vanarnhem411

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas!


So we're a little late but we just wanted to wish everyone a very merry Christmas! Overall a pretty good day here - but really how bad can a day be when we all have matching pink bunny jammies? Well I should clarify that Jeff did not have pink bunny jammies.

Something strange happened to Brooke's hair the last two days - seriously I really did brush it before we took pictures (I busted out the conditioner last night so it's been a little better today). Isabel tried to help but still couldn't do a thing with it.


So a pretty quiet day at home for us this holiday. Brooke seemed to enjoy her idog - the jury is still out on whether or not it was the dog or just her favorite music making her happy. Since she really can't open presents or play with many toys we let the joy of her day be having the things she loves as much as she wants. So we pretty much listened to Ralph or watched Elmo the entire day. And ate lots of sweets. All of these things generally have a daily limit - but not on Christmas!

Isabel loves her Dora kitchen. She's been a very busy little chef - I love hearing her say "cook it" and making all her own little cooking noises. The fact that we have finally found a toy that kept her attention for more than five minutes was gift enough for mom and dad.

And the "girls" got mommy some very nice acrylic stamp sets for Christmas (even though they weren't supposed to get anything!). It really did mean so much to me that Jeff took the initiative to ask around to find out what I might like AND took Brooke shopping to get it for me. We promised no gifts this year (and even when we do it's usually the time honored tradition of asking what I want and getting exactly that) so it was a very nice surprise.
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Monday, December 17, 2007

Snowbunny

Isabel didn't really get the chance to fully appreciate snow last year - I wasn't sure her delicate, closer-to-the-equator sensibilities were ready for it. After getting Brooke off to school today she was really in no mood to go inside so I figured what the heck and grabbed the camera. Who needs snowpants when you have sweatpants (at least she had boots on, right?). So I guess we'll make a trip to Target for some snowpants for the girls and maybe even a sled. Now we just need to figure out a way to convince Jeff that you really can have fun in the snow - he will not be easily swayed.
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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Aw-thumb!

So I was really just curious if I could figure out how to get video clips on to the blog - pretty easy actually. Enjoy!
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Monday, December 10, 2007

A Little Christmas Preview

There's been lots of talk on the RettNet (our online link to other families touched by Rett Syndrome) about Christmas. Mostly about how difficult it can be since our girls don't typically find the same joys in the holiday as other kids their age. There have been some great discussions about helping them find their own kind of joy. One of my favorite quotes is from a dad named Scott:

"Maybe the girls are still pure to the real meaning of Christmas and have not been corrupted by the commercialization of it."

As soon as I read "pure to the real meaning of Christmas" it made me think of this picture (one of many I took in my annual "attempt-at-the-perfect-Christmas-card" photo shoot. Although it didn't end up the final winner, I think it embodies that quote perfectly.

Anyway - I've really wanted to start learning how to make my photos look a little more artsy fartsy (but I'm too cheap to buy the actions to do it for me). So here I am up way past midnight playing around with this wonderful shot - enjoy!

This is the original photo:


These have what I guess is referred to as a little color pop - I just added the dark edges on the second one:


These are supposed to look vintage (again with the dark edges on #2):


So I guess I'm pretty happy with the outcome.

The tutorials for the original effects I found on this blog:

http://jessicabell-tutorials.blogspot.com/

The tuorials for the dark edge effect was from 2peas:

http://twopeasinabucket.kaboose.com/cg_display.asp?g=4&seed_id=21818

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

One Year Ago


One year ago yesterday was the first time I held you. It was such a happy day for Jeff and I, I'm sure a bittersweet day for your foster family and probably a pretty scary day for you. We've come a long way in a year but it's important to me that you always know where you started.

Some specific memories that still stick in my mind from that first day - the tears in your foster mom's and her daughter, Lillian's, eyes. I could only imagine how hard this was for them. They had arrived early so our agency representative wasn't there yet. It was amazing how much we could communicate without sharing the same language (although we did ask the very nice bellman that had taken us to our room to help translate a bit).

You were facinated with our watches.

You seemed fine with us, even after Yolonda and Lillian left, even after we went up to our room. But when we came back down to the lobby to finally meet with our agency rep - you became very upset. I think it was probably then that you realized the family you had known up until then may not be coming back.

The rest of the day was spent trying to console you. Even though I knew this grieving was something you needed to go through (and that in the end it was a good thing) it was still difficult.

You liked to look at yourself in the mirror so we would just walk around the hotel room looking in each of the three mirrors. You finally gave in and ate a little applesauce which also seemed to help.

I remember you falling asleep on my chest and when you woke up about an hour later looked up at me with your sleeply little eyes and as soon as you focused on my face - you burst into tears again. That was when dad had the great idea of turning on the TV - thinking that hearing spoken spanish might be calming to you. And indeed it was.

Things improved slowly each day and it's really only now that I look back and realize just how long it did take you adjust. And I know those adjustments and bumps will continue throughout your life - but your dad and I will always be there to help you through them.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Thanksgiving Do-Over

Since Brooke was sick with the flu on Thanksgiving today was officially dubbed "Do-Over Thanksgiving" - also known as great-grandma's birthday party. There was ham instead of turkey but the cute Thanksgiving outfits Grandma bought for everyone were just as cute. And I'm teaching Isabel early about the wonderful world of scrapbooking tools. She caught right on to my favorite - the Revolution. Just need to add a little paper and she'll be on board in no time!

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