Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!!!

Ayla, you were born March 2nd, 2001, at Kootenai Medical Center. You were only 2 weeks early and other than some fluid in your lungs and a couple of days in the hospital on oxygen you were healthy. Mom had a difficult pregnancy and at 23 weeks I spent 10 days at Deaconess Hospital due to preterm labor. From that time on I was on bedrest.

While mom was on bed rest, dad and grandpa were hard at work, building home #1. We were living in "the guest house" which is now the kitchen of home # 2.

After 8 months of trying to decide on your name we made a final decision and went to bed.

When I woke up around 1 am, I knew it was time to get to the hospital. I woke daddy and we began to grab our stuff. We took Kaly to gma and gpa's and began a long, slow, snowy drive to town. I was sure you were going to be born in the car. Once at the hospital daddy became very assertive. He wheeled me straight to the labor and delivery unit, not waiting for an escort. We made it with just about 20 minutes to spare. You were born at 3:09am.

You were a happy baby from the start, and you loved to be held. You have always been our social butterfly.

Some memorable events were:

  • you usually would rather smile at me than eat. You sometimes would smile so big your milk would dribble down your chin.

  • you would eat stink bugs that you found in the house, dead or alive. YUCK!!!!

  • you would sleep with your hands up in the air, Ryder did that too.
  • sometimes I had to leave the vaccuum running or have the TV make static noise so you would sleep.

  • you wanted to be a "tomboy" like Sadie and Shaylynn.

  • you have always loved babies and you have always loved to hold them.

It is hard to even think of memories of you without Kaly as part of it. You two have been the best of friends and are rarely separate. I am so thankful God saw fit to surprise us with you so soon. In many ways you are like twins. You have a bond that is so wonderful, I hope you will always cherish your friendship. I love watching you come up with so many ideas of things to do and creative adventures. Even spa/hot tub night in your bedroom. You crazy little girls.

Over the last 9 years we have enjoyed so many fun memories. Ayla, you have become such a beautiful young woman.

Some of Ayla's favorite things:

  • Gymnastics at home and in class

  • taking pictures, she is learning a lot from watching aunt Aimee and Crystal

  • talking on the phone to Sadie and McKenna

  • googling over babies

  • creating forts and playing in them

Ayla, today we celebrate your 9th birthday and all the wonderful memories we have together.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Gavin and the Monster Jam

Okay, so maybe the whole show was not entirely for the Gavster.

It all started back some time ago when we borrowed a Wii Monster Truck video game from the video and everything else imaginable store, (also known as Grandpa and Grandma Stuart’s). Gavin, at first, was enthralled with the intro piece and then later figured out how to drive the truck back and forth while proceeding to smash into whatever happened to be in the way. The rest is history as they say. Everything was now about monster trucks, along with his other favorites: trains, tractors and anything else big, loud and powerful.

Then one morning Gavin woke up and wanted me to take him out so he could see the monster truck in the front yard or driveway or wherever it was supposed to be. The monster truck should be there of course because Gavin was gonna drive it (and I guess smash the rest of the cars in the driveway or maybe the house – I’m sure it would have been a phenomenal show if his wish/dream would of come to fruition).

So, what does a guy do about something like this but do the next best thing and take his son to the Monster Jam. So, we loaded up the van with Gavin, uncle Jay and his cousins; Drew, Austin and Ryder and met Grandpa Mark at the ultimate, the one and only, car smashing, good time American fun, Monster Jam. Smashing, crashing rolling and jumping. It’s loud and it’s messy and Gavin’s eyes were as big as saucers glued to the arena floor.
Before the show even started, however, is when the real magic happened. We had pit passes to go down and check out the BIG MONSTER TRUCKS, as Gavin would exclaim. As we wandered in the pit, a crew worker/security dude took notice of us (Gavin was in his power-chair). He asked if we wanted to allow Gavin to meet the driver and receive an autograph. Of course, we said certainly and away we went. I think Gavin’s eyes got so big along with his smile when we met the first driver that our newly found guide decided to escort us around and to meet all of the drivers. And so we did, by which all of the drivers signed Gavin’s power-chair (the bike). What a special treat that was.

I think people tend to see a situation where they can obviously make a special child’s day and run with it. One thing I have learned from having Gavin is that I get the privilege of seeing the kindness and generosity of others shine through, as they want to make a difference in another’s life.

And so, this post is not so much about Gavin as it is more about others or those who come into contact with him. What a privilege it is to be a witness to this. Thank you God for the honor and allowing me the privilege to nurture one of your precious little ones.

Till next time,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In Loving Memory

My grandparents, Grandpa Dave and Grandma Lila are now together in heaven in peace, whole in mind, body and spirit. I sit here in their old house and remember so many memories.

I remember Grandpa sitting in the red chair dozing off to and episode of MASH ( a show my mom didn't want us watching). When someone said he was sleeping he would say " I'm just resting my eyes".

I remember many sleep overs with grandma and not being able to fall asleep because we would get the giggles about something and laugh until we cried.

I remember watching grandma effortlessly clean the kitchen and wash the counter top with a soapy clothe. Every time I wipe that same counter top, a vision of her flashes through my mind. I will miss these old orange counter tops.

I remember grandpa saying "Stacy honey" what do you think about this scripture, or some deep question I could never have an answer for.

I remember going for family walks and grandma, Katie and I laughing so hard about the sign that said "Slow children at play". I loved grandma's laugh!

I remember grandma humming and whistling a tune in her beautiful voice. Why didn't I get those genes?

I remember grandma and grandpa taking in a foster child. She was a handful but they had such generous hearts. They gave so much to everyone they knew.

I remember grandpa and all his money jokes. He always hoped for money, but the only thing he would ever do with it would be to give it away. Every time I asked if I could get him something he would say "A million dollars".

I will never forget grandpa's last wish was that ALL his grandchildren would LOVE JESUS.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Valentine

I can't help but think about the days when Jeromy and I first met and fell in love. I was sitting in the first day of English at North Idaho College and this really cute guy walked in the door. He paused as he entered and scanned the room. He sat a couple of seats behind me. I had the priveledge of passing papers to him a few times every class and took the opportunity to turn around and smile at him. We got teamed up for class projects and soon Jeromy had moved to the seat directly behind me. I found out he was roommates with a friend of mine from highschool and I invited Jeromy along with his friend to our Baptist Student Ministries meeting.

At the same time I was on a leadership team for BSM and we were praying for the guys on the cross country team (which Jeromy was on), we were praying for Jeromy because a local pastor asked us to pray for him because he had visited his church and I was praying for my future husband. All of the time I had no idea I was praying for the guy sitting behind me in english class.

Well, we hung out a bit and became "twitterpated" with one another. Then summer aproached and I headed off to Chicago for a 9 week mission trip we kept in touch with no commitments. Then he surprised me and met me at a college christian camp in New Mexico. I was confused by the weeks events and I thought he wasn't really that interested in me. When he was leaving to catch his plane to Alaska I told him I was going to be a missionary to Africa. He thought it was over, but a week later he finally called. I was so glad because once he got on the plane I realized he really was the man for me.

We were married August 2, 1996. These last 13 years Jeromy has been my best friend, my partner through school, building 2 houses, having 2 children, adopting 2 children, and growing in my faith. He has been the love of my life. Sometimes we laugh until we cry, and cry until we laugh. God is so good to have blessed me with such a wonderful Valentine.

I love you Jeromy!!!!!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Two years ago today Eli awoke as a normal healthy ten and a half month old little boy. He was already learning to walk along furniture and like most 10 month olds, he loved to feed himself and make a big mess. A short time later he was rushed to the hospital. He had been without oxygen for way too long. I believe he spent a little time in heaven that day, only to return to a place very much opposite of heaven. Eli's brain injury affected him to the brain stem. He was on a ventilator and the doctors were not sure he would make it through the night.

The night before I couldn't sleep. I felt very drawn to the idea of adopting again. Jeromy and I had talked about it before but he hadn't been ready yet. So, feeling a real desire to not drive him crazy, I went to bed without bugging him again. I felt like God kept telling me, if He wanted us to adopt he could make it happen without my help. As I couldn't sleep, I sat up and opened my Bible. I was searching for a verse to magically appear that said something like thou shalt adopt. Not finding this, I felt a little frustrated and began reading. Nothing seemed to be touching my heart then I saw some verses talking about fasting. I had just heard a great sermon on fasting and knew I could not make that commitment lightly. I committed to the Lord to fast until the next evening when I would eat dinner with my family. I asked the Lord to help me to wake up the next morning and help Jeromy get off to work (something I am not very good at doing). The next morning, I awoke early, made Jeromy coffee and helped him with his lunch. After he left I remembered my committment to the Lord. I then realized he had answered my prayer. As the afternoon went on I began to really struggle with keeping my commitment to the Lord. At about 4:4o I almost snitched a bit of brownie. Like God wouldn't see a little tiny bite. Then a song came on the radio about standing strong and I put the brownine down. Just minutes later the phone rang. It was the social worker that helped us complete Gavin's adoption. After a bit of small talk I said, so do you have a kiddo for us. She said " I might". She briefly told me what she knew about Eli and that the doctors didn't know if he would make it through the night. I immediately started crying. I told her I had been praying all day about taking another child. Soon after hanging up the phone Jeromy came home. I was standing there crying and trying to tell him of the days events. In the sweetest voice I have heard, he said, "lets pray." We stood together as a family and prayed for Eli and for wisdom from God.

We met Eli a week later and fell in love immediately. I know God gave us such a clear leading to take Eli, because if we didn't have that to remember, I think the days ahead would have been unbearable. If we had not been 100 % together in this decision or if we did not know this was God's leading we would have not made it. There has only been one time I have really questioned if we should take Eli and that time I was looking for a specific verse, which I couldn't find but as I searched, this verse almost popped off the page... "Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach." Deuteronomy 30:11
I know this verse is about loving the Lord not specifically adopting, but it spoke to my heart that day and encouraged me that we were doing what God had called us to do. It is because I love the Lord that I can love Eli so much and it is because of the Lord that caring for Eli hasn't been too difficult for us.
-- Stacy