun at school, loves her friends, loves her teacher, loves P.E. and talks about it constantly! LOL She's broken her glasses 3 times in the last 2 1/2 weeks. We now have a backup pair on order. *sigh* The joys of glasses!

Keeghan - He is very two this week. I'm this close to selling him to the highest bidder. (I'm KIDDING) Seriously though, his week can be defined as one big temper tantrum with a few good moments in between. *sigh* I keep telling myself that I'm going to miss this when he's grown, but really, I don't know if I'll ever miss this, you know? When he is being good, he's very helpful. He likes to "help" me dust and do laundry and he is very into picking out his own jammies right now. They always match too!

Kellsey - She's doing well, she's had a good couple days actually, though she's watching Keeghan's tantrums a little too closely for my liking! haha Hopefully she's not taking notes! She's doing well on her heart medication and doesn't appear to have any side effects so far. The Miralax STILL isn't doing anything for her, so tonight her doctor put her on a new regimen starting with Magnesium Citrate and ending with a Fleet Enema. I have a feeling we're going to have a HUGE mess on our hands, but hopefully this will work and she'll feel GREAT afterwards! LOL

In other news, I will have my van back on MONDAY!!!! Yippee!!!!! On a bad note, it's costing us $1,000 to fix it. *sigh* The power module in the computer went out... or something. Hopefully it will be nice to us for a LONG time now! I'm just happy I'll be able to GO places again!

Anyway, I guess that's it. I've taken NO pictures lately, sorry. I will try to take some this weekend.

Special Education in the News

I've been trying to clear out my email box, catch up on some blogs, catch up on facebook and really just all of my Internet life, since I seem to be slacking lately, and I have two articles I want to share with you. Since I apparently am long winded, this is just the first one. More ranting later.

This article comes from the National Education Association about two teachers in Seattle. And let me just say right now, I would LOVE to have these teachers in my corner! These teachers, Lenora Quattro and Juli Griffith co-teach a self contained K-5 classroom which has students with varying disabilities. In Kennedy's school this is called the "Life Skills Class".

So a couple years ago, these teachers were told that they had to give their 12 students the state standardized tests for Washington. (It's called the Washington Alternate Assessment System there, it's called the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program or TCAP here.)

Let me rant about TCAP for a second, will you? Around here, these tests start in 3rd grade and take place in the Spring. However, from the time your child enters Kindergarten, everything is centered around the TCAP tests. The way teachers have to teach, the way all tests are administered, and certain facts that are drilled into the students' heads are because, "they'll have to know that for TCAP!"

In reality, how well a child does on their TCAP test means nothing to the individual student. All it does is boost up the school's scores so they can publish THEIR report card saying, "Look how great we're doing!" It doesn't affect the student's report card or whether they will continue to the next grade... or anything else for that matter. It's a week of school that students stress out about for the whole year for no reason. They need volunteers to come and administer the tests, and the schools have gotten so competitive that one teacher in Middle TN was even caught helping her students cheat last year! (NOT our school!) The whole thing is really... ridiculous.

As far as my kids go, I tell them not to stress, do their best, and I'm sure they'll be great. Only Kassidy has taken TCAP so far and she did fine, for the record. Kameron is already nervous about it and he won't even have to take it until Spring 2011! Makes me so mad! I do love the stories of the older kids who band together and mark "C" all the way down or make designs with the bubbles they have to fill in and let the answers fall where they may. I always wanted to be that rebel, but never had the guts to do it.

Anyway back to Washington and these two teachers. SO They're told to give these 12 students in a self contained classroom this state test. And they did. It took 3 months vs. 1 week because the test had to be given to each student individually, which of course took more time. Even though the test was modified, it was still measuring these students against their grade level standards... from what they said in the article, these kids are cognitively between the ages of 6 months and 2 years... so that would be like me asking Keeghan to answer a question off Kassidy's science test. Not gonna happen. Sorry. These poor kids were so stressed out they were crying when it was test time. If I asked Keeghan about cumulus clouds, he'd probably cry too!

So last year when it came time for these state tests, these teachers thought, "You know what? This is crazy! It's not fair to our students, let's talk to their parents." So they did... and the parents said... (insert shocked look here) "If I had known you were doing this, I would have told you to stop." Another said, "I'm sick of tests that tell what my child can't do. I want to see what he can do." Imagine that.

So, the teachers did their research, like any good teacher would, and found out that parents do have a right to refuse state assessments! (I wonder if we have that law here, too?!) The parents refused. They didn't give the test. Done and done. Or not.

The district freaked out because the teachers didn't follow their orders (did I mention yet that I've always wanted to be a rebel?!) and suspended them (the teachers, not the students) for 10 days without pay! Seriously. The teachers said, "But the law says..." And the district said, "Sorry! Did we forget to mention you have to have that in writing?!" UGH! So of course these grateful parents wrote letters to help these teachers who were protecting their students, but it was too little too late and now the teachers have a black mark on their record and a 10 day, no pay suspension. Fabulous.

Over and over lately I have heard parents of kids with special needs rant and rave about the schools, the special education system, the fear, agony and STRESS of IEP meetings (more on that later), and then you have these two awesome teachers who are fighting for what is right for their students and they get slapped down! I don't get it! Seems to me the school would rather excuse the students from the tests than have them pull down their "all-important" school rating anyway. But that's just my opinion, what do you think? You can read the whole article here.

PS. I am commenting in my comment section on this post too!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Q&A #140

Just a question unrealted to this post, did you end up doing the list of apps that Kassidy and Kameron like for the iPod Touch's? If so I can't fint them!
I haven't done it yet... you didn't miss it! I will try to do that this weekend! I need Frank to get on his list too!!!

Have one for you:
Preacher stopped in to meet a new family. As he was leaving, he asked the little boy to him who he prayed for at bedtime. The little boy listed his mom, his sister & his dog. Preacher asked: "when does your dad come in?". Boy: "Two o'clock in the morning."

hahaha these things just crack me up! LOL

Hi, Im the aunt of a child with Down Syndrome. Im very young but I wanted to know why was'nt my sister warned while her pregency. We just found out the baby had DS , three days ago. gladly the baby does not have heart defects and he does not look like a DS child. He will not need a lot of therapy. He is 7 months. I love my nephew so much. He is a gift from God.
Hi there. I think you will find that many mothers of children with Down syndrome did not find out about their child's diagnosis until birth. It is definitely more rare to not find out until age 7 months, but I've heard of that happening before too. I'm glad to hear he does not have any heart defects! If your sister would like to talk to other parents who have been there, please send her this link to the DownSyn Message Board. There are hundreds of parents on there walking down the same road and can offer lots of encouragement and advice. You are right, your nephew is a gift from God and he is going to bring you a lifetime of blessings! Congratulations!

The enalapril may help with the constipation - don't ask me why - but it just does w/ Christopher. It will probably also make her pee more. It is not a diuretic, but it makes the kidneys function more efficiently. Also, it may cause reflux. It weakens the valve at the bottom of the esophogus - all things that doctors know but don't tell you until you bring it up. :( If she is on any reflux meds, give them at least 1 hour AFTER the enalipril or it will interfere.
Thank you!! You are right! They didn't tell me any of that! LOL She is not on any reflux meds, thank goodness!

Are the docs having you give her one dose of Miralax? Try dividing the same dose into 2 or 3 throughout the day. Since you can put it in food or drinks - she doesn't have to know she is taking it. Just DON'T put it in milk! UGH!!!!! Anyway, the two or 3 doses will make her bowels more consistent instead of full tilt or nothing. It wil help with blowouts too. :)
Well we are now on two 1/2 cap fulls a day, one in the morning and one at night (so 1 cap full a day total) does that make sense?! LOL She's still not going much though. Why can't I put it in milk??? Her doctor said I could. So far I've just put it in water because that's what she likes to drink the majority of the time, but now I'm curious! LOL

Renee, I just saw a commercial for a DS teenage girl that one Prom Queen. The commercial said: "True Beauty: Pass it on" I couldn't help but think of how true that is, but then immediatly thought of you and informing you of that commercial. Have you seen it? That commercial couldn't have been more true. =]
I have seen it! LOVE that commercial! :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Feeling somewhat...

human today. Almost. After spending all day in bed yesterday, I'm TIRED of sleeping! HA! Thankfully my mom came over Monday and took me to the doctor... they did a strep test, the rapid test came back negative, but I'm still waiting to hear if the culture grew out anything. They did blood work and said my white count was through the roof, and with my temp over 102, they decided to give me a shot of antibiotics and follow up with more antibiotics at home. I came home on Monday and went straight to bed, slept most of the day Tuesday, while my mom and Frank shuffled the kids, and today, I'm functioning. Barely. So far no one else is sick, thank the Lord! I tried to keep my germs trapped to my bedroom, so if anyone gets it, it will probably be Frank... or my mom since I was in her car. Sorry guys!

My van STILL doesn't work. *sigh* And if complaining about it makes me a spoiled American, so be it. The shop it was at can't fix it. On a nice note though, they didn't charge us anything for the time they spent on it. :) Gotta love the South for that! So now it's sitting at a Dodge Dealership and they have it running on their diagnostic machine.

In other news, it's snowing here again. It didn't start until after the kids went to school, so I'm waiting to see what will happen... early dismissal? No school tomorrow? We shall see. On that note, I am off to figure out an early lunch for these kids in hopes of an early nap for all 3 of us. Hopefully I'll be back later with a more coherent update!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I'm still here... just been really sick. Went to the doctor yesterday and got a shot of penicillin and am on z-pack. I'm feeling somewhat more human today, but not quite. Heading back to bed now, just got up to eat something. More later...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

QOTD #39

Haven't done one of these in awhile! Can't imagine what made me think of THIS topic! LOL

If you had to be stuck without either your phone or car for two weeks, which would be harder for you and why?

Happy Sunday!

The Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, when little Jason interrupted, 'My Mommy looked back once while she was driving,' he announced triumphantly, 'and she turned into a telephone pole!'

A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan. She asked the class, 'If you saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?'
A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, 'I think I'd throw up.'

A Sunday school teacher asked, 'Johnny, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark ?' 'No,' replied Johnny. 'How could he, with just two worms.'

A Sunday school teacher said to her children, 'We have been learning how powerful kings and queens were in Bible times. But, there is a Higher Power. Can anybody tell me what it is?' One child blurted out, 'Aces!'

Nine-year-old Joey was asked by his mother what he had learned in Sunday School.
'Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When he got to the Red Sea, he had his army build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely. Then he radioed headquarters for reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the
Israelites were saved.'
'Now, Joey, is that really what your teacher taught you?' his mother asked.
'Well, no, Mom. But, if I told it the way the teacher did, you'd never believe it!'

A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible - Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the chapter. Little Rick wa s excited about the task - but he just couldn't remember the Psalm. After much practice, he could barely get past the first line. On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was so nervous. When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly, 'The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all I need to know.'

The preacher's 5 year-old daughter noticed that her father always paused and bowed his head for a moment before starting his sermon. One day, she asked him why.
'Well, Honey,' he began, proud that his daughter was so observant of his messages.
'I'm asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.'
'How come He doesn't answer it?' she asked.

A Rabbi said to a precocious six-year-old boy, 'So your mother says your prayers for you each night? That's very commendable. What does she say?'
The little boy replied, 'Thank God he's in bed!'

During the minister's prayer one Sunday, there was a loud whistle from one of the back pews. Tommy's mother was horrified. She pinched him into silence and, after church, asked, 'Tommy, whatever made you do such a thing?'
Tommy answered, soberly, 'I asked God to teach me to whistle, and He did!'

A pastor asked a little boy if he said his prayers every night.
'Yes, sir,' the boy replied.
'And, do you always say them in the morning, too?' the pastor asked.
'No sir,' the boy replied. 'I ain't scared in the daytime.'

When my daughter, Kelli, said her bedtime prayers, she would bless every family member, every friend, and every animal (current and past). For several weeks, after we had finished the nightly prayer, Kelli would say, 'And all girls.' This soon became part of her nightly routine, to include this closing. My curiosity got the best of me and I asked her, 'Kelli, why do you always add the part about all girls?' Her response, 'Because everybody always finish their prayers by saying 'All Men'!'

Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother's house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When Little Johnny received his plate, he started eating right away.
'Johnny! Please wait until we say our prayer,' said his mother.
'I don't need to,' the boy replied.
'Of course, you do,' his mother insisted. 'We always say a prayer before eating at our house.'
'That's at our house,' Johnny explained. 'But this is Grandma's house and she knows how to cook!'

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Q&A #139

Oh wow! Did you know she had any type of heart defect? Things will be fine ... if anyone can do this, you can.
We were told that she had a small hole in her heart that would most likely not require surgery... and that she had been checked out by the cardiologists in Ukraine and she was fine. The doctor who did her medical clearance to leave the country felt that it was probably more serious than we had been told and suggested we get her checked out right away (which we would have anyway). Her pediatrician could hear it but said because of her size and coloring that she was ok for now, it wasn't an emergent "run to the ER" type thing, so we did her echo when we went to the Down syndrome clinic and once the cardiologist read it he wanted to see us ASAP... then he went to Haiti! LOL But it wasn't urgent enough to have anyone else see us. They said we could wait for him to get back... and here we are. SO all that to say, not what we were expecting, but we'll roll, as always.

I have a question, do children that are adopted from other countries 1)not have great medical care, which we know is true so they dont know all their medical problems and disclose them or 2)or do they just not disclose them, not that that would change anything. 2 of my own children have had heart surgery and I would take that over alot of other medical problems. just wondering if its lack of medical knowledge/or care or if they just dont tell the entire story? hope thats not offensive, I dont mean for it to be just wondering.
Well, I'm not too sure what happened in this case... we were told (by the orphanage doctor) that Kellsey saw the cardiologist once a year while in the orphanage. They had medical records, which of course were all in Russian (or maybe Ukrainian). We got a very limited translated version of those, but most of it was stuff from birth. What we were told at the orphanage, about her heart and a lot of other stuff seems to have been... maybe not the whole story. I don't know if maybe they thought we would change our minds, (which we wouldn't have, of course!) or what? I don't know what to believe about anything we were told there.

I DO want to take this chance and clarify though that Reece's Rainbow told us everything they knew as accurately as they knew it and we're not mad or upset at anyone, even at the orphanage. It is what it is and we'll take care of this and move on. Like I said, even if we had known about this ahead of time, we still would have brought her home. I just would have jumped on the ball faster about getting her into the cardiologist! We are glad she is home and in the hands of a great doctor now! Just wanted to put that out there before anyone asked :).

Wow, thats great that they can wait another 2-3 years when she is already 3! As for the valve, the only thing different about an artificial valve is it has to be replaced every 5 years or so until they stop growing, because it doesn't grow with their body.
Yes, I think so too! And that's good to know about the valve! I didn't know that! Thanks!

Do you know what type of valve she would possible get if needed ?(probably a little ahead in the game asking that) my dad had a titanium valve put in his heart almost 20 years ago.
I have NO idea! I know little to nothing about hearts. My next door neighbor has been walking me through a lot today because her son has been through heart surgery and they will be on the same medication which is good. I didn't even know there WERE different kinds of valves! LOL I DO know that when she has surgery they will be prepared to put in an artificial valve that day but they won't do that unless they have to. They'll try repairing it first and only replace it if absolutely necessary.

If it makes you feel any better, all of us heart moms have to watch for the same symptoms that the doc told you to watch for. It kind of goes hand in hand.
Yep, I learned that today too. I feel like I had a blank stare on my face all day yesterday. I wanted to tell that doctor to talk to me in platelets and neutrophils so I could understand him! LOL I'll get there.

With that said, the fact you are still early in the bonding process could mean that there is a certain element of 'Mum fear' that isn't there yet. I know you love Kellsey but I also know that the bonding process in adoptions does take some time. And that is how it should be. And God may have known you needed to find this out at this stage so you could handle it without the same pressure and stress as when Kennedy went through it.
I honestly don't think it's that at all... Kennedy didn't go through any heart issues, but really in my mind, all I can think is, "at least it's not cancer." Because honestly, to me anyway, that's worse than this. And really, what's the point of stressing over heart surgery that is not going to happen for 2-3 years? I think even if it were Kennedy that had this pop up all of the sudden I would feel the same way. Will I worry and stress right before surgery? I absolutely 100% guarantee that when they give me a surgery date I will have butterflies the size of Texas flying around my stomach. For now I just keep thinking, "It could be SO much worse!"

Funny thing too,for me,is that the leukemia diagnosis,as much as it took a piece of me,of my heart,it empowered me in some ways too.Makes me feel as if I can hit most other things head on without missing a beat.Maybe it is the same for you.Another gift from God.
I think that is really it... I am such a different person since then. Not that this hasn't, or won't affect me, but it's just... we can do all things through Christ. Right? Right.

An iPod Touch/iPhone game you might want to check out to play with Kassidy is "Words with Friends." They have a free version that shows you an ad each time you play a word, or a paid one.
It's just like Scrabble but you play when you can, and they update over the wifi network or AT&T whenever you play a word so you don't have to play all at once. But it's competitive and fun and educational all at once!

Oh yes, we have that one! I'm myspecialks on there! :) I haven't played with Kassidy yet, but that's a good idea!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Why Big Families Might Be Easier

I found this article on my friend Lyndi's blog and I thought it was great, so I wanted to share it here too. You can click on the above link, OR you can read it's just cut and copied, with my comments in italics ;)

From the National Catholic Register
By: Matthew Archbold

Why Big Families Might Be Easier

A woman said to me recently that my five children were very well behaved. It’s one of the best things I can hear so I thanked her. Then she asked me “how do you do it with so many?”

I told her that I don’t think I’d be a very good parent of one child or two. She didn’t believe my answer but honest to goodness, I sometimes think that having many children is easier than just one.

Why big families are easier:

Patience. I never have to teach patience. My children know that I can’t drop everything for them if I have a baby in my arms. I don't really have a baby in my arms anymore, but I often find myself saying, "You're going to have to wait." And thankfully, they do. Or they do for themselves. LOL

Work Ethic. My children have learned to work because there are always chores to do in a small house packed with little messy lunatics. And they all learn quickly that sometimes they have to clean up a mess even though they didn’t make it. This is a very common occurrence, especially with TOYS! Everyone helps everyone clean bedrooms and play areas. It just has to be that way. Community cleaning. It works for us.

Humility. My children have learned it’s not always their turn. They’ve accepted they can’t always get their way because other people have to get their way sometimes. They’ve learned that some children are better at certain things than they are. All the kids are pretty good turn takers... this goes hand in hand with patience. Even Kellsey is picking up on this quickly! As far as getting their own way, yes, I'd say they all take turns... though Kameron is a horrible loser when it comes to board games. Just sayin'!

Foreign language skills. You can learn a lot of Spanish by watching ten years of Dora the Explorer that you just can’t pick up in two. And now with the Diego spin off I’m practically fluent. Who said cartoons can't teach you anything? VĂ¡monos!

Laughter. The children have learned to laugh at the insane non sequiturs of younger siblings. They’ve learned that laughing just feels better when seven people are doing it along with you. We laugh constantly around here. We laugh at things that are probably not funny to other people. We laugh just for the sake of laughing. Want to laugh? Come hang out with my kids for awhile. Someone will make you laugh. I can almost guarantee it!

Competition. Do I really need to go into this? Everything is a competition in big families. The children compete over who reads faster, who drinks their milk faster, who gets to the bathroom first…etc. Everything is a competition and they’re all keeping score. I really only see this with Kass and Kam so far. They compete with each other, they compete with me and Frank. Kass and I have a fierce competition going on with some of our iPod/iPhone games. It's kind of funny actually (only because I'm winning right now! LOL) Get us on our Wii and forget about it! LOL I can't wait till the little kids jump in. (Remind me of that in a few years!)

Balance. The floor of the front room of my home is a minefield of toys and childhood paraphernalia. Just walking through the room requires great skill and balance. I’m absolutely convinced my two year old will be a favorite for Gold on the balance beam in the 2016 Olympics. (She might have to lay off the cookies a little but I’ll deal with that later.) Anyone who has been to my house knows this is true. We have too many toys and not enough room. It's life!

Life isn’t fair. Sometimes you just give it to the baby because you want a little quiet. Not all the time. But sometimes. In our case, this would be Keeghan, and I am sometimes guilty of saying, "Just GIVE it to him!" Not all the time. But sometimes.

Just say “No.” Being able to say “no” may be the most undervalued skill in this world. The need to be liked is pervasive. The need to be cool even more so. Having brothers and sisters teaches children to say “no” about 143 times a day. It’s a good skill. My kids say NO all the time! Hopefully they'll continue to say it when it really counts!

Praying. They learn that nothing beats praying together as a family. AMEN!!

Nature/Nurture. Having many children has taught me that nature has a lot more to do with who my kids are than nurture. This is helpful, especially when your children misbehave you don’t have to feel bad about it. Just say “Stupid nature!!!” and blame your spouse’s genes. *ahem*... :o)

Name calling. You can occasionally call your child by the wrong name and still not be considered a terrible parent. They know who you mean just from your tone. Sometimes if you need something done you can call the wrong name and someone will still show up. That helps. I constantly call my kids by the wrong name... but in my defense, I always get the first letter right!

Spying. My children have learned that they can’t get away with anything. I have spies who look a lot like them who are willing to drop the dime on them for anything. Even at school I’ve got a child in just about every grade. If they do something I’ll hear. That keeps them nervous. And I like keeping my kids a little nervous. I have not only my kids, but the neighbor kids... and teachers who have facebook. I have spies everywhere. It's fabulous. Really. And Kass and Kam NEVER miss a chance to rat one another out. LOL

Friendship. The children have many friends. They’ve got girly friends, crying friends, fun loving friends, consoling friends, and crazy friends. And they all have the same last name. And they’ll be there forever for each other. No matter what. Number 1 reason to have a big family! I love the bond my kids share and can't wait to see that grow and develop as they get older. I pray they will all be best friends for life!

Love. I think my children have learned to love because there are others around them to love and who love them. I honestly can think of no better way to teach children to love than siblings. OK Maybe THIS is the number 1 reason, because there are days when my kids will fight... when Kass and Kam will say, "You're not my friend!" or when we are trapped in the house for days on end due to snow and we all just need a little break from one another, but really, no matter what, we love each other. Through thick and thin, good and bad, we are family. And THAT is what matters. I am so thankful for each of my 5 beautiful kids! They are such a blessing!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

When life throws you curve balls...

"It always seems impossible until it's done." - Nelson Mandela

So my van keeps breaking down. It's not very old, but we've driven the heck out of it. Seriously. When we bought it in the Fall of 2005, it had 28,000 miles on it, or something like that and now? It has... a lot. I'd tell you the exact number, but I can't. It's at the mechanic. Again.

In the last 4 1/2 years we have driven that van everywhere. It's been to Florida and Georgia more times than I can count, it's been to every tip of Tennessee... we've been to Arkansas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio (quite a few times!), Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois, and Maryland. I would have to say the majority of our travel though has been right here in Middle Tennessee on Interstate 24 traveling from our home to Vanderbilt Children's hospital and back again. Our van just kind of navigates there on it's own. One day a couple years ago, I was driving to the mall and we ended up in the hospital parking garage. When Kassidy asked what we were doing there I don't know if I wanted to laugh or cry! LOL I just played it off like the cool parent I am and we turned around and went to the mall. She's slowly figuring out that maybe I don't have it all together. Darn. HA!

Anyway, back to my van... the end of January the water pump went out. Fortunately it happened right before we had to go to Philly so it was no big deal. We left it with them and went on our trip and came back to a repaired van. THEN last Friday I went to take the kids to school and the brakes started making this horrible grinding noise and ended up needed new front and back brakes and rotors and drums and a bunch of other expensive sounding stuff. *sigh* Still though, they were able to get it done really quickly and between my mom and my next door neighbor they were able to get my van back home. After that I thought, "OK! We should be good for awhile!"

THEN on Valentine's night we were driving home from dinner and it just... stopped driving. It just turned off. Thankfully we were still in the parking lot and we had friends close by to come help us! We got the van into a parking spot, our friends brought us home, and AAA towed it to the mechanic shop on Monday morning. And it's still there. And they still don't know what's wrong with it. They think it's something electrical, but whatever it is I won't have the van back until at least Monday. *sigh*

Fortunately Frank is working nights right now so he's been able to take the kids to school and my mom has been able to pick them up in the afternoons. Everything else though is being juggled on a fine line. I never realized how busy I am until I can no longer go and do.

Tomorrow is my busiest day of the week... after Frank drops the kids off at school, we will get ready and take our friend Moi back to the airport. He's been here for a few days rubbing elbows with the Christian music big wigs (and hanging out with us!). It's been so fun! We're trying to convince him that he needs to move here! ;) Then we will go to Vandy for Kellsey's cardiology appointment finally and find out what's going on with her heart and what they want to do for her. My mom will pick up the kids from school (thank the Lord for my mom!) and then Kennedy has therapy which we may or may not cancel because sometimes something just has to give... and really, there's just not enough people or enough cars right now. THEN I have to be at The Lantern at 5:00 to help set up for their big kick-off! We hope to see you there if you're a local Military wife!!! (And thankfully one of the other ladies has offered to pick me up for that!) In the meantime, Kennedy has ballet which my mom will be taking her to and Frank, who took a day of leave, will be here with the other kids doing homework and dinner and getting the kids to bed. *sigh* Friday he will take the kids to school again, my mom will pick them up again, and hopefully by Monday we'll be back in the swing of things!

I'm a little stressed. We're going to do it. It will get done, it would just be a lot easier with my car. I am the first to admit I don't handle curve balls very well. I do ok when I'm in my routine and life is just strutting along. I can throw in a doctor appointment here or there or readjust my schedule at a moments notice and be pretty go with the flow and not bat an eye, but when it's something that shuts me down completely, I tend to fold. I hate that about myself.

Anyway, I am going to get my kids bathed and ready for bed and then take the advice of my 10 year old and take a "time out". She told me earlier that I'm grumpy. I love it when she's real with me. HA! If you'd like to say a little prayer for my car to be nice to me from now on, I'd appreciate it! ;)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Around the blogosphere...

I know I just did one of these posts, but there is a lot going on right now and I want to pass it along sooooo here we go again! Hang in there with me, there's some good stuff in here and some urgent prayer requests!

Grab This!
Be sure to right click on the box below and then select all.

First, don't forget about the iPod Touch Giveaway we are going RIGHT HERE on this blog! Please grab the button up there and spread the word! :)

We have a couple more pictures of Zhora if anyone is interested... and a little video of him too! Our friend Jolie was able to meet him when she was there to adopt her boys in November. Zhora is at one of the better baby homes in Eastern Europe and seems to be a delightful engaging boy! We're really hoping to help find his mommy and daddy out there!!!

My friend Christina is getting ready to do an annual JDRF walk for her daughter Kallie. What is JDRF you ask? JDRF is the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Kallie has Down syndrome, like Kennedy & Kellsey, but she also has Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes.

Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes, is a devastating, often deadly disease that affects millions of people--a large and growing percentage of them children.

Many people think type 1 diabetes can be controlled by insulin. While insulin does keep people with type 1 diabetes alive, it is NOT a cure. Aside from the daily challenges of living with type 1 diabetes, there are many severe, often fatal, complications caused by the disease.

That's the bad news... and yes, it's pretty bad.

The good news, though, is that a cure for type 1 diabetes is within reach. In fact, JDRF funding and leadership is associated with most major scientific breakthroughs in type 1 diabetes research to date. And JDRF funds a major portion of all type 1 diabetes research worldwide, more than any other charity.

Can you please go check out Kallie's Krew for more information and think about leaving a donation for this very important cause while you are there? It could make a world of difference for thousands of people living with Type I diabetes today!

For those of you living here in Middle Tennessee, I have a great opportunity for you to get some fabulous portraits done of your family AND help a great cause at the same time!!! The Charlie Porter Research Grant is hosting a fundraiser with Appleseed Photography. During the week of March 6th, Lindsley will be at a park somewhere in Nashville and you will have a whole hour with her to have your family or children photographed. She will then edit them and give you a CD and all the rights to have the pictures printed wherever you would like. The price will depend on how many people want to participate, but it will probably be around $150. This is a great deal for professional pictures on a CD with unlimited printing options!! If you live in the Middle Tennessee area, don't let this deal pass you by! Contact Kim on the research blog if you're interested.

This is Savannah Swandal. I've posted about her before here and here. She is one of our Vanderbilt friends and has been fighting cancer for a long, long time. She is one of the most remarkable kids you will ever meet! Unfortunately, Savannah and her family got some really bad news last week that brought everyone to their knees in prayer. And so now we're turning to you all for prayer too. I just want to hand out a whole box of "Cancer Sucks" candy hearts to everyone. *sigh* Because it does. A lot. Please go visit Savannah and keep her in your prayers!

Don't forget Kelsie Karnes who is also still home on hospice. She is having some good days right now, but still needs lots and lots of prayers!!

My friend Kate who is adopting these two sweet girls is doing her first giveaway on her blog for an authentic vintage 1980's Louis Vuitton Jeune Fille Handbag! Jump on over to her blog to see the bag and get all the details on how to enter and help them bring their girls home!

This last item is a request for all you creative types out there! There is an organization out there started in part by my friend Kara called Be The Change Foundation You can see their blog here. Here is a little of what they are about and what they are doing right now.

Our mission is to work with organizations around the world that are working with victims of human trafficking, or working to prevent it. We are in the process of planning a major fundraising event for June, which will include an well-known Christian singer, Rachel Kurtz. We have just committed to a $10,000 project in Cambodia. The project is through Hagar, which is an organization that works with those effected by exploitation, especially human trafficking. We have committed $10,000 to their aftercare program, which works to rehabilitate boys and girls, many children, who have been rescued from human trafficking. Many of them have lived through the sex slave trade in Cambodia. Some are as young as 4. We are also going to be having a change collection campaign at this event--and this is also an on-going campaign we are working on. Our change is going to an organization based out of Haiti that works with children currently enslaved in that country. It is called the Restavek Freedom Foundation. For $300 a year a child slave can attend school and an education is really their only key out of slavery. What we want to do--through pocket change--is educate as many of these children who are enslaved as possible. It is an awesome movement to get these kids their ticket to freedom.

So, in conjunction with the benefit concert, they would like to hold a silent auction and they are looking for some unique crafty items. Would you like to donate something? I'm sure they would be grateful for anything and it's going to such a wonderful cause! If you have something you would like to donate, please leave a comment on this post with your email address and Kara will get in touch with you! Thank you so much!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Kelli's fight...

I'll never forget the first day I met Kelli Rickard. We were moving into our dorm rooms at California Baptist University. (It was actually called California Baptist College then. We're old. LOL) She was moving into the room across from mine and her parents and little brother were there helping her move in. Her big sister who already went to school there stopped by and I remember thinking, "What a neat family!" You could just watch them and see how close they all were and how much they loved each other. Little did I know that day that our lives would be forever connected.

Kelli's sister Lori-Lynn started dating and ended up marrying a boy named Moises who just happened to have a best friend named Frank who somehow got mixed up with me and well... we ended up being welcomed into the Rickard family over and over again. And my first impression stands. What a neat family! They are one of those families that you can meet and just see Jesus shining through them. I love them all.

But this post is about Kelli. Kelli is 30, like me. She is one of the funnest people I know (is funnest a word?). She can make me laugh harder than just about anyone... and get her and Frank together and forget it, they are hilarious! She is a wonderful daughter, sister, aunt and friend... and she has cancer.

On February 2, 2010 Kelli received that call that no one ever wants to get. The call saying, "I'm sorry, but your test results are back and you have cancer." I can't pretend to know how that feels. I can put myself easily into the shoes of a mother with a young child who gets that call... I've been there, done that. But if it were me?! I'm not sure what I would do. I might scream. I'd probably cry. I might go find an old abandoned building and throw a bunch of rocks as hard as I can. And then, I would hope that I would do exactly what Kelli is doing... Kelli is smiling, and she is laughing and she is holding onto God with all her might. She is surrounded by her amazing family and tons of friends who are praying for her, crying with her, laughing with her and are ready to fight with her... whatever it takes.

I have no doubt in my mind that Kelli is going to face this head on. She's doing that already and she's doing an amazing job. She knows the value of prayer though and she's blogging about her journey, so if you want to follow along and pray for her, please go read her blog. Send lots of prayers... and I have a feeling you'll walk away feeling blessed by her. I know I've felt that way for years!

We love you Kelli and we're praying every day!

Q&A #138

Can I enter by sending a check somewhere? I'd like to.
Yes, you can mail a check to Reece's Rainbow, PO Box 4024, Gaithersburg, MD 20885. PLEASE mark it for Zhora's iPod giveaway fundraiser and please email me at and let me know how much you are sending so I can mark it down! Thanks! :)

Did you ever figure out what was causing her red cheeks? I remember you discussing possible food allergies. Just curious!
Well, we know she breaks out with apples, apple juice and apple sauce... that is not from any official doctor testing... just from process of elimination. Her face has stayed pretty clear by staying away from apples, but there's still something else there because every once in awhile she'll wake up broken out. NOTHING like before. We've pretty much cut out ALL juices and that seems to have helped a lot!

Question - How do you do the picture w/ Color hat w/ black & white background?
I use Picnik. You can turn the picture to black and white and then color in what you want to be in color.

Great update! How is her English coming along? Is she speaking much??
Well, she's saying a few words... hi, bye, yay, more (which sounds like "mo"), and she does pretty well trying to mimic us. She's picking up on signing too. Hopefully once speech therapy starts she will take off. The want to speak is there, which is good. She understands a lot and follows directions well... when she so chooses. LOL

Since she likes to eat, what are her favorite foods? LOL
She loves pasta, mashed potatoes, french fries and almost all veggies... and of course anything sweet! :)

So how about the potty training? Have you even attempted that with her? If she does go to preschool will she need to be potty trained?
Haven't even tried... I totally don't think she's capable of telling us when she needs to go. If we can get her into a 2 year old preschool class, which is what I'm hoping, she shouldn't need to be potty trained.

I see you and Amy are getting together,where is that taking place? Because if you are coming anywhere close to Amy it means you will be close to us and we will make a trip to come see you too!
Ellen, Amy is coming to TN... you should come too!!! ;)

I have to tell you that when Ashlyn sees his picture she thinks it's her!!!! LOL!
LOL! I can totally see that!!!

Yesterday there was a there's a what's all this "I'm not posting" business? You're posting already!
LOL I know, but not GOOD posts!!!

Renee, I was just in Nashville, at the Blissdom blog conference! We stayed at the Opryland Resort and I never even left there for four days. It's like a small country in there!
Isn't Opryland GREAT?! I heard that conference was wonderful! I hope you had a good time and didn't get snowed in here! ;)

Ok, so we got ten inches of snow today. School is in session. Roads are cleared and no one has a problem driving. Two inches? Seriously!! What is it? Nuclear snow?
Apparently! LOL

Does it make you sad that Keeghan was your last pregnancy? Are you going to have some photos made of Kellsey?
Umm not really... I enjoyed parts of being pregnant... feeling my babies kick and all that, but I'm done. Like really really done! And Keeghan's pregnancy was hard on my body, so I'm content just watching my kids grow now and enjoying all their different stages of life! :) I did have this picture done of Kellsey, and she'll get more done in May for her 3 1/2 year pics. :)

Is that brown hair I see??????????(on you i mean not on Keeghan)
Yes! I had brown hair with blonde streaks for awhile... it was a lot easier to keep up. Frank likes my hair blonde though! LOL

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Kassidy's Valentine...

We hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day! We had a very special day here! Kassidy was baptized today!! She asked Jesus into her heart recently and went through classes through our church called Kick Start classes. These are 3 weeks of classes that our church asks the kids and a parent to go to when they are ready to be baptized so they can make sure the kids REALLY understand what it's all about. Kassidy has been asking about these classes for the last year, and the time was finally right! We had a lot of fun taking the classes and Kassidy decided when they were over that she wanted to become a Christian and be baptized. I couldn't be happier for my sweet girl!

We are so thankful for Grace Community Church for investing in our children's lives and helping us teach them about Christ. We couldn't ask for better leaders to help direct their paths.

As for Kassidy, she got the most special Valentine of all... Jesus in her heart! She was so excited all day long and couldn't stop smiling! I put together this montage for her... this first song, we sing together all the time in the car... the original plan was for US to actually get this recorded for this montage, but time ran out... and well... it probably sounds better this way anyway! haha The second one is my personal prayer every night... one that I pray Kassidy will take on as well. Enjoy the many pictures of my oldest baby... from birth through today... her second birthday!

We love you so much, Kassidy!!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Just curious...

When do you usually visit my blog?
Whenever my reader tells me you have an update
Whenever facebook tells me you have an update
I check every morning
I check during my lunch time
I check after work or in the evenings
I check in several times a day
I'm rarely here... just happened to stop by
I stop in when someone links to you
I check in on weekends and catch up from the week
Other (Please leave comment!)

Friday, February 12, 2010

This N That...

Today the kids have their Valentine's parties at school. They've been in school 2 days in a row now! I can't believe it! haha They are calling for more snow this weekend though so we'll see what next week looks like!

Here is a picture of Kassidy on the way out the door yesterday... you can kind of tell her hair is cut, but I'll have to try to get a better picture of the layers...

The brakes on my van decided to go out today all at once. Well not OUT, but they went from fine last night to grinding this morning... SO we took it to the shop and $540 later, I should have it back tonight. It needs new rotors and pads and a drum and shoes (???) and a bunch of other stuff. The back and front brakes were both bad. *sigh* Being a grown up stinks sometimes!

ANYWAY, I'm off to clean up after my two little tornadoes and get them fed and down for a nap. My mom is going to come stay with them while I go to the school for Valentine's parties! YAY!!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Around the blogosphere...

Grab This Button

I've posted about the Enskat family before. They are adopting 3 little ones from Eastern Europe and are VERY close to being able to travel. They just found out however, that the little boy they are adopting, Timofey, has Leukemia. The need to get these three little ones home is even more urgent now. I don't know what kind of medical care Timofey will receive in Ukraine, but I can't imagine it will be much. Please hop on over to their blog and if you can, help get them over the financial gap to bring their kids home! Most of all, PLEASE be praying for Timofey! he needs to get home to his mommy and daddy SOON!!!

Grab This Button

Remember me posting about Connecting the Rainbow? Well, they are holding their first fundraiser and asking if everyone could purchase one item off this wishlist and mail it to Shelley... these items will be given to a parent in Bulgaria who has chosen to KEEP their child with Down syndrome. They are being taught how to use these toys for developmental play to increase gross and fine motor skills. If you are a parent of a child with special needs, you know how important these toys are to a child's development. You can see the wish list here.

Prayer Request!!!
Angela Anderson is a beautiful 37 year old mother of 3 wonderful daughters. On January 22, 2010 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is determined to make it through... for her family... and she has faith she can do it, but she can use all the prayers out there she can get. Will you stop by her caringbridge page and visit and pray??

More later...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Another day...

without a post... I'm slipping! Sheesh! It was another snow day here in Middle Tennessee. Tomorrow we are back to school though... AND we have school on Monday, which we were supposed to have off for President's Day to make up for all these snow days we've had off. We didn't have any concrete plans, so I guess it's no big deal. I'm REALLY praying they don't take away our Spring break though! The snow can stay away now. Seriously.

I took Kassidy to get her hair cut today, it's still long, but she has some layers now and long bangs... it looks cute! Tomorrow is school picture day so I will take a picture before she heads off to school :).

Kellsey is not feeling well tonight. She has a 100 degree temp and is crying like she's in pain... won't eat... but I'm not sure WHAT hurts or why. She is acting like it hurts to stand up, or maybe she's dizzy? She seemed to be limping earlier but there's no swelling and when I press on her legs she doesn't seem to be in any pain, so I have no idea. Her legs are really red though which is strange... not like a rash, just... red. She's very lethargic. She's just laying around staring at us when she's not crying. You can tell just by looking at her that she feels like crud. I've given her some Tylenol but it doesn't seem to be helping. *sigh* Hopefully whatever it is will either present itself or go away. In the meantime she's cuddling on the couch with Daddy.

Kennedy's diarrhea is back... a friend JUST emailed me and asked how it was going with the Pepto and I said it was going well, then BAM! Back again. I should learn never to say anything! haha If it keeps up I will call her GI and see what she wants me to do.

The boys are doing great... being crazy and silly and goofy as always. Keeghan's new word is "probably". I say that we're going to do something and he'll ask, "probably?" LOL He's still trying to figure out exactly what it means though. Pretty funny!

Anyway, I really DO have stuff to talk about, but it's going to have to be another time. My house is a mess, I'm tired (and I even napped with Keeghan and Kellsey today!), and I'm looking forward to school tomorrow. Maybe I can catch up then! :) Night!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Something I'll never see again...

A couple days ago, my friend Jamie linked me to this post on her blog... it was from my baby shower with Keeghan. Kennedy was going through her first round of chemo at the time, but my mom and my friend Amy worked hard and put together a great shower for me! Frank came to the hospital to stay with Kennedy for a few hours and I drove home for my shower... Look how big my belly was!

I'm so glad Jamie captured these memories of my last pregnancy for me! Who knew that Keeghan would go from that big ole belly to this sweet little guy a few weeks later... aww!

Delivering Cards... and more Valentine Links!

So remember last week when Kennedy's class made Valentine cards for our Veteran's hospital? Well, yesterday Mr. Reece (who is Kennedy's teacher's father-in-law) delivered the cards to the hospital for us.
Like my own grandfather, Mr. Reece fought in World War II. I'm sure he has some amazing stories from back then! I love to listen to my grandfather's stories from being in the Navy. It was such a different Military than we have now. Thank you Mr. Reece for delivering the kids' cards for us and brightening the day of some Veterans there! :)

Here are some links to several other bloggers who took part in this blogger project! Go check out their blog posts and see all their wonderful pictures!

This first one is my friend Casey! She is a fellow Military wife and also a Kindergarten teacher! :)
Valentines for Veterans

This one still needs to get to 10 comments... help please?!
Bloganthropy Valentines for Veterans Project

This is a fellow Military wife... she also needs help getting to 10 comments... please????
Valentines for Veterans 2010 to benefit Sew Much Comfort

She's got the comments covered... just a beautiful story in remembrance of a beautiful baby. Go read and be touched.
Help Provide Comfort for a Veteran

And one last post, full of Valentine cheer... or something! ;)
Valentines that do more than warm a heart

A brand new one posted that needs comments!!!
Valentines for Vets Project

If I hear of more bloggers who have participated, I will let you know! Enjoy!!!

Q&A #137

Is there any news about Lera?? I just can't stop thinking about her and my heart just aches~
Not that I've heard... we're still praying hard.

Although, because of your blog and following your story for sooo long, I felt like i was watching a repeat. But I LOVE your house!
LOL Thanks! There is so much I would love to change... like our carpet and the wall paper in our dining room... but we rent... so... it stays. One day though...

My dad recorded the show for me so I could watch it (we dont have cable) I have it on a dvd if you would like me to send it to you! Just let me know!!
YES please! We would love that!!!! My email is . :)

I tried to Tivo last time only to go back to watch it and realize, we don't get that channel! Aah! Why didn't it tell me that when I hit record? lol
Do you know if there's any way to watch online? Or I wonder if I could order that episode on iTunes? Hmm... I really want to see it!! :D

Well, if I can get it on DVD, Frank said he can get it online. I'll keep you posted! :)

My husband calls the garbage disposal the food processor.
That could be VERY bad if he really confused the two! haha

For a poor Brit, who got the game ad-less, can you please tell me which ones were the best? I've seen some of last years on youtube, and they looked awesome!
You know, I didn't even pay attention to those this year. From what I've heard though, there weren't all that many good ones this time.

How do you make your buffalo wings Renee? Ive tried several ways and no luck with them.
HA! Ours came from Schwan's. This is the first time we've bought them and they were actually pretty good. They had quite a kick to them!

What is ceviche?
It's a crab mixture...
1 pkg crab meat (16oz I think)
1 large white onion
2 large slicing tomatoes
1 bunch of cilantro
4 or 5 large limes

chop crab meat, onion, tomatoes and cilantro finely, mix well. Squeeze lime juice over the top, mix well, and let it marinate. Salt to taste. Serve chilled with tortilla chips for dipping. :)

Also tell Frank I want his Salsa recipe.
2 large slicing tomatoes
1 large white onion
1 bunch of cilantro
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 large serrano pepper (take out the seeds unless you want it really spicy!)
3 or 4 limes

Chop ingredients, mix, add lime and salt to taste. :)

I know that you are still getting used to the idea of 5 kids, but was wondering if you were thinking of evening the score - right now its Garcia women 4 - Garcia men - 3 and there are so many adorable little boys at Reeces Rainbow!
Umm no... I think our roll in Reece's Rainbow now is promoting... helping families fundraise and helping children find their forever forever families. I am pretty sure that God, the U.S. Government, and my mom thinks our family is complete! ;)

I bought a refurbished Ipod Touch 32gb to take with us when we travel to UA. I ahve uploaded all your great apps. Any more top choices??btw - we were submitted yesterday!!! :)
I actually still need to do Frank's list and Kass and Kam's list! I will get on that! Congrats on being submitted!!!!

Here is the link to the Hallmark books, but I believe you will have to go to the store to but them.
Thanks! We went and bought one this weekend. Frank already recorded it and he will give it to them before he leaves. Thanks again for the suggestion. :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Absent blogger!

I'm apparently recovering from our Super Bowl Party! LOL I can't believe I haven't blogged all day today! Actually, I've just been incredibly busy! We DID have a lot of fun at our party! We ate and ate and ate and we played Apples to Apples and we laughed and talked... we made Kellsey face her fear of dogs... oh... and then there was something on TV... a football game or something... I don't know. LOL :)

We got home last night and pushed the kids toward their beds. Then we dragged them back OUT of bed this morning for school! LOL They weren't happy. Fortunately it was an early release day... and now? It's snowing! We have about 2 inches of snow right now which means for us... no school tomorrow. Of course!

Today while the kids were at school I did lots of Valentine's Day shopping, so tomorrow the kids can fill out their cards and assemble their goody bags. That should be fun! :) Kennedy asked if we could go out tonight and build a snowman! LOL I think we'll be waiting until morning.

Anyway, for the 2 or 3 of you out in blogland who HAVEN'T seen this post and want a good cry, go read. Get your tissues first though. Thanks to the 20 or 30 of you who have sent it to me! ;)

On that note, I'm off to weed through some emails and try to go to bed at a reasonable hour... but realistically, that probably won't happen! HA! Night everyone!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Keeghan: I need my cup... my blue cars cup.
Me: Where is it buddy?
Keeghan: It's in the washing machine...
Me: Umm... you mean the dishwasher?!
Keeghan: Yeah... the dishwasher.

Super Bowl!

SO, it's almost game time, are you going to a party? Making food? If so, what will you be eating?? Will you watch the game? Do you look forward to the million dollar commercials? Do you bother with the half time show? Or is that time to chow down before the second half of the game? And then there's the all important question... who are you rooting for?!

I personally could care less who wins. I'm a 49ers fan. I don't care about either of these teams one way or the other and probably won't watch the game. I DO however look forward to the funny commercials! They usually have one or two GREAT ones every year. We are going to a party with our community group from church. Frank will be grilling carne asada which means he is making guacamole and salsa now and I am making ceviche. We are also making some buffalo wings and my mom made some party mix for her party so she's giving us some of that to bring as well. Then everyone else is contributing a bunch of food too, so we'll be stuffed, I'm sure!!!

While the guys watch the game, we girls are going to play board games and talk while the kids play and run crazy! It should be a lot of fun!!! On that note I'm off to chop onions... and cry about it! HA! Have a great Super Bowl Sunday!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Just in case you missed it...

the first time... our show is airing again tomorrow! I know, I know, it's the Super Bowl... and that's WAY more important! Thank goodness for DVRs! haha Of course, I personally only watch for the commercials! :)

SO set your DVRs for one of the following times!

What: Truth Be Told: I Have A Child With Special Needs
When: Sunday, February 7, 2010
Time: 12:00PM (11:00am Central) AND 4:00PM (3:00PM Central)
Channel: Discovery Health

Enjoy the Super Bowl!!!

Dollar Days & Sew Much Comfort

My friend Shelley recently told me about a great project going on in the blogger community involving two amazing organizations. It gave us a way to help give back and have some fun with a wonderful group of kids at the same time!

There is an organization called Sew Much Comfort which provides adaptive clothing at no cost to support the unique needs of our injured service members from all branches of the military and national guard. This clothing fits around medical devices and prosthetics and gives the service member and medical personnel ready access to injured areas. The adapted clothing allows injured service members to have their clothing appear the same as normal civilian attire; an attribute which helps facilitate a more natural and comfortable recovery. Without adaptive clothing the only option for the service member is a
hospital gown.

Through the volunteer efforts of seamstresses and donations of money, clothing and fabric, Sew Much Comfort has been able to provide over 75,000 pieces of adaptive clothing and comfort. If you or your readers are also interested in donating clothing, a list of needed items is available on the site and Sew Much Comfort specifically would love to receive t-shirts, long sleeve t-shirt or sweat shirts with logos of local sports teams in any area of the United States (size large is most needed). The wounded soldiers love having sport themed clothing but it is hard to get unless you live in that state. More information about donating and volunteering and requesting adaptive clothing may be found on the Sew Much Comfort website.

Another organization called Dollar Days has teamed up with Sew Much Comfort by providing thousands of dollars of clothing to them in honor of the National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week.

So how does it work? This is a project sponsored by For every project officially enrolled (which this is one), Dollar Days will donate $50 worth of clothing to Sew Much Comfort. AND if we can get just TEN comments on this post, they will donate another $50. SO $100 of clothing will be heading to Sew Much Comfort for wounded veterans.

As for MY part in this, beyond blogging about it, I had to find a group of kids to make Valentine cards and deliver them to our local Veteran's hospital. Thankfully, Kennedy's teacher was more than happy to help out! :) Here are some pictures of the kids making their cards! I had to be creative with my angles since I had to keep the pictures non-identifying, but I still think they came out cute! :) The kids had a lot of fun and the cards will be dropped off at the hospital by Kennedy's teacher's father-in-law (who happens to have an appointment there) next week. Pictures are coming! :)

Thank you Dollar Days for helping our Soldiers & thank you Mrs. Reece for letting me invade your classroom for awhile and borrow your children! :)

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Purity Ball

Right now Frank and Kassidy are at the Father/Daughter Purity Ball sponsored by The Hope Pregnancy Center here in Clarksville. The Center helps many young and scared women EVERY year; but by sponsoring events like the Father/Daughter Ball and the Mother/Daughter Tea we had last Fall, they are praying that the girls of Clarksville today will never need to walk through their doors for help later.

We are doing our best as Kassidy's parents to help her realize the specialness of staying pure until her wedding day. She's growing up so fast... She and I have many conversations about who is "crushing" on who and who broke up with who... in fourth grade. Scary. (These are really one sided conversations... she talks, I listen and then she says, "Can you believe THAT?!" And I say, "NO! I can't!" haha) Peer pressure can be a horrible thing but we are praying that events like these and lots of praying and talking from us, from leaders at church, and what she reads in her devotionals will help direct her path. She is an amazing kid and we are SO proud of her! Here are Kass and Frank before they left tonight! I am sure they are having a wonderful time!

Repost: Why it hurts

This is a repost from March 2008, but I think in light of recent events in the media with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel using the word retarded and going head to head with Sarah Palin, it deserves being repeated. We're not freaking out for no reason. These are our children. And, as their parents, we will stand up and fight for them until the day we die. Something tells me that Sarah Palin feels the same way.

Tonight I have been surfing the net and checking up on some of my friends from myspace. If you're one of those friends, please know that I finally took down my Christmas music! I'm worse than those people who leave their lights up until June! haha

Anyway, I was browsing through some pictures on a friend's page who is from our church in California (and is involved in leadership there). I saw a picture that literally knocked the wind out of me. I felt sick. Light-headed. And then I felt angry. And now I'm sad.

I thought about posting this picture here so you all could be livid with me, but really, I don't want to give any more credit to the person who created it. (I'm almost positive it was not made by the friend who has this on his page.) Let's just say, it's sick, cruel, disgusting, degrading, and it involves the word "Retard" and a picture of a child with Down syndrome. I can almost hear all of you parents in the Down syndrome community groaning.

A couple years ago, Downsyn, one of the message boards I post on, was hacked into. Pictures of many of the children from the board, including Kennedy's, were stolen. The hackers wrote horrible things on the pictures and reposted them for all to see. Our administrator, Tom, took immediate action to get them removed from the net. Still, our hearts were shattered and our group was shook to the core.

For those of you reading who are NOT part of the Down syndrome community, let's talk about this for a minute, please bear with me. The "R" word is something that some of you might use... you may use it to describe yourself when you do something dumb. "I'm so 'R'." You may use it when you think something that happened was dumb. "Man, that was 'R'." Chances are, if you use it, you've been saying it since childhood and you'll say that you don't mean anything by it. You'll say that you're just joking around. You'll say that it has nothing to do with our kids. "Everyone" says it, right?

So here's the thing. Kids with Down syndrome, in most cases, have mild to moderate mental retardation. It's a medical diagnosis that few avoid. When Kennedy was born, that word made me want to puke. I didn't want to think about it, I didn't want to speak about it and I definitely didn't want anyone else thinking it when they looked at my baby. Even when used in the correct context, I don't think it's ever easy to hear that word in relation to one of your children. Still, it's part of our reality. (Even though we happen to think that Kennedy is one of the 4 most brilliant kids on the planet. ;o)) Darn those IEPs!

SO when we (parents of kids with Down syndrome or other cognitive delays) hear the "R" word being thrown around, used flippantly as a joke, even knowing that the offender most likely doesn't MEAN to be cruel, it hurts us. It hurts badly. And many times we don't say anything because we don't want to risk offending the offender.

I have to say, I have gotten a little more gutsy over the years, but in many cases I'm still chicken. There's a nurse at Vanderbilt that I STILL wish I would have said something to... but there's also the pediatrician I fired because of it (and other issues). I've had conversations with several friends about it, and just a couple days ago my husband talked to his Soldiers in Afghanistan about it. It's THAT important.

The "R" word will NOT be used in our household as a way of degrading oneself or someone else. We are educating our children now, in hopes that they will educate their friends... so many kids today STILL use this word in the wrong way. Kids who will one day go to school with Kennedy are hearing it right now from their parents. They're passing down prejudice, whether they mean to or not. This friend in California is showing that it's ok to make fun of people with Down syndrome... whether he realizes it or not. And it's NOT ok. It's just not.

I hope that what I've said makes sense... it's after midnight and I'm tired and still a little frazzled. I hope that just maybe one person reading this will be touched by this post and realize that I write, not to accuse or condemn, but to educate. I hope that maybe one person who reads this will talk to their children today about this word... and tell them to talk to their friends. I hope that one day Kennedy will be proud of me for helping her, and all kids like her, to be more accepted in today's world.

There are quite a few blogs out in blogland that have addressed this issue in the past week. As hard as it is for us to hear, it's even harder to write about. But as advocates for our kids, we HAVE to stand up for them. We HAVE to be their voice. If we don't do it... who will?