I created this blog when my sweet little girl, Kristen, was diagnosed with cancer, for the third time. After fighting for almost 3 years Kristen was called home to that same God who gave her life. I've contemplated on many occasions rather I should quit this blog or not. Each time I am inspired that I should not. One of my favorite quotes comes from Neal A. Maxwell- "Those who "plow in hope" not only understand the law of the harvest but they also understand what growing seasons are all about. True, those with genuine hope may see their proximate circumstances shaken like a kaleidoscope at times, yet with the "Eye of faith" they still see divine design." Kristen blessed lives and continues to do so. Her light continues to shine. As for me, I continue to "plow in hope" knowing well that Kristen is mine for eternity. Families can be together forever! This I know. Our family continues to live and to love and this is our story...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

In the past I would have been creeped out to stop by the cemetery on Halloween.
I'm not scared anymore. I can't stay away from this place.
Tonight we left jack-o-lanterns and candles.

I know Kristen isn't at the cemetery, well maybe she visits there when her family is there.
But that's it. Kristen didn't really like cemeteries. Whenever we would drive past one she would ask
"What's that?"
I would tell her that when we die that is where our bodies go but our spirits go to heaven.
She would reply,
"Oh Annie?"
I would always say yes.
Annie was Kristen's poodle. She loved her dog.
When Annie got ran over she asked Santa for another one.
Of course Santa brought her another poodle.
Guess what she named her...Annie.
I can see Kristen running around in Heaven with those two little Annie dogs.
I can't help but smile.

Happy Halloween

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Trick or Treat

The treats are ready
the pumpkins are carved
now if the rain would just stop.
I'm fine with the rain unless of course it rains a lot and
all the water comes racing toward my house
but what about all the kiddies, instead of getting 7 trick-or-treaters
I might only get 4 and then what am I going to do with all my treats.
The last thing I need is another candy bar wrapped around my hind.

We actually started celebrating Halloween yesterday. The kids had a parade and a party at school and then it was Grandma Kirton's famous Halloween party.
I had the greatest costume for Rich and I, he was a hot dog and I was ketchup. It was pretty awesome, I could officially call Richard a hot dog or something like that.

I have been missing Kristen terribly. I knew the holidays would be difficult
but it was actually worse that I thought.
She loved Halloween.
I was wondering if we could somehow fast forward to January 1st.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are going to do me in.
I really don't know if I can do this without her.

Baby Claire had 2 costumes one for the morning and one for the night.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Who else Dangles?

From a very young age, Kristen would dangle anything she could find, a jump rope, a strand of beads, even a shoe lace. She soon started collecting jump ropes. She would organize them and sort them every day. She then added beads to her collection. Whenever she saw a strand of beads, she had to have them. My dad started making her these num chuck looking things. He would put wooden beads on a rope or chain and Kristen would paint the beads. He soon made her some with golf balls. Now, remember she would dangle these or swing them around. If you happened to be in her way you just might end up with a golf ball to the head. Every day she would organize these ropes, beads, num chucks by color. She would sort them in piles, as she was sorting she was also dangling and playing with them. As soon as she was finished she would load them back in her box and start again the next day.  If just one rope or strand of beads were missing she would always know it and find it.
One more thing, No one touched her beads!

I have heard of 2 other children with Down syndrome who also likes to dangle things.
A little boy in Texas loves to dangle shoes.
 A cute little girl name Heather, who recently had a bone marrow transplant
dangles a hot pink belt.
Do any of your children also have this trait?

Now I am left with quite the supply of beads, ropes and num chucks.
I haven’t wanted to hardly even touch them because I can almost hear her squeal.

The night of Kristen’s funeral Kim snuck up to Kristen’s room and grabbed a small hand full of beads. When I went to visit Kim I noticed the beads on her night stand. I have decided to put the beads in small jars and give them to a few people. I am working on a large jar to keep the rest of them in and
display them is a special place in our home.

Here she is displaying part of her collection

 When Kristen became sick and spent so much time in the hospital, I put this small box together for her. It had a few of her favorites and it went to the hospital with each time.
 These are the cute jars I am working on. I know there are a few people that would like something that reminds them of Kristen. I know they will love these.
 Kamie keeps her jar of Kristen's beads on her night stand.

 This is the box her brother Ricky made for her to store her beads in.

Everyone knew she loved beads.
When Kristen passed away we received roses with beads dangling from them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

heart and determination

 I came across this article about Garrett who is 20 years old and
he is training in the field of martial arts.
His coach says he stands out because he "has heart"
and he also wishes all his fighters showed the same determination as Garret.
The coach continues to say he makes this whole gym better.
Oh did I mention he has Down syndrome. They have nicknamed him G-Money.
I have just requested he be my friend on facebook. I'll let you know how that goes.

I found this pumpkin at the cemetery last night.
I don't usually steal things off Kristen's grave, but I knew the temperature was going to hit below freezing so I snagged this and brought it home. My sister in law, Traci and her kids made it for Kristen.
I promise I'll return it today.  I think it's pretty awesome.

One more thing
has anyone seen my house?
I think this is what happens when the trees still have green leaves
and 5 inches of snow falls.
I think I'll break down and make some hot chocolate.
Coke is still the drink of choice but a little warmth might do me some good.
Happy Wednesday.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lookin for the good

I know that I have bombed the 31 for 21 and that's ok.
I think it's pretty clear where I stand concerning Down syndrome. 
They are the most sweet, loving, adorable people on this earth.
Oh and they are stubborn too, and that's also ok.
I believe with my whole heart that because Kristen was stubborn and did things her way,
that she was able to stay here with us for a few extra years.

Over the years when my children are struggling
or having a hard time with something
I have often reminded them to look for the good.
Just like in the movie, Pollyanna, I would tell them to play the glad game.
 Think of something to be glad about,
look for the good you'll surely find it.
This past few weeks I have told myself this same thing over and over.

So here we go...

I'm glad that
Kamie celebrated her Birthday with family

As did Sara

Kim came to town so we celebrated with lunch at Spaghetti Factory
but first we stopped at Primary Children's Medical Center
and delivered 16 activity bags to the children in the cancer unit.

I was glad that Kim was in town and could help me with her friends wedding cake
(don't look too close)

I am also glad that
Baby Claire is growing and is cute as ever!

I am especially glad for a good friend and sister in law who
knew I just might be having a hard time.
Becky lives about an hour away, the morning Kristen passed away she immediately got in her car and drove down to be with us. She has always loved Kristen and Kristen knew it. Just a few months ago Becky stopped to visit Kristen and as she was leaving she said,
"Kristen. I love you."
Kristen replied,
"I love you too."
This was pretty darn special as Kristen didn't say this to just anyone.
I'm pretty sure Kristen made Beckys day.
Today Becky brought me this willow tree.
It is called "Close to Me"
it came with this verse.
 "Apart or together, always close to me"
She said that when she thinks of Kristen and I this is what she sees.
I needed to hear this today.
Thank You.

When Kristen was 3 and had her first leukemia,
Becky made these pajamas for Kristen. She also made her a matching blanket.

glad for family and friends
and for my precious angel
who is always close to me.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kristen's Light

Kristen was a shining star in the lives of many.
The power of Kristen's sweet spirit radiated from her.
Her smile could light up a room.
Although Kristen has left us for a season,
Her light will continue to shine.
All I have to do is to walk in her room and I feel her warmth and radiance.
I feel confident that her light will continue to burn stronger and brighter.
Her story has inspired many to try harder,
 that nice does matter, to look for and enjoy the simple things in life,
and to make memories that will last forever.

I decided a while ago that I would always have a project, something that I could give,
something to make the path that I just traveled a little easier for someone else.
The children’s hospital where Kristen and I spent
so many months has become dear to me.
The love and care that Kristen has received from both the bone marrow transplant team, the oncology team and the ICS unit was amazing. Everyone was diligent in caring for her and trying to find a cure that would work for her. Great love and care was shown toward her by both the doctors and nurses and
I will forever be grateful.

Last year, just a week before Christmas, we met at a local Build a Bear
 and made 27 bears.
We donated the bears to the ICS unit
(this is where the cancer kids and transplant kids stay).
We are looking forward to doing this again this year.

When Kristen and I would spend time in the hospital, it seemed we were always looking for things to keep us busy. It seems I was always trying to track down a pair of scissors, a box of crayons and other items. A few months ago I decided to make activity bags that contained these kinds of items.
I also wanted to include some kind of a light as
Kristen always loved lights.

Last week I received a package from Joyce. Most of us know that she is Sarah’s mom and that she recently opened a quilt shop in Ohio. She included several stacks of awesome fabric to help with my project along with a note that said,
“We read about your project and thought you might be able to use a little of our stash from the store. Kristen’s light is shining bright!”
How awesome is that? Joyce and Sarah are the BEST!
At this very moment there is something in the works that
will spotlight Sarah and Kristen. (More on that later)

Last week I also received a gift from a very kind neighbor…a new sewing machine! A really nice new sewing machine. Thank you Gloria!

Thanks to Joyce and Gloria…
16 Bags are FINISHED!

I will stuff these with various items and deliver them on Friday.
Kristen’s light is shining.

More Halloween Fun





Monday, October 18, 2010

The Giant Sequoia Trees

While on a tour of California's giant sequoias, the guide pointed out that the
sequoia tree has roots just barely below the surface. A young boy on the tour exclaimed,
 "That's impossible! if the roots don't grow deep into the earth,
 strong winds will blow the trees over."
The guide continued, not so with sequoia trees, the trees grow in groves and their roots
intertwine under the surface of the earth.
Consequently, when strong winds come, the trees hold each other up.

There's a lesson here, in a sense people are like the giant trees.
Family and friends are like havens,
when the strong winds of life blow,
they serve as reinforcement and together hold each other up.

I received this at a Down syndrome support meeting several years ago.
I liked it then and I still do.
Thank you to my family and friends who have held me up for the past 2 years and who
still continue to do just that.
The wind has been rather treacherous.
Still waiting for the sun to shine.

Here's a little bit of sunshine from our little ladybug...

My projects is coming along. Because my name is
Polly the Procrastinator,
I need a few more days.