Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Day with Uncle Disneyland

We met up with Uncle Bart today at Disneyland. It was another great day to be outside in the beautiful weather!

Hanging out, enjoying the nice morning, waiting for Uncle Bart.

Exploring the tree house over on Tom Sawyer's Island. The island has become a favored attraction in recent months.

Taking her best shot at the shooting range, a new experience for Rachel.
Rachel LOVED the Peter Pan ride. Thankfully, the crowds weren't too bad and we were able to ride this. Usually the line is really long because it's such a popular ride in Fantasyland. 2008 is the Chinese Year of the Rat Mouse. And Disney wasn't going to miss out on that opportunity! For the last month both Mickey and Minnie have dawned their Asian attire and greeted guests in this special picture spot. This picture opportunity ends tomorrow and it was a goal of mine to get a picture with the Main Mouse, as we'd gotten our picture taken with Minnie Mouse a few weeks ago. Sitting out and waiting for Uncle Bart and Hannah to ride the River Rapids. Pay no attention to the watery eyes. Rachel was suffering from some allergies today. With all the rain we've had, and now beautifully warm days of 80+ degrees, everything is in full bloom and the pollen count is really high!
Another favorite ride of Rachel's, the Golden Zepher.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Trip to the Wild Animal Park

The girls and I packed the backpack and set out for another adventure today, heading to the San Diego Wild Animal Park. We had a great day with beautiful weather and lots of active animals, and I do mean active! Here are just a handful of pictures I took today. The newest exhibit is the Lion Camp which was simply amazing! The two lioness sisters gave birth in November to a total of seven lion cubs and they were all on exhibit to see and watch. We came back to this exhibit a couple times today because we loved it so much.The other thing that is fairly new to the Wild Animal Park, although we got to experience it for the first time last May when we made a quick stop is the Journey into Africa tour. This tram literally takes you down onto the ground level of where all the animals roam and live and Rachel LOVED seeing the animals up close. And because it was mid morning, a lot of the feed trucks were out feeding, which made it even more interesting. One of the tours available to take is boarding a caravan truck and actually going out onto the grounds where the animals are. This really gets you up and close and personal. And it's fairly common for the giraffes to come right up and cooperate for an up close and personal picture. Rachel thought the giraffes going up to the trucks were funny. I'm not using the stroller more and more these days and to be honest, it's kinda nice. The bummer part is having to carry the heavy backpack which often has an extra set of clothes for Rachel, just in case, snacks, sweatshirts and hats, and our lunch. Although I am getting used to lugging the thing, I do miss having my cup holder in the stroller! Rachel kept up really good today, but early afternoon, she definitely was starting to slow down.Area's in which animals are allowed to be petted are always a big hit for Rachel. She loves animals and loved being able to pet and be close to the animals in the Petting Kraal. Although we didn't spend a lot of time in here as it was really muddy, and stinky. One of the other exhibits that Rachel very much enjoyed was the elephant viewing patio. Where we got to see all the elephants the Park has. It was fun to get to see this baby elephant in person as Rachel and I periodically watch her on the elephant web cam.This picture was one of the last pictures I took of the day. It was on our way towards the exit. The girls always love to climb and admire the stone statues and this one was cute considering we'd seen gorillas earlier in the day.We had a wonderful time today and Rachel is looking forward to another trip to see all the animals when Steven can join us, we're planning for June, once Hannah is out of school and officially on summer vacation!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Party @ Pump It Up!

This afternoon we went to a birthday party at Pump it Up. The party was for Matthew, who turned four. Everyone had a great time bouncing and playing in the big inflatables and then took the party back to Matthew's house to play and have more fun! Rachel was so worn out, she fell asleep in the car on the way home.

With the birthday boy. They are six months apart in age.

This picture is a little blurry,
but it shows just how much fun Rachel was having.

Daddy had never been to Pump It Up before.
Daddy and Rachel are racing through the obstacle course.

"We're the Pump it Up patrol!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

His Perfect Timing

When I was pregnant with Rachel, we had absolutely no idea about Rachel's cleft lip and palate until she was being delivered via an unscheduled c-section. In this day and age of ultrasound technology, people are often surprised that her clefts weren't picked up on ultrasound.

We thought about it a lot in the early days and truth be told, we really didn't have thorough ultrasounds when I was pregnant with Rachel like I did when I was pregnant with Hannah. With Hannah, we had ultrasounds where they showed us the kidneys, the beating heart, the arms, the legs, every little nook and cranny. But with Rachel, the ultrasounds were done in the OB/GYN's office by a tech who was simply measuring and documenting growth and measurements. So not having proper ultrasounds is one reason why her clefts weren't picked up, but the other reason, and the reason I believe was the main reason - it wasn't the Lord's will that we find out prior to Rachel's arrival. For some reason, He knew it was best for us and our family that we found out when we did. Those reasons won't ever be known, but it was His will and His perfect timing.

For others, His will and timing are different.

Last week, a comment was left by a Mommy, who at over half way through her pregnancy found out that their unborn baby will have a cleft lip, possibly a cleft palate. For that family He chose to reveal the clefts sooner, rather than later. And in their course of preparing and researching, they found Rachel's Journey!

"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well."

Psalm 139:13-14

For this family and the many others who have come our way in the last few years, I hope that the pictures and the telling of Rachel's Journey through this blog offers them encouragement and hope and joy seeing how well the Lord has taken care of our Rachel, and how He's gotten us through having had a baby been born with a birth defect.

Baby Abigail's parents have set up a blog for her journey. If you'd like to meet her and begin praying for her, and her parents, you can visit her blog.

Monday, February 18, 2008

President's Day

Today's holiday allowed us the opportunity to go to Disneyland with friends who usually work during the week and go to school! We went with Amy and two of her kids and had a great time together. This is Eli. He is so great with both our girls and is attentive and playful and my girls just love him. Both Amy's (Keith's too!) boys are that way. And there have been many times we've come home from spending time with them and Hannah wishes she had an older brother.Pretty soon, we'll be able to see Momma ducks with their ducklings around the shores of Tom Sawyer's Island. Today we enjoyed feeding some of the ducks some cracker crumbs. Meet Disneyland's youngest firefighters! It's amazing there were no other people around and I got such a clean picture! Bethany, Rachel, and Eli with Dale. Can you tell the difference between Chip and Dale? Dale has the lighter colored nose, while Chip has the darker colored nose, easily remembered for his chocolate chip colored nose. :)
"Bye Disneyland, see ya next week!"

Fortune Cookie

For Valentine's Day, I found the cutest chocolate dipped fortune cookies with little heart sprinkles. I put them on a little plate and put it on our pretty dinner table. After dinner had been eaten, we dug into the fortune cookies to see what fun saying we'd been given. Steven read Rachel's and this is what it said:

"Your smile has great charm"

While fortune cookies are something we generally laugh at and have fun with, taking none of it to heart, this fortune cookie was different. It was as though it was meant for Rachel!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Girls are Home...

The girls arrived home safe and sound late this evening. Rachel actually had fallen asleep on the way home and managed to stay asleep while I slipped her jammies on and tucked her into bed. But she did come to long enough to say that they saw The Waterhorse at the movies. LOL. Here's hoping she sleeps the night through having fallen asleep so early in the evening....

Friday, February 15, 2008

Two Packed Suitcases?!?!?

...that could only mean that TWO girlies are leaving for the weekend!!!

The girls are heading to Gramie's for the weekend and are very much looking forward to it, and truth be told, so is Mommy. :)

This morning, they asked when Gramie was coming to get them. I explained that Grandpa Steve would be coming by on his route today and he would take them up to Gramie's house. They asked when. I wasn't sure whether or not it'd be at the end of his delivery route, which would be early afternoon, or whether he'd pick up the girls midway through his route and finish the route with them with him. But to play it safe, I told them it'd probably be after lunch.

At 9:00, Rachel asked for lunch thinking it would bring Papa Steve sooner. LOL. They didn't have to wait too long, he arrived shortly before 11:00 and they didn't even let him sit for a short visit, they had their suitcases and jackets in tow and they were outta here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Our Valentine's Day

The girls awoke to the kitchen table all festive with the Valentine's table cloth and balloons, and Valentine cards for each and a little box for each of the girls. The day continued with Rachel's preschool party and then a nice dinner here at home. It was a very nice day indeed!

Waking up to Valentine's Day!
Dinner, Reservations for 4.
Silly girl with potatoes on her chin.

Valentine's Party

Rachel had her Valentine's party at preschool today. They all had so much fun and their little Valentine holders were overflowing with Valentines and goodies.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Gramma's Valentine Lunch

Gramma had a Valentine's lunch today for all the girls...the four granddaughters, Me, and Auntie. The table was set soooo beautifully and everything was so yummy and delicious. For the little girlies, Gramma made heart shaped PB&J sandwiches, applesauce (served in heart shaped bowls), and chips. Which the girls all loved! For us big girls, there were cranberry scones, quiche, and one of my most favorite jello salads. Gramma also had little favors at each of the place settings which added an extra special touch as well. For dessert, there were cupcakes almost too pretty to eat! But we all ate one! Gramma also had a craft for the girls do, which the girls all loved because they all love doing crafts. It was a wonderful time spent together!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Working on Her Valentines

Ever since Hannah did her Valentines a couple of weeks ago, Rachel has been anxiously wanting to do hers for her friends. Seeing how her class party is on Thursday, I went ahead and let Rachel do her Valentine's today. Mommy addressed them, seeing how Rachel can't write just yet, and then she left a few scribbles and scrabbles and sealed them with a heart sticker. She was so excited and can't wait to pass them out to her friends at preschool on Thursday.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Rachel Funny

I went to a concert last night with a friend and was out until the wee hours of the morning, leaving Steven and the girls to have a Daddy/daughter evening. They went to dinner at Applebees and apparently ran a few other errands.

This morning, on the way to church, things were going good in the car, the girls were sitting next to one another, behaving, the morning had had minimal fighting, etc, we were listening to the radio, when all of a sudden Rachel blurts out "Mommy, we bought you flowers?". Which flustered Hannah and immediately she went to "shh-ing" her sister. I knew something was up. The thought of Steven doing Valentine shopping last night while I was gone didn't ever cross my mind. But thanks to our youngest, I was made aware they indeed had gone out. Not only was I told they had bought me flowers, but Rachel told me where they are hiding them..."dey are in da office, in da closet". It was pretty funny. She kept repeating herself too, which only made Hannah more flustered. LOL.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Meet Reid

I know I've said it before, but I'll say it's always so nice to meet other Mommies who have either travelled the same road or now traveling the road we've been on with Rachel. It means even more when they are families who know the Lord and know that having a baby with a cleft was in His plan. And we can share prayer requests and encouragement with one another.

Meet Reid. A few weeks ago his Mommy, Janeen found Rachel's Journey and we've been emailing a little bit back and forth. Reid's cleft is much different than Rachel's, he has a bilateral cleft lip, whereas his cleft affects just about his entire upper lip. Reid recently got a NAM (nasoalveolar molding), which is an orthodontic device, similar to that of a retainer. It's fitted to the shape of the baby's mouth and held in place by tape and rubber bands. The primary purpose is to move the segments of the gums together and shape the nose prior to any surgeries. This has to be adjusted every two weeks.

Reid has been having a difficult time at night sleeping and getting comfortable. Who can blame him?!? I know his Mommy and Daddy would welcome and covet prayers said on his behalf for nights to get easier and everyone to be able to get some much needed rest.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

1st Trip to Disneyland...

...for the month of February! :)

Hannah is off track this month and that more than likely means a few trips to Disneyland. Today was the first of two trips this week. However, today was extra special because Gramma was going and buying an annual pass! It's been a few years since Gramma has had a pass, and we're looking forward to trips we can go together. We met Uncle Bart at Disneyland and together we all had a nice afternoon and evening. The weather was beautiful, and the crowds were few.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Precious...and Not so Precious

It's precious when Rachel says "let's pray". It blesses me to see that she's learning by example when the rest of us pray.

What's not so when she wakes you up at 1:15 in the morning and says "let's pray" and then it takes Mommy 45 minutes to an hour to fall back asleep. LOL. Thankfully she went back to sleep with no problem.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Hannah Montana Concert in 3D!!

Yesterday kicked off a week long engagement where the current Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus concert tour was filmed and turned it into a 3D movie at select theaters. We've got a lot of Hannah Montana fans in our family and today was a girls trip to see the movie and we had a great time!