December 18, 2012

Spontaneous Little Loves

Since I am clearly not keeping up with a day to day accounting of our Little Loves, I will just try to highlight a couple that we actually got some pictures of and that really touched us.  I'm sure that no one will be overly surprised that some of the most meaningful were the spontaneous ones that we did not plan for at all.

The day that we went to get our tree, we were unsure what our Little Love would be and had been discussing it as we pulled into the gas station.  At the edge of the driveway was an older man with a sign that simply stated, "Please HELP hungry"

Now, I have admitted before that I have not historically been a very generous person, especially in these situations.  But, our adoption fundraising endeavors certainly allowed for me to have a shift of perspective.

In the past, my main concern was that maybe they really didn't need the help, or maybe they used the money for alcohol or drugs, or maybe this or maybe that....

My husband didn't even blink about it but set off to get him some food....

He even tucked a little apple and a water from what we brought for family snacks.  Oh, and of course, some hot cocoa!

The children were all so excited to see him get something to eat and craned their heads to see. And then something occurred to me....what the man does in regards to the food or the help does not ever cancel out the pure goodness that someone has in their heart when they wish to be helpful and ease someone's burdens.

The world tells us to worry more about being "taken" or seeming like a fool.  But I think I am now more worried about seeming heartless....

The next little love that really touched me came after a very hard day.  I was not functioning well at all and was very cranky about it.  My older girls had a lot of school work to do and were tired and exasperated with the smaller children who were overly worked up and hyper about the holidays, the tree, and well...anyone that has children will know that children don't even need a reason at this time of year! :)

The younger children were expressing near desperation at wanting to have the tree put up but my husband was working yet another 12 hour shift and has been struggling to keep up with all of the new information he is trying to learn as he trains to be a sheriff's deputy.  

I asked the older girls if there was any possible way that they thought we could heft that big tree inside by ourselves.  The small children jumped up and down with excitement at the possibility.  

The older girls met the suggestion with groans.  

I insisted rather grumpily that we could at least try and amidst rolled eyes and protests, they eventually gave in and we headed outside.

So with a lot of tugging and pulling....

And, more tugging and pulling and groaning under it's weight....

It finally was standing in all it's glory....
Look at this sweet baby, looking in awe at his first Christmas tree at home!

                                            The kids were so excited and happy!!!!!

And, I realized something...there was our Little Love for the day.  Mary and Emily may not have intended to do something profound or special...and they weren't even initially all that thrilled about the idea.  But, they honored my request because they respect and love me....and it meant so much.  I love these girls!

By the end of it all, they were just as happy and excited as the smaller children and my grumpy demeanor had lifted.

We are taught in church to reach out to others with a pure heart.  We are taught that we shouldn't be thinking of the rewards involved or the notoriety.  I completely agree.  I also agree with the teaching that sometimes we have to "fake it until we make it"...meaning that sometimes we may not feel like being Christ-like but we do it anyway out of our love and devotion for God and find that our heart will change through the process.

Tomorrow, I will have my EMG....I am excited to get the process started and finally get some answers.  But, I am admittedly a bit scared and would love prayers....I will try hard to keep everyone updated.

December 13, 2012

A Little Love of Japanese Candy

I've been feeling so frustrated that I am not keeping up with our daily Little Loves.  I am either functioning a bit better and then I am pushing too hard to get things done, or because of all of my overdoing, I end up back in bed and feeling like I've been run over.

Probably the hardest trial I have right now is keeping myself from getting fearful of the coming EMG and a possible diagnosis that I don't want.  And, the hugest part of that is worry for my children...what will it mean for them.

No matter what happens, my eyes have been opened to the extreme challenges that many families face and I have read so many uplifting stories of those who face these challenges valiantly.  There is so much sorrow *and* so much strength that I have been unaware of.
I have so much admiration for the accomplishments of Stephen Hawking now!

And, it is interesting how one's perspective changes from fear of things like MS and Lyme disease to actually  wishing for it, over a disease like ALS or MND.  I have also suspended myself from reading any further information until after the EMG.

Because of all I have just mentioned, I actually would like to discuss our Little Loves out of order today.  It is a bit of a "cheater".... because it wasn't actually us that did it.  It was something done for us.

It came unexpectedly from family friends that I just have to describe. Hopefully, most of you have some friends like this too and will also have some heartwarming memories come forth.

Since this is a public blog, I will just call them the V family.  I literally grew up with this family.  I don't ever remember not knowing them.  I actually found out in my teen years, that Mrs. V was responsible for bringing my parents together in the first place.  So, I guess you could say I literally owe my life to her! :)

As the story goes, my Mom knew Mrs. V from school and they also went to the same church.  My Dad and Mr. V were also friends from the other side of the US where they went to college together.  I actually can't remember what in the world they were doing on the west coast in that small town.  I think they were doing a college internship in Seattle area but I'm still not sure what brought them to my mom's small town.

Anyway, my Dad owned his own small plane.  I must admit, that is a pretty cool thing for a young man in his early twenties, and though my Mom was terrified of flying, I think I can make a pretty good argument that his plane is what made all the difference in wooing my Mom.

Mrs. V and Mr. V were going on a group date (they weren't married yet) with my Mom and another nameless and faceless strange that he could have been my father. ;)  My Dad was introduced by Mrs. V to my Mom,  and my Dad was regrettably informed that the four of them were going out on a date.

Ah, but my Dad had other ideas.  He offered to take them all on a ride in his plane.....but *alas* there was only room for four.  There simply wasn't the room for my Mom's date to come.  Such a pity!

I laughed and marveled after learning of this story...just trying to imagine my Dad doing this.  He is an electrical engineer so I wouldn't describe him as being the "forward" type.

So, Mr and Mrs V got married and my parents got married.  They went on to have two girls and my parents had two girls.  We went to each other's birthday parties and holiday pot lucks.  We also frequently met up to eat dinner at Pizza and Pipes.

I feel sorry for any of you that never had this experience.  While you ate pizza you were entertained by a huge organ playing popular music of our time from movies like Star Wars.  You could even go up and write a request and place it in a box...can you imagine the amazement and happiness a child has when "their" song is played!  There were also dancing puppets and bubbles and band instruments like drums and a tambourine that the organist controlled.  It was so much fun!

I can even remember riding in the V family car and their plastic bubble seat covers that had little blisters I liked to poke in.

We also had two main traditions.

A. We spent nearly every fourth of July together.  We have laughed and laughed about the fact that since we lived in the Seattle area, it was usually rainy and we took a multitude of pictures of all of us huddled in the garage together while the dads would dart out and light a firework and then run back in.

B.  We went nearly every summer to the beach and spent several days staying in a cabin together.  We went to several different places until finally settling on one specific cabin that we considered "our cabin".

Oh, the fun we had!  Both of our families also loved dogs so we would bring our dogs and run around on the beach and just play and play.

Mrs. V even helped us all come together one more time some years back when we were all adults and Amelia was just a baby.  It was so fun to see our children experience the joy that we had growing up.

I had to give the background of all of this because their family means a lot to me and Mrs. V continues to stay in touch with our family and even offers encouragement and love to our children at a distance through Facebook.

So, recently, Mrs. V had posted on FB that she was contentedly growing older and thanking God for her life and the ability to rock in a rocking chair with her dog in her lap and all of her blessings of grandchildren and family.  Then she made the comment that she was officially old.  I commented that it could not be possible because if she was indeed old, that I could never be seven again and heading to one of her parties and eating chip/dip and Japanese candy.  She acknowledged our good times and I admitted that I wished I could be her someday...

Fast forward to yesterday...

It was a very hard day.  I was exhausted....not normal tired but so bone tired that if it was any worse....well, let's just say, it was about the most tired I have ever been.  My arms and legs ached like I had the craziest workout ever when I had hardly been able to move and my muscles were twitching and jerking.  I think the worst of it was that I had been functioning better the day before and was getting my hopes up that I was on the upswing rather than just the same silly cycle I have been on going up and down this roller coaster.  So, I was feeling pretty defeated and to top it all off, we hadn't done our Little Love for the day.....

Can you imagine what we received in the mail???

An entire box of Japanese candy from our thoughtful and dear family friend.  I laughed, and I was in tears, and I was so grateful.

What she didn't know is that the reason I remembered about the Japanese candy, was that I was fascinated by the idea that you could eat the wrapper it was in.  But, I just couldn't bring myself to do it!  Year after year, they would have these Japanese candies at their Christmas parties and I promised myself that I would be able to eat it...and then I just couldn't bring myself to actually eat that "wrapper" in my mouth.

So, this act of kindness helped me to also accomplish something I had been unable to do.  I guess you could say that it was on my unknown bucket list.  I not only ate the candy....wrapper and all....but I also quite enjoyed it.  And, the children all got a kick out of teasing me.  They also enjoyed showing me how brave they were and how easily they could eat it.

Tomorrow, I will attempt to keep the blog going.  I really want to detail our new family tradition of the Icelandic "Yule Lads"  that are going to be visiting our house.  We were supposed to start today...and my precious children all lined their shoes up by the door last night....and I was pretty well out of commission last night and of all things....*forgot* and they woke up to empty shoes!

Even if a child is "bad", they are supposed to at least get a what in the world did an empty shoe mean!?!  Ugh!  I apologized profusely that it was my fault and that I forgot to put out his milk....and added that we forgot that the dogs were in the living room with their shoes and they probably scared the Yule Lad away.

The children seemed to be understanding of that and Robertson was sweet about trying to put little things in the shoes of the smaller children before they came downstairs.  I really have amazing children and I am so thankful for them.

I will close with some pictures of our Christmas tree expedition and Maria's birthday:

Happy Birthday Maria!!!

December 8, 2012

Day 7-Easing the holiday tension

We have a big day is our annual Christmas tree hunt and we are celebrating Maria's birthday.  So, I thought that I would post our Little Love early.

This was a super fun idea...

We found some cute little coloring sets that had little miniature markers.  We decided to hand those out to some children that seemed tired and sick of shopping in hopes that it would allow them to enjoy their time a little more.  We hoped that this would also help their parents....after all, a quiet happily coloring child=a much happier and efficient parent.

I couldn't imagine a better place to go to find overstimulated and tired children and parents than.... Walmart!

It was interesting....the idea seemed simple enough but it was hard to give away something for free without people getting wary.

One mother yelled at them at first that she didn't want to buy anything or have her windshield fixed.  Robert tried to quickly explain that we were doing an advent calendar with our children and trying to do something nice every day.

Once she understood, she apologized and the little boy was very happy to have a new coloring book.  She then said, Merry Christmas and went on her way with a smile on her face.

They also experienced people reluctantly taking them and then asking how much would they have to pay....even when they had already tried to explain it was free.  Once again, by the time they finally understood what we were doing, they seemed happy and offered that they liked the idea.

Here is the last happy little customer as she went into Walmart with excitement... and hopefully....ever so slightly touched with the Christmas spirit.

December 7, 2012

Day 6-Little Loves for Librarians

I think I have decided that I may need to blog a day behind of our Little Loves but I will try to keep it up.

I've had a few harder days which is all a "normal" part of whatever this illness is for me.  It is funny that I have established norms though when I still have no idea what I am dealing with.

I do know that I am so completely fed up with insurance companies and red tape and waiting.  That seems to be the story of my life right now.

I appreciate those that have shown empathy and ask how I am doing.  It is hard to answer sometimes, and it truly depends on the day and the moment.  I made the mistake again recently of searching the internet and *finally* felt I had found a strong possibility of discovering what this might be.

Then, I read that part of the "treatment" team involved hospice and I decided that I didn't want that one at all!  I decided that I would stop with the internet searching and that if all of my tests came back normal...and *even* if I was still feeling this same way, but I knew that I didn't have that horrible disorder, I would still be relieved and happy.  After all, I decided that living this way sure beats the alternative.  So, all of you can hold me to that! :)

On to our much happier, and much preferred topic of  Little Loves!

Robert, my husband, is truly the "Norm" of our local  library (You have to have watched Cheers to understand this reference :)  He knows...and dare I loved by, nearly every librarian.

Actually, in all the 20+ years that we have been married that is one of my favorite quirky little facts about my husband.  Women that are past the age of 50-60 yrs old have always adored him, whether he was 20 years old or now that he is...well, a bit older!

And, my dear husband, loves books and loves to read.  So, it is a match made in Heaven, right?

When I mentioned my idea of bringing some treats to the librarians for all of their service to our family, Robert responded, "Sure, I already brought them treats last year."  I had no idea, but of course, it didn't surprise me.

Sending our love to our librarians!

December 5, 2012

Day 4 & 5-Little Loves for furry and feathered friends

Before I show some cute pics of happy animals I would like to make a desperate plea for prayers for two adorable little girls that have touched my heart.

They have something in common.  Down Syndrome.  Something I used to fear during my own pregnancies... but now, through awareness and being touched by so many adoptive and biological families, I see the incredible blessings and the fear is completely gone.

Aziza, a sweet little girl, and beautiful princess, died suddenly and unexpectedly today.  I feel so horribly sad and yet I am so thankful at the same time.  I am thankful that this little girl knew she was deeply loved and had so much joy during her short life.  Above is her picture and here is her family's blog (My Sweet Warrior Princess)  The pain is so deep when you lose a child and I hope that many of us will be praying for their comfort.

The other child I want to highlight is Natasha.  Her family has been working to get her home for over 18 months now.  Her mother has worked tirelessly and endlessly to fundraise the needed amount to get her home.  They have had delay after delay and changes of rules and then due to all of the delays, more paperwork expired.  It has been a long hard road and I often marvel at her mom's ability to keep her chin up and praise our Heavenly Father for every dollar that comes in.  They really need the help so that Natasha can also know what Aziza had.  Please consider helping them.  It is so true that every dollar counts and helps.  This is a chance for our holiday donations to *really* matter and go directly to a child (not staff of a large organization).  Here is the link to their blog (Operation Orphan No More)

I promise that we really did our Little Loves over two days.  We attempted to do all of it in one but lost track of time.  I am definitely running slow right now....about 80 year old speed.  So, we decided to start with our chickens and I looked outside and said, "OH NO!!!  It is *dark* and the chickens have already gone to bed!"

It gets dark so early now and the cliche of "going to bed with the chickens" is so true.  They go to bed early and (at least the roosters) are all up bright and early in the morning.

Here is our big failed attempt to wake them up and take pics in the dark.
They actually weren't asleep and did cluck at us but they were not having any thoughts of getting out of the tree.

So, we packed up and went over to my mom's to give a surprise gift for her and her kitties.

My mom is often alone due to my dad's business traveling and so it is usually a welcome surprise for the grandchildren to make a visit.

We brought fun Christmasy cat toys!

Here is Maisy, an older kitty, who is debating whether it is worth her time or whether we are just flat out annoying!

Hmmm, that is actually kind of fun!

Yummm, smell that catnip!!!

Loving attention is *always* appreciated.

Defintely, all done!!!

Would Mitsy be interested??

Of course!!!

She may be chubby, but.....

She is FAST!!!

The cats, my mom, the children and I all had a great time...I am thankful once again to have such fun distraction.  

Now, moving on to today where we treated our own pets....  

Who could resist these precious faces!

Liver treats!


Can you say "EXCITED!!!"
And then, time to feel loved.....

And, greatly appreciated!!!

Moving on to the chickens before dark!

Meet Captain!
Captain is indeed a "her" and a hen!  We rescued two chicks that were abandoned by their mother and were left cheeping and being encircled by cats.  We took them inside and hand raised until they were big enough (and very messy!) and we decided they could go outside.

Captain's sibling met an untimely end when he decided to go into the fenced yard with the dogs.  Cookie seems to think that chickens are fun squeeky toys and seems surprised at our angry attitude!

So, Captain was alone and we worked hard to soothe her and keep her tame.  She is the only tame chicken we have right now.  

Captain got a lift to the wild bird feeder

And, Captain was hand fed.  I don't know why but I love watching chickens eat!

The rest of the chickens had a merry feast together on the ground...a chicken Thanksgiving of sorts!


And, now it is time to rest!  

These pictures make me so tired!