Elisabeth has been participating in the Reagan Reads program at her school. Her goal every month is to be the first one in her class to be part of the 500 Club, which is a group of kids that read 500 minutes every month. Ellie has been a member of the 500 club every month of this school year. They get rewards like free miniture pizzas from Pizza Hut, an ice cream from McDonalds, or a hamburger from Burger King. Her reading abilities have really picked up since January and it has been nice to see the progress she is making!
Yesterday KSL's Chopper 5 paid a visit to Reagan Academy since it is one of the top schools in the state for the number of minutes tracked on KSL's Read Today program. Ellie was chosen by her teacher to be one of the "greeting group" of students that got to go meet the Easter Bunny. She was SO EXCITED to be chosen. At dinner last night we were talking about how her day was at school and she told me all about the helicopter and meeting the Easter Bunny. I told her that when I was in school that I didn't ever get to do anything that cool. Jake piped up and said when he was in elementary school he was able to meet Govenor Bangeter. Ellie was very unimpressed. "Dad, that is no where near as cool as meeting the Easter Bunny!" Apparently meeting a fictional character outranks the leader of a state.
All of that aside, having this visit and seeing herself on tv last night made Ellie even more motivated to keep working on her reading. This is a great program that KSL offers to the kids!
In January I began my term as the acting treasurer of Intermountain Healing Hearts which is a non-profit organization that supports families with loved ones of congenital heart defects or onset childhood heart disease. We are so excited that this year the organization will be adding a 5k to its list of events. We are working towards raising money for the Heart Camp in August which is a family camp for heart families that is held at Camp Wapiti. If you are a runner and/or knows someone who loves to run - this is for a great cause!
This year I will not personally be running (with a pretty good excuse of being 36 weeks pregnant :), but next year I plan on participating even though I have never been that great of a runner!
Registration can be done through IHH's paypal account. The registration form is as follows:
Jake's grandmother, Marion Ellinger, passed away on March 18th in Sacramento, CA. We drove to Northern California to hold a memorial service for her with Jake's sisters Kathleen and Kristin. Since it was snowing heavily in the Sierra Nevadas and Donner Pass was closed, we opted to drive to Las Vegas, then over to Bakersfield, and then up to Sacramento. We were fortunate that we were able to stay at Jake's Uncle Tom's home in St. Helena.
We arrived in St. Helena on Sunday evening. The following day we drove to Sacramento to meet Sheena and Maryn at the Nut Tree. We were disappointed that the rides were not open yet for the season, but the kids still had a good time playing with each other on the wooden horses, the teeter-totter, and the merry-go-round. I am so grateful that my kids have cousins so close to their ages that they can play with!
On Tuesday morning we held the memorial service at the LDS branch chapel in St. Helena. What a beautiful spirit we felt. Jake's dad, Bruce, gave a wonderful history on his mother. Kathleen and Sheena sang a duet, Jake gave a talk for the children on what happens to our spirit after we die, I played a piano solo, and Kristin helped the children sing "I Am a Child of God". Libby, Mallory, Elisabeth, Nathan and Maryn sounded WONDERFUL! I think grandma would have been very proud of their little voices that sang with such conviction. Even Nathan tried to sing some of the words and to be somewhat reverent. We also gave a memory of grandma and talked about her for a little while.
I wished that we could have stayed a couple of days to enjoy being together as a family, but alas, with the snow clouds looming we drove home after the luncheon for the funeral. It was much better to drive home on I-80 than the detour we took to get there!
I know that Grandma was not LDS, but her character and convictions in life helped to shape many other's lives. Her choices brought about many grandchildren and great-grandchilren who are pretty special people. We will miss her dearly.
1 in every 120 babies are born with a heart defect. What if that ONE was YOURS?
Our Little Man
We unknowingly became elite members of a world no one wants to be a part of on January 22, 2008 with the birth of our little boy, Nathan, but looking back we can't imagine life any differently. Nathan has had to endure 21 surgeries in the first 25 months of his life including open heart surgery for Tetralogy of Fallot, jaw surgery at 3 days old, 5 cleft surgeries and many surgeries involving his airway, ears, and eyes. He has a g-tube which he uses as his sole source of nutrition. In February 2010 he underwent a second jaw distraction as he was showing signs of right heart failure.
Nathan is our little hero; our witness that prayers are answered individually and that we couldn't be blessed with better family and friends to support us.
One day my world came crashing down, I'll never be the same. They told me that my baby was sick. I thought, "Am I to blame"? I don't think I can handle this. I am really not that strong. It seemed my heart was breaking. I have loved him for so long. I will not give up on this child. I will listen to your advice. I will give my son any chance. No matter what the price. I will learn all that I need To help my baby thrive. I'll even use that feeding tube. My child must survive! Will he need a lot of therapy? Will he gain the needed weight? Please God, help me do this. As I accept our fate. When the monitors beep at night, it serves as my reminder. How many parents would love that sound. Tomorrow I will be kinder. As another Angel earns his wings, I run to my baby's bed. I watch him sleep for quite a while. I bend down and kiss his head. I cry for the parents whose hearts have been broken. I look to You wondering why? Oh Lord, I just can't know your ways.... no matter how I try. And yet, I trust you hold his life, and guide us through each day. My mind says savor each moment he's here, but my heart begs, "PLEASE let him stay"! From pacing the surgical waiting room, to sitting by his bed. From wishing for a good nights sleep, to learning every med. From wondering, "Will he be alright?", to watching him reach out his hands. With every smile my heart just melts, despite life's harsh demands. For all who see that faded line. I look to them and smile. You see my child is loved so much. I would face ANY trial. That scar I trace with my finger (It's the door to his beautiful heart). God must have known how much I'd love him (Just as He loved him from the start). A heart mom is always a heart mom. Now wise beyond her years. For those who have angels in heaven, Our hearts share in all of your tears. Every day I will try and remember, I was chosen for him (and no other). I will always embrace that beautiful day....... When I became a "Heart Mother".
~Stephanie HustedMommy to Braeden HLHS post FontanCarepage name: babyhusted
I "borrowed" this poem off of another blog. I'm not sure who the author is, but it truly touched my heart.(Original version found at http://garyandcamille.blogspot.com Thank you!) Heart Poem:
It's a beautiful day up in heaven. Jesus is rounding up his tiniest angels, to go live on earth, and be born. One of the sweetest angels says to Jesus "I don't want to leave, I like it here, and I will miss you". He reassures the scared little angel that everything will be okay, and that she is just going for a visit. She is still not swayed on this idea. So Jesus kneels down, and says, "How about if you leave half of your heart here with me and take the other half with you, will that be okay?" The angel smiles and says, "I guess that will work". But the little angel is still a little scared. She asks,"Will I be okay with only half of my heart?" Jesus replies,"Of course you will, I have other angels there that will help out, and you will be fine." Then Jesus gives the angel more details about his plan. He says "When you are born, your mommy will be scared, so you have to be strong, and when you feel weak just remember that I have the other half of your heart. Enjoy your time with your family, play and laugh everyday. And when its time to come back to heaven, I will make your heart whole again. Always remember that you are not broken, just torn between two loves."