Saturday, November 29, 2008

Calling all cleft families....

Ok, guys. I am on a mission for addresses. I am re-doing my "database" of addresses for my Christmas cards, and since I am doing this, I might as well add on any new addresses I need. So....any of you that are ok with me putting you on my address list, I am asking you to e mail me your address. That way, it won't be on for the entire world to see. If you don't want to be on my list....that is ok, too! I just would love to be able to add some new addresses to my list this season. Thanks for helping me out!!!

Thanksgiving Moments....

Reid thinking that he really does not like dress up time with Ellie after all.
Ellie and her curlers. She is obsessed with her hair. She wants to grow it long......Mommy doesn't want her to. Decisions, decisions!
Here is Ellie with Great Grandma Mimi (my grandma). She is 93 years old, and we were all so lucky to have Thanksgiving with her.
Here is Ellie with Grandma (my mom).
Reid is enjoying re-decorating the Christmas tree every chance he can. He has already found the bell than makes lovely music when you tap it. I have a feeling our tree will be bare the first 2 feet up from the bottom all the way around!
Conquering the steps and making Mommy nervous the entire way up. He has also mastered going down by sliding on his belly one step at a time. Yikes....Ellie didn't do that until she was at least 18-20 months. I am in some deep trouble with this one!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Ellie's Thankful For.....

My cousin is starting a new tradition for Thanksgiving (she is beginning a memory book for our family). So, yesterday after eating our Thnaksgiving dinner, we all passed around the festive November stationery and wrote down 3 things that we are thankful for. I need to share Ellie's with you....because I thought it was genuine and right to the point. She wrote her name on the memory paper (it took up about 1/3 of the page) *cute* then told me what she wanted me to write for are Ellie's "Thankful For" list......

1. baby dolls
2. "my baby brother, Reid"
3. my daddy

That about sums it up.....I didn't even make the list this year! : ) That's ok....I think her list is pretty did Brian. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

So Thankful....

On the Eve of Thanksgiving Eve....I actually find myself with a few free minutes, and I don't know the next time this will I am posting my Thanksgiving post a bit early.

I feel so thankful for so many things. My mind wanders back a year ago when Brian, Reid, and myself spent Thanksgiving week at the Cleveland Clinic after Reid's first surgery at 17 days old. It was quite a hard week to say the least, and being away from family during a very important part of the year was difficult. The hospital treated us to a Thanksgiving there, and Brian and I ate our turkey and mashed potatoes in Reid's hospital room night after night. (I think we had about 3 Thanksgiving dinners that week). It sure wasn't the same as our family get togethers, but I was definitely shown that year that I have MUCH to be thankful for. I can't even begin to explain all that I am thankful for (not enough room here)....but I will name a few of my most thankful things in my life.

If you are reading this...I am thankful for you. That means that you are a friend, a family member, someone who cares for our family, someone who prays for us, or someone who simply keeps us close to their hearts. I am thankful that you want to be such a part of our family happenings and that you smile in our day to day events. I am thankful that you let us share our lives with you.
I am thankful for little foosteps, fingerprints on walls, messes that were just cleaned, belly laughs, toothless grins, wet, messy, toddler kisses.....
Infant noises, sleeping babies, soft breathing, quiet moments, tiny hands, ears, and feet, baby smells...
Innocence, tolerance, acceptance, love that has no limits, sweet moments, tender hearts, togetherness, love pats, a brother-sister bond that was immediately formed....
Seeing my husband being a "Daddy", smiles, belly kisses, cuddles, chasing toddlers through the house with minimal clothing on (attn. Full Moon post!), family moments, completeness, laughter, love....
Brilliant ideas from toddlers (like wearing floaties in the bathtub!), baking with Ellie, reading the same book over and over until we can all recite it from memory, popcorn and movie watching (even if it is Dora or Clifford), seeing life from a child's eyes....and feeling so lucky that I am able to spend my days and nights with three incredible people. I am blessed.....and yes, I am Thankful. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.....may you feel the blessings of the holiday spirit with those you love. We wish you much love and you celebrate with those you are most thankful for.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving FEAST!

Ellie's preschool had a feast on Thursday. The kids were all able to bring one guest, and Ellie chose her Pappy to attend with her. She was so proud to be able to show off her school to him. They ate tomato soup and corn muffins that the kids prepared! They were all quite proud, to say the least. Here is our "little Indian" enjoying her special day with Pappy.
The "2 little Indian girls" in the teepee. This is Rachel and Ellie. They go to the same sitter together and also to preschool together. What is really funny, is the two girls used to go to the same sitter when they were teeny-tiny together. We all went our separate ways when our sitter became pregnant with twins, and now, we have wound up back together again (after 2 plus years apart) at the same sitter. Funny how things work. Ellie loves Rachel....and I just love this picture!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nose to nose...

Ellie was just being goofy to Reid in the tub....and Reid had NO IDEA what Ellie was doing to him, and frankly seemed a bit too scared to move! They stayed plastered together like this for awhile until Ellie moved because she was laughing too hard to "stay connected". I am so glad these 2 little peanuts make me laugh like they do!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

For me???

Ahh, Rachel love you, hon! My good friend and wonderful mom to 4 amazing little girls who I adore has done it again. She has nominated little ole' me for this Blog Award. I am honored. Thanks for the sweetness, Rach!

So, here are the rules to receiving this award

1. You have to pass it on to 5 other fabulous blogs in a post.

2. You have to list 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post.

3. You must copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post.

On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them. When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well. To add the award to your post, simply right-click, save image, then "add image" it in your post as a picture so your winners can save it as To add it to your sidebar, add the "picture" gadget. Also, don't forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by emailing them or leaving a comment on their blog. I never even thought of blogging...ever. Then, Rachel started. She would tell me about all the amazing families and people she had met through her blog. Yeah, yeah. Sure...I didn't doubt her, but how would I possibly find the time? (Mind you, Rachel has 4 girls...the 2 youngest being twins...and she did it!) I think I just really didn't understand it enough and was pregnant with Reid and worried about getting through my pregnancy and teaching...period. Why would I blog? Then, it happened. I thought, "Well, maybe just a few posts about Ellie so our family out of town/state could follow up with us..." Yeah, a few posts, huh? And here I am today. I am so glad that Rachel introduced me to blogging.
I was already an established "Blogger" when Reid came along...thank goodness, because I needed the support I found from so many WONDERFUL friends that I have found that share our cleft family bond. I am addicted to the people that have come into our lives. Their children seem like my own. I wonder about them and pray for each one daily. I love the moments that we parents have shared together re-living the struggles and finding hope in each new day. They have shown me more in the past year than I can even share with you, and I am grateful to them all. So grateful.
So, how do I pick only 5 to send this award onto? That is horrible....but I know they will then pass it on to others that are in our "blogging family." So, in no order are my 5 blogs that I nominate for this award.
1. Allison (I have to nominate you....Reid is going to marry Abby some day!)
2. Heather (I am addicted to Heather's site. Aidan is as sweet as they come, and I love Heather's way of writing. She makes me laugh everyday. I am grateful for her wit and humor.)
3. Shannon (Shannon was a beacon of light for me when Reid was born. She was a source of great information to me and has such a gentle way about her. She was very comforting to me when our journey began......and Adalynn is adorable!)
4. Tina (Tina is from our hometown and is a wonderful support. She is a wealth of information and a great person to have nearby. I appreciate her greatly and adore her sweet family.)
5. Krissy (Krissy is super sweet and I love reading about her little peanut, Drew. It has been super getting to know her better through our blogs.)
Ok...there are SOOOO many more I wanted to choose....but I am following the rules. No offense meant.
Now, my 5 no particular order.
1. My family. I love them all and feel so blessed that they are so super supportive and helpful to us.
2. My friends/church family. I feel so super lucky to be involved with a wonderful church and several subgroups from within the church (yes, supper swap ladies, I am talking about YOU!) I feel so lucky to be a part of such an awesome place with such amazing people.
3. My kids at school and co-workers. I have a wonderful bond with my team that I teach with at school. I love them dearly and care about them tremendously. My kids....they are just that. My kids. I worry and care about them. How can I not? I spend all day with them!
4. Nights out with my hubby- I love them. I cherish them. We don't get a lot of them....but I appreciate them probably more than Brian realizes. Even though most of the time, we talk about the kids, but that's ok! I enjoy my quiet dinners out with Brian whenever I can!
5. Finding a great sale! LOVE SALES! I am always out on the prowl looking for a great sale for the kids. Always so proud when I find one. I get this honestly from my dad. Seriously. He is someone who buys 5 pairs of the same identical shoes just because they are a "great deal" and saves each pair until he needs to replace the old set. I bet right now in his closet are many filled shoe boxes just waiting for their turn to be worn. Love you, Dad! You taught me right! : )
So, I think that does it. I followed the rules...I am passing this on....and I thank you again, Rach for the nomination.

Special time with Grandma and Daddy...

I have been a bad Blogger lately. Sorry! I am blaming it on my friend, Rachel, who introduced me to Facebook. No....just kidding, Rach! I have just been overloaded lately. Blame it on the late nights I have had with Parent-Teacher conferences, or the prep time getting ready for them, or the colds that we all have dragging us down, or the constant business of the "giving" season getting into full swing (you can't even imagine how many Christmas trees I have seen in people's living rooms, already!), or the committments that are starting to fill up our calendars, or just life in general! There is no 1 reason....we have just been busy...and I haven't had the time or the energy to post. So, I apologize!!!!! Here are a few pictures from last night when we had my parents over. Keep my dad in your prayers on Tuesday morning. He is having a difibulator put into his heart. We have been waiting for this to happen for some time, but Dad is quite nervous about the whole process. We know that your prayers will help ease this time for him. I am sure there will be more to post soon.....time to get myself and 2 kids ready for church. Always a process! Love to all!

Ellie and Grandma having special reading time. (yes, Ellie is wearing a leotard. Yep, we know it is November. Yep, this is a completely normal scene for our house!)
More reading time with Grandma.
Don't forget Reid...he wants his book time, too! This time, it's with Daddy.

Calling all Similac Isomil Advance (soy) Users...

We are officially off of all formula at our house. Yipppeee! However, I did not use careful measurements to use up all I had. So, I have 1 full container of formula left and about 1 scoop was taken out of a second. The second one has been opened....for about 5 minutes, then has been sitting in our pantry since we are through with it. I HATE to think of dumping I am asking all you readers out there.....if you are interested in is yours....think of it as an early Christmas present...or a just because gift. Please let me know if anyone out there is interested, and I will ship out immediately. I would love some little one out there to get some use of this formula if possible. I hate to throw it away! Just let me know!!!! Thanks so much!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Abigail- Lip repair

I am a little late on this one. I wanted to post it last night and completely sorry, little Abigial!!!! Here she is so sweet and beautiful. Love that smile. Her lip reminds me so much of Reid's. She went in for her lip repair today and reports from dad that I have received via e mail all share that Abigail is doing great. We are so glad to hear that all went well for this little peanut! Please continue to keep litte Abigail and her family (mom, dad, and big brother) in your thoughts and prayers and she heals and recovers. We love you, Abigail!
Here she is post-op today. What a trooper she is!!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I'm in love with....

Mr. Blue Eyes.....aren't you?

The REAL CInderella!

Ellie went to her good friend, Allie's, birthday party on Saturday (the birthday girl is in purple). It was CUTE! You can TOTALLY tell that Allie's mom is a kindergarten teacher (in our hometown) and I am ready to sign some paper requesting her to be Ellie's teacher in two years. She is just wonderful. So, back to the was Princess themed. The girls all wore their princess dresses and did princess things all morning there. They decorated their hats and wands and were so proud to show them off. So sweet!
Then, Ellie would tell you, the REAL Cinderella showed up at the door. She brought all the girls their own Cinderella doll. So sweet, again!!!! Ellie was acting shy here.....we all know better!
Cinderella read the story of Cinderella to the girls. They were glued to her. I have never seen 6 little girls sit so still.....enthralled!
Ellie and buddies.Ellie and Cinderella. Ellie was in awe for the rest of the day. Thanks, Allie for inviting us to your party. What a fun day for us all!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What a way to start the day!

This is what 4 shots (2 in each leg) and blood work will do to you at 9:00 am in in the morning. Poor Reid was exhausted from his ordeal before he really even got to start out his day! I hope when he awakes it's not Crankyville here.....we will wait and see! He sure does look awfully sweet sleeping so peacefully.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Some birthday highlights...

I don't know why I am having such a hard time with Blogger...all my pics come out in weird orders when I upload. Am I doing something wrong Blogger fans??? are some pics in no particular order from Reid's 1st Birthday Bash (really it was just a small get together with grandparents). Reid was excited to eat a little cake. Since his palate surgery has only been a little over 2 weeks ago....we opted for an ice cream cake. He can have the real thing in a few more weeks to dig into!
Excited little Reid that we were singing to him and bringing him presents to open! He loved it!
I think we could have just wrapped up various sized boxes and let him have those to play with. He was loving playing with the basic boxes, of course!
This is Reid and Pap Pap. He is Reid's Great Grandpa. He is 97 years young...and very special to us all. Reid loves to hear him play his harmonica.
At the end of the night...Reid was ready to strip down to his skivvies and play with his new toys. Happy Birthday, Reidy-Roo! Love you much!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A letter to my son.....

Dear Reid,

As I sit here typing, I can not believe that you are one today. In some ways, it seems like you have been a part of our lives for such a very long time, and in other ways, I truly can not believe that a year has passed since the day you were born. What a year it has been. I can not believe what a strong little boy you are. Then, again....I think you came into this world strong and ready to show everyone what you were made of.

You have endured more in your first year of life than many have endured in a lifetime. I think back to the taping, the NAM device, the weekly appointments to Cleveland in snow, rain, ice and the usual winter crud that Ohio can bring, the crying during taping, the rolling you up like a burrito in a beach towel just to get you to lie still for a few moments while taping you and cleaning your nose and lip, the surgeries, the waiting, the new face that we saw through our tear-filled eyes, the countless nurses, doctors, aides, and receptionists that have touched our lives because you have touched theirs, the horrible nasal stents that you dealt with for a whopping 90 days, the feedings with syringes, finally changing to a Haberman bottle, the solid foods experience, shooting cheerios out of your nose when you would laugh, needing a Hazmat suit during feedings when you weren't so great at figuring out how to get food down your throat not out your nose, the countless people that we have befriended who have also been blessed by a cleft affected child in their lives, the many medications we have tried with you in order to get the horrible reflux issue under control, the tears that we have cried watching you cry, and the endless smiles you have provided to us through your ever-changing one.

I am amazed at your spirit and your overwhelming happiness that you bring to a room instantly. I love to listen to you breathe as you sleep on my shoulder during the depths of the night, and I love watching you grow. It won't be long until you are walking instead of crawling, talking instead of jabbering. It was an honor to hear your mutter your first word, "MaMa" not so long ago. Those words were music to my ears, and I am grateful that it continues to pour out your mouth all day long. You amaze me and make me wonder why God allowed me to be your mom. It is a true honor to be able to call you my son. Reid, I love you more than you can ever imagine. I will look back at your first baby pictures with gladness and joy in my heart that I was able to fall in love with your face two times. Not all moms get that opportunity. I will forever love that wide smile that you smiled to me for almost 7 months, and I am thrilled with the beauty of your new smile that melts my heart whenever I see it.

I thank God each day for your life and for allowing me to share this journey with you. There have definitely been many bumps in our road. Some days I really didn't know if I had the stamina to keep going. Then, I would feel so badly to think that I couldn't keep going????? What about YOU? You were the one who had to keep going and fighting day after day. And I am so proud of how strongly you have made it through. You truly are my hero, and I am so honored and blessed to be known as your mom. I love you through and through, Reid. Happy 1st birthday, big boy!

My first good look at you....I was instantly in love with you.

Some of the taping and NAM wearing you went through.

Your beautiful new look. What an amazing boy you are.

Love that smile.

You are my hero, little man. I love you.

Ellie's first Science Experiment...

So, at Trunk or Treat at church on Halloween, Brian took his 3rd baby...or maybe it's actually his first....his Mustang GT to be a part of the festivities. To make it fun, he brought along dry ice for the effect of smoke pouring out of his trunk where the candy was for the kids. Fun and really got the kids wondering how that all worked. Since I taught 4th grade Science for 11 years and just passed the torch on this year to take over our Math program....I do have a love for Science. Brian thought that the extra left over dry ice would make a great time for some Science with Ellie. So, here was our fun! In the picture above, Brian told Ellie they were making a witch's brew....they put all kinds of things in the coloring, water of course, Tabasco sauce, paprika, you name it...they put it in our sink. Ellie was totally serious about all of this and put whatever Brian asked of her into the sink. She had no clue what was going to happen.

Starting to get a reaction.....Ellie loving it.

Ellie really loving it. See the remains of the Kit Kat bar on her face? Gotta love Halloween night!

Ellie loves her Daddy more than you can fathom. I think the feeling is mutual.
Wah-lah, Science!!!!

Hello, and welcome to my page! I am so glad you are here. I am going to try and show you the average life of a 5 year old from my perspective. Mommy and Daddy will help me along the way if I get stuck.

Let me first introduce my family to you. I am Ellie. I am a 6 year old. I live in Ohio with my Mommy, Daddy, little brother Reid, and dog, Sophie. My mommy is a teacher. She teaches nine and ten year olds and loves it. She has been teaching for twelve years. My daddy works with computers. He works hard everyday.

We all love spending time together. I have wonderful grandparents and a terrific extended family. I am a very lucky girl. Thank you for visiting my page. Write to me any time. I love getting mail!!!

Many blessing to you all.

Little Ski (Ellie)

Mommy and me having cuddle time at Hocking Hills.

Told ya, my hair can be wild! And you thought I was kidding!

Hmmm, Blue's Brother's perhaps?