Sunday, April 26, 2009

Earthly Angels

We had a statewide conference that really impacted me. It was about California, but I think is applicable to so much more. It was about seeking Zion, the 'pure in heart', wherever we are. We have seen people leaving California in search for a better place to live; cheaper, more conservative, more youth, etc. While these are good to seek, I got the message that they can be found wherever you are. The "grass is greener sydrome" is a hard outlook to have. If I lived there, if I had this job, if my kid was more, if I was... This attitude isn't always the key to true happiness. I am privledged to know people who would be happy wherever they are, whatever they are asked to endure or do and whomever they are surrounded by. They find the positives, they seek after purity, they surround themselves with good and they radiate happiness.

Here are a few of them...

My Sister - Anyone who knows Heather knows that she finds the positive. She is a great new mom! Roman ranks up there with Tyler for fussy baby sydrome. He had trouble nursing due to a traumatic birth, yet she endured with patience and success. Amidst his constant crying, when most would be frustrated and complaining, she continues to dwell on the absolute miracle he is.
Christi- A mission companion who finds the beauty of the earth and the beauty of people wherever she goes. Every companion blesses you with a unique perspective and goodness. She continues to teach me about Christ-like love and charity. She creates adventures and fun.
Andrea & Owen Simmons- a heart mom and her son who teaches me to love and smile no matter what. They are always seeking hope and peace in Christ. They inspire me. Owen is a little younger than Tyler with the same condition. We are praying Owen recieves a new heart which he desparately needs. In the meantime he continues to be an absolute love.
Jenny - A friend from college who had every reason to complain from arthritis pain in college, yet never once did and instead chose to radiate happiness and a positive outlook to all. She is an amazing person in so many ways.
Julia & Ben -Danny's cousins. They are always happy and seeking and sharing the good in others. I think that is a wonderful trait to have.
I feel blessed by the silent and quiet example of these 5 individuals. We talked about spiritual and earthly angels in church today. I feel surrounded by amazing people who bless my life in countless ways. I think we are so often blessed by others by the way they live. There are so many more who I want to highlight. Thank you for blessing me and making me a better person!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Santa Cruz Part 1

So you can see we didn't plan on going swimming.  It was a gorgeous day and Scott couldn't resist the water.  Next time I will bring a swim suit.  In the meantime Thomas underwear did the job.  Scott had a GREAT time.  It was so fun to see him so happy.  He truly loves the water.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Scott's Chosen Professions for the Week

Doctor Scott loves to give shots and bandaids.  He makes sure to check your heart, blood pressure and give you medicine.  He also undoubtedly calls nurse ann (Tyler's nurse) on his fake doctor phone for advice.  

Profession #2 - Hairstylists.  At least we have an excuse if Tyler has a bad haircut.  This should be an infomercial for how anyone can cut hair.  Tyler looks scared, don't you think?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Please Contribute Stories of HOPE!!

As many of you know I am writing a book entitled Children of Hope. It is about how disabilities, illness, infertility or accident can often lead a family from devastation and heartache to hope, love and ultimately peace in Christ, the true Child of Hope. I want this to bring hope and peace to parents and families facing a similar struggles. The book will be divided into small chapters representing each child of hope. If you are an adult and would like to contribute your story that would also be great!! I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to pass this onto anyone who has been a testament of hope to you!! Thanks for your help. I have heard from some amazing people and excited to continue hearing from others. If you have questions or comments contact me at

Here are two examples that I wrote about my children to give you an idea of the book:

Tyler Anthony McMillan, HLHS, September 4, 2007

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. His eternal mission was coming into view and we were beginning to understand his divine mission. 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 fragile health, hospital stays and uncertain life-span, I came to realize that many of my initial hopes and dreams as a mother were being replaced with far greater ones.

I learned to treasure motherhood to its fullest rejoicing in the small moments and miracles of life. Each day with my son was seen as a wonderful gift. Once expected milestones such as babbling, crawling and walking became small miracles for Tyler. Tyler taught hundreds about the peace and hope found in Christ. He taught my family about the importance of being sealed for time and all eternity. I know his heart was hand-crafted by a loving Heavenly Father that will help mold him into the person that he will oneday become. It is part of his very special mission to ultimatley teach, love and give hope through Christ.

Carl Lavar, Arachnoid Cyct, Stillborn December 25, 2008

When Tyler, our heart baby turned one, we were excited to find out we pregnant with our third child. Throug 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 these feelings 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 hope 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 would have hope in Christ, the resurrection and eternal life and families.

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. He is a reminder of the bigger and greater gift we receive because of our Savior Jesus Christ and that is the gift of eternal life.

I miss Carl, but recognize and rejoice that the Lord has blessed me with all the hopes and dreams a mother could possibly desire. Joseph Smith said, "The Lord takies 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, Ill.)

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. He is a daily reminder of living life with hope in Christ. When things don't go as expected, we can remain hopeful in a greater plan, find peace in a loving Lord and rejoice in the resurrection to be reunited with our loved ones.

Carl's short life taught me to rejoice in the eternal plan and hope of Jesus Christ. I have no doubt that I will see Carl again. I have no doubt that I will have the opportunity to raise him. Some might not consider him the perfect child, but in and through Christ he is. 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.

Marine World

We got a free pass for spring break to marine world so headed out to Thomas Town for the day. It was a lot of fun. Scott concentrates so much on certain rides to have the ride go up and down. Here he is on flying Dumbo. We explored a huge jungle gym. His favorite part was to climb this huge tunnel made of that blue mesh. All the big kids thought he looked cool and immediatly followed his lead. How often do you see an 8 year old follow a 3 year old? Pretty funny. I imagine Danny was the same climbing dare devil that Scott is.
We went up inthe air on the hot air balloon. They were like tea-cups and Scott had them going way faster than I would have liked. Made me sick.

We saw a great sealion and killer whale show. Here we are at the sea lion show.

Great day. What other place has little kid rides, thomas town, killer whale shows, animal kingdoms and giant roller-coasters?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Advisory Board

The advisory board was very interesting last night. There are about 15 people on the board and the architects' plans were so impressive. This firm specializes in building hospitals. This one is going to be so nice, peaceful and wonderful for patients, doctors and families. The next step is taking it to the state which they said is about a 1.5 year speed-project. All the rooms are private, there are playrooms, activity rooms, and teen rooms galore. Every room has a huge media center and sleep area for parents. We now sleep in the ICU and step-down on a pull out chair which I felt so privledged about. UCSF became a family friendly hospital a couple years ago which has benefited all. It is easier for the kids to have parents present, since they are able to do a lot of the minor care and soothing and can gauge their childrens demeanor for doctors. There are three garden terraces off the floors for the kids to roam. It will be so nice. The families have been working on integrating a lot of their ideas with the architects and it was neat to see their opinions being set in motion. We are working on doing monthly brunches for parents in the hospital but need to find donors and figure out liguistics. Next month we will discuss our goals and break down into sub-committees. I really want to be involved in family-to-family support which doesn't really exist right now.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Meet Adorable Turin

Meet our newest nephew, Turin Olson. What a cute little guy. They name their kids after cities. First one to guess where Turin is wins a prize. If there was one sibling who would have similar looking kids to us it was Michelle. I think she looks the most like Danny yet our kids look completley different. Michelle and Jared are such great parents and Turin is one lucky little man. Now we just need to talk them into moving to California or they need to talk us into moving to Utah so the cousins can play.

Be As A Little Child

What better way to start your morning than go to the temple?  My temple attendance has not been great since I had Tyler.  I am with the kids in the day and work at night which is no excuse, but I needed to find a time tht works for me.  I decided to try out the 5:30AM session this morning and LOVED it!  It got me up and I was back before 8 to be mom.  I think Danny and I are going to trade off weeks for this hidden treasured time. We would love company if you want to join us.  Plus it only took me about 20 minutes to get there.  Last night I mentioned to Danny I was going to go to the temple so of course during FHE Scott kept asking about Temples.  We referred to the temple as the Lord's house, looked at pictures and said how we learn about and are close to Jesus there.  This morning as soon as I returned home Scott kept asking me something.  I was talking to Danny and not really listening to Scott.  After about the fifth time I realized Scott was saying, "Mommy, did you see Jesus at the temple?" How cute is that? It was a reminder to be as little children.  Scott learned last night the temple is the Lord's house which clearly means in a 3 year olds mind that I was visiting Jesus this morning.  Just that makes me want to go to the temple more often.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

UCSF Childrens Hospital Advisory Board

I am excited and humbled to become a member of UCSF Children's Hospital Advisory Board. I was asked to help represent cardiac families. The advisory board was started two years ago to help facilitate UCSF with plans for their new children's hospital. It consists of doctors, hospital workers, families, community members and architects. UCSF children's hospital is building a 289-bed, integrated hospital complex to serve children, women and cancer patients near its existing biomedical campus at Mission Bay. The first phase should be completed by 2014 with a budget of $1.686 billion. It is one of the largest building projects in the western United States which is greatly needed for our economy right now. What an exciting time for the future of children's healthcare! So many will be blessed by this project. My family has been so blessed by UCSF and I know the doctors, surgeons and research will continue to bless countless lives. I feel humbled to live in a nation and area where Tyler can receive some of the best care in the world. I recognize that most children and families in the world are not as fortunate. My first meeting is on Tuesday to welcome new members and hear the architectual plans. The Advisory board has goals to start forming family to family support, brunches and activities to bridge families and provide support. Intermountain Healing Hearts is such an example of this at Primary Childrens. I hope that we can provide a little of the support in California that so many of you provide at Primary's. So many are such examples to the support community we aspire to have at UCSF. Here is a little about the new children's hospital:

No More Peanuts

Tyler gets these little welts/hives on his hands, face, feet, sometimes entire body sporadically. My concern was if it was a blood pressure/heart issue. I know it isn't logical, but sometimes things aren't logical. In the ER I tried to explain the bumps to the doctors and Tyler suddenly got some a couple and it was concluded he has an allergy. His cardiologist laughed at the things this child encounters. So the narrowing down begins which I am not very good at. We were at the beach and after he had a pb&j sandwich they appeared on his neck and face. I have yet to exclusively give him peanut butter again, but am leaning towards that. Wish me luck on my allergy detective skills. I am too laid back to figure this stuff out. Update: I just gave him a little bit of a yummy peanut butter chocolate candy and a welt appeared. Problem solved. I'll call his nurse and see what she wants us to do.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tyler Update

This age is so fun. Tylers personality really comes through. Tyler is a sensitive little man, loves his mommy and daddy and at times a little rascal that is busy busy busy. He loves doing anything his brother does.

Danny gave me a call last night as I was signing the lease to our condo (that's right, we rented our condo to a great family...YIPEE!!) He said he was bringing Tyler to the ER because he was having a hard time breathing from being in pain over something. He was kind of grunting to breathe which is sometimes a sign of heart failure. I got there a little earlier and said we were coming and they were so great. They brought us right in and had the ER doctor and pediatric in-house doctor waiting. His cardiologist came in to do an echo. The EKG, Echo and chest x-ray showed that his heart looks the same as his baseline which is GREAT news. We know his heart is doing well and wont need another echo for a while. We will get a lung scan done in July to see if he needs another cath for his pulmonary artery and continue to work on getting him chuncky for an eventual Fontan. Doctors talked about admitting his last night and after a couple hours he was a different, happier, more relaxed baby so we didn't have to make a visit to San Fran. Today he was busy blowing kisses, playing trains and riding his cars around the backyard. Makes me treasure our little man and makes you realize that heart babies can take a turn for the worse pretty quickly. What a difference a little TLC and a day can make.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

25 years ago...

Go S C O T T S D A L E!! Scottsdale Invitational, Age 4

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Boys

How can you not LOVE these adorable faces...