Monday, July 29, 2013

Kidd Camp

I almost combined this with my last post but I figured there would be too many pictures for one I've never done that before :) haha!

For as long as I can remember it's been a tradition to have an extended family camping trip the weekend of Grandpa's birthday.
Many great memories there as well.

 It was so fun to have my sister and her husband back in the valley for a minute :)
They live in New Hampshire now and we don't see them nearly enough.

Some Minute to Win it games were organized and it was great to see my kids get involved...

...and Mom...

...and Grandma :)!

My camera died at this point :(...but luckily Mom had hers hard at work :)

Ben being silly

He fell asleep in my arms which is pretty rare if he hasn't just had a seizure.

Here, Grandma is telling me what an angel he is

Josh and Matt slept in their own tent and the plan was for the rest of us to sleep in another one together but due to a leak in the air mattress, Andy 'slept' in the van.
The morning was extremely pleasant since there was a light rain and the temperatures lowered considerably.

On Uncle David's motorcycle

Someone didn't want to eat his breakfast.  C'mon, who wouldn't want chicken and mayo for their first meal of the day?

Out for a walk with Uncle James

Ben loves independently filling up his water cup!  We sat here for quite a while :)

Over here Andy...

Our little family hasn't actually camped overnight for the last few years because of Ben but I really wanted to try it this year.  I  knew the hardest part would be keeping Ben happy and safe since he doesn't enjoy being contained in his stroller unless it's moving.  Thus, we spent just one night - going up in the evening and leaving the next morning. 
It was kind of hard but with so many helping hands it was very doable.

We had a great time and I think it went well enough that we can plan on spending the night again next year.

A Kidd's 90th Birthday

My cute Grandpa Kidd turned 90 on the 24th.
Many of the cousins that live out of town were here to celebrate.
We had such a pleasant gathering at Grandpa and Grandma's home with cake and ice cream, lots of hugs, pictures and kids running around.

Great Grandkids...missing 9 (if I counted right)

 Grandkids...missing 9 also


 Grandma helps Grandpa eat since his hands are so shaky.
Aren't they the cutest?

 Fond memories of this home...
I spent the first five years of my life in the basement apartment.

 Ben had had a rough day seizure wise so he was a bit grumpy to begin with... but he came around.

 Just our family.
Someone must have cracked a joke and I was the only one that got it :)
 Mom and Grandma sang an old time ditty that they were both amazed they remembered.

Growing up, there were six of us girl cousins very close in age.
We had fun times together.
We are missing one - We love you Dayna!

Grandpa Kidd is a man that I love and respect deeply.
He always has a kind word.  He is gentle and humble and a stalwart disciple of the Lord.
He has served Him his whole life and it emanates from him.
He and Grandma are a joy to be around.
They have blessed so many lives and will continue to for generations to come.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What's Wrong with Holland?

(I have edited, and deliberated over this post like no other...I just decided to go ahead and publish it :)

The other day I was walking down an isle in a fabric store and a certain bolt caught my eye.  Upon further inspection I saw that tiny windmills dotted the fabric.  I thought, "how cute", and then noticed the bolt next to it from the same line had windmills and wooden shoes.  I found a third bolt on the shelf above that sported the same color scheme in a floral pattern.
I wanted to snatch them up because they were so fun but lately I've been trying to ask myself, when tempted to buy fabric or some other craft supply, if I really think I would use it.  I couldn't think of a way I would use these dutch prints so I unwillingly put them back on the shelf and walked on.  My mind kept working though and it didn't take long before something came to me ;)
I remembered hearing/reading an essay a few times that compares raising a child with a disability to taking a trip to Holland.  That's it!  How nifty would a quilt out of those fabrics be to represent our journey with Ben?  I even envisioned it being our "seizure" quilt and wrapping him in it to sleep and snuggle in my arms after each seizure.  I went right back and grabbed those bolts off the shelf...triumphant in my idea!
At the cut counter I ended up telling the woman of my intended project.  She had never heard the essay but she too has a son with a disability.  I encouraged her to Google "Welcome to Holland" and read it.
And that was that...except that the topic lingered in my mind.
(If you are not familiar with this short essay, and want to understand the rest of the post, I would encourage you to read it as well :)

Sunday morning I was lying on the couch with a sleeping Ben...after his second seizure of the day.  The rest of the family had gone to church.  The essay came to my mind again and I decided to find it.  I googled the title simply wanting to reread it.
I was truly surprised at what I found!
I had no idea it was so well known throughout the world.
It has been reprinted in many different publications in dozens of languages, has been the theme for conventions, been set to music and printed on t-shirts, cards, calendars and aprons among other things.
Many bloggers and other writers have written opinions about the piece.
There are those that love it, say it has literally "changed their life" and even some who have named their child "Holland" because of it.
There are also those that "hate" it...either because they think it is too harsh or because they feel it doesn't portray the pain enough.
I was surprised to find that people had such strong feelings against it.
I almost didn't want to read these opinions because I didn't want my idea ruined...after all, I had already bought the fabric!
My curiosity got the best of me though.
I searched further after reading some of the negative views and found an interview with the author.  This made me feel a bit better as she openly recognizes that it's not a perfect analogy and won't fit every situation...she never meant it to...but it worked for her.
Several counter essays have been written.
One blogger thought Emily Kingsley had gone too far in her description of the painful feelings of never having a "typical" child.  She wrote her own essay and titled it "Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!"
She writes that your trip to the M.K. is even better than you anticipated ...with no stone out of place, chip in the paint or gum on the ground.
Another woman wrote "Welcome to Beirut".
 (I prefer this abridged version)
She compares receiving the diagnosis of autism with the horrors of war.

All sides and views had many supporters.
I, myself, agree with parts of each essay (and while I disagree with other parts, I respect that these are the true feelings of these authors and my intent is not to disregard them).

I don't feel like I need to rewrite the essay and add my own version to blogland...I think that has been done enough, but I would like to add my opinion to those already voiced.

 I can relate a bit to "Magic Kingdom Mom" who can't understand why Ms. Kingsley would write that we are jealous of all our friends who go to Italy.  Most of the time I do feel like I'm the lucky one.  Why was I so blessed?  And yet, there are moments when I see or hear of children Ben's age (or younger) who are doing the "typical" 4 year old things and I pause and think, "Wow, Ben can't do that".  I think there will always be those moments...small flashing moments of viewing other "Italian" children and not really being jealous, but comparing the abilities of your child to theirs.  And yes, M.K. Mom, these precious souls are definitely a gift!
Although bullets and gaping wounds sound a bit harsh (at least in my opinion) I can also somewhat relate to "Beirut Mom".  Yes, the diagnosis, each seizure and hospitalization, the looming "less than ideal" prognosis and the very real possibility of losing your child do cut deep, but I also  know that the Lord binds up each wound and it is through Him that I absolutely know everything will be okay in the end.

So, while pieces of both of these essays do ring true, I say, 
What's wrong with Holland?
I don't feel like raising a child with a disability is all Mickey ears and carousel rides.  It is hard!
But I don't feel that it is as bleak as Beirut either.
Ms. Kingsley does not refer much to the nitty gritty, detailed, daily struggle of being in Holland but she does recognize the wonder and the joy that can be found there often, along with the hard parts.
Holland stretches makes me a better person...makes me more sympathetic toward others and careful of how I live my life.

So, my conclusion:
No, Holland is not Italy (nor is it the Magic Kingdom or Beirut) but Holland is beautiful and I wouldn't trade it for the world!

P.S. Hopefully I will get around to making this quilt soon (within the next 5-10 years :) and I will put it on my blog and remind you of this post and what it represents to me.
For now though, I will leave you with a few interesting facts I found while researching this topic.

* Emily Kingsley was a writer for Sesame Street for which she earned multiple Emmy Awards.
* She was a big factor in advocating the inclusion of people with disabilities on the show.
*When Emily's son Jason was born with Down Syndrome, they were counseled by a doctor to take him to an institution and tell everyone that he had died at birth!  I think knowing this gives greater insight into her writing.
* Holland is actually a very symbolic destination for the author to have chosen for her comparison...
Holland is below sea level.  Consequently, the inhabitants are in a constant battle against the water surrounding them (though not as much currently because of technological advances as they were in the past).  They relied on dikes, floodgates, drainage ditches, dams and pumping stations (windmills) in their struggle to keep the water at bay.

Besides, how could you NOT love Holland with all of these gorgeous views?! 
 (picture sources)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Our Summer Vacation 2013 (Day5)

We started our next day with...

Lower Geyser Basin


The color is amazing!

More of my favorite paint pots!

 *Side Note*
Josh very innocently kept calling geysers, geezers!  It was adorable. 
We kept correcting him and by the end of the trip I think he had it :)
Matt loves to pose :)
This picture was accidental but I'm glad I got it...Abby experiencing the rotten egg smell of the park.

Old Faithful

We were a bit worried for this one since we weren't quite sure how long we would have to wait around for O.F. to go off.  We spent some time in the gift shop and the lodge.
Eventually the kids got anxious so Andy took them out to go find a seat.

I strolled with Ben a bit more and then eventually sat in some shade a way back from the geyser.  Ben had to get out of his stroller so I let him sit on the log next to me.

There she blows!


 I wanted to get a picture of Ben in front of the geyser but he kept following me as I backed up for the shot :)

Moose Falls

There's a pretty little, tucked away falls as you head down out of the south end of the park called Moose Falls.
Andy and I discovered it 6 years ago when we took our 5 year anniversary trip to Yellowstone.
Andy jumped out with the three oldest and took them down while Ben and I relaxed in the car.

Jenny Lake

Jenny Lake is a favorite.
I have fond memories of being there with my family when I was young.
Andy and I went on our trip together and we just had to take the kids.
So we said farewell to Yellowstone and hello to the Grand Tetons!

We had wanted to have lunch at the lake but it was already 2:30 as we entered the park so we found a shady parking spot and had another l...o...n...g lunch with Ben :)
To get him to eat we had to bribe him by telling him he could go on a boat after he finished his lunch.
That did the trick.  He loves anything to do with water.

From our memory we thought we could do the hike up to Hidden Falls (which is across the lake) with our handy dandy new off road stroller.  They wouldn't even let us take it on the ferry :(
Our plan had been to take the ferry across, hike up to Hidden Falls and then bypass the ferry and hike around the south end of the lake back to our car.  Without a stroller we weren't sure what we could do.
Andy decided we should just go for it.  So, we purchased our one way tickets, parked our stroller and hopped aboard the boat.

 Isn't it gorgeous? 

The hike to the falls was short...but we stopped for a break along the way :)

At this point Matt informed us that he needed to use the bathroom and Ben kept begging for "more boat".
We started second guessing our one way tickets :)

 This place is amazing!  Ben didn't think it was too great though.

I'm not sure if I caught a little seizure there or if he's just in the middle of putting on a show...

Finally, a smile :)

We waffled back and forth with the choice of forging on ahead with our original plan or going back down to the dock and begging a ride back across.

To our childrens' chagrin we forged ahead.
 Josh started out with a good attitude....Abby eventually followed with hers and Matt brought up the rear and finally seemed to enjoy the hike.

Our memories were quite wrong; the stroller would not have worked at all on the trail (even though in these pictures it looks like it could).
As a matter of fact, it got a bit more rocky as the original trail was under repair and we were detoured higher up the mountain!

 Ben found a spot for his chin on Andy's head and rested it there for a very long time.
Andy was sure he was going to have a bruise.

 I liked the hunched over view from the back.

 At one point, Ben spontaneously leaned over and gave Andy several kisses on the cheek.

 Ben decided he wanted to walk.
Andy was very patient with him.  With almost every step he had to push up my sunglasses that he had asked to wear and each time he came to a rock in the trail (which was often) he stepped up on it, jumped off and laughed.

 The kids longingly looked at that speck of a ferry crossing the lake :)

 I wish I had taken more pictures of the older boys but they were always up ahead.

I had Andy document that I actually carried Ben a short distance at the end although he must have carried him approx. 2 1/2-3 miles that day.
Way to go hon!

 When we finally arrived back at the east side of the lake we had to find a spot to dip our feet in.

We finished up at Jenny Lake early that evening and then drove through Jackson and back to Jenny and Mike's house where they very graciously let us crash one more night and day.

What a fun, fast, but great trip.  I think the kids will have lovely memories of those couple of days.

I can not for the life of me find the picture but a couple of weeks before our trip I saw a picture of a van that had funny road trip statistics written all over the how many miles they had traveled, how many sunburns, wrecks, cheeseburgers eaten...that kind of thing.
Anyway, I didn't think Andy would go for the idea but I could post them on my blog.
Well, I can't really think of anything fun to write at the end of this very long post so I will just say that we kept track of the license plates we saw and we came home missing only four; Hawaii, Mississippi, Rhode Island and Maine.
There, that's my fun statistic :)

Thank you for reading deserve a prize if you did :)
Even if you just scrolled through and looked at all the pictures you deserve something.