Saturday, January 31, 2009

Running Laps

For some time, we have been more than a little concerned over Callie's seeming inability to gain any weight. We feel we have tried lots of things, but to no avail. A few nghts ago, we had decided that we would next try an IV filled with butter, and laid Callie down for the night. That night, however, we discovered why Callie was having so many problems gaining weight. At around 3 in the morning, we heard some noise in the front room. I ran out and turned the lights on to find Callie "running laps" around our living room. Jenny quickly pulled out a video camera and caught some of it on tape.

I asked Callie what she was up to, and she told me that she has been training for a local triathlon, and was working on her mile time (206 times around the family room). She's hoping to get it down to the 4 and one-half minute range. Other nights, she told me, she makes her way down to a local stream and swims a little and sometimes takes my bike out for a nighttime ride. All of this burns a lot of calories and has prevented any substantial weight gain. She was afraid to tell us for fear that we would not allow her compete. More impressed, really, than upset, we agreed that if she placed in the top ten for her age group during the competition, there would be no disciplinary action. We spent much of the next day today looking for a wet suit and good running shoes for a 13 month old.

Sammy Update

Since the surgery, Samantha's been doing really well. For about a week she was not feeling well. The vomiting (effects from the anesethia) only lasted about 24 hours. The crankiness, however, lasted about 168. Not only was Sammy recovering from surgery, she was also getting used to her new orthotics -- her brand new DAFOs. Rough week for Sammy. So I guess she deserves a little crankiness because this time, I'm strict with the DAFOs. And because of my unwillingness to give in, we had about a week of her sitting on the floor, screaming. She refused to crawl, let alone stand or attempt to walk in them. She was putting up a fight, but Big Mama was stickin' to her guns. I'm happy to report, though, that she is getting used to them. Sammy even broke down and started walking around in them on Wednesday. Wahoo! She wears them 6-8 hours a day, and again, we have the shoe problem. We need to buy L A R G E shoes to fit over the the DAFOs. I'm talkin', she normally wears a size 3-4, and she's wearing a size 7-8 over the DAFOs. So, we have the clown feet again. She wears slippers with some tred on them around the house. But I'm looking into some Vans for when we go out. I got some shoes at Walmart, but I'm not sure if those will work yet. She doesn't seem to like them. Maybe Vans, or the knock-offs, which is of course what we'll get, will be better. They are usually a little wider so hopefully those will work for her.

Thanks to everyone for thinking of her and praying for her!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Our Little Mimic

Callie is such a little mimic. She copies everything she sees and hears -- which may be dangerous one day. Anyway. During lunch today, Samantha burped. I said "Excuse you" and Callie immediately started making grunting/burping noises. Oh heavens! It was rather funny. (And yes Jan, I love seeing her learn so quickly and sign for her milk, or to eat, or for more. It does melt my heart each time.)

Groovin' Callie

Callie really got into lunchtime today. What a funny little girl.

One Small Step Can Change Your Life

"All great things have small beginnings."
-- Peter Senge, business consultant and author of The Fifth Discipline

Yep. It's true. And this book explains it well. Marcus has been wanting me to read this for a long time now. I kept telling him I would, but it wasn't until this past month that I committed to it, and I'm really glad I did. I am not usually drawn to "self-help" books, and I considered this one to fit that category. But I tell you what, the principles in this book have helped me in so many areas of my life.

It revolves around the Japanese Kaizen principle -- that doing one small step has much greater and lasting effects than trying to incorporate huge changes. The huge changes typically are ineffective because they don't last. Look at the New Year's Eve Resolution. How many times do people start with a bang and within 6-8 weeks are back where they started? The book gives examples from weight loss, business, relationships, etc. It's really great. I almost suggested it for our book club, but opted not too. Already though, some of those book club members have started to read it on their own.

We all want to change something in our life. Why haven't we? Because it seems so overwhelming. This book really helped me feel like the 1,000s of changes in my life that I want to make (my spirituality, health, organization, writing, mothering, etc) are manageable and really achievable. Who doesn't need to feel that? It's great. I recommend it to everyone.

One Small Step Can Change Your Life -- by Robert Maurer, Ph. D
181 small pages


Two days ago, something really cool happened. At the end of a long day, I checked the mail. In it there was a letter for me from the Ensign. Except it wasn't a letter, it was a check! For awhile I had been wanting to write about Samantha. I keep in touch pretty well with an old BYU professor of mine, and before we moved, we planned an office visit so we could say goodbye. As he fed Callie her bottle and I juggled Samantha in my arms, I told him some of my ideas for books. It was a great visit. It was fun to chat, but he was also very encouraging and gave me some pointers. I had mentioned that I had wanted to write an article about Samantha. He really encouraged me on when I got home, I started writing.

Last July I wrote a submitted the article to the Ensign. I was pretty pumped when I got a letter telling me that they wanted it. I was thrilled when I signed my contract. And I was really super excited when I got this check in the mail! Wahoo I tell you. (Not that it's much, but still. Someone is paying me for something I wrote. This is a wanting-to-really-badly-be-a-published-author's dream!) I hadn't told too many people about the article, because...I just didn't. But, I'm just really excited. They'll send me word when they decide what month they'll use it, but I'm assuming it'll be awhile since they usually have the magazine layed out and planned for the year. But yeah!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How Rude!!!

If you happen to be going to Walmart sometime in the near future, or ever, especially if that Walmart is in a 10 mile radius of our lovely apartment, please take my advice -- at least if your trip to the store involves the scenario that I was involved in the other day.

If you are in the shoe aisle and you see a younger-ish mom with 2 children, who happen to be screaming -- a child in arms, practically falling out of her arms, who is upset because she doesn't want to sit in the shopping cart, and another child who is crying for a cracker and kicking her legs, and the mom refuses to give the cracker until the child says "please" -- don't stare. Sure, you are allowed to acknowledge the fiasco, but for heaven's sake, don't stare until the entire ordeal is over. Rather, smile and carry on with your shopping. If you are an experienced mother and remember those days, smile and give a wink. You can even give a short line of encouragement such as "I remember those days," or "Hang in there. They grow out of this." But don't sit there and stare as if that young mom is crazy and should just give the child the cracker.

That was my experience the other day and all I have to say is "How rude!" (said in the Stephanie Tanner voice).

I can't figure out how to put this YouTube clip on here,
so here's the link if you need a Full House flashback moment.

Just for the record, Callie did say "please" and then I gave her the cracker!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sister Love

Not the best picture, but within the past few days, Callie keeps crawling up to Sammy and trying to sit on her lap. Sammy has been successful in resisting this display of love, but Callie's going to get on her lap one of these days. And in the meantime, I think it's pretty dang cute.


One day, Samantha was taking a bath in her grandparents' kitchen sink. This sink was in California. Her grandfather was bathing her, and being especially slippery that day, she slipped and hit her eye on the counter. She cried and grandpa consoled her. He affectionately received the name "Bumpa" after that incident, but since has been shortened to Papa.

Callie had her own little eye incident this week. And I tell you, if it's not one, it's the other. Sammy, as know, has had her week full of doctor appointments. And I suppose Callie wanted in on the action too. Yesterday, while running across our family room, Callie tripped over her feet and had a little collision with her eye and our metal futon frame. It was very loud, and I can assume very painful. She cried and I consoled. Sammy's black eye was just that, a black eye. But Callie cut her eyelid. The doctor wanted us to come in to make sure her actual eye was ok. It is. So, here's our little bruiser.

It's more puffed up and swollen than actually bruised.

Obviously the hurt eye hasn't hurt her smile any. What a grin!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Surgery #2

Well, Sammy has successfully made it through 2 surgeries in her lifetime. Yesterday went well overall. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers. And big thank you to April for watching Callie all day!

I left around 11:30am to drop Callie off and go to the hospital. On the way, I picked Marcus up from work. Making our way through the hospital district in Spokane, which is rather confusing, we made it to our check-in point. My only other children's hospital experience is with Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake. I love it there and was convinced there was no better place. Spokane's Sacred Heart was very impressive though. In fact, their check-in area was superior I believe. There was toys for Sammy to play with and it was just a very comfortable area to wait in before they took her away.

No Mom, these blocks were already dumped out all over the floor before I got here. I swear.

The nurse took us to a side room where they prepped Samantha for surgery. She giggled a bit at first, but then soon decided that cold hands and temperature taking was no funny business and bagan to cry.

Her gown was a little big, but she still looked cute in it. At this point, Samantha was starting to get a little agitated. It's understandable though. She hadn't had a meal since 6:30pm the night before, hadn't drank anything since 10:00am, and it was now 1:30pm. What a trooper. They did give her a drink of Versed that helped calm her down and get her a bit loopy before taking her away. Kissing and saying goodbye to her wasn't half as hard as it was for her first surgery. This surgery is a pretty standard one and we knew it'd be short and we'd see her soon.

The surgery took longer than expected. I guess the actual surgery didn't take longer than the normal time -- about 1/2 hour I suppose -- but they couldn't bring her out for a long time because she wasn't handling the anesthesia very well. She wasn't breathing on her own, so they had to keep her on the ventilator a bit longer. The doctor said there was a lot more fluid in her ear than she had been able to see in the examination, and that that fluid was most likely there for a long time causing irritation. Poor girl. I felt so bad for her when we heard that. Can you imagine walking around with water in your ears? How uncomforable.

When we went to see her, she was not happy. She had a small cat-like cry and was visibly uncomfortable. They had given her some morphine, but she was still really upset. I held her and rocked her, but she was obviously hurting, and she was freezing cold. They kept bringing blankets from their little blanket warmer. They gave her another dose of morphine (which was double of what they gave her the first time) and she finally was able to relax and fall asleep. We waited awhile before we could leave and take her home. She wouldn't drink anything, but they finally said she was ok to go home.

When we got to the elevators, she finally opened her eyes. She was tired and groggy, but her eyes were open and she was pretty calm. On the way home she threw up. Last night, once at home, she threw up about 4 more times. She doesn't handle anesthesia very well. This happened last time too. I slept on the futon with her last night so I could help her if she was throwing up through the night. But luckily, there was no incident, and she slept well until 1:30am. From that point on, she was squirming and waking up a lot -- afterall, she had had a very long nap during the day.

Today has been pretty good. She had a rougher morning, but is doing well now. She's even playing. She has taken all her medicines and kept them down, and even drank a bunch of water and had a few bites of oatmeal. I think today will be a much better day for her.

I am grateful for this surgery. Hopefully it will help her feel better in general, and perhaps it will really help her seizures. She seemed to have seizures whenever she got sick. Maybe taking care of the ears will help with that. I wonder why no other doctor ever thought of this. In any event, we're happy how it all turned out. And though it was really fast and a bit overwhelming at first, I'm soooo glad it happened this quickly so Sammy wouldnt have to hurt any longer. The miracles of prayer and medicine are working for our little girl.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More Troubles

Normally Samantha sleeps just fine during the night, so when she doesn't, it's a red flag that something is really wrong.

Sunday Marcus and I arranged our first date since moving to Spokane for Monday evening. We had a babysitter set up and we were pretty excited to use our Chili's gift card and do a little gift card shopping at the mall. Events occurred, however, on Sunday night which would change those date plans.

Around 2am, Sammy woke up. She cried for awhile before I decided to go in for her. When I did, I stood and rocked her for a bit. She immediately fell asleep. I could tell she was congested, but overall she seemed just fine. Of course when I put her back down, she woke up and was upset. I went back to bed allowing her to cry a bit. She did fall asleep, and so did I. At about 3:15am she was crying again and I was exhausted. So I went in her room, got her up, and we slept on the futon together. About 1/2 hour later she had a pretty bad seizure. Sad. I know it's ok, but I still can't help but be sad for her when she goes through that. Especially because after this one she really kicked and cried. The really sad part for me was thinking about why she was reacting that way. The seizure was really intense and I could tell she was struggling to breath. I think it caused her to panic a bit until she was able to catch a breath. Poor little sweetheart. At 7am, the same thing happened.

The rest of the day went well. She was a bit clingy, but overall she was fine until I felt her back around 2:45pm. She was burning up. I took her temp and she had a fever of 102. I don't like that number on my babies. Marcus was holding Sammy when all of a sudden she jerked really hard and went into her 3rd seizure of the day.

We decided to take her to the doctor. They found her ears were infected -- again. This is her 2nd ear infection in January. Her left ear is full of fluid. They gave her a painful shot, which made me cry, and 30 minutes later we were on our way home. By the time she went to bed, she was playing and much happier.

This morning I received a phone call telling me that the doctor had scheduled an appointment with an ENT specialist and I had 1/2 hour to get there. This entry is getting long, so...we rushed down there, had our appointment, and found that Sammy needs tubes in her ears. The doctor thinks she needs them soon because there is quite the build up of fluid. So, she moved one of her surgeries to get Samantha in for this Thursday. She is also going to remove some adnoid tissue to help with her breathing. We have no reason to think she has strained breathing, but because Samantha's head is smaller, the internal plumbing in her head is also a little tighter. This will allow for better drainage from her nose, etc. This could help her perpetual runny nose.

I'm sure it'll all be ok, though any prayers are appreciated. They want to have the surgery, which is outpatient and fairly simple, at the children's hospital here (Sacred Heart) -- just in case -- instead of in the clinic. I really feel like this will be good for Sammy, but I feel a little anxious just because it has all happened so quickly. And it just breaks my heart that one more thing is happening to her. I know, a ton of kids need tubes in their ears. No big deal -- it's just that it is.

The good news for today is that we found out Marcus's ear muffs fit Sammy! Yippee! I didn't get the best picture, but you get the point.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Could It Be Love?

Quite possibly yes, it could be love. Check out this stroller! Oh I hope I win!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Procrastination -- a Mom's Best Friend

I should be doing so many things right now. I should be cleaning the kitchen, cleaning the bathroom, vaccuuming, and marinading the chicken for tonight's dinner. But I don't want to. I don't feel like getting up and doing I'm procrastinating. And in doing so, I will later be frustrated that there are dishes in the sink, the bathroom, though organized, isn't scrubbed down, and that dinner isn't ready -- and I'll have to think of something else to make. I think I've just convinced myself to get up and do it. But before I do, here are 2 pictures or Samantha that I think are pretty cute.

Sammy has been crawling a lot lately, which apparently is a good thing. At first we were concerned that she was crawling more than walking...but her physical therapist says it's a good thing. She is mastering her crawling skills and that is helping her with arm extension. So, crawl on little one, crawl on.

And, here is little Sammy as St. Lucia Christmas morning. It's not the traditional outfit, but it's Swedish and cute nonetheless.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Another Celebrity Mormon

That's right. Did any of you watching The Biggest Loser last night notice that the picture of Filipe and his wife has the Salt Lake Temple in the background? Yep. Marcus and my suspicions were confirmed...or at least we think we're 99.9% sure...that Sione and Filipe are members of the church. Wahoo! We're rootin' for you Filipe! You gotta get Sione back!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Callie's Birthday -- Twice

I thought it would be nice to celebrate Callie's first birthday while we were in CA with family. So, celebrate we did.

Birthday Party #1
A bear cake for our little Callie bear.

Eating her birthday cake.

Birthday Party #2

Back in home with a 101 degree fever and running nose.
(And a warm delights lemon cake.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Well Said

I saw this clip on one of my best friend's, Marci's, sister's, Lisa's, blog (who happens to be my friend as well). Did you follow that? The point is, it's really good. At Harvard they celebrated a Day of Faith. Five different students answered questions about their individual faiths. Sally Quinn, a journalist from the Washington Post, lead the discussion. Rachel Esplin was the student who answered on behalf of the Mormon faith -- members from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And I thought she did beautifully. She stated the facts, bore testimony, and was a wonderful representative of the church. Other discussions about the other religions can be found here.

Day of Faith: Personal Quests for a Purpose - 3. Rachel Esplin from Harvard Hillel on Vimeo.

* One qualm -- I wouldn't have said that the church as "progressed" over time when it comes to women's issues. Rather, the church has changed overtime based on revelation received by our prophet. Progress, to me, seems like we've changed because we're keeping up with the times. But, I don't think she meant it that way. I was really impressed with how well she answered the questions.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven

I never really thought about what it meant to have kids. Logically I knew it meant sacrifice, ya know, get a little less sleep (boy was I way off on my estimations there), obviously if you have your own biological children then there's pregnancy -- so there's a lot of sacrifice that comes with that. I always knew I'd stop working to be at home with our kids. But these were all just logical thoughts to me. I had never really sat down and thought about it too much. Maybe it's because I'm the youngest child and never saw little kids running around the house. I was the little kid running around the house. Marcus and I weren't married too long before we both were feeling like it was time for us to start adding to our family. I was excited because that's how I am. When I feel the spirit, my reaction isn't always peace and calm. I get really excited and energized. And, I really felt like I had recieved specific direction from the Lord; I was excited about that, but also terrified. I started, for the first time, to think about what it meant to have kids. That meant that I had to be a mom. Well gee. How do you do that? I mean, when it really matters, how do you be a good mom?

Luckily I grew up with a stellar example. But what if I wasn't good at implementing the skills and lessons I had learned from my mom. What if I was really bad at it? I was filled with fear. And though I know that fear is a tool of the adversary, sometimes I forget that in the midst of a situation.

When Samantha was born, I fell in some sickly deep love. Well, the love started while I was pregnant. For me it was really strange, yet incredible awesome, to know a human being was growing in me. It's kind of something out of a science fiction movie if you think a lot about it, but it's also really really amazing. And to feel Samantha kick me or do little sumersaults...and to see my belly move with her...It was incredible. Once she was born, I got to see who this little gymnast was and I was smitten. No matter what people told me, I was going to stand by this girl because I knew she was something special. I mean after all, she came from some great DNA -- even if the DNA got a little rearranged in the process. She has taught me more lessons than all my schooling and other life experiences combined. I am so thankful for her. She has transformed our entire family. She is an extremely strong little girl. Samantha has had to endure so much physical pain and trial in her short 2.5 years, but as long as her mommy or daddy is there with her, it's ok. She may still cry, but as long as she can cling one arm around your neck like a little monkey, she's ok. People are in love with her, partly because they think they are meeting their first primordial dwarf, but they always get really excited when she flashes them her big beautiful smile. She's our little star. And I get to be her mom.

Then Callie came and boy I tell you what, I love that little one with all my heart. Fear also hit us with her. I was not prepared to have child #2 so quickly, especially knowing the needs of Samantha. But I knew, I knew, that she belonged in our family. It was right. When I held her for the first time, there was no doubt she was meant to be with us. She has been so much fun to do anything with. She has such a tender heart and I love her. And though she may not have our DNA, she is already acting like us, doing little things we do. She mimics everything I do. Side story: the other day she brought over this toy. It's a pig and when you push his snout it shakes and plays music. She loves it! I was doing dishes and she brought it over. I pushed the snout with my foot, and now she tries to turn on every toy with her foot. Callie is so cute. Already, she is very independent. You show her how to do it, then she wants to do it all by herself. And I'm starting to recognize that I'm going to have to cherish those moments as she grows when she really seeks out my advice and wants my help...because that may not be often with her personality. She is perfectly wonderful, and I get to be her mom.

Motherhood has changed my life. And through experiencing both giving birth and adoption, I have realized it doesn't matter how you become a mom. Before we adopted I wasn't sure how it would I'd feel...if it would be the same. We, mostly women, put these silly ideas in our minds like the only way to feel like a mom is to be pregnant, get really sick, gain a lot of weight, get stretch marks, and give birth. As if we need some kind of battle wounds to prove what we went through to get a child here -- and then, only then can you be a mom and feel like that child is yours. How ridiculous. I've said it before, but I feel like Callie's adoption was just as spiritual, if not more because it was so unexpected, as giving birth to Samantha. It's a magical moment when a child enters your family. And with adoption, we were able to experience her being sealed to us. I must be coming to some kind of crossroads in my life because lately I've been thinking a lot about change and everything that has changed in my life over the past 10 years. I hope this isn't the Lord preparing me for some kind of impending trial. But as I've recognized some of these changes and the affects they've had on me, I couldn't help be feel extraordinarily blessed. Motherhood takes a lot of sacrifice. Sure. But it doesn't feel like it from day to day. My heart has grown larger than I thought possible, and we only have 2 kids right now. What'll happen when we have 6? I always had big plans for my future. I wanted to travel the world, get at least my masters degree, change the world. I still want to do all those things, and perhaps there's a way I can still do them all. But it's interesting how I feel like my kids have given me experiences that surpass my masters degree ambitions.

Marcus and I have spent months sleeping on the couch with Samantha. That's some pretty special bonding time with her. Though during some of those nights it maybe felt a little inconvienent, I look back at that year and smile. As we speak, Samantha is holding on to my belt loop on my jeans, jumping up and down, screaming with delight. She just wants to be by me. She is jumping like a mad little woman and her big blue eyes are smiling at me as she screams at the top of her lungs "ba ba ba ba ba." Come on! Who doesn't want this?! Callie is sleeping because she is sick, but when she wakes up, I know, if she follows the same pattern she has set for the past 2 days, she's just going to want me to hold her so she can rest her head on my shoulder...then she'll pat my back as if she's doing me a favor. What a considerate 1 year old. If I had succumbed to my fears about becoming a mom, I would have missed out on these little treasures. Being a mom has been worth every dollar, every added inch to my waist, every less hour I've slept at night, every napless Sunday, and every aching tear for their pains. How grateul I am for the gospel to know that families are eternal. I can't imagine feeling all this love and not having it be garunteed in heaven.

I love being a mom more than anything I've ever done -- well, I love being a wife too -- but I'm talking about any other "job" I've had. And let's be realistic. I know it's hard and I don't feel this lovey dovey about sleepless nights all the time. But the point is, I would never give it up to get those sleepless nights back. Or the many nights in the hospital with Samantha. Or the 3 months waiting with Callie in Michigan, unsure if we could keep her or not. I love being a mom. I loved being a missionary. But my time came up and that was done. It's a good memory. I loved teaching. I loved it. But my time was up and now, it's a fond memory. But being a mom, I love it and this job never ends. I'll be a mom forever. And for that, I give my deepest heart-felt thanks.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Callie

This year has gone by so very fast. So so so fast. Is it possible that Callie is already 1? It feels like we've only had her a few months, yet that day that we got her seems so long ago. It all happened so quickly -- a phone call from the adoption agency, a flight to Michigan, and a new baby in my arms. My heart melted when I saw her little hands and face. I fell immediately in love. And that love, over the past year, has grown into a deep bond and connection that can never be split. I can't imagine my life without her. I am so grateful for her birth mother for making the difficult decision. She is an admirable young woman and we constantly pray for her. Callie has been such a blessing in our lives. What a ray of light she is in our home. She is full of love and curiosity. She is beautiful and kind. Already she likes holding her baby, patting her on the back, and feeding her her bottle. Her giggle is contagious and her her smile is just incredible. She mimics everything we do. Oh, what a sweetheart. Happy Birthday Callie. We love you, love you, love you!

(For some reason I can't get the pictures to get in the order I are all out of order. Oh well.)


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