Thursday, February 26, 2009

my grandparents the love birds

everyone should be jealous of my grandparents. i mean LOOK at them! they are so in love!! a few years ago, i undertook a ridiculous project to write my grandpa's life history. it was a neat experience and he has since passed away, but i'm nowhere near finishing it. it's my big 2009 project. cross your fingers. but...i think it's a blessing it's not done because my family just discovered hundreds of old slides that no one knew about. there are some gems in there (including this one from 1953). my mom is scanning them and i'll use them for the book. i decided to photoshop this one a bit and i really like how it turned out. (original on top - photoshopped on bottom) if you could blow it up, you'll see tons of scratches and dirt on the original, but i think i got rid of 99% of them. looking at all the pictures really makes me wish i had the chance to get to know my grandma better. she died when i was one. that woman had style. i would die for her wardrobe...and her legs if i'm going to be completely honest. and it really makes me miss my grandpa. even though it's a big job and a big stress, i'm glad i get to compile and write his history. it's been a neat experience.

grandpa layton

i just had to post these two pictures of leah and her grandpa layton. the top was taken the very first time she met him - as he was arriving in the sfo airport on the way home from his mission in tonga in november 2007. the bottom was taken just last weekend when they were in town to see us...i mean leah. she ALWAYS snuggles him (and only him) like this...and she's not a snuggler. makes my heart melt. the same tiny, contented smile on her face in both pictures...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"toot" years old

It's hard to believe my little leah bean is two years old today (or "toot" as she calls it). What a fantastic two years it has been...we love this little girl to pieces.And here's a few snapshots of the last 731 days of our lives...

Love you, Leah.

Friday, February 20, 2009

our closet walker...

The friday i left to go to utah, we had a neurology appointment for leah. we scheduled the appointment more than three months ago. it was the last specialist ANYone could point us to to try and figure out why this little girl isn't walking.

{daddy and leah in the waiting room}

i didn't have high hopes for the appointment. i expected to hear the doctor say something to the effect of, "Well, something is wrong. She should DEFINITELY be walking right now. But, I have no idea what it could be!" And my expectations were thoroughly met. The neurologist did watch her for nearly an hour and assured us she is a fully functioning toddler...other than walking. Everything looks good. She has very low muscle tone (which means she is still very bendy) and that could be a reason she is having trouble. It doesn't mean she doesn't have the muscle to walk (she does), it just means she has a tendency to wobble a little more because she is so flexible. Although it looks as if everything's okay, my mom said it best: It's frustrating good news.

The dr. mentioned we should get some blood drawn and get a urine sample to test for some genetic problems or for enzymes that might give us more hints. So this week, since I've had a bit of time, we did just that. Well, the blood part at least (I'm still waiting for some help on how exactly to get her urine into the bag they gave me when she's still in diapers...anyone? anyone?). Leah waited patiently in the waiting room for nearly 45 minutes. Then they took us back and the phlebotomists were really nice. We waited for another 10 minutes ("I'm sorry, ma'am, this is an unusual test, so we have to put it all together right here and get clearance from our manager. She also doesn't weigh very much, so we're trying to figure out how to do all the tests by drawing the least amount of blood possible.") I held her body, one phlebotomist held the arm they were poking and other did the poking. {can you see the blood in the tube?}

Leah did relatively well, considering the circumstances. When we finished, they gave her some toys and asked me to wait just to make sure they got what they needed. About 15 minutes later, she came back and said, "You're really going to hate me. We need 1mL more. Yup. ONE milliliter. Oh well, I knew she tried to draw the least amount possible for leah's sake. So, we held her down once again and poked the other arm. Only this time Leah knew what was coming and wasn't as cooperative. The phlebotomist had to poke and then wiggle a few times to finally hit the vein.
{this picture makes ME want to cry}

Wow. What an experience.
{showing off her pink and purple heart bandage...she had one on both arms}

And to top it off, the following:

While in Utah, my step-sister told me of her friend's little girl who wouldn't walk. Her friend was sure her daughter knew HOW, just wouldn't. So, they put a pen in her hand and the other half of the pen in the mom's hand. That way, the daughter still thought she was holding onto something, but the mom could easily let go. It worked. The daughter walked independently (well, with a pen in her hand) soon after.

So, I tried it with Leah. I've been using a pen all week, just to get her used to it. On Tuesday, I let go of the pen. She took FIVE steps. Yes, FIVE steps. Then, she looked up, realized I wasn't on the other end of the pen and she fell to the ground. I didn't know whether to scream out of joy or pure frustration. I did a little of both. But she won't do it again! She's like a 5 year old needing someone to hold onto the back of her bike even though she can ride on her own.

Any other suggestions?! I'm begging you...

winter birthday bash

Since 10 of the 31 members of our mother's group had birthdays within the past month, we decided to throw a big bash!

We had cupcakes for dessert.They were a hit! Leah especially loved hers.
She wanted more than one, but I wouldn't let her. So she cried.And cried.And cried.Then she took matters into her own hands.
Ah, well, at least she's resourceful, right?!

Ty looked so beautiful all dressed up in Leah's hairbow for the party.
And the kids provided us with some wonderful entertainment.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

i {heart} her

Oh little bean makes me laugh. For Valentine's Day, I got her one of those old-school bracelets we all used to have - you know, the ones with small, colorful hearts all the way around? She liked it. But she LOOOOOOOOOOVED the sunglasses I got her. She wore them all day.She wore them to the jelly belly factory on Monday (yum!).Really. All day. {Note bracelet in lower left corner.}

Wicked awesome

So last September, Kristen, Lindsey and I decided that WE were going to treat our husbands to a fun Valentine's Day treat. We mostly did it because we wanted to go see Wicked and knew our husbands would have a better time if we went as a group. I kept it a secret from Ryan up until the drive to the city on Saturday.

It felt like prom. We got all gussied up and then took pictures. We all drove up together in our friend's mini-van. Ryan's parents were even there to send us off. Only difference was we didn't have a curfew this time. :)We ate at an AWESOME steakhouse called ACME chophouse in the baseball stadium. I highly recommend it. Yum! Then we braved the wind (seriously...crazy wind) and ran to the Orpheum theater for our show.
It. Was. Amazing. Amazing. I loved it. Loved. It.
I have no other words.

Oh, except this is our other option for a Christmas card this year. Isn't Valentino hot?{Oh yah, and I think I'm done trying to find lip color that will actually color my lips. It's just not going to happen. What do you think of the red? I think I'm just going to go for the red from now on. I thought it was too much before, but really, when I've got people asking me if I wear lipstick when I run in the mornings, I might as well go for it, right? And just for the record: I DON'T wear lipstick when I run. Or ever. This is just gloss.}

happy 28th birthday to Ryan - or is it 29th?

Ryan thinks he just turned 29, but he really didn't. You do the math: 1981-2009. He's 28.

His parents came in town on Thursday night and treated us to a delicious dinner at Benihana on Friday. We opened presents (Julia and Jona you'll be glad to know I got him a remote control shutter release for our D80). Three cheers for Maren: I got him a guitar. Only he gets to pick it out, so pictures of that later... Leah got him a biking jersey.

We had pink cake and ice cream (Yup, Ryan...I only see 28 candles on the cake).And I decided that from now on, he will be referred to as Valentino. I don't know why I didn't think of this before. He was born on Valentine's Day...isn't it only fair?

Saturday after my run, I made heart shaped pancakes for everyone. The 4th time's a charm, right!?

We went to the Tech museum in San Jose. You could honestly be at that place for hours. We only scratched the surface. It was a lot of fun! But...naptime called. Leah really enjoyed the drawing station. Check out those dots. She's a pro.This is a picture of our family. I'm leaning toward using it as our Christmas card this year. What do you think? I only hesitate because of my apparent thunder thighs. Hmm...


Thursday (after a full day of piano lessons Wednesday and another engagement that night), I made cookies with Lindsey and Kristen. We have it down to a science. You should see us in that kitchen. We don't mess around anymore. We've got it all down from dough/frosting making to coloring to cutting to baking to frosting to clean up. We're good. And so are the cookies.And I love this picture of the three little girls climbing all over Kristen. Don't mind Leah's post-nap hairdo. Her curls need some taming.

"see you soon!"

Tuesday my flight was canceled so I sat in the airport for about 4 hours. They got me on another flight and my great friends were so wonderful to watch Leah for a few more hours AND pick me up from the airport. I walked in the door about 5 minutes before my piano lessons started for the day. No time to breathe just yet.

That night, we had a girl's night out to send off my dear friend Kathy in style. We saw "He's Just Not That Into You." I'm easy to please and so won't provide a movie critique. It was a great night. I have great friends! We'll miss Kathy, but I know I'll see her often.Saturday morning we braved the rain and went on a last run with her. I wasn't going to post the picture we took that morning, but I'm confident in myself enough to post it...confident that I look AWFUL in the morning. Please forgive me, Kath.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

what a month!

Today is the first day I've had in a few weeks to actually sit down nothing. Only I chose to be really productive. My house is cleaned and I'm feelin' good. Now I'll try to play catch-up. We've had quite the month!

At the end of January, as I mentioned, my step-dad suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage. According to statistics, it's basically a miracle he is alive. But alive he is and he's doing well. He has all of his fine and gross motor skills back and has done well on all of the physical and occupational therapy tests. He was also told he has the upper body strength of a 22 year old. Watch out! When he was still in the ICU, I called my mom to get a daily update and she just fell apart on the phone. I felt so helpless being so far away and decided I needed to fly out to give her a hug. Yes, you read that correctly: I needed to fly to Utah to give my mom a hug. :) And so I did. I flew in Friday night - just after Leah's neurology appointment (more on that later). Richard had been released from the hospital earlier that day, so it was perfect timing.

I cooked, cleaned and shoveled the driveway...and gave my mom a hug.

I also got to play with these cuties.I came downstairs to play with the two of them and Arianne spotted these empty picture frames. Without missing a beat, she said, "Look! I'm a picture!!"And while I was on the plane enroute to SLC, we had a new little addition join our family!! Meet Mackenzie Elizabeth Marshall. Can't wait to meet her in April.

Richard went back to church...
...and work... all about what had happened to him over the past two weeks...
His daughter Jenny also got each of hid kids/step-kids to make a spread in this cool book that she gave to him on Monday night. It turned out really neat!I think my favorite comment of the trip was from a conversation between Arianne and Richard:

Arianne: "You have a walking stick?"
Richard: "Yah. It's neat, huh?"
Arianne: "That means you're going to die soon."

Richard busted up laughing so hard. Gotta love kids. :)

It was a great trip. Exhausting, yes. And I think I only ventured outside of the house to go to the grocery store on Saturday and then to shovel on Monday. But I'm SO glad I went. Thanks to Ryan and my darling friends for taking care of Leah with such short notice.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I have no words...

Really? Do I honestly look like a mix of Oprah, Santana and Bow Wow? Be honest, people. Be painfully honest.


my posts seem to come in bundles. we do lots of fun stuff all at once, and then nothing at all for weeks, it seems. so, because there is a lull right now...but with two birthdays, valentine's day, a visit from ryan's parents and other fun stuff just around the corner...i will post something i was planning to post on leah's birthday.

a pre-birthday scoop:
this is the quiet book (or silence book as brandon porter calls it - LOVE that) i made for leah. it's a combo of ideas from my mom and danielle porter with a little bit of creativity and/or laziness from myself. there is a lot of love and hours poured into this thing, that's for sure. it's not perfect, but i'm definitely proud. leah will get it on her birthday and sundays will hopefully be a little more pleasant for us. :)

Monday, February 2, 2009

man oh man...

i just can't contain my excitement, so humor me for a sec:

Leah stood on her own today. Really! She did! It was only for a few seconds (5 tops), but it was HUGE. I was walking with her when I decided to switch my hand from holding onto her fingers to holding her wrist. That way, she couldn't hang on to me with her death grip when I wanted to let go. She was coming toward me and I let go...and she stood. On her own. All by herself. No help from me whatsoever. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY LEAH!

When she was finished, she crouched down rather than completely falling. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY LEAH!

I screamed with joy. So she started to scream too. It was pretty funny.

Since i obviously don't have a picture of it, this will have to suffice. I think these are my favorite shoes she has ever owned. Love them.