Friday, March 28, 2008

6 Month Photo Shoot

Day Trip

Well, we are heading out bright and early. Dear Elisabeth has an appointment with her neurologist in Spokane. Hopefully it will be a routine visit and he will have us in and out quickly. No news is good news, right?

Today was supposed to be a post highlighting a member of my family. But there's no time for that right now. So check back on Monday to read, "All About Lorelai".

I leave you with a colorful bit of Mary Blair. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Department of Services for the Blind

Yesterday's meeting was wonderful! I had so many questions to ask and finally someone to ask them to! Elisabeth's therapist, Patty, was also able to come. She had some questions of her own and was able to tell Debbie (the lady we were meeting with) what some of her goals are for Elisabeth.

But before I write about yesterdays meeting I want to answer a question that many, many people have asked. Why doesn't Elisabeth have that distant look in her eyes that most blind people have? Here is the answer: most blind people can't see because their eyes are damaged or not working. That's what gives them that far off look. This is not the case for Elisabeth. Elisabeth's eyes work great. They are constantly focusing and "seeing" the world around her, just like a sighted persons would. However, the connection to the brain doesn't translate the information into images for Elisabeth. This is why she looks so normal and appears to have sight. I hope that answers everyone's questions in regards to that.

Now about our meeting. We talked a lot about Elisabeth being delayed due to her lack of vision. For example, what incentive does she have to roll or crawl when she can't see anything to go to? We discussed different ideas for stimulating her and encouraging movement. We also talked about what to expect in the next few years. When Elisabeth is somewhere between 3 and 5 years of age they will begin teaching her to use a white cane. Some children are not very responsible with them (use them to hit at siblings), so her maturity level will determine when they start training her to use a stick. There is a chance that Elisabeth could struggle with the coordination of it depending on her mental capabilities. However, even if she can't learn to properly use a white cane, they said it will still be a good idea for her to carry it as a way of letting others know that she is blind.

Naturally, I wanted to know what the Tri-Cities has to offer blind children in the educational system. As it turns out, the most highly trained person in the state of Washington for working with blind children lives here!! Isn't that fortunate! Apparently this woman, Virginia, has been toying around with the idea of retiring...but I asked a message be relayed to her that she can't retire until Elisabeth is much older :)

I received some great information yesterday - pamphlets, links to websites, and information on doctors that have done extensive research of cortically blind children. I am excited start reading and learning.

I still have many questions about what to expect as we raise Elisabeth. Debbie mentioned that one of the best ways to get all those questions answered is by getting in contact with other parents. I know that being in touch with parents of hydrocephalic children has been a great resource for me. I am sure that meeting other parents of blind children will be equally rewarding. It will be helpful to know what comes will she learn to crawl??....what are the best toys to buy???....etc. These are the kinds of questions that are perfect to ask people who have already been where I am now.

I am so in love with Elisabeth. She fills my world with joy. Her angelic little spirit has made our home heaven on earth. What a blessing she is.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easter Review

On the agenda for today:
We have a meeting scheduled with the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind. They will let us know what programs and resources are available to assist us as we raise Elisabeth. It is sure to be quite informative, and I am glad for that.....I have had so many questions floating around in my mind.

Monday, March 24, 2008

And The Winner Is..........


Congratulations! Michelle is the person responsible for the fetal hydrocephalus website and has been a huge inspiration in my life. She got 9 out of the 13 right. I will be getting a special (non-perishable) prize sent off in the mail.

The good news for local people is that Donald really wanted to make up some of his DonSalsa to share. So we have decided to give out 2 local prizes. The top two local winners were Jan who answered 8 correctly followed by Kim who got 7 right. Congrats ladies! We will get in touch with you regarding the best time to drop off the chips and salsa :).

Thanks to everyone who played. It was fun checking my email throughout the day and seeing all the guesses.

Coming tomorrow: Easter pictures!


I have had several people requesting the correct answers be listed. Here they are:


Donald and I were surprised at how many people missed the very first one. Aside from the fact that the blotchy blue hospital photo background should be a dead giveaway, her day 1 picture was taken a few hours before her surgery and is the only portrait in which she doesn't have a shunt. I made sure to call the hospital photographer in that day so that I would have record of what her pre-shunt head looked like.

I think people were thrown off by all her chunk! Some answers that I received yesterday placed picture "K" (24 hours old) at 4 months! She was all chub at birth....9 lbs, 5.5 oz!

6 Months

Elisabeth is 1/2 a year old!!!!


I will post 13 portraits taken between 1 day and 5 1/2 months of age. Each picture will be labeled with a letter. Your job is to put them in chronological order. The winner will receive some delicious DonSalsa made by my dear husband. If the winner isn't local, a prize more suitable for mailing will be selected.

Just email your answers to me at by 10:00 tonight. The individual with the most answers right, wins! If a tie occurs I will randomly pick the winner's name out of a hat. Check back tomorrow to see who the winner is. Good luck to all. Have fun, and enjoy looking at the pictures of my little miracle.














Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Little Easter Cheer

Have a joyful

Friday, March 21, 2008

100 Years Ago Today.....

On this day in 1908 my Grandmother, Juanita Louise Tamblyn, was born.

March 21, 1908 - September 8, 2004

I have such fond memories of her. Here are some:

  • Playing endless games of Old Maid, Uno, and Skip-Bo.

  • She salted her salad.....and I do too.

  • Violin lessons - a gift from her for my 6th birthday.

  • Playing the organ at her house (I inherited it.....lucky me).

  • Picking oranges off her orange tree.

  • Hearing the same stories word for word, countless times ("I said, 'were you nervous?' And you said, 'no'.").

  • That comforting smell that only Grandma's house had.

  • Hummels.

  • Davenports.

My grandma's home of 50 years, located in Burbank CA. Fortunately, my mother now owns it and my brother lives there. Because of it's pristine condition and classic architecture, location scouts have asked for permission to film here on multiple occasions.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Here is my oldest, Alexandra, practicing her violin. She is 5 years old and has had 4 lessons.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Donald

My husband. There are so many things to share about him. Here are just a few:

  • Tri-City Herald's, "Paper Boy of the Year, 1991".
  • Have you seen him sing karaoke??? Quite a performer!
  • Loves yard work and runs a lawn service in the Spring and Summer.

  • When in California he can be found at either, "In-n-out" or "Golden Spoon Frozen Yogurt" .
  • He knows Disneyland inside and out.

  • Maker of the acclaimed 'DonSalsa'. He often gets requests from neighbors and friends to make his delicious salsa.....yum!
  • Donald loves getting manicures and pedicures. And he would not be embarrassed that I said so.
  • He enjoys reading. Right now he is reading a book entitled, Liberal Fascism, The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. When I asked why he would want to read that he told me, "I want to know what is going to happen to our country if Obama wins the presidency".

  • Speaking of politics, Donald is always informed and opinionated on all the present issues.
  • He often brings the children to visit me at work.....a big task, but he knows how much it means to me :)
  • One of the rare people who love their job. He's a chemical technologist.

  • Eagle Scout
  • Runs 2-3 miles everyday during his lunch break.
  • Years ago he worked at GAP and Eddie Bauer and learned the art of dressing well. He will not wear a wrinkled shirt.

  • He is proud of having 3 daughters, but nervous about their teenage years.
  • Favorite Favorite college team.......North Carolina Tarheels.
  • Donald used to be a realtor. He earned a commission for buying his own great is that!

  • Doting Husband
  • Adoring Father
  • Amazing Man

Visit him here:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Our Family

The happiest moments
of my life have been
the few
which I have passed at home
in the bosom of my

-Thomas Jefferson

I was recently inspired by my friend Tania. She wrote some darling posts about her children, focusing on what makes each of them unique and special. I decided that I too want to pay tribute to my family. One day a week I will highlight an individual through pictures and words. I hope to better acquaint you with our family - our talents, quirks, ambitions, obsessions, and achievements. It all starts tomorrow, with my very best friend and husband, Donald.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Elisabeth Elva 5 1/2 months old.

(Those rosy cheeks are all natural! It was quite warm in the studio.)
*Interesting fact: Elisabeth's therapist, Patty, was born on St Patrick's Day and she married a man with the last name Patrick! How's that for 'meant to be'!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


We had our party.......

and Alexandra and I enjoyed a night at the symphony.

A wonderful day indeed!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Medical Bills

Get this......Elisabeth's bill for MedStar (the company that airlifted her to Spokane) came today. My jaw dropped. Over $13,300. Thank goodness for insurance.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy Birthday to our House

March is the month in which we celebrate the anniversary of purchasing our home. And what better way to say 'Happy Birthday House' than with a cake? So this weekend the girls and I will bake a cake, top it off with 3 candles, then sing a round of 'Happy Birthday to House'. It's a great little tradition. Not only do we think about all the wonderful memories that we have created in our home, we think about home improvement projects we have completed in the past year and set some goals for the upcoming one. We hope that by honoring our home each March our children will realize what a blessing it is to have our own little place in the world.

And speaking of homes....I recently read this post about the beautiful rolling green hills of England. It immediately reminded me of my childhood home. It wasn't in England, but there were rolling green hills. I feel so blessed to have grown up in such a gorgeous place. I don't think it was until after I had graduated and moved away that I understood what beauty I was surrounded by in my youth. Isn't that how it always is??? You don't realize what you have until it's gone. The good news is that my mother still lives there and we go visit her regularly (trip in the near future!).

The street leading up to my childhood home.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

One Of My Favorite Things

I love laying in bed at night and hearing the pitter-patter of rain falling outside.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Stem Cell Therapy

On the Today Show this morning they did a segment about cord blood stem cell infusions, which is what we did for Elisabeth when she was 6 weeks old. They interview Dr. Kurtzberg, who is the doctor that did Elisabeth's infusion, and the family of a little boy who had the same procedure done.

Click here to watch the clip. It will give you a good idea of why we did this for Elisabeth and the amazing things that cord blood stem cells can do to help repair the brain.

Remembering my Dad......

Lee Raymond Coats

October 23, 1945 - March 11, 2004

Scholar, Athlete, Linguist, Historian, Artist

A True Renaissance Man

"The Glory of God is Intelligence"

Monday, March 10, 2008

My Little Public Speaker

Lorelai gave her very first talk in Primary yesterday. She was so excited about all know that my children do not shy away from the spotlight! And me being me.....I had Donald video tape it, and after church I had her pose for pictures. I document EVERYTHING.

I am so proud of my little


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