Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Middle Cub

Last night Mariah and I went to the movies. Savannah turned down my invitation. I guess 11 is too cool to be hanging out with your mom and baby sister. Little does she know I already have our date night all planned out. Muwhahaha!

Mariah really wanted to see the new Disney movie "Earth". As I sat there with my sweet cub witnessing the "Circle of Life" play out over and over again, it was if all of the sacrifices of my mothering had been validated. All those mamas fiercely protecting and providing for their youngins ~ very often to their own detriment.

That's how we roll.

Funny moment: a great white shark was devouring a seal in super slow motion (not the funny moment, btw) and with water churning and teeth gnashing on the screen, Mariah turns to me and whispers in my ear, "I thought this was rated 'G'..."

Hakuna Matata, my young one.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Isaiah: I'm ready for my close-up, Ms. Gueck!

While doing my research this weekend, I fell madly in love with photography by Trina Gueck. Her photos speak volumes without saying a single word. Naturally, I knew she would be the perfect fit to capture the love and joy that fills the heart of little boy who has no spoken language.

Trina was our first choice and happily, she is the photographer The Littlest Heroes Project chose for Isaiah. I am really looking forward to the photo session scheduled for the end of May. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we'll be blessed with sunshine and warm temps for our outdoor shoot at a local park (it would be a shame if the kids aren't able to wear the cute, coordinating, summer-y outfits I plan on buying for them...)

In the meantime, you can see some of Trina's beautiful work here:

http://www.photosbytrinagueck.com

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Super fast Hero

Isaiah was accepted into the project! Now we have to go through their list of photographers in our area and peruse their websites to research their work. After we submit our top 3 choices to LHP, they will put a photographer in touch with us and then we set up a photo session date, time, and location.

Everyone say "cheese"!

The Littlest Heroes Project

This morning I submitted Isaiah's application for the Littlest Heroes Project. It involves a network of professional photographers who provide their services for free to children with life-threatening/life altering conditions and their families. It is a remarkable program. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at Isaiah's school pictures and thought to myself, "Wow. I wish they would have taken more time to get a better shot."

I understand how much patience and attentiveness is required for photographing children with various special needs. And I know that for school photographers, it isn't exactly their top priority. They have classroom after classroom to photograph. That's why LHP is such a unique service. Isaiah would be the star of the session in his own comfort zone.

Those would be pictures of a lifetime.

I don't know if and when we'll get accepted, but what a great opportunity for families like ours who wouldn't have the chance otherwise.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

2010 ~ A Spacey Odyssey

Gisela from Kodak Gallery: My name is Gisela. How may I help you today?

Sharon: Yes, I would like to begin work on a 2010 photo calendar, but on the design page there is no option for for the year 2010--just 2007-2009.

Gisela: I see. I will be right back...

Six minutes later...

Gisela: Yes. I see we haven't updated our system yet, so 2010 isn't an option yet.

Sharon: Well, this is for a calendar I want to gift this summer. Do you know when 2010 will become an option?

Gisela: I'm not sure, but I would think by the end of this year.

Ya think? By the way, who are these people still in the market for a 2007 calendar?

*logging on to Shutterfly ~ where 2010 is already an option*

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hula Hoopla


PT Larry broke out the old school, low-tech equipment on Isaiah last week. The hula hoop has made a comeback and Isaiah is rocking it. He stood alone with it for balance for practically 10 minutes at therapy last week. It is a great tool to help him with his walking as well.

video

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ringtone Deaf

Yesterday I could NOT find my cell phone. Usually, all I have to do is call it from the house phone and then follow the ringing. No such luck yesterday. It wasn't anywhere to be found.

On my way to pick up the kids from school, it hit me. I left the phone in Isaiah's backpack following his physical therapy session on Wednesday!

Sure enough, as soon as I walk into his classroom, Miss J. says with a grin, "Isaiah has detention after school today for bringing his cell phone to class!" We all had a good laugh.

But could you imagine if I had downloaded an explicit ringtone to my phone? All those unsuspecting preschoolers getting an earful of Lil Wayne in the middle of Circle Time?!?

I'll keep my free, generic little brrr-ing, thank you very much.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Girls

The girls' spring school pictures:

Savannah ~ 5th Grade


Mariah ~ 3rd Grade


We didn't order Isaiah's school pictures this spring because I could have done a better job taking them myself. Grr.

But here's a "just because" pic. of him:

Waaaaassuuuuup?

Monday, April 13, 2009

It Takes a Village... and Apparently a Starbucks

Today I saw this sign posted at the I.D. issuing office:

ATTENTION PARENTS

UNATTENDED CHILDREN WILL BE GIVEN AN ESPRESSO AND A FREE PUPPY

Friday, April 10, 2009

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!


Movies keep popping up about "old" people waking up young again. First of all, 37 isn't old to me. And not just because that's how old I turned yesterday. We are a culture obsessed with youth. It's quite sad actually. I'm not ashamed to be in my mid/late 30's. I was a twit for a large part of my early 20's.

Of course I can't help but face my own mortality, but let's face it: we are ALL born dying. And no one is guaranteed 75 or 80 years. It's what you do with the time you have that matters the most.

Every birthday should be celebrated. As my mother always says, getting older is much better than the alternative.

Cake and roses courtesy of my very tuned-in husband who, although he isn't big on fusses made over him, understands and appreciates who I am.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Somewhere in Northern California on our way home this week, the song "Cherish" by Kool and the Gang came on the radio. As it played, I was struck by the lyrics "Cherish the love we have, we should cherish the life we live. Cherish the love, cherish the life, cherish the love".

One thing this trip has shown me is how much I cherish my family. I thank God every single day for James and the kids. If I had to be on the road for 34 hours, this is the crew I would want with me.

Our 10-day road trip also taught me some very practical things as well:

* In-vehicle GPS and DVD player = totally worth it

* Never underestimate your budget for souvenirs.

* You can never take too many pictures.

* Keep a sense of humor, sense of adventure, and sense of direction.

* McDonald's iced coffee kicks Starbucks iced coffee's behind.

* Also, their chicken wraps are a tasty alternative to burgers.

* The sight of palm trees can instantly lower your blood pressure.

* If I had invested in Target from the get-go, I'd be rich by now. They are everywhere.

* My family and friends mean the world to me.

Thanks for taking this journey with us.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The San Francisco Treat



Seattle's ranking on my "Favorite Cities Visited" list might just be slipping. We spent the day on San Francisco Bay yesterday and I do believe that's where I left my heart.

First of all, the weather was gorgeous. We drove to Fisherman's Wharf and explored the waterfront. We walked the kids to the Dudley Perkins Harley-Davidson shop and James was like a kid in a candy store.



My friend, Karen (whom I am convinced is my long-lost sister), and her family met us at the Bubba Gump Restaurant on Pier 39 for dinner. Then using Karen's impeccable navigation skills, we hiked it to Ghirardelli Square for dessert. (Totally worth the uphill climb, I tell ya). And I cannot say enough wonderful things about Karen, her husband Sam, and their adorable little girls.



We had such an amazing time. We would have loved to have had Jamie and her family join us, but a family emergency arose and my heart and prayers go out to her and her family.

Today, the Brownie Bunch is heading back north. After one more overnight stay on the way, we should be back home by late Tuesday. The weather forecast for Seattle calls for mild and sunny conditions. Hope it holds out til we get there...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Crossroads


Yesterday we left Southern California for San Francisco. I was armed with my trusty atlas and printed Map Quest pages. (I take my "navigator" role very seriously). James programed the navigation system (whom I refer to as "Navi") as a back up. She is usually on par with my skills.

Until yesterday.

We merged onto I-5 north and after about 17 miles, Navi told James to exit onto the 101. My instructions were clear: stay on I-5. As we neared the exit for the 101 and Navi continued to press the issue, James found himself in quite the conundrum: obey his wife or obey his navigation system. Guess who he listened to...

So off onto the 101 we rode. It stung, but it turned out to be the better decision anyway. I was dreading the drive back up I-5. The scenery between LA and SF can be a bit desolate along that route. Visualize any Wile E. Coyote cartoon during a chase with the Roadrunner as they pass the same cactus, desert, and cliff over and over again. The 101 took us past the infamous Hollywood sign and along the Pacific Coast for a stretch. It was much more kid and driver-friendly. And bonus, we avoided a toll. I have to give Navi credit for that.

But she really needs to work on that Miss Smartypants tone of hers.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Shamu-ed


I am so a West Coast Girl. Our drive down to San Diego sealed the deal. I can't believe it's taken almost 37 years to find my way home. I guess I gotta learn how to surf. No problemo--it's probably in my blood.

On the way down, we saw the Pacific Ocean for the very first time! And SeaWorld itself was such a treat. Savannah loved the shark exhibit. At one point we were on a moving sidewalk under a tank tunnel of sharks. Very cool. There was also a "Pets Rule" show featuring rescued cats, dogs, pigs, and ducks. Huge hit. It only strengthened the kids' resolve to get a dog.

The Shamu show was amazing. Isaiah was fixated the entire time. One of the most touching and poignant moments occurred during the introduction when the trainers praised and thanked the U.S. Armed Forces and asked all past and present military personnel and their families to stand and receive a round of applause. We stood. I got totally choked up. I am so proud of James and it reminded me of all the sacrifices he has made and we have had to endure as as a family. It put into perspective why we are on this vacation in the first place.

And then there was the part in the show when Shamu splashes the crowd. The "Soak Zone" is clearly labeled and goes from rows 1-16. We were seated in the handicap section right above Row 16. When the trainers started riling up the crowd to get Shamu hyped up, James turned to me and said, "If I get wet, we won't have to worry about what to get for dinner tonight. It will be killer whale."



Fortunately for Shamu, we didn't get wet. Unfortunately for a baby about 16 months-old in the Soak Zone, Shamu had perfect aim. She got wet from head to toe, was red in the face, and mad as a wet hornet. Shame on her parents. And shame on me for laughing.

We had a great time and the day got even better. On the way back to our hotel, we found a CHICK-FIL-A restaurant. Oh happy day. We haven't had Chick-Fil-A in over a year. I'll take that over Shamu meat any day.

Tomorrow morning we leave Southern California for San Francisco. Sadly, it signals our vacation is winding up, but it's also one of the things I've been looking forward to the most.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Are we happy yet?


I don't know if it's the happiest place on Earth, but it could very well be the most crowded. We reached the pinnacle of our Southern California vacation yesterday with a trip to the Disneyland Resort. We had decided ahead of time that instead of hitting the original park ("It's a Small World", etc...), we'd go to Disney's California Adventure Park--in small part because it went really well with our whole vacation theme.


Some of the attractions were fantastic. We were able to include Isaiah in almost every activity. They issued us a wheelchair pass for his adaptive stroller so we could pull straight through the line and transfer him at the ride and put him right back in it at the gate. The "cast members" were super friendly and helpful and never made us feel guilty or cumbersome. A few of the highlights we were able to enjoy as a family were the Muppet 3-D, Crush the Turtle, and Monsters Inc. shows and almost all of the rides in "It's a Bug's Life" world. (As soon as we get back home, I'll be posting an online link to all of our vacation photos. Just a warning.)


Today, we are heading down to San Diego to Sea World. The weather has taken a cloudy, cooler turn, but we aren't about to let that stop us now. We've travelled over 1000 miles ~ we ain't leaving 'til we pet a dolphin.