Wednesday, December 31, 2008


We were home for the first time on Christmas Eve. We decided it would be fun to have Wayne's brother and his family come over for dinner. I thought it was about time to use my nice dishes. They haven't been unpacked since our move 2 years ago. I really enjoyed being fancy for once.

We had turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, homemade rolls (Crystal made them), stuffing, peas, and red Kool-Aid. Bradley picked out the Kool-Aid the night before at Macey's. For dessert we had Elli's unbirthday cake with ice cream. The night ended fairly early, as it was Christmas Eve and all. Alan and Crystal took Sadie and Sawyer home around 8:00 to get them to bed. We didn't want to do anything to discourage Santa from stopping by.

After Alan and Crystal left we turned on our CD of the other wise man. It is an old radio version of the story with music and sound effects. It was a tradition for Wayne's family to listen to it every Christmas Eve, so we have done the same ever since we were married. While we listened we all worked on a ginger bread house. Elli had already gone to bed for the night. A little early for her, but she must have sensed the importance of sleeping well on Christmas Eve.

Bradley (all on his own) wanted to make sure that Santa didn't forget what he had asked for. He placed his list right smack in the middle of the Christmas tree so that it couldn't be missed. Bradley believes with his WHOLE heart in Santa, and the magic of Christmas.

Christmas morning. What fun! Santa didn't forget to stop by, that is certain!!!

We told Bradley that we couldn't go downstairs until everyone was awake, including Elli. She usually sleeps until 7:30 or 8:00. So he requested that we bring our small TV with a VCR into his bedroom to help occupy his time in the morning. I could hear him in there watching How The Grinch Stole Christmas starting at around 7:00. I had already put breakfast in the oven, so we were ready to eat around 7:30. We had our traditional Christmas casserole. It's a yummy sausage, egg and potato casserole that we love! I prepare it on Christmas Eve, wake up early to put it in the oven, and then it's ready for us to eat before all the festivities begin. By time we were done eating we could hear Elli waking up. Bradley was dying at this point. He had only stolen a peak down the stairs, and he said he just couldn't wait any longer. The suspense was killing him!

Santa leaves a few items unwrapped. Bradley got his General Grievous and his star wars sticker book. (It's only been one week, but he had completed the sticker book already)

Santa brought Elli another baby. This one has eyes that open and close. She loves her new baby!
Santa tried really hard to find toys that would help Elli want to sit up more. The piano is already a favorite with her, and the busy ball popper in the background just fascinates her. Santa really know what he is doing!!

A couple of weeks before Christmas I went and bought the movie A Christmas Story. Bradley loved it and watched it once a day almost for the next 2 weeks. Well, this was the reason we bought the movie. Wayne thought it would be fun to be able to go shooting with Bradley when they go to his parents house, so Bradley got his very own Red Ryder BB Gun. I know, I know, he'll shoot his eye out. He took it down to Grandma's already and had a blast with it.

I didn't get to go down to Grandma and Grandpa's this year. We still have to keep Elli away from large crowds. But Wayne and Bradley had a wonderful time, as always! Staying up until 1:00 in the morning playing with cousins, sledding, watching movies, eating tons of great food, and of course debating every topic you can think of. This photo show just a handful of the family.

Every Christmas while presents are being passed out and opened, Grandpa sneaks in a little nap. Staying up late every night with passionate discussions wears anybody out!

Grandma always puts together a wonderful Christmas for everyone. We love and appreciate her and Grandpa!

Kristi had my name this year, and she knows me well. These are the cute holiday blocks she sent up to me. She also included a yummy smelling home spritzer from a store that I love called Krumpet's. Thanks Kristi, I really love it!!!!

Kristi's daughter Heidi had Elli's name, and since we weren't there for Christmas I thought I'd better take pictures of Elli sporting her new outfit.

Heidi also gave Elli a cute ginger bread story with a ginger bread cookie cutter and a ginger bread cookie mix. What a darling theme! Elli loves to read books. Thanks Heidi. Wish we could have been down there with everyone.

It has been a wonderful Christmas, and it is hard to see it come to an end. I am already looking forward to next Christmas. This is my favorite time of the year. I love all the emotions and feelings that Christmas brings with it. We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as well.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

deck the halls

This is one thing I really missed with our crazy back and forth from the hospital Christmas last year. I LOVE to decorate for Christmas and I just didn't have the time last year. It took me longer than I hoped this year, but I got it done. We have 5 artificial trees (all upstairs), and our beautiful real tree is downstairs. I really enjoy making a wreath out of the branches we trim from our tree. I missed it last year, and was very excited to get back to it again this year. I try to buy new ornaments for the wreath each year. This years additions were the red glitter stockings and the green glitter balls.
I also experimented with our light that is over our kitchen table. I think it turned out alright.
This is my favorite! We finally have 4 stockings hanging from our fireplace. Bradley worked it all out, the boys get the green trimmed stockings and the girls get the white ones.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! It's is so hard to believe that another year has come and gone. I am so glad that it is this year though and not last. We have had a little LESS stress this year, which has been very, very nice.

I thought it would be fun to give you all a glimpse of our year through photos, so here we go:

January 3rd: the day Elli came home from the hospital. The next couple of months were mostly spent lying in the living room (the center of the house) because it was kind of a pain to move her oxygen tubing and apnea monitor from room to room. She was either in the living room during the day, or her bedroom at night.
Just a couple of days after Elli came home Bradley's pet lizard, Lizzie, died. She was Bradley's first answered prayer. He prayed for a couple of months to get a lizard for Christmas 4 years ago and when Santa didn't bring him a lizard he was a little disappointed. A couple of days later at his Grandpa's house he found Lizzie keeping warm among the presents. He said, "Santa didn't bring the lizard to my house, he brought it to Grandma's!!" It was hard for him to say good bye.
In February Elli was one of the featured babies at the Chocolate Extravaganza, which is a fundraiser for the NICU. This photo was made up into a poster about 6' tall. The hospital staff took a few photos of Elli and have used them for posters in several hospitals, as well as various mailers that have been sent out this last year. She's famous!

Bradley loves to sing. This is his school choir. I was at home with Elli, but Wayne said that Bradley was so into the music. He was rocking back and forth which made him stick out a little because the other kids stood very still. He loves music his music! (Sorry about the creepy eyes)

This was the last photo I took of Elli before she came off oxygen, right before Easter.

We were finally able to bless Elli in May (after RSV season was over). She was a little more spunky because of her age, but she behaved herself. It was a beautiful day, and it was the beginning of me getting my life back. It was wonderful to be able to get out of the house!!
At the end of May we held a birthday open house for my Grandpa who turned 90. We are so happy to have him in our lives, he is an incredible man!
Better than Disneyland!! This is the fort at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Bradley would happily live there if I would let him. He spends much of his time planning for things that would go great in the fort, what food he can put in his backpack to eat of the fort, and what things would make good toy weapons to use down there. All the cousins get together and play a game Bradley made up called the Western Game. They all have names to go with the game: Bradley is Feather Hike Climb. Don't ask me where that came from, I'm just glad he has such a terrific imagination.
In August we celebrated Elli's first birthday. She was a little confused about what we were all doing around her, and she couldn't eat solid food yet so she didn't even have any cake. We are going to be celebrating her adjusted one birthday this week because she can finally eat food. Hooray!!
Bradley was very excited to go to 2nd grade. I'm not sure if it was because he has a great teacher and lots of friends in his class, or that he now gets to be on the big kids playground. I suspect it is the play ground.

So far this is Bradley's favorite birthday cake ever. He is obsessed with 2 things: crocodiles, and Star Wars. I will have to think of some kind of star Wars cake next year I guess.

Bradley wanted to go to the zoo all summer, but I kept telling him we had to wait until it cooled down. That didn't happen until Oct. We were sad that we missed the white alligator, but we saw the wolf for the first time. Elli wasn't very impressed with the animals, she slept soundly in her stroller for most of the afternoon.
Costumes were easy this year. Bradley wanted to be a mountain man, and so we found things around the house: old camo pants, a rope for a belt, a canteen etc. We ordered the vest and hat. He was thrilled with his costume, and I was thrilled with the trick or treat weather. It was so warm we didn't need jackets.
Elli used a dress that Aunt Sharmi gave her. I made her the little princess hat to go with it. She looked so cute, but sadley got sick with a stomach bug and she didn't enjoy the day at all. Luckily it only lasted about 12 hours. She was back to normal the next day.
This was a big year for Bradley. He turned 8 in October, so in November he was baptized. He was so happy that day. He was also the most recent baptism to the primary sacrament program, so they asked him to give a little talk about his baptism. He did a great job! He is such a good boy!

This is the greatest place to be next to Grandma's house. This is the gully by Aunt Kristi's house.
This was actually Elli's very first vacation, and though I was nervous about the whole thing, she did really well. Bradley had so much fun with his cousins. They worked tirelessly on their fort in the gully. Bradley now makes plans for both forts in his spare time.

As part of our little vacation we spent an afternoon in Zion's. It was a lovely day. Wayne took Elli for a long walk in the stroller (she slept nearly the whole time) while I hiked with Bradley. We had a lot of fun.
This year hasn't been packed with trips and sports and all those things we would normally have done. We have had to adapt our life a little more to Elli's needs, but we wouldn't have changed a thing. We have spent some wonderful days at home as a family, and we couldn't get the same memories or feelings anywhere else. We are looking forward to what next holds in store for us.
We hope that you all know how much we love and appreciate you. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and the very best for this next year!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Elli's update

It's been a little while since I updated Elli's progress, so here's the scoop:
1. Weight: Elli now weighs roughly 13 lbs. 10 oz. (it's been a about a week since she was weighed).
2. Height: she is 28" long.
3. Hair: She has med. to light brown hair, and it is mostly on top of her head. It is the cutest little poof of hair that stands straight up if I don't put anything in it to help control it.
4. Mobility: She is rolling very proficiently now. She goes in the 4 wheel drive and rolls right over anything that gets in the way.
5. Sitting: She will sit at a toy for several minutes, and if she doesn't realize that she is sitting, she'll last even longer. She gets a little freaked out when she comes to the realization that she is sitting, and then she will quickly lay back down where she is comfortable.
6. Tummy Time: She is beginning to tolerate her tummy more too. She used to throw a fit almost immediately when she was placed on her tummy, now when she rolls around the room she will often stop on her tummy to play with something in front of her. Today during physical therapy she played on her tummy for almost 20 minutes. That was an amazing first for her!!
7. Communication: She is jabbering like crazy! She even has her own word for baby. She has also learned to wave hello and goodbye. I haven't had her vocal chord checked, but I'm pretty sure that it has healed because she has gotten really loud. It used to be hard to hear her, not so much anymore though.
8. Eating: We have put her on a medication that stimulates her appetite. It hasn't increased the amount she eats very much, but it has helped her tolerate pieces of food. She used to gag on everything we tried, even those little Gerber stars that dissolve almost instantly. The day we started this medication I gave her a cracker and she ate the whole thing without any problems. We have tried many other foods since then and she is doing really well. Now we just have to work on getting her to eat a little bit more so that she can grow.
9. Personality: She gets so excited about everything and claps with glee at the drop of a hat. She is especially fond of the Christmas tree, the fireplace, and music. She loves to tease Bradley by rolling right over anything he is doing on the floor. She will stop right next to him and start poking at him or kicking him. She loves to play with him, and he loves to play with her.
10. Follow up clinic: We went to follow up clinic last week and she had her eyes and ears examined. The results for both were completely normal, which proves once again that she is a miracle!

Monday, December 1, 2008

friends in heaven

Bradley said the sweetest thing the other day. He had been playing and giggling with Elli and turned to me and said, "mom, I'm pretty sure that we were friends in heaven". Then he turned back to keep playing with Elli.

It was said so matter factly that I had to laugh a little, but I was deeply touched by his profound comment. As I blinked to clear my eyes, I told him that I'm sure they were. Nobody who has seen the way they interact with each other could question that. It was a precious moments that I will treasure. Oh how I love the innocent wisdom of children.