Monthly Archives: January 2013

…with a heavy heart…

it is with a heavy heart that i write this post. i have no idea how many people actually read my blog. based on the comments i receive, i know my mom, my MIL and my friend, Julie are faithful readers. that doesn’t mean there aren’t others of you who come here faithfully to see photos and read boring or (occasionally) witty posts. for ALL of you, i am thankful. for those of you who read and don’t post. for those of you who read and do post. for those of you who know me in person and for those of you who know me only through my blog. i value each of you.

 

and now i’m asking something of you. something huge. something significant. something that can make a difference in the life of one family.

 

it was just three years ago that you all rallied around Dave, Davey, Samantha and me and you PRAYED for the life of our sweet Baby Daisy (now our darling Alexandra). you prayed for her survival, her health, for the doctors and for my womb. you prayed specifics and you prayed generally. for those of you who don’t pray and don’t believe in God, your kind thoughts and wishes for health and healing were much welcomed and appreciated. and i call on you now for your prayer support once again. this time, however, it’s not for us directly.

 

allow me to introduce you to the Hantla family:

this is jacob and kiki and their beautiful children,

elianna and david

(elianna is a few months older than samantha. david is about a year younger than alexandra).

 

 

the hantla family has been a HUGE blessing to us since moving to arizona. dave knew OF jacob before we moved down here. see, jake is an AVID proponent of Logos and their software. when he found out Logos was going to open an office in the Phoenix area, he was elated and offered his assistance to Dave to do anything to make the process easier for him, us and the company. for our family, this has included offers to help unpack, inviting us to join them for dinner at a fantastic BBQ place, enjoying fro yo treats together and more. they invited us to their church and we felt at home immediately. we have settled there AND in their small group. we have a church that we call “home” – a church that we call our “family” because of the kindness and love of Jacob and Kiki. jake even helped us move from the rental house to our own home on one of the hottest days of the year (august 11 – it was 115*). this couple – this FAMILY – has loved us and served us well. better than we deserve, that’s for sure.

 

and today i beg you to please pray for their sweet, happy, lovable son, David.

he has just been diagnosed with leukemia and he will begin chemotherapy tomorrow (wednesday, january 30).

 

i don’t know what else to say. what else to ask. how else to share. but my heart is hurting so very, very much. HOWEVER, i know that i serve a God who is living and active and powerful. i serve a God who HEARS the prayers of His people because He is alive. i serve a God who can heal David. most of all, i serve a God who LOVES the hantla family and sweet David even more than i do.

 

i am asking you now to please join me in praying for the hantla family. kiki has given me permission to share this with you. i know their family would covet your prayers and thoughts and well wishes. and i know they would not mind if you added David to your church’s prayer chain or prayer list.

 

from the bottom of my heart, i thank you for your prayers.

it has been a long time….

it’s been a long time since i’ve worked with teenagers. some of you may not know that i ever worked with teens in the first place. but i did. for years. and i LOVE teenagers. when i moved to washington and started working with my church’s youth ministry, there were four girls who were extra special to me. i was their “adult” for an overnight camping adventure at the KOA in town. i was their small group leader (well, for some of them). i let them use my car to practice getting their hours for getting their drivers license (seriously – was i crazy? apparently). i was their crazy, fun friend. i supported them as much as i could with time and energy. whether i taught any of them anything of value remains to be seen (at least in my world) but i wouldn’t take back those years for anything. i loved them so much. and they each hold a dear place in my heart. they were my guest book attendants at my wedding. and three of them are currently married. and two of them have children. which means that those girls who were 15 when i met them were a decade younger than i. but our kids are the same age. WOW. and WEIRD.

 

all that to say i LOVE Facebook. seriously. i can keep in touch with some of those people who were my dear students. and i was able to learn that bekah (one of my special FOUR from washington) was temporarily moving from california to chicago… with her husband and her twin boys. and after i encouraged her to enjoy chicago (she lived there for a little while later in high school when her parents moved). imagine my surprise when i learned (via facebook) that she was EN ROUTE to phoenix – to live here for A MONTH?!

 

seriously.

 

so (through facebook) we connected. somehow she missed our move down here a year ago. so what a wonderful treat for BOTH of us. a chance to reconnect. a chance to talk. to let our kids play. to learn from each other.

 

so we met up at the train park in scottsdale one friday morning. her twin boys, Titus & Silas, are EXACTLY one week younger than alexandra.

 

 

not quite a week later (after the train park, not after the twins were born), we met up at the phoenix zoo for a day of animals and adventure. and that’s what i want to share with you today…. photos from a day of fun for ALL of us!

 

first up: the TIGER:

 

WALKING from the tiger to the LIONS…

 

intrigued by the CHEEKY MONKEY:

 

he was alex’s special friend… she didn’t want to leave him!

 

so then Alex really loved the BABOON:

seriously. little alex was SO EXCITED about the various primates. she was enamored with them.

 

 

but, apparently, she was also enamored with the reality of climbing fences ALL. BY. HERSELF.

who knew she even knew how?!

 

 

samantha was excited to show the boys the KOMODO DRAGON. we found the statue first:

(do you know how hard it is to get a 4-year old and three 2-year olds to look at the camera at the same time?!)

 

but we did get to see the KOMODO DRAGON. he even turned his head and flicked his tongue (it was creepy)!

 

 

realizing we had extra time, we wandered our way back to the orangutans where alex once again fell in love…

 

 

and then, unfortunately, it was time.

the girls and i had to head home to pick up davey from school.

samantha was NOT happy that we were leaving.

the boys were tired. alex was…. who knows.

 

we walked around for about 3 hours and we enjoyed snacks and lunches while at the zoo, as well. we looked through the zoo gift store on our way out. and sweet, pregnant bekah, managed the whole adventure like a champ. bek, if you’re reading this, i really hope and pray it’s not another 10 years until i see you again!

from youth leader & student to mama equals.

i LOVE this girl (i suppose i should call her a woman now, huh?)

she loves boots

alex has the cutest pair of brown boots with butterflies on them.

she looks ADORABLE “stomping” and “clomping” around in them.

my all-time favorite is when she wears leggings (almost daily) and those boots.

SO.

CUTE.

(note: samantha has the SAME pair of boots and she got them FIRST but then nana bought a pair for alex and i’m so thankful she did!)

 

 

there were days when alex would TAKE OFF her shoes and bring me her boots.

and then she would fuss until i’d put them on for her.

i guess my 2-1/2 year old has an opinion on her wardrobe now.

but about a week or two ago, she discovered something she likes to wear even more than her own brown boots.

davey’s brown boots.

to be more specific, davey’s brown, light-up, toy story, cowboy boots. (again, we have nana to thank for those).

i know, it’s a mouthful to try to describe them. but that’s what they are.

brown, toy story, light up cowboy boots.

and alex is a little bit obsessed.

 

 

when she realizes davey is NOT at home (which means he’s at school), she’ll walk around the house and say his name over and over and over.

and then she’ll wander to the shoe basket in the family room.

if the boots are there (he chose to wear his boots to school for the majority of the past few weeks),

she’ll pull them out,

say davey’s name repeatedly

and put his boots on her feet.

often times with the left boot on the right foot and the right boot on the left foot.

 

 

and then she stands up and tries to walk.

 

and she continues to say davey’s name repeatedly.

 

and then she gets distracted or frustrated (or both) and off come the boots and she toddles her way to another toy in the house.

 

she really is a cutie pie.

i WAS overwhelmed but now…

last week wednesday (january 16) was alex’s appointment with a developmental specialist up in north phoenix/scottsdale (aka: about an hour away). we’ve been waiting for this appointment for months. literally. i think i called and scheduled it back in august or september.

 

 

there were 34 PAGES of information i had to complete BEFORE we arrived at the appointment. then there were another FOUR pages of information to complete AT the appointment.

 

 

seriously.

 

 

dr. bilog (agnes might be her first name?) was nice. i appreciated that she wasn’t overly sweet and that she did have some personality. alex was NOT interested in the physical portion of the exam (which consisted of being weighed, being measured for height and head circumference, looking into her ears and removing socks and shoes to watch her walk). we have a stubborn little girl. i DO know where it comes from (BOTH of us)!

 

 

after the “physical” exam we made our way to Dr. Bilog’s office where alex played with some toys while the adults “talked” and then Dr. Bilog watched alex do the following activities:

- stack blocks

- take them out and put them back in to a container

- put wooden pegs into a holder (kind of like a puzzle)

- NOT draw a line (Dr. Bilog drew a line on a piece of paper and instructed Alex to “imitate” her. Alex chose to scribble. b/c that’s what she does. and, quite honestly, she doesn’t get a lot of opportunity to “color” at home so i wasn’t surprised at her lack of “direction following” for this particular skill

- put shape blocks into a wooden base (exactly like a puzzle)

- point to pictures on a laminated card (alex was significantly more interested in the “splitting” edge/corner of the card and trying to peel it apart)

- alex had to point to some body parts

 

 

after filling out some forms, Dr. Bilog decided that alex was, most definitely, developmentally delayed. her motor skills (hands and arms) are at the level of a 21-month old. and her speech is at the level of a 16-month old. in hind sight, i think she underestimated certain things (like the NUMBER of words alex can “say”) so while she IS delayed, i’m not certain she’s as far behind as that of a 16-month old child.

 

 

so in short, the following recommendations were made:

- speech therapy

- occupational therapy (to deal with fingers and hands – like using a spoon)

- physical therapy (for motor coordination – like dressing herself)

- a hearing test (b/c a lot of times a hearing problem is related to a speech problem)

- and genetic testing.

 

 

we were advised that based on her delays and her age (under three), alex should qualify for an “early intervention” program here in the state of arizona. this means she should also qualify for a pre-school program which will include speech therapy and some PT and/or OT as needed. and with that, we were given some phone numbers and recommended providers, we made a follow-up appointment for the end of May and off we went. Overwhelmed. Unsure. Overwhelmed. Disappointed. Overwhelmed. Hungry. and Overwhelmed.

 

 

dave found an restaurant with an all gluten free and all soy free menu and we enjoyed a lunch date with our sweet little girl.

we didn’t talk much about the appointment. just a few snippets here and there. and we enjoyed our time together in the middle of a work day/week. and we enjoyed our sweet girl. our blessing from God. our gift. our miracle. because if you know her story, you know alex really is a living, breathing, walking and minimally-talking miracle. and we love her dearly.

 

 

and now that this appointment was over a week ago and we’ve had some time to pray, think, process and discuss, we’ve come to some conclusions. i’ve called the state two or three times and i’ve left messages each time. i will continue to pursue that avenue to get her the speech, PT and OT that she definitely needs. we will hold off on the hearing test unless other providers also recommend that as a necessity. as for genetic testing, we will only pursue that if there is a specific genetic condition they think she has AND if KNOWING she has said condition can lead to us better helping her through life.

 

 

over the past week, we’ve (i’ve) allowed alex a little more freedom around the home. i’ve learned she can put on some pants and shorts by herself. she tries to put on her own shirt but doesn’t quite have that figured out yet. she’s saying some more words. she’s doing more things. in just a week, i’ve noticed some differences. so we will continue to let alex be alex. and we will continue to encourage growth and development.

 

 

so for those of you who have been praying, THANK YOU. your prayers have most definitely calmed my heart over the past week. and if you would like to continue to pray for us, some specific requests are as follows:

- that i will be able to talk to a person and figure out HOW to get alex registered/connected to the state program for which she qualifies

- that a schedule for all of her needed therapies would not overwhelm me/our family

- that the therapies would be extremely beneficial for alex and that she would make great improvement

- that our meager medical insurance and the state funding would cover the majority (or all!) of the costs of these services

 

christmas 2012 was…

christmas 2012 was a lot of fantastic and a bit of exhaustion all rolled into one.

 

dave’s parents and his “baby” brother (tom who is almost 24) were able to join us for 8 days of “we have to show you this and this and this and this and we have to eat here and here and here and here…”

 

you know how it is, right?

 

plus there were all the regular Christmas shopping and prep and cooking and baking and davey’s class party and other holiday activities going on.

 

and don’t let me forget the sickness. see, just over a week before Christmas i came down with that vomiting virus. it was horrendous. i don’t think i’ve ever thrown up that many times in my life. it was awful. i wouldn’t wish it on my best friend OR on my worst enemy. seriously. it was that bad. i had to go to urgent care to get “stop-vomiting” medication. yes i did. and it was SOOOOOOO worth the $60 for the visit and the $7 for the prescription. and bonus? we have left overs! davey had a more mild case of the vomiting ick. and the girls got the runs. and dave felt “off” for days. it was a nasty, nasty thing.

 

and then dave’s parents arrived so closer to our infestation that they were each down for a day with it. which means their cases were more mild than ours but even a mild case of that is gross, awful and NOT fun. especially when you’re on vacation to see your grandchildren!

 

but aside from that nasty lotta bit of ice, we spent 8 glorious days eating, shopping, eating, cooking & baking, eating, laughing and telling stories, eating, making Christmas crafts, eating, watching Christmas movies, eating, assembling puzzles and more. the kids LOVED having grandpa & grandma here and uncle tom was a super fun bonus for them (especially for davey and his love of video games, which he seems to have inherited from his uncle tom)!

 

i’ll share photos soon. hopefully. but i wanted to jot down this stuff while i remembered it.

 

 

 

and for those of you who like more details, here are some random facts about our holiday week….

movies watched: at least 3 (Elf; A Christmas Story; The Polar Express)

gifts opened: too many to count

hikes/walks: 2 (Christmas Eve day at Lost Dutchman State Park and Christmas Day at Gilbert Riparian Preserve)

sweet treats ingested: far too many including, but not limited to: fro yo; Ritas Italian Ice; Freddies Frozen Custard; monster cookies; sour cream drop cookies; fudge; applets & cotlets; poppycock; reindeer noses and ice cream

puzzles completed: two

number of vehicles required for all EIGHT of us to go anywhere “together:” two. the pathfinder only holds 7

meals cooked: a lot (pulled pork; veggie lasagna; carne guisado; pulled flank steak tacos; chili; potato soup; ham dinner and maybe a few more?)

projects completed by dad: at least 5 (kitchen drawer handles installed; guest bath towel bars installed; peg board hung in garage; struts on rear pathfinder window installed; new air filter installed in pathfinder)

projects completed by tam: at least 3 (5 new stockings made; new table runner; 6 new placemats)

 

 

and thursday morning, december 27th rolled around all too quickly b/c the family was gone before the kids even woke. and it took us a few days to try to “recover” from having our family guests here for 8 days.