Thursday, June 21, 2012

You Are Special

If you're going to get a theology lesson from a children's book, you could do much worse than this one.

I remember when my gramma bought this book for Riley.  She signed the inside but didn't put down the year (nuts).  She died in 2005 so I know it was quite a bit before that.  It made the ranks through our children but somehow found a special niche in Natalie's heart.  She carted this book all over the place.  The globe.  It would go in her 'car pack' everytime we went somewhere.  Seriously, all the way to Honduras and back.  I'm shocked it's in a decent shape as it is.  We know it by heart and everytime I hear her reading it or I read it to her, there's another lesson I learn.  Or maybe it's the same one over, and over, and over again.

A good lesson.   

You can imagine my heart stopping a bit when last night as she was snuggling Charlotte and entertaining her while I ate my dinner, Natalie reached for this book to read to her.  First it was Pooh poems but then...oh my...listening to Natalie tell Charlotte this refreshed me again. 

Stickers.  Dots and stars.  People putting them on you based on what they think of you.  What you have.  What you are or aren't.  How it causes you to hide.  Be limited. 

Then the refreshing Lucia and her lack of stars or dots enters the scene.  She shares her secret with the timid Punchinello.  He steps into the woodcarver's shop and it begins. 

It's a gem of a book.  On a quickie go-over it's a sweet story with beautiful drawings and enchanting color.  It's even pretty short, which some nights for a bedtime story you NEED.  Oh...but think.  Listen to it.  Re-read it.  Put yourself into Puchinello's wooden shoes. 

My stickers can be dots or stars based on the day or based on my Facebook status. 

Stars:  Short.  Sweet.  Sassy.  Funny.  Great earrings.  Snarky (okay - this one may be a dot as well). Talent for ripping out kitchens in a single, caffeine fueled bound.  Funny kids.  Sweet baby stuff. 

Dots:  Uber frustrated home schooling parent.  Tween drama.  Teen drama.  Sick of the rain.  Cranky.  Tired.  Whiny.  Money issues.  Post-partum depression.  Down Syndrome.  Special needs. 

But then....

You Are Special.  In great and small ways...special.  In the true sense of the word.  Not some snarky, culturally warped sense, that honestly now either makes me mad or makes me incredibly sad depending on the context and the kind of week we've been having.   

special [ˈspɛʃəl]
1. distinguished, set apart from, or excelling others of its kind
2. (prenominal) designed or reserved for a particular purpose
3. not usual or commonplace
4. (prenominal) particular or primary  ex: his special interest was music

Do you know how much I love it that this book has a lodged place in my Natalie's heart?  She lives, breathes, and now, lets her little sister eat this book.  Her 'special' sister who does have that 'dot' of Down Syndrome.  We know that her special-ness is no less or no more special in God's eyes than that of her siblings, parents, fellow human beings.  Why?  Because she is created in His image, His Likeness...just as we all are.  THAT is the true special.

Would that we would purpose to go the the woodcarver more and that the stickers wouldn't stick as what HE thinks becomes all the more important than what the Wemmicks think. 

Thank you, Max Lucado.  Your reminder is a treasure.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


We're learning all kinds of new words at our house. 

This week it's 'Albinism'.  I knew instantly what she was talking about - an albino.  I have had ZERO experience with it and have NEVER heard that word before today, but something just sounded exactly what you'd call that if you needed a techy name for it.  If you're interested, this is what I found after 'google-ing' it. 

*Side note:  I'm not going to Google much.  I don't need to be freaked out and live in the 'what if' section of Down Syndrome.  Or life in general.  I'm working to get educated about the specifics for ALL of our kids, but too much info can paralyze me and then what good am I going to be to anyone? 

This may be a 'thing' she has.  The doctor wound up with 'plusses and minuses' trying to pin it down though so at this stage it's not a "FOR SURE" thing.  We'll be watching.  Wearing hats, sunscreen (which in general I'm not a *huge* fan of...don't hate me), and sunglasses - common sense and all that, with an extra dose of vigilism. 

In general, her occular health is fine.  Some nearsightedness with astigmatism.  There is a bit of Nystagmis (when the eyes 'shake') that she compensates for with head positioning.  So far, she's not needing corrective lenses althought that may be in the future.  Frankly, ALL the rest of us wear glasses/contacts for something so she came by this one as a HAYES trait and it has nothing to do with Down Syndrome.  It's okay.  We love glasses here. 

You'll know if I suddenly start ripping things out of the house that I'm more stressed about it than I say. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

We Did the Chicken Dance in Our Kitchen

....because one of them (not sure which one) FINALLY laid an egg!!!!! 

SO. Stinkin'. Excited.  We have 22 chickens.  So far only two roosters out of the bunch (dinner someday soon) so we should be set soon with eggs!

Now - to get them to actually lay them IN the nesting boxes.  Hmmm....for now, the kids are starting a new class called 'egg hunt'.  It's not just for Easter anymore.

Love Language?

Camo.  Yep.  Seriously. 

It's his love language.  I wouldn't be suprised if someday it winds up in his wedding attire.  I can hope for different...but I wouldn't be surprised.  :)

Here are a couple of pics of the camo lovin' going on.  Riley's birthday was the perfect opportunity for new fantastic four pictures and some silliness.  We're good at that. 

Do you know how many tries it took to get this decent of a picture?  (Although Riley and Janelle both look a little pained and Charlotte is blurry because holding still is NOT her strong suit right now...)

Riley made sure Charlotte got in on the camo action.

Can you see them?  Charmed, I'm sure by their amazing 'personalities'.  :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cheaper Than Therapy

...ripping out kitchens and such.  :) 

It's something we've planned on doing since first walking into the house while house hunting.  I walked it and saw the BLUE counters and almost didn't go through the rest of it, because, REALLY?  I'm not lovin' the kitchen therefore....NEXT.  We said we'd fix it first thing and, 'okay - yes, it's awesome and has AWESOME bones and heck...a SHOP.'  (Fix it first thing became - MOVE IN ALREADY) 

It's okay...we're making it work BUT now that life has settled into what it is...we're (I'm) taking on projects.  All I can think is that line from "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"...'oh, it was just a little bomb.', and my husband smiles. 

*side note:  NOT a great movie in general (violent and somewhat gratuitus) but it was one we found while working at the children's home in MX and for some reason, it helped with the massive amounts of tension and cultural stress we had.  There are tons of 'lines' we use from it in life but they're pretty much a private joke between Alan and I. 

So - I wonder if there's any correlation between the fact that we get some kind of funky diagnosis or new medical hill we get to climb and I get to ripping something out?  Last week - Scoliosis.  Yes, I said a few unladylike words when they called me, not TO them mind you..  (Silently, but still...) 

Charlotte has been diagnosed with it although we've yet to find out the severity of it.  Her pediatrician feels it's fairly mild but still - we're being referred to the local Shriner's Hospital.  I have no idea what this means...what it's going to look like.  Her OT (occupational therapist) and her PT (physical therapist) had some red flags that were back burner for a while but in the last week, became, "I think this needs to be addressed." 

So here we go...and out come some major parts of our house.  I wonder what I'll rip into when the kitchen is done? 

She Laughed

Yesterday.  For the first time.  8 1/2 months old.  Worth the wait. 

Happy Father's Day, Alan.  :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I swear I'd Only Had ONE Latte...

Yet again, I've started ripping out bits and pieces that we were going to get rid of someday.  Jump start?  Ummmm....quite possibly have created more of a mess this time than I'd planned on.

Those soffits....they're pointless in my mind.  Now, I'm realizing that they did serve a purpose here.  Hiding some funky stuff. 

Yesterday was slightly long, frustrating, messy, and now I'm so tired today, I've done only the basics.  Yeesh.  Nothing like learning by getting your hands dirty.  Did I mention that we had Science classes and other stuff happening from 12:45pm on? 

Part of the evil soffit it is gone.  One step closer to being completely fixed.  Or not..................

This would be the before shot of the kitchen. 

This would be the 'oh k-RAP, this isn't like the last soffit I ripped out and had 'life' put back together by 4pm and 'Oh my heck, is that daylight??!!' moment.

This would be the 'MOM - shouldn't we wait for DAD' moment.

This would be the 'Honey....ummm.....what should I do about this?' moment.

This would be the 'well, by 11:30pm hubby rescued the situation somewhat by screwing up some drywall to cover the can o' worms I opened and created about 10 more to-do's for his 'need to do' list that was already a mile long' moment.


This would be the 'we need a drop cloth because everytime you open the door and close it or a breeze kicks up a touch insulation comes dribbling down onto the kitchen' moment.  (Yes, that is saran wrap and duct tape.  I'm resourceful if anything....)

Duct tape fixes everything?  No.  It doesn't. 

We'll look back and laugh.  I'm positive.  For the moment though I'm being restrained by the fact that I cannot move my right arm much today and I have ZERO energy in which to rip into anything.  My husband is going to have a really bejeweled crown someday for all the rescuing he does.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pillow Talk

When life (garage sale) gives you lemons (a really AWESOME chair with pink and yellow pillows - which are still in really good shape just not your colors); make lemonade (new pillows that will make you smile, use cool stuff you already have, and be the right colors so you don't twitch with things that don't match).

I have issues with colors. 

Before pillow

After pillow - front

After pillow - back

Since everyone in the world knows we love coffee my mom brought back a really cool burlap coffee sack from a trip.  Part of it was the coffee bag - part of it was the red.  For a while it was just hung on a wall but about three months ago, I had a decorating *moment* and cut it up to use as a background to a family portrait. 

I saved the other tidbits to use in the future. 

This last weekend some girlfriends and I met up and the trip morphed from 'meet for ice cream for a birthday' to 'let's go find some pillows for your couch'.  Off we went to some stores to throw ideas (and pillows) around.  Every single one of us went home with pillows that day.  :)  I've wanted some lighter ones for summer and a bit more casual for family so it wasn't a completely impulsive buy.  I've been watching out for a particular fabric and feel.  Red ticking screamed at me 'HERE I AM FINALLY!!" and I decided to make the plunge after finding a couple of other really cute ones to 'go' with it. 

Of course some buyer's remorse set in as I realized it was rather ridiculous to be spending money on PILLOWS of all things but...THEN, I had another crafty/decorating *moment* in which I remembered scraps of coffee bags and my favorite tablecloth from my gramma.  As it was stained I had used it for another craft project for the laundry room and I had the perfect section left for a pillow back.  SCORE!!

Craft inspiration stuck around long enought for me to actually complete one pillow and make a pillow case for one of the dark winter pillows with the rest of the coffee bag, another funky strip of the tablecloth and some of gramma's buttons. 

See???  Ignore the sad state of the pedicure.  Mother's day - that explains the color as well,  I let the girls pick it out and then couldn't go back on my word when they picked something the shade of Kermit the Frog

I'm pretty pleased with myself and our cozy pillows.  Alan is starting to wonder if there is still room to sit on the couch though....too. many. pillows.  I promise to throw them on the floor to make room for you when you come for a visit.  :)

Music Man

My hubby brought over a piano from his parents' place.  They've moved from CO to Eastern WA in the last month (or so) and had a piano that they were going to have to get rid of.  It wasn't going to fit into their new house and they were sad to part with it.  When they mentioned this during a visit, I asked if we could have it.  We've wanted one but it hasn't been in the budget.  They gladly said yes. 

Truck to the rescue.  This is the first time the truck has had a piano in it.  :)  As it needed some work done on it (broken legs and all that), Alan just rolled the truck into the shop and let it sit to work on as he had time.  Cracked us up to have music coming from the shop and see the girls playing the piano in the back of it.  We are easily entertained.  

Of course, when Alan had it fixed and ready, we had two little issues come up.  One - where to put it.  Two - how to get it from the back of the truck INTO the house.  Ack...

I solved the 'where to put it' dilemma with the playing of my favorite sport - moving furniture and we were down to one problem.  Push come to shove (no pun intended...well...never mind), he settled on backing as close to the sunroom door as possible.  Children helped in the placement of furniture dollys (or is it dollies???) and general talking during working so as to keep us from being bored and for Alan to inspire the next generation in the art of 'you can make it work, you just need to be creative.  And safe.' 

Does this look like it's going to work???  Ummm...

Bridge building. 

Some friends brought physical help, 8' 4x4s, and their sense of humor.  No one was harmed during the moving of said piano although I will admit to having to watch through my splayed fingers for a few moments.  Something about that 4 foot drop - a heavy piano - not completely understanding civil engineering and just sheer paranoia on my part.

I'm pretty sure this is the part where I saw my hubby jump up and down to see if it would wobble....eeeck.

 It took all of two minutes for it to be in the house and Janelle had out her books and was playing.  Fun times...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Milestones here and there...

We're hitting some of them - in life in general. 

This month marks Charlotte turning 8, YES EIGHT, months old.  For some reason - she seems like she's growing SO DARN FAST!!!  She's entertaining her brother and sisters at every turn, does a fabulous job of her morning chore of tucking in with the bigs and making sure they get themselves (and her) upstairs to eat,  loving eating avacados, yams, sweet potatoes, spinach, applesauce, pears, and green beans.  Just this morning we tried Oatmeal.  That was the first, 'hmmm...this isn't so great' face we've gotten regarding food.  Not too bad of a record.  She's popping out of her clothes just about the time they 'fit'.  Our new marker of when something is too short is 'when you can see her incision site from Open Heart Surgery, it's too small'.  Or when there is too much baby belly poking out.  :) 

She's working on sitting up and rolling from back to tummy.  Yesterday she did it from tummy to back for the first time for her Auntie Joy when we were Skyping.  Auntie Joy got in on a first, YAY!!

Other elements:  Homeschooling is still going on and while we're finishing up some elements, there will be year round school going on through the summer.  We were slightly derailed in October.  Oh well, 3 days a week during the summer will be a nice schedule and will keep us all on track for some sort of routine, which will make the momma happy.

The kids had an awesome dance competition last month and are gearing up for another one (LEVEL UP!) in July.  This will also be local so let me know if you want to come and cheer them on.  :)

Riley is growing inches and inches each month.  In 6 months he's gone from being in MY armpit to me being in HIS armpit.  Every few weeks, we do some clothing adjustments.

Alan's parents got moved to this state albeit on the other side.  That was a huge move for them but it will be nice to be closer.  All the kids are planning weeks at gramma's house for the summer to-do projects.

We're slowly but surely getting our house/yard settled up.  I think I'm about done rearranging furniture although I DO have to get the piano into the house and adjust a few things to accomodate that.

Yet, not all rearranging is close to being complete.

Last week as we were working in the yard and puttering, Alan pulled out the sink that was in his shop leftover from the last owner and as he was dinking with it, I came in looking for some advice on a project.  LOW AND BEHOLD there was a fabulous looking (albeit cover in some rust and various stains) stainless steel sink between me and my hubby.  I asked what he was going to do with it and his answer, "I don't know.  There's no plumbing right here that I can trace out so I'm not sure." 

"Can I have it for the kitchen?!?!?!?", she asked.

"Are you serious?", he reponded.

"YEP!", she affirmed.


This is a job for girly power tools.  Pampered Chef scraper, baking soda, vinegar, old rag, and rubba scrubba from Flylady.  My elbow should be in thr as well as it took some elbow grease.  This is why I don't need to go to the gym though.  Arm workout - check!

A 'day off' project one:  Pull out old stuff.  He did it while I got the faucet.  He rocks.
No love lost here on that blue countertop.

Now I have a stinkin' cool INDUSTRIAL sink in my kitchen. (FREE!!!! Okay, so we bought a new faucet, new drains, and the piping for under the sink - but STILL!) A little less blue countertop is going on in here as well.  (alterior motive) 

Riley is still trying to figure out why I like having a shop sink in my kitchen.

"It's okay mom, but it looks like a shop."

"Riley, the kitchen IS my shop.  It's perfect."

He's still not convinced.

Of course, while we were on the subject of removing the old sink cabinet and such...I just decided to do a bit more.  I DID text my dh and ask if he'd be mad if I did this BEFORE I started and all he said was 'don't hurt yourself'.  That's love.   

All that was required to set my plan in place was the taking down of an upper cabinet, a soffit, (WHY were those such a rage????), and the 'next to the stove' cabinet.  No big deal.  We had a class on deconstruction. 

Started at about 11am and by 4:30 that afternoon had it set up completely ready to work and ready to serve dinner.  (THANK YOU crockpot.)  My kids worked with me on some of the parts, but managed to do other school in amongst it all.  They're awesome. 

This is the point at which I felt like I should've had more coffee. 

I LOVE function.  I think it's my love language. We're enjoying the new layout and planning on how the new set up will go eventually.  We're getting there.

Of course, the new question at the Hayes house goes something like, "MOM....where are the dishes now???"

"Ummm...give me a minute.", she replies.