Saturday, November 29, 2008

I'm performing at:

Celebrate Christmas


A Mid-Columbia Christmas Holiday Concert
November 30, 2008, 3 pm
Kennewick, WA

Begin the Christmas season with a spirited family concert including a full orchestra, traditional carols, singers, soloists and a sing-along for all ages.

Tickets: Adult $15, Youth (5-18) $10, Family $40

See you there....maybe??

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Thanksgiving Miracle

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in my comfy chair holding Elisabeth. She was being her usual, calm self; just sitting, staring at nothing, and thinking about whatever it is that sweet babies like her think about (probably a stocking full of Binky's).

I decided to turn on the TV to one of the music channels and get some Christmas tunes playing. So I reached past Elisabeth and picked up the remote control from off of the end table. As I pulled my arm back the remote went right past Elisabeth's eyes....AND SHE JUMPED!!! Really, truly! She was startled by it and gave a little jump.

Do you know what that means????? SHE SAW THE REMOTE CONTROL!!!! So I quickly moved the remote back in front of her face and gave it a little wiggle. She started laughing. I gave it another shake...she laughed even harder. I called Alexandra and Lorelai over, this was a moment that had to be shared. We shook and shook that little remote control in front of her eyes and she laughed as if it were the funniest thing she had ever seen (well, in this case the only thing she had ever seen). It was one of the most joyous moments of my life.

Donald got home a few minutes later and I tried to duplicate the experience for his benefit. Unfortunately, the vision had gone. I waved that remote like crazy in front of her cute chubby face, but she didn't see a thing. It just wasn't happening.

So I got to thinking about the moment of sight and how Elisabeth hasn't had a cluster of the Infantile Spasms in over a week. There must be a connection. Maybe her brain is finally getting the opportunity to heal itself. Maybe those few minutes of sight yesterday were the beginning of something more. Maybe there is hope.

I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Christmas Portraits

Take a peek at a few of my favorite shots from our recent photo shoot:

Oh, how they adore their baby sister!

I am crazy about the dresses that Alexandra and Lorelai are wearing. Something about those collars...I couldn't resist them!

Elisabeth was not in the mood for this. Can you tell?

Reading Goodnight Moon together...my favorite children's book.


I am grateful for my daughters.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Spinning


My head's been spinning. So many thoughts...so much I have been trying to sort through in my mind. I won't go into details here except to say that life can be confusing sometimes. Why is it that people tear each other down rather than build one another up?

I cried yesterday....and I almost never cry. It's a rare occasion to see me broken down in tears. I think I cried once in the past year, twice at the most. But that's OK, it keeps life interesting. An interesting life is a good life, right?

On a happy {and much different} note: This marks one week of Elisabeth being spasm free. I was not letting myself give in to the idea that they were really and truly over for fear that they would come back and crush my hopes. But a week....that's encouraging. Maybe it really is over.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Brrr...

The leaves have almost all fallen and the brisk autumn air is getting colder and colder. I feel winter fast approaching and I am making the necessary preparations. A few days ago I put flannel sheets on our bed to ensure a warm night amid the dropping temperatures. Oh how I love cozy flannel sheets!

{5 days....no spasms....I think it might really be over!}

Friday, November 21, 2008

Our 'New' Car

Last weekend my husband took me for a spin in this:

For those of you that read Donald's blog you know all about this car. It is our newly acquired 1971 Chevy Nova.

But this isn't any old Chevy Nova {trust me, I would not allow an old hunk of junk to take up residence in our garage}. This happens to be the exact car that my grandmother bought back in 1971. She owned it for something like 25 years and then my siblings and I drove it during high school. Yep, it was my ride.

So you see, this car holds a certain sentimental value with me. I smile every time I walk into the garage and see this piece of my family history. And I never would have imagined that one day I would stand in the front yard of my own home and watch my own husband drive down the street with my own little girls buckled into the backseat. I love that life keeps moving and changing...yet some things stay the same. There is comfort in that.

A few weeks ago I said to Donald, "Maybe the girls will drive it when they are in high school."

Donald looked at me with a smirk and said, "I don't think so." {he is already very protective of his new 'project'}

"Well, what if it's spirit week and they are having a '70s day?" I asked.

"Maybe" Donald replied.

So there you have it:

A new car,
an old car,
a classic car,
a family heirloom,
and Donald's new pastime....
all rolled together in one.

Isn't it wonderful??

{4 days...no spasms!}


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sick Duckling


Yesterday was spent nurturing Alexandra. She woke up feeling ill and was vomiting soon thereafter. So I pampered her, cuddled her, snuggled her, and wrapped her in warm blankets.

Here is what she did on her first official "sick day" from school:
  • Enjoyed listening as I read Arthur's Honey Bear.
  • Watched High School Musical.
  • Took a nice long nap.
  • Perked up in the afternoon and got creative with Play-doh.
  • Enjoyed Arthur's Honey Bear again...this time she read it to Lorelai.
  • A game of hide and seek with Lorelai (until I heard crying and found out that Alexandra had forgotten they were playing and left Lorelai in her hiding spot for a really long time).
  • Wrote a letter to Santa.

She made the most of her sick day, don't you think?

{Elisabeth update: 3 days....NO spasms....I can hardly believe it!!!}

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Solitary for Six Hours

So what do you do while your big sister is at school for the day and there are no playmates to be found??

Apparently you gather all the hair ribbons you can find, carefully tie them together, secure each end to a stationary object, and have fun! Dance, twirl, jump. There is no limit to this girls imagination.











{On a side note: Elisabeth has now had TWO spasms free days in a row! Let's see how long we can keep this going!}





Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Special Child

My neighbor came over from across the street yesterday to hand deliver a poem that she had come across. I was deeply moved by it...and by the fact that she wanted to share it with me. Have a read:

Heaven's Very Special Child

A meeting was held quite far from earth
"It's time again for another birth"
Said the angels to the Lord above.
"This special child will need much love.

Her progress may seem slow,
Accomplishments she may not show,
And she'll require much extra care
From the folks she meets down there.

She may not run or laugh or play
Her thoughts may seem quite far away.
In many ways she won't adapt...
And she'll be known as "handicapped".

So let's be careful where she's sent.
We want her life to be content.
Please, Lord, find the parents who
Will do a special job for you.

They will not realize right away
The leading role they're asked to play
But with this child sent from above
Comes stronger faith and richer love.

And soon they'll know the privilege given
In caring for this gift from heaven,
Their precious charge so meek and mild
Is heaven's very special child.

You may have noticed that I put certain words and phrases into italics. Those are the parts that I really identified with; the parts where I said, "yes, that's how it is for us".


Elisabeth has her ups and downs. The good news is that yesterday was her very first spasm-free day since May 4! I have been longing for this day to arrive...and beginning to think it would never come. I doubt the spasms are over, and in all honesty I may have just missed seeing them, but it's still encouraging . {Note, she did still have quite a few absence seizures...but I'm not too worried about those. }

The not-so-good news is that she is really struggling with eating solids {and by solids I mean Gerber's Rice Cereal}. She was starting to get the hang of it a few weeks back, but then she lost it. When I put a bite of food in her mouth she has no concept of what it is or what she should do with it.

Will she learn to eat? Or will she be on a liquid diet forever?

Time will tell. But oh how I want her to know the joy of food! There is such a wide variety of textures and flavors for her to discover and enjoy. And with her lack of vision I think she deserves to enjoy her sense of taste.

So I'll carry on with my efforts. We'll attempt feedings every morning and night, and maybe one of these days I'll have exciting news to share. I won't give up....ever.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Photograph Update:

Lorelai Leigh ~ 4 years old.


Alexandra Louise ~ 6 years old.

My darling little ladies.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Smiles From Me to You

Thanks to all who posted guesses about my age.

You see, the girls were shocked when I told them that I am 28 years old. They thought I was much older! It had me wondering, "just how old do I look?".

Needless to say, you all made me feel better...thanks!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Question About Age

I was recently called to serve as a youth leader in my church. A few nights ago some of the girls asked how old I was. So I told them. They were shocked! Which left me wondering 'do I not look my age?'.

Now, I won't tell you if they thought I looked older or younger than my actual age, but I will ask...'how old do you think I look?'. Answer honestly.

I realize that many of you already know how many years I've been around, so to you I ask...'do I look my age? older? younger?'.


This should be interesting...

Thoughts on Greatness...

Have you ever stopped to think about 'the greats'? You know, those handful of people who are {and will be} in the history books because they were the best of the best. Lately I have been giving them a lot of thought.

Thoughts like, what if Michael Phelps had never taken a swimming lesson? What if Joshua Bell had never owned a violin? What if Claude Monet had never picked up a paint brush? Is it all by chance? Or were these people destined for greatness from before the world began?

How many greats go undiscovered? How many of us have some hidden potential that for some reason or another is never found? Maybe we are all greats, but only a few of people actually discover their talent and have the means by which to develop it.

Just thoughts...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Napkin Folding 101

Tonight I will be teaching a class on folding napkins. Hopefully everyone will go home inspired to make their Thanksgiving table look a little fancier!

Here are a few of the folds that I will go over:

The Crown


The Rose


Bird of Paradise


Bishop's Mitre


Rosebud


Arum Lily

The girls and I had fun making these folds last night. Alexandra's favorite was The Rose (I even caught her awake past bedtime practicing!) We also had fun baking these:


Want to make them? Click here for the recipe.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Story About a Cradle

A few days after Elisabeth was born I bought her an elegant cradle. I splurged a little bit...but she was worth it. After all, I was going to bring Queen Elisabeth home soon, and she needed a royal place to slumber.


I expected her to use the cradle until the new year. She would be 3 months old by then, and surely she would be ready to move into the crib.

Well, months ticked by. The new year came and went. Winter, Spring, Summer...and back to Autumn again. My little queen is still using her cradle. She doesn't move much, so safety isn't an issue. But alas, this dear baby is growing! A bed that at one time seemed so big is now getting very, very small. There are just a few inches in length to spare.


The cradle has stayed at my bedside for the past 13 months. To be perfectly honest, I just couldn't bring myself to part with her. But soon I will have no choice but to move her into the crib. So to help her with her transition I decided that it was time to move her cradle from my bedroom to the room that she will share with her big sisters. Then, in a few weeks, and after she has gotten used to her new space, we will introduce her to the crib.


So Alexandra, Lorelai and I got busy. We took her royal cradle and moved it to the "Girls Dormitory". At first I was a little sad. But as I saw the excitement in my daughters faces, I got excited too. What a blessing this is for Elisabeth. She has two older sisters who play with her, adore her, and comfort her. Their devotion to this dear baby is unwavering. And this mommy's heart is grateful.


Once the cradle was in place the girls were anxious to "try out" the new living arrangement. They insisted that I bring Elisabeth into their new room and lay her in her bed. Then Alexandra and Lorelai changed into leotards, put on The Nutcracker Suite, and danced the afternoon away.

Elisabeth did OK last night...and so did I.

Monday, November 10, 2008

He's For Real



This past Saturday morning I was having one of those rare moments where I felt defeated, overwhelmed, and under appreciated. So much to do, so little time. It was 8:30 am. I shared my woes with Donald, cheered up, and headed out the door to work.

When I got home later that day Donald handed me a paper. This is what it said:

Saturday To-Do List
  • Make Beds - check
  • Master Bathroom - check
  • Girls Bathroom - check
  • Clean kitchen -check
  • Iron All Clothes - check
  • Put Away Clothes - check
  • Re-arrange closet - check
Keep in mind that I did not make this list. Donald did....he had been working non-stop since the moment I left. And not only was he busy with all the above mentioned house work, but he was tending to the children as well.

So I read through the list (the whole time enjoying the lovely smell of a freshly sanitized home) and got to the bottom.

"Re-arrange closet??? What one??" I ask.
"Follow me" he replied.

We walked to our bedroom, through the master bath, and into our walk-in closet. He completely gave it a makeover!!! Apparently he had an idea to use the space more efficiently. By moving the chest of drawers to a different wall and re-arranging the clothes our closet became roomier and more functional. Brilliant.

So with the housework in order, the afternoon was free. Donald accompanied me on a few errands. We went to the market and bought some french bread (my latest addiction) along with a few other items. Then he treated me and the girls to dinner at Chico's Taco's. Yum.

Yep...he's for real. Lucky me.


***My sister-in-law, Heidi, just started up a blog. Go check it out and give her a warm "hello". Just click here.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday Night Movie

My 3 girls are all snuggled up watching a movie. Elisabeth simply loves being tucked between her 2 big sisters.

And me...I am heading out on a run. A cold, frigid run. But I know when I get back I'll be glad that I toughed it out. Then I'll reward myself with a warm bath, cozy pajamas, and another Saturday night movie. This one with just me and my dearest.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Afternoon Art

What better way to spend a cold, wet afternoon than with a box of fresh new crayons? 120 to be exact. Lots of exciting colors...Robin's Egg Blue, Razzmatazz, Macaroni and Cheese, and Granny Smith Apple to name a few (yes, those are the actual names).



Alexandra was fascinated when she discovered that the color names were printed in Spanish too. It was so exciting to hear her reading them all (her dual language kindergarten class is working!!).

Lorelai and I worked together and colored fairies in all shapes and sizes.

And of course sweet Elisabeth just listened to it all. Wondering about things like crayons...and color.

It was 'mauvelous'! (yes...another color name)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Elisabeth's Stem Cell Infusion


A year ago today we were at Duke University and Elisabeth received her stem cells transplant. I often wonder what those magical cells have been up to during the past year.

We are planning to take Elisabeth back to Duke for a second infusion as soon as we get these Infantile Spasms figured out. Do some 'damage control', if you know what I mean.

It was also one year ago today that Elisabeth had her very 1st seizure. To think how much I have learned in just one year...

All Wrapped Up

It's getting chilly outside. It's not so bad when we are at home in our comfy clothes and enjoying the glow of the fireplace. But unfortunately, we have to pile into the cold van every morning at precisely 8:20 and head off to school. So to keep my children toasty warm I have started throwing 3 blankets into the dryer at around 8:00. On our way out the door I wrap each girl into a cozy bundle.

They seem to love our new little tradition.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Medical Updates:

Elisabeth's EEG

The left side of Elisabeth's brain looked somewhat normal (emphasis on somewhat). However, the right side showed non-stop seizure activity for the duration of the EEG. Elisabeth did not have any noticeable epileptic episodes during the test....so I can only imagine what the reading must look like when I actually see her having a seizure.

To give you an idea of what her EEG looked like I found these random pictures online. They are not Elisabeth's.

The left side of Elisabeth's brain looked something like this:


The right side however looked more like this:



So for now we have decided to keep her on the Depakote but increase the dose.

***********************************************

Lorelai's Audiology Appointment


We took Lorelai in to have her hearing tested after discovering holes in her tympanic membrane during a wellness exam. The audiologist that met with us has never seen this before. She told Lorelai that she was special. The good news is that her hearing tested normal and it was determined that the holes only go through one or two layers of the eardrum (apparently there are 3). The most interesting part of our visit was when they placed a video camera inside Lorelai's ear and we were able to see the 'mystery holes' on the TV screen. Lorelai thought that was pretty cool too.


My questions were:

  • How did this happen?
  • Could it worsen?
  • Might it effect her hearing later on?

It was recommended that we take her to an ear, nose, and throat doctor to try and get those questions answered. So I will (you know me).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

2 Tags

5 Things...

tagged by Susan

5 Things I was doing 10 years ago:
  • Settling in at BYU.
  • Practicing a lot of violin.
  • Yearning to go home for Thanksgiving.
  • Dropping out of a physics class.
  • Enjoying my film class.

5 Things on my to-do list today (it's late, so I am going with tomorrow's list)

  • Speech therapy for Elisabeth.
  • Practice for my violin lesson.
  • Rehearse with a string trio.
  • Go to mutual.
  • Balance the checkbook.

5 Things I would do if I were a millionaire

  • Sell our other house (it's our biggest burden).
  • Pay off the van.
  • Go on a shopping spree to Janie and Jack.
  • Travel with my family to England.
  • Save for a rainy day.

5 Places I have lived.

  • Camarillo, CA
  • Benicia, CA
  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • Trabuco Canyon, CA
  • Kennewick, WA (love this place!)

5 Jobs I have had.

  • Mervyn's.
  • Hallmark.
  • Violin teacher.
  • Daycare provider.
  • Musician

7 Random Facts About Me

tagged by Erin

  • I can only sleep in a bed that has been made.
  • I am crazy about argyle socks.
  • I am completely happy and content with my life.
  • I love singing along to The Sound of Music.
  • I saw That Thing You Do! 26 times in the theater.
  • I was president of the student council in 6th grade.
  • I wanted to change my name to 'Greenstan' when I was 4 years old.

Day to Day Life...


Lately my life has gotten busy.
Here was my yesterday:

7:00 Got the children up and ready.
8:00 Scripture study and family prayer.
8:20 Took Alexandra to school.
9:00 Dropped Lorelai at preschool.
9:15 Therapy appt. for Elisabeth.
11:00 Picked Lorelai up from Preschool.
11:30 Made lunch.
12:00 Taught a cello student.
12:45 Cleaned the upstairs.
2:45 Went to pick up Alexandra.
3:20 Meeting with the Laurels class (did I mention that I am YW president now?)
4:30 Taught a violin student.
5:30 Went to work.
9:20 Got home.
9:30 Went out running and took 17 seconds off my mile (I think I really wanted to get home).

But this was the best part of my day:

I walked in the door at the end of it all and heard the blessed hum of the dishwasher and saw the lines of freshly vacuumed carpet. Thank you dear Donald for helping me make it through each day. You are my best friend. Love to you...always.

Good luck to the McCain*Palin campaign today. They earned my vote. God Bless America.


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