Tuesday, April 28, 2015

It's Elsa's Birthday!!!


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On this day, Elsa celebrates 8 years of life.

Often, I wonder what I was doing the day she was born. Most likely I was crying - for it was just four days after they discovered Elisabeth's hydrocephalus via ultrasound. Those were hard days for me. Little did I know while in the depths of sorrow, that not only would Elisabeth live, but another little girl who was just born on the other side of the world would come to be mine, too. 

Elsa has brought such joy to our family. She is absolutely the most compassionate person I have ever met. Despite the hardships she has faced, she chooses to live with happiness and optimism. Never does she regret the path her life has followed, nor does she feel resentment or anger due to the losses she has experienced. Instead, she finds the good in all things, all people, all situations. Elsa is an extraordinary person, one that I am proud to call my daughter.

Happy 8th Birthday, 
Elsa Lelise

Monday, April 27, 2015

I survived, I conquered.

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I was up in the middle of the night on Friday. The pain in my mouth was too great. My gums were swollen. I knew this wasn't good.

Last Thanksgiving I had a tooth break and when the dentist patched it up he warned me that it wouldn't last much longer. You see, that particular tooth was a baby tooth. For some reason I was born with no adult tooth to replace it, so for all of these years it just stayed put.

On Saturday morning I went and hiked Badger Mountain. It was cold and windy, but I knew I needed to do something to pass the time before my dreaded emergency appointment. I also know the feeling that comes each time I reach the top of the mount, like I had conquered it yet again. I thought that perhaps that feeling of strength would carry with me.

When I arrived at the dentist he confirmed my greatest fear, that the tooth needed to come out. My dental phobia kicked in; my body began to shake and tears began to well in my eyes.

"That tooth is supposed to last from age 2 until around age 10," the dentist explained.  

"But for you it lasted until age 35. It's like a Honda that went a million miles."

I looked at the clock and realized that I had a performance of Little Women starting in less than an hour and a half. Nitrous wasn't an option. But I wasn't sure I had the strength of mind to get through it without. I had only a few minutes to make the decision. Finally, I said, "Do it,"

And so I faced my fear. I was brave. My tooth came out. And twenty minutes later I was sitting in the orchestra pit with a mouth full of gauze, a numb face, and bloody drool dripping down my chin.

But I survived. I conquered.

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[They gave me a frog to squeeze. It actually really helped!]

Now to get an implant... :(

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

"You won't fall."

At that exact moment,

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  Elsa was saying,

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"I've got my arm around you so you won't fall."

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I am continually grateful that Elisabeth has big sisters to help her through life.

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Sisters = Love

Sunday, April 19, 2015

"To the parlor."

I saw Alexandra pick Elisabeth up and start carrying her out of the family room.

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"Where are you taking her?" I asked.

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"To the parlor, 
I'm going to play guitar for her," she responded.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I Was A Smart Kid

I've been reading back through my childhood journal lately. 

 I love my number one goal when I was 17 years old...

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[1. Be more like mom. (helpful, always giving, funny, etc.)]

Seriously, if you had a mom like mine you'd want to be just like her too. 


Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Seven weeks ago I started taking a supplement called Thrive and it has changed my life. I wake up at 5:30 every morning excited to exercise and conquer another day. I am in a healthier state both physically and mentally, which is critical when raising a child who cannot do anything for herself.
 Elisabeth needs me to be the best I can be - and so I will.

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I look at this picture and am somewhat amazed. I reflect back to a few years ago when I was walking with a cane - and even a month ago my back leg was barely getting up off the mat. I have recommitted myself to living a healthy lifestyle and it feels absolutely invigorating!

If you would like more information on Thrive and how it can help change your life, too, I invite you to go to their website and make a customer account so that you can see all the products they have to offer. I promise, you won't regret it!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Disneyland x's 2!

Next month we are heading south to my old stomping grounds in Southern California. Naturally, we promised the girls a day at Disneyland. After all, it's tradition!

A few days ago Alexandra approached me with a question. She wanted to know if we could go a second day if she paid the admission price for her and her sisters.

"Absolutely." I told her.

For the past few months Alexandra has been working as a Spanish tutor and has carefully been stashing her money away in the bank. After sitting down and calculating the cost she figured out that she will indeed have enough to cover the admission. I am continually proud of Alexandra and the person she is becoming.

Here is a video of her telling Elsa the exciting news:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Opposites Attract

Yesterday afternoon Alexandra was helping Elsa with her homework.

"You have to find three sets of things around the house that are opposites, so go look."

A little while later she returned.

"Did you find some opposites?" Alexandra asked.

"Yes," Elsa replied.

"Okay, tell me."

"Black and white."

"Where? Where did you find black and white?"

"You and me."

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Monday, April 6, 2015

A Little Mischief

Even the most perfect and pure among us sometimes find themselves getting into a little mischief - as was evident yesterday when Elisabeth decided to taste the grass from her Easter basket.

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By the looks of it, the mischief didn't pay off. 


Friday, April 3, 2015

Why I Marvel

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[Elisabeth Elva, age seven.]
I was looking at Elisabeth yesterday and marveling. It is an interesting thing to parent a child so unique; quite different than I ever imagined it would be. I recall a day in particular when I was pregnant with her. I was at the mall and saw a family pushing a wheelchair with a severely handicapped child in it. The girl was not just physically handicapped, but mentally as well. I knew that if Elisabeth were to survive until birth I was looking at a clear image of what my future would be. It was a little frightening, to be honest. 

When Elisabeth was born she looked as normal as any other baby. Even in the first few months she seemed like a typical infant - because really, newborns don't do anything other than eat and sleep. But I knew the truth, that other children would grow and learn and progress while Elisabeth stayed behind in a permanent state of babyhood.

And so it has been, Elisabeth is still like a baby. She can't talk or walk or eat. Nor does she understand much or know how to communicate. She has become that girl in the wheelchair at the mall. But it's very different than I imagined it would be. You see, it doesn't feel like a burden, but a privilege. The truth is, when I take Elisabeth out to stores and I see people looking at her, I secretly assume everyone wishes she was theirs. I feel like I am the keeper of an angelic being. And when I look at her, I don't see a person who is lacking, but a child who deep inside holds more wisdom than I could ever comprehend. It's almost as if she's on a different plane than the rest of us, like she can't even be compared to typical humanity.

 That is why I marvel, that is why I am grateful, and that is why I feel so blessed that she is mine.
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