Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Fun

We had a great Christmas. The kids are at such a fun age. It was so awesome waking up and seeing their excitement. Even Ez kept saying, "oooooooooh" with a really excited look. Ez got lots of cars, trucks, and all things boy and Bella got a walking puppy, a digital camera, and all things girl. We went over to friends houses for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners so that we wouldn't be alone this year. Now Blaine is working, working, working, and I am packing, cleaning, and organizing getting ready for the big we come!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

These Kids Make Me Laugh

Christmas Caroling

Last night a bunch of us went Christmas caroling together. It was so fun to sing Christmas songs and to brighten random people's evenings. I finally felt like I was feeling the Christmas spirit strong as we walked (and froze) and sang. We bundled the kids up really well and I packed Ez in the hot sling and carried him. He was asleep within a few minutes. Afterwards, we went back and ate cookies and drank hot chocolate and then Santa even stopped by to scare (oh, I mean to visit) all the little girls and boys. I forgot my camera so thank you to Amy and Greg for capturing the moment for my family. I hope to make this a yearly Christmas tradition!

California Weekend

We took a quick trip to California to go to our nephew, Pehrson's wedding. It was good to be home. We were able to visit a few friends and family in Camarillo and my aunt in Huntington Beach in addition to all of the wedding activities.

At Pehrson's and Kate's lunchean.

At the Mission Viejo lake where the lunchean was held.

It was so awesome to be back at the San Diego Temple. We hadn't been there since the day we were married 7 1/2 years ago so it was so great to be there again, to reminisce, and especially to be there with our kids.

We are so glad that Kate is now a part of the family!

The weather was in the teens when we got back to Colorado. But, at least we got to escape it for a few days. I have to admit, I am excited for a white Christmas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Visit with Santa

Yesterday we went to Boulder to see Santa on Pearl Street. Much to our surprise, Santa did not have dreadlocks and was not wearing tied dye. Hmmm, I thought this was Boulder. Anyway, neither one of the kids wanted to get near jolly old Saint Nick unless they were in our arms so we got a family picture with Mr. and Mrs. Clause. Afterwards we enjoyed a treat at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. You can tell by the picture of Bella how much she liked it...eyes closed, food particles on her that is some blissful eating. Then we listened to holiday music from the CU band and Ez worked off calories that he didn't consume by pushing around his stroller. He loves walking with a "walker". The weather was almost 60 degrees yesterday...apparently the warm before the storm as last night it snowed all night and last I checked, it was 2 degrees outside.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Oh, to be just a little bit taller!!!

Ez is such a little monkey and he is convinced that all of the good stuff is up high. He's probably right!

The Wonder of Christmas

Both of the kids love looking at and touching the Christmas tree. We put up all of our Christmas decorations one day while Ez was taking a nap. When he woke up, he went around the house pointing at and squealing with delight at all of the decorations.

Blaine and Bella had fun making Christmas sugar cookies the other night. Yum!

I just love the excitement that is in the air at Christmastime. It is especially fun to experience it with children.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Ez is walking

Well, sort of. He was showing off up at the cabin and taking some steps here and there. You can tell how proud he is of himself. Unfortunately, I shot the video clip vertically and I can't figure out how to rotate it. Anybody know how? So I guess just turn your neck sideways to watch it and you'll get the picture.

This is just a cute clip from today when Blaine was making Ez laugh. I don't think there is a better sound in the world than a child's uninhibited laughter!

Thanksgiving in the Mountains

We went up to Tiff's family's cabin near Estes Park for Thanksgiving. We ate a YUMMY meal and relaxed and had a great time. Blaine had fun with Maddie and Mark playing guitar hero.

I actually came down with Laryngitis and have had NO VOICE since Wednesday night. It is soooooooo frustrating not being able to talk. I can only whisper and that gets old really quickly.
Friday morning Blaine went outside with the kids and had a snowball fight. He is such a fun dad and uncle.

Then we came home and I went upstairs and took a much needed nap while running two humidifiers. I woke up hoping to have somewhat of a voice back, and still nothing. But, I did wake up to the smell of a nice aroma since Blaine had made me homemade chicken soup for dinner. Seriously, I need to keep this guy around.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Giving Thanks for Angel Amigas

I am inspired and humbled by the lives of two phenomenal women. Their lives are examples of faith in the face of adversity and happiness and optimism during difficult circumstances.

Sonia Barros Herrera de Diaz

(Pictures are from 2006 trip to Chile.)

Sonia and I met in 1998. I was a missionary serving in her hometown of Quillota, Chile. She was an awesome ward member who was preparing to serve her own mission and she helped the missionaries quite a bit. We developed a friendship that has flourished over the past ten years.

When Sonia was a teenager, she met the missionaries and wanted nothing more than to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Her parents, however, were steeped in the traditions of the dominant culture’s religion and would not allow her baptism. Sonia continued to attend church and study and learn until, after nearly dying of kidney failure, her parents allowed her to join the church. Sonia survived her illness by receiving one of her father’s kidneys. That kidney extended her life for a decade but has also since failed. Sonia is now a wife, a mother, and a dialysis patient awaiting the rare gift of a kidney donation.

Sonia and I always marvel at how our lives have been on a parallel course, although we live worlds apart. We served missions around the same time, married within two months of each other, both experienced infertility before being blessed with our miracle children…her’s through birth and mine through adoption. After giving birth to her son 2 months premature, the doctor’s required her to receive a tubal ligation because her body would not be able to endure another pregnancy. After her son’s birth, her father’s kidney failed and now she receives dialysis for four hours every other day. Although her life is uncertain and difficult, she is one of the happiest, most faithful people I have ever met. She has brightened my life through her friendship. She is a positive, happy person who radiates the light of Christ in her life. I look forward to spending the month of January with her in Chile. She has said that to have a fulfilling life and leave a legacy, one must 1) raise a child 2) write a book and 3) plant a tree. We plan to plant a tree together on my parent’s property this January.

Tamara Meza

We met the Mezas at church in 2002 when Blaine and I moved to Colorado. The four of us became fast friends. Tamara had just undergone brain surgery to remove a malignant brain tumor. After brain surgery, Tamara had to relearn to speak Spanish (she served a Spanish speaking mission in California and is married to a native Peruvian). She also had to relearn how to walk, cook, drive, and many other things that we take for granted. She was not given much time to live.

With faith and determination, Tamara charted her own course of recovery with alternative treatments. The doctor’s were fascinated by her choices and by her recovery. After receiving a clean bill of health, Tamara and David, who had experienced years of infertility, and Blaine and I all attended our first adoption meeting together at LDS Family Services. Blaine and I went on to adopt Bella, while Tamara and David experienced the miracle of a pregnancy. Little Isaac was born not long after Bella.

But without warning, Tamara’s brain hemorrhaged and she found herself in emergency surgery removing her second brain tumor. Somehow the doctors did not detect that it had been growing back at a steady pace. Once again, she spent a month in the hospital, and endured a long road to recovery, learning all of the basics of walking, talking, cooking, driving, and everything else all over again…only this time as a mother to a young baby. I was devastated that Tamara had to go through this and I kept imagining myself experiencing these same things with a brand new baby. It was heartbreaking to know that she couldn’t care for her young son the way I was caring for Bella. But every time I spoke with Tamara, she was positive, happy, and determined to beat the odds, even though once again, the doctor’s gave her a very short life expectancy.

I saw Tamara this past weekend and she told me that she just learned that she will have her third brain surgery on December 10th. This will be three brain surgeries in only five years. While I carelessly prepare for Christmas and vacations, Tamara is preparing to leave her family, to lose basic skills, and to fight again for her life.

I feel bad thinking about the trivial things that I worry about and the monumental things that I take for granted, while two of my very good friends face an uphill battle everyday of their lives, only asking God to give them more time with their husbands and young sons, not knowing if they will make it into their forties. And yet, every time I talk to or am with Sonia and Tamara, they lift me up, they remind me how beautiful life is, and they give me hope that I can be a better person. I am so blessed to have angels as friends and every new day that God gives me, I will give thanks for my life, my health, my children, my husband, and the gospel of Jesus Christ.