Friday, October 2, 2009

Perfectly Captured

As we walked into Kathy and Jakes home to see our wedding photos for the first time I was full of anticipation and excitement. My mom, Andre, the kids and I headed up stairs for the official viewing. Only Kathy and Jake would set up a mini theatre, projector, couches, music and all! Ok so we all know that there was no doubt we would have amazing images, there was never a question about that. These are not just pictures they are emotions and moments in time captured forever. As I watched each frame I was able to feel those exact feelings, the way the wind felt, how fast my heart was beating, the deep breath of pure joy when we were pronounced husband and wife, the realization of the real meaning of this day. These amazing people put their heart and soul into every shot, looking deeper then just what the end result of each individual picture would be, capturing the entire story. They know our story, our joy and pain, truly how big this day really was. Kathy, Jake, and Aaron I cannot thank you enough for giving us this gift that we will have forever. Our kids will be able to re-experience a day in their lives that with age will become more and more meaningful. Just knowing that as a family we have each beautiful moment and emotion to look back on, reflect, talk about how lucky we are, and remember how truly blessed we are. You dug deep on this day and it is so obvious when you get to see the masterpiece of the whole story one frame at a time. We love you and hope that on this day you were able to feed your own souls through being a part of it.

As I look at pictures and write thank you notes I have reflected back on our wedding day so much. I cannot believe how perfect it really did turn out. The only thing that could have made the day any better would have been to have my dad there. Even though he was not physically there I did feel his presence all day long, I know he was there in spirit. The sense of peace and true joy that I was able to have made me positive that he was a part of the entire day. From the moment I opened my eyes the morning of the wedding it was surreal. There I was surrounded by everyone I love the most in this world, getting ready to marry my soul mate. My life is so full of angels, literally you all know who you are and you touch my soul on a daily basis.

It is difficult to describe how much of a fairytale this day was for us. It was more then I ever dreamt of, and all that I ever hoped for. I am so excited to continue on this journey. I am married to a man who is honorable, loyal, has a huge heart, and who loves the kids and I more then I ever knew was possible. I know that we will have our ups and downs throughout our lives but I am not scared for any of it. What we have is unique and we Cherish it, we understand that we have been given a gift in one another. On our wedding day we made the choice to dedicate our lives to making sure we always communicate and support each other in our dreams as a family and as individuals. The road ahead is one that I am looking forward to in every way.

I had planned to put a bunch of pictures up with this post but every time I try it is telling me there has been a bad request Error 400. What the hell does that mean anyway??? Either way I will try again in a bit. Seems cruel to write about how amazing all the pics are then just tease you with 3 of em :) Stay tuned for more of the story.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Kimber's spark!!

For the first time in a while I have gotten to see that amazing sparkle in my beautiful daughters eyes, and it feels amazing! As I posted earlier we have been having some major struggles with Kimber in school and it has been extremely tough for our family. I have been on a mission to help her and find the resources we need to enable her to feel like she has the ability and tools to succeed. In short I have been on a research and calling craze, maybe a bit obsessed with it I might say. After some sleepless nights and overwhelming feelings of hopelessness I have finally found on place that has given us some hope! I visited Cascadia School a couple weeks ago and got to sit in on a classroom and speak to the principle about the school and the philosophies on learning and children. From the outside the place looks like a tiny building that you can drive right past and not notice. However the minute you walk in there is a great energy and feeling of creativity and joy. There were kids in the hall discussing their weekends and writing there thoughts for the day, teachers sitting on the ground next to them fully engaged. All of the kids are very encouraged to help and listen to one another, both teacher and fellow student involvement is part of the philosophy. There are gifted children above average academically, and other kids who struggle and are receiving extra attention.

So now I have to try to convince Kimber that this is a pretty cool place and she should try it out for a day. I did not know what kind of reaction she would have. Kimber is a very sweet kid, but not the most outgoing when it comes to change. Her reaction was awesome!! She said "well obviously my school isnt working so why not check some place else out?" Tuesday morning we were off to a new school where she would spend the entire day in the class she would be in if she were to ever attend. The ride there she was so nervous, barely spoke a word. As we walked in she said mom my stomach hurts. I thought look at this little person being so brave, no asking if she could change her mind, or crying. I told her how proud I was that she was so open minded that she was willing and brave enough to try this new school. As we walked through the hallway with the principle who was so comforting, we passed multiple cages with animals in them. If you know our house them you will know that that instantly made her feel more at home. We got to the door of the classroom of 15 kids and 2 teachers, and were greeted by such a warm and friendly teacher. She told kimber how excited she was to have her there and escorted her to the class. I think I was a nervous as her, maybe more!

All day I could not wait to pick her up, it felt like it took forever! Right when I walked up to get her I saw the huge smile on her face. She said goodbye to the two friends she had made that day and skipped off to the car. Now.....this is a child who I have to pull teeth to hear about her school day on a regular basis, and can barely ever tell me something she learned. Today she could not stop talking about the science projects she had done, and the friends she made, how she learned more in one day then a whole year at her school. She looked so happy, for the first time in a long time I saw her with some confidence about school. She said mom "at that place I never felt like they were leaving me behind, at my school they just move on when I dont get it and they never go back to help me figure it out." I was very impressed with her when she suggested making a pros and cons list for each school. We sat down and did it together, and her reasoning was so logical and smart. The only reason she would be sad to leave was because her brother was finally at her school and now she wouldnt be with him. She immediately called her best friend who moved to Spokane and told her all about the day and how she wanted to go to this new school. That night for the first time in soooo long she went in her room and wrote a song about her day. She used to do that very often but has not seemed inspired lately. The next day when she came home from regular school she was like...its official I want to switch schools.

At this place they encourage the kids creative side, and find ways to use that to learn. They will not allow a child to continue without understanding, and if they are struggling they receive one on one until they get it. I am so hopeful that this is the change Kimber needs. It seems like such a great fit with her personality and learning style. She will attend there for the entire week next week. They are going to assess her and create a development program for her. We will meet at the end of the week and decide what we all think of how the week went and what we feel about the plan. I am hoping and praying that this is the new path we have been looking for!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Missing Dad

Tonight I was going through pictures picking ones that I wanted to print and get framed. My process was sent in another direction when I came across a folder titled bobbum (in case you dont know that is what the kids and our family called my dad). There were many pics, some when he was ill and many from years back. Even though it has been almost 8 months I still find myself staring at pictures as hard as I can in attempt to force the reality that he is gone into my head. I go about life each day, I think I am doing well....then I question myself. Are you really doing Ok?? Do you cry enough? Do you think about him enough? Are you talking about him enough so the kids continue to remember him? Are you being there as much as your mom needs you? Would he be proud of me? How can I live in a way that honors him? How can I feel whole again? This process has no rules, no manual and it is damn hard. Today I just miss him. Simple without any complicated meaning. Just the deep down to my soul feeling of missing my dad, and wondering how my life would be if he was still here. I guess I just felt like putting some of my favorite pictures up would feel good.
What a day this was....Its weird looking back now how we tried to make things feel as normal as possible even though we were all in so much pain and absolutely terrified for our future.

Some of my best memories of my dad were our days on the water. I always used to beam with pride at how active my dad was. He always challenged me to keep up with him, and it wasn't easy. On these days he was truly happy and free.
Anyone who knew my dad would laugh at this picture. This was the face and demeanor he had when he was giddy and happy to be away with his family. When you could catch him in this mood it was so fun, he acted goofy and totally enjoyed himself an his loved ones.

My kids softened my dads heart in ways I never thought was possible. Watching them and him together was and will always be some of my most memorable moments. I feel the most angry when I think about him not being there to see them grow up. I can only pray that the things he taught them will forever be in their little hearts.

Accident prone daredevils is never the best combination! Either way I love that I will forever carry on my Dads enthusiasm for life and adventure.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Just as a side note I do not usually re-read my blogs before posting so I dont want any comments on punctuation and spelling!!!

Our Jamaican Honeymoon

So I have totally been slacking on the Honeymoon blog. Reason being it was so amazing that I honestly did not know where to begin. Also we have so many pictures that everytime I sat down to do it I got caught up in my momories and trying to find a way to capture it through the story the pictures paint. Truth is that I will never be able to portray it the way I would like, but that is ok. It was a very special trip, where we were able to bond in new ways, be carefree dorks, experience a different culture and way of life, and appreciate each other and our sorroundings. Not only was it a vacation but also an awakening to how much of the world we are not aware of. You become enveloped in your little life and it is easy to forget how much more is out there, and how enriching it can be to discover different things. I really treasure that our honeymoon was a combination of the relaxation and closeness we had planned paired with the addition of inspiring, and mind opening experiences. We got to see sides of each other that neither had scene because we were both having feelings and learning new things in a place that was unchartered by both of us.

We spent much of our time having romantic dinners alone, and totally emercing ourselves in just being in the moment and enjoying one another. We laid on the beautiful beaches and listened to our ipods, read or just let our thoughts take us away. It is funny how comforting it is to know that even though your are listenining to a totally different song, or the story you are reading the other knows nothing about that you are still so close and connected. We literally took like 200 self timer pictures of ourselves regardless of what we had to do to get the camera propped up and angled right. It was so hot and muggy that if we didnt make the effort to take pictures directly after we had showered it was almost pointless because we ended up looking greasy and beat down within 2 minutes. Laughter was of no shortage either, weather it was at ourselves, people watching, sliding down water slides or even dancing. I feel extremely blessed to have married my best friend. Ten days of non stop togetherness and I still couldnt get enough of him. Sounds corny I know but its the truth and I pray to never take for grantid the gift we have been given by finding one another.

Oh yeah, beach vollyball baby! So lets just say the people at our resort were much more consumed with drinking and relaxing them getting a game of sweat your ass off beach vollyball going. Andre and I as much as we love to lay in the sun can only sit still for so long before we are searching out an activity or adventure. We got to know alot of the staff members while we were there because they were so friendly and interesting, so when we had no takers on the guests behalf we rounded up a team of our own. It was so fun we got as many staff (whether on the clock or not) and like one other person to get a game going. I can honestly say I do not think I have ever been that sweaty, sandy, and happy at the same time. It was a total blast and these pictures that some staff took only show the begining. Another day we played a mini tournament of guest against staff (this was once we got to know some other people who were really fun and recruited them). We beat the staff and they were literally furious! That made it even better, especially when we got to rub it in for the next couple days. I now have a new love for vollyball and wish I actually could play. I forgot how fun it was and how great the workout is.

One of our favorite days was on this Catameran cruise to the Dunns River falls. You ride out on this amazing boat where they are dumping rum punch down your throat and stop off at this waterfall that is absolutely stunning. At which point you climb the entire thing while being video taped. So funny, and rediculous! Yes we did by the video and it was well worth the laughs. You get to spend the day hiking and out on the ocean with great people and listening to what I would consider a handpicked selection of music. I really couldnt believe every song that came booming over the speakers was from our wedding, it was perfect. We danced with eachother and the people working on the boat. It was one of those magically days that you never want to end.

So much more I can't wait to share but I will have to say to be continued.......

My little Man

Watching your children grow and adapt and find themselves is so amazing! Kindrick started football this year after about a year of asking me to play. He is just about the youngest player on his team of 16 boys. When I signed him up I was of course excited because I love sports and have always been hopeful that Kindrick would choose to play. I didn't realize at the time how much more we would all get out of the experience. Because it is his first season and he is so young I knew it was going to be hard work, and honestly had my doubts as to whether he would still want to play and have the enthusiasm to stick with it. He has far exceeded my expectations and shown me that he is such a determined and strong young man. He goes to these two hour practices where they literally get their butts kicked the entire time. They have 2 min water breaks (they are timed) and other then that is full out conditioning and hard work the entire practices. Honestly I watch these kids and think WOW if they have this kind of heart and drive at these young ages imagine the people they could turn out to be. Now don't think I haven't questioned my decision to let him play at such a young age....every time there is a kid down on the field my heart drops until I see his number still standing. The 3rd week of practice when a kid snapped his forearm I thought to myself why did I think this was such a great idea. It was Kindricks response to that day that made me realize I had the fear not him. I asked him what he thought about the ambulance coming and the kid breaking his arm?? He responded " well I really don't want to break anything but if I do Oh well it will heal I guess" There you go that is just how easy it is! So simply put but with a deeper meaning, that I have since thought about quite a bit. He might get knocked down, even shed some tears and sometimes feel scared to go against certain bigger players. He always gets back up dusts himself off and tries again, with a positive attitude. If that same amazing spirit can transcend into his life in other areas he will succeed at whatever he wants. It is the realization that you might get hurt, and it will be hard but if you keep getting back you will feel good about yourself and you will eventually achieve your goal. We are so proud of him! He had his first game last Sunday and was so excited and proud of himself. After the game (which they kicked butt and won by a mile) was over you could see the pride glowing from him all day.

Now I will say this has been a learning experience and it has not all been positive...... There did come a point however where Kindrick had his one and only practice where he said he didn't want to go and he didn't want to play football. On this day I sat with him and told him that he had made the decision to play football and that he needed to follow through with it. I told him that he had made a commitment to a team and himself, and that I thought he wouldn't feel very good if he just quit (this was week 3 of practice and after the 2nd day of full contact tackle). I empathized with him about being nervous and scared to get hit, and I told him it was ok to feel that way. I also asked him if part of his reasoning was because he wasnt as good as he wanted to be. As we talked more and he opened up he told me that he just wanted to be the best on the team but wasnt, and that some of the kids on the team were "jerks". We made the plan together that he would choose to stay away from the jerks, and that if after this season he was done with football that was fine. He told me that "he would rather have NO friends on the team then to hang out with mean kids"! We also talked about how if you give up on something before you give it your all that you will never get good at anything. Long story short he went to practice that day and worked so hard even his coaches were surprised! After practice I asked him if he was glad he decided to go?? He told me in his little exhausted 5 year old way that he was so glad I didnt let him stay home and that his was not going to say he wanted to quit or not go to practice again. He felt so good about himself, and has not mentioned quitting again. I learned from this that as a parent you are obligated to push your kids in a positive way, but also that there is a fine balance of making sure you push them for reasons that better who they are and who they will become. You must make sure that you are encouraging them and letting them know that you understand and are open ears to their concerns. It is easy to just say Your not quitting, it is the process you go through to make them want to persevere that will create great outcomes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

In need of advise

Dont be to shocked to see that I am actually posting to my blog!! I cant even believe that I remembered my password to tell you the truth. Oh it feels so good to be home and even better to embark on this new journey together as a family! I honestly did not think it would feel much different once we were married but it does in so many ways. There is a new level of respect, stability, love and investment into our futures together. The kids seem to feel it to, they were close to Andre already but the bond seems to be running even deeper. We all have a sense of being just that much more complete and it is perfect.

I know you would assume that my first new blog would be all about our wedding and honeymoon, however I have something so big that is more important then anything to me. So school has began and Kimber is now in 4th grade. As many of you know she has had problems both academically and socially in school. She is such a special little person and some people just dont get her. I know for a fact that when she gets older this will be a trait that will be appreciated by many. Even she has made the comment "I know im different then everybody else and sometimes they think Im weird but when we grow up they will all be the same and I will be unique" I personally still have difficulties understanding stuff like that and there it comes out of the mouth of a nine year old. Until last year Kimber really struggled to make friends and it has been extremely hard for her and for me. It is very painful to see your child hurting and feel helpless to make it better. She finally made a best friend that was her perfect match. Dani is her name and they truly are the cutest of friends. Once she found a companion she seemed to gain confidence not only socially but in class as well and I was so hopeful that things in school were looking up for her. She continued to be behind all year even though she was put in a special class for kids with learning difficulties. But overall the year was much better then the last 3. When my dad was sick, Dani and her family were a huge support for Kimber and for our family. She really found a person she could be herself with and that was from a great family. The day before school started my mom called Dani's mom to ask if they wanted to carpool because that is what we had always done the previous year (my mom was doing the calling because we were still on our honeymoon at this time). To all of our surprise her mother told my mom that she had taken a job in Spokane where their family was from and that Dani would not be coming back! As much as we are so happy for them to be near their family, which is something they had been hoping for for a long time, the devastation to Kimber is tearing me up. She spent hours alone in her room bawling, she told us that "her heart already had a hole in it from losing my dad and how could this happen to her", she continued with saying "that now she had NO one plus she was stupid and would never have friends or be good at school". I have never felt so much pain for one of my kids, it truly hurt to the depth of my soul. She has been so strong about it, she is trying to go to school with a positive attitude and make other friends but you can just see that she feels empty. Also she has realized that she just isnt capable of learning the way the other kids in her grade do. She told me last night that"when she is listening to the lesson she feels like it makes sense, but when she tries to do it her brain just wont work right". She also asked me the other day how she would ever be in life because people who are smart go to college to get a good job and that she isnt smart enough to go to college. She asked me why she cant learn when she tries so hard?? I want desperately to tell her I have the answers and I will solve it all. The truth is that I dont know what to do. I told her that I will do everything in my power to help her find a way to learn better, and that she can do anything in this world she wants to. We talked about how their are some people who are super good and math and reading and then there are those who create the art that makes our world so beautiful and unique. She is such a pure little soul and I do not want her self esteem to deteriorate so much that she begins to lose the spirit she has. We have gone to her pediatrician, dornbecher has diagnosed her with ADHD but said its not serious enough to medicate, we just need to find creative ways to teach her (even if they wanted to medicate I would not at this point), her teachers at school and specialists all adore her but are at a lose of how to pull the part of her out that will start to grasp things. We do extra work at home....none of it seems to be working. I am reaching out to anyone who may have any suggestions, or know someone who has dealt with a similar situation. I cannot stand by and watch her fall through the cracks, or start feeling bad about herself. We are lucky enough to have amazing friends and family in our lives and I hope through that we can start to find some answers and avenues to take.