Saturday, October 27, 2012

fall adventures & pumpkin carving

Normally I put up decorations pretty early, but this year it got to be October 1st before I even thought of dragging them out.  I debated about not doing it.  It's a lot of work and I feel like they are only up for a short time before Christmas comes out.  But I'm so glad I did.

I brought everything upstairs, including the stash of Halloween books I put away and bring back out every fall.  Andrew was so thrilled he couldn't wait to read the books.  He grabbed them and went straight upstairs to read them in his bed, next to his beloved Casper ghosts.
He was so sweet sitting here reading to himself and watching his ghosts.
He wanted his picture next to them- Ha!  This was my mobile when I was a kid.  My mom got it from somewhere.  Andrew got into Casper a couple years ago and he was beyond excited when my mom gave it to him last year.  When I pulled it back out again this year he said "I remember this!"  He couldn't wait to hang it up in his room.
He also helped me go through my tubs of decorations and kept pulling things out and setting them on his little table.  He had it all arranged while Kerigan was napping.  I warned him that when she woke up she would mess it all up!  He was not happy about this!
We've been having fun playing in the leaves this fall.  Here's a couple of pictures (more to come).  Andrew was helping Papa brush the leaves off the sidewalk...while pretending to be a witch riding a broom!  Ha!

One night when we started getting into the fall mood, we went shopping for Andrew's Halloween costume.  He decided he wanted to be the Tin Man because Kerigan was going to be a witch!  I have never made any of his costumes before, and I have to admit, it was really fun!  And it is kind of nice to have something unique, too.
Daddy has been busy a lot this season and most weekends so thanks to Papa, his Tin Man got done!
He was so proud working on his costume with Papa.  It was something special they did together.  Andrew can't wait to wear it trick or treating!

Every year we go to Craig's brother's house to carve pumpkins.  It is always fun to see all the designs the kids pick for the adults to carve- ha!
This year Kerigan even got to help.
I was so proud of Andrew this year.  He wanted to do almost everything all by himself.  In past years, he took little interest in this.  I can tell he's growing up and getting more mature.
I love this- my kids working together.

He lifted the lid right off and started scraping all the yucky stuff out!
Torturing his sister with the gross stuff!  Ha!  She didn't seem to mind though!

Andrew and Jayden- silly smiles!
Aunt Rachel with Evie and Jayden
My sweet little pumpkins

This was the part that just shocked me... we taped the designs on and have to poke holes around the edges, then tear the paper off to cut out.  Andrew saw Evie doing hers so he wanted to try it.  They both sat here for a very long time, concentrating so hard and poked almost every single hole!  I was so proud of them!

They were so sweet, concentrating so hard.
Daddy got there from his volleyball tournament just in time to carve Kerigan's tricky Minnie Mouse!

I think he did a pretty amazing job, don't you!
Most of the finished products... a couple were still being finalized but we had to get going because it was way past 10:00!  Kerigan went to sleep in Jayden's room so she didn't get to see her pumpkin that night so the next night we took her outside and lit it up to show her.
This picture cracks me up!  She wasn't that interested (sorry daddy!) and Andrew behind her just makes me laugh.  He is obsessed with the monsters from Hotel Transylvania and he was pretending to be Frankenstein!  Ha!  His pumpkin was the Grim Reaper, which he has no idea who that is but he called it the "scary guy."  I guess he wanted to be a big boy this year.  Move over Buzz, Woody and Mater!

More fall fun coming soon!  I just love this time of year!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

forever friends

These two were quite a sight the next morning after Kerigan kept us up until late because she refused to sleep in her pack and play.  Maybe it was because we stayed at the Jacks' about 3 hours past her bedtime (and I will add that she was going strong until we hit the road about 10pm!)... or maybe it was because we were all in the same room, pretending to sleep so she'd lay down and give it up!  Ha!  What actually ended up happening is...she cried herself to sleep (after about an hour) and the rest of us fell asleep waiting!

You'd think she'd be used to this traveling thing by now... in case she hasn't figured it out, our family likes to go places!!  Ha!  And I refuse to give up... she'll  have to adapt sooner or later!
When we look for hotels, we always look for 2 things.  A free, hot breakfast, and a pool.  We have found that one of our favorite hotels is the Holiday Inn Express.  They have it all, and everything is always nice and clean and reasonably priced.  Andrew loves the instant pancake maker!
She just loved the pancakes!
Andrew could hardly wait for a swim so after breakfast we spent some time at the pool before heading back to our friends.
Someone hadn't forgotten how much she loves the water!
I love her smiley faces!
Watching Bubba jumping in!
Andrew was making us all nervous jumping too close to the edge!
I mean seriously?  I about had a heart attack after this!
We suggested he take a ride on his swim board for awhile!  Ha!
He wasn't happy when it was time to get out!  But he was happy when he remembered he got to see Logan and Wyatt again!
I just loooooove their sweet little feet!

We all took turns getting ready and while they were waiting...someone fell asleep.
I had to crack up because I posted this picture on facebook and everyone was commenting... who took the picture!?  Ha!
This is the "behind the scenes" picture!  Ha!  Andrew and I were pretending to sleep.  He thought it was great!  He did a great job...dont'cha think?

After naptime we headed back to the Jacks' for a delicious lunch of chili and cornbread.  Yummy!  I always tease Stef because her facebook posts are always talking about these delicious meals she's making and we get take out or pizza every other night!  Ha!  I was super happy I finally got to get in on one of those meals!
After lunch we had a full on Nerf gun war!!
Andrew could not have been more thrilled and happy about this, since mommy only lets him shoot his at the wall!  What's fun about that!??  Ha!  (Stef, mom of boys, needs to teach me a few things!!  This day I learned you can still have nerf gun fights but you have to stand far apart.  Got it!)
Wyatt let Andrew use his ultimate Nerf gun.  Andrew thought it was just about the coolest thing he'd ever seen (and Logan's face at the bottom of this picture makes me laugh!)
Kerigan joined right in!  Ha!
She wasted no time in picking up the darts, but when we took them away from her she had a full on melt down!
See exhibit A... HA!
Good thing she is feisty as ever and can take these boys anytime!  Ha!
This face is just his classic "I'm having the time of my life" face!
Wyatt and Andrew... in his protective gear!  Ha!
Reloading their ammo...
This just makes me laugh...Ryan and Logan hiding behind Logan's coloring paper!  Ha!  And the dart stuck to Andrew's back is pretty stinkin funny too!
Don't you love how you can actually see the darts flying out of the gun??
This is too funny not to post.  No, I didn't actually fall over completely as my son was drilling me with darts!  Ha!
The adults got in on the action too... Craig was all excited to play, but ended up getting blasted by the kids!  Ha!  Andrew is never going to let us forget about this, and I'm pretty sure that for Christmas he is buying his daddy his own Nerf gun!
 I can see many more wars in our future... does this mean Kerigan needs one too??  Ha!
Andrew took a break after the war to color a picture with Logan.  
This picture just make me smile.

I am having trouble putting into words how I've been feeling about friendships lately.  Many times heart moms say that their friendships change so much when they officially become a "heart mom."  That friendships they had before, easily fade away because of the unspeakable obstacle that has suddenly crashed right into the middle of the life we once knew.

I have to say that I thank God for the friends I had at the time of Andrew's diagnosis.  I have always been one of those people with just a handful of truly good friends.  All through elementary school my parents always had to encourage me to have more than one friend at a time.  For me, friendship was so sacred, that not just anybody could be considered.  I can probably say that in my life I have only had a handful of those friends who knew everything about me, knew my thoughts before I spoke them, knew what was on my mind and in my heart.  None of them were "heart" moms, and none of them truly understood what I was going through, but they were all there for me, whether distance separated us, or just a couple of blocks.

I truly believe that God puts people in your life at certain times for a reason.  Whether they remain close friends or not, doesn't really matter.  They were there for you when you needed them, at the time God wanted them to be there.  When I found out about Andrew's heart, I had the friends I needed.
And they got me through that horrific time.

Becoming a heart mom changes you.  And I believe it changed me for the better.  It opened up a whole new world of friends I never knew existed.  These were people who actually understood what I was going through.  Again, a work of God.  Because ultimately He knew that we would need each other.  That the bond heart families share is irreplaceable and incomparable to anything else.

One of the first heart moms I met brought something into the light for me that I'll never forget.  She said "Have you ever noticed how heart moms all have similar personalities?"  And we do!  It is truly amazing and a work of God.  We all have the same spirit, that determination that is the driving force our children desperately need.  But we also know how to have fun!  We know how to laugh.  We know how to share our hearts, and we treasure our friendships.  We know how short life is.  We have seen too many cut short not to value every single moment.

I'll never forget the first time I met Stef.  We had been reading each other's care pages for a while and leaving messages back and forth.  The first time we got to meet at a heart mom get together, we clicked immediately and never stopped talking.  We have so much in common, with Andrew and Logan being so close in age.  The bond was just instant.  You can't really describe it.  It is impossible to explain how you can look into another mother's eyes and truly "get it."  We have both sent our boys into an operating room not knowing if we'd ever see them again.  And there's just something about that bond that can't be found anywhere else.

Over the years, Stef has become more than just my "heart" mom friend.  I am positive that if we had met under different circumstances, we would have still been close friends.  This was just God's way of bringing us together.  She is the definition of friendship to me.  I can call her anytime of day or night, I can count on her no matter what.  I can call her out of the blue and tell her I'm coming over (even though we live about 4 hours away) just because I miss her.  She is the first person I call when one of my kids is sick, even at 10:00 at night when I am driving my daughter to the ER scared to death there is something wrong with her.  She is who I call on my way home from work to vent about my day, or just to talk about silly things like reality TV.
We were brought together by our children, our families linked by circumstances out of our control, but I'm so thankful.  I couldn't make it through this journey without her... 
"heart" journey or not.

Now... which one of us is putting a sign in their yard tomorrow??? :(

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