Nov 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Stitches

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This is the face of a little girl waiting for stitches.

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This is the face of a little girl who was racing her brother and baby sister across the room...crawling of course.

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This is the face of a little girl who accidentally slammed right into a wooden toy (with a beveled edge mind you) whilst racing that brother and sister.

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This is the face of a little girl who cried for just a minute after her accident, and didn't realize she was really hurt until lifting her head and seeing her mom's chest covered in blood. I didn't know she was that hurt either. Ellie has never felt pain so we thought it was just a bonk.

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This is the face of a little girl who is wishing that she doesn't need stitches because she is terrified of them. Mom and dad knew otherwise, but we kept that option around to sooth her concerns.

While we were still in the waiting room a few young patients came out. Ellie promptly asked them if they were all done. When they responded "yes", she replied, "Oh good, cause now you get to go get a really really big ice cream cone on your way home." Luckily the parents all smiled. I just love this side of her personality. I tried to distract her the entire drive with the promise of a really big ice cream. She let everyone know that this of course was protocol post Emergency Room visit. When she informed the other kids of their good fortune, their eyes lit up. There is so much good in her...cheering people up when she has a big owie herself! I love this kid!

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Stitches it is! Elvis was not looking forward to stitches and asked everyone that came in the room if they were given stitches as a little kid. Surprisingly some of the hospital personnel didn't lie. Maybe they're trained not to, but she was pleased when one of the nurses showed her where she had stitches (in the exact place) and there was no scar. She gave me a wink- what a good nurse! This same nurse cleaned her wound getting reading for the doc. I really really hope the scar is minimal- her sweet little face- it's killing me!!

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Still waiting...boy did the numbing stuff take a long time to "soak in." We sang every Christmas song we could think of to pass the time. Much to my excitement she still sings jingle bells the same way she did last year. In case you forgot:

Jingle Bells
Jingle Bells
Jingle all the way
Oh much fun a
Mister Ride
In a One Forced Slopen Sleigh

We also sang Santa Claus is coming to town to get ready for her part in the "concert." It is a little recital, but she calls it a concert. I almost started to sing grandma got ran over by a reindeer, but decided in her emotional state that would just not be appropriate. Maybe it won't be appropriate for a few years yet.

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All cozy warm in her new fancy blanket. Elvis was pumped that she got to take home this blanket from the easy to please. This was partly to keep her from thrashing and hitting the doctor.

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Three stitches later we were all done, and back to our happy little self. The yummy red Popsicle didn't hurt either. It was heartbreaking for me to watch her get those stitches. The look in her eyes was so traumatized and I couldn't help but fall apart. She is usually such a strong and spunky girl- so to see her sad and vulnerable sent my pregnant self into tears. Luckily it didn't last long and I was so grateful that it was after all, just stitches. This family has seen worse ;-)

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Thanksgiving is a great day to think and think and think about just how blessed we are!! Ellie is fine, Jense Great, Daddy perfect, Me- tired but healthy, and Mia is HERE- and the apple of all of our eyes. Oh and little baby brother "Ned" is super active and giving his moma some crazy heartburn!!

We are truly blessed and have so much to reflect on this day! It would take me all day to list the many things we are grateful for. One thing I must mention is that last year we were eating Children's hospital cafeteria thanksgiving dinner, and we couldn't have been more grateful to be there! This year we are home and we are just as grateful today for the overwhelming joy we felt last year. We truly are so blessed! Happy Thanksgiving to all of YOU!

Nov 22, 2009

Reunion Recap

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This past summer was my ten year high school reunion. Yes, yes... I am THAT old! so sad. This was a day I had been dreading/looking forward to for some time. I had anxiety about putting it together especially from out of state, but I think in the end it turned out just fine. It was great to see everyone, and my biggest disappointment was not having enough time to visit with everyone there.

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WASP- the photo cut out.

The wasps have a brand new high school. We were able to hold our reunion there. I was in shock over how nice it is... it is really impressive. Having the reunion there was ideal because we didn't have the cost of renting another place. The downside was that I hear quite a few people didn't want to come because there were not certain beverages available. I would have loved to see those people too, but had to go with cheaper tickets because of the blasted economy.

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This was my favorite part of the reunion! I loved hearing what everyone had been up to for the past ten years! This was the night before the main reunion and we got to sit around and visit. I am in awe of what people have done with their lives- I need to hop on the horn! I wish the whole reunion could have been like this- lots of visiting and less mumbo jumbo. Sadly it was I who created the mumbo jumbo- oh well. I was also very flattered to learn that Baby Mia is loved by friends I never even knew, knew about her.

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Between the last two's pretty safe to say that I attended high school with all of the beauties! All of the girls are so beautiful and all of the boys had turned into men. Even Chad grew taller if that is possible!

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Yes, there were boys there too. It was so refreshing that our high school's signature cowboy was still as happy as the day you last saw him. Still living life to it's fullest, and putting a smile on everyone's face! Ty, you are still the life of the party...I guess some things never change!

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Oh look... here's another picture of the girls. Good looking eh? This picture leads me to my, if you're planning a reunion DO NOT do the following count down.

#7 Do not hand your camera over to your husband and ask him to shoot away willy nilly. This only works if your camera is not currently in a creative mode. Make sure to change it back to automatic- as to spare yourself multiple pictures that look like the one above... and ones with couples smiling away with only a backside in the background in focus. I would post it, but I would not be a fan of someone posting my backside on their blog, so I'll resist. You would think I would learn my lesson! This happens all to often with me. I say, "here hun, can you get a picture of that," handing him the camera not in auto mode. Then discovering my mistake when I download them on to the computer. I always call him in to view his handy work- we get a good laugh. I should do a woopsie photo post.

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#6 Do not rely on the technology of other scanners/ software to finish up your slide show. I have done many a slide show in my day, but this one was rough. It should have all worked out, but many of the pictures were way too small! Always preview the slide show... always!!

#5 Do not forget your prizes for the reunion elimination game. In the end it was fine because we gave away prizes we were just going to use for random drawings, but some of the prizes went with the category, and were funny. For example, the question of how close do you live to where you did when attending high school- would have been a hoot. Everyone began standing, then then as the distances got smaller and smaller and people sat down. The last tier stated, "same house." The person still standing would have been given a security blanket. For this particular elimination the person who actually won would have been a good sport! There were some other "same houser's" but they now owned the house- so, no blanket necessary.

- the guy in the photo is my friend Steve. He helped me so much with the reunion and him and his cute wife Summer got to hold baby Mia. Besides my girl Shelley, they were the only ones who got to meet her. It was neat! She reached for them... it melted my heart. She really is the friendliest little creature! Ok, this blog is about the reunion- focus, focus.

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#4 Do Not create the entire alumni book in InDesign, then transfer it over to publisher because your trial ran out. Buy the stinking software! I spent a million hours switching all the information over to publisher, my husband was cursing the reunion. not really. Oh, and don't take it personal if alumni respond and say they will get you the info for their bio, but never do. It's less work in the end! *this is the only picture I have of the million hour project- pay no attention to the look on my face, or the fact that I didn't have time to do my hair. Next reunion... right?

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#3 Do not leave all of your balloons at the high school the night before. They will be popped with all of the other balloons that were popped following the dance. These were the dance balloons, but the reunion balloons looked exactly the same. I guess I was asking for that one.

#2 Do not rely on the caterers to be on time. Have a plan in case the food isn't there when it's time to eat. It worked out, but they got lost coming up the canyon. It was worth it though... Cafe Rio so yummy!

#1 Above all: DO NOT try to plan your ten year high school reunion during the first trimester of your pregnancy!! Bad, bad, idea. I should have handed it off to someone else, but didn't know who to burden.

So, who is in charge of the next reunion you ask? Well, I'll tell you who! After all, passing the torch was my number one priority of the evening.

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This girl!!! It is her punishment for being so stinking cute, and still fitting into her cheer leading outfit! tisk tisk ;-) She was cheering at the alumni game and somehow got roped into a photo shoot. I totally made her do this by the way...a day before she was nominated to do the next reunion. She will do a great job... and now has my handy countdown, so she can't fail. I am so excited to attend a reunion and have nothing to do with the planning ( I will help of course if you need me). The class voted and the next reunion will be in ten years, although Ty is going to look up everyone in five and have a big party! Sara, please don't hate me for posting this picture.. it was too perfect!

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The other lucky beautiful nominee... with her helpful attitude it is no wonder why she was nominated. She will do a fantastic job as well! Bless both of your hearts for accepting! Brit, I can't believe I got to talk to you for like five minutes... how did that happen?

Despite all of my Do Not's- I really enjoyed the reunion and hope that everyone is glad they came. I will be posting a slide show on the WHS site of all the pictures (good and bad) that were taken that night. If you have any you want me to include feel free to email them to me- you can use the alumni email address.

Thanks so much to everyone who helped!! Go Wasps!

Nov 16, 2009

We're Home and Happy

Well, our cath didn't go quite as planned...

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When we got to the hospital they were a little behind (these procedures are unpredictable) so Mia went without any food for a few extra hours. She didn't seem to mind.

They took her back and I went upstairs and took a nap, while John played facebook games :-) Three hours later we got the page to meet up with the doctor. He told us that everything went great. They had to do a lot of pokes to get access... poor baby. Her right side is completely occluded from her last cath so they tried her other side and the neck. They used both. She has quite a few lovely bruises.

In the beginning of her cath they sent off her blood work and her CBC came back a little startling. Her hematocrit was extremely low- at 18. Her hemoglobin was a 6. They obviously couldn't let us leave with these numbers... so they didn't proceed with the stress echo that was planned to take place during her sedation. They checked her blood again to make sure it wasn't a lab error, and there was no change. Strange. She didn't look anemic, her cheeks were rosy and as you can tell from the above picture she was in good spirits.

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Mia shortly after her procedure playing with her "baboon." That is what my other kids called it and it kind of stuck. Mia on the other hand has one word for anything that starts with the letter B... it's "but." She says "but" more than any other word! We love her. You can imagine how often I hear J or E say, "mom!!! Mia said BUTT."

We were admitted with no spare anything, and spent the night on the floor (not the actual floor, but the moderate care floor). The good news is I got to see some people I love. It's always fun to see people who are in awe of your little one. I should have known to pack a bag- rookie mistake!! Am I still a rookie? I guess at the caths, yes I'm a rookie! I will always pack a bag in the future... and I'm sure that bag will not get unpacked for at least a month following the appointment.

She wasn't a huge fan of the hospital crib so I held her while she slept. After an hour or so of sleep, she woke up for a second kicked a little bit, then fell back to sleep. Forty five minutes later I tried to put her back in the crib. When I stood up there was a huge puddle of blood on the floor that spread under the chair. It was A lOT of blood and I started to panic. I laid her down and saw the blood covering my pants as well. How did I not feel it? Hear it? Anything. Mia had kicked her IV out and slowly dripped out more blood that I have seen in a puddle before. I ran out of the door looking for the nurse. I was really scared. The nurse took her pressure a couple times and called the docs. They said to just watch her over night and try not to worry. I was especially worried because of her low blood count. How could she recover her numbers when she had just lost so much blood. It was alarming. I didn't sleep much that night. I thought we would be there for a few days now because of this set back.

They were debating whether or not to proceed with a transfusion. Transfusions are generally avoided in transplant patients due to the possible introduction of blood cells that would enable rejection. They decided to draw a CBC the following day to see if her numbers increased or decreased. I thought for sure they would have decreased due to her blood loss. Well to make this long story shorter... her numbers increased!!! They weren't fabulous numbers, but good enough to get us home, and with no transfusion.

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One thing is for sure... it is an entirely different ball game having an active kiddo in the hospital. She really enjoyed this car, and a toy that attached to her crib. I couldn't put her down to crawl around on the floor, and when her sedation wore off she was ready to play! I might have had an easier time, but pregnancy always ads an element of difficulty. Hopefully... hopefully, we won't be back in the hospital while momma is expecting- it's not fun!

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Yay!! Back home and all cozy in the cribby!

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I love the adoring look in Ellie's eyes. She is so thrilled to have her sister back. Lately Ellie climbs in her crib and claims that Mia asked her to sleep in there with her. I suppose we may have to move up the time table for room sharing.

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Jense in Hi-def. Too much fun at bed time! Who wears a night cap anyway? Both of my children put one on every night as part of the pajama process. Goof Balls!

Thanks so much for your prayers! Also the yummy treats, babysitting, and dinner... we are so spoiled!!


I almost forgot the most important snippit of information!! While the doctor was examining Mia on day 2, she got a page. Then she turned to us and said that Mia's biopsy came back and she has... absolutely....


I am so happy! We can deal with the blood mumbo jumbo, but to hear that news was a year in the making. I am so elated... NO Rejection! Nada! Zip! Ziltch! alright, alright... I'll stop, I'm just really really happy!

Nov 12, 2009

You should always pack a bag...

We should have known, or should have remembered, to always pack an overnight bag when visiting the hospital. And here we are! Who's afraid of second day socks? Uh, I am. They want to hang on to Mia to try and look deeper into a couple of things. Most of the preliminary results are good, but there are a few question marks. We will know the bulk of the results apparently by tomorrow. Mia and Mamma are in the recovery room snuggling. We hope to be home tomorrow afternoon...

Nov 11, 2009

Transplant 1 year anniversary

It does not seem like a year from when we received the call that our daughter received the offer of a new life. Mia is our miracle and today we celebrate her first anniversary of her renewed life. My heart could not be more grateful. I knew someday she would have an anniversary, and oh how I yearned for this day. It is HERE! It really has been a year... wow! Here are some thoughts about that momentous day-

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Saying goodbye for a few hours to our princess. This is something a mommy and daddy shouldn't have to do. I am glad we did, but it was one of those moments where the next few hours were so critical and I don't think anything can prepare you for the mental place you are in when such a invasive procedure is being performed to your tiny daughter.

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365 days ago this is what I couldn't take my eyes off of. Watching numbers, praying, more number watching, new med learning, praying again, crying, hair stroking, hoping, asking question after question. This picture is difficult to look at but it is part of our journey, and makes where we are today so drastically wonderful!

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Mommy's first time holding the babe. I still can't believe it has been a year. They told me to consider her transplant day her birthday of sorts. Holding my little "newborn" with a fully functioning heart was one of the greatest six hours (I couldn't give her up) of my life. There were many a hospital day when I felt like I needed to be hooked up to some machines because I literally felt my heart stop... it sounds dramatic, but it's true. One day in particular when I had returned from lunch my mom was crying. Through her tears, and in her humble way she was able to tell me that Mia had been panicking. She knew that she wasn't getting enough oxygen and how scary it was to watch. I usually had to cry about these situations by myself, or over the phone. Thanks for being there mom, you gave me so much strength. The pain of having a sick child is relentless. There are times of peace and times of comfort, but a pain that never seemed to dull. That pain for the most part has been gone for a year- a year! Of course there are things that are not fun, and that cause her physical pain, but nothing compared to her first months of life.

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The first of many smiles after Mia's transplant. Oh how I waited for her smiles! Feel free to read back on the events of the day, it was such an amazing day. Just click on Nov 9th 2009, and you can go from there. It's incredible to see her go from this sweet little steroid smile to....

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This little goof ball, nose identifier smile... in one year. As you've gotten to know our little miss, it is no secret that she is one happy baby. One thing our donor family told us about Mia's donor was that he smiled constantly. Mia now smiles for both of them. Her cheerfulness is contagious and you can't help but be in a good mood when Mia is awake. We love Mia's donor family. We hope that someday soon they will get to meet her. There truly is no way to express the gratitude we feel...there is nowhere to go from here when it comes to gratitude. They saved us... they saved our family. They saved Mia, and me. It is such an incredible thing they did and I think of them everyday. We will soon celebrate his birthday, and will keep him in our hearts forever.

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When you're little, you are told to follow your dreams. Sure, there were things I wanted to become, and places I wanted to go... but all of my dreams came true when we got to bring her home. How quickly dreams change...and are fulfilled. I wonder what Mia's dreams will be? I love these pictures of Mia and her daddy. It depicts perfectly how far she has come and how healthy she is. Mia loves her daddy...she LOVES him... and so do I :-) I think my man was hand picked for me as the only one who could have endured this trial in the way that he is/did.

We are so grateful to all of you for supporting our family over the past year and a half. I am still in awe at the compassion and love that many of you have shown us. I tried to get thank you's to everyone. If I missed you, please know that I keep you in my heart and sincerely appreciate your love and support. It has been overwhelming to see so many people love Mia like their own. Our lives have been changed so much by all of you, by her heart friends, all the medical staff and surgeons, and especially by her sweet donor and family. Thank you!!

Wish us luck on her 1 year biopsy in a few days-- we are voting for NO rejection!

Happy 1 year anniversary Mia- We love you soooo much-
Let your heart Soar!!!

Nov 8, 2009

One Year Ago

When I opened this folder to get some pictures for this post I couldn't help but cry. I don't look back at these pictures very often, but the feelings are as fresh as ever.

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We were waiting

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Our heart's hurt

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Our baby was sick

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We lived a hospital

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We had many angels

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We were hopeful

Nov 6, 2009

There's a Party in the USA

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Ellie has never watched a Hannah Montana show/movie. She has however listened to her new song possibly 100 times. I'm not a huge fan of her loving teen pop music, but last night while watching Glee I realized that I was exposed to popular music at a young age. I guess it's not so bad, well this song anyway. I'm sure the day is nearing when she will ask me what "stilettos" are. The funny thing is, I'm not sure if I have the right answer. High hills, right? Like really high heeled shoes? JoDee- don't hate!

John (Mr. must have music on) introduced Ellie to Taylor Swift which she could pop in the CD player and blast with no assistance. Now, he has moved onto this song. Well, Ok- he's not insisting she listen to it. He will turn on some online music thing and it will come on and Ellie will insist on certain songs over and over. Hence our families continual singing of this song. The other day we choreographed a little dance together-- she gets her head and hips confused!

I'll tell you one thing is for sure... There's a Party in the USA!! Well at least in our kitchen when this song is on.

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Last time I was the parent helper at Ellie's school, she brought a singing barbie for show and tell. Her teacher asked her if she would sing the song to the class after Barbie sang "connected." I was thinking in my head, yeah right. She totally did it. She sang the whole little jingle that Barbie does loud and proud. I was shocked. This is something that neither John or I would have EEEEVER done when we were her age- or now for that matter. It will be fun to see if the confidence lasts. I suppose the exposure to girl music is aiding her confidence... maybe... or she could just be a show off.

Nov 4, 2009

And you're ok with that?

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Jensen and I were sitting at the table and he began to express his feelings about little Sister Ellie. A little background is that when the kids get candy from say, a birthday party, Ellie will eat it all in one sitting, barely tasting it as it goes down (gets this from her mom). Jensen takes his and stashes it in a certain drawer and eats it over time (gets this from Dad). Ellie has known about Jensen's candy stash for a long time and is not shy about dipping into the rations.

Jens: Dad, I wish I didn't have a little sister.
Dad: Do you really feel that way?
Jens: Well, I like her about this much (he holds his fingers about an inch apart)
Dad: You will feel a lot different about that as you get older. Did you know that Aunt Beebs is my sister? She's great! (He had just returned from playing at her house)
Jens: Yeah, but it's different.
Dad: How is it any different?
Jens: Did your sister eat all your candy?
Dad: Yes I am sure my sister got into my candy.
Jens: And you're ok with that?

The look on his face was priceless. Sheer disbelief.

Nov 2, 2009

John Boy's Family... knows how to party

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My three crazies. Jense (mr. bumblebee) didn't want any costume changes this year. Mia was supposed to be a pumpkin, but I couldn't find it in the abyss that is our attic, and Elvis was about five different things for various Halloween occasions.

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Mia's full costume- I had to throw this one in. The kids stepped it up a notch in the candy gathering this year. By the end of the night Ellie could barely hold onto her massive bag full of candy. Mia went to trunk or treat- it was fun to have her in public...outdoor public that is. I think the highlight of their night was the candy sorting... or maybe that was my favorite part.

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Tinkerbell. This was the original request for Halloween. She wore this costume for preschool and at 2 Halloween parties. Hmmm... I haven't downloaded those pictures yet. I completely forgot my camera at John's dad and step mom's party. It was a super cute party with fun games. I would love some pic's if anyone has some.

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We couldn't wrangle our little Indians for a family photo. The annual Halloween party at John's mom and step dad's house was a cowboy/Indian party. I had my children all geared up to be cowboy/girls. Two hours before we were supposed to show up, Jense and Ellie decided they wanted to be Indians. I just went with the sudden costume change but should have asked a few more questions. I threw together some costumes (because we can't show up not in costume) but learned after the party that the kids only wanted to be Indians so they could go in the tee pee. John constructed a tee pee for the party and the kids decided that only Indians would be allowed in the tee pee. It would have been much easier to just tell them that everyone could go in the tee pee. The activities were endless and if I used a picture to describe all of them, this post would get way out of hand... if it hasn't already!

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A bit of knife throwing. He practices at home- not really.

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Jense thrilled that he gets to throw a knife. Thank goodness for that headdress or he might have been mistaken for a pirate. Hey, I tried. Oh- and I didn't have my sewing machine- which would have drastically improved the costumes. Maybe. a little.

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Howdy Pardner! My ultra smiley daughter did what she does best- smile, and boy did I shoot away. Who says the third child doesn't get photographed as much as the first? I think Mia is going to have double the baby pics (well since we've been home) than my other two.

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The sweetest cowgirl I have ever seen! With a tooth...can you see it? can you see it? FINALLY!

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Super Baby! Even with her left!

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I couldn't resist adding these cute faces. I took a picture of my little cowboy nephews and boy are they little heart breakers!

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Indian Princess playing her drum

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Jail Birds- there was a show down and everyone pretty much ended up in jail. A jail that was lovingly created by myself and my mother in law. I don't have a full picture, but it was a full scale jail... I was quite proud of our handiwork. Cardboard, tape and thumb tacks... that's all you need folks.

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Ride 'Em Cowgirl

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My little Indian Chief

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Mia was an Indian turned cowgirl. This is her bashful, bury her head in the chest (face in this pic) cuteness. I love it.

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Ellie jumped on Daddy's back during the showdown. She's always got to be in the action! The party was well thought out and jammed packed full of fun games/ stories. The kids came home with a treasure full of candy and memories of a fun childhood. It's safe to say that my parties will never compare to the annual Halloween parties.

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Mia skeletor

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In case you wanted to see that super baby just one more time. Happy Halloween!! even though it's over.