Saturday, December 31, 2011

Two Peas in a...


and in a basket

I swear, Abby does wear pants (ones that aren't her jammies).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Truth About Santa

A few weeks ago, a friend asked, as her facebook status, How did you find out the truth about Santa?

Several people had commented. Despite the years that have passed, everyone can remember how it happened.

I remember my moment very distinctly. I had received a new bike for Christmas--from Santa. As tradition went, I headed over to my next-door-neighbors' house to check out their loot. When their mom asked me what I got for Christmas, I told her I got a bike. Her response, "Oh yeah, I saw your parents bring that home." I can still feel the disappointment. Being a pretty late believer, I had my suspicions but it was still devastating to know the truth.

Sadly, my poor husband never remembers believing in Santa. By the time he came around, the magic was lost--one of the sad disadvantages of being the youngest of 8 children.

We were kind of at odds about the Santa situation. Should we perpetuate the myth? Should we detract from the true meaning of Christmas? I tried to explain that Santa was more than the presents. He brings a joy to Christmas that can't be replicated. When I found out the truth, a part of me, a part of my childlike innocence died.

I saw this letter (maybe you've seen it floating around the internet) and it touched my heart. This is what Santa is all about.

Dear Lucy,

Thank you for your letter. You asked a very good question: “Are you Santa?”

I know you’ve wanted the answer to this question for a long time, and I’ve had to give it careful thought to know just what to say.

The answer is no. I am not Santa. There is no one Santa.

I am the person who fills your stockings with presents, though. I also choose and wrap the presents under the tree, the same way my mom did for me, and the same way her mom did for her. (And yes, Daddy helps, too.)

I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the stairs on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their small faces lit with Christmas lights.

This won’t make you Santa, though.

Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.

It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.

Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.

With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.

So, no. I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too.

I love you and I always will.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Is it Enough?

I was reading to Abby from The Friend magazine today and we read a story called The Gift.

The story talks about a little girl, Sofia, who's family in quarantined after several of their farm animals die suddenly. Nobody is allowed to come to or leave their farm. When Christmas comes, they don't have any presents, decorations or special food for a nice meal.

Sofia's older brother surprises the family by setting up a beautiful nativity scene in the woods near their farm.

Sofia is touched by the beauty of this special surprise from her brother...

"And suddenly Sofia knew that it was [a Merry Christmas]. There would be no presents, no tree, and no special dinner. But there would always be the precious gift of the Savior. And that was enough."

I got emotional reading these words. We celebrate Christmas to remind us about the gift of the Savior but is the knowledge of this wonderful gift enough to make Christmas special?

Of course, there is nothing wrong with decorating our homes, visiting Santa, baking goodies and giving gifts. Sometimes though, we get so caught up in all of that that we forget what Christmas is really about.

I hope the knowledge of the precious gift of the Savior may bring all of us joy during this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mama called the doctor...

and the doctor and the doctor...

Several months ago, we noticed that the birthmark on Abby's tummy was looking a little bit unusual. It had a dark spot in the center and the edges were slightly darker than the rest. We showed it to her pediatrician who agreed it was, indeed, unusual looking. She referred us to a pediatric dermatologist for a better look. When I called to make an appointment, we couldn't get scheduled anywhere for almost 6 months. The pediatrician had told us not to be particularly concerned so we figured the 6 month wait would be fine. We finally took her to the appointment a few weeks ago. Because she is so young, the dermatologist decided that a punch biopsy would be the best course of action. On a side note, he gave us a prescription that FINALLY made Abby's eczema go away.

Last week, she had the biopsy. The dermatologist prescribed a topical numbing cream for us to put on the birthmark before the procedure. Once we were in the office, he gave Abby an injection so she couldn't feel the procedure. She cried a little but didn't wiggle. Sam held a book in front of her face while I read it to her so she couldn't see what was going on. It only took a few minutes. She ended up with one or two cool blue stitches. Seeing as she's so accident prone, it's amazing that these were her first stitches.

The day before her procedure, she started to have a bit of a runny nose and some discharge from her eye. The day of the procedure she had A LOT of discharge from her eyes and they were quite red--Pink Eye. We called the pediatrician and they prescribed some antibiotic eye drops, which have been working really well.

The day after the procedure, Abby woke up from her nap very grumpy. I couldn't figure out what her deal was until I noticed she was holding her ear and getting more irritable. I called the pediatrician again and they said there were no more appointments that day. She was really suffering so Sam took her over to a friend's house, who happens to be an ENT. He confirmed that she had an ear infection and wrote her a prescription for antibiotics. This was her first ear infection which is pretty amazing because her daddy and many of her cousins have suffered from chronic ear infections.

So, in 24 hours, she had pink eye, a biopsy and an ear infection. Our house has felt like a pharmacy administering all of her different creams and medications. At her 3-year well-visit yesterday, the doctor said her eye and ear are still infected but she is feeling pretty well so we just have to wait for the antibiotics to clear everything up.

We also received the results of her biopsy yesterday. They define her birthmark as a focal epithelial atypia. I would tell you to look it up on wikipedia, but it doesn't exist. The term essentially means there is no name for what she has. The skin cells are abnormal. They can't give any prediction of what the future holds because she is so young and it doesn't fit the mold of any condition. Our dermatologist has suggested we have the whole birthmark removed to prevent future concerns. She will have to be put out this time because it will be a more invasive procedure, which is scary for anyone, let alone a 3-year-old. I'm grateful though, because I know the diagnosis could have been worse.

I am so thankful for modern medicine and skilled doctors that can help my babies stay as healthy as possible.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Clara at 9 Months

I intended to be one of those awesome moms who takes a picture of their child in the same place once a month to watch them grow. Then, I was going to write little tidbits about milestones and developments. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans...

Clara turned 9 months yesterday. She is hilarious and full of spunk.

She loves to eat "big people" food. We had a hard time getting her started on solids but now she'll happily eat anything. She learned her first sign--more! She may be a tiny little thing but she can sure put it down.

She is now almost exclusively bottle fed, much to my chagrin. She prefers real food to bottles. It's going to be a struggle to get her to drink her bottles for another 3 months.

She loves her big sister. They have fun dance parties and wrestling matches. They are good little roommates. I got Clara up yesterday morning and when Abby woke up she was upset that Clara wasn't in the room. She said, "Can you not get Clara out tomorrow?"

She is still behind in her gross motor skills but she can usually get where she wants to go with the combination of rolling and rotating. Her physical therapist still comes once a week and she seems pleased with her progress. We hope she can learn to crawl soon so she won't get so frustrated.

She has the cutest, cheesiest crinkle-nose grin and she knows when to lay it on.

She is a sweetheart and we love her to pieces, even if her favorite sound to make is DADADADA.
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