"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."


The end of summer....

I can't believe summer is just about over. The kids started school a few weeks ago (I started this post the 16th but it is now the 4th of September!). How is it that we have a 3rd and 2nd grader? I remember when I was 9. It seems like just yesterday sometimes. Well, we still have one more year before Nicholas goes off to K. I knew I would cry when we took Olivia to her first school day as a Kindergartner. I was surprised I cried even more with Seth, thinking I had already done this just the year before. No, that didn't seem to matter. It was a moment I wasn't prepared for and Gabriel had to take him into his classroom. Now I know...it doesn't get easier with each child. This is our last year with both little ones at home. Right after Nicky starts K next year, Valerie will be entering K and soon we'll have all four little ones in school. So, I enjoyed this year's First Day of School, because the next two ones will be filled with many, many tears. :)

Seth, the 2nd grader, and Olivia, the 3rd grader, on the first day of school!

So, where has summer gone? Gabriel was busy protesting properties all season, I guess we'll have to start planning pre and post summer vacations because we won't be doing anything during June and July. July was a busy month. Olivia and her Girl Scout Troop went to the Circus as a reward for a successful cookie selling season. Now before you start, it had been YEARS since I've been to the circus. The only thing I remembered was the smell and the elephants. Lo and behold, the circus ain't what it used to be. I know the animal rights groups have had their say, but they really need to go to the circus. The only animals left were the elephants and the tigers. That's it. Where were the bears, the tigers, the monkeys? And not one clown! Oh, we did get a really cute dog show....but dogs at the circus? If I had to describe the circus now, I would say it was a cross between a broadway musical and cirque de soleil. The smell we not so fondly recalled was missing as well. The girls had a good time, and I guess that is all that really matters.

Some pictures from the circus, the Brownie troop and Olivia getting a bright idea!

We roll into August and all hell broke loose. God has been blessing us and watching over us, but we seem to love hospitals this summer. I don't think there's been a year where we've been into so many. My dad had been complaining of his throat tightening when he would work out and his gums hurting him. My dad is in good shape and takes pride in taking care of himself. He also is one to visit the doctor often, making sure to have his check ups completed faithfully every year. So when he went to the doctor they requested an EKG. That came up a bit abnormal. Ok, ENT doc was paranoid but then his cardiologist was a bit more calmer. He had him come back in a week to do a nuclear stress test. After the test, they admitted by dad to the ER and wouldn't let him leave. Seems his main arterty was 90% blocked and another artery was 30% blocked. He had to have an emergency double bypass surgery. The doctors were amazed he hadn't had a heat attack yet, but said it was only a matter of time. And when it hit, it would have been a massive one. They liked to call him lucky, but I call him blessed and that God spared him for a reason. It just wasn't his time to go yet. That same week he was in the hospital, my mom had to go in for scheduled surgery on her liver. She ended up staying there nearly a week. So we stayed with my sister at mom's house since mom is her main caretaker (remember, my sister is still in a wheelchair and will be for the next 6 months, at least). Olivia really came through in helping my sister out during the day as Gabriel was working the boards and I couldn't take time off from work since it was just Liz and I in the office along with a temp. Gabriel's mom was a lifesaver as well, coming in to help with the kids. Needless to say, it was a C-R-A-Z-Y week. But we made it through it and everyone is healing and recovering well.

We did get a chance to take Olivia and her friend, Maggie, to Build A Bear a few weekends ago. It was her reward for making straight A's. They had a really good time and they both got the same dog. They are too cute!

BFF 4 Ever!

It's been a short summer and although I would like to enjoy it a couple of more weeks, I really am looking forward to Fall, it's my favorite season of the year. Birthdays are coming up too. Gabriel's is coming up in a few weeks and then Olivis turns 9 in October!

Bring on those gorgeous fall leaves and lower temps!!