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Monday, August 29, 2011

Our New TV Star, Goggles and Ketchup

Last Thursday, Grace was on TV!!!! It doesn't get much more exciting than this around here!  My Aunt is regular on AM Northwest and needed a child model for the face paint kit she was promoting so she asked Grace.  My aunt and uncle even got her a little cheer leading outfit (and yes we will reuse it for Halloween)!  Thank you for providing this GREAT opportunity for her Aunt Shirley!  It is always nice to have a special one-on-one time with your children.  

 Grace outside the TV studio at KATU.

 Grace right before her segment with Aunt Shirley.


 Grace in the "Green" room watching AM northwest.


 Pre-show face paint.


 Just hanging around the set :)



Grace on the set of AM Northwest.

If you want to see the segment Grace modeled for click Grace on AM Northwest.

And now just for fun a little update on the rest of our life (post TV debut.)   After watching Grace on TV about 100 times, Luke found some goggles he really liked and in fact wore them to bed and fell asleep :)  AMAZING how that kid can fall asleep sometimes!  He spent the weekend at Mimi and Papa's which proved to be so much fun!




Grace never ceases to amaze me with her fabulous funny faces!  

And Miss B is taking lessons from her big sister in the funny face department!  I LOVE the scrunched nose.



And finally a "tribute to Uncle D".  This baby girl LOVES her some KETCHUP.  No french fry is required....whole hand dipping is preferred.  She has NYHOFF in her!!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

He Would Have Been...

60 years old today...(My Dad) Rev. Neal L. Nyhoff.  It's been almost 8 years now that he has been gone.  I have been thinking about him a lot lately, which is normal...grief often comes in waves.  For a long time things will be fine, and then for a while you think about it a lot.  I have known his birthday was coming for a while.  I mark it on every calendar I have.  I miss him.

I was driving home last night from my mom's house...after visiting with my aunt and uncle...thinking about the year I wrote his birthday down wrong and missed it.  I put it as the 28th and not the 24th.  I never called him that year on his birthday and I hated that I did that.  I wish I could do that over again.  So many more conversations we could have had.  So many more things we could have done.  I miss him.



Lately, I have been thinking a lot about his ministry, his legacy and work that he did to serve others.  I don't have many possessions of my dad's, but last night my mom gave me something wonderful.  It was his 25 years of service pin as a minister.  He spent 25 years as a minister of the Foursquare Church!  He was presented this award at the Foursquare National Convention in Hawaii in 2000 (a perfect place for the honor).  I miss him.

Among this bible, pin and some mementos I don't have too many of my dad's things....but that is ok...I have the things that you can't put a price on or hold in your hand.  I have his HEART for serving others, his COMPASSION for those in need, a BIBLICAL foundation and an OWNERSHIP of my FAITH.  It was because of his ministry that I taught Sunday School and developed my LOVE and PASSION for children.  I LEARNED so many things from my dad by just watching (which is how they say kids learn so many things). I miss him.


My parents valued EDUCATION and PUSHED me to achieve things that had lasting VALUE.  They
SUPPORTED me in my DECISIONS.  The day I graduated from Washington State University was a GREAT day! I held a little piece of each of them as I walked across the stage and accepted my degree.  Lately, though, I have been pondering the thought of getting my pastoral license.  Not that I have any idea how I would go about it, or that I have plans to go into full-time ministry.  But there is a part of me that would love to study the bible in greater depths, to follow the legacy of my father and have a connection with a part of who he was.  I know that I don't need a license to do that (to follow his legacy and feel connected) but it is something I think about. :)  I miss him.


So HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!! I wish we could have had a BIG party....I am sure you wouldn't have been thrilled about turning 60!  Heck...I remember when you turned 40 and the big party we had with the church people.  That seemed old then (and now I am 8 years away from being uhmmmm 40).  I miss you.

Thank you for finding our home.  It took a lot of vision (and you helping me see past the work) to make this house a home.  I don't know if I could ever move out because of the connection I feel with this place and you.  Thanks for your ear, that was always available to listen...and your voice that sometimes did more talking than necessary :) hehehe. Thanks to you and Mom for helping make and mold me into who I am today.  I miss you.
And THANK YOU to the LORD, who made this angelic little being, that is a constant reminder of "you"!  Most people can't figure out who she looks like (some say Mark, some say me) but in all honesty she looks like YOU!!! God has a sense a HUMOR.  Even last night on Skype, David said she has YOUR hair and head shape.  Too funny!

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!  Even though I am sure you don't celebrate birthdays in HEAVEN.  Or if you do...it is better than any party I could ever plan (and I can plan a party!) I love you! And keep watch over my 3 babies.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Letting Go....

Sorry to have been MIA for a bit.  The bout of diverticulitis was more painful and took about a full week to recover.  I have since finished my massive amounts of antibiotics and have healed nicely, although they say it takes a full 2 months for things to be completely healed on the inside.  I was lucky to have gone in right away.  Now to work on prevention.

Even though I have been sick and not feeling the best it didn't stop this mama from going to our annual "Clark County Fair."  Sure I was slow and didn't have my usual energy but I wasn't about to let my kids down.  This past Thursday we took the kids to Long Beach to the kite festival.  It was AMAZING!  (pictures to come later).  I have never seen so many kites in my life!  Mark bought the kids each a mini kite and we went to a park and flew kites for hours.  It was the simplest trip but it was very much LOVED!

The kids are getting ready to start school in a couple weeks.  I can hardly believe that summer is almost over. They received their teacher assignments in the mail.  They start August 31.  Luke is going into 3rd grade and Grace into 1st.

This fall will be the first time in a long time that I haven't prepared a classroom.  You see...there is NO classroom, no job, no prospect of job.  It has taken me nearly 3 months to decided to LET GO of it.  To stop worrying and trust that I have NO idea what God's plan is, but I am TIRED of fighting, pleading and worrying about something in which I have no control.  I have had the most difficult time LETTING GO of my identity that is wrapped around the word "TEACHER".  Somehow I think LETTING GO of "teacher" is like LETTING GO of a part of myself.  But I decided that it is time to LET GO and focus my attention on Luke, and Grace and Isabella....and instead of being a special education teacher....I am going to the special education mom.  In some ways I feel that I am in a foreign land with NO classroom to plan, lessons to write, meetings to go to, supplies to buy for "my students".  Instead, I have bought supplies for my babies that will go off to school in a couple weeks, organized clothes, tutored subjects, bought lunch boxes and spruced up back packs.  I have started to make plans with my sidekick Miss B.  I have toddler library time picked out, and my big job of the year won't be transitioning 12 kids into my classroom, but transitioning an 18 month old to stay in the gym child watch so I can work out sans children. :)  I am already thinking towards fall, decorating for fall and slowing down to participate my own children's education rather than being the educator for others.  Perhaps by LETTING GO of "teacher" I can discover the BEAUTY of the gift being GIVEN to me.  It's time to surrender MY plans and seek NEW ones.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

CAT Scan, Allergic Reaction and Rescue Heroes

I was just thinking the other day that I didn't have anything exciting to post about lately.  Life was just life.  Be careful what you wish for, because, boy-oh-boy, did things get exciting around here yesterday!!!!

Yesterday morning I woke up at 5am and decided I needed to go to the ER.  Sunday afternoon I had been having some abdominal pain and low grade fever.  I waited it out and was able to sleep, but Monday morning the pain had become more intense and my fever was climbing.  My initial thoughts APPENDICITIS!  EEEK!  I knew I needed medical attention so off I went.  Better to be safe than sorry is my motto.  Mark's health insurance is very good so a trip to the ER only costs $25 dollars....total.  We feel very BLESSED for that.

There was no one waiting and they took me straight back.  You know in the ER how they have different kinds of rooms?  Well...they put me in one of the scary ones...(large with just the pull together curtains) it didn't do much for my anxiety.  Vitals taking, recent history, two attempts at an IV and blood and urine tests.  They decided to give me pain meds and zofran.   And then I waited.  Next they wanted to do a pelvic exam (which is always torture).  Although in their defense it is all part of the protocol for my symptoms.  Then I waited some more.

(My scary room)

The doctor came back and decided he wanted to do a CAT scan.  Oh goody...never had one before.  He said he didn't think I had appendicitis but he wanted to rule it out and felt he had enough information to justify having one.  Fun thing about and abdominal CAT scan is that you have to drink contrast.  It wasn't too bad but you have to drink it over 2 hours.  Finally the lady performing the CAT scan came to wheel me down the hall.     It was quite intimidating seeing the enormous round donut like contraption.  She then informed me that she would be injecting dye into me and that it makes you feel all warm and that is normal.  GREAT.  I love how the machine told you to breathe and not breathe.  Ok...CAT scan over and back to the room, but before we made it back to my room I began breaking out in hives!!! The nurse and doctor freaked, pumped me full of benaryl and then I had a panic attack!  So I got hooked up to all the heart monitors (still trying to remove the sticky from my body).  FABULOUS.

(This is me post panic attack...my lips and teeth were stained red from the contrast.  The kids thought I was bleeding when I got home).

So about a half hour later, once I had calmed down they removed the heart monitors and told me that the scan had come back and there was indeed a diagnosis.  I had an inflamed colon (or better known as Diverticulitis).  Runs in the family.  Explains the fever and tummy pain.  I was briefed on the diet and was given a round of IV antibiotics and 3 types of medications.  After giving me a prescription for two oral antibiotics and 1 pain med, they released me.

I came home to 3 children very happy to see their mama.  Although Bella is in a phase where you tell her to say "mama" and she whispers "dada" and smiles!  I appreciate Grandma coming over yesterday afternoon as Mark couldn't take another day off work.  It was a tremendous help.

I am recovering slowly.  The pain is better and the fever comes and goes.  My tummy is pretty sensitive to food so I have to stick to a really bland diet while everything heals.  And of course 2500mg of antibiotics over the course of 24 hours is hard on the gut.  So it was indeed an emergency and I totally appreciate any prayers you can send my way.

The last picture is of a little climber who is "playing" with our Rescue Heroes".  She is never one to have a dull moment and is enjoying "helping" me (e.i. pulling out all the diaper wipes, climbing on things she shouldn't, pulling out all the video game controllers, randomly hitting me...).

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What the World Needs.....

 Less talk about school test scores...and more 1 year olds playing the Wii!!!!
(P.S. Her Wii controller matches her outfit!)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Appointment Update and Frustrations

Luke's appointment was this afternoon.  It was relatively quick and we were home by 5pm.   We rode the elevator to the 11th floor, where they now know him by name.


He is independent and wants to check himself in.

We wait a few minutes and are called back.  After a quick vision exam and pressure check the doctor comes in with a medical student.  She reviews his pressures and then I ask about his vision loss.  She says according to the last 2 visual fields he has "lost a lot of vision".  According to the doctor, Luke should not have lost the amount of vision he has for the eye pressures he has.  All the tests on the retinas came back normal, which she said was good, "but it still doesn't explain what is wrong with Luke."  WONDERFUL.  Now, can some one please explain to me WHAT IS WRONG WITH LUKE?  She adds, "Perhaps we will not ever know.  I have NEVER seen a case like Luke's before."  Again WONDERFUL.


 These doctors at Casey Eye OHSU are the best of the best.  What is going on?  I can feel the heat in my face rising.  My heart begins beating faster.  "So now what?" I ask.  Dr. Edmunds explains that she is going to consult with Dr. Penessi and then consult with an neuro-opthomologist and then if they still can't find any other cause for the vision loss they will only assume the vision is loss is due to the glaucoma and nothing else.  In the mean time they have scheduled another visual field test (because she doesn't believe the last two are accurate; even though they are  identical).  So here we go again.


I feel that after 18 months of non-stop doctors appointments and testing and visual fields and more testing, and photography and more testing and eye drops and more testing we are no closer to knowing what is wrong with Luke than the day we had our first appointment at OHSU.  UGHHHH!  It is just so frustrating.  I want answers and solutions and a fix (all of which I know we don't have and may never get).  I have to find peace with that and continue on.  I have to continue to advocate for what he needs, what he deserves and for the best medical care I can get for him.

This road has been long (and will continue to be long) and I need to just keep walking, one foot in front of the other, knowing that God KNOWS every hair on Luke's head, every dream in his heart, and every issues, diagnosis and disability that he may face.  I have to rest in the PEACE that surpasses all understanding that guards my heart and mind.  I have to live as an EXAMPLE to my children by standing in FAITH in the midst of uncertainty, and TRUSTING God to direct our path while BELIEVING that God has the POWER to HEAL, and that HE is still a God of MIRACLES.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Another Glaucoma Appointment and Grace on TV!

My mind is having a difficult time wrapping around the fact that tomorrow Luke has another glaucoma appointment.  I can feel the slight anxiety start to creep up for tomorrow.  Even though we are going to his regular glaucoma doctor (Dr. Edmunds), I will be going alone (Mark will be working).  Usually we go to these appointments together for support, and two people hearing what a doctor says is better than one.  Unfortunately a few months ago, Mark's schedule changed and he no longer has Tuesdays off.  Since the medical doctors only see pediatric patients on certain days, rescheduling would be a nightmare.  So...tomorrow I get to put on my "brave big girl pants" and do this solo.  Not really sure what all they will do...sometimes they check his visual field and sometimes it is just a quick eye pressure check.  But one thing I have learned throughout this whole experience is... to expect the unexpected.  For example...the day he was diagnosed with Tourette's.  Totally unexpected and I was caught off guard.  Any prayers you could give on Luke and my behalf would be very appreciated tomorrow.  Appointment time is late afternoon, so I will update tomorrow evening.


So....I saved the BEST and most FUN news for last.  My Gracie is going to be on TV!!!!!! My Aunt Shirley does fabulous crafts.  She has made wonderful things for me as I grew up.  I still have some of her first clay ornament creations that I cherish!  Anyway....she is a regular on AM Northwest and Aunt Shirley needed a child model for this new kids face paint and she asked Grace to be the model.  I am super EXCITED and Grace is over the moon.  When I told Grace she was going to be on TV she said to me, "This news makes me very excited."  My Aunt got her this adorable cheer leading outfit and she is going to be adorable.  If you are in the northwest area Grace will debut on Thursday, August 25!!!  Our very own TV STAR!!!

Short post for tonight.  This mommy is very tired.  Long day today and even longer day tomorrow.  Therapy on Tuesdays start at 8am.  Thanks for the prayers!
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