Friday, January 30, 2009

Do you watch Survivor?

We are faithful Survivor fans .... and never miss an episode. I'll have even MORE reason to watch this year ... one of my PE teacher's from high school is in the cast this season! Meet Ms. Cimo ... now married and known as Debra BeeBe.




Biography
Debra "Debbie" Beebee (46)Hometown: Auburn, Ala.Occupation: Middle School PrincipalA self-described people person, Debra Beebe is a middle school principal and married mom from Auburn, Alabama who believes that her natural leadership abilities and tactful problem-solving skills will contribute to her success as a castaway on SURVIVOR. Debra, also known as "Bubbles," feels that her enthusiastic and energetic personality, in addition to her take-charge attitude, will erase any doubts about her ability to succeed in this game. The fact that she is one of the older castaways will not be a hindrance for this woman who previously trained alongside Olympic athletes and still rises every morning at 4:30AM to get in her daily workout before tackling a day filled with hundreds of pubescent teens, pre-teens, parents, faculty and staff. Not one to be intimidated (even at a tiny 5’2”), Debra juggles work, her husband and her children. It’s no surprise that this go-getter won “Alabama’s Principal of the Year” award yet still finds occasional free time for shopping and dancing. Debra feels that her occupation has taught her how to deal with politics which she can apply to the group dynamics of her tribe. With her abilities as a natural leader combined with her bossy and competitive nature, Debra plans to focus on the weaknesses of others in an effort to get them eliminated. Debra is married with five children and currently resides in Auburn, Ala. Her birthday is September 28

I think it's WAY cool that I actually KNOW someone who is going to be on this show. This is going to be so interesting. I hope she did well!!

Love,
xoxoxo


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Out of BaLLance?

Well, we even let the kids get in on the Rock Band action at our house.....here's a couple pictures of Zach and Avery rocking out. (Oh by the way .... Zach DOES have underwear on...he was just boycotting his clothes that night for some reason ...)
Zach's FAVORITE song is Black Magic Woman (Santana). He always, always, always asks his Dad to play that on the iPod - either at home, or in the car ... he's hysterical. I don't think he really understands what Santana is singing (other than black magic woman), but it sure as heck is funny listening to him make up his own words to the song.....and be very serious about it...LOL!!





Love,
xoxoxo



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Trailer trash?

My SIL forwarded me this email today and the caption reads:

I'm tired of paying property taxes, school taxes, state taxes, etc. As long as my home has wheels, it's not considered a 'fixed' home address and I can take it south for winters, north for summer, and so on. The problem is that some may say I'll become 'trailer trash' so I want your opinion before I make this decision.


So I have officially decided, I could live the trailer trash lifestyle for a few years, roaming the country, homeschooling the kids .... I am just not sure how to go about getting one of these. We might have a "slight" issue with the 2-seater Mercedes as our "get around" car, but I'm sure we could work something out for the kids...don't ya think? This just made me laugh.....the kinds of things people spend their money on! More power to them, I guess, it IS a pretty incredible "mobile"home!!! :)


















Love,
xoxoxo






Monday, January 26, 2009

ABCDEFG ...

Next time won't you sing with me.... :)
Here's Ave singing the ABC's at the doctor's office and making silly faces for me a few weeks ago. I love having my little FLIP handy all the time!!! :)


Love,
xoxoxo



video

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cupcake Chaos?

The first week in January I was in Baltimore, and usually when I go up, I like to bring the kids something small back .... just so they feel comfortable and more at ease with me going (they know I'm coming back ..... and with something.) Though I do want to mention since we've had our new nanny, Rachel, the kids are completely at ease when I come and go - no crying or anything!! YAY!! So anyway....I bought the girls these cupcake nightgowns - and I will tell you in the last three weeks, they've only NOT worn them to bed 3 or 4 times (and only then because they were so dirty and we positively REFUSED to let them be worn until washed!) Rachel washes them daily after she dresses them so after bath time they can get right back into clean PJ's! Avery especially - pretty much freaks out for her "cupcake jammies" if you try to make her wear anything different.

Anyway, here's a picture from the other day after their bath. I imagine they're going to be pretty worn out soon with how many times they've already been worn and washed. Apparently they like "nightgowns". :) Of course "buddy" (that's what they call him) had to get in on the action...he's NEVER one to miss a photo opp!





By the way - a few posts back, I talked about "baby u-i-corn" .... well, here it is - she's holding it. See arrow! Can you imagine first how many times per day/night this gets lost, and second what we have to go through to find it? Addie has a similar toy (see arrow), but it's a bunny rabbit and she's become the same way ... she cried in bed for 1/2 hour yesterday until I finally found the bunny - at which point, I was practically out of breath and sweating (moving furniture, up and down the stairs looking everywhere - the trash can was next) LOL. These girls need to get attached to something big and fluffy - like a pillow or even a blankie!

Love,
xoxoxo


Friday, January 23, 2009

This one is for you NANA!

So my MIL must not like me very much. I don't know what I did to get on her bad side but it must have been something truly bad, because LOOK what she did to me.

Isn't she AWFUL??? You would think as a mother of four kids herself, she wouldn't do this to another mom, especially not her favorite son's (well, okay, so she only HAS one son) wife!

THANKS MOM!


video



Love,
xoxoxo




PS: You know I'm teasing, right? :)

More dancing.....

It's always a dance party at the Tramontana's .... here's some video of the kids from tonight.
And just in case you're wondering, I *swear* we do not give them drugs with their food and as much as I want them to calm down sometimes, I DON'T give them a shot of anything in their sippy cups....though you may think otherwise after watching this (heehee!) Addison cracks me up in this (she's the one who is going around in circles looking up, saying look at me, I'm flying!) And just FYI, they had NO nap today and this was about 7:30 PM. You think they'd be zonked out by this time....not full of energy! Zach's in his underwear (not sure why he took his PJ's off?) ... oh and try not to bust a gut laughing at them looking at themselves in the TV screen - that's one of the things I think is so hysterical.
We may not get a lot of sleep these days thanks to our new "sleeping arrangements"... but at least these guys are good for a bunch of laughs.....(LOL)




Love,
xoxoxo


video

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tiny Dancers...

Ok, had to post this one...just for laughs.... keep in mind that the whole time - they're looking at themselves in the TV screen (such posers!) Heeheee!!!



video



Love,
xoxoxo

I want a big spike dinosaur with a remote control that moves and picks up bones

If Sam and I had a nickel for every time Zach said that ... just like that (like the kid from The Christmas Story repeating his request for the "RedRider bb gun!!) we'd be rich!! He asked for the Spike Dinosaur for 2 straight months - never once changing his mind about what he wanted from Santa.
I've got some other videos to share, but I'm still learning how to use my new FLIP camcorder - which is basically a handheld (camera size) recorder that takes video basically the quality of a camera - it holds up to 60 minutes of video and you can download right to your computer (no software/editing skills necessary) and post online. It's small so it fits in my bag which is great so I always have it with me. That's the problem with our other video camera - it was sort of bulky, it took mini-tapes, I never knew how to transfer them (I have a whole bunch to get onto my computer, but don't know how) so it NEVER got used. I'm hoping with this - I'll get the chance to use it more often.

Anyway, here's Zach getting his beloved Spike. Enjoy!!




Love,
xoxoxo


video

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No Jacket? No way!!

I read this article on CNN- along with probably all of you, but I thought it was so funny.


(CNN) — It's the same Oval Office. The same desk. Even the same curtains. But President Obama has already made one major change: Go through eight years of White House photos, and you won't find one of former President Bush in the Oval Office without his jacket on.
It wasn't just a personal preference. In the Bush administration, it was a rule: Jackets in the Oval Office — and now, it seems, one of the first Bush-era regulations to get scrapped in the Obama White House.



I think it's funny that is the first thing someone noticed today.....LOL! I say GOOD FOR OBAMA! Roll up your sleeves and get to work! Maybe wear jeans to work one day? OH MY GOSH......! A few weeks ago I read all the negative press about Obama who was in Hawaii on vacation and was swimming with his family. In his SWIM TRUNKS. They were long, knee length swim trunks (hold on, I'm going to find the picture) ....






Ok here it is. There was so many negative articles / blog posts about him wearing his swim trunks in the ocean. Well can someone clue me in on what the "president elect" is "supposed to wear" if he goes swimming in the ocean? An overcoat?


I just think it's funny that these are the things people focus on rather than what's really important. Personally, I don't care if the guy wears thigh highs and stilettos to the Oval office if he gets his job done. Well, Ok, that might bug me a little bit because that is NOT a good picture in my head... but ... you get the point!
This is going to be a fun 4 years!


Love,
xoxoxo




Does Jesus need me, Mommy?

Since Zach has been about 2, we've been saying the prayer "Now I lay me" ... which ends with "and if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take" - at least that's the version I grew up with, so that's what I taught him (as well as the girls.)

He started asking questions a few months ago about what it meant to die ... and I didn't think he is quite ready to have this discussion, right? (he's 4!!) so I just sort of shrugged it off and said dying is when you go to Heaven. And he bought that for awhile. Then later (at prayer time) he asks the question again and I respond the same way. He said isn't Heaven where baby Sammy is (his half-brother) and I said yes, and he said so what happens when you die? I told him when you die you go to Heaven and you become an angel ... and he says no, what HAPPENS when you die? HOW do you die? He said do you run out of batteries like my V-Smile? I said well, it's kind of like that - except you can't put new batteries in like I do with your V-Smile. He goes on to ask a million questions, which I am NOT answering correctly because they open up a million other doors .... I tell him most people don't go to Heaven unless they're really old or really sick. (To which he asks why can't the doctor fix the sick people. Mr. Logical.) I explained that sometimes people get a "sick" that can't be fixed, like his "Pop-Pop" or baby Sammy and that's why they have to go to Heaven. He asked if he was going to go to Heaven ... and I said you're not going to go to Heaven until Jesus needs you. He just kept asking question after question - I finally told him to hold on and I asked Sam to go up and discuss it with him, because I obviously was confusing him more and more (I didn't realize DEATH was such a big concern at 4, and he started saying things like I'm scared to die, I don't want to die.) So .... Sam came up and basically told him the same things I did ... you'll die when Jesus needs you, it probably won't be for a long, long time because Mommy and Daddy need you now and he seemed OK with this.
Every so often he questions the prayer - he'll say what does die mean? I'll tell him the same thing - it means you go to Heaven to meet Jesus.

Well, tonight .... he got really into the "DEATH" conversation again at bedtime. He asked about dying and what Heaven was like (as if I know) and what an angel is, and what happens to people when they die (their body) ... I didn't answer that one other than to say "you get a new body in Heaven when you become an angel"....I was NOT going to get into a discussion about the body that is left behind. He said what will I look like, and I told him he'll look like whatever he wants to look like, something wonderful. And he replied, well I want to look just like me, except be real. I want to be the same color I am now. Can Jesus make me real again and zap me down from the sky? I said no, honey, it doesn't work like that... and he goes on to tell me it will be a "big problem" for him to be up in the "clouds" and he's not sure he wants to "fly like an angel". He asks every few nights if Jesus needs him "tonight" to which I reply ... NO!!!! He asked me again tonight...I said "NO, Jesus does NOT need you tonight." He said "what if I see Jesus when I go to sleep and I don't want to go with him?" (WHAT DO I SAY TO THAT...we're not overly religious people who are trained in these responses!!!) I said "tell Jesus you want to stay with your Mommy and Daddy for right now." On several occasions he's asked when he's going to "die and meet Jesus" and he's told me he's scared to die. (Ya, me too!!) Tonight he asked if he was going to die before me (what do you say to that) and then he asked if I'd miss him if he was in Heaven. OMG <-- Seriously!


So is it "normal" for a 4 year old to be asking about dying .... and worrying about it? Did I explain it wrong? Is there a better way to explain it...something kids relate to easier? I have NO idea.....any help/suggestions would be appreciated... I didn't think this would be a conversation I'd be having (on a regular basis, it seems) before the "SEX" talk! (Note: if you're going to say 'redirect' the conversation - TRUST ME ... I try that at EVERY question. He doesn't stop until he is satisfied with the answer.) Helllllp!
Love,
xoxoxo

Monday, January 19, 2009

Out with the old, in with the new....

1/20/2009...end of an error....
Ok, that's my favorite bumper sticker saying. :)

I am very excited to watch our President Elect, Barack Obama, being sworn in tomorrow. I will admit that I am one of the (probably millions) of people who usually don't take the time to actually *watch* the inaugural ceremonies or have really cared all that much. Yeah, I have ALWAYS voted, since the day I could. But ... new president, sworn in ... okay ... big deal. But this time..... I think it's exciting on so many levels! I know there are many "skeptics" out there (won't mention any names Sam) (smile) who think it's a lot of "hoopla" but this is HISTORY...and we're a part of it!!! This is exciting!
I'm also excited to see Bush get out of office. Not so much see a "Republican" leave because as much as you all think I'm TOTALLY "LEFT" ...I'm really more in the middle with a pretty prominent sway left. :) I have voted Republican (I voted for GWB the first tme!!) and I likely will vote Republican again in my life. I try to vote for the best candidate. I recently have read several articles that have said Bush will be labeled as the "worst President ever." I find that interesting. (Here's one): http://www.businessopportunitystartup.com/blog/cbs-cites-liberal-historians-to-label-bush-%E2%80%98worst-president-in-american-history%E2%80%99/. I've really been more interested in this campaign than ever, and I don't know if it's because I have kids now, and their future is at stake (education, homeland security, right to choose, etc.) but I'm definitely trying to be more aware of the "issues" and I'm much more interested than I've ever been before. I think this presidency, has been horrific for the 4229 soldiers who have lost their lives (and their families) for a war that we keep fighting ... for reasons that 90% of the population (including the country we're fighting for) can't understand anymore. It's unimaginable that we're fighting a war that we not only can't justify anymore (or really, if you look at the actual facts - ever really could ), but can't afford (not to mention the country we're fighting for....currently has a budget in the black...unlike ours!!) It is awful what this administration has done to our reputation and relations with the UN ... and other countries ... we may very well BE the world's "great power" but we don't need to bully every other country and tell them WHAT TO DO just because we think we "CAN". Barack Obama has a lot of relationship "mending" to do.


All I can say is at the end of the day ... I hope Barack Obama does what he says and is truly all that he says he stands for and believes in. If he is, this country can not do anything but prosper. I know that he uses some things - like his background, how hard he's had to work to get where he's at, etc. as a "highlight" (so it comes off sounding cheesy...or rehearsed sometimes) but....HE SHOULD. We all should be proud of our accomplishments and he should use every bit of any highlight in his life to his advantage if it will help him bring us, and our families, a better way of living.


Anyway, whatever you think - it's all up to you to decide what to do from here. Barack Obama has made it clear that the choice is up to the people to make things happen ... and that we can't ALL sit back and let the folks in Washington run this country.
Love,
xoxoxo


Please note: These comments are the opinions of the BLOG AUTHOR (me) and may not represent others in the household. :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

And the twins make ... FIVE.

That's five in one bed. Yes....they have OFFICIALLY started "creeping" out in the middle of the night and into Mommy and Daddy's bed. Zach has always done it - he comes in sometime in the middle of the night .... and shortly after....Avery now makes her way in. A few hours later ... Addison magically appears somehow. Add Gracie (the 17 lb. cat) to the mix, and you've got one CROWDED bed!
So Sam and I are talking about it this weekend (and of course I can't possibly take it a minute longer and I'm thinking we've got to figure out a way to keep them in their beds even if we have to shackle them there because neither of us have had a GOOD nights sleep in ... I don't even remember) but the girls just snuggle right up to him in the night and the morning - and he tells me he's actually feeling a little "nostalgic" ....that this is the last time he's going to have babies and them creeping into bed and snuggling like this (they've got him so wrapped around their little fingers!!). :) Ok, that's really sweet, and we've got a king size bed, and it really wouldn't be THAT bad because they come in usually pretty late (2-3am-ish) but they do not sleep straight up and down. They sleep side ways and back ways and any way but STRAIGHT ways. So the three of them take up three fourths of the bed, and Sam and I barely have enough room ...and that's sleeping on our side! <-- And that isn't a joke!! So... if I'm cranky and tired ... you know why! :) Just know that I was fighting for a sliver of bed space!! I've actually set up an emergency pillow/blanket on the couch in the sitting room that's attached to our bedroom, and when it gets too crowded because one kid is laying at the end of the bed upside down, and one is laying horizontally, and one is in the middle ... I'll just move over there. My next move....might be to THEIR bedroom! (What do you think they'll do then? Follow?)
Oh, and I forgot to mention....Avery is ATTACHED to this little tiny unicorn (she calls it "baby u-i-corn") and if she can't find it when she comes from her room to ours, one of us has to go on a hunt to find it (usually under her bed) At that point we TRY to put her back in her bed, but that doesn't fly. So she trots along our bed, and then God Forbid if she wakes up later in the night and has lost "baby unicorn" again in our bed ... with all the blankets and feet and hands and heads .... it's a disaster! Addie has some bunnies that she's gotten attached to (to fall asleep) but she doesn't need them if she wakes up in the night. Avery is so attached to the unicorn (which is the size of a Little People...maybe 1 inch tall?) that I got a second "emergency" unicorn this weekend ... because every night before bedtime we're on a unicorn hunt!! (Unfortunately, it's not like a stuffed animal that is at least a little "big" ... if this thing is 1 inch tall it's a stretch. It gets lost EVERYWHERE (under beds, couches, in toy boxes, in blankets, sheets, bathrooms, bedrooms, the laundry, her pajamas ...) So a unicorn hunt can be extreme if we lose track of it during the day. Addison can get to bed with something else if she can't find her favorite bunnies, but we seriously have to toss the house for the unicorn or Avery will scream until we do. The unicorn - it's worse than when she had a paci ... because she'd take "any" paci ... she only wants "BABY UNICORN" ... you can't give her a kitty or a bunny or any other little toy that's the same size ...it has to be "BABY UNICORN" ... and trust me, she can tell even in the dark! We seriously find ourselves saying to each other "do you have baby unicorn, no do you, ok you got it, put it in your pocket?" throughout the day ... just to make SURE we know where it is at all times! Our Nanny even has a "spot" where she puts them before she leaves at the end of the day to make sure we have them after she's gone, because it's been more than once that I've called her and asked if she had any idea where Avery had "baby unicorn" last because I couldn't find it. *CRAZY* what they get attached to!!!
Anyway, just thought I'd share my pain! :)

Love,
xoxoxo


Happy 2 years!

We had our neighbors, Jen & Kurt, over for dinner on Saturday ... and we realized ... it was exactly the day two years ago that we bought our house here in VA!!!

The funny thing, when we first moved in Zach was 3 and the twins were just turning 1 ... and Jen and Kurt's kids were also 3 (just turning 4) and 1. (How lucky were we to buy a house with neighbors that had kids the same age as our?!) Our twins and their little boy were still in cribs and both of our bigger ones went to bed nice and early and STAYED in bed.
We had it MADE. We realized pretty early on that our baby monitors WORKED between houses because they're so close...so we could go to their house while our kids were sleeping to play games, etc. or they could come over (our houses are just a few steps away.) But.....if we heard any rumbling on the monitor we'd be able to go home in a few seconds and see what was up (usually in our case - a lost pacifier!!) However, now ... of course that would never in a million years work now that they're older, lol. We just can't believe how fast the time has gone!
Anyway, just thought I'd post that it's been TWO YEARS since we've lived here (which as you guys know is pretty good for us relocaters!) :)








Love,
xoxoxo


Thursday, January 15, 2009

The twins are famous....well, sort of....

Do you remember awhile back the twins did some modeling for a baby clothes spring line? Well....the catalog is out and a virtual copy can be found here at:

http://www.tailoredtadpole.com/

Click on Collections and scroll down to page 10 of the catalog for the Maddie collection. OMG, did the pictures turn out cute. I asked the girls which of the dresses they wanted me to order and they each wanted the one that they modeled....not the same dresses (and they usually have to "match") The clothing line is ADORABLE and the owner of the company, Linde, is a total sweetheart. Her clothes are all handmade by a group of people that work for Linde, the products are organic and durable and I can tell you that they are HIGH QUALITY. I would have never guessed it was hand made - or maybe I would have - because the stuff you get at the store always seems so mass produced. She has a very high standard set for her company (

Check out her website and keep her in mind if you have any kids, relatives, etc. to buy presents for in the upcoming months. Linde has been trying to build her business up and she sells her clothing and "blankie" line in botique children's stores only. My friend Kristina is the one who did the photography and the person who suggested Linde ask me to use my kids in her catalog. If nothing else write to Linde from her webpage to get a copy of the catalog to see the clothes more close, they really are adorable. The baby blankets she sells are amazing too.


Oh, and if you're interested, the girl who took the photos for the catalog is Kristina Whitman. She's an awesome photographer - NONE of these pictures were staged.....not a single one. She totally worked each "session" around the kids, letting them walk around, explore a new area, play, run, jump, walk.....she had toys to make them laugh ... but there was ZERO posing. Her website is: http://www.kristinawhitman.com/.

Have a good night everyone!

Exes and Ohs....

Love,
xoxoxo


Latest Coleman post....a message to all of us.

This is a long one .... but SO SO worth the read.

Here's Peggy Larson's latest post on her CarePage about Coleman. She is truly one of the most inspiring women I've ever come across. I hope that some day our paths will cross because I would love to tell her, in person, how in awe I am of her and her family, and the strength, courage and grace that they have dealt with this HORRIBLE situation ... and are sharing their story with the rest of us, so we can continue to learn from what little Coleman left behind. I think her post is profound, heartbreaking but yet so completely inspiring. Get your kleenex, you'll need it. I'm not posting all of the pictures, just a couple of them - to see them all log onto their carepage...here's the link ... you just need to simply sign up (enter your e-mail address). It amazes me that Peggy writes with such composure ... when you know she is breaking inside. She knows she has to go on, even though it's so hard. Her words of wisdom are something I think we should all reflect on and definitely something we can learn from.

Here's the post from Coleman Larson's CarePage. (Don't forget the kleenex.)

Team Larson Continues...
Posted 3 hours ago
Hi Everyone,It’s me again, My words have been absent from Coleman’s page, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been. Thank you so very much for the messages left here…please know how much they’re appreciated.

We’ve kind of been “zombie-ing” (not sure if that’s a word) around the house here- things just don’t seem real at times, but we’re going on…like I said before, One Day at a time…we’ve been sledding and drinking hot chocolate, playing games, recalling many memories and doing a LOT of snuggling.

Some snow time…Scott blew a big trail all over our yard.
Yes, that’s me in my pajamas! (At least they’re warm!)
It’s so different. People have said how strong we are- believe me, there are times we don’t feel very strong, not strong at all…really…but we believe for Caden, for our families, - even though our hearts hurt beyond belief, we need to go on looking for the good and counting our blessings. We have so much to still be thankful for!God continues to carry us. Any strength we can muster comes from Him. We’re still praying our hearts out- NOW more than ever. I’ll share my desk calendar again…
“When we pray, we are humbling ourselves before God and saying, “I need Your presence and Your power, Lord. I can’t do this without You.” (exactly what we’re saying right now) “when we don’t pray, it’s like saying we have no need of anything outside ourselves. Praying in the name of Jesus gives us authority over the enemy and proves we have faith in God to do what His Word promises.”
His word and His promises are holding us up…we’re leaning on that now more than ever.
I figure there are two ways we could continue Coleman’s page…I could write about how I fall asleep each night (if I’m lucky enough to have my eyes close) holding Cman’s pajamas to my face, to smell him. I could continue to write about how I see him everywhere- all of his things- how everything reminds me of him, choking me with tears until I wonder if I’m ever going to be able to breathe. I could write about how I have pulled myself off the floor as I’ve crumbled into a pile of tears- how there will ALWAYS be something missing and nothing will ever, EVER be the same. I could continue to write about things like how Caden walked alone to the children’s sermon Sunday and all I could see was Coleman walking next to him with them hand in hand… like they did so many times- how Pastor asked the kids questions, and when no one answered I KNEW Coleman would have had a comment for him- How sick I felt thinking about how we would never again have Coleman running back from one of those sermons and giving us HIS summary of what was just said, like we didn’t hear a word of it…how my arms ache… how my heart physically aches….how my heart will hurt FOREVER, and how empty I feel. I could focus on that and continue to write it in so many ways, over and over again. BUT- you already know how much we’ll miss him, and we know we aren’t the only ones.

I explained to Caden before the services that it wasn’t Coleman in the casket- it was his shell, like a crab that changes shells, he didn’t need this body any more. He goes on, just in a different way…We didn’t lose him, he will always be in our hearts and he’s waiting for us…in another place. Caden said, “yeah, HEAVEN!”

It is so hard to explain it to him, and I hope and pray we are saying the right words…yes, we will make sure he has others to talk to, not just us. That will be important. I’m not going to continue to write about the HUGE, EMPTY hole left. Although it will always be here, I just don’t want to focus on how wrong so many feel it is. Yes, it feels so very wrong in every single way, but the truth is- no words and nothing we can say or do will bring him back or change the facts. It just won't change anything. WE can't control or change what happended now, what we CAN control is where we go from here.

Reality is- Coleman’s life here changed a whole lot of hearts, he will be so unexplainably missed, but what we do with what he left us is up to us. He is not GONE or LOST to us…He will forever be with us in all we do and say. Above all, HE would NOT want us to stay sad…to stay in that dark place.All of the above is ONE way we could continue this page- not to say we won’t have ALL of those feelings… we will, some days worse than others, and I’ll write about how horribly it hurts in my own personal journal, just not here…. to me that just isn’t something that will bring any good to the people who read it-no GOOD can come from dwelling on what COULD have been, it will only bring more pain and helplessness, because NOTHING anyone can do will change it.
I don’t want this page to focus on all that we’ll be missing out on…instead, I’ll choose to write about the GOOD that came, and continues to come from Coleman’s life here. I believe that’s the way HE would want it too. He will forever be in many hearts. How blessed we are to have those memories! I’ll also write about how we’re going FORWARD from here...how our Team can still go on and continue the GOOD from Coleman’s life. It will take us a while and we will need to go through all the stages of grief, but one day… one day we WILL be able to continue on ONE DAY AT A TIME. We can STILL make a difference in the lives of others.

Some people say there are signs- maybe it’s just something WE make up to make us feel better, who knows…but the night before Coleman’s visitation, our door bell rang, twice. Once at 8:00. We went to the door, no one there. Then at 1:00 in the morning, I was still up working on one of the photo boards as Scott came downstairs. We were both standing in the kitchen and *DING DONG*…again- no one there….physically any way.

When we let those 1,851 balloons go at the church, the wind carried them straight over our house a mile away. That night the wind had changed directions, and they would have been going over the church the opposite way. I’m so grateful for that memory of them heading straight for and floating above our acreage.

There was a bunch stuck in the tree across from the church the next day when we went to services. Then in the middle of the street was one single yellow one we had to drive around to get into the church driveway. When we left, there were three yellow ones stuck in the grass floating by the railroad tracks. I said, “look! One for mommy, one for Daddy, and one for Caden!” Caden said, “yeah…for our fooooooture!” Yes, we need to keep looking to the future- Coleman would want us to! In his words he would say, “Now let’s get our butts busy awound here!” :)

The night of Coleman’s celebration was THE BIGGEST and BRIGHTEST moon I have ever seen. It almost looked light out. I truly have never seen it THAT bright. It did warm my heart to think Coleman had something to do with it. We’ve had beautiful moonlight ever since- even through the snow.
Were all of these signs from Coleman? Maybe. It makes me feel good to think so anyway.

I’m also so very grateful we had the weather we did the day of his service. It’s been bitterly cold and blizzard-like ever since. How blessed we were to have that beautiful day of sunshine and fresh snow. Yes, it was chilly, but nothing like the cold we’ve had since. I can’t explain how perfect it was…even though we never wanted the day to come…God gave us the most beautiful, perfect day for Coleman’s homecoming. What a gift that was.

I have so many people to thank…and with risk I’m going to leave some out- I do have a few I want to add here. Please forgive me as I know I’ll think of more after I post this…
To Jessica’s mom Heide (cb: Jessica randall ) for making these to hand out…

THANK YOU so much Heide! (Heide was the one who helped me set up our Team Larson store on CafePress)A funny story about the sheets. Caden had one in his hand looking at it during the visitation. He got a funny look on his face and pointed to the pic of him and Coleman walking down the hall hand and hand and said, “huh! When’d they put WINGS on him?” He tossed it into the pew and went back to his running around!

To Darryl who drove over 800 miles to sing at Coleman’s celebration…wow, what can we say about that? God bless you Darryl. You can check him out here…http://www.dmarkette.com/

To DonAyers who used his own money in funding the Team Larson wristbands, and Sheryl Kenney who helped Don in the wristband distributions…THANK YOU for traveling so far and coming to Coleman’s celebration.

From The RonaldMcDonald house staff members to Coleman’s radiation team from Iowa City, to many of Coleman’s dr’s and nurses from the past two years who came,- THANK YOU- it meant a lot to us that you were there!

So many carepage family members who traveled the miles- (you know who you are!) You will always be family and we will ALWAYS be on YOUR team! We know the effort it took for each of you to be here. God bless you.So many who said they wanted to make it, but couldn’t- its okay- we really didn’t get to talk to anyone for more than a couple of minutes …we know you were here in spirit… and we feel the love- believe me, the love is overwhelming and so appreciated!
We’ve gotten messages from Italy, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Ireland, etc. etc. I think 16 different countries last time we counted, not to mention all over the great United States! It’s still hard to believe that so many people know Coleman’s name and the story of his journey. Wow. There are no words to explain how touched we are over that. It just continues to overwhelm us,

I have to thank Pastor Kent and our church family again. Numerous people put MANY hours and hard work into making the day special and run so smoothly. Please know we’re so grateful.

Pastor gave Coleman a service I think many will remember. We should all take a look at children, and how simple their faith is…when do we somehow change and stop making it so simple? As Coleman sang, “Jesus loves me, this I know! For the Bible tells me so…” There were many adults who sang that, along with This Little Light of Mine and God’s Army…just as Coleman would have loved it. Those were among his favorites and it meant a lot to us to have them included in the day. Also thanks to Pastor for singing "God Must Be a Cowboy at Heart"...I could hear Cman singing along as you sang it. He loved that song.

Pastor talked about the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept.” John11:35…
(Read John, Chapter 11…about the death of Lazarus.) or look it up on the computer…

Did Jesus weep because Lazarus had died? Did he weep because Lazarus’s family was hurting so much and He felt for them? OR did he weep because He KNEW what He was about to do? After four days in paradise He was going to bring Lazarus back to Earth- back to this imperfect world…after Lazarus had the chance to experience the perfection that waits for us!
The selfish part of me wants Coleman back here…A part of me wants that so badly, so I can hold him, hug him, tell him how much I love him, talk with him, hear his voice…. The fact is, I already did all of the above, and truly cherished each and every moment of it. Coleman is free to be in the paradise of perfection- it’s the selfish part of me that wants him back to this world of imperfection. Yes, how I wish I could have watched him grow- to see what he would have become here…to watch Caden and Coleman grow up together. The way we thought it would be. My heart will forever ache for that- I truly believe he could have taught so many a thing or two, even more than he already did… but the truth is, Along with all of the good things, THIS is a place with pain, with worries, with heartache and troubles…Cman missing out on those things doesn’t make me sad. He paid his dues here and more than earned his reward. He enjoyed all the good things here too and made the world a better place for his being here- WE had so many dreams for him…but we never DREAMED he would make so much out of the time he had. Look at what he did while he was here! Will ANY of us be able to say WE’LL touch that many lives? I hope so. It’s all up to us.

Coleman’s reward was going to the place we’re all hoping to make it to one day. Maybe tomorrow, maybe 80 years from now… None of us knows for sure. It’s what we do while we’re HERE that’s important. We can’t waste our time…for NONE of us knows what tomorrow will bring. I can’t remind everyone enough… “AN ACT OF KINDNESS, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, CAN BE THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL.” How bright will our little lights shine? What do we consider the most important things to us? Does our day to day living reflect that? Do we worry about what people think of us? Who are we really trying to please?

We need to get off our high horses and stop thinking we’re all so important…stop being so stubborn, selfish and proud – look at how quickly a child forgives… how they just know what they know-but how willing they are to still learn. How giving of themselves they can be. Somehow as we get older, we lose some of that along our way. We think we have it all figured out and know it all. We lose a lot of the openness and willingness we had as a child. We need to shine like the children do in their faith.

We’re all children of God- just with many different looking shells, but all the same on the inside. We all have the same set of feelings. Although there are some who think so, not a ONE of us is any better than the other, no matter what kind of house we live in, what kind of vehicle we drive, how much we’ve collected in our bank accounts. None are higher than another in His eyes. God made each and every one of us. He wants us to be good to one another- To make a difference in other’s lives while we’re here. To GIVE more than we receive, and I’m not just talking money, but of ourselves…Coleman certainly did that. And we couldn’t be MORE proud of him.

We owe it to him to keep that going. Is it going to be easy? No, I'm sure it won't, but we'll push on...for him.

We’ll keep raising funds and awareness for childhood cancer research and continue in the fight full force. We’ll keep doing our Random Acts of Kindness in Coleman’s honor. (we’d love to continue hearing yours too!) We’ll keep his legacy going- the legacy of a five year old that has made us all think a bit differently…to “Neva Div Up!”

Coleman pushed on through his stem cell transplant, through so many procedures, all the while saying, “I KNOW Jesus is dunna help me mommy. I KNOW it.” I hear those words in my head and know in my heart Jesus heard them too. We have no idea what’s in store for our family, but I KNOW God will lead us, Jesus is “dunna help us”... Coleman will ALWAYS be a part of it. His life was such a gift to us- such a blessing! Well Done Coleman… well done.

So if you’d like, stop back to his carepage…I’ll keep writing of the silly things going on around here- believe me, there are always sillies. I’ll keep posting the amazing acts of kindness sent to us, (I have several back ones to catch up on!) I’ll keep updating on what Team Larson is up to. We’ll keep in touch as we move forward whatever that might bring…and if you know me, you know I’ll get off on a rambling or two! Some things NEVER change.

I want to add the verse on a card we received from the Hospice staff today. Nadine said she thought it was written by Coleman- I couldn’t agree more! THANK YOU NADINE!

IT’S TIME
By Pam Reinke

It’s time to go,
My task here completed.
I have left my mark.
I’ve listened, I’ve learned,
And loved…
Such a grand adventure
This thing called….life!
Although I leave
My laughter remains
In the soft chiming of leaves;
Seek my presence in all
That’s green and gold.
My eyes,
the sun and moon,
Sometimes winking your way,
Sometimes bright
I greet your new day…
Hold me, remember me,
Feel me in everything you see,
For I have not left you,
Only embarked on my next journey
Finally free… finally whole.

***Coleman’s journey here was an amazing one. I smile to think of what his next is like.

I’m only adding these here because people have asked for addresses NOT because we’re asking anyone to donate…

The Paula J Baber Hospice House
2630 9th Ave S
Fort Dodge, Iowa 50501

Ronald McDonald House
730 Hawkins Dr.
Iowa City, Iowa 52246-2509

And if you’re donating to curesearch.org we have a team for an upcoming walk in Des Moines on Feb. 28th !!! More on that to come, but here’s our team page…Curesearch walk

Okay not sure how to get our team page on here, but if you click on the site above, click on Des Moines, and search for Team Larson, you’ll get to our page, and I’ll get on trying to get it figured out to make it easier. I’m sure I’ll post more about this the closer it gets- believe me, you’ll get tired of hearing from me!

Here’s our team Larson store, just because I’ve had requests for it…we’re NOT asking anyone to purchase anything!
Team Larson Store at CafePress

And just in case there’s the slight chance there’s someone reading this who hasn’t signed the petition to help in the fight, please take the couple of minutes to do it here…
Please click to sign the Childhood Cancer Awareness petition.

And join us in the fight to bring the awareness these kids deserve!
click and go to PeopleAgainstChildhoodCancer.

Remember 1 in 330 innocent children this year WILL be diagnosed…not- “MAY” be…”WILL BE!” One out of four of those families will be like us in saying good bye to their child way too soon.
Will it be a child YOU love? I pray it isn't...
We were one of those families- Never thought it would happen to us. NEVER. BELIEVE me.
IT NEEDS TO BE STOPPED!!! These kids NEED us.

Thank you for continuing to pray for our family. Not just saying you will, but for really DOING it! We appreciate that. Not only for us but for ALL the families in this fight…. For all families who have been separated from a loved one due to cancer or in other ways. We ALL need those prayers.

Thank you for continuing to check in on us as we embark on OUR new journey without our physical Coleman. HE will never be lost to us…just waiting in a different place, but ALWAYS living on in our hearts, and guiding us in our “foooooture” here on Earth…. until we see his face again.

***Whew! Okay, I just made MYSELF tired rereading that- Guess I had a bit more to say here than I thought when I sat down! You know…it’s that rambling thing! Thanks for listening.***

Blessings to you all,
FOREVER TEAM LARSON

Okay, I already forgot something! Ps. To the Hospice Staff- we will forever be grateful for these hand sculptures you did- to the special ladies involved in making them- you’re angels. THANK YOU!

Caden’s and Coleman’s (see how tightly Caden was holding on! You can see every wrinkle in Coleman’s knuckles

They let 1851 balloons go at his celebration service .... to celebrate each day of his life. Green and Yellow were their team colors ... I think Coleman's dad works for "John Deere" so they were Coleman's favorite colors!!
Here are the beatuiful hand sculptures that the hospice house made for the Larsons. Hospice workers are truly, truly amazing, aren't they? This is something that Peggy, Scott and Caden will have forever and can remember their last days with Coleman.

Here is Caden and Colemans. Heartbreaking.....he obviously knew how close he was to losing his other half. As a mom of twins, I can't imagine seeing what that does to the other twin.


Love,
xoxoxo

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Coleman ....

Today is the saddest I've felt for a very, very long time. I just got the CarePage update that Coleman Larson, the little Boy who's journey I've been following for the past 7 or so months passed away last night at the hospice house where he was being cared for. He was 5 and had been battling cancer since he was 2.

Here is his loving mom's last entry....and .... I just.... can't imagine being in her shoes. I wish I had a faith that strong, and maybe someday I will but dang it I'm MAD at God for taking this boy - for taking all the little KIDS and putting them through these horrible diseases and making them suffer!!! That doesn't make sense to me, it just doesn't ... if God needs all these little souls why can't it be painless and quick!! Peggy's strength and her beliefs are what's getting her through this time and I'm thankful that their family has that. I feel horrible for this family that I've never met, but read into their life daily. I hope some of you who read my blog have joined Coleman's CarePage and have ALSO been touched by the Larson's story.



Anyway, here's the post from her CarePage.

Tears filled with Hope

Today the world may have cried a river of tears for a little boy’s life that ended way too soon, but we believe Heaven is REJOYCING over Coleman’s job well done.

Coleman was an amazing child of God and we were so honored to be chosen as his parents.
He left this world at 10:45 last night- he fought HARD until the very end, not wanting to give up, but finally letting go. He was a warrior and a hero our hearts will forever miss. We had the most glorious five years together- a gift we will never forget.

A quick story. :)

One day Coleman heard someone say they were mad at God. He didn’t say a word, but later came to me with this complete look of disbelief on his face and asked, “mommy? did you hear them say they were mad at DOD? WHY would they say that?” He couldn’t even fathom the thought. Then he raised his little eyebrows and said, “well, I hope they don’t say that in PUB-WIC (public)!” and walked away. He knew there were some things he could not change, but HIS faith never wavered.

Lots of people have mentioned their anger toward God …how can He let this happen when so many people have been praying for Coleman? Why didn’t he answer our prayers?

I just can’t be angry at Our God who sent Coleman to us in the first place. Coleman was a child of God, WE were chosen to be his parents- and how blessed we were. Maybe my feelings will change, but like Coleman, I can’t imagine being angry at God. Would we have loved to have had more time with Coleman? YES! I want him back right now, but I know that’s the selfish part of me talking. I know I will hurt more than I can ever imagine in missing him…and I know I will have MANY days of heartache and anger, but my anger is over the fact we live in a world where we can do so much, but still do not have a cure for this horrific disease. Children are paying the price for that. More on that will come-

I guess what I’m saying is I know for a fact, Coleman would NOT want us to be mad at God. He taught us so much in his time here. His lessons will go on for a very long time. He knew where he came from and he knew where he was going. My heart aches for more time, but I’m SO thankful for the time we got with him, and we know we WILL be with him again. God doesn’t always answer our prayers in the way we want him to…HIS ways are not ours, and that’s hard to accept, but true. It doesn’t mean I don’t question it- it’s hard to understand, but one day we WILL know.

Many people have asked how Caden is doing. Now that’s a long story, but we have assured him that we love him. He is dealing the best way he can- just like us.

I turned my desk Praying Parent calendar today, and thought I’d share what it said…“We are dependent on God to enable us to raise our child properly, and He will see to it that our child’s life is blessed. One thing I have learned is that I should not try to force my own will on my child in prayer. I have found it is better to pray more along the lines of “Lord show me how to pray for this child. Help me to raise him Your way, and may Your will be done in his life.”I believe God’s will was done through Coleman. I know it.

For those inquiring:We will celebrate Coleman’s life on Saturday, Jan. 10th at 10:30 a.m. at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Callender. Visitation will also be at the church on Friday the 9th after 4:00p.m.

Instead of flowers, we’d love donations made to
The Hospice House of Fort Dodge, Iowa
The Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City
or
curesearch.org

We’d like to thank EVERYONE who has helped our family along this journey the past two and a half years. We will never be able to explain how much we appreciate the support for our Team. Our carepage family is the BEST!To the hospice house- you will always have a special place in our hearts. You made the most difficult time of our lives one filled with love. Nadine and your staff, God bless you. I know Coleman would like us to thank you as well for making his last days as comfortable as possible for him- and for us all.
Here is one of my favorite pictures of Coleman…




God bless you baby. Coleman said long ago, "some day I won't need NO more meds or pokes, wight mommy?” No more sweetie. You are free.

One more story to share…thanks again Nadine.The Parable of the Twins-



Once upon a time, twin boys were conceived in the same womb. Weeks passed and the twins developed. As their awareness grew, they laughed for joy, “isn’t it great that we were conceived? Isn’t it great to be alive?”Together the twins explored their world. When they found their mother’s cord that gave them life, they sang for joy, “how great is our Mother’s love, that she shares her own life with us!”As weeks stretched into months, the twins noticed how much each was changing. “what does it mean?” asked the one. “It means that our stay in this world is drawing to an end, said the other. “But I don’t want to go”, said the other, “but maybe there is life after birth.” But how can there be?” responded the other one. “We will shed our life cord, and how is life possible without it? Besides, we have seen evidence that others were here before us and none of them have returned to tell us that there is life after birth. No, this is the end.”And so the one fell into deep despair, saying, “If conception ends in birth, what is the purpose of life in the womb? It is meaningless! Maybe there is no mother after all?” “But there has to be,” protested the other. “How else did we get here? How do we remain alive?”How you ever seen our mother?” said one. “Maybe she lives only in our minds. Maybe we made her up because the idea made us feel good?”And so the last days in the womb were filled with deep questioning and fear. Finally, the moment of birth arrived. When the twins had passed from their world, they opened their eyes and cried for joy. For what they saw exceeded their fondest dreams.
Author Unknown


OH OH OH I have to say too-Dr. Woods from Des Moines and Dr. Gilheeney from NY who called us personally- GOD BLESS YOU! Our world needs more doctors like you. It means so much to us. We will never forget your compassion. Thank you.


Blessings to you all,Nev-va Div up-Team Larson
















Love,
xoxoxo





Saturday, January 3, 2009

Finally Finally Finally!

I finally have a good picture of all FIVE kids! WOOHOO!!!!

You have no idea what that takes to coordinate (not on the older one's part ...on the toddlers!) Trying to get them to all look the same way, at the same time, keeping their fingers out of their nose for 5 minutes or doing something equally as gross ....! Whew.

We had big intentions to take this great outdoor family shot. We even lugged everyone outside in the sloshy wet and muddy leaves to GET the outdoor picture. Then, the kids were even looking the same way, smiling and everything....for about 10 minutes ....while Sam and I tried to get the camera settings right. I'm not sure what we did but in playing around with it earlier in the day- we managed to do something so every picture we were taking was totally blurry. And there would have been some great shots. Rats!!! By the time we got it fixed, the little ones were DONE and we had to go inside. At least we got a picture of the 5 of them, close together, somewhat looking in the same direction and HAPPY! *YAY*

I guess Addie and Avery need some more modeling jobs to get that picture-posing thing down .... they didn't get enough here: www.kristinawhitman.com/twinsgallery :)


Love,
xoxoxo