Thursday, November 22, 2007

Grace's Locks of Love

It's contagious! Grace thought we had a great idea and decided she'd do the same! She had her nine inches cut of to give! I'm so proud of her, at her age, thinking of someone else, someone she doesn't even know! The kids at her school learned first hand about loosing hair from the treatment of a disease, their principle, Mrs Sheri Payne, died of lung cancer and the kids watched as she went through the process of treatment. She wore a wig after her hair fell out. Grace always felt sincere compassion and concern for Mrs.Payne and I think it helped her to relate to what the kids that would be receiving her hair were going through. After school I took Grace to get her hair shaped at a salon, it was her first time in five years at a salon, other than the one in our kitchen! Anyway, she thought the "hair bath" was so funny and that the spinning chairs that go up and down were really cool! She was the traditional talker while her hair was being cut, sharing her life story, as is customary, of course. She had a great time and I have to say that now she reminds me of someone, I just can't put my finger on it!


This year, when our family lost all our possessions and our home in the flood, the estimated time for restoration was 6-9 months. Well, from the day of the flood to the day we were able to start rebuilding was six weeks, and from that day, to the day we moved back into our home was six weeks, only 85 days after the flood! Each of you were apart of that.
Every single work day, friends and family showed up, sometimes you could only stay for an hour, sometimes you stayed until late into the night, but everyone of you were such a big encouragement to us, you loved us, you cared! Everyone on your knees for us, you fed us, you clothed us, you helped out financially when you could, and you gave a place to call home again.
Thank you, from the depths of our hearts, thank you so much!

With so much love,
The Ball Family

Monday, November 19, 2007


Have you ever looked out your window and saw something taking place that reminded you, you are blessed! Cooking dinner, I watch the kids through the kitchen window and the back door by the pantry and what do I see, all of the kids and my husband enjoying this gorgeous, "Indian Summer" evening. And what a magnificent sight indeed! All the colors of fall, one in the climbing tree, one playing catch with the football with his Dad, one riding their bike and the littlest one trying to imitate everyone in turn! I love this time of year, I love the baking and cooking of favorite autumn dishes. What an incredible time of year, nearing Thanksgiving, there is so much that I am thankful for and five them are right outside my back door!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Last Day

So, last night, Grace and Ethan up three times each, you guessed it, sick,sick,sick. I changed sheets and Rob changed clothes, and today more being sick. Zach and I were not 100%, nothing major, just kind of blah. So, all of us laid around, doing not much of anything, and actually enjoying it. We relaxed and watched football, napped and then tonight when everyone was feeling a little better we played Scene It, Disney Version and the grown-ups played Clue on DVD after the kiddos went to bed, it was really a lot of fun. Days like today really make me miss having my Mom and Dad in Topeka, when they lived there, the whole family would go to their house after church and just hang out all day, eat, play games, nap, football, whatever the day brought, those are some of my favorite times, it was nice to get a little taste of that again today. So a day full of driving awaits us tomorrow, HAPPY TRAILS!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Jam-Packed Sight-Seeing

This day was a week in one day! We went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo first thing this morning, which is incredible and a must-see for anyone and everyone. It's in Colorado Springs, on the side of a mountain, which made the view amazing and the terrain a little rugged, which made it feel even more like an adventure. I have to say the best part was the giraffe exhibit, petting and feeding them, WOW! I was amazed, we were SO close to them! The kids really loved that, us adults were just as excited as the kids though, that was sooo cool! Other great parts of the zoo were the hippo exhibit and the meerkats exhibit. Really neat to watch, both actually, the three hippos were so close and active, and the meerkats are just so cute to watch, each with their own little personality. We also saw a baby ape and a baby orangutan, soooo sweet. After that we went nearby to the Seven Falls, which is way cool, and Rob and I thinking that we are somewhat in shape decided to go up all 224 stairs to the top of the falls and less than half-way up we both regretted that thought, but forced ourselves up the rest dragging behind our three SKIPPING children! Nana and Papa waited at the bottom with Zach and I know why, they do not deceive themselves, we made it though and it was a beautiful site to see those falls so close. Did I mention that then you have to walk back down, yeah, that was a good time! I'm sure it was just the altitude! Of course, always in high altitude it is important to drink a lot of water! Here's our "water boy"! He's really cute!Next we went to the Garden of the Gods, which is very cool, especially if you like rock climbing, which all my kids LOVE to do! They were covered in red dust and a little sweaty, but, did I mention we had 65-70 degree weather again! Yes, it is beautiful! We didn't visit the Visitor Center there because I read about the explanations of the rock formations and thought it did not give credit where credit was due. When the kids asked me what it was that we were going to see, I told them, you know how you go to an art gallery and there are all kinds of sculptures that people have made, well, this is like one of God's art galleries, all one of a kind, hand made, by Him! Credit was due, it is a pretty incredible site to see. Next, to the Cliff Dwellings, again, the kids loved all the climbing and the exploring, so much fun to experience these things with them, I remember how much fun it was when I was there (age 7), and how exciting to see this ancient way of life. Well, after that, they were COVERED in red dust and we were off to a real cowboy dinner with all the fixins and some real cowboys to entertain us too, at the Flying "W" Ranch. We really loved that, it was so much fun. There is 55 years of history at the "Flying W", one of my fondest memories as a kid was going there, good, clean, very corny humor, with great music played by very talented musicians. We were very impressed and pleased with the evening entertainment. All in all a very successful, very full filling, very exhausting day, wouldn't change a minute of it!

Our Cowboy Adventure Begins

I have wanted to take the kids on this "Cowboy Adventure" for about a year now, but we just had to keep putting it off, till now. The name? Just because I like to name stuff! Right after school we took off in the truck for Golden,Colorado, to Nana and Papa's house for a late-night arrival. Our first full day was such a great success, we went on a trail, horse back ride, it was Grace and Keith's first time out of a corral. Ethan and Zach, being too young, rode in the corral, and Pat, from the ranch gave Ethan a lesson on horses. This was such a delight to Ethan, he did not mind at all not going on the trail, and he got two old horse shoes even! Ethan, of course came all geared up in his chaps and vest that Nana made him, along with a broken in pair of boots and a very broken in cowboy hat, Ethan takes this "cowboy stuff" very seriously! To start, the weather was a no wind, 65-70ish BEAUTIFUL day! Seriously, I mean, look at those BLUE skies! And, if that weren't enough, we saw around a dozen or more deer and a 10 point buck sitting in the tall grass, just watching us mosey on by, maybe 30 feet from us too! A truly awesome sight! And, if that weren't enough! We saw breath-taking views of mountains and a lake even, that was nestled between two mountains, we saw the skyline of Denver off in the distance, and even got to ride through a mountain stream. One of the best sights to see was our thirteen year old, city boy, on a horse wearing his skater shoes and his shades, looking like he'd rather be somewhere else, that is, until he got on a horse, then, the brooding teenager look was replaced with a huge grin on his face, loving every second of that ride! Keith insists that we will not be given in any grandchildren from him now, and Grace, enthusiastically, "always dreamed of this!" I have to agree, one of those things I've always dreamed about, it was a new and wonderful experience for us all! Thanks Mom and Dad!

Grace's Match-Maker Advice

I was overhearing my wise eight year old giving her younger, five year old brother a bit of marriage advice "You know, you'll never get married if you keep picking your nose!", to which my precious boy replied, "Yes I will, I will find a girl who picks her nose too!", without skipping a beat, not a flinch, Grace said, "Well, then your wedding pictures will be disgusting, both with your fingers up your noses!", well, this evoked the obvious response, "SO!". I am always in for an adventure with those two around! What's great, is that upon hearing this advice from Grace, my Dad told Ethan, "Well, Ethan, it's always good to have things in common with your wife to have a healthy relationship.", Papa, don't encourage him!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Locks of Love

A good friend of mine and I got our hair cut for Locks of Love yesterday! She cut off 20 1/2 inches, I got 16 inches off! Yes, that is a lot of hair, we both lost weight! It was really fun to go do it with a friend, but, I was more emotional than I thought I would be, it caught me off-guard when she put the pony tail in my hands. We, of course went through all the hair style possibilities, what would or would not throw our husbands into shock when they saw us! I had a gift certificate leftover from two Christmases ago (shows you how often I take time for me!), and it was just enough for two haircuts! I thought this was the best way I could think of to use the rest of it, it's a great cause too. The kids didn't mind much, Grace almost didn't recognize me when I picked them up at school, Keith thought it was pretty drastic, Zach didn't even seem to notice though. Rob, on the other hand, well, he didn't cry! Definitely it was a bigger deal for him because he really loves my hair long, but, it will grow again and it was something I have always wanted to do. I was very happy to do it and I really hope a little girl loves her new wig!

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Ball of Fall

This Zachary "Lion" (pronounced Zackawee Wion). Of course the "nickname" was given by a three year old Ethan who was told the name of the baby in Mommy's tummy would be. He thought it was a wonderful name, but still thought that the better name for the baby would be "Ethan", just like his, but when we explained how confusing it would be, he didn't care, but we still named him Zachary!

Our handsome five year old made a dashing Red Power Ranger! One of four I might add, in their small school of less than 200, that made it a very popular costume! No matter, he was "the best one", biggest muscles, all that, you know!

And here I am, the fearless lion tamer! Yes, feeling quite silly in my knee high socks. Zachary and I went to the MOPS Fall Festival at CBC, and had a great time coloring and dancing and watching the clowns. You can't really keep Zach in one place for very long, he's a bit of a "social butterfly" (wonder where he gets that!) and went from table to table visiting and stopped briefly to help the clowns, before going over to the "pumpkin walk" where he preferred to stand in the middle of the circle and spin around, laughing with delight at the spinning room and other kids in costume!

Grace had told her Nana that she wanted to be an angel and just assumed that Nana would take it from there, well, she even told me that Nana had it under control and then I found out that my Mom had no knowledge of Grace's plans for her. So Grace and I went on a hunt to find an angel costume, with no success, because she is a very tall eight year old and there were no 12-14 costumes! So, we put forth our best effort and through Grace's careful instruction of how an angel costume should look, we made our pattern, cut it out and sewed it while she was out of school on Friday and viola! The sweet angel costume she is wearing!