Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas smiles...

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We had a great Christmas this year. December was full of fun parties and lots of smiles. Thank you to all who helped make it a warm and happy holiday for my girls!

Finn is getting better at turning to her side and has even grabbed for toys! Only took us two years but who's counting??!! We will start working with Dr. Hedayat this next month and I am really looking forward to it. He has already met her PT(Physical therapist)and they will be working together!

Paul had some job interviews and we'll find out more after the first of the year. Finn's Dr. appt.s went well I guess - they haven't called to say there was a problem. We're going with no news is good news! Angie and I completed our traditional Gingerbread house with a fruit stripe gum roof that took a long time to complete. We like it enough to do it from now on. We made several batches of cookies, pies and breads to take around and enjoyed our baking time together. Christmas is so full of traditions at our house and it really helps keep things tight and together!

I am just getting the last details filled in for my upcoming group classes and start another private class this week. We are looking forward to the new year and the blessings that it will bring. We hope that you all enjoy the time you have with those you love... It's precious and not to be taken for granted...

Merry Merry -

God knows my details...Thanksgiving blessings...

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Yes - It is December and I am filling in for the last month I missed blogging. I am really proud of those of you who can do it everyday or even once a week. Crazy doesn't even begin to tell you what our household has been like - so briefly - I'll explain...

I finished up the Group HypnoBirthing classes, I was still teaching a private class, my partner decided to go back to Nursing school-so we split our business, I had to re-advertise, re-do the website, change the business name/license, organize my curriculum and homework for my couples, make and send cards to my couples, organize my email templates for future classes, finish up my observation childbirth class for my DONA certification, make checkoff sheets so that I wouldn't miss anything for my class registrations, finished three books for certification & doula training, found a place to teach, get that paid for and sign contracts(which I did, yea!) - and I had to finish up any and all Christmas presents, do Finn's therapy and had doctor's appts. in the small time allotted in between. I barely had time for breathing so the blogging had to stay in my head for the month. So, not an excuse - just an explanation.

To say that I am not grateful for this past year, it's lessons, heartaches and rejoicings - would be a felony. My heart is full for what the Lord has taught me and blessed me with this last year.
He is so aware of our details - it's not always the big stuff that he fixes - he is aware of our details. I found myself turning upwards everyday in thanks for the details being met. I have learned by repeated experiences how our thoughts effect our daily outcomes - what we put out is what we get in return. When I am able to put my worries to the side and thoughts of "the Lord will take care of things - don't worry" replace those thoughts- it happens.

The thought of paying $2000.00 for a walker that Finn needs made my heart sick and I cried. It is so hard to know your child needs something and have zero resources to draw from. It had been even harder on Paul. But - put the worry aside and our therapist then came along with a frame that had been sitting in a clients garage, our families came through with enough money to give me the hope that it would all be OK. The feeling of peace came and we then found a website that offers used equipment for more than 1/2 the cost of new and I am in email contact with several leads. The feeling of peace is key because I know that God is aware of our details.

When I first began teaching my classes, I had a lot of passion behind my teaching because I know it works - it's all the medical jargon I couldn't pronounce that filled me with fear and doubt. I was praying a Dr. wouldn't be in my group and have to correct my pronunciations! But, putting worry aside(which took a lot of effort) - I have sailed through each class without a hiccup and the words have flowed like it's normal language for me. The feeling of peace is there and I know He knows my details.

I suppose the most amazing example of God knowing my details is what happened this month. I didn't think that a partnership ending would be the door that brought Finnley exactly what she needed and what I had been praying so hard for.

I felt the peace inside when my partner and I decided to split. We are still good friends and I wasn't worried about that changing but having to re-do everything that we had done together, finding places to teach etc. was a HUGE and daunting task to face. It freaked me out and I was scared to death - but still I felt peace. Trusting that, I ask that I be in tune enough to follow what he wanted for me.

I wanted to add some aromatherapy options for my couples to use in class and during their birthing times. On the Internet, I found a doctor that works about 4 miles from my house who owns Aroma MD - an organic, medical grade line of oils. I went to his office and picked up a bottle to help me sleep(since the stress wasn't allowing much of that to go on for me) and I spoke with him briefly on a Friday. He was so kind and I again felt that peace while in his office but didn't really think much of it. I went about my day and the feelings came stronger and more intense that I needed to call him on Monday and see if he would be open to me holding classes in his office. I called him on Monday and he said he would be open to it and ask what I would like to pay. We made an appt. for Tuesday and I found myself in his office.

I met with Dr. Hedayat and his office manager. He found out a bit more about me and my classes and then I asked him
what his specialties were so that I could advertise him etc. He told me that in Chicago he was a Neonatal doctor in the intensive care unit(NICU)and that he worked with babies born with Encephalopathy(Finn's initial diagnosis) and Cerebral Palsy (the diagnosis they want to diagnose her with)... the feeling of peace rushed my entire being and I began to cry. It caught us both off guard and he left to get me tissues. I knew at that moment that I was lead to that office and that God answered my prayers yet again. It was overwhelming me to me. I explained why I was crying and he asked me about Finnley. He is the Dr. I have been needing to fill in the gaps with her therapy and medications. He has studied and seen brain injured patients make remarkable progress just by certain brain training exercises and techniques. He explained that brains can go into a "hibernation" of sorts when there is a significant assault to it and by all tests - it can look dead. But with the right stimuli, it can recover or heal parts of it that make up for lost parts. He also said that if we would have left her in the hospital to donate her organs, she most likely would have died with no stimuli. Well, she had stimuli alright!

I walked out of there amazed, awed, thankful and blessed that Heavenly Father knows my details. All of this- the classes, the study, the preparation, the stress and the joys - helped me get to this place. I cried the rest of the week and did Hosanna shouts in my heart. Do we really know how God lovingly guides out lives? Even the hard stuff is moving us towards what is better. I believe that we don't recognize it until we change our outlook and our output -but it's there and it's real.

I begin teaching in Dr. Hedayat's office in January and in the Birth Center downtown(where Finnie was born)in February. I have 3 mom's due in January so it will be a busy month a and I can't wait! Wow - I have so much to be thankful for...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Help a Chick out!!

Bringing an End to World Hunger Through Unimaginable Blessings

During this Autumnal time of year, we as a society begin to reflect on our blessings and what we have.

Angie & Finnley have been such blessings to our family and giving back to others is the only way we have to show the Lord our gratefulness. Finnley continues to do well, making little improvements everyday. We are working on getting her a "Gait" walker so that we can develop her leg muscles to hopefully begin the process of learning how to walk. It may take us years but are going down that road! Angie turns 13 next week and got wonderful grades on her first progress report! (She is SO lucky she didn't get her brains from me!) Today marks the one year of unemployment and it has only been by the Lord's blessings that we are still here! Many times, He answers our prayers through the generosity and thoughtfulness of others and it's our turn to help facilitate that for someone else.

We learned about Hiefer International on an Oprah show and it has opened up a world of opportunities to give all over the world. Hiefer International places livestock in villages and teaches communities how to raise and keep the animals to better the lives of their families. This Autumn time - we are inviting you to join with us in giving a "Flock of Chicks" to help a family from Africa to the Caribbean. For just $20.00 you can give a gift that will touch many families. We also encourage you to explore the site and see all the wonderful work that they do. Happy Autumn...

Flock of Chicks

A flock of chicks can help families add nourishing, life-sustaining eggs to their inadequate diets.

The protein in just one egg is a nutritious gift for a hungry child. Protein-packed eggs from even a single chicken can make a life-saving difference.

Heifer helps many hungry families with a starter flock of 10 to 50 chicks. A good hen can lay up to 200 eggs a year - plenty to eat, share or sell. With Heifer recipients' commitment to pass on the offspring and training, the exponential impact of adding chickens to communities in poverty is truly a model that helps end hunger and poverty.

Because chickens require little space and can thrive on readily available food scraps, families can make money from the birds without spending much. And chickens help control insects and fertilize gardens.

In Tanzania, Omari and Kulwa were struggling to raise a family on just 50 cents a day. With the training and chicks they received from Heifer, egg sales have boosted their daily income to $2, so they can now buy food and still pay school fees. Now, through passing on the gift, all of the children in their village are going to school.

Today, millions of people who were once hungry will be nourished by milk, eggs and fresh vegetables.self-reliance

Families who for generations knew only poverty will be building new homes and starting businesses.

Children who once headed out to the fields to do backbreaking work will be heading into schoolrooms to learn to read.

And people who never thought they’d be in a position to help someone else will be experiencing the joy of charitable giving.

How is this possible?

With Heifer’s proven approach – almost 60 years in the making – to helping people obtain a sustainable source of food and income.

guide our efforts to end world hunger and care for the earth.

Long-Term Solutions emphasizing community involvement distinguish our work from that of global relief organizations.

“Passing on the Gift” means recipients agree to share the offspring of gift animals with others in need, making them equal partners with Heifer in the fight to end world hunger.

Environment and Sustainable Development is taught to our project recipients to help them achieve sustainable agricultural production.

Animal Well-Being guidelines are strictly reinforced with professional veterinary training staff.

Disaster Rehabilitation
, with long-term, sustainable development the goal of Heifer's rehabilitation projects.
How We Measure Success shows how people's lives have permanently changed since Heifer came along.

Donate Some Chicks!!

Feel free to send this on to more friends - let's see how many chicks we can get. Be sure to say a little prayer that they reach the family that needs them the most! We love you and can't wait to share another holiday season with you!! Love - Care

Friday, October 9, 2009

Someday is NOT on the calendar!!

Meaning to do something is just a great form of procrastination. I can put off doing something forever by using the excuse that I will 'get to it someday'! It has now been a month since I have updated the blog(thank you to all who sent me notes reminding of that)and I learned from a great woman this month that, "Someday is not on the calendar!" If you want to do it and it's important - you'll write it down and follow through. So I am updating Finn's Blog because it is important to me. I wrote "update blog" down to prove to myself that someday only comes when it falls on a day of the week! Today someday falls on Friday!

Life changes so fast that I have had a hard time keeping up with it this month. I went to Florida for 9 days to certify in my HypnoBirth training. AMAZING is all I can say about that week. Although I terribly missed my family(and dogs,)I met the most powerful and life changing women. It was remarkable. It was as if I had always known them.

I had two of the BEST roommates I could ask for - we had a ball! I brought enough cup of soup and easy mac in my suitcase that I only had to eat out once the entire time. (I will never eat that stuff again, gag, but the food I packed for the week only cost $10.97 - thank you Wal-mart!) The weather was humid to say the least but the beach was gorgeous and the hurricanes were non-existent! I took in so much information I was sure it was impossible to hold it all inside.

My trainers, Lorie and Vivian were fabulous! They run a "HypnoBirthing empire" in Boca Raton Florida called Amazing Births and I was grateful for all of their time patience in answering all of my questions. I met Mickey Mongan, the founder of HypnoBirthing and gave her my HypnoBirthing story book. She loved Finn's story so she asked me to speak after lunch the next day to the practitioners. Of course I cried all the way through it but it was a good experience. I met a lot of women afterward who had experienced loss and/or had taught couples who had. It was very enlightening and a moving few days. I have never felt so honored to be with these remarkable and passionate women. I really feel blessed to be on this journey. With my new business partner, France, we have really gotten our classes organized and are excited to get things started. The website is up(not as polished as I would like it)but our classes are filling fast. It's exciting and scary all at the same time. Doors are opening as they should and we are on a roll!

With that said - I missed Angie's first day of school. That was hard on both of us. Paul is still without a job and Finn will be losing home services soon. Days are hard and very uncomfortable at times. My car needed repair and thanks to an angel - it did. Then today, Paul's car began to smoke while I was sitting at an intersection. What fun! Luckily, I had my rose colored sunglasses in the car so the smoke looked more like fog which helped me not to break down while billowing smoke clouds drifted to nearby buildings. There has got to be a really good church talk in here somewhere right?

This week, I really felt like a one way ticket to Kauai is all I really needed. Just a break to sleep and cry it all out. It could be SO much worse. I know that things turn around in their own time. I just need to pray for more patience(or a winning lottery ticket). As I sat on the couch, feeling overwhelmed and almost sorry for myself - Finnie began to giggle. Squirming and giggling uncontrollably. Ahhhhhhhhh - what that did for my soul! A little bit of heaven right in front of me and I almost missed it. Wouldn't it be so much worse if she weren't here? She is so yummy. If anyone ever needs a pick me up - one minute with this little girl is all you need. Her spirit is undeniably divine in nature. Angie says she can come home from an awful day of school and Finn can wipe the whole day clean for her. Finn just has a way about her and how blessed we are to share this life with her.

I know that Finnie is here due to all the prayers you say and have said for her. I thank all of you for that. She is our ray of hope when hope seems to be buried under a HUGE PILE OF ....well ya know. Hope is at the very bottom of that pile! My love to all of you.. and the good Lord above for keeping my baby in my arms...

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Angie's new hair cut inspired this post. It's been a long time coming but life has been CRAZY this summer. I would post every week if I wasn't working - yeah right. I will not lie. I refuse to become a slave to this blog - I am obsessive enough about the rest of my life. Believe it or not, it takes self discipline to not jump on the computer every time I have a thought to share. Balance is hard to achieve for us "A" personalities..

Have any of you seen the latest General Motors commercial called "Reinvention"? I invite you to watch it on "You Tube" if you haven't seen it(I would link it but can't figure it out). It basically sets forth how times have changed and the car industry isn't what it used to be. The commercial then shows how the world has evolved and how we have modified our expectations and expect different things now from our products and our nation. WOW - who would a thunk that a car ad for a nearly bankrupt company would help me transform my life? When I trace back to what started me on this journey to making things happen instead of letting things happen - I attribute it to General Motors. Thank you GM - I needed a good swift kick in the reinvention butt...

Times have changed. I have changed. My family has changed. Our circumstances have changed. Some for the better, some for the "What the heck, are you kidding me right now!" Did I ever think at this stage in our life, in our marriage, that we would be bankrupt - emotionally and pretty much physically? Could I have foreseen this future for myself and my family? No way. I tend to look on the bright side of things - especially for the future.

I never saw it coming. Sound familiar? We all want a crystal ball to see where we will be in five years. We think that it will be wonderful and that the knowledge of that will get us through the hard times. I am alone here? How grateful I am that I didn't have that crystal ball five years ago - it may have scared me so much - I would have just up and left town. Or worse, gone postal on unsuspecting bystanders... Life railroads all of us in different ways. I feel it's a shared experience we all have in common. There are great times with cherished memories and those memories are only precious because we have strained and hard times to compare them too. There is opposition in all things and that is the only way to appreciate the good things in our lives. It's what helps us make sense of it all.

Reinvention... It's been my jump start to making sense of it all. Time to transform my actions into what I want to happen. My brother calls it "putting it all out to the universe, giving up the fight and letting it take over and run things for a change."

My vision board now includes the minivan we will need for Finn's future wheel chair. Did I ever think I would need a wheelchair for my little girl? No - but now I know it will be the most sparkly pink and gaudy chair you have ever seen!(Hey, maybe I'll start a tend!) Did I ever see myself in a minivan - absolutely not, but I'll also be needing it to run Angie & her water polo teammates out for ice cream.

It occurred to me that Finn's condition or her 'special needs' are just temporary. They aren't eternal in nature. They are temporal. Life on earth is just a blip on the eternal radar. Perspective makes all the difference. She has the sweetest spirit imaginable and it just oozes out of her yummyness! To know her is to adore her, what a blessing she is. The lessons that we, as a family, continually learn from her sharing our home out number the stresses that we face each day. God is so good and He loves us so much.

The challenge then, is turning lemons into lemonade without a thought as to how I'm going to afford those lemons. Attitude is everything during the trial. Also remembering that someone else has it much worse helps keep things in perspective. Looking for ways to help others also keeps us afloat.

I am finishing today's entry in Florida, where I am attending my HypnoBirthing certification. What a blessing it is to be here among these amazing women. They are such good people, with giving hearts. I am learning so much from them and their experiences. They are aiding me in my reinvention with their kind hearts. It's so import ant to have a kind heart. I am so grateful for this chance to better myself and help other women when I get home. Birth has come to be such a sacred process for me. I am sure it has to do with the miscarriage losses that we have suffered in the past as well as the wonderful birth of Finnley.

Birth also represents a reinvention of sorts. It's fresh and new and something we should learn from and appreciate. To reinvent ourselves is a great "do-over" that we are blessed with. I have evolved over these past 18 months and now I am modifying my expectations and goals to fit the needs of my family. That crystal ball could have never predicted the knowledge and blessings I have gained from the heartaches. I wouldn't trade them for anything...get some reinvention and see how far you can go.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer's almost over??

Summer has flown by but August has just been non-existent! It may have been a little more relaxing if I hadn't started it off with a 3 day intense training. The first weekend of the month was truly a life changing one for me. I attended my Doula certification training for DONA(Doulas of North America). Doula comes from a greek word meaning 'woman caregiver'. Since everyone has asked - A Doula is a person that supports a woman and her partner during birth. I had a Doula with Finnie and knew after her birth that it is what I wanted to do. However, the way Finn's first year unfolded - becoming a Doula was put way on the back burner!

Helping women go through the birth process is an amazing journey. I feel such a draw to it and two years ago it would have never entered my mind. ESPECIALLY a non-medicated birth! Are you kidding me!? HypnoBirthing got me through it and empowered me to accomplish things I never knew I could. And even if medication is necessary or chosen, I am going to feel honored that these moms wanted me there! Everyone needs support during birth - the partners do for sure! I feel that having a Doula just takes pressure off the partner to enjoy the experience and be there for the mom. They don't have to have all of the answers and they have backup when they need some help themselves. I am excited to help.

Plans for becoming a Doula and the way to achieve it have all opened up at once and I am on the train now. The women that taught our group were amazing and I learned so much from them. I found myself crying most of the weekend and wasn't sure why until Gerri explained that some of us had things that we needed to heal from and that it was a safe environment to do so. Yeah - I would say I have a few things regarding birth that I need to emotionally heal from. The women that attended with me were so kind and insightful. We were paired up on the first day to observe one another and then give them a letter on the last day telling them why you thought they would be a good Doula. Linda, who had my name and whom I hope to stay in contact with forever - wrote me a poem instead of a letter.


When I first met Care
She said, “I’ll be bawling”,
I smiled to myself,
I knew she’d found her calling.

Her heart is open
Her experiences profound
They will help her help others
When their turn comes ‘round.

Care will be a great doula
I have no doubt
She’s confident, funny,
And wants to help out.

Though she’ll work in hospitals
It won’t be in Acute Care
She’ll be helping healthy moms
Being a Cute Care!

She’ll encourage them, empower them,
Help them have a great birth
Her client will tell others
“She’s the salt of the earth”.

Her business will flourish
She may write a book or two
She’ll guest speak the circuit
And be passionate too.

Her friends will be wow-ed
Her clients in awe
He family so proud
Even those in Utah.

She’ll be working hard
She might forget herself
At these times she’ll recall
“Scrapbooking will help”.

And 20 years later, Care,
I need to let you know
You’ll still be a “Bawl Baby”
Because you care so.

My letter to my "buddie" was not as creative as Linda's but heartfelt and sincere just the same. The educators who taught our Doula training are also holding a lactation counselor training on the last two weekends of the month. I will be attending that as well and thank goodness that it works with my work schedule! It is amazing when what you are supposed to do in life(other than your family) - finally clicks. Going with this momentum, I also have the opportunity to go to Florida next month and train to be a HypnoBirthing educator and then attend their annual Conclave. When I am certified I will be able to teach with my HypnoBirting educator as we have decided to go into business together. It will go along with my regular job and I'll get to help these women in the process.

I am so excited but have A TON of reading to do for both of these upcoming trainings. Oh - I almost forgot. I am also going to volunteer at UCSD as a Doula and have their training in September also. It is a very fast paced schedule but while Paul is able to be at home with Finnley - this is the time when I can be relaxed in my training. I just wouldn't be able to leave her otherwise.

Finn is still doing well on her diet. The only seizures we see are occasional myoclonic ones and sometimes, if she is overtired they keep her from going to sleep right away. Her therapists feel that we may need to switch to another provider of services that deals with older children as they have more access to different medical equipment that she will be needing as she grows. The thought of saying goodbye to these wonderful people is killing me but I know this change was inevitable. We have been so blessed with Finn's caregivers - they are wonderful people who have a special place in heaven!

My nephew Drew and his family came for a visit so we did actually get to the go to the beach once this summer! Paul & I had our 16th wedding anniversary on the 6th - not that he remembered!(I'm going to cut him some slack this year because he isn't following the calender while he's a stay at home dad - but he better make it up to me next year!)

Angie is still a water polo girl and it's so fun to attend her games each week. We should just setup shop at the pool - we are ALWAYS there. We have almost all of her school shopping done now and on her trip to Utah, Uncle Jon set her up with an new IPOD so that is her new favorite passion! So much for having to earn one!! She had fun visiting all of her cousins and grandma's and is looking forward to the social scene at her new school. Summer went by quick for all of us but at least so me of us got to enjoy it!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Not a LAZY summer...

To be completely truthful - gone are the lazy days of summer at our house! Along with work, I have been working on certifying for my Doula credential. My first workshop is next weekend and the reading has been endless - fun and fascinating - but very time consuming. I am very excited to begin attending births and am glad that Paul is able to be home with Finn while I get all my ducks in a row. It seems that the days speed by without enough time to finish what's on the list. I have been asked how my summer's going by so many people. I find myself wrestling for an answer. Should I be polite and say, "Wonderful, we are having a blast." Or should I tell them what the days are really like and make them sorry for asking?

Working under florescents is hardly the cry of happiness I long to share with people when the San Diego sunshine is pouring itself all over the beach right across the freeway from my job. It's been awhile since I haven't been able to just pick up and go to the beach with Angie everyday, or see a morning movie and then end up at the mall for some clearance rack school shopping. It makes the day even longer knowing that this is the face that Paul is working with right now...

Yes - Finnie is getting her molars in, her sleep pattern is off(to the tune of waking up at 3am) and Paul and Angie are ready for a break when I get home! In between the therapy appointments, we have been trying to slather Finn up with sunscreen and get to the pool 5 days a week for exercise. Paul gets us into the pool then runs Angie to swim or Water Polo, then returns, gets us out, loads the car and then we head off to pick Angie up. Then it's home for showers and food before bed. It's a family event, five days a week. The upside to the craziness is that Finn is getting so much stronger since she has been in the pool. I am VERY grateful to have friends working at pools that can let us in when they are there. A friend who lets us borrow her pool key on the off days and yet another friend who is fixing her pool so we can continue swimming after the summer season! THANK YOU to all!!

Week before last, Angie had her first water polo game of the season. Aunt Kim and Uncle Tod even came! We were SO proud of her we could hardly contain ourselves! She was so aggressive and even scored the first goal! Paul was VERY vocal and embarrassed the heck out of her. Here is the shot right before it went in.

Angie even threw another goal(or attempted) - but it went flying over the goal post and hit the wall. Even though they lost 2/15 to the other team, we had a blast! It is amazing how much stronger she is since last season. She is SOLID muscle. I guess if I was willing to tread water for two hours everyday(which I am not and never will be) I would be solid too. She is very dedicated and works really hard to improve. She will also do a swim meet at the end of summer just for a taste of the competition - this wasn't her choice but Paul convinced her it would be a good experience for her(more of a punishment or grounding but those are just technical terms right?). What will we do when we cannot so easily convince??

Good thing that we enjoy the water - pool, beach, bath whatever - we LOVE water. Maybe that's why Kauai appeals so much to me - well, that's one of the reasons! Finn has had a few myclonic seizures this past week so Paul & I are watching it pretty close. The diet has been working great up to this point and she just might be overtired.

Finnie is SO happy. She is truly joyful to be around. We can't kiss on her enough. I met a wonderful family at the pool last week that has a son with some of Finn's same issues. Joannie was a wealth of knowledge and gave me some more avenues to explore for Finn. She caught me at one of my weak moments and I couldn't stop the tears. I still find myself mourning for the life I thought Finn would have. She told me that it never goes away but it does soften over time. I hope so. I don't want to waste any of this precious time with Finn thinking about what could have been.

Every time you hug your healthy kid - give them one more. Health is more than a blessing - it's a gift. Joannie's little boy had 75 brain surgeries within the first two years of his life. Finnie is healthy compared to those results and for that we are so grateful. As long as our "wonderful state" can continue health care for Finn we can remain here in San Diego. That's really all that keeps us here with the high cost of living. If Paul gets a job here, we can stay -but if not - watch out! We may be camping out in a living room near you!! Love to you all...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer is here!!

Wow! Another month gone by and I have failed to write anything - documented it all with photos but failed at the written part. Photos seem to be my life these days - taking them, cleaning them, scanning them, uploading them... I'm a photo junkie and there is no rehab setup for someone like me! Probably a rehab for every other addiction under the sun but none for "photo fascination". I will do my best to make up for my lack of entries after I take a photo of myself in a straight jacket!!

Our photo scanning is picking up all the time and we are meeting really fun people and helping them with some great projects. I am still making time to work on our scrapbooks and enter stuff at the fair. Everyone has made fun of me entering the "Spam" contest but the grand prize was a trip to Hawaii. That was my only shot getting back there and unfortunately, I fell a little short(or a lot short if you want to be realistic)! Poor Angie was SO disappointed. The sweet thing is - it wasn't because we didn't win, it was because she knew how sad I would be not to get to go back to Hawaii. Angie has heard me talk of Kawaii so much she is sick of it! She was so worried that I would melt down to a pile of tears after the judging - she just looked at me with such sympathy! She came up with every phrase she could think of to comfort me - it really made the competition worth every can of Spam we had to eat to find a recipe good enough to enter! My brownies(actually my sister JoAnna's recipe) took 3rd place and my family tree took 2nd place so I will be bringing home ribbons this year and that was fun! Finn slept through some of the fair but managed to slurp down her bottle during the Spam judging. It was a fun day. Kawaii will just have to wait a bit longer for my return...(I'm always on the lookout for a contest or a briefcase full of cash though, so if you hear of anything...)

Finn had her first Swim Class yesterday. SHE LOVED IT!! (see the Smilebox below for all the pictures)I wasn't feeling well so Angie stepped in for me. We have got to find a warm pool this summer to get her in. She moves so well in the water and she's light enough for us to hold her! It is nothing but pure joy to see her so happy. She enjoys the simplest of things - something I am learning to do through her eyes! What a blessing that is. My friend Cindy has been after me for years to simplify and enjoy...I think I get it now.

I still find my moments of grief amidst the joy that I can't quite put words too. I wonder what Finn would be doing at this age if all had gone as "normal" with her birth. Would she be talking by now? Would she be running or still holding onto my fingers to walk? Would she be trying to sing the nursery rhymes we recite? Would she be able to hug me and say mama? Would she be climbing at the park and sliding down the slide by herself yet? It's sometimes hard to see healthy babies and kids doing all normal stuff - hitting their milestones etc. Life and the daily tasks come so easily for them. It is so hard for me to watch Finn put so much effort just to roll over a quarter of the way, never quite getting that extra bit to push herself to half way there. It's grieving for the things she was supposed to do - the dreams we all carry for our babies. Since I've never had another "healthy" baby, I wonder what it would be like. At the same time, this is all I've known and I wouldn't trade a second of it. Finnley is such a blessing and a reminder that God listens to our prayers - all of them. She is our daily does of miracle...

I look back to see what progress she has made over the last year and she has made huge strides in her development. She smiles through rigorous daily therapy and countless appointments and I am so amazed at her sweet disposition. Finnley teaches me each day that you can keep going with smile as long as you have somebody to love.

One of her therapists told me that parents seem to always strive for what the doctors have told them their children can't have. Like if their child is dependent on a feeding tube, the parent does everything in their power to get them to eat real food, even if it's physically impossible. It becomes almost a mission of sorts. Until I had Finn I would have wondered why that was so important. Their child is staying alive with the feeding tube, what's the big deal? The big deal turns out to be that someone is setting limitations on your child that has defied all odds and overcome so much in their short little, blessed life. Heavenly Father has been with her from the beginning and it's not my place to interrupt the miracles He wants to work in her life. My doctors have told me all of the "She'll never" and She wont's" - and it just propels me further to be open to great things happening. On some level, I know they are right(about some things) but on a gut level - how can I miss one opportunity to research another study, find other therapy, medication, diet, or an exercise that could give her one extra bit of something. My baby is worth every ounce of effort, no matter how hopeless others may see it. The Lord is her strength as much as He is mine- giving in or giving up are just not options.

So I may cry in private and mourn in a way for "what could have been" but when I come back to the "teething induced damp spot" on my shoulder, I remember what a blessing is that wet my shoulder is wet. Finnley is here - when they said she wouldn't be - praise be to God for that mighty miracle... Cherish the healthy ones in your life - they are miracles too!

Check out my new Video clips from Swim class!!

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Friday, May 22, 2009

The Eye Specialist Came...

This last week we had a WONDERFUL visit with a special needs teacher who specializes in vision. One of Finnie's therapists works with her at school and bribed her into coming to our home for a visit and we couldn't have been more grateful! I didn't get her permission to use her name so I will just call her J. She gave us a lot of hope for Finnie's eyes. She brought all sorts of toys and props to evaluate her eye sight and found that she is seeing quite well. Finnie just sees things from the side or in parts and with training you can bring those parts together. CVI is a strange disorder and kids see in a really random fashion.

J gave us a lot of different exercises to work on Finnie's tracking ability etc. Finn was responding to really bright colors and things that sparkle(is she MY kid or what?). Anything neon with say black spots or stripes work well. High contrast items help her to focus her attention. Angie has taken black duct tape and decorated all of her bottles, polka dots, squares, spiral stripes etc. Then while she eats it brings her eyes to the middle - it's really cool. Finn has even been reaching for things that sparkle or light up. We are praying that in time these pieces will fit together nicely and her vision will only get better. What a blessing to have people come into our lives that give us hope and something to work towards.

At her last eye visit the doctor just said; "Hmmm, not much change. Just schedule your next visit in a year." Thank goodness there are people in the world that take an interest in children as individuals and never give up! Thank you J - you'll just never know how much you mean to us!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Month of May....

What a lovely month it was. No May gray in the sky and some perfectly wonderful memories! We started off with May Day planting - a Messer family tradition. Hot Pink Geraniums were this year's choice. We even tried to propagate some in the backyard because I couldn't find anymore Candy Striped ones that I love! I'll let you know how those turn out! +

Auntie JoAnna came for a visit and commented on how we never put Finnie down... Yes, I have heard that before. But in the end - how can spoil an angel?? I'll hold her until my back gives out and then we'll just lay on the couch together!! Finnie & Angie also were invited to a pool party this last Saturday(Finn's first). It was little Jordy's 1st birthday and Finnie had a blast! She LOVED the water. Especially the Jacuzzi. When we can afford those water therapy sessions - she'll be in heaven!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nothing is by chance -

I truly believe that if the Lord wants things to happen, He prepares the way and opens the window. It amazes me each time that blessings manifest themselves in my life. I am grateful and overwhelmed an in awe of His grace towards me each and every time. Since Finn has come into my life, I make a conscious effort each day not to take things for granted and to share love with those around me. There are people with much bigger problems than I have and I pray for them everyday. I thank Heavenly Father for reminding me of this constantly.

This week has been remarkable but today was an amazing day! The week began with a wonderful therapist(Debbie)hooking me up with a teacher that specializes in Finn's eye disorder. She is the expert for San Diego and she'll be coming to my home in two weeks. She will teach me how to work with her and increase the vision that Finn already has. I am so excited to meet with her that I'll probably forget all of the questions I have for her! What a blessing. I don't know how I would have found that contact on my own. So, a little help from heaven and the window raises... I also got my advertising 4X6 postcards for Careful Scanning in the mail Wednesday in time for the Scrapbook Expo this weekend. Jeffery Whitehead from Fridgeworks did an AMAZING job on them and they look wonderful! And then to top it all off, Finn's baby book came from Heritage Makers(a week early) and it's better than I can imagine! SO cute and of course, it's in black & hot pink! It was a great week!

For the past few weeks I have been racking my brain trying to think of a way to give back to Rady Children's Hospital and thank them for all that they have done for us. You have heard me ramble on before about the nurses, staff & doctors and how incredible they all are. They are truly angels on the earth! Well, with money being tight, monetary donations were not going to be part of my plan. I joined Volunteer San Diego in hopes that they would have some project etc. and I did find one but it didn't seem like the one I needed to pursue for some reason. And then, a blessing in disguise - today - my friends car broke down. Why is that a blessing?

"M" was giving my daughter a ride to school when her car broke down on the freeway right before the exit to Rady Children's Hospital. For some reason, I was ready for work an hour early today(which hasn't happened in 20 years)and when she called to report that our kids were stranded on the side of the freeway, I was ready to jump in the car and take them to the school and/or towing company. It was even early enough that I would almost be to work on time. I got in the car and turned my radio on to FM 94.1 like I always do. For those of you who don't live in the area - the "Jeff and Jer Showgram" is iconic and a "don't miss" in the mornings for San Diego commuters. Jeff, Jer and everyone involved with the show are like family to us. They make us laugh, tip us off to great deals and make fun of everyone who needs to made fun of. We love them - I love them!

To my surprise, they were broadcasting from Rady Children's Hospital and talking about the NICU that Finn & I lived in for eight days. I immediately called the show, hoping to talk to Tommy, to see if there was anything I could do to help them. I figured I would just tell them about Finn and leave a message etc. But no one picked up. I was bummed. I grabbed the kids and got them safely to school and then was headed to work. But- believing that everything happens for a reason(I was right there and I am NEVER there unless I have an appointment)I decided to just drive by and at least drop my $3 dollars for lunch in the bucket. I pulled in, dropped in my 3 lousy bucks and saw Delana from the show. I asked one of the ladies at the bucket if I could speak to her and Delana came over. I meant to just thank her for helping out Children's with the broadcast. But you know that my mouth just goes sometimes and before long I was crying, thanking and showing her Finn's baby book. I was a mess and just grateful that I could talk to her face to face & tell her show thank you.

Well, she must have had pity on me and invited me to be on the air and share Finn's story. I parked my car and walked back over, the whole time thinking, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? Is this how I am going to be able to give back. All I was thinking is how can I get people to open their wallets and give to this incredible place. I had no idea what to say and the nerves set in but at the same time, I felt relaxed. Delana couldn't have been more genuine and she is even nicer than she is on the air(if that's possible). I don't remember exactly what I said in the interview but the gist of it was that people don't know how great Rady's is until the crisis hits and then they'll wish they had given money to them all along. Paul & I have always said that if we were ever millionaires, that Rady Childrens Hospital would be THE charity we spoiled. On a daily basis, they give and take care our most precious children. It takes special people to do that I am SO glad that they are there. So if you haven't donated to Rady Children's Hospital yet this year - I encourage you to do it. No matter how small the donation. If everyone gave just three lousy bucks - what a difference it could make! Here is the link to the Jef & Jer showgram if you want to donate online through May 10th.

Once again - I stand in awe and my heart is full of gratitude. An amazing experience, one I won't forget and it was fun too! (Do you know how loud you sound when you have those headphones on?)God bless you all and thanks for your prayers for Finn's eyes!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Doing well on the diet...

Well, it's been about 3 weeks since Finn started on the Ketogenic diet. We haven't noticed any weight gain or loss yet so that's good. In another week she will be fully on the diet and then we will start to keep track of the seizure activity etc. She seems more alert and smiles a lot more(to me anyway)and drinks up the formula with no problem. The insurance did finally kick in and they are covering the expense of the formula- we thank the Man upstairs for that blessing!

Finn is also teething right now so there have been a few screaming days and nights over the past few weeks that have not been pleasant for any of us. It amazes me why dentists haven't come up with a teething cure for babies by now. Don't they know frantic moms would pay pretty much anything to keep their child out of pain? They'd make a fortune!!!

We took Finn to the Flower Fields in Carlsbad for the first time. It's such a nice way to welcome spring time and admire the beauty around us. If you haven't been there - it's just Ranunculus flowers as far as you can see. Paul is bored with the whole event each year. He thinks I only go there to take photos of the girls and it's a waste of time. If they added football or bumper cars he'd be all over it. We also go for the YUMMIEST strawberries in the world. They are as big as your fist and sweeter than God intended them to be(I think they are genetically altered, they are just to good to be true! So if we end up growing extra body parts, that's why!!).

We have a lot to be thankful for this spring. The kindness of others still touches our lives each day. With Paul still without work, our photo scanning business has been doing well with keeping him busy. It has been more rewarding than I ever thought it could have been - helping people save their photos is such a blessing. There are so many stories tied in with people's photos. It's been fun listening to those memories and laughing with their stories. It brings peace of mind knowing that we are helping to protect those things from being lost due to fires or other disasters that we don't expect.

Thank you for all of your concern with our family. We are thankful you are there watching out for us. We are also thankful that the Lord is watching out for YOU!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The new diet . . .

Hello all. It's been a few weeks and I have got to get caught up! We have been starting a new business and with that & Finn's new diet - the seconds have turned into weeks that have just slipped by! ( had a good fast for Finnie's eyes and now we wait. Thanks to all of you who fasted and offered up prayers on her behalf. It was such a peaceful day.

Well - I'm not good at waiting so we started her new diet to move things along. She is on a Ketogenic diet - like an Atkins diet for babies. We weigh and measure everything that goes into her bottles and solid feedings as well. There is a special formula that tastes a lot like coffee creamer so how could that be bad. She gulps it all down and cries for more so there ya go! The formula went from $50.00 a can to $188.00 a can because we could only get it from one pharmacy in the area. Obviously - being unemployed that wasn't going to fly. Our neurologist was on vacation and then his nurse was out of the office the last two days of the week - it was one bad sign after another!

We were almost out of food for Finn by the weekend and we were in a panic! We had been going back and forth all week with the insurance companies to cover it, getting the doctor's medical necessity letters to the right people etc. and nothing was working. I was in tears and ready to have a major freak out! Oh, did I mention that the nutritionist was on vacation as well so we couldn't even call her for a backup can of formula. It was exhausting! So we finally went directly to the plant who makes it in Maryland and they sold us a case (with a the doctor's consent fax)for $169.00. Much better than the $188.00 per can that the rip off pharmacy wanted to charge us! The gal that helped us out was named Mattie and her "yes" after all of the no's we had heard all week made all the difference. She was truly an angel and over nighted the food and saved the day! What a blessing... We now hope that the insurance picks it all up, if not, we look for another way to make a blessing happen...

Two weeks ago I took Finn to the beach after work. The weather was amazing and I just had to get away for the afternoon. I was tired and overwhelmed at all of the changes in our lives and needed a re-group hour with the ocean breeze. The ocean has always been my happy place. I don't know if it's scientific or not but I seem to work out a lot of odds and ends by the sea.

We strolled around the Cove in La Jolla, smelled the air, enjoyed the sun but my mind was racing from one thought to the next. The calming effect just wasn't happening and the worry seemed to overwhelm my brain. I guess worry was really weighing my soul down, as I should have realized from the lack of sleep I had been experiencing over the past little while. I said a prayer in my heart for peace and Finn and I stopped at a bench overlooking the waves. As I cuddled her and watched the people walking in each direction, I saw an older couple meet up at the garbage can. They each had tattered grocery bags filled with plastic bottles and crushed soda cans. They spoke in Spanish as they decided that each would go off in a different direction and then meet up later. My Spanish is more than poor but for some reason I understood enough to "overhear" their conversation.

As I sat, holding my sweet baby, I watched the older gentleman man as he stopped at every can along the sidewalk. He quietly went through the bin and searched for his only way of making money that day. If he found enough, he and his wife may eat that night. Tears overcame me and I could not stop crying. That peace that I prayed for had already been in my heart. I found myself wanting the peace to come to his heart. My blessings had never been more profound than at that moment. I have a job, a home and a family to be with each night. Life is so much harder for some people. Our trials seem so "specific" to us. We feel that they are bigger than us and sometimes too much. But all we have to do is look around to what others are facing and ours are a drop in the bucket.

I wanted to take them both home with me but knowing that wasn't a real possibility I tried to think of another solution. My tears were coming so hard that I could barely see at this point and I knew I wouldn't even be able to speak to the man at this point. The Lord blessed me with the answer and I was able to do what I could. I hope peace comes for him and that his life gets a little easier. It's through small and simple things that great things come to pass. I hope to always remember that - and I hope you do too. Serving the Lord's children is not only our obligation as followers of Christ but one of our greatest opportunities to grow and bless others.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

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Thank you all for fasting with us on Sunday. It was a peaceful day, all dressed in green!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Fasting & Prayer needed for Finnie's eyes. . .

This is an email that I sent out recently and I thought I should include it here because a lot of you read Finnie's Blog more than your own email accounts! We are asking for more of your faith and prayers on Finnie's behalf. You can offer up as many prayers as you wish - we appreciate them all! Here is a link to explain CVI - what could be going on with her eyes.

Dear Everybody-
We are enlisting our prayer & faith warriors again! This coming Sunday - March 15th, we will be doing a special fast for Finnies eyes that they make a full recovery. We are asking anyone who is able, to help us with this fast. (Lots of prayers beginning now couldn't hurt either!) Please mark your calenders if you can help us. United prayers have worked for us in the past so why try another method??
As you know, she has a condition called CVI (Cortical Vision Impairment) and she sees in a random fashion. By not seeing well, she has no motivation to play with & explore toys, crawl towards things or even eat and play with foods. Her vision is holding up her other progress and we need it taken care of. There is no medical treatment for this condition so we need the Lord's healing power and your faith! It can be done - as we have seen before. And if it be His will that her eyes heal- they will. We believe that they will. I will also update this to the blog so you can pass it along to other family & friends. We really appreciate all of your prayers so far- they have given us a beautiful little angel!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The party's just beginning!!

Hello all -

While the cupcakes may be digesting in 200 different stomachs, the real party of childhood still lies ahead! Thank you to everyone who came and partied with us on Saturday! And for those of you who missed it - we have no more cupcakes but plenty of pictures!! My friends did a WONDERFUL job with the setting up and decorating and Finnie loved it - we all did. THANK YOU!! More updates to come as Finn should be starting her Ketogenic diet soon - that is our next adventure... Enjoy the scrapbook below!! xoxo

Highlights from Finnie's Cupcake Party

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Finnie!!

At this time last year - 4:06 am - my water had broken and we were at the birth center getting my first dose of anti-biotic. I knew that a baby would change all our lives - but I HAD NO IDEA just how that would happen...

I haven't slept much tonight. My mind is re-living and re-playing every event from the past year in slow motion. My heart is full of gratitude and love. All of the tears, prayers and heartache were worth it and I would not change a second of it - even if the outcome had been different and Finnley would have left for heaven soon after her arrival. Our lives and our hearts are better for knowing and loving her. Why God chose us to have this incredible experience - I hope to one day know. But I thank Him for it and feel blessed that He loved me enough to give it to me.

All of our trials and heartaches are blessings. I have learned that you gain much more from the experience of pain when you take a positive approach and face it head on. (Not that I ALWAYS take this approach at first, I find myself complaining at times too) But once you get down on your knees and pour your heart out for help and understanding - it comes. The Lord is always there and for that I am forever grateful. How do people make it through life without the understanding that the Lord is our rock and our salvation?

On Sunday, we attended a meeting called Stake Conference. It's a multi- congregational meeting that is held twice a year in my church. I am a Latter-Day Saint for those of you who don't know. (Mormon is our more common name) It was an amazing meeting that I cried through. My mind reflected on the year as I held Finnie in my arms with Angie playing with her little fingers and making faces at her. We sang "How Firm a Foundation," and the words burned into my heart. I think it's my new favorite hymn. One of the Lord's apostles, M. Russell Ballard was at this meeting and I was renewed in my faith that the Lord has restored His church on the earth. He is the Head of it and has given us a prophet and apostles to guide us through these uncertain times we live in. We have a choice to be on the Lord's side or to not - but only one side will win and I choose to be on that side. Brother Ballard and his wife walked past us as he was leaving the building and shook our hands and touched our little Finnie. He was so sweet and the spirit of the Lord was so strong with him. What a blessing to have the comfort of the Lord in our lives - I hope we all cherish it.

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake. - - Rev. John Rip­pon, text 1787

Monday, February 16, 2009

It's almost been a YEAR!!

Wow.. SO much has happened since I last wrote in the blog. I can finally access our pictures from the evil computer - so I have updated the "One Month at a Time" slide show for your viewing pleasure. I cry every time I edit it so I don't even preview my additions anymore. (Please let me know if I have spelling errors in it etc.)

The Lord has truly blessed us throughout the year but especially within the last two months. Paul is still without work and jobs are even more than scarce right now. We have decided it is who you know and a good dose of perfect timing in order to get a job. So we wait, but we have hope. The Lord doesn't let us down - He just times it in His time.

We have moved! Not to that 52 freeway overpass that we were considering but to a wonderful home about three blocks from my sister. Another one of the Lord's angels working His errand - a most wonderful and generous sister in our church, rented us her mother's old house. It saves us about $650.00 a month which allowed us to stay in town and keep Angie in school and Finn with her same doctors. It is the warmest, most cozy house we have ever lived in and less rent than some of our smallest apartments! A true blessing. It has a wonderful yard and a fireplace with a great mantle for my photos. Angie's room has a dutch door and she is thrilled with it! Finnie LOVES to watch and listen to the fire and we are so happy here. Our wonderful friends not only moved us in - BUT unpacked it all and put it away! My gratitude was immeasurable!

Now to add to that blessing - a few days before the move - a friend's husband offered me a part-time job. Stressed me out at first because I couldn't imagine leaving Finnley at home so I said, "no, but thank you." Tom asked me to pray about it. So I prayed that I would take the job if it was the right thing for my family and I felt very peaceful about it. I did that three times with the same result. I then figured I was praying wrong because God wouldn't want me to leave this yummy baby at home right? So I changed my prayer - this time I prayed that I would refuse the job and stay home. THEN I got a sick feeling inside and I knew it wasn't the right decision to not take the job. (But just in case, I prayed the original prayer to double check - peaceful feeling came over me again) (So I'm OCD, you all knew that!!) Paul may be out of work for awhile, who knows? God puts blessing in front of us that may not be what we are expecting but HE knows what we need - I am grateful for the opportunity to help provide for my family. We're a team after all, right?

Finn and Paul are doing great together - although the first day, Finnie looked horrible when I came home from work! This picture just doesn't do justice to what I found!! Her hair was hanging in her face and was just big hair, she had sleepy in her eyes because Paul forgot to wash her face in the bath and she was wearing a plain white onesie and plain brown pants. Are you kidding me? That kid has the CUTEST clothes ever and you dressed her in that? (In his defense - he said brown and white match) Yeah - but Finn's not going to look like a latch key kid just because her dad is in charge. I now try to bathe, dress and clip her hair up before I leave in the morning!! (Just for peace of mind) The job is very flexible and will allow me to go to any of Angie or Finn's appointments. It's about 5 minutes from our house and I love the people I am working with. The job is fun - a lot of busy work and detail stuff that I thrive on. My title is "Accounting Clerk" but I do pretty much whatever they need. A true blessing as we can now eat and pay the electric bill!!

We are getting ready for the "Great Cupcake Party" on the 28th. If you haven't gotten an invite - let me know and I will send one out. They turned out super cute and everyone is invited!! Eat as many cupcakes as you like - it's our way of saying thank you for all of your prayers, help and good thoughts for Finnie and our family over this past year. We truly could not have done it without you! We see you as angels in our lives and hope we can be that for you as well!! THANK YOU!!

One Month at a Time . . .

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Monday, January 5, 2009

A Very Merry Christmas!!!

Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you! (Just a note to my mom - if you click on the pictures, you can see a big version of it) We had one of the loveliest of all holiday seasons. Words just cannot express our gratitude to the Lord for all of His blessings this year. We had our best Christmas ever. Not only did we get to share the holidays with our new little sister and baby but we were blessed with several sets of elves - who did the 12 days of Christmas for our family. Special gifts dropped off each night with a knock at the door or just the dog barking on a few nights! Angie never did catch them - but boy did she try!! Two cans of formula were dropped off one night - how did they know we were at the bottom of our last can?

We don't know exactly who all of these elves were (although we have suspicions) but please know that whomever you are - you are loved and appreciated! With Paul still being unemployed, we prepared Angie for a quiet but wonderful Christmas with all the family. (Even Grandma came in town for a visit!) Turned out that it was "a very eventful, full of surprises and secret gifts all over the place" kind of Christmas! Even I could not have planned a holiday event like this! Some elf, who clearly wanted to remain anonymous - Fed Ex'd a most wonderful present for us(especially Paul). (An XBox 360, complete with games and online services!) Poor Paul got hit with the stomach flu on Christmas Day so he was unable to play with his new toy and it about killed him. (Although the flu almost did kill him - it was a long 24 hours!) There were also some gift cards that will come in handy this next month. All of you made it a wonderful Christmas for all of us and especially for Angie. She was amazed at the love and generosity that was at every turn. It will be in our hearts forever and we can't wait to return the favor someday!

We are now gearing up for Finnie's ONE YEAR OLD BIRTHDAY PARTY!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?? It's next month - man has this year flown by!! We are planning on having a "Cupcake open house" - not sure where yet because I don't know where we may be living. Just keep checking the blog and the details will be available. EVERYONE IS INVITED!! There have been so many people that have blessed our lives this year that we want to share this day with the world! I will make plenty of cupcakes in 10 shades of pink so please come and enjoy!! Our main computer is suffering from post traumatic stress of some sort and I am unable to retrieve photos to update the "One month at a time" slide show right now. i was able to find some Christmas pictures so enjoy those until I get the other ones out of "computer virus jail!" Here's to a wonderful New Year!!

About Me

I am a mom of two beautiful girls. Our family has been greatly blessed by the Lord. His message of love and hope needs to be shared and my girls are a testimony of His plan for all of us.