Monday, March 31, 2008

Miracle


There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle. - Albert Einstein

My friend Kathryn Emailed me this picture and story. It was so touching I wanted to share it with all of my friends and family. With a new baby in the house we literally see the evidence of miracles every day. The blessing of our new little Sara makes me want to thank my Heavenly Father daily for the sweet blessing she is to our family. What a wonder and miracle babies are.

Here's the story:

The picture is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by a surgeon named Joseph Bruner. The baby was diagnosed with spinal bifida and would not survive if removed from his mother's womb.

Little Samuel's mother, Julie Armas, is an obstetrics nurse in Atlanta . She knew of Dr. Bruner's remarkable surgical procedure. He is practicing at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, he performs these special operations while the baby is still in the womb. During the procedure, the doctor removes the uterus via C-section and makes a small incision to operate on the baby.

As Dr. Bruner completed the surgery on Samuel, the little guy reached his tiny, but fully developed hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon's finger. Dr. Bruner was reported as saying that when his finger was grasped, it was the most emotional moment of his life, and that for an instant during the procedure he was just frozen, totally immobile. The photograph captures this amazing event with perfect clarity. The editors titled the picture, 'Hand of Hope.'
The text explaining the picture begins, 'The tiny hand of 21-week-old fetus Samuel Alexander Armas emerges from the mother's uterus to grasp the finger of Dr. Joseph Bruner as if thanking the doctor for the gift of life.'

Little Samuel's mother said they 'wept for days' when they saw the picture.. She said, 'The photo reminds us that this pregnancy isn't about disability or an illness, it's about a little person.'
Samuel was born in perfect health, the operation was 100 percent successful. This is the actual picture, it is awesome...incredible....!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dress-up Kareoke

So I am really late getting pictures of our last date-night up. Sorry if you've been waiting on pins and needles. Can you guess who we are? I was Gwen Stefani and Dave was Flea (the guitarist for Red Hot Chilli Peppers). It was way too fun to dress up and sing like nut jobs! Our friends went all out too. I think my favorite was Cyndi Lauper...can you believe the crowd we hang out with?!?!?!? Lessons learned:

A: I can't stand red lipstick. I had lipstick smears on my shirt, hair and of course you could always tell which soda can was mine. Plus I was terrified to kiss Dave and it was a date night after all.
B: Don't let Dave anywhere near a tattoo parlor!

C: Singing in public can be fun, IF you and your friends are all intoxicated with soda and silliness!


"Mom I think my heart is having a birthday party! I can hear it!" - Katie

Gobbles


Monday, March 24, 2008

A very Suess Easter Saturday

I wanted to spend some quality family time together this Saturday. We have all been busy having so much fun with friends that we haven't had any really good family moments lately. Normally we would be having our Easter egg hunt and feasting on candy but I'm holding off until we get to dry, warm, sunny Arizona to visit my parents in two weeks. So I decided it would be fun to go to dinner and a movie.
First we took the kids to IHOP. (a family favorite) I had seen their adds for their special Seuss menu and knew the kids would flip. They all had Who cakes and Bezelnut splashes. They had so much fun. It was so funny to watch them trying to slurp up the little jello squares through their straws. I'm still not sure we can call it dinner. It was way more like dessert but it was the hit I had hoped it would be.


Next we went to the theatre to watch Horton Hears a Who. Except I had looked up the wrong movie information and we were 45 minutes early. After a minute or two of deliberating where to spend our extra time (grocery store or pet store) we made the unanimous decision to check out the pet store (also a family favorite). We spent a few minutes playing feather tag with the kitties and visiting with the dogs who were there with their owners. But then in typical Wilcox fashion we were out the door 30 minutes later with a new pet!

We have been really trying to help the kids do better keeping their rooms picked up and cleaning up with out neurotic break downs. A few weeks ago Dave mentioned that we might try bribery (another family favorite). So the kids have been trying really hard for the last two weeks to show us they could be responsible in the hopes of one day getting a hamster of their very own. They have done pretty good. We were supposed to wait until we got home from our Spring break to purchase our new pet. But silly us... Saturday night there we are asking the store manager if we can hold a hamster. Five minutes later we are all sitting on the floor passing him around and coming up with names. He was so cute...

So now we are the proud owners of a pet hamster which Katie has named Gobbles.
Zeke is not excited at all. Scary!!!!!!!!!!

PS. Horton Hears a Who was fantastic. I would even pay to go again. The kids laughed through the whole thing. Katie was glued. And they have all been singing REO Speedwagons' "I can't fight this feeling anymore" ever since. Four thumbs up if I had that many :-)

Seller's Park Massacre

This Saturday we were off to one of our local parks for the community Easter egg hunt. Since I'm pushing back our family Easter celebrations I thought I had better take the kids to get a few eggs full of candy to hold them over until our trip to Arizona. Kate was at her friend Vivian's birthday party so it was just the big kids and I off to gather some loot.

They had the kids divided up into age groups. So we dropped Chase off at his location and I took Emily to her hunt spot. Immediately she started noticing tree frogs all over the grass. She would find one, put it over in the wild brush to save it from the oncoming stampede and then two seconds later have another. She was so busy collecting frogs that I told her she was going to miss her hunt. You come in as a late commer to one of these and you're out of luck. My little nature lover just couldn't stand the idea of all those cute frogs being squashed. She redoubled her efforts to save the frogs. Resulting in her finding only three eggs. I guess I let her watch too much Chimp Eden and Orangutan Island. It did make me cringe a little to think about all the little guys that didn't get saved all squashed there in the grass.

The massacre continued, though this time taking a human toll as we went over to watch Chase's hunt begin. Who's bright idea was it to hide all the eggs for this older group in the blackberry bramble on the side of the hill. Kids were hollering as they got poked and stuck in blackberry bramble. One poor child really got ensnared.

All for the love of candy...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Recipe Exchange

Thanks Lisa for the super fun idea. OK, so here is my new favorite recipe. Amber, from the office that Dave works at, brought this in one day to work. Dave thankfully brought me home a piece and it was love at first bite. I'm so glad Amber is a recipe sharer!

Blueberry Cream Pie

1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten

2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 9in graham cracker pie shell

1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup butter (soft)
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix 1st 6 ingredients. Beat 5 minutes at medium speed. Fold in blueberries. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Mix rest of ingredients. Spread on top. Bake 10 minutes. Chill over night or several hours in the fridge.

Made Of Glass

Katie asked, "Why do we have to be gentle with Sara? Is She made of glass?"
Me (thinking why not if it helps her to be more gentle), "Yes she is."
Katie, "I think she is made of wood."
And that's the problem folks....

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Guitar Hero Takes Over

Guitar Hero and Rock Band are taking over!!! We played Guitar Hero for the first time at a friends house a few weeks ago and were totally hooked. Unfortunately I was so bad I got booed off the stage very quickly every time I tried. Dave was much better. We bought it and it is almost always out now. Chase of course loves it. He and his buddy are going to be guitar mego talents so enough. I was a little surprised that it wasn't as kid friendly as I originaly thought. The songs are a little mature and the characters aren't always dressed too well. Then there are the "dancing girls" as they are known in our house. So we have had to make lots of rules. No playing without an adult present. Only certain songs are approved. No encores or venues where "dancing girls" are present and everybody has to pick a character that is dressed with enough clothes. Things have worked out well. I pass him off when he gets to a point were he can't continue because of a song or venue. I definitely need to start paying better attention to game ratings though. I'm new to all of this. Just because it looks like a good game for our kids doesn't always mean it is.

Fashion Show and a Play

Emily, Katie and her friends Katilyn treated us to a wonderful Saturday afternoon. The girls have been begging me to get out the box of my old dresses again so that they could have a fashion show. They had so much fun. Who would have ever thought that my children would love my clothes. I think they are so outrageous and gaudy now. But boy when I was a kid they were the coolest. I always felt so fashionable. I can't believe ever ever picked out metallic purple taffeta for my Mom to make a dress with! Shocking!!!!! Who ever came up with union suits should be shot. That was the meanest thing my Mom could have possibly done to us. They were our Christmas PJ's one year. You know required wardrobe!!!!


Dave and I were also treated to a very well planned puppet show. They sent us invitations. Set up the stage and seating area. Advertised. Created their own puppets. Wrote their own play and even held dress rehearsals. It was very cute. A very nice Saturday.

Pre School Pals


I love Katie's little preschool group. I don't know why I ever hesitated. She has had such a fun time learning. I am always so happy with what all of her friends Mom's have planned on their days. Oh course I'm having a blast teaching when it is my turn too. (Sara is not such a big fan but she's trying) Katie is always bringing home the funnest projects. She is faithfully watering her "V" for vegetable bean plant everyday. We have a new favorite kid recipe for Space Mud. (doesn't that just sound cool?) My fridge is completely covered with beautiful art projects. Kate wakes up every morning and the first words out of her mouth are, "Do I have friends school today Mom?" If the answer is yes the next question is, "What letter are we going to do today?" My turn was a week or two ago and I decided to redo a project that I had done with Emily's Friend school class. She still treasures her little alphabet book we made together. So Kate and her 5 friends and I went on an alphabet scavenger hunt around the house. They had to find things that started with each letter with the alphabet with no help from me. (I definitely would have chosen more obvious objects) They were all over the place trying to find the perfect thing. They each took turns holding objects and taking pictures. Next time I have school we will write all of our letters. I took things a step too far maybe and had the kids go outside to make people letters. We made it to "N" and I started loosing them! By "W" I had to quiet or face an utter mutiny! So we will have to finish poor w,x,y,and z another day. Here's a preview...
PS. The poor girls haven't seen sun in a few months so they were always covering up their eyes!

Kate's Alphabet


So I have to totally brag about my genious little daughter. She is so smart. We have been participating in a little friend pre-school group since the begining of the year and she really loves it. Kate had gone nuts over letters (which she still calls numbers). Everywhere we go she points out letters that she knows. She pretends to be letters. Her favorite is the letter "H". She always wants me to be her Mommy "H". It is so fun. We bought her the letter and word factory DVDs from Leap Frog. They are now her favorites. Last week I was at the store by birthday presents for her many friends and she spotted a "word wammer" (a toy also by leap frog that helps children put three letter words together). She carried it arround with her the whole time begging for me to buy it. Of course I gave in. Dave was playing with her at church on Sunday and wrote some three letter words down to see if she could read them. He said she got about 1/2 of them right. I hadn't even started teaching her how to read yet. I guess it's time! I sat down with her two weeks ago to give her a little letter test. I wanted to see if she could write them all and tell me their sounds. She shocked me. She knew all her letter sounds. She could write all her letters excpet that Z and J are backwards. She also still needs help making her R, P and X look more like they are supposed to. I am so proud of my little letter lover!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kindergarten Talent Show



I had to post pictures of Emily's first solo performance. Maybe our little Diva will be famous some day. If you click on the link you can hear her sing her song.

Spring Concert

Emily had her Spring concert tonight. All the second grades sang four songs for us before turning it over to the third graders to play their recorders. She was so excited to sing for us. I think she was most excited about wearing the dress she has on. It is one of my old dresses. I think one of the best days of her life was when we got a box from my Mom with all of my old dresses in it. She had a little fashion show for us. This one was her favorite and she has worn it almost every Sunday since. Ms. Engquist her teacher was sitting next to us and said, "So this is the dress I've been hearing about all week!" Can you believe I wore such fancy frocks?????

Back to the important stuff....
Emily did a wonderful job. She knew all the songs and really had fun singing them. If you look close at the picture you will see some of her friends. Sophie Crawford is standing right next to her on the right. You can also see Brienna Shelton off to the left and up a row.

I have always loved Emily's voice. Watching her tonight reminded me of two other times. In kindergarten she sang a song (Moon, Moon, Moon) with her Grandpa Wilcox accompaning her on his guitar. It was precious. She also recorded a CD with her favorite songs for Dad while he was away in Egypt. It was the best Father's day present ever. I will have to dig up pics and stuff to post on the blog.


video

Sara's Check-up

13 pounds 4 ounces
24 inches

Well Sara finally made it in to see the Doc. We are only a month behind. That's not that bad. She sure has grown. Dave and I were guessing at how much she would weigh. He said 15 lbs, I said 14 lbs. She came in at a solid 13 lbs 4 Oz's. Can you believe how much she has grown? That's almost 6 pounds. She's in the 75%. Sara has also been busy growing the other way. She has pushed out a whole 4 inches for a total now of 24 inches. (80%) I think she is our first baby to be over the 50% in anything. It sure is sad to go through rounds of shots again. I always hate the way they look at you. The Doctor said she wants to keep an eye on Sara's right eye. It seems a little crossed eyed. And she is a little tongue tied. She nurses fine so we will have to see how things go when she starts talking!

video

PS. I absolutely love this outfit my Mom gave to Sara. I have been waiting for her to be big enough to wear it. I know I'm jumping the gun a bit but it is just so soft and precious. Funny thing is that my Mom bought it before Sara was born. I guess she thought it was gender neutral...good thing we had a girl!!!!

Loving Sara




First I love Sara's determination. I am totally preparing myself to have a very determined little girl. After all she found a way to sneak herself into our family even when the odds had turned against her. I can just see her little spirit up in heaven. "What, they decided they were done? What about me? I'm supposed to go there. You mean you're going to send me somewhere else now? No way Jose, I'm supposed to go there and that's where I'm going you'll see!" And she found a way.

I love how Sara loves unconditionally. Even if I've had to set her down to make dinner, made her cry throughout her restless nap or a sibling has just accidentally hurt her. She is all smiles. The minute she sees any of us she welcomes us with a great big, non-judgmental Sara smile.

I love that when ever she sees me or I pick her up she starts sucking. I totally understand the feeling of loving what you eat. So even if all I am to this sweet little bundle is food I love it.

She has started to stroke our backs whenever we hold her. Who wouldn't totally love that?

Her breath is usually so sweet. I love to hold her close, especially after a bath to enjoy her wonderful baby smell.

When ever she coos and has a little conversation with us we totally melt. I love sitting in bed with her after she has woken up in the morning and just exchanging baby sounds with her.

We love her intelligent stare. You can see the little gears turning as she takes things in and learns by leaps and bounds.

What we all love the most though I'm sure is just how much fun she is to cuddle and hold. What a joy it is to have her in our family.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Brotherly Love

What a lucky girl Sara is to have such a sweet big brother to love and look after her! Chase has been so wonderful with Sara. Even though she isn't the brother he was hoping for, he is so happy to have her around. I love to watch him interact with her. The other night I caught him doing his read-aloud homework to her. She sat in her bouncy seat happy as can be as Chase read to her. She actually gave him her first big belly laugh. I tried to catch her doing it again on video with no luck. Chase is always willing to hold her and love her whenever I need to get something done around the house. Without him we wouldn't have dinner!!!!!! A few nights ago I asked him to take care of her while I gave the girls baths. When I was all finished I went to see what they were up to and Chase had fallen asleep with Sara on his bed. The sweetest thing though is that he had tucked her in with all of his precious stuffed animals. If you don't know, Chase holds these guys up on a pedestal. It was just so sweet to see that he had protected her with all of his treasures. What a lucky little sister! He is lobbying hard to have her share a room with him when we finally let her out of our closet :-)



Our Carebear


This is our Katie bear. After her birthday last year Katie suddenly fell out of love with Dora the Explorer and head over heels into Care Bears. She reminds me so much of Chase. He too is totally immersed in one thing at a time. Blocks then Bionicles then Pokemon. Both them are totally infatuated with whatever phase they are in and most the time it lasts quite a while. But them when something else comes along they forget all about their previous love and move on. So Poor Dora has been totally forgotten and Care Bears are still the new thing.
She loves to play pretend. When she can talk her siblings into playing or happens to have a friend over most of the time she wants to play Care Bears. Our family has suddenly become responsible for the depletion of rain forests around the world. Kate and her playmates go through tremendous amounts of paper and tape as they make care bear stares (their tummy symbols). All tummy symbols must be cut out and stuck to tummies. Katie soon discovered that naked tummies work best. Tape just sticks better to skin!
My favorite thing about watching her play is when she and her buddies all stick out their tummies and yell, "Care Bear Stare!" Chase is usually willing to be the bad go (No Heart or Beastly) and they are always trying to stop his evil ways or convert him to goodness.
What I don't love is the amount of paper scraps constantly all over the floor! But for no it's cute enough to put up with.
The photo is of Kate as "fruit bear" not her usual choice but she just looked so cute I had to take a picture! Notice the apples, bananas and strawberries?