Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dreams & Waiting

I hate bad dreams.  I always dwell on them and wonder if they'll come to pass.  I often dream quite vividly, especially if there's something going on in my life at the time.  For instance, I'll dream of scrapbooking the night before a day of crafting.  Or I'll dream of fabric and quilt pieces before I begin a quilt project.  Odd stuff like that. 

Last night I dreamed about... you guessed it, Sarah.  In the dream we were given a diagnoses similar to autism but with a few quirks.  She would never get bigger physically or emotionally.  In a nutshell, we were told that she would remain our *little girl* forever.  It was absolutely heartbreaking.  I'm sad that these are the thoughts that are with me both day and night.

Waiting is hard.  Excruciatingly so in fact. 

Wait for the referral papers to arrive in the mail. 

Wait to hear that the doctor's office has received them. 

Wait to hear from the specialists. 

Wait for the appointment. 

Wait for the results. 

I'm tired of waiting.  I'm trying to be patient and have peace about this all but it's tough.  A dear friend of mine told me that tears are good for us.  That's encouraging to know.

Phillipians 4:13 says: I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength. 

This is the verse I'm clinging to on the hard days. 

Quick Project!

I had seen on Homemade Mamas WEBSITE, a tutorial on how to turn a shower pouf into a bath toy pouch.  I happened to have one lying around and gave it a shot!  It is so cute and took me about 10 minutes to whip up!  It will look so fun in the bathroom!

Click HERE for the tutorial.

Here's mine:

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Seems to be the hardest part of the day.  After the busyness of the daily activities are done and I finally sit down in the quiet... I get a little sad (or a lot).  I have time to reflect on what we've done and I wonder what the future holds for Sarah.  I don't mean to reflect on the negatives, they just seem to come out.  I think about how this isn't life threatening but it is life altering (in the words of Doug).  What does the future hold for Sarah?  For our family? 

Just now I was thinking about the upcoming MRI (in 3.5 months) and it actually made my stomach turn.  To say I'm not looking forward to it is an understatement... I'm dreading it.  The anesthetizing, the procedure, recovery and the potential results.



I have been struggling with this for Sarah since it was confirmed that she is globally delayed.  I've had a wonderful EI worker come to our house every 2-4 weeks to play with Sarah and teach me how to help her develop further.  Some of the exercises (if you will) take a fair amount of effort and time on my part.  Planning and helping her stay focused.  I know that these times will help her grow and become stronger...


a small part of my momma heart wants to leave her alone.  No therapeutic *playing*, no working on areas of weakness... nothing.  Just let her be perfectly three years old.  She will learn things as she chooses and will gain confidence and knowledge at her own pace...


I need to give her the tools required to reach her full potential.  I need to help her reach the top of HER mountain, however high that may be. 

I wish I knew the answers...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tough Questions

I received a package that I need to fill out for Sarah to be evaluated at the Glenrose Hospital.  At the bottom of the form are two questions.

1. What are your main concerns about your child?
2. What questions would you like answered?

Hm.  How do I honestly answer those?  What ARE my concerns?  I have no idea how to put feelings and tears onto paper.  I don't even know if I have any questions...

I never thought I'd be in these shoes.  I just didn't imagine that this was the path we'd be following for our daughter.  I guess I'll think on it and do my best to put the words down. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pediatrician Appointment (07/18/11)

I'm not totally sure what I expected out of today's visit at the pediatrician.  I left with a plethora of information and I'm still processing what we found out.

Let me first say, it was amazing that I actually got in to see this doctor who isn't accepting new patients and who specializes in kids with delays and special needs.  We initially saw the nurse who spent the first hour with us going over all of Sarah's birth history, growth information, developmental milestones, measurements and even blood pressure.  After an additional 10 minute wait, Dr. M came in to see us.  When all was said and done, it was determined that:
  • Sarah will get another MRI of her head to see what is going on in it.  She has a very small head due to failure of brain growth (Microcephaly).  This can (and is very likely) causing the delays in her balance, speech and other areas of development such as fine and gross motor skills. 
  • We have been asked to get genetic testing done.  We were offered this when she was younger and we didn't get it done... we likely will look into it now.
  • We've been referred to the Glenrose for more intense and therefore conclusive testing and assessments.
  • She needs to see a pediatric opthamologist for her eyes.
  • I need to work on stretching her hips.  They are really tight and are part of the balance issues she has. 
  • We'll go back for a three month follow up.
Dr. M continued to tell us that this is something she will {very likely} deal with for the rest of her life.  She will require helps and special education for many years.  I'm glad my home school can incorporate special education!  Until we get results from the testing though, we won't be able to know what her full potential is and what we can do about it.  He agreed that the play therapy from our local Early Intervention Program is good for her.  At this point, I'm not going to put her into a preschool/special needs school.  My biggest concern is that my sweet and quiet little girl would be so compliant that she may not receive the help she needs.  I can do that at home.  I have a little *school* of four students and with all five of her family members surrounding her, she will get all the help she needs here.   

During the initial exams, she cried.  She didn't like having her blood pressure taken or her ears checked.  She was equally upset when the Doctor started manipulating her hips.  She kept crying with these huge tears rolling down her cheeks, "I wan' go hoooooome".  Poor little girl.  

I am so thankful that Doug and Melanie (my sister in law) were able to join me at the appointment.  I am was emotionally charged to begin with and it was a blessing to have two extra people to support me as well as hear things that I may have missed. 

Earlier I mentioned that Dr. M isn't accepting new patients.  It just so happens that my beautiful sister in law is a nurse for him and she asked if he would accept and look at Sarah.  He agreed to see her and as hard as today's visit was, I'm very thankful. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In Loving Memory - Part 2

Here are some thoughts that have gone through my mind today:
  • Do people remember this day and why it is so hard and painful for me?  I know they used to but I wonder if over time, others have just forgotten...
  • I wish that on July 13 of every year, I could have a few hours to myself.  To think, cry, read, sleep... whatever I wanted, without having to think about the kids.  I feel that is one of the harder parts.  I have no time alone to be sad.
  • I would have liked to have bought myself a bouquet of yellow roses.  They were my mom's favorite and because they were, I've become quite fond of them myself.  My dad used to do that for me.
  • I don't think that over time, it gets easier.  The pain is still there and although, maybe not as fresh as it was 12 years ago, this is one of the hardest days in a year. 
  • Someone used to call me on this day.  I miss that friend a lot. 
  • I feel sad (and even a bit angry) at those who do not have a good relationship with their mom.  I'd do just about anything to have mine back.
  • She would be the one person I could talk honestly and openly to about anything.
(Not bad, the tears just started now)
  • I'm sad that she didn't get to see more of her children get married or more grandkids be born.  She would have loved and doted on every single one of them.  
  • I feel like I've been short changed on life.  I don't have the opportunity to tell her about the kids, their successes, their joys and their tears.  What would she think about my choices in how I've raised them?
  • She was such a strong woman in her faith.... I feel so immature when I compare myself to her.  As of late (with Sarah stuff), I've faltered and stumbled in my walk with God.  
  • I feel alone.  I am very thankful for the prayers that friends offer but it just doesn't fill the void... at least not today.
  • For many years I embraced the role of the "Big Sister" which forced me to keep my feelings in check, especially when on of my siblings were feeling down.  I often put on the brave, happy face that I felt I needed to show them.  Thankfully, I've let my guard down and allow myself to be sad and emotional when I need to.
  • I am thankful for the years I had.  She taught me how to be a homemaker, wife and mom.  So much of how I do things is because that's the way she did it.  
  • I hope for a long life on earth, watching my children grow up and growing old with Doug.  I am so thankful for eternal life in Heaven.  I look forward to one day being reunited with her, just as she was with her mom.
  • Something I try so hard at believing (but don't always do such a good job of) is written on her headstone: GOD IS AND ALL IS WELL
I may add more later.  This is all that's coming to me now.

In Loving Memory - Part 1

Today I found the words that I spoke at my Mom's funeral.  It's quite long but I thank you for hearing my heart.  Also remember, I was quite a bit younger and in emotional turmoil.  Any quotes from my Mom are in italicsI will write a response to this later...

My mom put her whole life in God's hands. Much of what I will try to say today is from the journals she wrote in. Shortly before her surgery in April, she had written: 

“How could I leave? How could my family make it without me? All I could do was hang onto my faith that night and over the next few days. God took me through the valley. His answer was simple, 'I love you and I love your family and no matter what the outcome, I will take care of all of you.'”

She continues to write:

“God will help John and the kids through and I have to trust Him to just that. My mom died when I was 29 in 1984 and I felt I was much too young. My kids are younger and I can't even think of what it would be like for them. My greatest fear is that they will turn away from God in anger.”

I truly believe the opposite has happened. My faith in God has become much stronger since her illness began in December of 1997. She was a light that shone to me and helped me get through the storms. After reading numerous journals, I know that it was God who helper her along and it is God who will continue to help me along as well.

The next thing I want to say came from a piece she wrote titled On Being a Mom. It is too long to read entirely so I chose some special lines.

“I love my children and it has always been important to me that they know it and feel it. I hugged and kissed my babies, they often fell asleep on my chest. I tried to tell them I loved them. I used words, actions, and connections. I tried to listen and really hear them. I tried to make each feel special, protected, encouraged and obedient. I tried to mold their behaviour so they would be likeable children. I tried to teach them clear moral standards and the meaning of loyalty and sharing. I encouraged them to be their own person. I taught them to work hard and do their best. To live with gusto and enthusiasm.”

After reading that, I realized that I want to be the mom to Joshua that she was to me. I feel that those are a set of guidelines that I need to follow and raise my own son by. I hope I do a good job. The last thing I want to quote is a prayer Mom wrote on August 4, 1998.

“Father in Heaven, I ask in the name of your Son Jesus, that through the power of the Holy Spirit, that I may be healed completely. Fully and totally healed and restored. I long to be whole and physically strong. Please hear my prayer O God.”

The first time I read that, I was angry with God. Why didn't He answer her desperate plea? Why couldn't he have done that for her? Then I began to realize that He did. Maybe not the way we would have wanted – to have her earthy heart healed – but I know her Heavenly heart is beating in perfect rhythm. She is running down the streets of gold praising the God she fully trusted. She is a witness to me and I have learned a lot from her and her personal testimony. I thank God for the special times I shared with her after Joshua was born and I will treasure those days forever. I would just like to add:

Mom, you taught me everything I know – how to cook, clean, and bake; how to be a good wife and mom. You were the best teacher in the world, and as my role model, I hope I continue to live the way you would have wanted me to. I will never forget the many talks we had and any time I have a cup of tea, I'll be thinking of you.  You were my best friend in the whole world and I wasn't ready to say good-bye.  We are both too young to lose each other and I still need you more than ever.  On Tuesday morning, I promised I would take care of Joshua for you, and I know you'll be watching out for us.   I love you Mom and will miss you always.

Time To Say Goodbye

This is the song that was played at my mom's funeral.  The only difference is that the recording we used didn't have Sara Brightman.  I couldn't find a copy with just Andrea Bocelli.

The translated lyrics are:

When I'm alone I dream of the horizon and words fail me.
There is no light in a room where there is no sun
and there is no sun if you're not here with me, with me.
From every window unfurls my heart the heart that you have won.
Into me you've poured the light,
the light that you found by the side of the road.

Time to say goodbye.
Places that I've never seen or experienced with you.
Now I shall, I'll sail with you upon ships across the seas,
seas that exist no more,
it's time to say goodbye.

When you're far away I dream of the horizon and words fail me.
And of course I know that you're with me, with me.
You, my moon, you are with me.
My sun, you're here with me with me, with me, with me.

Time to say goodbye.
Places that I've never seen or experienced with you.
Now I shall, I'll sail with you upon ships across the seas,
seas that exist no more

I'll revive them with you.
I'll go with you upon ships across the seas,
seas that exist no more,
I'll revive them with you.
I'll go with you.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Deep Fried Apple Slices

I found this most wonderful recipe on a website called How to: Simplify (my friend Evonne posted the link on FB) and I whipped up a batch of them this morning!   DELICIOUS! 

For the rings:

  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large apples, peeled
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Cinnamon and sugar
For the icing:
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  1. Whisk egg white until foamy. Whisk in the water and vanilla. Next, whisk in the flour and salt.
  2. Slice the apples into 1/2-inch thick slices. Using varying sized cutters, cut “rings” out of apple slices, discarding smallest circle containing core. 
  3. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Dip apple rings into batter and then place into the oil. Allow the apples to fry in small batches and turn frequently. Remove from the oil when golden brown and place on a paper towel. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  5. Transfer rings to a wire rack and place the wire rack on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the rings turn crispy.
  6. Drizzle the icing over the rings and serve warm. (To make the icing, simply combine all of the ingredients and stir until combined).
A couple of notes:
* I could have done with halving the recipe.  The batter did cover all 6 apples but we had LOTS!
* The icing recipe was more than enough, even for the full batch.  I'd cut it in thirds or even quarter it.
* They are best fresh.  Even after a few hours they got soft and weren't nearly as good.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

8 Weeks

I know it's still another 8 weeks (give or take) until school starts again but I stumbled upon a great website through Facebook (you know how those trails can lead you) and I'm really inspired by how this one mom organizes her day.  She calls them Workboxes.  You can see how they are done here.  Of course one thing leads to another and I've found summer reading printables, great playdoh recipes, and a plethora of information!  For the past few years, the kids have been in a hybrid school program where they've gone twice a week to school for most of their subjects while staying home on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for Math and Language Arts.  This fall, I am going back to full time home education and I am excited to get started.  I hope that the things I find and do will also excite my kids. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

She missed me

Arianna is growing up at a crazy rate.  Inside and out.  She longs to be bigger like her older siblings, wanting to do what they do.  Last night, she was planning to spend the night at her friend's house (which she's done before a few times).  I received a phone call at 10:00 saying that a little girl needed her mom.  My heart did a little flip as heard that.  At 7 years old, she is wanting to be so independent and at the same time, still needing to be close to home.  When Doug brought her in, we snuggled on the bed for a bit and then I tucked her in under her own covers. 
I'm glad she's still my little girl!  Don't grow up too fast Sweetheart.

Nanaimo Bars

These little delights are a treat that I've enjoyed since I was little.  I can even recall asking my mom to make them instead of a birthday cake.  For the past couple years, Arianna has asked me to do the same.  After I posted pictures on Facebook, I had a couple requests for the recipe so here it is!

Nanaimo Bars
1/2 cup of butter
1 egg
1/3 cup of sugar 
2 cups of graham wafer crumbs
5 tablespoons of cocoa
1/2 cup of coconut (I do less)
1 tsp of vanilla
Melt butter, sugar, cocoa, vanilla and egg in a double broiler pot.  Remove from heat and add wafers and coconut.  Press well into a greased 9x9 pan.  Let cool.

1/4 cup of butter
2 tablespoons of custard powder
2 cups of icing sugar
3 tablespoons of milk
Cream butter and add custard and milk.  Blend in the icing sugar, spread over base and let cool.  See note at the bottom.

4 squares of semi-sweet chocolate OR 1 cup chocolate chips 
2 tablespoons of margarine or butter (Margarine will keep the chocolate softer while butter will make it hard)
Melt chocolate and butter/margarine and spread over center.  Let cool, cut and eat!

*To change the color of the center, add food coloring.  Custard will make it very yellow so if you add red food coloring, you can get an orange/peach or even pink center, depending on how much you add.  At Christmas, I add blue food coloring to get a green center.  The coloring needs to be added during the first mixing of butter and custard so the color is even. 
*If you wish to double the recipe, just use a 9x13 pan.

I just linked this recipe to SWEET AS SUGAR COOKIES!  Lots of wonderful treats there to check out!!


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