First Pumpkin Patch

Today was a beautiful fall sunny day...perfect for a trip to the pumpkin patch.

Lily's speech therapist planned a day at a local farm for all the children who participate in the speech program. Kristin has a special way with children and Lily just adores her!

Lily's therapy is part of a research grant specifically geared for helping children who have cleft lip/cleft palate. It was refreshing to meet other parents and children who have walked a similar road.

Upon arrival I got "the sign"...aka...need to go potty which happens frequently as we enter a new place. 

As we were coming out of the restroom several ladies stopped and commented on Lily.  They were there with a group of 10 other families who adopted their daugthers from China about six years ago.

I saw the girls later in the day (after surviving the Cow Train Ride) and they were all wearing "China Sisters" shirts. So fun...each family was from a different state and they still plan yearly trips together.

Rarely is there a day when I am out with Lily that I don't get stopped by a complete stranger who either has some connection to China or who just wants to know a little about her story.

We started in the corn maze thinking I would get some great pictures but unfortunately little 'Lils wasn't up for walking so I carried her. Reminded me of our days in China when my arms when numb.

As we neared the end she saw lots of baby pumpkins and decided she would get down and explore a bit.


Kristin helped Lily pick out the perfect pumpkin and she was quite delighted with her new find.



We headed back to the pavilion for some lunch and yummy treats that Kristin provided for everyone.


She also brought a tub full of fun gear for the kids to play with but Lily decided to pass on the hats and boas and go straight for the bubbles...


I have some great pictures of the other kids dressing up and having fun but don't have permission to share so...just Lily pics for now.

Lily saw the Cow train ride and kept saying "moo" so off we went to wait in line for what seemed to me like an innocent kiddy ride.

Not at all...it was more like a roller coaster through a Midwest dust bowl! Picture me (holding Lily and my camera) squeezing into a tiny cart shaped like a cow that is meant to hold a 5 year old. Each one was appropriately named...we road 'Cow Lick'.

At first Lily wanted out which wasn't an option after the squeezing that went into getting there. As soon as the fast, bumpy ride began (picture lots of crazy eights) she was tickled pink, laughing the whole way...as for me, let's just say I was glad to be out and my shower felt especially great tonight considering the layer of dust that covered us from head to toe!

We went back for some finger paining which Lily loved...Miss Kristin thought of it all.


Lily and I watched the Hillbilly Pig Races and then headed out to buy a few pumpkins on our way out.

I found a great wagon just the size I needed for the steroid injected pumpkins we brought home.   

Outside of the cow ride and bubbles...this may have been her favorite part of the day.




Oh how I missed my Sherpa today...especially as I was pulling the wagon up the hill to our car.

The other dads I passed just stared at me and smiled while I was pulling with all my might. (Really...not even a courtesy push or anything...perhaps they were spent from the day on the farm) 

I couldn't figure out why it was so difficult until about the 3rd man I passed (after I had made it up both hills) said...oh your back tire is flat! Guess I should have gone with wheelbarrow :)

I love Lily more each day and the joy she brings to our family is really beyond words. We are truly blessed.


Pediatric cancer...pancakes...and park day fun

This past weekend Michael and his brother Mark did a 40 mile bike ride to help raise funds for pediatric cancer. Over 160 riders participated in the inaugural Hoover Ride for Hope raising over $6,000 to help families with the unrecognized needs that come with the diagnosis of cancer.   

It was a beautiful day and Lily had fun playing with her buddy Gabriel while we waited for Michael to finish. 

The icing on the cake was watching her face light up when Michael came back...


After the ride my wonderful husband suggested that we go eat at my favorite lunch spot in Franklin...Merridees! His brother Mark, his wife Liz and our sweet nephew Zack met us there and we had a great time together sitting outside enjoying the beautiful day.

As you can see...they are so good to Lily and she adores all 3 of them and their hugs! So thankful for the gift of family.



Spencer is on fall break this week so we met up with Zack and Liz after Lily's speech therapy and went to the Nashville favorite... Pancake Pantry!

While we waited for our food to arrive Zack showed us his "thinking face" and I just love his sweet little grin! He is full of joy and love for others.


Lily loved her silver dollar pancakes...Spencer devoured his french toast (literally it was gone before I could snap a picture of it!)...and Zack sported his sugar box "booster" seat with pride!


Thank you Lizzy for treating us to a yummy breakfast! You are always thinking of others and doing random acts of kindness. I am blessed to have such a great sister-in-law!

After breakfast the kids had fun playing outside the restaurant before we headed to the park.


When it was time to head to the park (aka...the kids were over me snapping pictures of all of them!) Zack and Spencer took Lily in the stroller.

Spencer is laughing at Zack as he looks over to Lily and says, "Don't worry 'Wiwwy', we will take care of you"...doesn't get much sweeter than that!


We headed over to Dragon Park and spent the next several hours just watching the three of them laugh and play.  The weather was PERFECT (much cooler than the blazing hot day Lily and I went with Liz and Zack a few weeks ago!) 

Lily and her aunt Lizzy had fun experimenting with the leaves...


Zack had fun tackling Spencer (we have a future football player in the family!)


Lily got some hugs from her big brother and looks up to him like he is her hero!


Lily LOVES the swings (not sure this kind is really meant for her but it is her favorite!)


Caught a sweet innocent look of Lily that I loved...


And we ended up the day with a Spencer sandwich! By the look on all their faces they are about to crash from playing so hard. 

spencer sandwichblog

As I expected...Spencer and Lily both fell asleep in the car on the way home.

Lily is doing GREAT post surgery.  She is our spicy little survivor!  Thank you all for your prayers on her behalf.  We continue to see God's hand at work in every detail of her life. 

She is such a figther and doesn't let anything stand in her way of living life to the fullest.  She is teaching me a lot about finding JOY in the midst of challenges.  

We are headed to FL this week so Michael and Spencer will get to see Lily in action on the beach...looking forward to our time together as a family and being away for a few days.   
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