Within a couple weeks of finding out that Anastasha had anencephaly, I read an awesome book called I Will Carry You, by Angie Smith. It is the story of her daughter Audrey, who, like Anastasha, was given a terminal prenatal diagnosis. Angie and her husband Todd chose to carry their daughter to term, as we did. Audrey was born and lived just over 2 hours. Todd is the lead singer of the Christian group, Selah. You may remember me sending the song (with the same title as the book) that they recorded for Audrey. Both the book and the song have ministered to Tonya and I deeply.
Angie mentioned something in the book that we thought was a great way to minister to her kids, and we decided to use it with our own. We told them that Anastasha will likely not be with us for very long or be able to grow up in our house like the other kids. Since the only time we will have with her is right now when she is in Tonya's womb, we asked them if there were any special things that they wanted to do with her before she was born. They came up with "Anastasha's List", a compilation of several things they want to do with their sister. I thought I'd share a sample.
Here are some of the things we have ALREADY DONE:
• Go to one of Charis' baseball games (we checked this one off the list dozens
of times, including the Texas state championship game)
• Go on a family bike ride (this was interesting. see picture below)
• Go to the movies (saw Toy Story 3 three times)
• Go to the chocolate factory
• Make family pizza
• Go on a waterslide (it was in our backyard, but it counts for us since we'd never get Mommy to a water theme park)
• Fly on an airplane
• Ride the glass elevator at Embassy Suites
• Go swimming (okay, so this was really Tonya jumping in a friend's pool to save Caius who dove in. I probably shouldn't mention that she went in, shoes, jeans and all.)
I wouldn't mess with this biker gang - all 9 kids!
Here are some of the things that the kids STILL WANT TO DO with Anastasha:
• Go to the zoo
• Go bowling
• Go on a carousel
• Go hiking at the state park
• Take pictures with her at the beach (we've done this we each of our infants)
• Color with her
• Read her a book
• Go to Six Flags and ride a roller coaster (probably not gonna swing that one)
One of the items on this list, flying in an airplane, is happening as I type this. Tonya is returning from her annual "girl's getaway" weekend with some of her best friends from residency (they always follow Beth Moore wherever she is speaking). She left early Thursday morning and returns late Sunday. I always tell her that it is one of my favorite weekends of the year (and not to take that personally). I get the kids, uninterrupted, for the whole weekend. It is VERY good for me, and a LOT of fun for the kids. We pitch a tent and "camp" all weekend (in the living room...it was 105 deg this weekend!). We ate junk food, went to Walmart and Sam's, got snow cones, and watched way more movies than we should have. We even went to Pukey-E-Cheese (uh...Chuck-E-Cheese) for a treat. I did manage to get the whole crew to and from church AND clean out Mommy's van. Lest I try to sound too like to much of a martyr, you realize the reason we did all of the above is because that is WAY EASIER than doing real life. Tonya rocks. I'm no competition.
This year, by mistake, the kids had their semi-annual dentist appointments while Mommy was gone. Not one or two of them, mind you, but SEVEN of them. So that was how we kicked off the weekend. We have a very accommodating dentist with great staff, so the visit went surprisingly smoothly. We pride ourselves on having great dental hygiene (I realize how ridiculous that is as I type it). In fact, with all the kids, we've only had ONE SINGLE CAVITY so far...ever, which I think is rather impressive. So here was the cavity count on Thursday.
Ariana - 0
Charis - 0
Adoniyah - 0
Amalyah - 0
Corban - 0
Caelan - 0
Cale - 9
That last number is NOT a typo (even thought 9 and 0 are next to each other on the keyboard). He didn't have one or two. He had NINE CAVITIES. Wow. Our little guy has something wrong with his enamel it appears. I think the Lord is humbling us for judging all of our friends/acquaintances over the years whose kids have tons of cavities and drink soda/tea/juice all the time. The metal mouth is coming soon. I thought you might get a chuckle out of that.
I gotta run. We need to clean the house (again) before Mom gets home!
PS. Thank you so much for all the responses to my last email. I looked up every Scripture reference that was shared. And I appreciated the thoughts on anger. It is pretty amazing what a wide variety of responses there were among Christians on that one. But I appreciate them all. Please, if you feel like the Lord leads you to a portion of Scripture that would help us on the journey, share it with us.
My little campers (and, yes, that is hard wood under the tent and not grass)