Monthly Archives: April 2011

easter

happy belated easter! we had a wonderful day filled with church, family and food (i cooked – year #10, i believe).

 

the kids looked cute in their outfits from nana so we snapped a few photos before church:

that was photo #5 of 12… wanna see photo #12?

 

 

 

 

 

here it is, in all it’s glory….

i have a feeling our sweet little alex will NOT be a model, as this face turned into a major pout (much like the photos we took of the three of them at Christmas-time)!

 

in the evening (after naps and all our guests had gone home and dave made swimming rama for dinner), we hid a bunch of plastic eggs (empty) for the kids to find around the living and dining rooms. then davey took those same eggs and hid them upstairs in the bonus room for the grown-up easter egg hunt. dave and i had SO MUCH FUN finding eggs and seeing just how creative davey was when he hid them! (hey grandpa! you might want to enlist davey’s assistance next Christmas for the Hershey Kiss hunt)!

april 21

on april 21 (last week, thursday), we celebrated my MIL’s birthday with a home cooked dinner (thanks to Auntie Mary & Uncle Flemming!) which included a flour-less cake (hooray for gluten free for dave!)! without any phone calls to prepare (like most junior high girls), i wound up dressing Samantha and Alexandra in matching colors… and grandma matched them, too:

 

rachel (dave’s sister) called at just the right time (the cake was being cut and served but we hadn’t sung yet) dad turned on Skype and we were able to chat with Rachel, Sterling and Baby Amity…. and they were able to join the singing portion of our party! too bad they couldn’t eat the cake through the computer screens!

 

grandma had a special helper at gift time:

my 2.5 year old daughter is ALL ABOUT the presents these days!

 

so many happy (and now belated) birthday wishes to my mother-in-law!

9 months

a week ago alexandra turned 9 months old. how is that possible?

 

at 9 months:

- still not sleeping through the night

- still nursing at least 50% of the time

- formula preference is Gerber Good Start, though she still isn’t a fan of formula

- weighs about 14 pounds

- wearing size 6-9 and 6-12 month clothing

- wearing size 2 diapers (no joke!)

- has been significantly constipated twice

- seems to have one head cold after the next. poor kid hasn’t been fully healthy since birth!

- rolls from back to tummy. a few times a week will roll from her tummy to her back.

- appears to be about a month away from crawling (perhaps less)

- eating baby food veggies (HATES Gerber’s “garden vegetable” blend) and fruits and baby oatmeal

- has tasted “big people” ice cream (LOVES it), cake, banana, rice, ketchup, Dr. Pepper (LOVES it) and perhaps a few others that i’m forgetting

- has ZERO teeth

- has started making funny noises by sucking her bottom lip in her mouth

- is so sweet and so content

- a little more liberal with smiles than earlier in her life, but they’re still not overly abundant

- still does not laugh (unless you zerbert on her neck… then you MAY get a laugh out of her)

- not even close to saying any words yet… but she still LOVES to spit!

- has some scalp issues (cradle cap) returning (welcome Selsun Blue back to bathtime)

- LOVES to watch her big brother and big sister do ANY and EVERY thing

- loves to CHEW on toys

- drools like a mad fiend (totally taking after her big brother on this one!)

- is a people watcher

- is reaching for toys and will bend over (if sitting) or maneuver around (if lying on her tummy) to try to reach/grab a specific toy

- nicknames: Alex, Sparky, Sparks, Wee One, Peanut, Pea, Sweetie, Sweets

- in the span of 2 weeks between months 8 & 9, alex experienced a head x-ray, a head CT scan, was diagnosed with craniosynastosis (which meant surgery would be required), underwent an evaluation at Children’s Hospital in Seattle, was diagnosed with torticollis, was UNdiagnosed with craniosynastosis (huh? yeah. Children’s said she does NOT have it!), was referred for physical therapy and possibly helmet therapy

 

 

this little girl has always been our extra-special miracle. nothing will change that. however, God continues to remind me (us) just how special she is. and as her mom, i can’t even imagine the things God has planned for her life b/c she sure has had to endure a lot just to be here!

 

 

**(note: i did not forget to post alex’s 8-month photos of her with the grey blob – aka: elephant…. i never took them. poor 3rd child. she’s so neglected in our photos!)

only 6 days

in only 6 days, i managed to sell our Jeep Wrangler via craigslist. i think it was 2005 when we bought it. her. we loved that jeep. LOVED. but she’s been sitting in our driveway, unloved, un-tabbed, unused for well over 2 years. we can’t fit three car seats in the back. it was time to say good bye.

 

we paid $5500 (cashier’s check) for her in 2005. we sold her for $3800 (cash) in 2011. not too shabby. jeeps tend to retain their value around here. but i digress.

 

my biggest regret? on thursday morning, while i was at Bible study, a guy called to inquire about the jeep. by 2 o’clock, he was here checking it out. by 4 o’clock we had signed the papers and i had his money in my hands. so my regret? no last photo. no photo of all three kids piled in (or on) the jeep. no farewell drive around the county.

 

and for some reason, dave’s assurance that (13 years from now) when the kids are driving we can get another one doesn’t really help all that much. neither does the fact that $3800 in cash is the most cash i’ve ever held in my hand at one time:

 

it truly is the end of an era for us. no more jeep. and no final photo to say farewell. [insert sniffing here]

fashion

samantha currently LOVES hello kitty (i miss the days when she called her “Hello Kitty Cat.” nana, in all her amazing shopping prowess, provided this ensemble:

that would be a hello kitty jean jacket (complete with hello kitty head BLING! on the back), a hello kitty cat bling t-shirt and a hello kitty cat tutu-ed skirt. and jeggings (jean leggings). cute, huh? she looked SO GROWN UP. [when i see this photo, i'm reminded of that insurance commercial where a father is talking to his little girl (about age 6) who turns out to really be 16 and about to take her dad's car for an evening out with friends.] this photo is a fast forward to life 11 years from now… when she’s a teenager.

 

and this one:

she’s definitely not hurting for new clothing. she has lots of hand-me-downs, but many thanks to a nana who loves to shop and who finds great deals, this little girl gets plenty of new clothing, too. like this summer dress she’s wearing. turned appropriate for Washington weather with a long-sleeve onesie underneath. [side note: isn't she a little doll? absolutely sweet.]

 

 

God is Faithful

THANK YOU! God heard the prayers of His people. You. He heard YOU. And He answered in a way we never even imagined was possible….

 

Alex did great in the car on the way down to Children’s Hospital in Seattle on Monday. We stopped in Lynnwood for lunch (Chipotle, where else?!) and she enjoyed a bottle while we enjoyed our “fast food.” We were about 7 minutes from Children’s, however, when her lunch came back up. All in the car seat and all over her clothes. We went ahead got our visitor badges (Dave and I) and then checked in. Our first appointment was to begin at 1. We were in an exam room by 1. Alex had to be weighed and measured, so we stripped her down for that and then redressed her in some clean clothing.

As I indicated above, our first appointment, with the pediatrician, was scheduled for 1 p.m. She finally made it to the room around 2:10 p.m. Unfortunately, Alex had just fallen asleep for a much needed (and late) nap. Dr. Kelly Evans was sweet. She introduced herself to us, discussed Alex’s potential diagnosis of craniosynastosis (though I’m glad we had already done some research before the appointment) and reviewed Alex’s CT scan results with us. Have you ever seen your baby’s skull? I have. It’s weird.

Dr. Evans did a thorough evaluation of Alex’s head and her CT scan. Based on both, she does not feel that Alex has craniosynastosis. The neurosurgeon agreed. While her metopic suture is closed (fused), by this age, it’s supposed to be closed. The Bellingham radiologist indicated in the CT scan report that Alex’s coronal suture (runs from ear to ear over the top of the head like a head band) is closed (fused). Dr. Evans and the neurosurgeon saw no evidence of this. This means surgery is not an option. It’s just not needed. PRAISE GOD!

Alex does, however, have a very large flat spot on the back of her head (her right side). This is most likely plagiocephaly (sp?) which is simply a deformed head shape. It is also highly likely that something that has fostered this flat spot is a neck muscle that is shorter on the right side than the left, which makes it harder for her to turn her head all the way to the left (a mild case of torticollis). The hope is for her skull to round itself out over time. Naturally. Though there are some things we can do to aid/speed that process

a) encourage her to look to her left instead of her right

b) do not lay her down on her back (including for sleeping)

c) do physical therapy to strengthen and stretch the shortened neck muscle

d) if necessary, consider helmet therapy

 

After Dr. Evan left the room, Dave and I looked at each other in disbelief. We breathed a huge sigh of relief. And we rejoice with you in praising our God for His healing abilities. He alone is The Great Physician.

 

It was a LOOOOOOOONG day. It was over 2 hours to get to the hospital (plus a stop for lunch). Then we were in that exam room (about 10×14) from 1 until 4:40 p.m. Our entire face-to-face interaction with nurses and doctors while we were in that room was around an hour. So we were in there alone for a long, long time. In the end, we had to go find a nurse to see if we could leave the hospital. We never did see the social worker (not sure why she never visited our room – she was scheduled to). And then it was over 2 hours of a drive home (plus a stop for dinner – at the burger joint Five Guys). 

 

It was a long and exhausting day – mentally, emotionally and physically (for me). We “rescued” some tired grandparents from their long day with Davey and Samantha and put those two (Davey and Sam, not the grandparents!) to bed. And then I went to bed. I think I was sound asleep by 9 p.m. (I should state that Alex woke up 4x each night on both Saturday & Sunday nights and then she did it again last night. She now has a fever on top of her head cold while I still have this miserable head cold).

 

But despite all the waiting, the emotional roller coaster, the driving/riding in the car and everything else we have experienced over the last two weeks, we are SO THANKFUL for the WONDERFUL news that our daughter is healthy. She does not need surgery. She continues to be our little miracle. She continues to be God’s gift to us. and you continue to be the best prayer support team I’ve ever heard of. So many, many thanks to all of you for your thoughts and prayers. And all the praise goes to our Heavenly Father!

 

And so today, we carry on. Dave is back to work. We return to scheduling and calendar planning. For those of you in Ohio and Pennsylvania, we are still planning on performing our insane cross-country both ways road trip this summer, so you can expect to see us sometime in July!

We Love Nana

As you may recall, Nana was recently here for a visit. Dave and I asked her to help with the kids so we could attend BibleTech a few weekends ago. I don’t usually get many photos of Nana hanging out with the kiddos… even though that’s what she does when she’s here. Her life during her WA visits is all about the three kiddos. And they ADORE her. They wake up and run straight to the bonus room (where she so graciously sleeps on a camping mat on the floor) to find her. They follow her into the bathroom. They share stories and games and activities and secrets (except when Davey “spills the beans”).

 

Within an hour of arriving:

Nana always finds the most amazing toys for the kids…. including Rhino the Hampster (from the movie Bolt – Samantha’s favorite movie!). The bonus about this toy? ALL of the kids LOVE it (though it was purchased with Samantha in mind).

 

Nana also found a Rocket Balloon Launcher (or something like that). There’s a hand held/operated air pump that inflates long balloons and then they fly around and make some rocket-like noises. Samantha preferred using the hand pump to pump air into Nana’s hair and mouth:

When Nana’s here, Davey likes to “study.” On this trip, Nana brought the back of a cereal box and the decoder key that cam with it. Davey loved it!

She also brought some pre pre-school aged workbooks. In 10 days, Davey completed almost all of the 2 workbooks. So we did the logical thing: we went to Launching Success and (Nana) purchased several more for him!

 

While Nana was here, she attended play group with us and she got to see Alex with her birthday buddy, Elijah:

(in case you forgot, these two are 48 minutes apart in age. But at 8 months, Alex was 13 pounds and Elijah was 20 pounds. Alex had 0 teeth and Elijah had 8. Peanut and Not Peanut!)

 

While she was here, Nana celebrated her birthday. She celebrated her birthday by caring for her three grandchildren, baking her own cupcakes:

and potty training Samantha. Seriously. She is amazing, yes? As an extended family (the 5 of us, Dave’s parents and Dave’s aunt and uncle), we celebrated Nana’s birthday the Sunday after her special day with lunch at Dave’s parents’ house:

(Samantha had her hair french braided while in nursery during church…. it looked SO CUTE!)

(and Alex slept through part of the birthday party, but she was T I R E D!)

Two days AFTER Nana’s party, we purchased a new pair of “power walking shoes” for her. But she still had plenty of presents to open at her party! We gave her some dark chocolate and then we purchased a plant for our yard so we would think of her every time we see it (please tell me that was a good idea. that was a good idea, right? really?)

we enjoyed ice cream, complete with a candle and Samantha was an excellent help to Nana in blowing out that one candle:

Samantha was also an excellent helper while Nana opened her presents:

 

(this has got to be one of my hands down, all-time favorite photos of Samantha. there’s only one problem with it: she looks too grown up!):

 

We missed a few days of mail delivery with our BibleTech trip, so on Monday afternoon, I finally remembered to visit the mailbox. Inside, I found a letter-sized envelope with a familiar logo on the return-address label. My heart beat increased as I reached into the box for that envelope and the rest of our mail. I figured it was good news since it was a full-size cardboard envelope (you know those “sturdy” ones that prevent papers from getting creased or wrinkled?) instead of a business sized envelope, but ya never really know. So before I even walked 2 steps away from the mailbox, I had opened the envelope and it was all I could do to refrain from SCREAMING and RUNNING back to the house….

I PASSED MY HUGE WORK-RELATED EXAM (remember the one I took back in February, RIGHT after I had the flu… and the kids had the flu… and I came home to find my husband, who had so graciously taken the day off work to watch the kids, in bed with the flu). Yep, that exam. The exam for a certification that really has nothing to do with my job. But I passed it.

 

I PASSED!!!!!

 

and now I have a new (and not-expired) certificate to hang on my wall (should I ever have an office to work out of again):

And I am now allowed to add the letters “CDMS” after my name. It’s not as special as “MD” or “PhD” but it’s a pretty big deal for me. (Mainly because it means I can be rehired by my former employer)! In case you’re wondering, I am now a Certified Disability Management Specialist.

 

After dinner on Monday night, Dave and I were both in the mood for ice cream. And for some strange reason, we didn’t have any in the house. None. So we all headed over to Dairy Queen to CELEBRATE mommy’s test results!

 

While Nana was here, Alex proved to someone else (besides just Daddy & Mommy) that she is OBSESSED with her toes. She LOVES her toes. Even if they’re inside her footie jammies. Or if she’s wearing socks. Or shoes. She LOVES them. And she will suck and chew on her toes (I kid you not).

 

Many, MANY other things occurred during Nana’s visit, but these are my only photos. I will HAVE to get better about taking photos when Nana’s visiting!

 

Nana’s visit ended far too quickly. And she might be surprised to read this, but I cried a little after she left (Dave drove her to the Bellingham Airport on his way to work one morning). So Nana, please know that we ALL love you. We ALL miss you. And we’re ALL SO THANKFUL for you!

 

 

Baby Daisy Update

yes, i do mean that title above. those of you who read this blog remember the on-going need for prayers for sweet Baby Daisy (Alex’s in-utero name). unfortunately, it’s time for me to, again, call out to you for more prayers.

 

at 2 months old, we noticed alex had a pretty large flat spot. i mentioned it to our family doctor at alex’s 2, 4 and 6-month well-baby check appointments. he was never concerned, thinking it was a flat spot like most other babies. he said it would “pop out” (or correct itself) once she wasn’t spending so much time lying down (crib, swing, bouncy seat, etc.). but we kept a close eye on it. i even switched her to the other end of the crib in an attempt to have her turn her head in the other direction to help correct the flat spot. but it became apparent that there was something else going on.

 

so i took alex back to the doctor at 8 months to have him look at her head. he felt her skull all over and felt something “out of the ordinary.” this appointment was on Monday, March 21st. We went straight from the doctor’s office to the Lynden office of Mount Baker Imaging to get some x-rays of her head.

the x-ray results were available before the end of the business day…. and they were inconclusive. so our doctor sent us to Bellingham for a CT scan.

 

the CT scan was on Wednesday morning, March 23rd. we were in the waiting room longer than it took for the scan to happen (and we weren’t in the waiting room for very long).

and then i missed the call from our doctor’s office on wednesday early afternoon. and my doctor’s office is CLOSED on wednesday afternoons. ARGH!!!

 

so on thursday morning it was confirmed to us that alex has craniosynostosis, which is “the premature fusion of one or more cranial sutures” (from AAFP journal). The CT scan revealed that Alex has TWO cranial sutures closed. the biggest problem with this? it prevents brain growth. the solution? surgery.

 

on Monday, April 11, Dave, Alex and I will head down to Children’s Hospital in Seattle. we will meet with a plastic surgeon, a pediatrician, a nurse from the craniofacial unit and a social worker. they’ll review Alex’s CT scan, do a physical exam of her head and talk with us about what’s next. we’ll meet the neurosurgeon the day before surgery (which will be scheduled sometime after our evaluation).

 

it appears that “baby daisy’s” fight in this world isn’t over yet. we know, without a doubt, that she is God’s gift to us. we look forward to watching God continue to work in the young life of our sweet Alex. if you would please keep Alex and our family in your prayers, we would greatly appreciate it. we’ll keep you updated as we know more.

 

 

 

BibleTech 2011

disclaimer: AS YOU READ THROUGH THIS POST, PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT WE HAD NOT YET CREATED OUR BUDGET.

 

Thursday: March 24: With Nana in place to care for her three youngest grandchildren, I packed an overnight bag and got ready to say “good bye” to the kiddos for two nights. of course, 30 minutes before i was supposed to leave home to pick up dave, samantha popped a fever. a pretty high one. so Nana was given some extra instructions regarding children’s ibuprofen, how to use our ear thermometer and a reminder of the location of my cell phone number, along with the clear instruction that i could return home at ANY TIME if needed or wanted. Then I headed out, picked up Dave and we journeyed south to the Hilton Inn by the Sea-Tac Airport (with a pitstop at Chipotle for dinner). We enjoyed an evening at the bar with some other Logos friends and headed to bed a little too late for our early morning wake-up calls.

 

Friday: March 25: Nana decided to start potty training Samantha. And they made cupcakes to celebrate Nana’s birthday. Impressed? I sure was (am)! Dave was in sessions all day, so I took a photography class (workshop & photo safari) with some friends (Hillary, Julie and Susan). Information overload to the extreme. But very helpful and informative. and now, i do have a basic understanding of HOW to use dave’s camera. whew! the photo safari was not as wonderful (100 students to 2 instructors?) but i did practice some of what i learned and that was a good thing.

 

After our class (did i mention that we had Chipotle for lunch during our break?), we headed to Bellevue for dinner (Palomino’s) and a little bit of shopping (The Container Store…. oh how that place makes me giddy and a wee bit delirious)! Thankfully, i wasn’t the only one!

Upon returning to the hotel at 10 pm, I found my husband still in the conference center with Bob (the CEO) and Jimmy. Jimmy’s wife, Hillary, was one of my friends in the photography class, so we headed to the boys. After a small issue with the elevator (one of them wouldn’t go to the 3rd floor. Not sure why, but it wouldn’t respond to that button!), we found our guys and ended up heading out (the five of us) to Thirteen Coins for dessert.

Saturday: March 26: SHOPPING! yes, while the boys were in sessions, the girls were headed to the stores. Julie, Hillary and I headed to Starbucks and Panera for breakfast

(that’s a ham & swiss cheese something-or-other bit of yumminess!)

 

and then our first stop of the day was at Nordstrom Rack. I FELL. IN. LOVE. with a trench coat and a dress. i felt no guilt buying the trench coat (even though it is the entirely impractical color of creamy off-white). i have had a “coupon” (homemade by dave) for a trench coat from dave, davey and samantha for a few years now. it was my mother’s day present one year but i hadn’t been able to find what i wanted locally or on line. it felt good to “cash that in!” and the bonus? i loved it SO MUCH that i WORE IT OUT OF THE STORE. yes. the sweet cashier cut off the tags for me and i wore that trench coat for the rest of the day. wanna see it?

(i took this photo in the dressing room at Kohl’s and shared it on facebook…. i was just THAT excited about the coat!)

 

and then the dress? it was originally $118. it’s by calvin klein. and it was on sale for $45. but since i’m not working in a professional arena, i really wasn’t sure i could justify the purchase. it’s a classic. it’ll still look great and be in style 5 years from now. probably even 10 years from now. so i finally decided to splurge and get it. and when i got to the register, it turned out to be 40% off, making it $27! major score! i’ll have to get a photo of the dress the next time i wore it (i wore it to church the day after we got home from BibleTech). Audra, Bob’s wife, joined us at Nordstrom Rack and then she drove for the rest of the day. We added Kohl’s, Forever 21 and H&M to our list of stores visited. and we enjoyed a VERY FILLING and quite long lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.

after reconnecting with our spouses (in the parking lot where we first began our day – Nordstrom Rack), we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. Dave and I headed to West Seattle to see Baby Amity (and Rachel & Sterling) before journeying home.

All in all, it was a fun and successful weekend. While neither of us actually felt “relaxed and refreshed,” it was great to get away, do something out of the ordinary and be us instead of “mommy and daddy” for two days!

money issues

i feel like i’m always playing “catch up” these days. but today, i will make progress. i finally wrote to general mills about my hatred for 4 of the last 5 boxes of Kix that i have purchased. you should know that kix is probably my all time, most favorite “healthy” cereal. or was. it WAS my favorite. sigh. i hate when things get changed.

 

today i’m also doing laundry. a lot of laundry. it’s a horrible, never ending cycle. hey honey…. remember how we said our electric bill is too high? i think it’s all the laundry i do. i kid you not. ugh.

 

i recently finished a HUGE photo project… it turns out that i hadn’t printed photos since august 2nd of last year. so i had to wade through over 4000 photos. i narrowed it down to about 400 photos. then i spent WEEKS (no exaggeration) in photoshop cropping photos to 4×3 and putting two of them onto one 4×6 photo blank. but i saved about $30 in printing fees AND even though i have the same number of photos, since they’re smaller, i can fit more onto a scrapbook page.

 

a week ago, i looked at some new houses. dave and i decided about two months ago that we were ready to upgrade. just a little more room. a bigger kitchen. a back yard. that kind of thing. and i found it. i found THE house. brand new construction. just down the street from where we are now, in fact. i was salivating over it. i took dave to see it. the kids ran around like crazy people (they loved the space). dave loved it.

it’s 2400+ square feet of new construction perfection. hard wood floors, formica countertops, an office, a laundry room, an oversized garage WITH massive storage space “upstairs,” 4 bedrooms and a much larger living space. the house was within the price range dave had provided to me for our upgrade, so i thought we’d be putting our house on the market pretty quickly. but, as it turns out, the house is outside our budget. we’d need an extra $400 a month to pay the mortgage. i thought, “surely i can cut back on unnecessary spending so we can get this house.” that started our budgeting process. and folks, it is with a very, VERY heavy heart that i tell you we cannot afford the house. not even close. if we didn’t want to put so much money into retirement accounts we could buy it. if we didn’t tithe or support missionaries we could do it. if the kids and i had our health insurance was covered, we could do it. so after i shed tears (a few too many for a house that was never ours to begin with), i’m beginning the search again. there’s always the possibility of buying a lot and having the builder build us a cheaper version of that same floor plan. but that seems nearly impossible right now. so we’ll stay put. i’ll keep my eyes open. and i’ll pray for God to change my heart.

 

and to top it off? i can’t even go shopping to cure my woes!!  :)  i (we) have been overspending lately and it’s time to get it in control. so we’re on a mission. so if you see me in the stores obsessing over coupons and comparing store brand vs. name brand products, you’ll know why. and if you come to my house and see a bare wall because i removed some photos and put up one project and intended to hang some shelves but now i can’t afford to buy the shelves… you’ll know why.

 

on that note, our June garage sale can’t come fast enough. i’m ready to clear out unnecessary items from our home (clothes, toys, shoes, etc.) and make some spending cash. and this week i’ll be putting our Jeep up for sale on craigslist. (this makes me REALLY sad). but we don’t need a third vehicle, especially one that we haven’t driven in over 2 years. no exaggeration.

 

and an update on the boy’s potty issues: in an attempt to prove to him that he really needs to use the potty and not his pull ups or underwear, he now has to EARN his TV time. if he wants to watch a tv show or a movie, he has to go poo on the potty. and that earns him one show (movie, TV or otherwise). additionally, i’m almost mentally prepared to do nighttime and naptime potty training with him. meaning no more pull ups. it’s my lame attempt to save a little bit more money, ya know?!

 

more updates (with photos) coming soon. i PROMISE!