Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

My parents and so many of my hometown friends/family in Alabama were under the gun all day long today with the horrific tornado outbreak of over 130 tornadoes in the southeastern USA. My parents' amazingly beautiful homestead in a forest on a mountain, sustained lots of downed in particular that we named Oakie, when I was a child, but their home was spared. Some of our friends were not so lucky as their homes and property sustained major damage. As far as I know tonight, everyone in our town was okay. Meanwhile, dozens of families are in mourning tonight over losing loved ones, and many are still missing. Please pray for these people.

About the time the tornado sirens had calmed at my parents' home, I got "the" call from my dad. My dad's father passed away this evening amidst the raging storms. I has been on the treadmill at the YMCA for a run, and I kept needing to ask God to steer the storms around my grandfather's home. He was there with a sitter, and he had a storm shelter, but due to the declining health because of cancer, there was no way for him to get across the yard to the shelter. I was so afraid he would wake and be afraid, stuck in the middle of his living room, unable to seek shelter as he has since I was quite young and he had the shelter built. My father's best friend is his dad. My heart aches for my dad tonight. And my mom. She loved my dad's parents like they were hers, and they had adopted her as another of their children when my parents married. I have been blessed with so many positive influences in my life, and my dad's parents were two of the strongest ones. So many wonderful, positive memories......traveling cross-country, listening to my grandfather play his fiddle, singing with my grandmother, fishing with them, calling them for advice as I was trying to grow up, listening to their Biblical wisdom (trust and obey!!!) and of course, those letters sent to my college dorm from them....each with a dollar for me to go "buy a grilled cheese." Precious. Priceless. To know I am this loved.....means everything. And to this I say BRING IT!!!!! Heaven is closer than we think. We will pass from this world into someplace meant for us. REALLY MEANT FOR US. We are not earthly beings planning to have a heavenly existence. We are heavenly beings having an earthly experience. THAT'S why this world is so hard for us to understand. We were not created for this world!!! I look forward to seeing my grandparents again.....seeing them youthful and smiling. Going fishing. LEARNING to play the fiddle, finally. Worshipping with them like I did as a child in their hot, muggy, tiny, perfect little church in Alabama. God placed me into love.....deep, real love with no strings, no exceptions, no violence or mistrust....simple, pure love. I am thankful.

Tomorrow we say goodbye to Grouchy for another trip away for his job. Yuck. We hate it when he leaves!!! We also meet with Garrett's psychologist in Boise to go over the results and findings of her 5 hour evaluation of Garrett. Probably nothing new will surface, but we should get what we need for info to share with his school regarding his needing a full day program and an to one. Praying we hold up okay. Since the developmental pediatrics appointment last week, I feel the mentally retarded label will be completely placed into the closet for now as he isn't able to be tested well yet.

Blessings to you and please pray for the families across the southeastern USA who are not able to rest in peace and comfort tonight due to the horrible disaster of the weather there. And to Granddaddy.....I will see you soon. I love you!!!!!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dumb Box Detox

Our children and their adults (point finger at me here!) have become what I call Dumb Box Junkies. Dumb Box is any electronic device with a screen: computer, video game, hand held video game, computer, etc. And this has not been good. Let me share background.

Grouchy and I have always dreamed of raising our family and growing old as a couple on a HUGE ranch/farm somewhere in the USA. Miles and miles from anyone else. Grocery run would be weekly and church would be our "socialization." No television, and lots of time outdoors and working with our hands in the workshop to build things. Reading books at night and going to bed when the sun sets and getting up when it rises (uuuugggghhh, I admit I don't like that sunrise part!!). But it hasn't turned out that way.....yet.....and mostly for medical safety reasons for Garrett, but I digress. Anyhoo, we have allowed our children to have all these things we didn't want for any of us, and it hasn't all been bad. But then lately I have noticed my kiddos rush from one Dumb Box to another, not heeding my reminders to pick up their things, clean their stuff out of the car, stop and pick up toys on the floor when they walk past or over them. And it hit me........GENIUS MOM, the crap they are focused on is blowing them away!!! Not Garrett so much as the electronics are welcomed distractions that give the rest of peace, but my sweet, smart, intelligent, very social girls have fallen prey to the Dumb Box.

SO we are now in detox mode. No television except two hours per week TOGETHER as a family. No computer, Wii, DSi. I know, mean me, but seriously, my girls don't know where we are when we are driving because they are focused on electronics!!! SCARY!!!

So wish us luck. Meanwhile, I now have a personal limit of 15 minutes per day on my little computer. So blogs will be short and sweet as much as possible and I am reading the newspaper and getting to some very meaningful and some wonderfully entertaining books that have been piling up on my bedside table!!!

This Thursday Grouchy and I have our two hour appointment with the neuro-psychologist to get the final results and recommendations for the 4-6 hours of time she spent testing and evaluating Garrett. This information will be vital in getting the school system to know him and get him what he needs. Meanwhile I have contacted as well as the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation to get videos, letters, pamphlets and such to share with the elementary school it appears Garrett will be attending.

Still no big changed with Garrett on Vyvanse for ADHD, but today I bumped him up the first time. Still, very, very low dose, so maybe there will be some changes as the dose increased. PRAYING!!!!!

So goodnight Dumb Box. I enjoy you, but back to the life I planned to live...ha!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More Appointments, More Ideas

Yesterday we saw Garrett's new pediatric neurologist and his first ever developmental pediatrician. We had an appointment in the same building with his GI nurse practitioner, but we didn't have time for that one.

Pediataric Neurologist:
Said he was glad he didn't have to make the diagnosis of Mito....what???? He just said he thinks it is very hard to have no gene identified and only muscle biopsies and labs to go on....but backed that up that apparently Dr. K in Houston knows her stuff. Hhhmmmm. So he asked a few questions and deferred most of my concerns to his teammate, the deveplomental pediatrician, who we were headed down the hall to see next. No new info. More of just establishing local care.

Developmental Pediatrician:
Now this appointment was very insightful, and I really like this doctor. He saw Garrett after lunch and without a nap and let's just say he was in true "Garrett" mode!! His short take on things is he believes that doctors have been throwing a little water on his mental fire but not gotten the bucket out after the fire yet. He feels that Garrett has extremely bad ADHD and that without that under control via medicine, there is no way to know what he is capable of. So we now have added Vyvanse, the same ADHD medicine his 8 year old sister Ainslee takes. We have seen very wonderful results with Ainslee on Vyvanse, and this doctor felt that was encouraging. So we started him on 5 mg per morning, and then can go up to 30 mg slowly over a few weeks. I didn't see change today, but it is such a low introductory dose that the doctor didn't think we would see any change. Vyvanse can cause some jerks and painful muscle movements in some people, so we want to add this med slowly. Then the doctor has us cutting his Risperidone dose into two doses instead of only at night. This doctor was very helpful in discussing Garrett's recently low IQ score. He thinks we need to throw out that information as Garrett isn't even really able to be tested appropriately yet because of his wacky brain workings. And he went on to say Garrett is certainly we go again...... He apologized for adding that label, but then I reminded him that the Autism has been on the table and slide back and forth, yes and no by so many doctors and therapists and teachers. Bottom line, he says Garrett has a really abnormal brain that is just plain weird and nothing can compare. He agreed that a repeat MRI might be interesting to see when I asked. We would have that done in Houston where they have super high-tech machines. He is very willing to step forward and offer detailed recommendations for Garrett's upcoming IEP 3 year review....preparing to try to enter kindergarten and have a full time one on one aide and get help with changing diapers and then there are the 6 doses of meds he will need if he can get into a full day situation which all of the doctors are recommending. Oh, he also said, when I asked, the same thing Dr. K in Houston says which is that Garrett likely has some ADHD and some issues mentally but that the lack of energy due to Mito make these things into huge monsters for him.

So I left thinking we have yet another plan, another set of ideas, and relieved there is more to try to help our boy. Addie and Ainslee were with me at the appointmens in the nice waiting area with television and computers. They were angels and a huge help with their brother.

So there's the latest. New drug. Autism again. Quirky kid with no real clear cut description!! That's my boy!!

Today when I put him in our bed for his "daytime nap," he kissed me on the lips so tenderly, looked me in the eye on the pillow and then said, "I miss Dad." Dad is in Louisiana working on a new business we are starting, and he is not gone long, but the fact Garrett can vocalize his emotion was so wonderful!!!!!!!!

Goodnight, and please pray for the Mito children seriously ill in hospitals across the country tonight.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Old Song Rings Truer Than Ever

"It's hard to stumble when you're down on your knees......"

I was enjoying having the windows open and the high desert breeze gently rolling through our home, and I turned on our surround sound with the Direct TV bluegrass music channel on, and it was quite relaxing and, well, calming and NORMAL!!!!

And then an old song came on with the line I quoted above. How it hit home with me today!! And it needs to hit home more often and be truer in walk on this planet.

Sundays are especially hard lately. We attend, and plan to go ahead and join, a great church in our valley. The children are thriving in the programs there, and we are meeting a new church family that is blowing us away with their compassion, kindness and love. So blessed. And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our Sunday School class that just happens to be taught by a fellow Southerner, although I question his authenticity since he is from South Carolina....isn't that REALLY close to the NORTH???? When we are reading from the Bible and come to difficult to pronounce, he reminds us, "It's okay, just call those people Bubba1, Bubba 2, Bubba 3.....and so on. We'll all understand!" Either way, his wisdom and teaching and good humor are refreshing, and again, those people in our class.....we are so blessed as we are every time we move and God leads us to a church home. But this past Sunday was especially heavy. I believe it is because I am fighting things so much right now. I need to "let go and let God" as many say. But I continue to wrestle. I am done asking WHY. I tried that and nothing ever came to me except one message to "be more patient." WHY doesn't help anything. I didn't do anything "wrong" for us to be facing challenges. Shoot, lots of people with much more baggage than me endure less, and many endure more. I don't believe God slaps us with burdens based on our walk. And I know Satan only can mess with our minds, so maybe that's my problem. I am not on my knees enough, and when I pass into our church, I am on my knees....or my heart is, and it is finally in the right place, but the week of fighting has me worn down to a puddle of a human. And I leave a tired human. Monday feels great.....mainly because three days of having Garrett home are past...isn't that terrible!!???? I even had sitters most of the weekend!!! GOD LOVE OUR SITTERS!!!!!!! But Garrett gets on the bus, we get home school done....except a migraine had me this morning. I digress. Bottom line is I need to heed the words of the song and just stay on my knees!!! Life for those who believe in Christ is eternal, and this is temporary pain, frustration, suffering. Someday I will know my precious son free of his challenges and in physical perfection, I hope. I will get to know the thoughts behind that killer smile and hypnotic blue eyes. I will have a real conversation that doesn't include him saying "poop," "stupid," or "shut-up." I will see his upper body strong and muscular instead of hanging on his bones. He will hopefully then be able to understand my love and my adoration for him as well. And maybe he will let me snuggle with him again......dreamy! And it is coming!!!

On a light note, tonight Garrett knew it was getting dark and said he needed to do his work because, "Mommy, I am a farmer and you are a cowgirl." His work entails driving his little battery powered John Deere lawn tractor back and forth over and over and over across where he and Oscar have been preparing the ground for a garden using the big tractor and our neighbor's disc. Garrett stands between Oscar's legs on the tractor and steers most of the time, and they "get work done." So he is a farmer now, officially, it seems. And I am a cowgirl. I have always wanted to be a cowgirl, a real one, and by George, if Garrett says I am one, then I am!! The end!!!!



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Meet Rebecca and Jolie!

We had so much fun while my girlfriends were here!!! I want to share a few photos so you can meet my adventure racing team.....well, more like not so much racing these days, but wow do we have history!!!!!! I will post ski photos later today or tomorrow, I hope!!! I do have to add some sentimental touches here. I want these two gals to know how much fun I had last weekend. It was dreamy just to have them in my state, honestly!! Skiing was fabulous, meals out were fun, and shopping was, well, rather thrifty!! I love these ladies. I cannot imagine living here without them in my life. They have been with me in some of the highest and through the absolute depths......and still we do not have to talk often or long to keep this bond. God gave us to each other for friendship only He could have planned, and I am so very, very thankful for each long talk, short hello, text message with weird auto corrections, dinner out, sweet card or gift, run short or long, emotional emergency, fun memory, parenting dilemma, piece of hair advice, workout tip, crying shoulder, and GIRLFRIEND 911. I love you girls!!! You both ROCK!!! Jolie is on the left and Rebecca is on the right at Jump Creek. Meant to put a shot of the three of us, but again, computer slow!!! And I am in the middle of home school lessons with the girls...sorry!
And here is Jolie looking all serious....I meant to put a smiling shot, but my computer is slow, so when I get any image loaded, it is just shy of a miracle!!

And Rebecca.....aren't these girls way too cute!! We had fun doing a little photo shoot in the front yard and another with the horses!!

Can't be serious too long with this crew!! Here I save Jolie from diving into a 6 inch deep stream. Whew!! Close call!!

I don't like wine. Jolie and Rebecca do, but Rebecca gave it up for Lent, so before she flew in, Jolie and I visited a local winery. It is so gorgeous up there on the side of a hill looking over the Treasure Valley. She did a wine tasting and we saw the grounds. They host weddings and receptions there and it is perfectly magical in sight!!!!! Cheers!!!

I pray each person has friends like mine......just one would be I am spoiled rotten, but I am blessed with wonderful friends, and I will never lose my thankfulness for all my friends mean to me!!!



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pants Near the Ground

I think I completely forgot to blog this story. It happened back in March one evening at the YMCA while I was taking Garrett down the long, curvy indoor slide at the YMCA. He was scared to try it since September when he first saw it, but I made him go down with me, and he now loves it!!! Well, the third or fourth day we went on it together, we were standing in line at the top of the slide with 4-5 pre-teen boys behind us in line. Garrett loves to grab onto clothes when he gets anxious about something, so it is common for me to have to keep reminding him to let go of my swimsuit over and over and over and over while we are in the water. This time we were in line at the top of the slide when he grabbed the bottom of my tankini swimsuit and yanked it down so hard that it went down to my KNEES!!!! There I was in complete shock but not the least surprised. I calmly pulled my bottoms back up and then checked to be sure none of those poor kids behind me had been traumatized into passing out. They didn't even seem to have noticed. That or they were great at laughing silently then looking innocent when I looked back at them!!! I got on Garrett's level and very sternly reminded him to NEVER pull on my swimsuit. He cried a second then started to hit himself in the face and spit. Then we got on the slide and it was like nothing ever happened. Lately he likes the words STUPID, POOP, SHUT-UP and BUTT. Yep, all the good things coming out of his mouth all the time. We try to talk him out of those words and attempt to substitute better words where appropriate. And then some of the words we simply ignore. But now we have been trying these strategies (since telling him 1,000 times not to say them is a COMPLETE failure), he has started talking about them. Something like this: "Mommy, are you stupid." I ignore him. "Stupid Mommy!" Still ignore. "Mommy, why we don't say stupid? Is stupid a bad word?" "Yes, Garrett, so what movie do you like the best.........." or this one: "Mommy, you shut up!!!" I ignore. "Mommy, you hear me? Shut up!" Trying to ignore. "Shut up what babies say. I not a baby. Babies say shut up." And it gets repeated just like this over and over and over and I have no idea whether anything is sinking in or if he is just babbling.....perplexing. He also seems to be having trouble with YES and NO more lately. He says one but means another, but not intentionally. It is aggravating to him and everyone else!!! Okay, enough on that. I do need to clarify that I had a BLAST with my friends here this past weekend. Unfortunately the tension and stress of our recent discoveries and exploration of Garrett's intellect and future were so on the surface for both Grouchy and me. I think it made the stress level high, and it was not something we could avoid. I think and pray time will heal us so we are best for Garrett and our family and friends! Oh, news flash!!! I worked out today.....jogged and walked, and I walked while the girls were at piano yesterday. I plan to put more time in working out and less taking Garrett into the pool. I love to take him to enjoy the water, but I have to cut some time out for my wellness somehow, and the Y seems to be the place where he can go to childcare while we are there twice per week for gymnastics and I can escape to run and maybe take a class and get a shower. I need it. I feel so much better tonight! Godspeed to you all!! Oh, and watch your swimsuit!!! Clara-Leigh

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sweet Times, Bitter Moments, Friends

Two of my dearest girlfriends spent a long weekend here with us. They actually leave in the morning, very early. We have had a wonderful time! We spent Friday on the ski slopes all day, shopped for ski wear, ate out a few times, enjoyed my "worlds colliding" once more when we added one of my sweet local girlfriends to our outing to dinner and shopping last night, hiked to a very pretty waterfall, visited a local winery, worshipped at our church, roasted marshmallows, and just really enjoyed our time together. These are the girls who I mentioned in my last post. But today was weird. No, it was sad. No, it was strange. I don't know how to explain it, really, except that I feel comfortable with them and feel like I can be open and real, and it came out so much today. Grouchy is home and was a sweetheart encouraging me to go enjoy time with my friends, although I usually ended up with one or two of our daughters while we hung out, but that was cool. My girlfriends like my girls and know them well, so it wasn't bad. It was leaving Garrett with Grouchy, or maybe leaving Grouchy with Garrett that was tough. Whenever I leave, I feel guilty. Grouchy doesn't intend to make me feel this way, but I just know how hard it is. I know that when Garrett is home, nothing else can be done. Grouchy is trying to file taxes, pay our bills, schedule travel for his next work trip, buy equipment for a business he is starting 2000 miles away, trying to get logistics to mesh with the business, setting up accounts and payroll and tax stuff......and then there is fencing, weed spraying, working with Ainslee and her heifers, moving dirt to help with irrigation that's about to begin, still unpacking his tools and supplies into the barn.....and then with Garrett, none of that really happens. Add to that our kind neighborhood guys who sometimes stop by to visit and then Garrett turns into a complete out of control monster....hurting Addie and Ainslee, screaming. So I get home from wonderful time spent with friends and there is this man I love who looks like someone hit him with a few trucks. Seriously, it is that bad. I can see it in his eyes: HOPELESSNESS. He doesn't mean to complain, but when he talks about all he got interrupted, a visit cut short, a tantrum, the screaming about everything, almost flipping the little 4wheeler by running under the swings and getting the 4wheeler handle bar stuck on a swing, the blowout diapers, the short nap that took forever to get going.....And I come home and my heart sinks to think I was out enjoying myself while Grouchy was home babysitting. In the past years of parenting, when someone would mention "babysitting" while speaking of him having our children while I was away for whatever reason, he would reply, " It's not babysitting. I am their dad. It's PARENTING!" I always loved the way he said that!!! I am so proud of him. But when he has Garrett, it is babysitting. There's no taking him fishing, having a father-son chat, teaching him to use a hammer, baseball glove, etc. It's plain old babysitting. Simple as that. It's working to keep Garrett alive and not let him hurt himself or anyone else. In fact, one day he was with Grouchy while my friends were here, Garrett opened the pasture gate when Grouchy said to close it, and Ainslee's horse, Ernie went darting past and out the gate as Garrett stood there with the gate open saying, "Why Daddddeeeee??" JUST SHUT THE FRICKIN' GATE!!! Too late. And that's how it goes. There's no visiting with the neighbor, getting a little fencing, working on the tractor. It's sitting here, no, it isn't that easy. It's walking around following Garrett or checking every minute to make sure he is okay or hasn't really messed up something. His brain isn't right. He doesn't process information and act on it. He cannot help it. I know that, and maybe now that makes it all even more sad and frustrating. SO the joy of having my friends come.....we had fun, no doubt. But at dinner tonight I was in tears, and so were they. They want to fix it for us. They felt they might have added stress to our lives by being here. Crap. That's just how I want life to go. I know these two friends will always walk with me.....shoot, we have already run so far together in life literally and physically and spiritually. But it's a burden, this friendship to me....not a burden on them, but on anyone I let into my life now. It's hard to know what to say to new friends. I know what I deal with is heavy. I know it isn't exactly something you chat about at a moms' night out. It is uncomfortable. "So tell me about your kids." Innocent question, right? "Well, I have these two daughters who are so amazing. They make the world a brighter place, keep me proud of them, make me laugh, make me hold my head high as a parent!! They are beautiful in every way I would ask God to make them. And then we have a son who is 5 and a half. He is the cutest guy in the world. He has some health problems that cause him to be mentally challenged. He has a progressive disease and deals with Autism, OCD, anxiety, sensory processing disorder, and screams, hits, asks the same things over and over and over and makes very little sense sometimes. And I love him, but he takes all of my time, energy and prayer. And oh, by the way, he just tested retarded last week and will likely need long term care out of our home because of his mental issues. So we are trying to find out how to make as much money as possible to care for him, still have time with just our girls, and figure out how to make it all work while meanwhile we know we may bury him before we figure it all out. Remember the "progressive disease" part? So how about you. You have kids?" That pretty much sends people into really wanting to get to know us, right??? I like to entertain. I don't anymore. Garrett hates it, gets loud. I would love to have our Sunday School class over for a cookout. But I don't. I want to host a playgroup meeting for the one I am in, but I shutter to imagine.....I would like to have neighbors over, but it has happened twice and was a disaster. Once couple came over and then never has asked to get together again. They have no kids. And I know they were blown away after seeing Garrett in action......good birth control. Did I just say that? So my girlfriends, I love you both!!! You have made me laugh and enjoy my moments this weekend more than I have in a long while. But I am sad. I am sad things are so complicated. I am sad I go out and play while you are here but have the guilt when I return. I am sad I whine to you when your lives have not been easy. I am lonesome thinking you are just across the yard in the guest house sleeping and I have to take you to the airport tomorrow. And then it is back to the biggest thing I look forward to being the bus picking Garrett up in the mornings Monday through Thursday. But back to "normal" (screw normal, it's not here) for us. Or our normal. For months I have prayed WHY!!!!!!???????? I am getting nowhere with that. Before that it was GOD, WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO WITH THIS? And that didn't get me anywhere. I am not sure what to pray for now. WHY doesn't help even if I get an answer. I might not want to know why. WHAT TO DO WITH answers there either except I need to be more patient, God told me once in a very clear voice. So tonight I will try to be still and listen.....part of the message at church today. Listen....peace.......still. At least I am the last one up, so it is quiet. On a very, very, very, very high note, my mom told me she and Dad will be living here in the guest house FOUR MONTHS starting June first!!! HOLY COW!! I cannot even begin to explain what a HUGE help that will be for us. Their being able to come out in the summer for a couple of months was a large part of our confidence in our move from Louisiana to Idaho. To have some other hands to help with Garrett...HUGE. I know it will not be without its challenges, but those will likely stem from me over-using my parents while they are here. But the confidence it gives me.....and Grouchy will not be home in August because of the business he is starting, so it will be great to have my folks right here behind our house. I cannot explain my joy and relief in this news!!!! THANK YOU MOM AND DAD!!! Off to bed to lie there and be in God's presence. I hope. If I were God I would have given up on this whiner by now. But God is here....or there....or here....whatever. He exists. I know that, but that's about all I understand of Him tonight. Clara-Leigh

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thoughts Settling Into Living

Know how a house has to be built, but then settling occurs? You know, like those little cracks in sheetrock all the way to the extreme of cracked foundations? So you build a great house, move in to make it home, but still the settling happens while you are moving in, sleeping at night, away on vacation, or even decades after you have lived there. It happens without people noticing, usually, and most of the time does not affect the live-ability of the home. We are experiencing settling of thoughts, facts, and the plans we need to make for the future for Garrett and all of us in our home. Last week we learned that our son has brain problems, techincally, his IQ isn't nearly what we would love it to be. He may not live independently. He will likely always need care.....all of that. Somehow, the settling is happening, and I think it is good. Sure, news about our child isn't good, but it is settling into our souls and our daily lives. It is almost like a weight is lifted. Similar to how it felt when he was diagnosed with Mito, it's like the psychologist's mentioning lower IQ and life-loong care gave Garrett a pass. It helps us see how clearly we have not seen things clearly over these past three years. There's an explaination. He isn't TRYING to make life difficult. He doesn't WANT to scream every time he gets frustrated or his routine changes or we ask him to comply. He doesn't WANT to wear diapers forever. He simply isn't capable to live in this world the same way we do. He has to react..... No, it does not let him off the hook for needing to learn to cope better, speak correctly, and learn...... However, it is HUGE, HUGE, HUGE to know he does not wish to act differently than his peers. It isn't a choice. It's just what he was dealt and gosh, I will always want to scream 'WHY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?" But that doesn't help. I think I see Grouchy letting this all settle into his life as well. I see even more of the amazing patience he has with Garrett. I see love flowing at 50 times the normal volume, but I also, somewhere deep down in his soul, see pain and sorrow and disappointment. He is not disappointed in his son, but rather in the cards his only son has been dealt. I cannot begin to imagine how a father feels right now. For me, I am the mom, and I could have Garrett as a baby forever and it would work out for me because I love caring for him. But for a dad. All of the missed opportunities. Shoot, they are not missed. They just will never be. Hunting. Baseball. Or golf, Grouchy would have taught him. Tennis for sure. How to work on cars.....and tractors. How to wow the ladies....or girls. How to throw a rope, break a colt, gentle a worried horse. How to drive a car. How to get by in school just well enough to make teachers think you care without really doing much at all (Grouchy's favorite!!). How to fly a of my favorites. Ride a bike. Play cards. Make a speech. Give a firm handshake and be respectful. Save money and invest. Study God's word and live it. It is heavy for him, I know. Grouchy won't let me know. He is open, but I know he doesn't want me to stress me out more than I already am...... more than we are. He already has so much on him. His consulting job, an agricultural venture he is starting, where to live and how to afford it, and then there are all of these new thoughts about the future......will the future with Garrett be long or short? Should we pack away cash, making all we can and stockpiling for Garrett's long term care? Do we take on someone to live in our guest home in return for helping us with Garrett at home and in school? So much to decide. Baby steps. On a very light note, two of my closest girlfriends are going to be here this weekend. One of them, Jolie, arrived this morning from Baton Rouge, LA. The other, Rebecca, arrives late tomorrow night from Louisiana. Grouchy has been so kind offering to have the kiddos so us girls can slip away and enjoy some girl time. I need it. I love it!!!! I am so honored they spent their money and now their time to come out to Idaho and spend time with us. We will ski, hike a short hike to a waterfall, see a few wineries, shop, enjoy a couple dinners out, worship together, take a couple runs together. Gosh I miss these gals!!!! They probably know more about me than anyone on the planet besides Grouchy....and my mom!!!! We adventure raced together and ran one half marathon and one full marathon. We had a 2.5 year stretch of dreamy time together working out 3-5 days per week in the mornings at the YMCA when our kiddos were young enough to be cool in YMCA childcare. We were so fit, so motivated, and we WON!! We won adventure races. Our team was so consistent....unless we got lost.....and we dominated one season...our first!!! We have canoed at night with alligators, swam carrying our bikes with snakes, ran carrying a canoe over our heads, peed under a tree on a college campus during a race (I will not say which one, but it is home of a few national championship football teams and sports the colors blue and gold), picked up each other after horrific mountain bike wrecks and flips, were attacked by killer mosquitoes while Jolie almost bled to death, and yes, laughed our heads off at my marathon photo where my right inner thigh flab was sailing across the finish line of the Houston Marathon about 2 minutes before the rest of me. These are sisters, people!!!! I hope everyone has people like these girls in their lives. You know, friends who make you look good, who always take up for you, who tell you when you need new highlights, and who you can be completely YOU around. I am blessed. I hope we can take a couple jogs while they are here, but I know it will be hard to run the route here across the area without them after they leave because I have never run like I run with them. Life is so incredibly different now than I could have ever imagined. It will be sad to run the route alone after sharing it with them. Or maybe it will just make it enjoy and savor the memories.....make it last. Goodnight and God bless each of you. To my fellow Mito moms, know I am thinking of you and praying for each of you. I do not know how you do this!! You are my heroes!!!! Godspeed, Clara-Leigh

Friday, April 1, 2011

Beautiful Spring Afternoon

Ainslee and Garrett were playing horse and cowgirl in the round pen. Priceless!
And then my sweet Addie came out and let me shoot her!! Pretty!! With her Lucy looking over her shoulder!

And Garrett says,"I am a farmer. I need a hat. I go get one, Mom!" And I think he is more of a rancher in the hat than a farmer!!! Cute either way!!
And then the three took off around the house together. So much fun. It was 70 degrees!! Warmest day yet, but the ski slopes are still open!!!

Big news of the day is that my Grouchy is home from his two weeks of work in Alaska!!!!

Next news is that Addie competes in the district 4H horse demonstration (public speaking) contest tomorrow....thank GOODNESS Grouchy is home!! They were practicing tonight, and I think Addie is ready!!!

Next very exciting news is that two of my closest girlfriends will be arriving Wednesday and Thursday from Louisiana and staying until early Monday morning. We plan to hang out at the guest house, go ski, maybe get a hotel for one night just for total girl night. Wow, cannot believe they can BOTH make it and it is all coming together!!

Good night. New mattress!! GREAT sleep ahead!! Godspeed,