Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Prayer

Tonight I came across an article on Pinterest.  There was no description but my curiosity was peaked by the picture.  (You can read the article in its original location by clicking on the young lady's name below the picture.)  Reading this story brought tears to my eyes.  As the mother of two boys I pray that they will have their own stories like this.  

My Reese has a heart for people and loves to help.  That on top his HUGE personality will likely put him in positions of influence.  I pray that he will be like these boys and not be afraid to stand up for the least of these.   As for my sweet Brinkley, I pray that he will have friends like this who really love him and understand his true value.  What a blessing these young men are to this young lady and the community that they live in, true gentlemen!

Pinned Image
Chy Johnson

Special team

Originally Published: November 1, 2012
By Rick Reilly |
How about a little good news?
In the scrub-brush desert town of Queen Creek, Ariz., high school bullies were throwing trash at sophomore Chy Johnson. Calling her "stupid." Pushing her in the halls.
Chy's brain works at only a third-grade level because of a genetic birth defect, but she knew enough to feel hate.
"She'd come home every night at the start of the school year crying and upset," says her mom, Liz Johnson. "That permanent smile she had, that gleam in her eye, that was all gone."
Her mom says she tried to talk to teachers and administrators and got nowhere. So she tried a whole new path -- the starting quarterback of the undefeated football team. After all, senior Carson Jones had once escorted Chy to the Special Olympics.
"Just keep your ear to the ground," Liz wrote to Carson on his Facebook page. "Maybe get me some names?"
But Carson Jones did something better than that. Instead of ratting other kids out, he decided to take one in -- Chy.
He started asking her to eat at the cool kids' lunch table with him and his teammates. "I just thought that if they saw her with us every day, maybe they'd start treating her better," Carson says. "Telling on kids would've just caused more problems."

It got better. Starting running back Tucker Workman made sure somebody was walking between classes with Chy. In classes, cornerback Colton Moore made sure she sat in the row right behind the team.
Just step back a second. In some schools, it's the football players doing the bullying. At Queen Creek, they're stopping it. And not with fists -- with straight-up love for a kid most teenage football players wouldn't even notice, much less hang out with.
"I think about how sweet these boys are to her," says volleyball player Shelly Larson, "and I want to cry. I can't even talk about it."
It's working.
"I was parking my car yesterday, and I saw a couple of the guys talking to her and being nice," says offensive lineman Bryce Oakes. "I think it's making a difference around here."
And the best thing is? The football players didn't tell anybody.
"I didn't know about any of this until three weeks ago," says Carson's mom, Rondalee, who's raising four boys and a daughter by herself. "He finally showed me an article they wrote here locally. I said, 'Are you kidding me? Why didn't you tell me this?'"
All of a sudden, Chy started coming home as her bubbly self again. When her mom asked why she was so happy, she said, "I'm eating lunch with my boys!"
The boys take care of Chy, and she takes care of the boys. Carson, carrying a GPA of 4.4, got in a car accident last week; since then, Chy is always trying to carry his backpack. "I know his neck hurts," she says.
I get emailed stories like this a lot, but most of the time they don't pan out. They turn out to be half true, or true for the first week but not the second. But when I walked into the Queen Creek High School cafeteria Tuesday, unannounced, there was 4-foot-high Chy with 11 senior football players, eating her lunch around the most packed lunch table you've ever seen, grinning like it was Christmas morning. It was Carson's birthday, and she'd made him a four-page card. On one page she wrote, in big crayon letters, "LUCKY GIRL."
I asked Chy to show me where she used to eat lunch. She pointed to a room in the back, away from the rest of the kids, the special-ed lunchroom. Much more fun out here, she said.
"I thank Carson every chance I see him," says Chy's mom. "He's an amazing young man. He's going to go far in life."

Nobody knows how far Chy Johnson will go in life. The life expectancy of those afflicted with her disease, microcephaly, is only 25-30 years. But her sophomore year, so far, has been unforgettable.
She'll be in the first row Friday night, cheering 10-0 QC as it plays its first playoff game, against Agua Fria. Some people think it will be QC's sixth shutout of the season. Sometime during the game, Carson probably will ask Chy to do their huddle-up "Bulldogs on 3" cheer, with everybody's helmet up in the air. You won't be able to see Chy, but she'll be in there.
"Why do I do these interviews?" Chy asked her mom the other night.
"Because you're so dang cute," her mom answered.
I've seen this before with athletes. Josh Hamilton used to look out every day for a Down syndrome classmate at his Raleigh, N.C., high school. Joe Mauer ate lunch every day with a special-needs kid at his St. Paul, Minn., high school. In a great society, our most gifted take care of our least.
But what about next year, when Carson probably will be on his Mormon mission and all of Chy's boys will have graduated?
Not to worry. Carson has a little brother on the team, Curtis, who's in Chy's class.
"Mom," he announced at the dinner table the other night, "I got this."
Lucky girl.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Let's go back...

Let's go back to Calhoun Elementary School in 1983 (yes, I am dating myself).  That would be when I met Molly Jopp.  (Molly is on the right and I am on the left.)  Molly later moved away and we lost touch.  After college we were reunited when she moved back to the area and I interviewed her for a job with our local YMCA. 

We quickly caught up and began to rebuild our friendship that had started so many years earlier.  It has been fun to see Molly get married and become the mother of three beautiful children.  Over the last few years Molly has become a self taught photographer and she is incredibly talented.  This is why I was so excited we she approached me about taking some photos of our new family of four.  

She certainly did not disappoint us!  The photos that she took of us are beautiful.  I would love to share them with you.  Please head on over to Molly's blog to see our photos.  Thank you Molly!  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Me Time

Me time doesn't come very frequently around here, but when it does I enjoy doing crafts. I decided to try my hand at a few things for Brinkley's room.  For a change of pace, I thought I would share those here.  I got two ideas from Pinterest that I wanted to try.  The first one wasn't a complete disaster, but it is definite redo, so I won't post it yet.  The second, however, turned out pretty well and I am proud of it.

The idea came from TLC via Pinterest.  Here is a photo of the finished product:

This is across the back wall of his bed room and takes up and large majority of the wall.
These are chipboard letters that I bought at Hobby Lobby and I covered them with scrapbook paper that matches his room decor.  I sprayed each of the letters with spray adhesive and then laid the letter (sticky side down) onto the scrapbook paper (print side down).  Using a craft knife, I cut around the edges of the letters and pulled away the excess paper.  I used sandpaper to smooth the edges and hung the letters on the wall using command poster strips.

Here are some closeups:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Typical vs Special Needs

I came across this article today and thought it was worth sharing.  Though my children are opposite of this mom's (my typical child came first), I know that I will be in her shoes very soon.  It's encouraging to know that we are not alone!

Our Special World | Adoption Information from Adoptive Families Magazine: Domestic, International, Foster and Embryo Adoption Resources

*Due to copyright issues, I can't repost the article here, can only link to it.  Sorry, but it is worth the read.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I Got My Trade In

I finally got to cut my white bracelet off and trade it in a little over a week ago.  What did I trade it in for you ask.  Well, here is a little glimpse into our first full week at home:

Monday: 3 1/2 hour Cardiology visit & Home Health Nurse visit
Tuesday: 2 hours of therapy followed by my first day back to work in eight weeks
Wednesday: No appointments for Brinkley but back to work for me and a visit to Reese's school for the Costume Parade.  We ended the day with trick or treating in Aunt Tracy's neighborhood.
Thursday: Work for me, Flu shot appointment for Reese, and Pediatrician visit for Brinkley.  A long sleepless night with Reese.
Friday: Pediatrician visit for Reese (ear infection) followed by a Home Health Nurse visit for Brinkley.

It was nice to get back to work, but it will be even nicer to get a full week in.  Everyday was cut a little short.  One of the great things about NICU is that all the specialists come to you, but I will gladly trade that convenience for having my Brinkley home!  

He is doing great at home and hit 6 lbs this past week, but we are looking forward to a little bit of a slow down soon!  This week looks to be just as crazy as last week (Pediatrician, surgeon, and two home health visits).  We are learning to adjust to life with a newborn and falling more in love with him everyday (just like everyone who has met our little red headed wonder).