Saturday, July 27, 2013

A competitor is born

Abbey has always loved the water. Swimming is one of her favorite things to do. Every time she was in the water, you could see her grinning from ear to ear.

So, she was so excited for swim meets to start.

She loves hanging out with her buddies...

And of course, she loves taking her mark..

And swimming!

If you know our kids, it's quite surprising to see a D kid doing backstroke and doing it pretty well.

This year, Abbey was fast enough to be in first heats at our meets. First heat is the scoring heat. At first, she didn't like this at all, because the first heat swimmers weren't immediately rewarded with a ribbon. They had to wait until the next practice to get their little tags of glory. There also was the small, (to me), but tremendous,(to Abbey), matter of the color of the ribbon. First heat ribbons were blue, red, yellow, pink and white, in order of 1st through 6th place. Here is a sample of our conversations regarding ribbons: "Abbey, you got a blue ribbon!" Then I notice the frown, and ask, "What's wrong?" She explains, "I wanted the pretty rainbow ribbon!" (The rainbow were heat ribbons and didn't indicate scoring.)

Eventually, she got it and discovered/developed a side that I've seen very little of from her...competitiveness.  The last few meets, she'd get out of the pool and say, "How many points did I score?" When Daniel would scout the competition and tell her she would be swimming against a fast girl, she'd take all the advice and say, "I bet that girl doesn't know all that!"  We'd laugh to see her behind the blocks with a look of concentration. She would then proceed to give it her all in the pool, and that time she was ecstatic to get a blue ribbon. The ribbons weren't always blue, she got a few red and one yellow, but she had a blast doing her favorite thing...swimming!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Elijah takes the plunge

Elijah has been pretty lukewarm about swimming. It took a while before he would get his head wet. By the end of last year he was jumping in and swimming short distances. When this summer began, he showed a little bit of fear, but was soon caught up to where he was last summer.

He really, really wanted to be on the swim team. Why? Because swim team members get doughnuts on the mornings of their meets. Being our son, he would do anything, even jumping in frigid, over his head water, for a Krispy Kreme Doughnut!

When the first meet came, Daniel (Elijah's brother and coach) found himself in a bind, with not enough 6 and under boy swimmers who could swim 15 yards unassisted. He called and said he was putting Elijah in first heat for freestyle. That would mean he'd have to jump in and swim without a mentor helping him. We all knew he could do it, but would he??

That afternoon, I asked him and he unequivocally said he would swim the lap.

He was ready...

Taking his mark, well, sort of!

and he was off!!

Swimming his hardest...

He made it to the finish line unassisted!

We were so proud of him.  His coaches noticed his leap of faith and awarded him as that week's "Swimmer of the Week"

Swimmer of the Week, Elijah, with coaches Daniel and Elizabeth

We were so proud of Elijah conquering his fear!


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Just in case you don't have an appointment...

and would like an audience with Miss Abbey, she has fixed it so you don't even have to knock on her room door.

That girl of mine sure does crack me up!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Inside the belly

I love, love, love modern technology.

Being nine hours from Beth while she's carrying our 2nd granddaughter, isn't easy. (Although I think it will seem like a piece of cake compared with being 9 hours from them after she is born) But, modern technology certainly eases some of our pain.

Beth is great about sending us texts and ultrasound pictures and videos. She even sent me a text video of the baby moving in her belly. (I must confess when I first looked at it, I didn't have glasses on and thought it was a picture of a doughnut. Sorry, Bethy!)  The latest ultrasound had some 3-D pictures. It is so way beyond cool! Utterly amazing.

This is our next grandchild...

So wonderfully and fearfully made!

I can't wait to love on this little one!!


Sesame Street Live

Through the years, a great friend has been able to acquire tickets to various events. She often shares with us, especially if they are kid events.  The seats are usually great and the price, even greater---free!  This year as we rode by the arena sign advertising "Sesame St. Live", Abbey and Elijah began to clamor about wanting to go. The very next day, we got 4 free tickets in the mail.

We had wonderful tickets, so close that the characters came up where we sat.

Abbey got to shake Zoe's hand. Elijah was jealous, so we moved him to the outer seat. One of the honkers came up, immediately Elijah decided he, in fact, didn't want to shake a huge furry "thing's" hand and scrambled up in my lap, hiding his face.

Once Elijah was over his fear, we all enjoyed dancing to the music.

It was a lot of fun for all of us. I'm so grateful to my friend for thinking about us and sending us the tickets!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Daniel's 19!

May 30, Daniel turned 19 years old.

Daniel has returned to home this summer to work as a lifeguard and our head swim coach.

He has a zeal and passion for the sport that shows through his coaching. He also had a tender heart that allows him to work with the little ones.

Abbey and Elijah love having him around and don't want to talk about him leaving. The other day, Daniel was packing up some things to take to his new rental home in Wilmington. He brought stuff to the living room to set apart. Abbey, apparently remembering when Daniel had stuff in there before he went to school, came to me and said very solemnly, "Mom, come here." She took my hand and led me to the living room. "Look."She then looked up at me with mournful eyes, waiting for me to return the sentiment. She was relieved when I shared that Daniel would only be gone for a weekend, and wasn't leaving us for a few more months. It's going to be hard on them when he does leave again.

Uncle Dan loving on Miss Layne

Daniel finished his freshman year with a 3.7 GPA, made the conference team and loved his first year of college. 

Mr. Lead Foot did return home for the summer with empty pockets, (the results of said pesky lead foot while driving), which he's been hard at work correcting ever since he got home. He's gone a lot, but I still love having the nightly "recap" of his day before he turns in for the night. 

I always dread the end of summer and, again, this year I'll doubly dread the end, because it means my boy will be leaving again.  

But, he's been hard at work and I'm expecting some big contributions from him to UNCW's swim team.

Thank you Daniel, for brightening our lives for the past 19 years!!

I love you to the moon and back!


Monday, July 8, 2013

Saturday, July 6, 2013

29 years and counting

June 23, 1094...29 years ago, life began for me and my husband. This video captures a little of the blessings we've had over the years. (The song is special, it's the one John sang to me on Valentine's Day)

Click here


A thought provoking encounter

This past week I was taking care of a group of kids while their mothers attended a church function. Within this group of kids, there was a girl. She was cute, slightly overweight with an bubbly personality. She shared much of her life with me within the first few minutes of my meeting her. She told me that she had to be "held back" in school because she couldn't read very well, that she enjoyed swim team and she loved to play games.

My own kids weren't with me at the beginning of the morning, a good friend helped me out and brought them to me after swim practice. When Abbey and Elijah got there, my new little friend took a great interest in my kids. She started out by saying, "Is she your daughter? Did you adopt her?"  Those questions aren't unusual, so I thought nothing of it. We get those questions from other kids quite often. But, then she began to delve deeper. "Do you have other kids? Why did you adopt them? How did you know you wanted to adopt them?" I replied to all her questions, but was puzzled by her questions. After each of my answers, you could see the wheels in her head spinning as she processed my questions.

We went about our morning and it got close to the time for moms to return. She was one of the last to leave. I told her, don't worry, your mom will be here soon. She replied, "She's not my mom, she's just my foster mom!"  A-ha! It all made since, this precious little one was in a foster home. All of her questions really struck me when I found that out. I believe she had an ulterior motive. She was trying to get into the head of an adoptive parent. Could it be that she had been passed over before and wanted to know what would draw a parent to adopt her? It really made me sad, to think about all the little H**s out there, wanting to know how they can attract a future parent's attentions.

 It puts a different spin when you think about a child who wants a family, looking at my two with envious eyes. I could see the longing look as she talked about why I had adopted.  I also saw her stick like glue to me during the morning, maybe thinking that I'd adopt her too, if she could just get my attention; since, apparently in her mind, I was in the "adopting business".

Of course, I don't know for sure that she's available for adoption, but I do know that it's on her mind.  I've thought a lot about this little lady and prayed for her to find a place where she knows she's loved and doesn't have to seek to redefine herself in order to gain a Mom and Dad.

I believe that God place me with H** for a reason. I hope and pray that I did what He wanted me to. I hope that I gave her courage and confidence that one day, she'll be someone's daughter, and won't have to declare, "She's just my foster mom."


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Once a tree....

now a stage!

Some explanation:

For the past 15 years or so, every weekend you could find my husband bent over picking up Magnolia leaves. He wouldn't stop until n'ere leaf was left on the ground. Make that times two, as we had two giant Magnolia trees. Beautiful trees, but trees that shed big leaves steadily from April to November. He complained and complained about these trees. He wasn't alone in his disdain for the trees. We even once had a neighbor who would scoop up wayward leaves that fell in her yard and throw them into our yard.  He threatened to cut them down, and I would protest. They were gorgeous and their flowers smelled heavenly. I would take them and put them in the house, letting the lovely fragrance waft over the house. I told him to leave the leaves under the tree, he refused.

This year, when the other houses in our neighborhood were sporting lush green lawns, our yard sort of resembled the lunar landscape, despite the money we'd spent trying to get grass. Not too much green on the ground. The magnolias were so huge, they blocked the sun, which was needed to have a lawn. Sooo, I caved in and gave permission to cut the beautiful trees. I rationalized that, while I loved the trees, I loved my husband more, and indeed, a green lawn would be nice.

This picture shows one of the belated trees beside the driveway..

and now...

Abbey and Elijah immediately went out and started performing on the new "stage".

Our yard, now minus the Magnolia trees...

It has been nice not to have to see John, accompanied by words of disgust, bent over meticulously picking up leaves. In the fall, we'll start working on that lawn.