Monday, December 28, 2009

L-U-B-B-O-C-K

Well, we are here safe and sound! We arrived at our new home yesterday aftenoon to find about 25 adults and children from our church awaiting to welcome us. We were greeted with hugs and smiles and led too a huge table full of food and cleaning supplies to help us get settled in. They all pitched in to get our truck unloaded in less than an hour and then proceeded to help us set up our beds, Suzie's crib, and other odd jobs. We then got to enjoy dinner together and had so much fun. The church all pitched in to help get our place looking so nice and we just love it! We are so thankful for their care for us and can't wait to get to know them more. Here are some pictures from yesterday.

Some of the church folks helping us unload.


This is our new front yard!

As we pulled up, we saw this sweet sign welcoming us.

This is our new house!

And the front of our new church.

And here is our pantry full of food!

We feel tremendously blessed that God would call us to serve with this loving group of believers. We praise God for a safe trip out here and look forward to getting settled in. We'll keep you posted!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Here is a picture of our girl yesterday after getting into a packet of hot cocoa:)

And here is what our new hometown looked like the yesterday! Can't wait to experience the seasons! Kyle and my dad head out with the truck tomorrow morning and my mom, Suzie and I head out on Sunday. We are so excited!

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and remember the most precious gift ever given was Jesus Christ who gave up so much to reconcile us to His most loving Father. Praise God!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

We've Been Busy!

Well, I realize it's been a while since I posted and it will probably be a while before I post again! Things have been very busy for us here. We spent five days in Kansas for Thanksgiving and had such a great time with Kyle's family. I don't have any pictures but hope to soon. We've been packing and doing double duty with Suzie's therapy to try to get in as much as we can before we move. Plus I have been sick the past few days which has slowed us down a little. But in the midst of all the craziness, life is good. Kyle officially finished Seminary on Tuesday afternoon. What a blessing the past four and half years have been for us and we are so excited for this new phase in our lives. Suzie is developing so much lately. she is pulling herself up to standing frequently on anything she can. She is repeating lots of words and seems to be learning more and more every day. Here is a little video of her progress as of late.

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Hope you all are doing well and praising God for the gift of His precious Son this holiday season!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Too Funny

Tonight Suzie was just cracking up and I caught it on video. She is such a cutie!
video
I never did get around to posting her 15 month stats for her actual age, so here you go!

Length: 29.75 inches (24th percentile)
Weight: 18 lbs. 1 oz. (less than 3rd percentile)
Head Circumference: (49th percentile)

The doctor would have liked to see her put on a little more weight. She was on the charts in the 5th percentile but now has dropped off the chart. So we are reversing her meals so that she eats regular food before she gets her milk...because she is a picky eater:) Also, we're adding lots of avocado and full fat yogurt to her diet! Other than that she got a clean bill of health and her doctor was very encouraged with how she is developing.

This past weekend Suzie and I were able to go visit my good friend Kim in Redding! It was so much fun to spend time with her. They have such a cute home, a really neat church, and the area is just beautiful. Seeing them 6 months into their ministry made me more and more excited to begin our new venture! Here are a couple of pics from our weekend there.



On a another note, we have finalized our moving plans! We will pack up our truck and be out of the apartment on December 23. We will spend Christmas at my parents' house. Kyle and my dad will leave the day after Christmas to drive to Lubbock and my mom and I will fly there the next day. Here is the cute little house that the church is allowing us to live in! It is three bedrooms and one bath and is just steps away from our church. Our new church family are graciously getting it all ready for us and we can't wait to move in!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Three Years

Today is our three year anniversary! We celebrated on Monday night by going to the new California Pizza Kitchen and then played a game of bowling. I hadn't been bowling since college so I started off a little rusty. We both played fairly well and had a great time! Just as we were getting ready to head home we got a call that Suzie really missed us. We had a great time just the two of us but were glad to get home to our baby girl too:)

I praise God for giving me such a wonderful husband! He is my best friend, leader, counselor, encourager, and a model of Christ's love. I am so thankful for him!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We're Moving!!

The Lord has provided a full time ministry position for Kyle at First Baptist Church, Roosevelt in none other than Lubbock, Texas! Kyle lived in Lubbock for four years while he attended Texas Tech University. It's a town of about 200,000 located in West Texas. The church is actually out in the country, about 15 minutes from town. Kyle will be the Associate Pastor overseeing Youth and Childrens Ministries. We are SO excited that the Lord has allowed us to move to such an amazing church. The people there are so warm and generous and we can't wait to serve alongside them! Of course with the excitement also comes a little bit of sadness as we have to say goodbye to many friends and family who have played such a crucial role in our lives. We will miss them dearly, but trust that God will allow these relationships to grow despite the distance.

Here is a picture of our new church home:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Few New Words

Things are trucking right along here in the Sanderson home. With three more trips scheduled in the next month, we are super busy and the time is just flying by. Suzie seems to have completely recovered from her ear infection (praise God!) and aside from not sleeping through the night quite yet, she's doing just great!

Physically, she is still very behind in her development. BUT, she is making progress and for that we are so thankful. She can stand with a lot of support but still doesn't make any effort to try to cruise. She can maintain the crawling posisiton for longer, which is good. Her physcial therapist thinks she actually could crawl on her hands and knees if she wanted too, but has no desire to since she's so good at army crawling. Boy is she fast! She still won't pull up to sitting, but again I think she could if she wanted to but she just really doesn't like sitting:)

The exciting thing is that her language skills seem to be developing very nicely! She loves to try to repeat us. She will just stare at our lips when we talk to her and you can tell she's often trying really hard to figure out how we're doing it. Here are some of her new words that she'll say when she hears us say them:

(Mama, dada, amen, and more are old words)
Love you (sounds more like Luh oooo)
Baby (sounds more like bay bay)
Bye Bye
Hi
Ball (she'll say ball ball)
Ba Ba (for bottle)
La la la (when we sing a song she'll sing along with her la la la)

My favorite is that she loves to say, "Uh oh" and will just travel around the house throwing a toy and saying, "Uh Oh," over and over and over again. It's so sweet!

Here are a few recent pictures of our little urchin.

She still makes this funny face when we take her picture:)





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Monday, October 19, 2009

Deal of the Week

This deal of the week is too good to pass up! It's from CVS of course:)

Retail Value of my purchase:
2 Glade Sense and Spray starter kits: $9.99 each
1 Glade Fragrance Collection Candle: $9.99
2 boxes of Fiber One Granola Bars: $4.29 each
1 Gallon of Milk: $2.49
Normal total with tax: $43.96

What I Paid:
Glade Sense and Spray Sale Price: $5
2 coupons for $4 off
Glade candle sale price: $6.99
generated $6.99 ECBs
1 coupon for $3 off
Fiber One Bars sale price: $2.50
2 coupons for $.40 off
Milk sale price: $2.29
bars & milk generated $3.00 ECBs
$4 off coupon for purchase of $20
My total: 15 cents!!!

And the best part is that this is all stuff I can use! My best deal yet:)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sickie

Sorry we haven't posted in so long! We've been busy here in the Sanderson home. We took a trip to Texas and after we got home Suzie got sick:( She was throwing up on Tuesday and I thought it was a little flu bug. By Thursday she started tugging on her ear. After a fever on Friday morning, I took her into the doctor and sure enough, she has a double ear infection. Poor baby! She really is quite a trooper. She has been pretty happy except when it's time to go to bed. She has been absolutely refusing to sleep in her bed the past few nights so none of us have gotten very much sleep this week. Last night she threw up again, but she is on antibiotics now so hopefully that will stop in the next day or so. I've never done so much laundry in one week or taken so many showers in one day:) But everything else is well here and I hope to post some new pictures soon. Just wanted to let you all know we're still here:)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Videos Galore!

Suzie will be 15 months in just a few weeks! She is doing wonderfully, aside from not sleeping very well at night! She was teething for a couple weeks only to have just one tooth break through. Then she had a cold and then began teething again! She had the second top tooth break through just yesterday, but unfortunately she is out of the habit of sleeping all night long. Plus we are doing a lot of traveling the next month so I'm not sure how she's going to get back in the habit! But when she gets enough sleep she is just delightful:)

Here are some new things she's up to along with some videos:
waving hi and bye consistently
signing more and all done
blowing kisses
trying to repeat many words that we say and imitating a lot
folding her hands to pray and trying to say, "amen"
learning to use her thumb and index finger
patting her hands to "Patty Cake" and "If You're Happy"
putting objects in and out, on and off
getting more stable at standing (with lots of support)
starting to take steps with lots of help
trying to get from standing to sitting
playing peek-a-boo
taking her bow out and trying to put it back in:)
video
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The following two videos are from one of Suzie's therapy sessions. She is doing much better at using her right hand! But she does hate sitting and would much rather lie down all the time:)
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thankful

This morning I was reflecting on both God's sovereignty and mercy and it led me to pray for Suzie and thank Him for how well she is doing. I was convicted that I am not nearly thankful enough for how kind God has been to our family. I was convicted that I do not give all the glory to God in my conversations with others. Suzie's therapists are constantly saying how well she is doing and it is the perfect opportunity to tell them how thankful to the one and only true God I am. I interact with high school students a couple times a week and I want to praise our gracious God to them as well. I asked the Lord to grow me in verbalizing a heart of thanks to Him for His incredible mercy, so I thought I'd start here, on our blog. I am SO incredibly thankful to Him and humbled that He has chosen to answer so many of our prayers with a yes! I know that should He say no to these requests, He is just as merciful. But I have every reason in the world to constantly grateful to Him, and I pray that I would share that so much more with other people.

Yesterday we went to the neurosurgeon for a follow up and got great news. Suzie's head size has decreased a tiny bit from the last visit and her head size has now gone from the 80th percentile to the 50th! Her shunt seems to be working well and we are so grateful for a good report. Here are a few recent pics of our family. Thanks for keeping up with us!
Suzie playing with her friend Kaitlin at a High School Staff meeting.

Suzie has her very first cold right now:( The only thing that will comfort her at night when she's all stuffy is being with momma. Needless to stay we have had a rough few nights.

Suzie in a box!

Trying to escape:)

Chilling with mama

I wonder what she's up to...

Daddy bringing the Word!

She looks like such a big girl when she's kneeling!
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Suzie's new thing is to make this very funny face every time we try to take a picture of her. She does it as soon as she sees the camera. The good pictures above are hard to get now! Here are several shots of her funny face.




Deal of the Week

So my great steal of the week is the Airwick Mini Freshmatic from CVS. I put these by Suzie's diaper pale and it spirts off freshness every 15 minutes. It makes her room smell fresher:)

Retail:
$9.99 each
Total for 4 with tax: $43.86

What I paid:
Sale price $4.99
with $4 off $20 purchase from CVS
and four $4 off coupons for the Freshmatic
from the paper and internet
My Total: $1.90

And since I had extra care bucks, I really got them for free:)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

One Proud Mama

I am so often looking at other babies Suzie's age and am so amazed at all they can do. They so easily flip around from sitting, to push themselves onto their hands and knees, to crawling, back to sitting, to standing, to cruising, back to sitting, etc. They are super flexible and make all this moving around look so easy. For Suzie, these things that most babies just naturally learn to do are a huge challenge for her. Her therapists spend hours a week trying to just get her to tolerate staying on her hands and knees. Getting her to just keep her hands open has been an obstacle. I'm sure most parents are so proud of their babies any time they learn a new trick. But for people who have children with any kind of disability or delay, I think we get proud at even the smallest bit of progress, because for these kids, the small things are really huge!! I have just been so incredibly proud of my little girl lately. She is so expressive, curious, and learning so much all the time. I am proud that she is starting to stick her little tush in the air when she army crawls. I'm proud that she throws things with both hands now (although it’s usually inadvertent with her right hand). I’m proud every time she grabs for something with her right hand. And I’m so proud that she has now begun signing “more” when she wants more of something! Suzie is a little miracle, a precious gift from God. The doctors told us that she would be moderately to severely mentally and physically disabled due to the extent of the brain damage that she has suffered. So we are so thankful to God for His grace in allowing her to progress so much, and so proud of her for every little new thing she does.

Here is a little video of her with her latest trick.

video

I also want to make a quick mention of how proud I am of my wonderful husband. This weekend we went to San Diego as Kyle was the guest speaker for a retreat for a small church in Cerritos. He spoke on how we need to use spiritual disciplines for victorious Christian living. He did such a wonderful job and was such a blessing to the people. We had a great time as a family and I'm so thankful that God gave me such a wonderful husband and Suzie such a great dad!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What's New

Well, it's been a while since I've posted an update on how we're doing! To tell you the truth, not too much is new here. We're doing very well and very busy! Kyle just started his semester and has been super busy the past six weeks with his summer class, a few weekends away, and preparing for a retreat that he is speaking at this Labor Day weekend. Hopefully things will slow down a bit for him beginning next week. We are so blessed the the Grace Book Store has decided to keep him employed part time this semester! So work is keeping him busy as well. We're still in the candidating process and are praying for God's wisdom and direction as we seek where the Lord would have us serve.

Suzie is doing very well! She is sitting up much better and I can finally leave her alone while she is sitting. She still hates it so most of the time she gets out of it fairly quickly. She can use her left hand to help her get out of it and when she falls to the right side she just kinda rolls out of it. She is now getting 5 hours of therapy each week which is keeping her busy, but I think it is helping her improve quicker. She has become a pro at combat crawling and will leave the room when I'm not looking:) She says, "Ma Ma" sometimes for me and "Ma ma ma" for more. She says "Da Da" for Kyle sometimes too. She is laughing a lot and usually in a good mood as long as she gets her nap. We think she's teething right now so sleeping at night is a little tricky. Hopefully that will pass soon!

Here is a little video of her sitting and smiling at Mommy.

video

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Steals and Deals

I have recently begun to study the supermarket/drugstore circulars each week to combine their sale prices with coupons to save money. I used to subscribe to a website but I was only able to see one store, so I thought I'd try it on my own. I only look at the stores that are close to my house: VONS, Ralphs, CVS, and Rite-Aid. CVS has the best bang for your buck for sure with their Extra Care Bucks (thanks Karyn!!). Several items every week are not only on sale, but generate ECBs which function at CVS just like cash, only they have an expiration date and you can't get cash back for them. If you do it right and only buy sale items, especially items that generate ECBs, you will end up getting many things for free or for a very low price. I thought it would be fun to periodically post some of my great deals, so here is the steal of the week (again, thanks to Karyn):

Regular Price:
L'Oreal Revitalift Lotion with SPF: $19.99
L'Oreal Cream Cleanser: $6.99
Normal total for 2 of each plus tax: $59.22

What I Paid:
Sale price for lotion: $14.99
Sale price for cleanser: $5.99
CVS coupon: $4 off $20 or more
L'Oreal Lotion coupon: $5 off
L'Oreal cleanser coupon: $1 off
ECBs when you buy $20 in Loreal products: $10
My total for 2 of each with tax: $4.90

Total Savings: $54.32

What a deal!! I had to do this in two separate transactions to use all my coupons. I had two of every coupon plus I already had some ECBs to use. If you don't already have some, you would have to pay an extra $10 for the first transaction and have $10 ECBs to use next time. Not too shabby!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Suzie's New Tricks

Ever since we got home from Dallas, Suzie has been doing a lot of fun new things. Some of her new tricks are:

~New Sounds~
The day Kyle came home from summer camp, Suzie decided it was time to introduce the "M" sound. We both got to hear her say, "Mama," for the first time. It was so sweet! Since that morning, "Mama," and "Nana," are two of her favorite sounds. She knows that I am Mama, and she can say it, but I don't think she's saying it specifically yet. But it's still so fun! She's also starting to string different sounds together. She is definitely becoming a little chatter box!

~New Moves~
Before we left for Dallas, Suzie had attempted to scoot forward a couple times. As soon as we got home, she just started scooting all over the place! Because her right arm is so weak, crawling on all fours is very difficult for her. So she is adapting by doing combat crawling, where she doesn't have to push up on her arms. She's getting pretty good at it! She can combat crawl all the way across our living room now. Although she is weaker with her right arm, she at least is using it when she moves, so that is great! Here is a little video of me enticing her with one of her favorite things....the remote.
video

~New Skills~
Suzie is now waving hi and bye pretty well. She won't always do it, but she does quite often. Especially when she sees herself in the mirror. She is also giving "five" a lot now. She does most things with her left hand only, so she's not clapping or signing for "more" yet. But we're working on it! She also loves to kick her legs like crazy! I don't know if that's a skill, but she is quite proud of herself for doing it. Here's a video I caught of her kicking away.
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~New Food~
Suzie is starting to really not want baby food any more. She wants to eat whatever we eat! Sometimes when she is refusing her baby food, I'll take my fork and get some baby food on it, and she'll eat it because she thinks it's my food! We are incorporating a lot more table food into her diet like bread, crackers, cheese, yogurt, pasta, soft fruit and veggies, pureed meats, and of course a little ice cream:) It's hard because she eats like a normal one year old, but only has two teeth, so we have to make sure all her food is soft enough for her to gum.

~New Bed~
Our long girl outgrew her little portable crib a while ago so we had been in search for a standard size crib. A very generous family gave us a crib the other day so my dad helped us set it up for her and the little crib came down. I was expecting her to have a hard time sleeping in her new crib because she has a very hard time with change. But she is loving the space to roll around! She has begun to sleep later which I am loving. She doesn't get squished into the corner of her new big crib so she doesn't wake up in awkward positions. I had to wake her up at 9:00am this morning to make sure she could get a nap in before therapy. And yesterday she didn't wake up until 10:00am! It's been a while since she slept in like that.

~New Schedule~
Her additional hours of therapy have been approved so beginning this week we will have five hours of therapy a week. That sounds like a lot, but my friend Dana's son get 7.5 hours, so that's even more intense. 4 of the hours will be in home, which is wonderful. She will have multiple hours in one day, so I'm curious how she will adjust to that. I'm excited for her to get more therapy though and I hope it helps her progress even faster! She also recently dropped her third nap so she takes a morning and afternoon nap and then stays awake for a longer time in the evening. Now that she is more mobile, she's better at entertaining herself so I can get more done around the house while she's awake.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Suzie's First Flight

On Saturday, Suzie and I headed off to Dallas to visit one of my closest friends, Karyn. Darby and Karyn just had a baby girl in May and I couldn't wait to meet little Calla! Suzie did so well on both flights. The first flight I had an aisle seat which was so helpful. The take off and landing didn't seem to bother her ears at all, so that was great. She just got tired of sitting with me. But I worked hard to entertain her and we made it there in good spirits. It was so great to spend the extended time with Karyn. Since both her and Darby's families live here, whenever they come visit it is difficult to coordinate seeing too much of them. So it was so nice to have three full days of just talking and catching up. I felt so much more connected to their life once I got to see where they've been living. Suzie did so well the whole trip, although she did get a little spoiled sleeping in bed with momma. And she was a little rough with poor little Calla. But we are so thankful for how well Suzie did and for the Hughes' hospitality to us while we were there. Since Kyle was still at High School camp when we got home, I was really wishing I had stayed with them an extra day. Here are some pics I found on their blog of our two babies. Suzie seemed liked such a big girl next to sweet little Calla!




Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Double Stamp Wednesdays!

One of my favorite places to go in Santa Clarita is the Golden Spoon. They have many different flavors of creamy, delicious, non-fat frozen yogurt to choose from, but to be honest, I pretty much stick with the same few flavors:) There are three locations in Santa Clarita so it's pretty much convenient to just stop on by no matter what direction I'm headed!

One thing I really appreciate is that they offer stamp cards for frequent customers. (Starbucks has yet to catch on to this). I recently discovered that they have, "Double Stamp Wednesdays." So no matter how many you buy, they give you two stamps per yogurt purchased. You only have to buy 8 yogurts to get a free small, so if my monthly (okay, weekly) trip to the Golden Spoon is on Wednesdays, I get a free one after only visiting four times! It's a pretty good deal so I just couldn't keep it to myself. I always appreciate it when others share these tips on their blogs. Happy yogurting!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Professional Shots

On Wednesday my mom went with me and Suzie to get her pictures taken at the mall. Suzie did so well and she got a lot of great shots! It was so hard to choose which ones we wanted and they were so cruel to bring out several of them in beautiful frames. It took a lot of self-control for us to walk out there is only our free package and a few additional sheets. Here are the ones we brought home:





You can view all the pictures here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Many Ages of Suzie

Suzie recently received her one year reports from her therapists. They all put her at different age levels for her development. Here are the many ages of Suzie:

Actual age: 12 months
Adjusted age: 9 months
Cognitive/social/expressive: 9 months
Left side fine motor: 9 months
Physical: 7 months
Right side fine motor: 6 months

Overall, I was very encouraged with what her therapists had to say. They are hopeful (but cannot guarantee of course) that Suzie will be able to overcome the obstacles with her right side and that there won't be many things that she cannot do. She is already learning to adapt to the difficulty of the increased muscle tone on her right side. She passes things immediately to her left hand if she wants to examine it better or eat it. Or, if we give her puffs and pin her left arm down, she will try really hard to use her index finger and thumb to grab the puff because she knows she can't turn her hand to get the puff in her mouth if she fists it like she does with the left. She's been unsuccessful in doing it so far, but getting closer. It just seems like she's very aware of her limitations already. She's getting much better at sitting and uses her left arm mostly to support her, but is getting better at balancing on her own. Her right leg remains partially bent to relieve the muscle strain. She can now sit for a couple of minutes and is getting better at catching herself when she falls. She also tolerates the crawling position for longer, but isn't really close to doing it on her own. I'm so thankful for how well she is doing. Every session she makes a little progress. God has been so gracious to allow our little girl to do so well!!

Yesterday we went to the doctor for Suzie's one year check up. The doctor was very pleased with her progress and growth. She is now officially on the charts for her actual age!! In fact, she is growing so well that the doctor decided to take her off formula and onto whole milk! She really is a big girl. She received her one year vaccines which she did very well with. Her eyes got all big when the first needle went in and she screamed while they gave her the shots, but after I picked her up she stopped right away. Here are her current stats:

Weight: 17 lbs. even (actual: 3rd%; adjusted 14th%)
Length: 28 1/2 inches (actual: 25th%; adjusted 75th%)
Head Circumference: 18.1 inches (actual: 75th%; adjusted 90th%)

These three pictures were taken the past week




She got some cool new shades to help her get through the summer


Here is Suzie all dolled up and ready for her party


She was so glad to have her Granddad and Nana here for her birthday! Many thanks to them and to Nema and Papi for all they did for her birthday party.


Here is Suzie's friend Joshua enjoying the balloons


We had a little table displaying a collage with a picture from each month of Suzie's life, her first diaper and booties, the sign from her incubator, and a picture of Kyle that looks just like Suzie


Suzie had her very own cake all to herself


Although she got a little scared when everyone sang, "Happy Birthday," she definitely enjoyed digging into her birthday cake!


She decided that the dogs needed some frosting too. Daphne had pink and green icing on her back the rest of the day.


Our family picture:)