Aaron is Still…….

Time slips so quickly away from me.  I feel the frustration of having more to do than I have hours in the day.  Blogging regularly is one of the things that continually gets pushed onto the back burner of my life.

Speaking of back burners, our kitchen is nearly finished.  We’ve been fully using it for several weeks now.  I love it!   Our second new refrigerator was delivered a week ago.  Our first new fridge didn’t work for even one second and it was an ordeal getting the company to approve and deliver a new one.  Just another first world problem.  Our refrigerator in the garage filled the need.  All our furniture is in the family room and other rooms.  We slowly are settling in and are very thankful for Luke’s diligence during a difficult process due to supply issues and being short staffed.  We have no complaints.  I will show pictures when the kitchen is totally done.  Did I say we LOVE it?!

So many times, as we live life with Aaron, I find myself saying, “Oh, I want to share this!”  Yet this life with Aaron is one reason that I DON’T get to share all that I want.  He does keep me very busy.  So, let me just give a quick update and maybe more expounding will come later…but don’t hold your breath too long.

Aaron is still an adventure sitting across the table when we eat out.

Epic straw wrapper blowing, Aaron!

Or when we go shopping.

He is still trying to get Moe, our neighbor’s cat, out from under Gary’s truck.

He is still talking to our neighbors EVERY chance he gets…and we are still so thankful for very patient and understanding neighbors who are true friends.  Gina sent me this picture and said, “I took this the other night when he was telling us all about life!”  Derek has the same look on his face that we often do!  😊  😊

He is still popping over to Amanda and Colby’s house, where she put him to work one recent night making Kool-Aid.

He is still melting our hearts with his sweet relationship with Mollie.

He is still sharing things with everybody, like making sure we took this new pack of gum to Andrew a couple weeks ago when we spent time with him at a race. 

He shares this life of his with me and Gary every single day. 

What Aaron shares is funny and fascinating and sometimes very frustrating. 

Gary and I often laugh and always listen to his abundant talking.

But the frustrating parts of Aaron…well, we still know that we need to handle that with the same grace that God extends to us…every single day.

Easier said than done…and the subject of another blog…maybe…when life settles down.

Did I say don’t hold your breath?  😊 

I’m The Uncle!

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.”  (Psalm 139:13-14)

Aaron and I were eating lunch out when I received this sonogram picture from our daughter, Andrea.  I showed it to Aaron right away, a huge smile on my face.  He stared at it for a few seconds.

“What is it?” he finally asked.

“This is your niece or nephew,” I told him.

Aaron stared at the picture again.

“It’s too small!” he said. 

I just smiled, still in awe over this amazing view of the miracle taking place in Andrea’s womb.  I have, like you, seen hundreds of these sonogram shots but this one took my breath away.  Isn’t it just amazing that when the baby is yours, as in this is MY grandchild, then the picture takes on a whole new depth and meaning?

It’s another miracle of God, this love that He puts in our hearts for our own flesh and blood.

There in the restaurant as we crunched on chips and salsa, I pointed out to Aaron the baby’s head and torso and the beginnings of his little body. 

Several days later in the grocery store, Aaron and I saw a friend.  Aaron quickly launched right into what was still fresh on his mind.

“I saw the stomach picture of my sister and I didn’t know what it was!” he excitedly said. 

I saw the look of confusion on our friend’s face, so I quickly explained about the stomach picture!

Aaron rarely gets family relationships correct.  Not too long ago, before we knew that Andrea was pregnant, he had an observation.

“I wish Andrea was pregnant.  Then we could all be Granddads.”  😊

But now Aaron knows a few things.  For awhile this is what he would say to anyone who was fortunate enough to be near him or to anyone that I stopped to chat with.

“My sister is having a baby and I’m the UNCLE and we don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl because it’s too little!!”

But now…NOW…we know that Andrea and Kyle are having a baby BOY!!

Aaron’s rote phrase has changed.

“My sister is having a baby and I’m the UNCLE and it’s a boy and he’s the NEPHEW!!” 

Then Aaron often adds that he is scared to be The Uncle and that he’s not sure he wants a baby boy.  We assure him that all he needs to do as The Uncle is to play with and love his nephew. 

Time to insert the first Baby Bump picture!  Andrea asked Kyle if she looked pregnant or if she looked like she had just eaten too many donuts.  😊

Aaron has obsessed about changing the baby’s diaper.  The nurse at his day group actually brought a baby doll in and taught Aaron how to change a diaper.  Aaron tells us all that he passed the diaper test!  Now we tease him about being the main diaper changer, so maybe this is why he’s scared to be The Uncle.  😊 

But really, we have all been very surprised and touched by how excited Aaron is about this new baby business.  A recent example happened just a few days ago.  The background is that Andrea has been very sick with this pregnancy, having a hard time finding food that will stay down.  One weekend she felt like biscuits would taste good.  She and Kyle bought a can and of the eight biscuits, she ate seven!

Kyle didn’t waste any time in buying more biscuits…many more biscuits!  He stacked them on their counter, and we laughed and laughed when we got this picture.

As Aaron and I were picking up a few groceries the other day, he suddenly started briskly walking toward the biscuits in the cooler. 

“Mom!!” he declared, “I want to buy some biscuits to send to Andrea!” 

It was the sweetest thing for him to want to do that.  I explained that we can’t mail biscuits but that we would buy her some on our next visit. 

 Aaron continually infuses our lives with his own very special way of life and his own unique view of our world. 

We often stand beside him either smiling or laughing or explaining to others or doing damage control from the things he says.

But all this wonderful baby business and Aaron’s way of dealing with such a huge life change for us has, as always, offered another view into the complex and compelling world as Aaron sees it. 

Baby Boy is growing!

And so are we, with Aaron coming along as always.    

A Good Place with Each Other

Aaron has a very special friend at his day group, Paradigm.  Her name is Victoria.  From the time Victoria first started attending Paradigm, she and Aaron just hit it off.  They became fast friends. 

Developing and maintaining relationships can be very tricky and difficult for Aaron.  We understand Aaron better than anyone does but even with us he can be full of relational surprises.  The tone of our voice…a particular hand motion…not following in his rigid demands…   There are so many ways that Aaron can suddenly become upset and angry with those of us who know him best.  Imagine the pitfalls of combining all the special needs and personalities in his day group!

But there is something very real and incredibly sweet about his relationship with Victoria.  She squeals and jumps with delight when he walks into Paradigm.  She misses him terribly when he isn’t there. 

And Aaron…well, Aaron (as far as we know!) tolerates her noises because he sees how much she cares for him.  He even shows empathy when a storm comes and Victoria is very scared, or when she is sad about something. 

Who can explain love? 

One thing I do know is that all of us, on whatever level we operate, want and need to be loved.

Aaron is an open book as he attempts to analyze and understand his feelings for Victoria.

One day, after an altercation with someone at Paradigm, Aaron was pondering Victoria’s reaction to that person.

“Mom, Victoria told N not to bother her boyfriend.  Am I the boyfriend?”

Another time, as he talked to me about Victoria, he revealed more of his thoughts.

“Mom, would she be happy for me to tell her I think she’s a girlfriend?”

Gary and I have tried over the years to stress the relationship of friendship rather than boyfriend/girlfriend.  But no attempts on our part to redirect his thinking on this can squelch the feelings in his heart. 

“Mom,” he commented one day, “Victoria and I seem to match each other.”

Who can argue with that? 

Then one day came this nugget of hilarious wisdom.

“Mom, every time I burp, Victoria laughs at me.  And when I make the farting noise like this, Victoria makes it too.  I think we’re right for each other!”

Love is a many splendored thing, right?  😊

Recently, our friend Barb from Paradigm sent some pictures she took as she walked with Aaron and Victoria to the popcorn shop nearby.  As Barb said, this was so genuine and sweet.

I cried when I looked at them. 

And I thought of another comment that Aaron had made about their relationship.

“Mom, can you tell that Victoria and I have a good place with each other?”

Yes, Aaron. 

And I think it’s a very good place to be.

UNCLE Aaron!!

We got the BEST news on Sunday night. I had been talking to our daughter, Andrea, for over two hours. We were winding things down when she asked if I would go get Gary…that she and Kyle had something to show him on Facetime…and I just assumed it was something they wanted him to see about the big door installation they had worked on when we were there last month.

We were soon chatting when Andrea said they had a picture to show us, which she then texted to me and Gary. Here is the totally adorable picture she sent:

And oh my goodness, the surprise was real! I whooped and hollered, and we laughed and I cried and it was so wonderful!! Our first grandchild!!

We got our son, Andrew, on Facetime and his reaction was equally fun.

We wondered about when to tell Aaron. For the longest time he has asked Andrea when she is going to have a baby. I have told him not to ask that question because it’s personal, but none of that matters to Aaron one bit. He has continued to ask anyway, and she always handles it with humor and patience.

Soon we heard him coming loudly down the stairs. He was surprised to see everyone on the phone screen. I knew this would be the time to tell him.

“Aaron,” I said, “guess what? Andrea is going to have a baby!”

He grinned a huge grin. Then he bent over at his waist and rubbed his hands quickly together while he laughed and laughed. He was thrilled! His reaction tickled us all to pieces.

“You’re going to be Uncle Aaron!!” we told him.

He laughed again as he absorbed that news.

“Andrea!!” he exclaimed, “does that mean you’re going to be fat?”

Andrea was her gracious self while I reminded Aaron for the umpteenth time that you do NOT say a pregnant woman is fat…that she is pregnant, not fat.

Can you tell this isn’t the first time he has made that comment?

Yesterday, Aaron and I were at our neighbor’s house. Suddenly Aaron leaned in to say something to Amanda while he softly rubbed his hands together.

“My sister has a baby in her stomach,” he slowly began, as if in awe. “And the baby is too little to tell if it’s a boy or a girl.”

He spoke softly, not with the exuberance of the night before. It was as if he was sharing the most amazing fact…which it really is.

It was so precious and sweet. Amanda’s face was beaming, as was mine, and Aaron knew that he had shared something very special as he saw our reactions.

And we knew, as we saw his look of wonder and heard the same in his soft voice, that Aaron was getting it.

“Aaron,” Amanda said, “you’re going to be an uncle!”

“I’ll be an uncle!!” he repeated.

Uncle Aaron!

I like the ring of it…and I think Aaron does, too.

Aaron’s Note

I have another funny note story to share.

When we were in Houston last month with our daughter and son-in-law, we also got to see our other son, Andrew.  He was in town because there was an NHRA drag race there, and he works on one of the teams.  

Andrew was able to come over to Kyle and Andrea’s one evening for supper.  While he was there, Aaron ran inside and came back with something for Andrew.  It was a pack of Juicy Fruit gum.  Random, I know, but Aaron loves giving things away and this is what he grabbed for his brother. 

This past Monday morning we got a text from Andrew.  He was getting ready to leave for the track in Richmond.  He sent this picture:

“Tell Aaron I’ve been chewing his Juicy Fruit every morning when I leave for the track.  I’m almost out.  Guess he needs to send more.”  😊

Aaron jumped on that in a flash.  He pulled out his three-pack of unopened Juicy Fruit gum and said he wanted to send that to Andrew.

“Mom,” he directed, “you put it in a box, and I’ll sign a note.”

The plan was made!

I got the box, placed the gum inside, and gave Aaron a piece of paper for him to write his note. 

This is what I later found. 

How I laughed!  But not in front of Aaron. 

Remember my last blog about the note he wrote to Cody?  Here was another note, this one to his brother, and this one also flat and factual with nothing personal added.  Nothing endearing.  Not even a “Love, Aaron” to be found.

Yet this note IS very endearing because it is so very Aaron.  I could have dictated to Aaron what to say, but then it wouldn’t be Aaron’s words from Aaron’s heart and Aaron’s unique ways. 

And those unique ways are what make Aaron endearing in his own right. 

Believe me, there are plenty of times that Aaron’s words and ways are anything but endearing.  But these moments that are totally Aaron are moments that make us smile and make us thankful that we can share in his very special ways.   

Another Trip to Texas

Two weeks ago today we were travelling down to Texas to see our kids.  Our “kid” Aaron went with us, somewhat compliantly until the morning we left.  The reality of actually leaving the house and his room and all his things was too much for him to handle gracefully. 

All during the packing process I encouraged him to downsize what he took.  For instance, I told him to take the one Handy Answer book he was reading…not five.  He won’t read five books in the next three years.  That’s because he will ONLY read at night before bed, a few pages, and nothing so far has ever changed that reality for him.  He agreed to this deal, but as I was putting something in one of his bags, I uncovered two extra Handy Answer books that he had hidden from me under some clothes.  I removed them, saying nothing.  He put them back, saying nothing.  HaHa!  We finally agreed on taking one extra book, which of course was never opened. 

We also let him use his money to buy a Nintendo game he had wanted.  He bought it two days before we left, but the game was in our possession until he walked into Kyle and Andrea’s house in Texas.  Call it bribery if you want, but we call it another of our clever survival tips for traveling with an autistic child.  Survival for us even more than Aaron.

Other than dragging Aaron kicking and screaming out of the house on the morning we left…not literally, but almost…he did great on this trip.  I’ll start my photo dump now. 

Happy Aaron blowing his straw wrapper on me at Quik Trip. 

Spending Easter morning at church with Kyle and Andrea.  A huge blessing!

Then giving Aaron the basket that Andrea made for him.  Sweet sister!

He helped Kyle gather sticks before their new fence was installed the next day.  Kyle is great about getting Aaron involved with activities. 

He fed the dogs every chance he got!

Our big outing was to NASA.  He was having a slow day physically and mentally, but he loves telling everyone about that day.

Our son, Andrew, was in town for an NHRA race.  He got to come over for dinner one night.  What a joy to have us all together, even briefly.

Gary, Andrea, and I went to the race on Saturday while Kyle stayed home with Aaron.

And on Sunday, their Monster Energy team won!!  Sadly, we were unable to be there that day.  ☹

I love the love that Andrea, Kyle, and Andrew show to Aaron.  I wish I had a picture of Kyle trying to teach Aaron to do push-ups while we were at the track. Or one of him the night we arrived giving Aaron the special game he bought him.  😊

The week was packed with much more, but I’ll end this now with a funny story:

Background:  For years my family has had fun with my association with cows, as in cow Patty.  I also go by Moo as much as Mom.  😂

On our way to Houston, we stopped at our favorite tourist center/rest stop in Oklahoma City.  Aaron was ecstatic that Gary told him he could buy me a little stuffed cow.

Aaron decided to explain his purchase to the clerk at the cash register.

Loudly.

“I’m buying this for my mom because she’s a COW!!”

I explained as best I could.

Then she pointed me to a bag of candy.

Cow Patties.  😂😂😂

Thanks for reading!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Footprints

 

For the past two days we had a small and gentle snow that fell to the ground and blanketed our brown earth with a fresh coat of white.  Besides needing the moisture, it was a relief to look outside and see the drab brown grass and trees transformed into the beauty of a soft winter wonderland…new and sparkling white.
 
Andrea is still here with us as she enjoys the last day or two of her Christmas break.  Along with her, we have her adorable dog – Darcy.  Darcy is so small compared to our huge Great Dane, Jackson.  The difference in their sizes was very evident yesterday as I looked down at their footprints in the snow.  I had no trouble being able to distinguish which print was Jackson’s and which was Darcy’s.  The impressions that each dog made in the snow was undeniable…big for Jackson and small for Darcy. 
 
 
I’ve been thinking about footprints and pondering the significance of those footprints that we cannot see…the footprints that we leave in the lives of people that cross our paths.  I have specifically been thinking of Aaron – of some of the people that have left a footprint in his life and therefore have impacted mine.  The footprints don’t have to be huge or to be many in order to leave an impact.
 
Years ago we had a dinner after the morning service at our church.  By this time,  Aaron was in his teens and his differences were very pronounced.  Most of his peers did not know what to do with Aaron…how to talk to him or relate to him.  They weren’t unkind but most simply handled the situation of Aaron by ignoring him, or by speaking briefly and then walking uncomfortably away from this person who was so unusual.  As I went through the serving line and filled my plate, I looked around for Aaron in order to direct him to the table where we would be sitting.  But there was no Aaron to be found as my eyes scanned the room.
 
Then I saw him sitting at a table full of teenaged boys.  I wondered if Aaron had just seated himself there and  my heart fell as I feared that he might be ignored.  It was then that Gary told me that one of the young men at that table, Tyler Ellis, had asked Aaron if he wanted to sit with them.  I was shocked…and I was also so very happy.  What to Tyler probably seemed like a very small thing to do was instead a huge blessing to Gary and me.  That incident left a footprint in my heart that remains today…a footprint of kindness that still warms me and makes me smile.
 
I have another footprint involving a young man that had his own struggles yet had a heart of gold.  Paul Gilbow came over to our house to swim with Aaron.  What was routine for our other children was rare for Aaron…to have someone purposely come over to swim with him and spend time with him.  I remember the joy that filled my heart as I looked out the window and watched Paul and Aaron swim.  Paul was unaffected by Aaron’s unusual behaviors or speech or appearance.  He gave Aaron a day of normalcy and fun, and he gave me a footprint in my life that will stay forever.  Paul has left this earth but his sweet footprint remains with me.
 
We each leave footprints in the lives of others.  Some of those prints are with intent as we purposely reach out to touch others and to help them along the way…or sadly as we may reach out to inflict verbal pain or to ignore those that we dislike.  Other prints we may never see or realize as we affect people in ways of which we are unaware.  I often wonder that if the footprints of our attitudes and our deeds were visible, like Jackson’s and Darcy’s, then what would mine look like?  When I leave a footprint in some one’s life, what kind will it be?  Will someone look at the footprints in their life and recognize mine?  And if they do, will it be because of a smile or an act of love and caring?  Or will they see anger or frustration or neglect? 
 
I want this New Year to be a year of making the right kinds of footprints in the lives of others…and to remember that even the very smallest of prints can leave a lifelong, profound effect on those whose lives I somehow touch.  

Our Utopia

One recent night, after Aaron and I had watched an episode of The Waltons, I had a brilliant idea.  Now you must understand that after the program we are watching is over, Aaron wants the television off.  No watching ANYTHING else when our show is over.

Don’t ask me why.  Don’t ask me to explain many of Aaron’s quirks.  He has his own rules in his own way, and he expects us to abide by those rules.  If we don’t…well, it’s not utopia around here.

Back to my brilliant idea.  During our last visit to see our daughter and son-in-law, Andrea had shared a fun song with us.  She played it on YouTube, on their big screen TV, and I LOVED it.  The song is Sea Shanty Medley by Home Free. 

Fast forward to our house on this particular night as Aaron and I finished watching The Waltons.  I wisely decided that while Aaron cleaned up the multiple snacks he carries to the family room to tide him over during our show, and while I finished my before-bed chores, that I would turn to YouTube on our new big television and listen to Sea Shanty Medley.

So, I did just that. 

And Aaron became unglued. 

Watching something…ANYTHING…after our show is not allowed. 

“MOM!!!  Turn that OFF!!” he exclaimed.

And I…being the kind mother that I am…turned the volume up a tad.

Aaron also turned his volume up more than a tad.

So I…remember my kindness…played the song a second time.

Let’s just say that it was quite a relief when Aaron finally fell asleep later.

The next night, after watching the next Waltons episode, Aaron’s head jerked around to me as soon as the last Walton’s goodnight and musical note was over.  He was checking to see if I clicked on YouTube again.

“MOM!!” he loudly said, “don’t listen to that UTOPIA music like you did last night!!”

Oh my goodness, how he can make me want to laugh in the middle of my frustration!

I wanted to correct him.

“It’s YouTube, Aaron, NOT utopia!!  Believe me, this is not utopia around here!”

But I didn’t. 

However, his comment has made me think a lot about our version of utopia.

Utopia – defined as a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions.

Aaron’s version of utopia centers around his desire to have his life ordered in those rather eccentric ways that matter to him.  We do it this way every time, people!  If we cooperate, then his life is a place of ideal perfection.  Never mind that ours is not.

But life doesn’t work that way and therefore Aaron’s utopia gets all jumbled up…as does ours.

Yet even more important is our attitude concerning this utopia idea.  Gary and I do get tired of Aaron’s ups and downs…of how verbal he can be when he is angry…of how tiring it can be to try to meet his utopia demands while keeping our own in mind. 

One evening, Gary and I were particularly spent.  We snuck out to our front porch and sat in our rocking chairs, breathing at last without Aaron’s interruptions.

But then this happened.

It was another moment when our attitude was tested.  And we have learned that it’s best to adapt to each of these moments with as much kindness and laughter as we possibly can.  Easier said than done some days.

Back to our utopia.  We have changed our own personal definition of utopia as we have parented Aaron over the years.  Our satisfaction and joy must be centered in trusting God.  In knowing that where He has placed us is where He will give us what we need. 

Let me share with you some beautiful pictures of our utopia.

The pure delight of bubbles:

The sweetness of sharing a beetle with Mollie next door:

The delight he finds in animals:

The fun he creates out of the mundane:

The happiness found in a simple game:

The rapture of all that cheese on his pizza:

Our attitude is of utmost importance.  Our attitude determines our joy.  We can always be looking at that other definition of utopia…an imaginary and remote place of perfection.

Or we can resolve to look at our utopia in the face of our special son.

Messy Grace

Last Friday when I went into Aaron’s room to wake him up and get him going for the day, I knew that something was off.  Sure enough, Aaron’s bed was soaked.  He had a seizure the day before, but I hadn’t heard one that previous night, so maybe he just drank too much water before bed.  Thoughts of that continuing issue with the amount of water he drinks made me a little irritated.

So did the fact that because of so many other things going on…and now tons of laundry to do…I had to cancel lunch plans with a friend I hadn’t seen in forever.  This was our second time to cancel.  GRRRR!

But I’ve learned to look at the positives at times like that.  I have a washer and dryer, and they work.  I have the time and freedom to change my day around.  And now Aaron’s bedding would be totally clean and fresh.  Every single bit of it…from the mattress pad up!  Oh, and I am ALWAYS very thankful for a super heavy duty and trustworthy waterproof mattress pad!  Am I ever!

The rest of our day went as planned.  I picked Aaron up from his day group, we went to Wal-Mart, got subs for supper, watched a qualifying run of NHRA racing, and had a nice time with all of it.

Later, not long before I was going to get Aaron from his room so we could watch a Walton’s episode, I heard a thump.  I was sure it was from his room.  I heard him walking so I knew it wasn’t him.  Soon he was in the family room, looking at me with some hesitation on his face.

“Mom?” he asked in a measured tone.  “Can you come to my room?  I need to show you something.”

I was comfortable on the couch.  It was nearing 8:30. I was winding down physically and mentally.  I was in no mood to go to his room and probably look at something on his computer that he just HAD to show me.

“Aaron, I don’t want to go up to your room right now.  Let’s just watch The Waltons,” I countered.

“No, Mom!” he insisted, “I need you to come up to my room now!”

Then I remembered the thump.

“Aaron,” I began with more calm than I felt.  “Did you break something?”

“Yes!!” he answered.  “It was my lava lamp!”

Now, you must understand that this was not just any lava lamp.  This was a GLITTER lava lamp. 

I was such a good mom at that moment.

“OH AARON!!!  YOU DIDN’T!!!!” I not-so-calmly replied.

I did not want to walk up those stairs.

I did not want to walk in his room.

I did not want to see what I soon saw.

There, on the floor beside his bed and under his bed was thick blue oozing goo. 

And not just any goo.

It was thick blue oozing GLITTERY goo!!

Let me tell you, I groaned and I huffed and I puffed and I complained the whole entire time I was cleaning up that awful mess. 

Poor Aaron wanted to help but there wasn’t much he could do.  I knew that there wasn’t room for both me and Gary to be in there working so I didn’t even tell him what was going on.  I just continued to bluster and blow as I sopped up the thick mess with a couple of old beach towels.  I even told Aaron to just throw them away.  I didn’t want eternal glitter in my washing machine!!

My washing machine, which had been running a good part of the day already as I cleaned up Aaron’s OTHER big mess!!

Oh, how my mind was working!  Poor me!!  My life is all about overseeing and cleaning up one thing after another!  Boo-hoo-hoo!! 

But I looked up from where I was kneeling on the floor trying to shine a flashlight under the bed so I could see sparkly goopy glitter hiding out…and there was Aaron sitting cross legged on the bed, telling me over and over that he was sorry.

Wanting more than anything to DO anything to help me.

My heart kinda broke for him and I felt such empathy for him.

That’s grace…not the kind that I can create, but the kind that God puts in my heart for this special son who can surely push my buttons but pull my heart strings at the same time. 

Later, after all the clean up and after the Walton’s was watched…as we got Aaron’s bedtime routine completed…a storm rolled in.  If there is one thing that Aaron absolutely loves, it’s a storm.

“Mom!!  Do you think I should keep my blinds open?”

I told him yes and to enjoy the lightning.  I was going to bed, finally, and that is all I wanted to do. 

But that’s not all that Aaron wanted me to do.

“MOM!  Come look at the lightning!  It’s BRIGHT!!”

Soooo, I stifled my huge sigh and walked once more into the room that twice already that day held so much frustration for me.

I stood at Aaron’s windows for a minute and soon there it was…FLASH!!  Bright lightning, followed by Aaron exclaiming, “Did you see that, Mom??!!”

I sat on the end of Aaron’s bed and immediately he threw back his covers.  In another flash, he was right beside me, and there we sat watching the impressive light show, brought to us by God.

And I was ever so thankful for God’s grace in that moment.  Grace from Him to me and Aaron in the form of such bright beauty out that window.

Grace to have my tired mind and body refreshed as I sat there enjoying all the sights and sounds of a good Kansas thunderstorm.

Grace to forget the messy day and to focus on happy Aaron.

Messy grace.

God extends that kind of grace to me every single day.

How can I not also extend it to Aaron in the midst of dirty bedding and glittery lava lamp mess?

Thank you for Your grace in all my messy places, God. 

And thank You for giving me the grace to show Your grace to Aaron.

However, I do not believe I will be buying another glitter lava lamp. 😁😁

Our Texas Trip – Part 3

I want to wind up my tales of our Texas trip with this blog…I hope.  This doesn’t need to drag on for weeks!  😊

I told about the Aquarium Pyramid in Galveston in my last blog.  A few days after that adventure, we went back to Galveston to go see the Rainforest Pyramid.  These are such unique buildings!

Aaron loved the Rainforest as well, although he wasn’t over the moon excited like he was in the aquarium.  Still, it was great fun to see all sorts of rainforest birds:

Flowers:

Fish:

And when I turned around, it was not such great fun to see Aaron’s hand stretched out toward this cute little monkey and see the monkey holding Aaron’s finger!!  Actually, it was adorable, but we knew he wasn’t supposed to touch the animals.  And then he told a worker about his fun moment, and he got a nice lecture.  😊

It was another wonderful day for all of us.

And ended with supper at Skipper’s.

I wanted to also share a few of the sweet family moments that made this trip extra special. 

Our son, Andrew, was in town for an NHRA race.  He lives near Indianapolis where the teams are located, and he travels all over, so we don’t see him nearly enough.  We usually go to the Houston race but the chance of the race being cancelled due to COVID kept us from buying tickets this year.  Here is a shot of what he does – he’s in the center, starting the top fuel car.

He was able to come over to Andrea and Kyle’s house for an evening.  It was so wonderful to all be together for the first time since I don’t know when. 

We took a picture that’s not the greatest quality but still shows the greatest time together. And look at Aaron!  😊

Another sweet moment was playing Skip-Bo with Andrea.  Aaron keeps a notebook record of who wins each game when he and I play. 

But as we played with Andrea, Aaron REALLY wanted her to win.  He watched her cards carefully and would purposely not play his if it meant she could play hers instead.  Therefore, she won the game and Aaron was thrilled!  He had already gotten a piece of paper and very happily gave her a column with her first win mark.  It was just precious!

Kyle promised to play catch outside with Aaron on Saturday, but it poured rain all day.  Therefore, Kyle grabbed some soft dog toys and played catch with Aaron inside, which tickled Aaron to pieces.

Aaron had lots of quality doggie time, which he loved…and so did the dogs (for the most part!).  They certainly knew where to go to have a treat slipped to them!

On the morning we left to go home, Aaron was all packed up and ready to hit the road. 

Aaron:  I’m sad to leave Andrea.

Me:  So you’ll want to come back again and see her?

Aaron:  Nah.

😆😆

But he did worry all the way home about leaving her and whether she was lonely.  We didn’t tell him that she might have been enjoying the quiet.

So, again, I want to thank all of you that were praying for us on this vacation.  This trip truly was the best ever with Aaron, and we are very sure it was due to all the prayers from all of you.  Thank you so, so much!

And thank you for reading about our fun times and all the sweet memories made.