Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Smith Family Christmas in Pictures

Christmas Eve

Luke's Christmas outfit: What a big boy in his button-up shirt and vest!

Luke, Auntie Andee, me and Auntie Jenny dancing to "Proud Mary".

More dancing and clapping!

Daddy and Luke sharing a Christmas smooch.

After a wonderful afternoon and evening at my dad's, opening presents, eating Omaha steaks and playing with new toys, we headed down to my mom's house to spend the night. Here is Luke in his new Christmas jammies:

Christmas Day

Luke woke up at 6:30 on Christmas morning, ready to see what Santa brought. My poor little brother (he's 15) got a taste of his own medicine this morning as he used to be the one to wake everyone else up by banging pots and pans. Now it was Luke's turn to wake the sleepyhead up!

Luke loved opening the presents and throwing the wrapping paper into Papa's garbage bag.

New Little People town!

Papa and Luke playing with Elmo

If he wasn't in diapers, I bet Luke would have wet his pants he was laughing so hard at Uncle Evan.

Roger and I took Luke home for a mid-day nap and he (and I!) slept for almost 3 hours! With our second wind, we headed back down to my mom's for a yummy dinner, board games and pie.

We feel so blessed this year, looking back on all that was 2008. And we look forward to what God is going to do in 2009! We also look forward to our belated Christmas with Roger's side of the family in February!

Happy New Year everyone! Thank you for checking in on us.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The best Christmas gift came a little late

Hands down the best gift Rog and I received this year was hearing from Dr. Stefanelli how great Luke is doing and how good his heart is pumping away! So good, in fact, that he is scheduling us for our next appointment in SIX months. We knew that Luke was doing well leading up to this appointment — eating well, growing, good color and energy — but there is always that thought in the back of your mind that something could be wrong. It was a gift today to be reassured that we can trust that when we think Luke's doing well, he is doing well.

The other piece of good news is that Dr. S. thinks Luke is ready to drop his Lasix and Spironolactone. We will keep him on Diuril for now, but great news to get to drop two diuretics! Luke has always struggled with effusions and holding onto fluid post-surgery, but Dr. S. thinks we are far enough out that Luke's lymph system is completely healed and dropping these doses shouldn't negatively impact him at all. The good thing is that on Luke, we can spot fluid retention very easily.

So we'll go from 3 meds in the morning and 2 at night to 1 med in the morning and 2 at night (plus his aspirin every other day)!

I wish I had brought my camera because this appointment was the first time they had Luke weighed and measured the "big boy" way. He stood against the wall for his height (like Elmo) and stood on the scale for his weight. Our baby's growin' up!

It was very interesting seeing the difference in Luke's reaction to the stickers and machines even from three months ago. This time around, he was having no part of the EKG or blood pressure procedures. The first 5-10 minutes of the echo was rough, too. He cried and pushed the wand away and kept saying, "go home, mama's car". I'm wondering if at this age they have a harder time when they don't have a say in what's happening to them. We made it through and with a sucker, a movie and an extra echo wand, the tech got almost 20 minutes of pictures! We never did get the EKG, however. Oh well.

I don't want to borrow worry, but yesterday's appointment felt like a glimpse of the Fontan. Luke is so much more verbal than even three months ago and can say what he wants and doesn't want. I've heard another heart mom say the first two surgeries are the hardest on the parents and the third is hardest on the child. But I have seen Luke's resilience and believe in faith that he will come through the Fontan strong and fighting.

God is Good all the time, He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Upcoming cardiologist appointment

Roger and I are asking for prayer for Luke's cardiology appointment on Monday, December 29. It's been three months since we've seen Dr. S. and we are asking for prayer that everything looks fantastic with Luke's heart. Specifically: His sat's would be in the 88-90% range; his echo would show no concerns and good heart function; his ekg would be normal; and his weight would be up.

Thank you for praying for us!

I'm hoping to get some Christmas pictures posted later today. We had a wonderful Christmas and we hope you all did too!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow days!

Not sure how 1/2" of snow qualifies the title "Winter Storm 2008" on the news, but nonetheless, we enjoyed that 1/2"!

Since it doesn't snow too often in western Washington, Luke's snow outfit is anything but "official", but too cute not to share:

What you can't see are his footed jammies underneath his coats with his sweatpants over the top.

Thomas the Train rain boots, hee hee.

The power of a thank you

The power of a thank you is that it blesses the "thank-er" as much as the "thank-ee". World Vision currently has an employee campaign goal to call 60,000 donors in December to simply say thank you for their support of World Vision and the hurting children and families we serve.

Management has asked that every employee sign up for a two-hour shift to make thank you calls. I volunteered yesterday morning and although a majority of my "thank you's" were left on answering machines, I did get to thank several people personally. Many I could tell were stunned that it was a simple thank you call and not a request for giving. But I hope all were blessed to be told how appreciated they were.

So, after two hours of saying thank you, I was, as you can imagine, in a very grateful mood! I thought I would take a few moments here to say those powerful words a few more times:
  • Thank you to all of Luke's grandparents for loving us enough to enter into this journey with Luke with your whole hearts.
  • Thank you, Dr. Stefanelli, for caring for Luke like he was your own. And for giving us your phone numbers, knowing we would use them! You have gone above and beyond for us.
  • Thank you, Dr. Cohen, for using your surgical gifts to help save our son's life.
  • Thank you to Nurses Jen, Jodi and Melissa at NW Children's Heart Center. We feel like you are part of our family.
  • Thank you to everyone who has prayed for Luke. God hears and honors our prayers. Our peace throughout this process has much to do with your prayers for us.
  • Thank you, Lester family, for showing us a present-day example of Romans 4:18: "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed..."
  • Thank you to Children's Hospital for making children and their parents your priority.
  • Thank you to World Vision and the Puyallup School District for giving Roger and me the time we needed to be with Luke.
I pray that God gives YOU many reasons to be thankful today!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

For the record...

...So I never forget:
  • Luke is semi-obsessed with teriyaki food, "chicken and rice". Any parking lot we pull into I hear from the back, "chicken and rice! chicken and rice!" Yesterday, I was on the phone with my sister who lives in L.A. and I was having him show off some of his new sayings. We had him say, "Frosty the Snowman" and "Obey" and "Merry Christmas". I paused, saying, "um...what else should we have you say, Luke?" and out comes, "chicken and rice!"

  • We were reading Luke's current favorite book tonight, "Where Is Little Reynard" by Joyce Carol Oates and we got to the page with the picture of the cat looking out the window to the right. All of a sudden Luke says exuberantly, "high five!"

  • Luke tried to put Mr. Potato Head's shoes on his feet today.

  • Someone named Luke often likes to make known how things should be done when playing. At Nana's the other day, they were playing in the pea gravel and Nana asked him if he was ready to go for a bike ride. Luke's response? "No bike. No helmet. Nana sit!" He doesn't know what he wants, does he?

  • His "yes" is "O-kay!" I will be sad when he switches to "yes"—or more likely "yeah" with a shrug and an eye-roll =)

  • Bob the Builder can do no wrong in Luke's eyes.

  • He loves playing in the water—laundry room sink, bathtub, kitchen sink, he's not picky. Don't tell him, but he's getting a water table for Christmas!

  • He is starting to understand the concept of stalling. At bedtime, he'll ask for "more book" and after prayers he says, "more pray Dada".
We couldn't love you more, Luke.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Light of the World

Christmas is not Christmas without visits to the Halfaday's house. Every year, this family decks their house with lights and decorations galore. There is a 30-foot snowman, a life-size nativity scene, singing Christmas trees, a counter counting down the days until Christmas to start.

Last night, Rog and I walked Luke over to their house (they live in the development across the street from us) and as we turned the corner into their cul-de-sac, this is what we saw:

The picture does not nearly do justice to the experience. The house and yard, which are lit beginning the night of Thanksgiving, sit brightly in the background while in the middle of the cul-de-sac, the Halfaday clan, dressed as Santa, Mrs. Claus and two little elves, sit around a campfire, wishing passers-by Merry Christmas and handing out candy canes.

I couldn't help thinking as we walked home that this is a perfect example of living out Jesus' words: "You are the light of the world."

Our heart is to be so much like the heart of Jesus Christ that we can't help but shed light on the goodness, mercy and hope of God. The Halfadays take joy in bringing others joy and reflecting the heart of God. Being the light of the world doesn't have to mean we preach sermons on mountaintops or in large arenas. All of us are called to be lights right in our neighborhood. Thank you, Halfaday family, for the 1,000-watt reminder.

Here are a few more pictures of our night at the Halfaday "light"house:

Monday, December 1, 2008

Today is World AIDS Day

As of 12:00am, 4,105 children have been orphaned due to AIDS. By the end of this 24 hours, 6,000 children will be orphaned. 6,000. To be honest, Luke's heart condition and health is often on the forefront of my mind. It can be difficult to move my thoughts a continent away, to the suffering of so many children who are living alone with their brothers and sisters because their parents have died and their relatives have no resources to take in one more child. So I feel extra thankful today for World Vision for helping me step out of my own situation and remember those affected by AIDS.

You can visit to find out how you can help (there are a lot of ways!)