26.2.13

GRATUITOUS PHOTO POST

Lauren was crazy at our one year photo shoot. I have finally had a chance to edit some of the photos and I would like to share way too many of them here with you now.




















25.2.13

GOOD FOR A CRY

Elysha's friend, Heather, made an absolutely beautiful slideshow of photos of Lauren's life for Lauren's first birthday. It is hard to watch every time because certain photos bring up painful memories that are still so vivid but it is a beautiful testament to Lauren's strength and resilience.

Heather described the video of being comprised of three chapters, one with each song. That is a perfect way to describe how Lauren's life is - three chapters. Those chapters are birth and growth, heart surgery summer, and then her journey towards health. Thankfully that is where we are now, in her journey towards health.

Please, take some time (and a kleenex), and watch this beautiful gift that Heather made for us. Oh, and the opening photo below was picked by YouTube. I would have picked one where she was smiling because that is what she spends most of her time doing now. (Update: Elysha and I managed to remedy that problem today! Now it no longer has one of the terrible hospital pictures as the thumbnail screen. That was just too depressing to look at - especially since that is not who she is anymore.)



Music:
Sunshine by JJ Heller
Angel by Jack Johnson
I Get to Be the One by JJ Heller

24.2.13

GIVEAWAY WINNERS

When Lauren woke up from her nap, I put her to work. She thought it was Christmas because I never let her get to play with paper (she has a terrible addiction to paper eating like those people on My Strange Addiction). Lauren pulled three numbers from the box. The winning numbers are...




In case you didn't get a chance to see them before Lauren got them all slobbery and gross, that was 4, 7, and 10. So, Margie Stanley, Marie-Ann Chartrand and Rendrega Lins, you win this time! Watch for another giveaway happening again soon. Thank you to everyone for entering. If you didn't win but you are interested in the bow sets, check out She's A Miracle on Etsy. There will be many more sets in the shop soon!

23.2.13

OUR FAVOURITE BOOKS

Every night before bed Lauren and I read a book together. It is usually one of a few favourites that make her smile since it makes me feel good to know that before she went to bed she was smiling or laughing. We also read books in her room in the morning. After she has her diaper changed, Lauren plays in her room for a bit and she likes to empty out her book basket. We lay on the floor and read through a few of the books that end up strewn around her room.

Here are our favourites. I've decided to do a list of our favourites because a few of the books that Lauren loves (like her bunny book creatively titled "Bunny") make me want to punch myself in the face. Hard. I get that new parents are suckers for anything cute that they think their kids might like, but come on! You would think that book companies wouldn't want to publish books that make parents want to physically harm themselves.


























The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Eric Carle)
There are many things about these books that make me like them. They are a manageable length for a one year old, they have simple, bright illustrations, and the repetition makes them great for language development. I like that they introduce simple words and have predictability but they can be read over and over again without feeling like you know exactly what is happening. Who knows what the caterpillar will eat next? I like to think what I would eat if my job was just to get really, really fat. There would be many chocolate products involved.

Olivia (Ian Falconer)
I first purchased this book when it was just out and I had it in my classroom library. The words are simple and so are the illustrations but there is subtle adult, tongue in cheek humour that I have always enjoyed. Lauren was given a copy in board book and she has loved it since the first time that I read it to her. She can be crying and if we hold up the book, the crying miraculously stops. It's like baby book crack.

Olivia Saves the Circus (Ian Falconer)
On an outing to Chapters when we were trying to cut out Lauren's evening nap and we would take her places to try to keep her awake, we found this book. This is just like the first Olivia book but even funnier. Lauren finds it about the same amount of funny but I enjoy this one more. Olivia is such a funny liar. Just what I hope for my child in the future. At least if you're going to lie, you should be funny about it.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes (Mem Fox)
Any books that manages to use the word "eiderdown" as one of its rhymes is okay in my book. This book also gives me the opportunity to give my squirming daughter three little kisses on the tip of her nose as instructed by Ms. Fox. The rhyming and repetition in this book make it one that Lauren enjoys listening to over and over again.

But Not the Hippopotamus (Sandra Boynton)
This book could be seen as a fun little ditty or a simple statement on the state of bullying in our schools. All the animals are off doing things, but the hippo never joins in. Finally at the end, he is invited to participate and he does, but now the armadillo isn't cool enough. It's a never ending cycle of exclusion when the cat and the rat take their new running hats and run away from the armadillo. I don't know why I like this book when it can bring up so many difficult childhood memories. Oh, the drama. 

Snuggle Puppy (Sandra Boynton)
Lauren won't let me read this book to her because it is her favourite one to look through alone. She loves the illustrations and will spend quite awhile fingering through the pages. When I'm changing her diaper, if she starts to cry, I whip out Snuggle Puppy and Lauren will let me take the next 20 minutes changing her diaper if I wanted (I don't).


Bear of My Heart (Joanne Ryder)
Elysha got Lauren this book for her birthday and I LOVE IT! It has such a simple rhyme and I feel like it shares the exact words that I have in my heart for Lauren. The mommy/daddy bear (the gender is not specified which is another thing I can love because Matt can read it just the same) is telling the baby bear how much she/he loves the baby and it is beautiful. I think that every single parent needs this book in his or her library. You can tell that the author wasn't writing this book to make money but to share the feelings in her heart.

Lost and Found (Oliver Jeffers)
I have always loved Oliver Jeffers and this is the best of the best. He does the writing and the illustrations which help to further develop the story. In this book a boy finds a penguin and tries to figure out where he came from because he thinks that the penguin looks sad. After asking around (seagulls aren't especially helpful) he learns that penguins come from the South Pole and they set out to return the penguin. But once there the penguin looks sadder. The reader sees that the penguin heads back to find the boy just as the boy turns around to find the penguin because the penguin was only looking for a friend. Thankfully there is a happy ending (there may even be hugging involved). I first read this book when I was pregnant and I stood in the middle of the bookstore and openly wept. It was embarrassing. And then I bought it. Now I can read it without crying. Points for me.

But this one makes me cry pretty consistently...
On the Night You Were Born (Nancy Tillman)
I can't even describe this book. Even just thinking about it I want to cry as I think of how special Lauren is and how she has changed my life. On the Night You Were Born celebrates the specialness (not a word) of each baby and how all of creation celebrates them as well. When I read it I picture Lauren seeing bears sleeping and thinking that they were up all night dancing because they were thinking of her. Children think so magically that it is entirely possible. Heck, I thought the toilet was going to eat me until I was 8 years old or so. It is amazing that with all my sprinting away from toilets that I'm such a slow runner.



Anyway, that is my current list of our 10 favourite books. I have so many more that I can't wait to share with Lauren but she will need to be a bit older (and no longer trying to eat all of her books).

I love the look on her face in this one. She couldn't figure out why it hurt when she tried to turn the page... her other hand might have something to do with it.

LAST CHANCE

It is your last chance to get in on the very first giveaway from She's A Miracle. Simply click on the image below to go to our Facebook page where you can comment on the picture to be entered to win. Lauren will be randomly picking a winner on Sunday at 3pm by pulling numbers out of a container (and I will intercept the paper before it is shoved directly into her mouth). If that is the number of your comment, you win!


22.2.13

VISITING LAUREN'S HOME AWAY FROM HOME

On Wednesday we packed Lauren up and headed to Children's to drop off some cookies. I love the pick me up that cookies give and I figure that doctors and nurses can always use a pick me up they work such long shifts and there are so many constant demands on them. Honestly, I don't know how they do it!



I love bringing Lauren to visit the ICU because it is exciting both for me and for the staff (and I get to dress her up). I like to show off how well she is doing and they like to see it. From what I gather, the staff had a hard summer with some children who didn't make it and then Lauren showed up. For awhile it looked like she may also fall into that same category but then she defied it all and miracles happened. Today ECMO baby / our ALCAPA / Lauren showed the staff how she can walk assisted through the ICU. She did lots of happy screaming (which was not good in that setting but brought smiles to the faces of some of the parents in there knowing that she was a success story of that very place) and lots of smiling at anyone and everyone.

Visiting was also wonderful because Lauren's cardiac surgeon, Dr. Campbell, was there and I was able to chat with him about the findings of Lauren's last appointment. He is so wonderful. Without hesitating, Dr. Campbell opened up her latest echo on the computer and called up her file to find out what the cardiologists had discovered. I will be honest - every time that Lauren doesn't want to eat or sleep, I feel tightening anxiety in my chest wondering if it is heart related. Thinking that everything at her last appointment would be wonderful and then being hit with a complication was not what I expected at all. So now I question everything. Dr. Campbell helped to put my mind at ease. He didn't tell me that the complication is not there but he let me know that it wouldn't be like last time when there was a narrowing and then her heart stopped in the CT Scan. Apparently, with patches on the heart, sometimes when the heart grows, the patch doesn't grow with it so it ends up creating a spot of tension that pulls. Correcting this does mean another surgery but we are not for sure there. We may get there but I appreciate the clarification that he gave me that this would not suddenly compromise her life.



What a crazy thing to have to worry about. It is a sobering thought but it has totally changed how I look at my life and how I can appreciate so many things that I never appreciated before. Even when things get tough, they could always be harder and living with this belief makes me so much more thankful for everything.

21.2.13

CANUCKS VISIT AT CHILDREN'S

After seeing Amanda's post about Matt's beloved Toronto Maple Leafs, I remembered that we had never shared on the blog about Lauren's visit with the Canucks.

This took place while Lauren was staying at Children's in December for her pacemaker surgery and some of the players were doing their Children's Hospital visits. Amanda and I were probably a little more excited about it than Lauren was...but one day she will understand how exciting this moment is for most Vancouverites. We got to meet Henrik Sedin, Manny Malhotra, Ryan Kesler, and Chris Higgins. This was still during the lockout, so the players were not wearing their jerseys. However, it shows a lot that they still took the time out to come visit the kids at Children's...I know it probably made the kids' days (and all us lucky adults that were there as well)!


20.2.13

A GIVEAWAY

So the She's A Miracle Etsy shop has been up for a few weeks now and it is time for the first giveaway! I'm using a Facebook page (lovingly set up by Elysha) for my bows to inform people of updates, specials, new products and upcoming sales. Now I want to share the page further. I've thought and thought and thought about how to convince you all that you really want to follow the She's A Miracle Facebook page and I came up with my favourite way to motivate anyone...bribery. 


I have made up some single bows that this bribery will occur with. Entering to win one of these could not be easier. Simply go to the She's A Miracle Facebook page and comment on the picture of the three bows to be entered to win. And while you're there, why not take two seconds to Like the page? That way you can be kept up to date with everything going on in the shop. When my insomnia hits (do you like what I have chosen to rename Lauren? Insomnia. It has a lovely ring. I'll call her Insie for short), I use the time to think of many new wonderful things to add to the shop. There are feathers, tulle and paint involved. It will be epic. 

19.2.13

FAN IN TRAINING

Anyone who has met Matt knows that he is a HUGE fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. I used to watch Canucks games until we started dating when watching a game meant that I would have to hear a two hour barrage of "information" from Matt about how Vancouver fans aren't hard core enough, how the Canucks aren't really that good and how it's not a true team. Sometimes I like to remind him that the first time that we went out together (as friends!) in high school, I took him to see his very first live hockey game and it was the Canucks game when Pavel Bure scored his 50th goal. It was very exciting. (I did have to limit Matt to one swear word a period.)

Well, now we only watch Toronto games. I root for them only because when they win Matt is even more lovely to be around. 

Toronto was doing pretty well last year in the beginning of the season. It seemed that as soon as Lauren was born, the wheels fell off. I was a little embarrassed to put Lauren into one of her many Toronto Maple Leafs outfits in those early months. 




Well, now it's a new season and the team is doing pretty well (hey, it's still early). For her birthday this year, Lauren's Aunt and Uncle gave her her very own Toronto Jersey with her name on the back. I think that she looks pretty cute in it (and Matt looks so incredibly proud with his little Toronto fan). 






The best part of all is that Lauren actually really does like watching hockey! Now Matt just has to work hard to make sure that she lives up to his expectations of her as a fan. 

18.2.13

LAUREN'S SOCIAL SCHEDULE

Lauren has spent many of the last few days exploring every speck on the floor, oranges, mirrors and every set of keys that she can get her hands on. Today she actually started to have a little baby temper tantrum because I wouldn't let her eat Matt's keys. I find that during her day to day exploring and playing I would spend the entire time telling her "No" unless I came up with a specific set of parameters for using the "N" word. I knew that I would be kind of laid back about what she got into from my time in the classroom. The big issues I would take care of but little ones like who poked who were not something that I would intervene for. So my general rules are will you get hurt and is it super disgusting? If I answered yes to any of these questions, then the activity stops. For example, playing on the gate at the top of the stairs. Potential for hurt? Yes. So Lauren gets redirected. Example number two, licking a bowl on the floor. Hurting her? No. Disgusting? No. Wait, is that the bowl that the dog was just licking. Disgusting? Yes! 

One of Lauren's favourite acceptable activities is playing with herself in the mirror (waving, dancing and kissing herself).


Another is going through people's bags and bonus points if she can find a set of keys. She's so in love with keys that I'm planning to go to Home Depot and purchase some blank keys for her to have her own key set. I remember that I had a key set at my Opa and Oma's place when I was little and I would take the keys on all of our walks and try them in every door. I also fondly remember sucking on the keys just like Lauren does. That is gross but I totally understand why Lauren does it. Metal has a great tang. 

Lauren has also been playing with friends. She used to sit there and flap her arms while other babies played but now she is right in there like a dirty shirt. Watching her, Matt and I have decided that she might be a bit of a bully. This is pretty much how it goes... 
"Oh, you have a toy. You're enjoying that toy. I will enjoy that toy now." (Take said toy.)
This is something that we need to work on. Is it wrong that I think it is kind of funny? Yes. It is. But it still is funny. 



15.2.13

SMASH IT!

On Lauren's birthday we let her do a cake smash with a cupcake. We were all a little nervous knowing her ongoing difficulties with solid food but her pacemaker kept her safe enough. So, amidst the gagging, Lauren had fun with her first ever cupcake (so much fun that it ended up smeared through her hair and all over her face).






























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