Sunday, May 30, 2010

Truly a Happy "Memorial" Day

I love Memorial Day! While I am patriotic, I have my own special "Memorial" to remember. Exactly seven years ago on Memorial Day, my son, Daniel, was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Daniel was born in January 2002 and was a perfect 8 pound 8 ounce blue-eyed, blond baby boy! See for yourself:

He was the sweetest, most easy going baby ever. He always had a smile and was so laid back:

By the time he was about 6 months old we realized that he was having a little trouble hitting some of his baby milestones. So from about 6 months old until he was 15 months old we took him to physical therapy (which he loved) to help him work on some of those skills he was lacking. I didn't become overly concerned until he started vomiting regularly. We took him to several doctors, but didn't really get any answers.

The Sunday before Memorial Day in May 2003, we had a baby dedication for Daniel at our church. Along with dedicating him to the Lord and asking the Lord to bless him and care for him, our pastor, Charlie Long, prayed for wisdom and healing for Daniel. Here was our pastor with Daniel:

The very next day, Daniel's conditioned worsened so we took him to the ER where we had Daniel examined. The doctor on duty ordered a CT scan and the results revealed a golf ball sized tumor! Our pastor's prayer for wisdom as to what was wrong with Daniel had been answered. Daniel was rushed to Duke Medical Center where he began a long road of treatment including several surgeries, chemo and radiation.

I'm writing this today because I want establish this memorial as a reminder of God's faithfulness. May 26th, 2003 was a day that changed my life forever. It was a day I thought my son might not live to see another year. More importantly, it was the first day of a precious journey with my God. The Lord was so gracious and revealed so much of Himself and his love for me and my son over those years. He had so much he wanted to teach me that I could only learn when I was fully dependent on Him. I am so thankful for that challenging time in my life.

God has also answered our prayers and provided complete healing for Daniel! Daniel has been tumor-free for 5 years now! I am so blessed to have Daniel in my life and watch him grow. Each day he seems to be becoming his own person. He is smart, funny and definitely thinks outside the box! When I was looking through some of his childhood pictures, it was really hard to narrow down which ones to post because each one is precious to me. Each snapshot is just a glimpse of countless stories I have in my memory of Daniel. So, I'll do my best to add just a "few" pictures, but no promises!

Now, that wasn't too many, right? I love you Daniel! Thank you Lord for making Memorial Day such a sweet reminder of your love for me and my family!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Are you brave?

Steve got home from a long day of work with a surprise for the kids. He had stopped by the grocery store on the way home, came in the door, and announced," Who is brave?!?" The kids and I both looked at him kind of strange wondering what he was talking about. Then as I saw him unload his groceries I understood what adventure was ahead of us. See if you can figure it out - cream soda, grape soda, strawberry ice cream, and cookies & cream ice cream - ICE CREAM FLOATS!

Personally, I am not a big fan of mixing soda and ice cream, though I like each of those ingredients separately. Anyway, Steve asked the kids again, "Who is brave?" To which they all replied,"ME!" Steve explained that they were going to make and try a new kind of dessert called a root beer float. So began their food experiment.

Steve's first creation was a grape soda and strawberry ice cream float. (Gross, right? That's what I thought too.)

But the kids were true to their word and decided to be "brave." Take a look at their reactions:

As you can see, the girls weren't too impressed with the grape soda, strawberry ice cream combo. I'm with them. I'm actually quite surprised that Daniel tried it, given the girls' reactions. But he did.

Daniel thought it was okay, while Andrew really liked it. Notice Emily in the background of each of those pictures still looking appalled at what had been done to her.

Next, Steve mixed up the cream soda and cookies & cream ice cream for the kids to try. Well, the girls were done "being brave," and there was no persuading them to try this new concoction. But both boys were game and gave it a shot. Daniel loved it and ended up eating the whole float himself.

He even used a straw so that he could savor every last drop.

Andrew liked it okay, but ate the grape soda, strawberry ice cream float.

The girls ended the night with smiles on their faces enjoying a bowl of plain cookies & cream ice cream:

Don't I have the best husband? Steve and the kids had such a fun time with this. These kids are so blessed to have such a fun Daddy!

Oh, and in case you're wondering - I'm Not Brave!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Homeschooling My Boys!

Okay, yesterday I took a few pictures of our homeschooling room so you could get a glimpse of what our schooling looks like around here. A lot of people ask me, "How does homeschooling work? How do you know what to teach? How do you teach different grades at the same time?" etc. Here is a glimpse of the room we do our school in:

Daniel's Desk and Andrew's Desk

Writing Center, Computer and Educational CDs

Time Line and of course - LOTS OF BOOKS!

I was going to share about all the benefits of homeschooling - individualized education, one-on-one instruction, efficient use of time, high academic standards, character training, etc. However, as I was downloading the pictures I took of our school room, I noticed a few extras that I did not take. Andrew and Daniel got ahold of the camera. So, let me share with you some of the pictures that my precious "homeschoolers" took.

Aren't those pictures great! It was so nice for them to take such sweet pictures. If only they had stopped there. Next, they got a bit silly:

I guess that was still a little too boring for them. So, they decided to "squish" each other:

How about beating each other with a giant ball?

I'm not sure who was inspired to take a picture of horses kissing!?!:

And of course, a photo shoot done by eight and nine year old boys wouldn't be complete without at least one rear end shot:

Thanks Daniel. Sigh....

Oh well, I will have to wait until another day to expound on the glories of homeschooling. Right now we have a few areas to work on!! I will say that there is never a dull moment around here! I am so blessed!