Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

- Buy presents for 25 people that everyone will love at a ridiculously good price and wrap them all by yourself


- Decorate the house with every last thing in my Christmas decor tub and not make it look too cluttered


- Plan for, shop for, coordinate an 8 year old birthday party in the middle of the hectic month


- Make a professional photography session appointment for Christmas card pictures for the first time in your family's history, soothe and clean up your daughter's swollen face after she fell out of a tree, cancel the said photo shoot, and work until 11pm on making a Christmas card out of your own photos


- Attend 4 Christmas parties before the week of Christmas


- Finally have everything checked off your list so that you can just enjoy the Christmas season now


Friday, December 3, 2010

December Musings

Yesterday Brennen told me that his brain is working really well.
He can just "think of so many things and remember stuff and make good choices."
He also said, "My brain didn't work so good when I was 3... but it's working better now that I am 5!" Where does he come up with this??

As of about a week ago Brennen stopped calling Olivia "Sissy." He only says Liv now.
I really, really don't like it. I keep encouraging him to still call her Sissy, since he is the only one on earth who can, but he is feeling really grown up this month and doesn't like how it sounds.

Olivia lost another tooth on top today and now she has rabbit teeth. Only her HUGE front teeth show when she smiles. Just in time for Christmas pictures.

I babysat Reagan for the first time this week. Actually, Reagan and Avery. It was wonderful and tiring and fun and busy. Reagan was a good girl and smiled at me all day long. She smells so good and I love when she talks. She cried a little in the car and I smiled the whole way.

It is still new. I don't ever want this appreciation to go away. It is thrilling to hear her little voice and it is still just a miracle. All day I kept asking myself, Is this real? Am I really alone with Reagan? I just didn't think it was going to happen while she was a baby.

What a gift for Auntie.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Day After

Life is altogether different now.
Reagan's trach has been removed.
I cannot believe I can write that sentence!

What an absolute relief, such pressure mounting until this day.
I had hope that God would rescue her, but I wasn't sure it would be now.
The bawling that occurred when they told me the second cord was moving!
And then to know that the doctor took out the trach, a vote of confidence in our little munchkin.
I was so grateful and just enormously relieved.

It didn't end like a fairy tale, since the trach was then put back in because of her distress.
And it was a long, stressful day waiting to try again.
But try again they did and this time it worked!!!
I am still in a state of shock as I write these words. Can it be true?

Reagan is still in the hospital, struggling a little so they gave her steriods for her swelling.
Hopefully, tomorrow will be a new day for her, filled with lungs full of oxygen!

What can I say to God after all this? Thank you a million times over does not say it all.

Blessed be His name. He is my rock and fortress. He deserves the glory for this miracle in my family.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Eve of the Most Momentous Day

The requests have been presented. The troops have rallied together. The consensus is that we are so happy that Reagan is ours and we love her madly, fiercely, completely no matter what the outcome is tomorrow. God has already given us our miracle.

Thank you Jesus for her life and may she know you well.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Two Wheeler

Brennen learned how to ride his bike without the training wheels today.

I wanted to upload a video to show you, but it won't work.

Oh well.

It took about 5 minutes to teach him, according to Daddy.

The kid has always had some mad balancing skills.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

For Your Laughing Pleasure

For today's post, I am going to start something to make you laugh.

I will be posting videos that make me laugh.

Take this one for instance with Kristen Wiig.

I laugh until I cry. When she pops up from behind the couch and gives that overdramatic reaction, I just can't believe what I am seeing. Pure comedy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Date Night

olivia and i went on a date tonight. We went to see megamind in 3D right after school and then went into sephora to try on make up together.
just the girls.

sometimes i still cant believe i have a daughter. who will finally do some girly things.

just like i cant believe my phones keypad isnt working properly right now.

i cant stand incompetent technology...

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Five more days.

What will He do?

How will it turn out?

What will my reaction be?

I hope with all my heart that I will have peace.
I hope that my heart does not rage within me.
I hope that He will be honored and not ashamed.

Most of all I hope that she is healed.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Well, so much for that. I already missed a day on day #2. How's that for consistency?
To be fair, I was with Miss Reagan all day, so I was a little distracted.

(I know she looks scared of me, but it was really just my headband that frightened her.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Post a Day...

November is National Blog Posting Month. How do I know this?
Bethany, the really great writer, told me.
So, I'm going to give it a whirl.
First order of business...
Halloween was a huge success and the kids looked really cute.
Olivia was a college graduate (HUGE subliminal message here) and Brennen was an astronaut.

In other news, Nate and I were complete dorks:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oak Glen

This October we went to Oak Glen to pick apples and just plain be in the country. It was a great day and we made the memories. They are growing up too fast.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


It's less than two weeks until the future is decided.
How do I feel about that?

Panic. Peace. Suffocation. Calm.

I am panicked because what if it doesn't work? What if she comes home with the trach still in?

I am at peace because I know that the end is already determined and God loves Reagan.

I am suffocating because I can't fathom more of this indefinitely. This weight of sadness. Knowing I might not hear her for a long time. Watching my siblings in pain.

I am calm because there is nothing else to be done, no where else to be. Reagan will still be here and will still smile at me when I walk toward her. He said, Be still and Know I am God. I am waiting for Him.

My heart is holding its breath.

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Days of School 2010

Olivia Rose on her first day of Second Grade

Brennen Nathan on his first day of Preschool

Is it safe to say that I have cute kids?

As If...

Just in case in the future I ever forget that I did this...

As if.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Miracles Do Happen

Ever since Reagan was born, my world has been rattled.

Things had never been so dire before. I did not have a life-altering event to point to that had turned everything upside down.

I had not felt pain like that before.

And it wasn't her fault. And I don't look at her and feel that pain.

I feel joy and gladness and also raw when I look at her. Her life has already brought such highs and lows for me.

My lowest moment in this experience was right before her trach surgery. I already blogged about it, so I'll just leave it alone. But despair was the key emotion. God didn't do what I hoped He would do.

And then the highest point came the day she left the hospital after 9 weeks. Not just because she was with us, but because GUESS WHAT??? One of her vocal cords moved!!!


And because it is moving, Reagan will probably not need her trach for much longer. Isn't that a miracle? Because I prayed so hard for that to happen and you did too. I know it. God really did what I hoped He would do.

So, I guess now I am left with the two extremes in my head.

Disappointment and Joy. Despair and Hope. All in two months time.

It's a lot to wrap my brain around. I still haven't reconciled the two. God is still working in me to... explain? grow? accept? decide?

But this I do know... miracles do happen.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Here are some of the things we have been up to this summer...

The kids did a lemonade stand for the first time... they were thrilled with their $9 (five came from Grandma).

We went to the Orange County Fair in July and Brennen finally got on board with the rides. He was SIKED.

Kai and Laken came out to visit from Sacramento... It's always fun with the Kai Guy!

Cousin Kinzie was here for most of July, so of course Olivia was in heaven! In fact this picture shows how she prayed without ceasing for Kinize to stay forever.

Nate turned 36 years old on July 18th. He wasn't too fond of being another year older, but he feels so blessed with such a beautiful, amazing family. I'm pretty sure that's what he'd say.

And here is the best thing that happened this summer. Reagan came, stole our hearts, and even smiled at me once. What could be better than that? Nothing, that's what.

Friday, July 23, 2010


This is me... in heaven.

Isn't she lovely? Isn't she wonderful?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What's Inside

Tonight I felt compelled to come to this space and get out my thoughts and feelings about the last few weeks. I thought I would just come here and spill my guts and it would feel better to get it all out.

Now I have no idea what to say. Where to begin. How to do it justice.

I'm talking about Reagan, of course.

Yes. I'll start with her.

She is my hero. She is strong and brave and good. She is my niece and I am proud that she belongs to me. I haven't seen much of her since she's been born, but my heart is knit together with hers. She abides in my thoughts and prayers with every waking breath. She is the first person I think about in the morning and the last person I pray for at night.

Reagan had a tracheotomy today and even as I write those terrible words, I am undone.


I have never sobbed so gut-wrenchingly until this child was born. Doesn't she know I don't like to cry? Most moments she is floating around in my head while I bathe my kids, make dinner, do laundry, run errands... never more than a "Please, God" away.

But the nights are harder. This is when I wrestle with my God and we hash things out. This is when I beseech Him to have mercy on Reagan, on her mommy and her daddy. And her "big sishter." This is when I have to come to grips that He hasn't fixed her, He allowed her get a tracheotomy today, and He does in fact love her. Do you know what He told Nate in the middle of the night last night?

Be Still And Know That I Am God.

I'm trying, I really am. The pain is so deep, the future so bleak. I am a mommy and so I am desperate for Rachel. I cannot begin to fathom her thoughts, her nightmares, her fresh pain. Brian is my little brother and now he is older than me. He has had to endure the most awful situation, his little baby girl has been hanging in a balance for three weeks. Her whole life.

I can't tell you how much it hurts to know they are hurting so much. But do you know how strong they are? They are going to be all that Reagan needs them to be and all that they didn't know they were. Right now there is great sorrow, but JOY comes with the morning. Reagan Joy.

Today is a day I will never forget, July 1, 2010. I don't feel better that it's over, but I feel better that it's over. She is worth all of the heartache and tears, she is with us and for that I will be eternally grateful.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Last day of 1st grade...

Olivia has graduated from 1st grade. She is 7 now, and so so old. She calls herself a 2nd grader, she shampoos her own hair, and she can make her own peanut butter sandwich. When Liv was a toddler, we used to call her Sassafrass. You know, because of how sassy she was. Well, she has matured a lot and calmed down a little, but now we will just call it "spunk." She is constantly moving, usually snacking, and only wants to play. Life is good for Olivia right now.
And our life is good because of her.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

She's New...

I was gifted with a new niece on Tuesday...

She has had a rough go of it, she still isn't home...

But she is already bringing us so much joy.

Presenting Reagan Joy Hall:

Born: June 8th

Weighed: 6 lbs. 4 oz.

Length: 17 3/4 in.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just Call Him Mr. Phelps

This little man just finished swim lessons...
I have to admit that when I signed Brennen up for his first set of swim lessons, I had NO expectation that he would swim. I was hoping he wouldn't pitch a fit and refuse to get in the pool, or cry at the instructor and not do what she was telling him. You see, Brennen has a lot of fears and coupled with a stubborn determination, he does NOT do what he is too afraid to do.

So, naturally, I was skeptical.

Oh, me of little faith!

He swims! His instructor, Miss Tami, is no-nonsense and pulled Brennen through those moments when his fear got the best of him. But for the most part he wasn't scared at all! He had little successes, which encouraged him, and those boosts of confidence kept him moving forward, literally! Here are some pics:

I don't have a video of the very last day of swim lessons, but take my word for it. He swims! I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it with my own eyes, but he does! He "pushes and kicks" three times and then comes up for a breath and then keeps on going! He can jump off the side of the pool by himself (something he would NEVER do for me) and then swims to the side.
So proud. Can you tell?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Olivia: "Mama, I know we are supposed to love Jesus, but does He have to be our very very best best best friend?"

Me: "Well, God says that we should love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.... so that means to love Him the most. But that doesn't mean you can't love other people a lot too."

Olivia: "Okay..."

Me: " Why? Who are you thinking of?"

Olivia: (BIG smile on her face) "Graaaaandma!"

Lucky lady.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Does anyone else think this relationship is hard and easy all at the same time?

Olivia and Brennen are just about 3 years apart; Liv is 7, Brennen is 4. The older they get, the closer they become. They rarely play anything without the other one involved. If Liv wants to be in her room, Brennen follows. If Brennen wants to jump on the trampoline, he won't go until she's ready to come too. They want to watch a movie? Make sure they both agree. Trying to whip up a quick dinner? They must have EXACTLY the same thing. They BEG to sleep together on the weekends, they bring each other toys from a friend's birthday party, and they squeal in delight when they rent a new DS game they can link up to play at the same time. So all of this togetherness, you would think, would equal brotherly love, peace, and harmony, right?

No. Oh, no.

How the battles rage. She touched me too hard. He won't leave me alone. She took that away from me. He has more than I do. She's not being fair! He is bothering me! It goes on and on.
When I asked Olivia to apologize this week, she did and then Brennen said, Mama, Sissy didn't even MEAN it! She didn't say it like she MEANED it!

All this to say... I can't decide whether I am thrilled that they love each other so much, or irritated that they love each other TOO much.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Morning Reflections

6:45 this morning...

Brennen: "Mama, it feels like I have hearts in my tummy."

Me: "Hearts in your tummy? What do you mean?"

Brennen: "It feels like that because I love this house and I love you and I love Sissy and Dada. So it feels like hearts in there."

Monday, April 5, 2010

He's So Excited, and He Just Can't Hide It

Nate became a college graduate this month and I am so proud of my man! What an enormous feat for someone who works full time, is a caring husband, and a wonderful daddy! The goal has been met after 15 years and we are so relieved. Way to go, Natey!


This is my crazy, silly, funny, sweet, loving, generous, energetic, eager, sincere, 16-month younger, hysterical brother who just graduated from college, officially. I am so proud.

Oh yeah, baby!

Guess who took home the trophy for Second Place in Race Car Design at Awanas?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oscar Night

My friend, Heather, and I were talking excitedly about how we were going to watch the Oscars and oh, we should get together and watch it, and oh, she and her girls have always wanted to dress up really fancy for it, and oh, hey, why don't we do that??? Our girls, Emilee, Sabrina, and Olivia got really into it and of course the mamas had to be supportive! We even had Ryan Seacrest show up and a guest appearance by Justin Timberlake.

Here is Ryan Seacrest and little Justin together.

We could not believe how old Olivia looked with makeup on! She had to be coaxed into dressing up at first, but when she decided to do it, she really got into it and looked like a model!

Don't worry, it's still her... see the sports tattoos?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Big Sister to a Sister

Yep, it's official! Avery is going to have a little sister in June. We are all so anxious to meet this new little one and find out what her name might be! The score for me is 3 nieces and 1 nephew; 4 of them are cute.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Adorable Avery in Awe

I am in love with this picture I took of Avery at Sea World last week...

Brennen and I had fun with her looking at all of the sea animals. Our favorite place was the tide pools...