Sunday, August 25, 2013

Endings...and Beginnngs

What is it about endings?  Why are they so hard, even when we have even greater things ahead of us?  A precious phase of our life ended today...the moment we dropped all three of our kids off at school. No more babies or toddlers, no more preschool, no more diapers and sippie cups. And as ridiculous, or cliche as it is...I'm really sad about it. Oh I know...I'll  get over it soon enough. I'll have "my freedom" and will be more productive.  On my days off, I can now drop them off at the load line with my stretchy pants and glasses on, coffee in hand, go straight back home and back to bed if I want (like I'm so sure, there will still be a messy house to deal with, piles of laundry taller than Lia, and groceries to buy...). But right now, in this moment, I don't care about any of that. I loved that part of our family's life. I barely remember how hard it is when they were babies...instead I remember chubby cheeks and slobber kisses. I remember sweet baby cuddles and new milestones reached every day.  So as I drop off all three of my babies today...especially the baby of my babies, I think I'll allow myself to be a little sad. 

And then, I'll remind myself that we've been through much harder things than starting Kindergarten...only 12 weeks ago.  

And I'll remember to be grateful. 

I flash back to 5 and a half years ago... the day we found out about Lia's extensive heart defects. I remember so clearly as we sat in that tiny office talking to Dr Matt Lemler, the one who read her fetal echo, and is now her pediatric cardiologist. I remember him telling us what he thought he saw on the echo (which was spot on correct, by the way) and us dying inside. I remember looking him in the eye and asking him, "What does this mean for our baby's future?  I mean, will our baby live to be 100?"  I remember his answer...  "No.  No she won't... But Mrs Stone, most of us won't live to be 100."  

So there you go.  That uncertainty has never left us.  I think about it every single day. 

 But here's the deal...nothing's for certain. Nothing in this life, anyway. What is certain?  What do we know for sure?  Heaven is certain.  God's promises are certain.  His faithfulness is certain. That's what we can cling to and find comfort in.  And so we do just that. 

Today, our little miracle, Lia Kate Stone starts Kindergarten.  That is a milestone that was never certain for her.  Today, she is healthy and strong. She is full of joy. She is ready.  And we are grateful. 

Thank you, Lord. With tears in my eyes, I can never say Thank You enough....

With these two guys to look after her for the next two years...I think she'll be ok.  I'm thankful for them too.  Let's do this 2013-2014 school year....

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Looking Back Over the Summer....

Time is a funny thing. It can go by so can go by so quickly. This past summer has done both.  As I reflect on our family's summer, I am amazed. We started out the week before school let out at Children's Medical Center, enduring the event we had been dreading for 5 years. We sent our precious baby girl through those scary doors into the cardio thoracic operating room for the third time in her life...and we were devastated. We were terrified and literally sick to our stomachs. We were emotional. We were also comforted, confident, and hopeful. We were surrounded by you all...all who have loved on and prayed for our family for years now. It was really hard...really hard, but looking back now, I realize just how well Lia did. 6 days.  6 days was all the time she needed in the hospital and that was pretty good. Once again, we realize just how blessed we have been. Here are some pics to just remind us how very far our Lia has come...

Once Lia started to really recover, our summer took off. Since then, we've celebrated her 5 year old birthday!!! What a special, special birthday it was. We had so much to celebrate. 

That princess party just got us warmed up for our Disney vacation....which was one of the biggest things we looked forward to as we got through the first part of the summer in the hospital. 

Disney was all we ever dreamt it would was wonderful, and magical, and the weather in California was perfection...  I cried a lot while we were there, but that's no surprise. I'm a crier. I was really just so grateful we were able to go. I was grateful for the boys sake...who are always so resilient when it comes to some of the sacrifices our family makes for Lia.

 So we planned this California trip around The Rangers schedule...what!?!  That's normal, right?  We stayed in the same hotel as The Rangers and although weren't allowed to ask for autographs or pics, we did plenty of stalking anyway. I would've liked to do some additional stalking, but was literally so exhausted every night I could barely manage to get in bed before falling asleep. I know I wasted many opportunities in that regard, but sleep is clearly high on my list of priorities because you won't meet a bigger Rangers fan. We were also able to overlap our vaycay with some friends and their vaycays....which made it all even more fun!!!

Here was our awesome, slightly obnoxious sign that made the broadcast...

We went to two of the three games against the Angels...swept those suckers, tied up the AL West and went on about our business.  You're welcome Rangers fans.

Beach pics!!!! The beach in California is much different than Florida. You probably all knew that but I'm learning things as Corey is perfecting the "earning miles with credit stuff" and we are getting out more. We were actually a little chilly on the beach. I thought I might suffer from hypothermia when I stuck my one foot in the water.  Not a fan. However, just to lie on the beach, without any type of umbrella, with that perfect cool breeze coming off the ocean, in the full sun?  Yeah...that was doable. It was awesome.  I could've stayed there for hours... and we would have. Except for the fact that we had an incredibly important baseball game to attend that night. (And we couldn't let you Rangers fans down, now could we?)..,

Notice I didn't add any pics of myself here...that's for obvious reasons ;-)

Now to Disney pics...I can't wait to download all of them and make a vacation book from Shutterfly or whatever but these are a few. 

That's about it...lots and lots of celebration, gratefulness and fun crammed into this post.  It's time to start school.  It's time for the Dallas Heartwalk and Team Lia. It's time for Charger and Jacket football. I love it all. I'm thankful for today. 

"When you hope, be joyful.  When you suffer, be patient.  When you pray, be faithful."     Romans 12:12