Super Sibling Sidekicks

We get asked often about our kids’ responses from all of the things that Emmie has gone through with neurofibromatosis type 1.  I think I understand what they are asking but all we know is this:

Emmie’s siblings absolutely adore her.  It amazes me how, from the first time they met her, they have all been tender and caring and loving towards her (truth be told:  that is how all of them have been with all their new baby siblings).  When we found out Emmie had NF, they never wavered in their devotion and love and support.  They understand (with wisdom beyond any I can explain) that we would give them the same kind of attention if they needed it (when she needs that extra medical attention).  Any bump, bruise or fall…even now…leads to several siblings running to make sure she is okay.  We have been open and honest with them, at their appropriate age level, about each thing she has faced.  When they ask questions, we answer them honestly.  They are Emmie’s strongest cheerleaders, pushers, supporters.  I could not imagine Emmie not having them!  In turn, they have taught our kids how to be compassionate to others.  I believe the kids are learning to have empathy for others who may not be quite like them.  They are learning that people are all created in God’s image even if they have bumps on their skin, visible plexiforms or severe learning issues.

Liam and I were talking one day and he asked me if I could have one wish, what would it be.  I said that Emmie and others did not have to born with NF.  Liam replied wisely, “But Mama, if Emmie wasn’t born with NF, then you wouldn’t have met all the amazing people you have.  Maybe we should just wish there would be a cure for NF!”

So, when people ask me how the kids handle all of Emmie’s “attention” I respond absolutely truthfully, Emmie is the favorite sibling.  Not our favorite child (we work not to do that) but she is definitely a favorite in the siblings.  And when I say that Emmie has Super Sibling Sidekicks, I am definitely sharing the truth.

Proof is definitely in the pictures too!  These are just a few I have managed to capture and don’t even come close to showing all of their love! That’s Emmie behind the book.  Ceili Rain is a wonderful book reader for her. And a good napping companion.  When Emmie fell asleep, Ceili Rain placed the blanket on her. Siblings make excellent pillows.

Staying warm together.

You have an awesome chance to be a part of Emmie’s sidekicks even if you aren’t a sibling!  Donate or join our NF Walk team today!  Our walk is less than three weeks away.   Donations to our team go towards research to help end NF and get closer to our wish!

June Randoms

We had big plans one evening to take the kids to a frozen yogurt places grand re-opening.  However, their re-opening was a bit more successful than they had anticipated and they were closed and completely sold out by the time we got there.  Quick stop at the store, and we had our own frozen yogurt/ice cream gathering! Emmie loves to wear flexi clips and often wants to get a picture of them. Rite of passage.  Liam learning to cut grass. Grandmere found this cute fabric and I had a chance to make it in to a dress!  Emmie loved it.

Late one evening, Bryant was playing with the metal toy shopping cart.  Pushing down on it, it popped up and met Bryant’s chin.  Consultations via text and a quick run to get liquid bandages and he was all bandaged up.  Another ER stitch avoided.

Since Zoe finished her orthodontic adventures, Josiah and Ace were evaluated next.  Josiah had a tooth come out prematurely and, as a result, the other teeth moved forward.  He won the next round of braces because he needed to make room for the new adult tooth.
Before

After

In June, we found that Facebook now has a fun camera feature and the video of our bunch using it were too good not to share.

Okay, so I got in on it too.

Josiah Turns Ten!

Josiah’s birthday fell on a Wednesday which meant a mad rush to get all things in to celebrate his birthday and make it to church on time.  Despite the rush, he enjoyed his celebration of making it to a decade.
Someone got really excited about Josiah’s gifts.
He asked for a sarlacc cake.  I think I delivered it okay.

Be careful!  It bites.

Fins Up!

Liam and Silas joined a summer swim league this year.  It was quite a learning experience but the boys had a wonderful time. They both improved a lot and Liam quickly showed out that the backstroke was his fastest stroke.  Silas improved greatly on his freestyle and backstroke.
One of the dad’s had some mad skills in sharpie drawings.

After the district meet (and last swim meet of the season for us), we went to a local sno-cone place and watched a train go by!

May Randoms

All of our May normal-ness rolled up into one post.

Ceili Rain enjoys reading to her brothers and sister.

We lit up our house to “Shine a Light” on NF!  Really, these two little spot lights were super cheap and cast a perfect glow for NF Awareness. Sometimes, video time is sleepy time for Emmie. We had a very cold snap in May.  Emme and Bryant decided to dress for the occassion.  Complete with short short skirt, shorts, and no shoes…and don’t forget the winter coat. We found out the week of that our local theater troupe was doing a school performance of their Beauty and the Beast show.   I didn’t really think there was any chance I could snag 10 tickets to see the school performance (which was around $5 a person) but decided it was worth a shot.  It turned out they still had tickets available and Emmie got to see her Belle and Beast on stage!  She was thrilled.  They put on a great show too!

Ace built a Studio C ‘C’ for a competition.  He didn’t win but I thought it was pretty creative. These boys were not super excited when we swapped their rooms around and put them together.  That quickly changed and we can often find them playing together or reading before lights out. Raising awareness on NF awareness day, May 17th. Malachi was an overachiever and decided he wouldn’t lose his first tooth…but his first two teeth!

Emmie and flexis are pretty standard wear on Sundays. Daddy selfies are always fun.

Diving In

We had two boys decide to join the summer swim team this year!  This was our first year on a team and a really big learning year for us.  

Liam did great and showed some major improvements in sportsmanship, diving and swimming in general.  He actually won the award for most improved in his age group!  And he won several ribbons for relays and backstroke (which proved to be his strongest race)

Silas loved every second of swim.  He improved on his times for all races and declared that the butterfly was the best stroke.  He won several ribbons for relays and freestyle and also a couple of heats in backstroke!  His year end award was “Most Excited to Swim.”

There is a dad on the team who can make magic with sharpies!  The boys called them tattoos.

We’re excited to see what next summer holds for these two and, hopefully a couple of other kiddos!

Our first meet was super long.  And all of us felt it.  Mark and I quickly realized staying for an entire meet did not work for any of us!  

Baptism

We are in a great church that really encourages leadership in the family.  Mark has definitely been challenged and stepped up to lead our family closer to God.  It’s a sweet blessing that he has baptized one of our kids and now, a second one.

Liam made a decision to follow Christ a couple of years ago but wasn’t ready to follow through in believer’s baptism until recently.  I can’t explain what a blessing it is to watch two dads baptize their sons as a public profession of their faith in Christ. Liam decided before he was baptize to just start the process and dunked himself…hence the reason he was already wet. Our pastor is to the right of Mark giving a brief explanation of what it means to be baptized.

Baptized!

 

Pomp and Circumstance

My oldest niece graduated from high school ya’ll! Oh dear,  I feel old.  She is a beautiful young lady who is going to do some pretty amazing things!  I can’t wait to see it all!  

Aunt Yaya with her best friend, K,  and my niece J.

K has been like a second mother to J.  I love seeing my niece getting all the love!

After graduation, we got to spend a couple of days with Grandmere and Papa.

And I met a little chipmunk as we left!

Camping and a Confession

May and June were just plumb busy ya’ll.  We had something every weekend and pretty much every day.  So, when we realized the girls may not get to go to an AHG camp planned for June, Mark and I decided to give up our only free weekend (which also happened to be our anniversary weekend) for the girls and our whole family to participate in an AHG family camp.  And then a week before, I got an email asking me to plan and grocery shop for the meals for camp.  I agreed because I felt the Lord was telling me to do it.  But I didn’t agree with a joyful heart.  I grumbled and complained the whole week.  Got my ducks in a row, got the groceries for around 50 people and we loaded up and went.

We got to camp and were about a 1/4 of a mile from bathrooms (don’t forget I’m pregnant ya’ll).  There was no running water on the site. And we thought that we were missing a pole to a brand new tent.   I about had a two year old temper tantrum at the campsite.  Mark made the sleeping arrangements work with our small four person tent and other large tent. After calming myself and chatting with God and friends, I decided the self-pity needed to end and I had to just enjoy it.  We found out later that the camp coordinator was told there were bathrooms right near the site and that running water would be onsite.  And as we loaded up the following evening to beat the rain, we realized the missing tent pole wasn’t missing.  We had just misread the directions. God blessed us with an amazing sunset!  Just seeing this made it all worth all the headache. Watching the kids get filthy….trekking in pitch black dark to the bathroom and making new friends.  Once my attitude adjusted, it was a wonderfully fun trip!