Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A new nephew!

Nothing is sweeter than a new baby. Nothing. Just look at that cute little newborn face still covered with peach fuzz. Makes me baby hungry. If I wasn't old and barely surviving the busyness of 6 children. After a long break from babies, our family has been blessed not only once but TWICE this month. Trevor (Gavin's brother) and Annie welcomed this beautiful little bundle into the world yesterday. We are all so excited for them to have a new baby in their family. Can't wait to find out his name. Oliver or Vincent or Mitchell? Or maybe none of the above. Hadley thinks they should just name him "Trevor" since she claims he looks just like his dad.

The hospital staff really made us work to get these pictures. I took Mia with me to go visit her new cousin. Only this hospital has strict rules against any visitors younger than 14 years old. So I had to make Annie and Baby Boy Seal meet me in the hallway. Thanks Annie for getting out of your hospital bed to come and meet me in the hallway. Then we tried to get some pictures of Annie with her baby but got in big trouble when Annie lifted him out of the bassinet. Also against hospital rules to have baby out of bassinet in the hallway. We'll get those another day. Love the ones we did get!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Buddy Walk!


We had a great afternoon at the Buddy Walk today. This was the first year I've gone out of my way to really let others know about the Buddy Walk. I never wanted to make anyone feel obligated that they had to walk with us. But it really was so fun to have family and friends there joining in the festivities with us today. Jeff and Rae's family and Morgan's best friend, Gracey and her mom joined our team this year. Saturdays are busy and I know it's so hard to fit in one more thing. It meant so much to us that you made the effort to be a part of Morgan's special day and be her buddy in the walk. Thank You!

I was also overwhelmed by the generous donations given to "Team Morgan". Many from people neither Morgan or I have ever met but gave because they were friends or relatives of Gracey (Morgan's best friend) and know how much she cares about Morgan. Thank you so much for your kindness. I felt like each donation represented so much more than money. It felt like acceptance and love. Thank You!

Morgan with her Best Buddy, Gracey

Rachel, Leah and Hopkins from Signing Time joined our Buddy Walk this year!

Video highlights from the walk

Friday, September 17, 2010

This little 'Fishy' is EIGHT!

I'm really having a hard time believing that Morgan is now eight years old. 8. Ocho. EIGHT! That seems so grown up to me. It seems like it was only yesterday that I was being sent home from the hospital in 'false labor' and soaking in the bathtub trying to relieve my fake labor pains when Morgan decided to surprise us with a daddy delivery at home, in the water. But at the same time so much has changed in our lives these past 8 years. So much growth, love, acceptance, understanding, challenges and blessings. It's hard to remember life before Morgan. She's made us so much better. I now have a different perspective on so many things I thought I understood. Perfection. Normalcy. Love. Friendship. Intelligence. Determination. Patience. Hard work. Potty training. Compassion. Acceptance. Dreams. I love this little girl so very much and feel SO LUCKY to be her mom!

Morgan's birthdays have always been a difficult time for me. I never knew what she really wanted or would like for her birthday. She loves to play but it's usually random stuff that I would never pick out as her gift. She never really cared about the gifts or party. Kids were invited but didn't ever really interact with Morgan but played with her siblings instead. I wanted it to be different this year. I wanted a birthday party that was about her. Now that she is mainstreamed, she has lots of friends at her school and in the neighborhood who genuinely love and care about her. I let Morgan help me decide who she wanted to invite from her class. We started talking about her birthday last week and counting down the days. Last night as I was tucking her into bed, I asked her whose birthday was tomorrow. She was excited to know it was almost here! This morning when she woke up she excitedly said, "Let's go see!" She wanted to go downstairs and see all of her birthday surprises. And I think she even liked what she opened! She loves Peter Pan and Tinkerbell right now. Mia, Griffin and Morgan love to watch "Peter Pan One", "Peter Pan Two" or the "Different Peter Pan" almost everyday.

She got a Tinkerbell scooter, Tinkerbell barbie and lantern, Princess stuff and Leapster game to help her with addition and subtraction.
Breakfast was a little rushed with opening presents and getting ready for school. But not too rushed for a number 8 pancake, sausage and eggs.
She was so excited to try out her new Tinkerbell scooter and rode it around the driveway until it was time for school. And check out the color coordinating outfit with her scooter. I couldn't have planned it that well if I had tried.

And because birthday celebrating really should be part of every aspect of the day. I took donuts to her 2nd grade class before their morning recess. I love these kids. Every single one of them. They are all so loving, patient and kind to Morgan. And her teacher this year . . . she rocks! Right when I walked in the room she asked me if I wanted to get a picture of Morgan with all of her classmates. She expects great things from Morgan and I think it's gonna be a great year!
Enjoying her birthday donut
Morgan and her aide, Miss Aubrey. She comes with lots of experience (even if she looks young enough to be my own daughter) and Morgan has done well with transitioning to having a new aide this year.
Morgan's all time favorite activity is swimming. It's like she was born to swim. Well, she was kind of was born to swim. Being born in a bathtub full of water and all. I wanted to do something for her party that she loved. Not sure how warm it would be in the middle of September but decided to go for it and plan an outdoor swimming party.

It ended up being the warmest day of the month. 90 degrees. It was a beautiful day. Perfect weather for swimming! I wanted to get a picture of Morgan with her cake before she swam. She refuses to wear goggles or shut her eyes under water. She always ends up with swollen, red eyes after swimming. She smiled cute for this picture but don't be fooled by that cute, innocent face. Right after this picture she started pushing the starfish deep into the cake and swiping off as much frosting as she could with her finger.

Goldfish crackers. Swedish Fish. Real Goldfish. Under the Sea cake. Fish pinata.

She loved swimming with her friends and cousins. She spent the first 30 minutes splashing all of them. They were good sports and gently splashed her back, only to get splashed right back in the face. Everyone jumped out of the pool when it was time for the pinata. Everyone except the birthday girl. I stood by the stairs holding her towel. I knew she wasn't going to budge and let her know she wasn't through swimming and would be able to get back in the pool after the pinata.

She loved hitting the pinata and watching all of her friends have a turn.
We had a hard time getting the candles lit. A little wind and a very anxious birthday girl who didn't want to let us get them all lit before she blew them out. Uncle Blake helped hold her a good breath's distance from the cake (now a little less frosted) while we got all 8 candles lit.

The Party Guests
Morgan decided to take me up on that offer of getting back into the pool and took off right after the group shot. No time to eat cake and ice cream or open presents. She was determined to not come out of that pool. So we forced her out by closing the cover.

Opening gifts was a little overwhelming for her. Actually it was a little overwhelming for all of us. She received so many gifts and had everyone all around her. It was a lot of chaos and stimulation for her. She loved her gifts and was excited to open and play with each one as she unwrapped them. She got so many nice gifts and it seems like Christmas at our house with all of these new toys!
We opened up the pool to look for a lost necklace. Her BFF, Gracey, gave her a "Best Friends" necklace and lost her half of the necklace in the pool. All of the kids were so excited to see the pool open again and jumped in. Morgan included. She swam with some of her friends for 2 more hours.

We finally made it home and got some dinner. Played with Zhu Zhu pets and Tinkerbell. And put a tired 8 year old girl in her bed. I climbed up the ladder to her bunkbed and layed by her as she fell asleep. We talked about the day and all of the fun things she had done to celebrate her 8th birthday. I finally pretended to be asleep hoping she would be able to fall asleep. She kept leaning over and giving me butterfly kisses, eskimo kisses and zerberts. And my absolute favorite thing . . . whispering in my ear, "I love you, Mom!"

Happy Birthday, Morgan! I love you too!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The newest member of the Seal family ~ Shae Nicole

We've waited a long time, almost 3 years, for a new cousin on the Seal side of the family. So we were very excited when Brendan and Nicole announced they were unexpectedly pregnant. Nicole had a rough start and spent most of the first trimester on IVs with multiple hospitalizations. She finally started to feel a little better and found out she was expecting a little girl the first week of October. Shae Nicole joined the family on Sept. 6th, 3 weeks early. Nicole had to be induced early because of severe gall bladder pain and problems. Luckily, Shae was big enough and didn't have any problems with being born early. She is happy to eat and sleep. But it hasn't been so easy for Nicole. Shae was born on Monday and Nicole had to go into surgery on Thursday to have her gall bladder removed. What was supposed to be 1 to 2 hours outpatient surgery, turned into 4 hours and a 2 day hospital stay. She finally got to go home on Saturday but it only lasted a day. She was re-admitted tonight with severe pain, vomiting and dehydration. I can only imagine how difficult it is to not be able to enjoy your new baby girl and be so sick and in the hospital. We're sending lots of love and prayers to you, Nicole! Get better and back home with your beautiful little girl! We can't wait to meet her!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9 Years Ago

I can't believe it's already been 9 years but at the same time it seems like it was all so long ago. I know I'll never forget that day and the emotions but with time some of the initial details are becoming fuzzy for me. I think everyone remembers what they were doing when they heard the news. We were in Disneyland. Happiest place on earth. Sleeping in the Disneyland Hotel and excited for our last day of vacation before flying home that evening. We planned on spending our last day at Disneyland's new addition--California Adventure. We woke up around 6 am when our friends, who we were traveling with, called us and asked us if we were watching the news. We quickly turned on the TV just before the second tower was hit. I remember being confused, not sure how two airplanes could have gone so off course to run into both of the towers. I can't remember how long it took us to realize it had been a terrorist attack on our soil. Probably not very long. It was the first time I can remember ever feeling afraid and unsafe in my own country. These things happened in other countries but not in America. We didn't think about changing any of our plans and got ready for the day only to be shocked to find Disneyland closed. Disneyland never closes. We couldn't figure out why Disneyland would need to close down when this happened in NYC. Still not understanding the gravity of the event. All of the airports across the country shut down. We tried to get a rental car to drive home but nothing was available in LA. We found one a few hours north of LA and drove home that night. I spent the next few weeks unable to turn off the TV. I watched the news nonstop and wanted to learn as much as I could about each innocent individual who lost their life that day. Crying and mourning with everyone in this country. It changed people. There really was a noticeable change. People were kinder to each other, more patient with each other. Our country came together and became stronger. I think that change is gone now. 9 years later. It seems that unfortunately the majority of us have gone back to the hurried, shuffle of life. We were a better, more loving nation after 9/11 and hopefully as we reflect on this day we can bring back that love and hope and togetherness we all felt.

This is what we were doing 9 years ago . . .