Sunday, October 30, 2011

My lil pumpkins!

I love me a good holiday! I will take any excuse to celebrate with my girls, family and friends! I love a festive family centered environment! Not to mention the holiday clothes for my girls (don't you LOVE the pumpkin hair bows) and the food of any holiday!

Yesterday I took my girls, plus Kellie and Addie in tow to the pumkin patch. What kid, including a 32 year old kid, doesn't jump at the chance at hay rides, blow up obstacle courses and slides, farm animals, fair food, pumpkins galore, and the ever favorite choo choo train! We had a blast and were thankful for the gorgeous weather!

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The Temple

Without question my favorite Primary song is "I Love to See the Temple." It's the one that plays in my mind when I want to clear my thoughts. The tune goes...

I love to see the Temple. I'm going there someday. To feel the Holy Spirit. To listen and to pray. For the Temple is the House of God. A place of love and beauty. I'll prepare myself while I am young. This is my sacred duty."

I am so incredibly blessed to be able to attend the Temple monthly as it is so close to home. Its so amazing to feel close to my Heavenly Father, to receive the answers to prayers and feel of the peace in these sacred walls. I spent a gorgeous Saturday morning there this weekend and it was definitely a highlight of my week. It reminded me to have an eternal perspective of my life and all the choices big and small that I make each day. It reminded me what's important because life sometimes can so easily get in the way of what has highest value.

How thankful I am to be able to visit the House of the Lord! And it's so true, I love to see the Temple!

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Speak Your Mind

Riley survived the first week of school! She did better then I did, I think. She still cries when her teacher starts wheeling her away to her classroom. Which completely devastates me each day. But they keep insisting that she is a smiley, happy girl even before she gets to the Special Needs wing. Even though that is so hard for me, the hardest part of all this is that I can't hear from Riley herself on how her day went! I can't ask her a million questions, like I do Keagan, about what she did, what she liked, who she played with.

Oh how I wish this girl could talk!!!

During our TCH Miracle Kid video shoot, the interviewer asked me if he was granting wishes, what I would wish for Riley. I didn't even hesitate. As she sat in her pink wheelchair, unable to walk, I knew my wish would be for her to talk! I would LOVE to hear what she wants and needs. What she likes and dislikes. What she thinks is funny. Or what questions she has for me. I ache to hear her say "momma".

We have our own little language down between her and I. Its composed of cries, grunts, babbles, eye gazes and gestures. But it is so much more difficult and insufficient then I would like. It is clear to me that there is so much going on in that little mind behind those beautiful green eyes! I just long to hear it all!

For now I will have to take what I can get. I will have to hear Riley's voice in her amazing infectious laugh, her body language and in our little language we've created. But we will practice everyday and attend every speech therapy session we can. And I will never give up hope on one day hearing that "momma!"

3 going on 16

Things that my princess Keagan has said to me this week....

"Mom I can't carry my back pack. I have ALLLLLL this stuff in my hands!" As she has her tiny cupcake purse hanging from her wrist.

"Mom I can't go to school without my yip stick!!" (lipstick)

"PEEEAS stop talking to me!"

"It's Riyee's turn!" in response to me asking her to do absolutely anything at all.

"I'll go in time out!" Her choice after I threatened her if she didn't stop doing something then she would go in time out.

"Mom you need to clap for me when I'm pacticing my dancing!"

And my personal favorite...
"Mom I need to call my boyfriend! Do you know his number?"

Yup! The girl is only 3! I'm terrified of 16!!
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Lunch with Heart

Today was such a treat for me. I was given these gorgeous flowers at a wonderful event. I was invited to be a guest at a delightful fundraising lunch for the Cardiology Department at Texas Children's Hospital.

I enjoyed my afternoon for so many reasons. It was a break from my regular mommy routine, at a gorgeous fancy shmancy hotel, with beautiful and interesting people. And the food was absolutely incredible. But the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people, doctors, philanthropists, researchers, TCH staff and other patient parents was really great. And most importantly it was the debut of the Cardiology video that Riley is a part of. She is featured along with two other patient families in this newly released video that is informative, touching and inspiring. It will be used for fundraising and advocacy purposes.

I am so thankful to be able to put some of my efforts into giving back to an incredible hospital that has done so much for us! Our journey would have been so different without TCH. We have gotten world class care, plus world class love and support- particularly from the Cardiology department. So it was an honor to be a guest and be able to contribute our story.

It was also yet another reminder of how unbelievably blessed Riley, Keagan and I really are! I talked with a beautiful mom today who lost her daughter at 8 months old to dilated cardiomyopathy, Riley's same diagnosis. I also met several other families who have been through the trauma of several open heart surgeries and Caths. The miracle of Riley's healthy functioning heart is always on my mind and a constant reminder that miracles from our Heavenly Father exist! How eternally thankful I am for Riley's heart and for the heart of those wonderful people at TCH!
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Sweet Question

Yesterday Keagan asked me why Riley couldn't go to her school. My reply was to casually explain that Riley was going to a school where they were going to teach her to walk and talk. Well her cute little 3 year old brain sucked that right up and when we were waiting to pick up Riley from her 1st day of school today, Keagan had a very important question for me. She looked up at me and excitedly asked "Mom can Riley talk now?" What a sweet sister who not only thinks like a smart 3 year old, but also wants so badly for her sister to be just like her.

Oh how I wish my answer could have been YES!!

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We Survived the 1st Day!

I've taken a big sigh. My shoulders feel much lighter! I can sleep tonight! Riley's first day of school has come and gone. And we both survived!

I was more anxious for this day then I can remember being in a long time. I took Nana and Sa (my sister Lisa) with me for moral support. Riley was all smiles and waves as the teachers gathered and we walked back to her classroom. The 3 year old PPCD program has a morning and an afternoon class. Riley is in the afternoon class from 11 to 3. But the morning class doesn't leave til noon. So when we arrived there was a lively bunch ready for lunch. Rileys teacher Miss Kellogg wheeled her straight to the table and started getting her ready for lunch. She was looking around and happy until I walked out of the room!

As nana and I stood outside the door listening to my baby cry, we cried ourselves. I had a moment of wanting to run back in, scoop her up and take her back home to a life where she is already comfortable and safe. But I refrained because I know this is what is right for my sweet girl. As we walked away I heard Mickey Mouse Clubhouse coming on. It had been pre selected as Riley's favorite show as a treat to watch during lunch on her first day. I knew this would help the tears, so I could actually leave the building at that point. Once we got in the car it took some serious strength for me to drive away. I told Nana I just didn't want to leave my baby there! But I'm glad I did.

Once the morning class left, there are only 3 other cute little 3 year olds in Rileys class for her teacher and an aide to give attention to. My stomach was in my throat until Keagan and I waited at the door for them to wheel Riley out. She was really excited to see us and I was beyond thrilled! We didn't have the "I can't believe you left me" moment that I was expecting and she was happy and waving to all the teachers who were so cute with her and saying"see you tomorrow!"

I got a great report from Miss Kellogg. Riley loved music time and copied some of the hand motions. She ate her lunch and tried to snack on the play dough as well. She loved the motor lab which is like half physical therapy half playground. She colored and overall had a great day.

Her teacher told me the cutest thing Riley did today was when they were playing doll house to learn family members names. Riley had the mommy and she kept making the mommy kiss the baby! It made me feel so good to hear that is what she thinks mommies do- show their babies love! I hope I show her everyday of her life how much I love both her and Keagan. I hope she remembers it, even at school!

I would definitely say her first day was a success! But I'm not stoppin the prayers now! Now we're prayin day 2 goes just as well!
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Push or Protect?

I've been having a serious internal battle all week. It's driving me insane! My biggest priority is to be a good mom. So what I have been facing is the question of wether a good mom pushes or protects her child.

This has all come about with Riley's first day of school looming on the calendar for tomorrow. It has always been my plan to put her in the wonderful PPCD program and take advantage of that amazing resource. But as it gets closer, the knot in my stomach gets larger and my nausea increases. Should I push Riley into school where she will learn and grow and make important strides in her life with wonderful people helping her along the way? Or should I keep her home and protect her from the big scary world out there? This is so much more of a difficult question then others might think.

After a mind numbing amount of prayers, pondering and pandering for everyone's opinion, I have decidedly packed Riley's back pack and laid out her first day of school clothes. My baby will start school tomorrow.

I came to this decision because I have the hope that I can BOTH push AND protect her at the same time. I am confident that I can help her find her own level of success at school while at the same time being very involved and informed with all that is happening and that she is experiencing at school.

For now this battle is decided. But then why don't I feel better? I'm just so nervous for my baby, and to be honest for myself. It all begins tomorrow! Wish us both good luck!

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Saturday, October 22, 2011


I realized today that the girls have never been traditionally trick-or-treating. This year will be their 4th Halloween and they have always had costumes and had fun, but never the traditional way.

Their first Halloween was spent in the NICU. Nana crocheted them the cutest little pumpkin hats. Halloween number two brought 2 tiny little darling lady bugs to our house! But the girls were still too little to go out door to door and were asleep before it got dark. Our 3rd holiday was on a Sunday. So my cute little quack quacks (ducks) couldn't go out with the other costumed kids.

Despite no TRICK-or-treating, we have always loved our TRUNK-or-treating nights. Tonight was our 3rd annual trunk-or-treat and once again we had a great time! Who doesn't enjoy a good chili cook off, kids booths like the oh so fun fishing behind the cardboard sea for candy, and decorated cars lined up handing out candy to more then eager kids. Tonight my ridiculously darling bumble bees had more then their fair share of fun and candy. And I did too. It would have been even better if I didn't have a little terrifying time when I lost Keagan for a little while and ran around the church frantically searching for her. Who would have thought I would have found her half naked in the bathroom. I guess a bumble bee costume can be itchy!

Glad to enjoy a fun and festive night with Nana, Grandmas, and so many other great friends. Now it's time to gear up for our first traditional trick-or-treat!

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Another Poem

A friend posted this on Facebook today and it says alot of what's in my heart right now....


A meeting was held quite far from Earth
It was time again for another birth.
Said the Angels to the Lord above –
“This special child will need much love.
His progress may be very slow
Accomplishment he may not show.
And he’ll require extra care
From the folks he meets down there.
He may not run or laugh or play.
His thoughts may seem quite far away.
So many times he will be labeled
different, helpless and disabled.
So let's be careful where he's sent
We want his life to be content.
Please, Lord, find the parents who
Will do a special job for you.
They will not realize right away
The leading role they are asked to play.
But with this child sent from above
Comes stronger faith, and richer love.
And soon they’ll know the privilege given
In caring for their gift from heaven.
Their precious charge, so meek and mild
Is heaven’s very special child."

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In Her Shoes

These are the sandals my Miss Riley wore all summer. She started her booty hop in these shoes so as you can see she rubbed these babies raw! Her hard work in becoming mobile and independent even wore off an entire leather flower! I looked at these shoes the other day and wondered what it would be like to walk in them for a day.

I know well what it's like to be the mother of a Special Needs child, and the big struggles and blessings that come with it. But I can only imagine what it's like to be my sweet Riley girl. She lives in a body that doesn't cooperate like it should and takes much more effort to control. She faces health challenges each day and suffers through alot of poking and prodding. She has seizures and is sometimes drowning in medication and therapy goals. She can not communicate effectively what her wants, needs and desires are. It must be so hard to wear these cute silver shoes. It must be so hard to be my precious little Riley.

Just as those thoughts create knot in my stomach and make me want to burst into tears, I am reminded of the incredible blessings Riley enjoys. Riley has seen miracles by the hand of God in her short life. She receives so much love and support and has an infectious joy that just radiates her being. Riley has a very different and a very simplistic view of life that is admirable. And I know Riley is incredibly blessed to feel and know the angels that surround us and our Heavenly Father!

We have moved in to a new favorite pair if shoes that Riley looks just as cute in. I'm sure she will wear these ones down too as she struggles through her challenges and enjoys her blessings in them. All the while teaching me as she goes.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Seems Like Yesterday!

My Little CEO

Wednesday was Parent/Teacher Confrence day at Keagans Preschool. I had a 10 minute little chat with Miss Connie and Miss Natalie. I realize this is just preschool and that the stakes really aren't very high. But it is great to get some insight on how my little girl is doing when she's away from me.

They love my Keagan and I loved the comments they made about her! They said Keagan is the only girl that runs with the boys- because the rest of the girls can't keep up. They added that she doesn't miss a thing and always knows exactly what is going on. It doesn't surprise me to hear them say she knows exactly what she wants and how to get it! And they both laughed when they said she doesn't take any crap from anyone! Miss Connie said she was "my kind of girl!" And Miss Natalie said she is definitely a future CEO. That sure makes sense since she is clearly the boss of me and handles it well!

Who knows if all the parent/teacher conferences in the years to come are going to be this good. Probably not, but this was one that made me smile.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hawaii visits

The girls are blessed with family who really love them! They loved having their dad, Grandma Debbie and cousin Jacquie in town for their birthday. They all hadn't been here in over a year so they had a good week spending time with the girls. And celebrating of course!

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More Big Birthday Pics!

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Princess Keagan

My little Keags has got one seriously big personality! This girl has her own style, has some serious moves, loves her music and says the funniest things! It's impossible not to adore her!

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

How Sweet It Is!

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Party Girls!

Last night the girls had a fantastic time at their birthday party! I think everyone did! 24 little friends, and many big ones too, came to help us celebrate at Bouncin Bears! Everyone bounced, slid, ran, climbed, chatted, laughed, ate pizza and cupcakes, and partied til they were exhausted! We are so blessed to have such incredible friends and family to share good times with!

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Time Flies

This is my girls just moments after they were born. That was 3 years ago yesterday.

"Lenni" as she was known then (as in Lentil Bean) weighed in at 3lbs 7oz. And "Ninja" was a whopping 1lb 14oz. These little girls were very sick. But very loved.

Now time has just flown by and they are 3! They are full of life, love and joy. I couldn't be more thankful to be their mom and to have shared everyday of the last three years with them! I just can't believe how quickly it has past and am reminded that I will never get that time back. With that in mind, hopefully I will make this next year count!

Friday, October 14, 2011

And Then They Were 3

Spoiled but not rotten! That's what Keagan and Riley were today. Ok maybe just little moments of rotten- but those are easily forgotten on a birthday. Right Keags?

So what does being spoiled intail...presents from mommy. A full day at the zoo. Special birthday cupcakes. A trip to the toy store for daddy to buy you "whatever you want." Lots of gifts from said store from dad, Grandma and Jacquie. Dinner with the one and only Chuckie Cheese. Games galore. Foster love. Packages at the door. And serenades on the answering machine.

That's what spoiled looks like! That's what turning the big THREE looked like today! Days like this really don't come around very often for a little girl! Good thing I know they loved it!

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Long Way

Three years ago tonight I was laying in a cold and lonely hospital room, scared out of my mind. It's the same room I had been in for weeks. Kapiolani room 412. That day they had told us I would need to deliver my two baby girls WAY ahead of schedule. I was about to bring 2 babies into a world where my future was extremely uncertain and I knew theirs would be the same. All I knew was that I would love those little girls with everything in me and that the Lord would carry us through.

That place is REALLY far from where I am tonight! It is light years and life times away! As I put up the Happy Birthday decorations tonight that I have each year on their birthday, I thought about truly how far we've come. We have such a different life then the one planned in Kapiolani 412, but it is such a beautiful, joyful, wonderful life. Almost everything is different, but two things remain the same. I love my girls with everything in me! And I know the Lord will carry us through!

I can't wait to celebrate three wonderful years with the two most incredible little girls in this earth tomorrow! The decorations are up, the presents are wrapped and the party is planned! And I'm wishing us all another fabulous year to come!

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Almost Three!

What do you do when you are one day away from being three year old twins? Well when you have your dad, Grandma, and cousin Jacquie all in town...then you celebrate!

We Went to China Town and had the most amazing Dim Sum for lunch. Keagan mostly just ate the American chicken nuggets. But she put them on her chop sticks to show she's still Chinese! Riley on the other hand ate her weight in Chinese food! I don't think anyone doubted her 7/32nds Chinese today!

And no celebration is complete without a trip to the park! These are some very lucky and VERY loved almost 3 year olds!
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What a Siren!

It was Fire Truck Day at Preschool today.

I have never seen a cuter firefighter in my life! Now that's a calendar picture!!
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