Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Last Few Weeks

A few weeks ago my Mom made homemade pop tarts with the kids.  They were a hit!

The kids continue to wow me with their amazing drawing skills.
Here is their latest drawing they completed this past Friday.  It took them every bit of five days, but I think it turned out really well.
William (He is now back to being home schooled.)
A few nights ago Caleb met Rainn Wilson at his college.  Did you know he founded Soul Pancake?
This past Sunday we had a little appreciation barbecue.  As John was barbecuing hamburgers and hot dogs, this Good Year blimp flew overhead.  By the time I found my camera, it was nearly out of sight. 
Here is Sherry (from church) and my Mom.
Here is Steve, Kathy, and Mike (from church.)  All four of them faithfully serve others at church week after week, so we wanted to show our appreciation through serving them a meal.
Here is "Kitty Breath Noodles" fast asleep after lunch.  Yes, that is one of her nick names given to her by Anastasia-- and crazy as it sounds, it fits. :)
Meet the newest member of our family-- Ginger.  We rescued her from the same kill shelter that we got Lexi from.  It is obvious that Ginger was abused and starved but she is the sweetest dog ever!
This picture was taken the first day we brought her home.  Poor thing was spayed earlier in the day, so she was not feeling very well.
By the next day she was busy exploring her new home.
This picture was taken just four days later and it looks as if she has already put some
meat on her bones.
It is interesting to see how much Lexi has changed now that Ginger is part of the family.  Ginger is a few years older and much calmer than Lexi.  This has made Lexi calmer too.   Here I thought that having two dogs was going to be a lot more work, when in reality, Ginger's presence has mellowed out Lexi in a most wonderful way.

One Great Big Post

It has been a very busy, last few months.   More than that, it has been a hard few months.  I guess it's that season for us.  I just try to remember to take deep breaths, and remember that we are not walking this journey alone.  I find myself in places I never thought I would find myself, and honestly, I feel so alone.  Sure, I share with John, family, and close friends, but some things I just can't put to words.  I find myself speaking to God with the simplest of prayers:
Remind me to breathe.
Without love I have nothing.
Remind me.
Please let it be okay.
Please let this season pass quickly.
What are you trying to teach me, Lord?
One step at a time.
Help me to trust.
Give me patience.
Don't let them get sick again.
Why Lord?  Why?
God is gracious, and in the midst of these last few months, we have had some good times too.  Many good times in fact.  And so I am giving a little update....
My Mom continues to come to visit for weeks at a time.  Of course she bakes.   Up a storm.
She tried homemade pop tarts.  They were a success.

The home schoolers continue to impress me with their drawing skills.
Did I mention that we adopted again?  Meet Ginger.  We got her from the local (kill) shelter.  Though it is obvious that she was abused and neglected, she is the gentlest, sweetest dog ever!
This was the first day we got her.  You could see her ribs.
Back to more drawings.
William (Yes, William is back to homeschool)
The other night, Caleb met Rainn Wilson at his college.  Did you know he is the founder of Soul Pancake?
Natalie is doing well in so many ways, but it appears that she has aerophagia.  Basically, she swallows air.  All.  the.  time.   The act of swallowing air, snorting, huffing and puffing, and making constant noises with her mouth pretty much consumes her thoughts.  And she bloats up to epic proportions.  Then she passes gas and burps... if we are lucky.  Otherwise she has trapped gas, and often times constipation.  I am 1000% certain this is what she has.  Our pediatrician seems to agree and has put in referrals to see a GI specialist.  Not sure what they can do based on the research I have done since this seems to be anxiety/stimulation driven, but we'll see.
Natalie had her echo last week which showed some residual VSD so we have been referred to the cardiologist.  We need this clearance so she can have tubes put in her ears and an ABR sedated hearing test.  Hopefully we can get a better picture of how well she can hear since she failed her hearing test a few days ago.
Other than the medical stuff going on, Natalie is thriving.  She now loves her baths.  She will crawl down the hall when she sees it is bath time.   She no longer cries when she wakes up after her nap.   She will touch her bottle with our coaxing instead of pulling her hand away and screaming when we give it to her.  She will tolerate textured foods.   She smiles and laughs all the time.  She loves music.  She can stand for five minutes.  She can make herself swing back and forth in the baby swing.
I need to remind myself of all the progress she has made these past two months.   I guess it is all how I look at it.  I am with her everyday, all the time, and so I see only the tiniest of changes... a little each day.  I'm embarrassed to say, but it is hard for me to see sometimes.
Our pediatrician on the other hand, has only seen her twice.  Once, when she first came home and a second time just a few days ago.  She said that Natalie looks so different

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday Annalyn! You make us so very proud.   I've said it before and I'll say it again-- your transformation over the years is nothing short of amazing! 
To celebrate John and I took Annalyn out to her favorite restaurant-- Tangs!  (It happens to be my favorite restaurant too.)
We ordered our usual favorites, plus a new shrimp dish since Annalyn loves seafood.  We drank tea and for kicks,  ate the edible radish flower. :)
Back home, we sang happy birthday, ate cake, and opened presents. 

Happy 17th birthday!  It blesses us to watch the beautiful, smart, funny, artistic, young woman you are growing up to be.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Upcoming Women's Retreat

Women's Retreat
Arrowbear Lake, CA
April 24-27
* Fresh air *
* Morning walks *
* Sleeping in *
* Late night movies *
* Game night *
* Thrift store shopping *
* Relaxation *
* No cooking *

I am so excited to announce this year's Mom's retreat!  It is going to be great!  Up in the beautiful San Bernardino mountains just steps to a seasonal lake, this lovely house has the perfect set up for a retreat.   So if you are a mom looking for some fun, fellowship, and great food-- this weekend is for you!  This is for women near and far-- I will personally help with transportation to and from the airport.  Cost includes 3 nights lodging plus meals with the exception of one night out which is an additional (approx.) $20.  Please email me at thereed8@yahoo with additional questions and to RSVP.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Misc. Pictures

 Legos, legos, and more legos.  Nolan has taken up an interest in the last few months.  
I think Paul nearly polished off the whole tin of popcorn.
Natalie is a pretty good eater if her food is pureed.  She will tolerate textures, but definitely prefers when her food is not super thick.  Fine with me since watering down her food is the only way I can get her to drink plain water.  All of her liquid has to be sweetened, so I add nectar or prune juice to even her milk.
We call her hand that you see up near her face "Wilson" like from the movie Castaway.  It is her buddy and she constantly needs to know that "Wilson" is nearby.

The nickname Sweet Pea never caught on.  We much prefer Natty K or Nattles. 
Nattles is smiling more and more everyday.  Mostly because she cracks herself up, but sometimes because she is responding to something we have done.
Either way, it sure is cute.
And look at this face.  Natalie's expressions are so funny!
The boys enjoy coloring.  They got new coloring books and markers for Christmas.
John and I recently celebrated 21 years of marriage. 
We went out to dinner with the gift card we got from the kids. 
Here are pictures from New Year's Eve. 

Cheesy scalloped potatoes are always a hit!

We also made sliders with homemade buns.

When we are all sitting down at the table eating dinner, I often, randomly ask one of the kids, "Do you know why this tastes so good?"
They always answer--
"Because it's made with love!"