Thursday, May 31, 2007

Answering Questions about David

Wow!! You guys asked such great questions. I'll start with a few, then finish up next week.

1. Which of David's acheivments has been most surprising?

I think I have been most suprised to see his personality and to see him communicate. Each acheivement is a celebration, but in general, I just didn't expect to "know" him so through and through.

2. What is David's life expectancy?

People with CdLS usually live into late adulthood. It is not a degenerative disease, but there can be complications as a result of the syndrome. We hope David will live a long, full life.

3. What is most difficult about having a son with a disability?

Probably my pride. I kinda thought I had my life planned out and that I somehow deserved a pain-free existence. I've really had to let go of wanting that perfect "image". When you have a kiddo with two fingers, there is no hiding the reality that life is painful and we are imperfect people. I have also felt really freed from trying to put forth some false reality that I think other people want to see. Pride is an ongoing struggle--for all of us, I think!

4. What is the greatest blessing?

Honestly, there are SO MANY blessings it is hard to name one. But I would have to say the pure JOY that David has brought to our lives. He is precious and approaches the world with a silly, carefree attitude. I love that.

5. What broke your heart when you realized David wouldn't be healthy?

I cried and cried when they told me David would probably never speak. I couldn't image my child never saying "I love you, mommy". Truth is though, he tells me that he loves me all the time when he smiles when I walk into a room or when he nuzzles his head into my neck. I have no doubt that he loves me and that he knows how loved he is!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

something sweet...

I just made this piece today. It's two sterling hearts. One says 'true love' the other '7.24.99' (our wedding date). Wouldn't this make an awesome gift at a bridal shower?? Carrie, I think we should make one of these for you!!
click here to see more custom stamped jewelry My definition of true love--Steve rubbing my feet. it's purely sacrifical as he hates to touch people's feet!! What is your definition of true love??

Monday, May 28, 2007

deep breath

So glad to be home from the hospital,,,but the stuff of life has hit me like a ton of bricks! I am a total planner, so I feel like everything is turned upside down and chaotic. There is tons of laundry to do and the the house needs to be straightened up, and most of all David wants LOTS of cuddling and Matty needs some quality time, too! I know it will come together, just need to let it be crazy for a bit. By the way, has anyone seen Matty? :)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

we are home...

yeah!! we are home. overall, it was a very positive (and pretty short!) stay. the staff was great. i watched a lot of TV while we snuggled. i even made a little bit of jewelry while david slept. i cheated on the south beach diet. here are a couple photos. david is still on the mend, but much better. thanks for all your prayers. we feel so loved!!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

update on david...

Hi friends in the blog world! Wanted to let you know that David was admitted to the hospital yesterday. He was very lethargic and wouldn't eat. He was throwing up pretty regularly and we were getting really concerned about his hydration. We took him to see our pediatrcian and they decided to admit him. I was REALLY bummed and emotional. Hospital stays just feel like a prison sentence to me. He has been sleepy and cuddly and this morning he was a bit more responsive and even smiled a lttle. The staff has been great and there is a twin bed in his room for me to sleep on. I have been vegging out at the hospital watching way too much HGTV. I also decided to give my self a break from the south beach diet for a couple days :) matty has been fussy and frustrated. He keeps saying "I want David! and he was giving him kisses in the car on the way to the hospital. please pray that david bounces back quickly. we can't wait to get DAvid back home!! thanks SO, SO much for your prayers. xxxx

Thursday, May 24, 2007

poor david

So when I went to get David up this morning, I realized he had thrown up during the night. And when I reached in to pick him up he felt really hot. Thankfully we were able to get into the doctor's office this morning. Looks like pneumonia. Bummer! We got some stronger antibiotics and started up the breathing treatments again. His pediatrician said if he gets any worse he's going to put him in the hospital. Please pray that we see quick improvement! Lots of snuggling today...

I think I'll take a break from David's story and address some frequently asked questions. If you'd like to ask a question, leave a comment. I am pretty darn open!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

the latest on the leonards

Every morning I bathe the boys. It is a fun silly, time (usually). After I pull Matty out of the bath tub, I wrap him up with the towel, like a teepee and we play where's Matty?! You'd think it would get old, but he loves it! From under the towel he says, "I haven't seen him!" Cracks me up.

Saturday we went to a picnic for Matty's school and chatted with friends. It was super windy. I got a picture of Matthias and myself, but with the wind my hair is literally like a clown's wig, Nice! David's has a double ear infection and just hasn't been himself. He's been really mellow and cuddly. Not wanting to walk much and not super silly like usual. I'm hoping he's bounce back today or tomorrow! I do love thsoe cuddle though...

A few people have asked about stuff for Dad' here's my first creation. A keychain! I also think it would be cute to say, BEST DAD with the kiddos names. Any of the different pieces could be put on a keychain. These are $32

Monday, May 21, 2007

what's for dinner?

Funny how everyone who know me knows about my cranberry chicken--maybe I need to branch out! Tonight I am making triple cheese chicken with artichoke hearts. Sounds hard doesn't it?! It's not :) Actually, I just made it up based on what we have in the house! Cook chicken in olive oil on the stove top. Open a can of Trader Joe's artichoke hearts and add them to the pan as the chicken is just finishing cooking. I like to cut the artichoke hearts in half. Mix ricotta cheese with spaghetti sauce (I use about 2 parts sauce and 1 part cheese, but this is flexible). Put chicken/hearts on a plate, pour a little sauce over it, sprinkle on a little feta and a little mozzarella. Micro it until the cheese is melted. You could serve this over pasta, if you weren't on the south beach diet!! We're having green beans and whole wheat toast. So fancy!! What did you eat for dinner?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

earrings and an easy recipe (that tastes hard!)

Here are a few pairs of fun earrings. If you'd like a pair, either post a comment or email me and I will mark it sold. I'm shipping a batch of orders tomorrow and I can send it out then if you'd like! I'm going to do free shipping on these items!

Silver-plated filigree with a cream freshwater pearl. Filgree is about 1" square. These have a great vintage feel! SOLD

So fun! This stone is strawberry quartz hung from a large sterling link. Total length of earring is about 2" $15

This pair has copper filigree with five bronze freshwater pearls dangling from each earring. Fun and chunky--great with jeans or a sundress! SOLD

I love this pair for summer-large open mother of pearl shell hangs from a silver freshwater pearl. Length from ear is about 2.5" SOLD

Okay here's my favorite EASY recipe. It's definitely a favorite from my childhood. It might sound wierd, but give it a chance!

Savory Cranberry Chicken

In a bowl mix together--One can WHOLE cranberry sauce, one packet Lipton onion soup mix and, one bottle of french dressing.
Pour over 8-10 frozen chicken tenders. (i put olive oil in the bottom of my baking dish to keep the chicken tender). Bake until cooked through (about 30-40 minutes. Serve with rice, salad and rolls.
Also a great crock pot dish!!

Leave us comment and tell us your favorite easy recipe!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I've been tagged...

So you I have to share 7 random, (crazy, humiliating, funny) facts about myself. Here goes...

!. I started listening to county music because my ex-boyfriend hated it, then I got hooked.

2. I sucked my thumb until i was ten years old, now I chew gum all the time (2 pieces at a time)--what would freud say about that?!

3. When I read a book, I get so hooked in and addicted that I literallly can't put it down. Although I love to, I rarely read right now because the boys need so much attention. So, I guess I read blogs instead :)

4. As imperfect as it is, most of the time I feel really good about my post-baby body.

5. I hardly ever wore jewelry before I started making it--now I wear it all the time (obviously!!)

6. I'm not a good cook, I like REALLY simple things to prepare, that taste hard to make.

7. We don't have an antennea so we get no TV, but we watch movies EVERY night (netflix is making NO money on this family!)

Now I have no more secrets :) Thanks for all the interest in the necklaces I posted earlier in the week--I'm going to try to post some really fun earrings later tonight. Have a great Saturday!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

mexican food in baywood

on thursday nights for last couple months we've been going to a mexican restaurant in baywood for dinner called maya. it's hilarious--they get a table ready for us with chips and salsa and a highchair when they see us parking. i get the "lisa special"--an asada burrito with no tortilla, so it's like platter of yummy goodness (and south beach friendly). then after dinner we run around down by the water. well, matty runs and the rest of us freeze our patooties off! guess i was in a 'slanted' mood because almost all the pics i took are topsy turvy!!

thanks to all of you who have placed orders. i really appreciate it! i've been busy making fun necklaces for each of you and i feel connected to you in some small way as i create a special piece with your kiddos names. i also really appreciate the feedback on my blog and our family. thanks for taking the time to read about us!! almost all my business comes from word of mouth--so thanks, too for telling your friends aout my blog. so sweet! xxxx

Chapter 5, The clouds lift

Adjusting to bringing your newborn home is exhausting, but a newborn with special needs is even more difficult. The first few months we were just getting by. We were learning how to care for David, how to feed him and what his preferences were. I had at least two doctor appointments every week so that we could check his hearing, sight, weight gain, bone structure and on and on.

On a Monday morning when David was a few months old, I woke up, got out of bed and the weirdest thing happened. I felt like myself again. I can't really explain it, except to say that for me, the clouds lifted. I don't know if the shock wore off or the baby blues passed or what, but I felt like me again. God had been bringing me to a place of accepting the pain and letting it BE. In that place I was so surprised to find JOY! It still took a lot of courage to go to the grocery store and "face the world" but somehow I was back to myself. It was a relief to feel normal again.

David was getting into a routine and started sleeping through the night. He was smiley and grasping for toys. At three months, he had surgery to correct a malrotation of the intestine (the problem had caused projectile vomiting) and was a much happier boy after the procedure. We loved snuggling with our tiny guy and getting him to smile. We introduced him to rice cereal and baby food which he loved. We worked for hours each day teaching him to eat and drink by mouth.

I started a new job as a full inclusion specialist for the local school district. One morning I was standing in a kindergarten classroom reading a poem entitled "my ten fingers" and broke down crying. I was healing slowly but the pain was still fresh. Steve had Mondays off and would watch David and my sister Susan would watch him on Wednesdays. My days at home filled up with therapy, housekeeping, errands and I started making jewelry. It wan't the life we had planned (cute house with a picket fence, two kids and a dog) but it was starting to feel like maybe this crazy thing could work after all. The next few months seemed like years. Steve and I quickly felt the need to add to our family. We had barely discussed it when we found out I was pregnant again. David was only 10 months old!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

fun summer necklaces

Some of you have asked to see more beaded jewelry. I'm having a little sale just for my faithful blog readers. Email me if you'd like one of the pieces. I'm planning to post various pieces over the next few days, maybe weeks.

Pottery shard pendant with african jade and crystal czech beads. Pendant measures aout 1.5". 17" in length SOLD

Handmade pewter heart pendant with cream freshwater pearls. So sweet. Pendant measures just under 1". 16.5" in length $32

Olive jade pendant with smokey czech beads. Very FuN!! 17" in length SOLD

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

get out of your comfort zone

Every day I see David push himself a little bit, try something new or take a risk. Yesterday, at my in-laws house, he was playing in the living room. When I came in from the kitchen, this is how I found him. I couldn't stop laughing--and of course, I had to grab my camera! He's been putting one foot up on the table once in a while, but this time he put both feet up and straddled himself between the couch and coffee table. He thought it was so cool!

I can't help think about how I get so comfortable and just want to stay in that place. Lately, I've been trying to push myself to risk more. It doesn't have to be skydiving (right, Erika?!) It could be approaching a new store with my jewelry or making a new friend. But It's HARD! It's so much eaiser to play it safe. But it's so much more FUN to take on a challenge. And it's okay to fail. That's the great part.

So, thanks David for reminding me to take risks. What is one way you can get out of your comfort zone?

Tomorrow I am going to post some pics of some fun, new BEADED jewelry--stay tuned!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to my awesome mom and grandma and to my mother in law--I have to say, I am pretty blessed! Isn't it funny how when your kids are grown you really want to spend time with them on mother's day and when they are little you just want a break?! We'll go to my mother-in-law's church this morning and then have lunch together as a family. The men are taking us out. Tonight some family friends are coming over to have dinner. I've got figure out a way to squeeze a pedicure and some shopping in there--ALONE! Oh a nap would be nice, too!! What is your plan for mother's day?

Friday, May 11, 2007

A little bit of everything...

Matty dons his fireman outfit (which he refused to wear on halloween, but has been wearing all morning!)

David lays on his tummy and backs himself between two boxes, a bench and a backpack. He thought it was HILARIOUS!

Lauren (our babysitter) saved my skin this week by helping out with a sick David

I model some potential wedding jewelry for a friend. I make the photo sepia to give myself a tan :)

We are off to Fresno today. We had a death in the family and Steve is going to do the graveside service. I'll still be checking my emails and I'll try to post on the blog. What's your plan for the weekend?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Chapter four, bringing David home

Uncle Matt snuggles David

David gets his first bath at home.

Auntie Ellen gives David a tube feeding.
So we fled from the hospital with our little David--having no idea what the future held or how to best care for this tiny guy. The day we brought him home, there was already a baby shower planned for us with some of our family and friends. We went and brought David with us. I attempted my first tube feeding outside the hospital during the shower. My hands were shaking and I was sweating. I was sure we would somehow pull out the tube or feed him too much. There seemed to be so many questions. But we were relieved to have our family together and begin our lives again. As we pulled away from the shower, David was in the back seat making a strange gurgling sound. We screetched over to the side of the road, sure that he was choking to death, but no he seemed completely content. Why do the make newborns sit in the backseat facing backward?!

We brought David home and placed him in a pack and play we had set up in our bedroom. I bundled him in a blanket and felt certain he wouldn't make it through the night. I set my alarm clock to wake up in two hours and do another tube feeding. When my alarm went off, I raced over to his bed, amazed that he was still breathing. I was so groggy and just generally exhausted. I kept prepared breast milk mixed with formula in the fridge and would pour an ounce into his syringe. The connector between the syringe and David's tube was a little loose and frequently his milk would go spilling everywhere. The first few nights went on like this. During the days, we had family and friends visit and help out. Steve went back to work, but would come home for lunch. We ate out sometimes and David would tag along. I got a pedicure. We had a home nurse who checked in everyday. I pumped six to eight times a day, but since my milk never really came in, after twenty minutes of pumping I would have 1-2 ounces. I had accepted a new job as a full inclusion specialist in the local school district. Live was getting back to a state of normal little by little, but I felt so overwhelmed thinking about going back to work--even for just two days a week!

When David was two weeks old we were having dinner with Chrissie and Matt and he had a fever I just couldn't get down. We finally decided to take him to the ER in Mission Viejo. Of course they did all kinds of test, including a spinal tap. Then they admitted him. I guess when doctors look at a 4.5 lbs baby with two fingers and a fever, they usually decide to play it safe. I was so discouraged, but it ended up being a great stay. We had our own room with a twin bed for me to sleep in. The staff was kind and caring. Their were volunteers who walked around with drinks, cookies and magazines. I kinda felt like I was staying at the Holiday Inn or something! During David's stay we got a phone call from Steve's mom telling us that Dave (Steve's dad) had been in a serious trucking accident. He was going to be OK but would have to be in the hospital for a while. So, when David was released after a couple days, we headed up to Sacramento. We stayed with some of Steve's old friends and felt so blessed by our time with them. It was good to get out and live life, even in the midst of adjusting to David's challenges. We were getting to know him and we were falling in love.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Browse My Sterling Hand-Stamped Jewelry...

Thanks for taking a look at my handmade jewelry! See the end of this post for directions on placing an order and answers to frequently asked questions!

teenie tiny initials. sterling pea-size initials are strung on 18" sterling chain with a freshwater pearl. so darn cute! two charms standard $44  add'l charms $10

The Open Circle. A favorite! Has a delicate, organic feeling. Made of pure silver circle (.999, sterling is .925), the pendant measure about 1 1/4" Choose names or a special phrase. Strung on 18" sterling ball chain. $48

Mini Open Circle Necklace. So sweet and so simple. Two small open circles (3/4") are handstamped with words of your choice and strung on an 18" sterling ball chain with freshwater pearl detail. These circles are also pure silver (a higher quality than sterling). $48, additional open circles, $12

Single Tag Necklace. Each tag is hand wrought. Choose a word or name that carries meaning to you. Maximum 9 characters. Strung on 18" sterling ball chain with a freshwater pearl. $40, add $18 for each additional tag.

Oval Monogram Necklace. This is not your grandma's's a fun, fresh take on a classic look. Your last initial sits center stage with your first initial on the left and your middle initial on the right. My formal name is Elisabeth Nancy Leonard, so E L N. I hammered the oval a bit to give it a rustic look. Strung on an 18" ball chain, $44

True Love Hearts. Now your husband will never forget your anniversay again! Two delicate sterling hearts (about 3/4" each) are stamped with "True Love" and your wedding date. Or get creative with kids names and birthdates. 5-6 characters max. So, so sweet!! Strung on an 18" chain $48

The Original Necklace! A 1 1/4 inch sterling circle (so classic!) with up to four names. 1-2 names curved around edge, 3-4 names, each name on a separate line. The perfect gift for you or a friend! Strung on an 18" sterling ball chain with a freshwater pearl. $44

Petite Original Circle. This necklace has a smaller disc (3/4") with your kiddo's first and middle names. Add a petite circle for each kiddo. This is also the perefct gift for a little girl. Comes strung on an 18" sterling ball chain with freshwater pearl detail. Please request 14" chain for a little girl. One of my best sellers! $40, additional discs $14

Concentric Circles Necklace. Two circles layered together with words of your choice, combines the original and the petite original. Larger circle is 1 1/4", smaller circle is 7/8" Strung on 18" sterling ball chain. $54

Deluxe Rectangle Necklace. A 1 1/2" rectangle is strung from a 17" large link chain and a side freshwater pearl. This piece can fit up to six names! Unique and beautiful!! $52

The Classic Rectangle. Same pendant as the above necklace, but strung from an 18" sterling ball chain with a finial stamp at the bottom. This piece can fit up to six names! $44

Dog Tag Necklace. This piece takes the single tag to a different level. Each tag is hand wrought and stamped with the word of your choice. It is strung on 26" link chain so it hits at the bust, and a sweet freshwater pearl for detail. $58 (includes two tags), additional tags $20

Sterling Cuff. This is a great, easy piece that slips on. The cuff can accomodate up to 30 characters, so it's great for a longer phrase or a bunch of names. Each letter and space count as one character. A freshwater pearl dangles from the end of the cuff. $72

Freshwater Pearl Earrings. These sweet freshwater pearl earrings are a perfect match for the sterling stamped jewelry. Just your basic, classic pearls, that go with everything! Strung on sterling fishhook earwires, they dangle about 1/2". $16

Polish Cloth. A nifty silver polish cloth to keep your necklace shiny. They last a long time, even when the cloth gets dingy! $5

The keychain. A great keepsake for wedding attendants or the man in your life! Rectangle measures 1 1/2" $32


If you would like to place an order...

*Email me at with the name(s) of the pieces you would like to purchase. Indicate what words or names you would like to have stamped on the piece.

*I will send you a paypal link for the amount of your jewelry + $7 for S/H. The paypal invoice will confirm the specific details of your order.

*Your order will ship about 10 business days after payment is received.

*Want to get creative? Email me with your ideas and we can put our head together!

The Lanyard

Love this poem!

Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

busy, busy...

aren't these sweet? I am finishing up the bulk of my mother's day orders. i've had so many--over 150, i think. which is insane and such a blessing. thanks to all of you who support my business. i truly appreciate it! are you ready for mother's day?!