Beautiful Life





Hey child up and go; A big world is out there waiting for us to live in every day. Outside you will find, there is love all around you; Takes you, makes you wanna' say; That it's a beautiful life and it's a beautiful world and it's a beautiful time to be here, to be here, to be here. -Fisher

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Camping

Well we didn't get off to the early start I had hoped for and it took much longer than we expected to actually get to the campground, but WE MADE IT! We pulled in just as the sun was going down and got set up as quickly as possible.

We had lots of help.....as you can see!

We managed to get dinner but we were very late getting to bed. Claire seemed to enjoy it for a while. Then I set up the table/twin bed into a bed for her, complete with toddler bed rails. I put her in it and she gave me this look that said she thought I'd lost my mind! "Claire go home!" was all she would say for quite some time. She did finally settle down and go to sleep but it wasn't until after all the lights were out and everyone else was in bed.



Claire in her bed......right before she realized it was her bed!

The boys in their bed....they forgot to pack pajamas so they have to sleep in their clothes! They are boys, they don't care!

It got pretty cold last night but we were snug with our little heater fan! Right up until I pulled Isabel's pillow out of the side of the bed and realized that the draft I felt was because we had failed to secure the tent to the underside of the beds! Paul was sleeping soundly so I got up at some bizarre hour with Isabel and a flashlight and we did it! After that we had an uneventful night! We woke up with squirrels playing on the roof of the pop-up. That was pretty entertaining! Then we spent the day....doing a whole lot of nothing! We hiked, the kids fished and I read a book! Right now I am up at the ranger station or state park store or whatever it is called using the wireless. Paul and boys drove up here with me and then left me and the girls in the van and walked along the lake to go back to the campsite on the other side. I have to say, this is one of the most beautiful lakes I've ever seen. The water is very clear and at night, when they release water from the dam, you hear waves. It's like being at a beach resort! LOL! Seriously, it is very pretty up here!

Here is Claire trying to call her grandparents to come get her this morning! She said "I don't like it"! I asked her "what don't you like?" She said, "camping!" OH!

Paul made us a yummy french toast breakfast. The boys decided that food tastes better when you are camping! OKAY!

Isabel loves washing dishes in this teeny sink! Knock yourself out girl!
Lake Jocassee





Hiking!

We had a wonderful day!


Isabel was so excited to get to fish. She didn't catch anything but she sure looked cute!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Almost

Well, we are almost ready for our camping trip. This will be the first trip we have taken in over a year and only the second one in our pop-up camper. We pulled the camper out this weekend and popped it up so it could air out a little and I could pack it. The kids love playing in it while I do this and Claire was right there in the mix. Every day this week she sees that camper in the driveway and says,"I go camping!" Hopefully she will like it this much once it's parked in the woods!!!


Isabel is hard at work here, making the banana bread for the trip!


Noah and Parker have been helping me pack the camper today!


Our plan is to pull out tomorrow morning and get to the state park around check-in time. Weather . com says we are in for sunny days!! HURRAY! Cold, but sunny! Hopefully it won't take long to set up and then we can get to the relaxing part! I know, some people think that will be hard for me! While visiting my house one weekend, my brother -in-law told me that he got worn out just watching me. It's true, I don't sit still for long! And, I'm sure that I won't be doing a lot of sitting on this trip either but it's not the same kind of busy! I enjoy puttering around the campsite and taking hikes.

We are so excited that we will get to hike. We didn't think we would because of Claire but we stopped into a local children's consignment shop and got a back-pack carrier for Claire for $15! What a deal! Paul strapped it on and walked around the store with Claire on his back. She wasn't crazy about it at first....what's new! But she got over it! We also picked up a toddler bed rail so she can sleep on the twin bed in the camper without falling out. Good, idea huh? I was going to put her in the king bed with me and Paul but then I envisioned her slamming that Dobbs brace down on my leg in the middle of the night......ummm, no thanks! Isabel will get to be our bed buddy instead. She says she wants to sleep in the twin with Claire.....good luck with that!



Lizzie came over tonight for dinner and did some bonding time with Claire, keeping her out of my hair while I did some more packing! Thanks Lizzie!

I hope to be able to post some during the trip. But, I'm not making any promises. So, don't be surprised if you don't hear from me until Monday! Happy Camping!


And just so you know...Claire has been walking EVERYWHERE! She walked down the aisle at church, walked up and down the nursery halls at church, walked down the street to see her Meme and walked across the yard to Ms. Jan's to talk to her! Today, she walked for Mrs. Denise, her physical therapist and she gets to keep this walker until ours comes in.

Today was also the day that our social worker came to do our six month post-placement report. She was so surprised at the changes in Claire. Claire was so shy the first time they met, three months ago. She wouldn't even look at Mrs. Linda. Today she did puzzles and "read" several of her favorite books for Mrs. Linda!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Progress:

forward or onward movement......


Okay, this may not look like forward movement.



But it is!
She backs into it...sometimes you've got to go backward a little, before you can go forward!


video


Another definition of the word is "a royal journey marked by pomp and pageant",and so we would like our pomp and pageant now, because that was a ROYAL JOURNEY, a long time in coming, for our little princess!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

These shoes were made for walking!

Much to her dismay, I got Claire up a little early this morning. Did I mention that this kid is NOT, I repeat, NOT a morning person! But, around 8:30 this morning, Mr. Jim, one of our orthotists (people that design, construct and fit her braces), pulled up to our door with Claire's new AFOs (ankle-foot orthosis-plastic brace) and sneakers! Now, that is service! This child has now had 24 medically related appointments of some kind, so I do not have to tell you how nice it was to have this COME TO US!





Claire wasn't sure this was a good thing when she saw her new AFO's but when Mr. Jim started putting them on, she decided to help! Maybe it's an "if you can't beat um, join um" attitude......or maybe she just likes to think she has some control! Then she was all smiles about her new sneakers! This kid takes after her Daddy! She wants to try on every pair in the stores...unfortunately, none of those fit, so to have an actual pair of shoes to wear just made her day! It may even have been worth getting up an hour early for!




Of course, they are so big to accommodate the AFOs that she acted like he put cement blocks......or clown shoes on her! She would stand and not move, but just look! Then she would smile at Mr. Jim....'cause I think she loved those shoes on her feet! About that time, Claire saw Mrs. Denise coming through the door..............with some kind of child torture device! At least that is the way she reacted to what she saw! Mrs. Denise had a small walker in her hands and a pair of toddler forearm crutches. Claire took one look and screamed "NO"! You never saw a kid move so fast to get into my arms! Good thing Mrs. Denise is used to kids reacting to her that way!!! Well, she is the mean lady that makes them do hard stuff.....and brings torture devices! Actually, she is great and we love her already....okay, Paul and I love her. Claire is still undecided....today, not so much!


Twenty minutes later and after several demonstrations from Isabel proving that the "torture chamber" really wouldn't hurt and..................................Claire still wasn't having it! So, we left her alone. She eventually crawled over to it.....and allowed me to stand her up in it......but as soon as she realized that we wanted her to "WALK" with it, she freaked out! Really, as soon as she realized that she was touching it was when she began to freak, never mind the walking part! That just added to her anxiety! Good grief!


This picture was snapped right as she stood up. If the photographer had gotten the picture in the next second, you would have seen her look up in horror and begin to scream "NO, NO, NO"......again! We decided not to push it.

She loved walking up and down between her bars with her new shoes! So, that's something. In the mean time, the walker is waiting until she's ready. It took four months to get her to go in a bath tub willingly, people! This could take a while!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This and That

First, Claire and Paul are back from St. Louis, safe and sound! They got in on Monday night. Claire loves to fly, no kidding! She sees an airplane and says "go on airplane". She wants to sit in her seat, buckle herself up and she wants her orange juice with ice....and she will tell the attendant herself, thank you very much! This trip was a follow up visit to be certain that everything was progressing the way they would expect after getting casts off and wear the brace. Because Dr. Dobbs specializes in club foot and because he works at two different hospitals, he sees more vertical talus patients than other doctors would normally see. He sees so many that he was able to perfect that casting method of correcting vertical talus where most other doctors would recommend surgery. So, once every year Dr. Dobbs invites doctors from around the country to come to St. Louis and see his vertical talus patients. He is able to show them pictures and x-rays before the correction and then they look at the child to see the finished results. Claire was examined by 6 physicians on this trip and they were all in awe of the correction Dr. Dobbs was able to do in just 3 castings and a tenotomy!! Everything looks great and we don't have to go back for 3 (if there seems to be any problems) to 6 months!


Claire is holding my arms....she's not too sure about all that fire on those candles!


Second, we had a lovely birthday dinner for our beautiful birthday girl on Tuesday night! Lizzie came over and I made her favorite, shrimp and grits. It's actually her recipe but I wouldn't let her touch it......'cause it's her birthday dinner, that's why! And everybody knows you are not supposed to cook your own birthday dinner! I also made Lizzie's favorite cake, a chocolate chip, sour cream cake that I got the recipe for years ago from a friend. Well, I went to make the thing and HORRORS, I could not find the recipe. I have a notebook and each of my prized recipes is color coded (purple for desserts) and stored in a protective sleeve. IT IS MISSING and I have no memory of where I put it. Claire didn't take nearly as long as usual to warm up to her so that was pretty exciting! I guess she comes around enough now that Claire actually remembers her from one time to the next!



In other news....

  • Claire had her first eye doctor appointment and although she was not impressed with having to have eye drops put in her eyes, not once but three times, everything went well and she doesn't have to see that doctor for 2 years!
  • Her AFOs are supposed to be here int he morning and so is her physical therapist. I can not wait to see how that goes!

  • We have 7 days until we leave for the first camping trip we have taken in 2 years! We will leave next Wednesday and return Sunday. We were gifted with a pop-up tent camper a few years ago and we have only used it once. I'm hoping that this is the beginning of a new trend in the Gour household! I love to have the kids outside, running around, like the wild young-ins that they are! We're going up to a state park in upper South Carolina and somehow I doubt they have wireless service, so I may be offline for a few days! YIKES! If I can't get on the computer I will try to use Paul's cell to send a few short posts and pictures via email....if they even have cell reception.................
Well, I'm heading over to the prayer meetin' at Significant Source. If you're new to this, my friend there holds a weekly prayer meeting where you can leave prayer requests in her comments box...or just pray with her for anyone that did. You can get there by clicking on the prayer meetin' link above.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Birthday Wish

Going out to our 19 year old baby girl, Elizabeth Hope. Arriving into this world on October 20, 1989 and weighing in at just 5lbs, she proves that good things come in small packages! I had the privilege to meet her in March of 1992 and the honor of becoming her Step-monstermother on January 4th (or May 7th) 1994!


She has grown into a lovely, loving, lovable (can you tell we like her a little bit!) young woman. We can't wait to see what the next 19 years hold for her.

Lizzie is a source of joy and and pride and we are so thankful to have her in our lives! Happy Birthday Sweet Girl! We love you!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Did I mention..


Claire's new favorite thing to do is take a bath.....a real, honest to goodness BATH! IN THE TUB no less!! Don't you love her audience!


Two weeks ago, she cried because I put both her feet in the sink, at the same time during her bath *gasp*. Then one night, while Isabel was bathing, she pulled up on the side of the tub and said, "Claire take a bath!" I asked her if she was sure she wanted to get in there. She replied "take off clothes!" Ooookay......I complied, expecting at any minute that she would change her mind, as only a two year old can....as if you thought I'd really get in that basin of horror, mother! But, her resolve held and in she went. She was tentative at first, but playing and soaping it up within minutes! I bathed her and washed her hair with very little opposition. She continued to play. She stayed in so long that I had to add more warm water. At some point, Isabel had had enough and vacated so Claire had the tub all to herself. That is when she surprised me the most! She asked me to move the toys and then she pretended to swim!! Yes, the kid that hated the pool! I was surprised that she knew to kick her feet and move her arms like she was really swimming. Of course, she drew the line at submerging her face. That did not happen! She actually got some water in her mouth and carried on like it was vinegar, spitting and proclaiming, "YUCKY"! All my other kids tried to drink the bathwater. Whatever!



Everyone that knows Claire, knows that just because she does something once, does not mean that she will ever do it again. But, I am happy to say that she has asked to "take baff" everyday since then and has actually gotten back in the tub 3 times! HURRAY for progress!

By the way, keep Claire and Paul in your prayers today and tomorrow. They flew back to St. Louis this morning. Claire has a follow-up with Dr. Dobbs tomorrow to be sure that her feet are doing what they are supposed to be doing and that the brace is fitting properly. If all goes well, I think we are done with St. Louis for a while. They will be home late tomorrow night. Thanks!

Friday, October 17, 2008

This is what I know...

Five months and Five days ago, Paul and I signed documents in China to declare an orphan child as our own. In the eyes of the world, she became our daughter on that day. But the truth is, she was ours from the day she was born, the day she was conceived, the day time began and God ordained it. We knew she was out there somewhere....we just had to find her. And, that is how an adoption journey begins....with the knowledge that someone is missing and the desire to figure out who it is.



The journey continues with applications, interviews and always, the searching-searching for documents to prove you are born, married, divorced, employed, healthy...searching your heart for the strength to do this, searching the faces of children on internet photolistings-"Who is she? Where? When? How will I know?" And back you go, to your heart, your bible, your prayers...searching. Then one day, her eyes stare back at you from a grainy photo taken on the other side of the world, or down the street-it doesn't matter, and you know. You don't know how you know...you just do.


Documents are presented, money changes hands, forms are signed, right hands are raised in earnest respect for the vows you take. You finally found that little person, scooped her into your arms and made promises to her and the world about how you will love and cherish every day with her. Is that the end of the journey? I thought so, but I've since learned different. Every day until the end of time will be a part of that journey, because the journey isn't just making a family, it's about being a family.

This is what I know ....we found a member of our family in China. She is a little girl that was clearly made to be in our family, and if you spend any time with us you will see that.


Yes, there she is crying her eyes out, clearly thrilled to be having this experience...and her betrothed is right there in front of her....crying his eyes out too! Peas and Carrots, you know.


This is what I know....

  • Claire loves flax seed oatmeal, grapes, yogurt, cheese, cherry tomatoes, mashed potatoes, strawberries, orange juice and m&ms (most of these things, she would not eat four months ago)

  • She eats chicken! She does not like any other meat.

  • She likes to dip food in ketchup...but that doesn't necessarily mean she'll eat it.

  • Claire loves to sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider, The Wheels on the Bus and do This Little Piggy on her toes!

  • She loves to play with Play-Doh, and her Fisher Price School Bus, do puzzles and read books.



  • She does not like to play alone!

  • She does not like potty training-her excitement at that idea was short lived and though she can, she refuses to go on the potty. Oh well!

  • She is terrified of bugs.....and puppets...and most animals, but she pet a horse the first time she saw one.

  • She loves to fly, she loves to be outside, she loves to ride a bike-right now that means I have to ride and she sits in the baby seat, but yesterday she discovered a pink Radio Flyer trike at Target....we listened to her tell us "I ride bike" for an hour.

  • She's tenacious! She's also bossy and we are working on manners!

  • She cries if you tell her "no" or bow your head to pray.

  • She goes to bed without a tear...most nights.

  • She wants to pet the dogs....but she doesn't want them near her!?!

  • She wants to play the piano, jump on the trampoline and go, go anywhere, in the car!

  • She is so smart it scares me-one day she will go beyond the realm of my abilities to teach her!

She has changed much in the last five months and five days-and so have we. I can look back at my posts and see the difference, in her appearance, her likes and dislikes, her mannerisms. Some things have stayed the same, but not many. Gone is the child that you could set down in the middle of the bed with toys and expect that she would not move from that spot. Now she is up and down the stairs, in and out of rooms, following big brothers and sisters everywhere. Gone is the quiet girl that pushed mommy away. Today she loudly told daddy, "mommy do it" when he tried to cath and dress her!

Taken at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou, China on May 20th


Taken at home, today....same outfit, shoes and socks, but so different!


This is what I know....Claire makes us laugh every day! She reminds us how prayers are answered and how important it is to have a family, be loved and say thank you. The fact that she is here reminds us of how God's plan is bigger than us, His timing is perfect and His power to move mountains and keep promises, true. These are things that are easy to take for granted in our culture. The love of a family has changed Claire profoundly and her presence has inspired better things from us. I cried the night Isabel chose to stay in the room with Claire instead of taking her turn to sleep with me, something the kids fight over to do when Paul is out of town. I didn't cry for the loss of my bed buddy but because she said didn't want Claire to be alone, even though she was already asleep and wouldn't know! I have walked past her room at night to see her kneeling at the side of Claire's crib caressing her cheeks while she sleeps. She doesn't know I've seen this. I've stood just on the other side of a door and listened to Parker playing with Claire because I'm not used to hearing that kind of tenderness from Mr. matter-of-fact. It's heartwarming to watch Noah stop at nothing to keep her from crying and if she starts you will never see three kids react so fast to find the source and quell it. Lizzie, in an effort to bond with her small sister spent time naming letters by the fridge and unwittingly got her interested in the alphabet. Lizzie has given her precious free time to bond with Claire and that has brought us all closer to her. But, the cherry on the Sundae was when Noah asked if I would teach him to catheterize Claire so that I wouldn't have to do it by myself all day.

Will they always be so gentle, so patient, so selfless....I don't know!

This is what I know....
We are a family still on our journey!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

TAG, you're it!


My friend over at Life with Grace tagged me this morning! Peggy and her husband adopted their daughter Grace earlier this year. Gracie lived in the same City as Claire and we live in the same area now! Unfortunately, we still have not "met" them!

Well, the rules are listed above, so now I guess I have to share 7 random or weird facts about myself! Hmmmm, I'm a pretty boring girl, people. Average, run-of-the-mill, nothing spectacular here, but I'll see if I can make this interesting....

1. I can not go to bed unless the bed is made first-so, if it didn't get made that morning, we have to make it before we can get in it! Is that strange? Doesn't everybody? Can you feel Paul's eyes rolling, because they are!

2. Paul and I have two anniversaries (that's a story for another day- and no it does not involve Vegas or alcohol!! Shame on you for thinking that!). Only one of them is legal, but that is not the one we celebrate!

3. The entire time I was dating Paul and when we first married, up until I got pregnant in 1996, if we saw twins I would turn to Paul and announce that I was having twins. Apparently he did not take me seriously, as he was quite surprised when the Doctor looked at our 12 week ultrasound and told him "you're having twins!" His knees buckled! :) I told you so!

4. When I was a teenager, I did that stupid trick you do where you stick a needle into the eraser of a pencil, thread the needle and then hang the pencil over your wrist, perfectly still. It will then swing back and forth. It goes in one direction (I forget which direction means what) to tell you how many boys you will have and the other to tell you how many girls and it stops on it's own between each child and when it's done. Yeah, I don't actually believe in that stuff....but, every time I did it, it said I would have five kids-three girls and two boys...hmmmmm! Honestly, I hope it's wrong and that I'm not done yet....but maybe that is stranger than the fact that I did that trick and remembered the results!

5. I named our children so that everyone in our house shares at least one name with another person in our immediate family. Our names are Paul Norman, Chelsea Lee, Elizabeth Hope, Parker Norman, Paul Noah, Isabel Lee and Claire Hope Kangtong. I don't think that is any stranger than giving all your kids names that start with the same letter...I'm not naming names, but you know who you are!

6. Pottery is the one art that I have always wished I had the time to take classes for.

7. I still have the skirt I was wearing the night I met Paul. That's pretty random!

Well, I don't know how interesting that was, but I did warn you. I am tagging the following people:

Anna at YoYo's Mommy

Yvette at The Wait for Kate

Rina over at Bringing Home Myah

Stephanie at Significant Source

Maeve at The Ghosts of Berry Hall

Marcie at Loveable Dysfunction

Joanne at Living in Carolina

TAG YOU'RE IT!

Go on over...



Significant Source is having her weekly Prayer Meetin' and all are invited! You can click here or on the Prayer Meetin' button to the right. I'll be heading over soon, but before I go I'd like to update you on Claire. Yesterday we got to meet Claire's new best friend- Ms. Denise the physical therapist! I don't have any pictures to share....because I didn't want to scare the woman off already! She will have plenty of time to get to know us and to realize that we are a little absurd when it comes to photographing our little sugar plum. I think we may have more pictures of Claire in the four months that we have had her than we do of our other kids in their first 3 years of life! Part of that is because we have soooo many little photographers now!

Ms. Denise was very thorough in her evaluation and very hopeful about Claire's possibilities. She is planning to bring a walker for Claire next week so we can get her going! Claire very much wants to walk and run like the other children and I think her determination will take her places! Ms. Denise has already instructed us on some exercises that will benefit Claire and I can not wait to keep up with her headway. She has amazed so many with her quick progress and I have a feeling, this will be no different!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Eewww!

That about sums up how Parker and Noah felt about today's science lesson! I personally thought it was hilarious! As part of our bird study, I decided to buy an owl pellet dissecting kit. Sounds fun, right? Well, I guess that just depends on your idea of FUN! Believe it or not, my rough and tumble boys are far more squeamish than my delicate princess, Isabel. Okay, "delicate" may be pushing it, but she is a girly girl....right up until it's time to get messy and then she'll get down and dirty in heartbeat! She's the kid that's up to her elbows inside a pumpkin while the boys gag from across the room!!! I am not making this up! Parker had to be excused from a homeschool co-op science class on the day they made silly putty because the mother teaching the class thought he was going to throw-up!


Well, our little kit came with three owl pellets and a booklet. The boys were okay.......right up until I read the booklet......... and they realized that the owl pellet is regurgitated....not sure what they thought it was!
These looks are priceless!



Overall, the experience was..........interesting, or maybe entertaining would be a better word. I should have taped it so you could here the boys eeewwwwing and ucking, while Isabel said "I found another skull, I am such a lucky girl!" Still, not making this up, guys! I'm telling you, she was beside herself with excitement over a second skull in her pellet!

Yes, these would be those skulls!



These are prized possessions now and she wanted to show them to all her friends and unfortunately, to Daddy, during dinner! Let's just say, the boys come by their issue naturally, so I had to put the kibosh on that one!

Incidentally, Isabel is also the kid that kissed the frog (when she was 3) because someone told her it would turn into a prince....and the one that chopped up a millipede into a million pieces, just because....and the one that carried a GIANORMOUS snail across the street, in her HANDS, to show her grandparents what she'd found!

To his credit, Noah thought the skull he found in his was pretty cool too! Parker really couldn't get past his initial reaction. I think we can safely rule out pathologist, doctor, veterinary, chemist and the host of World's Dirtiest Jobs where that kid is concerned! Paul came home to find plates of fur and bones on the kitchen table....hmmmmm"what's for dinner, honey"?!!!!

Tomorrow, we get to identify all the pieces parts to see what exactly those barn owls were eating!




Yep! GOOD TIMES will be had by all!

Now, if you are thoroughly grossed out and wondering why you read this post, the title should have been your warning!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

An amazing gift!

My in-laws, Glen and Dianne, have an amazing gift for turning other people's junk into usable household items. This is something for which we have teased them relentlessly through the years. My father-in-law was forever showing up with things he'd swiped off the street on trash day-chairs, tables, lamps, chairs, sofas, doors, chairs, windows, mowers, chairs, tools...you name it and chairs. They have A LOT of chairs. If you need a seat, I know where you can get one! And, Dianne would get all excited just thinking about the possibilities when she saw him unload the truck. They built an entire Florida room off their house with stuff he brought home...and furnished it! Then they built a patio out of recovered bricks! Yes, they are THAT good! Sometimes I just rolled my eyes though, because I couldn't even see the value in some of it. Railing for example, they don't have stairs! What are they going to do with 20 feet of railing?

Four or Five years ago (has it been so long I can't remember?), we found out that one of our neighbors, catywhompus to us (Paul says that is not a word, but I've been saying it as long as I can remember and I bet every one of you knows what I mean when I say it! -It's the house across and down one from from us), were going to be moving. Of course, my first thought was how perfect it would be for my in-laws to move so close to us......yeah okay, you got me...that was not my first thought! But, the idea did occur to us and the more we thought about it the more the idea grew on us. So, when they asked us if we really wouldn't mind, we gave our blessing and haven't regretted it for one single day! (Yes, they read this blog!) Seriously, we have no regrets! But, because we teased them so much about their dumpster diving excursions, they claimed they didn't want to "embarrass" us in "our" neighborhood. So, when a neighbor threw out what could possibly be the greatest spare television ever, my father-in-law had to have it and went out with the cover of night to pluck that tv set off the road and cart it home! I had to laugh, because I could just see him tippy toeing down the street, looking every which way to be sure he wasn't being spotted and making a dash back to his garage with his prize! LOL! After that, we made sure they understood that we really didn't care, we just had fun pushing their buttons! :) Come on! What kind of daughter-in-law would I be if I didn't give them a hard time about something?

Well, I don't have to tell you that we have been the beneficiary of this knack of theirs more than once and quite a few of their trash-to-treasures have ended up at my house -my husband's workbench, a mower we had for years, the computer chair in the boys room...I even came home one day and insisted that Glen go down the road with his truck to collect a playhouse for his grandbaby before someone else got it! Well, I couldn't be seen dragging it home! And, we have appreciated every one of those gifts. We hardly ever tease them anymore....okay, you got me again! We do, but in the most loving way!

Recently, I heard all kind of noise coming from their garage and I knew they were up to something. Glen does not have a truck any longer, so that has put a damper on their fun for the most part. I couldn't even dream of what those two were crafting over there but I kept my curiosity in check........ because sometimes it's just better if I see the finished product. I knew they couldn't keep it a secret for long, and sure enough, they showed up at my house with their newest brainchild....







Yes, that is exactly what it looks like! My wonderful in-laws made Claire her own set of rehab parallel bars using scrap carpet, scrap metal, a $3 board they got the manager of Lowes to sell them from out of the back room rather than spend $35 for the one on the showroom floor and oh yes, all that railing! What an amazing gift!



Thank you, Meme and Papa!



She might even take up soccer!