Saturday, December 18, 2010

Holiday fun

The girls have enjoyed decorating the tree making and decorating bread dough ornaments, learning a memory verse and song for the creche liturgy tomorrow... licking the glittery ornaments (Claire mostly), eating gingerbread cookies, seeing friends, playing with the bear and angel ornaments.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

chalk art

I went into Claire's room an noticed she had drawn a little person on her chalkboard and asked her about it. Claire told me that she drew an angel. Then Emily went in and stood on the little red chair and started drawing an arch above the person and said. "I'm drawing a rainbow for the people." A few minutes later Emily says, "I'm drawing a dinosaur." and Claire says, "I drew a dinosaur. Mom, I made a dinosaur."

Also see new vids on Flickr.

Monday, November 15, 2010


The girls and I visited the Hollywood YMCA together for the first time today. We went to a Mommy and me movement class then the kids went to the "Clubhouse" and I used the exercise machines. We all had a good time. I got a 7 day pass so if we keep it up I think I'll join at the end of the week. I exercised by myself on Saturday and am still sore. They have a lot of classes for kids Claire's age.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Preschool activities

We actually did some preschool activities during the past two weeks. Veggie collage, math using buttons for counters and pennies on the hundreds chart, stringing beads, washing pumpkins, bathtub science projects. Making a mailbox and writing/ reading the letters in it. I have some photos of this on Flickr.


recent habits:
1. emptying things onto the floor from table tops, drawers, baskets--mostly mom's stuff. Argh!
2. playing mermaids-- she pretends that she is swimming all over the place and always is talking about the color of her tail (Very sweet.) Mom and Emily are also mermaids and today I have a pink tail. Claire has pantyhose braids and a shirt of mine and said that she is wearing her best mermaid clothes.
3. eating lots of good food including her favorite ground beef cooked with veggies mixed in served with ketchup.
4. arguing with her sister.

1. laying down on a pretend bed and being covered up with lots of small blankets by Claire.
2. sitting next to Claire looking at books and reciting the parts that she remembers.
3. closing all the doors in the house.
4. not a habit but interesting: she learned how to open the car door from the outside. (Claire has never done this...only Emily)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Emily likes

Emily likes...
to jump, take all her clothes off, look at books, play with sissy, play with flashlights, stack blocks, do puzzles, string beads onto pipe cleaners, put on dress up clothes, dress up her dollies and animals, sand play, water play and baths and hand washing, stirring the dough/ batter, playing outside, singing, story time at the library, kids concerts, cuddling with lots of blankets and pillows on the floor.
more fotos on flickr

Thursday, October 28, 2010

cute animals

went to the pumpkin patch and enjoyed the petting zoo. see new flickr picts.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I've been enjoying using the last of our garden produce lately. Cherry tomatoes in salads. Chard and onions in soup and baked up some winter squash.

Has anyone read Nourishing Traditions y Sally Fallon? If so I'm curious to know what you think of it. There are some good recipes and information, but one could really go to extremes in terms of time and money spent preparing food if one did everything she suggests.

The girls are doing well and playing so nicely together much of the time. Emily is becoming quite fluent in her speech. "Hello Mommy. I'm sitting in the bathtub." I wish I could think of some of the more amusing things she says. Claire said, "Emily tell me a story." And Emily replied, "Once upon a time there was a peacock crying. The end."

Friday, October 08, 2010

random kids pics

experimenting with different ways to post short link


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday morning

We have been enjoying weekly outdoor kids concerts at the Grove and or Americana shopping centers. Our two favorite groups are Jambo ( and the Hollow Trees.
Speaking of trees. Our morning activities consisted of a quick overview of a set of laminated icons I'm borrowing from Father Stephen, swinging and tree climbing in the front yard, building castles with mega blocks, sand play and water play in the backyard.

Claire surprised us by turnning on her light and looking at a big stack of books instead of coming directly into our room at 6:15. This was after wetting the bed at 5:30 and then going back to sleep after I took the wet things off her bed.

I've been working on teaching Emily patience and taught her the have patience song last week. Today while I was inside taking care of something she was standing at the back door singing "Have patience, have patience." So sweet. (She has been doing a lot of fussing if she can't have what she wants immediately.)

Claire has been sharing toys with Emily on here own initiative lately. Claire still takes things from her just to hear Emily scream, but I am thrilled to see that she is also learning to be kind.

See new posts on planner blog re food for small kids.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

preschool activities/ kitchen tricks

I haven't posted in ages. Sorry grandparents and other friends and family.
I posted some of our activities on my homeschooling and general planning blog.

I also just started doing something to help organize our kitchen which I highly recommend. I put up a sheet on the fridge listing all the ready to eat foods in one column and the needs to be prepared foods in another so that I don't forget what is in there and end up wasting food. I first cleared out the too old leftovers. Then made the list. Just making the list inspired me to grill the big bag of muliti-colored bell peppers I got for a dollar a pound at farmer's market.

Another thing I started doing is having Claire put all the breakfast dishes into the dish pan and rinse them.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


more quotes from Emily
"Here's the nuts" (Pretending to offer me nuts to eat.)
"I have the seal and sock. I don't have any babies here."
Sleepy head sleepyhead. I want to give her a blanky. I am making a boat.
Lullaby and sleepyhead. Sing Sleepyhead." At this point Claire joins in singing sleepyhead over and over.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Emily speaks

Emily quotes
"I live in the house."

"The puppy going potty. Tinkle tinkle."
"I'm giving her a jacket, if you don't mind." (referring to the puppy)

"Is daddy driving car?
"I lost it."
"are you eating cabbage Sissy?"

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Claire in a boat

After Claire got in the box and sang "row row row your boat," Emily had to try it too. Then Emily grabbed a book and started looking at it and said that the box was her house.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chatty Emily at the basket

Emily plays basketball. Sort of.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Emily jumps

Emily just keeps getting more and more personality by the day.I really enjoy observing her. She loves to imitate Claire. Today she and Claire were taking turns jumping around in the wading pool and falling onto their bottoms which they both found uproariously funny. She does a hundreds funny or cute things everyday and of course when I finally decide to blog I can't think of them. She loves reciting 'ring around the rosie'. This is how the all the falling down started.

Monday, June 14, 2010

art update

Okay, so I posted about doing the 12 week workshop in The Artistic Mother and you haven't heard anything about it since. I've been so busy working on art and trying to find some discipline in other areas off my life that I haven't spent much time blogging.
I have been working on some poetry and decorated the cover of my poetry journal and have been working on some collages. (I also do not plan to finish all the projects in 12 weeks. Maybe 24 weeks is more realistic for my current schedule.)

Monday, June 07, 2010


On the heels of helping make pizza dough note flour on face and clothes. laire sings a song from a kids jazz CD we checked out from the library.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

library books

We checked out some fun children's books from the library. Claire has poured over them for hours and Emily has a new favorite author, Ezra Jack Keats.
Emily fell in love with Peter in the board book version of The Snowy Day so I checked out two more Keats books, A Letter to Amy, and Whistle for Willie.
Claire loves the illustrations in Big Book of Little Children by Catherine and Laurence Anholt and Big Words for Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell.
Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin have teamed up to write several hilaorios books about farm animals the one we chose this time was, Thump Quack Moo A Whacky Adventure. Claire's favorite of the bunch has been When Sophie Gets Angry-- Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang.

I also forgot to mention that we are about 2/3 through Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Claire likes it but not as much as she liked Little House in The Big Woods.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Bathtime quotes from Claire and Emily

Claire and Emily were bathing with a baby doll this evening and this is what they said.

Use a tin spoon or a tablespoon or a glass spoon
wishy washy
put the baby in
put the soap in
want it hair clip
I'm shaving the hairs off
now you have a bubbly soap
I put some soap in now you can have it
this is for you
it has sudzies zudzies wudzies
baby's floating
that's mine baby
washy baby
please turn it on
soap off
I'm a boat
I'm a boat
you can sail me
I am a boat
I'm a boat row row row
I see toes

You can guess who said what and what they were talking about.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Emily wishes Claire a Happy Birthday

Emily wishes Claire a Happy Birthday.

Sounds to me like she said, "Happy birth-cake!"

Then at the end she says, "Cheese" because it is what you say when a camera is pointed at you.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Emily is fascinated with feeding everyone... she feeds her stuffed animals, dollies, parents, sister, and grandparents. This morning she was feeding her dolly using a preemie bottle. She is also teaching her dollies how to play the guitar. Another current interest is dancing. Anytime we hear music she will stop and dance even if its me tapping on a table and humming. Saturday she was pushing Claire in the stroller (all the way home from the pocket park) and had to stop and dance when she heard music coming from the rental hall we were passing.

The girls and I had a great time in Arizona while Mark was doing marksmanship training. My mom got me a book called The Artistic Mother: A practical Guide for fitting Creativity into your Life. I am inspired to do the 12 week workshop that the book suggests and had time to shop for all the supplies while I was in AZ. I also did some other preparations gessoed and painted some backgrounds to use in collages and other projects, tried out some new rubber stamps and did some rubbings and resists. Claire had fun with this last project too. Emily painted a beautiful watercolor which I have yet to photograph. I hope to keep you all posted with my progress through the workshop. The three areas covered in the book are poetry, photography and mixed media (collage). One thing she suggests is reading poetry each day to inspire. I have been enjoying this aspect a lot. I also had a chance to take a bunch of pictures of the girls and print them.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

bachelor weekend extraordinaire

I just finished this 2-day training program offered by the Revolutionary War Veterans Association. Fun doesn't begin to describe it... [click on the title or picture to read my longer write-up.] Learning marksmanship was only part of it. I also learned some personal perspectives on Revolutionary War history, and I learned about myself.

Ever since I read this Appleseeds of Life & Precision article, I'd been burning to go. It was everything I hoped for, and I'm pretty enthused about re-upping. I think this would be a great part of home-schooling curriculum, and also a great way to earn a merit badge for a Boy Scout or Girl Scout.

I think my wife could sense my intensity as I prepared for the weekend, so she took off with the girls for a weekend with the grand parents.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


tickle kiss trick

Tickle me one
Tickle me two
Tickle me when you take off my shoe

Kiss me three
Kiss me four
Kiss me before you close the door

Toss me up 5
Catch me down 6
Let me show you all my tricks

Bumpy ride 7
Upside down 8
Higgly Piggly hurry don't wait

Read to me 9
Lots of books 10
Now lets do it all over again

Energetic Claire

Sunday, May 02, 2010

About Emily

About Emily...
1. she can put her sister's shoes and some of her own shoes on her feet all by herself
2. she can unzip and take off her pyjamas
3. she is obsessed with shoes and tried on all the kids shoes during Claire's "My Gym" class
4. her favorite item of clothing is her overalls.
5. she likes to paint with a paint brush but not with her fingers.
6. she uses some 3 and 4 word sentences.
7. she enjoyed bonding time with Daddy on Saturday while Jen met with some mom friends
8. she has renewed interest in feeding other members of the family
9. she has been letting Claire wash her hair when they take a bath together
10. she likes to dance and even makes her dollies dance

Monday, April 26, 2010

the morning

6:25 wake up to the sound of Emily fussing.
6:30 get up and nurse Emily
6:40 greet a groggy Claire as she stumbles out of her room
7:05 wake up Mark
7:10 make whole wheat oatmeal pancakes and eat them. Emily has just come to love pancakes and can't get enough of them quick enough and was also impatient to help make the batter.
8:00 Claire hops into the shower with her daddy
8:05 apply lotion to Claire and help her get her slightly damp body into her clothes.
8:10 costume change for Claire from green princess dress and leggings into a flowered swim suit.
8:30 Claire adds rain boots and a sweatshirt to her costume so we can go outside and see daddy off. We stay outside and play freeze tag, run races, throw the ball and pick a bouquet of lavender geraniums.
9:10 we come in and put the flowers in a vase and the girls look at books in Claire's room while I put the cats out and make myself a cup of coffee and blog.

(The photos are from the Saturday after Easter when we went to spend the day at Crystal Cove (between Newport and Laguna) I originally wanted to spend the weekend but I didn't book a cabin soon enough.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Well, we had a week of Claire being sick followed by a week of me being sick followed by a week of me not feeling like blogging. I can't get flickr to upload photos which
I've been trying off and on for the past week or so to do. I can't remember how to access our desktop computer from this laptop which is running some version of Linux called Ubuntu. Whatever flavor of Linux we had before, I liked better.
The girls are well Claire is at art class and Emily is napping so it's time to tackle sorting papers on the dining room table.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Easter Monday

Christ is risen from the dead trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life. We are enjoying the Pascal season.

Science day. Today for preschool we read about tapirs and gorillas and talked about what they eat. We did a project from bathtub science and learned about cohesion "water is sticky." We also did our Spanish rhymes and counting and quiet time. We poked holes in the cup watered the carrot seeds she planted at the zoo.

We are most of the way through the first Laura Ingalls Wilder book. Claire loves it. It is doing wonders for her attention span. She listens so quietly. Thank you Katie for the suggestion.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Jen: What do you like to pretend?
Claire: I like to pretend that my name is Charlie. (pause) Tell me a story about Charlie when he was a little boy.
Jen: Charlie liked to swim. He loved to dive to the bottom of the pond with no goggles to look for smooth stones. He would grab them and take them to shore and skip them across the pond.
Claire: Tell me the story about Charlie and the wolf.

Yesterday Emily said, "This is Mama's book." and, "That is my shoe." It is so fun and amazing to observe a child acquiring language.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

pre-school activities

Emily's communications are getting more and more sophisticated. It is not uncommon for her to use 3 word phrases and she has been known to mimic 4 word sentences. The two word sentence is the most common ie: Sissy sad. Dolly sleeping. More bread. Mommy back (which means come back). Daddy work. Emily happy. Mommy dress. Big shoes. She and Claire have been playing together more and more lately. Claire likes to quiz her and tells her, "Say doctor, say spider, say monkey..." Emily is only too happy to repeat the requested words. Lately Claire has been heard to say to Emily, "Emily do you want to do couch time with sissy?" "Do you want to go swimming with sissy?"

Pre-school activities have mostly consisted of learning Spanish rhymes and numbers while jumping on the ball as well as counting by twos in English and working on counting 14-20 one of which always gets skipped. We also do an alphabet song in which she supplies a word beginning with each letter of the alphabet and we do rhyming. In addition we do dexterity work like sewing kits, puzzles, drawing with markers and chalk, or other craft projects. We also do a couple baking sessions--- She has recently become much more competent at stirring dough and she likes to name each of the ingredients when I ask her what I should get out in order to make muffins or scones. We sometimes do a card game or board game too. She is getting much better at taking turns, but sometimes dilly dallies when it is her turn We check out library books and read from our own collection including Bible stories and her Ladybug and High Five magazines. We also have a digital clock made from card stock which we talk about and she likes to manipulate the dials and aks waht time it is. We try to go to play group two days a week but she still doesn't play with the other kids very much. I think part of it is that she doesn't have the mental picture for some of the things they pretend since she doesn't watch TV. Friday they were pretending to be pegasus and unicorns or sometimes it's some specific Disney princess etc. At other times she is more interested in checking out their toys than playing with the kids. (Maybe we should start reading fairy tales.) The one thing we try to do 5 days a week is have a 45 minute quiet time while Emily is napping.
This makes it sound like we do a lot but we cover this in a two week time period.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

We have had to change our rain gear for swim wear this week. I moved the inflateable pool outside and filled it with water after seeing that yesterday would turn into the third 80-90 degree day in a row. The girls had a blast splashing around yesterday. They had their swim shirts on and sunscreen but Claire got a little pink on her arm and it became itchy. After spending some time in the shade eating popsicles playing in the sand box and the bean box the pool was in shade and the went back to splashing. We finished up with an oatmeal bath and early to bed.

Today Claire is at the zoo with Linda. I took a nap when Emily napped. Then I got a few chores done. When Emily awoke, we dressed a bunch of dollies and stuffed toys. Right now she is collecting small items from various rooms and putting them into a Christmasy gift bag.

I am trying to teach Emily how to sit quietly and how to whisper. I wish I had started this sooner. Church has suddenly become increasingly difficult. Emily wants to be constantly talking and/or moving. Claire thinks she can be noisy because Emily is noisy. I think Mark and I are going to try the divide and conquer technique. Each of us sits with one of them in separate pews. Any other tips?

Monday, March 15, 2010

pretend play

Emily was just rocking her dolly in our extra infant car seat and singing part of Row Row row your boat to her after she covered her with a little blanket.

A bit ago she has fun trying on my sandal and clomping around. Yesterday she held my cell phone to her ear and said,
"hello, hello."

Emily had also discovered the joys of pockets...when she runs out of room in her pocket she stuffs her onesie full of interesting objects...magnet letters, blocks etc.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

sticky finger

Check out the new photos. (Small box on right)

Emily devised a new way of picking up Cheerios.
she licks her finger and touches a Cheeerio which sticks her wet finger then she pops it in her mouth and repeats the process.
She loves playing peek-a-boo and will initiate by covering her face with her hands.

Monday, March 08, 2010

the list

This weekend we read Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad story, "A List." Then, at Church, Claire asked, "Where are we going next?" Dad ambitiously replied, "the mountains." Hours later, Claire and Dad were doodling with pencil and paper. Claire was heard to mutter, "On my list:
-brush teeth
-go to the mountains
-take a walk with dad
-go to bed:"

Thursday, March 04, 2010


We went to farmer's market yesterday for the first time in a while. We are enjoying our first strawberries of the season. My favorite way to enjoy them is on toast with peanut butter. We also enjoyed our fist summer squash of the season sauteed with olive oil and thyme.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

zoo day

Claire says, "Hi. I went to the zoo yesterday. I liked the giraffes and the flamingos."

My favorite part was the gorillas. We got to watch a young gorilla named Glenda interacting with a group of 5 and six year old boys. She would run back and forth and make noise and put her mouth on the glass and smack the glass with her hand. She was very playful and the boys were running back and forth with her laughing and talking to her.

Claire is gaining weight and enjoying hearty dinners on a regular basis. She is up to 27 lbs.

Emily in toddling around with confidence. She didn't want to hold my hand at the zoo yesterday and did quite a bit of walking. (Grandpa and I carried her some too.)

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Emily is getting so independent.
she walks from room to room going from one activity to another. She'll play at the music table for a little while then pick up a doll and take it to another room. Then she'll find a bag and fill it with toys and carry it around. She has started "couch time" and is able to sit for 10 minutes looking at books on the couch. She isn't totally quiet, but she doesn't know how to whisper yet.

Church has been a challenge lately now that Emily wants to walk a lot. Thankfully her godmother, Joy helps us with her during the service. We hadn't been doing quiet time with Claire lately because of travels. I am determined to get back to some kind of routine around here because when we have structure at home the girls can handle structure at church.

Conversation with Claire:
"Mommy, what's an antique?"
"Something that's old but really nice."
"Is Grandma an antique?"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Emily loves to put things "inside." Right now she is putting jar lids in a slot in the top of a can. She loves to put things in bags and boxes and suitcases too. On Sunday she had fun stuffing toys into my purse to take to church.

Today while Emily was napping Claire and I did some weeding in my garden only to discover several yellow tomatoes from last year's plants. They didn't taste very good raw so I cooked them with a little olive oil and basil. I ate them over open faced grilled cheese. Mmmm so tangy and tasty. Claire also helped me dip green tomato slices in cornmeal for fried green tomatoes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

home again

We are back home.
Parenting is exhausting. I really appreciated being around other family members the past two weeks. Thanks to all who helped entertain the girls during our travels. I tried to catch up on chores today. I made a lot of progress but still there is so much to do. I still haven't finished unpacking. I took the girls to the park today and yesterday. Claire was suffering from park withdrawal after 5 weeks banishment (due to her surgery and recovery.) Emily is now able to toddle all around the park... so cute. She had a lot of fun exploring. She loves both the swings and the slide.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Emily hugs Claire

Emily hugged Claire at my suggestion. Usually it is Claire giving big bear hugs to Emily and Emily fussing and pushing her away. Emily's favorite vegetable is broccoli and she has learned to say "broc-li." She is interested in doing the things that Claire does including making pictures with markers and she has learned all the related vocab: pen, marker, lid, paper, picture, write.

Claire got to watch a bit of Olympic skiing last night and asked, "Can I do that too?" We said, "someday" and she said "can I do it now?".

We all enjoyed our time in Oklahoma. Claire was thrilled to get to see all her second cousins. (Will post picts to Flickr soon.) We were all glad to visit with Grammy who in spite of terminal illness seemed very peaceful and joyful (What an example of rock solid faith). Nanna and Poppa also thoroughly enjoyed the girls. We are all thankful that we were able to make the trip.

Mark went home Wed. to go back to work. The girls and I stayed in Prescott to visit with Nanu, Papa and Grandma for a few days. Claire and I went to the park yesterday and got to throw sticks for a dog named 'Charlie' Claire has chosen a new nickname for herself... she insisted on being called Charlie all yesterday evening.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

stacking Emily

Last week Emily discovered the joys of stacking cat food cans...

Friday, February 12, 2010


We arrived safely in OK yesterday evening in time to enjoy turkey soup for dinner. The girls were absolute angels in the car. Both napped well, snacked a lot, entertained themselves and were a joy to travel with. Thanks be to God. The two days before we left I was stressed out about the prospect of so much time in the car and I gathered lots of snacks, activities, toys and books to keep them busy. I think the girls liked having their parents close at hand even if we weren't always directly interacting with them. My favorite part of the trip was driving while it was snowing between williams and Flagstaff Arizona. There was no snow on the road and the snow didn't even touch the windshield but seemed to part and go around us... it was a very surreal experience. We drove through rain at several points but none of it was as bad as the rain I drove through in Pasadena before the trip (after Claire's last Dr. Burke visit.) Even with the recent storms, we didn't find any snowy or icy roads. It is sunny but cold here today. Mark and Claire just walked over to Grammy's while Emily is napping sweetly. I just started a new knitting project, a hat for Emily.

our kind hosts:

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

last cardio followup, then on the road

all is well with Claire's heart. no more fluid.
we are off on a road trip to see Grammy in OK

Thursday, February 04, 2010

EKG aplomb

This is Claire getting an EKG at Dr. Burke's office last week. We go again tomorrow. She loves Dr. Burke who seems to have a great rapport with kids.

Emily's interests include throwing her ball, opening and closing containers, taking off shoes and socks, hats, dancing to music and using shakers and doing drumming and talking about everything she has a word for. Today she learned how to open and close her snack container, and she ate a good hearty meal with the aid of a princess-themed compartmented food tray. Both girls have been enjoying bubbles this week. Emily asks for bubbles at least twice a day by pointing and saying, "bubbles, bubbles!" Today she made the blowing pucker so we put the wand by her mouth and she actually did blow some bubbles.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

fieldtrip and painting

Claire got to visit Dr.Burke again today. He said the fluid under her heart has already decreased by 2/3 and he is decreasing her IB. He wants to see her 2 or 3 more times.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Claire quotes

Claire says the cutest things. (I wish I could remember more of them to add to the blog right now.)

She'll ask in the mornings, "Where shall we go today?"

After we brush teeth she says, "What smells minty?"


"Can I topple on you?"

"Does Daddy have two princesses?"

"Are you happy with your daughter?"

Friday, January 29, 2010

Emily videos

Here is Emily popping packing bubbles and eating soup with a spoon.

Other news:
Emily is now walking 20 or more steps on her own and walking from one room to another. Nanu showed her how to wrap up her dolly and put it to sleep and how to offer it a cup to drink. She says "night night baby" and "Baby's sleeping" and "yum yum." She will also hold the doll and rock back and forth... such a good little mama.
Claire visited the cardiologist today. He is pleased with the results of the surgery but is prescribing a course of Ibuprofen for some possible inflammation and fluid build up under the heart. He said it will probably go away on its own but he wants to see her again a couple times in the next week of two.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Got some cute footage of the girls recently.

This one is a big one so I better not add any more to this post.
I plan to post some more in the coming week

Saturday, January 23, 2010

running and jumping

Claire is running and jumping again. She isn't quite as exuberant and enthusiastic as she was before, but she is feeling better and better. She had nightmares last night and couldn't stay asleep. I finally at around 3:00am (After 4 or 5 wakings) put her in bed with Mark and went to sleep in her bed.

Emily stood up on her own with something in each hand and walked 7 or 8 steps. Go Emily go. Claire is very excited about Emily walking.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hail storm

We just experienced 4 minutes of pea sized hail. That was exciting.
Emily has her first curl at the back of her head now. She has been having fun feeding herself thick soup with a spoon... and doing about as well as Claire at it. Emily launched out on her own with one step today for the first time.

Claire is becoming more like her old self every day. Yesterday evening and today brought tears and fussing when things didn't go her way. She spat her morning Tylenol all over Nanu. She thinks of any excuse to avoid naptime, bathtime and bedtime. (She used to love the bath.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Emily walking

Emily has finally decided to practice walking again. She's up to 10 steps. She is also able to stand still in the middle of the room for maybe 10 seconds and is also practicing turning around to walk the other way. Pushing her car was instrumental in helping her learn this.

Claire is getting stronger all the time. She can get into her trip trap chair with just a tiny bit of support now. She helped measure ingredients for soup this morning. She didn't nap till 1:30 today and it took a while to get her to sleep. Emily got her laughing for the first time since her surgery. Claire has been a bit stoic and a lot more still.

The girls are happy with their new books. Claire has been decorating the house with reuseable fairy stickers. They look especially nice on her mirror. (Thanks Uncle Jerry and Pat. The package arrived today.) Thanks also to Gam, Grandma Bowers, Beth and Joan. It has been fun for Claire to have packages to open during this restless time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

24 hours at home

Claire was pretty mellow today but basically happy. She didn't seem to be in any pain. She seemed a little bit bored. She did enjoy doing some painting this afternoon.

I am totally exhausted.

Monday, January 18, 2010

home sweet home

Claire came home this evening at about 5. Thanks be to God! She is tired and mellow and slept a lot today. She smiled today for the first time since Friday. She smiled a lot today. She is able to walk around. It is good to have our family re-united. Emily is such a sweet mellow baby-- she didn't seemed to mind having so many different caregivers this week. She even slept through the night several times in spite of all the chaos. She did ask me for sissy and daddy several times--she definitely knew they were missing. She seemed quite happy to see me each time I came home-especially today. She was thrilled to see Daddy and Claire this evening too.

We are grateful for all your prayers and especially for help from Fr. Stephen, Nina, Beth and Mary, Nanu and Papa, Tiffany and Luke. Thank you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

out of ICU

Our good friend Nina from Church called this evening for an update, and I was rambling about Claire feeling so much better with fewer wires/tubes sticking out. But then I casually let drop that she had moved out of Intensive Care and was having fun upstairs in the regular kids recovery section. Nina's joyful response reminded me what an important milestone this is, so I thought I better post.

Mark got to take a few hours rest at home this afternoon after being at the hospital for 16 hours straight. With some sleep: thankfully they have little bunk rooms for parents near the ICU. Tonight will be interesting: a foldout bed/chair in Claire's room (and a shared room at that.)

more tubes and wires gone

Today Claire had the chest tube and wires for temporary pace maker removed (apparently installing one of these for use in the first couple days after surgery is standard procedure She is waiting for a bed to become available in order to be moved from ICU to the 6th floor. Her grandparents are with her this afternoon reading and telling her stories in between naps to distract her from her discomfort and frustration. She still has an IV in her left (dominant) hand which makes it hard for her to feed herself and frustrates her.

Yesterday afternoon and evening she spent several hours on end whining fussing complaining and crying. She couldn't settle down and get to sleep even after Benadryl for an itchy face and Tylenol for a slight fever. Finally they gave her something stronger and she conked out.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Claire doing better

Claire had the breathing tube removed this morning. Has no more sign of allergic reaction. She woke up briefly right before they took it out and held my hand as they took off the tape. She said "mama." She went right back to sleep once the tube was out.
I am relieved. It was hard waiting so long to see some reaction from Claire.

Friday, January 15, 2010

allergic reaction

Claire has had a successful surgery, thanks be to God. I was able to see her briefly and speak with the surgeon and anesthesiologist. Right now they are treating her for an anaphylactic reaction--she was allergic something used during the operation. The reaction was severe: her blood pressure dropped and she was having trouble breathing; she is swollen and red. They said it usually passes in a couple of hours and are giving meds to counteract. She will need to see an allergist to determine what caused the reaction.

6 pm update: she has recovered from the anaphylaxis, but that episode delayed removal of the breathing tube until tomorrow. She will also be sedated a little longer than normal, so she won't wake up until tomorrow. The nurses are doing a great job, and even asked me about her favorite ways of being soothed. I said the "Wheels on the Bus" song, and stories about the exploits of mice or squirrels. Though, honestly, she prefers coyote stories.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

the day before the big day

What an exhausting day. We were at the hospital from 9 to 1 this morning doing all the pre-op processing, exams, orientation, tours, etc. She was quite brave while they drew blood samples, though she did cry. I almost cried myself. Emily took a nap "in the pack" for about 30 minutes while Claire received a chest x-ray. After that, Emily was in such great spirits, she charmed the entire waiting room, pushing around an out-sized red wagon.
Part of the orientation was viewing a notebook full of pictures of previous patients, and explanations about what to expect. Basically a maze of tubes and wires, the scariest being the chest cavity drainage tubes.
No sooner had we arrived home and put the girls down for naps, then the hospital called with our schedule for tomorrow morning: check in at 8:30 for a 10:00 procedure. I'm glad we got the morning slot since that makes the "no food for 8 hours prior" a bit easier.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Home life

We resumed preschool activities with a vengeance today... this was mostly to keep Claire occupied and happy since we stayed home all day. (we are staying home in an effort to stay healthy for Friday's surgery.) It amazing what you can pack into a single day for me the highlights were quiet time and gardening. Both girls were snacking on swiss chard and both tasted some tomatoes right off the vine. They also played in the sand box and Claire helped toss out rotting oranges. It was at this point that I realized that one of the things Claire needs during these days at home is a good dose of chores to give her a sense of purpose.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

This Friday

Well, if all goes according to plans, Claire will have surgery to repair congenital heart defects on Jan 15th. Dr. Wells and attending surgeons will close one small and one large hole and repair a cleft in one of her valves.

My main concerns are:

1. There is a possibility of disturbing the body's natural pacemaker when working on the right atrium (the area they will be working on in Claire) this would result in Claire needing an artificial pacemaker.

2. Negative side effects of medications ie. nausea, vomiting, itchiness. (Claire had nausea and dry heaves after being sedated her MRI at one year.)

3. Possible allergic reactions to hospital foods. (Of course we have already listed out for them all the things she is allergic to.)

4. Infection at the incision site.

5. Other complications related to open heart surgery.

more info:

Please keep Claire in your prayers.

Friday, January 08, 2010

walking progress

Emily is making very slow progress with walking unassisted. Today I stood her up in front of me as far as my arms will reach and let go and she took 4 or 5 steps to me standing up nice and tall (Instead of lunging forward.) Mark and I have tried together to walk back and forth between us in the mornings but she has refused.
Her vocabulary however, is multiplying rapidly. Some new words are: "did it" as in I did it, meow, woof, peep, cat, kitty, cookie, pee pee, outside, no, yeah, that, snap, sissy

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Stand up

Today Emily practiced standing up in the middle of the room without holding onto anything. She did it over and over again while holding onto a half empty package of wipes.

Claire is a little scientist at work. She is trying to find answers to some of life's most interesting questions:
What can I see or reach if I sit or stand on the washing machine?
What will happen if I bop Emily on the head with a feather duster?
What do dried onion flakes taste like?
What does vanilla extract taste like?
What happens if you keep spinning the toilet paper dispenser?
What happens if I use the scissors on my T-shirt?
What is all this fluffy stuff in the attic? (It sure is fun to throw around.)
Why is my new calendar stapled together at the top? What happens if I take it apart?

I have to be ever vigilant... it is exhausting.