Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Well, my little Elisabeth might have a new issue to add to her hydrocephalus, epilepsy, brain malformations, and cortical blindness (as if that wasn't enough). Let me explain:

My dear daughter was born with a head circumferance that was off the charts big. This was to be expected - the fluid that her brain was producing was trapped with no where to go and therefore her skull expanded. Her surgery to place the shunt took care of that problem and drains the fluid for her. For the first few months I was always relieved when we would be at a doctors appointment and her head would remain stable. This was good...her shunt was fluid was building up. However, as of yesterday, her head circumference is still the SAME size as birth. At four months it should have grown some.

It has been concluded that we are facing one of two possibilities - neither of which sound too good. First, her brain might not be growing. A skull only expands when pressure pushes it out. If her brain is not growing, the skull has no reason to grow. The neurologist in Spokane told us that her brain might have been so damaged from the hydrocephalus that it won't grow. This condition is called microcephaly meaning "small brain". This diagnoses would mean that she would probably have a low intelligence level (something that we were already anticipating due to the brain malformations) and a small head.

Second possibility- craniosynostosis - or the premature fusing of the sutures of the skull. The skull is made of several pieces that are separated by sutures to allow for brain growth. If these sutures close to soon, the brain cannot grow. This may be a possibility. Elisabeth was born with no soft spot and her sutures have always been prominent and visible. If this is the case she will have to under go surgery to open the sutures back up. When I asked the doctor yesterday if this would be a surgery similar to her shunt placement (rather routine) she smiled and said "no, this is more like taking the head apart and putting it back together like a puzzle."

So this is where we are at with my angel. The neurosurgeon is out of the office till Monday and the pediatrician is planning on discussing this with him then. No doubt there will be more exams, MRI's, etc to figure this all out. In the mean time Elisabeth continues to be the snuggliest and most content little baby I have ever seen. She is happy in her own world and that is all that matters. I continue to do "music time" with her each and every day. She lays on a blanket by the piano and just listens. She remains perfectly still and seems to be focusing on every note of every song. When I am done playing for her, it's her turn. I put her on my lap and place her hands on the piano keys. Her hands -which are usually in a tight fist- open up and sometimes you will see a smile spread across her face. She has learned the feel of the piano and although she doesn't have the strength to push the keys on her own yet, she seems to love having me help her. I am truly blessed to have Elisabeth as a daughter and love her more than I could ever put into words.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My New Book

I am so excited about a new book that I just bought, "The Art and Flair of Mary Blair". As I have mentioned before Mary Blair is one of my favorite artists and was a colleague of my grandfather. Today I am going to enjoy it beginning to end. Here's a little peek at what's inside:

Oh yes, one more thing. We are currently re-doing our upstairs. I'm thinking a Mary Blair inspired play room would be the perfect way to add a little whimsy to my girls' childhood.

Monday, January 28, 2008

We Thank Thee, O God, For A Prophet

Here is some counsel he gave in the October 2004 General Conference that really stood out to me:

"If every husband and every wife would constantly do whatever might be possible to ensure the comfort and happiness of his or her companion, there would be very little, if any, divorce. Argument would never be heard. Accusations would never be leveled. Angry explosions would not occur. Rather, love and concern would replace abuse and meanness. "

Simple, yet powerful, advice.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


From my photography files..... help us think of warmer days to come!

Friday, January 25, 2008


Elisabeth's pediatrician asked me once if I constantly have people asking what her shunt is. Unfortunately I had to tell her that it was the opposite. If I have Elisabeth out in public people won't say a word about her. I can understand...the shunt is a little odd looking and if you didn't know what it was you might feel uncomfortable asking. So people act as if there is no baby there all together. A little sad for a Mommy who is so PROUD of her little girl. My solution? Hats. If I put a hat on her she gets all the oohs and aahs that every little baby deserves. Needless to say, we have a large hat collection. All shapes, styles, colors (well, maybe not colors - we gravitate towards pink).

A few days ago I decided to do a photo shoot of her hat collection. Mostly for my mom who has bought her many but never gets to see her wear them because she lives so far away.

This one is a souvenir from her trip to Duke University.

This one recently arrived in the mail from my mom in California.

Now for a few that she still needs to grow into:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

4 Months Old

I love capturing memories through photographs. Especially memories of my children because they grow and change so quickly. When Alexandra was a baby I had her picture professionally taken every 2 weeks. EVERYONE told me "it's because she's your first child, you'll never do it for the rest". Oh how I resented those comments. I vowed to myself that I would do everything for my future children that I was doing for Alexandra. So far so good. At Alexandra and Lorelai's 1st birthday parties I had 25 pictures hanging on the wall showcasing their entire 1st year. It made for a fun game. I randomly numbered each picture and guests had to try and put them in order from birth to 12 months.

Now I am on child number 3 and she, like the others, is at the portrait studio AT LEAST every two weeks. I actually just counted and she has had her portrait taken 10 times already. Yes, this is perhaps a little obsessive, but keep in mind that the doctors told me that she would never live......I have a lot to CELEBRATE!

So Elisabeth is 4 months old today and we are off to get that picture taken! The big question of the day? What to have her wear....but that's the fun part. So keep an eye on the sidebar of my blog and you'll see today's picture pop up soon!

Me and my Elisabeth.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


There's a new ballerina at our house.....

Lorelai, ready for her 1st day of ballet.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Salad a Day

I really enjoy a fresh, crisp salad....but I found it too big of a nuisance to cut a tomato, boil and slice an egg, grate some cheese, and open a WHOLE can of olives, just for my lunch. So I decided to go bulk. I prepared LOTS of the above mentioned salad toppings (all my favorites) and put them in separate containers in the refrigerator. My own mini salad bar. I can have a gourmet salad ready to go in less than a minute every day! Never mind the fact that this encourages me to sit down and eat a healthy lunch rather than snacking on whatever's in the pantry.

The only problem left is finding the perfect ranch dressing. I LOVE Red Robin's....but they told me that they make their own and I'm not sure I am quite that ambitious. Let me know if you have any suggestions and in the mean time I will continue my search through the supermarket stock of salad dressings!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls, my favorite show of all time. I had to be it's number one fan....I mean, come on, I named my child after it (yes and 2 dogs have Gilmore inspired names). This show used to be the highlight of my week. I planned NO activities on Tuesday nights and would not accept any phone calls during 8:00-9:00. And let me tell you how thrilled I was when, back in October of 2004, they decided to induce labor on a Tuesday morning. My goal was to deliver the baby by 8:00 in the evening and watch Gilmore Girls with my very own little "Lorelai".

It gave me 7 glorious seasons which (of course) I now own on DVD. And since Hollywood has decided to be stubborn and pull all the new programming, I'm going back to something I love. Donald and I have decided to start at the beginning. Episode one, season one aired this past Friday at our house. It was so exciting to reunite with it all. I love their town, Stars Hollow, and how it seems to be straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. I love the cast, with their brilliant and quick banter between each other. I love the innocence of the story and how it stayed away (well, until the last 2 seasons and new writers) from the usual garbage that is found on TV. So I'm going back to it all.....and I say "go ahead and strike Hollywood!". Oh yes, and no phone calls please.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Weekend to-do's

  • Get the upstairs cleaned (that means braving the girls MESSY rooms - yes they will be helping)
  • Go to the grocery store
  • Play a musical number during sacrament meeting
  • Season finale of "The Amazing Race" - we are HUGE fans! (Go Ronald and Christina!)

Picture of the week

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mozart and piece of cake.....

I took a one year leave of absence from the symphony because of Elisabeth, which leaves my schedule pretty open (the way I like it). So last night a dear friend of mine convinced me to go rehearse with the CBC orchestra. I played with them a number of years ago...before I had children. It was fun to go back and be greeted by people I hadn't seen for a while. The environment there is low-key and no-stress, so I figure I'll join them for the rest of the quarter and perhaps on through the spring.

Also, the girls and I got busy in the kitchen yesterday and baked a crumb cake:

The results were Scrumptious.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

On this day in 1913.....

My grandfather is no longer living, but had he been alive today would have been his 95th birthday. I pulled up a biography online so I could share a little about the amazing life he lived......
"Among the stable of "enormous" talents at The Walt Disney Studios, Claude Coats stood above the rest - literally. Claude, a background painter, color stylist and concept designer, stood 6-feet, 6 1/8-inches tall. The gentle giant with a warm wit
once recalled how Walt used to kid him about his height. Claude said, "When the Disneyland Stagecoach was completed at the Studio, Walt and a driver were giving rides around the lot, but he wouldn't let me get in. He said I spoiled the scale."Born January 17, 1913, in San Francisco, Calif., Claude graduated from the University of Southern California, in 1934, with an architecture and fine arts degree. He went on to study at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles before joining The Walt Disney Studios as a background painter in June 1935.Claude's stunning, watercolor background paintings featured in "Pinocchio," continue to be heralded by Disney scholars, fans and art collectors for the rich and textured beauty they lend to the classic film. He also developed backgrounds and color stylings for "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Fantasia," "Dumbo," "Saludos Amigos," "Victory Through Air Power," "The Three Caballeros," "Make Mine Music," "Melody Time," "Song of the South," "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad," "Fun and Fancy Free," "Cinderella," "Alice in Wonderland," "Peter Pan" and "Lady and the Tramp."In 1955, Claude was one of the elite artists and designers Walt selected to help bring Disneyland to life. As a show designer, he was part of the development team for the Grand Canyon and Primeval World Dioramas, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Snow White's Scary Adventures and Submarine Voyage, among others. Claude also contributed to the 1964-65 New York World's Fair attractions, including Magic Skyway, Carousel of Progress and It's a Small World.He later helped conceptualize the Magic Kingdom's Mickey Mouse Revue at Walt Disney World and numerous attractions for EPCOT Center, including World of Motion, Horizons, and several World Showcase pavilions. For Tokyo Disneyland, he helped design Meet the World and the Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour.After a long and happy 54 years with Disney, Claude retired in November 1989. As Walt Disney Imagineering President Marty Sklar later recalled, "Claude paved the way in turning sketches and paintings into three-dimensional adventures. His energy, curiosity and drive to create new experiences for our Disney park guests made him a leader and a teacher for all of us. He was a genuine one-of-a-kind."

Grandpa holding me as a newborn.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I must admit.....Donald was the one who originally started this blog..and I stole it. At first I wasn't interested, I had my myspace page and did all my blogging there. But, I soon discovered that blogger allowed me to do so much more with my blogs (pictures and such) and was more convenient to use. I still love myspace for the comments, messages, picture albums, etc, but for blogging...this is the place to be. Which brings me back to the fact that I stole this one from Donald. So, I am trying to make things better by announcing that he has started another
Go check it out, he always has great things to say!


One of our favorite artists.....Mary Blair.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

An idea for Emily

I just read Emily's blog about Madelyn watching TV and it reminded me of what I used to do with Alexandra and Lorelai when they were babies. They too loved to "watch" TV. So I decided to make it educational. We have a large collection of Disney animated movies and so I would put them on in French. Most DVDs these days have French and Spanish as an option on the main menu. I LOVE France (those of you at Lorelai's 1st birthday party know this; croissants, Eiffel towers, beret's...the whole french thing) so I decided to expose them to the french language from the start. Thanks for your post Emily....I had forgotten I used to do that. I think I'll start putting them on for Elisabeth now. She can't watch them, but she can hear!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Family Room Make-Over

We bought our new furniture this weekend and I am in love! It is so undeniably me! Donald said, "I thought we were going to do something different this time". It's true, I had plans of branching out and decorating our family room in something not quite so "Lisa", but I couldn't turn my back on this lovely set. Now I just need to sit patiently and wait for it to arrive

a sneak peek at our new furniture

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Weekend to-do's

  • Mail Elisabeth's 3 month pictures to out of state family
  • Birthday lunch with Grandma Brinkerhoff
  • Play in final performance of "The Marriage of Figaro"
  • Laundry/Ironing
  • Take my sister to the airport :( .....she's going home after a 5 day visit

My monthly mail -out

Friday, January 11, 2008


I am not a photographer, but sometimes I like to pretend that I am. It took a few months to complete this project, but I was happy with the way it turned out.

A bird's eye view of the neighborhood



Thursday, January 10, 2008

Delightfully Delicious

From scratch.....

3 layers.....

of chocolate goodness.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Marriage of Figaro

13 years ago I was in Europe on a concert tour with a symphony. On one particular day I was outside a concert hall in London with hopes of getting tickets to that nights show of "The Phantom of the Opera". As I stood there I noticed a man walking down the street, violin case in hand, who proceeded to enter the back door of the theater. "That's what I want to do", I remember thinking. I didn't want to teach, or travel the world as a soloist, or play in a symphony.....I wanted to play in the pit orchestra for a show. What a great life....spending every evening performing a piece that has become so familiar that sheet music isn't even needed. That man with his violin made quite the impression on me, for I have never forgotten that moment.

Tonight I get a taste of that dream. Every January the Washington East Opera puts on a show. This year it is "The Marriage of Figaro", which is the sequel to our last performance of "The Barber of Seville". It's the best of both worlds as Hannah Montana would say (can you tell that I am the mom of a 5 year old girl?). I get to do what I really love most and be a wife and mother, and then one week a year I put on my musician hat and play in an orchestra for an opera. So if you aren't busy tonight, Friday, or Saturday at 7:00 come and enjoy the show! It's a tradition that has been going for over 200 years....a testament to the grandeur of the Opera and the talent of a man named Mozart.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Today......a trip to the donut shop for breakfast.

sshhhhh....don't tell the's a surprise!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Wii at Hawthorne Court

Every Sunday we go to Hawthorne Court Retirement Home to visit a man who used to be our neighbor when we lived on Reed Street. He moved out of his home 2 years ago when his wife passed away and since he has no children of his own we have kind of "adopted" him as a grandpa.

We had such a good time yesterday! On Sunday afternoons they have the residents play Wii in the lobby on the big screen TV. We never got to be there for Wii hour before due to our previous church schedule, but our new 9:00 time allows us to make our visits in the early afternoon.

The Wii is really a brilliant video game system and is the perfect way for elderly people to get a little exercise. They were having a BLAST! We convinced our friend, Les, to go down and give it a try. It took him a few turns to get used to the controller, but after a little practice he ended up getting a strike on the bowling game!

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Today was Lorelai's first day of Sunbeams! I was very excited and had to photograph the occasion. Unfortunately, Lorelai didn't share my enthusiasm......primary doesn't have toys and snacks. Hopefully she'll grow to love it soon. I keep reminding her that she's a "big kid now" and that nursery is for "babies". That makes her feel better about things.

Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam......but I'm not so sure I want to be one.

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