Sunday, July 8, 2012

Banana Splits for Brunch

Last Sunday, after church, we had banana splits for brunch!  A RCNIC (regional center for newborn intensive care) mom who I met during Tori's stay introduced me to the Beads of Courage website from which I stumbled (as I so often do on the internet) onto Ryan's mom Diane's facebook page.  She had created the page as a means of fulfilling her wish for her dying son.  She wanted families to do something out of the ordinary, to serve banana splits for dinner, because she realizes that it is not the every day things we do that they remember but those out of the ordinary things that help create memories for our families.  We were more than happy to oblige and fulfill her wish.

ingredients for our banana splits

Luke with his banana split




My banana split minus the banana that I am allergic to!

Tori enjoying her banana split

Ryan died today at 12:10 PM.  He was just 2 weeks older than Tori, not even 22 months old.

I can not imagine the pain that his family and friends are feeling right now.  I can't imagine how they navigate forward from this point.  Although I only know Diane through her facebook page and the things she posts there, she seems to be a strong woman, but the thing I can't tell is if she truly doesn't believe in God or if she is just so profoundly angry (and rightfully so) that she seemed upset at those people offering up prayers.  I can't imagine being in the place where she is right now and not having God and my faith to lean on.  I can not imagine being THAT alone.

After Tori was born, all I could do was pray.  There was nothing I could physically do to fix her.  I could only pour out to my Lord my despair, my fear, my angry, my hopes that he would guide the hands of those who could fix her.  I would sit in the lactation (breastfeeding) room, the only place that you could truly be alone in the RCNIC, and sob and rant at God as I pumped milk for my daughter.  On one day, when I was at the lowest of lows, I even begged Him, pleaded with Him that if he wasn't going to let me bring my daughter home that I needed Him to bring her home to Him now.  I couldn't bear the pain any longer.  And ashamed as I am that I prayed that prayer, I am grateful that I was able to pray it and know that my heavenly Father would welcome His child, His daughter, home.  The prayers of my church family, of friends, of strangers sustained me during those months.

And in case you are wondering, yes, I have prayed for Diane and Ryan and their family since I first found their facebook page.   I have cried tears for a child I have never met and ache for a mother and the unbearable loss she must bear....I did the only thing that I could......I prayed!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Snapping Turtle

 A few years ago (April 2010), we discovered a snapping turtle in the road, yesterday the kids found one in the creek!  Listening to their version of the story, you would be lead to believe that the turtle was about 5 feet long and that his capture involved Jacob rolling around in the creek at the turtle's mercy, in a life and death struggle, similar to the death roll an alligator does with his prey in his mouth.  Like the snake earlier this week, the turtle was brought up to the house for some intense "turtle time".  I am not so sure how HAPPY he was to be the center of attention!
Cade and the turtle
close up of turtle while Cade was holding him


side view of face

From Ohio History Central

Snapping Turtle: The common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentine) is the largest turtle in Ohio. They may weigh as much as 35 pounds.

There are many "snappers" in Ohio but they are seldom seen. Unlike other turtles, they rarely sun themselves except in early spring. They prefer to stay in habitats of shallow freshwater, buried in mud except for their nose and eyes. They even hibernate under water.

It has a large head and thick legs and tail. Its carapace has at least three large ridges. The plastron of the snapper is so small that it does not have the ability to go into its shell for protection like the box turtle. Its body length averages 8 - 18.5 inches.

Breeding begins in April and runs through November. The secretive reptile lays an average of 25 - 50 eggs (maximum of 83).

The ill-tempered snapping turtle gets its name from its powerful jaws. They are very aggressive and should be considered dangerous. These powerful jaws are used in capturing its diet invertebrates, carrion, water plants, fish, birds and small mammals.

From the prehistoric cultures to modern residents, Ohioans have hunted the snapping turtle for food and used its shell as a container and for decoration. Today people, with a valid Ohio fishing license, still hunt snappers.

Here is a picture of the last snapping turtle (notice the similar pose) and a link to the article on the old blog about it!  Snapping Turtle

Cade with turtle April 2010

Snake Wranglers

I never imagined when we moved to this house located on a state highway (and I literally mean a highway) that we would have the opportunity to explore nature hands on in the way we have over the past few months.  Honestly I thought the extend of wildlife we would see would be those hit by cars flying by our house.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  Daily there are visitors to the back yard, beavers, red fox, deer, birds of all types and if we venture into the woods, the diveristy is even greater.

One day early this week, Cade caught a water snake in the creek behind the house.  Typically water snakes in our area are non venomous (although their bite does contain a substance that is an anticoagulant so if you do get nipped, it tends to keep bleeding) but aggressive.  The fellow Cade caught was not aggressive at all and the kids all quickly started handling him.  They even created a game.....Snake Wranglers!  They would release the snake into the baby pool and take turns grabbing him up!  Mind you, I wouldn't even touch the snake, but none of my children harbor my fear!  The snake lent himself to hours of fun and then was released back in the creek at nightfall!

Luke--young snake wrangler
Sophia--snake wrangling princess
William--snake wrangling ringleader
while wrangling snakes, we found a small frog hanging out by the window

someone(Jacob) thought putting him on the snake's back was funny, don't worry, he was safely returned to the woods, we can't be held responsible for anything that happened once we set him free!

The kids also found this skull in the woods, we think it was probably a steer from the farm next door

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Today while I was in the car with William,  for some reason,  we start talking about what sounds we don't like, mine is VELCRO...anyhow, after a few minutes William says, "do you know what my favorite sound is?" and I reply "No, what's your favorite sound?" and he says "the sound the ball makes when it hits the catcher's mitt in just that perfect spot near the top of the glove."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


I have been in a funk of late, I know some of what has caused it and I have been trying to figure out some of the other sources of the funk, but since I still can't completely wrap my head around it, I decided to refocus my energy and maybe blog a bit!  Wallowing in self pity isn't a look I really want to sport!

Recently I have stumbled onto a couple of new blogs I really enjoy.

The Path Less Taken the journey of a Christian Unschooling Mom

Six Busy Bees the blog of a local unschooling mom

and Christian Unschooling I particularly like this article Jesus was an unschooler

I have also started reading a blog by a woman who I reintroduced to through her recent tragedy.  Years ago, here and there, I had read things she has written, but I hadn't been keeping up, kind of like so many things in my life, my blog reading had taken a back seat to survival, and I really hate being in that mode.  Anyhow, I have been reading Lauren Fisher's blog Sparkling Adventures and following her struggles as she faces the loss of her son and the imprisonment of her husband.  Despite the "train wreck" draw of the current drama, she has some amazing and inspiring articles (both new and old) that are definitely would a read.  I particularly love the "facilitating free learning" section!

So all the blog reading reinforced in me the therapeutic nature that blogging has had for me over the years and I decided I needed to just "do it".....

July marks an anniversary of sorts, 2 years ago I went into what I am now calling in retrospect, "survival mode".  A note here to anyone who might care-----I have made a conscious decision to depart from that mode and enter a "THRIVING" mode!  Two years ago we received the news that our pregnancy that seemed doomed from the start was no longer just a life and death struggle for our child, but a life and death struggle for me as well.  If that wasn't enough to send us twirling and swirling off course, it seemed to accelerate a world that was already starting to spin out of control.  In some ways it seemed like the beginning of the end, I had no idea what a ride I was in store for.

I know that I have been very self absorbed the past 2 years. In. retrospect, I realize this was a mode of self preservation, as I have been forced to wade through things that I never imagined, navigate paths I
would have never knowingly chosen, and knowingly clung to a rock (my husband, my marriage, my family) that I knew was sinking but couldn't allow myself let go of because I had  faith that in the end, that rock would land safely, not in the same place it started, but someplace different, weathered and shaped by the journey but still my rock.  We stared death in the face and we won.  God worked on my pride, my patience and my faith. We lost our home (or maybe better put our house).  We didn't have food to eat. We went to bed hungry. We traveled a new (sometimes terrifying and sometimes even exciting) path that I never would have chosen, but that has taught me so very much. We learned about compassion and the kindness of strangers.  We saw love poured out on us when we felt undeserving.

I used to lament to a now former friend (another loss over the past 2 years) who is an unschooler with older children, that I didn't know what I would do once her children were adults because we had shared so much of our homeschooling journey together, that I would be "stuck" on my journey alone.  I now realize that I was, even if only in a joking manner, looking at it all the wrong way.....I am not STUCK anywhere, I can make choices, even when in the lowest of places, that allow me, my family, to see the joy, the "sparkle" in every day things, big or small.

And to those of you who have stuck around, if I have done or said anything that has offended or hurt you during my time of self absorption (or even before that, wouldn't want to pretend that I was perfect prior to that!), please let me know.  If you can find it within yourself to tell me your hurt at my hands, I would like to try to make amends for myself.  I understand that friendships come and go, get stronger, crumble, that they are often given to us for a season to see us through and then fade into nothingness, but know that I value you!  Thanks for sticking around and helping me grow!

So onward and upward...."sparkling" as I go....or at least that is my plan!