Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Isn't it just like God...

I have an unexpectedly quiet morning and I have had the chance to really think about Christmas. I haven't done much shopping or baking. I did mail half of the cards - the other half are awaiting stamps - that I forgot to buy. We are making a toy kitchen for the boys - but it's only partially done. I don't know when it will all get pulled together - and I don't really mind. The boys are sick and Mark is flying to Haiti on Wednesday and Thursday. I suspect things will come together on Friday. But even if it doesn't, I'm not bothered by it.

Let me back up... We are down to one car because the other is getting repaired. I know Mark is going to be gone for two days and the cupboards are bare. So I went shopping at 5 am. As I was driving home, the moon was full and life was quiet and still.

The song "Mary and Joseph" by Dave Barnes came on the radio and I had the chance to really listen to the lyrics.

"... So in a barn she gave birth
To the king of kings the Lord of Earth
Just a little bitty thing sleeping on the hay...

But the story's too long to tell
He walked on water and lived through hell
Killed on a cross and rose from the grave
We got a king they got a son
Mary and Joseph were the only ones
There on that very first Christmas day..."

I started tearing up. I'm a mom of two boys. And the contrast between me and God got even bigger...

I toured hospitals and chose the "plush" birthing suite. Jesus - was born in a barn.
I brought them home to new sheets and bedding. Jesus - slept on straw.
I treated my children like they were royalty. Jesus - He is royalty.
I wasn't sure if I could be trusted with a newborn. But Mary and Joseph - trusted with the KING OF THE WORLD!!

And I realized, isn't it just like God to do things so counter to the way the world works? I mean really... a barn? A bed on the straw? For the one to whom every knee will bow?

I guess then it should be no surprise when I ask for a miracle and it shows up in the most unexpected way. I ask for God to fix my problem - and He does - but in the craziest way...

Merry Christmas and my prayer is that you truly think about Christmas - and not your "Christmas to-do list"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The dreaded Christmas letter

This year... I'm actually planning on sending cards. I bought the family picture card thingee and I have the paper for my letter.

BUT... what exactly do I write? I don't want to be one of those people that says everything was perfect last year. It was good - but there were some bumps in the road - a few smudges on the perfection.

Most people are on Facebook and see the day to day details of my life. They know we went on vacation. They know my kids are making progress.

I don't want to not include a letter... I have to do something!!

So I thought I would be all creative and make a top 10 list... I couldn't come up with a list or lists.

Then I thought I would write quotes and explain how they relate to the year. Lame.

So what should I write? What do you write?


Thursday, December 9, 2010

IEP meeting

Today was Zach's IEP meeting. Every year special education kids have a personalized education plan with goals that teachers and therapists want the child to achieve. As the education world has become more regulated, the goals have gotten more quantitative and more is on the line for the child and school.

I used to dread IEP meetings. I had to sit with the group that works with my child and I have some pretty ugly feelings for a few of the team members. I love Zach's teacher, the school nurse, the aides and the physical therapist. I used to leave these meetings discouraged and I felt like many of the team members looked down on my family. I usually wanted to strangle the speech teacher and principal

Last night as I was falling asleep, the old dread began to creep up. Then I realized that this is a new school and a new crew. I honestly think the new crew was a little worried about this child - he looks pretty bad on paper - so maybe I had a little justified feeling.

I got to the meeting and the therapists are super nice, super encouraging, and kept saying how much they love Zach. Nobody pitied me. Nobody made me feel like a lousy parent. They were encouraging and made me feel like Zach has worth. (Of course I know he has worth... it's just nice to know that other people think so too.)

Zach's teacher especially loves him and appreciates the fact that I have a sense of humor. As I was leaving, she said, "Now, can you just teach the other parents to be like you?" Of course, this does not hide the fact that Zach is operating well below a kindergarten level... But at least he is in a place that takes this information and tries to help him - instead of giving up.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Random thoughts...

Let's see...

Ryan narrowly avoided stitches Sunday night when he dropped a plate on his big toe. We used steri strips and got the bleeding to stop. This might be the longest stretch since January that we have gone without stitches!! The craziest thing was... the plate didn't break or chip.

Zach informed Mark that he wants to be "Wii" when he grows up. He was Mario for halloween and has decided that he wants to be him forever. Then on Monday the firemen came to his school and he is back to being a fireman. We are going to Indianapolis to see my family for Christmas and my brother is a fireman (among other things). In years past, he has wanted to see Uncle Doug's firetrucks, but when we get there, he freaks out. So I asked Zach that since he wants to be a fireman maybe he should help Uncle Doug with his trucks. Zach said, "No, firetrucks are yucky." I'm not sure what a fireman will do without a truck, but this is Zach's world we are talking about...

Speaking of Zach's world, he will eat any food that has Buzz Lightyear on it. This opens up many options - like Macaroni and Cheese... Mr. Picky-Pants

I have Zach's IEP on Thursday. I am sooooooo happy that I switched schools. He is doing so great. His teacher sent some work home that he did and I literally teared up when I saw what he has been doing. I love his old teacher at the old school - but he is now where he needs to be!

I am in self-pity mode again and all boo-hooey about my kids not being "normal". So I mentioned this to Mark and he reminded me how good we have it! And today, as I look out and see my media center full of dreaded science fair projects, I realize that I will never have to do science fair with them - and that is another silver lining!

I lost 2.6 pounds last week! We won't talk about how I ate like a cow this past weekend and the fact that I gained 12 lbs since July. Yep, not talking about that. I am totally addicted to the kettle bell. Ok, I did it once, but I loved it. And I love the promise of long sinew-y muscles. I think that if I do the kettle bell a few times I will look like an amazing athlete. Or not.

I haven't started Christmas shopping and I won't until the week before Christmas. I do need to make 2 photobooks and Christmas cards. Ugh. Better get on it, right?

So nothing major going through my brain right now. No cohesive thoughts. It's Tuesday...

Friday, November 19, 2010


I love when a plan comes together! Cindy, Sheldon, Mark and I loaded up at 4am into Mark's 182 and took off for Nashville, TN. We flew into 20 knot headwinds (let me tell you - that is a super huge slow-down when you are in a little plane. A trip that should have taken 4-5 hours took 6-7!)

We finally made it to Nashville and met up with our dear friends that moved to Tennessee in the spring. Cherie was coming home from Tampa after an unexpected delay in her business trip and was able to join us for the Florida Gators vs. Vanderbilt Commodores. Fortunately, Leslie was able to join us!

We had a great time at the game - including helping the concession stand girl add up our bill - and make change... We also won a free taco after Vandy scored 2 touchdowns. Trust me, by the end of the game, that was all that was keeping us there! The entire stadium was cheering for Vandy to score that 2nd touchdown... we wanted our tacos!
On Sunday, we went downtown. I was able to visit my favorite place, the Centennial Mall, farmer's market, and the Honkytonk area.

Even though the boots were buy one ~ get two free we couldn't afford them, but had fun trying them on anyway.

The Wild Horse Saloon is a must stop-at kind of place. It was pretty dead at 5 pm on a Sunday night, but we still enjoyed the horses and line dancing.

This was my first quasi-successful shot at line dancing.

I guess our friends are sticking around... here they are outside their new house!
And the view from the way home!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ryan Karl

Ryan Karl aka Chicken, Scooter, Tumbleweed, Hokey Pokey, Ry-gen, and cockroach...
This little guy, Ryan, is six years old! How can it be? My baby now has to use two hands to count his age... He's growing up so fast!!
Ryan just cracks us up - he's "coo coo cocoa puffs"! He loves life and is quick to find mischief (since it's his birthday, we'll call him curious!). I love watching Ryan and I always wonder what is going on in his head... what is this little man thinking?

Ryan started kindergarten in August and he is making some incredible progress. He is beginning to use more speech and starting to learn to write. His favorite phrase is, "Go away!" I would honestly say his brother is his best friend (well, and worst enemy)

Ryan tries to be helpful and loves to clean up. He also is fascinated with keys and opening locks. He just learned to use the computer and loves playing with our phones.

He is a daredevil and has had numerous stitches this year. He doesn't seem to be afraid of pain and we are thankful for the "goober hat".

I just love how much he loves life. I crack up at his stubbornness and appreciate his "Let me do it" spirit.

Happy Birthday little man!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Thankful Game

There's this "game" on Facebook right now where you say one thing you are thankful for each day in November. I need to play that game, because right now I am the bratty kid who doesn't want the gifts she's been given. So instead of whinning about not having potty trained kids, I'm going to list 15 things I'm thankful for:

1. A God who created the universe and loves me. Little 'ole me. Full of faults and ugliness. Yet He loves me unconditionally. Wow!!

2. A wonderful husband who I often take for granted. He is kind, loving, and a great dad.

3. Zachary my 9 year old who is so sweet and has a gentle heart. He cracks me up and loves his brother fiercely. He also makes a good shopping partner.

4. Ryan my almost 6 year old. He is crazy and fun. He has this devilish grin and a pretty impressive will.

5. My parents are great role-models. They work hard, love well, and are a great support.

6. My brother is also an amazing man. He has worked hard to overcome learning disabilities and go far in his career. He was just named the law enforcement officer of the year for his area.

7. My church family - since we don't have a family in Florida, our church is our support. They have been there through it all!

8. My husband's work at Agape. He is able to serve the for a ministry that brings supplies to people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Mark works behind the scenes to keep the facility running. Pretty much a thankless job - but God knows he is working hard.

9. My running partner, Travis, and Meg before her. It's like free therapy and a work out all at once.

10. My friends at work. I work with two phenomenal women Patti and Em. They encourage me and love me despite my attempts to be unloveable.

11. Oak Park - my kids school is exactly what they need. Teachers that love them and have expectations for them.

12. My house - it's not perfect, but it's safe and mine.

13. Florida's gorgeous weather. Ok, so I miss snow, but not for long.

14. My husband's airplane that takes on fun little trips.

15. All the little blessings that God gives me and I don't even recognize them!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

No awards tonight

You know how some nights you are the perfect mom? You make a dinner everyone loves, you play games with the kids, you snuggle, you brush teeth, you read bed time stories. You know, a perfect night!

Well. Tonight was most decidedly NOT that night. In fact, it was the "perfect storm" of bad mommy night.

I am tired. The boys are tired. Dad had to work. The neighbor's dog was out barking at 6 am and woke Zach up - so that coupled with Halloween created Monster Zach.

I tried to be "that" mom - the good one. I played Twister, but it ended up in a knock-down-drag-out fight over who could be the spinner person. (No, I was not involved in the fight!) Then I gave Zach a toy catalog and told him to circle his favorite toys. He loves doing this, but for some reason, he was a stage five clinger. He had to show me EVERY picture. I am way too tired for a clinger. So I tried to play a movie. Comcast wasn't working (surprise, surprise). More tears. Back to the circling in the catalog. Back to the clinginess.

Meanwhile I figured I would try to watch some news. Ryan thought this would be a great time to play with the buttons on the tv. Zach being the older brother figures it's his job to discipline the little brother. More knock down drag out fights.

Finally... eight o'clock rolls around (ok, 7:50 - I round up). Bedtime can come early tonight... Zach doesn't think he needs to go to bed and tries to "out smart" me. I take him by the upper arm and guide him to his room. He protests with "Ow! Ow! Ow!" (Where does an intellectually disabled 9 year old learn this stuff? It must be an innate and primal urge to pretend your mom is hurting you.) Then he says, "Don't say it again!" Not. a. good. idea. I am already exhausted, but not too exhausted to blog I found it kinda funny the first time he said it. But tonight I took his sweet little face in my hands and told him to never say that to mommy again. His reply? "Don't say it again." I won't tell you the rest of that sequence... Yes, he's still alive. No, I didn't spank him.

Then Ryan... He needed a diaper change before bed but was kicking his little feet like something crazy. I finally got a diaper on him and put him in bed. He gets up two times. After the second time. I got nose to nose and said, "Not tonight Ryan. Don't push me." So far he's still in bed.

All this to say, I was not perfect mom tonight - and I'm ok with it - because I didn't have perfect children either!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Post #191

I really have nothing to say, I just felt like "talking" and there are only so many Twitters I can tweet...

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings are a blur around here. Either Mark or I are gone and it gets kinda annoying. Tonight, Mark has some people using the hangar and a flight lesson. On Monday nights, I pray with two other ladies and Wednesday night is Bible Study.

I love praying for our husbands with these two ladies. It's really cool to see the difference it's making, especially in my attitude!

Ryan spilled apple juice across the counter that's between the stove and fridge. It's really gross back there. When was the last time you cleaned it? Me? 9 months.

I've been doing a Beth Moore Bible study on the book of Daniel and it's amazing! Today two things really struck me - I'll share more in it's own post. I'm still thinking about it!

How can such huge turds come out of such little people? Ok, I know. Gross. But I also know you have said the same thing before!!

Ryan is on stitches number - unknown. This time we didn't get a teddy bear. I wonder if they ran out because of all the bears they have given to us in the past.

Zach's teacher sent home a note about how much he loves his little brother. I read it during a smack-down over the loss of Wii privlidges.

I really have to get over this misery over not having "normal" kids. I'm in that poor-me cycle. Bad, bad, bad.

My Indiana Hoosiers are winning more football games than losing. Go Hoosiers!

I really love Neil Diamond - especially "Sweet Caroline" and "Song Sung Blue". I'm 37 - does that make me a goober?

A bunch of 6th grade girls were fawning all over this high school football player and she started crying when he hugged her. Then later, my 6th graders asked me if I thought he was hot. Ummm... Can't say that I look at teens and decide if they are hot or not. Two seconds after that, another girls says she is jealous of her sister because she wraps his ankles. Funny!

Why do I let my mind jump ahead and worry about stuff that may not even happen?

My hamstring hurts - it's where the hamstring meets the butt. Ouch.

Ok, that's it for now!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Disney for a Princess

Don't even stop and read this. Click here


and read about a little girl who is important to me. Help send a Princess to Disney.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Colts vs. Chiefs Game

I am not a major NFL fan, but I love football (does that make any sense?) As a way to get some good friends over for fun, I had a Colts vs. Chiefs party planned. I made chili and invited everyone over for the 1 pm kick off. I checked the Colt's website and saw that the game was on at 1 pm.

Back when I mentioned the game with Travis and she asked, "Are you sure the game is on?" My confident reply... "Of course! The website says it is."

At 12:55, I turned on the TV and found out that the Ravens game was on in our area! I freaked out... So we tried to find it on the internet. I was unsuccessful, but we were able to watch the arrows move on ESPN and listened on the radio. So for most of the game, we were gathered around my lap top.

I invited several Colts fans... but they stood me up. I was grossly out numbered by the Chiefs... but it goes to show it's not the number of fans...

SPOILER: (Because some people are watching the taped version a little later)

Here's the looks on the Chiefs fans when the "fat lady started singing".

The kids also gathered around the computer... but to watch Sesame Street rather than football.

Alaina has a pretty impressive shot with that Nerf gun! Although with three older brothers, she has no choice but to hold her own...

We didn't see much of Sam, Ben and Zach... they spent their time in the toy room.

Not everybody was into the game...

Sundays are made for naps...

Despite the non-chilly chili weather and not having the game on TV, I had a great time and I hope the Prachars and Handers did too!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Silver Lining

I spend way too much of my life feeling sorry for myself. Mourning the fact that my children will never be "normal". Bummed out that my children won't go to college, probably won't get married, or read a great book. But I can't live my life like that because no one would want to be my friend if I cried all the time that is not how God wants us to live.

So... this week, I've started a list of the silver linings that come with having children with intellectual disabilities:

1. If they are in eighth grade and don't know that 8x3=24 (without a calculator) no one will care!
2. I will never have to struggle through long division with them.
3. They probably won't go to parties in high school and get drunk and/or take random pharmaceutical drugs.
4. I don't have to pay for a college education. (Never mind that at the rate of our potty training... I'll spend the equivalent in diapers)
5. When they are hysterical and crying, I can usually fix what is wrong.
6. My boys don't understand that the advertisements on TV are meant to sell you a toy. They don't beg for certain toys because they saw it on TV.
7. Likewise, when we go to Target and they see a toy they want, they are happy just to carry it around and they actually put it down when we get to the check out line.
8. I probably won't have to spend tons of money on the name brand clothing when they are in middle school/high school. They probably would be freaked out by a Hollister store (I know, I know... many people are - but for different reasons!)
9. When I let them pick out a coin for helping me with a chore, they are just as happy with a penny as they are with a quarter.
10. At age 9, Zach is still happier with the box than the huge toy that came in it. So I should just give him empty boxes for his birthday.

And the biggest reason...
11. They don't repeat what I say!

Monday, September 20, 2010


I'm going to start my rambling thoughts with this quote from the Beth Moore Bible Study on the Book of Daniel: "You've been chosen, Dear One, by the God of all creation for a life worth living. And you feel inferior?"

Can you say, "Bucket of tears running down my face?"

I often feel like a crappy mom or an inferior mom because my children don't measure up in society's eyes. Because people pity me because my children are intellectually disabled. It's an ugly thing for me to feel this way, but you know that pity is out there. But what's even uglier is that I fall for it!

But fortunately God keeps whispering to me that He created my boys for a purpose. A divine purpose that only they can fulfill. And while this is true of all children, it's especially true for my boys. He made them this way so He could use them in ways that go beyond "normal" children.

So tonight I'm sobbing, but not because I feel inferior, but because I'm so grateful that God whispers these truths to me when the world shouts that our children must be smarter, faster, and better looking than the others.

And I need to remember that my family is chosen by the God of the Universe. And you know what... Your family is chosen too - but for a different purpose! How cool is this?

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I have blogged in, oh, about a million years. It's not that I haven't had much going on, it's quite the opposite - I just haven't taken the time to get my thoughts on the screen!

School is going absolutely, positively, wonderfully well. I LOVE my 6th graders and it is so much fun to spend an hour with them each day. I would like to say that my lessons are super planned and I'm never feeling stressed about what we are going to be doing that week... But, the kids are the bestest! I also LOVE being in the library all day. We have a ton of kids coming through and checking out books. I would love to say that I don't get annoyed saying the same thing a 100 times (like where to return books) but, ya know...

Oak Park has been phenomenal for my kids and they are doing so well at their new school. I got a worksheet from Zach the other day and he actually drew a bird - that looked like a bird! And, he answered questions about birds. He's finally in "big boy" school and seems to be thriving! Ryan is learning how to write with a really cool program called "Handwritting without Tears".

So everything is perfect right? No... I'm struggling with being nice - especially when I come home to a disaster of a house. I feel like I'm putting in my all at work and then again at home. I'm tired and unfortunately, Mark gets the brunt of it...

And then, there's my on-going struggle. Jealousy. I keep forgetting that God gave me Zach and Ryan because He has something incredible to do through them - just the way He created them. And I need to get over the fact that they aren't normal and I can't be jealous of people who shouldn't have "normal" children, but do. How awful and ugly is that jealousy???? Can't believe I even said that aloud...

Ok, time to continue my scrapbooking binge...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another song I love!

Never Been Unloved by Michael W. Smith

I have been unfaithful
I have been unworthy
I have been unrighteous
And I have been unmerciful

I have been unreachable
I have been unteachable
I have been unwilling
And I've been undesireable

And sometimes I have been unwise
I've been undone by what I'm unsure of
But because of you
And all that you went through
I know that I have never been unloved

I have been unbroken
I have been unmended
I have been unesy
And I've been unapproachable

I've been unemotional
I've been unexceptional
I've been undecided
And I have been unqualified

Unaware - I have been unfair
I've been unfit for blessings from above
But eve I can see
The sacrifice You made for me
To show that I have never been unloved

It's because of you
And all that you went through
I know that I have never been unloved

- - - -
Have you ever felt that way?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back to School!

I love August/September. I groan and bellyache about going back to work after a summer off, but really, truly I love it! I love school supplies. I love the promise of a new beginning. I love the excitement. I love the fresh notebooks. I love the eager faces of the kids. I love starting memories with a new bunch of kids. I love watching my children pick out their backpack and lunchbox. I love paychecks. I love it all.

I realized just now what an honor it is to be a teacher. Seriously. I can tangibly help the future. I can help a child see her potential. I can show him new things. I can let her know I believe in her. Not many other jobs can say the same thing.

So when I'm frustrated with parents or annoyed with behaviors or feel squashed by "rules" and programs, I have to remember the bottom line... I'm shaping the future.

My friend Mary Alampi put this as her status and she is so right on... OK, I'm just gonna say it: I'm so excited! I know I will be exhausted. I know it will be near chaos. I'm certain I will have very little time to eat and maybe no time to use the restroom. Still, tomorrow is the first day middle school for a new batch of future adults, leaders, and valuable, irreplaceable people. What an honor!

What an honor and privlidge. Let's make this the best year yet!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Follow You by Leeland

I think the next few blogs will be images and thoughts from the Mission Trip I just returned from. True to His word, God changed our hearts and did a mighty big work in us. Many times we leave for short term missions, we think we will change the world. Not this time - at least not immediately. I believe the twenty four of us who went experienced God changing us.

Before the trip, I thought this song by Leeland was ok. But now that I'm back, I really love it!

Follow You by Leeland
You lived among the least of these
The weary and the weak
And it would be a tragedy for me to turn away

All my needs you have supplied
When I was dead you gave me life
How could I not give it away so freely?

And I'll follow you into the homes that are broken
Follow you into the world
Meet the needs of the poor and needy God
Follow you into the world

Use my hands, use my feet
To make your kingdom come
to the corners of the earth
Until your work is done
'Cause faith without works is dead
And on the cross your blood was shed
So how could I not give it away so freely?
And I'll follow you into the homes that are broken
Follow you into the world
Meet the needs of the poor and needy God
Follow you into the world

I give all my self
I give all my self
I give all my self... to you

And I give all myself
Yes, I give all myself
And I give all myself... to you.

I don't have many pictures from the worksites and I regret that... so in the blogs to come, you will just have to trust what I'm talking about. Until then, enjoy these pictures of the most incredible high schoolers I know. I consider it a privilege that I get to share in their life!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday from Mission Trip to Nashville, TN

Hopefully I'll add some pictures from the worksites... Stay tuned!