Monday, August 16, 2010

What to say?

First off, I cannot believe that it's been more than a month since I last blogged. I just cannot seem to get my head around composing a post even though I have so much to share with you all. We've had birthdays and other fun events as well as some milestones to celebrate.

I guess part of the problem is that I don't know where to start in doing an update and whatnot. I've been such of a slacker mom this year that I haven't done my yearly birthday reflection posts for the girls who both had JULY! Bad mommy!

I've just been so preoccupied with other things and, I'll admit, a bit scatterbrained or absent-minded. I'll think of things to blog about and mean to either sit down & blog or at least write down the ideas but, forget to actually write them down or whatever.

This all being said, I don't know when I will get a chance to actually blog anything of substance again. I have been toying with the idea of stopping all together and going to a journal or something but then I feel like I'd be shirking the readers that I am blessed to have. If everyone would join Facebook, then life would be grand and all of my readers would be kept abreast of everything (more than they'd probably want to know) about us. Only in perfect world.

I will attempt to post links to some pictures on Facebook, at the least, and hoping, compose a long-overdue update. Thanks for patiently waiting for me.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Time off

I am going to be taking an extended break from blogging for awhile. Some big changes are going to be happening for the girls & I and I need to focus on making these transitions as smooth as possible for everyone involved. If you all wouldn't mind saying a prayer or crossing fingers & toes for everything to go smoothly, I would really appreciate it. I hope to be back to more frequent blogging in a month or so. Take care everyone and, have no fear, I will still be on Facebook, I'm sure. :o)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Days-Our Bucket List

This summer has gone by way too fast! That's what happens when you're having fun and crossing off items on a bucket list. Here is ours for this summer:

~*~Visit the local spraygrounds --Been twice already with another visit planned soon.
~*~Discover new parks and enjoy playing at them --I seem to be the queen of finding "new" parks. We've found two already that we have added to our frequent visitor list. We are so lucky to be surrounded by such awesome parks & open spaces.
~*~Visit the Denver Zoo --Thanks to my brother, Matt and his wonderful girlfriend, we recently visited the zoo and the girls loved seeing all of the animals and learning about their habitats and behaviors.
~*~Go to the Museum of Nature & Science --Hoping that we can squeeze this one in somehow.
~*~Have a picnic --We've had several already including one with my brother and other with church. There's something magical about spreading out the blanket and eating under a beautiful blue sky.
~*~Participate in a summer reading program --Cait did the Borders book challenge and we are also doing our library district's program.
~*~See fireworks --We have plans to watch them on the 4th of July from our favorite venue, Ouray, CO.
~*~See Toy Story 3 in 3D --Accomplished! We all loved the movie. I even shed a few tears at the end.
~*~See a double feature at the drive-in.
~*~Have a sleepover with friends --Thanks to a birthday party sleepover at one of her classmate's house, we can cross this off! Even better that I didn't have to host!
~*~Sleep outside --Plans are being made for a camp-out at Grandma's house
~*~Go to Belleview Park to ride the train and pet the farm animals.
~*~Take in flora and flauna at the Botanic Gardens.
~*~Celebrate the girls' birthday with pomp & circumstance.
~*~Pick 3 states to learn about over the summer and read books, do crafts, plan a make-believe trip and make foods from those states.
~*~Discover the abundance of locally-grown produce by visiting the farmer's market.
~*~Take in a summer concert.
~*~Make popsicles

What is on your bucket list for the summer? Our goal for this summer is to simply enjoy every day and delight in the simple pleasures that summer brings. I think we are doing well so far. :o)

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I wanted to share LOTS of pictures and the easiest way to do that is to tell you all to click--


...and here

...again here

...and, one last time, here.

Enjoy! :o)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cara's Last Day

Believe it or not, Cara's first year of preschool came to a close on May 13th! Ben & I joined her class in an end-of-the-year party and presentation of certificates. Unfortunately, Cara cried through most of it, as is usually the case when one of us comes into her classroom. We think it is because we are, in her eyes, a break in routine, though she is glad to see us. Nevertheless, Cara did participate in the singing of several songs and when her name was called, she went up to get her certificate. We then enjoyed a light lunch and some special treats before saying goodbye to her wonderful teacher & aide. We also got lots of mementos to take home with us--drawings that Cara made and pictures taken throughout the year. Her teacher also showed us Cara's story journal and it was great to see the progress that she has made over the year. This year has been a wonderful one for Cara, as she has grown (in so many ways) by leaps & bounds. I know that we owe a lot of this to her teacher, aides and therapists. I cannot begin to sing their praises except to say that our expectations were far exceeded!

Cara's therapists all sent home packets of activity ideas that we can do with Cara over the summer to keep helping her meeting her goals. I'm excited to try some with her and keep on learning over the next couple of months.

I know that she misses preschool, the routine & her classmates, but what I think she misses the most is...riding the school bus! Everytime that we see one, she excitedly announces "BAAA!".

Here's to the summer and all the fun that it will bring!

Sitting on the carpet for song time.

With her certificate for completing a great year of preschool!

Blowing bubbles

With her teacher, Mrs. R--Cara loved her.

Cara with Mrs. J--I think they liked each other?!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day Dedication

The girls were dedicated at our church on Mother's Day. I cannot think of a more special way to spend the day! The purpose of the dedication was to place our children in the hands of both our faith in Jesus and in the congregation of our church, for both to help us raise our children. It's a powerful, yet comforting, feeling.

The girls before the dedication service.

The whole gang as Pastor Dave was explaining the significance of the dedication.

Dave--making Caitlin laugh when he was talking about her.

And, some other photos from Mother's Day--

The beautiful locket necklace that I got from the girls for Mother's Day. Caitlin had a grand plan to get this and wouldn't let anyone discourage her! I can't wait to get the little pictures to go inside. I will cherish this always and carry my daughters close to my heart!

Flowers that Caitlin got for me from church. She asked our pastor if she could have one to give to her mom and he said to take them all! It was just a beautiful arrangement. My daughter is just so sweet & thoughtful.

"Flowers" that Cara made for me in Sunday school.

I just know that this is going to be one of my most memorable Mother's Day yet!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Crossing Over

Caitlin's Daisy Girl Scout Troop had their bridging ceremony on April 29th. This ceremony marks the official transition from Daisies to Brownies. The girls in her troop all performed an adorable song about leaving Daisies behind to become Brownies to the tune of Frere Jaques. Afterward, each girl crossed over "the bridge" where they changed from the Daisy blue vest to a Brownie brown vest, received certificates & roses and then enjoyed delicious...BROWNIES...of course!

Caitlin has really enjoyed being in Girl Scouts and has said that she wants to continue all the way through high school. With all the good values and lessons that Girls Scouts teach, we are 110% behind her!

With her Brownie vest--just after crossing the bridge. Officially a Brownie!

Caitlin smelling her rose.

With her vest on! :o)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Brag Post-Be Warned!

I'm bursting with pride at the moment. At school pick-up today, I was informed that Caitlin scored the highest in her class (of 29) on the state's math test that was administered today. She also placed among the highest in the school and in the district for her grade-level (1st grade)! This is my child who is always asking how to do one math problem or another, did summer bridging workbooks in 2nd grade math and is now working on multiplication and division. Since the math gene is kind of...umm...dormant on my side of the family, it is quite obvious where the skills come from. I fear that by the time Caitlin is in 4th grade, we may have to rely on her father or a tutor to help her with her math, if she has questions, because it will be out of my realm.

While my head was spinning from this awesome information, I further learned that Caitlin just finished the 1B math book ahead of her class and is moving onto the next level. She plowed through the book in about two months' time! What a challenge it must be for her wonderful teacher to keep up with a class of 29 students, all at different levels. In the reading department, our brainiac is soon to be moving up to the highest reading level, along with another of her classmates. Contrary to the math gene, I know exactlywhere the love of reading comes from! From the time she was born, Caitlin has had shelves filled with books, weekly trips to the library and nightly reading sessions. What is so wonderful now, is that Caitlin can read to herself (chapter books) and also enjoys reading to her sister. She gets quite animated and uses different voices and tones. You can often find her with her iPod on and a book in her lap on car rides or just relaxing. I know that her love for reading has helped develop her advanced vocabulary, quest for knowledge and general love of learning. It just tickles me that at times, she'd rather read than do anything else.

That's my (our) girl! Okay, I'm done bragging but sometimes, you just have to!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I have really been struggling with blogging material lately. Some days, it seems like our lives are so normal & mundane, that who would want to read about it? Other times, I'd love to share certain things with my readers, but worry about totally putting myself "out there" for all the world to see & know. There are some matters that are best left off of blogsphere, if you know what I mean. Privacy is still important, even when one has a blog and even though it may seem to go against every fiber in my being.

Yes, there has been turmoil in our lives lately, but thankfully, there have also been many wonderful memories and super-supportive family & friends who have the amazing ability to make our troubles melt away, even if only momentarily. I am really trying to focus on the positive things in our lives while keeping the struggles in the back of my mind, always there, thought about & planned for, but not all-consuming.

I take comfort in knowing that we are not alone, that many other we know and others around the nation are also struggling and yet, managing to adjust, adapt and move on. We have cut back, become super frugal and, at the same time, become closer as a family and have found the true meaning of life in a lot of ways. How could a night be more perfect than a leisurely walk through the park, pulling a wagon and having an honest, down-to-earth discussion while admiring the approaching sunset and ducks swimming in a pond? I think, when times get tough, we tend to come together, face things head on, and also truly appreciate the simple pleasures of life.

I've blogged before about returning to simplicity and, in a way, we are doing that, and in a way, this makes my heart glad. While part of me worries that my children will feel deprived, part of me also knows that they are learning important life lessons--that there is a limit to what we can buy, that it's okay to do without some things, that our basic needs will always be met, that something old can be new again and that creativity is fun! One of my favorite things, as of late, has been to introduce my girls to the old-school movies I loved as a kid as well as some of the games that I enjoyed playing. Who knew, huh?

All in all, I am determined to make the most of the changes that have been, for lack of a better term, forced upon us. But, know that if I don't blog often, it's because I often struggle with just what to post and, occasionally, the unpleasantness of life consumes me. Just know, that no matter what, I relish my connections that I have with my readers and I won't disappear entirely.

Thank You Earth!

Happy Earth Day to our 3rd rock from the sun! Thank you for sustaining life, providing us with air to breathe, food to eat and scenery to admire.

Today was the perfect Earth Day, in my opinion (though maybe, we could've done without the tornado warning and sirens) as it was raining and you could just see the grass, flowers and trees springing to life! Spring really is my favorite season of the year. I love the "rebirth" of our Earth. Could we have a more wonderful planet to call home?

Friday, March 26, 2010

All in Good Fun

It has become obvious lately that Cara has gained some new fine motor and cognitive skills. The notes that come home from her therapists are so encouraging...matching, playing games, imitating sounds and learning new signs.

So, when a box of goodies for the girls (and I) from my life-long best friend included two age-appropriate games for Cara, I was excited to see if she could play along.

The first game is a shape & color matching game based off of Candy Land. It's called Candy Land Castle and kiddos get a little gingerbread child with shapes on it and they have to match the shapes on the gingerbread with shapes that come out of the castle. The game teaches color & shape recognition as well as turn-taking. Cara had previously played this game in a small group setting with her therapist, so she was familiar with the game. What completely surprised me was how well Cara could play! She knew that she had to chose one gingerbread kid, pull down on the handle and then, when the piece came out, determine whether or not she had a match. She also did really well with taking turns with me. We played probably 6 rounds that day and we both truly enjoyed ourselves!

Cara also received Hi Ho Cherry-O! With some instruction throughout the game, Cara & I were able to play and have a lot of fun. She tried to vocalize with me when we were counting her fruit and quickly figured out that the goal was to put all of her fruit in the little bucket. I think, with more practice, Cara will become a whiz at playing this game too.

It is so nice that Cara has developed the skills necessary to play some structured games. Even 3 months ago, this wasn't really a possibility for us. I love when I can plainly see the results that all the therapy is having on Cara!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


A dream came true this past weekend for a certain 6 year old in our house. Thanks to our own personal Hero, Caitlin & I got to see the musical Mary Poppins on Saturday in Downtown Denver. Let me explain the back story a bit...

Caitlin has been wanting to see Mary Poppins every since we first saw the posters announcing that they musical was coming to Denver back before Christmas, I want to say. I looked into it and the tickets were just out of reach for us, as I'm sure they would be for a lot of people right now, due the state of our economy and it's effect on numerous families.

Anyway, this was something that I really wanted to do for Caitlin since I felt bad for having to say no to a lot of her (sometimes very simple) requests so I decided to reach out and make a wish at this wonderful website called WishUponAHero. Basically, the site is similar to Make A Wish. People can sign up and post wishes for everything from cards for their elderly parent's birthday to help with rent or other things. In the past, I have granted several wishes for others, so I thought, maybe someone would grant mine...what goes around...

I posted a wish asking if someone would like to make a little 6 year old girl's wish come true and help us go see Mary Poppins. I posted it, not expecting to ever get a reply. I mean, honestly, who has the money to cough up theatre tickets? But, someone upstairs read my post and decided we were worthy because about 24 hours later, a sweet woman named Ellen contacted me and said that she wanted to grant our wish. She said she would arrange everything and get back to me. I was so excited, I was crying but still, didn't want to get my hopes up. But, Ellen more than followed through, she did something totally amazing!

Not only did she buy us tickets, but she purchased VIP tickets for the 4th row center! All we had to do was show up at Will Call the day of the show and we were good to go. After getting all dressed up (Caitlin anyway) and taking the Light Rail downtown and walking a block or so to the Buell Theatre, we received our tickets and headed to the concession area. There, we learned that our VIP tickets entitled us to two free programs! Caitlin was tickled pink to get hers and carefully looked through it, oooh-ing and ahhh-ing over the pictures and centerfold poster. Next, we went down the the orchestra level to find our seats and settled in. Caitlin was so excited, she could hardly sit still. Before we knew it, the lights dimmed and the orchestra started to play (we could see the conductor from our seats). Caitlin's face lit up when the curtain rose and the play started. She was transfixed from beginning to end and kept moving in her seat to get the best possible view. We loved the sets & props in the movie, how they changed from one scene to the next was just so cool! I saw Caitlin singing along to the familiar songs (especially Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious & Go Fly A Kite), laugh and exclaim at various parts of the movie. I think her favorite parts where when Mary Poppins flew in, when they flew the kites, and then when Mary Poppins made her exit by flying via umbrella up over the audience. She also liked the special effects. All in all, it was an amazing performance, one that neither of of us likely to ever forget. We were so close to the stage that we could almost reach out and touch the characters. In fact, Caitlin was so bummed that we couldn't get autographs as she wanted to hug Mary Poppins.

I can't thank our Hero, Ellen, enough for granting our wish and allowing me to have this wonderful day with Caitlin!

Here are some pictures from our magical experience:

And the strep exits the stage!

Cara is back to normal! After a trip to the emergency room over concern for swelling above her eye and lethargy, Cara made a rebound and returned to her normal, destructive self. From the ER visit, we learned that Cara is allergic to the antibiotic that her doctor prescribed in good faith in an attempt to prevent Cara's body from building an immunity against the frequently prescribed Amoxicillin. Once we ruled out any neurological problems causing the swelling, it became apparent that we were dealing with a nasty allergic reaction. Once Cara was switched back to good old Amox and given some antihistamine, she was herself again within 36 hours, no sign of the strep throat! It was hard to remember that she had been a lifeless little girl for almost a week. She was up playing, eating & drinking in no time. Yay, major potential crisis averted!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Go away strep, you are not welcome here!

Poor Cara is sick once again. The kiddo seems to get hit with something about every couple of months. This time, it's our good buddy, strep throat, once again. This time, it seems to have reared it's nasty, ugly head and knocked Cara out cold. She's been down & out for about 5 days now with no sign of improvement.

We ended up in the ER yesterday afternoon because Cara woke up with a large amount of swelling over her right eye (her shunt side) and she was pointing to her head along with lots of whining. Not wanting to blow this off, we packed up and headed to Children's Hospital. We were quickly assigned a room and had a neurosurgery resident in to examine Cara and talk with us. The concern, initially, was for inter cranial pressure due to Cara's low heart rate and high blood pressure in triage. The doctor ordered a rapid MRI (only takes 3 minutes to complete) to check on her ventricles which would insure that he shunt was working properly. Cara did really well with the MRI and we were soon back in our room awaiting the results. Her ER doctor come back after about 30 minutes of waiting for the MRI results to tell us that everything appeared to be fine and that, most likely, Cara is suffering from an allergic reaction to the antibiotics that were prescribed to her the previous day by our family practitioner.

She prescribed something called Cefdinir which was new to us since, in the past, Cara has always had Amoxicillin, which quickly did it's job and made her better. Her doctor's reasoning for trying the new drug as a good one, she didn't want Cara to build up an immunity to the Amoxicillin since she's had so many doses in the past 12 months (strep, ear infection, etc). However, it appears that the new drug didn't agree with Cara, thus causing the swelling and other symptoms.

The ER equipped us with an prescription for Amoxicillin (better to stick with what you know works and deal with the consequences later than switch to something that doesn't) which we quickly filled at the in-house Walgreen's and sent us home to be seen by the neurosurgery clinic next week. We are to watch for any signs that she is worsening or not getting any better despite the medication switch. A big thing that we are watching for is swelling along her shunt tract which runs from the top of her head, behind her ear and into her stomach. The doctor did say that it could take 72 hours for the Cefdinir to get out of her system, so we may have a long wait to see any improvement.

That said, it is so hard to sit here and watch Cara sleep and be so lifeless. She hasn't had any solid food since Monday evening and only drinks about 24oz of milk a day. She sleeps probably 20 out of 24 hours and if she is awake, she is tossing and turning, whining and just looking so uncomfortable. It just breaks my heart. I want nothing more than to have our usual Cara back. Even if that means the little terror who whips through our house like a tornado, leaving toy piles and other destruction in her wake. Right now, that would be a welcomed sight! Hopefully, by Monday, she will be back to her old self and all of this will just be a memory.

So, can I ask for positive thoughts, crossed fingers and prayers for Cara's speedy recovery? Goodness knows this little girl has been through enough! I really don't want the ER ward to become our second home, nor the pharmacy.

On a side note, we are going to look into a sulfur allergy for Cara. It seems that the Cefdinir has sulfur in it while Amoxicillin does not. Sulfur (sulfa, sulfate) is in so many things and would explain a prevalent skin "rash" that Cara seems to have. I have read that this is a very common allergy and some family members are even allergic so, who knows...maybe we solved the mystery of the eye swelling as well as the rash. I plan to bring this up to her neurosurgeon as well as our family practitioner.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

While we should make a habit of telling those that we love and care about how we feel about them every day of the year, Valentine's Day is a day to go an extra mile and do something special. Maybe it's a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates, a thoughtfully picked out card. Or maybe it's a kind gesture, a kiss, a random act of kindness. Whatever you do, let those your hold close in your heart know how much you love and appreciate, as well as throughout the year.

Valentine's Day in our household meant sweet treats, a small gift and an indoor pizza picnic complete with a movie. For us, it is about being with those you love.

Happy Valentine's Day to my readers. I am so happy to count you all as my friends & loved ones!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Picture Update Post

I just realized that I haven't posted pictures on my blog or Flickr in a long time. I have just been posting to my Facebook account. It's easy to download the pictures to Facebook from my iPhoto, so that's all I've been doing and thus, neglecting my readers from seeing the latest pictures. So...without further ado...links to some new photos! Just click on the title to check them out. :o)

Our "hike" to Lookout Mountain

Christmas with my side of the family

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lemonade Awards

I was just nominated for this award by my good friend Sarah all the way over in Australia. I met Sarah right after Cara's diagnosis with hydrocephalus. She was the first mom that I met who had a daughter with this condition and she gave me advice, answered my questions and was a shoulder to cry and lean on--and still is.

Lemonade Award

*Put the Lemonade logo on your blog or within your post.
*Nominate at least 10 blogs with great attitude or gratitude.
*Link the nominees within your post.
*Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
*Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Here are the blogs that I think are totally worthy of this award:

***Veronica's blog Mamameo-Veronica is a dear friend of mine. Her little man also has hydrocephalus. She & her family are some of the most upbeat and vibrant people I've had the pleasure of meeting and befriending. She is also very crafty and takes some beautiful pictures.

***Judy's blog Where One Day Runs Into Another--Judy never fails to make me laugh with her posts. And...and, I recently had the pleasure of meeting her & her awesome family and I can honestly say that she's just as wonderful in person as she appears to be online.

***Lauren's blog How Bourgeois-I've known Lauren for several years and have enjoyed staying in touch with her through her blog. Her posts vary in topics from interesting news stories to pictures of her very handsome son. A lot of her posts make me really think and inspire me.

***Christy's blog Superheros & Princesses-I honestly don't remember when I first came across Christy's blog but, I've been a frequent reader every since. She has some of the most creative craft activity ideas and also unique ways of teaching her children. I'm also in love with her dog!

***Jenny's blog The Fisch Tank-I have been so inspired by how amazing Jennifer & her family are, how they've overcome such huge obstacles and how much they do for all of their children. I have gotten some great advice and support from Jenny about how to advocate for Cara and other issues pertaining to being the parent of a child with special needs. It's nice to have others out there that know what you're going through.

***Kendra's blog A Word Fitly Spoken-Kendra is such of a loving, upbeat and very sweet person. She has the gift of eloquent writing, so her posts are always so enjoyable. She is a very busy mom to two of the cutest little girls.

***Amanda's blog Funny Days With Mommy & Maddie-I stumbled upon her blog one day and am so glad that I did. Amanda is one crafty momma who's always doing such neat activities with her toddler daughter. She shares crafts, recipes and the frustrations & joys of parenthood with her readers.

I know this isn't ten, but I think these gals are truly worthy! Pass it on everyone!

Friday, January 01, 2010


Happy New Year! Last night, we rung the New Year in with style here in our household. We watched Ryan Seacrest & Dick Clark and counted down to the ball dropping at One Time Square. We decided to let the girls stay up and take part in the festivities and Caitlin was all into learning about why we celebrate New Years and in the "party". I picked up some inexpensive party favors and when the clock struck midnight here in Colorado, we all blew horns, shot off poppers (only Ben & I did this) and covered the girls in streamers. We had a blast!

Every year, I try to set three goals for myself to work towards. Not anything monumental but things like a reading goal, something that I want to work on with the girls and then one thing I'd like to better about myself. I'm the planning type, so setting these goals gives me an agenda and something to work towards all year round. Each goal usually has several sub-goals too so that they are not so overwhelming. I've learned in the past that having huge, vague resolutions doesn't work because there's no outline, nothing that is realistically attainable. Even though, in years past, I'd set myself up for failure, I was still bummed when the house didn't get organized, I didn't lose those pounds or whatever. Having learned that and embraced my limits, here are my goals for 2010:

A. Read a book by an author for every letter of the alphabet. I will be looking on library and bookstore websites for suggestions. I will read from all different genres and keep a list of these books.

B. Work on exposing the girls to the wonders of the world around us. This can be accomplished by visiting places, exploring the world through books or websites and any other means that I can think of. We will try to be more hands-on this year.

C. I will learn how to crochet. I've wanted to learn for some time but it's always getting put on the back burner. My mom has agreed to teach me and I'm a willing student. I think it will be a good thing for me to have another creative outlet other than this that is more portable. I look forward to making hats & scarves for family and friends by the 2010 holiday season.

Those are my goals, what are yours? Have you sat down and thought about what you want 2010 to bring or looked back on 2009? Here's a wonderful post about goal setting and reflecting, just click here. May this year be one of health, happiness and prosperity for you all!


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