Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Adventure Seekers

Before swimming lessons the other day my kids informed me that they were "goin' on a bear hunt"! Their outfits just cracked me up! We had Davy Crockett and the Princess Train Engineer in their swimsuits, hunting for bears!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Smile Train

Joel and I just watched such a beautiful documentary called "Smile Pinki" on HBO. The film follows two young children in India, Pinki and Ghutara, who have cleft lip and palate. They both receive free surgeries, to correct their clefts, from the Smile Train charity.

Of course, given my line of work, I was hugely interested in this show but I was also captivated by the beauty and courage of the children and the incredible dedication of the medical team. As a parent, my heart went out to the moms and dads who wanted so much for their children to have a normal and happy life. I felt such kinship with them given all we have been through with Noelle's medical problems. It really helped me to remember that, regardless of cultural, political or religious differences, the love between parents and children is so universal. Those parents love their children no less than I do mine. I guess this may seem obvious to many of you and, yes, I have realized this intellectually, but tonight it just clicked for me emotionally. It made sense. There was no "us and them" in my heart. I understood what they felt, parent to parent.

If you have the chance I would highly recommend that you watch "Smile Pinki"! You will be inspired and touched.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Feed the Forgotten

I'm excited about participating in our first Kids LAKE project this week hosted by my dear friend Becky. She is organizing a yard sale in which our children will sell baked goods, toys, etc. to raise money to feed families in Uganda.

My kids have amazed me with their caring and generosity since we read about the Kids LAKE project together. My 3 year old asked immediately if he could get all the money out of his piggy bank to "feed the hungry kids". What a blessing to this mommy's heart!

Please check out the Kids LAKE website to learn more about the crisis in Uganda and to find ways to help.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Learning Another Fiber Art

I love the term "fiber art" it makes my attempts at being crafty sound so much more legit!

Since I had some success with learning to knit this winter I decided to tackle crochet this week. I found two good websites with video tutorials and free patterns here and here.

Crochet was a bit easier for me to learn, maybe because I have already taught myself to knit. It also seemed faster. I have made two washcloths so far and am anxious to try a few more simple projects.

One thing I have shied away from with both knitting and crochet is anything that requires determining gauge. It just sounds so intimidating and although all the websites say that finding gauge is essential, it still feels like a waste of time. So, I have not made anything yet that requires a good fit or needs to be particularly precise. I suppose as I practice more and gain confidence I will begin to take on more difficult projects!

The most enjoyable aspect of learning to knit and crochet has been the sense of satisfaction I feel making useful and beautiful things with my own two hands. It's also a big time stress reliever! I wish I had learned years ago.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I'm So Glad...

...that I married a man who turned out to be such a great dad!

Our kids will grow up knowing that their dad not only loves them but also likes them for who they are. What an incredible gift!

Friday, June 19, 2009

I'm Tired of Updates On This Particular Topic

We have a semi-update from the heart team at Seattle Children's. We know for sure that Noelle will not have open heart surgery this time (so no valve replacement yet and no subaortic resection). What is undecided at this point is how the coarctation of the aortic arch will be treated. Seattle just wants to do balloon dilation of the aorta, however OHSU and Salt Lake both believe that surgery is needed to basically cut out the twisted section and reconnect the ends. Apparently there is some controversy on how to deal with this particular issue in someone Noelle's age. So.... good news = no open heart surgery; bad news = we still don't know what the heck we are doing or when or where it will occur.

Clear as mud?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Just a Few More Pictures

I just got these and I couldn't resist sharing them!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Glamour Girl Wedding!

What a blessing it was to see Anna so happily married to such a great guy. They are so in love! My favorite part of the whole evening was at the reception when Anna sang a beautiful love song to Matt. She has a fantastic voice.

It was such a fun day and every detail of the wedding was perfect (well, other than my nearly disastrous oompa loompa-like makeup--thank God for the ladies at the Nordstrom counter who "toned it down a bit").
This was my first experience with a theme wedding and it was a blast! The idea was "1940's pinup girl" with vintage jewelry and retro hairstyles. I looked so different than usual that my own son didn't recognize me at first. I scared him a little! When he finally figured out it was me he reached up and patted my face saying, "Mama, you take that stuff off your face now?".
Our "look" reminded me of pictures of my sweet and stylish grandma from the 1940s and 50s. All of her outfits coordinated perfectly down to the shoes and jewelry and she was one of those lucky ladies who never had a hair out of place! I miss her so much.

This was the experience of a lifetime for Noelle! She was so excited to be a flower girl
and she did such a fantastic job being brave in front of all those people!
Look at my sweet little man! He looked very dapper in his suit.
Our "sexy" pose! The photographer had a lot of fun with the wedding party.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Want to Win Something?

Then head over to my friend Becky's blog and enter to win this sweet book called, "Dance Me Daddy". It includes a CD with the author reading the story aloud, as well as the song "King of the World" by Point of Grace.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

She's a Graduation Girl!

Hooray for my brave, smart and beautiful Kindergarten grad! She has come so far over the past year with a fantastic teacher, continued therapy and God's grace and power.

This is Noelle's amazing teacher! We will miss her!

The beginning of the school year started with many tears and tantrums, anxiety, and sensory overload. Her school picture tells it all. It is quite obvious she had been crying with her red rimmed eyes and sad, crooked little smile. PE class was the the worst for her because of the noise level and the chaos. Every Friday we had the "PE mega meltdown" before and after school. Her anxiety at school was so great that she needed her special box of sensory stuff to help her calm down (she had chewable jewelry, a stress ball, a soft piece of flannel, and a small weighted pillow that I made for her--I would highly recommend putting together a kit like this if your child has anxiety and sensory issues). She had to take the state standardized reading test with a familiar adult and her soft blankie from home. To sum it up, my girl needed a LOT of tender loving care to adjust.

What a difference a school year makes!

I was so proud of Noelle today I could hardly contain it! She walked right into the loud, crowded gym, filled with strangers and she had a huge smile on her face when she finally spotted us in the crowd. She sang all of the songs and even did the hand motions. Then she walked down the risers when her name was called to get her diploma. She acted just like all the other kids!

She was also so excited about going to first grade which is a small miracle considering that she absolutely freaked out when we first started talking to her about it several months ago.

God has been so good to us! I'm so grateful for his guidance and love for us this year. He has met us through all of the challenges of raising our special girl!