Sunday, September 25, 2011

Birthdays 2011 (better late than never :)

Since the kiddos birthdays are just days apart, we always celebrate together. This year they decided on a bowling party. It was so much fun and I loved watching all the kiddos have so much fun. We are so blessed to have so much family live near by. We (family) are always commenting how very blessed and lucky are kiddos are to grow up and form such lasting relationships with their cousins. Sure they fight as all kids do, but the bond they share is simply amazing.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A freshman, a third grader, and a new district...
The kiddos started their new school last week. Things seem to be going well. Riles loves "her new friends and we don't have lots of kids in my class. My teacher can answer my questions instead of ignoring me." Danno has said "it's cool. The kids are nice here too." I was worried he would not adapt well. He is a creature of habit and likes a specific routine. A routine without change and a familiar environment. (He is smiling when he comes home and loves going to grandma's.)  Riles on the other hand, craves for activity and change. She has to perform tasks a certain way, but doesn't mind if you change things up a bit. I love to see the light in her eyes when she talks about learning. She loves Diary of a Whimpy Kid and any world record book. :)
I am also back to school with 18 new little ones. I forget how hard it is in the beginning, but marvel at how well the little ones adapt to changes and quickly settle into a routine. I love teaching them. I love to see their eyes shine bright and hear my name called loudly as they run into our room each morning eager to share their news. The pride I feel when they master a new task must equal one of a parent.
I cannot wait to see how we will all grow this school year.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Meet Ellie
This past May, our dog Tucker had a litter of pups. Seven little bundles of fur, ok so one wasn't so little. His name was Frank. Anyway, as the weeks progressed, Riles and one little female puppy formed an incredible bond with each other. When Riles would call her name, she would come to her, and when Riles walked in the door, here she would come. Soon it was time to say good-bye to the puppies and we listed them for free on craigslist. In 24 hours all the puppies had homes. Riles sobbed. and sobbed. and sobbed. She didn't want to say good bye to Ellie. She was her best friend in the whole wide world, and she would miss her for her whole life. (riles words). So, the night that the last puppy left and Ellie was the last one remaining, Papa (Blackie) said to Grandma Pat, "If the Riles wants to keep Ellie, I guess we can keep her here." So, that's how we became the proud "foster parents" of Ellie. Riles' best friend in the whole wide world. (Danny thinks she's pretty cool too.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Wish...

I had a moment today. A moment where I realized, yet again, I couldn't just simply "go ask my Dad" a question. Even after almost 8 years, these things sneak up on me and bring on the tears. Something as simple as an old family recipe, something that wasn't written down, brings on the melancholy.
It makes me wish I would have had the foresight to ask him questions and have him write his stories down. It doesn't matter if I had heard them all a thousand times before, I will never hear them again. What brought this on? My sisters have been talking about my Grandma Coates' recipes for baked mac and cheese and her baking powder biscuits (which is something I cannot make, no matter how many times I try). My dad was an only child. There isn't anyone to ask these questions. No one to give the answers.
I miss my dad today.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Saying Thank You, isn't enough...
The kiddos and I went to see The Wall That Heals, the traveling Vietnam Wall exhibit. It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I hope my children understand the significance of those names and what they represent. I hope they understand Freedom isn't free.
Thank you to all who have fought, or are fighting for our freedom. The sacrifices you and your family make are honored and appreciated in our home.

(Blackie's Cousin, he was just 21 years old.)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

That is what I am becoming. I love to watch the Food Network, Cooking Channel, and my new favorite love is to read food blogs. My new favorite: Mennonite Girls Can Cook.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

So incredibly excited for tomorrow. The sisters and I are going to see WICKED! I saw it last year (from the nose bleed section) and it was phenomenal, so I can't wait to see it tomorrow (from the orchestra floor), with some of my favorite people. My sister Dianne absolutely loves the Wizard of Oz, (and so do both of her grandbabies) and I think I am more excited to see her reaction to it than to see the show!  :) 
I will be sure to blog a follow-up post

Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Heavy Heart....

Today my hubby, Danno, and I made a journey up north so Danny could visit Troy. In prison. It was the most difficult decision (and journey) I have ever made as a parent. Danny came to me approximately 2 years ago, when Troy sent him a birthday card. He was almost livid. His comment to me was something like this "Why does he think it's ok he calls me son, or send me a birthday card? Why NOW? How come I wasn't good enough to be his son when I was 6, or 10? Why am I only good enough when he goes to jail?I don't understand. What's wrong with me when he isn't in jail"
I had to look into that face, a face who lights up a room with one smile, and say "I don't have the answers you need. Unfortunately, the only person who has them is Troy. Those are questions you have to ask him. I'm sorry I can't give you the answers you need." Danny's response was "Then let's go. I want to talk to him. I want to see his face." So, we applied for a visitor's pass to take Danno to see him.
Danny was denied.
So, this past February we applied again. He was denied for the second time.
I had to apply for an appeal to the warden for Danny to be approved. Troy had completed the classes for Danny to visit by then. Danny was approved in March.

So, today I watched my son climb into our van and anxiously ride for 3.5 hours to seek the answers he so desparately needed. The only thing is, he didn't ask them. This time. He said "I want to get to know him, before I ask him why." My heart broke today as I sat and watched a grown man, and a tenderhearted boy  try to forge a relationship. A relationship that should have been forged long ago. I was young, so was he. We created a child, and unfortunately it is he who paid the price. Not me. Not Troy. Danny. As I sat there and watched them learn to communicate, I felt a range of emotions. I felt guilty, angry, and hopeful.
GUILTY, because I don't think I have ever seen my son happier. Angry for the circumstances I put him in. No, I didn't deny Troy visitation. He was the one who chose not to have contact, but being young I made decisons that impacted his life. Would I do it all over again, absolutely. Have you met my son? He is splendidly awesome. :)  Hopeful, because I see a man who is wiser, and I believe just as hopeful.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Happy Birthday to my kiddos!
Both kiddos celebrated birthdays this week. Riles on Sunday and Danny today. We somewhat celebrated by going to the car show on Sunday, and we will have their birthday bowling party on Saturday. They loved the car show, especially watching the BMX bike stunt team perform. I just know I will be seeing riles and dude making ramps this summer. :) I cannot wait for summer vacation, nice warm and lazy days listening to the kiddos fight, going places and experiencing new things. Angela and I are planning on taking our kiddos back to KC this summer. One definite stop will be the Trex cafe. I can't wait.
I scrap with the girls in April, and look forward to that. We haven't been anywhere or scrapped together in a while. So long, in fact I was worried if we were still friends! Here are some pictures of the kiddos this past weekend.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Updates on us...
not a lot to report on us. The kiddos will turn a year older (each) towards the end of the month. We are trying to plan a party that works for both of them. It is hard when there is such an age gap between them. Danny is doing well in school this year. The maturity and responsibility he has gained is amazing. Riles is still Riles. She loves school and enjoys learning. She is excited to change schools next year and be able to play with her friends in town after school. Danny...not so excited; however, once the school year gets started and he meets some new friends, I bet his outlook on it will change. I hope so. Chris and I have decided if he does not adjust well we can always change him back. He will be studying for his permit soon. I cannot believe he is old enough for this. The years have flown so fast.
I am looking forward to spring break and winding down of the school year. As I look back on the class from this year, I can see how much we have grown. Me as a teacher, and them as individuals. I will miss this class. Some of them, I have had for 2 years. Others I wish I had more time with, time to help them become more successful, and to cherish them a little longer. Sometimes, it breaks my heart to see them go on.
Happy Saturday.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Ponderings of a young mind...
Tonight, as Riles and I were finishing the last touches on dinner (Chicken Alfredo), she said this to me. "I don't want to die. I'm scared to die." Me: "What brings this up for us to talk about big girl?" Riles (as tears fill those big, beautiful brown eyes) said "I've just been thinking about it. If I die, I have to grow up and leave here. I don't want to leave here. I want to be here with you and dad." Me: (who happens to be bawling at this time) said "Oh Riles, death isn't something to fear. You get to live with Jesus in his  garden. You would get to see Grandpa Coates and Haddie. ("and Buddy!" she says), and sit on Jesus's lap or at his table and visit with him. The sun would shine everyday, and I bet rainbows appear too. Death is another step to living. We can't all live forever."  Riles: "I just don't want to die. It scares me to bad." She then gave me the biggest bear hug and wouldn't let go. So, what do I say to her to calm her fears? She said she has been thinking about it "a lot on my mind lately." I don't know how to help her "get it off her mind."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

And the Wiener is...
Riles! Yep..she matched the dates to the puzzle game and got a wienie whistle (and they were so nice they gave her another one for Danny :)
We went to the dreaded W place today and lo and behold..there it sat. Now, I don't know if you know this faithful readers (all 3 of you), but I have secretly LOVED the wienie mobile all my life. *I* bought the hotwheel many years before I had children, and then found another one at a garage sale, score! I giggle everytime I see it. I know, it's right up there with my love for all things Sesame Street (which is the new cricut cartridge I just bought).
Here are the pictures of Miss Riles with the wieniemobile. (Danny didn't go: 1. He loathes grocering (as he used to call it), and 2. it wasn't supposed to be there until tomorrow, which is when we were going to make a drive specifically to see it.
Have a bunderful day!