Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A look into the future...


Eliana got this gorgeous dress-up wedding outfit from my mom (who made it from an old curtain... the woman is uber-talented!). The only problem is that she made it a little too nice and Ellie thinks it is her actual wedding dress - she has it safely tucked away in her closet for her wedding day!

And the verdict is in....

Raelyn loves enchiladas (or at least loves covering her whole face with them)!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas 2008!!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Countdown....

Christmas last year (2007)
Eliana had a great time in her "ballerini" outfit playing with the hospital cart. She was not very happy with me when I told her it was time to leave Aunt Roses' house.....
Raelyn's first Christmas
My gift to Darren - a book called "it's fun to be a Buckeye". It was a sacrifice for me to buy it for him (I still say Go Blue!)but we had a great time reading it Christmas morning...





Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Raelyn discovers Eliana's dress-up....


She found the boa and the necklaces and brought over the headband (which is from one of my jazz recitals when I was little)... she couldn't quite get it on her head herself so we helped her out. Needless to say, she thought it was quite fun!

Christmas Countdown

Christmas 2 years ago (2006)... Abbie's one and only Christmas. She loved unwrapping her Christmas ornament by eating off the paper and listening to it jingle as she moved it. She was already sick with leukemia but we didn't know it yet. She was a happy little girl despite all she went through...
The Christmas card picture... Eliana was fussing and had to be bribed with a graham cracker in order to get the picture (you can see some drool from her crying on her sweater). Abbie on the other hand (who was already sick) was having a blast sitting there having her picture taken!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmas Countdown....

I know I have been a bad blogger and haven't posted in a while so here is a sure fire way to get me to post a few days in a row... a Christmas countdown! Each day I am going to post pictures from "Christmas past" as a way to countdown to Jesus' birthday. Here is Christmas three years ago....

To Grandmother's (or Great Aunt's) house we go!
Eliana getting into the swing of opening presents!
Anyone else think she looks a lot like Raelyn?


Friday, December 12, 2008

Chuck E. Cheese.... Where an adult can be a kid!!!

Eliana wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate her birthday and we invited the Marcuz family to join us (their daughter Augustine and Eliana are good friends). Eliana was a bit scared of the animated characters playing in the band and clung to her Dad's lap. You can see her "I'm trying to enjoy this but it is scary" smile in the picture below....
She warmed up to the animated characters but remained terrified of the life-sized mouse that comes around to greet the kiddos - she SCREAMED every time he came around. Of course Raelyn was fascinated by him and kept wanting to go over there :)
Eliana and Augustine discovered a game that they both loved and got rather engrossed in... I lost count of how many tokens went into this game....


To make sure the kids had enough tickets to pick out a prize, the adults had to play some ski ball and the guys had to play a little basketball. We had a great time - both the kids and the adults. The picture below demonstrates how worn out we all were by the end of the night - just check out Ellie's incredibly tired eyes and face!



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Eliana's 4!

*** Note - this should have been posted Dec. 1st but I am incredibly behind... just pretend it is December 1st because it will help you feel like you have more time to get all your Christmas stuff done as well!***

While searching for cakes to make for Raelyn, Eliana saw this "flip-flop" cake and wanted it for her birthday. Never mind that she was born in DECEMBER! I had a good time making it and I think it turned out pretty cute. With the left over frosting, I wrote a little birthday "card" out on some paper towel... I am betting you can guess what happened next.....

Yep.... purple frosting all over her face - but she had a great time doing it!



Monday, November 24, 2008

Annual Border Battle Photo....

This year us Wolverine fans didn't have much to cheer about but it didn't stop me from rejoicing in our annual "divided family" photo. Eliana (to prove what happens when you grow up in a divided home) was singing Hail to the Buckeyes (instead of Hail to the Victors) and saying "Go Blue" while wearing her Ohio state scrubs. On the issue of football, she is a very confused little girl.

Sunday afternoon weddings....

We recently attended a gorgeous Sunday afternoon wedding between 2 twenty-somethings at our church. My mom had given the girls matching Christmas dresses and I thought this would be a great opportunity for the girls to wear them. They both looked adorable! I am attaching photos but remember - this was a Sunday AFTERNOON wedding (translation: naptime) and Raelyn only got about an hour nap all day long!


Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Traditional Hand-traced Turkey

Today we made traditional hand turkeys. It was a fun time and I just can't resist blogging about the finished products... Look at the difference between little Raelyn's turkey-hand and Eliana's!
Raelyn's thankful for: Brown bear (her first real words... she loves the book!), Mom, Dad, and Ellie.
Eliana's thankful for: friends, intact fingers, mommy and daddy. So I suppose you are probably wondering why intact fingers???? I don't really know myself but she was really certain that she was thankful her fingers were attached to her hand (and no, I wasn't going crazy with the scissors!)





Walking?

Raelyn is in the phase of the newly walking where she walks like a drunken sailor. Needless to say, she falls sometimes at the most inopportune times. I caught this picture after she managed to fall and wedge herself between the wall and the stairs....
and yes, I got the camera before I helped her out :)


Halloween Cuties

Okay... so I am a little bit behind with the blog posts! Needless to say, here are the adorable Morgan girls on Halloween. Raelyn was a beautiful ladybug and Eliana was Cinderella for the second year in a row (I am very glad I bought that dress big!).


Eliana showing off her best princess smile


Thursday, October 30, 2008

An attempt at walking

Here is Raelyn trying to learn how to take those first few steps. In the first video she forgets how to move her feet but by the second video she was getting the hang of it. Enjoy!

video

video

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Manipulation?

Recently while we were out to eat....

Eliana: "Mommy, why can't I have soda?"
Me: "Because I am a mean mommy and I don't want you to have that much sugar"
Eliana: "You are not a mean mommy and I love you (with a big hug)"

aaahhh - the girl knows how to sweet talk her mommy but she still didn't get to have soda :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ellie funnies...

Eliana: "I want a kitty-cat comb"
me: "a what?"
Eliana: "a kitty-cat comb"
Darren (wiser than me): "a kiddie ice cream cone?"
Eliana: "yes!"

I guess we have some work to do on phonics!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A fall(ish) Northern Michigan Trip!

For those of you who have never experienced a Northern Michigan fall... you are missing out on one of the most beautiful things I can imagine. When Abbie was in the hospital and I just needed to get away, I would always take myself on a little mind vacation to Northern Michigan.
Sometimes I would imagine being there during the summer when I could sit out on the deck with the sun naturally shaded by a large tree. I would take my book out there and do some "reading"... which really means read one sentence about 20 times and then just give in to the sounds of the water lapping at the edge of the lake and the breeze rustling the leaves above me and go off into a deep sleep.
Sometimes, I would imagine being there in the fall taking a hike in one of the nature areas. The air would be crisp, the fallen leaves would rustle under my feet and falling leaves would float gently down from the trees. I would breathe in the crisp clean air and remember God's provision for every part of His creation. I thank God for these visual reminders of His beauty and provision in creation as they made my small hospital room seem less claustrophobic.

Below are some pictures from our weekend get-away to Northern Michigan. It was 75-80 degrees everyday so it wasn't exactly fall weather but we had a great time!
Darren hiking the trail at Rugg pond


the girls "hiking"... I think if I go on another mind vacation, I am going hiking in a stroller too!

Rugg pond... it has looked the same since I was a little girl but as those pictures aren't digital you will just have to trust me!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

You know you are old when....

You jump for joy at the fact you got gas for 2.89 a gallon and then promptly remind yourself that when you started driving, gas was only $0.69 a gallon!!!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Sweet Baby Rae!

To my beautiful baby girl who just turned one -
You are a joy in my life. Even when you wake up in the middle of the night crying, it is a joy to snuggle with you. I love your smile, your laugh, and the way you crinkle your nose. I love how you try to imitate sounds and are trying to learn sign language but you just don't have it right yet. I love that you light up when Daddy is on the phone (in fact you kiss it, grab at it, and try to find out how Daddy is in it). I love that you get excited when you sister walks in the room. I love that you give me a huge smile whenever you see me. I love you and you are God's blessing to me.
I hope you never know the pain of losing a child but that loss has made me treasure you more. You will never meet your sister Abigail face to face this side of heaven but you have heard her voice (although it was probably a little muffled as you were tucked away in mom's womb). In fact, you used to kick mommy furiously every time Abbie was on my lap "talking" to me. It was as if you knew she was there and you were saying hi. In fact, that is how you got your middle name, Elizabeth. In the Bible, Elizabeth's baby John kicked the first time he was in the presence of Mary (who was pregnant with Jesus). One day while Abbie was snuggling with me and you were kicking me, I remembered that story and thought it would be a great middle name for you. I pray, like baby John, you would know Jesus from an early age. I pray that you would grow in faith as you grow in statue. I pray that you would grow to be a woman who above all things loves the Lord. I pray that you would know how much your Mommy loves you.
You are a precious gift from the Lord and I thank God that in His wisdom, He gave us you.

It's an Ohio thing

Yes, they did this voluntarily (well... except the dog).
Yes, they were having fun (well.... except the dog).
Aren't they adorable????

Friday, September 26, 2008

The truth hurts....

I am not a great cook. I am a good cook - I can follow a recipe and even be creative (once in a while) but I am by no means a great cook. Today, Eliana helped me to see just what she thinks of my cooking.....
Darren: "How about we eat at a restaurant"
Eliana" (with all the cuteness a 3.5 year old can muster) " I LOVE you Daddy!"

I guess she really didn't want to eat my cooking and was pretty sure her Daddy was saving her from mommy's cooking!

Just to prove I can find may way around the kitchen, below is a picture of Raelyn's first birthday cake. Come to think of it, my mom helped me with the cake (she is in the picture) so I don't think I can take credit for that either.

I guess I am just a good cook... not even a sometimes-creative one!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Light the Night 2008

This past Saturday we took part in the Light the Night walk to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Below are some pictures from the walk....

The girls showing off their t-shirts....
the shirts had stickers on their backs saying "I am walking in memory of my big sis/little sis Abbie-Boo"
Darren, me, Aunt Shirley, Grandma Honey (my mom), Grandpa Ouchie (my dad), Raelyn and Eliana at the end of the walk. The red balloons were for the "supporters" and the gold balloon (which lights up in the dark) is in memory of Abigail.


and the winner is.....

During the months of July and August our two girls had a contest to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society "Light the Night" walk. Since 231,461 people are currently battling leukemia and 574,525 people are battling lymphoma AND our own precious daughter lost her fight against leukemia.... this was a contest dear to my heart. We are so thankful that with your help the girls raised about $800 between the two of them!!!!
Thank you all so much for helping us fight the battle against blood cancers!

I know many of you have been waiting to see who the winner of the gas gift cards give-away would be so I had the girls draw the winners yesterday....

Eliana got to draw first as she raised just a little bit more money than Raelyn....

and the winner is.....


LIZ SEXTON!!!!! THANKS LIZ!!!!!!

Raelyn was super-excited to get her hands on the bucket and pick out a name...

and the winner is.....

Adam & Bethany White!!!!! Thank you so much!!!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Digestive Track, Part II

Eliana is learning where food goes after you eat it....
Her pronunciation of esophagus has been particularly entertaining. At first it was "its-my-mungus" and most recently "hungry-mus". I got a good chuckle out of that one :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Father's Hand

I was just going through pictures of Abigail when I came across this picture of Darren holding her hand. It was taken while she was in the ICU in Ann Arbor fighting the complications from her bone marrow transplant. It reminded me of a passage in Psalm 39:4,5 "Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath."

Saturday, September 6, 2008

first day of school jitters????

Some mom's have anxiety over how their kids will adjust to school. I knew I wouldn't have any problems as Eliana woke up extra early the first day of school, asked me to braid her hair so it would be "pretty", and bounded off to her first day of preschool with her Dad, with barely a look and kiss back for her mom and sister. The next day she woke up and asked when she got to go to preschool again. When I said "tomorrow", she said... "well can we do school at home then?" Being the good nurse that I am, I decided to teach her the digestive tract. I pointed out her esophagus and told her it took her food to her stomach. She then took a bite of breakfast and said "look! its-my-mungus (esophagus) takes my food to my stomach!" I guess we will have to work on prononciation :)
I want to thank all of you who donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk. The girls raised OVER $600!!!!! I will be posting the winners of the gas card give-away soon.

Monday, July 28, 2008

*** Contest for Abbie ****

As many of you know, this Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of little Abbie's death. In memory of our sweet little girl, our other daughters are having a contest - to see who can raise more money for the Light the Night walk (for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) on September 20th (although for Rae it may turn out to be the Light the Night crawl!). If the girls raise $250 each in the months of July and August, they will be awarded a $15 gas card. Since they are too young to drive, we will pass that gas card on to two lucky recipients! For each $25 donated, your name will be placed in a hat. At the end of the month, we will draw for the lucky winners. Below are the links to donate to the girls and
we look forward to awarding those gas cards!
Raelyn's site: www.active.com/donate/ltnClevel/2475_raelyn
Eliana's site: www.active.com/donate/ltnClevel/2475_elianamorgan

Friday, July 18, 2008

funnies....

This past week I have been helping out at a backyard Bible club. As usual - kids version of their memory verses can be rather entertaining. Here are a few (two of which are Eliana's):

real verse: If God is for us, who can be against us
kid version: If God is for us, who can be a princess

real verse: You shall have no other gods before me
kid version: You shall have other gods before me

real verse: The LORD preserves all who love him
kid version: The LORD deserves all who love him

Those make me keenly aware the difference one little word can make ;)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mosquitos...

Eliana (sobbing): "I can't walk!"

Mom: "why can't you walk?"

Eliana: "Because I have mosquito bites on my leg!" (still sobbing)



One year ago.....



Mom (crying)

Eliana: "why crying?"

Mom: "Because my heart hurts from Abbie going to heaven"

Eliana: "mosquito bites?"



I am guessing that Eliana thinks mosquito bites are pretty darn dangerous.....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

9 month sigh

Abbie was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 9 months old. During her entire battle with leukemia, Raelyn was growing in me - growing in life the entire time Abbie was fighting for hers. Rae was born just two months after little Abbie went to heaven. She was a healthy little girl, she has funny little webbed toes (her 2nd and 3rd toes on both feet) but otherwise she is seemingly a normal little girl. She rolled over late, sat up late, and crawled late - just like all of my other little ones. Yet, there loomed over me the 9 month well visit. Despite speaking the truth to myself that leukemia is not genetic, that Rae showed no sign of head bumps (Abbie's first symptom), that she seemed perfectly normal - there was still that part of me that held a little bit of anxiety over the 9 month well visit. Despite knowing it was highly improbable, there was part of me that was anxious the dreaded word "leukemia" would be spoken again. I breathed a sigh of relief as we walked out of the doctor's appointment after Dr. Pizza said "She's fine, she just needs to gain a little weight". I don't think she had any idea that the words were like music to my ears... fine but she needs to fatten up? That is easy to deal with!

I scream for Ice Cream!!!

Recently in Amish country visiting Grandpa and Grandma Morgan:

Eliana: I want pink ice cream (strawberry)
Grandpa Morgan: They have strawberry cheesecake flavor....
Eliana: I don't wan't cake I want ice cream ;)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

And the answer is...

Raelyn, Eliana, and then Abbie.

Thanks to everyone who played along... especially those who left comments :)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Family resemblance????

Here are pictures of all three girls at about 9 months old. Any takers for the comment section on who is who???







Sunday, June 29, 2008

We are far too easily pleased....

Eliana: I want a Popsicle
Eliana: I want a Popsicle
Eliana: I want a Popsicle

Meanwhile, Darren and I have been planning on taking the kids out for ice cream all day (one of Ellie's favorite things to do)....

Eliana: I really want a Popsicle!

This little scenario reminded me of a quote (I believe it is from C.S. Lewis but I read it in Desiring God by John Piper).... we are far too easily pleased - we are content with making mud pies in the city because we don't know (or understand) about making sandcastles by the sea (paraphrased version).

How many times have we asked for something only to discover later that something so much better was on the way? As a young adult, I remember praying for a certain boy to ask me out. I am so thankful that God didn't "answer" that prayer as God granted me a much better husband in Darren.

Oh, and Eliana still would like her Popsicle and we are off for some ice cream - I hope she is not too disappointed :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Stop to smell the roses....



One year ago today we were told that Abbie's leukemia was back (just 2 months after her bone marrow transplant). I remember feeling like my heart had dropped into my stomach and was being burned up by the acid. I remember calling Darren at work and telling him to come meet me in Ann Arbor because I just didn't want to be alone, yet the only person I wanted around me was Darren. I remember the pain of telling him knowing that his heart would also feel the same acute, all-consuming, pain. I also remember thanking God for giving me such an amazing husband. He drove all the way to Ann Arbor by himself to be with his baby girl and his wife. He snuggled us, cried with us, and was my rock. He was my strength when I had none left.


After Abbie finished getting the blood cells she needed, Darren and I took her to the arboretum at U of MI to take some pictures. It was such a sweet time... we set Abbie in front of some roses and she picked them, smelled them, and even tried to eat them! Darren snuggled with her on a bench and we just enjoyed being together on a lovely sunny day. It was a moment where I just stopped to smell and enjoy the roses because I wasn't sure Abbie was ever going to see them again. I focused on enjoying the moment and not worrying about what was to come. I am so thankful for that precious memory of my wonderful husband snuggling with my beautiful daughter on a gorgeous day in God's glorious creation.

As a side note - Darren's birthday is tomorrow... so, if you would like, leave a comment to wish him a happy birthday!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Sweetest Thing!



Raelyn greatly enjoyed being in the swing at Henry's transplant celebration. Maddie Thelen was pushing her and I was taking pictures... as you can tell, she was loving it!

A mother's hope

Mother's day 2005... my first mother's day as a mom. What a blessing it was to have Eliana!

Mother's day 2006... the baptism of one-month old Abigail. We gathered together as a family and were blessed by the sacrament of baptism. We celebrated the blessing of Abigail and had a beautiful lunch prepared by Abbie's Uncle Rod. It was a day celebrating the blessing of children and family.

Mother's day 2007... a day filled with hope. Abbie was out of the pediatric ICU at Mott Children's hospital and was visibly getting better everyday. It seemed as if our 4 months of hospital living were drawing to an end. Eliana was in Ann Arbor with us and I got to spend part of the day with both of my beloved girls.

Mother's day 2008... a day filled with grief, but not without hope. It was one of those days that takes you by surprise. Who knew that mother's day would be a day in which I missed Abbie so much I felt the physical pain of empty arms. I was caught unprepared and, though I tried to hold it together, the tears flowed the first time someone asked the typical Sunday greeting of "how are you?" I spent a good portion of the afternoon in bed with the sheets over my head... sometimes sobbing and sometimes sleeping (thankfully both of Abbie's sisters took great afternoon naps!). That evening, God blessed me with His word while I was at Bible Study (which was on Romans 8). I was struck by Romans 8:18 "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us". The suffering of watching a precious daughter fight and succumb to leukemia and the suffering of missing her so very much it hurts are not even worthy to be compared to the glory that is to come. The pain I feel is going to pale in comparison to the glory to come (and by 'pale in comparison', I mean it isn't even able to be compared!). The suffering I have gone through (and am going through) makes heaven so much more real, so much more alive, and it gives me a greater understanding of how amazing heaven will be. Little Abbie is there in heaven experiencing the whole thing and someday I will get to be there experiencing it with her. So, this mother's hope is a secure hope that I don't suffer in vain - that God causes all things to work for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). It is a hope that someday I will sit in the presence of Christ and all the hard times won't even compare to how amazing it is to be in heaven.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Henry's Transplant Celebration!!!!


Above is a picture of Henry Moore (www.caringbridge.org/va/henry), Madeline Thelen (www.caringbridge.org/visit/madelinethelen), and Russ Baxter at Henry's transplant celebration. Henry and Maddie both received bone marrow transplants about the same time as Abbie (and both are doing really well). Russ is the man who saved Henry's life by donating his bone marrow not just once... but twice (Henry's first transplant failed to engraft). It was so great to meet Russ and to thank him for donating his marrow. It is through people like him, and others who donate their baby's cord blood (like the cord blood transplants that Maddie and Abbie received), that the battle against pediatric cancer and immune disorders is being won... one little Henry and Maddie at a time! If you are not already on the bone marrow registry, go to http://www.marrow.org/ to register (it is a painless cheek swab and depending on where you live, might even be free!!!). You could be a perfect match for someone and give them the best gift... the gift of hope and life.

This is the Thelen family... Emma, Eric, Renee, and Maddie. It was great to see them and to watch the girls play with each other. Maddie will be 4 years old in July and has been leukemia free for over a year (way to go Maddie!). It was so great to see her run, play on slides, and enjoy being a kid. It is also a little hard because every time I see her (and the other 7 Mott kiddos) it makes me think of what Abbie would be doing now if she was still here. She would have loved her "transplant celebration" and I am sure she would have greeted everyone with her trademark queen wave! Of course, she is having the ultimate celebration as she sings and dances praises to God in heaven. I just miss seeing her smiling face.

P.S. Stay tuned for more post from the Morgan Family Vacation!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Eliana: "we are going to see the sin-of-anthony"
me: "yes Ellie but can you say symphony?"
Eliana: "yes mama.... sin-of-anthony"

I don't think she got the difference!


We are currently on a family vacation - kind of a tour of the southern states. We started in Nashville, TN for a wedding of a friend from college and are traveling in the next couple of days to visit with my cousins in S. Carolina. From there we are headed to Virginia to celebrate with Henry as he is now one-year post bone-marrow transplant (whoohoo Henry!!!). I will post pictures when I get back - I have an adorable one of Eliana meeting "princess Sarah" (the bride) and by her facial expression you would think she was meeting Cinderella all over again!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rainy Day

On a rainy day -
Eliana: "I want to wear my raincoat"
Mom: (unaware Ellie has a raincoat) "What does your raincoat look like?"
Eliana: "Like a raincoat"

ummmm.... that was helpful :)

Monday, May 5, 2008

An attempt...

I currently sit in a Chicago hotel room getting ready to go to a nursing conference and catch-up on my contact hours for the year. I am excited about what I will learn but confess I miss home already (and I have only been gone a day!). Before I left, I attempted to upload a hysterical video of the girls (but it took to long).... so stay tuned... when I get back home I will attempt the process again!


By the way - I found my camera and I promise to update with a picture for Ellie's recital soon!

Friday, April 25, 2008

My best friend "pony"

A couple of nights ago Eliana was watching the next door neighbor's grandson, Cody, play in the backyard. She said she wanted to go out and play with her "best friend pony". At first, I had no idea what she was talking about and then it occurred to me that "pony" was really "Cody"! I asked Ellie if he was her best friend what did that mean for Rylyn, Phoebe, Sarah, Emily, etc (her other friends).... she promptly held up her hand, identified each finger as a person, and said they could all be her best friends together :)
I don't think she gets the concept of "best" yet!
I am hoping to post a picture of Eliana's first dance recital tonight but I have lost my camera. Hopefully, I left it at the dress rehearsal and some nice person will give it back to me :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Answer to prayers....

God is gracious and His mercies are new every morning!!!!

Darren and I had a really good day celebrating Abigails 2nd birthday. It was a gorgeous spring day and we were able to spend the whole day together as a family. We went to the cemetary and Darren read Psalm 103... once again I was reminded of God's goodness to us and the way our prayers for Abigail were answered - she is healed and dancing in praise to our Lord. After walking around the cemetary for a little while, we headed to Ann Arbor and met up with Pam (Abbie's main nurse from U of MI Mott hospital) for lunch at Roly Poly. The sandwhiches were yummy as usual and it was really good to hang out with Pam for a while. We then went to the Arb (a park by the Ronald McDonald house) and took some pictures of Darren with the girls where we had taken pictures with Abbie. We went for a little walk because it was such a nice day and it was wonderful to be together as a family. After all of that, we went home, grabbed Abbie's cake and headed to Toledo Hospital. There we celebrated with Ruth, Abbie's birthday-twin (Ruth is a nurse who celebrated her 50th birthday the same day Abbie celebrated her 1st). We got to celebrate Abbie's birthday with some of the people who took such great care of her and we got to eat cake! Eliana amazed me with remembering to ask Jenny for some chocholate milk.... it has been months since we were at the hospital but that chocolate milk must have really made an impression on her! After celebrating at the hospital, we headed to our weekly Bible study. It really was a good day and I am confident that it was because many people were praying for us. Praise the Lord for answered prayer!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


One year ago today our second child, Abigail, turned one year old. She was in the midst of a round of chemotherapy and three days away from receiving a bone marrow transplant. Despite all that she was going through, Abbie was an incredibly happy child. My favorite memory from that day is when everyone had left from celebrating her birthday. Darren and I were starving and so ordered dinner for just the two of us. When the Roly Poly sandwiches arrived, Abbie looked longingly at mine. Due to her diet restrictions, she was unable to eat my sandwich but her Dad lovingly offered her a bit of his. Then she wanted another bite, and another bite, and another.... pretty soon, Darren's sandwich was almost gone. Despite the fact that Darren was REALLY hungry, it was such a joy to see Abbie gobble up the Roly Poly. So in memory of our little girl, we are headed to Roly Poly for sandwiches today. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and notes of encouragement, as you can imagine - today is a day when the tears flow more easily.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Go Buckeyes! Go Wolverines!!!!


Darren and I form (at least in this part of the world) what is called a divided household - he is an avid Ohio State Buckeyes fan and I am a fan and alum of the University of Michigan. Therefore, Eliana has been brought up to root for both teams. Tonight she asked to read the "Wolverine" book - which is actually about a day at an Ohio State football game. When we got to the part where the Buckeye band is playing, she started to sing "Hail to the Victors". Darren did not find it as humorous as I did! Thankfully, she did start singing "Hang on Sloopy" complete with the O-H-I-O hand motions to keep herself in her Dad's good graces. (the picture is from the 2007 Ohio State/Michigan game)