I don’t even know where to begin. Thank you so much for every email, donation, care package, prayer and virtual hug you sent over the past week. The response has been truly overwhelming. So far, you have donated $1,500 to the Pediatric Cancer Research Fund, which is INCREDIBLE. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wita and I visited Maddie last Friday. Oh man, is she special. Maddie told us all about the amazing adventures she’s experienced over the past few weeks. Snorkeling in Hawaii, releasing Clarice the elephant seal back into the ocean, petting sting rays and feeding zebra sharks, to name a few. (You can read about her adventures at Maddie’s Caring Bridge page.)

What struck me the most during our visit with Maddie was how incredibly nurturing she was with Wita; tickling her feet, complimenting her blue eyes, giving her sweet, gentle kisses…I thought my heart might burst. While showing Wita her favorite Wyland coloring book, Maddie made sure to hide the shark page from little Wita’s eyes since it might “scare her.”

Such love. Wita couldn’t get enough, as you can see.

Things might be a little quiet at whoorl this week, as Dustin and I are working hard to design the website for Maddie’s foundation. (D was working on the design before the sun came up this morning. I love him so much.) Jesse and Amanda from Comal Productions have donated their services to build the website, and Secret Agent Josephine rendered an illustration for us within 10 minutes of me reaching out to her this morning. We are so grateful for these three folks. Jesse and Amanda can build a mean website (ahem, HAIR THURSDAY), and Brenda rocks. Most of all, though, they are good people. Period. (And how could I forget Amanda’s awesome website, Tipsy Society, that was featured in my I Think I’m Love series forever and ever ago.) Thank you, Jesse, Amanda, and Brenda!

This past month has forever changed the way I approach each and every day with my family. The little, nagging annoyances suddenly seem so trivial, the tender moments tug on my heartstrings a little harder, and the silly, fun moments have been amplified a million times over. At the end of last year, I told you that my New Year’s resolution for 2011 was to take at least one photo every day for memory’s sake. Well, I’m still going strong, and haven’t missed a day. Here are some of my favorite photos from January. (Click photo for larger size.)

Happy Valentine’s Day. Give your loved ones an extra hug today.

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  1. am'ti b

    February 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    reason #5,009 to get an iphone, so i can see pics of my fav cali folk!

  2. Morgan

    February 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    you have such a beautiful and incredible family. Maddie is so special; I’m thankful to have even heard her story.

  3. Ashley

    February 14, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Wita’s face in some of those photos is hilarious and priceless. I think you have a little girl on your hands who’s going to be a card…at least if she winds up like my little card :)

    I’m so glad you had some time with Maddie. Her diagnoses encompasses every parents greatest fear, and even the slightest thought of that being my girls makes me want to heave. We’re praying for you and for her family – it truly is the greatest thing I have to offer, even if it isn’t something tangable.

  4. Lynn @ Walking With Scissors

    February 14, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Sweet little girl. (((hugs)))

  5. cj4

    February 14, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! To each and every one of you, thank you! We are simply floored and humbled by all of this outpouring of love and offers to help. We couldn’t make it through this without you nor could we make this incredible vision become reality without you. Just, thank you, a million times over!

    We love you!

  6. Kathleen @ Sugar and Spice

    February 14, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    I have been thinking of you lately and always wipe a tear. For the heartache of your extended family, the new sensitivity to what is important, and to you and your hurt. Know that I am tfeeling for you always. Be certain of that. xo

  7. AnEmily

    February 14, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    A foundation is a such beautiful idea made out of so much love. Sending hopes and wishes and healing thoughts to you all.

  8. Rosa

    February 15, 2011 at 2:21 am

    you have the most adorable family ever. the kids look so much like you! so sweet. thank you for sharing. love and prayers.

  9. Gabriella

    February 15, 2011 at 3:21 am

    It still breaks my heart thinking of this special little girl. And you’re right. We should treasure each moment we have with our loved ones and not take everything for granted. Still praying for little Maddie and your whole family!


  10. Jen

    February 15, 2011 at 7:12 am

    I just have to say that since I read your original post about Maddie I just hope that some miracle will happen and it’ll turn out that she’s going to be just fine. My thoughts are with her family every time I see your blog.

  11. Ninabi

    February 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Precious photo of two very dear girls. I wish time would stand still…

  12. Allison

    February 16, 2011 at 8:25 am

    All the children in this post are so beautiful. The photos make my heart want to burst, and I don’t even know you. Take care.

  13. Jill V.

    February 16, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Wow, I think you have inspired me to do the same. My 3rd baby, Claire, is already 9 mo. and I feel like I can’t slow down time to capture all her (and the boys) moments. Must start tomorrow morning!!

    Always in my thoughts….Maddie

    Sending love your way.


  14. Kerri Anne

    February 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    This post, and all the love, so much love, just warms my heart.

    Thinking of you, and Maddie, and your entire family. Here for you, whatever you need.

  15. amanda

    February 21, 2011 at 5:57 am

    Your love for Maddie is beautiful – and your message is clear, and one we all need to hear from time to time – enjoy life and your loved ones in the precious time we have with them, because nothing isguraranteed- it’s really easy to get caught up in the trivial
    stuff (and normal and OK too), but it’s important to remember what is truly important.

    Also – gorgeous pics (as usual!)