As SNOW blew into our yard this week, the random flurries reminded me of my own life of late.  Flurries of family activity have blown our way since October!  This is what I shall claim as my excuse to the lack of blog posts and missing pics of the Perez kiddos. (not lack of motivation or laziness–NEVER! ha!)

Sadly, my Grandma Elder passed away in October.  So, we ventured on our first road trip with new Maddox in tow.  He did great, and despite the circumstances, it was fun to introduce him to his extended family.  We sure will miss Grandma’s wit, charm, wisdom, and endless talent.  Rather surprisingly, it seems like Maddox has inherited her lovely blue eyes.  We shall see if he keeps them!

Link to Grandma’s life info:  http://www.kayserschapel.com/visitations/View.php?id=534

The November winds blew in my fabulous brother Steve, Miwa, and baby Isamu AND  friends, the Linns, to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday–along with my parents, Laura, and Kyle.  Seeing Isamu toddle around with our kids was great–can’t wait to see him again!  With the Linns, we even braved the Black Friday crowds (ahem–KHOL”S–ever been there on Black Friday? CRAZY!) together–with Maddox–he’s quite the adventurous baby!  Steve spoiled Anthony and Matt with a trip to a Ducks game. They were pretty exhausted after shopping AND football.

The Great Wolf Lodge was calling our name in early December. What a FUN place!  We were able to completely surprise our kids and boy did they love it. Allie even braved the big slides…there may have been some bribery involved.  My only regret is that it wasn’t ME sliding down the big ones, but I suppose Jack and Maddox do need some supervision.  Can’t wait to go back!

And then there was Christmas.  We had plans. Upon PLANS.12 days of coffee and Anthony’s entire family coming over for a week of activities and memory making fun. But, alas, we ended up packing up and spending some time at the Coachman Inn on Whidbey Island where Nana and Papa live.  Nana was unexpectedly hospitalized for an entire week.  We were all thrilled to welcome her home on Christmas Eve.  At the end of the day, or week, memories were still made and we were all that much more thankful for our Nana!  The second week of the break, we were able to entertain parts of Anthony’s family in our home.

THEN  January.  No plans. Until Papa was hospitalized for a week!  We got re-aquainted with their small town–I even tried to convince Anthony that I was really enjoying small town living. Despite the craziness of being there again, I must say that I loved learning more about my husband.  We re-explored some childhood haunts of his as he shared many a fun memory.  Additionally we were able to spend more time with his GREAT sisters.  I’m so thrilled my kids were able to bond with Auntie Tina (or Nina as Jack says) and Auntie Siony.  Priceless.  Every day since, Jack says with regret in his voice, “Nina Bye, Bye?”  Papa did have to get a toe amputated, but is doing well now–thankfully!  Here’s to good health for the rest of 2011!

Perez Kidz

Allie–is ALMOST 6–nooooo!  As I’ve home schooled her this year, I’ve had the opportunity to see her joy of learning and see the basic things from new eyes.

Allie: What is MLK day about anyway? Me: Well, Martin Luther King was a black man that wanted…Allie: WHAT? He was totally black? Me: Just really dark brown. Like Oprah. After further explanation, Allie: Soooo, he wanted to be nice to all people just like I am nice to my brothers even though they are a different color than me. Me: ummmm yeah. Additionally she stated that we need to treat people that look like Ellen nice too.

Me:  Let’s review.  How old does one have to be in order to be President?  Allie: 35.  Me:  So could Jack be President?  Allie: no–he’s too young! Me: How about Papa? Allie:  long pause.  Me:  Don’t you think he’s older than 35?  Allie:  Well, yeah, but I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t know how! (And I cringe that this year , I too will be eligible to be President…age wise anyway!)

Another Social Studies lesson brought us to the idea of dreams and what we would dream for others in the world.  I of course tried to steer the conversation towards things like the Gospel being shared, food and shelter for all, peace…etc.  We ended with Allie stating her dream for all kids:  My dream for all kids is that the whole world would be made of jello so we could just BOUNCE all around.

Ok ok–last one:

Allie: If you give a pig an apple, he’ll give you bacon. Me: Oh really–HOW?

Allie: He toots it out.

Jack Jack: is pretty much hilarious. This is good, considering he is TWO and has the occasional (daily) emotional moment.  He somehow knows how to contort his face at any given moment to make us laugh.  His laugh continues to be contagious and  we can’t help but smile as he attempts to put more than 1 word together now.   He’s become rather obsessed with his batman figurine– Hilarious.  Batman is constantly fighting something or being shot down by a Nerf gun.  Jack’ers is a big fan of his big sister–attempting to mimic pretty much anything she does or says.  He continues to see a speech therapist once a week and we are looking into private speech for the coming months. So far Doernbecher has said that he can continue to develop, so no surgeries are on the horizon. Yay!!

Maddox: Chill. GOOD. Adorable.  Has rough nights. 5 months. 😦  Adores his siblings who return the favor.  Allie is my little mommy–holding him constantly. Jack’s favorite thing to do is lie next to him–sometimes piling batman figurines on top of him.  Maddox just mastered our jump-a-roo–his head bobs to the beat of his CHUBBY feet dancing around.

As the flurries of life have come, I must say some days I have felt overwhelmingly overwhelmed and incapable. But, even now as I step into a calmer period, I can see how blessed we’ve been.

The Linns introduced this song to us at Thanksgiving–so great!

“I have been blessed. God’s so good to me. Precious are His thoughts of you and me. No way I can count them, there’s not enough time, so I’ll just thank Him for being so kind. God has been good, so good.

I have been blessed.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


 


Advertisements

Jack’s Cleft Journey has continued to evolve so to speak.  We were able to enjoy a fun turn in his journey this last week.  Recently, our fabulous orthodontist Dr. Judah Garfinkle and our talented plastic surgeon Dr. Anna Kuang decided to begin a non-profit organization to aid Oregon’s cleft children.  We were excited when they contacted Jack to be a part of their philanthropic endeavor.  Part of their volunteer team came out and shot video of our family so others families can see Jack’s adorable smile and see the beginning stages of Doernbecher’s innovative comprehensive treatment for cleft children.  The mission of Smile Oregon is to aid Oregon’s children in receiving a full treatment plan whether or not they can afford it and to create a community of support amongst Oregon cleft families.

Smile Oregon’s first event was held this past Friday.  Our family joined them at the MAC in Portland.  How fun to see our cleft team again along with all the supporters they had invited.  Jack was pretty pumped to see himself on video  and I must admit that as a mom, it’s pretty fun to see so many say “awwww” about your son… really a moment I had not envision two years ago.  Jack then proceeded to work the tables around us, flashing his cheesiest smile and sitting on many a lap.  Amid this joy was also the mixed emotion of how much more needs to be done for Jack.  But, for now we will enjoy his spotlight and lull in treatment.

Jack continues to get regular visits to check on all the wonderful work that he received.  A few weeks ago we were pleased to see him pass another vision screening (amidst many tears about his eyes being dilated) and seems on track with his speech progress.  Current favorite words: “No Way!  Meme (baby) and Meme cry!”  We are committed to continue to work with him so he can be speaking clearly by school age.

Adjustments.

With the birth of every child there comes a period of adjustment for our family core.  Each time it opens a new season in life and reconfigures the relationships and routines. So, I knew we’d be in for some adjustments–mainly that we’d outnumbered by our children– once sweet Maddox was born. But, I don’t think I really KNEW.  The days are flying by as we seek to adjust to this new number and attempt to meet all their needs.  Between getting them fed, clothed, working, and homeschooling, we now really know that we now have to PLAN  to get in a great conversation or accomplish something more than the minimum around our home.  Most days as we pillow our heads we are simply thankful they were all fed and made it through the day safely.  Granted, we are only 5 weeks into this family of 5, so surely we’ll adjust a bit more each month, RIGHT? 🙂

Maddox Kai.

There really couldn’t be a sweeter baby–he rarely complains, loves to cuddle and gives the most kissable little faces.  We are all pretty much in LOVE.  We are treasuring these fleeting newborn days and also anticipating the days that 8 hours–or even 4 hours of sleep could be obtained in one session.  Allie has expanded her big sis role to include long moments of carefully cradling baby Maddox on the couch while singing her very own impromptu lullabies.  Jack too is quite smitten with his soon to be playmate.  He is the first-responder to any squeaks of complaint his baby bro. might make.  Jack did have a few unfortunate days , well… weeks, of overall aggression in other areas of his life–even refusing to come to me after Maddox was born; but, fortunately our crazy guy seems to be settling back into fun loving, slightly sneaky Jackers.

Check out Jack’s Smile Oregon Video and a few recent pics–including Jack’s birthday. Happy 2nd Birthday, Jack!!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11




The Perez family is proud to introduce the newest member of their clan: Maddox Kai Perez! He was born on Friday, September 10th, 2010. Other stats include: born @ 8:03 am, 7 lbs 2 oz., 19″ long and incredibly handsome. Both Lisa and Maddox are doing great and getting tons of rest. Really big props to Mt. Hood Medical, Dr. Knudsen and her staff for an excellent delivery and recovery.

More info in the days to follow; but for now, some darn cute pics will have to suffice. 🙂

Although the autumn equinox has not officially arrived, autumn has begun over here! Yep, that’s right, the Perez’s sipped/sniffed/enjoyed our first Pumpkin Spice Latte, thus signaling the change in seasons.  We did put this indulgence off as long as possible, but alas, with the rain and start of school, we could not refrain any longer.  Allie and I have made of list of favorite fall things so we won’t grieve the passing of summer so much.  Leaf hunting and pumpkins top her list. 🙂

We were able to wrap up summer with a few great moments.  Drum Roll….most memorable day in August?  Anthony RUNNING Hood to Coast successfully!  Joining up with 11 friends, he ran and ran and ran. 197 miles to be exact. Well, he ran about 1/12th of those, but still, quite the accomplishment for this former self-proclaimed non-runner!  The kids and I cheered loudly, even breaking out the pom poms for Daddy-O.  So Proud.

Other GREAT moments include WALKING to our Farmer’s Market, SPLASHING in the pool (btw this is one of Jack’s favorite words along with “cooookie”), Allie ATTENDING VBS (she said LOTS of verses–so amazing), FEELING the Oregon sand between our toes (Jack also calls the Pacific Ocean the “pooooool!”), and just some good ole’ FAMILY time.

And now some FIRSTS–

Allie started Kindergarden today–TEARS. Not really. We are homeschooling. But still, the idea that she’s old enough to do school almost brings a tear.  Her beloved Grandma Mary spoiled her with some fun school supplies complete with a pink Hello Kitty backpack and Barbie lunch box.  Allie informed us that on the “first day” of school she would walk down the stairs with her supplies and “act” nervous while we took pictures.  Love this girl.  And that is what she did today—after picking out what she deemed a “schoolish” outfit.  She also successfully completed her school work with Jack hovering over her shoulder–that takes skill.

Lastly, another FIRST is that Anthony and I will officially be outnumbered by our kiddos on Friday.  We covet all prayers for an uncomplicated C-section and a healthy baby boy.  Feel free to check back here on Friday, Sept. 10th,  as we welcome Maddox _____ Perez into our family (middle name still to be determined—eek!)

Spontaneity…

is the name of the game for the Perez’s this summer! Somehow we jumped from ONE planned vacation on Whidbey Island to FOUR more fun weekends away.  The Lord heard the desires of this Mama’s heart for a memorable summer.  Now I was originally

thinking,  wishing,and hoping

for  Disneyland, Maui, or Chicago.  Of course those still sound like dream trips that hopefully will occur one day, but we have managed to make some amazing memories right here the great northwest!  In the last month and a half we have trekked from

Montana to Cannon BeachWhidbey Island, more Montana,

and Black Butte Ranch (just left there at 5 am today to get to work–gotta make the most of the vacation, you know?).  Beautiful scenery has greeted us around every bend, precious friendships have been enjoyed (THANK you Linns and Crazy Coon’s), great conversation has infused our marriage, and priceless memories were created with our kiddos.  Ok. There were SOME whiney moments in those long car rides, but nothing that a few

nuggetsplaylandsRed Box,

or Starbucks (can we say Venti iced coffee) couldn’t solve. That each trip was spur of the moment made them even more fun!  What more could a girl ask for?  Maybe more trips…

Crazy Jackers….

has just gotten crazier.  We all are loving this age—now 21 months. He is learning so much, curious about everything, and super funny.  His speech is not as far along as I had wanted, but he is enjoying his speech therapist and can say new things like “papa,” “go,” “car,” and I’m pretty sure I heard “goggles” the other day. 😉  Hearing  these consonants is awesome; we are working on getting more words with these same sounds and hoping to hear “d” or “t.”

Jack  LOVES to wrestle with his Dada or “Nana” as he refers to him.  The pool continues to be his favorite destination—we’re pretty sure he thinks he can swim and have to keep a hawk’s eye on him when he’s splashing around.  HE would say his greatest feat of the summer so far has been climbing out of his crib. I’m not so sure I agree, but his chubby, dimpled, smiling  face was pretty adorable when he came out of his room…he was so proud!

She’s got wheels!

While in Montana, Allie took off riding her bike, training-wheel free! It’s hilarious to watch because she still has a little 12 inch bike—she has to peddle super fast to get anywhere.  How FUN that she can ride along side us now!  One of my favorite memories of this summer is riding along side her. She was decked out in her hot pink, polka-dot swimsuit with her green skirt poofing out as she peddled.  We just chatted about life as I savored the moment.   Sadly, I may have (not totally owning up to it) bumped her bike with our car; the  back wheel is now rolling a bit awkwardly..and making some funky clicking noises.  I think I’m going to have to cough up some moolah for the “big girl” bike sooner than I thought…she’s pretty sure it needs a basket and a kick stand.

Baby Perez…

Has completely overtaken my torso…so I’m really excited to meet this little guy.  If all goes according to plan, we’ll get to meet him around the 10th of September.  I am so thankful for this

“textbook” pregnancy, vivano smoothies,del carbon chicken tacos,

and the miracle of new life!

These past weeks God has been working so much in different areas of our lives through the avenues of Bible study, audio books/podcasts, marriage conference material, and preaching.  I praise Him  for our

salvation, that He cares about the little stuff, moves hearts, and is our Provider.

Happy Summer Adventures to you all! (see pics below)

Read the rest of this entry »

TESTOSTERINE!  Yep, our 20 week ultra-sound showed some Perez boy power going on.  More importantly, 144 sweet heartbeats per minute, two, arms, two legs, crazy busy hands, and seemingly perfect health so far.

Sigh. Relief.

Joy. Excitement.

Fear. What exactly can two little boys accomplish together?

We can’t wait to kiss some more baby chubs–come on September!  Well, first, I have some shopping to do!

Easter…

brought us to beautiful Whidbey Island where Nana and Papa live.  We enjoyed some bowling action on the base…and some pretty sweet fries and queso.  Allie and Jacker’s scavenged for Easter eggs at a local hunt.  Jack was in awe of the Easter Bunny–couldn’t stop waving, yet screamed quite shrilly whenever he approached us.  Allie surprisingly took a pic with the furry guy–she’s growing up!  Easter Sunday we were able to celebrate with Nana and Papa Christ’s resurrection and all He’s done for us.

Spring Fun

Anthony cruised around in Vail for a few days–thanks, Leatherman! Jack’s at the super-explorer age, so things like the Children’s Museum, parks, books, crayons (yikes!!)  and our kitchen cupboards have been keeping him pretty busy.  Allie continues to cartwheel her way toward kindergarten. This next month she’ll get to have 3 hours a week instead of 45 min. in the gym.  Her love of reading has exploded and we are going through library books like mad women–LOVE it!

The Perez’s are enjoying the spring showers Oregon brings, but we are anticipating some summer fun that is just around the corner!

Love to All!

Full House…

Allie and Jack were the recipients of a sweet valentine card.  We addressed it to them and signed it from their NEW baby brother or sister.  Allie is quite excited about this new addition and convinced it will be a girl.  Jack on the other hand seemed rather oblivious…Come September, he may have stronger feelings about his new sibling.

We are excited and feel extremely blessed…and nauseous…well at least I am.  Sprite is my new BFF.  The other day, as I was snuggling Jack’ers before he slipped into dreamland, my heart was filled with gratitude at the opportunity to snuggle another sweet little Perez for the next few years of babyhood.  Life is good.

Baaa Baaa Baaa…

Jack just had  a nice visit with some of his friends up at Doernbecher.  Our speech therapist has us attempting to get Jack to say the consonants B and P.  We are getting very creative with how many words can actually have those letters emphasized.  For example, naturally we want to say “oh no!” if something drops.  Now we say “Boom! Baa baaa baaa boom!”  Or when reading, horse is “Pony…paa paa paa Pony!”  You get the idea.  We have to stop ourselves when we start doing it to each other. 😉

The good news is that NO fistula has developed!  He can now suck through a straw!  So, assuming we can get his speech on track, we shouldn’t be seeing surgery for a few years.  Yeah!  We also saw some dr.’s from the Casey Eye Institute.  After a lengthy evaluation, they feel that Jack is far sighted. He will get re-checked in 6 months.  So, our prayer is that his eyes will improve before that check.

Jack’s biggest accomplishment of the last few weeks–Walking!  He is now officially getting into everything.  Fortunately he has a big sis that helps us keep tabs on his sneaky-ness.

Allie’s dream….

Little Allie girl has been wanting to turn 5 for a very long time. Her wish is about to come true next week.  It’s very surreal to have our baby girl becoming such a mature little girl.  She assured me I would still get daily hugs and kisses…so I guess we’ll survive her turning such a ripe old age.

Flipping, cartwheeling, bridges, and handstands have become Allie’s passion of late.  She has really taken to her weekly gymnastics class. Seeing her confidence and coordination grow has been fun for us!    She also continues to love her at home activities of reading  and riding her bike or  scooter around Gresham.

Family

Last week we were able to travel to see my family in Spokane. It was so fun to have us all together for a few days. We were finally able to meet our new nephew, Isamu. What a beautiful baby!  It’s amazing to be able to visit with my 90+ year old grandparents.

Jack had his post-op about a week and a half ago.  The outlook?

No fistula so far * Hearing as low as 10 decibels (was only at 30 before)! * No No’s are off as of last Wen.! * Soft foods for just one more week!

The light now glimmers brightly at the end of this leg of our journey.

Jack is back to being Jack.

Sleep is back.

Appointments are gone until Feb.

and…

Christmas is here!!

We are looking forward to worshiping our Savior and spending some fun, quality family time!  We wish the same for all of you!!  Merry Christmas!

For lack of more creative wording, it’s out with the old and in with the NEW palate for Jack’ers.  Actually, there wasn’t an old, but ANYWAY,

There WERE old sounds.

Aghh…grunts….ma-ma…nasal cries…really sounds I can’t describe other than

“Jack sounds.”

We MISS them.

And now we hear NEW sounds:

Sucking—a sound and skill OUR baby can now make!

Na Na—a consonant Allie and I have tried to make him say for MONTHS.

Muffled cries—a normal sound that sounds abnormal for Jack.

And thousands of words to come.

Miraculous.

We LOVE them.

Dr. Kuong is totally amazing.  She closed the wide gap that extended from behind his gumline to the very back of his throat.  Instead of two of those ball things in the back of  his throat, he now has one.  She described that as sewing wet tissue paper together.  His nasal septum is no longer visible from inside his mouth.  Food is not appearing from his nose—so far. 🙂  He also had ear tubes put in—we’ve already seen him respond more suddenly to quiet sounds (more specifically, his machine that makes little plastic balls float in the air–totally terrified of it now because the sound frightens him–sorry Auntie Laura!).

The first 24 hours proved to be some of the longest hours of our lives.  Our dear friend, Pastor Greg, helped entertain us during surgery, so that part wasn’t TOO bad.  Jack was also given some great loopy medicine before hand, so he didn’t mind being separated from us.  Afterward, he was very disoriented, sleepy, and upset.  This lasted until the next morning.  Anthony and I gained some arm muscles and marital bonds holding him in those hours.  Now, each day is better.  He still loves to be held, but we are starting to see the Jack spark back in those chocolate eyes.

Our prayer now is that we can help him through the next 5 weeks of recovery. This means no solid food for the poor guy. This means arm restraints for the crazy guy.  Our hopes are that the palate will hold strong and that his speech will develop appropriately.  We’re just dying to have two chatterboxes in our home!

And from our one TRUE chatterbox, here are some of our favorite Allie-isms (or Alexy as she has re-named herself) of late:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only forgotten son…

Give me  that old time permission, give me that old time permission…it’s good enough for me!

I love you Lord….let it be a sweet, sweet sound in my hair.

This is my father’s world..I’ve been totaled in my thoughts….

I pledge allegiance to the flag….and to the replugger, for which it stands…

Thanks to our friends and family for the much needed prayer and support!!



Not too long ago the enormous unknown of what a baby with a cleft would be like made me feel like I was stepping off some sort of life cliff . Amidst all this emotion, one message was clearly sent to us via fellow believers.

We were the parents that God had chosen to have Jack.
Thank you Mom, Tami, Pastor…

10/10/08 proved to be a huge step for our family. It was a LEAP into another LOVE relationship. Instant was my bond with Jack as he was held by my face. His cries immediately stopped when he heard my voice.

Wow.

And now a year has passed. Has it been hard? Yes. But not in the ways I anticipated. It was not hard to show Jack off. It was not hard to take him to his many appointments (thanks Starbucks at the bottom of Doernbechers). It was not hard to love that smile. It was hard to tape his precious face. It was hard to pump a million—make that two million bottles. It was hard to hand him to an OHSU employee for 7 hours.

It was hard to change the face I had so completely fallen in love with. The face that had initially carried news that terrified me. That precious face.

I feel like I am on another side so to speak. I am thankful for the experience of “crossing over” to TRULY love and appreciate beyond the appearance—the cleft or other “deformity” that may be present in those we meet–to see people in the amazing way God has created them. I am proud of the compassion this year has built into Anthony’s, Allie’s, and my life. Is this what I thought my life would hold? No–it is far richer! Are the future medical procedures daunting? Yes. Would I choose the same path again if I had known?

A thousand times YES.

Baby chubs.
Dimples.
Wide Smiles.
Chortle-like giggles.
Mama.
Hugs.
Peek-a-boo.
Scoot scoot scoot.
Slobbery kisses.
Chocolate eyes.
Jackers.

Happy Birthday to the baby that lights up a room with his smile!

Psalm 139:14
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.