Saturday, March 8, 2014

Solvang Century

"Century", in this case, refers to a 100-mile bike ride. And who do you suppose decides to tackle a half-century, 50 miles, but Tracy and Janice. Wow. Spoiler alert: they were smiling almost as broadly at the end as at the beginning. What an accomplishment! Solvang to Lompoc and back. Photos:

Friday, March 7, 2014

Hand To Hold

4/10/2014 - Update - I am just $100 away from 1st place with less then 24hr to go!!  Please push us into the lead!

#update with in an hour of posting you guys pushed me into the lead!!  Love you all, tears of joy!  Dont let that stop you from donating if you haven't, I still need to stay in the lead!

Wow, what a week/few months it has been in these parts of the world.  Probably one of the most trying weeks for all of us (I know me or sure).  With the twins super sick, unable to communicate their needs the amount of crying in these here parts has been out of control.  During this mornings scream fest I texted a dear friend a plea of help.  She always has the wisest advice and new ways to look at the situation.  In her return text she wrote back with a list of things that could be causing this cry feast and at the end wrote:
 "if that's the case, they are further proving the fact that they're little miracle babies who just don't sound very miraculous right now." 

If that statement wasn't the truth I don't know what is.  It made me laugh and cry all at the same time and think about where my boys started and how far they have come, maybe just maybe, today they need a few extra hugs because they have fought harder in their 2 years of life then some people will ever fight in their life time.  

Which of course always makes me think of our NICU and those faithful doctors, nurses, therapist, and cuddlers that cared for them as they would their own.  

Our charge nurse and 2 other nurses form the NICU holding the boys at our NICU reunion just 3 months after we were released.

I so badly want to give back to them what they have given our family..two healthy happy boys.  But nothing every seems right.  We take them cookies or little treats, stop by and just say Hi, but I would love to give them something more to help them, the way they helped our boys.

Hand to Hold is a non profit organization that helps get educational materials to NICUs, and support NICU families and bereaved families.  I found them when we were introduced to the NICU two years ago and I learned so much and loved their support.  I still visit their website pretty regularly to learn about new developments in the care of preterm babies and also to seek support in their section on "life after the NICU"

They are currently trying to raise money for their programs and have an awesome giveaway.  Basically the person who receives the most donation will be able to give a $5,000.00 grand prize to the NICU of their choice.  The prize includes things like new equipment for the NICU, education for the staff and more.  I would love nothing more then to give that grand prize to our local NICU.  This would be a dream come true.  I can't even express what that NICU and their staff means to our family.  

So if you are able I would love it if you could donate to Hand to Hold to help out our local NICU!  I am currently in the second place and would love it if you guys could push me over the top!!  Here is a direct link to my page which has more information about Us, Hand to Hold and the NICU Giveaway:

My donation page.

Here are few pictures of our beloved  NICU staffers with our boys!  

The #1 cuddler.  One of the first people to hold our boys, he spent almost every night our boys were in the NICU holding them and loving on them.
Our Primary Nurse.  Words can not express the spot she has in our heart.  So many tears shed the day we left the NICU with our boys, of joy and sadness.  She had loved my boys with all her heart and still does today.
Special Signs one nurse made for both our boys.  Taking into account their culture!! So much love.

Our boys final crib before coming home.  The nurses always made sure they had cute blankets and toys to look at.  LOVE!

Please if you could see it in your heart to give to a good cause, any dollar amount to earn our NICU the grand prize it would mean the world to our family.  It might be a little but as they say;

"Small things matter in the NICU."

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Some of the best times are when  life slows down for a bit and we just live in the moment. On the way home from Serafina's video filming with Actor's Edge, we stopped at the Avila Barn. We fed the animals, explored every nook and cranny, and... Took a hayride. It was a great time for Nana and Serafina to chew the fat as they watched the world drift slowly by.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Dzia Dziu - an Experimental Film

Dzia Dziu is Polish for Grandpa, and is pronounced, as best I can tell, like zha-zhu (the first syllable like Zsa in Zsa Zsa Gabor, and zhu rhymes with zoo). Through connections with the SLO Little Theatre, the film's student writer/director, Alexandra Ruttschow, found Serafina to play herself (Alexandra) as a little girl. She had no luck coming up with someone who had a 12" beard, so Papa Jamie was asked to fill in as Dzia Dziu. That's Alexandra in the whimsical, dream-state dress in the photos below. The film is basically a dream that Alexandra has where she sees herself years ago as she played with her Dzia Dziu, and occasionally getting into the dream herself. We filmed on locations in Morro Bay where Alexandra and Dzia Dziu actually spent these times together.


We started out at the Golden China Buffet on the Embarcadaro. Dzia Dziu would have young Alexandra count the bubbles when a little salt was added to his beer (it was impossible, way too many bubbles to count). The restaurant has an old photo of the two of them at this booth posted near the front door.

Dzia Dziu and Alexandra spent time at the Achievement House on the Cuesta College grounds. He loved the "Bargain Store" there, and they tried to catch lizards with his black hat. They tried a fun "take" from the lizard's point of view where the hat was removed from covering the lens to reveal the two girls staring down at the lizard.


Toward the end of the film, younger and older Alexandra find themselves on the beach together, and discover to their dismay that Dzia Dziu is heading out to sea.

Older Alexandra tries to give chase, dives in and swims for a while, but to no avail. The film ends with younger Alexandra consoling older Alexandra, and giving her the hat. Not sure when, if at all, the film will have any public availability. The project is due for class in a couple of weeks and Alexandra also intends to submit it to a film festival ("if it turns out OK").

David at the
Achievement House
We filmed at two other locations: Morro Rock and City Park. Both, of course, were places the two of them would hang out and play. Back in the day there was no signage at the Rock preventing squirrel feeding.

We all had a great day with this project. Alex and Damon Hayes (videographer) are great people who made the "work" most enjoyable; we had a lot of fun! And thanks to them for the celebratory dinner at Pizza Port after dark when it was all "in the can". And I think we'll have peanuts to shell for a month since we couldn't feed those squirrels!

Thanks to Tracy and her cell phone for getting the pics above.  David was with us for most of the day, and thoroughly enjoyed the venues himself!

Back to the Theatrics page.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Twins are Two!!

 Two years ago, you were born.  No one knew your future.  No one knew if there would be a future for you.

But you two fought.  And so so so many people prayed for you.  God brought you to us.

After a year of struggles you turned one.  You bet all the statistics up to this point but we still had so many unknowns.  We still didn't know if you would walk or talk.

And today after a year of great joy and growth you turned two.  You walk, you run and even try to jump.  You both have bet all the odds.  Not one doctor looks at you with out uttering the words miracle.  You are God's miracle.  I feel so blessed to get to see you grow every day, and see the great things you do.  Happy birthday boys!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How Many Men...

How many men does it take to help a 3rd grader with her homework? Three, apparently. The issue at hand was "Is a galley a part of a ship or a location on a ship?" Had to pick one. Rob's caption was, "Her advanced quantum physics class homework is pretty challenging! I will not be sticking around for differential equations homework."

Saturday, February 1, 2014

From a Shower to a Tornado

The first of two events for the day was a baby shower for Jen. It was a grand time from the parasol decorations (Melodrama garage sale) to the outstanding truffles and baby headband manufacturing. Rumor has it that the baby's name is Clementine! All the photos:

And then it was off to the theater for Wizard of Oz by Kelrik Productions at the Cuesta College Performing Arts Center. Wow! The show was fantastic! Such memorable characters make doing a convincing performance very difficult, and they pulled it off from top to bottom, from a "just right" Dorothy all the way to the most delightful 4-year-old Munchkin. Our 5yo Matteo was totally enthralled from beginning to end! It was a special delight for us to see several of our Sound of Music friends doing their thing again. Pictured at left are Tracy and Serafina chatting with Glinda (Allison King), the Good Witch of the North. She and Serafina were in Sound of Music together at the SLO Little Theatre.