Sunday, August 31, 2008

FIFTY TWO BLESSING PROJECT, Week Thirty-Five

This week I'm grateful that we were able to.....

FINISH THE DISNEYLAND FAMILY FUN RUN 5k!!





Saturday was the Disneyland Family Fun Run 5K. Well, it was actually a walk too. You just had to power walk!! The scary part was I learned a few days before the event they wanted to you keep a pace of a 1 mile in 16 minutes! If not you would be "escorted" off the course! YIKES!! The last 5K we participated in was at a Parents Weekend at BYU! We finished last, but had a blast. In my daily walks I do 2 minutes in 20 minutes, of course that is up and down hills, so I don't know why I'm so hard on myself.

This event was such fun!! We joined four thousand other crazy people at 7am in the morning for the privilege of racing through Disneyland. We finished in just under an hour and there were several people way behind us. There were Disney characters throughout the course waving and cheering us on!! Katie and Rachel and Joey were there too!! (I will post more pictures in another post). They ran the course however!! Such showoffs!!

Here of some of the pictures that the professional people took, here and here

We had so much fun that we all agreed we would do this event again!! Anyone else want to join us???


Thursday, August 28, 2008

These Men Are Wonderful

The Elders Quorum Presidency along with their children came over last night to surprise Evan with cake and ice cream for his birthday. How sweet is that? Evan was very surprised when they came to the door. For a moment I didn't think he was going to let them let in. LOL. Anyway, I was very touched they cared. They work hard to make sure Evan feels an important part of the Quorum. Anyway, it worked out great since Mike was working a lovely 12 hour graveyard shift, which makes celebrating kind of hard. By the way, Evan got a cell phone for his birthday!!



Bro. Larsen, Wyatt, Dylan, Bro Christianson, Bro O'Donnal, Nick






Bro O'Donnal, Nick, Bro Gardner (one of my favorite people in the whole world, I will have to tell you about him in another blog post) and Evan, just chatting!!


Lighting all those candles takes time now!!




Kanyon had the best seat in the house.



Little Sayge was just totally bored by the whole thing.



video


The birthday song. By the way, I thought Evan did extremely well blowing out candles. This has been something that is very hard for him to do in the past. I guess his BiPap machine at night must be helping with his restrictive lung disease.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Evan

I can not believe that Evan is twenty-one years old today!!

What a roller coaster ride it was before Evan was born. We found out about his spina bifida and hydrocephalus when I was four months pregnant. The medical community was mostly very pessimistic. That was until we met Dr. Peacock, a wonderful neurosurgeon, at UCLA Medical Center. He was like a ray of sunshine and his philosophy was that with medical advances these children had great futures. We also found much peace in the fasting and the prayers of our family and friends. The temple was also a great source of comfort.

Evan was born by elective c-section four weeks early because he had stopped growing. He was just a sick little baby who needed medical attention. I was so grateful that when he was born the nurse brought him to me and asked if I would like to see his back. I said yes, and could see what looked like a little purplish bubble on his back. Evan had surgery to close the opening in his back and place a temporary shunt at 3 hours old. By the time, I saw him again the bubble was gone and he had lots of stitches. The shunt they put in that day was a temporary shunt. In the hopes that possibly with his back closed the hydrocephalus would dissipate. The way this temporary shunt drained was with a needle and syringe that the doctor would put in the valve that was under his scalp and draw out the excess fluid. Sorry, I know some of you are cringing now. It was hard to watch, but interesting also, because we could see how it helped him. We could tell when the pressure was building up because Evan would be very fussy before they did that procedure then calm down afterward. He must have had a really, really bad headache. After three days it was decided that he definitely would need a permanent shunt, so his second surgery was at three days old. It was so interesting to see how well Evan would respond to us in the hospital. If he was crying we would go in and rub his little shoulders and sing and he would calm right down. After 17 days in the NICU Evan was able to come home. That was one of the most joyous days in my whole life.



Evan, then.





Evan, now!!!


Evan has mature into this wonderful young man. I'm so grateful he is a member of my family. I continue to learn so much from him. For example, we had an interesting Family Home Evening Monday night. Mike was at work so it was just Evan and I. We had just received the New Era magazine and there was a great talk in there by one of our favorite youth speakers John Bytheway. So we decided to use that talk for our FHE. The talk is entitled "Five Scriptures That Will Help You Get Through Almost Anything" (it does not appear to be available online yet so I could not hyperlink it, but go read it in the September New Era!!). This article talks about why bad things happen to good people. Evan wanted to know what that meant. So, we talked about how sometimes people hurt other people and that is a bad thing that happens to good people. Or how people can be injured in accidents. And even how people think that being born with a disability could be a bad thing. To which Evan says. "I don't think that is a bad thing!!" He just always amazes me how accepting he is of his situation. One of the scriptures mentioned in the article was from the Book of Mormon. Alma was teaching the people of Gideon about the atonement of Christ. Speaking of the Savior, he said:

"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. " Alma 7:11-12

It was then that it hit me like a ton and bricks that Evan is someone who is utilizing the Atonement in full force in his life. I don't know why I never thought about it in that way before. I am very very humbled to be Evan's mother.




Sunday, August 24, 2008

52 BLESSING PROJECT Week Thirty-Four

DAVID

My first born turned 32 years old this past week!! My oh my!! I can't believe I have a 32 year old child!

I am very grateful for David in my life. It is hard to be a firstborn and have your parents practice parenting on you!! However, I think that David has survived very well. It is a joy and a delight to see how well he parents his own children.


David was a very active little baby. He was walking at nine months, at ten months he had it with nursing, there was a world to explore forget sitting on mom's lap!! He would go up to anybody and start talking. So much for watching out for strangers.
David had beautiful curly hair as a toddler. I loved to play with his ringlets!! Why is it that that boys had curlier hair than the girls?

David is fun loving and has a great sense of humor!

David has been faithful and has a strong testimony of the gospel. Here is a picture on his baptism day.



He served a Spanish speaking mission in Morristown New Jersey, it was kind of like a foreign mission in the United States. He had a great "inner city" experience which is quite different from our rather rural area!!



























When he came home from his mission he gave Sariah a call one day, they were just friends who had met at young conference. They fell in love and were married in the San Diego Temple.



When Spencer was born with all of his challenges, David handled everything with great faith. It was amazing to see.



It was so fun when they lived close and we could watch Spencer and Andrew grow. We missed them all when they moved, but I know they are where they are suppose to be and it is exciting to see how the whole family has thrived in Utah. And now David has a Master's Degree in "computer geek". (I say that lovingly, I know that David has always loved computers and is really good at it too!!). Well, it's really Information Systems Management.



You it's really hard when you send your first child out into the world. You wonder, have I done all I could do, have I taught him everything he needs to know to be successful! You know that your family will never be the same again and it feels like somehow like you have lost something. But the amazing thing is that you gain so much in return. Just look at the beautiful family above! David, I love you and your family so much! I am so pleased with the wonderful person you have become! I could not have asked for a better first born child!! Happy Birthday!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Can I Just Scream Please!!

Maybe you would like to join me! Let me explain. Evan starts his last year of school on Monday. I got a call from the school nurse today saying he can NOT attend school on Monday because we don't have a signature from his doctor for his Epi-pen.

Every single year, we have paper work to fill out. Every single year we have to have a doctor sign the paper. I write the meds he takes, and Dr. Bravo signs it. I forgot to add the epipen this year, I may have forgot last too, I don't remember. I don't think about the epipen, he just has it in case he has a reaction to latex that causes difficulty breathing. He has never used it, and most likely won't need it on Monday. However his doctor is out of town this week and the doctor that works in the office refused to sign the paper, because she has not seen Evan. Oh, come on!! He is a person with spina bifida who is allergic to latex and has a prescription for a epipen that even has his doctors name on it. How difficult can this be people?? I was actually rude to the school nurse on the phone. I actually told her "You have to be kidding me"!! I could not believe that would keep him out of school. She was going on and on and finally I said, "I'm sorry, I'm so upset I can't even talk to you about this anymore" and I hung up. I can't believe I hung up on the school nurse!! Anyway, I'm thinking I may just drop him off at school anyway (they won't let him on the bus) drive away and not answer my phone. What are they going to do? Call the police on me?? Couldn't people have a little common sense? I hate for Evan to miss the first day of school with a brand new teacher. What do you think I should do? Can you scream with me, that would make me feel better!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

52 BLESSING PROJECT Week Thirty-Three

This week I'm especially grateful for
Evan started school at the very young age of four months old. Yes, that's right four MONTHS!!! Early Intervention is a program that helps children from 0 to 3 years old who are at risk for delays and is actually federally mandated. Spina bifida and hydrocephalus put him at great risk, thus we started in the SNIT program very young. SNIT stands for Special Needs Infant and Toddler program. This program was great! How I loved those people!! They made me feel like I could help Evan reach his full potential. We meet once a week for two hours. The first hour someone from the team would work with Evan and I and show me ways to help stimulate Evan to explore his environment, or begin to make sounds or work those weak muscles etc. It seems like play but everything was to help Evan learn something new. The team included a special education teacher, physical therapist, speech therapist, and occupational therapist. The second hour the staff would play with the children and then the parents would have a support group type of meeting with a facilitator. We would talk about everything thing from the grief process, to resources in the area, to our rights as a parent within the special education process. Evan's first two teachers were Duane and Diana! They were great!! We felt safe and protected in the early intervention program and that made for a difficult transition to preschool. But, then again along came a another wonderful teacher, Sharon! All through Evan's education he has had great special educators. They have been patient and are totally aware of the needs for these children to be included with their non-disabled peers as much as possible. It takes a very special person to work as a special education teacher, we have been so fortunate to know many of them. They have been a blessing in Evan's life as well as mine.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Obeying the Prophet

Today I went way outside my comfort zone and obeyed the Prophet's call to help protect traditional marriage by passing Proposition 8 in California. In June a letter was read from the First Presidency to all wards in California asking for support of time and means to the Protect Marriage Coalition. This is a group of organizations, individuals and churches working to pass Proposition 8 in California. Proposition 8 places into the California constitution the following words

"Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California."

This was the first of three Saturdays that we have been asked to donate three hours of our time to walk the precincts and talk to people about the proposition. We are not to argue with anyone, but only educate people who want to listen and to find like minded people who wish to preserve traditional marriage. I was able to team with Bonnie, a wonderful sister from a neighboring ward whom I had never met before. We made a great team as we went door to door. It was a little scary a first. I did the talking and she did the paper work and navigating. We made a great team together. Most people were very kind. Some people simply said they would keep their opinions to themselves. Only one person shut the door in our face and several people shared strong feelings agreeing with us.

I came home feeling happy that I had followed the prophets will and look forward to going out again next Saturday. I am really praying that this proposition passes because it is scary to think where our society is headed.




Friday, August 15, 2008

A Great Compliment

Today I was honored to attend the 60th birthday party for my friend Karen. I first met Karen when she was Evan's special education teacher for 4th through 6th grade. Her program was one of inclusion and collaboration and Evan thrived in her class. After Evan went on to middle school, I actually worked as an instructional assistant for two years for this remarkable teacher. I loved my job and helping those special students to be included just like everyone else.

However, one day, out of the blue I just felt like I needed to resign and spend my time at home. I knew it was the Spirit whispering to me and I needed to be obedient. So, I reluctantly, gave up my fun job. Instead I spent the last year David and family lived close spending lots of time with my grandson's Spencer and Andrew. I'm so grateful for that time we had before they moved.

I am getting to the compliment, honestly I am!!

This was the nicest birthday celebration I have ever been too. It was held at the Cass House, a beautiful old circa 1867 Victorian bed and breakfast with a fancy shmancy restaurant and very beautiful gardens. We had a five course luncheon, (I have never had a five course meal before in my life) the food was delicious and the waiter pampered us! If we left to go to the restroom, we would come back to find our napkin had been folded!!

Karen said for her 60th birthday she gathered women who held a special place in her heart. She introduced each woman individually and told a little about why they were important. All the women had something to do with special education. I already knew about half of them.

Anyway, when Karen got to me, she introduced me as a full-time mother and grandmother, who worked for her for two years. She said I had a quiet determination in helping the students achieve to the best of their ability. Out of all the women there, I was the only one who she mention the role of mother. I know several did have children. I thought how wonderful that she knew that my responsibility as a mother was the most important thing in my life. I was very grateful for that compliment. I felt very spoiled today! And it wasn't even MY birthday!!

Happy Blogiversary To Me!!

Can you believe it!!
I have been blogging for a year !
Some weeks I post better than others. This week has been slow!!


For today, since this blog is all about me, I decided to do this tag from my friend Matilda.


i...

i am: ME!!

i think: Way too much about too many things

i know: I am daughter of my Heavenly Father Who Loves Me

i want: people to be kind to one another

i have: wonderful children and great husband

i wish: all my children lived much closer to me.

i hate: contention

i miss: my grandchildren

i fear: the dark where the bad things hide ready to pounce

i feel: very very blessed in my life

i hear: the sounds of peaceful silence, the rest of the household is sound asleep!

i smell: cool morning air!

i crave: usually salty crunchy things, or sometimes chocolate

i search: longingly for my ancestors

i wonder: What life will be like for Evan when I'm not here anymore.

i regret: Not finding out more about my ancestors when some of the older generation was still alive.

i love: The sights and sounds of the ocean, the waves crashing, the birds squawking, kids squealing with delight, the mist of the water, the shells that litter the beach. Can't you just feel it!

i care: about the sweet little sister I visit teach who lives all alone.

i always: Wake up too early

i am not: a night owl

i believe: Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers

i dance: in my dreams, otherwise, I would trip over my own two feet

i sing: because I love too, even though I'm not very good.

i don’t always: get my self organized like I should

i fight: reluctantly

i write: to get my thoughts and feelings out, even though it is hard for me to to put my feelings into words.

i lose: weight when I walk every morning

i win: with the greatest husband ever!!

i never: smoke or drink alcohol

i listen: to talk radio in the car

i can usually be found: at home, I'm a homebody

i am scared: of dying

i need: to stop eating so much

i am happy about: living on this great big beautiful earth and all the opportunities I have living in America

I tag: my children and anyone else who would like to do this, I especially tag Rachel, this would be a great way to start a blog!!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

52 Blessing Project - Week Thirty-Two

DOCTORS

This week I'm especially grateful for doctors. It amazes me how much they have to know, and how much education they have obtained. I would like to share with you one very special doctor that I especially appreciate.


Dr. Bravo will always have a special place in my heart. When Evan came home as a newborn after spending 17 days in the hospital, enduring two surgeries, he was a very medically fragile baby. He had been diagnosed with a rare and life threatening kidney disease. Our pediatrician at the time, just didn't seem to have a handle on things. I also didn't like the attitude she had taken with me when I had told her the baby I was carrying would be born with spina bifida and hydrocephalas. She asked if I understand how serious his condition was, and reading between the lines I felt she wanted me terminate the pregnancy.


Anyway, the day I took Evan in and she refused to allow me to stay with him while she took blood, was the day I decided to find another doctor for Evan. I asked a friend who worked as an OB nurse t o recommend a pediatrician. She told me about this young doctor who had saved some babies lives. We made an appointment and I brought in my tiny little four week old newborn baby to see Dr. Bravo. The first thing he told me was, "I want you to know that I admire you for having this baby!". Wow! A doctor who understood that Evan's life was precious to his family!! Dr. Bravo was open and honest and valued my opinion and thoughts as a mother. On that first visit he even told me the name of Evan's kidney disease, which other doctors just dismissed as "possible premature kidneys". When Evan needed a blood draw, which was so difficult lab techs could not do it, Dr. Bravo let me hold Evan while he did took the blood. For a while this was a weekly occurance.



Dr. Bravo has been there through almost twenty one years of medical challenges and miracles. He openly acknowledges the Lord's hand in Evan's life. I have his home phone number and was one of the first parents who had his e-mail address. I try very hard to not abuse that privilege and his privacy. We were honored to have Dr. Bravo speak at Evan's Eagle Court of Honor. Dr. Bravo is a shining example a doctor who cherishes all life!!


Our Spontaneous and Quick Trip

Mike unexpectantly was able to take last week off. So, guess what we did??

Of course!! We went to see some of our children, the northern ones!! (In a few weeks we will see the southern ones, that trip has been planned for a long time.) We also spent some time looking at a few houses, but decided we aren't moving anywhere, yet anyway!!

Anyway, first we went to see sweet little Tommy. Of course his parents April and Matteo were there. It was fun to see them, the weather was great, the skies clear from smoke and we had an enjoyable time!!
April made us some yummy cookies!! She even told Evan he could have a cookie if he changed a diaper. So......


he did with some help. "It's not an uncle's job" however we learned afterwards.



Then we headed to Utah!! We had fun playing with Spencer, Andrew and Leah. At first Leah was not quite sure about Grandma and "Papa", but she was able to warm up to us.



Spencer is a young man after my own heart. This budding genealogist loved to draw pictures of his family members, including the birth date and hang it on the refrigerator.


Here is a close up!

We took Andrew and Spencer over to the hotel pool (with permission of course) and had a wet time playing in the water. Thank goodness I was the one with camera, heaven forbid a picture of me be taken in a bathing suit!!



If you live in Utah and haven't been to Tucanos yet, you better get yourself down there. This Brazilian barbeque was a fun place for us to have lunch. They had a great salad/buffet bar, and then the best part, they come around to your table with meats and veggies on skewers that have been grilled and serve you right there. Yummy in the tummy!!


Looks like someone ate a little too much!!





Oh, I forgot to tell you, Katie was in Utah attending an organ workshop at BYU, so we got a spend a little time with her too!! Can you tell how kind Evan is to his sister???



It was fun to sit next to Andrew at the Tucanos!!


video

The last night we were there we got to see Leah's milestone of sitting up!! Andrew was so excited for her, it was so cute!! I miss seeing these things so it was nice of her to sit up when I was there.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

52 Blessing Project Week Thirty-One

Service





I'm so grateful that I can serve as a World Wide Support Missionary with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint's Family History Department. This is the best mission. It's at home and part-time and I work with wonderful people!! It's been six months now and I have learned so much already. Of course I still have much to learn, but I'm gaining more confidence all the time! We support the Family History products that the LDS church produces. This includes Personal Ancestral File, Family Search Internet, New FamilySearch. We also give some support to Family History Centers with some the programs they use to help patrons.

This truly is a worldwide calling. I have received e-mails or phone calls from the following countries, New Zealand, Australia, Wales, England, Netherlands, Sweden and Germany. My favorite patrons are the wonderful octogenarians who need help to use New FamilySearch as they reach out to their ancestors. I'm amazed at how well they are able to use a computer! It is just a wonderful feeling to help someone with a challenge. Sometimes, I just want to shout for joy!

Also, as I serve I remember that I'm representing the Church and thus the Savior, Jesus Christ. That can be at times an overwhelming feeling. So I'm working to align my life more with the Savior's teachings. It is indeed a blessing to be an instrument in His hands to reach out to His children both living and deceased. I have been indeed blessed!!
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