Thursday, December 27, 2012

Everything That Glitters Is Not Gold


Both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day brought things that sparkle.
Both were a complete surprise.

If you happen to step on the edge of our stairs in stocking feet, you are likely to slip.
Our carpet has a thing against socks.
As I was coming down the stairs on Christmas Eve I slipped just as I was opening the baby gate.
My arm caught on the baby gate and as I fell down the rest of the stairs, my arm stayed back with the gate.
Jason came running and found me at the bottom of the stairs fighting to find my breath and willing myself not to pass out.
I hurt - I hurt everywhere, and although I didn't cry, I really wanted to.

Sparkly thing #1


(And this is after the bruise has faded - it was PURPLE two days ago.)

As I was pulling things out of my stocking on Christmas morning, I opened a gift certificate to a jewelry store.
When I opened it and saw the amount I gasped and said to Jason, "We can't afford this!!!"
And to be honest, I was more annoyed than happy.

"WAIT!  Listen to this message," he said as he pulled out his phone.
A week before Christmas Jason got a phone call from a local radio station telling him he had won a gift certificate to the jewelry store.
The amazing thing?
Jason never entered any kind of contest for this gift certificate.

The day after Christmas Jason and I left Emily with her Auntie B and went to the jewelry store.
We came home with sparkly things #2:


Jason felt the need to inform me that he would probably never be able to top this Christmas, and I told him I would lower my expectations for all future Christmases.

Sparkly thing #1 still makes me want to cry every time I so much as move my arm.
And to be honest?
I now have an incredibly large fear of going down the stairs.
You should see me.
If it weren't so pathetic, it would be comical.

I've challenged Jason to a game of Rack-O and he is patiently waiting for me to finish this post.
I'm not sure why I want to play.
The last time we played, which was just two nights ago, he creamed me.
Our final score was 1120 to 405.

Now that Christmas is over I can't wait to share our top secret project with you!


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

All Is Calm - All Is Bright

And all is filled with a profound peace.

I've been storing the memories of the last few days in my mind, waiting for a quiet moment to write it all down.

Tonight as my family was together for our annual Christmas Eve party, my sweet niece, who is almost 12, stood in front of all of us and told us of her love for her Heavenly Father and of her Savior, Jesus Christ.  And with the innocence and sincerity of her words, my eyes filled with tears and my heart was touched.  

May each of you find a quiet moment to reflect on the reason for this beautiful day.

Merry Christmas my dear friends.
Merry Merry Christmas.


Friday, December 21, 2012

My Favorite Movie

I wish all of you could have been standing at my kitchen table watching Emily on the baby monitor tonight.
She couldn't get comfortable once Jason put her in bed, and she spent several minutes sitting up and they laying back down.
She had one binky in her mouth and after she sat up for the third time she found another binky in her crib.
She picked it up, pulled the other binky out of her mouth, and put the new one in her mouth.
Keep in mind it's the exact same binky.
(We have five of them.)

She sucked on the new binky for just a few seconds before she pulled it out and put the other one back in.
She repeated this action four or five times - back and forth from one binky to the other - and then finally  settled on one in her mouth, and the other cuddled against her.
I could not stop laughing.

There aren't words to describe how happy she is, and unless you had seen her before the formula switch, you would never know what a difference there is now.
I watch her walking around, exploring her world, giggling along the way, squealing when she stands and looks out the window...
I am grateful every day to be Emily's mommy.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

And To All A Good Night (Or Morning If That's When You Read This)


Oh look, I have a blog!
It would seem that I had forgotten that small fact.

My life has been one eternal round of projects and lack of sleep.
Since before my little sister's wedding almost two weeks ago, I haven't been to bed before 2 am and it long ago caught up with me.

This morning I tried to put a glue gun in the fridge.

Here's a picture of one of the projects I've been working on:


I've done one other one but already gave it away for a birthday, and I have two more to do before Christmas.

Before Christmas I have a quilt I want to finish for Em, another project to figure out how to finish for my brother and his wife, and a top secret project I've been helping my sister with.

I gave myself the deadline of having my Christmas cards out by Thursday - I guess sleep can wait another night.

And as for our girl ...

She's not spent even a minute sick this winter -
She spends most days wandering around the house opening as many doors as she can-
She giggles a lot, for no reason-
Her love for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has reached new depths-

Seriously.
She woke up from her nap yesterday and was still a little bit grumpy.
She and I snuggled for a few minutes and then she spotted the remote control.
She got out of my lap, walked over and picked up the remote control, and brought it back to me.
She looked at me and then looked at the TV.

I turned the remote on and the minute the TV screen turned blue she squealed and started bouncing.
She gave me the biggest grin and then settled back into my lap to watch Mickey Mouse come up over the hill.
Once that part is over she is happy to wander off and find whatever mischief she can get into.

I can't believe Christmas is in a week.
It was exactly a year ago this week that we were taking Emily in for open heart surgery.
I can't even begin to express how grateful I am to be home, chasing after my busy little girl, instead of in the CICU of the hospital.



I'll be back to write a Christmas post, but after that I'm taking a little break to soak up the love that fills my home every single day.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Night Out On The Town


Becca and I went to the store tonight;  she used her older sister card and told me I couldn't buy this:


She's only older by four minutes but that four minutes gives her a lot of power!

Sometimes I get giddy when Becca agrees to go to the store with me.
It's so rare when I'm able to spend girl time with anyone other than Emily, and when Becca says she'll go with me to the store, even if she really doesn't need to, it just makes me happy.

When we used to live together and do the grocery shopping we would each pick out what we wanted and then just split it all once we got to the check out isle.

More times than not our totals were within $1.00 of each other - no matter how we split the groceries.
That hasn't happened since I got married though.
Probably because Becca doesn't buy diapers.

Tonight we had what we needed in one grocery cart and before we even had a chance to start unloading the cart the cashier asked, "Is this two separate transactions?" and she seemed kind of put out by it.
(We weren't in the express lane, because in the express lane even I think it's cheating if both of us go through with only 10 items, because technically it's 20.)

I told her yes, but that we would separate things so she didn't have to worry about it.

As we walked away I told Becca that my one snarky comment of the evening was going to be that I thought the cashier's comment was dumb.

"Who cares if we're going to separate the items?" I asked her.

Becca said, "We should have said 'They are two separate orders.  Good luck guessing who is going to pay for what!'"  

We laughed and agreed that we need to be quicker on our feet in certain situations.
I told Becca that a customer called yesterday to pay a bill and when I asked him how he wanted to pay for it, he didn't miss a beat before he said, "With Mexican pesos."
I laughed and laughed, and came away thinking I really need to be more witty.

And all of that is just to say that I'm glad my sister only lives three minutes from my house, and that she loves me enough to go look through the Christmas isles at Target.




Thursday, December 13, 2012

Things I Learn

When Jason steals my People magazine and reads it before I do:

- Demi Moore is a pretty lady but she's messed up, and her new boyfriend looks like a dweeb.

- Jason feels bad for Harry, David Letterman's son.

- The Bachlorette's wedding is simply ridiculous, but if you can afford it why not?

- JK Rawling's new book is a horrible one.

- Lindsay Lohan is in a world of hurt.

- It can't be healthy for Matthew McConaughey to lose as much weight as he did for his new movie.
 He just looks horrible and it's not worth it.  Sorry.

- Shania Twain is wearing quite the suit.

- David Beckham has a son named Romeo.

- "No way!" ... (but then I don't know the rest because sometimes Jason stops talking in the middle of sentences.)

- Kei$ha spells her name with a dollar sign and she's just as weird as the singer who wore a bacon dress.

- Jason likes Taylor Swift.  She seems like a normal girl.  She was born the year he graduated from high school.  It looks like she'll avoid some of the pitfalls most young stars find themselves in.

He might want to take my computer away from me when he reads this post, but living with Jason can be really fun.  I never know if he's specifically talking to me or just out loud, and although I had something else to post, I thought this was more humorous.

Except that he's gone silent.  Maybe he's really riveted by the article he's reading.

- Princess Kate's baby carriage cost $4000.00 and her shoes are made out of a lot of cork.

He just threw the magazine across the bed and said he can't keep his eyes open.
He played basketball tonight and his weariness just hit him.
And he hopes I won't think less of him or begrudge him or think he's a jerk if he goes to sleep now.

Sorry friends, there will be no more Hollywood according to Jason.

Although, I'm thinking that could be a new blog series!

Emily has been in bed since 10 pm and now that she doesn't have a night feed I could go to bed at the same time she does.
Why do you suppose I don't?

I'll try to have something more riveting to post about tomorrow!





Tuesday, December 11, 2012

When Broken Is More Than We Could Hope For


Our girl is still sleeping.
It's 10:55 am.
I'm sitting in the rocking chair in her room, as her little tummy gets pumped full of breakfast - wondering if she'll wake up at some point.

Yesterday she didn't wake up until 11:30 am.
There are moments where I wonder if I should be worried about her.

Is her little heart working too hard?
Is she getting sick?

She'll usually take one nap a day, for an hour, but yesterday she didn't even do that.
She spent her entire day wanting to be in my lap, and fell asleep in her daddy's arms last night.

She had a pretty restless night and that's why this morning I'm letting her sleep until she decides to wake up.

It's hard sometimes, wondering about every little thing - wondering if I need to be worried, and then worrying that I'm not worrying enough.
There are moments where I truly envy the innocence that comes with having a healthy baby.

Even with the worry though, I know I'm blessed with this little girl who picked me to be her mommy.
Saturday we put up our Christmas tree, and for just a minute I stopped and looked at the scene around me and got teary eyed.



My life is so full of good things, and if Emily's broken heart helps me to see those good things more clearly... maybe a broken heart isn't such a bad thing.



                           

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Wedding In Pictures


The day after my little sister's wedding I felt as if I had climbed a mountain.
Every muscle in my body was sore and for the life of me, I couldn't keep my eyes open.
The night before the wedding, some time around 3:00am  I said to my sisters, "Let's never become wedding planners."

The amount of burlap we cut, ribbons we tied, snowflakes we hung from balloons, trees we positioned, and cookies we baked (I ended up baking 31 dozen) - it all made for a beautiful wedding, and for some very tired girls.









I didn't manage to get a single picture of the tables and centerpieces.

If you are observant, you'll notice a few gnomes strategically placed throughout the barn.
When my dad first suggested gnomes, all of us girls gave him a very loud and decisive no.
He ignored us and placed the gnomes anyway.
Within a few hours the gnomes had grown on all of us, and I had to admit to my dad that I had been wrong.
That was probably his favorite part of the day.













I'm blessed with a loving family, and I'm grateful to know that no matter what the occasion, we'll always be there for each other.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Guardian Angels

Emily's been fed a continuous night feed her entire life.
We run it slowly and it usually runs for eight or nine hours.
Our goal has always been to eventually get her off of her night feeds but we've never been able to accomplish it; her intolerance to her formula made it impossible to increase both the volume and the rate in which we feed her during the day.

One of the blessings of our new Emily has been that over the last two months we've gradually increased the amount of formula she gets during the day, and decreased it at night.

Two mornings ago I woke earlier than usual and felt the need to check on our little lady.
She had worked her way to the bottom of the crib and in the process had managed to wrap the slack in her feeding tube around her neck.

Had Emily rolled either direction, the feeding tube would have been pulled tighter, with the very likely possibility of choking her.
I said a silent prayer of gratitude for the angels that I'm sure were watching over my girl, and unwrapped the cord from around her neck.

It just so happens that that night was the last night Emily had an all night feed.
When Jason and I unhooked her tube for the night, after her final feed, we high-fived each other and sighed a huge sigh of relief as we walked out of Em's bedroom.

Our girl has come so far, and I'm just so grateful.

* * * * *

This morning Emily woke up earlier than normal coughing (she's had a lingering cough for a century now) and after I changed her I took her to my room and snuggled with her in bed.
She wasn't content to stay with me for very long.
After just a few minutes she scooted over to her daddy and snuggled into his shoulder and soon fell fast asleep for another hour.

(Jason told me that there was no way he was moving out of that bed until Emily woke up.  "Isn't this morning what every parents dreams of?" he said.)

I love these two.



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

In Which I Learn Something New


Yesterday I called my friend Bruce, who is the landscape architect at a local university.
"Bruce, can I ask you a question that has nothing to do with plants?"
He told me he would welcome such a question.
"Bruce, I made 21 dozen cookies, and although they taste great, there is something a little bit off with them and I can't figure out what it is.  Do you think it's possible that using unbleached flour made the slight difference?"
He told me it did, and then read to me the rules for when it's best to use bleached and unbleached flour.

I thanked him for being the smartest baker I know, and after he made sure he emailed me his top three recipes of the month, we ended our conversation.

I told my brother that my phone calls to Bruce are what keeps him loyal to us as a company.
He laughed and said, "I'm sure you're right!"

I think everyone should have their local landscape architect on speed dial!

The only reason I called him is because I'm going to make another 12 or 13 dozen cookies tonight and tomorrow, and I want them to be perfect.
My freezer is overflowing with cookie goodness!

Last night my sisters and I went and got manicures.
As the main color for my little sister's wedding is purple, we all got different shades of purple fingernail polish.
Look at the cute design I got:


Friends, I've stooped to a new level.
I really truly have.
Let me show you the evidence:


#1.  I let Emily lick the glass door to her heart's content.
#2. Not only did I let her lick it, as soon as I took this picture I smeared food all over the glass with the hope that she would lick it too.

One of these days I'm going to get a video of her reaction to food.
It's equal parts hilarious and tear inducing.

I better take advantage of the fact that Emily is home playing with her daddy - I have a stack of work that never seems to get any smaller.

If you need Bruce's phone number let me know!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Spell Check Does Not Like The Word Binky

Well, it happened.
I wondered how long it would take.
Someone was not a fan of Emily's binky and she let the person she was with know as much - she just didn't know I was right behind her listening to the conversation.

How on earth do you tell someone all of the reasons Em still has her binky?
There is nothing else I can give her to comfort her.
I can't give her a bottle or a sippy cup.
I can't give her a snack.
She doesn't suck her thumb.
The only thing she's attached to, besides my hair, is her binky, and I'm okay with that.

We're actually working on weaning her off of it in certain settings and situations.

But is that anyone's business?
Sigh.

It was a tough weekend for me.
It seemed that every time I turned around something or someone was reminding me that Emily's life is different.
It's a difference I love, but when it seems I have to defend that difference, I get weary.

I pulled into the parking lot for my sister's bridal shower on Saturday and I had red eyes from crying.
My sisters took one look at me and asked, "What's wrong?"
I told them why I had been crying and then I said, "And on top of it all Emily has to have another open heart surgery."  And then I burst into tears again.

My sisters were worried that something drastic had happened that made it necessary for another surgery now.
"No, not now," I said.  "Just someday but isn't that bad enough?"  I couldn't make the tears stop.

I asked my heart mom friends if I would ever get to a point where I wouldn't randomly burst into tears and for the most part they told me no.
Hooray for random tears for the rest of my life!

* * *

Instead of 12 dozen cookies I made 21.
By the time I was done all I wanted to do was crawl into Emily's playroom and cuddle with her big elephant and take a nap.
But by then it was time to take dinner to my family, so that's what I did.

* * *

It's that time of year where I feel the need to remind a lot of people of something:
You're welcome.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Time - I Need More.

By 11:00 this morning I had already taken two naps.
Two.
And they were each 30 minutes long.
It's nearly 3:30pm and I am in serious need of yet another nap.
Sometimes it's a really long life.

In the next three days I have to find the time and the energy to:

-make 12 dozen cookies
-help with a bridal shower
-plan Sunday dinner for my family
-clean my house (Jason's parents are staying with us this weekend)
((my house isn't actually that messy, amazingly - I just have to clean it with a fine tooth comb.))

-find something purple to wear to my little sister's wedding that is next week

(Oh hey, Baby Sister is getting married next week!)

-and maybe put up my Christmas tree.

Happy weekend to me!

Happy Weekend to you too!






Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In Which I Make An Announcement and Have A Giveaway


For months and months - years even - I've been trying to wrap my head around the idea of writing a book.
People tell me all the time, "Noelle, you need to write a book."

And if you were to look at my list of things to do before I die, 'write a book' is at the top of that list.
 I have only wanted to write a book if it could mean something to someone - if it could have a lasting effect on just one person's life I would write it.

My biggest problem is that I simply don't know if I have the imagination or the vocabulary to come up with an entire plot - to come up with a story line that holds someone's attention for 200 plus pages.

There have been times I've prayed and said basically, "God, you know I want to write a book - please help me to know what to do and how to do it."

In the last few weeks I've had an idea, and today that idea was solidified - with an early Christmas present from Jason and with the encouragement of a few friends.

Pause this train of thought and let me show you the completion of Project #1:




What used to be storage under the stairs is now Emily's play room.
I'm not sure if you've heard, but there is a rumor floating around that says Emily is spoiled.

Our girl LOVES her space, and I love that this space allows my living room to finally look like something other than just cluttered.
(And it doesn't hurt that I can just shut the door and the toys are 'cleaned up.')

Unpause the train of thought.

While playing around with my new camera tonight I created this and my dream of writing a book finally made sense in my mind:



If I can #1 - find the courage, and #2 - figure out how to make it all come together, The Girl will be writing a children's book - and if I'm dreaming big, which why not, The Girl will write books, plural. And she will tell real life stories of her little girl, and of her own life - and when her drawings won't suffice, her camera creations will.

And if The Girl is really thoughtful, and puts her whole heart and soul into it, perhaps her children's books will also touch the hearts of a few Mommies and Daddies along the way.

So there's that - if I say it out loud to you World, perhaps you can give me the encouragement to do it (or tell me it's a horrible idea if that's how you feel) - and also hold me accountable to my dream.

And now, to a new train of thought.  

There is enough space above the animals that I want to put a thought, a saying, a slogan, something...
and I want it to have something to do with Emily.

So why don't we make a contest out of it?
You leave me a comment, or email me with your ideas, of what I should write above the picture, and Jason and I will pick the one we like most.

And if it's your thought we choose, you will win something like this:


(one out of four that I'm doing as Project #2)

 I have a whole bunch of other girls with other sayings and designs, and you can pick the one you want.
I'll stitch it, frame it, and send it to you - with my love - AFTER Christmas, thank you very much because I have way too much to do before then but that is for another post as this one is already way too long.

So there you have it - all of a sudden you have a lot of responsibility placed upon your capable shoulders.
Hold me accountable - unless you think my book idea is horrible and then you have to tell me - and come up with the perfect saying for Emily's little space.

And because I've asked you to do that for me, I'll share this with you:




Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I've Been A Little Busy


In the last four days I have started more projects than I know how to finish.
I'm insane.

Tonight at 10:00pm I sent Jason off to find me storage bins.
Lots of large storage bins.

He must love me because he took my list and went willingly and had to go to two different stores to find what I needed.

The project I'm most excited about is not quite finished, and it required that I clean and organize the garage and clean out my storage room - the storage room that has never had enough space.

I have to do one more thing tomorrow and then I'll take pictures and show you.

The other projects are last minute Christmas gifts I decided to make, and oh my honk - what was I thinking?
I'll take pictures of those too, as I finish them.

Tonight I ran to the store with one thing in mind: a chair for Emily.
She's always looking for something to sit on that is just her size:

-the stairs
-any box she sees
-some of her toys
-me, whenever I'm sitting on the floor

-the dishwasher door


I wish you could have seen her face - not just in the pictures we managed to get.
She has never looked more smug.
She knew immediately that she was sitting in her chair - and she was a very happy little girl.



When did our girl get so big???

It's now almost 2am - again.
I haven't been to bed before 2am in many nights, and I am starting to feel it!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I'm Beyond Thankful


Emily came home from the hospital two days before Thanksgiving last year.
We were lucky enough to have her home for three weeks before we took her back for her third open heart surgery.
On Thanksgiving day last year we spent 4 hours in the ER, because of feeding tube drama.

I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving at home, with my family.
And I'm loving that our little lady has come so far.

For a girl who was only given a chance at survival, I'd say she's a superstar.

I hope all of you have a day filled with peace and love.

From our home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stitched With Love

It's been a long time since I've been as sick as I was last night.
I went to bed with a splitting headache, and it only got worse as the night progressed.
By 3:00 am I was quite certain I didn't want to be alive.
I can't remember ever having a worse migraine and on top of it all, I was so nauseated I couldn't move without throwing up.

As I laid on the bathroom floor (and by the way I've never been more grateful for freshly laundered rugs in the bathroom) waiting for my stomach to stop heaving, I cried and thought about how much I missed my mom.

I knew that Jason would have done anything that he could have for me, but I just missed having my mom rubbing my back and smoothing back my hair.

I slept until this afternoon, and was so grateful that Jason was home from his week of traveling because I knew that Emily was in the best hands.

Later in the day Emily and I were snuggled on the couch taking another nap and I looked at the blankets we were cuddling with.


They are at least 30 years old, and were made with love by my grandma.
The yellow one is mine, and the blue one was my grandpa's.
They are mostly worn and have very little batting between the layers of fabric, but they comfort me when I'm sad - or when I'm sick.

While Emily slept cuddled in my arms and her great-grandma's blanket, I watched the rain falling outside my window, and although my head still hurt I was filled with peace.

I've had a good life - I've been surrounded by people who love me, and as silly as it might seem, I'm grateful for threadbare blankets that still serve as a reminder of that love.

And for the record, my throat is still sore from the ordeal it went through last night.
I'm off to wrap up in my yellow blanket and snuggle with Jason.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Way Things Really Are


If there is any doubt as to who is the boss, let this picture clear it up:


My child will NOT let me work.
She wants to be in my lap, playing with my hair, or snuggling on my shoulder.

I've got a good ten minutes at most, before she's standing at my chair tugging on my arm.

Tonight I had to finish some things up, and Emily just wanted to play with me.
I pushed the chair away from the desk, plopped her in it, and then spent 15 minutes kneeling at my desk.

She was happy, and I got my work done.

And now tonight my knees are killing me.
I'm really really really too old to kneel.

Guess what?!!
I have one gift left to get and I am done Christmas shopping for Jason and Emily.

Yes, I'm kind of a super star.

Oh, and my house is clean.
I know!


Attitude of Gratitude


One of my favorite girls I've never met is Kristin.
She blogs at simplyklassichome.com.
One day we are going to meet for lunch - in Disneyland.
But until then, she loves me even when I'm too lazy to actually comment on her blog, and instead comment via text.
(She must love me if she gave me her cell phone number!)

Kristin is my personal blog designer, my personal Christmas card designer, sometimes my personal cheerleader,  and I love her.

She's hosting a blog series this month called Attitude of Gratitude, and she asked me to be one of her guest bloggers.

Please stop by and read my post there today.