Sunday, December 19, 2010

We are Ready!!

Kyle wants a ipod touch....several video games...and some remote control cars! And he truly has been the best boy this year...almost never a problem with Kyle. He is kind and generous, fun and creative, a good friend, and he loves his family! He handled the move, new school, new friends...all with the utmost grace! He is inspiring to me. Take it as it comes, be happy every day! He has a contagious zest for life that benefits us all. One day Ben said to me..."'s a good thing we have Kyle to make us laugh!!" And boy oh I agree! Kyle is a blessing above all blessings! This boy deserves everything on his list and more. But there is no way in HECK he is getting a phone!! ha ha

Will...well...Will is not always well behaved, but he is truly always good. He loves his family and he is happy just to be home with his brothers and his toys every day! :) He might get in trouble in school some times, but he can read? And he could not do that back in September. He can write, and he could not do that in September! Will's brain is unique. He always thinks outside of the box. He is interesting, and interested in all that surrounds him. He can make up a game with a brown box that takes him all day to play! He crazy and refreshing and just plain fun! He keeps me on my toes and I know that Will is mine for a reason. I need his energy - his antics - to keep me thinking. I love that sweet boy more than I can every say in words! I love him and I need him in my every day! He wants 10 pillow pets, a huge blanket, and a remote control helicopter (of which he already has?) And I know that he deserves all of this and more. But seriously...our house is not big enough for 10 pillow pets? Just can't happen!

And Josh...well...Josh wants gum and a new dog for Christmas. And he does not mean a real dog...he likes stuffed dogs? Lots of them. Already have about 5 and he wants more. And a big things of gum so he can share with his brothers. Sweet boy! I can't wait to see his face when he realizes that he deserves so much more than Gum and Dogs. He is going to be the happiest person on Christmas. When you want so little, and get more than you dreamed...what an amazing feeling for any person. And Josh - after a surgery this year, several infections, a new school, a new house...I mean really...he deserves so much more than Gum! He has had ups and downs with all that he has encountered this year, and in the end has gained acceptance and love for his new surroundings! He continues to amaze me every day! My life is finally complete. I always knew something was missing....and then came josh. HE is what makes this family whole! I can't imagine a minute without him. Now...when he traces his arm and hands on the wall with sharpie marker...well...I can picture life without that mess...but not without us sweet face and his genuine heart. He is amazing. Such a complete package of a person....and all that and he is only 3! Life is going to bring great things for Josh! And I am so proud to walk beside him as he figures it all out!

Ben. Our sweet Ben. He hates change....makes him crazy. And 2010 has been just a huge dump truck load of change for him! He struggled. Sometimes enough to make me cry for him.But he never quit! He hung in there, let me help him find his courage. He supported me on my hard days with hugs and company, and bottles of water! He loves us every day despite how heavy his heart was at times! He wants a steeler jersey (check) an i-pod touch (check) and a new watch! (check!...well....almost a check). Ben continues to love being with his family above and beyond all other things. He has excelled at baseball, basketball and truly is becoming a very brave boy. He joins in kickball games in the street, has made new friends, he is my little adult! My 8 year old 55 year old man and he makes me feel lucky every single day! I can't wait for you to see what Santa brings you Ben! I know he will love and appreciate all that he finds under that tree! Somtimes I think he truly has an adult trapped in his 8 year old body! But without Ben...I would not have my best friend. He is everythign to me and I would not change a single thing!! :) Not ANYTHING!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Will has a full heart...I think?

"I don't need to do homework, I am already smart!"

"JJ is not smart mom, he plays with the same toy every day and it is not even a fun toy."

I was talking to Will about "Gotcha" day and how it was two years ago that Josh became his brother...etc. etc. He listened so intently. Will loves to learn and he will listen to anything I say just in case he may get smarter based on my words. Now...with that said, if when I am finished talking...Will feels that he has not gained a single thing from my story...then he will tell me, "Mom...that was not interesting...why did I even listen?!" Or something close to that. Very kind little boy? Hmmm.

But with Will, the one thing you can ALWAYS be sure that what he how he feels. He is no martyr and he really does not care what ANYONE thinks of him. If he feels it or thinks it...he shares it. If you don't like what he shares....well then too bad for you?!

So back to the original story..I'm telling Will about Gotcha day etc. etc.

And Will says, "I don't think I love Josh." (very matter of fact in his tone) So I start asking him questions: If you don't love Josh...why do you refuse to sleep in the same room with anyone but Josh?" Will, "Because I like to sleep with him." Ok Will...then why do you ask to wake josh up from a nap after his has only been in his room for 10 min? Will, "Because Josh is fun to play with." Hmmmmmm Do you think that these things mean you love him? Will, "NO."

Plan B: I say....."Will, let me tell you how your heart works." (Well....with that...I have FULL attention! There might be knowlege gained from this one...or at least that is what he thought!)

Will, your heart is full of little bags. (if I don't make the story visual...I lose yes...BAGS??)Will, "Like paper bags or zip lock?" (Me...Zip lock?) WHATEVER!!

Anyway, Each bag in your heart contains love for a person in your life. And you Will, have a ton of bags in your heart. Mommy, Daddy, Ben, Kyle Will, Uncle Brian, Pop Pop, Grandma, Nana, Grandpa, Aunt Alyssa...etc.etc.etc. I name all family and friends both far and near. Will continues to listen.

Then I say...."These bags are in your heart are there for all of life. On some days, you may be mad at someone, or think you don't like someone, but that is in your head.. inside your brain. The love in your heart that is in the bags...well...that is there forever and it does not change just because your brain is mad at someone!"

I even go on to tell him that when I was little, my brain didn't like Uncle brain all the time. But the love in my heart was always there and now that I am a grown up I always love my brother both in my heart and in my head. And that is why your heart keeps the love inside there always. Because we will grow up and things like fighting over a blanket won't be important anymore. And our heart is very smart that knows who we love and who we will continue to love!

Will pauses. Looks at me with a coy smile. (And mind you he has not spoken a word while I go through this whole "heart" story) And he said, "Well...ok your bag must be really big and Josh's bag must be zipped closed right now!"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Random Holiday Fun!

Kyle loves to make snowballs!!

Kyle Loving to make snowballs at age 4 in 2007.
Kyle Loving to make snowballs in 2009. (age 6) (only reason we don't have a picture of him at 5 is that we were in Florida and we didn't travel north that year!!
Kyle making snowballs in 2010

And he ALWAYS asks me to take a picture of his snowball!! Funny little man!! :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

happy Gotcha Day Joshua Song!

It's official....two years!!! Whoo hooo...what a special day!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Some days I forget to remember.....

Two years ago today I left to get Josh! That thought kind of has me in "memory lane" mode today. And as I was sitting in the car today dropping off Will at preschool I will filled with another memory. A memory of a little boy. R.

As I sat at Southside Elementary working with R, I could tell that it was going to be like pulling teeth that day to get him to practice his numbers. R was in a special program for kids that just needed more help..and I was his helper for an hour a week.

So instead of asking about numbers, letters, reading etc....I said, "So what do you think Santa will bring you for Christmas this year?" And he looked at me....kind of made a "what you talkin' bout Willis?" Face and said, "Mrs. Renee...there ain't no Santa Boy!" It was said with proclamation....not as a question. He was sure as shootin that there was no such thing as Santa Clause.

Well anyone who knows me knows that I am now seriously fighting the tears. He was 6? And had no doubt AT ALL in his little mind that Santa was a farce! Aghhhh...

And so we went on to talk and I explained to him that from what I know...Santa only brings gifts to people who believe. "You have to Believe to Receive"! He thought my rhyme was funny...but it also changed the look in his eyes a bit. Hmmmmm??? They seemed to say.

And so I asked him, "If there was a Santa Boy....and he was to bring you a gift...what would you want him to bring you?" R didn't hesitate for a second...he said, A remote control truck...a huge one...that I can drive on the street!

And so it was.....R was living in a homeless shelter at that time with his little brother D and his grandmother. The house was full of other children however. The slept together on the floor and ate at a local church for one meal a day. R was able to eat lunch at school. D...well...we were not sure how he ate.

That very day after school the kids and I rushed to Walmart and found the biggest truck we could get our hands on and swooped it up. Others were also donating to the cause at this point. So we took our gift to the place where they were being held.

And with was out and the holidays proceeded!

About 2 weeks later...I am back at school with R. Working on writing his name. He was with me this day. Working hard, trying more than usual. And at some point he stopped working, put his pencil down and looked at me with this coy smile. He said, "Well....ain't ya gonna ask me about it?" Me, "About what?" R, "Santa....ask me if he is real?"

And so I did - and the answer was a resounding yes! He told me of all the presents he had received and how D got presents too. And that Santa really does hear you because he got a Remote control truck just like he wanted...but his Grandma said he could only drive it on the sidewalk!

My time with these children increased and most of you know that story. This little man touched me...and so many others. And while we were able to do great things for him, he is still poor, he is still less fortunate.

Many days I get so focused on the "do" of my life. Basketball, cubscouts, school plays, homework, birthday parties, holiday shopping...etc. etc. That I forget to remember how fortunate we are. And at that same time I forget to keep close to me the plight of many people that are struggling every day. They struggle through the Holiday season and through the years with no end in sight.

I know that I my responsibility in this world right now lies here at home. But I want to continue to remember, to help where I can.....and in time...I will dedicate my work to helping people like R and D. To making their world a better place. I don't know how or when. But I will continue to remember and one day that path will be apparent to me! :)

So today I basque in the glory of my own blessings. And at the same time I remember that what we have is a gift! A gift this is not had by all. Keep these less fortunate families in your hearts, minds and prayers this holiday season!!! :)

Give the gift of friendship with an open heart and mind

Friendship is one of the greatest gifts in the world. The greatest treasure in our lives!

People are so complex…such a mix of the past present and their hopes for the future. We all have demons that we fight. And we all win our battles with these demons on good days and lose the battle on the bad days. We all have strengths that come so naturally it seems to make others envious, and each of us has weaknesses that we can’t seem to shake no matter how hard we try.

What was bad yesterday may have given us the knowledge and experience to evolve into someone greater because of the struggles we faced. What we do today may change who we ever thought we could be.

An experience that was unexpected can change our heart and our minds forever. Newly discovered loves can shape who we are tomorrow.

I have learned that the best outlook a person can have on life is to Never say Never! No one knows what tomorrow holds and no one knows how life will change and grow them!

In this season of love and giving….I challenge each of you to give the gift of friendship. Give it to the people that you hold dear and also to someone that you may have failed to get to know. Someone that you didn’t click in the past. Possibly life has made them a person that is now your perfect friend! I challenge you to value difference; look passed one or two traits in a person that may get in the way of full sight of who this person is.

Give the gift of friendship to another person. If we all do this, I truly believe the world will be a better place. Love will be more present in each person’s heart!

Happy holidays and I thank you to all of my dear friends for giving me the gift of YOU every day of my life! 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Two years ago....

Two years ago I received our Travel approval...and this was all we knew about our little man!

And in just a will be two years from the day that I finally had our baby!

And somehow...two years have just flown by? And most days I barely remember two years ago? Where did the time go! Thank goodness I have these days to sit and remember where we were then...and how far we have come!

Some day I will share it all with him! The good the bad the ugly and the awesome! Until then...I'll just remember it all....each year that passes....the past that lead to now! How lucky we are!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Forever in my heart!

Just about two years ago - less a week or so - I received my travel approval to go to China and get our little Joshua Song. In many ways that feels like a lifetime ago, and in other ways if feels like just days ago that I took the journey.

Steve was gone and I would travel alone. Probably have not had that much fear in me at any one time in my entire life. I'm sure there will be greater in years to come. But suffice it to say, as of today...that was and remains, the most stressed and the most fearful that I had ever been.

Who would I meet, would I truly be alone for three weeks? Would I know what to do and where to go? So uncertain and so little control.

But those times is where faith becomes the most necessary part of your being. I did have faith. Faith that I was on the right path, and that I was heading the perfect direction. Faith that it would all work out as it needed it was supposed to.

And so I got on the plane. Fast forward a few days and I was able to realize that faith had put me just where I needed to be. In China, about to receive our baby...and sharing dinner with some amazing people! I knew they were amazing from day one. Friends. And in very short order became a part of my heart that will stay with me for all time!

We struggled together, laughed together, played together and then did that all over again each day! How would I have done this trip without these awesome people? Who the heck knows. But what I do know is that I had faith going into this trip and these people were put in my life for a reason! I thank them for the support and love they gave me two years ago. And I thank them for still loving me and my family today!! And most of all for allowing me to share in their family and to know them as they grow together!!

I was lucky enough to spend the day with two of these special people...and their three awesome kids!

After hours of talking, playing, eating, one really wanted to part ways! Especially ME! Felt like 10 min - not long enough...but cherished so very much!

Josh asked me after just one hour of playing with Leah...."I don't want Leah to go home mom...does she have to go home?" Could he possibly remember that she was his first friend? It sure felt like he could!

Ben and Eli played wii football for an amazingly long time. Will, Josh and Jeremy went from thing to thing...just enjoying the day!

Great time! Thank you Smith family...for making my month!! We love you ALL so very much!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Life lesson number 2002

Kyle decided this year that he wanted to make his own costume. He needed a large sheet and scissors and a sharpie marker. He wanted to be a home made ghost. And he was.

He was so proud! I explained that I should probably hem it up a bit so he did not trip. And he said..."No mom...I want it to drag on the ground. Ghosts drag and they don't have feet. I need to hide my feet!

I told him we should maybe find a way to keep it one place on his face so that he could see. He mom...ghosts don't wear hats or necklaces?!

And so I warned him of the possible hurdles of being a ghost, and he told me he understood what I was saying...but that none of it mattered. I even offered to buy a ghost costume at the store that might hold up a bit better. He did not care...he was being a ghost! And he was being a ghost HIS WAY.

As you can tell by the below all started out great!! He was so happy and proud. When he tripped....he just stood back up. When he could not see...he simply adjusted the garb!

....and then....

The dreaded event. Not a hurdle that I even anticipated?

His friend...our neighbor (but not somone that he had seen this night before now)...walked up to Kyle (after we had hit but three houses for candy...and had the whole neighborhood left to loot)...and said, "Kyle that is the dumbest costume I have ever seen!"

Oh went from great to terrible in a matter of three seconds.

I think had Kyle just worn a purchased costume, or one that I had made for him, he would have taken this comment in stride. Valued difference of opinion and kept on the quest for candy. But that was not the case. More than ever, a boy who went out there on a limb....embraced different and uniqueness.... needed positive affirmation from the masses. This little boy is his friend, and KYle CARED about his opinion.

Our friends at the Halloween party could not say enough about how great his costume was! He was on cloud nine up to this moment! But a fragile ego mixed with a not so nice comment ended his night just the same.

He quit trick or treating. He walked home. He took off his costume and I found it laying on the floor by the trash can inside the house. We tried talking to him, we tried convincing him...but nothing. He was done. Broke our hearts. Steve got him to stop at a few random houses on the way home just to get a bit of candy...but even that was a struggle. (He got all that was left in our own basket at the end of the night and somehow has more candy than all the other three? Hmmmm..) But just the same, it was a sad lesson to learn from a creative gesture and independent ideas.

The fact that it was beside the trash can and not IN the trash can tells me that he was not quite sold on the failure. Or that he was afraid to throw it away for fear I would yell at him for throwing away a perfectly good costume? Who knows. I'll go with the first thought!!

This is our ghost!
Photo taken in the back yard with friends before we started our trick or treating festivities!

Ben and Kyle...looking scary and happy!

This was Kyle leaving the driveway of our neighbors house. Just one house into the night...before the comment was made.

More pics of whole crew!

Sorry Kyle that you had to learn about disappointment. You learned that sometimes no matter how hard we try and how good our ideas may be...there will always be someone that will see it differently. But what I do hope for the end...once he can get some distance from the situation and see it more clearly - is that he learns that individuality is key, taking comfort in our own ideas and believing in them is all we have, and other peoples opinions are just not always shared by the masses! You did good buddy...keep on doing your own thing!! Your own thing - ROCKS!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This is how we roll!!

Colby's lightning McQueen car finally died!! It has been with the neighborhood for over 4 years. It was purchased at the same time as several other motorized vehicles. At least 8 others used to roam the cul-de-sac together. No others lasted as long as the McQueen rider!

And so it happened....the end of an era. But how to celebrate the life of a good motorized vehicle? Well...on our street....we run over it with cars!! I don't have all the photos, the camera was an afterthought because I didn't want to miss the fun.

First, Mr. Paul hit it with his car and sent it flying down the street. 15 or so kids stood on the side cheering!! Then Mr. Scott got in his car and did more of the same!! But you was still in one piece. So Mr. Steve finished the fun by riding his monster truck jeep over Lightning McQueen....Now every kid in the neighborhood was there to scream and laugh and cheer!

And now it is no more.

Most of us have parts in our trash to go out this week. And Justice kept the wheel to remember it by!!

Thanks lightning...for your years of fun...and for the best low class fun I have had in years!! That was awesome!