Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

I think Kieran and Nick love Halloween nearly as much as Christmas--they've been planning for it for months. Our festivities started a week early, when my sister and her family were visiting last weekend. After the boys had such a blast celebrating Halloween together last year (it was on a weekend), my mom decided to host a little Halloween party for them on Sunday afternoon. The kids wore their costumes, and they had a scavenger hunt and played Halloween games.


Nick playing 20 questions (he kept wanting to be "it")
Cracking up (notice the iPod touch on the right?)
Getting into the action
Dracula on the spot
On Thursday Nick had his Halloween party at preschool.
Pirate Nick

The pirate artist
Then on Friday was the big Halloween parade at Kieran's school. So many schools and communities are hesitant about celebrating Halloween. My friend Shelia told me that in Boise, some have protested the idea of celebrating Halloween on a Sunday (for religious reasons) and proposed that it be celebrated on Saturday instead. Many schools do not allow Halloween costumes. Our kids don't know how lucky they are.

The Halloween parade is always a huge hit with kids and parents.
Kieran in vampire regalia

















Pirate and dad

Mom and pirate
Kieran was one of three vampires in his class!
Kieran announced that he was not a vampire, but "Dracula"! He proceeded to tell his class the history of Dracula. One of the other vampires (the blonde) then announced that she was "Mrs. Dracula," much to Kieran's chagrin (this reported from Mrs. Dracula's mom).

The festivities continued this afternoon, when we took the boys to Multnomah Village for afternoon trick or treating.
Getting ready for trick or treating, round 1

Heading out

In the village
Mom with Dracula and Jack Sparrow
This evening Mom and Dad came over for chicken tortilla soup, and we went off trick or treating again. We had delightfully warmish weather (and no rain!).
Grandpa with the boys
Alas, one moment Nick shrieked excitedly because he got a KitKat (he loves the red wrapper), and the next moment he fell flat on the road! When we suggested we take him home, he protested. So on we trudged...his tears stopped, but his enthusiasm was dampened. Fortunately, no skinned knees. But the fall knocked the spirit out of him a bit. By the time we got home, it seemed forgotten. He was a trooper!
 
Chris went trick or treating this year--with a hastily assembled costume--but announced it was his last year. He's in that awkward age of not wanting to give up the chance for free candy, but feeling his age!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Affirmation of the Day: I express my creativity

Creativity is important to me.
"My unique and creative talents and abilities flow through me and are expressed in deeply satisfying ways. My creativity is always in demand."*
When my mother is asked to describe me, the word "creative" usually creeps in somewhere. I can't imagine working in a job or living in a life where I was not able to express my unique creative spirit.

I have a closet full of craft supplies, and I often fantasize about a time when I could actually spend time making cards or other crafts. At times, I make gifts or cards, but I usually spend far more time fantasizing about what I'm going to make than actually making them! For now, I content myself with being creative on my blogs.

I don't know whether creativity is important to everyone, but for me it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction. I know that I need to carve out more time in my life for creative expressions.

*From Power Thought Cards, by Louise Hay

Remembering Leona

This morning we attended a memorial service for a 13-year-old girl who had been part of our church community nearly all of her life.

Leona was born several weeks prematurely and spent 3 months on a ventilator. She suffered from myotonic dystrophy, which is a form of muscular dystrophy. It affects the muscles and many other organs in the body. She also had scoliosis and had to wear a large body brace.

She wasn't able to live with her birth parents, but instead was raised by her loving foster parents, Nick and Val, who have foster parented 65 medical needs children in the past 14 years (after raising five children of their own). Most of them either moved onto adoptive families or returned to their own family members, but Leona stayed with Val and Nick nearly her whole life.

The memorial service was one of the most touching ones I've been to for awhile. Many young people in our community gave tributes, including two young women who read pieces that Nick and Val had written about Leona's presence in their lives.

Leona with one of her prized dolls (Kieran in the background)
As many people commented, Leona had many limits. She couldn't read, couldn't eat very well, and had difficulties walking and moving. She never seemed to see her limits as obstacles. Instead she just plowed through life, welcoming each challenge that lay ahead of her. She will be most remembered for singing off key at the top of her lungs, loudly voicing "The Lord's Prayer" and all the eucharistic prayers, and pretending to be the pastor, priest, or presider. She made sure that visiting priests knew what they were supposed to be doing, and she made sure they always had a hymn book. I don't know what heaven is like, but I'm sure Leona is there, making sure everyone is organized and knows what they're supposed to be doing.

One day Val mentioned to Mike that Leona would LOVE to be the presider someday (the layperson who opens the service at our church). Mike told her that he would have Leona be co-presider with him. They practiced for quite a bit of time (as Leona also loved to have the spotlight and would expound on any topic at length if she had a microphone nearby), and the day finally arrived. As Mike said, Leona was giddy with delight. I think it was one of the highlights of her life. Nick and Val asked Mike to be the presider at the memorial service today, a fitting tribute to the honor they shared together.

As I often feel at memorial services, I wish I had gotten to know Leona better. Many adults in our community had very special relationships with her. As she was very close to Christopher's age (just 3 months apart) and I have been busy with my own children, I didn't get to spend much quiet time with her as did many others. One young college graduate spoke today about taking long walks with Leona on the church campout. And how when she taught the first communion class, Leona not only knew all the proper responses during the eucharistic prayers, but she also knew all the priest's parts.

Many spoke about how Leona taught us acceptance and unconditional love. And as Val and Nick so eloquently wrote in their tributes, she taught us that we don't have to have perfect pitch to sing at the top of our lungs...and we don't have to be graceful to dance to our heart's content.

Leona was a true daughter of our community, and her spirit will continue to live on in our midst.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Affirmation of the Day: "All is well in my world"?

While I generally agree with the power of positive thinking, for some reason this affirmation is bothering me:
"Everything is working out for my highest good. Out of this situation only good will come. I am safe!"*
I do believe that most of the difficult experiences of my life have silver linings.
  • Cleft lip and palate = strength and forbearance
  • Infertility and miscarriages = greater appreciation of my children
  • Chris' prematurity and the NICU experience = renewed faith, support of the community, strengthened marriage, deep and abiding friendships, greater appreciation of life
But I can think of other experiences in my life out of which "only good" certainly did not come.

Try spouting this "power thought" to a parent who has just lost a child. Someone who has just seen his or her loved one brutally raped or attacked. Someone whose house has been destroyed and is in the midst of war. Someone who's been sold into slavery, with no hope in sight. Someone in an abusive marriage. A woman murdered by her husband.

Sometimes these new age platitudes fall flat. This is one of those cases.

So yes, I do believe that good CAN come out of every experience, but I do not believe that it always does.

Want a chance to support independent film making?

An internet friend of mine, Nicole Conn, is an independent film maker. I first met Nicole after watching her beautiful, touching documentary "Little Man: the Movie," about her son, Nicholas, who was born 100 days too early and weighed just a pound. I sent her an e-mail to thank her for making the film, and we have been e-mailing ever since!

Nicole first became famous with her lesbian film "Claire of the Moon," and recently she made a film called "Elena Undone," with the longest kiss in film history (between two women).

Now she and her partner are raising money to start another film, and they are seeking donations to help them get started. In the heavily dominated male film industry, these women are providing lots of opportunities for other women to participate in film making. Click here to make a donation. It's Nicole's birthday today--happy birthday, Nicole. You are an amazing mom!!!

Sound of Music love-in

I don't watch TV much, and I hardly ever watch daytime TV unless it's via video clips later on. So I missed learning that Oprah would be hosting the first-ever reunion of the "Sound of Music" cast since the movie premiere. Bummer!

I've searched online for clips, and couldn't find any full clips with decent sound. Oprah protects her intellectual property fiercely.

But here is a link to a few clips. The segment with the Von Trapp family grandchildren singing "Edelweiss," with scenes from the movie and shots of the cast's faces in the background, brought tears to my eyes. I'm such a sap.

Check out this tribute page on Oprah's site to take a quiz about "The Sound of Music," watch more videos, and read all sorts of information about the movie and the cast.

American soldier returns precious war-time mementoes to Japanese family

This story really touched me.

An American soldier who fought in the battle of Iwo Jima has returned two mementoes to a Japanese family. Franklin Hobbs III took a photo of a baby and a child's drawing from the body of a dead Japanese soldier. Since that time, they have been in his possession. Recently, he returned them to the soldier's surviving daughters, who were deeply grateful to have them.

Hobbs, now 86, felt guilty for taking the items, but it never occurred to them to try to return them until his wife suggested it. He traveled to Japan to meet Chie Takekawa, the child artist, now 74. Hobbs had not returned to Japan since the war.

The photo and drawing are now on the family altar, where the Takekawa family can honor their father with memories and offerings.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

There's no place like home

I used to travel far more often from 1996 through 2008, and then my job changed. This week it changed again and will continue to evolve. I'm hopeful that I will continue to enjoy my new challenges.

For the most part, I do not miss the travel. This week I was in Denver from Monday through Wednesday, and I had horrible problems with my allergies. I didn't sleep well, and spending time in all-day meetings can be wearing.

What I did enjoy was seeing my colleagues from around North America. (Nearly all of the work I do nowadays is with people around the firm.) I got to meet more colleagues with whom I regularly speak on the phone and work with closely (such as Todd from Deerfield Beach, Florida, pictured below). I met another colleague for coffee early on Wednesday morning so we could catch up. I met another colleague for whom I have been doing a lot of writing, and saw one of my favorite coworkers from Boise, who happened to be in Denver this week. I spent some time chatting with my former boss, who moved to Denver.

But I was very happy to come home. One of the things I always have like about business travel is that it always makes me appreciate my wonderful family so much more. They are so happy to have me home, which warms my heart.

My colleague and I at a Thai restaurant in Denver
Now I'm sitting here feeling bad because I got into a conflict with Kieran this evening before bed. He had torn a 1-inch-diameter hole in the sleeve of a brand new long-sleeved t-shirt. When I asked him about it, first he denied it repeatedly, while looking me right in the eyes. (The kid is a talented liar, unfortunately.) He finally said that a pencil had made the hole (yeah, right). Ultimately he confessed and I expressed my disappointment with his lie in addition to his wrecking the shirt. Then he proceeded to go into self-flagellation mode, crying and threatening to throw himself off the top bunk. (This is typical when he passes beyond the denial stage and into the guilt phase.) In the end, I asked him to promise me he wouldn't do it again, and we pinkie swore. I'm not sure why I feel bad about this, but probably because of my less-than-gentle reaction, exacerbated by my frustration with Nicholas, who was demanding more goldfish and refusing to eat his bedtime turkey sandwich (after professing his hunger).

I hate it when I get into conflict with my kids. Especially when I missed them so much this week. I'm hoping that quality time this weekend will help me center myself and make me a more patient parent.

Before I had children, I would fantasize about having a baby as I tried to go to sleep each night. Now I am so lucky to be blessed with three wonderful boys, and I want to appreciate them every day. There's no place like home...and family.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Movie Review: Happy-Go-Lucky

This was yet another example of an independent feature that I enjoyed more than Mike. I discovered "Happy-go-Lucky" on a list of the best films of 2008. It's directed by the British Mike Leigh, whose films we've enjoyed in the past (Life Is Sweet, Secrets & Lies, Vera Drake), but who tends to take fairly dark, cynical films. This took a different turn.

Poppy is a school teacher and a purely upbeat, positive person. She takes great pleasure in living, is incredibly trusting, and tries to see the best in every situation and person. To Poppy, life is one great, fun wild ride, and not worth living without a lot of laughter.

She has a wonderfully close and honest friendship with her flatmate, takes flamenco dancing lessons, and tries to keep the peace in her dysfunctional family. She signs up for driving lessons when her bike is stolen. She decides to make a project out of defrosting her hostile driving instructor, but then he moves beyond obsessive-compulsive, overcontrolling behavior into scary psycho. I had a hard time understanding how she could put up with his verbal abuse, but she doesn't seem to let anything stick to her.

Although Poppy initially appears to be an airheaded, lightweight individual, her depth and true compassion shine through. In one tense scene, she goes down a dark, scary alley at night and connects to a lonely, mentally ill homeless man. My radar was saying "ARE YOU CRAZY??? YOU COULD GET MOBBED, RAPED, OR KILLED!!" during the entire scene. But Poppy treats this man as a real human.

She also becomes aware of a potentially abusive situation with one of her students and approaches the student with grace and understanding.

Through all of these experiences, Poppy struggles with the need to protect herself and draw some boundaries, while trying not to extinguish her light.

The movie starts slowly--I found the first scene (a drunken party) difficult to follow--but once I settled in, I really appreciated this movie. 

Mike found Poppy's character to be a bit too difficult to take. She seemed "too good" to him. Amazon reviewers who gave this film a bad rating either (1) found Poppy to be annoying or (2) couldn't understand the working class accents. (Turn on the subtitles, people!!)

Mike Leigh's style is to let the actors improvise much of the content, and at times this results in what seems to be a meandering plot (this is probably why I struggled with the first scene).  

Clearly, this is a movie that causes divided reactions. If you are not easily annoyed by overly cheerful personalities, give it a try.

Affirmation of the Day: "I see my parents as tiny children who need love"

"I have compassion for my parents' childhoods. I now know that I chose them because they were perfect for what I had to learn. I forgive them and set them free, and I set myself free."*

I am one of those lucky people who had a happy childhood, primarily because my parents loved me and told me so. I'm certainly not saying that they were perfect parents, but I do feel pretty darn lucky in the parent department!

I'm not sure why I should view my parents as tiny children. I suppose the theory is that tiny children are sinless and without blemish. It's easier to love a tiny child unconditionally than an adult who has made lots of mistakes.
So much of who we are as adults comes from the way we ourselves were parented and what kind of childhoods we had. Understanding what makes people become who they are can go a long way toward forgiveness and unconditional love.

Being a mom myself has made me appreciate my parents so much more, especially for the childhood they gave me. I hope my children will forgive me for the mistakes I've made in my own parenting!


*From Power Thought Cards by Louise L. Hay

Monday, October 25, 2010

Affirmation of the Day: "I now create a wonderful new job"

"I am totally open and receptive to a wonderful new position, using my creative talents and abilities, working for and with people I love, in a wonderful location and earning good money."*

You know I love synchronicity. This was the next card in the pack--I'm just choosing them randomly.

Tomorrow and Wednesday I'll be meeting with other members of our firmwide leadership team to hash out the details of a possible new organization for our group. I expect that a few people will be fighting against change of any significant nature. Some will be clinging to their positions or titles and be very reluctant to let go of the status quo. To move ahead with our goals, we have to change.

The best I can do is to be open to change myself and encourage others to be receptive as well. It's hard to let go of what we know so we can be open to the possibilities.

*From Power Thought Cards by Louise L. Hay

I just don't get it...

I'm hoping I'm relatively safe in spouting these opinions in this post, because I believe it's unlikely that any of my regular blog readers owns a Louis Vuitton bag. But in case I'm wrong, and I'm offending your sensibilities, please forgive me.

Standing in line at Starbucks in the Portland airport this morning, I spotted this large monstrosity on the shoulder of the woman in front of me.
I'd never even noticed Louis Vuitton before living in Japan, where I saw these ubiquitous bags everywhere I looked. Many Japanese women own at least one of these bags (or they did in the 1980s, at least).

I've never liked them. Why would anyone think they are actually attractive? All they say to me is "I'm affluent and I want everyone to know that I can afford an extravagant purchase."

Now granted, I'm really not drawn to shades of brown in clothing or accessories. And although I'm a self-proclaimed lover of bags, I do not love a lot of bags on the market. But I find this pattern truly ugly.

And this one? It retails for $1,200. Highway robbery.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Affirmation of the Day: I prosper wherever I turn

"I now see opportunities for abundance everywhere. I am blessed and prospered (sic)."*
As far as I'm aware, "prospered" is an intransitive verb, not an adjective, so "prosperous" would be correct.

I realize that some might call me a Pollyanna, but my mom tells me I was born with an optimistic nature. I tend not to overanalyze or overthink things through...I'm the opposite of an analytical. My sister told me yesterday that she is suited to internal medicine because she can research medical conditions, do research, and think things through to reach diagnoses...and she said she would have struggled to work in the ER. I think I'm just the opposite. I tend to be a quick thinker, but sometimes that gets me in trouble! I've always admired her ability--since childhood--to set a goal (e.g., medical school) and work towards it with concentration and dedication. By comparison, I'm a slacker.

In the situations when I've jumped in with both feet and not overanalyzed a situation, I've been lucky that things have worked out for me. When I applied to work in Japan, I told myself that I would go if I got the job--even though I knew no one there and not a word of the language. When the job offer came, I had no choice but to go--in 1 month, no less! And thank God I did--it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. (Fortunately I was working as a nanny for my aunt and uncle in Seattle at the time, and my professsor aunt helped me think through the situation analytically and get some commitments in writing from the Japanese company I would be working for. Thank God she gave me that advice, because they turned out to be dishonest and tried to back out of their commitments.) Japan was not only was it a life-altering, eye-opening experience, but I also met the love of my life there.

I've found the same principle has worked with my job--I've been at my company for 20 years now! I started working there as a temporary receptionist/administrative assistant (while temping and looking for a permanent job in international relations). I applied for a permanent admin. assistant job, but I didn't get it because I told them that I wanted to be in that kind of a job for only a year (who could blame them for hiring someone else?). But one of the managers encouraged me to look into the company's editing department, and I've never looked back. I was encouraged to take on a supervisory role at the age of 29 (and every other person in the department was older than me), mentored to become a proposal manager because someone believed I had potential for growth, encouraged to apply for a regional management role at the age of 31, and when our firmwide group reorganized a few years ago, changed my role again. I went from managing 60 to 70 people to having only one direct report and focusing more on strategic initiatives, tools, and processes. At first I was resistant, but I turned the corner and went with the flow. Consequently, I've been able to do a great deal of internal project management and communications work in the past couple of years. It's been great fun, and I've also enjoyed not managing staff for awhile too.

Tomorrow morning I leave for a business meeting in Denver, where we will contemplate another reorganization. My role could change again.This time, I'm ready and will go with the flow from the beginning. I've told my manager and colleagues that I'm ready to serve in whatever role they think suits me best. I need to remember the lesson of letting go and letting myself prosper that way.

Have you had positive experiences when you have let yourself go and allow prosperity to come your way?

*From Power Thought Cards by Louise L. Hay

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The birth month continues

On Friday night, we had some friends over for dinner to celebrate my and my friend Kristin's birthdays. We got to know Catherine and Doug and Kristin and Roger through our volunteer work for the NICU. You know the kinds of friends with whom you can completely be yourself and let your hair down? That's them.

I just realized that 2 years ago we celebrated my birthday with Doug and Catherine downtown at Mother's (Kristin and Roger were living in Wisconsin), and last year we celebrated with Kristin and Roger, also downtown, at Sungari.

Kristin, Catherine, and I try to meet for lunch somewhat regularly, but we hadn't gotten together as three couples in absolutely YEARS. It was such a special treat to get together for an evening.

Mike made a gourmet meal of a wonderful green dip (made with kale, scallions, garlic, and hazelnut butter), scallops in red pepper sauce, herb green beans, sauteed Chanterelles, and poached pears for dessert.

Doug wrote me a poem about our friendship and read it (it was beautiful and made me cry). He and Catherine gave each of us a beautiful, soft scarf, and then Catherine decided we needed to have a fashion show. Giggles ensued:






Time to get the boys involved!


And it's the Jewish wedding pose ("Where was the little girl I carried?"...)

Buddies Jonah and Kieran (3 months apart in age) digging into the ice cream

Doug and Catherine

Roger, Kristin, and their daughter Aimee

Me with the chef

Chris with Kristin
Today my sister Nadine and her family came down to celebrate our joint birthdays. Mom offered to watch her boys so we could go out to lunch. We met at Marco's and then did a little shopping in Multnomah Village before going to my parents' house for dinner (mulligatawny--yum!). Here we are with our birthday fruit crisp (I'll take that over cake anytime!).
October birthday sisters
I've always enjoyed the fact that we both have birthdays in October. It's been a great weekend so far. Let the birth month continue! :)

Affirmation of the Day: "I trust my inner wisdom"

"As I go about my daily affairs, I listen to my own guidance. My intuition is always on my side. I trust it to be there at all times. I am safe."*

I began thinking about the choices I've made and the patterns in my life in which I relied on my inner wisdom. Two primary ones come to mind.

I first met Mike in January 1987, at a Robert Burns night celebration at the home of a mutual Scottish friend. I knew right away he was someone special. He was witty, charming, handsome, and intelligent. He also loved literature like I did. Over the next few months our mutual friend Cath did some matchmaking, and when we saw each other again in April, we immediately connected.

A few months later, I decided to extend my time in Japan because I knew I needed to continue investing in this relationship. I couldn't risk throwing it away to return to the U.S., and it wasn't as if I knew what I'd do when I returned home. When I told Mike about my decision, he was a bit shell shocked. At that point, I suppose I must have had more confidence for the future of our relationship than he did. I tried not to let that intimidate me!! But as a result, for the next couple of years, I refrained from talking about the future beyond Japan because I didn't want him to feel pushed into a long-term relationship unless he was ready. My intuition appeared to be stronger than his early in our relationship. I'm sure glad I made the choice to stay in Japan! Who knows how things might have turned out otherwise?

The other time we both followed our intuition was when Chris was hanging on to life by a thin thread in the NICU. We clung to our hopes that he would be okay, and on some level, we both had the intuition that he would survive and be fine. Without that deep feeling of inner wisdom, we couldn't have kept hold of our hopes.

How has intuition served you well?

*From Power Thought Cards by Louise L. Hay

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy birthday to my wonderful sister!

‎"Is solace anywhere more comforting than in the arms of a sister?"
— Alice Walker



According to a new study conducted by DePaux University, having a sister is one factor that contributes to making someone happy. People with at least one sister report better social support, more optimism, and better coping abilities. I know this for a fact, because if either Nadine or I are in a rotten or sad mood, the other one can lift her spirits.

Even though we had our share of fights as kids (we used to hit, pinch, spit, you name it!), when I went off to college, our friendship bonded and it's never let up--only grown stronger. We both went off to Asia in 1986, and we both visited each other in China and Japan. I remember getting off the plane in Chengdu and seeing her, and bursting into tears, because I had missed her so much.

After I had my miscarriages, Nadine called me EVERY DAY to check on me. She was a huge support while Chris was in the hospital. I got to be there when her twins were born, and she was with us when both Kieran and Nicholas were born. I can't imagine my life without her. She is such a rock for me.

So thank you, Mom and Dad, for giving me a sister (I know you didn't have much choice in the matter). Some of our friends have told us that they wish they had sisters, and I can completely understand that. But I'm especially glad to have a sister because both of us have ALL BOYS. No daughters. So we need each other more than ever, with all that testosterone! (I ran into a coworker at Trader Joe's today with her 4-year-old daughter, and she told me that her daughters were going to be a fairy and an angel for Halloween. No fairies or angels in my house. I have Dracula and a pirate! Not that I mind...probably fits my style more.)

In addition to having a sister, here are the other things that contribute to a person's happiness:
  • You smiled a lot in college (those people were up to five times less likely to be divorced years later)--if you smile a lot, you might attract other happy people or your positive attitude might influence a spouse.
     
  • You're not glued to the TV (the happiest people spend less time watching TV)--you are more likely to read, socialize, or being spiritual (all habits linked to happier, healthier people)
     
  • You keep mementos or photos on display to remind yourself of happy memories
     
  • You make exercise a priority
     
  • You have a healthy love life
     
  • You hang out with happy people
     
  • You stay warm with a warm beverage (they elicit positive feelings)
     
  • You have at least two close friends
 Happy birthday, Nadine. I love you!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wishes on Wheels

Tonight, Chris took part in a fundraiser for the Legacy Emanuel Children's Hospital, where he was a patient for 117 days in 1996 (when he was born at 24 weeks gestation). It's a pinebox derby car racing event called "Wishes on Wheels." Chris was one of three "Kids of Emanuel" who participated. I think he was a little nervous beforehand, but he rose to the challenge and was a star performer.

I'm not sure how long this event has been running, but it's full of mostly corporate sponsors who design their own pinebox derby car to race to raise money for the hospital. Fred Meyer has won the trophy for the past 3 years. They had a highly vocal, enthusiastic team!

I think this is now my favorite photo of my miracle boy! With Fred Bear (Fred Meyer's mascot)

Chris and the other kids of Emanuel got to process
in with the Fred Meyer team and the grand trophy

They interviewed each kid about their time in the hospital before the kids had their own race

Nick with Fred Bear (he's not shy with large stuffed creatures!)

The loudest cheerleader in the house!!

In the new children's ambulance
Here's Chris being interviewed--you can hear Kieran cheering in the background:



Our family at the event

Check out this beautiful old ambulance they had on display!


The boys in the ambulance
After years of dreaming, Emanuel is finally building their visionary children's hospital. The NICU will have private rooms, except for the rooms for preemie twins. I can only imagine what our experience would have been like with a private room! The children's ER, which is managed by a friend of ours, is being doubled in size. Families who come to Emanuel's NICU in the future will be very lucky indeed. Not only will they receive great care, but they will have better facilities...which, when you are in the biggest crisis of your lives, is no small matter.
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