The Most Horrible Nightmare

This morning Lydia and I were almost ready to walk out the door to Seminary when we heard the bedroom door creak open.
We knew that meant Thayne was awake and we would be delayed leaving.

"Mom!! I had the most terrible, horrible nightmare!" He stumbled out of the room visibly upset

I told him to go get Maliea and she could sleep with him while we were gone.

"Mom, it was awful."

Being the compassionate parent I am , I gave him a hug and retold him to go get his sister because we needed to leave.

"Mom, It was so bad.. Broccoll was destroyed!" He was almost crying.

"Your stuffed broccoli?" I asked trying, not to laugh. At 5:45 in the morning a child crying over a dream about a stuffed broccoli is pretty funny.

"I can never ever take any of my stuffies to the beach!" He emphatically cried.

I gave him a quick hug, told him once again to get his sister and barely held my laughter until I walked out the door.
I really need to work on the empathy part of being a parent.



This morning after gathering her coloring book and crayons, I lift her into her wheelchair. She knows me now and always greets me with a huge smile. We've been spending some time together each morning her and I. As the sun starts to filter through the fancy wood blinds I look over, she smiles and I see a radiant girl.

"Where's pink?" she asked. I help her find the color she needs. Dora the Explorer's shoes are going to be pink today. I hadn't planned on spending each morning with Emily. There is an hour or so where my daughter Lydia is in a religion class each morning and Emily's mother is her instructor.
Actually I had not given much thought to where Emily would be during that time each day. Now we share a table in the early hours and my life is better for it.

Her questions are generally very simple. She loves Dr Pepper and coloring. Her time each day is not being spent in the office or at PTA meetings or hosting the neighborhood block party, they are spent in a day program and at her home with her parents.

This morning my heart pauses a little as she asks, "Am I smart?". I smile and reassure her that she is and then she continues, " What is smart? I can't cook. I don't drive".
I take her hand and explain that smart is knowing something. I assure her that she is the best kind of smart. She knows how to make people laugh and helps them to smile. She brings joy to people. With a world that has so much darkness, her kind of smart is so needed. She is such a blessing to those who know her.

The moment passes; she is coloring Dora's dress brown and I have just been taught a soul lesson.

As a parent and a homeschooling mom maybe I'm concerned more than I should be about how the world views what is a success or the best kind of smart. I am finding the best lessons in my life always come from unexpected places.

Thank you Emily for gifting me your picture. Guess what, I love coloring too!


The Flying Circus

This is the first picture after the hot air balloon crashed. Oh wait, maybe I need to start at the beginning.

Last year my sweet older kids purchased a gift certificate for a hot air balloon ride for my birthday. It has always been a dream of mine to ride in the air in a big beautiful balloon. With Michael gone a great deal, the weather and the distance to a company the ride kept getting postponed.
I saw an ad for The Flying Circus and found that there was a weekend where they did the hot air balloon rides too. I called Mark Nelson and arranged for my flight!

The Flying Circus is held every weekend for 4 months about 2 1/2 hours from our home in Virginia. There were so many planes of olden days. A certain husband and smaller boy were thrilled. Michael ran around taking pictures of plane engines, props, and wings. I think he was a in a little bit of  heaven.

After the airshow that was full of flying and aerobatics, we ate shaved ice and waited for the wind to die down so the balloons could inflate. It was quite a hot August afternoon and there was no shade from the sun. The kids got to pick out some treats from the gift shop. Lydia chose a mood necklace with an airplane on it. Thayne and Maliea both chose different types of model airplanes.

  My balloon ride was not scheduled until after 6 pm. Lydia and I waited while the others went to check out the ReMax balloon while they were doing safety checks. All of a sudden the man told Thayne to jump in the basket and help him. Thayne was so thrilled! He got to pull on the red strap that opened the top to let all the air out. He loves helping people and was so excited they let him get in.
I think that even Maliea had a great time watching all the planes and balloons. 

Then it was time.....

Up, Up, Up, up in my balloon. Up so high I can almost touch a cloud. Our basket was pack. 7 of us. Perhaps maybe a bit too full. I was right under the burner and it felt like a campfire on my head. I did get a small burn on my neck. All part of the adventure right.
The thing that surprised me the most was that you felt nothing. It was so very very calm, like standing still. There was a man in his 20's, a WWII vet, his girlfriend and another couple in their 50's. Fascinating people and we got to know each other well because we crashed. Oh yeah. It is probably all my fault. That darn law of attraction thing. Our flight was supposed to be about 90 minutes long. We did a really fun touch and go on the ground.  People stopped in their cars and waved to us. It was really beautiful with farm fields and ponds. But...it was like standing still, in one spot, with nowhere to go and nothing to do.
At about 20 minutes into our flight I was beginning to wonder if it was going to get any more exciting. That is when it happened! A wind shear from the East hit the side of the balloon and collapsed it. The pilot was amazing trying to recover but to no avail. We were going down.
I don't think anyone was really scared or anything because we had just done the touch and go about 10 minutes earlier and we weren't descending super fast. Then we hit. Three time really  hard before we skidded to a stop. At least we were upright. I loved it!!!!
Honestly my neck and back have been hurting but it was worth it for the adventure of it all.

It was about 2 hours before the chase van could get to us and take us back to the hanger. We got to chat and share the stories of our lives. There was no where to go and except for the bugs, it was a lovely evening. A bunch of strangers who found companionship in life stories. I learned something about myself which is probably the best part of the balloon trip. I like to really live life! I like to do things that really make me feel alive. I am not satisfied with just being stagnant. I love to share with other people and learn that despite how different we are, we are mostly just the same inside.

I am grateful for my children to gave me this experience and these memories. It was the perfect gift even if it wasn't the perfect balloon flight, I now have a story to share.


This morning Thayne brought me his dollar that he got from the tooth fairy. He said, " Here Mama, I want to give this to Mia, so she can have a start on her goal to go to college."
He constantly asks if he is a good boy. He see the world so differently but I think he is going to be just fine.


Our beach

There is never enough time to just relax. I am so grateful to have this wonderful place on the property. We are so blessed to be able to have our family home evening right near the water tonight.


Updates from the wanderer

Michael has been having a grand time in Europe. I am not sure he is really working very hard there though.
We are receiving lots and lots of lovely pictures of his adventures. This last weekend he got to travel over to France to see some of the countryside over there.

We miss our daddy a lot but are glad that he is really having a great time while he is tdy in Northern Italy.

Wear Good Shoes

Last Thursday and Friday, Lydia attended youth conference. I prepared all her food and medicines and told myself that she would be fine without me anywhere around. I still haven't figured out the right balance of letting her be independent and still making sure that I am there in case of a medical emergency. I am getting better though.
All those years of daily life vs death experiences make it hard to completely let go. Her mobility is becoming less and less so that is a factor too.

When we arrived one of my dear friends was in charge of Lydia's group and all my fears gently dissipated, I knew she would have a great time. Lydia loves quilting and that was one of the activities. She had such a grand time being with friends and learning how to share the gospel of Christ. They did service and had a lot of fun too!

Maliea, Thayne and I hopped on the Metro and headed into the District. For the next 9 1/2 hours we followed Thayne from one exciting exhibit to the next.

He loves the Air and Space Museum. He loves anything that is hands on, so we ran around finding as much stuff to touch as possible.

I think that Maliea really had a great time there also. Even if her enjoyment was a bit rushed by her brother's enthusiasm.

We had a snack then walked to the carousel. The ride before had been packed with children but then somehow Thayne got the whole thing by himself. The conductor let it go around double for him!

We also had so much fun at the American history and Natural history museum. Lydia did not need to be picked up until 8:00 pm that night so we had lots of time to walk around and enjoy the beautiful day. Needless to say our feet did not enjoy that many hours though. Even Thayne started to slow down at the end.
On Friday , I was able to feel comfortable enough to let Lydia be up there the whole day without me being just minutes away. I am not sure I could have done another long day chasing Thayne around DC again. I love that Lydia had a good experience at youth conference and honestly it was nice being in the museums without having to chase him and push a wheelchair. One thing that we have learned is always, always wear good shoes. There is nothing like exploring the city on foot but you don't want your feet to hate you at the end of the day.