Sunday, August 31, 2014

Baby Girl's 1st Cookie and Sunday Thoughts

Tonight seemed like the perfect night to have my baby girl try her first cookie. I thought she might enjoy a gingersnap and seeing how my friend Judy makes the best Gingersnaps we had to use her recipe.

Ginger loved it! When I tried to pull it away, she tugged it back. Her older brothers were so excited she got to eat her first cookie. And they were excited to eat some as well. Some how as I was taking pictures of my girl little Yoda got a cookie even though he didn't eat his dinner.

Last week our Bishop (our local leader of my church) asked us to join him in fasting for a family in our ward that has some pretty big things going on right now. He shared how he has personally felt strength when others have prayed and fasted for him.

I have no idea who this family is. But my heart was touched. Because I too have felt the quiet strength that comes when you are being sustained by the prayers of others I knew our family should join. The first time I can remember feeling supported by others was when our second son was admitted to CHOC. He was 3 years old and we were pretty sure he had diabetes. I knew his numbers weren't good and our good friend told us we needed to get him there. 

While in the hospital room I was reflecting on what was happening. I thought about how much my husband and I were praying for him. And then I felt it. The quiet power when others, who love you, are offering prayers on your son's behalf. And not just mentioning it as a after thought at the end of their prayer, but sincerely petitioning on his behalf with full heart. In the coming weeks, people were telling me how they are praying for our brave son. I remember my dear Stake President telling me he put his name on the prayer roll at the temple. I know he is so busy and has stewardship over hundreds and yet he was concerned about my little 3 year old. It made me love and appreciate them so much more. It made me want to be better about sincerely praying as a family for others.

And of course I felt the peace, love, and prayers when we were in the NICU with our baby girl. She was so loved. So many prayers offered for her from all faiths. People who had never met her seeking the Lord to heal and care for her. My heart was so touched. And I know it made a difference.

Our experiences help us to have more compassion and love for others. I am so thankful for all those who have offered prayers for myself and my family. And I was more than happy  to extend my love to this family that I never met. My oldest son is having a hard time with fasting. And he promised last week he would join us (for at least 1 meal).

Before we started our fast I asked my husband to find a video to help our children prepare and understand this great work that we were doing by fasting. I hope this video inspires you as well.

This video above was perfect to invite the spirit and testify that we can all do good things and look for service. I am so thankful for so many people who have served and prayed for me. Our eldest had a good experience with his fast. It was hard, but I think he felt good. And, extra blessings arrive tonight by way of yummy brownies from a member of our church who wanted to welcome us to the ward.  I know that we can look for ways to serve and help others and find true happiness. I know praying and fasting for others can bring strength and peace. I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who hears our prayers and answers them.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

We Love our New Home...

I love our new home. I love the extra space. I love the extra storage. 
And I love the way this dresser Omera gave me looks next to our "Harry Potter" closet. Gavin was kinda bummed when we told him it wasn't really his room.

Even though our home looks different from these pictures a took a couple weeks ago, I wanted to share our home. Here is our front entrance. I am still working on a project that I have to finish before I can hang up those pictures. And I have since then printed up updated photos of my kids. {yay!}

 I love having lots of space in my kitchen. I feel like I will use everything more because I don't have to pull it out of obscure places. I love having things accessible. Also I am trying hard to have flat surfaces and things put away and out of sight.

Here is our beautiful table my friend Jeff built for us. Along with a Lego cup, an essential in our home. And the kids favorite part of our house: the computer desk. I think they thought screen time would be endless here. Life can be hard sometimes...

Here is our family room. I love having high ceilings and large walls. And I feel so much better now that we have frames up. We have still yet to find a piano teacher. It's going to hard to top Julie Matthews. It's fun finding places to hang things and changing up your furniture. 

 Here is the other side of our family room. I scored that table for $10. I was pretty excited, especially because I left my old one behind. Also I was able to get a great rug at a fun store called At Home. It's essential because the baby girl has fallen down on those floors and it's not fun.

Here are my two little helpers while the older boys are at school. I have been trying to work on my talents and take pictures in manual mode. It's so not my strength. But pictures make my heart happy so I am thinking I need to work on it.
I love little Yoda's smile is this one. We currently have about 7 light sabers out right now. His current obsession is light saber battles. Especially when Dad comes home. The baby girl's favorite thing is her tea set she got from her Grandma for her birthday.

Life is pretty grand. I love my new home. But I am missing my dear friends. I know this is where The Lord wants me to be. What a blessing I was asked to move to such a lovely place. I love driving by farms and cows and horses, without it smelling like cows and horses. I love our wonderful school. I love seeing the temple every day when I am driving about. I love the clouds and red rock. I love the great shopping and selection. And I really love the air conditioning. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Baby Girl's 1st birthday

Hello. Welcome to my little blog. I meant to start this two months ago when my family, following a prompting left beautiful Orange County, to move to Arizona. My sweet baby girl turned 1 this month. Turning one is always special. I love first birthdays!! They don't have to be big. They don't have to themed. But they do need to have cake for babies to play in. I always wait a whole year to give my babies sugar, so you can understand why eating the cake is my favorite part.
But this birthday was more than that.  Last spring my baby girl was diagnosed with Osteopetrosis. When she was born last year she was in the NICU for 3 weeks. It was really hard on the whole family. They let her go home but we didn't really know what the problem was. Then there was the endless doctor visits. CHOC was amazing. And we saw so many specialists. Then we were told about her condition. It's kinda like osteoporosis, only more rare. And instead of porous bones, her bones were really brittle. And not only would they petrify over time but they would stop performing their functions.  Her best bet was to get a bone marrow transplant and go through chemo. If not she most likely wouldn't live past two. 
She had a bone marrow test to find a match along with tons of other testing. She was so good at giving blood. She would just cry upon initial poking. Long story short we felt inspired to move even with all this going on. And days before we were to leave I get a call. Turns out she doesn't have Osteopetrosis. Genetic tests that took weeks and weeks came back negative. They don't know what is going on. She still needs be monitored and make sure it isn't anything else big. But she doesn't need a bone marrow transplant!
My little sweetheart wasn't going to be celebrating her birthday while going through chemo. She wasn't going to be in a hospital room, possibly not able to be around her 3 older brothers who she adores. (I was planning on decorating her hospital room) Her birthday party would celebrate her birthday and her life. That she is living and healthy. We had to travel to California to celebrate there. I wanted her to be surrounded by people who love her and adore her. People who have been praying for her and offering their bone marrow. Her birthday meant so much to be. And we are so thankful for wonderful family and friends who celebrated with us. Some of them traveling far. 

Of course I don't have nearly enough pictures of her party. But I am so thankful I was able to get some. Baby girl's little boyfriend from the NICU was able to be there which was so wonderful. He was there even longer than she was. And isn't her cake gorgeous??? One of our favorite babysitters made it for her, which made it even dearer to me. She liked eating her cake. She has made some huge strides in eating these past couple of months. I thought we might have to do pudding. 

I am so glad we were able to celebrate with her "One"derland party. She looked darling in her Alice dress I made for her. I love the book Alice in Wonderland. And I hope she develops a love for reading. I look forward to reading with her. 

Happy Birthday my beautiful girl. I have waited so long for a daughter. I am so thankful you are in my life. You are brave and strong and have gone through so much for being so small. You are such a joy to our family. Everyday is a gift with you. I am so thankful for everyday I get with you. I think you are such a miracle. I have been praying that you would have the gift to be healed. I am humbled and honored to be your mother. I know you will continue to be a light to our family and those around you. When I thought you might leave us sooner than I planned, I knew I could never be angry. Because I am just a steward. You really belong to our Heavenly Father. And whatever time I get with you, I will take and cherish it. I love you!!