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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ashlyn's Cochlear Implant Journey - Part 1

Ashlyn had her initial assessment with the UC San Francisco Cochlear Implant Team on Monday.

Just some preliminary hearing testing.

Three hours worth, actually.

It went well.

Our girl rocks the sound booth.

She loves playing games.

And matching colors and stacking things.

She and the booth are good friends.

And UCSF has Mickey and Donald figurines that light up when she identifies a sound correctly.

Now to me, they are creepy.  Nightmare-inducing, later-in-life-therapy-requiring creepy.

But she LOVES them.

Her regular audiologist's office has a duck and a turtle.

Equally creepy.

She's been over the duck and the turtle for quite some time.

Let's just say she would have spent the night in the UCSF booth had I let her.

The testing confirmed her severe to profound loss on the right side.

Which is the side they will implant.

Because she still has a significant amount of usable hearing in her left ear,

the specialists recommend continuing with the hearing aid on her left side.

Surgery date will not be set until after all the preliminary screening/testing is complete.

We have another appointment next week.

Thanks for praying for and checking in with us.

We love and appreciate it more than you know.

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Date Nights Gone Wild, Church Planting and Our First Vlog

Dave and I went out on Friday night.

I dressed up.

It's been a rough week.

Biker chick ended her indoor hardwood marathon by riding through the back window.

During the most torrential rainstorm we've had in years.

I'm still up to my eyeballs in paperwork.

And some people have strong opinions about our church plant.

They feel the need to share them with me.  And honestly, it stresses me out.

And people share them with other people.  And that stresses me out more.

There is no chapter and verse that addresses the subject,

but they make up their own territorial rules.

And I have to say, I think it's weird.  SO weird.

What if the early church planters had limited the amount of new churches?  Set territorial limits?

It seems we're more concerned about the number of people sitting in our pews

than the amount being reached with the Gospel.

And people say other things, too.  Mean, untrue things.  That make me want to run for the hills.

I don't talk about it much on here but it's been a reality for us.

It's been a part of this process.  An ugly part.

And I want to document this process.  Every part.

And unfortunately, hill running is not an option.

So, on Friday night, we went out.

For a much needed break.

And five minutes into our meal,

I was 100% convinced that producers of a 20/20 "What Would You Do?" segment were lurking in the corner.

There was a family of four sitting in the booth behind us.

And the children liked to jump.

They also liked to scream.  And climb.  And walk across tables.

There was pointing and complaining that we got our food first.

More screaming.  Swearing from the parents.

There were empty, "no ice cream for you" threats.

And there was ice cream.

Now, I realize my Sauconys limited our choice in fine dining establishments.

But can a girl eat her sweet potato fries in peace?

The answer was no.  No peace for me.

Primarily due to our booth mates.

But I was also a little anxious that I was going to be on TV in my running shoes.

And asked by some 20/20 anchor why I didn't help those poor people.

Because my kid rode through a window.

And people wont zip it about our church.

That is why, Mr. 20/20 guy.

And with that, I bring your our first (and probably, only) family vlog.

Because our children are perfect.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ladybug Release Party

Some of you may recall our Tadpole Release Party?

It was a bad, bad party.  Things did not go well.  At all.

Luckily, saying goodbye to the ladybugs was much, much easier.

Fun, almost.

Kayla got them as a party favor the day before.  Cute idea, right?

And yes, she's wearing dog PJ's and it's nowhere close to bedtime.

I don't know.  I just take pictures.







Peace out, ladybugs.  Peace out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Biker Chick

Pop Pop bought Ashlyn a tricycle a few weeks ago.

And the only time she's not on it is when she sleeps.

Really.  24/7.

It's like public transportation in our house.


Hop on trike.  Peddle to kitchen.

In Minnie costume and birthday hat.

Open fridge.  Grab snack.  Place snack in trike basket.

Peddle to living room.  Run over dog's tail.

Harass Kayla that she missed out on one of 40 free bikes given away at school because mommy was in Vegas and daddy was "Mr. Late Pants" in getting the form in.

Ready for church?  In the rain?

We're taking the trike anyway.

And falling off curbs and in puddles.  And returning to change pants.

Bathtime?  Peddle to hall closet.  Run over dog's tail.  Grab towel.

Continue on to the bathroom.

Remove hearing aids and place in trike basket.

Hop in tub.

Hop out of tub.  Ignore towel.

Take a quick spin around the room and give your bed the big stank eye.

Then drippingly peddle to the living room to catch a little Jesus TV before bed.

Actually.  Can we discuss the cartoons on Jesus TV for just one minute?

I let my kids watch it more than anything else because it's better than most everything else.  But BARELY.

Who exactly does the casting?  And is time travel to 1987 involved in the process?

I wonder who sits behind the camera and approves these gems.

I wonder if they're 3 years old and ride a bike around the studio.

Oh and speaking of gems, this is what happens when mama works on picture day.

And dad picks the shirt.  And Kayla picks the lovely floral background and ornate name plate add-on.

Hmmmm.  I think I need to go ride a bike.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Hands and Feet: A Guest Post by Kim

Paperwork overload has turned my brain into farina.

Which is my mom's weird word for Cream of Wheat and/or Malt o' Meal.

I think it's an east coast thing.  And every time she says it I get hung up on its' oddness.  It's just so... unappetizing?

Anyway, basically my farina brain has two mushy cells left.

One is dealing with cochlear implant research.  The other is busy with property contingency releases.

When my good friend Kim offered to guest post today, I happily agreed.

And I apologize in advance for my child's outfit throughout much of it all.  It's her father's fault.


One of the awesome things of being a part of The Church are the amazing opportunities the Lord presents to serve Him.

A few weeks ago, Dave's Uncle Carroll ended his earthly days, and was called home to eternity with Jesus. Which meant Aunt Nancy was about to enter into the next season of her life. Arrangements had been made for her to move near some friends in Idaho.

Uncle Carroll and Aunt Nancy considered themselves remote members of the Hope body - listening online, praying for us, and actually were the first people to give an offering.

Dave asked the Hope Church body if we would be willing to be the much needed hands and feet for Aunt Nancy, packing up and cleaning out her home.  The people at Hope Church love Jesus, and love his people, it was a no brainer, and the trip was planned.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27)

At 4:30am on Saturday Morning, twelve sleepy adults and one adorable seven year old piled into two cars and headed out to South Lake Tahoe.

While it was still dark, we fueled up literally AND figuratively.

Got a little gas, and a cuppa Joe, and got back on the road.

As the sun rose and the sky lightened, we creeped into the Sierras.

I caught a quick snooze, and awoke to our car exclaiming at the sight of snow!!

Somebody next to me was totally mesmerized by it.

Once in Tahoe, we made our first stop at the U-Haul rental place where Jon was in packing and moving supply heaven, and Tamara got to experience the snow for the very first time.

The joy on her face was contagious, and snowballs started flying.

And then we got to work.

A one time professional mover, Jon directed our team on the best way to pack and load the trucks.

We sorted, we folded, we boxed, we wrapped, we labeled, we hauled.

After a few short hours, a lot of progress had been made. Everything was sorted. Rooms were starting to get cleared out, and it was time to load the trucks. But not before a quick lunch break.

Ellen and I ran a few quick errands for Aunt Nancy,

and crossed the state lines while we were at it.

And when we got back truck loading was in full effect.

This is one area our little church truly shines.

Assembly lines are our thing.

Twelve people, one goal.

Somehow, someone came up with the idea that we should only sing, instead of talk, for a half hour.

We all have lovely voices after all. (err...not really).

Even Aunt Nancy joined in the fun, responding to our questions in a song as well.

Meanwhile, one very well behaved and easily entertained seven year old created a zoo of snow creatures.

We had a Snow Mouse and a Snow Dog.

And a fort! If she stayed there any longer, she was certain to turn into a Snow Bunny!

(And yes, she wore her PJ's the whole day - sorry Jess!)

A few more snowballs were thrown..

As we wrapped things up, these incredible servants continued to  scrub and clean and vacuum and sweep.

Never once was a grumble. Not a single complaint.

Truly the manifestation of Philippians 2:1-3

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

And then it was time to leave.

It was a bit harder for some of us than others.

It was really an incredible day, and we were sad to see it end.

We checked Aunt Nancy into the hotel, freshened up a bit, and the group obliged my one request - to put my feet in the lake.

John Michael, Camilla, and Ellen were adventurous and joined me!

The Lord truly has incredible timing, we were there just in time to watch the sunset.


The crazy part about a weekend like this is much of the work is tedious.

It can be frustrating.

It isn't glamorous.

Or fun.

But, as a few of us discussed on the drive home, the Holy Spirit does the work.

He transforms our hearts to willingly and joyfully serve the Lord by serving others.

It is truly a testimony to the Lord - why else would twelve adults, with lives of their own, be willing to get up at 4:30am on a Saturday to help someone they barely know pack and clean their home?

Because of Jesus.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)

Because Jesus has done so much for us, we have no other response, but to serve him.

Joyfully. Eagerly.

And often, He bestows much grace and blessing on that service.

With things like sunsets.

And feet in an ice cold lake.

And snowball fights.

And friends - who become family.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bunk Beds are Bunk.

I'm pretty sure a man invented the stackable sleeper.

A man that never made a bed in his life.

I Google Wiki investigated.

And what do you know?

I was right.

A British dude.  A "wealthy lord."

For traveling purposes.

He made his servant sleep on the bottom.

And I can guarantee that sad little servant was forced to change the stinky sheets, too.

Sure, I have mad love for their space saving capabilities.

But I have zero love for the acrobatics required to change their dumb sheets.

And the full sweat Zumba-esque work-out I get from trying to fit that blasted pee cover over the top mattress.

And the knee injuries that occur when the ladder flips out from under said sheet changer.

I'm looking forward to moving next month for a plethora of reasons.

An extra bedroom.  A spacious backyard.  A ridiculous amount of storage.  A bonus room.  A remodeled kitchen.

But top of the list?

The bunks have been naughty.

And they're taking time outs.

In separate rooms.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cochlear Implants for our Little Girl

Most of you know our little girl is deaf.

She wasn't born deaf.

We think around age 16 months, she began to develop a progressive loss that occurred over an unknown period of time.

In April of 2009 she was diagnosed with Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome.

This caused a severe to profound loss in her right ear and a moderate to severe loss in her left ear.

She's been wearing very powerful, digital hearing aids since her diagnosis.

And to date, this hearing loss has remained stable.

Most kids with EVAS eventually lose all hearing and we expect this will happen with Ashlyn.

She turns 4 next month.

And honestly, we've hit a crossroads.

Due to the nature of her hearing loss, treatment has been tricky.  Always borderline.

We did not want to rush to any decisions.

We know that once she's implanted, she loses ALL of what little natural residual hearing that she has.

We also realize that with speech and language development, time is of the essence.

And we've prayerfully considered each step in her education and treatment.

We recognize that in the deaf community, this is a HUGE deal.

There is great controversy.

It is a very emotional issue.  Understandably.

We want to be sensitive.  And struggle with what could be viewed as us selfishly removing her from that community.

Or ever making her feel like there was something "wrong" with her that we had to correct.

On the other hand, we struggle with withholding amazing technology that will likely make life easier for her.

We're not trying to "fix" a problem.  We do not think there is anything "wrong" with her.

We think God made her beautiful and perfect and the way He intended her to be.

And just like I wear glasses and contacts to help my eyesight,

Ashlyn will wear Cochlear Implants to replicate hearing better than her current hearing aids can amplify it.

She has her initial screening at U.C. San Francisco at the end of this month.

Please be in prayer for us during this process.

We are excited and anxious.  And confident that this is what's best for our daughter and our family.

And you'll probably be "hearing" lots about it... ;)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

10 on 10: March 2011


Ten on Ten: Take a photo every hour for ten consecutive hours on the tenth of each month.

Document a day of your life and find beauty among the ordinary moments.

This sweet little angel face slept in her OWN bed (backwards) THE WHOLE. NIGHT.  With her pink polka dot Minnie Mouse pillowcase that she'll likely be bringing to college.

Cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  WWIII occurred over the frosting cup.

Isn't this the sweetest face you've ever seen?  I got to hang out with her this morning.

Then I met Kimberlee and Jesse (and Camilla and Claire and Jon and Cindy) for lunch at Chipotle.  I love Spring Break.

WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!  Well, almost.  We're in contract.  We just need to find someone that will loan us lots of thousands of dollars in 19 days.  Also, Ashlyn's cochlear implant evaluation is scheduled for March 28.  Which means I am DROWNING in paperwork.  Literally.  Almost dead.  But a happy dead.

Ashlyn had a tantrum on the way home from school.  For those not fluent in sign language, she is telling me "no."  But it was more like "NOOOOOO!!!!!"  I wouldn't let her squirt her apple juice into her cup holder.  The horror of it all.

After a meltdown, every girl needs a good soak in the tub.  Dave's going to say this is creepy and I shouldn't have included it.  And he's totally right.

Cleaned out the freezer.  Thrilling.  We love waffles.

Occasionally, our clean-and-folded-but-not-put-away-laundry square footage outnumbers our laundry room square footage and I have to move the whole operation to the dining room table.

KK had a playdate.  I'm not sure why she's wearing a devil costume.  I want to bottle Lily's hair color.  And make millions.

ten on ten button

Happy 10th!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Make Pie Not War: A Blog Birthday Giveaway

About 8 years ago my husband went to have burritos with friends.

And came home wanting to take out a small business loan, learn how to screen print and start a clothing company.

They even named it that night.  Right there in the little taqueria.

Disciple Clothing Company.

I was 8 months pregnant with Kayla.  And hormonal.

Making rash decisions left and right.  So I agreed.

But it really was the perfect fit.

Jason was our ridiculously talented graphic designer.

Drew was a marketing genius with 104,789 myspace friends and connections to EVERY band on the planet.

And there was Branden, my brother, and his crazy sales skills.

And Dave, our self-taught screen printing workhorse.

It seemed like a slam dunk.

And, looking back, it was.  We had a blast.

All the printing was done in our garage and our living room was always filled with boxes.

We took a crash course in Christian Musical Festival 101.

Spirit West Coast: Del Mar and Monterey.

Joshua Fest.

Creation Fest.

Joy Fest.

Every Fest known to man.

And though it was hard work, those were the best of times.

Dave and Drew worked together in youth ministry.

So we had unlimited access to cheap (we paid them in clothes) labor.

And they worked hard.  And we are forever grateful.

We met lots of wonderful people.  Amazing companies.  Lifelong friendships.

It was very exciting to see a dream that was born on a whim over chips and salsa come to fruition.

And a little company based out of our home garage grow and make a name for itself.

Sadly, in May of 2007, a band threatened to sue us over trademark issues.

Although we were growing, we were still too small to fight against a record company.

So we hung up our screens, closed up the garage and called it a day.

R.I.P. Disciple Clothing Company.

It was fun while it lasted.


But enough with the sad stories.

Guess what?!

My blog turns one on March 8!

And I'm giving YOU a present.

A $50 store credit to Make Pie Not War

Alana Little is one of those wonderful people we met during our Disciple days.

She is gorgeous, hysterical and full of life.  She lights up a room.

And her company is amazing, too.

Just leave a comment below and you're entered for a chance to win.

And I don't even really care what you say.

You can head over to Make Pie's Etsy shop and tell me what you'd buy.

Or just "hi" is fine.

You can even tell me that you love bands that sue over trademark issues.

Whatever your little heart desires.

Winner will be chosen randomly.

"Like" Make Pie Not War's Facebook page for a second entry.

Tweet about the giveaway for a third entry.

Just leave me separate, additional comments saying that you did.

Giveaway will go through Tuesday, March 8.

Winner will be announced on Wednesday, March 9.

Alana's jewelery is beautiful.

And I'm so excited to share it with you.

Happy Birthday, little blog!