Food Glorious Food

Last summer, we took Celia to the Jazz and Rib Fest. She loved it.
This summer, we took Tucker to the Jazz and Rib Fest. He loved it.
But then we decided he better try cereal before he eats ribs. So, he did.

And he didn't love it. But it was fun.


N is for


and nice



She used to get into lots of things...
And he isn't into too much yet...
But these two are into our hearts as far as they can go.




140.6 miles in 13 hours, 48 minutes
226.27 kilometers in 828 minutes

A little perspective for our readers familiar with southern Ohio - imagine doing this:
Go ahead and jump in the Ohio River in Huntington, WV at the 6th street bridge and swim 2.4 miles. Climb out of the river a little bit past Marshall Stadium and then hop on your bike. Head up Route 2. Cross the Silver Bridge into Ohio and take 35 north. Ride north - but don't miss the exit for 23 toward Circleville. You can stop when you get to the Wal Mart, and park your bike... you might want to lock it up though. Put your runnin' shoes on and start hoofin' it up 23 toward C-bus. Now stay on 23 - it's not safe to run on 270 and 71. You're not done until you get to the hole in the ground where the City Center Mall used to be. You ought to be able to make this trip in under 14 hours. Oh, and did I mention that Mandy did it here, where the hills are mountains and the water is colder?
photo from Britannica.com

And she looked this good at the finish!

Sound like fun?
Yeah... not to me either.

Months and months of training... a lifetime of gratitude.
We love you Amanda B!

Andy and the rest of Betzfamilycolumbus


She Did It!




Too Fast

If you were to tell our family's story in a too fast kind of way, it might sound like the story of a child dying. But if you took your time, it might sound like a story about a family who fell in love with their daughter, and how she was such a special little girl that many others fell in love with her, too. You might describe how our family is finding life in death and how we’ve discovered grace and peace in hardship and heartache. Our story might be labeled a tragedy, but death is not the protagonist. There are other prominent characters. We have a large cast of local helpers, and people across the globe are praying for Celia. And then there’s Mandy, playing a big role in our family's story, racing the Ironman in an effort to raise awareness of Batten Disease and to help Celia.

To follow Mandy live this Sunday, visit Race Coverage at Ironman Lake Placid, and type her last name (Burlile) under Athlete Tracker. (Her bib number is 2023, and the event should be televised, on Versus, eventually.) Please help us cheer for Mandy this weekend. Send her positive vibes, virtual high fives, and feel free to chime in to leave her words of encouragement here.

Mandy's efforts are appreciated tenfold. Squared. Her predicted times will have her racing for close to thirteen hours. We sure are hoping for dry roads and sunshine and wind at her back this weekend. We sure are hoping Mandy's Ironman finishes in a too fast kind of way...
Jenni & Andy


This Big

Grandpa Tim came over to play with me yesterday. He told me that when I grow up, I get to go fishing with all the boys. He said there are fish in Scotia Lake that are bigger than I am. He said he caught one that was this big:

Do you think Colby and I will get to go to Canada with all the boys next summer?


We do

In our house, we do kisses and hugs.
We do taking turns.
We do loud really well.
We do messy really well, too.
We do silly.
We do songs.
We do mistakes.
We do prayers.
We try to do naps.
We do laughter.
And we do tears.
We do second chances and I'm sorrys.
We do what we can, and what we didn't think we could.
And sometimes we do wine.


Out Loud

She doesn't smile much any more, but when you catch a hint of one it's as beautiful as ever. And although she doesn't smile, most people who look at her do. She can make a person smile out loud.
She doesn't laugh any more either, but she had the best laugh. Hearing it, you could only hope you'd been the one that had done the thing that had caused it.




Some days, exhaustion seems too mild a word to describe the extent of our fatigue.
Thanks will never be sufficient to communicate gratitude for all the help we receive.
Anguish feels too benign to delineate the torture of our sorrow.
And love will never be extensive enough to convey the abundance of our hearts.



Rise and Dine

Hoping not to jinx a good thing, but several times recently the newest little Betz has slept through the night (read six or seven hours). Which means his mama has slept. Through the night. Which makes both of us far more pleasant to be around. Our days still open early and close late, they're long and they're full. But sleep helps. Sometimes, after the sun sets, life seems less manageable. And then somehow in the morning, as sunlight sneaks into the sky, things seem possible again. Especially when the rising son - the one who is no longer quite the little living sleep disorder - is greeted through well-rested eyes. Even if he is ravenous.
Sleep and sunshine. This particular combination is a little like hearing your favorite song while eating funnel cake at the county fair, like reading a new book by your favorite author while sipping sweet sun tea on the porch. In other words, sleep and sunshine are a great pair. We'll take a second serving, please.



It Takes A Village

Or an army. Or at least a lot of arms. Arms to hold and cuddle, feed and medicate, lift and carry, hug and comfort. While I was away, lots of arms reached out to help - grandmas and aunts, great aunts and long time family friends. Schedules were rearranged, vacation days were taken, and Celie even went to work one day. And although my arms were full of fish - big ones, and lots of them - they felt empty. My arms ached from chopping wood and hauling in a pike as big as my leg, but the ache was gone today (and so was the smell... finally, after 3 showers). It was good to wrap my arms around my little girl.
My arms really ached after snatching this
4.25 lb smallie out of the lake on my fly rod
courtesy of "Sneaky Pete" featured in the
victim's lip - she was, of course, released into
the lake for another lucky angler to enjoy.




Wine needs time to breathe. Andy knows that as well as any self-taught oenophile. It’s amazing how patient he can be opening a bottle, letting it sit, pouring it in the glass and letting it sit some more, allowing the wine to breathe. People need time to breathe, too. Gone since last Friday, Andy’s been on a week-long date with a lake full of fish in the Canadian wilderness, where I hope the crisp, quiet air has pushed some of the grief out of his lungs, and made room for peace. Where I hope he has been able to breathe deeply. Back at home, we've missed him. We’ve been sending big fish wishes up north. And we’re waiting with baited breath for his safe return.



Isn't She Lovely?

Tonight, a local photographer donated her time to take pictures of Celia. When BDSRA asked if they could refer Celia to the American Child Photographers Charity Guild, we thought that sounded like a nice idea, but when Amy Parrish accepted the referral, we were thrilled. Her name was familiar to us, because she has photographed friends' children. And her work speaks for itself -- you know, the whole "a picture is worth a thousand words"... It's true. Amy's are certainly remarkable. And because Celia can't speak for herself any more, Amy's pictures are such a gift.
Amy is obviously talented. But she's kind and patient, too. She didn't seem to mind at all when Celia needed to rest, or take a pacifier time-out. She didn't seem to mind wiping drool from Cel's lips. She didn't seem to mind rolling in the mulch or crouching in wet grass in an effort to capture good images. And talent aside, Amy really is just a lovely person.
So was her little red-headed subject this evening:
To see more of Amy's portrait session with Celia, please visit Amy Parrish Photography and check out her recent blog entry. And we'd be remiss not to mention that Celia's precious purple gingham dress came from Aunt Vicky, who made it for Celia using an apron that had belonged to Andy's Grandma Barb.



4/4 Time

At four months old, you continue to wave your arms, not quite as wildly as you once did but with a tad more orchestration. Your fingers grasp toys, and most become a wand for whatever fast, jazzy piece you seem to be conducting (although some go straight into your mouth). You rehearse and perform new movements on a daily basis, grabbing your toes, rolling onto your side, pushing your head and chest off the floor. You’ve learned that your voice is an instrument; you make the same kazoo noises your sister made when she was your age, but more often your compositions are made up entirely of high pitched squeals. Your rendition of razzing sounds never fails to make us request an encore, and your belly laughs compel us to stand and applaud. You like Patty Cake and Itsy Bitsy Spider, Laurie Berkner and Justin Roberts, Dave Matthews and Cage the Elephant, Wicked and Ragtime… We shouldn’t have been surprised that you like the sound of a crinkly chip bag; we used to wash and dry an empty one for your big sister to play with, too (see below). You’re better able to convey your desire for a change in tempo these days; you change your tune to help us know you'd appreciate having some solo time in your crib. We can’t wait to learn the meter of your walk, and to hear the timbre of your speaking voice, but for now, Tucker, everything you do is music to our ears.
CEB, Fall 2007


Misters Dependent

We captured a precious video of Tucker earlier this weekend, blowing raspberries and eating his toes... and right at the end, we even caught, ahem, an explosive finale, if you will. Andy thought it'd be perfect to share, given the holiday, and had titled the post "Boom." I haven't been successful uploading the video, however. But, I was able to get still pictures of the two little guys of the household together on the Fourth. These boys require a lot of attention; neither is able to do much for himself. Good thing they're cute. And, they're obviously really good at showing affection.



Taking Liberties

It is possible there is not as beautiful a red headed little girl in all the land. *And this little boy blue has perhaps the best smile of any almost-four month old, ever. *
*These things may or may not be overstated. Please forgive any hint of presumptuous arrogance or exaggerated opinion you encounter on our blog. We're the parents, and like most, we think our kids are pretty special. We keep a public blog, after all, inviting the whole world to see just how special these two are.


She's a Yawner

Have you ever yawned so hard your ears crinkled?