God's Child, Our Joy

An adoptive family's journey in faith and life


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Summer 2014 – The Neighbor’s Yard

So the story of our neighbor’s backyard starts back in what appears to be winter.  Looking at it you’d think January.  I checked the date on this photo and it reads April 15th.  The house is the cream colored one, with no trees, a useless deck  and a backyard that slopes downhill.  OK, its the one on the left.  It’s not a great picture of their backyard, but you can see that yard slopes down pretty dramatically, it’s pretty hill and just overall useless.IMG_1066

So our neighbor decided to do something about it.  They ripped off that deck and leveled off the yard where they could.  They started in late April, our assumption that they wanted to complete it by Memorial Day.  The picture below was around Memorial Day, and as you can see, not done.  It may be hard to see, but the patio is poured.

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You may see our concern at this point.  Summer 2014 was a very rainy Spring and early Summer.  Our yard has a drain, so when it gets too rainy a river develops.  Only now with the yard all tore up behind us, our river is filled with mud.

 

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In late June the deck finally gets installed.  You may notice that instead of dirt, there is gravel covering the ground.  You’d think that this would help with the dirt flowing to our yard, and it did a little, but now instead of dirt, it’s dirt AND gravel coming into our yard.  I use the gravel to fill in holes in our yard until I plug the holes at the top of our fence.  Now it just builds up on our fence.

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Gravel seeping through the fence

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After our trip to Iowa, we get back in July.  We didn’t realize that the deck was actually a UFO.

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By late August, we’re still getting their dirt.  And no progress made.

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It’s now September, and the work has started up again.  Look, they installed a pool!  Perhaps by Summer 2015 the yard will be done.

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Summer 2014 – Outings

The summer is a great time to spend with the kids, but sometimes you need to get them out of the house.  Here’s some pictures from some of the outings this summer.

Young’s Dairy

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Eva’s ready to drive

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Hi goats!

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This miniature golf this is easy, just grab the ball and put it in

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The stare down

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Eli dancing on the cart

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Why yes, that’s our kids washing their hands in corn

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Wheee!

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 Did you know that Young’s uses cute kids as obstacles now?

Boonshoft Museum

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It’s the Eli Display

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Checking out the animals

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Pretty sure I can figure out how to fly this…

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Their favorite part of the museum was the trains.

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Cars are cool

Here’s a few videos from the day

Dominos!

Cars

Trains

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Heading home

 Splash Park

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Not sure about the water

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Water!

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Let me show you how to do this Eli

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 Oh, the water goes in the cup!

Wegerzyn Gardens

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Hanging out under a tree

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Give us some paddles!

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Eli’s excited about being out

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Eva loves the sandbox

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Eli’s first sandbox

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Park

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Checking out the ducks

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“I got you Eli”

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Wiped out

Sweet Corn Festival

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Summer 2014 – Uncle Dwight

Early summer we received a call from my dad. Typically mom is the one calling, so you knew right away that something was up. My uncle Dwight had passed away. This came as a total shock to us. Dwight was my mother’s brother, the third child of four.

Every family should have a fun uncle, and Dwight was the fun uncle in mine. Dwight was the uncle that would get down on the floor and wrestle the kids, he had a bumper pool table and dart board in his living room, drove a motorcycle and even played in my silly Survivor Fantasy League (Survivor as in the reality show Survivor). He always worked the most interesting jobs including the post office and a gold mine. He bought an old elementary school and lived in it. How many uncles do you have that can ring a bell in the morning and play basketball in their own gym!

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Dwight and me at the mini golf course

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Bowling in the gym

Dwight was a fun and kind man. While every death is tragic, this one seems more so. He was in his early 60’s and his mother was still alive to see his passing. No mother should have to bury their child. It’s been especially tragic for my mother and her side of the family. In the past two years her brother’s wife and her father has lost their battles with cancer. Too much death for one family.

I sat back watching Eva and Eli play one morning. Eli is starting to communicate more and has grown enough to venture up and over different places in our house. Eva can now reach almost everything now and her language has just exploded. Their worlds just keep expanding everyday, which is just great.  However, when I sit back and look at my life,  everything just keeps shrinking.

When someone dies, many people evaluate their own lives at that moment.  I suppose if I were to describe life now in one world, it would be hectic.  So much going on all the time.  Eli wakes us up early, work has been good but more taxing, I arrive home during the supper is getting ready melt downs, then the bedtime battles which leads to disaster zone clean up downstairs, dishes, laundry, snack, bed too late and start again tomorrow.  I don’t want to look back at these times now and think of the hard work, the craziness and the things I didn’t get to do.  I want to look back and remember the developments, the fun, and the love.  Just like I remember Dwight.


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Summer 2014 – Iowa

Iowa

We like to make a trip out to Iowa every summer to see the grandparents.  This summer was no different.  Mom and the kids went a week then I joined them for a second week there.  Here’s the best photos from the two weeks.

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Eva Sweeps

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Eli sweeps

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Eva does the dishes

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Eli waters the plants (wait, did they just do chores?!)

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Eva at the petting zoo

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Viewing the neighbors turtle

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Bubbles!

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Bubbles!

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Bubbles!

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Did you know our kids love bubbles?

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And Mac n Cheese

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And trying on new shoes

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Eva shows off her new sunglasses at Sturgis Falls

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Eli looks for more kettle corn

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 Want to play piano….and nap

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Eli read to eat before everyone else

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Brother and sister

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Hey, how you doing?

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 Rock Star (video)

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Teamwork

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 Like my hat?

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 Happy to be in Iowa

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Wiped out.  Too much fun at Grandma and Grandpa’s.

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Up to no good

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Eva’s first glow stick

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Eli’s first glow stick

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Let me tell you a scary story

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4th of July Parade  Eli is excited for the trucks.

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Eva is excited for America.  USA! USA!

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Family Selfie

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Picture with local celeb Sparky the Dog

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Wouldn’t be the 4th without sparklers

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Summer 2014

This summer has been very spotty for posting on the blog. I find this blog to be a great place for me compose my thoughts on adoption, family and life, but sometimes they can be all consuming and take the time necessary to ponder them and write them down.

These past few of months has been a busier than usual time. We had a visit from my brother, a garage sale, a craft sale, working two jobs, a new van, selling our car, a trip back to see our folks, a new addition to the extended family, and another loss in the family.  I’ll get to that in a different post.

For now, enjoy some of the fun pictures we took through the summer.  We’ve been blessed with two photogenic kids who keep us entertained/stressed/happy/on our toes all the time.

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At Home

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Gather your money, we’re making this a grand summer!

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 The Watchmen

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Pink toes!

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This summer I stayed up later, got up earlier and cut my morning nap. I’m sure daddy is glad to get up early with me.

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A Sunday afternoon nap where she set up her bears and dolls for church (the  little girl cross  fell behind the bed)

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Sorry Eli, the Racino is looking out for pros like you.

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If Daddy can’t get through the door, he can’t go to work!

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You jump first

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Yay library books!

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Eli, Eva and baby play the piano

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Quinton prepares for the day

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Too much fun

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My first princess costume

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However this princess likes to roll like this

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Quinton bath time

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Eli learns to tantrum

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That blur is Superhero Eva!

Outside

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Everybody…

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(Cookie Monster too)…

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Loves…

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The Swings!

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Sitting in front of momma’s flower garden

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This was the kids first experience with a baby bird.  It was on the swings and scared Eva with its squawking.  Momma Bird zoomed around the yard trying to distract us from the bird.  It took a full day, but it figured out how to fly away with out Quinton catching it.

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Tractor on the table

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I love to play outside!

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What, you don’t run with an inner tube in your backyard

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You know it has been a good day when your clothes are muddy

Bubbles

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Bubbles video

Pool

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This is pool #2.  Pool #1 is now a ball pit in our living room.  Sadly, pool #2 did not make it through the summer.

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Pool #3.  Eva was so excited about it she jumped in, without air in it

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Or water

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Here it is in most of its glory.  There is a hose the comes down from the rainbow that sprays water, but it scared the kids a bit, so maybe next year

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Eli’s favorite game, getting in and out

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And drying off with a nice warm towel

Food

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Eva feeding Quinton (video)


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One day we ate outside at Chipotle.  The birds discovered who drops food.

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If the food doesn’t end up on the floor, it’s on the face

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Daddy, no pictures while I eat

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Eva made me dinner: Cupcake, cupcake, cake, pancake

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Learning

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Eva sings with the choir (video)

 

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This is my favorite shot from the World Cup this summer, which leads to this next pic

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Eva bumps into me, falls down and grabs her leg in pain.  Her first soccer flop!

Video : Eva enjoying soccer

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So Eli stands on a rocking chair, falls over and conks his head on an end table.  You can see the bruise above.

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Less than an hour later, I catch him doing this.  Some learning is still needed.


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The car the brought us our future

We mark the moments when we shift to a different stage of our lives. The person that emerges from that moment is different than the person who entered it. Your first kiss, your first paycheck and your first moment with your child are just some of those rites of passage that we experience. We anticipate (or perhaps even fear) these moments because we know we can’t go back to the way things used to be but we also need these because they may make life better.

We just passed one of these angst filled rites of passage, one that so many dread and make definitive declarations about how they will never do it. We now own a minivan.

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The minivan is the ultimate function over form. Its big, looks like a loaf of bread, and it’s sexiest feature allows you to collapse the seats to make more storage. It conveys to the world “Hey, I don’t care about impressing you anymore, I’m going in comfort.” Minivan, the sweatpants of vehicles.

Even still, it was a no-brainer for us. The car was good to us, but watching Eva eat her knees while sitting in it just showed that it wasn’t working for us. We also had started to reach critical mass with Christmas. The CR-V is great, but packing for a trip back to Iowa and lugging home gifts was getting difficult. Plus, whenever we’d have visitors it would be nice to all pile into one vehicle instead of two.

We decided to go with the Odyssey. We were already in the Honda family with the CR-V and have loved it so far. We did check out all the minivan options at the Dayton Auto Show, and still came away with wanting the Odyssey.

(This next paragraph will make high school Scott and any gear head die a little inside.)

The features of the Odyssey are pretty neat. Push button start, a door that unlocks by just putting your hand on the handle, easy hideaway rear seats, climate control, push button calls via your Bluetooth device, and sliding apart mid row seats (perfect for adjusting your car seats).

We decided to sell the car on our own. Not as awesome as you’d think it would be. We placed ads a few places on-line and the responses can be categorized like this:

Obvious Scam

(From California) “Is your AD still available for sale. Shipper coming to look at it. Do you have paypal so i can send payment now?”

“Hi, about ur addvartizzmennt on the innterrrnet. Pls msg me at (gmail) to kconfirrrm pprricee and avvaillabbility.”

Probably a Scam

“It still For sale ? please reply me back asap to my personal email at (gmail) because am unable to reply back on this number this my office number. Bye”

Text msg from one Gmail that lists the contact as another Gmail. Also asks for rock bottom price after being listed for less than 12 hours.

Let’s Trade

As with any response, could be a scam (picture they sent was not their car, their car is a lemon, etc.)

The Promising Lead (that isn’t)

Every contact was from a long distance number (not unusual with an Air Force Base near and cell phones), but we got one from a local number who wanted to see it. Gave him a potential time and place and…never heard back. Could have lost interest in the 10 minutes I took to reply, or since I offered to meet at a public place he figured out he couldn’t use my bathroom and steal my meds.

The “Helping” Hands

On the Monday after the ad posted, three different websites called to offer their services in selling our car for a nominal fee. How generous! Special algorithms! Dedicated experienced sellers! How could I lose!

The Winner

We refreshed our Craigslist ad and boom we got a solid car offer.  We met the next morning before work, and finished the sale at lunch.  One less thing to worry about.

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The Acura was just an object in some ways.  It got us from Point A to Point B, but in some ways it meant so much more.  It was Steph’s first newish car which always will hold a little place in her heart.

It’s place in our family history is cemented in more than that.  Point A to B was Omaha to Dayton, bringing us to where our family would grow.  The car carried our growing family around, and when funds were needed to bring Eva home the car provided them.  Then once our family outgrew it, the car provided once last great test drive, one last great impression, and one last infusion of money towards that minivan.  The car wasn’t so much a vehicle, but a Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Car”, it’s last deed was to give itself up for our family.

 


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Balloons

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Does everyone have a traumatic balloon story? Most balloon stories involve a balloon that floated away from them or popped unexpectedly. My story comes from when I was kid, maybe 6 years old. We had just finished eating at the Ground Round, and they gave us a balloon. A box of crayons was tied on the end of the balloon to hold it down, one of those two crayon boxes they give kids at restaurants. We got home and I placed the balloon down outside, most likely to tie me shoe as I did that a lot.

The balloon was placed on a table and a little gust of wind came through the carport. The box that held the balloon tipped ever so slightly, just enough that the two crayons held inside spilled out and landed on the cement below. The balloon, unencumbered with the crayons, abandoned me for the the summer breeze leaving me behind never to ponder me again.

Balloon stories are always more traumatic than they should be. They happen to us when we were kids and most impressionable. The balloon’s lifespan is just so short, and it always leaves us so dramatically. It either goes away in a loud, instant explosion that lets everyone know it’s done all it’s going to do, or it makes a quick escape out of our reach and taunts us from the sky for a very long time.

Eva and Eli are at an age where balloons are just awesome. We like to eat at Red Robin (yum) and after the meal is finished we grab a balloon on the way out (well, two balloons now). Unfortunately, we’ve run into a bit of an unlucky streak with the balloons once they reach home.

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We’ve popped three. The culprit is the ceiling of our living room which is marked with a speckled pattern that has some some points that stick out. Most of the time the balloon hits and is fine, but not always.

The ceiling between our kitchen/playroom (seen below in all its glory) is tall and arched, and we’ve lost balloons while they’ve rested at the peak out of reach.

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The Playroom (look close and you’ll see Eva and Eli in there)

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Balloon lost to the peak of the house

The most traumatic of these happened to Eva’s pink balloon. There only was a green balloon ready when we were leaving the restaurant, but one of the fine hostesses said she would make a balloon for her and came back with a pink balloon. She carried it to the car and we tied it in the back for the drive home. Once home, we opened the back of the car and untied it. We handed the string to Eva to hold, when the event happened. In the haste to make the balloon for her, the hostess didn’t tighten the string to the balloon well enough.

The balloon slipped out of the loose knot and floated away, carrying Eva’s joy and leaving only a sad string behind. We had told her many times to hold that string so tight so she wouldn’t lose the balloon, only now she had lost it despite doing all that was asked of her. Only two and already learning that the world is not going to be fair.

Luckily the story ends happily. Eva has a good uncle who got her a pink balloon to replace the lost one, and all is well with the world again.  As for me, some day that balloon will come down to earth with my crayon box.

 

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Another lost balloon

 


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Birthday balloons!

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I love balloons!

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Me too! (a six month old Eva)

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