Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sam's Tree in the Children's Park

Tyler has a park dedicated to all children, including those who have gone to heaven and those with special needs, called The Children's Park of Tyler.  I knew about the park because it's a beautiful place, and many of my friends have had family pictures taken there.  We drive by it when we visit Stephen at work.  Before Sam was born, we took the girls there on a Saturday.  The paved sidewalks are lined with stones engraved with children's names.  There are trees planted in honor and memory of children.  When we were there, I remember thinking what a sweet tribute it is for these children, but how sad for their families that there is a need for a place like that.

"Behold, children are a gift from the Lord."  Psalm 127:3

After Sam passed away, Stephen's co-workers donated a tree to the park in Sam's memory.  We went back to the park in April to choose the place where they would plant the tree.

We chose this area in a back corner of the park.  There is a shaded sitting area nearby, and when you stand in this spot, you can see the entire park.

We chose a white dogwood tree, which was planted in May, and the stone that holds Sam's plaque was placed then also. 

Last week, the plaque was placed.  

The cemetery where Sam is buried is in Bertram, about four hours from here, so I can't just go visit whenever I want to.  I am so thankful that we have a place now where I can go and just be to honor and remember our sweet Sam.

One thing I have been reminded about over and over again throughout our journey with Sam is God's creative providence.  Stay with me here...Trent's high school band director's wife's brother and his wife are the couple who founded the children's park.  God has certainly used his people to bless us.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Happy Third Birthday, Harper!

This gal joined our family three years ago.


We started the day by celebrating with a pink donut with sprinkles.

We spent most of the day hanging out at home getting ready for the party.  We just got back from our Colorado trip yesterday, so there was much laundry and grocery shopping to be done.  Harper asked for a blue birthday cake.  She helped me make it and waited patiently while it baked.

We had a pool party with friends and family in the evening.  This girl is a little fish!

We had cake. 

Harper opened her presents.

We sure do love these friends. 


Harper through the years...

newborn Harper
one-year-old Harper
two-year-old Harper
three-year-old Harper

Oh, Harper,  

You keep us laughing.  You keep us on our toes.  You are fearless, endearing, and you love so hard.  Your sweet little raspy voice cracks us up.  You love dressing up, putting on chapstick, playing with baby dolls, taking baths, playing with Play-Doh, singing, and you really really love to sit and rock.  You live in your own world and certainly march to the beat of your own drum.  I hope and pray that never changes.  

You will always be my favorite surprise.

You wear this same costume every day like its a security blanket: Elsa dress, Elsa toboggan, princess tiara, and dress-up shoes. 

You and Emory are inseparable.

You are always entertaining us.

You have the most amazing bed hair.

You have just the right amount of sass.

Your giggle is the sweetest.

Harper, you are truly a joy.  I am so honored to be your mama.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Bryans Take Ouray, Days Eight and Nine

We packed up the car again and headed out of Ouray at about 9:00.  We planned on staying in Amarillo so we wouldn't have to drive too far the second day to get home.

We stopped eleventy billion times for the girls to use the restroom.  At one stop, we realized Harper had been coloring herself instead of the paper.

We watched a storm roll in, and it rained on us the last hour or so before we got to Amarillo.

Stephen wanted to eat at the Big Texan, but there was an hour-long wait.  We went to Logan's Roadhouse instead.  The girls entertained themselves with straws.

We went back to the hotel and crashed.  We'll be in our own beds tomorrow night!


We packed our stuff up one last time.

The girls had to have lots of snacks.

And they played with glow sticks.

We set a record for number of restroom stops.  Our five-hour trip home ended up taking about seven hours after all the stopping.  But we made it!  Home sweet home.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Bryans Take Ouray, Day Seven

My mom and I set out to the laundromat again this morning. We seem to be getting dirtier throughout the day than I anticipated when I packed.  What should have taken an hour or two ended up taking all morning. Whatever.

We all drove about ten miles north of Ouray to Ridgway to drive one of the more tame jeep trails Stephen and I went down on Monday.  On the way up the mountain, our ears started to pop because of the altitude.  Harper asked, "Why are my ears quiet?"  Such a funny way to interpret her ears popping.  We ate lunch first at Taco del Gnar, a funky taco shop.  

After lunch, we drove the jeep trail to a scenic overlook. 

We drove back to Ouray to go to Box Canyon Falls, a nature trail and waterfall park.  There were birds and chipmunks eating from a bird feeder. The girls loved getting up close and personal with them. 

We walked the trail up to where the waterfall is in a "box canyon."  

Part of the platform where we walked was open so we could see straight down to the water. Terrifying if you're anxious about heights! 

The waterfall was really really loud in the box canyon, which scared Harper. 

We walked the nature trail back down to the park.

The girls enjoyed playing in the rocks.
Emory found rocks for Harper, Sam, and herself.
Then we went back to the hot springs pool. 

On Wednesday when we went, the part of the pool that included the slides was closed for cleaning.  Well, today the slides were open. I bet the girls went down the slide 100 times. They loved it!

There were three different parts in the whole pool. One area was like a huge hot tub at 106 degrees. Two sections were like heated pools at 92 degrees. And the section that had the slides was super cold at 78 degrees. That doesn't sound that cold, but when it's 50 degrees outside and windy, it's cold!

The girls played on the playground for a while. 

Then we went back to O'Briens for dinner. 

We had ice cream at Mouse's Chocolates and Coffee. 

Tomorrow we start heading back to Texas!  I wish we could take the weather from here back with us.