Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What A Wonderful Scar!

The other day I was brushing Ella's hair trying to get it into a small ponytail when I looked at the right side of her head and happened to see her scar. I haven't really gone looking for it since her hair grew back in so it was neat that her hair just parted at the exact spot. It's been 3 years and 4 months since she had brain surgery for her Hydrocephalus...she's come so far! She was such a baby when she had her surgery! 

She's such an amazing little miracle and we praise God for her every day! 

To read about Ella's Hydrocephalus click here, herehere, here and here

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Nature...At Last!

Michael was on-call the ENTIRE Christmas vacation! That meant that we basically couldn't do anything as a family and since we got sick the week before he went on-call that means that we really hadn't gone out and done anything as a family since The Living Nativity at the beginning of December! Boy that was a long sentence! 

So on Martin Luther King Day I was determined that we were going to get out and do something as a family. Since it was closer to the end of the month we didn't really have any money to go do anything so mother nature it was...most of the time she's free! We packed a lunch and headed to Owen Beach in Tacoma. Even though we've been here three times Owen still gets excited that there is a beach named for him! ;)

We got a late start since it was a day off for the kids and Michael so we weren't in a hurry. The first thing we did was sit down and have a bite to eat. 

Family friends Jim and Norean got us a Hillshire Farms package with sausage and cheese for Christmas so we brought that stuff for us and then packed sandwiches for the kids. 

Michael was sporting his Hawks coat that my mom got him last year. We were still riding the NFC Championship high and in a bit of shock that we were actually, seriously going to the Superbowl...again!  

For dessert I brought the leftover cupcakes from Owen's party and realized I never took a picture of what they look like on the inside so Owen showed me. 

Then is was down to the water for tons of fun! 

Owen literally threw so many rocks into the water that his arm was sore for about 3 days! 

Jack and Ella are all about finding shells and rocks they want to keep. It's fun seeing the different personalities they each have. Owen and Zeke want to play at the water, Jack and Ella want to search for treasures and climb on logs! 

If this girl could be eating something every minute of the day I think she would. She is always hungry! 

Handsome boy with Nutella on his face! 

Look at me Mommy! 

One of the times Jack came over and showed me shells he had found I noticed that his new teeth were growing in. It's so funny how they always start out so pointy at first! 

Zeke did really good about being careful around the water at first and then closer to when we left he was just walking in so his pants and shoes were soaked. Thankfully I still have a bag of clothes for him in the van. 

It's hilarious to watch him throw something in the water. It doesn't matter what it is...rock or twig...he will throw it as hard as he can and it will go about 1 foot in front of him. Kurplunk! 

After we had been there a while the sun really decided to come out and it felt so good on our faces and backs. Ella has such beautiful goldie locks! 

Michael and I were just sitting on a piece of drift wood and then I thought it would be fun to see the kids work as a team so I asked them to try to move this piece of wood that was in front of us. 

Jack and Ella were really trying. They needed a little coaching strategy wise, but they got it moving. 

Once they got it out of the rut it was in Owen came over and took an interest in helping. 

Trying to figure out how to move it the most effective way. 

We told them to try just pulling one side instead of both.

Then they had to start pushing. This was when they started to get frustrated. They weren't pushing from the trunk of the tree so it was just digging into the beach instead of sliding on it. 

We tried explaining how they needed to squat down and push from the trunk, but they just weren't getting it. 

Daddy had to intervene a little to get them moving again and then they finally got the log into the water. Overall they did great working together! 

Jackson's most favorite thing he found on the beach were these sharp looking shell pieces that looks like dinosaur teeth. Ella and him had pockets full of stuff by the time we left. On the way home we weren't in a hurry so instead of taking I-5 home we drove on 509 over the suspension bridge and then up by Brown's Point, Dash Point and Redondo Beach. It was fun being that close to the water the whole time. We made a stop at the Redbox and got How to Train Your Dragon 2, came home, made sticky corn and had a fun family movie day. It was really nice getting to do something as a family after such a long drought!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sensory Play!

One thing Miss Jodi is really working with Zeke on is his texture issues. He has issues with both food and play. He hates to get messy and certain things he just will not touch. So the best thing for that is to make sensory stuff fun! 

On Tuesday we worked with potatoes. This was so fun! 

Since Ella is finished with speech therapy she gets to join in all the fun too. She loved her potato head, but she was bummed there weren't any "clop" shoes for her. 

Zeke's potato had a peg leg like a pirate. 

Zeke did a good job touching the potato and he even got potato juice on his hands, but he just used a washcloth to wipe his hands off. 

Also part of the process is just getting him to smell it. He's much more likely to smell something than he is to taste it. After playing with raw potatoes Miss Jodi brought out baked potatoes and we got to mush them with spoons and add toppings to them. They smelled so good and Zeke did enjoy smelling them. He got a little bit nervous that we were going to ask him to eat them and we reassured him we were just playing. 

We've also played with beans and quinoa at therapy so I thought I could make a rice bin at home. After I reorganized the toys I ended up with a few empty bins. I mixed brown rice and white rice together. I'm planning on buying some split peas and beans too. 

I took some of the play-doh toys and the kids have been using them. I also add other things like spoons, cups and a funnel. 

One of the things they do at therapy to make clean up a breeze is they put down a sheet. Genius! They use a fitted sheet, but I use a flat sheet that way I can pull up the ends and have all the rice gather together and then dump it back into the bin. 

Zeke actually enjoys putting his hands in the rice and feeling them fall on his skin. This is a huge improvement! The first time we did this at therapy he was a bit apprehensive! Slowly we will move to things that are a bit more messy. I thought about buying shaving cream at Dollar Tree, but I think I'm gonna wait a bit longer....that's way more messy that rice! 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Enjoying My Artistic Side!

Last year Starr asked a bunch of friends if they wanted to do another painting class at Uncorked Canvas. I was all for it! I love doing this!!! 

A day or so before the party I saw that Jen...Logan's mom was going so I asked if she wanted to carpool. It's always more fun driving with friends. Jen ended up driving though since I threw out my back the day before. I was the navigator though! 

Starr, her best friend Kenzie and her sister Geri Lynn. Geri Lynn is giving me the stink eye because she always thinks my painting turns out better than hers! 

Starr picked out the painting for us and no one objected. It was pretty and seemed easy enough. 

I love the bright colors! 

It's funny how quiet it gets when everyone is focusing! 

Still looking good! 

Trees always cause me concern! 

I filled in the middle a little bit more. I also got a teeny tiny black dot on the light blue, but thankfully the teacher Heidi was able to help me cover it up! 

Trucks and shadows added. Most of the ladies did not like their shadows, but I didn't mind them. 

I did go back and make the lighter tree trucks darker I didn't like that they were so see through. 

Here are all the lovely paintings! I really really really want to do the Seattle skyline with the Seahawks symbol in the sky. With all the Superbowl hype I'm sure they will be doing that one for quite a while! Thanks Starr for organizing this....whens the next one? ;)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Army Jeep...AKA There Are Still Nice People In This World!

One day last summer we were heading to the sprinkler park, but first I needed to get gas. I remember thinking how much I hate to go north to just turn around and go south, but Fred Meyer's is where I always get gas. So off to Fred Meyer's we went. I pulled up in an open spot and just happened to be next to this guy with a cool Army Jeep. First thing that happened was Owen started freaking out! He was so excited! The guy was standing out their pumping his gas so I just randomly said, "My son is freaking out right now...he loves your Army Jeep". During the course of our conversation he told me all about how he bought it from a lady in Eastern Washington and fixed it all up. You could tell he did a lot of work on it. He also talked about how he had memories of him and his Dad riding around in one so that's why he wanted to buy one and fix it up. Then I mentioned that Owen was going to have an Army party for his birthday. He asked me when his birthday was and I told him January 15th and he said that his was January 14th. Then he said, "This Jeep is going to be at Owen's birthday"! At first I was thinking sure, sure, sure and then he gave me his number and I gave him mine. I was so pumped! What a cool encounter! I told Owen, but I also told him that his birthday was 8 months away so a lot can happen during that time. 

Fast forward to December and his number was still on the visor of my van. I knew I wanted to text him a little bit before the party, but not before Christmas. A few days after Christmas I texted him...I was super nervous. Seriously we had a one small chat almost 8 months ago....he might not even remember! Within an hour after texting him I got a response and he was still up for bringing the Jeep to his party. I gave him the date, time and our address. 

Still thinking this is too good to be true the night before the party I texted him to say that we wouldn't have any cars in the driveway so he would have a place to put the Jeep. He said he was good to go and he was going to drop it off around noon the next day. 

At noon on Sunday we were eagerly awaiting the start of the Seahawks game, but I was also nervous about the Jeep not showing up. Michael was super calm and was like...if he comes he comes! Noon came and noon went! I was bummed, but it is what it is. Then a little past 1pm I noticed this van just sitting in the middle of our street. It wasn't one of the party goers so what was going on. Sam was here with the Jeep and his wife was in the van so she could take him home and he could leave the Jeep with us. I was shocked! I mean what a nice guy! Seriously a chance meeting 8 months before and he followed through for a little boy. So cool!  

And just as they were leaving he pulled out balloons and a birthday card for Owen!

He was actually late because he had a hard time getting it started since he hadn't driven it in a while. It was raining so he had to have the cover on...he had just had it made especially for the Jeep so I can imagine he hasn't driven a lot since summer.

We thought it would be so much fun to have the Jeep in the driveway as a decoration for the Army Party.

We got pictures with the kids that were at the party when it first showed up. Of course you can see Zeke crying his eyes out. If he is told to stand somewhere for a picture he will not do it. He throws a huge fit and we usually end up holding him, but this time I wasn't having it so I just told him to stand there. I didn't care if he was crying in the picture I'm tired of him getting his way with something so silly!

Sam had said he was only going to go to Costco and then coming back to get the Jeep, but he ended up being gone for hours. The party was over and it was dark out. He called me and said he'd take the roof off since it wasn't raining anymore and let the kids go in the Jeep.

He turned on all the lights so the kids could see them...those running boards have lights!

I was nervous with having the kids in there just because I know he's done so much work on it.

He even put the front windshield down. He said the one his dad had did that exact same thing. I think it's great that he was able to relive those fond memories that he had with his Dad by getting this Jeep. He's even purchased another Jeep!

Talk about my socks being totally knocked off! What a wonderful blessing he was to our son for his 8th birthday.

Thank you Sam!!!