Friday, April 29, 2011

Hugs By Mail

Actual Date: Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Papa's brother Marvin is very sick.  He fighting Cancer again for what seems like the 100th time.  He is one of the sweetest men on the planet and I just hate that he's had such a hard life.  He never married and he has no children so I thought it would be special for us to make him a care package and send it to him in the hospital. 

Marvin started chemo and Radiation a few months ago but he got a very serious infection and has now been hospitalized on strong antibiotics for about a month now.  My hope is that this package will bring him a smile at least.  I can only imagine how difficult all this is for him.

Here's what we made:

Hug Cards.  

I got this idea from one of my Parent magazines.  

First you pick out some special wrapping paper,

then have a wiper snapper lay down on it with their arms outstretched.

Trace around their upper body and make sure you help them up so they don't rip the paper.

Cut it out and there you have it.

A portable hug.

I folded mine up so that it would fit into the package we were mailing.

Brooke had made this at school and brought it home that same day.  I asked her if she minded if we sent it to Papa Marvin so he could hang it up in his Hospital room.  

And this is what she said,  "I pray for Papa Marvin every night.  I even seen him in my dreams."

Melt a Mama's heart why don't you.  

And if any of you reading out there would send up a prayer for my sweet Uncle Marvin I would greatly appreciate it.  And I know he would too.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I'm A Big Kid Now

Actual Date: Saturday, April 2, 2011

This Saturday I had a Leadership Meeting for the church.  When I got home Brian said "Come outside and watch this.  And bring your camera.  You'll want to make sure you get a picture of this."

What a stinkin' cutie!  

That is actually Ava's scooter.  To say she loves Lightning Mcqueen is an understatement.  She got that scooter for Christmas from Grandpa Ron and Grandma Cindy.

Looks like we will have to get someone else their own scooter soon too.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cutest Thing Ever

Actual Date: Thursday, March 31, 2011

The cutest thing ever happened today.  

I am pretty big on only letting the kids watch only a limited amount of TV each day.  I love to just watch them play and let their imaginations run wild.  I don't know about you but all of my favorite memories from childhood were made somewhere else besides in front of the TV.

We bought this book for Brooke right before Ava was born.  It's about a big sister who is excited for all the things she is going to get to do with her new baby sister.  It's a crowd favorite in our house.  Brooke loves it even more because it was written by a fellow 'Brooke', Brooke Shields. 

On this morning I was doing the dishes when Brooke came in and took all the quilts from the quilt rack in the living room.  Then she came in and grabbed the bar stools and dragged them back to their bedroom.

Then it got really quiet.

Quiet in my house usually means one thing... Trouble. So I went to inspect and when I did I found the girls had made a fort in their bedroom.

Sorta like this.  When I asked what they were doing Brooke said that they were going to act out all the scenes in the book. 

I told them that sounded like fun and left them to it.

A little while later they came in the kitchen with the book open to this page.  Brooke said "It's tea party time!  I need to teach Ava how to be a girl."

They gathered up their tea pot and some special cups while I made the tea.

After they cleaned up the tea party they went back to their bedroom and put hair bows in each others hair.

Next Brooke told me it was time for Ava to learn her ABC's.

Brooke ran and got the paper on her own and wrote the letters of the alphabet on them.  Then she went and got the bar stools and set them up.  One facing backwards and one forwards, just like in the book.

Ava went and got her huge crocodile and an apple from the fruit basket in the kitchen.

I love when they play so good together like this.  Let me tell you it doesn't always happen.  And I was so proud of them for being so creative.

This is about where the adventure ended.  

Ava held up the apple and said "Can I eat this now?"  

Friday, April 15, 2011

CG Game Night

Actual Date: Sunday, March 27, 2011

We had a very competitive game of Apples to Apples with our Community Group on this night.  Don't think just because we're church folk that it was a friendly game.  

Ok wait, it was friendly but we all came to win.

Look at Philip's face.  Must have been a good round.

Joe got a little excited when he won a round.  He said he never wins this game.

I wish I could remember what made Brian laugh this hard.

I really wish I could remember.  

I wanna see him laugh that hard again.

I love laughing with laughing people.

Whoa!  Where did that come from?

Calm down!  It was just Jason's bent knee.

See I told you.  Never underestimate us church folk.  We get a little rowdy sometimes.

Seriously, I don't think my abs will ever be the same after all that laughing. I love you guys!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Look Mom, Two Wheels!

Actual Date: Saturday, March 26, 2011

When I got home from the retreat Brooke and Brian had something to show me...

Something big...

Brooke was riding without training wheels!

Well kinda.  She didn't want Brian to let go but still, she was doing it!

Go baby go!

Woo Hoo!

Good job baby girl!  There's no stopping you now!

Women's Retreat

Actual Dates: Friday, March 25 - Saturday, March 26, 2011

Let me start out by saying this.  I LOVE MY CHURCH.  There's just something about being among authentic people who truly care about one another.  One of the big things our Pastor likes to say is at our church there's "no perfect people allowed."  I love this.

I got the privilege to attend our church's Women's Retreat a few weeks back.  I will never forget it.  I had such a great time and learned so much in less than 24 hours.  I'm just going to kind of thumb over my notes and give you some of my favorite points.

This retreat could not have come at a better time for me.  It was just few days after our gut check appointment with Parker and I was freaking out a bit inside.  So let's get right to it.

On the very first night one of the first things the guest speaker, Debbie Wilson touched on was James 1.  The verses that just hit home for me were James 1: 2-4.  2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

I think the reason why this verse resinated with me the most is because of the trials we have gone through with our kids and are going through right now. I was telling someone the other day that I didn't ever feel like I had a testimony.  I was raised in church, I never really rebelled or anything.  I went to Sunday school, got my gold star for knowing my Bible verse and here I am.  Boy has that changed.  I can't speak for Brian but I think his story is pretty much the same.

But ever since our kids were born I feel like we've been tested. Here's just a little break down of the challenges we've had along the way with each kid.

 She was born 2 weeks late weighing in at 10 pounds 3 ounces!  She broke her collar bone on the way out but that went undiscovered until she got Mastitis and had to be admitted to Cook Children's at 3 weeks of age.  A spinal tap showed that it was not yet in her brain but they said if we hadn't caught it when we did, 12- 24 hours later we could have lost her.  She also had lots of bruising from her traumatizing birth which resulted in Jaundice something horrible.

She suffered horrible ear infections for the first year of her life.  Finally they put in tubes and she hasn't had one since.

When she was about 18 months old she had a horrible anaphylaxis reaction to peanut butter.  It was pretty traumatizing.  And from that moment on our life changed forever.

She's my "healthy" one.  But during my whole pregnancy with her I was sicker than a dog.  I started IV treatments at 7 weeks because I was unable to hold anything down.  But my veins were so weak from being dehydrated so they kept bursting.  A week later they had to put in a PICC line.  It was a tube that went my arm inside of my elbow and went all the way up my arm into my chest and stopped right above my heart.  Crazy huh?  But she was worth every minute of it.  I'd do it all over again for that precious baby. 

Ava doesn't get sick very often (compared to my other two) but when she does she get's crazy fevers that refuse to go down even with rotating Tylenol and IBprofin.  Her fevers get so high that she starts to halisinate and it's pretty scary.  Once it was so bad we took her to the Emergency room.

As I shared a few posts ago, we've been worried for this little guy since before he was born.  So much so that I was having panic attacks (which I had never had before) during that pregnancy so bad.  Just randomly, they would come out no where.  Added to that stress, Brian was living in Texas for work while the rest of us were in California for most of that pregnancy.  It was just pregnant me taking care of a two year old and a 1 year old most of the time.  Luckily we lived close to family at the time.  I couldn't have done it without them. 

Like I mentioned before we had a blood test scare with Parker and we weren't sure if he would be born with disablitlites.  After he was born and all checked out we were able to breath.  Then as time moved on we delta with the Toricollis and all the physical therapy that came along with it.  Then the Plagiochepaly and Doc Band treatments.  And now we're on noggin watch for the next 6 months.  Praying for growth.

Oh and there was the time he had Salmonella poisoning from a public pool, and he pooped blood for weeks.  

I am sure I'm forgetting something somewhere but you get the point right?

Debbie said "The trials you face can make you bitter or they can make you better." 


"You can turn the miserable into a ministry."

I love those quotes from her.  

I am also thankful for my cousin.  She is so amazing.  I called her bawling the night after Parker's last appointment.  She prayed over the phone with me and during that prayer she said "Lord, we know Parker is not ours.  That he is yours and he's here to do your work."  Those words gave me such a new perspetive on the whole thing.  

Yes he is my Earthly son but he is God's Heavenly son.  And he doesn't belong to me.  Parker is not here to serve ME.  He's here on his Heavenly Father's mission and God has a plan for him.  Who am I to get in the way?  

I have to remind myself of this though.  It's one thing to hear it and commit it to your brain but it's harder to make your heart accept it.  It's weird because that same day my cousin prayed that prayer I had read a blog earlier in the day from a Mom who's child is fighting cancer.  She had posted pretty much the same prayer.  She said something like "I know you have a plan for her and she's doing your work but I need her back when your done."

I am also thankful for all the amazing women who rallied around me and prayed for me before and during the retreat.  

Oh and listen to this.  It's such a God thing.  My friend Tanna just had a baby but she is a leader on the Women's Ministry team and helped put together the whole thing so she had to be there.  She brought a friend to watch her baby so she didn't have to leave her.  At the end of the first night we were all sitting around talking and the topic lead to ECI (Early Childhood Intervention).  Apperently you can have your child evaluated by them before they are 2 and if they qualify for services they come out to your home and do whatever kind of therapy the child requires.

How come no one told me about this?!  I have been 30 minutes each way, twice a week, for Parker's PT appointments for the past 15 months!

Anyways, as we were talking about it, the friend of Tanna's that was watching the baby was sitting kinda at the back of the room right behind our table and she  said "What about ECI?  I work for them."  Are you kidding me?!  What are the odds?  

We talked about what is going on and she gave me her card.  She said that they can send someone out to evaluate him and set him up on a plan.  Isn't that so amazing?  

Ok, I've already written a novel.  If your still here your amazing!  Let's move on.   

One of my other favorite things from the weekend is along the same line.  Debbie spoke about the Shepherd's love for his herd.  

I'm sure most of you have seen pictures similar to this.

Debbie told us the meaning behind the Shepherd carrying the sheep on his shoulders.  She said that at night several Shepherds would gather all of their sheep together in a pen and one Shepherd would stay behind to watch over them.  In the morning when the shepherds would walk back down the hill to the pen they would talk out loud all the way.  The sheep were so familiar with their own Shepherd's voice that when they heard it they would weed their way out from the pack and hurtle together outside the pen and wait for their master.  Isn't that amazing?

Then she spoke about the meaning behind the picture.  Debbie said that she learned when a sheep would wander off, the Shepherd would seek them out and when he did find it, he would break it's leg.  Then he would drape it around his neck and carry it back to the herd.  Along the way he would sweetly talk to the sheep, telling him that he does not ever want to hurt it but he has to because he is worried it will wander away from him again.  The Sheperd would tell the sheep that he just wanted to keep him close so he could keep him safe.

He didn't do break his leg to just be mean, he did it to show him how much he cared about him.

What an amazing story this is.  Ever felt like this is what the Lord was doing with you? 

One of the great tips I took from Debbie is to read one verse a day and don't move from it until you've written it on your heart.  

Just like I didn't move from that plate until I'd eaten every last bite.  Oh man, I swear I've had dreams about that omelet since that day...

Debbie had some great points on marriage but maybe I'll post it in another post later on since this is getting kinda long.  Or you can check out her website, she has some resouces for marriage.

Wait, I do wanna share this one last thing: "Look past a person's behavior to the pain that is causing it. Hurt people, hurt people."

Here's my amazing table minus Paula.  She left a little early to go pick up her brand new baby girl that they adopted that day.  She had a good excuse!  

Ok there's probably a ton of typos here but for some reason blogger's spell check is not working right now.