Thursday, July 31, 2008

Let's Play!

This:

plus this:


equals this:

Lorelai, 1st day of tennis.



This:


plus these:

equals this:

Alexandra, 1st day of soccer.

My girls are actively enjoying their summer!


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ambitious

I must say, I have some of the most amazing siblings around. A few days ago, my sister was hiking this:

The Grand Canyon

Way to go Jennifer!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Good Luck

A person
is only as big
as the
dream
they dare to live.
-
~Unknown

My brother Michael is taking The Bar Exam this week! This is the culmination of many years of hard work. I know he'll do great!


Monday, July 28, 2008

Ketogenic Diet

You remember plan A....
and you probably remember plan B.
Well, I officially announce that I now have a plan C!

Elisabeth's infantile spasms have not stopped, and I feel a bit like I am racing against the clock to find a solution. I just can't sit around and wait while such significant damage is being done. My sweet baby has been on her current med (plan B) for going on 6 weeks. It has failed to make any difference. So I am going to try a new approach. Forget the meds....I am going all natural.

After doing a bit of research I have become quite intrigued by the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet was developed by John Hopkins Hospital over 80 years ago as a way to treat epilepsy. This is a high fat, low carb diet that has proved to be extremely successful with controlling seizures and infantile spasms. So we are going to give it a try for dear Elisabeth.

She will be admitted to Sacred Heart Medical Center on Aug 18 so we can get this diet started. Elisabeth will remain in the hospital a minimum of 4 days to keep an eye on her blood sugar levels and to see how her body tolerates the diet. Once we bring her home we will continue the diet with the help of a pediatric dietitian.

There is only one reason why I am not thrilled about keeping Elisabeth to a strict diet for the remainder of her childhood. You see, I often think about how much Elisabeth will enjoy her other senses due to her lacking eye sight. A soft breeze on her face, the smell of freshly baked cookies, the sound of our birds chirping upstairs, and the wonderful tastes and textures that food has to offer. The diet will really cheat her out of the joy of food. Her food intake will be calculated and limited in variety. But I must remember that it might be an answer to prayers. The good news is that Elisabeth will never know all the tastes that she is missing out on. And she won't see that she is eating differently than everyone else.

So keep happy thoughts.....maybe this is our answer!

video

Elisabeth at the pool with Lorelai and Donald. If you watch carefully you will see her head bob down really quick, once at the beginning and then again towards the end of the video. Those are infantile spasms. You might not even notice it. They look harmless, but unfortunately, that's not the case.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Optimism

I was driving through the middle of Los Angeles a few days ago when this caught my eye:

Thomas Edison and the light bulb.

A huge billboard, advertising nothing more than a bit of optimism. My day was instantly brightened. It was put up by The Foundation for a Better Life. Today I visited their website. It is completely inspiring. It turns out that there are many, many more of these billboards. My favorite is one of Helen Keller that says, "Could only see possibilities".

Feel like being inspired??? Click here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

My Life In 6 Words

My friend Kristen tagged me. So here we go.....6 words that define my life:

1. Blessed
2. Educational
3. Musical
4. Happy
5. Peaceful
6. Whimsical

Rules state that I now tag 5 others and leave them comments notifying of them of this tag. I never break rules, so now I tag:

1. Susan
2. KaTrina
3. Kelly
4. Mike
5. Stephanie

A little Mary Blair to brighten your day.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pollywog Graduate

My dear Alexandra completed her last day of Pollywogs yesterday. She has become quite the little swimmer! And while we are on the subject of my eldest, I must take a moment to brag. She played a three octave G Major scale at her lesson yesterday. Ummm......it took me years to accomplish that. This kid is going places!!!


I have a busy weekend ahead:
  • violin practice
  • a night at the ballpark with my family
  • housekeeping
  • put in a few hours at Hallmark
  • musical number at church
  • a get-together with friends
  • flight to SoCal

I'll catch back up with you next week!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Astronomy

Did you know that Jupiter is currently visible until the 31st of this month?

According to the Griffith Observatory, you can spot Jupiter by going outside a few hours after dark and looking into the eastern sky. Search for what appears to be the brightest star.....that's it! And you can even view it's four largest moons with a basic pair of binoculars.

So take advantage of the warm summer air and head outdoors tonight!


Happy Gazing!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Life at our house...

Alexandra and Lorelai, making music.

Monday, July 14, 2008

True Talent

Paul Potts has quickly become one of my favorite vocal artists. I have his album on my Zune and I seem to listen to it more than anything else.

In case you aren't familiar with Paul, he was last years winner of Britain's Got Talent. Here is the clip of his first audition....it gives me goosebumps every time I watch it! I especially love Simon's double take once the Paul starts singing.


Isn't he amazing!?!?!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Neurosurgery Report

So, we'll start with the good news. The neurosurgeon said that Elisabeth's shunt is working fabulously! She still has the same shunt that was placed when she was a day old. This is a huge blessing, since shunt failures are extremely common in the first year.

Now for the not-so-good news. A 3D image of her skull was created from the CT scan and we learned that the metopic suture has completely fused (in addition to the sagittal suture). This is called craniosynostosis. For those of you that have missed my previous briefs on the condition...here is a quick overview:

Craniosynostosis is the early fusion of one or more of the sutures (specialized joints between skull bones that enable expansion of the skull during normal brain growth) between the bony plates of the skull.

When the sutures fuse too early, the skull cannot grow normally.
Babies with craniosynostosis generally have abnormally shaped skulls. The shape depends on which sutures are affected.


This news did not come as a surprise. We had seen that the skull was starting to fuse at her last CT scan in April. The closing of the metopic suture explains Elisabeth's very small, flat forehead. Because it can't grow forward or up, her brain has pushed out towards the back of her skull where there isn't resistance. This has given her a rather cone shaped head.

So the next step for us is to head over to the craniofacial center at Seattle Children's Hospital. We will meet with the craniofacial plastic surgeon and get her reconstruction surgery scheduled. Hopefully it will be sometime before school starts (aren't I terrible, wanting to plan my baby's brain surgery around the kindergarten schedule??.....oh well).

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

In Reality

I love quotes. I pick them up everywhere I go.....from the inspirational poster at the doctors office, to the magazine at the checkout counter. I usually jot them down on whatever stray paper I have floating around my purse. Then I go home and stash it away for future recollection.

Lately I have been posting some favorites on my sidebar. A few weeks ago I came across one by Walt Disney. I left it on my blog for a week, but the words are still hovering in my mind:

"I always like to look at the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter."

How true this is to me. Especially in my dealings with Elisabeth. I am optimistic.....yet still realistic. We are going in today for a CT scan and an appointment with the neurosurgeon. Wish us luck :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Elisabeth's New Trick

Watch this!

video

I'll never forget the day I realized that she was blind. Elisabeth was 6 weeks old, and we had just gotten an MRI report back stating that she was missing several parts of her brain. Immediately I went home and started researching. The word 'blindness' kept coming up. My heart sank. I waved my hand in front of her face, and I knew. At that moment I was devastated.

Now I see that there isn't anything tragic about her lack of sight. For Elisabeth, this is normal. She is learning about the world around her, and slowly but surely, figuring things out. Little moments like these make my heart swell with pride. She is truly amazing.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Freedom

To celebrate Independence Day we took our little family and headed west to Mason Lake. I can't remember a more magical 4th of July.

That night we sat together on the dock and watched as fireworks exploded all around the lake. Life seemed slower and simpler. A memory forever etched into my mind as perfection.






Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence


I consider this
country
one of my
greatest blessings,
along with my
family
and my faith.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Future Archaeologists

On Tuesday my two older girls purchased an archaeology kit at WalMart for 88 cents. Yes, that's right, 88 cents. It came with a small pyramid, a tool to dig with, and a brush to uncover the artifact. Here's a peek at the fun:




My sister Jennifer will be so proud! She just graduated with a degree in archaeology and is off at field school right now.

And just to showcase his greatness, here is a picture of Donald at 10:32 last night. He was out in the yard repairing a broken sprinkler pipe by floodlight. Mr. Wonderful indeed!


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

On My Mind

A few days ago I was casually perusing through blogs when I saw something that made my heart sing. It read as follows:

"My cousin Lisa posted a blog about....."

The rest of the sentence, or post for that matter, is not what's important here. What stood out to me was one little word, "cousin".

You see, I have no cousins of my own. Growing up I was one of six children, but outside of the immediate family there were only a handful of relatives. One uncle, one grandfather, and two grandmother's to be exact. So the idea of a large extended family was foreign to me. Then I married into my husband's family. It's enormous and it took me a few years to figure out how everyone was connected. For example: this girl is married to my mother-in-laws cousin, and this girl's adorable baby is a second cousin once removed to my children. Isn't that fabulous?!

I have been in this blessed family for nearly 8 years, but the novelty of hearing, "my cousin Lisa", has not worn off. It may seem insignificant to some, but to me it meant everything. Thanks Alicia!


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

9 Month Pictures

Elisabeth was zonked and there was no waking her! But we still got a few priceless shots...




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