Thursday, March 26, 2009

Our Backyard Adventures

Scott asks to go on adventures around the backyard in which I get to "teach" the kids about sun/shade, bugs, weeds, roots, etc.  The bizillion random things you can teach a toddler.  Motherhood with toddlers consists of being a full-time teacher which I am learning little by little with occasional breaks to absorb the sun.  I love spring!!  Can you tell?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

An Adorable Cousin

I can't get enough of Roman.  He is soo cute.  I am so thrilled for Tyler and Scott to have a cousin so close by to play with and babysit.   

Have I ever mentioned that Tyler LOVES babies?  He does.  One of his first words was baby and he will let you know of every baby that crosses your path.
I stole this from Heather's blog.  Scott couldnt wait to go over and hold Roman.  When he did he was very quiet and watched him very carefully.  It was really cute.  He was such a great big brother and will be such a great cousin.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thomas Town

Danny and I work every other Saturday and my parents usually take the kids. Have I ever mentioned that they are the BEST grandparents in the world. My mom can play non-stop and my dad is the most interactive, caring, protective "Pop" that I know. They always find the coolest and most fun attractions for the kids. Last weekend they went to the new and improved, kid friendly Marine World Africa USA. Scott and Tyler enjoyed the Thomas section of the park. My parents both got season passes to return with the kids in the summer. What lucky boys and now they have a third grandson to spoil!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Honoring Two Angels

I was talking to a longtime pediatric cardiologist who I highly respect. We had an interesting discussion about support groups. He pointed out that many longtime group members are those with severe conditions. He says it becomes problematic when these groups are constantly grieving over the loss of someone in their extended "heart family". I understand and respect his viewpoint and can see how this wouldn't be beneficial, but wish he could comprehend how angels have blessed me. He said that faith is an important element of that which I couldn't agree more to. I wouldn't change the fact of knowing any of these children, no matter the length of stay they have on this earth. Although I am not part of a support group in this area, I have come to know, adore and been strengthened and uplifted by numerous heart children and their families. Many are in Intermountain Healing Hearts. It has been nothing but a humbling, uplifting and testimony-building experience for me. This group is unique. Many understand and gain hope in an eternal plan, understanding the divinity and miracle of their heart child. As these heart children depart from this life, their families and all the lives these precious angels touched are drawn closer to God. Mercydez's family talked about becoming better, not bitter, through the departure of their beautiful girl. That touched me. All the children in this group have made me a better person. Two of these angels, whom I have learned from, admired and loved from afar, will never be forgotten in what they taught me: the miracle of life. I was touched by their inner beauty and the miraculous love of God and His eternal plan. Mercydez and Avery returned to Heavenly Father this week. I was touched and uplifted by their families' love for their children and Heavenly Father. My heart and prayers go out to their beauiful families, but I do gain peace that Mercydez and Avery helped their families become more heavenly and helped others draw unto God.

Angel MercydezHer parents wrote, " How grateful I am that Heavenly Father found us worthy to have an Angel in our midst. This Angel endured every one of her trials. She endured well. Her body was perfect. Her spirit is perfect.We will honor our sweet baby. We will honor her by living the way she lived. Although this will be a long road, we will walk it with dignity, love, kindness, honesty, patience, and faith. We know there will be moments of deep sorrow and loss. We will allow ourselves to feel while keeping our eye on the big picture. We will become better not bitter."

Angel Avery

"Avery came down from heaven for just a brief visit on March 10, 2009. She came and left us, both on the same day. She didn’t have to be here long to touch our lives forever."

Thank you Mercydez and Avery for making me a better person!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2 Bed/ 2 Bath Downtown Walnut Creek Condo

Within minutes of dowtown restaurants, shopping, BART, civic Park
Updated appliances
Laminate floor in Family Room, Carpet in Bedrooms
Great Balcony w/ mountain views
Quiet Upper Corner Unit
Great Neighbors and Community

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Why Mormons Build Temples?

A lot of people have questioned me about temples lately due to HBO. Here is a great post that explains and shows the temple if you are interested.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Baby Roman

Dr. Paul Stanger was Heather's cardiologist until a couple years ago when she was transferred to adult pediatrics. He is still at UCSF and was great to us during Tyler's surgeries. He is highly respected by all. What a guy! Heather had a 2 day labor. They went as slow as possible with her heart with a couple snags along the way. We are grateful Heather and Roman made it through and are doing well.
Here is the cute little man! Roman Walter Maddox. 6lb. 10 oz. A lot of people think he looks like Scott as a baby. He is so cute. Can you tell I am a very proud Aunt. I love this little man so very much! I am so excited for Scott and Tyler to have a little cousin to play with.

View from Heather's room at UCSF. UCSF is in a beautiful part of San Francisco. Golden Gate Park is such a great place full of life, great musuems and cute little shops and restaurants. The pediatric social worker asked if I wanted to be part of UCSF's childrens hospital Advisory Board. They are building a new children's hospital and have put together a board to help in the process. It would be very interesting to be a part of. They are planning on building an AMAZING facility which would be great for the future of UCSF pediatrics. It is already one of the best hospitals in the nation and would be wonderful to have an updated, amazing facility.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Swimmer's Party

Many of you know I coach swimming. Four of my swimmers had a joint birthday party which was a lot of fun. Danny took some swimming pictures of them at practice for gifts. Happy 10th and 11th birthdays!!

Can you match the swimmer with the person?

Just what do swimmers do for their birthday party?... A swim party. For fun I raced these guys in a 25 and barely won. Danny couldn't believe that the old lady could actually still swim. They would have smoked me in a 50 and I think are all faster than me when I was 10. They are some of the fastest swimmers in this area and in the nation. Pretty fun to coach them.

Here are some of the swimmers I coach. The entire group was invited and over half the entire group made it. So much fun!!

Tyler and Scott had fun swimming and eating at the party too.
Tyler and his cake and pizza.

Scott loved playing with the noodle!

A Kiss for Mom

Proof that your kids will always love you.  Tyler couldn't figure out what was in my mouth.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Living For Eden Benefit Concert

To all my Utah Friends and Family: Please support Paul Cardall at this wonderful benefit concert put on by some of his friends who care (Kurt Bestor, Peter Breinholt, and Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband, along with other talented artists). I saw some of these guys in concert while at BYU and they were great. This is very dear to me since it is helping a wonderful family who has inspired many heart families including mine. This would be a GREAT FHE activity for students and families. The “Living for Eden Concert,” so named in honor of Cardall’s 3-year-old daughter, will get underway at 7:30 p.m on Monday, April 6 at Cottonwood High. A silent auction will precede the concert beginning at 6:30 p.m.“ Cardall, who was born 35 years ago with a severe congenital heart defect, has been on the waiting list for a heart transplant since last August. He has been limited in his ability to support his family and to meet escalating medical expenses during his prolonged illness. Seeing their friend’s condition, Cardall’s colleagues decided to do what they do best – make music and use their talents to benefit Paul, his wife Lynnette and their daughter Eden.“Each of us wanted to do something to benefit Paul,” said Peter Breinholt. “Coming together as we are is our way of paying tribute to, as well as helping, one of our own. A hundred percent of the proceeds will go to help Paul with his mounting expenses.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Blog Links

One of these days I am going to try to update my blog links. If I miss you and you want to be added (especially our heart friends) let me know. Thanks!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Ensign

My sister-in-law published a story this month about not gettin along with someone and looking inward instead of outward for the problem and solution. Check it out here. It was really well written and a great life lesson.

Anyway, it inspired me to sit down and write my story. Since I doubt it will ever be published, here it is. It was really fun to write. I used to write articles in college but never sent them in. Maybe I am not as lazy as I used to be. You should do it too. So many of you have such faith promoting stories!

From adolescence, I dreamed of someday being a mother and blessing my children with all the world could offer. My dream became a reality when my husband and I welcomed Scott, a beautiful, healthy boy into our family. Nineteen months later, we were blessed with a second son, however, this time it was different. Many of our initial hopes and dreams to have a healthy child were stripped from him before he was even born.

Tyler was pre-diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a severe heart condition. We were given little hope for our son, encouraged to terminate the pregnancy, and told that his heart couldn’t be fixed. He would undergo three open-heart surgeries before age four and an eventual heart transplant. Amidst pain and heartache, we turned to the Lord.

Our ward was wonderful during this time and desired to fast for our family and unborn son. Although we had no doubt in the Lord’s ability to heal his heart, we felt this wasn’t His will and shouldn’t be requested. Instead, we prayed and fasted for clarity and understanding. The answer came in quiet reflection at the temple that his heart would be a heart to heal, a heart to teach and a heart to love. We knew that our son had chosen this mission and felt privileged to be a part of it.

The first months of life weren’t easy. He underwent two open-heart surgeries, had one cardiac arrest when his heart stopped, and had severe liver problems causing heart-wrenching pain. Amidst his health problems, I came to realize that many of my initial hopes and dreams for him were being replaced with far greater ones.

I know his heart was handcrafted by a loving and all-knowing God to heal, love and teach others. His heart condition taught me to treasure motherhood and each day I have with my children. He taught us about the importance of being sealed for time and all eternity in the temple. His journey has testified of faith and peace found in Christ. I know his heart is part of his very special mission and the man he will one day become.

A year later we were pregnant once again. Throughout the early stages of pregnancy, I often heard the gentle whisperings of the spirit that this was a “child of hope.” For months, I interpreted this as having a healthy child, free from the worry and pain that Tyler was asked to endure. Every time I heard this gentle reassurance from the spirit, I grew in faith and felt that everything would be alright.

As prenatal testing indicated major neurological problems with our third son, an unknown life expectancy and poor quality of life, it became evident that my interpretation of ‘a child of hope’ differed from the Lord’s.

Proverbs 3:5-6 came to my mind. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
I knew I needed to seek the Lord instead of my own understanding. It wasn’t until I began to seek with spiritual eyes, pondering the words of scripture and prophets that I began to understand the true meaning of a child of hope.

The scriptures often speak of hope as anticipation of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. Moroni 7:41 reads, “And what is it that ye shall ahope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have bhope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life ceternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.”

When I read this, the Lord filled me with a greater understanding and hope of His will. I knew that whatever the health of our child or number of days we were blessed to have him, we should have hope in Christ, the resurrection and eternal life.

Carl, my baby of hope, was born stillborn on Christmas morning which was the ultimate testament of his mortal mission as a child of hope. What a marvelous birthday to share than that of our Savior, the true Child of Hope. The morning of his birth, we held our sweet angel, knowing he was in a better place, free from the pain and heartache of this world because of a child born over 2,000 years ago that gave His life so we might have ours.

I miss Carl, but recognize and rejoice that the Lord has blessed me with all the hopes and dreams a mother could possibly desire. I hoped that he would not have to suffer in this life, which he didn’t. I hoped that he would be blessed with a marvelous life, which he has. I hoped that he would fill me with love, happiness and joy which he does.

Although my children have not been the children I ever envisioned, they have been perfectly hand-crafted for my family by a loving and merciful Lord. Some might not consider them perfect, but in and through Christ they are. All children, no matter their health or circumstance are truly children of hope. They are sent into our family with a divine mission and plan. When we seek the Lord for understanding, help and clarity, He will bless us with greater hope than we ever envisioned.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Designer Babies

Kelly Ripa was talking about an article on designer babies. Fertility clinics being able to determine the sex, eye color, etc. of your baby. I think there is a flood of fertility stories due to the octuplets arrival. Of course it is a good thing to desire the best for your children. But what does that really mean? Some children's problems are more visible than others, but all come with unique and diverse challenges. No child is perfect, yet society thinks a certain child will be loved more, simply better if they fit their criteria as a "designer" baby? I feel honored to be the mom to Scott, Tyler and Carl. Would they be considered designer babies because in my mind they are? Maybe Scott to the naive eye, but most definitely not Tyler with his heart and Carl with his brain. Still the same, they were perfectly made for my family and know they were designed exactly how Heavenly Father wanted them to be. Scott, my healthy child, has brought me great joy and love, however, hasn't been able to teach, uplift or increase my love any more or better than my other two children. Maybe I should tell the world that if they really want an increase of love or real appreciation of life and motherhood they should design a baby who is not the typical designer baby.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Treasured Gifts

Treasured Gifts
Gracie Gledhill lost her fight with HLHS today. I can't imagine what Tom, Michele and the children are experiencing but gain comfort in their faith and testimony of our Savior and eternal families. Please pray for their family during this difficult time.
Joseph Smith said , “The Lord takes many away even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, the sorrows of evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning, we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again . . . “ (History of the Church, 4:553-54: from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Mar. 20, 1843, in Nauvoo, Illinois).
This couldn’t be any more true than for Gracie. Can you imagine how good she must have been? How good Tom and Michele must have been to be honored as her parents? She was too pure and too lovely to stay here on earth. I think we were all able to witness a little glimpse of her heavenly strength and power. She drew all closer to God, testifying of His eternal plan and love. So with sadness of her departure, we have reason to rejoice that she is in a better world, free from the surgeries and pain she was asked to endure. Michele wrote "WE LOVE YOU GRACIE GIRL!! You have changed our lives for the better and we will strive to live our lives in a way that we can see you again in heaven. You have been a pure blessing, an absolute treasured gift."
I and countless others are able to echo Michele’s words in that Gracie changed lives for the better and continues to help us seek eternal life. She is a treasured gift to all that knew her or her story. A treasured gift is heaven sent with a divine mission and role. A treasured gift is one that is far more valuable than either possessions or position. It is heavenly. It is worth more than Gold. It is a reminder each and everyday of the power of Christ and the gift that He gave to all; the gift of eternal life. Gracie reminds all of us of that marvelous gift!
We love you Gracie but are certain that your mission will live on in the hearts and souls of all that you touched!