Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

This was taken at 10:00 this morning. Drive safe and SLOW everyone!

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Book Meme

Karen from Karen's Ramblings has tagged me for this book meme. This took a little thought for me. I love to read but varying types. On many questions, the Bible would be a very appropriate answer, so we'll just assume that is one of my answers and I'll add another one in there as well.

1. One book that changed your life:
This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti. They totally changed the way I perceive prayer and the Spirit world.

2. One book that you have read more than once:

Christy by Catherine Marshall. This tells the story of a young 19 year old girl who goes to teach school in the Smokey mountains in the early 1900's.

3. One book you would want on a Desert island:

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. It's the final chapter of the Narnia Series. It makes me happy to see the excitement and joy heaven can bring. Things just kept getting better the further in they went. It's my favorite of the Narnia Series.

4. Two books that made you laugh:
Any of these books by James Herriot
All Creatures Great and Small; All Things Bright and Beautiful; All Things Wise and Wonderful; The Lord God made Them All. If you love animals, you will love these books. They tell the story about veterinarian James Herriot's adventures with animals.

5. One book that made you cry:
Ever After by Karen Kingsbury. I don't usually cry a lot while reading but there have been a few of her books that have made me stop and compose myself before continuing on.

6. One book you wish you'd written:
The Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
I love the life she lived and the adventures she had. I would love to have been able to live through some of the things that she did.

7. One book you wish had never been written:
I wish that any of the books that teach false religions were not around. So many people are led the wrong way because of false beliefs.
Joseph Smith's morman teachings, the koran, occultic books, etc...

8. Two books you're reading:

Why the Sky is Blue by Susan Meissner and
Serenity by Harry Kraus M.D.

9. One book you're going to read:
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hssseini. Bonnie read it and I thought it looked like a great book. It is about a man returning back to Afghanistan. I love books about other cultures.

If you haven't done this meme; feel free to do it. I know many of you have had similar meme's lately so I'm not tagging you. But it is interesting to see what others are reading; therefore giving you more ideas to read yourself.

Thanks, Mari!

Mari has passed on this award to me. I'm glad she thinks my blog is lovable!

Here's a few blog that I find lovable too.
Jennifer from Nickernoodle's Nonsense and
Autumn from Autumn's Attic

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Katelyn!

Today is Katelyn's birthday. She is turning 19!
Here you are at 6 months old. You look so sweet and innocent! Even though you started off awfully small, you grew quickly. You were an easy going baby, except for those 2 nights. Dad was working nights and it was just you and me. You decided that you did not want to sleep at all and just cried. Your monitor would go off when you cried so I could not just let you sleep in your crib. Dawn B. decided to keep you for the next night so that I could get some sleep. Do you remember the drawer that she let you sleep in?

This is your 3 year old picture. I love your curls here. All I had to do was wet them a little and let them go. This was just like my hair at this age! You're just like me!

Here you are at 6 years old - getting older and going to Kindergarten.

Katelyn means: pure beauty.
Leigh means: either Gaelic form of male Lee or Hebrew form of Leah which means delicate.

I think I did a great job of choosing your name; even though you don't like it. I think you are beautiful, inside and out. And at the small size you were when you were born; I'd say you were fairly delicate.

This is your senior picture from last year. I just love this picture.

Now you have completed your first semester in college. I think you are making a wise decision to go into the field of social work. You have a very caring heart and you do great with kids. I'm very proud of how you have grown - aside from 1 or 2 blond moments. But hey, who's counting. At least you're staying true to your natural color! Katelyn, I hope you have a great 19th birthday! I love you!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

An equation in Pictures

Can you figure this out?







Monday, January 21, 2008

The Lost has been Found!!

Last December, Shaelyn made a gingerbread girl at school. While the class was baking her, she ran away! Somehow, she made it to Dena's house. (check out her December 31, 2007 post) Apparently, they had a lot of fun together but Dena thought it was time to send her back home. She made it back to school over the weekend. What a shocker for poor Ginger - from the nice, warm weather of South Carolina right into a winter Michigan snow storm. The class was so excited to see her again - she came with pictures and a nice informational book on South Carolina. Mrs. Kiel was thankful that Ginger made it back too and she was happy that Dena took such good care of her.
Thanks, Dena for watching out for that naughty, little, runaway gingerbread girl!!

My latest Awards

Jennifer has awarded me with two new awards. Thanks Jennifer! I will display them with pride. Most of the people I know have received these, so I'm not picking anyone in particular to send these to, but, it you haven't received them before; pick them up, compliments of me!

The maker of this award says,

"I have met so many lovely and very talented ladies here in Blogdom, what more can I do or say to express my humbled heart to each, than to give all my dearest readers and friends a special award filled with love. So, spread the love dear ones, spread the love to those you love."

And just like Jennifer, I do count you all as friends, even though we may never see each other in person.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I'm in Love With...

winter in Michigan!!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Prayers are Needed for This Family

Update: I'm going to try to update this again. I hope the link works. Thanks Ally!
Click here

I've found this blog through another. This is a couple who have just had a 1 lb. baby girl. The mother has cystic fibrosis and needs a double lung transplant. The baby was born on Jan. 8. They could certainly use your prayers. Go here to check it out. What a story!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

7 Weird Things About Me

Mari tagged me for this meme. This could prove to be a bit difficult for me because I am definitely not weird! But I'll try my best. Here are the rules:

"Simply link to the person who tagged you. SHARE SEVEN WEIRD things about yourself. Tag SEVEN bloggers to do the same AND include a link to their blog. Let each person know that they have been tagged and finally post the rules on your blog."

1: I'm thinking this is pretty common but seems strange to me. I love the smell of coffee, I love mocha and cappucino but do not like to drink coffee. (unless you add a ton on sugar)

2: I count things all the time - like cupboard drawers or doors in a hallway. I like them to end in 10 and will try to change things around so they do.

3: I type things out in my head when people say the words or I spell them quickly. It drives me crazy. I'd prefer to just sit and listen.

4: I make up songs for my kids and family. Everyone's favorite is "I am so Wonderful". I bet they all could sing it for you. It might have to go on my tombstone!

5: I like jam sandwiches. I like peanut butter sandwiches. Just don't put the two together. I can't eat it.

6. I can't stand any type of loud breathing or snoring - even my own. I have to sleep with ear plugs in so I don't hear Dave at night.

7. I still have my stuffed pet dog named Skippy. I got him when I was in 1st grade. He no longer has ears, his blue fur is pretty much gone and his eyes have been replaced with buttons. He doesn't live in my bed but has a section of a cupboard downstairs but I just can't throw him away.

That's the best I could come up with. If any of you haven't done this and are looking for a post - go ahead: I'm tagging YOU!
(Let me know if you're doing it and I'll link to you.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

This is Katelyn and her friend Erin (who still is her best friend) 8 years ago.
They were 10 years old and obviously trying out different hair styles and makeup.
It just makes me laugh.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Watch out World - Someone's turning 16!

Today is Chelsea's 16th birthday. Can you all believe it? I hardly can! These have
been years with some highs and lows. Here you are at 1 year old. You always did have a contagious smile. You were a happy, easy going and contented baby.

When you were 2 weeks old, I remember Grandpa saying, "I think she's going to be an easy kid". Well.....there have been a few difficult moments. Let me see, I recall you being just over 2 years old and I was trying to put your cute little dress on for church. For some reason, you did not want to get dressed. Dad and I were both working on getting that dress on you. As quick as we'd get one arm in and start working on the other, you'd pull that first arm out. Stubborn....

Here you are at 5 years old, gettting ready to start Kindergarten in the fall.

Chelsea means: a shipping port
Lynne: a cascading waterfall
I guess this somewhat fits you. You enjoy water. You like swimming and taking long showers?! Good thing we didn't put a lot of thought and meaning into the name we chose. We just picked it because:
a) Dad liked the name Chelsea
b) Lynne is Mom's middle name

Here is the picture we had taken last summer. Quite a change over
the last few years!

Deciding to work with animals in the future fits you well. I think you will do a great job doing something in the veterinarian field. You have a great heart for animals - well most of them. (poor spiders)
You've been through quite a lot in these past 16 years and we are proud of the way you've handled it all. Love you.

(and no - you're not going to find one of these in the driveway for you, we're keeping those roads safe a little while longer!)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Chelsea 's story - Part 2

Today, I'll try to go a little more in depth of some of Chelsea's surgeries. I don't have a lot of pictures of them because I really didn't take a lot of pictures before I started to scrapbook. On a later post of her surgery, 6 years ago, I'll have a lot more to show.

Chelsea had her 1st surgery when she was 9 months. Then 2 more when she was 15 months and again at 26 months. Basically, they were all the same type of surgery - to rebuild her forehead. Crouzon patients heads tend to grow upward and not develop outward when they are younger. So they need to reopen up the soft spot to give brain growth and then build the forehead which gives more protection for the eyes. The eye sockets do not develop correctly either, which tends to make the eyes bulge outward.
Sometimes, people will mistake Crouzon patients as Down Syndrome because of the look of the eyes. Her surgeries were done in Grand Rapids by a wonderful doctor - Dr. Mann. He is a excellent doctor who really cares for his patients - of whom are mostly children. I believe this 1st surgery took about 8 hours to complete. He made an incision which went from 1 ear over the top of her head to the other ear. Using various bone segments, he rebuilt the forehead out. This picture is of the 2nd surgery but gives you an idea of how she looked about 3 days following. Because of all the work done on the head, the eyes swelled up a lot. I have a picture somewhere of her swollen eyes but cannot find it now. It's incredible how much they could swell. The poor little girl couldn't see for days or understand what was happening. That was one of the worst parts. If you can notice, there was a drainage tube on top to catch the fluids. Once her eyes opened, what a difference in her personality! She always stayed in the hospital for 1 week.

Enjoying a stroller ride and heading down to the playroom.

Getting an appetite back and trying out a grilled cheese sandwich.

Her 2nd surgery lasted 9 hours and her 3rd one was for 12 hours. The doctor had to stitch bone pieces the size of a thumbnail to form the forehead, so you can understand why it took so long. He told me that they had to have some donated pieces shipped from Detroit during this last surgery because she needed so many. I have to laugh a little to myself when I hear people talk about having a long surgery and then they say it was 4 hours or so. (ha ha - Dave's last surgery was 15 hours. We were first in the waiting room and the last to leave; around 12:30 am) We also had people donate blood for her because neither Dave nor I had the right type - I have a negative factor in my blood which causes trouble.

After she would come home, she had to wear a protective helmet. Just in case of falling or something, we didn't want any damage to the larger opened soft spot. Here she is with the helmet that she wore after her first 2 surgeries.

This is a different type of helmet that I found in a medical magazine. She used this after her 3rd surgery. It was quite as bulky and didn't have so much of a "medical" look. Sometimes people would think that it was a bike helmet so we didn't always draw so much attention to ourselves.

Thanks for bearing with me in this somewhat long and detailed story. I hope it gives you more understanding of what life was like. These weeks were always long and hard but it seemed that we would always meet people with more troubles than we were having. We also had great families who would help us through it too.
The next time I give an update on this, I will cover her major surgery that happened in Chicago and more of how she got her picture in The Chicago Tribune.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Here's the Answer

Here's the answer to the picture I posted Wednesday. For all you people who answered, Chelsea - you are correct. This picture was taken in October - 2002 and was published on the cover of the The Chicago Tribune Magazine(in the insert of the Sunday edition)
Chelsea had a major surgery done in Chicago, in January of 2002. She has a syndrome called Crouzons. The New York Times wanted to do a story on this surgery, so we met a reporter who followed us through this whole surgery and follow-up. There was a 1/2 page story on Chelsea in The New York Times but the reporter (Brenda) knew the editor of The Chicago Tribune
and told here she wanted to do a bigger story on her for The Tribune.

Throughout these next few weeks or so, I plan on posting about my children. I'm starting with Chelsea and this is a major part of her life.
Let me just explain a bit about Crouzons Syndrome. This is a craniofacial syndrome which affects the development of the face. This can be passed down from a parent of just because of a gene mutation. My husband has this syndrome also and his was because of some mutation.
Part of what happens is that the bones in the head close early. You know the soft spot that baby's have - it's important. It allows for the growth of the brain and when it closes early, there has to be a surgery to open it up again. The head tends to grow upward; therefore they have to build the forehead out. When kids are around 10 - the midface does not grow properly, so they have to pull that out through surgery. Chelsea had surgeries when she was 9 months, 15 months and 28 months. These were all for the forehead area. Then when she turned 10 - they did this midface surgery. I'll go into more details in future posts but hopefully this will give you an idea of what this all is about. I'll try to find some pictures to show also. Thankfully, they've come a long way since Dave was a child. If you have any questions you'd like me to cover, feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Can any of you figure out who this is? Family members - no guessing for you; you already know! I'll let you all know what this picture is about later.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Adios and good-bye

The day has come. I said good-bye to Chelsea and Shaelyn as they headed back to school. (although Chelsea started already last Thursday) Later this morning (or afternoon - depending when Katelyn gets up), I'll be going back to college with her to help her move back in. I don't know if you can tell by this picture what a dreary day it is. Shaelyn was out for the bus at 8:15 and it was still pretty dark. I took this around 9:15 and it's lighter out but still depressingly bleak and dreary.
All of our snow has melted (boo hoo) and it's rainy. It's supposed to get up to 60 degrees today. I'll take a bright, blue-sky winter day with snow anytime over a warm, yucky day like today. Oh well, the kids are back to school which is a good thing. Schedules have started again and we're heading back into school-mode routine!
I'm ready to start accomplishing more now that we're back to normal.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hmmm, where did she hear that from?

This is what I heard Shaelyn saying to herself after fighting with Chelsea earlier in the day:

"Why can't the two of us just get along"?

Wonder where she heard that statement before!!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year - 2008 to you all. Hope you're having a great start to this new year. Mine has actually not started out the best. Cheri had plans of coming over to my house with her family as well as my brother, Duane about 1:00. Dad and Ann were coming around 4:00. The guys were going to watch football and Cheri & I had snacks made and were just going to hang out and play games. I received a call around 12:30 from an ambulance driver saying that my brother had been in an accident and needed to go to the hospital to get stitches in his head. You have to know my brother to understand what follows. He did not want to take the ambulance because "that's only for people who are really sick" so I needed to go get him. Cheri wasn't here yet. I tried calling her cell phone but she had forgotten it at home. I kind of waited a bit and she got here so we took off, leaving Dave and Mark with the kids. We got to the accident scene - he had hit a patch of ice and slid and hit a tree - we're pretty sure his car it totaled. His head was all wrapped up. So we debated on which hospital to go to and chose the closest one. We got there about 1:15. They sent him to get a cat scan which all came back fine. The bleeding slowed down so they could get a better look. After getting out all the needles (the dr. asked for the biggest needle they could get) and saline and things, they decided they really couldn't fix it there. There was a 28 cm. laceration from side to side and was cut down to the bone. They were concerned about an area that didn't get a lot of blood flow to it. So we waited for an ambulance to transfer him to Grand Rapids. This time we put our foot down and told him to take it because he was bleeding again. The roads were getting icy so Cheri and I said a little prayer for safety and headed off again, around 4:00. We made it to Grand Rapids and waited for the plastic surgeon. At 7:00, they asked us to leave and told us it would be about 20 minutes or so to fix it up. Around 8:45, they finally called us in to tell us he was done. The dr. felt there was about a 70% chance that the piece would heal up okay. After a confusing exit from the parking ramp (Maybe Cheri can explain it) we picked Duane up and headed home. We got there around 10:00 - exhausted! He has to keep the outer wrapping on for 2 days and will go see the plastic surgeon on Monday. We discussed how this would make a great blogging opportunity but didn't have our camera's with us for pictures. (not that he would have let us take them anyways!)
Not a great way to start the new year but thankful because it could have been so much worse!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

My Christmas Favorites

Alright, everyone. I'm a little slow to get this figured out. Laura has started a Christmas favorite post for December. Every day there will be something new.
This post will remain at the top so don't forget to scroll down to check any other daily posts I make.

Dec. 1 - Favorite Christmas Song - O Holy Night

Dec. 2 - Favorite Christmas plant or flower - Poinsettia. Every year our church sells them. This year I bought one called Plum Pudding. Mine never live long but I keep on trying. It looks pretty good so far, right?

Dec. 3 - Favorite Christmas Smell - I love the smell of Christmas cookies baking. Every year, the girls and I take a Saturday to make up a bunch of Christmas food. I'm not sure when we'll fit it in this year, but I'll make sure to post when we do.

Dec. 4 - Favorite Christmas Decoration - Our Stockings
I wanted to say my tree but Laura has banned that, then I was thinking of lovely blue lights (which I think are pretty) but I have decided to go with the stockings. I have made all of our Christmas stockings. They are made of felt with sequins attached. Some people have had 2 made for them because they have gotten ripped and the holders have broken off. Now the kits have bigger stockings so they get more in them. The pictures show Chelsea and Shaelyn's.

Dec. 5 - Favorite Christmas Color - I love any of the colors if they have the sparkles in them - black, red, silver, green. Just make sure they sparkle.

Dec. 6 - Favorite Christmas Drink - Egg Nog. This was a tough one. I love wassail too but I'll stick with egg nog. Wassail is somewhat like a hot apple cider, but better. If you want a recipe for wassail, go to Laura's.

Dec. 7 - Favorite Christmas Movie - This was a tough one. It depends on my mood. I love The Nativity Story for the true teaching of what Christmas really is but if I want to laugh, I'd have to go with

Dec. 8 - Favorite of Santa's Reindeer - I guess I'll go with the obvious choice - Rudolph. Who can't help but love the underdog that saves the day?

Dec. 9 - Favorite Christmas Candy - Chocolate Truffles
If you like chocolate, you'll love these. They're so good and easy to make.
3 cups (18 oz) chocolate chips
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla
Heat chocolate chips and condensed milk until chocolate is melted. Stir in vanilla. Chill for 2 hours or until mixture is easy to handle. Shape into 1 inch balls. Roll in coconut, cocoa, sprinkles or whatever is desired. Sooo good.

Dec. 10 - Favorite Christmas Saying - Luke 2:7

And she gave birth to her firstborn, a Son. And she wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
I think I've always loved this because it was one of the first verses I memorized as a child and I loved being able to say it with the Christmas Story.

Dec. 11 - Favorite Christmas Ornament - My Reindeer Family

I got this ornament the year we adopted Shaelyn. This is a clay type ornament that can be personalized. Each reindeer has one of our names on it and I think it's just so cute!

Dec. 12 - Favorite Christmas Cookie
These are what we bake up every year.
2 sticks oleo
1 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 cup flour
1 Tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream oleo; add sugar in small amounts at a time. Add flour, milk and vanilla. Turn out on a board and knead for 30 seconds. Roll to 1/4" thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Bake on greased cookie sheet for 15-25 minute at 325 degrees. Watch closely. They should be almost white. Frost with a powdered sugar frosting and decorate with sprinkles or whatever desired.

I'm probably going to bake some of these up this afternoon with Chelsea and then the family will decorate them together on Sunday afternoon. (One of those traditions, you know)

Dec. 13 - Favorite Christmas Decorating or Style - I love the classy look of gold and silver with tinsel but for now my tree still has to be with the kids ornaments and the homemade things.

Dec. 14 - Favorite Christmas Animal/Creature - I'm really not too sure on this question. I guess for now I'm going to say reindeer. I love the lighted ones that are outside but I'm going to keep looking around. I might change my mind on this one!

Dec. 15 - Favorite Store at Christmas - Target.

I love this store during Christmas season and all through the year. No matter when I go there, I always find something to buy. They just have everything.

Dec. 16 - Favorite Christmas present ever received -
I have a felt nativity scene that I made. Somehow, my baby Jesus got lost. Last year, Chelsea and I made a new set. (You can see the baby Jesus here).

Chelsea was about 5 or 6 and she made a new baby Jesus out of paper and glued it onto a piece of wood. She wants to throw away her old baby Jesus, but I just love the thought that went into this one. Now we just have two of them!

It was such a cute thought.

Dec. 17 - Favorite Christmas present ever given -
I think last year when I surprised Dave with a new golf bag. His older one had the bottom falling out and I found this one on sale. I loved it because he didn't put it on his list and I came up with the gift all on my own.

Dec. 18 - Favorite Christmas Activity - It has to be spending the day shopping with my sisters. It's just great to be together and we have sooo much fun. Do you remember my post?

Dec. 19 - Favorite person to buy gifts for - It has to be Shaelyn because she's the youngest. There's so many things out there for a little girl; coloring things, any Disney princess items, dvd's... the list is endless. It just gets harder the older people get. Their wish lists get more expensive.

Dec. 20 - Favorite way to wrap a present - I love the look of presents with ribbons and bows but I'm just happy to get the paper on them. It takes a long time to wrap a lot of gifts and stockings. I never have enough boxes and my family won't let me use cereal boxes. (although they are allowed to use box from alarm clocks and other used things!)

Dec. 21 - Favorite time of Christmas - I love Christmas Eve when I am with just Dave and the girls. We have to go to Dave's side of the family first, but then we come home and do a birthday cake to Jesus, read from Luke 2 and open our own gifts.

Dec. 22 - Favorite part of Christmas Dinner - We always spend Christmas Day with my side of the family. Laura wrote about the raisin sauce that we have with the ham. It's absolutely "to die for" but I also love the rolls we get from Steenstra's Bakery. They are called Bread Ends and they have the best flavor.

Dec. 23 - Favorite Christmas Celebration - I like being with my immediate family on Christmas Eve. We first go to Dave's side of the family but then get to come home and do our own. We read the Christmas story and have a birthday cake to Jesus. Then we sing "Happy Birthday" and open our own gifts.

Dec. 24 - Favorite Christmas Place - I love being downstairs with a fire going and watching it snow like crazy. There's nothing better than being snuggled up in a blanket, all toasty and warm and watching a good old-fashioned snowstorm!

Dec. 25 - Favorite Christmas Verse - I've used this as my favorite saying, but here it is again, "And she brought forth her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:7

Dec. 26 - Favorite Christmas Tradition - This is a new tradition that was started a few years ago. My side of the family gives out Santa letters to people who were kind of naughty this past year. I know it's hard to believe, but I have been the recipient a few times. This year, Katelyn received one for acting like a blonde, Andy got one for not informing Santa of his new address and Ann & Dad got one for having to run off and getting married so quickly. These cause plenty of laughter!

Dec. 27 - Favorite Christmas Lights - I love blue lights. We have plain white on our tree but I like seeing the outside of houses with the blue.

Dec. 28 - Favorite Christmas Memory - Last year, when we got together with my side of the family, Laura received a stuffed opossum. She had planted a dead squirrel on Cheri's van in October, so Cheri went to EBAY and found an opossum to give in return. It was so hilarious! This year, she got a stuffed squirrel.

Dec. 29 - Favorite Christmas Leftovers - We always have ham for Christmas dinner. At night, we have buns with the ham. They always taste good - if we're still hungry after snacking all afternoon.

Dec. 30 - Favorite time to take down the decorations - We always do it the day after Christmas. By that time, I'm ready to have my house back to normal and looking clean again.

Dec. 31 - Choose your own topic - I think Laura pretty much covered everything there is to say. Thanks Laura for hosting this. It was fun!!!