Friday, May 22, 2015

Exploring!

Earlier this week we headed east to explore the deserts—both the Colorado and the Mojave.  I had planned the days as days off from school; instead, we counted them all!  The boys had a blast and learned lots.  Or, more accurately, we all did.  What more could you ask? 

Checking out Joshua Tree National Park

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Entering the park

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California Fan Palms at Cottonwood Springs

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Ocotillo….nature’s fence.

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Creosote bush.  Smells like a campfire!

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The “man’ rock on the way to the Lost Mine

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The view near the Lost Mine.  The Salton Sea is in the distance.  IT would be easier to see if it hadn’t been so smoggy. 

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Cholla cactus garden.

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Skull rock.

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Trailhead at Ryan Mountain

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A Joshua tree!  They look like a Dr. Seuss creation…or perhaps his inspiration.

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The view from Keys View.

Then, we spent part of a day exploring the (absolutely FABULOUS!) Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert.  The boys—all 3—loved it.  Mazes. Puzzles.  Laser harp music.  Weaving.  Motorcycles.  And building race cars.  Oh my.  I think we spent 2 hours just putting together K’nex race cars and racing them.  Such a great day!

The last day we headed up to Mount San Jacinto State Park.  The only way to get there is up the Palm Springs Aerial Tram.  SO cool!!  The tram ride is 10 minutes, and goes from an elevation of 2500’ to a elevation of 8500’.  And…the tram rotates on the way!  The views were astounding.  The hiking was amazing.  The snow was a fun bonus. The day was beautiful, and we had a great time.

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Heading up.  On the cable, just at the edge of the rocks toward the top of the picture is the other tram, heading down.

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Taking in the view

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Snow means snowballs.  Always.

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Heading back down.

Incredible days.  So amazing to see God’s handiwork, and to wonder at how different it is from what we are used to.  Creativity?  I think God’s got it covered!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

out of the blue

Sometimes these boys of our astound me.  The other morning they blew me away.

Mornings here are slow and peaceful.  I’m enjoying the change of pace, and they are too.  Our normal routine includes some snuggle time before we start our day.  Monday was no different.  As we were discussing the agenda for the day, one of the boys abruptly changed topics on me.  “Mom,” he said, “We need another baby.  There are lots and LOTS of boys in China who need moms and dads.  You and Dad are the best.  We’ll share.  We’d love to, right?”

After recovering from the initial shock, I tried to defuse the situation.  I said with a grin, “Um…no more blue.  Mom’s already outnumbered.”  Immediately, both boys shouted that pink would be fine, that they’d love a baby sister.  “Well, you wouldn’t be able to have your own rooms any more,” I replied.  Having their own rooms here has been a BIG DEAL, and I was certain that would be a deal-breaker.  “And….babies are a LOT of work.”

Wrong again.  The sweet little man who first brought it up didn’t even hesitate.  “Momma, I will share my room.  I will take are of her in the night. I want to do like Hailey did with me when I was a baby.   I will make her feel safe and loved.  I know how.  You and Dad do it every day.  Hailey learned—she did it for me.  I can do it.”

When I finally recovered (and quit crying!), I pointed out that while adopting a baby girl sounds like lots of fun, they needed to keep in mind that Daddy was OLD and would be WAAAYYY old when this desired baby turned 18.  Not a problem—the dynamic duo has that issue solved too.  “We’ll all be older then, Mom.  It’s fine.  Brent can help.  Hailey and Alec can help take care of her. They’re MARRIED!  Emily and Tori would love her.  Even I will be old enough—she can come live with me.  She’ll have a family, Mom.  That’s what matters!”

Speechless.  These boys.  Their hearts.  Such love.  And old parents.  Pray for us.

“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”  ~James 1:23-24

“God sets the lonely in families…”  ~Psalm 68:6a

Sunday, May 3, 2015

creative gardening

With the glorious weather that comes with life in southern California, I really want a garden.  I love growing vegetables and fruit and miss the sight of my fruit trees, raspberries, and roses from my kitchen window.  Here, though, we have no yard—just a brick patio. 

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It’s a nice brick patio, but not exactly conducive to a garden.  Sometimes, though, being married to a creative engineer has its benefits.  Smile

We had discussed various options for a container garden before the boys and I headed to Seattle at the beginning of April.  Jim researched some and showed me an idea on Saturday.  Because Logan wasn’t feeling well, instead of exploring the area we headed to Home Depot for supplies for my new garden.  Check out what we did!

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First, we picked up some cedar stair risers.  You know, the kind that you put on a deck?  Yep.  Those.  Then we attached them to the pergola posts.

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We added cedar fence boards (and cedar trim boards to stiffen the fence boards over the 6’ span).

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Add some plastic window box liners and soil, and you’ve got a great container garden!

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I LOVE IT!!!   The drip  irrigation will be expanded for the garden tomorrow evening.  The seeds (beets, carrots, zucchini, butternut squash, and cantaloupe, all heirloom) will be here Wednesday.  The bell peppers will be planted tomorrow.  Small pots for herbs will go on the top shelf and will be added later in the week.  (Note:  that’s rosemary in the pot by the fence, visible in the previous picture as well.  It’s HUGE!  Smells heavenly too…)  The heirloom tomato pot is on the other side of the pergola, under an existing drip line.

I’ve told Jim many times that while I love the fact that we’re not tied at home with yard work, I miss my garden fiercely.  This should help. 

surgery!

On April 1, the boys and I flew back to Seattle so that Logan could have surgery at Seattle Children’s, with the plastic surgeon and craniofacial team that’s been providing his care for the last almost 7 years.  Pre-op was April 6; surgery was April 17.  Seattle was wonderful and we loved every minute of being there. 

Surgery day was a Friday, and Logan has his last meal at 5:50am.  Then, at 9:55am he has his last drink of clear liquid—a large glass of apple juice.  We arrived at the hospital at 1pm to check in, as requested.  Then, we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Finally, at 4pm they were ready to take him back for surgery.  For a child with trauma triggers around access to food, this was excruciating!  But we survived.  Surgery took just over 2 hours, and the dr. was very pleased with the results..  (Logan was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate.  This surgery was to repair the alveolar cleft—the gap in his upper jaw—so that he can retain the permanent teeth waiting to erupt.  They use bone from his hip for the graft.)

Around 8:15pm they finally moved Logan to a room.  He was a bit loopy…
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Although we loved everything about the nursing care we received at the hospital, being a post-surgery patient on a medical unit was challenging.  The nurses didn’t have a good handle on Logan’s surgery or the level of pain associated with it.  They didn’t know the procedure for his oral medications.  And they didn’t treat his pain adequately.  It’s not their fault—they followed the orders as given.  They simply don’t have post-surgery patients on their floor very often, and the particular surgery Logan had, with 2 incision sites, is extremely painful.  We left the hospital Saturday morning without appropriate pain medication, because he ‘hadn’t needed any, so you probably don’t need it.’  Not having done this before, I was clueless and went along with it.  BIG mistake!  Saturday was tolerable, Sunday was mostly manageable, but Monday was a nightmare!!  6 hours of crying, 4 phone calls, and a trip to our (amazing, incredible) pediatrician finally brought the right meds and relief. 

Now 15 days post surgery (and back in California since the 28th), Logan’s doing awesome!  His post-op appointment went very well, and the nurse practitioner we saw thought his recovery was coming along quite well.  Everything looked excellent and we were cleared to return to California and the sun.  He’s still moving a bit slow—his hip hurts still if he overdoes the activity—but he’s pretty free to do as he pleases.  No contact sports for sure, but swimming and bike riding and body boarding and Disneyland are all cleared activities.  He’s one happy boy with that.  And, because his jaw looked so good, his only food restriction is on hard, sharp things like carrot sticks, apple slices, crackers,  and tortilla chips.  Works for him! 

Thank you all for your prayers and support.  They were much needed and much appreciated!  We are truly blessed to have friends and family like all of you.  Smile

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

life in God’s creation

Beauty all around us…

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And under the sea as well…

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Our next adventure is on Saturday.  Hopefully there will be some good pics…  Winking smile

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

some thoughts on Disney

The boys loved Disney.  REALLY loved it.  It was great fun to see them step outside their comfort zones and try new things.  Huge thanks to Hailey and Alec, who were there to experience it all with us, to encourage, to hold hands, and to challenge them to do more.  It made a difference, I know.  The first time at Disney will be a treasured memory, I’m sure.

Some observations:

  • The behaviors that tend to irritate me in everyday life didn’t seem out of place in Disneyland.  Things like high pitched singing, abundant enthusiasm, and perpetual  motion were the order of the day, but at Disneyland they just fit right in with the overall atmosphere. 
  • When it was important, the child with developmental delays could remain in control.  Standing in line for long periods of time?  No problem.  Playing ‘rotating seatmate’ on the various rides?  Not a huge problem.  Not eating at the stroke of noon?  No big deal.  Those things are HUGE, folks!  We did NOT expect any of them.
  • The fearful child took deep breaths and (mostly) conquered those fears.  Having an adored big sister and brother in law along helped tremendously.  He tried every ride suggested, and his list of “thanks but no thanks” rides is virtually non-existent.  I think he’ll do everything again.
  • The sense of adventure blossomed in both boys!  Usually a bit afraid to try new things without one of us, they begged and pleaded to be allowed to ride alone on many rides.  It’s awesome to have a safe place to allow them to do that, and as often as possible, they rode alone.  Fun for ALL of us!
  • Roller coasters were not as bad this time as they’ve been in the past.  As a child I LOVED roller coasters.  As an adult, I did them fine.  Once I had children, though, I couldn’t deal with the stomach dropping stuff.  I stayed off all those kinds of rides.  This time I took a deep breath and tried them again.  California Screamin?  Yes please!  Twilight Zone Tower of Terror?  Absolutely!  Bring ‘em on.
  • We WILL be back.  Because we bought annual passes, heading to Disneyland only costs us the gas and parking fee.  While that’s a bit steep, it’s no more costly than paying the babysitter for small group once a week, so we’ll go back.  Many times.  Our first return is scheduled for the end of the month, just before the boys and I head back to Renton for April.  (more on that trip later)

I love the beach.  I enjoy our new home.  We are slowly getting settled into a new church.  So far in this adventure, though, I’d say that Disneyland has been the best part, and the biggest surprise.  Having been there before, I wasn’t expecting to have such a great time. 

Once again, it’s the little things that mean the most.  And it is the little things that God uses to touch me, to remind me that He has not abandoned me, that He brought us here for a reason.  Seeing Him in the everyday—isn’t that the goal? 

Feeling blessed these days.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Doing Disney

After much talk and many days of waiting (im)patiently, March 10 finally arrived.  What was so important about March 10?  Well…it was the first ever trip to Disneyland for the dynamic duo.  (A fun side note:  on March 10, 2002, we took Emily and Tori to Disneyland for their first time.)  As far as the boys knew, the plan was to get up and have breakfast, drive to Disney, and spend the day.  What they didn’t know was that we needed to make a short side trip on our way, and it would be well worth it!

We swung by the grocery store to pick up some granola bars and orange juice because we were headed to John Wayne Airport on our way to see Mickey Mouse.  Big sister Hailey and her husband Alec have insisted for years that they wanted to be with us when we took the little boys to Disneyland the first time,and Tuesday they made good on that.  You can’t begin to imagine the shock on Ryan and Logan’s faces when they saw Hailey and Alec at the arrivals area.  Ryan had tears in his eyes and Logan couldn’t sit still.  It was heaven for those two little boys.  Add Disneyland to it?  Unsurpassable.   (When asked Wednesday about the best part of Tuesday, Ryan answered, “All of it, but Hailey and Alec are the VERY best.”  Mission accomplished.

Some pics from our day:

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After a down day on Wednesday, the boys and I went back to Disneyland yesterday with Hailey and Alec while Jim went to work.  (Hey…someone has to pay for our adventures!  Winking smile  )  We started early and stayed all day, arriving back home about 7:30 last night.  SUCH fun! 

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Already, even after 2 full days, they can’t wait to go back and are sad that Hailey and Alec are having Disney fun today just the two of them.  We are thrilled to have Hailey and Alec here through the weekend, so we’ll show them around and play at the beach.  The weather should be perfect for some body boarding!  Ryan and Logan can’t wait to show Alec what they have learned.   

Although living 1200 miles from our big guys has been hard, this week has been especially sweet.  I LOVE seeing the adoration the little ones have for their older sister and brother in law, and the sweetness the big ones bestow on the adoring (pestering) little guys is amazing.  It feels very much like Psalm 127 in the flesh around here:  “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord…blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”  We are blessed indeed. 

 

PS  Those Mickey Mouse hats the boys are wearing?  They’ve only come off for showers and sleeping since Tuesday.