Monday, March 31, 2014

Welcome to My Circus

Under the big top.
This is my life.
Isn't it wonderful?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lisa's Finishing School Part 7 + A Birthday!

9 years! 

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I can't believe it!

How has it already been nine years since we bought our beloved home? 

I love this house. Every room. Every detail. I love how light comes streaming in through the second story window in the front entry. I love the arches leading into the parlor, the kitchen, and the dining space. I love my fireplace and how I can curl up next to it on cold days and read. I love the computer room; how I can sit at the desk and look out over the neighborhood. I love my parlor filled with instruments. I love my family room with the rainbow rug and mid-century couches. I love my bedroom, thankful to share it with Elisabeth so that she is always nearby. I love my kitchen and the prisms that hang in the window, splashing rainbows all around in the late afternoon.

I feel so lucky to have this little place in the world.

As is tradition, our formal dinner (as a part of Lisa's Finishing School) was a birthday celebration for our house. We had five courses in total:


Then we were stuffed!!

Our dinner conversation was all about our house. Trivia about our home, memories, and each sharing what our favorite part of our home is. Elsa loves her bedroom, Lorelai loves that it is 'food central', and Lex loves the parlor (which is where she spends most of her time these days.)

***The funny thing is that Lorelai gave that same answer four years ago when I asked her!
Ha ha!

Happy Birthday, 
dear house!

Past celebrations:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sun vs. Clouds

This is one of my favorite sights: 
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Sunny and bright, but set against a background of dark, ominous clouds.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Shirley Temple: The Next Generation

Here's the thing: 
Elisabeth hates getting her hair combed.

Here's the other thing: 
I hate for my children to look like street urchins.

So, usually I just do something simple with Elisabeth's mop of curls - a couple of pigtails, or a single ponytail in the back. I've found that it is much more practical to keep her hair up. Otherwise it easily gets tangled and matted since she spends so much time laying down.

I got to thinking about how lovely her curls were, though, and how I would love to see Elisabeth with a head of ringlets. Lorelai also has the perfect hair to hold ringlets....but she has become such a tomboy that she won't consider such a thing anymore! (Remember four years ago when she was my model for a ringlet tutorial?)

So I decided to go ahead and put Elisabeth's hair into curls. I probably won't do it often; my goal for her life is to make sure she is always comfortable and happy - and putting her through the torture of having her hair styled isn't worth it. But it was fun for a day! She looked like a little Shirley Temple!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Purple Day 2014

Today is a day devoted to bringing awareness to epilepsy - so put on that purple!

I would say that out of all the medical conditions that help describe Elisabeth, epilepsy - while not her original problem - has become her most problematic one. Seizures seem to rule her little world. They have stolen away her ability to move, to speak, and to eat. They frighten her; I look in her eyes as she seizes and see fear.

So today, those of us that deal with epilepsy try a little more to spread awareness. People around the globe are wearing purple. As it turns out, I don't have a stitch of purple in my wardrobe! But I was sure to deck Elisabeth out in the royal color - after all, she is a queen!

To learn all you could ever want to know about epilepsy, please click here.

In other news...

I walked Elisabeth down to the park the other day and took her on the swing. It was a little awkward...have you ever tried holding a six-and-a-half-year-old with a crooked spine on a swing? It's no joke! But I finally figured out a way to secure her and hold on while we gently swung back and forth.

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I love Elisabeth. Earlier today I held her in my arms and watched her drift off to sleep after suffering a strong seizure. As I gazed at her perfect little face I was overcome with joy. She's mine! I am so lucky, I am so honored. She is a gift from above and I will spend the rest of my life making sure that hers is as happy, comfortable, and safe as possible.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Final Curtain

All good things must come to an end.

I had my last performance of Les Mis yesterday. Over the course of two weeks I played the show in its entirety 10 times. At approximately 3 hours per performance, I clocked roughly 30 hours of Les Mis. No wonder I can't get it out of my head.

I thoroughly enjoyed it - every minute -  and was stricken with great sadness when the moment came to play that last note. It's silly to get attached to a show, I know, but this one meant something special to me. But alas, it was time to turn in my music and collect a paycheck. Like I said, all good things must come to an end.

Now what to do with my life? (Other than run a household and tend to the children, of course.) Oh, I about start up rehearsals for West Side Story. Tonight.

How long do you think it will take to get these lyrics out of my head?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Cookie Season

In case you were wondering:

Living a chocolate-free lifestyle is not easy when you have two girl scouts and it is cookie season.

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I've found the strength to resist. I don't know how, but I have.


Friday, March 21, 2014

The Giver Official Trailer

At last! A first glimpse at The Giver!

I am thrilled with the way it looks. Word has it that it does differ from the book, but fans are ensured that the integrity of the story is kept. And really, what I connect with most is not the little details of the novel, but rather the message it conveys; the way it makes me feel. So I think I will be okay with the changes made.

In case you haven't seen it yet, here is the trailer:

Have you read The Giver yet? Words cannot express how dear this book is to me. 
Please, oh please, if you haven't yet, get yourself a copy and get to reading!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lisa's Finishing School: Part 6

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[Lex and Lor, at intermission.]
Les Miserables. I'm in love with this musical. It has indeed taken over my life these past few weeks and I am totally okay with that. I brought the big girls to watch it on Saturday night and - while they enjoyed it - I don't think they are in love with it like I am. But that's okay. This year is about exposing them to lots of art, music, movies, musicals, dancing, singing (and etiquette). They don't have to love everything, just be aware of it.

Next month I'm playing in the pit orchestra for West Side Story. I've got plans on incorporating some Shakespeare into our studies (I can't wait to share the book series I discovered!) and explain how West Side Story was inspired by Romeo and Juliet.

In the mean time, I still have three more performances of Les Mis. If you live locally and haven't been yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. It is truly spectacular. Ticket info here.

P.s. I finally got my travel journal updated! Now for the rest of the tabs...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The St. Patty's Day Surprise

The night of March 16th was much like any other March 16th - I went from toilet to toilet, putting in a few drops of green food coloring. I've done it since the girls were young and they always squealed at the thought of leprechauns using their bathroom! I was especially excited to see Elsa's reaction. Then I went to bed and set my alarm for 4 am (I had that day trip to Spokane with QE, remember?) 

You can imagine my surprise when - at 4am - I entered the kitchen to find a St. Patrick's Day surprise awaiting me! Green yarn was tied from every knob and drawer pull, handmade place mats were set at the table, and a leprechaun decorated the pantry door! My heart melted as I realized that my children had worked hard to create this St. Patty's Day Spectacular. I later found out that woke at 2 am to get everything set up. I seriously love my children.

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It was the best surprise and the perfect way to start off my long day of appointments with Elisabeth. Because I left so early, Donald stayed home to get the children off to school. He was sure to send me pictures of them all decked out in green. We made extra sure that Elsa would be safe from pinching. Pinching was how they were punished for being naughty at the orphanage and Elsa was quite concerned when we explained the tradition of St. Patrick's Day pinches!

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Bird With A French Fry

Yesterday was my first day off from Les Miserables in a week. But it was hardly a day off! Elisabeth and I had to wake at 4 am to make it to Spokane in time for a day full of appointments.

It went something like this:

  • Check in at surgery center
  • Call neurologist to come turn off her VNS
  • MRI for an hour and a half
  • Recovery room to wake up from anesthesia
  • Over to radiology to have a shunt series done.
  • Upstairs to the neurology department to have VNS turned back on (has to be turned off for and MRI)
  • Take a break here to enjoy the view eat an apple:
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  • Appointment with the neurosurgeon
  • Get her shunt reprogrammed (The MRI messes with it)
  • Review her scan:
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The image on the left is last year, the image on the right was from yesterday. As you can see, the ventricles in her brain have stayed the exact same size. This is good and means her shunt is doing its job!

We then discussed her syrinx. Because she had the VNS placed, she cannot have an MRI of the spine because it would burn out the coils (or something like that). This makes it very tricky to keep an eye on the syrinx. We decided that we would go ahead and try at CT scan, though most likely the shadow caused by the VNS will cover the syrinx (or something like that) (you know how medical talk goes).


  • We went to the imaging center for a CT scan
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And finally...

  • The two hour drive home!
It was a very productive and successful day. Somehow I enjoy these little daytrips to Spokane with Elisabeth. I like knowing that I am doing everything I can to make sure she has the best medical care possible.

Real quick...

As I walked past the hospital gift shop my eyes landed on this:

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I walked about another 10 feet before I processed what I had just read. Then I had to go back and take a picture because that is just about the funniest saying I have ever read.

I think it'll be my new motto for life.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Queen of Shamrocks

Can you believe I haven't posted this picture in  
3 Years??

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I thought it was high time we got back to tradition!

The Shamrock Queen and I spent our St. Patrick's Day in Spokane going from appointment to appointment to appointment. Whew! Those details on the morrow!

Also coming this week:

~ Lisa's Finishing School
~ How Lex and Lor surprised me on St. Patrick's Day
~ Elsa's first St. Patrick's Day

P.S. I didn't get pinched, did you?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Post About Dogs. And Braids.

It never fails. As soon as I sit down on the couch, Brigitta comes and climbs up on me.

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See that scruffy fur? Well, she went to the groomer shortly after this picture was taken and I'm proud to announce that she no longer looks like a stray off the street. (At least for a day or two.)

In other news...

I put a french braid in Elisabeth's hair for the first time! Elisabeth wasn't so happy with the whole experience -  she despises having her hair brushed, combed, or anything of the like! But I kept reminding her that she is a Sorenson and must look presentable! 

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I'm sorry there isn't a clear picture. It is near impossible to get Elisabeth to hold still. She can only sit for a second or two before topping over - so this is the best we got.

And finally... 

 I had Elisabeth in her wheelchair out front the other day and ran inside to get my phone. When walking back towards the front door I looked out and saw this:
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My heart melted! I am not always the biggest fan of our dogs, but the black one, Scarlett, is so tender to Elisabeth. If Elisabeth is ever in distress, Scarlett is sure to be by her side. I'll have to remember this picture the next time Scarlett sneaks into the pantry and eats an entire box of croissants from Costco.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Opening Night

I'd like to introduce you to my second home for the week, a.k.a. The Pit:

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Can you spot me? 

Tonight is our first performance of Les Miserables and I am SO excited! This is the kind of thing I was born to do - it seriously puts me on a natural high. If you live locally, I encourage you to come! Bring your friends, bring your families, bring your neighbors. The production quality is absolutely spectacular (and I am not one to say such things unless it's true.) 

Come one, come all! Click here for more details.

And stop by the pit during intermission and say hello

(And if you happen to come on Saturday, keep an eye on my children, okay?
I think they are in row F or something like that.)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I'm a Sucker for School Assemblies

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[Lex, playing in the marimba band. Elsa, standing with the kindergarten choir.]
For some reason, when I was young and daydreaming of being a mother, I would often imagine my children singing in school assemblies. Something about school assemblies just seems classic childhood - right along with leap frog and rolling down hills.

Because of my love of assemblies, I was completely tickled to see Elsa sing in her very first one this afternoon! She stood about a head taller than all the other kindergartners and sang her heart out. And - like always when I see her do something new - I thought, "Look how far she's come!".

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 Elsa brought this home to me today:

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A notice for her first parent/teacher conference. You'll notice that in the upper right hand corner it says "good news!"  


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Leap Froggin'

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According to Elsa, they didn't play leap frog in Ethiopia.
Good thing she has Lorelai to show her the ropes.

***Goal for tomorrow: Update all those tabs up there ^^^.
My travel journal and adoption updates are WAY outdated!
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