Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Luke 2:1-20

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. " This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.
And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.




Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas...from our home to yours.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

'Tis the Season!

It wouldn't be Christmas without these elves!


Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Getting into the Christmas Spirit

I can't believe Christmas is already less than 3 weeks away. Yikes! I've still got lots to do, but it is all fun stuff and I just love this time of year! The Christmas cards are coming along, I've gotten a little shopping done, but we are keeping things pretty simple here this year. Of course now it's all about Lily anyway. She gets just a little spoiled.:o) I am so excited to see how she reacts to everything this year. It will be a lot of fun. I'm sure. Here are some pictures to show what things are like around here this month.



The choo-choo train under our tree. This was my dad's and we sort of inherited it after he passed away. Lily LOVES it. It has one open car you can put things in. Last year we put one of her toys in it and turned the train on. Big mistake. HUGE tears as she watched her precious toy disappear around the corner. This year, she puts her panda in the car and squeals with glee as he goes for a ride.


Lily is truly developing a great love for pretending (or "petemper" as she calls it). She is a great mommy to her baby dolls and loves to push them around in the stroller. They spend a lot of time going to the park and to the doctor's office. I guess that tells you where we have spent a lot of our time.


Here is Lily all ready to go out and about. Sunglasses...check. Keys...check. Phone...check. Purse...check. What else does a girl need?


Robert took our family Christmas picture last weekend. It was a rough session. It was getting late in the afternoon and Lily was getting a little grumpy and very uncooperative. So unnatural for a 2 year old, I know.;o) Anyway, we ended up getting a few good shots. This isn't the one we'll be using on our Christmas card, but it is pretty cute.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks

We should be thankful every day for all we have been given. Our family is blessed to live in a country where we are free...free to give thanks to the One who has blessed us far beyond what we deserve. I hope we can all remember to give thanks today...for our families, our friends, our freedom, our faith. There are so many scriptures on thankfulness. I've included a few that touch me. Thank you Lord for choosing me, for loving me, for forgiving me, for blessing me even though I deserve none of it. To You be the glory.

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe." Hebrews 12:28

"I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High." Psalm 9:1-2

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name." Psalm 100:4

"Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting." Psalm 118:1

"Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving." Colossians 4:2

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Projects

With the rapidly approaching Christmas season, I've been busy working on all kinds of stamping projects. I've made Christmas cards, gift tags, gift bags, gift card holders, ornaments, all kinds of fun things! My favorite part about being a Stampin' Up demonstrator is having a class and watching peoples faces light up when they see how easy it is to make such fun, cute things! I've always thought it makes a gift so much more meaningful when it's made with your own hands. Here are a few things we did at my class this last weekend.


The larger card is a pocket card...the white card with the tab pulls out.



Two little gift bags. These are really cute and so easy...a lot of fun to make.



Gift card holders...you pull the tab and the gift card is attached to it. Again, super easy and so cute!


A cute set of gift tags. I think I'll be using these on my Christmas gifts this year.



Today I got out of Christmas mode to work on some birthday, thank you and baby cards I need to get sent out.


This one is so cute! I copied part of the idea from another card I saw. If you click on the picture, you might be able to notice the detailing on the bottom. I scored on the white every 1/4" so it looks like wainscoating (sp?).

These are the same...only one is a birthday card and one is a thank you card.


And I couldn't very well post without putting a picture of our sweet Lily. Here she is after her bath tonight. She is just the cutest thing ever!





Monday, November 24, 2008

Lily Update

Lily is still doing incredibly well, all things considered. We had another follow up with her doctor today. She wasn't too excited about seeing him, but she was "a bwave guhl". She is still on the full prescribed dose of predisone until the 30th. Starting in December we get to start lowering the doseage to every even day. We have an appointment with the specialist in January, so I'm sure we'll get more detailed information then as far as weaning her off.

I took some cute pictures of Lily at the park the other day. They are pretty good, by my standards.;o) Of course Lily is an easy subject and extrememly photogenic. The first picture is Lily in her ladybug costume at Halloween. At this point she had not been on the predisone very long. It was just long enough for her kidneys to start functioning properly and help her lose all of that water weight, but just before the prednisone started puffing her up. You'll notice quite a big difference here. Either way, she is perfectly beautiful, inside and out.

By the way, we had a very beautiful melt-your-heart moment this morning. I was getting ready for the day as Lily was watching "Bob" (also known as "Veggie Tales"). Out of the blue she said to me, "I keep mommy forever!" She just kills me. I know I've said this before, but I can't say it enough...we are so blessed.

What a sweet smile.

I love this picture...she looks so deep in thought.




Airplane arms...she learned that at gymnastics class.


Pointing at the clouds in the sky. She is so fascinated by everything...I love it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Weekend Getaway

Last weekend we took our annual trip to Palm Springs. The three of us along with my mom headed out late Wednesday night and got into town around 10:00pm. After getting settled into our rooms, we got Lily ready for bed. She was sitting on my lap with a very concerned look on her face, and then her lower lip started trembling. I asked her what was wrong. She looked right into my eyes and said, "Go home?" Uh-oh. I had been explaining to her about us going on vacation, and this wasn't her first time going away with us, so I wasn't worried...until now. I told her again that we were on vacation and told her about how much fun we were going to have. We turned her music on, prayed with her and put her down. As we walked out of her room we feared the worst. But she was out like a light. She was one tired little girl! She did great the entire trip with only a couple of major meltdowns. One was as we were leaving the Living Desert. She did not get her way so she screamed her head off the entire way to the car. Boy was that a long walk! As we hit the road to grab a bite to eat, she was out. Her other meltdown was on our last night. She disobeyed mommy and had to stand in the corner. Once she calmed down, she apologized and was fine. Thankfully she usually recovers quickly...and I have noticed that they mostly seem to happen when she is tired.

Then there was yesterday. We always have great mornings together...it's my favorite part of the day. We watched a little Curious George and then had some breakfast. After breakfast we headed out to her gymnastics class. The kids play around for a few minutes until the teacher is ready and we have circle time. Lily usually likes this part, but this morning, she did not want to do circle time. She wanted to play. When I told her no, the tears started flowing. The teacher looked over at me and said, "Oh! She does cry!" It's not a usual occurrence. Once her teacher started singing, Lily forgot she was upset and had a great time for the rest of class. After class, we headed over to Target. We needed to get a refill of her prescription and I had to pick up a few other things. Lily's favorite thing to do now is to look at Christmas trees. Anytime we go to any store she wants to look at the Christmas trees. I told her as soon as I was done at the pharmacy, we would go look at the trees. As I was talking to the pharmacist, Lily kept grabbing at my wallet. I looked over and told her no. She kept grabbing it. I took it away from her and told her no again. I told her she needed to apologize to mommy for not obeying or we would not look at the Christmas trees (I know...I am so mean!). Then it happened. Our first temper tantrum in the middle of a store. Why is it that a toddlers screams never seem so loud as when one is in a store full of people? I pushed her around in the cart as she kept screaming. When she is like this, there is nothing anyone can do to calm her down...she just needs to work it out for herself. As I was debating whether or not to leave, I picked her up from the cart and she started calming down. She looked at me and said, "Sorry mommy". She just kills me! Someone had commented on Robert's blog about how we will have our hearts broken and melted many times by this little girl. Boy was she right! Anyway, we of course went over to the Christmas section and looked at every single tree.:o)

Here are a few shots Robert took on our trip.


In her footie jammies and ready for bed.



Running around the resort and having fun!


Lily playing with daddy's new magic trick.



What a beautiful smile.



The cutest butterfly in the Living Desert!



Some great shots by Robert.





We love this place for breakfast. We stop there every year on our way home.

Enjoying a BIG bowl of oatmeal. No, she didn't eat the whole thing.:o)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Big Steps for our Baby Girl

First of all, we have very good news to report from the doctors office. We went to see him on Friday with a urine sample from Lily. The three of us were in the office when the nurse came in with the results. The doctor looked shocked and took off his glasses like he wanted to be sure he was reading it correctly. He very excitedly told me that her urine had negative traces of protein. YEAH!!! This means she will still need to be on the full dose of prednisone for 30 days and then we can start weaning her off of it. I will be so glad. While part of me knows this medicine is obviously helping her, there is another part of me that feels like I'm giving her poison, knowing all of the possible side effects. The only ones the doctor is really worried about is weight gain as her appetite will continue to increase, so we will need to continue to monitor her diet closely. There is also a possibility that she may get diabetes as a side effect. While this would go away once she is off of the prednisone, we would have to treat her as a diabetic until then. We pray all will go smoothly and she won't experience that.

And then there is today...a VERY big day. For many weeks, months even, Lily has been practicing sitting on the potty. I have been telling her that if she goes pee-pee in the potty, she will get M&M's. She repeats it to me all.the.time but has never gone. Today, she came up to me and said, "Mommy...go pee-pee in the potty RIGHT NOW!". I said ok, thinking she was just going to get in another "practice" session. I took her clothes off (yes, all of them. For whatever reason, she likes to be naked on the potty) and set her down. I started cleaning in the bathroom and as I looked over to check on her, she was standing over the potty looking down into it. I looked in and could not believe my eyes. My big girl went pee-pee in the potty! I got so excited. Robert heard and came down the hall to check it out. We both started cheering and clapping. Lily just kept looking at us saying, "Go pee-pee in the potty, get M&M's." So she got her special treat and enjoyed every last one. She was still running around "nekkie" as I was shaking the kithen rugs out back. She came out with me and proceeded to pee on the patio. I explained to her that we only go pee-pee on the potty, not outside! She looked at me and said, "Shayna (our dog) go pee-pee outside!" Aye. We still have some work to do, but what a big day/week for baby Lily!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Freedom is Worth the Price

I don't usually get political here, but in case you haven't heard, there is a very important Election Day coming up next week. Please. Go. Vote.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Daddy!

I love you soooooooooo big!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More Dr. Visits and My First Adoption "Run-In"

So I think poor Lily believes that every time we get in the car we are going to the doctors office. Poor thing. I don't blame her. Every time we have gotten in the car this week it has been to go to the doctor. I think we need to take her out to do something fun...very soon!

Anyway, we had to go back to the doctor this morning to have her TB test read and take another urine sample. The TB is negative and the urine is still chock full of protein. Her weight has gone down a little which is good. He sent us home and said he would call later with prescription info. When he called us, he said he wanted Lily to go to the lab for a couple more blood tests just to be on the safe side and rule out any other possibilities. I was not excited about that! But Lily was such a trooper today. She didn't cry at the office at all. In fact she was talking to the nurse and the doctor and running around like she lived there (which she practically has this week!). So after our morning visit, we went back to the office to pick up the prescription paper and the form for the additional blood work. We headed up to the lab, gave the nurse our paperwork and waited our turn. There was one other lady in the waiting room who was having fun watching Lily. She asked me if I was her mom or if I took care of her. I said, "She is my daughter.". She looked kind of shocked and said, "Oh. But she is Chinese." I said, "Yes. We adopted her." She said, "Oh. Ok." I thought that was the end of it until this brilliant statement came out of her mouth. "She acts like she thinks you are her real mom." ??????? After picking my jaw up off the floor I said, "I AM her real mom." She started to say something, but was saved by the nurse calling her in for her turn. I'm sure she didn't really understand what she was saying, at least I hope not! But after being home for a year and 3 months, this was the first dumb thing I've had said to me. Not too bad!:o)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Poor Baby

We are in the process of confirming her diagnosis, but it looks like Lily has Childhood Nephrotic Syndrome. I'll start from the beginning...

About a week or two ago, I started noticing Lily was feeling heavier. I figured she must be experiencing a growth spurt, but deep down I had a feeling that something just wasn't right. It wasn't until this last Saturday that Robert and I both noticed something wrong. She woke up that morning with very puffy eyes and a runny nose. Maybe the puffy eyes were caused by the cold she apparently had? We went about our usual routine. Lily was of course her happy funloving self. We took her to the park in the afternoon. At one point she was going down the slide and I noticed her legs seemed to be larger than normal. My first thought was, we have GOT to cut back on the snacks! Sunday morning she woke up still very puffy. We opted not to go to church as she was still dealing with her cold and I didn't want her to be around the other kids. We did, however, decide to keep our lunch date with Robert's mom. When I got her dressed, I noticed the outfit I was putting on her that was a little too big just 1 week before was now fitting her very snug. As I was carrying Lily in the parking lot I couldn't help but think she was just feeling too heavy. I weighed her when we got home and according to the scale, she had put on 4-5 pounds within the last 2-3 weeks. Now Lily is a good eater, but she certainly hasn't eaten enough to warrant that much weight gain. First thing Monday morning I called her pediatrician and made an appointment. The doctor looked at her and confirmed she was definately puffy and bloated. He asked a few questions and mentioned the Nephrotic Syndrome, but needed a urine sample and blood work to confirm it. (Of course all I heard was, "Syndrome blah blah blah kidney blah blah protein blah blah steroids blah blah blah don't worry". Ha!) He attached a little bag to her and I put her diaper back on (the things they have in the medical field never cease to amaze me!). I took her to the park as she was pretty upset about having been to the doctor, and then went back to the office to return the sample. He came back within minutes and said her urine was "loaded with protein" and he was pretty sure of the diagnosis. Basically her kidneys are losing protein so water is moving into the body tissues which is what is causing the swelling. So we left the office and headed to the lab for her blood work. She'd never had her blood drawn like this before and needless to say, I was pretty nervous about it. While the phlebotomist was very nice, she had to poke and dig around in both of Lily's arms and came up with nothing. Lily was screaming her head off...louder than I'd ever heard her scream, and I was going back and forth between wanting to punch that lady in the face and feeling sorry for her because I knew she was doing her best. Lily was just so dehydrated that is was difficult to find her veins. She advised me to take Lily home and give her water, water and more water, and bring her back in the morning. Yes....that's what I want to do...put my daughter through more torture. The nurse felt so badly, she kept handing Lily more and more stickers to try to make her feel better, which actually did work! Anyway, I took her home and tried to keep myself calm about the whole thing. I looked up the syndrome on a website the doctor recommended and felt much better about the prognosis. This morning I got Lily up and when I got her dressed, her feet were so swollen I couldn't even get her shoes on, so she wore her kitty slippers, which she loved! We had a much better experience today. The phlebotomist got Lily's vein on the first try. Lily still screamed the whole time, but at least it's done now. She stopped screaming and was happy again as soon as the needle came out...and let's just say Lily has quite the sticker collection going! So now we go back to the doctor tomorrow to read Lily's TB test. I guess she had to have it again because the treatment for this syndrome is steroids and she has to have a negative TB. We also have to wait for the bloood tests to come back to confirm everything and then the doctor will talk more about her treatment. She will need to be on a low sodium diet, which is just as well anyway...for all of us. The good news is she will outgrow it. She may never even have another bout with this, or she could have them occasionally through her teens. At least it is minor and there will be no permanant damage. I keep wanting to feel sorry for her, but she has no clue there is even anything wrong with her! She is such an amazing little girl...a little trooper. She is so full of joy and laughter. We are so blessed. The doctor told me I should take pictures of her...not sure why. Maybe for the specialist he will refer us to after the blood work comes back? Anyway, here is my poor puffy baby.


Lily having lunch after her horrible no good day at the doctor's office. She would look at the bandages on her arms, then look at me with a very serious face and say, "All done doctor's office." She is so stinkin' cute!
Her legs look really puffy in this picture.
And here she is, cracking herself up, with no clue as to what's going on. Just a happy, sweet little girl.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ring Around the Rosie...

I'm sure you know this hit song, but I'm sure you've never heard this version:

video


Betcha didn't know you could carry pee-pees around in your pocket!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fireproof

You must go see this movie. If you are considering marriage, are engaged or ever plan to get married, you need to see this movie. If you are a newlywed or have been married 50 years, you need to see this movie. If you are happily married or on the brink of divorce, you need to see this movie. Robert and I saw it tonight and I am so excited about what this movie can do for marriages all across this country and around the world. Please go see it, and I'd love to hear what you thought about it!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Daddy's Day Off

We were blessed to have Daddy home for a week day again. Thursday was Yom Kippur which for us means...no school! Robert got to come with us to gymnastics class (or as Lily says, "nastics cass")...



Lily walking on the balance beam. She still won't do this without holding my hand. One day...



Looking so cute playing around on the mats.


Swinging all by herself. It took her a while before she could do this on her own...now she won't stop!


One of her favorite games at class...the parachute. This is the part where she has to wait her turn. Ms. Darcy calls two kids at a time to run under and touch the middle. It was a little tough in the beginning, but she does so well with this now.


Everyone lined up for their stamps afterwards...


This time she got a "pumpin" stamp. Ms. Darcy gives one stamp on a hand and one on a foot. Lily loves to show off her stamps during the week...until they wash off.



After gymnastics we went to the park (with a brief trip to the library in between). Lily had so much fun. I remember when she used to be scared of everything there. (I have a feeling there will be lots of "I remember when's" in our future!) Now she loves it all.


Getting ready to go down the slide and looking cool in her shades.





Riding on the seesaw with mommy and daddy. I think the swings are Lily's favorite, but this was mine!



Robert captured some beautiful shots while Lily was on the swing. I love the fall leaves in the background. If I'm not careful, every wall in our house is going to be full of Lily pictures...not that that's a bad thing!