Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween 2010

 Introducing: Dr. Callie

 Dr. Callie cares deeply about her patients.  Here is her most recent patient, Samantha.  As you can see, Samantha is wearing 2 foot casts and has a bandaged head.  This is serious stuff here.  But Dr. Callie handles it with ease.

First, she urges Sammy to "stay calm."  Next, she checks for a normal heartbeat, which she can detect without even listening through her stethoscope -- she's that good.


As you can see by the smile on Sammy's face, she's happy to be in Dr. Callie's care, for Dr. Callie has great skills, but also a kind bedside manner.

And after all the work is done, why not hit a hayride?

Yes, Samantha and Callie were quite a hit at the ward Halloween party...bringing in the prize for "Most Original."  They are quite a team these two.  They both had a lot of fun at the party...the jump house, the cotton candy, the parade!  Oh did Callie love the parade.  I wish we had video of it...but Callie pulled Sammy's hospital bed ( wagon) the entire time.  Sammy giggled and Callie, at one point, yelled out, "It's Halloweeeeeeen!"  It was a great night.  Unfortunately our camera's battery was low and went kaput on us, but at least we got these gems.  I was hoping to get a picture of the girls with Eric and Stuart Russell (Marcus' cousins) who were down visiting, but it didn't happen.  In fact, I'm really rather bummed that we didn't get a picture of them at all.  Oh well I suppose.

Happy Halloween

Friday, October 29, 2010


 These just make me smile.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ready for School

This picture is actually kind of old but just found it again in my camera.  This girl is going to be so ready to start school!  She loves waiting for the bus with her backpack.  I know she'll love it, but there's such a different feeling about the idea of Callie starting school.  I feel like, in a way, she's more vulnerable than Samantha.  I'm not sure if this makes sense, but because she has good cognitive understanding and is a bright little girl, I'm afraid of all the stuff she'll be exposed to...the taking sides, back biting, being yelled at by other kids, having hurt feelings, feeling incompetent...all that stuff.  Oh how I want to protect my little baby.  But, she'll be fine, and that day is still off in the distance...but when I see this, it just makes me think.  I love my princess.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hand Foot Mouth

Saturday: Granny's (and Annie's) birthday.  We went out to the Olive Garden for dinner to celebrate Granny's 80th.  It was a nice dinner, especially because it was the first time Marcus and I went out to dinner without the girls in a long time...maybe a year?  It was like a real date ~ with our family.  Samantha and Callie went over to the Black's where Sydney, Kelsey, and Brittney babysat for us.  They have dogs.  Callie loves dogs.  The last 1/2 hour, Samantha was a mess, uncontrollably crying.  They earned their money.

Sunday: I wake up late and we rush to get ready for church.  Samantha sits still through Sacrament. Callie sits on Daddy's lap.  Life is good.  Life is peaceful.  I enjoy the talks given, am sad about my friend moving, enjoy how cute Marcus looks.  That afternoon, I notice a rash on Samantha's hands.  I'm a little concerned, but don't really know if I should be at this point.  By evening, it looks like this:

 left hand

 right hand

I start to worry.  This doesn't look so good.  But then I thought...hey, what if it's an allergic reaction to the dogs?  That would explain the extreme sadness and the rash.  When she falls asleep, we slather on some cortisone cream to see if it helps. Oh, and Callie seems to have a pretty high fever though our thermometer wasn't working.  She's definitely not happy and very warm.

Monday: Callie's not doing much better.  I prescribe a day of tv and sleeping on the couch and as much fluid as she'll take.  Sammy, on the other hand (no pun intended), wakes up to this. 

Improvement.  I thought...surely it was an allergic reaction.  After some debate with myself, I send her off to school.  About 30 minutes after she leaves, I get a call from her teacher.  The school nurse wants me to pick her up.  I call Kaiser's advice nurse and she said it sounds pretty classic for hand foot mouth.  From the time she left the house and arrived at school, her little dots had turned into bumps...blister-like bumps.  Poor girl.  

Tuesday: Callie's fever is down.  We ate pancakes and played outside.  We went to the doctor to confirm for the school hand foot mouth (they have to send out an exposure notice now), and the doctor said it looks like it's starting to clear up already.  No new pictures, but things really do look a lot better.  It still may be a few days, but we're on the mend.  He found a few sores in the back of her mouth, but for the most part, she's pretty happy.  Callie decided she wanted pineapple.  When she took a bite, she screamed (Callie's a little more delicate).  She was pointing to her tooth so I was afraid she finally had a cavity -- something I'm constantly obsessing about.  I couldn't find anything.  I didn't see any sores.  I had her stick her tongue out, and sure enough, at the back of her mouth, just before her throat, she has a few bumps.  She did eat the pancakes though and has been drinking water.  Tylenol will have to be her friend for a couple days maybe.  

Wednesday: Each day looks a little better.  Her hands look a lot better and there's just one little bump on her foot that I notice.  Callie hasn't showed any other bumps/spots.  Just the couple in her mouth.  I hope that's the worst of it.
So there you have it.  Hand Foot Mouth.  Luckily it's just one of those things that runs its course and it's not really dangerous...just a pain in the hand, foot, and mouth.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Whole Wheat, Oatmeal, and Banana Pancakes

When Marci asked if I'd choose pancakes over waffles, I went with the waffles.  I mean, I love waffles.  But today, I made some homemade pancakes for the girls.  I'm a homemade pancake/waffle mix girl, but I haven't done it in a long time.  The mixes always leave a chalky feeling in my mouth.  Am I the only one?  Well, when Callie asked me today if she could go to McDonald's house (yes, it's McDonald's house, not McDonald's), I told her no and that we'd make pancakes.  She was slightly appeased, and I was still getting over the fact that my almost 3 year old was asking to go to McDonald's.  I don't think I knew what McDonald's was until I was 7.  We've only been there a couple times ourselves...but I'm kind of disturbed.  Ok...getting back on track.

So, I decided not only were we NOT going to McDonald's (easy one for me there), we were having homemade pancakes.  I wanted to try something new.  I did.  And I love did the girls.  You know when the pancake is so good you don't even need syrup?  Yeah.  Mmm

Whole Wheat, Oatmeal, and Banana Pancakes
1 c. uncooked rolled oats
1 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 T. dry milk powder
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 egg
2 c. milk
2 T vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla
1 banana, mashed

This is how I did it.  Mix all the dry stuff together in a mixing bowl.  Put in the wet stuff.  Mix it all together and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Heat up your griddle like you would normally for pancakes and cook same as usual...cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry.  Flip, and cook until browned on the other side.

These are so good and easy. 

I'm not reconsidering.  I think I'm a homemade pancake girl after all. 

Hand Foot What?

Yeah, when Maren commented that hand foot mouth was going around, I thought she made it up.  I had never heard of it before.  I looked it up, and behold, there is such a thing.  And long story short, Sammy has it.  So, we're hanging out at home this week.  I'm off to make the girls some pancakes.  And we'll post pictures and stories when Callie's taking her already-much-needed nap.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just Another Sunday

We try to do our best of avoiding too much of the tube.  Yes, that darn television, if you aren't careful, can suck you in.  I've gotten really good at cutting back on the shows I watch.  I really only watch a couple shows now...though really, I probably shouldn't watch anything.  And we've cut way back on tv for Callie.  She was watching a lot in the mornings.  So, we have a new routine that gives her 1/2 hour in the morning, and that's what we shoot for each day.  That one "I'm-still-waking-up" show that she can watch is ok in my book.

But today, oh dear me, today was filled with tv.  She was chipper pre-nap.  You know those days when you are madly in love with your children?  They can do no wrong?  They are just little angels and you feel so lucky and blessed to be their parents?  Yeah.  It was that day for me.  I was enjoying Callie so much, I even stayed in bed with her until we both fell asleep for her nap.  When was the last time you did that?  It's the best.  I was singing her to sleep, brushing her hair with my thing I knew, Marcus was tapping my foot wondering if I had really fallen asleep.  Um, yeah.  I was asleep.  Anyway....

While Callie napped, I took Sammy on a TWO hour walk!  Holy moly friends!  When was the last time I did that?!  Marcus was able to relax a little bit and I talked on the phone to my mom, Bryan, Analisa, and my mom again before I got home.  Yes.  It was quite the walk.  I'm just glad Sammy enjoyed it too.  She was so content, and adorable.  I'd stop to see how she was doing, and she'd just look up at me and smile.  She's been in a remarkably fantastic mood the past 2 days. 

Back to Callie...So, post-nap wasn't too great.  She wanted me to hold her, so I did for a long time.  I just sat on the hallway floor with her and held her.  I noticed she was quite warm.  We decided she could relax and watch some tv.  Well, poor girl, I think is in fact sick.  Blargh!  After I painted her finger and toe nails pink (upon request of course) she began chattering her teeth like she was in the Artic!  In fact, she was shaking so much she could barely hold her cup of water.  Our thermometer died, so I'm not sure what her temperature was, but I'm just hoping it's not too high.  Poor girl.  So, yes.  Callie was indulged with vegging on the couch and watching tv most of the afternoon.  But really, when you're not feeling so hot, there's not much else you want to do.  So, she gets a pass on this one.

Samantha has some ailments of her own.  She has developed this insane rash on her hands.  There's some on her knee and her feet too.  I have no idea what's going on.  It doesn't seem to bother her, but I'm going to see if it's not better by tomorrow and then call the doctor.  I dropped her off with a babysitter yesterday, and I'm wondering if she's having an allergic reaction to the dogs?  Not sure on that one.  Either way...

I just hope that both Callie and Samantha haven't spread something to all the other nusery kids!  How sad would that be?  Ah well...just another Sunday I suppose.

Feeling Ready

Whenever anyone thinks about adding kids to the family, I would think there's a bit of "Can we really do this? Can we really handle this?" I mean, I would think that's not only a normal thought, but also responsible. (Right?) So, lately I've been thinking about how well I could handle a third child. Today, sitting in church, holding Samantha...with Callie on her daddy's lap...I thought "We can do this." It felt really good. And I'm starting to really want that baby -- so Sacramento, hurry up on Peggy's background check already! We want to get going and find our little baby. Ok?

Thursday, October 21, 2010


What I love about this picture -- 
Abby: Birthday girl right up front ready for the picture.
Owen: The lone boy in the picture.  His body language seems to shout, "What!?  Pink? How am I possibly going to eat this!?"
Natalie: That little tongue diving into the frosting.
Katie: Her scrunched up face.
Avery: Her perfect smile and bright eyes -- and check out those cheeks!
Callie: Wearing her ballerina shirt with her glittery silver skirt...she's lookin' mighty cute.  Pretty much perfect.  Oooo I love this girl.

Nothing like cupcakes at the park to celebrate a friend's birthday.  Thanks Abby for being born and for sharing your pink cupcakes.  We sure love ya ~ and we'll definitely miss you when you move away. (weep, sigh)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Good Questions

Let the tagging begin... this was fun to think about.  Good questions Marse!

Pancakes or waffles and why?  (OR what is your favorite breakfast food?) 
Waffles.  I like the slight crisp that the waffle iron gives them.  Plus, there are hundreds of little empty pools ready to be filled with syrup or whipped cream...what's not to love about that?  But my favorite breakfast food is french toast.

Favorite date?  Where, when, and why?
Oooo I've had a lot of really good dates, but my first date with Marcus was pretty great.  We doubled with Bart and Leanne, ate dinner at Osaka in Provo -- even had the back room and sat on the floor, played frisbee golf after dinner, visited Barnes & Noble and chatted it up, and ended at my place talking and looking at pictures.  What we did was fun, but there was also the excitement of the first date with the guy you know you're interested in and you know he likes you too.  It was just the perfect first date.

Which is more prevalent in your home?  Cars or princesses?
Princess "stuff."  With two girls, it's no surprise I suppose.  We've got the dolls, a couple crowns, Tiana and Tinkerbell images.  But I think most of that is Grammy's influence.  Callie loves it, but she's super into cars, trains, airplanes, helicopters, doctors, soccer, wrestling...all that rough boy stuff.  But underneath, she's all girl requesting manicures and pedicures, ruffly skirts, etc.

What singular thing determines your happiness more than any other?
I'm with you Marse...the cleanliness of the kitchen.  First thing in the morning, if I can see a clean, clutter-free, ready-to-start-a-new-day kitchen, I'm pretty happy.  When we lived in our own place, I was much more anal about it.  It drove Marcus a little crazy.

If you could change one thing about your wedding, what would it be and why?
Dancing.  Dancing.  Dancing.  Marcus isn't a dancer, his family doesn't dance, and the wedding was in California -- his side of the family.  So I dropped it pretty quickly.  It's my biggest regret.  I love dancing.  Analisa and Bryan would have busted a move on the dance floor -- and I'm pretty convinced Chris would have too...our guests would have, and all my friends who came out to the wedding totally would have been out there with me.  It would have made that party/celebration feel that I wanted at my wedding.  What can I say?  I'm a party girl.

Facebook or blogging and why?
I like write and blogging is my outlet for that most times.  Like many others, it's a form of journal for me.  I like Facebook for the quick messages back and forth...seeing other people's pictures, etc.  But I don't utilize Facebook the way others do.  Marcus calls me a blogaholic.  Maybe I am.  I dunno.

Favorite blog you follow (or stalk)?  Why?
Make It and Love It  has great, easy craft ideas
House of Smiths  I love her style.  Some of her projects look incredible and are manageable!  I see herself and then dream about one day, when we have a home, how I'm going to do her projects in this color, with that stain, whatever.  Love it.  And she's super cute.

Kidz  It's a special needs blog, and before I became a regular contributor, I enjoyed the uplifting and supportive nature of each post.  It's been a great place for me to meet other moms who live a special needs life.  I've learned so much from them.
Jonathon Canlas Photography  Because I'm in love with his pictures and wishes he lived here and was my best friend so he'd do a session for free with my squirmy Sammy!  I love love love his style.  He's great.
Little Green Notebook  I LOVE this site!  I've bookmarked so many of her projects as "to do" when we have our own place.  I love it!  

Oh asked for my favorite BLOG -- singular.  I'll stop here. 

If you could buy one item RIGHT NOW for under $200, what would it be?  Why?
Probably shoes.  This morning I was tempted to run out and get a pair today.  I love shoes.

1. Jessica N.
2. Rose

3. Tara
4. Amelia
5. Katie Slade!!!  Yes YOU!  It's been so long!:)
6. Julie Massey
7. Julie of Thad and Julie:)
8. Erin Cecil
9. Andrea Carruth

Tag, you're it.  Here are my questions for you.

1. What is the nerdiest (and possibly best) quality of your man?
2. Frozen yogurt or icecream?  What flavor?
3. What one thing gets you geared up for Fall?
4. Favorite musical artist?
5. In honor of Halloween: What is the creepiest place/situation you've ever been in?  Where, when, what happened!?
6. Book you could read once a year 'cause it's just that good.
7. Finish the statement: If I had the guts to do it, I'd.....
8. When do you start getting ready for Christmas?  (I like having Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving if I can!)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind by Heidi Ashworth

For some time now, I have wanted to read Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind.  Admittedly, I know the author rather well and so wanted to read her book.  But I was always frantically reading other books for book clubs and things about Samantha's condition, that books-to-read from my own list never quite happened.  Recently, I felt it was time to put everything else aside, sit down, and finally read the book from my books-to-read list, and I'm happy for it, as it really was delightful to read.  Miss Delacourt is considered Regency Romance.  What's that?!  Really, I didn't know and assumed it wasn't for me.  I usually don't equate my reading preferences with books in the "Romance" genre.  However, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that I do, in fact, like regency romance.  ("I do so like green eggs and ham.  I do, I like them Sam-I-am!")  So, if you like images such as ...
silly young women primped, with ringlets framing their faces, in their loveliest gown, eagerly trying to attract their one true love (who happens to be rich of course)

secret kisses (that you've been hoping would happen throughout the entire book!) between the two who-aren't-supposed-to-be-together-for-one-reason-or-another-but-who-find-themselves-the-perfect-match-nonetheless...on English green lawns

and Colin Firth with a good set of side burns, dressed to perfection, with a coolness in his tongue, but an intrigue that is so...intriguing for lack of a better word

then perhaps you'd like regency romance too (Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer) and just don't realize it.

I read Miss Delacourt rather quickly.  Going from reading about neurons and recovering brain function to a regency romance took me some time to adjust.  I enjoyed what I read, but it wasn't until page 100 that I was quite hooked.  (page 100 came quickly).  You cringe at what some of the characters do, you laugh out loud, and you are happy in the end.  It was really just the entertainment that I think I needed.  I felt whisked away to another time period and it has made me want to read more in this genre...or at least put Pride and Prejudice in the dvd player!  There's something about those stories, isn't there?  The secret love that can't be expressed, the decorum of the time interfering with true love.  I love it.  Based on my small regency exposure, it follows the pattern of this genre.  I knew, or thought I knew, what would happen in the end, but I didn't know how we'd get there...and that's what was fun for me. 

So, Miss D Speaks Her's a fast read and worth reading for all you secret romantics out there.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Now I Can -- Can We Now?

I'm not sure what to do. Now I Can is an intensive physical therapy center that I truly believe that Sammy could benefit from. I've researched them out a little bit. I've talked to some therapists. And I even called our old PT back in Spokane, WA and asked her about the methods used there, etc. Our old PT back in Spokane does intensive therapy. While we lived there, Samantha was too young to do it. And as much as I wanted it then, and would be very much interested in having Samantha work with Echo again -- intensively, I feel compelled to go to Now I Can. I'm not sure why.

Therapists here have told me about places in the Bay Area that do similar intensive therapies. They use the same neurosuit. They are much closer. And still, I'm drawn to Now I Can. Why? I'm not quite sure. But over the past few years with Samantha I've learned to follow those feelings, because usually, there's a reason...and most often, it's turned out well.

So, Now I Can. I want to do it. And I think she's at a good age to do it -- in fact, I think this is a great age to do it...when she's still young. Good changes do and can happen when you're older, but it's so much easier to create those pathways in your brain NOW that will give her what she needs to move and function better.

Right now, I can only imagine her walking without stumbling. I can only imagine her taking a step down instead of falling face forward! I can only imagine her using a spoon. I can only imagine her walking and standing without orthotics. I can only imagine these things now, but I believe they can really happen. Really.

Problem: Expensive! It's a 3-4 week session that is $2000/week. We're talking at least $6,000. I could drive out to Orem, UT. And I'm pretty sure I could find a place to stay. The arrangements wouldn't be super easy, but I think it could be worth it. I want to do some fundraising, and I really believe I could earn the money doing a few things here.

But, I'm having a hard time making the decision to do it or not. I have a hard time committing to something, even if it's a good thing, when there's that much money involved. What if I don't raise the money? What if I can't pull it all together? It just makes me nervous.

I just need to start a real investigation, see what times are still open, and pray I suppose. I really want to get her a session though. I'll, of course, keep everyone posted on what we decide. This could really really be awesome. But who knows? Maybe now isn't the time?

Friday, October 15, 2010


I am hilarious. I mean, really one funny girl am I...because I'm cracking up over here. ahhhhhh ha ha ha ha

Lisztomania. I currently really like this song. It's just catchy. And it helps that Sammy giggles whenever she hears it. It's cute. I can't embed this youtube video with the song, but it's worth checking out. It's fun, especially if you like some of these old movies.

Now, I know I'm not the only one who makes up their own words. But when I finally remembered to look up the real words, I giggled. I knew I'd be pretty off, because most of my words were just babbles and made up words...but here were my words (in red) with the real words (in blue). (Read it as you listen to the song. You'll see where I'm coming from.)

So sentimental, not sentimental no
So sentimental, not sentimental no
Romantic not disgusting yet
romantic not discussing it
Darling, I'm down and lonely when with the fortunate only
Darling, I'm down and lonely, with the unfortunate only
I've been looking for something else
I've been looking for something else
Do let, do let, do let, jugulate, do let, do let, do
duelette, duelette, duelette, juggle it, duelette, duelette, duelette
(See now, the first verse wasn't too off yet. The "do let" part, I got the sound right, but in my mind it was "duel" ..."duelett" like a little duel. And then naturally, you juggle afterwards. ahhhh)

Let's go slowly discouraged
Let's go slowly discouraged
Distant from other interests on your favorite weekend ending
Distant from mother interest, on your favorite weekend ending
This love's for gentlemen only that's with the fortunate only
This love's for gentlemen only, that's with the fortunate only
No, I gotta be someone else
No I gotta be someone else
These days it comes, it comes, it comes, it comes, it comes and goes
These days it comes, it comes it comes it comes it comes and goes

Think less but see it grow like a riot, like a riot, oh
See less but see it grown, like a rhine, like a rhine, like a rhinoooooo
I'm not easily offended
Not easily offended
It's not hard to let it go from a mess to the masses
Nah, I go let it go, from the mess to the masses

Think less but see it grow like a riot, like a riot, oh
(See above.... yes, again, I thought it was "like a rhino." No, it didn't make sense, but nonetheless...)
I'm not easily offended
It's not hard to let it go from a mess to the masses

Follow, misguide, stand still
Fellow Miss guidance, still
Disgust, discourage on this precious weekend ending
Discour, discourage on this reggis weekend dingding
This love's for gentlemen only, wealthiest gentlemen only
this love's for gentlemen only, welkiest gentlemen only
And now that you're lonely
and now that you're lonely
Do let, do let, do let, jugulate, do let, do let, do
duelette, duelette, duelette, juggle it, duelette, duelette,

Let's go slowly discouraged, we'll burn the pictures instead
let's go slowly discouraged, we'll burn the pictures instead
When it's all over we can barely discuss
when it's all over we can barely discuss
For one minute only, not with the fortunate only
for one minute only, now we're the fortunate only
Thought it could have been something else
Gonna gonna be something else
These days it comes, it comes, it comes, it comes, it comes and goes
these days it comes, it comes, it comes, it comes, it comes and goes

Think less but see it grow like a riot, like a riot, oh
I'm not easily offended
It's not hard to let it go from a mess to the masses

Think less but see it grow like a riot, like a riot, oh
I'm not easily offended
It's not hard to let it go from a mess to the masses

This is show time, this is show time, this is show time
this is your time, this is your time, this is your town
This is show time, this is show time, this is show time
this is your town, this is your town, this is your town
Time, time is your love, time is your love, yes time is your

Towwwn, time to show it up time to show it, it's time to show it up
Time, time is your love, time is your love, yes time is your

toooowwwn, time to show it up time to show it up, it's time to show it up

Maybe this isn't that funny to others, but some of these parts are pretty creative, don't you think? I mean, I guess a rhino isn't that easily offended. And come on guys, this is YOUR town and it's time to show it up. Maybe have a duelette, over Miss Guidance, then juggle. I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Moving Forward

Adoption. It's about love, right? Yes, indeed. And fear, and anxiety, and stress, and frustration. Sheesh, I tell you what.

I have a file set up. It's title? Adoption 2009-2010. Well, I have a feeling I'll have to change the title to "Adoption 2009-2011." That's just crazy. We began the process in November, 2009. It's now October 2010, and we still are NOT approved. Can I tell you the frustration level is just a bit high? Actually, I take that back. It was a bit high. Things have taken a little turn.

Why aren't we approved yet?! Good question. I assure you it's not because we are thieves or secret spies. No no. We aren't approved yet because, I'd like to say California is all messed up...but I think it's really because it's all a part of a greater plan that has been taking it's little 'ole time unfolding before us. See, I truly do believe that Heavenly Father is in charge, and He knows when our baby is here for us. Right now, our baby isn't here. Our birthmother isn't ready.

On the logistical side of things...there is a law...the Adam Walsh Law. I think it's actually great. But this required a separate screening in both Utah and Washington (since we've lived there) and for whatever reason -- which we now know but would take too much effort to explain here -- it took FOR.EVER. to get back. Furthermore, since we are currently living with my in-laws, they need background checks as well. Thankfully, they were compliant. But my mother-in-law's prints were not. Her prints have been rejected multiple times and we are waiting to get clearance through a name check.

During the past year, I have often wondered what the hold up is. Callie was 8 months...beginning to placement. That's super fast, I understand. But this, this just seems unreal how many obstacles we were coming across. We've prayed. We've done what we could. And we wait.

Yesterday, my clearance came in. Now all we wait for is my mother-in-law's prints. And I feel like things are so much closer. And now, I'm beginning to be scared, and anxious, and stressed thinking about having another child! Isn't that scary?! But also so so so wonderful.

I've been starting to have some of those feelings I had when we were waiting for Callie. I'm starting to have thoughts about a little boy (we'll see), starting to have these little flutterings in my stomach and chest, starting to feel like things are much closer than they seem at this point...and that makes me so incredibly excited -- and a bit anxious.

We shall see. We're still not approved. But hopefully that's not too far off...and then....just keep moving forward I suppose.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Overnight Strawberry French Toast

So yummy and is possibly beginning to be an October Conference tradition.

Makes 8-10 servings

12 slices of day old bread
8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 c. fresh strawberries cleaned and cut up
12 eggs
2 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
1/3 c. honey (or maple syrup)

1 c. white sugar
1 c. water
2 T cornstarch
1 c. strawberries
1 T butter

Cut bread into 1 inch cubes. Place half into a greased baking dish (9x13). Cut cream cheese into little pieces and place over bread. Top with handful of strawberries sprinkled over bread and cream cheese. Top with remaining bread cubes. Beat eggs in large bowl; add milk, vanilla, and honey (or syrup). Mix well; pour over bread cubes. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Next morning {Hello Sun!} remove from refrigerator 1/2 hour before baking. Preheat oven to 350. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 25-30 minutes or until center is set and is folden in color.

Prepare the sauce in a saucepan by combining the sugar and cornstarch. Add water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir constantly and boil for 3-4 minutes. Stir in strawberries and reduce heat; cook for 10 minutes or until strawberries begin to fall apart. Stir in the butter and pour over french toast.


Friday, October 8, 2010


Nothing better than a juicy nectarine, eh, Sammy?

I love nectarines, and apparently Sammy does too. She grabbed one off the table and started eating it. The girl knows what she likes. (I especially like seeing her hands so open. Before, her fingers would have been curled under and she would have been holding that nectarine with her knuckles! Wahoo! I like a girl who knows how to use her fingers. Makes life a bit sweeter.) I got a bit of video of her chowing down until she decided she was done and threw it across the room. Yes, we're working on that.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rett Syndrome Awareness Month

Many of you voted for Rett Syndrome when Pepsi did their Pepsi Refresh Campaign. Many of you voted for them because...many of you who are reading this blog did it for our mutual friends, Maren and Ryan, and their darling little girl Leah. Leah suffers from Rett Syndrome. But does she have to suffer much longer? I don't know. I hope not. Hopefully this funding that International Rett Syndrome Foundation won will help them get that much closer to a cure.

In the meantime, I stumbled across this video today on YouTube and I was so excited. I am excited for Leah. I am excited for Maren and Ryan. I am excited for the all-too-many sweet little girls who may one day see a reversal to their Rett Syndrome. Watch really is interesting...and it makes me really happy that I voted for IRSF to win this money. They are so close to something big...right on the cusp of winning their children's lives back.

(Oh, and I just saw that on the IRSF homepage they actually link you to articles that discuss this very thing. So you can certainly read more there.)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sides of Callie McCallister

The Happy and Supportive Sister

A Little Sassy
Ok, take my picture already

Always (mostly) Willing to Smile

Excited to be Part of Any Project

Frustrated When Plans Don't Go Her Way
Callie's noooooo, I'm mad face

And her if you didn't get it before, I'll show you with this look face

Worn Out

A few weeks back, we had some tantrum troubles. I mean, severe tantrums. They really have simmered down, but it was a rough weekend. After one long tantrum, all because she didn't want to put a toy away and we wouldn't budge, she fell asleep in my arms. The screaming was just too much for her. It wore her out. And yes, she did put the toy away and then promptly curled up in my arms and fell asleep. I mean, really, it's a sweet way to end it all. I happily held her as she dozed off.

Studious and Eager to Learn

Callie enjoys reading her books. In fact, she rarely wants me to read to her, but insists she read her books and I read mine as we sit side by side. Luckily I can still get a good story in. I love this picture of her though. She's really so sweet.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Wow. During an interview, Virgina Ironside, an advice columnist in the UK, speaks of smothering a child to death to alleviate their suffering if there is nothing else that can be done. "My feeling of horror, suffering, is much greater than my feeling of getting rid of a couple of cells because suffering can go on for years." And then when the host suggests it was horrifying what Ms. Ironside suggested about smothering a child, Ironside asks, "What?" as if she's confused that what she could be considered horrifying? Wow. I'm speechless. I love my little Samantha more than anything, and I am certainly not among the mothers Ms. Virginia Ironside refers to who would want to do such a thing. Not at all. Samantha is far more than a couple of cells to me and a lot of other people.

I've read some reports on the full argument which was about abortion. Her argument is that abortion could be a form of compassion for "unwanted" children. Ok. She's pro-choice (though since we're there, I want to say I really don't like that term. Wasn't the choice made before a child was conceived? I'm pro-choice make-choices-and-be-accountable-for-them. But that's a whole other argument and before I get some angry comments about this...I strongly believe there are exceptions for rape, incest...but I'm not going there right now) But even if she's pro-choice, it's hurtful to me that she would put a disabled child in the same category as "unwanted." What is her definition of "suffering" or "deeply suffering"? She mentions these children who there's no hope cure? Well, that would be Samantha. It's just disturbing to me.

Look, everyone is entitled to their opinions, but it strikes me rather hard when the opinions and comments refer to my children. I cannot imagine my life without Samantha. She definitely is here for a purpose. She, and many other disabled, delayed, and "special needs" children, are apart of a much greater plan that I think Ms. Ironside is unable to see.
I know there must be others out there who feel the same way...who are quietly supporting her...but to them, I say "Look at Samantha in the eyes. Look at her face. Look at her smile. Look at the joy in her and our life." Maybe, just maybe one of those people will be convinced that we are all more than just a few cells.

Best Compliment Ever!

Marcus, now that he's a working man, has a paycheck. And, I think I splurged a little bit at Target the other day. Oops. Anyway.

I had Callie with me on that glorious day. I bought a shirt and skirt for myself, and a pair of shoes for her. They were on clearance, little boots, and I couldn't control myself. As much as I tried, they are just so cute...and they will look so cute with the skinny jeans Grammy bought. Anyway...while I was purchasing the merchandise, the cashier asked...

"Does she look more like you or her dad?"
"Callie?" I was a little surprised since I usually -- never -- get this question. "Oh, well, she looks a lot like her birthmom. We adopted Callie."
"Really? I totally see you in her."
Big grin that can't be contained. "Oh, really? Thanks. But nope, it's her birthmom in her."

We went on to talk about her adoption story (as much as you can while paying for your stuff). I'm telling you, I think that's got to be the absolute best compliment I've had in awhile. It even beats, "Hey, have you lost weight?". It really touched me that this employee thought she was biological. First I thought, "Does she really think I'm that pretty!?" because I think Callie is so adorable. And then I remembered, Callie is mine. She has been sealed to me. And I firmly believe she was meant to be my daughter...and even if our physical characteristics, when broken down, aren't similar ~ because come on, they really aren't at all ~ there's something that shows a resemblance in our spirit...perhaps.

I love Callie so much and I'm so blessed to be her mommy. And I'm so incredibly blessed that her birthmom is apart of our lives. I'm glad that Callie looks like her, so when she sees the pictures of them together, she'll be able to see herself ~ a reflection of both inner and outer beauty. And that every time we see Callie, we are reminded of her birthmother...the one who brought her to us through such selfless love.

And after our little discussion with the Target employee in which I bore testimony of the blessings of adoption, Callie through a royal tantrum. It was a very sweet and tender moment for us all.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Memory Lane

I remember running errands with my mom when I was a wee lass. One place we'd go each week was the butcher shop. It wasn't out of necessity. We did, after all, have the Kroger down the street that I'm sure had a section to carve fresh lunch meat...but nonetheless, to the butcher we went. He must have been cheaper. I remember the store was in a small strip mall next to a Big Boy Restaurant, Baskin Robbins, and a jewelry store.

I loved going to the butcher. I really did. Entering that shop, sure there was an assortment of meat which wasn't so appealing to look at -- but he also had an array of cheese behind the glass and that was just heavenly. Oh sweet cheese. There were also breads, buns, and other baked goods that you could purchase.

While my mom bought the thinly sliced pound of turkey or ham...and always just a few slices of salami because I loved it, I'd look at the big glass jar on top of the counter that was home to what looked like hundreds of pretzel rods. I can't remember if it was Mom who splurged each week and sacrificed the 10 cents to buy the pretzel for me, or if the butcher gave me one each time, but each week, I walked away with a pretzel rod in hand. I'd begin by biting off the individual salt grains, letting them dissolve in my mouth until taking a bite of the crunchy pretzel rod. It was such a small thing, but I looked forward to it each week.

My girls eat pretzels. I have found that the pretzel sticks are perfect for Samantha. She can pick them up and eat them well. It's a good food to have her practice finger feeding. So, I usually stick to sticks. But this past week, something must have come over me because I ventured the usual routine -- heaven forbid -- and bought pretzel rods. I was reminded of the butcher shop when I bought them, but when I opened the bag and actually took one out...bit off the salt...and then bit into the pretzel...crystal clear memories flooded back.

It's so amazing to me how one little trigger can bring back so much to our remembrance. Just one of those things that make me really happy.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What is the REAL Problem Here?

Situation: Not sleeping last night because I could hear our neighbor snoring?! That's right. The next door neighbor. Not my husband. Not even someone the next room over. Someone, in the house next to us, was snoring and I couldn't sleep.

Possible Problem #1: I sleep too lightly.

Possible Problem #2: This neighbor has some serious snoring shaking up the place.

Possible Problem #3: Our houses are entirely too close together here in California!

You decide, but no matter what the real problem is (and really, it could be all 3 now couldn't it?), I am hoping for a restful sleep tonight!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What We Know

Well, I had my first post on Kidz. I was a little nervous...I mean, this is a larger blog with a lot of followers. I love all of my 21 followers very much. You need to know that. Kidz, however, has a much larger audience and has 258 followers. Though I posted before, this was my first time as a regular contributor. Wo-a! (Thank you Joey Lawrence).

After this first post, I'm confident in saying that I think I'm going to like it there. With's a good place to be.


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