Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Dear Blog: June 2017

Dear Blog,
Sorry, I had to skip a day to deal with some medical excitement around here. More about that later. For now, let me tell you about our crazy busy June!

You may remember that we used to have a small above-ground pool in the yard. The kids LOVED it, and we spent most of the summer in it. But it was small, which limited us to 3 people in the pool at a time. We *really* want to put an in-ground pool in, but we can't on our lot. Then I was engaged in my new favorite habit, which is called "Browsing Facebook Marketplace", when I stumbled upon a local fellow selling  his GIANT above ground pool. And its wasn't round! 

Dean was still recovering from his double knee replacement so I was on my own on this project. I got my son Tyler and his friend to come help me move this GIGANTIC thing. I got it all taken apart and those strong boys moved it into the van. 

Once we got it home, I went to work getting the yard ready. You read in my post about May that I had the steps off the deck moved to the other side of the deck to make way for the pool. Then I had 9yards of sand dumped on the driveway. That is a LOT of sand! And, it had to be moved from the drive way to the back yard, by wheelbarrow. Tyler and his friend helped with two yards, and the rest I did on my own. Oh man, that was a lot of work, but for once in my life, all that hard work felt good.

Then I had to get the sand leveled. I didn't really know what I was doing, so the internet helped me some. Mostly I was winging it.

We took a break and celebrated Angela's 21st birthday. She requested a Tye-dyed cake. Dean is the cake maker in the family, and he did not disappoint! Angela was very excited to have her Tye Dye cake. She had a group of friends come over to celebrate. I have no idea why I have no pictures of that! 

There was a RUSH to get this done because 1) there was heavy rain coming and that sand is 18 inches deep on one end and it would wash away and 2) We were going to be leaving town and I wanted the pool filled and warming up while we were gone. And also, that rain would still wash away the sand if we didn't have the weight of the pool on top of it.

While the kids waited patiently for me to finish the pool, they had some other water fun. 

These two headed to Down syndrome camp. It was Axel's first every experience with sleep-away camp. He loved it! 

Once all the sand was ready, we were kind of stuck! That liner is HUGE and weighs about 500 lbs. A couple neighbors were nice enough to come lend us hand and drag it into place. 
Getting the sides up wasn't so easy either! I was frustrated trying to do it myself, and Dean wasn't able to help much because of his knees. Another neighbor came and helped us. What would we do without nice neighbors? 
FINALLY it was time to put water in the thing! It took 10 hours to fill. 
And then it was full! YAY!!!! We left town a couple hours later.

Our family was headed to Joni & Friends camp in Michigan. Unfortunately Abel isn't really fond of activities like this, and staffing for him at the camp would be a big problem. Nobody can ever quite be prepared for Abel, as he is a handful. We arranged for him to go to another camp that was staffed just for him. He had a GREAT week! He was so excited to go on his own vacation! 

 Joni & Friends was an amazing experience for our family!! It is staffed 1:1 for each of the kids who have disabilities. Those staff, called STM's (Short Term Missionaries) become like family over the course of the week. We had so much fun!

On the way, we stopped on the shore of Lake Michigan to play around.

Amos and Audrey loved it the most.

We discovered these rare finds, thought to be extinct,
do still exist! 

On the way we stopped to eat. Our kids are always very well behaved
in restaurants, and this morning was no exception! The wait staff
always has lots of compliments for our kids, and that usually leads to 
conversations about adoption, and how these kids came to be in our family.

Imagine our surprise when we asked for our tab, and and received this! 
We were so blessed! 

Once at camp there were all kinds of activities for the kids.
Amos and Audrey loved the fire truck!

Amos signs "truck".

Audrey doesn't always show a lot of interest in things
but she sure loved the fire trucks!

There was horseback riding 
(notice Asher managed to take a dangler along for the ride)

And I do mean, he LOVES them. I am missing
a bunch of pictures, but one night there was a petting zoo
and Amos was in absolute heaven with the little
pony that was there. He didn't want to leave to eat apple pie.
And horseback riding? Oh he was just beside himself.

Those who know Axel will be stunned that
he ENJOYED rock climbing! 

Almost enjoyed the rock wall too.

Asher, who loves climbing all things wasn't really so thrilled
with the rock wall. He didn't like the harness. 
He DID love the zipline though!

Our very dear friends the Stumbo family was at the house
right next door to us. Asher has a slight crush on Ellen. 

Angela also made a new friend. I have forgotten
her name at the moment. She is in her 60's. One thing I found interesting
is people often don't recognize that Audrey has Down syndrome.
But this lady looked at her and said, "Audrey, look at my eyes, what do you see?
They look just like your eyes Audrey, because we both have Down syndrome." 
She recognized Audrey's features right away. 

Our family grew over the course of camp. This is all of us
pictured with the kids' STMs. They will forever
be part of us.

Everyone commented that Angela seemed to find her way into pictures
at camp. They do a slide show at the end of the week and Angela was in an awful
lot of pictures! LOL In July Joni & Friends sends out a 
thank you card to all the STMs. No surprise that Angela was on it!

When it was finally time to go home, we stopped 
in Wauconda IL to visit my sister Ila and her husband Bob. 

When we finally arrived home, the pool was ready for swimming!

As we expected, the kids spent most of the summer 
in the pool. 

I also did a lot of running in June, working toward my goal of running
a 5K by August. I made good progress in June! 

As if June wasn't exciting enough, I also turned 50 years old. 
YAY ME! I feel like I EARNED 50! LOL
Dean pulled together a surprise birthday party for me.
I only managed to take a few pictures, and didn't get one with all of my friends.
Thanks everyone for a great birthday celebration! 

Yep, that about sums up June 2017! 

1 comment:

Cindy said...

That pool looks so nice! Great job!!