Saturday, December 29, 2007

Waiting for One More

Until we get home from vacation, I can't post any of our fun family Christmas pictures. Until then, I want to share something I have been thinking a lot about this week.

As many, if not all, of you know, we prayerfully made the decision to adopt our next child. I am so glad that I had the privilege of being pregnant and giving birth, and desperately want that experience again. I now know why they call it the "miracle of birth" and I feel so fortunate and truly grateful that I have had the opportunity to experience that all first-hand. But I also feel blessed to be able to experience the gift of adoption. I can't imagine how hard it is for these birthmothers. It is a completely selfless act when they give their child to an adoptive family. I respect the birthmothers that can take an unexpected and scary situation and turn it into a blessing for others. Our family, certainly, will not be complete without someone else's loving sacrifice, for which we will be eternally grateful.

Right now, we are in the process of waiting for one more to enter our home. And the waiting process can feel discouraging. There are so many families that want to adopt a baby, and we are just one of those thousands. As more and more of our friends become pregnant (and we sincerely are happy and excited for you) it makes the "waiting" period feel a little longer. I feel like things are so out of our control at times (just like I'm sure many who can't seem to get pregnant must feel). I do believe, however, that the right child will come into our home, no matter how long that may take. I honestly believe that. And I've been blessed with opportunities to feel the Spirit remind me that this all is out of our control, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. And really, I would rather have God align everything for me, yet it's still hard to hand over the game controller and say "Here you go. Move me where you want, add another player when you want." Theoretically it sounds really easy, but in practice, I have found it to be a completely different experience. Recently as I have prayed for help in doing this, I have become a happier person. Funny how that works huh? You do what God wants and you're happier. I really do believe that Heavenly Father will direct our paths, and our birthmother's, so that those paths will cross. Holly and Chuck, Marcus's aunt and uncle, have adopted 2 kids and have had 2 children by birth. She explains it like this (Holly, I hope you don't mind me sharing this): "Before we came to this earth, we knew we would be a family. Some of you came to this earth by me, some of you by someone else. It doesn't matter what you look like or how you got here. Your spirits are the same and we are the family Heavenly Father wants us to be." Doesn't that just seem right? I believe that the baby that is supposed to be in our home will come and that the birthmother will recognize us when she sees us and reads about us. Whether the baby is black, white, boy, girl, tall, short, whatever -- the right one will find us.

In the meantime, we feel the need to look for that child. Maybe it just makes us feel better knowing we are doing something...because it is really hard to just sit and hope someone calls. We are telling everyone we know that we are waiting to adopt. Perhaps word will get around and a friend of a friend will know someone who is looking for a family for their child. Who knows. But until the day comes, we continue to pray for the birthmom and our new little baby, whoever that may be.

Our adoption profile is open to anyone who is interested in looking at it. Thank you all for your wonderful love and support.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

What Kind of World Do You Want

Last night I received an email from an old high school friend. In the email was a link to a video created by parents of an autistic little girl. Five for Fighting has a website that donates money to various charities each time one of these videos is viewed. Every time this particular video is viewed, 40 cents goes directly to Autism Awareness. (I have now linked this website 3 times in this blog should be able to find it without a problem.) Though Samantha doesn't have autism, I couldn't help but think of our little girl. When we found out we were pregnant, she was this perfect little child and we had so many hopes and dreams for her. Then, you find out things won't be exactly as planned. Your hopes and dreams are still there for your child, they just become different. You pray for each day -- for any small progress...a seizure-free day...and that she will be happy and healthy. We pray that she will stand and walk on her own. We pray that she will be surrounded by good people who will love her -- and not be cruel because of her set backs or physical appearance. We pray she will have supportive friends. We pray that she will know that we adore her, want what's best for her, and even though things may be hard for her, that we are forever by her side. We pray that she, above all, will be happy and optimisitic -- that she will know she is a child of a Heavenly Father who deeply loves her. I guess no matter what the situation is, we all want the same thing for our kids. Take a minute to view this video at least once. As Christmas quickly approaches, take some time to hug the ones you love a little longer.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Am Legend

"In the second he had felt no heartbeat beneath his trembling fingers, the core of his brain seemed to hav epetrified, sending out jagged lines of clcification until his head felt like stone. Slowly, on palsied legs, he had sunk down on the bed. And now, vaguely, deep in the struggling tissues of thought, he did not understand how he could sit there, did not understand why despari did not crush him to the earth. But prostration would not come. Time was caught on hooks and could not progress. Everything stood fixed. With Virginia, life and the world had shuddered to a halt."

"Slowly he dug, pushing the shovel into the soft earth, the bright sun pouring heat into the little clearing like molten air into a dish. Sweat ran in many lines down his cheeks and forehead as he dug, and the earth swam dizzily before his eyes. Newly thrown dirt filled his nostrils with its hot, pungent smell."

These are a couple reasons why I stayed up late to finish I Am Legend. Only 170 pages long, there was no logical reason for me to take longer than a few days to read the book. But, in my opinion, Matheson's writing was perfectly descriptive. His word choice and sentence fluency together makes for a easy, smooth, thrilling read. I was warned by my friend that this book had freaked her out in high school. So, I was prepared for sleepless nights upon beginning the read. A tale of vampires that seek fresh blood each night isn't quite the bedtime story that most would want to read, but I really liked it. I wasn't scared at all. It was intense, but did not scare me. The main character, Robert Neville, swollows his sadness away in too much whisky and is quick to anger. But I guess being the only human left on earth could lead to a touch of depression. It was violent at times, but the language was clean. I found the book to be clever and I didn't want to put it down. And though Marcus and Sam Mangum both will argue that the "movie is more accurate than the book" (very funny guys), I am planning on the movie being very different, which I know will disappoint me, but I'm sure will entertain.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Murder on a Girls' Night Out

No, this is not a confession, but rather the title of a book I recently finished reading. By Anne George, this fun, light murder mystery was easy and enjoyable to read. It wasn't extremely deep and thought provoking, just fun. I believe it is one in a series of books about 2 older southern sisters, Patricia Ann and Mary Alice, who find themselves stuck in situations of death...and despite their shock, fear, and southern polite dispositions, they help solve the mystery! It's quite fun. Thank you Peggy Green for recommending it while we were in California for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hair Galore

Well, there is one thing for sure that Samantha isn't lacking, and that's a full head of hair! On Friday we had her first successful ponytail. No clips, gel, hairspray, nothing. It was the real deal. I didn't get any good pictures of the ponytail, but I did get a good shot of her pigtails from a few days earlier. AH! So cute! (Even though the reflection on her bangs makes her look like she has one severe baby unibrow. ugh.)

Monday, December 3, 2007

My New Favorite

This is my new favorite Daddy/Daughter picture. So cute -- both of them.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Wedding for Rose

The weekend before Thanksgiving I had the wonderful opportunity to fly out to Atlanta for my friend's wedding. Rose has been one of my closest friends since our days in the MTC. She is kind, patient, and a sincerely good friend. Plus she's a hoot! In the MTC and in our room during our days at BYU, we often stayed up all night laughing. She's simply great. She's one of those people that you just want them to experience great, happy, wonderful things. So, not only was I thrilled for her, but it was, quite honestly, a blast! I ...

* rented a car and was upgraded to amazing mini SUV with GPS
* stayed in a room with 2 of my old roommates (and 2 babies -- Samantha and Reid)
* stayed up way too long whispering (so we wouldn't wake up the lil' ones)
* laughed through the night (which is hard to do when you are trying to laugh quietly)
* witnessed a beautiful sealing
* hung out with 2 of Rose's other good friends and, can I just say, I love Nikki and Jessy
* got 5 hours asleep Friday and Saturday night combined -- OUCH
* danced the night away

I could not be happier for Rose. Daniel is so great and you could just see the love oozing out of their ears! :) Yeah for love!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Life's "ups"

While Jenny usually updates our blog (for which I am very grateful), I felt a need to add an entry of my own. Everyone has their "ups" and "downs" in life. We've had ours and you've had yours. Let me just say that I'm grateful for the "ups". This was particularly true of this past weekend, and if you'll indulge me a bit, I'd like to explain. I have a wonderful wife who adds vibrant color to my sometimes grayscale life. I have a darling little girl who loves her Daddy and helps me understand how blessed I really am. We are healthy, have good friend and a fantastic family. However, things got just a little better over the weekend.

This weekend, Karma seemed to align with fate, and for a time, all was perfect in this world. In addition to my wonderful family, the BYU basketball team upset the #6 Louisville Cardinals on Friday night, propelling them into the national spotlight. On Saturday, the BYU football team used a little of last year's magic to complete a 4th and 18 pass to keep a game winning touchdown drive alive, lifting them above a good and formidable Utah team. For those few twinkling hours after the football game on Saturday and before some of the more mundane realities of life once again took hold, there was nothing wrong in this world.

Looking back, it seems a little immature of me to place a couple of games in the same category as my perfect family, but I have to admit, I still smile a little bit when I think about them.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thank You BYU Cougars

A big Thank You to our football team for helping me maintain a happy marriage with my husband by winning the game tonight! During the 4th quarter, I was getting a little nervous, gave a few screams myself - startling Samantha, but alas, you pulled through. Thank You once again, for Marcus came home with a large grin and has been floating ever since. What a perfect home game with which to end. Thank you, gracias, and koszonom from the bottom of these loyal fans' hearts.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

True Love

Tonight as Samantha sleeps in bed and I wait for Marcus to get home, I decided to watch an episode of Oprah. (I love Tivo.) And, though I always seem to be making some reference to something I saw on a recent show, or even one from years past, I argue that it is always good information I pass along. Tonight, I watched about couples in love, hearing their love stories and how they have managed to stay so deeply in love while a majority of the world only dreams of that, but doesn't quite believe it's possible, and I of course thought of Marcus.

Grant Hill and his wife Tamia shared how it was the little things that they love about each other...and I thought, about Marcus's "little things" like:

washing the dishes * giving me a hug * wrestling with Samantha * washing the clothes * taking out the trash * picking up Samantha's toys * smiling * making a ridiculous joke that only he laughs at * folding clothes * scratching my back * calling during the day * wiping off the stove * letting me take a nap or sleep in * waking up extra early so I can shower before he leaves for work * complimenting my hair * letting me cry * cheering me up * talking late in night in bed * calling me pretty * loving me * etc * etc * etc *

There are 1,000,000 little things that make up who he is. And over the course of our marriage, I have fallen more and more in love. The past 2 years has certainly had its ups and downs, but Marcus is one of my constants. With an attempt to try not to be too cheesy, I can simply say that I love him so much and feel blessed to be his wife.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Good Reads

While visiting family this summer, I was able to do some recreational reading -- something that I haven't been able to do for quite a while. I began reading Band of Brothers which I was really enjoying. Marcus really enjoys WWII history, and so this was a book that I agreed to read. Though I got tangled up in some of the war-time lingo, the story was captivating. I was intrigued with the courage of these men and the brotherhood they created. However, that reading took a brief break because while in California, Peggy introduced me to Twilight. This was definitely her kind of book with the cute vampire, etc. I wasn't sure about it, quite honestly, because that normally doesn't really interest me. To my dismay, when I started reading, I couldn't put it down. Twilight is a little too high school with the girl completely obsessed with the mysterious boy. And as annoying as it was, I found myself passing Samantha off to everyone in the house so I could finish the book. She was content playing with Grammy, Bumpa, her aunts and uncles, and I didn't put the book down until I finished it that night. When we got to Michigan, continued to put Band of Brothers on hold; I found it completely necessary to go out and buy New Moon, which is the 2nd book in the Twilight series. I finished this book equally as fast. The house wasn't as full of people to watch Samantha, so I found myself staying up extra late at night, but it was worth it. I have my problems with the protagonist. There seems to be some inconsistencies. And I have found that you are either an Edward or Jacob fan -- there is no in between. I'm all Edward. I can give my explanations why upon request. I look forward to reading Eclipse in December when I have more time again. So, what ever happened to Band of Brothers? A couple months after getting back to Utah, I finished the book. It only took so long because I could only read it 15 minutes at a time. I really really liked it. It was a truly inspiring book (for me at least). For those of you familiar with the History Channel, they periodically run the mini-series Band of Brothers which was directed by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. I found that the series was close to the book. I have a few more books that I want to read, but I can't reveal those yet, as they are a part of Marcus's Christmas present. Anyway, it's always nice to have a good read.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Tinkerbell, Wendy, and Captain Hook. What a trio! Halloween party anyone?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Tribute to Scott D. Green on his Birthday

A few weeks ago, after watching The Office, I was laying in bed thinking about how Michael wanted to buy Ryan Oh the Places You'll Go. I then started to think about a recent conversation I had with the said birthday boy. The creative juices began to flow and at midnight, I began writing until I was finished. This tribute was inspired by The Office, Scotty, and of course, Dr. Seuss.

Oh The Places You've Gone

by Jenny Green

Sometimes when you feel like you've been beat,
I suggest you take a look at your feet.
Mr. Right and Mr. Left have taken you far
Whether by walking, running, or driving your car.

In 26 years you've done a whole lot
You've laughed
You've loved
You've watched iRobot.

You've danced
You've pranced
You've flipped in the air
You've let many people know just how much you care.

You haven't died!
Now that's a big deal.
When others have cried,
You've helped them with zeal!

You're a smart clever man
You know your ABC's.
You do all you can
To avoid infectious disease.

You've lived in Honduras
Only few can say that.
You've taken care of your health
So you haven't gotten too fat.

You lived with Marcus, Spencer, Bart, Matt, Zach, and Bryn
In a house where no rent was collected,
Wow! What a win!

You've written songs
Read lots of books
Critiqued movies galore
No argument could possibly prove
your life's been a bore.

You're a son, a brother, an uncle, a friend,
You're life is just getting started,
This is nowhere near the end.

Oh Scotty, the places you've gone.

From Cali to Utah to Washington DC
You've even crossed over a big mighty sea....

To Taiwan of all places
My stars that is grand!
Really, can anyone say your life is bland?

And boy have you learned,
I'll assume quite a lot,
From reading to driving
and connecting the dots.

And what about Scouts?
Oh man, what a pain,
but just think of all the fortitude you gained.

Many a girl I'm sure have changed your life,
But only one near perfect girl will be your wife.
I say "near perfect" because no one can be
As kind, generous, and perfect as me!
But she will come, I 110% guarantee.

Of course there are places
You don't want to go again.
'Cause it'd feel like you're stabbing yourself
with a sharp fountain pen!
But that is A-OK because this is your show,
If you need a reminder, just look at your toe.
Mr. Right and Mr. Left have taken you far,
Whether by walking, running, or driving a car.

Oh the places you've gone
And you'll only continue to go
"Forward," "onward," "sally forth" you'll scream!
Because your heart deep inside
Still wants all your dreams!

Happy Birthday Scotty!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Brrrrr! Go Cougs!

BYU vs. Eastern Washington. We were pretty much expected to win, and I wanted to go to the game. Our neighbor had an extra ticket. How convienent. It was a little chilly, but I thought, "Samantha hasn't grown that much. I'm sure she'll fit into her snow clothes from last year." About 15 minutes before we left, I tried to fit her small 16 month frame into a 0-3 month snowsuit. It was a definite no go. I was really disappointed, but it was too cold for Samantha to go without being bundled up. This was to be Samantha's first live BYU game. Marcus and Colin left without us, and Samantha and I headed straight to Shopko. They were having a sale, and I got Samantha a winter coat for $10 and snow pants for $8. I got her some shoes to wear, which actually are slippers (but she's not standing or walking yet anyway. I just needed something to keep her feet warm.) and some mittens. At half time, we headed up to the stadium. I know she's only 14 pounds, but 14 pounds is heavy when you are running to the stadium while carrying her in the Baby Bjorn! So, we get to the stadium and my shoulders are killing me and I'm sweating. Marcus, is shivering, literally shivering all over because he is freezing and Uncle Colin took Samantha off my shoulders for a rest.

3rd quarter. BYU's looking good and things are great. Samantha's all bundled, warm, and smiling. Then, the snow hits. A lot of people start leaving, but Samantha and I just got there, and I'm still recovering. But this snow has no mercy. It's really coming down. At the end of the 3rd quarter, I decide Samantha and I should probably head back. I was worried about her getting cold, even though she seemed warm enough. On the way back, there was so much snow, at times it was hard to see. I had Samantha facing me to help keep her warmer and dry, and it seemed to work. By the time we got home, though, my jeans were completely wet, my shoes were soaked, and Samantha's cheeks were bright red. Was it worth it to see one quarter of a football game? I'd have to say...Samantha was ok, I was ok...most definitely worth it!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What Kind of Icecream are You?

Mint chocolate chip has been my favorite for as long as I can remember -- but coffee? Not so much. Despite our icecream personality differences, somehow Marcus and I still ended up together! Amazing.


Mint chocolate chip ice cream wakes up people's taste buds, and you do the same thing when you walk into a room. The chocolatey bits represent your sweet, flirtatious side, and the minty flavor represents your high energy level. You are smart, witty, and you make a great first impression. Your friends value your advice, because you tend to see things from a fresh new perspective.

Compared to other ice creams, coffee ice cream has a strong flavor, and it's packed with caffeinated sweetness. You're like that, too! You're always busy, and determined to stay focused as you move from one task to the next. You get frustrated when other people slow you down or hold you back, but when you're in control, you can find ways around any obstacle.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mama Made New Shoes

With Samantha's orthopedic braces (DAFOS), she has to wear shoes. To do so, we had to buy a size 6! Ridiculous. I recently went to DI and found some sandals. Because the DAFOS make everything a bit thicker, I couldn't strap the velcro across. So, being the wise and talented mother that I am, I bought some pink velcro and sewed it on. I think these will work much better!



Thursday, October 18, 2007

Foundation for Children with Microcephaly

As a part of my desire to learn more about microcephaly, I have engaged myself in a new project. A couple months ago, Marcus's Aunt Arlene sent me an email with a website about a darling little girl with microcephaly. I looked through the photographs and read her story online. I then found a link to Foundation for Children with Microcephaly (FCM). FCM was started by this little girl's mother, Jenni, who wanted to create a support group of sorts for families coping and dealing with all the struggles that involve microcephaly. I was so excited to find this site. Jenni wants to hold the first annual convention for FCM in June 2008 where specialists, doctors, geneticists, etc will be there to speak with us about the condition, research, and resources. I immediately made a plan to attend.

I emailed Jenni right away and told her of my desire to get involved. I feel like this convention is so important to the microcephalic community, as distant as we all are from each other, and told her that I wanted to start writing letters to companies to try to raise money for it. She, of course, was thrilled that I wanted to do that. But, I wanted to do more. So, officially, as of Tuesday, I am the Utah State Representative for FCM. This means I am the contact person for anybody who lives in UT and needs help. I can make home and hospital visits if needed/requested. I help families know about services available to them. I contact pediatricians, neurologists, and specialists throughout the state to let them know of the foundation so if they have a patient with microcephaly, they can refer them to us. I also am responsible for fundraising. It's a great support system for these families. When we found out about Samantha, I would have loved to have a specific person I could contact to ask questions about what it's like to live with this, what to expect, etc. I'm so so very excited to be a part of this.

There is a link to the website on our blog. My email address hasn't been posted yet, but should be soon. BUT, Samantha's picture is on the website. Go to the website and you should see her on the page. You won't miss her!

I am just really grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this and help other families. I can't wait to get my first email, whenever that may be. In the meantime, I'm busy going to doctors' offices and writing letters.

If you are interested in donating to FCM, let me know and I can help you arrange that. FCM is a recognized charity, so it is tax deductible.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hmmm...a Bit Strange

As many, if not all, of you know, I taught high school English for 2 years. I decided to give up teaching, salary, and benefits in order to stay home with Samantha. Though I love being home with her, I would like to still use the training that I have to bring in a little extra money. So, I decided to tutor. I've gone to the schools and talked with teachers and the counselors, but I also posted my information on craigslist. I love craigslist. (Sidenote: I have made a few hundred dollars selling things on craigslist! It's great.)

The next day, I received an email from a man (whose name is Marcus) who said his son would be in UT for the month of October. He is from London and his email was in broken English. He wanted to make sure his son, while "vacationing," still stayed on track. Marcus, not my husband but the father I received the email from, told me that his son, Peter, had a guardian out here and that guardian would drive Peter to my home everyday for one hour. Wow! I was pretty excited. So I emailed him back and told him that that would be great. I told him how much I charged per hour, etc.

The next day I received another email in which he wanted to arrange the payment. He wanted to pay it all at once and he was going to wire it to me. In order to do that, he would need my full name and address. The plan, though, was that he was going to send me a lot of money, and the extra money was to be given to the guardian to pay for his son's other expenses. Hmmm Why would he send me all the money and not the guardian? It seemed a little strange. Plus, I had had questions about the tutoring arrangement that he hadn't answered. I emailed Marcus back and politely told him that I would prefer he send all the money to the guardian and the guardian could give me my share of the money -- thus, I didn't have to send my address. (I was never planning on meeting this boy at my apartment. We were going to meet at Provo Library.) I haven't heard from him since.

On Sunday Marcus, my husband, and I were talking about this situation, and it occurred to me how I seriously could have just dodged a HUGE bullet! How scary. What if we had to deal with identity theft? Or even worse, my neighbor pointed out to me, what if he was some weirdo and just wanted my address and was going to come over here!? That just creeps me out.

I share this on our blog because I think it's important. It was a very innocent thing. This man had a son and wanted me to tutor him. But there was something that said, "This doesn't seem right." I'm grateful that I listened to that. A lot of times we say that we learn from our mistakes. I agree with that. There are times, however, when we don't have to make a mistake to learn a lesson. In this case, I'm glad that I didn't have to learn from an experience gone wrong, and that I could learn simply by making the right choice.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Though Mom and Dad have been taking care of you while I've been away in UT, you will still always be my 'lil pup. I love you.

1992 - 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Good News for Sammy

Monday was a hard day for both me and Marcus. Even though I felt peaceful about Samantha's situation, I was very emotional all day. I felt like things would work out, but was really emotional every time I thought about her. That night, when I went to bed, I had a hard time unwinding from the day. I took out Samantha's scrapbook, looked at all the pictures, read her life story that I had documented, and read her baby blessing, followed by her great grandpa's blessing. After all of that, I felt so confident that she would be ok. It was as if someone said, "Tomorrow you will wake up." And, because it's such an obvious statement, I would say "Well, of course I will." It was that same feeling. "Samantha will be fine." "Of course she will be." After so many days of worry, concern, and too much emotional outlet, I felt a very strong confidence that all would be fine.

The next day we had a doctor appointment with Dr. Siddiqi (plastic surgeon) and Dr. Walker (neurosurgeon). This was a routine after surgery check up. Dr. Siddiqi said that because her brain hasn't grown at all, her skull has fallen back to where it was previously. As a part of the surgery, he had pushed her skull out a little to create room. Her brain has not filled up that space, and so the skull has gone back to where it used to be. This isn't great, but if her brain does begin to grow, then her skull will grow back out again.

We then met with Dr. Walker. I asked him about Samantha and her brain not growing. He gave me some very encouraging words. I've told this so many times, I think I remember those key phrases he used...He said:

Generally microcephalics have a shorter life span or comprised quality of life because there are other issues. (troubles eating, moving, etc) Samantha doesn't have any other issue, besides the seizures. This could be a problem if she goes status (goes into a seizure and never comes out of it) or if she aspirates while seizing. These could all be problems, but they are uncommon. Samantha doesn't fit the peg-hole of a typical microcephalic. They are usually severely mentally retarded, and Samantha isn't retarded -- she's delayed, but not retarded. She is healthy, interactive -- certainly doing much more than anyone ever expected. She is amazing. Head size doesn't determine life expectancy, it's the other issues involved. She really is amazing.

With that said, I believe it's the seizure problem that Annie was concerned about. But, I really do feel like we'll get that under control somehow, sometime. Those words brought so much peace, and it reconfirmed the feelings I had had the night before. I walked out of that doctor office feeling like my child was the smartest, brightest, most interactive, and amazing child in the world! I know that technically that's not true, but in my world she sure is. Thank you so much for your continual prayers and support. We know that there will still be ups and downs, but for now, we can all enjoy this up.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Greener Side of the Fence

I have had the opportunity to think a lot the past few days. Two weeks ago, while laying in bed, I thought about all our problems, concerns, worries, etc. But then, I started thinking about all these blessings that we have. I couldn't believe how much we have! And then the thought occured to me: "They always say the grass is greener on the other side...but I do live on the greener side." Allow me to share why our life is so great:

* I have a great husband
* He is kind
* He is patient
* He is smart
* He makes me laugh
* He shares my burdens with me
* I'm excited to see him when he gets home from work
* Samantha is a perfectly amazing daughter
* She is adorable
* She is fun
* She is starting to stand
* She is a good eater
* She is sleeping better
* She makes me laugh
* I make her laugh
* She's my little princess
* God lives
* He knows me, Marcus, and Samantha
* We have a great support system -- amazing family and friends
* We get to travel and see family fairly regularly
* Marcus has a job
* I get to stay at home with Samantha

And these are just a few. As I think about Samantha's life, I admit my feelings have waivered back and forth between feelings of peace and feelings of extreme sadness. I do not want her to leave this life, ever. I'm not ready to let her go. But then I'm reminded that, first of all, I don't have to let her go anytime in the near future. Yes, we don't know how long we have with her, but we most likely have at least a couple more years. Secondly, and more importantly, our family will be together forever. She will one day be made whole and we will always, always be together. She will always be my princess. She will always make me laugh. She will always light up the room when she enters. She will always have a mother, father, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who adore her. She will always have our hearts. And in terms of eternal life, this earthly life is pretty short. So, I say, my life is pretty amazing. My life is pretty full and it's emerald green.
Samantha eating her pear.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Friday, October 5, 2007

Prayers Needed

It seems like just when things start looking up, something happens that throws us off. On Tuesday night, Annie (Samantha's occupational therapist) came over. She discussed with us the fact that when a child's head stops growing, it typically results in low life expectancy. With microcephaly, the head size is smaller, but it still continues to grow. Samantha's head hasn't grown in about 12 months now. This has always been a cause of concern for us, but we were just happy that she was progressing. We had been told that this was the most important thing. However, as much as she has surprised the doctors and specialists with her development, this doesn't necessarily overshadow the fact that her head isn't growing. Over 33 years of experience, Annie said she has never had a microcephalic child with such a small head, but she has also never had one that developed and learned so quickly. She said, "Hands down, Samantha is further in her development." That is comforting to a degree. I talked to our pediatrician who said, "I don't think we're talking days, weeks, even months...but I don't think you have years." Annie told us of a family who had 4 children with microcephaly. 3 of those died. The youngest was 6. It's painful to think of our family without Samantha. She has made a permanent mark on our hearts forever. But, until we know more, we don't want to think about her dying.

In the meantime, we ask our family and friends to continue praying for her. It's important that we control the seizures. Because her brain is so small, it is quite possible that these are harming her. It's important that her brain grow. We are praying that those 2 things will happen, but that we also will be led to the right doctors, medicine, or whatever else may help her. For those of you able and willing, we will be having a fast for her the first Sunday of November, praying for those things, as well as strength, increased faith that God has a specific plan for her, and that we can align our will with His, 100%.

Samantha has changed our lives in so many ways. She truly brings so much happiness, light, and love into our little home.

Adoption Pictures

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Recent Cute Pictures of Sammy


One problem that Samantha faces because of her condition is tense muscles. She is always holding her muscles really tight. We have been working with her physical and occupational therapist on this since she was born, and she has come a long way. But she still tends to stand on her toes. To fix that, Samantha was fitted for a pair of orthopedic braces, called DAFOs, which she wears about 2 hours a day (at least for now). Already I have seen improvement in her stability while she stands. These force her feet flat down. Now, here's the trick -- she needs to wear them with shoes. In order to find a pair of shoes that fit over the DAFOs, we had to get her a size 6.5 shoe! We think she looks sooo darling when she's doing her excersizes in these. What a doll. The first picture is of her in her gear. In the second, she pulled herself up to standing and was actually standing flat foot -- both feet flat foot! -- while "playing the piano." Yippee!

Sleeping Better and Eating Healthy

Though it feels much longer, we've only been back from our tavels for 3 weeks. Since we've been back in Utah, Samantha has been sleeping horribly - until a few nights ago. She was waking up at least 4 times a night, and that's just not healthy for anyone. But, the past few nights, when she wakes up, we let her cry it out and it seems to be doing the trick. She cries for a little bit and falls back to sleep. What a relief for all of us. AND, her naps during the day are getting better too. I think she may be down to one nap a day, but they are typically 2-3 hours long. That, too, is an amazing relief. I hated struggling with her to get her to sleep. Now, it seems like it's working out. We are a much happier Green family.

Also, when Marcus and I got home, we decided we would follow the famous Dr. Oz's suggestions on eating. He says to eliminate saturated fats, trans fats, "enriched" flours, and refined sugars. We went through our refridgerator and cabinets and sadly gave away our yummy bad-for-you-food to our neighbors who accepted it all with open arms! Honestly, I thought this was going to be a lot harder than it is. We cheat occassionaly. If we are at a friend's home and they cook something that we "can't" eat, we do. We can't be rude afterall. So, we've had a few cookies here and there. We eat a lot more fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. We had tried eating healthy before, but this time it seems to be really sticking. I believe our commitment is stronger this time. I mean, we threw out our good food! That's dedication. I'm not sure it I've lost weight, but I feel like my clothes are fitting a little differently, and I just feel good knowing that I'm doing good things for my body. We've tried a few of Dr. Oz's recipes that he offers in his book, and so far so good. I've come up with some of my own -- so don't fear, we're still eatin' well!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sweet Girl

I love this picture of our sweet little girl. She looks so mischievous
with her little lips pursed together.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Back in Utah

Wow. It seems like we have been gone forever, and that is probably because we have. Samantha and I were gone for 6 weeks, and man did her hair grow during that time! Marcus was able to take 4 weeks off, which was nice for me, but I think anxiety provoking for him. He has a lot of work he's doing and catching up on, but it was worth it to be with family. Samantha was, of course, a hit in both California and Michigan.

Evidence of Samantha's extreme hair growth!

In California she seemed to be in performance mode. She began climbing up stairs, trying to stand, playing the piano, and even breaking a bowl while Mom fed her. I guess I was going too slow because she started flailing her arms and next thing we all hear is a loud crash. She knocked the bowl right out of my hands and it shattered across the floor. Oops. I was comforted seeing Marcus's mom, affectionately called "Grammy", laughing at the entire scene. Samantha enjoyed her first merry-go-round ride in San Francisco (Pier 39) thanks to Uncle Chris.

Samantha received her first black eye while visiting her family. Luckily the crying stopped as soon as she was held by her mommy. While taking a bath in the kitchen sink, she was determined to bite the faucet. She pulled and grabbed, and tried to bite....but slipped and bumped her eye. Bumpa -- (Grandpa) -- don't worry, we won't blame you forever. Afterall, it was bound to happen sometime.

Marcus and I were also able to relax a little bit by sleeping in, watching Transformers, and going to the Archery Range with Chris.

During the trip, we were happy to be able to meet up with some family. We spent a day with the Ashworth's and the Boal's. I hadn't seen my uncle and his family since we got married, so it really was a treat to spend time with them. We are looking forward to getting to know Molly and Conor, and the whole crew, a bit better.

Michael Ashworth Uncle Brian, Aunt Margaret, Marcus, Jenny, Conor, Samantha, and Molly

In Michigan Samantha had a few big firsts. Within a few days of being in MI, we had a classic Michigan storm. The sky quickly became dark, the wind started blowing, the thunder and lightning began, and it poured rain. Marcus, Samantha, and I watched the storm from the front porch.

It wouldn't have been Michigan without spending time at the beach -- so that's what we did. Though the water was too cold for me, Marcus enjoyed swimming to the dock with Ian and Lindsay and jumping off the platforms. Samantha had her first tube ride behind Grandpa's boat with cousins Ian and Lindsay. As I held her, she would look back at me and giggle. It may have been a nervous giggle, but it was a giggle nonetheless! She also went to the zoo for the first time. That was quite a treat. But the most fun was just being with her Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Lisa, Uncle Adam, and cousins Ian, Lindsay, and Alex.

To celebrate how much Ian read through the summer, we went to Chuck E. Cheese's! Wow was that fun. Ok, Samantha didn't really care. But it was fun for us.

When I was little, I had one doll -- only one because most dolls scared me. Samantha began playing with this doll and I couldn't help but think they both looked alike -- maybe it was a massive amounts of hair, but it was cute to see them "play together."

6 weeks is a long time to be gone, so a part of me was ready to get settled again. But it still was very difficult to leave and start life, start responsibility, and start cooking again! (Thanks for all the great meals.) Yes, tears were shed upon leaving. We loved being surrounded by and catching up with family. Now it's time to get the oil changed, change the transmission fluid, deep clean the apartment, clean the carpet, continue to baby-proof the place, scrapbook our vacation, reupholster a chair, buy a picture frame for our family picture (thank you Jeff Allen), etc., etc., etc. Sheesh. I'm tired just thinking about it!


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