Saturday, December 31, 2011


Our first cardiologist appointment at Lucille Packard was both wonderful and awful at the same time--which is what I can say about most of his appointments. I start feeling sick about four days before every appointment he has. Nauseous. Light-headed. Incredibly anxious. And this time was no different. I worry about what they'll tell me--there seems to always be bad news. And since this was our first time with a new doctor, in a new city, at a new children's hospital I was even more nervous. Plus I had that feeling, you know the feeling, the feeling that mother's get in their very soul that something is not quite right. I wish I hadn't had that feeling--and more than anything I wish that feeling hadn't proved true.

The doctor was amazing. The nurses were excellent. The facilities were gorgeous. From the moment I walked into the heart center I was at peace--total peace. I love our team at UC Davis and I was very nervous that I would not feel the same way about the doctors at Stanford, but I immediately felt like this was the right place for our family. I honestly believe that we were accepted at Stanford because Heavenly Father knew it was the place Evie could get the best care, and I felt that ever stronger when we stepped into that beautiful heart center.

The next few hours were filled with test after test. Evie slept through his echo (which was over an hour long) and cooed quietly through his EKG. For a baby that loves to be held all day long, this in and of itself was a miracle! But before the echo was over I knew something was wrong. The technician nervously excused herself to speak with the doctor, and then came back to get some more images. They NEVER tell you what's going on, but I ALWAYS ask and try to get something out of them. They did more testing on that sweet boy, and then put us in a room to wait for the doctor.

I could feel it in my soul. Still. Something wasn't right.

And I was right. The doctor came in the room to tell me that the echo had shown that Everett's aortic arch had not grown and was significantly hindering the passage of blood to the rest of the body, causing his blood pressure to be out of control. They also noticed that his coarctation in his aorta (that was repaired in the first surgery) was re-narrowing. His VSD (the hole in his heart) had not closed, and they noticed in this echo that his mitral valve is measuring small (perhaps from the VSD). As he went through everything that was wrong I knew what he would say next. And he did. Surgery.

He met with the team of cardiologists and surgeons at Stanford the Wednesday before Christmas and got back to me the same day. After looking at Evie's case it was a unanimous decision that he would indeed need open-heart surgery to repair his heart. A few days later it was scheduled. January 18th. Evie's second surgery. Open-heart surgery. January 18th.

We went into Christmas weekend with gratitude that Everett was able to share his first Christmas with us at home, and with respect for the new adventures and trials that 2012 will bring. This Christmas was more emotional and real than any Christmas has ever been. Every time I heard the nativity story, and read about the babe in the manger, I couldn't help but look at my own little boy and feel deep gratitude and love. I also thought a lot about Mary this year--her fears and hopes and dreams for her beautiful little boy--and related with her in a very special way. Christmas was magical and amazing. It absolutely couldn't have been better.

We knew Evie would need more surgeries in the future in order to live a long and full life and so we are grateful that these options are available. Of course I would be lying if I said I wasn't ridiculously anxious, a little bit heart-sick at the thought of my baby having another major surgery and nervous about how our family, especially Talmage, will cope with this disruption of our norm. But, we have seen God's hand in our life time and time again, and I am confident that this will be no different. He knows us and loves us. He will help us through this.

With January 18th approaching quickly, I ask that you please include Everett, the surgeons and our family in your prayers. I know that Heavenly Father hears them.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

RS Brunch and a letter to SANTA

On Sunday morning my friend picked me up at 6:45 am (6:45 people!) so we could go to the church and set up for our Relief Society brunch. It was early, but it was worth it. All sisters 12 and up spent the last two hours of church being filled with yummy food and an incredible program. So sweet.

Just a few things I loved and want to remember. It was a great party. And that drink on the right is off the hook--orange juice and lemonade with almond extract. Yummy yummy.

Talmage wrote Santa a letter and we wrote it down word for word. My favorite part is the, "Hey, I want trains..." And the "ho ho ho" bit is pretty funny too. He's growing up, that's for sure.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Our Santa Baby

This gives a whole new meaning to the song Santa baby, huh?

And not only did we make that sweet little boy dress-up like Santa, we also allowed Talmage to try and get him to smile. The abuse that that baby puts up with is unreal! Luckily, the amount of love we have for him is unreal as well.

Monday, December 12, 2011


We've been hanging out in the park as much as possible. Now that Evie has joined T's obsessed-with-swinging club it's pretty easy to keep both of them entertained at the same time. Awe-some! It pretty much feels like fall outside and the leaves are gorgeously orange. I just love California so darn much, have I mentioned that before?

Me and my littlest munchkin.

Going to the park sure beats disaster-making episodes like the one pictured here. Is it just my kid that enjoys taking out every toy from every basket at the same time? Not to mention the sheets, blankets, pillows and stuffed animals off of the bed. This same day T told me he was going upstairs to play the sheets game. I had no idea what he was talking, but soon found out when he was crying at the bottom of the stairs. Turns out the sheets game entails using your sheets/pillows/blankets as sleds down the stairs. Awesome. He has a huge goose-egg and the sheets game has been banned.

I accidentally occupied Stanford, and I accidentally brought both boys to do it with me. To make a long story short we were in the bookstore, we heard music, T thought it was the band so we went out to find the dancing tree. We were in the very middle of this huge crowd before I started hearing, "1, 2, 123, Occupy for world peace." Whoops.

We made a gingerbread house with our neighbors--and ate about a million pieces of candy!

Serious bedhead. Just sayin'. And PS--T is licking the butter off of his toast. Yum.

Ev is finally old enough to stay entertained with a short show and I LOVE it. Now I can actually make dinner at night without him screaming the whole time. Maybe when he's older the boys can actually play together while I make dinner, but for now, this is the best!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Random Ramblings

I was working on a Christmas present for Evie and found this picture and it made me laugh. He's always got at least one eye on his mama, that's for sure!

Talmage has been talking nonstop about missions lately. He loves to tell his friends in the courtyard about what will happen when he goes on a mission. Sometime last week he told me he was going to go a mission with "butter." I thought, "Ah, cute, he wants to go on a mission with Ev." Then yesterday he was helping me make cookies and was absolutely elated when the butter came out. "When I go on a mission, I'm going to go with butter," he told me. "You mean you are going to go with BRO-ther?" I said. "No mommy, I'm going to go on a mission with butter," he replied, pointing to the big yellow brick in front of me. For some strange reason I think T would get along quite well with Paula Deen.

Is anyone else worried that my water out of the faucet comes out the same color as milk. Just wondering.

We were talking about the true meaning of Christmas.
Me: What is Christmas, really?
T: It's Jesus' birthday.
Me: That's right. Where was Jesus born?
T: Utah.
Close T, super close.

During finals week Stanford students scream at the top of their lungs at 12 o'clock midnight. It's called the primal scream. I've been tempted, ever so tempted, to go scream with them. I feel like it might be theraputic. And heck, I have two little boys that test me ALL day long...does that count?

T: I have a great idea.
Me: What is it?
T: My great idea is carrots.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

our fam

Our ward Christmas party this year was seriously incredible. They had Santa, a live nativity by the primary, dinner and dessert, caroling, a-ma-zing decorations and dun, duh duh, dun...

Family pictures!

An uber talented photographer, Robert Bradshaw, just moved into our ward and had a room set up for memory-making (aka picture-taking). I LOVE how they turned out. Gosh, look at those cutie boys (both looking at the camera even)!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

on santa's lap

Talmage meant business when he saw Santa at our ward's Christmas party. "I want trains for Christmas," he told the jolly old man. When Santa did not acknowledge his words, Talmage repeated it again. "I want trains for Christmas. Thomas and James and Percy." People were calling for T to look at the camera, they wanted him to smile, but he wanted assurance from the man in charge, who once again did not give Talmage his desired response. I'm actually suprised T didn't take him by the cheeks with both hands like he sometimes does to me. Instead, he looked him square in the face (and luckily this time Santa looked back) and repeated his request for the third time. This time Santa repeated his words, "Oh, you want trains for Christmas, do you? Thomas? And Percy? And James? OK," he said while smiling into Talmage's sweet, confident, innocent face.

And with that OK from Santa, Talmage gave the camera the biggest, cheesiest, truly happiest smile I've ever seen in my life. The moment (both actually) were priceless and I'm so glad they were captured so perfectly. All I'm saying is Santa better deliver. ;)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Double Chocolate Pomegranate Cookies

Jim made these cookies last night, and I was in HEAVEN. The cookies are rich and chocolatey, and the pomegranate adds a burst of sweetness to your mouth. Believe me, they are worth trying.

And the dough isn't half bad either!

Monday, December 5, 2011


Our church put on a creche exhibit and it was incredible. They had over 400 nativities flown in from museums and donors all over the world on display, there were choirs and musicians softly singing their testimony of the Savior, they had an amazing children's room with a marionette show about the birth of Jesus, and so much more. Every last detail was considered and it was just gorgeous.

My parents came to see the creche with me and the boys. It was so nice to share this special experience with them--they are the greatest. We took turns wrestling with the kiddos and we all were able to enjoy the spirit of the exhibit. I actually volunteered the next day as well, and was so glad to spend more time in that beautiful place. I already can't wait to go back next year.

Our little cuddle-bug with his Pepa. I just love, love, love living so close to my parents. It's so nice to see them so often and have all of these experiences with them.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Stanford Volleyball Game

Last week we had another family date night, this time to a Stanford Women's Volleyball game. It was actually a NCAA Championship game...and we got in for free...and the attendance was awful...and T mostly loved seeing the band and the dancing tree, but what's new...and we didn't get to stay for the whole game, again, what's new...and we still had a BLAST and love living up this Stanford experience!

We ended up moving a lot during the game. We started on one end of the court, but then when the band sat on the other end of the court T coaxed us into moving closer to them, but when the band actually started playing Evie coaxed us into moving again...far far away from the band. We had lots of different seats during the game, but like I said, it was very poorly attended so we could go anywhere that we wanted!

The dancing tree was all dressed up for Christmas, and stopped to let me take a picture. Thank you tree!

This is where we spent a good portion of the game--at the top. I covered Ev's ears and he ended up falling asleep in my arms. It was well past T's bedtime and he ended up laying on my lap to watch the game. It wasn't long after this that we decided to be nice parents and bring our kids home for bedtime.

A super nice usher at the game found Everett some ear plugs and life was so much easier after that. I've seen some really cool baby earphone/plug things and I think I need to get some for this little dude since his parents seem to think that babies + sporting events = lots of fun!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

T's Friends...

Mr. Talmage LOVES friends. He is constantly talking about playing with friends, sharing with friends, going to the park with friends, eating with friends, etc. Pretty much anything and everything he has to/wants to/is supposed to do during the day ends up having "with friends" attached to the end of it. It's a good thing T does have such awesome friends.

Seriously BFF. T talks about Franklin all day long, and has even started calling him Frankie Frank. They play together everyday and we LOVE that they are our neighbors.

Of course Daddy is still number one. We had to bring something to the law school and Jim and T ended up eating cheetos and jumping in leaf piles...who says there is no fall in California? It's marvelous!

T's other BFF, Cedar (or as T calls her, Cedar-girl). He is often heard saying, "I weawy wuv Cedar." Holy cuteness. And also cute that they are checking email together at the table. They are hilarious together.

Um...and even though sometimes I have to force him to be nice to me, I think we're friends too!