Saturday, December 26, 2015

Merry Christmas!

We've been having such a fun Christmas season with the kids.  We've been trying to be very purposeful in the activities we choose to do and our first priority is spending time with family.  We've done a lot of spending time with family and that has been great.  The kids are eating up this precious time with Uncle Tim, Aunt Rachel and cousin Joy.  Each day they want to know when is the next time they will get to play together.  My brothers are in town also and so it's been so nice to see Uncle Jarrett, Aunt Dorothy, cousins Sam and Seth, Uncle Jon, Aunt Carmen and cousins Bradley, Andrew, Jordan and Jon-Luke.  Mia has attached herself to Bradley and wants to be just like him, sit by him at the dinner table and do as much as she can with him.  Thankfully he loves kids and does a super job interacting with Mia.  Calvin and Jon-Luke are two peas in a pod and love doing everything together.  Asher fits in well too and everyone is just having so much fun together.  It's a very sweet time and we are just savoring every minute.

We added in a third medicine to Mia's meds a few weeks ago and it appears to be what she needed to stop her seizures.  She's been seizure free for a week and we are so thankful.  It's been almost a year since her seizures started and she has rarely gone more than a day without a seizure, so to be without for a week...the feeling of immense gratitude is indescribable.  I tear up just writing about it because it's been such a long year for her and for us.  God couldn't have picked a better Christmas present for us than this.  Praise God!!!  And yet, what we've gone through has been a difficult year, nothing can compare to the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for us.  And while we've been blessed with a seizure free Christmas, the ultimate gift is Jesus himself.  For that, we are eternally grateful and it gives us the hope and ability to keep running the race for Him.

So as always, thank you for praying for Mia.  We are so grateful and we wish you and your family, a very Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

And Now It's December!

Time flies when...well, it just flies these days.  I blink and it feels like it's a month later.  We continue to plug along.  We've been spending quite a bit of time with family and doing fun, festive things this Christmas season.  We haven't been swept away with too much activity, it seems to be just the right pace for our family. 

We decorated our Christmas tree and that was so much fun for the kids.  This is the first year I haven't had to barricade the tree off in some sort of way to keep little hands from the ornaments.  Asher has done a really good job of not touching too many things.  He has broken a few ornaments already, but I figure that is par for the course for an almost, but not quite 3 year old. 

We have been doing some different advent calendars, one of which is the Lego advent calendar.  It's been fun and exciting to find what's hiding behind each door.  Calvin did peek behind door #24 and it is the Santa Clause.  I told him, that's no fun to peek, you have to wait for the day to come to look and see.  He then proceeded to tell me it is fun to peek and he's still excited knowing that Santa is behind door #24.  I think he gets that from me.  I like knowing the end of things (books and movies) before reading/seeing it, knowing how it ends removes the anxiety and it is still exciting for me to read the book or watch the movie. 

We also have been doing a daily Jesse Tree advent thingy madingy.  I saw someone else do it and decided to copy theirs.  Each day they hang up an ornament that corresponds to a bible devotional.  It tracks the lineage of Jesus, hence the name Jesse Tree (out of the root of Jesse...).  The kids have been enjoying that too. 

Mia is still having seizures.  Please continue to pray for her and us as we navigate our next decisions.  We added in a third medicine today for her and should know in a few weeks if that is working or not.  We pray it will!  Thank you for always praying for her!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Uh, where have I been?

Well, someone how or another I have almost missed November.  I did have well meaning thoughts to actually post an update on here awhile ago, but we got busy again. 

This week, I've been to LA twice already and am happy to not go back until next year for any doctor appointments for Mia.  We saw her orthopaedist on Tuesday.  Her OT is concerned because her left foot has been turning out more recently and she seems to be stretching her knee muscle/ligament the wrong way.  Note to parents out there:  Don't let your kids sit with their legs in the shape of a W.  That's when their knees are in front, they are sitting on their bottom and their legs are back by their hips.  Criss Cross Applesauce is the way they should always sit.  We'd been lenient with her and hopefully it hasn't caused too much damage.  Now we are very strict again.  Bottom line is that our first step in addressing the issue is to get an insert for her shoe and hopefully that positions her foot in the correct alignment.  After that, there are some casting options and surgery options, but we'd rather not go that route. 

After that we had a visit to her cardiologist on Wednesday.  It was time for her annual echo of her heart.  She's been doing this for awhile and there hasn't been any change, really since when the surgery was done at a little over one year of age.  In fact, 7 Thanksgivings ago to be exact.  He basically told us that her heart looks just like a heart that was born normal.  He doesn't anticipate any changes ever, but they still like to monitor them, so he felt like stretching her appointment out to every 2 years was good now.  I imagine as she gets older and everything stays stable, that appointment will get stretched out even further.  Praise God for gifting people with the ability to take a heart that can not function on its own and surgically help it to function as though it was born without any problems!  We rely so much on science, but ultimately, we have to remember that God is the one who has gifted people with the ability to learn and perform these operations.  Ultimately, God gets all the glory!  Amen. 

Today we are braving the theater with all of our kids.  Calvin has been the only one to go to a movie in the theater so far and he didn't make it through the whole Lego movie before being scared and leaving.  Today we are going to attempt the Peanuts movie.  There shouldn't be anything scary and I think they will like it.  As a special treat, we get to go with their cousin Joy!  The kids just love spending time together and we are grateful to have them here, even though the circumstances getting them here wasn't their first choice. 

The kids are getting excited about Thanksgiving.  It should be a fun week for them next week. 

Mia is still having seizures daily.  Please be in prayer for us about wisdom for the next step.  And please continue to pray that God would miraculously stop them. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween!

We have been having a great October.  The kids and I have done some fun halloween crafts and we've attended some fun events.  We've hit the pumpkin patch and a harvest festival at a local church.  The kids have been loving the extra activities.  Last night we carved our pumpkin and tonight we watched Curious George:  A Halloween Boo Fest.  They can't wait until tomorrow. 

We checked out a book from our church library, The Pumpkin Gospel.  It relates carving a pumpkin to our salvation with Jesus.  Our sin is the ooey gooey stuff inside that needs to get scooped out.  Then God's light can shine out through your pumpkin.  We read it a few weeks ago and the kids really enjoyed it...when we were carving our pumpkin they got excited and said, "this is just like the pumpkin gospel!"  I love when they make connections like that. 

Mia is still having her seizures.  We've increased her medicine again and we have one more increase that we can do.  If not, her neurologist wants to add in a third medicine.  We hope and pray that this is enough and her seizures stop.  Thank you for always praying with us!

Here are some pics of the kiddos. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

And the cake...

This year Mia wanted a Komodo cake.  Komodo is a character from the cartoon Animal Mechanicals.  He is a mechanical dragon.  She loves that show because there are 5 characters and she has named each one of her family members after them.  She, of course, is Komodo.  I am Unicorn, Daddy is Rex, Calvin is Sasquatch and Asher is Mouse. 

Usually when one of them gets an idea for a cake, I immediately pinterest it to get creative "easy" ideas.  I am not the Cake Boss.  But, I do have a lot of fun creating the best possible cake I can do for them.  And they are super easy to please, so that makes my job easier.  When I searched for Komodo cakes, there were none.  That made my job a bit more difficult.  Here are the characters from the show, Komodo is the red one:

Now, there was no way that I was going to make a full size Komodo.  After thinking about it for awhile, I thought that maybe I could recreate the head of Komodo.  What sealed the deal was when I was shopping at Hobby Lobby and I found a mold to make eyeglasses from those candy melts, I immediately thought that would be perfect on this cake.  And I made a bunch more for the kids for their party favors.  Here is what our cake looked like:

The kids had fun, we played lots of pumpkin games...pumpkin bowling, pumpkin races...and they got to make candy apples.  It was a fun party!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Happy 8th Birthday Mia!

Sweet Pea...or should we call you Komodo,

Happy Birthday!  It's hard to believe it has already been 8 years since you let out your first cries!  Where has time gone?  You are an adorable 8 year old, full of life, ready to conquer anything.

We love your imagination.  Your name and person changes daily.  Some days you are a red dragon with blue glasses (Komodo), other days you are a blue dog named Chase.  Some days you are a pirate cat that lives in the ocean named Kwasii.  Some days it is just hard to keep track.

This year you are in second grade and doing so well.  You love to read and learn.  This year we have started Spanish because you can't get enough of it.  When asked how old you are going to be on your birthday, you usually always respond, "ocho".  It makes us smile.

You are growing taller and getting bigger.  This year you gained another 2 inches.  We do just a few therapies with you now, what a change from a few years ago.  You still ride horses at MARE and you love that.

This year our prayer is for your seizures to stop.  We know that God can do this in an instant, if He chooses, but right now, we don't understand why, but He isn't choosing that.  We are going to trust Him for his timing.  But we want that more than anything.  You've had some pretty bad falls because of them and we'd like that to never happen again.  You are a brave girl though and keep fighting daily through them.

We love you so much sweet baby girl.  We are so grateful that God has entrusted us with you.

Love you to the moon and back,
Mama and Daddy and brothers

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Who Wore It Better?

Nana saved some clothes of Brad's when he was little.  I got Calvin to try it on for fun the other night.  Now we have to ask, who wore it better?  (The picture of Mia is a few years ago when she put it on and of course, Asher had to participate...he actually liked wearing the was painful for Calvin because it has buttons.)

Monday, September 28, 2015

An Update

Let's just say that September has gotten away from me.  Between my grandmother's funeral and the start of a new MOPS year (I'm one of the coordinators), I've been busy.  I love my MOPS group, this is my third year coordinating and while I am a veteran and tend not to let the stress overwhelm me, there is just always a long list of things to do in the beginning.  Now that the dust has settled, it should calm down. 

We are doing great.  Mia is still having seizures daily.  We had a brief stretch of 4 days without any seizures, but then it was back to the usual.  I'm waiting to hear back from her doctor on whether or not we should add a third medicine into the mix.  She has maxed out both of her current medicines, so those aren't really an option.  Of course, if she were to gain a significant amount of weight quickly, that would change things, but our 40 pounder (yes, she's only 40 pounds!) has a hard time gaining weight.  We are just thankful that she continues to grow at her own pace. 

We've gotten into a nice routine with school.  The kids love doing school together and I've noticed some improvements with Mia over the past few weeks.  She struggles with basic addition facts, but the more we practice, the better she is doing.  It is a daily struggle though.  We try to do math first just because that is when I am most patient and it's the least favorite task. 

Keep on praying for a resolution to the seizures.  She's been a trooper through all of this and our hope is that she'd be seizure free soon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


It's been a crazy few weeks at our house.  My grandma passed away unexpectedly on September 2nd.  She had a lived a full life and was ready to meet Jesus, we just weren't ready for it to be her time yet.  But, we are grateful that she is rejoicing in heaven and has her new body with no suffering and no pain.  We look forward to the day when we will see her again.  Asher and I flew back for the funeral.  It was several very nice days with family that I don't get to see very often.  Asher loved all the attention and did super well with all the changes. 

On a funny note, during my Grandma's service, Asher was well ready for a nap and just being difficult (believe it, it happens).  He was on the floor in the church and sat up and bumped his head on the pew hymnal box.  He immediately starts crying at what seems to me to be the loudest possible volume available to him.  Anyway, I jump up and start walking out with him and half way to the back of the church he screams as loud as he can, "I need a bandaid!"  Humorous to everyone there, not so humorous to me.  The joys of being 2?

Last week we were adjusting back and had a visit to Mia's neurologist.  Because neither of the grandmas were available to go with me, Brad took the day off and came along.  It was good because he rarely gets to her doctor appointments and its nice for him to be there.  Her neurologist has bumped her up to the full dose on both medicines, hoping that this will control the seizures.  He is hesitant to start a third medicine, but not completely against it.  We will touch base with him in a few weeks to determine more of where we go from here and see how she's doing at the full dosage of her current medicines.  As of today, she is still having seizures daily, but we will give it a bit more time before a decision is made. 

There are a few other options for her.  Over the past few years, cannabis oil has started to make headway in the area of epilepsy.  It is still not FDA approved here, however, there are some clinical trials being of which is in San Francisco.  Her neurologist mentioned that they are planning some of their own clinical trials in the future and that she would definitely be a candidate for that if she is still having seizures when they start those trials. 

The other option for her is a Vagus Nerve Stimulator.  It's an implant that is connected to a nerve and sends pulses to your brain to regulate it.  He didn't have a lot of negative concerns about it, but since it is rather permanent and another surgery, we are going to do some of our own research to see if that is something we might want to try.  It sounds hopeful for some, but like all things, it doesn't have results for others. 

Yesterday we went to the eye doctor and Asher's eyes are doing well.  Calvin, however, needs school glasses.  He has a small correction that she'd like to do, but not glasses for the whole day.  He excitedly picked out a pair that are blue and orange and we should get those in a few weeks.  Mia got her new glasses yesterday, so we'll have to get a picture of the kiddos in their glasses to show you all. 

Yesterday was also a big day for Asher.  We moved all three kids into the same bedroom.  They've been begging to sleep together for awhile, so we thought the time was right.  We are hoping that this will make Asher come visit us less in the middle of the night...we can always hope.  They all tucked in and went to sleep quietly and quickly.  Unfortunately, Asher had a small fever and woke up and ended in our with kids, right.  :)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Squid Cake, Oh My!

Calvin had a fun birthday party.  He had a few friends over for his Octonaut themed party.  The invitations said to come help rescue the giant squid.  Calvin can change his mind frequently for what he wants for a cake, but when he settled on a squid a few weeks out from the birthday party, I told him there was no changing it.  He was super happy with his cake and party.

The cake!

 Creature Report - Learning about giant squids

 Bday boy and daddy.

Rescuing creatures from a bucket of sensory!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Happy 5th Birthday, Calvin!

Dearest Sonshine!

Has it been five years already?!  It seems like just yesterday you were putting everything in your mouth and crawling around on the floor.  Now you only put things that "taste" good  in your mouth.  One of these days you will figure out that green veggies do "taste" good.  Ha!

You've sprouted up this year and have gained 3 inches in height!  Still not quite 40 pounds, you are a thriving, healthy 5 year old!  You've started kindergarten and love doing school at home with mom.  You can read and do math already, but do not like to write properly.  :)  We've got all year to work on it.

You are passionate about so many things, but your favorites are dinosaurs, rocks, sea life and octonauts.  You especially love whales and sharks, octopuses and squids.  In fact, you know quite a bit more about these things than I do!  That's how much of a learner you are.

You are a loving, kind brother most of the time.  And you love God so much that it makes our hearts burst with joy.  We love your inquisitive spirit and hope that you will always be this passionate about life.

Five is going to be a great year!  We love you with our whole heart pumpkin!!

Mommy and Daddy

Thursday, August 20, 2015


We got to spend a little bit of time with family this past weekend as Aunt Goose came to visit.  Goose, aka Laura, is Brad's sister and she came down to celebrate her birthday with her mom.  They had some girl time earlier in the week and over the weekend we got to have some treasured family time.  The kids love spending time with their aunts and uncles and especially when they dress up and play fun games with them!  Costume hide and seek was a favorite this weekend.  Everyone was super sad to see her go, but so thankful for the time we got together! 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Great Grandpa

The kids' Great Grandpa Bob visited us last week from Florida.  He spent part of the time in LA with family down there and then part of the time up here with us.  All the family on this end got together each Saturday to do some fun things together.  This past Saturday we ended up down in Ventura, near the harbor.  We had a picnic lunch and then spent time at a small visitor's center near the harbor.  The kids enjoyed running around in the sun and as always, time went way too quickly. 

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Half Birthday Photos

Here are a few photos from Sunday, Asher's half birthday. 

And Nana and Great Grandpa!

And four generations of boys...