Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Today when David got out of summer school, Ashley and I decided to take the boys to Hungry Mother to play-it was cloudy and cool at the time and we thought it would be fun to rent a paddle boat. We all fit in one together and we had fun paddling around the lake. Hope was miserable in her life jacket so that was a challenge, but Dave loved being out on the water. When we turned our boat in for the day, the sun came out and the boys wanted to stay and swim at the beach-we obliged! It was pure heaven out there today-the weather was perfect and not too crowded.
I LOVE this picture of my fearless one jumping off of the high dive at the lake.

LOOK-David is swimming solo without a life jacket, water wings, or anything!!! Super proud of this little fish:) He has come so far lately with his swimming and we are all proud of Dave!

Look at that look of pure joy on that boys face. Unbelieveable. Even with his super strong will that boy melts my heart and makes life so fun.

Bathing beauty. Hope took a little siesta on my chest while the boys swam. It was so peaceful to sit in my NEW beach chair, cuddling my sleeping girl and watching the boys have a ball in the water. It made all the work of getting there totally worth it!! I had Ashley's help thankfully, but it is super hard work to get three kiddos dressed and sunscreened to go near any water:)

Give this kid a pair of goggles and a ball and he will entertain himself for HOURS in the water!

Hope looks like she is lifeguarding in this picture!! She was super serious today but was enjoying those goldfish crackers:)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Snapshot of Life

I know I have said this a million times, but I love summer. I am just as giddy as the kids are on the last day of school. I know I often joke with other SAHMs (stay at home mommys) that we live for the first day of school, but that is really not the truth. I love my babes, I love water and sunshine, and I love a less structured life for a few weeks.

We are definitely enjoying the pool and the sunshine, but our life right now is just as busy as during the school year.

David is doing summer school at his school which will end this Friday. We also have to fit in all his different therapies which includes Mon and Wed. at 8 a.m. Brutal.

Kyle swims three mornings/week at 7:30-thankfully his father can take him on his way to work and I can pick him up at 9a.m.

Starting this week Kyle will be volunteering at a summer enrichment program for special needs kids on Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30-2:30. He is super excited about this and really is taking his volunteer role seriously. I cannot wait to see how a real day goes for him. He visited last week and met a few of the 3's and 4's that he will work with.

Mike and Kyle are in the midst of Allstar Baseball Season. They are practicing like crazy getting ready for a tournament that starts July 5th. I get nervous during Allstars, but I going to try to enjoy it this season. Last year I paced during every game with a newborn Hope in my arms.

We are going to start the library programs this week. We have been visiting the library weekly to get new books and movies, but I am being a mean mommy and making my boys read this summer:)

That is a snapshot of our life right now. I love summer and I get really sad when I start seeing the Back to School suppplies being rolled out at Walmart.

This past weekend we went to a swim meet with Kyle in Abingdon. He did great and got third place overall in his age group!! It was a hot, outdoor meet, so thankfully my parents came and helped with Hope and Dave so they could play at home with the AC!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Week

I simply cannot believe that it is Friday. This week has been a blur of house renovation stuff and visiting with Mike's mom. She came last Friday and flew back to Texas this morning.

Over the last few weeks, we have had a renovation going on in our basement. Mr. Greer has painted all the nasty, dark paneling and now it is off white!! Then, Mr. Charlie and Dwayne pulled out all the nasty carpet and put down new hardwood floors. It is unbelieveable how much bigger the space looks and now I can actually enjoy the basement without needing an antidepressant! HA!

Then, Mike's mom arrived and we decided that new blinds were in order and off to the store we went. She installed four new blinds and now the space looks even better with natural light! The previous blinds were all broken which meant that we could not open them.

Here is a glimpse of the "school room" with the new floors and new storage bins that my mom found at a yard sale!! Love it! This room is technically the office because that is where our desktop computer and desk are (and typically where I blog from) but I kind of took it over and made it into a little classroom/playroom. Pardon my pledge bottle and Diet Dr. Pepper can!!

Here is a glimpse of the family room with the new paint job, floors and blinds!! I so wish that I had before pics, but just take my word for it that this is a much brighter space!

Mike's mom was invaluable helping me tie it all together with hanging pictures and placing our stuff. She has a good eye with decorating and we always do house stuff when she is here! Between our three kiddos and all the work we did, I bet she is snoozing on that plane this afternoon!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hope's Party Day

For Hope's first birthday we had a little party at home with some family and a few of Hope's friends. We got out the moon bounce and water slide and Mike grilled a few hot dogs. It was super laid back and not my usual OCD party where I way overplan everything!! I did not even get invitations out-poor third child!!

Before the party, my parents gave Hope her new pink cozy coupe! It is so cute and now she and Dave can ride together!!
I love this expression that Hope is giving to Caroline while they were singing Happy Birthday to her!

Daddy loving on the birthday girl!

Mike's mom got to come from Texas so we decided to do Hope's party during her visit!

Bouncing on the moon bounce before the party!

We were so thrilled that Uncle Chad and Clayton could make it for Hope's party. Clayton is so sweet with Hope and he ran to her and kissed her when he got here. I also must add that Clayton picked out some super cute clothes for Hope!!

My birthday girl loves to party!

Some big kids played ball on the golf course and I love the expression here on Kyle's face!

Swimming with her friend, Brady. He is her only baby friend and they are so cute together-unless she is stealing toys from him, but we are working on that!

Ready to dig into the cake!!

This girl loved the cake!! She loved it so much that it was in her hair, up her nose, and all over everything!!

We laughed because Hope really got into the birthday gifts. She fussed if they were not coming fast enough for her!! She grinned at every gift and really was into this part of the party!! Here she is getting a new baby doll that Kelsey picked out.

I love this picture of my Memaw holding Hope and reading her one of hew new books. She got several new books and that is perfect because this girl loves books:)

Hope and Daddy both crashed after the party:) Is there any doubt now who Hope looks like??

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Painful-that is all that I can say about this day. Truly it has been one of the longest, hardest days I have faced in a while. If you visited our blog today for a sweet post highlighting my sweet children, you may want to come back another day:)

Today, I left my youngest child (who is not fully weaned) and my eldest child and went about an hour and a half away with David to visit a Child Development clinic for psychological testing. We wanted and needed accurate testing on David for future planning and to maintain his current services.

It was rolling along quite beautifully all morning. David cooperated and seemed quite thrilled with our little road trip! Ashley went along for help and provided some comic relief when needed. We went out to lunch, witnessed a court house brawl and even visited a cute bakery.

Then before we left in the afternoon, I was brought in to hear their preliminary findings. Granted I used to be a school social worker and administer the same tests to families that I filled in today for David. I find it still so like God that the last social history that I completed before leaving on a permanent maternity leave years ago involved a sweet little girl with Down Syndrome. Anyway, I am no expert but the lingo we were talking today is familiar ground with me and granted I am kind of an expert on Dave.

The psychologist in his very sincere voice explained his testing on David and what his official IQ score was today. It was a fine number and it was not a huge shocker to me. I smiled and said okay-that is similar to the testing done last year by the school system. Then he explained to me in his serious, psychologist voice that the testing that I completed was surely not accurate because his social adaptive score was clearly too high and was not congruent to what his testing found. Clearly he then explained to me that I was not helping anything by exaggerating David's ability and that it was his job to bring me back to reality about David.

After much bantering about what David is truly capable of doing he then laid the reality check out for me. After meeting with David about 4o minutes total without me, he then felt lead to share with me that David's IQ will begin to dwindle down in number and that he will not be able to live independently in the future and that we as a family should be making long-term care plans.

After I gathered myself off of the floor and wiped the snot that was flying out of my nose due to my sobs, I thanked him for his time and made my grand exit. I felt that if I stayed one more moment in that airless room, I should not be helped accountable for my actions.

I am not clear why his Ph.D degree gave him the right or privilege to box my sweet Dave in today. Clearly Mike and I are realist about the disability our son has-you know since we both are educator-type people and all, but it galls me beyond belief that after meeting with our Dave for that brief time that is all he could muster?? He was so grave in his findings that for a split second I thought he was going to throw out the institution word. Seriously.

Now that my tears are dry and I have gotten a little perspective from the situation I am thankful for today. I am thankful that I was painfully reminded that without our vigilance our Dave could end up stereotyped and written off. Not on my watch.

I know that our God created Dave in my womb and that he is fearfully and wonderfully made. I know that our God never leaves us or forsakes us and that he was tenderly wiping my tears as I sobbed in the bathroom of that pitiful little "clinic" today. I know that our Dave has his limitations but our God is the author of life and that He knows no limits. Tonight as I am nursing my hurt pride and broken heart I am thankful that there is someone I can cling to that knows no limits and loves our Dave even more than we do.

David was put in our life for a reason and I believe that one of the MANY blessings that I will personally receive from mothering this precious soul is the present reminder that God never brings us to a place where he is not willing to meet us-even a stinky, tiny "clinic" in the middle of nowhere!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hope's Birthday!

Tonight we celebrated Hope's first birthday with just the five of us! Her party is Saturday, but we had to have a little cake and a few presents on her actual day!

She loved the bows on the presents!! She actually cried when Mike tried to throw away the bows!!

The boys got her a baby stroller for her Bitty Baby:)

I love that she knows where a cute bow is suppose to be:) Seriously, she loved her bows more than her presents.
How exciting that this is for me!!! David was dying to rip it open for her, but we made him back off!! We also got her the Little People Dance and Twirl Castle and the boys had as much fun with it as she did!! Below is a little tiny slideshow I made from Smilebox. Pause the blog music and click on play! After you view each page, just click on the arrow in the bottom corner of the page to keep the slideshow going!

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Hope's birthday
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Hope's big day!

I cannot believe my sweet, baby girl turns one today!! What a fun, special day we have had all together. We have spent the afternoon at the pool and we have a little family party planned for tonight-just the five of us! The boys picked out a cute, tiny cake to have after dinner tonight:)
I love this precious face!

She has unfortuntately learned to be a crawler and seems to have no fear!

Her Daddy has taught her to patty-cake and here she is rolling 'em up!!

We love you precious girl!!!

She is standing alone now, but she has not taken any steps yet. I am so relieved!! I have loved every moment of this last year with her-even the crying fits after she was born before we realized dairy upsets her belly and now the teething. She has cut her first tooth this week!!
Her party is this Saturday with family and a few friends here at the house. Mike's mom is coming in from Texas and my family with be here too!
My heart is overwhelmed today with thanksgiving for this little girl who has taught us all so much already! I cannot wait to see all the adventures this next year will hold. Why is the first birthday so bittersweet? We love you so much Hope Madeline!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Last week of school

I have been super slack in my blogging lately, simply because I have not had time to sit at the computer. The last week of school for our household was nonstop action. I was literally at the school everyday during the last week for special stuff and I did not have time to even download pictures. Thankfully my mother came for three days and helped me with Hope so I could go enjoy school stuff and Hope could stay home and get her naps in.

Speaking of Hope, she is having a really hard time with her ears right now. She is on Augmentin trying to clear the infection and fluid out, and she is also teething. That is a rough combo for a sweet litle girl.

The start of our busy week was the second grade kick ball tournament!! Kyle was super excited because my boy loves a healthy dose of competition, but also because Mike was asked to be one of the umpires! It was so fun to see him put on shorts and a tshirt to head to work:)

Mike looking like an official umpire!

Kyle was the pitcher for his team and here he is with his PE teacher, Mrs. Clawson. Both of my boys love Mrs. Clawson:)

Kyle kicking the ball. Unfortunately, halfway through the tournament the rain started and they did not get to finish, but they had fun anyway.

During the last week of school, David's class had an alphabet play for the parents in the classroom. David was Tim the Tiger and he did so great on his lines!! We had been practicing super hard, and he did great.

The second graders had a patriotic musical during the last week of school and here is Kyle belting out patriotic songs with his classmates! Kyle has really gotten into singing this year and wants me to find him voice lessons.

On the last day of school, kindergarten has a beach party out on the lawn and Pops showed up to surprise David! David was so happy that Pops was there to party with him on the last day.

Jamming to the beach music!

This picture is so precious to me! Here is David with his teacher. We are Hokie fans and she is a big UT fan-she was so thrilled that on the last day of school David sported his UT orange just for her!!

David with two friends-Caleb and Hailey!

Pops, David and friends dancing to the beach music at one of the stations!

David did amazingly well in the sack race!! I love the look on his face in this picture!!

Here is most of David's class giving big love to their sweet teacher. I have loved David's team this year and his classroom teacher was a sweet, patient soul. David has had a great year with her and it was really tearful to say goodbye to her this year. We all wiped a few tears away when it was time for the final hug. I always have an emotional time saying goodbye on that last day-how do you properly say thank you to someone who has loved on your child for a solid year?

David's class ended their day on this fun water slide! He loved this so much.

Kyle's grade ended their year with some games out at the park beside the school. The favorite for everyone was definitely the tug-of-war and my competitive child had a ball! Here he is as one of the anchors ready to pull!

I love this picture of my dad, Pops playing in the sand with his granddaughter out at the lake. There is something so sweet and tender about this picture and I love it!!

Tradition for our family includes that on the last day of school we go to Hungry Mother to swim for the afternoon. We have been doing it since Kyle was in kindergarten and after the craziness of the last week of school, it is just a perfect and relaxing way to end a great year. Granted it is not so relaxing for a momma to take three kiddos to the lake, but this year I took lots of help-my parents and Ashley!

It makes me so happy that my children love water. I grew up swimming at the pool and at the lake, and I love that my kiddos are too! Ashley and I surprised Kyle and went off of the diving boards with him. I actually went off of the high dive!! I was so proud of myself and proud of the fact that my bathing suit stayed in place!!

My little girl already loves the sand and water-she is just like her momma! I love that she is not too prissy to crawl throught the sand and that she is finally learning to keep her sun hat on!

That is it for us-we had a huge last week of school with so many special plays, programs, field days, and Special Games tied into one little week. It was fun, but this family is ready for the pace of life to slow down just a wee bit!