December 19, 2015

Merry Christmas

May the peace of Christ dwell richly in your hearts.

November 22, 2015

To the top

Don't ever tell them they can't or shouldn't, and they will amaze you. 

Anna, 4 years 

September 12, 2015

A letter from a reader

I receive a very meaningful email from a woman and I wanted to share. I know that making a decision for your child is so difficult and any information I hope I can provide as much information as possible to help parents be informed. I don't usually look at my blog's 'stats' but checked it out today and saw that 356 people viewed the Fibular Hemimelia information page in just one day! I am thankful for this responsibility I have to share information with you, and I take it very seriously. I have received a couple of other emails similar to this one, but this brave woman's really stood out to me. Thank you to her for allowing me to share her experience.

Hello!  I just wanted to tell you that I was born with this condition as was your Daughter.  I knew my leg was shorter and had some issues but had never heard of this condition when I started seeing a new specialist for problems with my ankle.  My parents were given the option to amputate my leg when I was a small child or do the elongation surgery. They chose the elongation surgery. I can understand why my parents made that decision – no one wants their child to have a leg amputated.   And I know that had to be a very hard decision for you and your husband to come to.  I wish my parents would have had the courage do make the decision you made for your daughter.  Even after the surgeries my right leg is 2” shorter than my left leg, I am missing a toe on my right foot, my ankle and foot are deformed.   And it’s a never ending saga – and there are numerous things that are hard for me to do  - walk very far, walk over uneven ground, ect.

September 3, 2015

School Lesson

This week, like last year, I went into Anna's Pre-K class to do a lesson on differences, and to educate the kids on Anna's prosthetic leg. It went so well, and I was so proud of Anna for getting up and telling the kids about her leg. She was so brave and acted like such a big girl.  Over the years I've coached/modeled for her different things she can say when people ask her questions, and now she is completely comfortable answering questions and talking about it. I'm so proud of her.

If you want to read more about the lesson I did, check out this post from last year.

August 24, 2015


It’s often said that you don’t fully appreciate something or someone until they’re gone. With the sudden loss of my younger brother Tim in a senseless shooting, I can attest to that statement. He has always been my best friend. I have occasional pangs of regret that I didn’t talk to him more these past few years, that I didn’t take full advantage of his company, but mostly I just watch bittersweet memories of him run across my line of sight, one after the other. Even if I had known what was coming, I don’t think I could have ever fully appreciated Tim. And I like it that way. In the weeks after Tim’s passing, I have heard new stories of his generosity and his love for people that deepen my knowledge of him and give me joy amidst the pain of his loss. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I like being able to appreciate Tim the more I learn about him, with each story shared. I want to hear more about Tim, I want to know my brother more. I am so thankful for those people who have taken the time to share with me and the rest of the family how Tim impacted their lives.  

Tim wasn’t perfect. He had his share of faults like everyone else, but he did take more time than me to smell the proverbial roses. His unexpected death has caused me to step back and reassess my approach to life, my gratitude for life. I would give almost anything to have my brother back, but I am thankful in a way that this wake-up call occurred now, and not in my golden years. Suddenly, the threat of HOA hate mail because of my overgrown lawn loses some of its significance. I am less concerned that a patient’s ramblings will force me to hit rush hour traffic. Forgetting to haul the garbage can to the street for the weekly pick-up doesn’t elicit the same level of self-reproach. I have talked to my parents and siblings more in the last 3 weeks than I would have otherwise in 3 months.  Life seems more precious now, and Tim would want it to be that way for us. He would want his death to have that effect on our lives because that was how he liked to live.

I still find myself wading back into the fast-paced normalcy of life, and an hour or a day or a week later, coming to, and remembering what I had so quickly forgotten about life’s preciousness.


Timothy Peter
 January 19, 1983 - July 28, 2015


July 21, 2015

Lessons for my daughter (and myself)

Some important life lessons and wisdom that I have accumulated through the years.....

There will always be someting troubling happening in life. Learn to be content and to trust God rather than wishing away the current storm. There will almost always be a trial in your life at any given time. Expect them; don't feel disappointed or let down when they come. Be ready. Prepared.

People are often cruel for the same reasons: someone is cruel to them, no one taught them and they don't know any better. Repay them with kindness. They need it more than you do.

People are often not what they seem on the outside. Never assume.

Never make a joke at someone else's expense. It's cheap and easy humor. Stay away from sarcasm for the same reasons.

Do not believe things simply because they have been widely accepted. Seek the truth for yourself, particularly when it comes to God.

Being kind to others will take you much farther in life than two legs ever could.

God will always reveal himself to those who honestly seek him.

Everyone has a story and everyone is hurting in there own way. No person is evil. Satan is evil and he lurks everywhere. He uses hurt and brokenness to bring about evil. Try to see the broken people behind evil actions.

People are not 'bad' or 'good,' nor are children 'bad' or 'good.' People do bad things, and people do good things. They have the choice to change from one pattern to the next at any time.

In the same breath, be careful about labels. You never know the impact you may have on someone's future and destiny by putting a label on them.

Lack of loving (or liking) someone is often from a lack of truly knowing them. Invest in knowing them more deeply, and you will find that as you understand them, you just may become endeared to them.

People do not want pity when they are suffering. They don't want cliché responses that make you feel better. They want you to be there, to express your sorrow, and to stand by them through the pain, even though it's not fun.

In the same breath, you will always be ok.

Courage is not about being unafraid, it's about choosing to do what's right despite your fear.

Never be a part of someone picking on someone else. Standing by and watching it happen is just as bad.

Never become so comfortable that you fail to see the things in you that need to change; yet don't live your life trying to attain some sort of selfish perfection.

Always be on the lookout for ways you can be kind to someone.

Look for people that are alone and looked over by others. Make a conscious effort to reach out to them as Jesus would.

Work hard at everything you do and give your best effort, not just the things that others tell you are "worthwhile."

Don't love money. It will not bring you happiness. Remember you cannot serve two Gods. Have an open hand with all material things, and remember that it all comes from God and ultimately belongs to him.

Don't live your life wishing for the future and in the process miss out on the beautiful in the now.

May 20, 2015

Project Simplify Part 2

I've been having a lot of fun finishing up the different projects from my little book I mentioned a few posts ago. It feels super nice to clear things out for REAL and pare down. I have no desire to fill every nook and cranny with 'stuff' anymore. Here is some of what I've been working through.

1. Laundry room: laundry and a few random supplies, girls' backpacks and coats, drying racks, hooks, and four colored bins, one for me, Ben, the girls, and towel/sheets. That's it.

2. Kitchen cabinets. Only have one set of stoneware dishes that can be used for all occasions. All of our dishes are in this cabinet, except for drinking glasses.

All the pots and pans. Got rid of a large one that I didn't really need so I could fit the electric griddle down there. How many pans do I really need?

All the baking dishes:

All the baking food items:

I tried to organize the spices by letter I'm that neurotic.

3. Media. These two drawers hold all of our DVDs and VHS (yeah, we still have some of those). Got rid of everything that we did not really love or want for the future:

4. This is every single 'adult' book in the house!!!! It's so easy to accumulate book after book, but when it comes down to it, there are so few books that we will end up reading or going back to. So we saved only our favorites or meaningful ones. The first shelf is mostly fiction (Narnia series, Francine Rivers) and autobiographies or biographies. Second shelf is spiritual growth and teaching. Third shelf is favorite parenting and marriage books (not every one we've ever read). Fourth shelf is random but a few practical how-to books. Last shelf is my childhood scrapbook, extra copy of our wedding album, a Spanish 101 textbook, etc.:

5. Linen closet. Just kept one set of flannel sheets and summer sheets for each bed and an extra pair for the girls' bed. Towels- don't need that many. We keep ours in our bathroom, but even then it's only a few. Then beach towels, kid bath towels, and pillowcases. Anna's nebulizer medication, bath time shampoo and stuff, and a blanket:

6. Girls' closet. Top shelf are their travel bags and beach bags with swim stuff. Kimmie's dresses, then shirts, then Anna's dresses. They can wear the same size shirts which is nice. Definitely have more clothes than we need, but almost all are used or hand me downs that we really do love. I have bins in here with diapers, more hangers, and all their clothes that are too small (to hand down or consign) or too big. I like to keep them nearby so I can occasionally see if anything new fits. I also don't like storing clothes in the attic; my goal is to have everything that we use, except Christmas decorations, sports equipment, outside toys, and suitcases/coolers in the room where they are used.

Anna gets the top drawer and Kimmie the second. I just keep short, pants, and skirts in here:

Last drawer is for underwear, underclothes, and junk clothes for outside:

PJs go in the bottom of this hall tree. We probably have way more than we need:

7. I limited little trinkets and smaller items to what you see here. A couple of pictures, the shells from the girls baptism, her crown from Disney, and some hats.

The homemade bunny house found it's home in here! The girls have some sort of obsession with taking their clothes off. And I'm the one stuck putting them back on.

8. My work desk, in the closet.

So far, so good! I think I only have a few areas left: kids' toys, attic (ugh I hate going up there so I might skip this one), coat closet, keepsakes, craft supplies, and paper. I highly recommend this little book! It's been fun.

May 12, 2015

Evolution of the princess

You know how they say that everyone is a parenting expert until they have kids? Well, I always used to say that my kids would not become princess fanatics nor would they ever have Barbie dolls. Well, as you can see below, both of those things have failed to happen:

I'm not sure how this collection happened. It started with two Christmas gifts from a relative- their first 'Barbies' (though at least these aren't Shop n Drop ones or anything), another for birthday, and so on and so forth, until somehow we collected almost every princess out there. And you know what? Anna LOVES them. When she was littler, I tried to steer her away from princess stuff. We didn't buy any, we didn't watch any movies or TV about princesses, so I thought she would be immune. But every time we went somewhere with a princess picture, she was immediately drawn to it. Despite my own desires, she became a lover of princesses. I tried to fight it for a while, but I realized that I can't dictate what my children find joy in and what speaks to them. So, I decided that I just had to go with it. So somehow we ended up with princess dolls and dresses. We've watched Cinderella, Tangled (our favorite), Frozen, Sleeping Beauty (one of my favorite classics), The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin. That doesn't mean we will be buying any true 'Barbies' in the future other than these classic princesses (I have to draw the line somewhere, right?).

Though I knew it wasn't possible to change the draw to the princess, and it wouldn't be right to 'deprive' (ha sounds so dumb) her of that aspect of play, I decided that what I could do was help her develop a healthy view of herself and build character; this can be done through almost anything, including princesses, I decided. I take every opportunity I can to point out the character qualities of the princesses- their hearts, when they are hard-working, serving, loving, strong, brave, and show perseverance, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice. There are some fine qualities about some of those girls. To me, Cinderella shows the epitome of sacrificial love and humility, rising above pain and maintaining a soft heart. Rapunzel is one of the sweetest, most loving, courageous heroines (I have a secret crush on her), and Aurora's gentle and grateful spirit, even while living as a peasant girl, drew others to her. It's harder for me to find the admirable qualities in, say, Jasmine, but I try, or at least focus more on the other princesses, ha.

When Anna talks about how 'beautiful' they are, I ask her what truly makes someone beautiful (their heart, their kindness, how they treat people, etc.) We talk about this a lot. Loving others, treating them with respect, finding ways to help people in need, showing affection, and recognizing when something can be done for someone else as a gesture of kindness. We talk about how the outward appearance is one thing, but God looks at the heart, and no matter how beautiful one is on the outside, it can never make up for an 'ugly' inside. We talk about loving people who are mean and unkind, because they are usually the ones who are hurting most and in need of love and acceptance.

I hope that my daughters can balance their love for beauty, princesses, and sparkly things with the way that God adorns our heart when we follow and obey him. I hope that somehow I can use the paths they tend toward, be it princesses or ninjas (somehow I doubt that will ever be the case), to see themselves in light of Christ, to see the beauty and image of God that is evident in all people.

I can't dictate what my kids love or who they are, but I can steer them in the right direction, guide their hearts, and build their character. That's my job as a mother, and I take it more seriously than any other responsibility I've ever had.

May 10, 2015

Semi-DIY Silhouettes!

I LOVE silhouettes. I think they are super classy, and I love how they are a reminder of the beauty and individuality of your loved one. I saw these pretty frames at a stand when we were at Downtown Disney. They are made of plastic but look like wood, and decided I would finally try to get some silhouettes. I looked all over on Etsy and they sold for over $30 each. Some were up to $75! Whoa! Way too much for us! I happened upon one shop where she provided you with a digital silhouette for just $5. I figured it was worth a try. So far, I've had good success with using my printer to create high-resolution images/artwork for my house. Often people can't tell the difference. You can buy lots of digital art on Etsy at a great price. So I sent in my pictures of the girls and they came back within a few days. I printed them out on cardstock paper in high quality. They turned out great, and you would never know they were printed off from my own computer! They look just like they had been painted or cut out. I hung them on the wall in the hallway and I love seeing the girls when I walk by! Yay!

May 8, 2015

Project Simplify

I'm always into simplifying, but lately I've been wanting to take it to the next level. Especially when I looked at my closet. I think (maybe?) compared to the average person in the US, I keep a lot less 'stuff.' But yet, every time I try to simplify beyond the point I'm at, I sort of hit a wall and have trouble deciding what should go and what should stay. Well, I got this fantastic little book that has totally helped my mindset and figure out what is really worth holding on to, and the benefits of living with less: less clutter, less choices, less desire to buy more 'stuff' (since you've worked so hard to get rid of it!), and realizing the joy of living with less.

The book goes through every different area of your home so you can take it slow and hit each section as you want. Instead of going through your stuff and picking a few things out to send to Goodwill, for example, she encourages you to take everything (literally, everything) out and go through it piece by piece. I really love the questions she has you ask yourself. For clothes- is this something I would take on vacation? Do I have something to pair it with? Do I have another one of these? How often do you do laundry? (who needs two black shirts if you do laundry every week)? I realized that so many of the clothes I hung on to were ones that I didn't love, just tolerated. I went from thinking my closet was pared down to literally getting rid of 50% of it after reading the book. The goal is to have only clothes that you 'love' to wear. It also sets a standard so you don't buy whatever you find on sale, just because it's cheap. If you don't absolutely love it, you won't buy it, because you've worked so hard to keep your wardrobe a 'love it' wardrobe. I can fit all of my seasonal clothes out at once (except I put sweaters away), so I don't have to go through boxes every season. I like that.

Here is my pared down closet. It's kind of embarrassing because I know that so many people around the world would think this is extravagant, and it is. But at least compared to what it was, I think it looks pretty good.

All my warm weather tops (just what's hanging, the blue bins hold 1. bathing suits and 2,3. camisoles that I wear under cardigans):

All my cold weather tops (minus a bunch of heavier tops and sweaters):

All my shorts, capris, jeans, and casual pants. Still feels like a lot, but I wear all of them.

All my dresses and skirts for all occasions:

All my work or nicer pants (four pairs):

My gym bag:

I pared down all my shoes (how many pairs of dress shoes do I really need? What would go with the most?) I saved three pairs of dress shoes- one nude, one black, and one silver. All of these and my work shoes are on the floor shelf, and all my sandals and casual shoes are on the hanging rack. It still feels like I have a lot of shoes, but a lot less than before.

 I also kept only two purses and two belts (black and brown), and two hats:

Here is the extent of my makeup collection after getting rid of unused items. Bare Minerals foundation, concealer, and blush, brushes, mascara, eye liner, an eyebrow pencil, a pencil sharpener, and an lash/eyebrow comb (no curler). It all fits into this little bag that I can roll up to take with me on trips.

And here is all of my jewelry. One side has earrings and bracelets, the other necklaces. It also packs really well:

I don't know if this still is a ton of stuff, but I feel like it's as simplified as I will probably get! Either way, I feel proud of what I've done so far.

Here is my simplified nightstand. I love how the author talks about why having a simple nightstand is a good idea and how to decide what to keep on it. A light, a coaster, one picture frame (my late father), one current book/devotional, and box with a few of my nighttime essentials (glasses and lotion).

More to come on the other areas! I've already done the kitchen cabinets and dishes and bathroom cabinets. There wasn't anything to do in the dining room because there was nothing in it to begin with!

May 5, 2015

Leg #4


Today we received Anna's fourth leg. She's had her current one for 14 months, which is a really long time for a growing child. Her new leg is a little bit more advanced than her previous one. It has a foot with mechanics that allows it to bend a little bit side to side and front and back, which means it will give her more shock absorption when she puts pressure on it (jumping, running, etc.) and will be easier to manipulate. We wanted to go ahead and move forward with the next type of leg even though the foot only came in a size that was a few sizes too big for her other foot. This means that the leg is a little bit bigger than her other one, but still just as functional. We know she will grow into a 'matching' size soon.

Test socket

Test socket