Thursday, June 26, 2008

Curious George Birthday Party

More on Daniel’s birthday party. Curious George was a fun and easy theme to work with!  Daniel  helped pick out supplies at a local party store and was especially thrilled with the Curious George pinata.  He proudly carried it out of the store - announcing that he was strong enough to do it.  We put the pinata in Eliana's seat beside Daniel for the ride home and Daniel "held his hand".  It was cute!

On the day of the party, Daniel and his siblings helped to get things ready.  We made beanbags, drew posters of Curious George, made cakes and cleaned up a little too.  We planned to have the party outside, but I thought it a good idea to get things ready inside – just in case.

We started the party with some simple games – Feed the monkey (children tossed beanbags into the monkey’s mouth) and Pin the Banana on the Monkey.  I was going to do "tail", but realized that Curious George doesn’t have a tail in any of the books we looked in.  We also had a scavenger hunt for bananas hidden around the yard and played "Rotten Banana" (like Hot Potato).

(Note:  Daniel dressed himself - complete with an extra shirt, policeman's hat, a tie, a belt and ... a nametag!  We had them at an event the previous night with Roger's work and he liked it, so he wore it.  lol  He is a silly boy.)

Unfortunately, it started to rain about this time.  We moved the party inside and poor Roger grilled our dinner in the rain!  It was yummy and we were all thankful for his hard work.

After dinner, Daniel opened gifts, ate cake and then did the pinata.  This one was not one that you hit, but rather just pulled the strings.  Plenty of candy for everyone.

I had to include one more photo of Daniel with some gifts his Grandparents Nelsen sent to him.  A dress shirt and tie (which he has wanted to wear every day since!!!), a hat and a watch.  He is thrilled with all of these and the other wonderful gifts too!  Isn't he cute?!

We are thankful for Daniel and the precious gift he is to our family!



Sunday, June 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Daniel!!!

Happy Birthday Daniel!!!  I can't believe you are already 4!!!  The time does fly when spending it with someone you love. 

Daniel is such a delight.  He has a contagious grin that covers his face.  I love see him light up - from his wide smile to his mischievous eyes.  Daniel is thrilled that he is "getting bigger" and that he is becoming a "big boy".  I am excited to see all that he is learning and doing.

Daniel enjoys dressing up.  He is often dressed as a fireman, a cowboy, a police office and more.  He also has his own sense of style - which you can see just by spending a little bit of time with him.  He likes to wear long-sleeve shirts with button down collars.  Several of them at a time too.  Around here we often are heard telling him when it's time to go out that it's "a one-shirt day".  He wants to know how long it's going to be a one-shirt day - long time honey.  We live in the south and it's hot here!  lol

Daniel also loves wearing ties.  He has several of them and wears one most days.  He also enjoys hats (of various styles), dress shoes (so he looks like Daddy) and belts.  He definitely has his own style!  We think it's a cute one too!

Daniel also loves to do activities.  He has great fine motor skills and enjoys cutting, pasting, coloring, stringing beads and more.  I have some preschool activity bags from a swap with friends and he loves being able to do these.  I'm happy to add to this collection this summer. 

Daniel also enjoys reading books, playing games, acting things out, cooking, playing with play-doh and more.  He doesn't like getting messy, vegetables and things out of order.  Most of this last list are things we are working on with his sensory issues.  He is "sensory defensive" and has a hard time with certain things, but is definitely improving.

One of our goals for the summer is to work on fruit.  Daniel likes to cut fruit and we are trying to have fruit for this each day.  He is great at helping to make a fruit salad.  His therapist wants us to talk about fruit, play with it (fake food), do activities and more.  He has recently tried some new fruits - a cherry and a plucot (mix of a plum and apricot).  Way to go Daniel!!!  We need to keep trying these foods so he doesn't "lose" the willingness to eat them.  He also likes cantaloupe, banana and apple.  We are making progress albeit slow some days.

We celebrated Daniel's birthday yesterday with a Curious George party.  It was lots of fun.  I'll post pics and details when we get the pictures uploaded. 

I am so very thankful for this precious boy!  After a very difficult pregnancy (hyperemesis gr avidarum including bedrest, lots of meds, and multiple trips to the hospital), it was a delight to welcome this adorable (and big - 9 lb 6 oz) baby into our family!  He brings laughter, hugs and much joy to our days.  Thank you God for giving us this sweet little boy!

Here are a few pictures over the years.

1st Birthday

2nd Birthday

3rd Birthday

Recent photo - almost 4!

I love you Daniel!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More on the Duke Children's Classic

Thank you for those that prayed for us.  We had a wonderful day!  We were planning on bringing Eliana and at the last minute decided it might be better for all of us if she stayed with her Daddy instead.  She was dressed really cute in a new dress with hearts on it.  A baby gift from a sweet friend (thanks Karin!). 

Rebecca and I went to the Washington Duke Inn - very nice!  It's on the golf course and is a huge hotel.  We went back to where the boutique area was located.  There were other "shops" there.  There were various vendors - with at least 4 of them also selling jewelry.  We didn't walk around and look at much (though I did buy some gifts from one of the vendors - won't say what as I haven't given them yet). 

We worked at the booth for about 30 minutes or so before lunch.  We were seated at the "head table".  Things were beautifully decorated with peonies in the center of the table and gifts for each woman in her chair.  Included in the gift bags were a Vera Bradley cosmetic bag, cookies, a bracelet made by Rebecca and more - so very nice!  Rebecca and I were seated with the main speaker, Amanda Lamb and her friend, two gals who that had dh's working for Fresh Point (supplier of fresh fruit for the week-end) and two gals from the Duke Development office.  A fun table!

One of the gals asked when we sat down if I were the speaker.  I said no and indicated that Amanda Lamb was the speaker.  I told her that I was speaking only for a short time as the mom of a Duke patient.  She told me that this was always her favorite part of the lunch.  That she found these talks encouraging and inspiring.  I began then to wonder if I could even measure up. 

We were served our first course (the food was wonderful!) and then shortly afterwards, I was introduced.  I wasn't too nervous - I do actually enjoy talking to people.  This talk was probably the easiest in some ways - I knew the topic inside out.  LOL  It was also emotionally the hardest topic I've ever spoken on.  I did get teary and a little choked up at points, but didn't cry.  A good thing I think.

I began talking about the things I didn't know before Eliana was born.  (See my blog post on 11/15/07 for more on this).  I used this as a starting theme.  I'm not sure I followed it though as then I just began telling our story.  I shared the challenges and the victories - all things that I've shared here.

Towards the end I shared that I could often remember seeing other moms handle difficult things and think I just couldn't do it.  They must be stronger and more special some how.  As a mom of a special needs child that has walked through trials with her, I find that I'm just a regular mom still.  A mom that just does what needs to be done - just like other moms before me have done and moms after me will continue to do.  Most women would do anything for their child - learn, adjust, struggle and rise to meet the challengs.  When you see that "special mom", know that inside she is just like you - one who loves her child and will do whatever it takes.  She is one that has been tested in a different way perhaps or perhaps she is someone with whom you identify. 

The gal that organized our involvement in this event (thank you Robin!) told me that she had admired the way that I had handled all that we had been through with Eliana and that my comments reminded her of thoughts she had.  I am encouraged whenever I hear that people can see strength as I know it isn't me.  God is good.  I remember early on having someone say to me that I would have a story to tell.  I argued with God and told Him that I didn't want a story to tell.  I just wanted a regular life.  Well, a little further down the road and I'm thankful that I have a story - and thankful too that people are interested in hearing it.  It's really quite humbling. 

I shared that even though this is not a path I wanted to walk, that if I had to do it over again, I would choose the same path.  Any other path would not likely include our sweet Eliana.  I have been able to walk this path due to God leading me - often carrying me; family and friends supporting and encouraging me; strangers also reaching out to walk this journey with me.  It has been an incredible journey - one we are just beginning.  Even though Eliana is not the child I asked for - she is the one I wanted and just didn't know it.

I feel like I'm rambling.  I spoke for about 10 minutes.  It was encouraging to me to look out over the audience and see women identifying with my statements of faith as a part of our story - or seeing tears when I spoke of the difficulty.  When I sat down, the main speaker told me that she was glad she didn't have to go right after me.  (Lunch was in between.)  It was a sweet thing to say to me.

I wish I had taken pictures of the day - but I don't have any.  :(  Poor planning on my part.  Here is one photo of Rebecca with the jewelry she had to sell.


Rebecca sold over $300 worth of bracelets in addition to the $1250 sold for the bags for each woman attending.  I need to update her totals, but she should be at about $7000 so far (I think).

While we were at the luncheon, there was also a golf tournement going on and a Kids Zone for the children.  We didn't attend this on Sat, but went back to it on Sunday.  It was great fun.  There were games of all sorts and the children won a ticket when they played.  These could be traded in for prizes of various values.  It was interesting to see how this affected my children.  One earned lots of tickets, used 2 of them for a special beanie baby, and then donated the rest for someone else to use.  Another was focused on earning as many tickets (and prizes) as possible.  I did convince him to donate some to other children there. 




A little funny to share.  At the end of the event, Isaiah and I walked over the golf course.  I had heard that they were selling Duke t-shirts there and I wanted one.  For those that don't live in this area, there are 2 universities just 7 miles apart - great rivals.  Roger works at UNC, the other is Duke.  As we were at the t-shirt booth, Isaiah asked me (very loudly) why I was buying a Duke shirt if I was a Carolina fan.  I laughed and told him that we liked Duke - they healed Eliana's heart at Duke! 

This event was so well-done.  We were said to find out that after 35 years, this is the last year of the Duke Children's Classic.  I am thankful that we were able to be a part of it this year.  It was an honor and privilege to be able to share our story.  I am thankful that God continues to provide opportunities to tell about how He is good.

I hope this isn't too disjointed.  I wrote most of it a couple of weeks ago, and finished it tonight.  Sorry it was so late in coming.  Thank you for your prayers.  If anyone knows of a site where we might have a booth to sell bracelets or another opportunity to sell some of Rebecca's jewelry, please let me know.  :-)



Sunday, June 15, 2008

A busy couple of weeks - but now (hopefully) a little time to settle down.

Hi friends,

I feel like I've been gone for most of the last two weeks - since our Duke outing.  I'll try to catch up soon - over the next couple of days.  Here's a little of what we've been up to.

May 31 - Duke Children's Classic - It was a wonderful event.  Rebecca and I both had a great time.  I'll write more as I do want to share.  I've written most of the blog post, but wanted to see if we had a few photos to share.  The same day, we had some good friends come to visit for a couple of days. 

June 2-5 - Camp for my children.  A co-operative camp done by a group of friends.  It was a full week of outdoor activities.

June 6 - Clean, pack, prepare - and finish a scrapbook!  :-)

June 7 - 14 - Spend a week at Lake Lure celebrating my parent's 50th wedding anniversary.  We were there with my parents and my sister's family.  We stayed in a wonderful house and did so many fun things together.  I'll be posting details and photos as I can this week. 

We just arrived home late last night.  We are tired and resting up.  Also celebrating Father's Day here. 

I didn't post in advance about our vacation as I felt a little funny announcing that we were leaving for a week.  Perhaps a little cautious, but in any event - we are home.  We have no plans for the rest of the summer and I'm looking forward to some down time to organize, plan and prepare for the upcoming school year - also time to just play and have fun with my family.

Before I close I want to say Happy Father's Day to my Dad.  I am very thankful for my Dad.  He has taught me much in life and I'm thankful for his example, his words of wisdom and his generous heart.  He taught me (often) that life isn't fair and that having a good attitude meant more than just having good fortune.  He taught me about honesty and a strong work ethic - through the things that he said, but mostly by just the way he lived his life.  He showed me that even when others are criticising you (he was a college basketball coach) and second guessing you, that you just had to keep your faith and do your best.  I couldn't imagine having a Dad greater than mine.  I thank God for him every day.

Happy Father's Day Daddy!!!  I love you!

Happy Father's Day to my husband, Roger, too!  Our children are working hard to make this a special day for him and showing their love in a sweet number of ways.  I'm thankful that you make time to spend with our children - playing and just being with them.  I'm thankful that family is important to you.  I hope your day is special - just like you are.