Friday, March 27, 2009

A year ago today...

Seth's first "cleaned up" pictured. Excuse the date.. I had mis-set my camera and didn't realize it until later.

Happy Birthday, sweet, sweet Seth. We miss you. The kids sent helium balloons to Heaven. Kayleigh was actually quite sad to see her Sponge Bob mylar balloon float into the sky.. Cary & Sean didn't have the same reaction to the Sesame street bunch and the multiple candled cake balloon heading off into the blue yonder..

I've spent some time today thinking about a birthday party with Jesus.. Can't quite wrap my brain around it.

Yesterday someone said "Wow, a year, doesn't it seem like a lifetime ago?"

Yes, it WAS a lifetime ago. Seth's lifetime.. and then some.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Cary's Scary Disney Adventure

Disclaimer: The above picture was NOT Cary's scary Disney adventure. He asked to have that picture taken. Jasmine is his FAVORITE princess. Who knew?

Our 2nd day in Disneyland, a Thursday, we started the morning in FantasyLand. Leland had to run back to the hotel for something and so Sean, Cary, Kayleigh and I took in some rides. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Pinocchio, and Snow White's Scary Adventures, pretty much in that order. At that point, Kayleigh refused to even stand in line for another ride. Cary was pretty much right behind her. So I took Kayleigh & Cary to the carousel and Dumbo while Sean & Leland went on Peter Pan. We had some fun with that and after a bit we decided to head over to the Haunted Mansion. Sean, Cary and Leland were going to go through the Haunted Mansion; Kayleigh ("that ride scawy for ME") and I waited outside on a bench by the retaining wall. After waiting a little bit, my cell phone rang.

On the other end of the phone was Leland. "Cary just took off. We're just getting on the elevator and he said "Scared, scared, scared" and ran out. Do you want us to get off the ride?" I said No. Go on the ride, Cary knew where I was (I thought). I waited a few minutes. No sign of Cary. I packed up Kayleigh and headed over to the entrance. No sign of Cary. Too many people to try and get too far in the line. I lugged Kayleigh around to the exit, told the cast member coming out the exit "My son just ran off this ride and I don't know where he is." He told me to tell the cast member on the porch. I head up there, repeat my story. He tells me where the exit is. Uh. NO. My son was getting ON the ride and ran out, I don't know where he is. He called security.

So the kind security guard, Gail, came. Sean and Leland got off the ride. No Cary. I gave his description to the security guard (and showed her a picture I had taken earlier that day; after telling Cary & Kayleigh, "I'm taking this picture of you so I can show it to security in case you get lost." Seriously.) She called in another security guard who looked at the picture and they looked in the immediate area for Cary. Gail stationed me outside the Haunted Mansion, in case Cary wandered by. Leland joined the active searching. And we wait. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Half an hour into standing there, I have come to the realization that Cary IS lost. I confess, ONE of the SCARIEST hours of my life. Sean & I prayed together for Cary. I got a little teary. Prayed for peace. Pulled myself together. Prayed some more. Leland and the 2nd security guard head towards TomorrowLand in case Cary went to Astro Blasters (his favorite ride!). Gail called in an All points alert. At this point, EVERY Disney cast member with an ear piece knows that Cary is lost and what he looks like.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the park:
When Cary ran out of The Haunted Mansion, he immediately headed for FantasyLand. He hadn't heard me say that we would wait there and he assumed that we were in FantasyLand doing Dumbo & the carousel. So that's where he went (smart boy, really). He looked for us there, checked out stroller parking, didn't see us OR the stroller. Decided "Well, next we talked about Pirates of the Caribbean" so he headed THAT way. He did ask a cast member for directions but at that point, the "all points" hadn't been issued yet so that cast member didn't know he was lost. Part way to his destination, Cary got confused about where he was going, stopped to asked another cast member for directions. Cary approached the cast member and as he looked up to ask his question, the cast member looked down at him and said: "Are you Cary?" Cary said "yes" and the next question was: "Would you like a sticker?"

Seconds later, in front of The Haunted Mansion, Gail turns to me and says "They found him." THANK GOD! May I just say here that unless you've been in this situation, you can't imagine the relief I felt. Of course, that was quickly replaced with that "How could you make me worry so much" anger. Gail walked us over to the Shooting Gallery where Cary was. Leland & his security guard beat us there. I calmed myself down enough to just grab Cary and hug him. He cried. It was a good reunion! ::grins:::

Things we learned: If I'm with it enough to be taking pictures "in case I lose you", I need to also go over the "if you get lost" directions! Didn't even occur to Cary to tell a cast member he was lost.

And, as in all good tales; All's well, that end's well!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday - March 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

I know it's late in the day, but I'm going to give Thankful Thursday, as hosted by Truth 4 the Journey a shot!

The five things I'm thankful for today.

1. I"m thankful for a patient kind husband. Truly he is. He doesn't complain (much) when I get crabby, sad or depressed... He's been SUPER understanding about my inability to get motivated to get things done. I possess that in general, especially in regards to house stuff, but more lately since Seth.

2. I'm thankful to have an environment I am mostly comfortable in. Our home. Our church family. Our community. I had a great vacation (and I wish the weather here were better right now) but if absence makes the heart grow fonder, it doesn't take much time away to make me grateful for home.

3. I"m thankful for great friends. Friends who do things like THIS for me. Yep, I have some truly amazing firends, most of them sisters in Christ. I am a blessed woman.

4. I'm SO thankful for God's blessings and provision. For how REAL He provides in our lives. I haven't shared as much about our Disney trip as I intend to (still coming) but God showed up in AMAZING ways. AMAZING. AWESOME ways. At least once a day (intentionally nad that I remember, I'm sure it was more than that), I looked heavenward and thanked God for His grace.

5. I'm thankful, SO thankful, for Sean and Cary and Kayleigh. For the joy and treasure they bring into our lives, MY life, EVERY single day. They are such amazing kids. There are so many things I always want to remember. The way Kayleigh said "Mickey not scary" after she saw him the first time. (And this was after weeks of "This one scare me (Mickey), I go see THIS one (Minnie)"). Sean and I riding Space Mountain for the first time together and getting off saying "THAT WAS SO AWESOME." Cary, who so enjoyed his time with Alex (son of a friend of mine whom we met at Disneyland), that he wanted to know when he'd see Alex again before he wanted to know when we'd be back at Disneyland.

Well, there! I like Thankful Thursday. That's a pretty impressive list, really. Thank you, Lord, for putting these things in my life. For BEING IN my life.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Totally Annoying

So Nicolas Cage has a new movie coming out:

Have you seen the ad for this? In the last scene of the ad, Nicolas Cage's character is tucking his son into bed. And this adorable little boy says to his dad: "Are we going to die?". And do you KNOW what his dad says? He answers with: "I will NEVER let that happen." ARGH.

Everytime I see this commercial, I want to scream. "I will never let that happen." As. If. As if he has any control. As if he can make that promise. Of course, I remember being that comfortable with life. I remember thinking I had any kind of control.


In June, I took the big boys to "Sibs Day" at the hospital. Usually they do it for oncology families but this year they opened it up to all families with a chronically ill child. The boys spent some time learning about blood (they LOVED that part) and discussing feelings they might have as our family was affected by Seth's medical condition. I got to spend some time in some sessions for parents and getting pampered by a "spa" afternoon. At the end of the day, I drove the boys home, all excited about the gifts they'd recieved (a backpack full of stuff, snacks, games, for when mom was busy with Seth) and what they'd learned. In the van, Sean said to me, "Mom, did you know that cancer is not contagious?". "Sean, I TOTALLY knew that. Did YOU know that Seth's heart defect is not contagious?" "Really?" Sean said.

That night, as I was tucking the boys into bed, the conversation continued. What I remember the most is that Sean asked me: "Could Seth die from this?". I wanted to say No. I wanted to assure him that Seth would be JUST fine. That we would have normal happy lives. Instead, I took a deep breath and answered as honestly as I could. "Yes, Sean, Seth COULD die from this. But mommy & daddy are doing the best we can, and we're giving him his medicines like we're supposed to and the doctor's are doing what they can. We pray and ask God to keep Seth healthy. But, yes, he could die."

I wish I could have said "I'll never let that happen."

I'm thankful that I was honest.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In Other Words Tuesday

Today's In Other Words Tuesday is being hosted by Patricia at Typing One-Handed. She chose the following quote:

What would happen if we stopped lamenting about the fifty things we can't control and focused our attention on the fifty thousand things we can control? What would happen if we stopped whining about things we have the power to change and finally took charge of our lives and changed them? What would happen if we stopped borrowing sorrow from tomorrow? If we got in the habit of asking ourselves, "What's on my plate today?"
~Karen Scalf Linamen
Chocolatherapy: Satisfying the Deepest Cravings of Your Inner Chick

I love this quote. It speaks to me about so many of the things I want to do in my life. To live simpler, to surrender the things beyond my control, to do what God calls me to do with the things IN my control, to raise my children to see a simpler life, to.. Oh, wait, I'm doing it again aren't I? I'm just elaborating on some of the things I want to/can/are trying to control. :::: Deep breath ::::

Truthfully, since Seth went to Heaven, some of this has just come into my life. I make a conscious effort to NOT focus on and worry about the "fifty things I can't control" (or more). Once Seth entered our lives, there was So much we could not control.. From being pregnant again to finding out he was "sick" in utero to his surgeries to outcome; we couldn't control any of it. Mind you, that didn't stop me from trying to figure out how to get the outcome I wanted. And that just caused undue, unnecessary stress. Once I just turned over to God the things I could not control (which pretty much involved everything at that point!), life just got a lot.. well, not EASIER but simpler.

It's such a valuable thing to learn to let go of that which we can't control. And that encompasses SO much of our lives... I'm so grateful that I am not God and I don't' have to worry about all those things.. Which leads me to the second half of that quote..

What if I stop worrying about ALL the things I CAN change and just do it? What if I ask myself "What's on my plate today?" and stop worrying about tomorrow?

This part? Not so good at... I've spent the last few months working on fighting off a "paralysis" of sorts. I struggle a bit with depression and it's been very hard to get anything done. I"m trying to improve that. I'm making some practical steps to help myself.

But to some degree, I have to believe that I'm doing the best I can in this season of my life. I am grateful to have a God so much bigger than me. Every day I put one foot in front of the other, get through the day the best that I can. If the kids are fed, safe and relatively clean, the day has been a good one. And I pray for God's help and strength to do it all again tomorrow!

Head over to Patricia's blog (by clicking the link at the top of this post) and see what others had to say about this thought provoking quote.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

It's been awhile.. Let's see if I can remember how this works.

I did NOT get home from a wonderful vacation and THEN develop a common traveler's ailment that has kept me running to the bathroom most of the night. And if that had happen, I would most certainly NOT admit it here on my blog. Because that would just be wrong!

I did NOT wake up in the middle of the night, with a start, realizing I had forgotten things my kids said or did on our vacation that I was going to specifically remember. Of course this did not happen. Stuff I wanted to remember I would have WRITTEN down somewhere, right? (Written it down.. to remember. What a novel concept. Ha ha. Pun not intended!).

And the aforementioned stuff that I did not forget? I did not intend to remember it JUST to use it for blog fodder.

I did NOT lose patience with Kayleigh on our plane ride home and attempt to pretend that I did not own this small wiggly child sitting RIGHT next to me (and no other parent.. her & I in a 3 person row all alone).

I most certainly did NOT get frustrated with the lady in front of Kayleigh who kept turning to glare at me EVERY time Kayleigh even touched the back of the seat in front of her. I did not give that lady a piece of my mind telling her that we too paid for our seats and have every right to be on the half empty plane. If it bothered her so much, she could have moved into the empty exit row window seat directly in front of her. Actually, I really did NOT do that last part, but I wanted to!

And on THAT note of limited self restraint, I have a little girl begging me to find her princess hat. I think it's in the luggage which I did NOT leave laying in the middle of our living room floor all day yesterday.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Welcome home!

We're home! Today has been a lazy day.. I can't believe how wiped out we all were by that vacation.. Leland was the only one of us who actually got dressed!

Disclaimer: This isn't my house.
(I was going to post a picture of a glorious clean home but I can't get blogger to let me upload an image right now.)

BUT.. we were SO blessed to come home to a clean house. I have amazing wonderful girlfriends. My lazy day has been spent enjoying my clean house! Lucky me!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Headed home

Today we leave all this behind:

and head back to our frozen home.

Can I admit that I'm dreading a few things? The cold, for one. This has been such a warm vacation. The blue sky does so much for morale. At home, in March, the sky will be gray, the ground will be gray. Sigh.

I worry that people will assume/wonder/hope that I'm "all better now". Uh, not so much. Seth's birthday is less than two weeks away. I'm dreading getting home and feeling exactly the same as I did before we left. There. I said it. THAT is my biggest fear.

I know I won't feel exactly the same. For the truth is, I am not exactly the same. I have, again, seen God's provision and grace in ways that I used to only imagine. I continue to be a woman with hope. And now? I know that my kids have hope that our life will go on. That we will have fun again. For have fun we did!

If you know me, be patient with me. With us. As much as I wish this journey was shorter, I think we still have a ways to go.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Interview with my kids

So a fun kid interview thing has hit a couple of my friends on Facebook.. I got tagged on it and thought I'd do it here to share with my four faithful readers (if you haven't given up on me after my recent three week absence).

Out of the mouths of babes come the darndest things...

Cut and paste these questions and ask your kids their is a RIOT!

****First answers are from Sean, age 10, second line, Cary age 7, third line, Kayleigh, age 3 (until she got bored & left, and her answers more reflect recent activities)*******

1. What is something Mommy always says to you?
I love you
Do your homework.

2. What makes Mommy happy?
When me & Cary cooperate
When I don't do anything bad.
My smile

3. What makes Mommy sad?
When we don't cooperate
When Seth died

4. How does your Mommy make you laugh?
By tickling me.
I can't really say anything for that.. it's too hard to describe.
::: laughes :::::

5. What was your Mommy like as a child?
I don't know
that's why I don't know.

6. How old is Mommy?
40, right?

7. How tall is Mommy?
I don't know
I don't know
big (holds hand up)

8. What is Mommy's favorite thing to do?
Spend time with us
Have a vacation
Give toys to baby Seth

9. What does Mommy do when you're not around?
I don't know, I'm not there to see.
Work on cleaning up the house
I go with my dad

10. If Mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?
Bringing world peace
for the poor, helping the poor kind of.
iron there

11. What is Mommy really good at?
Being a mom
going to the beach and getting all dirty

12. What is Mommy not very good at?

13. What does Mommy do for a job?
She's a secretary at church
work at the office of the church

14.What is Mommy's favorite food?
Something that I don't like
I can't say anything

15.What makes you proud of Mommy?
When she buys me something.
When she cleans my room for me.

16. If Mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Sandy Cheeks (from SpongeBob)
Mrs. Mimi (a made up one)

17. What do you and Mommy do together?
We just spend time together
we laugh together

18. How are you and Mommy the same?
We both have glasses
there's nothing the same

19. How are you and Mommy different?
I'm a boy & she's a girl.
Because her eyes are blue and mine aren't

20. How do you know Mommy loves you?
Because she takes care of me.
Because she tells me.

21. What does Mommy like most about Daddy?
I don't know
I don't know

22. Where is Mommy's favorite place to go?
San Diego

23. Who is Mommy's favorite person?
Me, no, God, God.. God.
Her kids

That was eye opening! I find it amusing that they answered the same questions as I don't know and regarding # 10, my kids have some big expectations!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Serious.Life Ezine

Serious.Life Magazine

I wanted you to know about this publication I’m a part of called Serious.Life Magazine. They just published the March issue this week, and I am in their Featured Blog Directory. It’s a very high quality magazine… you’ll really like it.

The magazine includes a lot of great content from bloggers you’ll appreciate, as well as great features, photos and other content. The magazine is owned and published by a family who have seven kids, three adopted and one who has Leukemia ( The magazine gives away a bunch of ads to charities and ministries. Besides great articles on interesting people, there is a lot about family, adoption, personal finance, spiritual life, humor… all sorts of “life” topics.

Again, the subscription is FREE, and I know you’ll enjoy the magazine, so take a minute to check it out and sign up to get future issues.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Disney Daze

We have been in Disneyland!! We are so blessed to have friends and family who felt it was important for us to get to do something fun. When we were in the hospital with Seth, I told Leland that no matter how things turned out, we NEEDED to do something fun with our "big kids". This became known as our "life affirming vacation". I think it proved to the kids, and myself, that life WILL go on and we WILL be okay.

In addition to just experiencing the WARM weather in southern California (and it's SNOWED at home!), we were blessed to experience true Disney magic. We were able to visit the park for a couple of days courtesy of a Disney employee who's a "friend of a friend". We were also instructed to check in to City Hall on Wednesday morning (our first day in the park). Upon checking in, we recieved a small package. It included a letter that shared a bit about the magic awaiting us, and mouse ears with Seth's name on them! I was so touched by that.. I wanted Mouse Ears for Seth because when I explained to Sean how we could afford this trip (on the generosity of others, trying to help us feel better after losing Seth, and no doubt listening to God), Sean said "So in a way, Seth gave us this trip?". Yes, buddy, Seth gave us this trip and what better way to memorialize it than Mouse Ears for Seth!

So what other kind of magic did we experience? Well, I'm so glad you asked! We recieved a "Magic Pass" for the Finding Nemo submarine ride. This was the ride Kayleigh had been most looking forward to. We rushed over there Wednesday right after rope drop and a very sweet cast member walked us to the front of the line AND joined us on the ride. She filled us in on all kinds of fun facts & trivia regarding the Nemo ride and the old submarine ride, showed us the Hidden Mickey and generally increased our atomosphere of fun. After Nemo, we headed over to it's a Small World and then straight over to Mark Twain where arrangements were in place for us to ride in the Wheel House. Sean, Cary & Kayleigh got to "steer" the big ol' Riverboat and even pull the bells & whistles! The rest of Wednesday was on our own and relatively uneventful.

Thursday & Friday we explored the parks some more. Spent time hauling Kayleigh on rides that were "too scawy for me", poor girl! Friday afternoon, we had preferred seating for the Pixar Play Parade which was an AWESOME perk and after that we were joined by some friends in the park. We got to have fun with them Friday evening and all day Saturday. Sunday was our last day in the park and we had lunch at Princess Ariel's grotto, the best part of which was the YUMMY desserts!

We had more adventures that I may share later. Overall, our Disneyland trip was a HUMONGOUS success and we are following it up with a day or two at my sister's home. We are indeed blessed!