Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Birthday Girl

I can't believe I haven't posted in over a week. Seems like we've been in a whirlwind around here!

Madi turned seven on September 19th. Typing that even sounds strange to me. She is like a ginormous puppy, and it is almost painful to hold her she's so big! Our feet are almost the same size now, and I'm not kidding!  Where does the time go?

Madi's actual birthday fell on a Wednesday this year. She had baton that afternoon and the three of us picked her up and surprised her with dinner out at her favorite restaurant, La Bamba (mexican). The smile on her face, as our van turned into the parking lot, was absolutely priceless. Worth every penny.

Madi opted for the "framily" (family + friends = framily) birthday party this year, so we allowed her to make that choice on behalf of little brother, too. Keeping things small and simple seemed to work for her this year. For both of them, actually!

Again this year, Bubba and Grandpa gifted them with the arrival of a HUGE water slide over the weekend. They had a great time all day long. We were surprised at just how much Charlie enjoyed the slide. He wasn't afraid one bit, and I can't imagine how sore those little legs must've been by the day's end. Suffice it to say, it took those two several days to catch up on their rest!

One of the highlights of the day was the ice cream truck, believe it or not. We hadn't seen that truck all summer long, but what do you know--it showed up that day out of the clear blue! And, of course, we had to take advantage. Happy birthday, beautiful Madolyn. You brighten our lives every day, and we thank God for giving you to us.

Watching and waiting
Testing the waters
Madi on the Monster Wave
Charlie's first ride
Waiting for the ice cream truck
Waiting for ice cream!

Monday, September 17, 2012


The little guy turned three yesterday. 

Jimmy and I listened on the monitor as Madi ran into Charlie's bedroom yesterday morning to wake him up and begin the celebrations. She gave him a blow-by-blow about how we'd go to church, and then have lunch, and that after his nap, Grandpa and Miss Suzanne would come over.

And we'd have choc choc cake. "Yum!"  Charlie shrieked with joy.

She'd been preparing him for that scenario all week. 

Since Madi's birthday falls on Wednesday this week, we'd planned to celebrate doubly.

Grandpa and Miss Suzanne showed up with birthday gifts in hand, and Madi was thrilled to open her much-hoped-for gift of a face painting kit.

How could we possibly say no?

Charlie becomes a butterfly
"Close your eyes, Charlie!"
Madi named my design, "The Blob."
The Butterfly and The Blob
Daddy's a vampire
Group Shot!
Madi's Diva Design
Now that's a beautiful face.
Blowing out the candles - his favorite part

Happy Birthday, Char Char!  
We love you!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thankful for the croup cough

I know that sounds oh-so-strange to be thankful for the croup cough.

But we are.

Because that "barking seal" sound is what awakened me out of a deep sleep Tuesday night at 1 a.m. I ran down the hall to Charlie's room and scooped him up before I was even half coherent, and we fled outside to the reliable humidity of South Florida to moisten his windpipe.

As the two of us sat in the dark and rocked in a patio chair while I patted his back, I noticed something strange about his hand.  A sparkly, pink plastic thingy affixed to his thumb caught my attention. It took me a minute to figure out what the heck it was. And then I remembered that Madi had given Charlie a little magnifying toy, called a prism viewer, as a reward for being a good boy that evening.

 Mini Valentine Prism Viewers

All of a sudden, I became more concerned about his thumb than the cough. And when I tried to remove that small hunk of such luck. It was totally stuck. Charlie had apparently jammed his thumb into the small opening at roughly 7 p.m. before he fell asleep. And now, six hours later, it wasn't budging. There was actually condensation in the prism part from sweat.

I hustled Charlie into our bedroom to show Jimmy. I was in somewhat of a panic by then, thinking about how long his thumb had been in there. What scared me more was thinking about what might have happened had Charlie NOT had that croup cough. Might our son have lost his thumb had the circulation been cut off for 11 hours straight?

Jimmy was able to pop the prism part off of the top, but he was unable to remove the toy. So we finally resorted to scissors. Charlie was furious. On top of not feeling so well, he was not at all happy that we were trying to take his toy from him! It was not his best night, you might say!

Thankfully, Jimmy was able to cut that sucker off, and free his little thumb, which actually has little cuts around it as evidence of his silly antics. Charles Stanley, you do keep us on our toes!

And the Lord does work in mysterious ways, doesn't He?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Back to Baton

Madi kicked off her new-found love of baton by attending the fall kick-off camp this weekend.

As predicted, she shined.

Ever since I spotted, on the website, that the company has a "performance group," which gets the opportunity to entertain at an FAU football game and the Delray Beach Christmas parade, our daughter's had her eye on the ball.

Yesterday, when I dropped her off at camp, I ran into a good friend whose daughter seriously excels in the sport. After we chatted for a few, my friend mentioned that she would kindly "put in a good word" for Madi, since she's a beginner to the sport.

This morning, when we arrived at camp, the owner approached me and asked of Madi's intentions. She and the instructors had taken notice of Madi's advanced abilities and indicated that they would like her to be part of their performance team, should an extra position exist!

I assumed my friend had "taken care of business" as per our conversation...

When Madi and I returned home this afternoon after camp, I sent a message to my friend to thank her for her assistance.

And I received the most unexpected reply:

"I wish I could take credit! I didn't get a chance to talk to her. Madi has that sparkle and got noticed on her own!! Jeanne always seeks out the shining stars! I'm excited for Madi, I hope she continues to love it!"


We are so happy for Madi...of course she didn't our need help!

How could I possibly think otherwise? 

Thank you, Lord.

I stand corrected...but continually try to listen with an open heart!  We'll keep our fingers crossed for that open spot!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Six years with Madi

Six years ago today, God blessed us with Xiaoyuan Wu, our beautiful daughter.

And to look at Miss Madi now just blows our minds.

She's so special in so many ways. 
Her smile can brighten the night.

She's full of personality, both sweet and sassy. 
And smart?  This little gal has her head on straight.

And silly. Did I mention she's silly?  Total goofball:)

Thank you, Lord, for this amazing child who has made
our lives so much better in every way.

Happy Gotcha Day, sweet Yuan Yuan.
We couldn't possibly love you more.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Launch time!

I have searched my heart for the perfect time to launch With an Open Heart.

And then today at Mass, we heard that beautiful passage from James 1:27

"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."

A Sunday seems quite appropriate to share our news with you. And maybe I read into things a bit, but it's the 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, and Daniel's birthday was 2/2.  And this passage from James? It is included in Pamela Cope's (Author of Jantsen's Gift and founder of Touch a Life Foundation) endorsement on the back cover of With an Open Heart.

I'd say today's a fine day to launch a book.

And so you, our bloggie friends, will receive our news first. Because you've followed all along, through thick and thin.  You've been through it alongside us. we go...

It is with much joy we announce--that after two years in the making--our book about our precious, departed son Daniel is finally LIVE and ready to go out into the world! 

As we sit here and digest this accomplishment--that Daniel's story will indeed be shared--today we humbly ask you, despite your busy daily lives, if you could possibly take time to recommend Daniel's story to those in your life who may need it. Perhaps to someone who struggles with the loss of a child or loved one. Perhaps to a friend who struggles to find their faith. Perhaps to a couple who might consider adopting a child who needs a home, making one less orphan in this world.

Our son's body died in 2010, but it is our strong belief that Daniel's true mission on earth is alive and just beginning. So now our real work begins. And we would be eternally gratefully for your help to make that a reality. If you happen to think of any ideas to help us share this story
(book clubs, book stores, organizations?), we would truly appreciate them!

With an Open Heart is now available for purchase through Westbow Press, and the website link is:

Since this is a self-published title, it means that books are printed "on demand;" therefore, you may experience a delay with shipping. We apologize in advance for those of you hoping for instant gratification!

We invite you to share this link, and it is our hope that you do. It is our mission to keep Daniel alive by sharing his story in this world, and it is our intention to give back in his memory. We continue to pray for God's guidance to steer us in the right direction.

Forgive us for our blatant redundancy as you see this post on various social media networks. For we wouldn't want to leave anyone out. 

Again, we thank you for opening your hearts to this labor of love. It means so very much to us.