Tuesday, May 31, 2011


The weather was so hit and miss this weekend. There were moments where it was heavenly; where we sat on our front porch by the hour, rocking in the chairs and waving hello as neighbors strolled by. And then, in the blink of an eye we'd have to escape indoors as dark, ominous clouds came rolling in - bringing rain with them.

That's Springtime for ya - unpredictable.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, 1915.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Rise and Shine

[The Sorenson Family record player.]

When it comes to waking the children in the morning I have several different methods.

1) Walk into their room[s] singing 'Good morning to you...' (sung to the melody of Happy Birthday to You)

2) Crawl on into bed and snuggle with them for a minute or two, and then give the ol' 'rise 'n shine!' line.

And my favorite...

3) Put a record on the phonograph, turn up the volume, and let it do the waking up for me.

This was the option I chose yesterday. I pulled out our The Sound of Music record from 1965, flipped it to side 2, and let the voice of Julie Andrews singing 'The Lonely Goatherd' fill our home.

Lorelai was downstairs within 1 minute.

Works like a charm. Every time.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What's a Little Pain?

Once upon a time, precisely 3 years and 8 months ago, Elisabeth was born. Fresh and pink and small.

Of course, I knew then that she would turn out different from the other children.

Sometimes I would think about the future - try to imagine it. It was never something that I dwelt on too much, but thoughts would cross my mind: What will it be like when she gets bigger? How disabled will she be? How hard will it be for me to care for her? Etc. Etc. Etc.

And suddenly, that time is here. The time where those questions are beginning to receive answers.

She is far from grown, but she is big. And because she is so big and because I am her sole mode of mobility during the day, I am in pain. Continually.

In fact, I am so used to being in pain {lower back} that last week, when I saw someone get into their car, I actually grimaced, imagining how painful the motion of getting into a car is. Of course my thought lasted only a split second before I reminded myself that most people can do things like get in and out of a car without having to say, 'ouch!'

And, for the record, I am not exaggerating. (It even hurts to sneeze.)

But yesterday, as I carried Elisabeth out to the car, taking careful steps and fighting through the pain of each of those careful steps, I whispered to her that she is worth it. That I will live the rest of my life in pain if I have to. I will care for her and love her and protect her with my life because she is my angel, my pure and perfect angel.

And when I think of it in those terms, I find myself saying, 'eh, what's a little pain, anyways?'

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Every night at bedtime, the girls and I read a bedtime story. Or - if it isn't way past bedtime already (which it usually is) - I'll even let them pick out a few.

But anyways, before we start in on reading our nightly picks there is a little game I always play with the girls; I have them try to guess the copyright year. It might not sound like the most fun game in the world - but they love it. And they always try to make educated guesses.

For example, "I remember that Mom said this one was one of her favorite's when she was a child, so it must be from the nineteens".

Long story short: we have a blast making our guesses each night and seeing who comes in the closest.

Well, the night before last, Alexandra told me that she was working on a 'project'. She is going to catalog each and every book we have by making a list of the titles and copyright date.

"That way, when it's time to see what year it was made, we can look at my list."

Then she went on to tell me that she had decided to organize her catalog of copyrights according to the book's color - because you might remember that our books are on the shelf in rainbow order. (they still are, oh yes they are!)

So that's what she's been up to. Last night I saw her sitting on her bed with a pencil, a paper and a big stack of books - hard at work. Better than staring at the TV, right?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

One Month and Counting...

If all goes as planned I'll be en route to Italy one month from today. That seems so close. And that is so exciting!!!

I called my older sister, Kristin, on Sunday to chat through a few details of our European getaway - because finalizing all the details is up to us seeing as our younger sister, Jennifer, is away in Bali teaching yoga to handicapped children (isn't she amazing?!). Anyways, Kristin and I were talking about how we really don't want to plan out every minute of every day. We just want to be there; soak it all up; people watch; eat; immerse ourselves completely in Italian life rather than stress over what's next on the 'official itinerary'.

While I'm away in Italy Donald and the girls will be livin' it up too - off on adventure of their own; making sandcastles at the beach, swimming, picking oranges at Uncle Michael's house, eating In-N-Out, and of course, paying a visit to Disneyland two or three or maybe even four times.

So, as I have discussed before, successful traveling comes from careful planning. And now that we have hit the one-month mark I am officially in preparation mode. It's time to start making lists and organizing my folder full of hotel reservations and other misc travel forms.

Also, I need to shop for a few more necessary items - including a new pair of sunglasses. I haven't found the perfect pair yet, but I did find a new hat to wear while roaming the streets of Rome:

Off to plan...

Monday, May 23, 2011


Alexandra's Hair:

[Smooth, Thick, Brown, Long, Manageable.]

Elisabeth's Hair:

[Wiry, Thin, Blond, Short, Unmanageable.]

Enough said.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sea Symphony

[Alexandra, showing me a dance she choreographed to Lorelai's piano piece. They are always up to something!]

I'm so excited for this weekend! We [the Mid-Columbia Symphony] are teaming up with the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers to put on a spectacular performance of Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony.

I would go so far as to say that this concert is one of my favorite in recent years. So come, come! It won't disappoint!

Details here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sand Castles

Yesterday, the children (+ friends) made sand castles at the backyard water table...

...and next month they'll be making them on the sandy beaches of California.

(vacation time is almost here!!!)

p.s. My favorite part about these pictures is seeing Lorelai hosing herself off in the background.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nothing Short of Miraculous

I've been promising this video to my mom for days now. So, with no further ado, I give you Elisabeth Elva:

Her stem cell infusion was 15 days ago. And 8 days ago she began putting pressure on her legs. This - in our eyes - is nothing short of miraculous.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


The girls recently discovered my label maker. (How did they go so long without discovering it??) Anyways, it has become the new 'it' item - the thing that they are both dying to play with.

So - as you can imagine - I am now finding little slips of paper stuck all over the house. And I'm getting a good laugh at some of the messages...

Now the label maker is out of tape. No surprise there, huh?

I guess I need to make a stop at Office Depot....and buy in bulk!

Monday, May 16, 2011


The Taga bike has been out of commission due to a flat tire, but on Saturday Donald repaired it and Elisabeth set out on her first Taga ride of the season:

[Check out those curls!!!!!]

[I adore this picture of Donald and Elisabeth.]

And then...

Donald took the training wheels off of Lorelai's cruiser and she learned to ride a bike!

Go Lorelai, go!!

And while Lorelai was enjoying her bike and soaking up all the 'whoo hooo's!', Alexandra was acting a teensy bit j-e-a-l-o-u-s.

But then she went inside and wrote a sign that said,

"Lorelai looks cute riding her bike in her polka-dot shorts."

So it was all good.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The World's Greatest Science Experiment

I have news. Big news. Big stem-cells-are-working kind of news.

For the past 24+ hours, Elisabeth has been putting pressure on her legs - willingly!

In the past, when lifted up from the floor or crib, Elisabeth would typically keep her legs tucked up under her, offering no support. But now as I lift her, she extends her legs, plants her feet on the floor, and bears some weight on them.

This is huge. Seriously huge!

I feel like I am witnessing a science experiment - the world's greatest science experiment - in my own home, with my own daughter. And I feel lucky. And happy. And excited!

***I'm planning on making a video of it. So stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Around the Corner

The sun is shining. The children are wearing shorts to school. Summer is just around the corner. Things are lookin' up!

Now if Elisabeth could just get rid of that darn cold....

(courtesy of the airplane, I'm sure.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Elisabeth's Clothesline

Lorelai's my creative one. She always comes up with ideas and then enlists the help of Alexandra in making them become a reality.

For example: remember last year when they turned Elisabeth's feeding pump stand into a palm tree?

Well, now they've taken that same stand (which is still dressed up as a palm tree, mind you) and turned it into a clothes line. And not only that, but they have lovingly collected clothes pins, bobby pins, and any other clip-like item they could find and hung Elisabeth's socks, and pajamas from it. Take a look:

lol...those girls crack me up.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day and a Drum Recital

Mother's Day treated me well. My children spoiled me with their homemade creations. Alexandra even wrote me a book titled, Mom's No Fight Day, because she knows that whenever someone asks me what I want for Mother's Day (or my birthday or Christmas or any other time that I can make it work) I say, "all I want is a no fight day". And that means a day where my children get along blissfully from morn 'til eve. In other words: every mother's dream...

[My mother's day goodies: homemade cards and books and artwork - as well as a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird (which I have been aching to read lately) and a box of See's Candy.]

Elisabeth wanted to give me something too. So she gifted me with a concert on the new drum we bought her in Williamsburg:

LOL....silly girl. Notice how quick she was to get it out of her way? That was to clear a path for her head banging (which I promptly put an end to as soon as I stopped the camera).

But....guess what Elisabeth did yesterday???????

She rolled over. Oh yes she did!!!

Donald, the girls and I were all watching Parking Wars on A&E when I looked over and saw Elisabeth halfway over, going from her back to her stomach. It totally caught me off guard because I haven't seen her roll over in well over a year. Maybe a year and a half??

Anyways, I don't know what prompted her to do it. And we couldn't get her to do it again, but the fact remains that she did it.

Could those stem cells be working in there???

Perhaps, perhaps!

(Dr. K said we could see the effects of them for up to 6 months. Let's hope that yesterday's roll was just a preview of things to come!)
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