Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mothers Always Know Best

I think being a Mom is by far the most beautiful calling in the entire world. There is absolutely nothing like being a mom. I just don't quite have it down so well yet though. I look at the way my mom handles Nicci and i shake my head in amazement at how natural and wonderful she is with her. It's SO NOT as easy at she makes it looks. When Nicci was 3 months old we taught her sign language (the basics...please, thank you, more, milk...and so on) and so lately when she wants more of something she signs more BUT accompanies it with a very annoying head splitting WHINE! It drives me absolutely INSANE. It got to the point a couple weeks ago that i had to just walk away before i just lost it. I know you're probably thinking, "Wow Brandi, kids whine, get over it." BUT you DON'T understand...this whine could send you into the next lifetime! Well, we were at my parents house a while back and Nicci did her usual marathon of whining and i witnessed the most incredible thing. My mom simply turned to Nicci and said in a soft sweet tone, "Nicci, we don't whine, we smile. If you want another cracker just smile and i'll give it to you." As i watched Nicci's face...she just thought about it and then walked off. My mom just shrugged her shoulders and said, "Brandi just be patient, she'll understand if you remind her to smile and not whine, you'll see, she'll stop whining, just give it time." I laughed at her and told her she was absolutely nuts and had no idea what she was talking about. Not long after that i heard Nicci in the kitchen with Seth and she was signing 'more' and whining!! So i turned to my mom and said, "SEE!! She'll NEVER stop!!!" And out of frustration i said, "Nicci! STOP whining!" Nicci looked at me, ran past me to my mom...grabbed my mom's hand...and, you'll never guess what she did next. She SMILED and said MORE...not only MORE, BUT she said PLEASE TOO!! I about swallowed my tongue. Seth and my mom just laughed while i sat there dumbfounded. At that point i was ready to give my sweet daughter to my mom to raise! I was so confused as to why she was so defiant against me, but all my mom had to do was ask her to smile instead of whine and by darn she did it! So later on that evening i asked my mom to teach me her tricks. My mom answered me with the most amazing and loving council. She told me this, "Brandi, if you get down on her level and ask her in a soft loving tone to please stop whining and to smile if she wants a cracker...or whatever it may be, she will eventually do it without being defiant. She is a little child, and little children are not always obedient, but treating them with patience, a soft tone, and love will highly decrease their defiance." I thought about it for a while and tried it with Nicci later on that night, and sure enough, it didn't work. :( She'd even obey Seth...but not me. I hit the hugest reality check at that moment. I needed to stop being so sharp with her and ask her in a loving way to obey mommy. My mom and Seth both told me it would take time, and to be both patient with her and myself. So through LOTS of prayer and an entire month of working on my mom's council, low and daughter finally understands me!! The other day we went through our normal routine of her wanting more and whining and it was surprisingly an INSTINCT for me to say softly, "Nicci honey, that's not how you ask mommy." Then a couple seconds later i felt a tug on the back of my shirt, and standing there was my sweet daughter, with a HUGE SMILE on her face, signing 'more', AND even saying, "Peeese?!" I melted into a puddle of tears and i hugged her for as long as she'd let me! I gave her cracker after cracker as she just continued smiling at me! For at least a week now she has NOT whined at all...instead she says, "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy..." until she gets my attention and then she smiles the biggest smile she can, while signing for more crackers, water, chips...or whatever it may be! It was one of the most beautiful experiences i've had while being a mother. I took something i needed to change about myself and i saw the amazing effect it had on my little Nicci. Mother's have such an influence on their children and for the first time i actually saw the positive effect that i had on my daughter. It was such a special experience. Mothers truly know best, and i feel so very blessed to have such a wonderful mom that can help me so much in such a loving way with all of my faults and help me become a better mom. Gosh, i love my mom so much. I hope i'm half as amazing as she is when all my children are grown!

Thank you Mom for teaching me through so much love how to be a great mom!
I love you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"1 Year" Since Nicci's Surgery

One year ago...right now...we were sitting in the waiting room at Primary Children's Hospital while our dear Nicci had surgery on her skull. Most of you know this...but for those of you who don't we'll give you a quick synopsis: When Nicci was born she had Craniosynostosis, specifically Metopic Synostosis. We took her to Dr.s here in Vegas because we knew something was wrong because her head was shaped like a football, but after tests and CT Scans they simply diagnosed her wrong and said she was fine, and sent us on our way. So we ignored the Dr.s and took her to Primary Children's Hospital in SLC to see the Dr.s there. Sure enough she had what we thought, Metopic Synostosis and if we would have waited another year she would have been blind and suffered forms of brain damage. After seeing the CT scans (the previous Dr.'s had taken) they performed immediate surgery. It was the scariest thing we had ever been through. We can't believe that one year ago we were sitting in the waiting room at Primary Children's Hospital with my parents for 7 long hours...waiting...and waiting...for our dear daughter to be out of surgery. When i gave Nicci a hug this morning my legs went completely weak as i remembered handing her over to the Anesthesiologist and watching her scream as she said, "Mama!" for the FIRST time. As the Dr. walked through the big white doors with Nicci, i slid down the wall in tears as Seth held me in his arms while we cried together. I remember thinking i'd never see my daughter again. We went back to the waiting room where Mom & Dad were waiting for us. We spent the next 7 hours waiting for phone calls from the operating room and Seth played some weird Donkey Kong Nintendo game they had set up to pass the time. Mom and Dad offered words of comfort and kept us thinking the best for all 7 hours; i don't know what we would have done without them.
.....and then finally....
In walked Nicci's Dr! He told us she was in the PICU and that we could go back and see her in 30 min. I felt like brain was flooded with so much emotion. She was ok...Heavenly Father had watched over our little angel and she was ok! During surgery they cut her from ear to ear and reconstructed the entire front of her skull and then reconstructed her eye sockets AND her eyebrow ridges. She had 9 IV's in her little body, 4 blood transfusions, and was in the intensive care unit for a week. It took a while for her to recover but she is looking SO good 1 year later! My parents were with us every step of the way, from Dr.s appts, to surgery, and all through recovery, they were there loving, supporting, and helping to build our little family into an indestructible unit! We learned and grew so much closer during this difficult and frightening time. Nicci has since had surgery on her eyes and is recovering very well from that as well. She will only have 1 more surgery in two years and then she should be done! If the Dr.s would have caught her condition when she 3 months old it would have been such an easy procedure with minimal scaring and NO follow up surgeries. (Darn the dumb dr.s here...grrr) But she is AMAZING, and SUCH a strong little girl, even when her eyes were swollen shut she would point in the direction of laughter or talking, and jabber along with everyone doing the same. We all learned first hand that 'what doesn't kill you will only make you stronger'! Nicci is such a perfect example to us. We are so very blessed to have such a remarkable little girl, but we are even more blessed to have such a loving Father in Heaven who is always there for matter what.

-----After a couple of days they finally took off her bandages-----

----Here are the slideshows of her surgery----

The BEFORE and AFTER pictures of her head.

We thank our Heavenly Father every day for our precious Nicole Debra. This has been one of the best years of our lives...not the easiest but definitely the very best!

"Walk by faith and the way will be opened up"

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What a Beautiful Life

This weekend has been so spiritually filling it's hard to find words to express all that i'm feeling. On Friday night we went to the temple with my parents and it was such an amazing experience! The session we were attempting to make was absolutely full so we had the opportunity to sit in the chapel and meditate for a while as we waited for a later one. It was such a special and sacred experience for me for many reasons that are personal, but my testimony of temple work and family has been strengthened beyond description. The next morning was the 1st Presidency's Leadership Training. (We were thinking about not even going because we were so tired, but Mom & Dad said they'd take us to lunch if we went and were on time ~ so with no hesitation we were there with bells on our toes!...and let me just say, we should have taken THEM out to eat out of gratitude for encouraging us to indulge in such a special expereince!) Can i just say, "WOW." I just loved how Elder Holland made the analogy with the "pattern". It was a great comfort to me to be reminded that we aren't expected to be perfect...only expected to strive to be perfect by working with our Father in Heaven through all of our challenges. There was such inspired council given at this meeting, it was so incredible. One of the challenges we have taken upon ourselves is to create a 'climate' within our home where our family can grow. I could go on and on about everything we learned and felt, but to sum it all up, the greatest thing we took from the meeting was: "Walk by faith and the way will be opened up" true and how inspired this is. We have experienced this very thing during the past 2 months, and have grown immensely through it all. The last thing that really touched us in the meeting was this quote, "Love is what you go through together". That completely sums it up for us. Since we've been married we've had a couple trials that have really tested our faith and strength, BUT now as we look back on them we see how those trials have made us stronger...closer...and has really defined our 'love' not only for each other, but for our Savior.
Today was truly the icing on the cake! :) Church was amazing. Nicci did awesome in nursery and didn't cry once! After church she ran into the Relief Society room carrying the cutest little heart she had made in class and handed it to me! She made me a Valentine!! It was the FIRST craft she's ever made and it literally melted my heart. She's growing up so fast, i don't want to blink for a second for fear i'll miss something. :) When we came home we went out and sat in the hammock as a family...and WOW was it fun! Nicci absolutely loves swinging and looking at the trees. I love my family, so much. This weekend has been remarkable. So enriching, powerful, and spiritually fulfilling. I'm so thankful for this gospel that brings peace and guidance to our lives as we strive to become 'perfect', like our brother, so we can return to our Father someday.

"Love is What We Go Through Together"
I love them so much.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Prepare to Melt into a Puddle of 'YUM'!

"The WORLD'S BEST Strawberry"
Seth just came home from lunch at the Bellagio and brought me leftovers. WOW! I just ate the most devine Panini and the most HEAVENLY Strawberries in the entire world! They're over $5 a piece but completely worth it! These Strawberries are covered in chocolate with a Toffee coating...and their flavor literally explodes in your mouth and makes you melt into a puddle of YUMMINESS!!