Sunday, September 27, 2015

Play Ball!

It's funny how things pop up out of no where, but are exactly what you're meant to do/experience.  

As you might recall, Gus (and Hugh) played soccer this past spring. He was eager to play, but didn't quite understand the rules of the game and would throw a tantrum each time someone took the ball from him. He's got natural skills, but when it comes to applying those skills in a game setting, he was not able to do that.

I had thought about signing him up for tee-ball or baseball, but a friend told me that it's super hard for some kids to stand in the field and wait until a ball comes their way. The thought of Gus being bored, led me to think he's not ready for baseball or tee-ball this year.

So, we had no intentions of starting any fall sports with him. We had been on a break from karate and were ready to head back, and didn't want to have anything extra on his plate, as now that he's in kindergarten, there's homework and more expectations.

He brought home an info sheet from school at the end of August. The sheet was from the North Metro Miracle League and said they do baseball/softball/tee-ball for kids in kindergarten up to adults. The NMML is a group for special needs kids and adults and they provide a safe environment for special needs kids to play and learn the rules of baseball.

The fall league would be starting in September and it was $45 for him to play and would include a shirt and hat. I emailed the man in charge and he replied back and asked me to call him. So I did, and he asked a little about Gus. I was mainly concerned that Gus wasn't "special" enough to qualify for their league, but the man (John) reassured me that they're all very well aware that special needs kiddos all look and act differently. He said with Gus's IEP and having SPD, he'd more than qualify to participate and he said he'd love to have Gus join.

I honestly cannot put to words how the phone call made me feel. When I hung up, John said, "Welcome to the family!" It was such a kind thing to say, and it made me feel so hopeful and excited for Gus. Each player is assigned a buddy and that person is on the field with them and helps them with batting and fielding. The buddies are volunteers and some are retired military, some are retired athletes, and some are teens and college students.

We had his orientation at the beginning of the month and he got his shirt and hat, and then last week, we had his first game. I'm not going to lie, I totally cried. There were cheerleaders that were cheering for the kids, and to see the kids out there playing and just having a great time, was truly magical.

Gus and his buddy Jason

Hewy watching
It was his first time at bat!

Eeeek!!! Batter up!!

I totally cried watching him hit!!

He did a great job!!

At this time I went to the car because I had food poisoning and could hardly sit up anymore

Steve got a great shot of Gus in the dugout

End of the game

I'm sad that I only got to watch 1/2 of his first game, but I was so sick. 

We had planned on going to the apple orchard yesterday, and didn't think we'd make his game this week, but there was rain and we deiced to stay home instead. We were able to go to his game, but it was raining so they called it. However... they decided to let the kids run around and hit anyway, and it was so much fun!!

Loving the rain!

Batter Up!!

They even let Hugh play!! He was so excited to get to go out and play with the big kids!!

How cute is he?!?!?!

That smile says it all!

We feel so blessed to have found the NMML. I can't express how amazing everyone is. There are kids of all ability levels out there playing, and the coaches and volunteers go above and beyond to include everyone, and to make everyone have a great time. It truly warms my heart to be around such a caring group of people.

Gus is so lucky to be able to be around kids of all abilities and to see past a wheelchair, or to see that someone is worth more than an outward appearance might suggest. While it's been challenging at times for me to accept that he does have special needs, it's more important that he is getting his needs met, and he's happy and successful. I'm learning more from him than I ever thought possible.

We love the field that Gus plays on each week. It's an adaptive field that was built for the NMML and is great for kids in wheelchairs. You can read more about it on their website!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Work It, Work It!

On Wednesday, August 26th, my friend Leslie sent me a text that said, "Call me when you get this." I had not heard from her in a while, so I was immediately curious. When I talked to her, she said, "I'm sure you heard already, but I put in my two weeks."  (She told them on Monday the 24th.)
{Back Story-- About this time (maybe October/November) last year, Steve was on the HR Committee at church and was asked to help them find/hire a Communications Director. Leslie was in my MOMS Club chapter and I immediately thought of her for the job, and told her to apply. She did, and she was hired.}

So she and I chatted for a few minutes and she said, "Anyway, I was calling because when I told them I needed to resign, they asked if I knew anyone that would be able to do this job well, and you were the first person I thought of." 

I was floored.

When Steve was helping with interviews, he was on the front-end with screening applicants. He received a lot of applications and did quite a few phone screens, and all the people had Communications degrees, and/or Graphic Design backgrounds. They all had outstanding portfolios and resumes, and I remember thinking about how good they all were. 

I told her that I didn't feel qualified at all, and she started telling me about the job and what she does and why she felt I'd be the perfect fit. She basically said that it's a lot of what I already do for MOMS Club, but I'd be getting paid for my work and time. :-)

She said, "So, can I tell them that I think you'd be a great fit?" I told her sure-- I had nothing to lose by her telling them about me!

When Steve got home that night, I told her about the call and he was totally in favor of me applying. He helped me with my resume and letter, and I sent it in that night.

On Thursday,  I was at Publix for a grocery store tour and my phone rang. I didn't recognize the number, but assumed it was Gus's school. It was actually Max and Lyle from CtK, and they were calling me to say that they received my resume and letter.

They said they were VERY impressed by my resume and wanted to know if I could come in the next day to talk to them about the position. They said Leslie put in a great word for me, and they were very eager to talk to me. I said I'd be there, and hung up and did a happy dance.

I went in on Friday morning, and the conversation was about my experience with social media, graphic design, and various communication methods. They seemed impressed that I knew Publisher, Photo Shop, and a variety of other programs. At the end of the meeting, they said they'd be talking with the pastor and would be giving me a favorable recommendation. They said to be on the look out for an email to set up a virtual meeting with him over the weekend.

That afternoon, I got an email asking if I could do a virtual meeting on Saturday morning.

Saturday morning at 10am, I had a video conference with my pastor and the meeting was great, super easy, and at the end of the meeting, I was told he'd be recommending that I be hired to the Parish Council, and he asked if I could come in on Monday to start.

Seriously, in a period of six days, my life completely changed. I am now the Communications Coordinator for my church!

 Me at my desk in MY OFFICE

Thankfully, Steve has a pretty accommodating job, and he was able to stay home with Hugh while I went to work on Monday. Hugh didn't start preschool until September 8th, so that first week that I was working, he was home with me.

Between Steve staying home, my best friend watching Hugh, and Zip and Pep (a drop-in place for babysitting), I was able to get to work and have time to focus on all that needed to be learned, and not have to worry about Hewy.

Let me just say that it's super stressful to start a new job!! I had not been working since 2010, and while it's not that much time, it was enough that it stressed me out. I will say that I love my job. It's everything that I enjoy doing already, and I get paid to do it. :-)

I worked along side Leslie for her last week in the office, and was able to get as much info from her as possible. Thankfully, she and I are friends and I know I can text or call her at any time for help and she'll do what she can to help me out. (I have already had to call her a few times.)

I was off on Labor Day, and then Hugh's first day was the 8th. He came to work with Steve and was able to hang out in my office while we waited to go to preschool. 

He comes with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays and plays in my office before school or after school. He was slated to go to school there anyway, so now I'm just staying there and working while he's in school. It's so nice, because I'm right there if he ever needs me for anything, and we signed him up for extended day on Tuesdays (he'll stay an extra hour) and he's doing Play Ball on Thursdays (it's a sports program that takes place after school). 

I got my first pay check last week and it was AWESOME!!! Seriously a huge blessing and I have no doubt that this whole job was divinely executed. Many prayers were answered and I am so grateful!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Indiana :: Day 8 :: Family Pizza and More Family!

Steve and his Grandma Scott

We got up Friday morning had knew we had a busy day ahead of us. We were going to head to New Paris (where Steve is from) and visit with his grandparents, then swing by the cemetery to pay our respects to his mom, then go by his old house where he grew up. While out and about we I requested Pizza King again for lunch (I know... but it's SOOOOO good)!!! After lunch we were going back to the farm for a bbq with Sue Ann's family and friends and Steve's Uncle Stan and his daughter.

It was such a great day.

We started off by visiting Steve's Grandma Scott. She's the sweetest woman and is just too cute for words. I am so happy that we get to stop and see her and Steve's grandpa. I'm happy that they get to see the boys too.

She's got some beautiful flowers around her yard!

So handsome

All his trains

We said goodbye and then headed to the cemetery to visit Steve's mom's grave. It's never easy to go there and we both cry each time. It's sad that she was taken from him so young, and Steve wishes that she could have lived long enough to see him as a dad. 

We got to the grave and Gus wanted to know what daddy was doing, so he and I went out and stood with Steve. He was confused about where we were, and so Steve told him that we were visiting where his mama is buried. You could see the sadness in Gus's face when he realized that Steve's mama was not living anymore. He's mentioned that  "Daddy's mama is in heaven" a few times since going to her grave.

We were hungry, so we headed to a different Pizza King. This one is the "fancy" one and it's called Clara's. When I was at MSU, there was a place in East Lansing called Clara's and I swear the two are related. 

I know why people call it the fancy Pizza King... the menu has more to offer AND there's a double decker bus INSIDE the restaurant that you can sit in while you eat!!! FOR REAL!!!!

After our incredible lunch (goodness was it ever good)... we headed back to the farm. On the way, we stopped at some railroad tracks so I could take some pictures of the boys. It had started raining, so I couldn't get pictures that I was hoping for, but they are cute.

Once back at the farm, the festivities began and family and friends started arriving. We had a great dinner and then another bonfire. Sue Ann had a special treat for Gus... paper lanterns that you light!!! He loved it!!!

Steve chatting with his Uncle Stan (his mom's brother)

Gorgeous sunset

Our trip to the farm was such a great time. We never have enough time to do everything we'd like, but this year's vacation was a lot of fun and we are so glad we had a chance to go back up and see family and friends.