Saturday, November 17, 2012


The best gift you can give a parent who has lost a child is simple, it doesn't cost and it only takes a minute.  It's the gift of Remembering.  
Yesterday, as I received a handful of emails from family and friends it soothed my soul and gave light to a dark day (honestly-dark and cloudy-all day).  
Every time someone remembers Elle, talks of Elle, or ultimately is inspired by Elle it makes my heart glad. 
Miss Gentry.  Her own little miracle, and new big sister, visiting cousin Elle.  
A very Little C 

Peterson Boys
*My super-human sister Catherine is currently on her way to becoming an "authoress" and studying for her PhD in BYU's creative writing program.  During this time, she wrote a short story titled, "I Was Going to Meet Death Today."  In writing it, she drew on her own experience with her daughter, Madi, our niece, Gentry, and of course Miss Elle Belle.  The following excerpt was especially meaningful.*
She is surrounded by pale pink bedding, hair perfectly parted and coiffed with a pink bow glued to her head with KY Jelly and matching pink knitted booties warming her feet.  Her parents must have gotten here last night after the doctor gave them the news that Luna had coded three times yesterday in twelve hours and now it was only a matter of how many more times they wanted to bring her back before letting her go.  I glance at the clock; I am sure they are waiting at the doors for shift change to end at 6:00 a.m., but I have a few minutes left to say my own goodbyes.
I pick up her little hand and let the natural reflex occur as she curls her five perfect fingers around my wrinkled cold forefinger.  I close my eyes and breathe in the sweet, distinct smell of her tiny body—baby powder mixed with the seven medications she has been on for her three months of life in our attempt to keep her here until we could save her.  I take a deep breath and let my mind wander.    
Thirty three years and hundreds of babies, but I remember every one of my seventeen heart transplant babies by name, by face, and by smell.  The unique mix of their medications mixing together and floating up into the air of their tiny rooms during my twelve hour shifts is as unforgettable as the first time a person smells vanilla.  I can close my eyes and picture each one of them.  I remember the gurgling stories Todd told me during his diaper changes, the funny tweety bird sounds Charlotte made when she wanted my attention and I wasn’t giving her all of my focus, and Cole’s bright blue eyes that followed my every move around the room as I changed the tubing, typed up medication dosages on the computer, and refilled the drawers underneath his plastic bed with burg rags and Huggies while he laid quietly in his crib.
My seventeen heart babies are different from all of the other babies I have taken care of.  They are stronger, braver.  They come with broken hearts.  They are broken to begin with, but it is almost as if they are born knowing they can’t win, knowing they can’t be fixed, but they fight anyway.  There are so few heart babies that make it to the transplant unit alive, even fewer that will ever be carted out through the front doors with new hearts, but with each one I can’t help but believe that somehow this time my baby will beat all the odds and live.  
And that sums up the beauty of the gift of Remembering.  It lets me know that Elle lives, not just far away, awaiting our reunion; she lives, helps and inspires others today and for that I am eternally grateful and proud to be her mother

Fought the Good Fight

Anyone who has visited our home knows that it is the eternal battleground.  It's filled with warriors and ninjas, weapons of all kinds and constant battle cries.  
The intensity of it all is exhilerating, but exhausting.  
In a rare moment of quiet this weekend, I realized this fighting spirit isn't just a result of the plethora of testosterone in our family, its part of who our Family is.  You see...
10 years and 77 days ago we welcomed Elle into the world and into our family.  She was spunky and sweet, a miracle from the start.  Then...
10 years ago at 2:37am  our sweet little girl left this world. 
 It was incredibly, unexpectedly, expected.  
We knew she was sick, we knew the odds weren't great.  Yet, just hours before she passed I was convinced everything that was happening was to prepare for her heart.  Then those hours sped by and it was time to let her go.  You see, ironically, Elle waited until we were ready.  For 77 days on earth, Elle fought to be with us.  I will cherish those days, those memories, forever and I will spend the rest of my days here on earth fighting to be worthy to be with her once again.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012


6 years ago, at 9:35am (we do precise in our family) we welcomed the perfect addition to our family.  G is the ying to the yang of his brothers, the calm in the storm and the cog that makes the rest of our family run smoothly.

This past year G had his first move, his first heartbreak (leaving his bestie and his cat), his first broken bone, learned to read and, in spite of Reed's nightly knowledge drain, exploded his little brain far beyond expectations (the other day he drew me quite a complex and accurate diagram of the circulatory system).  Sweet and enjoyable, speedy and shifty, persistent and determined, I can't wait to see what the future holds for this little man.  


Today our Grayson, Gray turned 6.  Going into the day there were lots of obstacles; stomach flu, work trips, late mail delivery, but it all came together for a fantastic day.  Reed was able to cancel his work last minute, G got over a brutal 12 hour flu, so we headed out for a day of family fun.
G's menu for the day included Oatmeal/yogurt/banana for bfast, McDonalds for lunch, cinnamon rolls for snack and pancakes for dinner.  On our way to the tube he stopped for a midmorning snack of cream filled donut.
This boy definitely inherited my sweet tooth :)

The "magic" surprise.  The Rain Room at the Barbican.
 I've been wanting to go to the Rain Room and really wanted Reed to join us.  But, I knew it would be a lengthy experience.  So, when Reed took the day off on a Thursday, it was the perfect storm.  Basically, they've set up a dark room with a 'rain storm', but rigged it with sensors so that as you walk through the storm you stay dry (except G who we've already established isn't constrained by natural laws).  The wait was around 90 minutes, but it was completely worth it.  It was cool beyond words and we all had a great time.
Ready to go in.
Shadow ninjas in action.

In awe of his own super powers.
Loving it!

Playing in the rain.

So cool.
Next we were on our way to G's favorite park, Paddington Square Gardens.  The perfect training ground.  
The piece de resistance, unlimited time shopping at Hamley's with birthday money.

G is on a big ownership/money kick; wanting a wallet/satchel, saving/counting money and his favorite things change as often as the weather.  So, Reed and I decided to give him a gift card to Hamley's and let him wander the store for as long as his little heart desired.  For a classic middle child, the power of being in control was a definite hit.  After just over an hour we exited to Christmas magic and picked up hot cocoa on our way home to a movie night of watching "Dogs and Cats; Revenge of Kitty Galore".  Needless to say, we love this little man and all the laughter he brings to our family.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Our last afternoon we headed into the town of Lake Garda.  Even in the rain, it was lovely.  

Ignore the bare faced, slightly maniacal look and feast your eyes on this masterpiece.
Did I mention I joined the gym the week we got back?

G hits up the crepes again.  

Matts' spaghettini

This little boy owns us all and Reed caved to his requests for the butterfly gelato.  

Crazies on the pier.  

My boys.

Adorable G.  He was determined to find a satchel to carry all his valuables in.  At the last market we found the perfect one and he was pleased as punch.  He's been offering to carry my things ever since.

Biking at Lake Garda

After a gorgeous, welcoming afternoon we awoke to a drizzly morning.  But, living in London, we've grown accustomed to the rain, so we suited up and headed out.  
The Adventurers

The path was partially paved, but some of it was honest to goodness mountain biking.  Needless to say, we got a little muddy.

Persistent G with his faithful helmet.

Everyone was all smiles, even after 15 miles.

The real trooper who carried and extra 35lbs of entertainment, who kept urging him to "go faster, Dad."
I never would've imagined an Italian vacation filled with biking and hiking.  But, it was fantastic.  We got to see the beautiful countryside and have more adventures that I would've imagined.  

Lake Garda

I convinced Reed that after a working vacation we would need a real vacation.  So, he took a whole day off and we headed up into the Lake district.  At the recommendation of a friend, we stayed at an Agritourismo and it was the perfect way to relax and reboot after a whirlwind 10 day.  
We hiked up Monte Baldo to a church that is built into the mountain.  Monte Baldo is one of the "pre-alps" and as we climbed there were some crazy drop offs.

We had a stowaway on our drive to the mountain.

Enjoying the view

When we pulled into our Agriturismo it was absolutely beautiful.  The entire valley was covered in golden sunshine and it looked like something out of a storybook.  

G quickly bonded with the horses

With 10 acres to run on, horses, bikes and a pool, it was the perfect place to relax for the weekend.


Milan was the city I was most nervous about.  Reed was working most the time and with it's fashion capital of Italy status, I worried we may run out of things to do.  But, I've decided, give me a good transit system, a good hotel and some open spaces and we can entertain ourselves for days on end.  
Reed's old boss was in town for the conference and we got to meet up with him and his wife for dinner.
Honestly, some of the best people we know.
Side note:  in true European fashion we started dinner late and it went looong.  However, the boys were fantastic!  As we left the restaurant at 10:30pm all we could do was praise them and Apple for inventing the iphone.

Duomo 2.  Can you guess who got sick in the middle of our trip.  I swear, his cough is going to drive me insane.  


We love checking out all the different playgrounds.

Ching-Chinging our way through the Sforza Castle

Being in Italy really made me appreciate the museums in London.  In Italy we found an interesting mix;  the museums/sites were very hands-off and not really geared toward kids.  But, everyone we interacted with was so kind towards the boys.  Waitresses would take Christian away to entertain during dinner and the big boys gained a lot experience with the 'smile and nod" tactic of foreign languages.   
So easily entertained.

Like I said, another city, another arch, another battle.

Florence: Day 2

Touring a city with kiddos you get a completely different perspective.  We skipped the original "David" and instead visited the copy in the original location.  And instead of hitting up the Uffizi we enjoyed the carousel at the Piazza dell Repubblica, which has been entertaining kids for over a century.  Lastly, we enjoyed the wide open parks and views that Florence had to offer.
"Now this is Fun!"
Striking their manliet poses.

When Christian first saw "David" he declared, "He took off his diaper."
Yes, yes he did

The statue gallery.  After learning my lesson with the Gates of Paradise I began spouting random mythological tales that I thought matched the statues.  After finding the guide, I was 5 for 6.  

Not sure why we need more naked boys in our family :)

At 5 (almost 6!).  G still enjoyed the carousel.  With Matts we had our first tween "moment" as he declared the carousel "lame."

But at 2 1/2, it was absolutely magical.  

Beautiful view from Piazzale Michelangelo.

My favorite Italian city.

I love Reed.

The mandatory game of ching, ching.

G: faster than a speeding bullet.

A different arch, a different city, a different battle

Have I mentioned I love Reed?