Saturday, February 25, 2012

Squid for Dessert

One day, Callie wasn't eating her oatmeal and Marcus tried to entice her by offering her squid for dessert if she finished it.  Maybe calling his bluff, or maybe actually genuinely interested in the squid, Callie accepted the dessert.  Marcus took her to the computer to show her what a squid looked like. 

"Callie, see that?  Do you still want to eat some squid?"

Off to our first Asian Market.  Notice the excitement on her face as Sammy whistles a tune. 

 There we did find something that we thought was squid -- or maybe octopus -- but we were unsure since we can't read Chinese.  She was pretty happy about it though and wanted to take it home right then and cook that baby up!

 Asian Market #2 -- downtown and a little more authentic.  It was kind of a cool place, but we were a little embarrassed as Callie kept loudly asking "Where's the squid?!  Daddy, where's the squid?"  There we saw some REAL live squid.  Marcus again asked, "Callie, do you want to eat that?"

 Fun fact: The giant squid has the biggest eye ball in the world.  Gross.  I was all for buying squid, but I wasn't prepared to bring this friend home, cut it, and cook it up.  So, we looked for a better option.
 Squid Nuggets.  Mother approved. 

We are yet to cook them since we were told we cannot cook them while others are in the house.  Callie patiently awaits the day when we can cook these and she can have her squid dessert. be continued...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Oakland Zoo

Back in January, Marcus had a day off...and soooooo....our story begins.

Marcus loves the zoo.  Admittedly, I don't.  I like the idea of going somewhere with the family.  I like the idea of going somewhere I think the kids will love.  But zoos, after about an hour, make me sad.  I get too emotional, I guess, about it.  I start thinking about these animals locked in these small cells...and I know they are hurt or whatever so it's like the zoo is actually saving them.  Ok, it's not that dramatic.  But, these thoughts go through my mind. 

BUT.  Friends.  The Oakland Zoo was a breath of fresh air.  I'm tellin' you what...this zoo has got it going on.  How often do you go to the zoo and the animals are just sitting around, or sleeping, hidden, and you can't even see them?  ALL. THE. TIME.  And it's not cheap going to the zoo to see empty displays.  Not in Oakland.  Every single animal (except we couldn't find the hyenas) were up, moving around, visible, happy.  I couldn't believe it.  First of all, it's beautiful up there in the hills.  So, the actual environment is quite nice.  Then, these animals have HUGE areas  When we were at the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake, we watched the elephants.  Great.  Cool.  Here?  Holy moly.  There were about 6 elephants with what appeared to be acres of roaming space.  That's impressive.  Truly.  This was quite possibly my favorite zoo experience.  Obviously, it made an impact on me.

We played a little alphabet zoo with Callie until she decided she was done.  We'd go to the animal and she'd tell us what letter it started with...and we'd write it down.  Again, she was into it at first, but then she just wanted to run from animal to animal. 

 There were, like, oh, many giraffes.  I don't remember how many.  But there were a plethora of giraffes in this very large area.  This is the baby that was born only a month before we came.

Attempting to get a good "sister" shot quickly turns into this: 


I can't wait to go blond again.  I'm so done with this color. 

Final snack before hitting the road.  It was a fun day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Callie's a Genius

Ok, so I didn't rotate the picture, but check out this stick figure person.  That's right.  Big 'ole nose and all.  It was Papa Bud's birthday awhile back and Callie wanted to make a card.  She drew a picture of him in the card, and I tell you what, I was so impressed.  This was the first time she's ever really drawn something that I could immediately tell what it was!  She's never really had a huge interest in the arts, but now, perhaps we have a budding artist indeed.

We weren't there with a lot of the family to celebrate Grandpa's birthday since the girls were sick, but for Family Home Evening the following Monday, we took time to celebrate it ourselves.  As mentioned, we had the card, and then we took a drive over to wish Papa Bud happy birthday.

Callie adores her great grandparents, and it makes me so happy.  I'm not sure how many kids have a personal relationship with their great-grandparents and I wonder what she'll remember as we all age.  But for now, I'm totally loving it.  And, from the looks of this picture, so is everyone else.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Heart Ache

This past weekend I traveled to Utah for a funeral.  Sweet, courageous, and strong Caleb Joseph Moody passed away Friday, February 10, 2012.  Not too long ago, perhaps only a year ago, I met Caleb's mom, April, through the blog world.  It was a time when I began to step out and "meet" other families.  Caleb was among the few who I was immediately drawn to.  His story was miraculous.  He beat the odds.  It was so clear to me that he had a mission to fulfill, and I wanted to watch it unfold.  As I read about his little life and became more acquainted with his mom, I was uplifted.  I felt my life change in small ways. 

I met April and some other moms I've gotten to know while in Utah this past September.  It was fantastic and I felt such love for all of these women.  April said something that stuck with me, and over the past few months it's nagged at my heart.  I so badly wanted to meet Caleb in person -- to feel his spirit.  I knew he had become sick with pneumonia, and I hoped that he'd fight it as he had in the past.

All day Saturday, I was at the temple and with other families celebrating the joys of adoption.  It was a long, wondeful, and hectic day.  When I got home that night, I saw that Caleb had passed away, and my heart sank.  I haven't felt sadness like that in...I really don't know when.  Marcus immediately said it would be ok with him if I went to the funeral.  I was so grateful for that ~ I didn't even have to ask.

Caleb's death has been a unique experience for me.  I have known other special kids who have passed away.  I have cried for their families and have been touched by their stories.  But I didn't know them.  I just knew their stories.  I know April.  And though I haven't yet met Caleb (I plan on it one day), I have felt a deep love for this little boy. 

The funeral was beautiful.  Beautiful.  The Spirit was so strong.  It was uplifting ~ a true celebration of life.  After a week of sadness, truly I had been crying on and off all week long, I felt joy; I felt love.  I was still sad, but I felt so honored to have been there. 

One of my favorites.

Yet, tonight, my heart aches.  It feels physically heavy...pulled downward toward the I think about April and her family tonight without Caleb.  Seven years of daily care, of unconditional love...and I am sad thinking about the empty bed that is there in their home.  I wonder how someone really "adjusts" to that.  And I cry for them.   

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sammy on the News

Last night, Michael Ririe had an open house in Orem, Utah to display his photographs of some of the kids at Now I Can.  Bryan (brother-in-law) went with some friends and said he was impressed with the show.  I so wish I could have been there with her.

Tonight while talking to Bryan, he told me that a friend of his saw Sammy on the news.  Hm.  Then, I went to facebook and sure enough, I had people telling me that they saw our little Sammy on the news. 

And, now, so have we.  Watch the clip here.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fasting and Answered Prayers

hmm  I'm not sure where to begin, or how to actually begin, yet, I feel like I should write.  wow, that makes me sound so important...must. write. as if I'm on my last breath of air and need to get "my story" out there or something.  gag.  Nevertheless, I do feel like I need to write this down.

A couple weeks ago, we had stake conference.  Elder Hainey was our visiting authority and during the adult session, he talked about missionary work.  At one point, he addressed those who truly wanted to be involved with missionary work but just couldn't fathom how..."I don't know anyone," "I never have the opportunities," etc.  And though I did feel more motivated to boldly share what I believe in (if even only by example to my friends as he discussed), I felt prompted, spiritually nudged.  There have been many things on my mind, and something he said clicked.  Even though my issue(s) isn't (aren't) about missionary work, he gave me my answer...and that night Marcus and I discussed it. 

What was that nugget of wisdom?  Fast.  I fast once a month.  The first Sunday of the month is typically set aside as a time when the members of the church, and anyone else who would like to join, fasts for 2 meals.  I struggle with it.  I do.  I get cranky when I'm hungry.  But I recognize that it's a way for me to more thoughtfully pray and seek the Lord's will.  What Elder Hainey suggested was that...if there is something we truly care about, we need to show the Lord we are serious about it.  That involves sacrifice.  He suggested: fast...but not just on Fast Sunday.  Fast on another day.  Show Him that you are serious about your desires.

Am I serious?  And if I'm serious, am I willing to sacrifice?

I decided I was. 

A little later, there were new developments (not great ones) with our nephew, Nathaniel.  This guy has been through so much...and so have his parents.  It's a difficult experience to be at the mercy of doctors you don't trust and to feel like progress isn't happening as it should...or, that the situation is actually becoming worse with each doctor appointment.  I hope I'm not overstepping my bounds by sharing the experience we all shared...buuuut...

We received a phone call explaining that Nate's parents were notified by the pediatrician that their child had developed an abnormality from being in a hospital bed for too long.  It had developed in his hip and he may be wheelchair-bound.  They should consult an orthopedic surgeon to see if surgery was an option.  I immediately went into therapy mode -- "Well, the bones aren't quite set yet...malleable...with enough therapy...the right kind of therapy...if you can get him to crawl...Sammy did this exercise for her hips..."

A couple days later, I remembered what Elder Hainey had said.  If we're serious about this nearly 2 year old child getting better, we need to sacrifice.  I talked to Marcus and we coordinated a family fast.  I'm not sure who all participated in it, but an email went out to the extended family.  I informed them that we would be fasting and praying that whatever miracles Nathaniel stood in need of would be granted him and if it be His will, Nate would be healed.  I was thinking along the lines of...get the trach out, start breathing on his own and being able to eat food instead of needing his g-tube...start crawling/moving, etc.  But, even if that miracle was hearts softened, feeling peace and physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength during this time -- a clearer perspective -- we were fasting and praying for it.  That was probably the most sincere fast I've had in awhile, but I still gratefully broke my fast at lunch!

Yesterday, I received a call from Scott.  They were coming home from the hospital where they met with the orthopedic surgeon.  How did it go?

"Yeah, well, he came in, looked at Nate, moved his legs around a little bit, and said he wasn't worried about it.  We could follow up in a few months but he didn't see any big concern."

"You're telling me that your pediatrician made you worry like that for nothing?  What an idiot!  Seriously.  I'm all for being thorough, but at least she could have said, 'I see something, let's just get it looked at.'  Instead, you freak out...over, basically, nothing?!  That doctor."

Yep.  That was my attitude.  I was so annoyed with their pediatrician.  It wasn't until that night when Colin got home and I told him.

"So all that stress over nothing."

"Or maybe it was something, but it's not now."

Stopped. Dead. In. My. Pride.  Yeah, here I was thinking that the doctor was a jerk (and truthfully, she did handle it unprofessionally), that they ought to get a new doctor, that that that...and then boom.  I felt this rush of...of course -- our fast...and then embarrassed.  Here I was, the one who was going to put all her faith in fasting and got the family involved, and I was so   s  l  o  w   to even recognize the Lord's hand in this.  Yet it was the first thing that Colin thought.  It was the first thing that my mother-in-law thought.  It was nearly the first thing Analisa thought. 

I then, thought...about this all last night.  And despite the 3 hours of sleep I got last night (because Marcus is out of town and what I'm pretty sure was an animal -- at least I hope -- in the backyard was freaking me out), I woke up so happy, excited, and energized.  I truly believe it's because I feel the Spirit so strongly since I said a prayer of thanks

I have no question in my mind that Nathaniel was healed.  That that was a small miracle.  Perhaps with the right therapies, work, stress, perhaps surgery, and...whatever...his hip would have corrected itself.  And I really do believe it would have.  But I also believe ~ or choose to believe perhaps ~ that we are witnesses to a miracle.  The same miracles we read about in the New Testament...right here.  Healing.  The united faith of our family, our prayers, the desires of our hearts were granted.  Like I said, I was prepared for a miracle of just feeling peace.  I did have faith that Nate could be healed, but it was like...0 or 10.  I thought he would either have no physical change from our family fast and just...we all would be changed spiritually with a new attitude and perspective (0)...or that he would be this miraculous mystery to all the doctors because all of a sudden...he's progressing like crazy...and completely healed (10).  I expected something to happen.  0 or 10.  But, what about 1-9?  Ohhhh, I think I bypass miracles #1-9 too often in my life.

I now wonder how many small, or huge, miracles I miss because I automatically attribute them to something or someone other than the Lord.  I was humbled when Colin so quickly turned it around for me.  What a blessing.  There is power in fasting, there is power in prayer, and there is power in a family who does it together. 


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