Saturday, November 22, 2008


As of yesterday, I am officially done with all of my Christmas shopping (insert gagging sounds here). I really hate doing things last minute - I was that dorky kid in school who always had homework done ahead of time - and now I can actually enjoy the weeks leading up to Christmas instead of feeling frantic. Our Christmas cards have arrived, and even my homemade gifts are made. I just need to get up there and wrap gifts one of these days. And dig up some killer white elephant gifts for our small group Christmas party (right, Bethany?)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

moving up

I just took the plunge and ordered a toddler bed for Ella. She started a new trick this week of climbing out of her crib. Both times have been when she was in time-out, and it was pretty funny when she just sauntered down the stairs, but I'm afraid she might fall on her head one of these times.

Blogger Buddy Mindy - also known as Photographer Mindy - mentioned this bed before (or one similar - I can't remember if this is the exact same one Lucy has?) and it's from Wal-Mart and only $57 plus it has really great reviews. I just ordered it on-line and they are going to ship it to the store, so in 7-10 days Ella will have a new bed. I'll probably set it up in her room but leave the crib up so she can make the switch gradually if she wants.

I also got the letter today from church saying Ella will be moving up to the two year old room on Sunday's. This also means that she will be moving out of Baby Bay (where I have brought a baby to each week for the past four years!) and into the bigger kid rooms across the main hall. Oh my...I think my babies are growing up!

Monday, November 17, 2008

a story to share...

I'm sharing this info because this family's story has really touched me. I don't know the McNeil family at all, but I heard about them through an acquaintance from church (through the wonders of Facebook of all places). You can read the family's blog for the whole story, but the short version is that both of this couple's children, Waverly & Oliver, have been diagnosed with MPS IIIA / Sanfilippo Sydrome (see below). Their story is incredibly heartwrenching.

The person I made the connection through is friends with the couple from college and along with a couple of other friends, they are working to raise money to help the McNeil family with the purchase of a house, necessary home modifications, and out-of-pocket medical expenses. They have named this cause A Hundred for a Home and they are trying to get 4,000 people to give $100 to meet their $100,000 goal (the family lives in an area where the cost of living is high).

I wanted to pass along the info in case you are touched and want to give and so that you can keep this family in your prayers.

Sanfilippo Syndrome is a recessive autosomal genetic disease. Children with Sanfilippo Syndrome are missing an essential enzyme needed to breakdown and dispose of long sugar chains in the body called mucopolysaccharides. also known as GAGs. Because these sugar chains cannot be broken down and disposed of they accumulate in the cells causing progressive damage. Babies and young children with Sanfilippo Syndrome appear normal, but symptoms begin to appear with age as more and GAGs build up in the cells of the body. There are 3 stages to the disease. Stage 1 the child begins to lag behind peers and begins to display difficult behaviors. Stage 2 the child losing his/her language, becomes hyperactive, chews on everything, and has sleeping difficulties. Stage 3 the child slows down, becomes dependant for all mobility and loses the ability to chew/swallow. There is no treatment or cure for Sanfilippo. Life expectancy varies.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dylan!

Four years ago today, we were at the hospital waiting for the pitocin to kick in so we could meet our baby boy (Dylan was much more cooperative at his ultrasound). We found out on a Friday that we would be going in on Saturday to be induced, but we kept it a secret :) I remember sitting around that Friday night watching TV and trying to process the fact that we would have a baby in our arms in less than 24 hours.

We knew to expect a baby boy when we had Dylan, but he is our first child so that entire part of becoming new parents was completely new to us. He was a pretty big guy - 8 lbs, 8 oz - and I remember Matt peering over him while Dylan got his first bath and Dylan greeting him by shooting a stream of pee on Matt's face :) Dylan was such a good baby, so easy going and such a good sleeper!

Our little man turns four today and I think I might have to stop calling him my baby one of these days. He's growing up in so many ways, and while a mother always misses those baby and toddler days in some sense, I'm very much enjoying the person he's becoming and the conversations we can have. He's starting to ask a lot of the "deep" questions - questions about God and about life and about how everything fits together.

There are days where we butt heads, and I've told Matt and my mom before that sometimes I swear that I'm his least favorite person in the world because he acts up for me in ways that he doesn't for anyone else. My mom also reminds me that he loves me more than anyone else. I guess the mother/son relationship has its own set of complications!

Dylan is our Dilly, our Little Man and we love his sometimes quiet, observant way of looking at the world. He doesn't rush into things, and he's more cautious than his crazy sister. He loves to be surrounded by the people he loves, and he likes certainty and the security that comes with it.

Happy 4th Birthday, Buddy! We love you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ella!

Two years ago, we were just going to the hospital to be induced for Ella. We didn't know she was a she because she had been very uncooperative during the 20 week ultrasound much to our dismay. I remember going to the room and seeing two little knitted hats laying out - one for a girl and one for a boy - and being so frustrated that I still didn't know what this baby was and we were hours away from delivery!! I secretly wanted the girl hat because it was super cute :) Anyway, we did get the thrill of finding out the gender on her birthday, and I remember very clearly those few seconds after she was born, waiting for the doctor to say "it's a girl!"

I remember being in the hospital and processing that we had a little girl, a daughter. To me, it's a humbling experience because the mother/daughter relationship can be so complex but also so wonderful. Matt came back to the hospital on the second day (I let him go home to sleep after we have babies...he would stay if I asked him to but I've never asked because if I were him I would much prefer our nice cozy bed to the hospital chair that pulls out into a "bed" ;) ) and he looked kind of stunned. I asked him what was going on, and all he could get out was: "I'll have to give her away someday." I think he's still processing that...

We sure do love our little Ella around here. Somehow the nickname "Mooka" has stuck for her, and we are all equally parts fascinated/terrified of her (just kidding...but I wouldn't recommend getting in her way).

Happy Birthday, Ella!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

fall photos

My blogger buddy Mindy is starting out in the photography biz, and I asked her to take the kids' "year" pictures last week. We went to Spring Grove Park on one of the last nice days of fall, and the kids had a good time tromping through the leaves while Mindy followed them around and snapped pictures. I just got back them all back today, and I'm so happy with the way they turned out. All the colors are beautiful and I think she really captured the kids' personalities - all those little looks that I see through out the day are now captured on film! Here are a couple of my favorites (I'll post the rest on Facebook).

Observations: #1 - my kids' tongues hang out of their mouths A LOT. #2 - my stubborn 3 year old is turning into a fairly cooperative 4 year old; my little baby is turning into a sometimes terrible 2 year old (Dylan did better than I thought he would, and Ella wasn't as into it as I would have liked. All in all, I declare it a success.)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

birthday wishes for Daddy

Tomorrow starts a big birthday week for us around here. Matt's birthday is Sunday, Ella's is Wednesday, and Dylan's is Thursday. Today, I helped Dylan make a card for Matt on the computer. I asked him what we wanted to say to Daddy on his birthday and gave him a few ideas to get started (what do you like to do with Daddy, etc.).

Here's the priceless result:

Happy birthday, Daddy! I love you ‘cause you play cars with me and you lay with me and you go for walks with me. Thank you for doing trick or treat with me and for going to the ‘Hamas. I love you so, so much. Thank you for loving me and for loving my baby sister and for loving everybody. And thank you for loving God and Jesus.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

seven prayers (from

Moms (and Dads): a post worth reading on Angie Smith's blog and then doing. General idea: seven prayers to pray during seven events throughout your child's day. I'll go ahead and list them here for anyone too lazy to click on the link:

1. When they wake up: "Let the morning bring (child's name) word of your unfailing love, for she has put her trust in You. Show (her/him) the way (she/he) should go, for to you (he/she) lifts up her soul." (Adapted from Psalm 143:8)

2. When they are getting dressed: "Therefore, as God's chosen child, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Lord, help (him/her) bear with others and forgive whatever grievances (he/she) has against others. Help (him/her) forgive as the Lord forgave (him/her). And over all these virtues, help (him/her) put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." (Adapted from Colossians 3:12-14)

3. While they are eating: "Teach (child's name) the secret of being content in any and every situation whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Teach (him/her) that (he/she) can do everything through him who gives (him/her) strength." (Adapted from Philippians 4:12-13)

4. When they go out of the house: "(Name of child), do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will." (Adapted from Romans 12:2)

5. While they are taking a bath: Lord, give (name of child) clean hands and a pure heart, and let (him/her) not lift (his/her) soul to an idol or swear by what is false. Let (him/her) receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God (his/her) Savior. Let (him/her) be part of the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. (Adapted from Psalm 24:4-6)

6. When they are going to bed: "The Lord Your God is with you; he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, be will rejoice over you with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17)

7. While they are sleeping: "I pray that (name of child) will do everything without complaining or arguing, so that he/she may become blameless and pure, a child of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which he/she shines like a star in the universe as he/she holds out the word of life-in order that he/she may boast on the day of Christ that he/she did not run or labor for nothing." (Adapted from Ephesians 2:14-16)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Here are a few vacation highlight photos. Vacations tend to be most interesting to the people who are taking them, so I'll try not to bore you with too many details :) The kids held up pretty well for being dragged around theme parks and then a cruise ship for days on end. We saw a lot - it wasn't too busy so October seems to be a good time to visit. Dylan got a kick out of seeing the characters; Ella liked them from a distance but not at all up close. We spent time in all four of the Disney parks (1st collage) and then spent three nights on the Disney Wonder (2nd collage).

Monday, November 3, 2008


I've enjoyed seeing everyone's Halloween pictures either on their blogs or their Facebook accounts...thought I'd share our Halloween shots too. We were on vacation this year, so it was a different sort of Halloween but the kids were still able to do a little trick or treating on the cruise ship. Dylan was a soccer player along with cousins Isaac and Nicko - my parents picked up these outfits when they were in Spain earlier this fall. Ella was a cheerleader - if you know anything about me you know that I was a cheerleader all through high school and then coached for three years before we had kids. I just can't help influencing her costume "choice" while I can :)

More vacation pictures coming soon...
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