Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The morning ritual

This post feels eerily familiar from summer last year and our lazy mornings, except this time Charlie's in the picture. This is truly one of my favorite parts of our day.

When Charlie first came home, he wanted nothing to do with "lounging around" in bed in the mornings. He just wanted to move and explore. It was very reminiscent to Daniel's transition into our routine. Now we have a much different story. It is clear that Charlie now looks forward to being plopped into our bed with Madi and me. Daddy faithfully brings sippy cups of juice and some sort of junky pre-breakfast snack (note can of Pringles pictured).

Our ritual buys us approximately half an hour of quality cuddling time while watching our favorite show, Arthur, and maybe a little Curious George if we are feeling really lazy. The downside is that our crumb-laden bed feels more like a sandbox every night, but nothing that can't be swept away. These mornings are priceless. Bring on the junk...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bon Voyage Emily!

Madi's sweet soulmate, Emily, and her parents are moving up North. We are sad that they will be so far away, but we take comfort in knowing that they are a short flight away AND they have plenty of family in South Florida that should ensure they come back to visit once in a while.

I decided to take a spontaneous journey with the kids to visit them in Land 'O Lakes over the weekend knowing this would be our last chance to visit them there. I was slightly concerned, given the condition of my knee, but the trip worked out perfectly since my driving hasn't been affected and we were accompanied by two helpers, Julianna Debonis and Madison Ulvenes. They were a huge help at the rest stops!!
Ed and Clare, as usual, rolled out the red carpet for us, cooking yummy meals and making us feel extremely comfortable in their home.  The few hiccups that occurred mostly involved me feeling out of my element with Charlie's mobility and my lack thereof. He was fascinated by their staircase (I was afraid that would happen), and for me personally it was a bit stressful chasing him with my injury. I was so nervous about falling down the stairs with him, but thankfully Clare and Emily were usually around to help with that. Despite the stress that I put on myself, it was so worth the trip for Madi and Emily to have time together. They really are like sisters. It was a great opportunity for them to get to know Charlie. He took right to Ed and Clare and spent two days tugging at their pants legs and moaning for them to pick him up. He obviously sensed their affection for little kids:)

Speaking of little kids, the Maloney's have a toddler of their own. But their toddler is humongous, very furry, and loves to lick faces. In fact, Maggie, their white Golden Doodle puppy, adored Charlie and would lick his face clean every chance she could get. Charlie was in shock, at first, by her size, and he would fall apart when Maggie would take his toys, but they became fast friends and began learning how to share very quickly. He became fascinated with her, and her food bowls of course! We agreed that our little ones are both high maintenance!!

We wish the Maloney family well in their new ventures. They will always be a huge part of our lives. We know we will always remain connected by our two little beauties...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mommy's Big Helper

Madi's been tremendous under these crazy circumstances with Mommy hobbling around on crutches. Twice this week she accompanied me to stores to assist with shopping.

When we arrived at Target, a kind store employee saw me getting a cart and suggested that I use the automated cart. I really didn't think of that as an option...but okay.  So, he gave me some simple instructions, and I hopped in.

As I put the cart in reverse and attempted to steer my way out, I banged into the side railing and almost backed into a post. Madi was mortified. She was both very concerned and clearly afraid of humiliation at the same time!  Honestly, I wasn't sure that I was too comfortable with the situation either.

"Madi, would you rather push the cart, and Mommy will walk with my crutches?" I asked. I observed a huge sigh of relief as she adamantly replied, "YES!" shaking her head up and down quite violently.

She pushed the cart the entire time. She was the subject of much attention for being such a big helper to me. She was also the envy of one little boy who said, "Mom!  Look!  That little girl is all alone!"  He proceeded to demand that he should get out of the cart and be allowed to push his Mom's cart too. What would I ever do without my amazing and determined assistant?  Of course, I pay the price by letting her choose a treat (or two) of some sort, but it's totally worth it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Trinity Sunday

Last year, Daniel went to Heaven on Trinity Sunday--a holy day that celebrates the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit. The date was May 30th.

On this year's liturgical calendar, Trinity Sunday happened to be on June 19th--Father's Day, of all days. I find that so amazing. This was such a comforting and peaceful reminder that Daniel was sharing Father's Day with God, our Father. It is also a reminder of how the Holy Spirit works in our lives, and here we are now with Charlie. Only by the miracle of faith. God is so good.

We love you Daniel James Weifeng Murphy. We hope you had a blessed Father's Day up there.

Friday, June 17, 2011

No surgery!

Music to my ears, for sure, as I am not a big fan of medical procedures. Period.

I did tear my Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). I did tear my Meniscus. I also sprained the Fibular Collateral Ligament and the MCL. I still have trouble believing that I managed to do so much damage from that silly obstacle course at Bible Camp. I am wondering if maybe some damage had already been done to my knee in the past.

Anyway, I've escaped surgery since I am not an "athlete" nor do I compete athletically. I'll just be happy if I can take walks, swim, bike and take some classes at the Y again.

I start rehabilitation next week, and I'll be on crutches for at least another week. The crazy part, to me, is that I am virtually pain free and the doctor seemed impressed with my range of motion. This keeps me hopeful that my knee will heal quickly. 

Thank you, Lord!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bible Camp 2011

Last week was our annual SVF Summer Bible Camp. It is truly one of our favorite weeks of the year, because Madi and I get to participate together since I volunteer as a group leader, and she is in my group. 

This was something totally new for Charlie. It was his first experience being separated from us for several hours a day for a week straight. I peeked at him several times throughout the morning, and it seemed like he was always eating (what else is new??) and almost always being held be one of the fabulous camp counselor volunteers. He really bonded with our friend and neighbor, Maia Schulte. In fact, by Wednesday, when I went to take him from Maia, he pitched a fit!

Though Charlie clearly had a great time in the "Sweet Peas" room for the little ones, his exhaustion showed. He would pass out moments after we would get into the van at 12:00. After all, I normally put him down for his nap by 11:30, so his schedule last week lagged a bit behind. I'm sure the week's events were confusing for him, but at the end of the day, he was back at home--with his family.

Bible camp, as usual, was so fulfilling and such a great learning experience for both me and Madi. With a theme of "Sowing and Growing in God's Garden", we studied Creation, The Garden of Eden, The Sower parable, the Barren Fig Tree parable, and the Mustard Seed parable.

The week didn't go without a hitch, however. On Thursday, I was challenged to do the obstacle course with the five-year olds. I was holding my own until I tripped over one of the 6" hurdles (pathetic...I know) and ended up going down. It happened so fast, but yet in slow motion at the same time. Thank God for our village. One friend took the kids home for me. Maia came home and babysat for the afternoon. Another friend's husband drove right over to SVF and took me to an urgent care center for x-rays. I am humbled, once again, by our amazing community here. We are truly blessed. Luckily, there was no bone breakage, but I am on crutches and have been instructed not to bear weight on my left leg until I have an MRI tomorrow and meet with the doctor on Friday.

I have to remain thankful, even for this experience. It has made me slow down, for sure, and it has made me have a higher level of respect for people with disabilities. Crutches are much more difficult than I ever imagined. It has made me learn to sleep on my back, something I've struggled with for a long time. It has also forced Madi to become a little more independent, since I can't answer to her every request and demand. It has also reinforced what an amazing husband I have. All weekend, he ran around like Cinderella (literally) doing everything possible for me and for the kids. I am blessed to have him, this I know.

Another year of Bible Camp gone. We were sad to see the week go, but we are better for it and better for the lessons that we learned this year. Amen.

Madi and one of her besties, Ana Socha

They enjoyed donut lollipops of the World at snack one day.

Charlie ate ice cream all by himself one day.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Last month, Madi became somewhat obsessed with the Live Butterfly Garden "as seen on T.V."  Maybe you've seen this commercial that fascinated her so.  She would shout for me whenever it would come on, so that I could see this amazing TV offering.

Bubba and Grandpa shipped it to Madi as a graduation gift. Her eyes nearly popped out of her head when we opened the box. She was so excited. We set up the habitat in our dining room and watched the caterpillars turn into chrysalids within days. They were then ready to be transferred into the habitat. It really is amazing to witness metamorphosis.

A couple of mornings ago, as we were eating breakfast, Madi noticed that we had butterflies!  Over the course of the day, we watched them hatch from their cocoons. I discovered that Madi will be a great birthing coach someday! As she sat there on the edge of her seat, watching the cocoons wriggle, she encouraged them with, "C'mon! C'mon! You can do it! You can do it!" She was even taking deep breaths on their behalf! 

We scurried around for the directions on how to feed them, but Daddy really wasn't comfortable with hanging on to them for too long, so we went into the butterfly garden to set them free that evening.  The mission was successful until they discovered that one of the butterflies had a wounded wing. Daddy took the butterfly out of the habitat and allowed Madi to place it on one of our milkweed plants in the garden. We haven't seen the butterfly since, so we hope that he has healed and flown away. If you haven't seen caterpillars turn into butterflies before, it is totally worth the $19.95! 


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Seeing Daniel

Sometimes I wonder if Charlie can see Daniel. I know...I sounds like I've lost my marbles, but I have reason to believe, or at least wonder...

Part of our "regular" family routine in our backyard is to stop by our plaque of Daniel, given to us by our friends, the Sneidermans (I posted a picture of the plaque last summer). Everytime one of us takes Charlie to the plaque, he reaches down and touches Daniel's face.

Yesterday evening, I carried Charlie outside to put something on the grill. We walked across the yard, over to the plaque, and we did our standard. I said hello to Dan Dan and Charlie touched his face. But then I just stood there for a minute. This wind kicked up, blowing the bamboo plant behind the plaque and ringing our bell (that's a story for another day). Charlie looked down the yard, towards our gate, and stared as if he was fixated on something--or someone. Then, he reached out his arm and hand. Okay, I suppose that's typical behavior for a baby. But then he turned to the plaque and reached out to Daniel's face, as if to say, "That's the same little guy I see right there!". He did this a couple of times before we went back into the house.

Call me crazy, or wishful maybe, but it just made me it possible that he sees his big brother?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Yard Sale

Madi with a few of her customers/friends

Madi desperately wanted to have a yard sale. She had been collecting items in her room to sell for quite some time.  We finally decided that last Saturday would work for our schedule, and we went ahead with the plan.  We used Friday as our last day to gather up items for her sale.

One item up for discussion was a Ken doll that Grandma Pauline had saved for many years. My friend, Lisa, had mentioned recently that Ken dolls would be worth money someday. When we came across the doll, she immediately wanted to sell it. I refused, pointing out that it might be worth money someday. In a very acquiescing and defeated tone, she replies, "Okay...we'll just sell it on Ebay." Cracked me right up. I have no idea where that came from, but it was priceless. Then she insisted that I move him into my room if I want him to stay. Little does she know, he's hiding on one of her closet shelves...

We emailed some of our neighborhood friends and anyone we knew with little girls in their households. We put out her tables of stuff at around 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning. By 7:15, she was riding her scooter around the driveway complaining that we had no customers, so we decided to make a couple of signs to draw more attention. She and Daddy drove up to the front of the neighborhood to post the signs.  Worked like a charm and people started showing up.

Let me just say that I'm not very good at running these type of events. It all feels somewhat violating to me. For some reason, it is very difficult for me to part with some of these things for so very little, so I sadly found myself leaning on my five-year old daughter for her negotiating skills. Is that wrong?? On more than one occasion, I wavered, "I don't you want to take $1 for that?" Madi always answered, "Yes!", very vehemently, and it didn't matter what the item was worth! I think she's got the perspective that I need...

At the end of the day, Madi accumulated $50, and we have enough stuff to do another sale. We felt like our customers walked away with some good bargains, and some of them likely needed those good bargains. Win-win all the way.  Except for Daddy, who was hoping for a clean garage!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Charlie's walking is improving drastically!  He started taking a few steps here and there, but this week he seems to have gained some confidence to walk more, especially in the presence of Daddy! He truly went, day by day, from two steps to four steps to eight steps and now he's making major leaps and bounds!

I was able to take this footage today as Madi coaxed him with food from the other side of the kitchen. No MRI needed for this little man!