Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy Father's Day! (Warning VERY Long Post)

This Father's Day was pretty quiet here. We got up a little late and I had to get Kayla ready to go to the movies with Uncle Eric and Rena, they had asked a few weeks ago if they could take Kayla to see Kung Fu Panda, not realizing it was Father's Day. This wasn't a big deal, we were just planning on hanging out and working around the house anyway. We gave Daddy his gifts, a book he had been wanting and a picture frame that we made together with a picture of Daddy, Kayla, and Audrey. Nothing big but homemade and that's what matters. We are just happy that we are together and we get to spend each day as a family.

Uncle Eric and Rena came and picked up Kayla around noon to go to Red Robin for lunch and then to the movie. Kayla was very excited. Kayla hanging out with Uncle Eric and Rena gave Tom and I time to hang out together with Audrey.

As many of you know, I have been making an album for Eric to honor Avery, his daughter. I had been planning on giving it to him when I next saw him. It just turned out that the next time I saw him happened to be Father's Day. It kind of worked out well that this was how everything happened. Those of you who are close to me know the story of Eric and Avery. For those of you who don't here is the story in a nutshell. My brother, Eric, was married right after high school. Eric was overjoyed when his wife announced that she was pregnant. Everyone was very excited for him and we were all excited to have the first grandbaby in the family. Well, like we all would assume, Avery was Eric's child. Come on, they were married and that's how it works right?! We were all there for Avery's birth and then every step of the way after. We were all saddened when Eric announced that him and Krissy would be divorcing, we were more upset for Avery as it would be hard on a child. After trying to gain more custody of Avery because Eric wanted nothing more than to spend more time with his daughter and love his life, he was dealt a HUGE blow. He was presented with papers from a lawyer stating that it was 99.9% positive that he was not the father of Avery! What the heck?!! He was presented these papers in his home from some stranger, not his ex-wife herself, but some stranger. She had been messing around while she was married to Eric and had us all fooled. Krissy did not want Eric and the family to see Avery anymore than we already were. We were all SHOCKED and Eric was absolutely devastated. As you would expect, Eric got a lawyer and fought for Avery. Unfortunately, the court said that legally Eric had no rights to Avery once the "real" father came forward. The "real" father could adopt her because Eric was the father on her birth certificate and then Eric would have no legal rights. Eric had to make the most difficult decision anyone in life could ever have to make. He had to decide to give up all his rights to his daughter that we all believed was his daughter for 4 years. We all loved her so much and it was like having a child die right before your eyes. We were all there with him in court and it was the most difficult thing in the world to watch someone to go through, especially a loved one. Needless to say, Eric has struggled with this for he past 5 years. I know it is something that he thinks about every day and I know that he wants nothing more than to be a part of Avery's life. Unfortunately there are really cruel and evil people in this world who care about nothing more than themselves. Eric wanted to be Avery's father despite what he had found out. Avery was Eric's daughter regardless of what a DNA test showed. In Avery's eyes, Eric was her daddy and she would always love him. As far as I know, Avery still thinks about Eric and has asked about her "Daddy Eric". She misses him very much. Thank goodness we have a source who will pass along bits of information now and then (just bits and pieces but still a little piece of her). It would be so nice to see pictures of her now and then or just hear some REAL things that are going on in her life. Eric misses her so much and so does the rest of the family. I know that Krissy wanted to hurt Eric with all of this but she hurt an entire family as well as innocent children who never got a chance to meet their cousin Avery. It is the hope of all our family that one day Avery will come looking for her "Daddy Eric" and realize the horrible things that her mom did in her past.

As a result of all of this, I thought that it would be nice to honor Avery by making an album of her life with her "Daddy Eric". Eric was not left with much of Avery other than the memories. He had a few pictures of his own and a "Boo" doll from Avery's favorite movie "Monsters Inc" but other than that, he just has memories. I wanted to give him something tangible of his daughter, something that he can show her one day when she finds him again.

I made this album while we were in Indy at Cornerstone. It was a difficult weekend and I hope I didn't make too many of my friends mad at me while I was there. (Sory guys if I did! I TRULY didn't mean to!!! :) It was a difficult few days as I had to process again the events and look at the sweet face in these pictures. Memories and emotins were stirred up that I thought I would be okay with but after working for two days straight on the album, it all began to take its toll! I am very happy with the outcome of the album and am glad I was able to create some memories for my brother.

I LOVE this quote. It says "It doesn't matter who my father was, it matters who I remember he was." Very fitting for the situation I think.

This was taken out at my parents lake and Avery loved the water. She had said this particular day, "Can I put my tushie in?!" I love that quote from her!!! So cute!!

I used Making Memories "Noteworthy" line from Archivers for all of the pages. I also used products from KI, Doodlebug, Heidi Swapp. The album was PERFECT for this product. It's a Colorbok and it is a bifold and the inside is like a box. I loved it for the amount of space that it had in it.
I think Eric was very moved by the album. He is a difficult person to read sometimes on the outside but I think I touched something in him with this. I know he is glad to have a piece of Avery with him and I am so glad I could give him this. We are not always the best communicators in our family but we know that we are there for each other and we will stand by one another in the most difficult of times.
I just wanted to share this with everyone and hope that you like it as much as I do. I would LOVE to hear any comments that you have about the album or my story. Sometimes it helps to hear other people's thoughts and feelings about such a difficult topic!!
Thanks so much for reading my LONG blog!! I will post again soon with a much lighter topic!!!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Kindergarten Graduation

This Tuesday we had kindergarten graduation! It was so sad to attend this event! I had to admit that my baby is getting older! Kayla has attended the Children's House for two years of preschool and this year for kindergarten. I am amazed at how much she has learned over these past three years. In art she learned about Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt, Greek and Egyptian architecture...She learned to speak Japanese, each student attended Japanese 2 times per week. I am just amazed at her knowledge and the facts that she can give me in science and geography. Riding in the car she can spout off facts to me out of nowhere! What sponges our children are!
The graduation was very difficult for me nonetheless. Each student marched down the aisle and up onto the stage in thier cap and gown. Speeches were given by the owner, principal, and the two kindergarten homeroom teachers. Each child came down from stage to give their parents roses and books that they made. At this point Kayla saw me crying, and being the emotional child that she is, started crying herself! She was sobing up on stage from then on! Thank goodness she was able to pull herself together as they sang the songs they had been practicing for weeks like "High School Musical" ,"First Grade, First Grade" (to the tune of "New York, New York"), and "So Long Farewell". Each child received a diploma and posed for pics. It was a very emotional event but we are so proud of her! I am so glad that we got to share this event in her life with our family. I was a little disappointed because the seating was so limited and not all of our family could attend, we only received 6 tickets total. I took lots of pictures to share with everyone! We have so many fun memories of kindergarten! I just hope that the remaining years of her school career are as exciting as this one!!

You can see Kayla crying in this photo! Such an emotional child!!
This was when she first went up on stage, she hasn't seen me crying yet!
Nervous smiles!!
Diploma in hand and still crying!
Flipping of the tassel!
I really need to get this pictures scrapped while the event is all fresh in my mind!! I need a few more hours in my day! I will post what I create soon!