Friday, August 29, 2008

soon to come...

i haven't been super great at keeping up with the blog, lately, i know.


i'm in the process of uploading a bunch of pictures from our camera, and some pictures that donna has taken when emma's over there. SO, there will be some updates soon... to catch you up on some fun from this summer.

here's what you can look forward to:

1) random silliness
2) "The Wiggles: LIVE!" (yes... we took emma to a wiggles concert... don't hate... we're parents of a toddler!)
3) potty training... only tasteful pictures, i promise! but these are important moments to document!
4) chasing bubbles
5) shaking booty
6) a new tu-tu and princess shoes
7) the dallas arboretum in 109 degree weather... who gets the smartest-mom-of-the-year award? anyone?

...just to name a few...

so stay tuned... i'll keep you "posted." (hehe, i'm a dork!)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

...Life at home...

"my God is mighty to save!"

and save, He has... Life Lucia Larsen, that is.

after so many scares, so many tears, so many sleepless, worry-filled nights for the larsen family, they got to go home today.

they got to go home.
as a family.

life is spending her 28th night out in this world, at home, with her mommy and daddy. praise the Lord!

the nursery was ready. mommy and daddy were ready. God just had to get life ready. and boy, did He get her ready... she's such a perfect little miracle.

thank you for your continued prayers for this sweet family as they enter a new journey together, outside of the safety of their medical team and the machines and the hospital rooms.

i have had such an attachment to this story, to this family, to what God is doing for this baby girl. i feel that i am forever changed.

forever changed by a baby girl, who God used to bring life and light to those who have heard her story and have lifted their voices and shed tears to God on her behalf; to bring life and light to those who saw His perfect glory and power as He continuously restored her tiny body.

life and light... Life Lucia... how fitting.
a perfect name for a perfect little girl.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

ready for school!

emma kate is starting "school," or mother's day out, in a little over a week. her first day is september 2nd, and mommy & daddy can't believe it!

she'll be in the 2-year-old class at Promiseland Preschool inside McKinney Fellowship Bible Church. she'll go tuesdays & thursdays from 9 am - 2 pm while i am in class at TWU. she'll learn letters, numbers, shapes, colors, bible stories, spanish, go to music, do art, and make many new friends!

we are so excited for her to start because we know she will love it and thrive like crazy!

but we're also a little sad that our baby girl is growing up SO fast! too fast.

my mom & dad (nana & papa) bought emma her new backpack and lunchbox - they match! - and emma has worn her backpack around the house every day since it came in the mail on saturday! she even wears it out to run errands or do shopping... and yes, we had to take it to playgroup, too! it is the cutest thing you'll EVER see (besides emma, of course), so i had to include pictures.

emma & her new backpack
(thanks nana & papa!)

with her name on it, too! AND pink & brown?
what more could a little girl ask for?

so, now emma kate is all ready for school. the question is, are mommy & daddy?

stay a baby for just a little while longer, sweet girl! :-)

the backpack & lunch-box are from a super cute company called Two Funny Girls. they are local, and do really great work. they have a really cute website, too. go check it out!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

raspberry scone recipe

whitney made these scones for me while i was visiting her in norman, oklahoma a couple weekends ago. they were heavenly! i made them this morning for breakfast, since wednesdays are jason's day off. again, there were heavenly! they are so yummy, in fact, that i decided you all needed this recipe to try for yourself.

they even got jason's stamp of approval... which is definitely a feat for me to manage from my super-picky husband! :-)

i halved the recipe, since i didn't know if jason would like it or not, but if you make the whole batch, you could save some scones to eat for a quick treat with coffee in the morning.

i also used raspberry preserves, but you could use any flavor you'd like. the chunkier the better!

Raspberry Mega Scones Recipe

This particular scone recipe lends itself to endless combinations. I used raspberry jam (or preserves) here because of its color and flavor, but use whatever you have on hand - the chunkier the better. If you can't be bothered with making the glaze, just sprinkle some coarse raw sugar over the scone before baking, after brushing with a bit of cream.

4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or unbleached all-purpose flour)
3 tablespoons aluminum-free baking powder
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt (or regular salt)
1 stick unsalted butter (4 oz), chilled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups half-and-half (or you can also use heavy cream or whole milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (i added a little extra vanilla)
zest of one lemon

2/3 cup raspberry preserve (or preserves of your choice)

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
zest of one lemon

preheat oven to 375. line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. using a food processor, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles little pebbles in a beach of sandy flour (about 20 quick pulses). you can also cut the butter in using a knife and fork. pulse in the sugar. now add the half-and-half, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. pulse (or mix) until dough just comes together - don't over mix, but if the batter is too dry, add more cream a bit at a time.

turn out onto a floured piece of parchment paper or Silpat mat, divide into two equal sized pieces of dough and set aside. (if you are halving this recipe, you will only be making one mega scone, so you won't need to divide the dough.) take the first piece of dough and roll-out into (roughly) a 9x9-inch square, 1/2-inch thick. you want to keep the dough from sticking to the mat/paper if possible, so sprinkle with more flour, if needed. slather the slab of dough with the jam/preserves and fold the left side of the dough in toward the center. (to discourage the dough from breaking or falling apart, i fold it in by folding the Silpat in and then peeling the Silpat back, afterwards.) fold the other side in using the same technique (if i'm not making sense, see the photo above). slide onto prepared baking sheet. repeat with the other piece of dough. the two scones will fit on one baking sheet, but give them a few inches between each other so they don't bake into one another. brush with a bit of cream (optional), and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden where the scones touch the pan.

while the scones are baking, prepare the glaze. combine the powdered sugar, lemon juices and lemon zest in a small bowl. stir until well combined, and set aside. when the scones come out of the oven, brush them generously with the glaze and let cool. slice into pieces as big or small as you like.

enjoy! (goes great with your favorite coffee or hot tea.)

makes two mega scones.

from heidi swanson at

Friday, August 15, 2008

...sweet baby Life...

our Heavenly Father is moving in miraculous ways.
this story has touched me so deeply, and i am changed by seeing the Lord move in such an intimate, powerful way.

life is doing SO well!

she was "extubated" yesterday, which means her breathing tube was taken out. she has been weaned off of Flolan and Nitric Oxide... most of her medicines, i know, but maybe not all of them.

she is not sedated anymore, and has gotten to share special moments with her Momma & Daddy, including staring into their eyes and being held! that's right, lauren & matt finally got to hold their baby girl yesterday, on her 2 week birthday, for the first time! what a sweet praise!

the main thing we are still praying for, besides God's continued healing, is that Life's brain bleed disappear. the last i heard, it was still at a grade 3, which can cause significant brain damage... or it might not. right now, they are just waiting and hoping expectantly that Life will have no lasting effects from this battle. we are praying for a healed and healthy brain!

here are some sweet pictures from this week.
they are a beautiful family.

thank you for your prayers.

...daddy's loving gaze...

...the larsen girls....

...tickle toes...

...beautiful baby girl...

...daddy's hand...

you can check out lauren's amazing photography
at Lauren Larsen Photography. she is a true artist.

Monday, August 11, 2008

hubby love

I was tagged by my friend Melody for this game.
I tag Lisa B. & Lisa P. :-)

What is his name? Jason Lynn Rains

How long have you been married? 3 years & 9 months (4 years in November)

How long did you date? almost 3 years

How old is he? 26

Who eats more sweets? I would say Jason... he's got to have a bowl of Blue Belle's Ultimate Neopolitan Ice Cream every night! And he LOVES chocolate chip cookies! (If anyone has a KILLER recipe, I'd love to try it...)

Who said I love you first? he did :-)

Who is taller? he is

Who can sing better? ooo... Jason and I have completely different voices. He's amazing. Hearing him sing for the first time made me melt! I would say he probably sings better...

Who is smarter? I think Jason has more logic sometimes (or "street" smarts), but I made better grades in school.

Who does the laundry? It's a team-effort in the Rains house!

Who pays the bills? He makes the money, I write the checks. :-) (That goes for shopping too!)

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? If you're IN the bed, I sleep on the right.

Who mows the lawn? definitely Jason. I've never mowed a yard in my life! (Is that really bad?)

Who cooks dinner? I do most of the time. Jason does take care of dinner sometimes, but when he does it's usually something like pizza, fast food or ramen noodles! :-)

Who drives? Jason insists on driving, even if we're in MY car! He likes having control over what's going on. :-)

Who is more stubborn? I would say Jason, but I'm sure he would say me, so I don't know...

Who kissed who first? well... technically, me... haha! He had been begging for kisses for over month, and I wasn't giving in. Finally, one day we were hanging out in the TV room at his parents' house, and he was tickling me (one of those all-out tickle wars). I was laying on the couch, and he was kneeling on the floor... We were being so silly, and I grabbed his neck and pulled him to me and kissed him real quick... It took us both a second to realize what had just happened. hehe... and then came the REAL kiss!...

Who asked who out first? He did... he pursued me hard for awhile.

Who proposed? He did... bought me a westie puppy (our little guy named Duncan) and put the ring around his collar. He also sent me on a scavenger hunt before I was finally led to the "trail of dog treats" that led to Duncan and my ring.

Who has more siblings? He does. I have 1 brother. Jason has 1 sister, 1 half-sister and 2 half-brothers.

Who wears the pants? Jason is definitely the head of our household. He for sure wears the pants... and what fabulous pants they are! :-)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

...Life in pictures...

today, when she opened her eyes for the first time

...hi mommy...

...hi daddy...

...i love you...

...i'm realizing how beautiful and precious these
sweet, simple moments
can be when they are not guaranteed...

...and how we so easily take them for granted,
because when are they ever truly guaranteed?...

...thank you, Lord Jesus, for such a beautiful day
for baby Life and her mommy & daddy...

Friday, August 8, 2008


baby Life opened her eyes today for the first time!

so... for the first time, her mommy & daddy looked into the eyes of their precious daughter. they got to see their color, their shape, the "life" behind them...

...and for the first time, Life got to put a face to the voices she has heard over the last 9 months or so... singing to her, talking to her, encouraging her, praying over her, telling her how deeply she is loved...

...for the first time, Life got to see her mommy & daddy.

...and mommy & daddy got to share in this moment together.


...abundant Life...

"I have come that they may have Life,
and have [her] abundantly
(more full & better than they've ever dreamed of)."
- John 10:10 -

Praise our Father that Life had a good night!

They were able to lower some of her medications and switch her from the oscillator to a high frequency ventilator and then to a lower frequency ventilator.

Around 7 am this morning, she began shunting slightly, again.

- Continue to pray for complete healing for baby Life.

- Pray for her shunting to cease and her Pulmonary Hypertension to be healed.

- The doctors are beginning to worry that she could have a congenital and possibly more permanent condition, since there has been no improvement with the Pulmonary Hypertension. Pray that this is not the case. Pray for healing in either situation.

What a long and wild week this tiny, baby girl has had... Praise the Lord that she has come through this far... fighting the whole way!

I have really been ministered to, this week, as I've had an intimate view of something amazing God is doing. I am still praying for God to do more than asked or imagined... to completely heal Life and restore her tiny body... to glorify His great name in this situation!

Have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, August 7, 2008 lucia larsen...

This is an update on Lauren & Matt Larsen's little girl, Life Lucia, as of Thursday afternoon.

Brain Bleeding
(With Grades 1 & 2 bleeding, there is usually no brain damage... with Grade 4 there is substantial brain damage... Grade 3 can go any way. Life has had a Grade 3 Brain Bleed.)

Even though doctors were concerned that because Life progressed to a Grade 3 brain bleed in only 24 hours, she would eventually progress to a Grade 4, her scans came back today still at a Grade 3. This is a praise, because she has not gotten worse. The bleeding is in her ventricles and not in her tissue.

However, there is a new hurdle to clear... our brains secrete Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF), which is then absorbed into the brain and spine. Because of the blood in Life's ventricles, the CSF is not being absorbed, which is dilating her ventricles. The risk is that they could get big enough to crush the brain tissue and therefore cause significant damage.

Pulmonary Hypertension
The doctor shared with Lauren & Matt last night that because her Pulmonary artery has not shown signs of improvement, he is beginning to be concerned that Life has something other than Pulmonary Hypertension. There are a few different problems that Life could have that could look like Pulmonary Hypertension. These problems are congenital and might never get any better.

What To Pray For:
1. Praise our Father that she did not have ANY bleeding in her brain tissue, as of this morning.

2. Pray that the bleeding would ultimately clot and diminish, and that it would not progress anymore to a Grade 4 brain bleed.

3. Petition our Father that Life's body will absorb her Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) from her brain ventricles into her body.

4. Pray for wisdom for the doctors in discovering what the issue is with Life's Pulmonary artery. Pray that it is nothing worse or more long term than Pulmonary Hypertension, and that ultimately, she would be healed completely from either.

5. Continue to pray for peace, strength and endurance for Lauren & Matt. And pray for rest. They are not getting any sleep because they wake up all night to call Life's room and check on her.

Thank you for warring in prayer with the Larsens!

Monday, August 4, 2008

...prayer for life lucia larsen...

After many changes :-), Lauren & Matt have officially
named their baby girl Life Lucia Larsen.

Her name was inspired from John 1:4...
"In Him was life, and that life was the light of men."
(Lucia means "light.")

keep praying for their family, urgent prayers, as life has developed a level 3 brain bleed (4 being the highest), and they are having to slowly ween her from the ECMO that is sustaining her, as the machine can cause more brain damage with the bleed. this is such a scary time for lauren & matt. pray for protection and healing for baby life, and for peace and comfort for lauren & matt. pray with expectation and with hope.

lauren, matt & baby gracen life larsen

lauren is a friend of mine from high school. she and her husband, matt, were blessed with their first child, a little girl, at almost midnight on thursday, july 31st. after several complications during pregnancy (including pre-term labor at 24 weeks), lauren and matt were so relieved to meet their baby girl, gracen life.

they quickly learned, though, that "life," as they are calling her, was not as healthy as they could have prayed... she was diagnosed with not only one, but three life-threatening conditions: a horrible infection (which lauren is also suffering from), pulmonary hypertension and rds (respiratory distress sydrome). the doctors gave gracen life a 50% chance of survival. lauren and matt were devastated and terrified.

but still, they had hope.

as their sweet baby girl was rushed to the NICU at children's hospital, lauren & matt waited and prayed. there were many risks during the transport, including cardiac arrest. baby life made it to children's with only a scare, and then endured a very critical surgery to implant a device called an ECMO (basically being her heart, lungs and kidneys while she is still fighting). lauren was still fighting her infection, but was discharged to be with her husband and baby at children's. the doctors said that if baby life could fight off her infection, that she would have a chance at recovery and survival... but they also said she was "not out of the woods, yet." lauren and matt were fearful.

but still, they had hope.

baby life is now 3 days old, and while her tiny body is being supported by this huge machine, she is fighting strong. her oxygen levels have stabilized at 98 (which is very good). so far, there have been no strokes, no brain bleeds, no cardiac arrests, no brain damage... all which are very common in pre-term babies and babies who have the conditions which gracen life is suffering from. lauren and matt are weary and desperately want to hold their baby and bring her home...

...and still, they have hope.

please join with me in praying for this sweet couple and their baby girl. i can't imagine what they must be going through, and i can only hope that my faith and joy in the Lord would not be crushed if i knew there was a chance i could lose my sweet emma kate. lauren and matt have been a beautiful picture of faith and joy in the midst of turmoil. their trust in God's sovereignty is incredible and so encouraging.

this is lauren's plea:
"pray for Life. pray for healing from her infection, for the ECMO to work and for complete restoration. God has been so gracious to us. we covet your prayers."

click here to read more about lauren, matt and baby larsen and the journey that God has taken them on over the last few months. be ready to shed some tears and be inspired.

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