Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nathaniel's 11th Birthday!

I can NOT believe that my little man is 11 already....

His BIG birthday present/party was diving at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium (which you can read all about HERE), but we did have a small family gathering on his actual birthday.

We headed over to Gramie and Papa's house for some dinner. Nat requested that Papa BBQ him hamburgers.... I guess mine just don't cut it!

After a yummy dinner we opened presents. Nat was VERY excited to get a new ball and bat from his in home assistant Matt. It replaces the one he broke a few weeks ago hitting the ball too hard!

Sister also picked out some unique gifts for him...

Brianna's birthday was a few days before and I still hadn't given her her presents yet, so she got to open presents too!

Then it was time for dessert. My dear Sister In Law Faline loves to make cakes, so I asked her if she wanted to do Nat's cake. She was totally excited to do it until she asked Nat what kind of cake he wanted. My children are unique and creative when it comes to their cake types. Wanna guess what Nat requested... over and over again...?


Silly boy!

But Aunt Faline came through for him with this awesome peach surfer dude cake!

All in all a fun night!
Happy birthday my precious Prince of Princes!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Celebrating Nathaniel!

Eleven years ago today I began I journey that I was TERRIFIED of.

But you know what?

As scared as I was of Spina Bifida, I have since learned it's just a different way of life.

But it's still life at it's fullest!

Eleven years ago today, my impatient son set his own time table, and gave me a glimpse of the way life would be from them on... all according to Nathaniel's time line!

(16 weeks pregnant and I get the Spina Bifida diagnosis.
20 weeks pregnant and Nathaniel and I undergo an extremely experimental inter uterine surgery to close his lesions.
 Let the bed rest begin!
28 weeks pregnant and my water breaks.
Let the hospitalized bed rest begin.
32 weeks, 2 days some little punk sticks his foot out and the frantic race begins.
7 minutes latter he was born in all of his glory.
All 3 pounds 15 ounces of him!
Yes, the child has had his own sense of timing from the get go!)

Little did I know eleven years ago today what an AMAZING child Nathaniel would be.

Little did I know that he would teach me far more than I could EVER teach him!

Little did I know how his strength and character and charisma would overcome SO MUCH!

Little did I know how much DEEPER my walk with the Lord would become because of such a little guy.

Little did I know just HOW MUCH the Lord was blessing me when he gave me Nathaniel James Soares to be my son.

Happy 11th Birthday my Prince of Princes!

Thank you Lord for blessing me with such an amazing son and teaching me so much through him!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mountains of Fun!

I feel like I haven't blogged in FOREVER!!!

And I probably haven't.....

My friends are even commenting on a lack of writing on my part!

I have been INCREDIBLY busy! I feel like I can't catch my self no matter what I do... But it is all good, and we are doing great!

I thought I might give you a quick look at one of the MANY things I have been busy with...

My mom and I entered the quilt challenge at the California Mid State Fair this year. Then my grandma got REALLY sick, and we sort of got busy taking care of her, doing end of school year life, and just living, and the suddenly the deadline snuck right up on us!

Have you ever done a quilt challenge before? Well, if not, it is where the group hosting gives you a piece of fabric and a theme (and some other rules) and you get to create a quilt using those guidelines. Thankfully, this challenge is for a small quilt (24x24 minimum to 30x30 maximum), unfortunately the fabric they gave us was UGLY!!!! (see picture above!)

The theme this year was "Mountains of Fun". In thinking about an appropriate quilt piece, I could not get "Maynard's Mountain" out of my mind. Maynard's Mountain is this really cool waterfall in the center of the fair grounds at Mid State Fair. I sent my dad to take pictures of Maynard's Mountain for some inspiration. This is the one that jumped out at me from the group he brought me.

With the picture as my inspiration, and the ugly fabric to incorporate, I jumped into creating last weekend at craft day. I decided to cut the ugly fabric up into color blocks, then use in in aplique to create a picture of Maynard's Mountain.

After craft day, my mom took the square to do some of the applique stitching on it (it was supposed to be a joint effort you know..) and I forgot about it until last night when Faline called to remind me it was due TODAY!!

I went to grab it last night... and it was NO WHERE near where I thought it would be...

After pretty much an all nighter last night, I had this this morning:

That just left a few SHORT hours to detail and quilt it before it was due in Paso Robles (an hour away from my house!) by 2 today!!! Ahhhhh....

I worked on it pretty much non stop all morning, and when Faline got off at 1030, she came by to help until she had to go back to work at noon. Over all I am REALLY happy with the final product...

The quilt finished at 110, for my parents to drive it to it's destination by 2... and they JUST made it!

Some up close details..

Those trees are a FUNNY story in themselves... oh my the LAUGHS we all had over those trees! Mom, Faline, Josie and I all made trees, and I used them all... even Faline's CRAZY tree!.... But I LOVE that there is 3 generations of family in making those trees!

From inspiration to quilt, using insanely ugly challenge fabric....
So what do you think??

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Father's Day around here was a bit....
UN traditional!

For my dad, we made some fresh Thai food and took it to his house to share dinner with him. We had Chicken Pad Thai Noodles, Pineapple Curry with Chicken, rice and for dessert Coconut pudding with fortune cookies (they were cute and coconut, I couldn't resist!)

All week I was feeling very mean spirited to my children's father.

I am so tired of him skirting his responsibilities as a father, as a provider and as a human being, yet claiming to be all of the above.

I am tired of doing all the work of a mother and a father in this family, and getting knocked down at the knees all the time.

But then I realized....

If I thumbed my nose at him and refused to let the kids do anything for him on Father's Day (and Audrey was asking to) then I was sinking to his level, and that is not what God calls me to do. God calls me to rise above his level and be a bigger and better person.

Audrey and I looked around the house, and came up with the supplies to make a miniature candy bouquet for him. Audrey did the drawings and I arranged the candy in a cute fashion and we called it a gift.

Then he came over to get his present and watched a movie with the kids. For the last year the ONLY thing he has done with
the children is watched movies once a month or so. It is rather ridiculous that watching a movie once a month is his idea of fulfilling his role as a father, but I can't stand in judgement of that, God will judge him at some point, of that I am confident!

After honoring the father's around us I decided that I needed a Father's Day present too!
After all I do the work of both mother and father in our little family!

So I treated myself to a blueberry lemonade adult beverage and some Joyful Cups...

All in all, not my favorite day, but I did manage to make it through it with grace still intact and in conducting myself in a manner I could be ok about. Not proud of, per say, but not ashamed of either.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Calling ALL Special Needs Families....


We have been offered the opportunity to extend an invitation to some of the families that are our Special Needs Friends... especially the out of the area ones (which is like EVERYONE..)

Have you heard me RAVING about our FAVORITE summer time activity, Project Surf Camp???


Then go check out some of my old PSC posts.... HERE! then hurry back...

Because I want to tell you about a fun opportunity I get to offer YOU...

We have been asked to invite ANY special needs family that wants to come here to SURF at Project Surf Camp on the afternoon of Saturday July 23rd!

Yes, that means YOU can come join us... and we REALLY want you to!

If you would like to join us shoot me an email or leave me a comment here and lets get YOU hooked up to come play with US!!!

Wait... you need to know what PSC is???

Well.... direct from PSC

"Project Surf Camp is a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational, nonprofit organization designed specifically for individuals with special needs.

Project Surf Camp uses surfing, the beach, and other ocean activities as an educational modality to build self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy in individuals with special needs. We further provide opportunities to build social skills, improve physical fitness, develop healthy outlets for stress reduction, and foster independence."

One thing we LOVE about PSC is that it is for the WHOLE family... special kids AND their siblings ALL get to participate!

Another thing that we LOVE about PSC is the PEOPLE there... everyone has a heart for and a passion for these kids, so all of the kids come away with great memories and have a blast!

Finally, PSC is INDIVIDUALIZED so ANYONE can participate... the volunteers always work in the campers capability and there is a way for ANYONE to participate!

PSC is SERIOUSLY our favorite time of year... won't you come try it with us???

Okay, to write this post I had to go back and look at PCS post from last year.... and now I m cry tears of joy or what we get BLESSED to do in a few short weeks.... I love life, even life with a Special!
I never did get around to posting pictures of our Spring Break trip (because I JUST finished editing them!), but I do want to share them.

For day two of our trip we went to Gilroy Gardens.
This is the view walking in!

If you have never been and you have small children, this is a GREAT place to go.
It's beautiful.
It's clean.
The rides are fun.
The people were nice and helpful.
And it was SUPER wheelchair friendly!
My parents went on this trip with us too, and I think they really enjoyed themselves too!

The kids are excited and ready to start exploring.

This is how beautiful it was everywhere we went in the park. Lush green plants everywhere. Nice and cool, not cold cool but comfortable cool, from all the plants. And when we left we also realized it had been VERY windy that day, but we didn't even notice in the park because it was so protected.

Nat and Audrey LOVED the spinning garlic. We rode this over and over!

See how much she liked it???

They even managed to talk Gramie and Papa into this one a couple of times!

The little worm eating the apple ride was pretty darned cute!

The waterfalls were simple BEAUTIFUL!

You could even walk right under them!

I love water.....

Then the kids took us driving on a very scenic little road...
Audrey drove Gramie and Papa....

And Nat drove me......

Let's just say it is a VERY GOOD thing that neither of them will be old enough to drive on the real roads any time soon!

Oh look... I actually made it into a picture! Amazing....

Live ducks even...
And check out that waterfall.... I paddled Nathaniel out to see it.
They said it would take 7 minutes there and back..... they LIED!
But he loved it, so it's all good!

Wheelchair friendly train.... SCORE!

Some of the views from our train ride. 

I am so proud of this boy... it was a very LONG day, and yet he did NOT melt.
It was so much fun playing with him and him staying in such a great mood!

One Last spin in the garlic....

One last spin on the carousal (mommy has a thing for carousals...)

Last ride of the day,
Seriously! They rolled the doors down when we got off!
And still big smiles on their faces... I count that as a GREAT outing!

And the super cute grandparents picture of the day...
So much fun!
I hope we get a chance to go back before the kids are too big for most of the rides!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Raising funds for PSC

One of the things I am very passionate about is Project Surf Camp!
I LOVE this organization and have decided to step up and help them out, this weekend my kids and I did a hot dog sale fundraiser for PSC... and had so much fun!

Faline and I baked up a storm, and added those yummies to the regular hot dog stuff we do and we were able to make some much needed $$$ for PSC.

While I was slaving away selling hot dogs, my little helpers had some other ideas of what would be fun....

Thankfully there were helpers around...

To entertain the munchkins....

And play ball.....

And be tortured....

And giggle lots....

All day long!

Until the kids exhausted them!

Overall, it was a very fun day, but I am so thankful that I had my helpers to keep the kids busy!!