Sunday, June 19, 2016
We have this plaque by our back door that says "Remember,
as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family".
Clearly, this picture needs to be framed and placed right next to it!
This is from last weekend at our cancer retreat to
Camp Rainbow Gold's Family camp.
Everyone dressed up for the big dance--
and I know, I know, Byron and I went a bit overboard.
But it's been soooo long since we cut loose.
Our dearest friend, Jason Hosick who runs the camps
(we call him the Pied Piper)
took these photos.
Remember, all my pictures are at the bottom
of Lake Perkins!
What a treat to get these sent to me tonight.
And especially this one-- it is my guy's birthday
(and Father's Day).
Sure love him.
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
We are still basking in the glow of an incredible weekend
up at Lake Perkins, just outside Stanley.
Everywhere we looked, it was like looking at a picture from a postcard.
We spent four days with our Camp Rainbow Gold Family
(they run camps for kids with cancer, siblings, and family retreats).
We were one of the lucky seventeen families picked to go.
We got our own cabin...
our very own counselor (assigned to our family).
Meet Cori, a surgical nurse at St. Luke's.
By the end of the four days, she was part of our family.
We love her!
It was a near perfect get-away.
Even Kean seemed to thrive.
Before every meal, we'd all gather in a huge circle,
hold hands and sing a sweet little song.
Every single time, without fail, Kean would make his way
to the middle of the circle.
We spent our days doing everything-- relaxing, playing, smiling
and being together as a family.
You can't believe all the activities they had for us--
archery, rock climbing, mountain biking,
fishing, hiking, geocaching etc.
The weather was also on vacation-- it was
60's and 70's each day.
One of our favorites was definitely the time spent on the lake.
We crammed in paddle boarding,
This was on Friday... when we were all happy and giddy.
The next day, while out on paddle boats, Kean (in lighting fast fashion)
dug my phone out of my pocket, tossed it away in an attempt to find
any left over candy.
It, and all the fabulous photos we took of EVERYTHING
are now resting peacefully forever at the bottom of the lake.
It will take me a while to get over the great phone incident of 2016.
It will take me a while to get over the great phone incident of 2016.
(Our friend Trent lent us his underwater camera for the photos
we do have here).
One night, we all dressed up in the craziest of costumes
and danced the night away. I hope to track down
photos from that night. Trust me, we really let loose.
Another night, we had the Wish Cone ceremony.
Everyone is given a pine cone and writes what they wish
on pieces of paper, ties the wishes to the cone and then
throws the cone in the fire to send those wishes up to the heavens.
When you are with all families who have been devastated by cancer,
you can only imagine what an emotional experience that evening is
for all of us.
But before that, we hold an absolutely wonderful
night of singing, sharing of talents, skits, and silly jokes.
My personal favorite by one of the little boys-- "what did
the fish say when he swam into a wall? Damn!"
Greer wowed the crowd with a solo,
Reese got up and sang along with the house band
and then all three girls sang their favorite Christmas song.
What I love about this night is that it is a safe place
filled with nothing but love.
Anyone can get up and tell the lamest joke, sing off key,
dance like a newborn goat-- you name it-- and only feel
cherished, loved and supported.
Come to think of it, that's how the entire camp feels.
We all say words can't begin to capture what a magical,
loving place Camp Rainbow Gold is for all of us.
It is not worth having a child go through cancer to get
to experience this blessing-- but if you do, it is the most
beautiful place to be-- filled with the best people with the biggest heats.
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Even though we had a holiday on Monday, this week has
seemed so incredibly long.
Both Greer and Kean got some type of stomach bug on Tuesday
so there was an inordinate amount of laundry done
and a lot of time spent reading books and doing flash cards.
Wednesday brought a problem with Kean still not feeling well
at school and an issue with his eye-- which led to an unplanned
visit to the doctor's!
By today (Thursday), my goal was just for him to make
it through the hour set aside for Kindergarten graduation.
Grandpa Bodily (Gobily) was my hot date.
Kean had his own chair (with an aid behind him or beside him
the entire time). He would never have made it standing on the risers
for an hour.
He was surprisingly good, even somewhat participating
in some of the little songs they sang for their program.
Just notice though, out of all the Kindergarten classes--
about 90 students, Kean was the only kiddo refusing to wear
his graduation cap. And refuse he did. We were quite
entertained throughout the program as his poor aid
tried her hardest to get him to put it on-- even for a minute.
He'd push is away, toss it, or turn his back on the hat!
He did cooperate when it came time to pick up his diploma though...
Oh, and he still wouldn't wear that hat- even for Gobily.
That kid-- I always say, he has an extra chromosome
I did get a particularly sweet photo of him cuddling with his
Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Hymas.
She is as loving and kind as she looks.
It is pretty obvious Kean adores her.
And this is his buddy, Bobby.
Bobby's mom is Kean's aid and over the Special Ed program
at his school. Bobby, thankfully, has taken Kean under
his wing, even playing with him at recess etc.
And we can't have a graduation day without a picture
with his aid, Mrs. Baker (or Baker if you are Kean).
She has the perfect combination of love and firmness
to work with this boy of ours.
We hope, hope, hope she will be with him next year.
And yes, we did suggest to his teacher that she move up too!
By the way, next year-- he will move up to First Grade.
We feel it is best to keep him with his peers even
though he is quite delayed.
He still gets exhausted before his 3 hour Kindergarten
class is over. So he will be starting out with a modified
first grade-- only going three hours.
Hopefully, he will get stronger and we can add on to that.
Posted by Lonni Leavitt-Barker at 10:38 PM
Sunday, May 29, 2016
And I wonder why I am exhausted.
We have had a whirlwind week.
Here are a few highlights-- Greer turned the big 13.
Yikes another teen. Heaven help us.
Byron helped the girls make the cutest flip flop cookies
out of Nutter Butters for her pool themed party.
Greer planned it all-- just handed me a shopping list
put the rest of us to work.
She played a series of "Minute to Win It" games...
from seeing who could eat a donut the fastest
without it falling off a string....
to moving Oreos from the forehead to the mouth using
only facial expressions, to playing "Junk in the Trunk"
where they had to shake their booties to shake
ping pong balls out of empty Kleenex boxes..
Of course, I was too busy running around to take many pictures.
But I did get cute ones of them swimming in the 84 degree pool
(thank you Gobily's for spoiling these kids).
And I got pictures of some of Greer's food spread--
her flip flop cookies, her Veggie platter with the sign:
"take a dip"...
Her blue Kool-aid: "Pool Water", peach rings that were labeled
"life preservers", licorice labeled "pool noodles"-- you
get the idea.
She obviously knows her way around Pinterest.
They roasted S'mores, played, giggled and jumped
on the trampoline. Greer must have thanked us ten times
for such a fun party.
Kind of nice to get thanked when she did most of the work!
The next morning, Holland and I got up before dawn
to help out at the Bubble Run.
My friend Jeanie and I set up and manned the Baldapalooza booth.
We were the charity partner for the race.
It was pretty cool-- for the first time they've run the race
here in Boise, they had over 7 thousand participants.
The race track snaked around the fair grounds
and was filled with lots of families covered in
colored foam and bubbles.
Case in point- here's Holland along with two other friends.
And they were just the volunteers.
I think everyone got drenched and dyed.
If not running through the "bubble bogs" in the race...
certainly at the end when they had a field of foam
they launched out over everyone and everything.
It was a blast.
We came home tired and happy.
Oh, one more thing.
This is what Greer unwrapped from her family.
Can you guess what her present is?
It is all she wanted and my husband (aka MacGyver)
built a top notch- much higher quality one than we could get on line...
drum roll please...
It goes at least 200 feet across our upper yard.
And hasn't stopped being used since he put it together
Even Kean is addicted to the speed.
That's him on Byron's lap.
Trust me, it's a bit scary the first time- stepping off at the top
but once you go, you want to go again and again.
Friday, May 20, 2016
I swear this time of year is busier than the the holiday season.
My calendar is jam packed with school events.
Guess that's what I get for having four kids at four schools.
(Kill me now)!
Today was Reese's day.
All the fourth graders in her school district (there must be
about a thousand of them)-- had their big field trip.
It's called Rendezvous and is the highlight of 4th grade.
They learn about American and Idaho history all year long
and get to "live it out" on this day.
There are 44 stations for the kids- each school only gets to visit
about 13-- but it is quite the production.
This was one of the first stations: an old cowboy singing
mining and Idaho history songs to our group.
The booths are pretty cool-- ranging from panning for gold
and calf roping to Indian artifacts and prehistoric tools.
This booth below is the highlight for the students.
They "earn" trapper dollars by keeping their desks clean,
turning in all their homework on time and having good behavior.
Those trapper dollars are spent at the Trading Post where they can
buy all kinds of goodies (homemade Indian arrowheads, rain makers,
jewelry, masks etc.).
It was going great until the winds picked up and the rain
came down-- cold and hard.
Rather quickly we had a huge group of shivering, blue lipped,
teeth chattering, soaked 9 year-olds.
I think most of the kids (I know mine) were relieved
when the organizers said they were cancelling the rest of the day.
Another storm was coming in (supposedly with lightning).
So they herded all of us into the gymnasium
(can you say crowded?)... where the kids got to eat lunch...
see a few wildlife exhibits...
and act a little wild themselves!