Monday, November 24, 2008

Cutting Hair

Marcus has often asked me to cut his hair. I have always lovingly refused. His hair isn't an easy buzz cut. But, last night I did it. For those of you who know the clipper lingo, we didn't go shorter than a 5, so it wasn't too short. But, there was a surprising amount of hair that was on the floor when I was done. It wasn't a disaster, so we may invest in some clippers. It'll save money in the long run. Marcus is really excited because he now believes I can be his official barber. I think he's happier just thinking about the fact he doesn't have to schedule haircuts anymore -- something he feel is a waste of money and time. Now, it's not perfect, that's for sure. But I didn't really mess anything up too badly. That's the key. This means his hair is now in the mercy of my hands. Oh the possibilities!

It doesn't look like there's much change here, but I really did cut off quite a bit.





It looks a little crooked at the bottom, but I assure you it's not -- I think.
He's got a small cowlick there, so it goes up in the middle. Actually,
I'll have to double check that when he gets home today from work.

Crazy Jenny with the clippers. This was my before shot.
I was preparing to hear a lot of this at Thanksgiving:
"Marcus, what happened to your hair?"
"Jenny cut it."

Here I am feeling a bit more confident with the scissors
and clippers in hand. Who's next?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Open, Close

This is what Sammy does all day long. If it's not the cupboards, it's the bedroom doors. (Please excuse the mess. Samantha and Callie got into some boxes of stuff I have to put away. That was Monday, and I still haven't done anything about it. I'll get to it, tomorrow.)

This is also a picture that I took of Samantha yesterday. There's something about it that I just love -- a certain glow, a certain angelic essence to it. She's just walking to me from the hall, but in that moment I feel like something else was captured. Maybe it's her eyes, or her hair how it perfectly frames her face and the cute little curls at the end, or her pretty little rosey lips. I just think, as her biased mom, that she looks so pretty, so pure and absolutely delightful. The other picture of Sammy that I really like is on the right hand column -- in her striped sweater. Marcus's dad had said something about that picture that, of course, made me cry. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing it, but he had said that that picture was a glimpse of what Sammy would look like perfected. I guess I feel a little that way about this picture. Her perfect spirit shines through those eyes and little grin and this is a glimpse of what our little Sammy will look like when her body is perfected. We are so blessed to have her. What a sweetheart.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Water Therapy

Yesterday Samantha started water therapy. For 10 weeks, she'll be in the pool every Tuesday at noon. She loved it. Samantha loves water, so I wasn't too concerned about that. Unfortunately, the little boy she has therapy with wasn't so thrilled about the water at first. But he warmed up to it and started smiling before long. The water is very warm and cozy. I didn't go in the pool, but I may in the future. We'll see how I feel about getting in a suit. Leanne, her water therapist, is working on the same thing that her physical therapist is working on -- on land. Trunk strength and flexibility. Sammy has abs of steel. We all know that. But her core is almost too strong as it dominates every movement. Because of that, she doesn't have much back strength and she doesn't allow herself to rotate from side to side. If she wants to see something, she moves her entire body instead of being able to just twist. So, they are working on that.

The water has a natural calming affect which allows the body to relax a bit. The added buoyancy also helps when making movement. People can easily correct a movement without falling or stumbling as much.

One thing that Samantha is in constant need of is bodily input. That is one reason she is always bouncing, jumping, and loving hard, physical play. That also explains why she can't keep things out of her mouth. She's in constant need of oral input. So the wrestling, the chewing on everything -- not only is that fun for her, but it's what she needs. I don't quite understand it yet, but every therapist we've met and worked with has discussed that with me. Water gives her that constant input on her body -- and all over her body, which is possibly one reason she loves it.

Leanne said the session went really well -- that she saw big improvements from the beginning of the session to the end. Meaning: When Leanne began putting Sammy in certain positions, she would fight it at first. By the end of the hour, Samantha was responding immediately the positions, as she should. Yeah! Water therapy has been known to have dramatic results, while, of course, some take much longer to respond. Hopefully this will be a therapy Sammy continues to enjoy and that will help her in her progress.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Amish Grace -- by Donald Kraybill, Steven Nolt, and David Weaver-Zercher

Amish Grace was introduced to me by from friend Amanda. When we moved to Spokane, I realized that our women's organization in my church did not have a book club. I thought this was insane. Every Relief Society needs a book club. So, I took it upon myself to start one. (Of course I had to do that didn't I?) Not knowing the personalities of the women in our congregation, I spoke to Amanda. She suggested a book she was currently reading, Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy. I am quite glad we read it -- and now am nervous because I know many other women read it as well and will be coming to the afore mentioned book club. (I really hope I can pull this off.)

The book discusses the Nickel Mine School shootings, which many of you will remember. On October 2, 2006, a 32 year old man who was clearly upset and disturbed, entered a one room Amish school house. He demanded that the adults and boys leave the school house. After some time, he then shot 10 girls execution-style, killing 5. I clearly remember watching the news during that week and one Amish grandfather struck me deeply. He spoke about forgiving the man who shot his granddaughter. There was also a story of a man telling his children, as they stood next to their sisters coffin, that they shouldn't have hate toward the man who killed their sister, and his daughter. I heard that and cried. The book is about this -- forgiveness. It discusses the events that occurred that tragic day, but it more thoroughly discusses how the Amish could forgive in such a time of pain. It explains some history and their doctrine.

Amish Grace was interesting, but more importantly, it gave me the opportunity to reflect on me. How willing am I to quickly forgive? And do it sincerely? I am a Christian. How Christian-like do I live my life? Though I felt that some of the book was a bit repetitive, I really enjoyed the affect its words had on me. I recommend it.

Watch Bill Moyers here. He has a great book review with images and video. It's well done and shows the spirit of the book better than I can.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Therapy and Walking

Callie all smiles.

This is more of an informational video here. The first is of Samantha in physical therapy yesterday. She is wearing Theratogs. This is the suit that I've told you family members about. It helps her stand up straighter and use the right muscles. She is going to be getting one to wear at home all day. Hopefully I can put it on correctly. It really seems complicated. Echo, her PT, has been so good with Samantha. Echo tried a bigger suit size on Samantha yesterday because she wants to get one for her that will last -- even though Samantha's growth rate is really slow. I like the smaller one better because it fits more closely to her body. It was like a baby wet suit. This one seems to gap a little by her shoulders, so it may be more visible under her clothes. But, oh well. The video is dark because I was taping through a tinted window. We have found that when I'm in there with Sammy, she gets upset and wants me. But, if I'm standing outside and watching, she can't see me through the window, and she's much more compliant. At this moment they are working on shifting weight from side to side. This isn't an exciting clip, but my other option was of Echo making Samantha crawl up the stairs properly and Samantha starting to cry. She really enjoys her therapy, so I didn't want to have her on our blog crying, as if she were being tortured!

Callie likes playing on the physical therapy equipment while we wait for Samantha. There's a room across the hallway that she always wanders into. It's a fun little play room for her while I watch Samantha's therapy and try to learn what to do at home. Luckily this room is pretty baby safe already, so no worries. And the ground is padded all the way around, so if she does stumble, there's a bit extra cushion for her.

The second video is just of Callie walking around while we wait for Samantha's PT. Callie has been extremely, EXTREMELY fussy the past couple days, so I'm glad I got some happiness from her. She's getting hit with a few teeth coming in and it's really causing some problems for her. Poor girl.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

FREE Photo Books!

In case you missed it, yesterday on Oprah Peter Walsh was on talking about how to clean up the clutter in your home. I love those episodes because it always motivates me to throw out some more stuff.

Here's the great news. is offering a FREE, $30 value, photo book that you create yourself with your pictures. Check out this website and get on it. You only have until midnight tomorrow. The holiday season is right around the corner and this is a great gift idea. Quick quick quick!

All is Fair in Love, War, and High School -- by Janette Rallison

Overall, I would have to say that All is Fair in Love, War, and High School was a fun book. It was extremely light. E X T R E M E L Y light. This was one of the authors at the BYU Writing Workshop that I attended this past year. I bought 2 books from Janette Rallison because I really liked her. She was very engaging and down to earth. I also felt, based on our discussions, her presentations, and her reading that she had a similar style to my writing. Or, so I thought. I thought it would be easy for me to write chick lit. And not just easy, but fun. I had started a few things with this type of voice -- stereotypical high school cheerleader-esque. That's when I took the workshop. After the workshop, however, I began writing more and realized that is NOT what I'm interested in. So, I have these 2 books that I felt I had wasted money on. Happy was I when I discovered it wasn't a waste of my money. It was fun. There's not much more I can say about that. I was happy with the ending -- there is definite change in Samantha, the main character, and there's a good lesson learned. Along the way, funny things happen that make you feel for her. And it's good because it's funny stuff, and perhaps a bit over the top, but not too much. I mean, you can really see it happening. It was a fun read. Would I rush out and recommend it to all to read? Nope. But it was clean, funny, light, fast, and enjoyable nonetheless.

Your Inner Physician and You -- by. John E. Upledger

Your Inner Physician and You was first introduced to me in January 2008. While in Michigan with Callie, we visited a doctor for Samantha. He recommended trying craniosacral therapy. This, of course, was an alternative therapy. No promises were made, however, it was strongly recommended. I figured, it couldn't hurt.

I set up an appointment with Michelle Mintz, an OT turned CST (craniosacral therapist) and life coach. She suggested doing a session with me so I would understand what she was doing with Samantha. I did that session. It was very relaxing, calming, emotionally purging experience. I can't really explain it, but I felt a rush of emotion leave me. It was, I don't know, very refreshing.

Samantha began her sessions. While we were in Michigan, Samantha did 2 sessions a week. I immediately saw changes. She was calmer and more attentive. Even if this new therapy didn't help with the seizures, I liked the fact that she seemed to be able to concentrate better.

I became increasingly interested in this therapy. Michelle suggested, and gave me, this book. It gives the history and explains it all in very conversational language. Of course it's an overview, so there are other books with a lot more detail that goes deeper into the science of it all, but it was a very interesting read. Though I read the book in January, I hadn't posted about it because I was kind of embarrassed. Some, like Marcus, may consider it all to be "weird." Normally I wouldn't care too much, but I really did care about this.

We have been doing CST with Samantha since January. Over the course of 10 months, we have seen a change in her seizures. They come far less often and are much less severe. Because of this, we have been able to decrease her medication to where she is only on 2 medications. We haven't had to use her emergency medication in 8 months (which at one point we were using at least once a month). Other things have occurred as well. She sleeps better at night, is progressing cognitively, and is in an overall better mood and is more independent. I don't believe that her CST is the only reason for some of these things. Over 10 months, of course we would hope for Samantha that some of these things should naturally occur anyway -- sleeping patterns, development, etc. But, I do believe that the CST has helped her. It most definitely has made a difference with her seizures -- and even Marcus believes that. In March I am taking a class from the Upledger Institute to learn the basics -- Craniosacral Therapy I -- so I can do maintence work on Samantha. I'm not telling everyone to rush out and start doing this therapy (though I do believe everyone can benefit from it) or buy this book. I just stating that this has greatly helped Samantha and our family, for which I feel blessed.

The Last Lecture -- by Randy Pausch

I thought I had done a review on this, but apparently I haven't. I read this awhile ago and absolutely loved it. This is what I call a "trendy" book, but with lasting influence. A trendy book to me is what everyone is reading at the time. It's all the rage in literature. This was definitely the case. Sometimes trendy books, however, don't have a real strong impact as much as it's just a good ready. For instance, the Twilight series. Everyone was reading them, including me, but there's not much more to it than a fun story. And it was a fun story. But The Last Lecture not only drew in thousands of readers, but it also changes lives. I really believe that. I wasn't as much impressed with the eloquent writing or anything truly literary, as much as the content of the book. I feel like this book made me a better person because the book is packed with real life lessons that everyone can apply to their lives. I loved this book. Loved it. Yes, of course I cried. And I later cried when I heard on the news that he had died. He was a beautiful man with a beautiful spirit.

the lecture in its entirety can be seen here

Monday, November 10, 2008

Callie's Walking

Callie's been taking steps for a long time now, but as of yesterday, walking is all she does. It's like she decided she was done with this trying business and just went for it. She's very deliberate with each step. It's pretty cute. This isn't the best footage of course. (It never is. You can try all you want to get the best shot, and it never happens.) And, her first top tooth came in yesterday too. 3 teeth and walking. What a Sunday.

On another note, Marcus got 2 kisses tonight from Samantha. So, he now believes me that Sammy gives kisses. Oh ye of little faith. He had to see it to believe it. Actually, I have to admit, I was pretty happy to hear she kissed him too. I was starting to believe that her kissing me was a one time deal (though it did happen once yesterday and once today).

So, without further ado, here's Callie....(with a Sammy attack at the end)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

When was the last time...

you paid $20 for a full tank of gas? Well, I did -- TODAY! You heard it folks. Gas was $2.10 at the local Costco! How great is that?! I mean really, how G R E A T is that?!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Follow Up

Thanks for the comments so far in terms of getting Sammy to sleep. Can I add a bit more detail?

She sleeps great through the night. That used to be an issue, but we got that taken care of and she goes to bed great and sleeps through the night.

It's the nap. Naps are tough. I did the cry it out thing at night...and that worked. But for naps, she has the determination of a 2.5 year old with the development of a, perhaps, 10 month old. If I do the cry it out method for a nap, she can be in there for hours. Seriously. Do I let her stay in there all day? That just seems cruel to me. Or maybe I should just tough it out longer. I mean, she'll eventually stop taking naps all together anyway. But, I know she can do it. We've had periods of wonderful napping. Anyway. That's all. It'll all get figured out. In the meantime --

Get out there and vote!
If you haven't done so already, be prepared to wait in some lines.
It'll be worth it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

How long?

How long do you let an almost 2 1/2 year old cry in her crib when she's tired but won't sleep?

Situation: When I hold Samantha, her eyes are heavy and she'll fall asleep. I lay her down, and she is awake and won't sleep. Her room is extremely dark (thanks to a black sheet I pinned up over her window) and she is -- or at least was -- swaddled. I know she's tired, but I'm not sure how long to let her go. Taking naps have become increasingly painful as I've been holding her until she falls asleep. Advice anyone? Please?

8 Things

Here goes....

8 shows I enjoy watching:
1) The Office
2) House
3) Extreme Makeover Home Edition
4) Oprah
5) Samantha Who?
6) Heroes
7) The Biggest Loser
8) Rachael Ray

8 things that happened yesterday:
1) stayed home from part of church with Samantha
2) taught a lesson in Relief Society
3) got Sammy vomit on me
4) almost took down Halloween decorations but decided to wait one more day
5) starting planning my talk for next week
6) took Sammy to the ER
7) watched Extreme Makeover Home Edition
8) discussed serious future plans for our family with Marcus

8 things I'm looking forward to:
1) Samantha calling me "mama"
2) Callie playing house
3) more kids (in time, believe me, in time)
4) Marcus finishing his dissertation
5) Marcus getting a job
6) becoming more settled in one place
7) having a home
8) reading at least 12 books in 12 months (some of you do way more, but this is my realistic goal)

8 things I love about fall:
1) colorful leaves
2) sweaters
3) jeans
4) Thanksgiving
5) hot chocolate/hot cider
6) the prelude to Christmas
7) no need to turn on the heater, no need to turn on the AC
8) chili/soup season

8 things on my wish/dream/goal list:
1) 3 bedroom apartment
2) washing machine and dryer
3) a couch
4) play the guitar easily without putting in the work
5) become a bonafide author
6) be a really good mom (this includes being able to do Callie's hair when she's older)
7) start a non-profit organization with Marcus
8) a new pair of jeans

8 people I'm tagging:
1) Kirsten
2) Marci
3) Reagan
4) Arielle
5) MaryIrene
6) Ashley
7) Rose
8) Thad and Julie

Sunday, November 2, 2008


In true Halloween fashion, this is how I saw Samantha when I got her out of her crib on Friday morning. I couldn't believe it. This picture is NOT doctored at all. This is pure Samantha work. In the crib, I found no hairspray or comb. How she got this to work still baffles me.

Samantha and Callie were both pretty cranky Friday night. They both were starting to get sick. I just got back from the ER with Samantha because she had excessive vomiting. Luckily it wasn't that bad on Halloween. But, she was feeling crummy enough that we couldn't get a really good shot. But here's our little Princess Leia chasing the vacuum cleaner.

And our wise little Yoda. It was a bit big for her. Maybe she'll be Yoda next year too.

We were going to do Star Wars characters too, but costumes for us weren't quite in the budget -- so based on what we already had, we went with the era that Star Wars first entered...1977.

For our Halloween party this year, we had 3 other couples over and they had some pretty fun costumes. The Wagner's were CIA agents. Andrew Border was a Fisher Price doc while Christy was his patient. And the Peer's, well, they were quite a sight -- a dead bride with her newsie. (Too bad my head is covering Marcus up. And, though it clearly looks like it, Samantha isn't grooming me as the monkeys and apes do. Just wanted to make sure we were all on the same page here.)


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