Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Long Overdue Update, Pt.2: Emilie's Birthday

Emilie has had an especially tough year. So for her birthday, we wanted to make a special effort to give her the best day we possibly could. She wanted no adults (although you can't avoid having some adults), and she wanted a beach party. We settled for a Hawaiian Luau. (Sand is not very plentiful around here.) :-)

Grandma Jackie and Mama Bea drank "Bahama Mamas" (Their words, not mine). :-)

...and so did Aunt Peggy

A punch balloon contest ensued among the girls to see who could punch the longest. After playing Wipeout...twice...we decided they were all winners. :-)

The men talked in the kitchen. (And they say we talk lot...)

Jeff had just finished aggravating Alyssa...hence the evil eye. That is his favorite thing to do...he is such a grown up kid, sometimes!

We had food....
..and more food...

...a "Beach Bear" cake....

...and a beautiful birthday girl. Where did 9 years go?

We also had friends....

...and sand art. This was after they played in the sprinkler, as is evidenced by the wet swimsuits. :-)

For those of you who are over the age of "9" and did not get invited, please do not be offended. We still love you so very much, and I know she does, too!

Happy 9th Birthday, Emilie!

Have a blessed day!

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Long Overdue Update Pt. 1

I am constantly telling my kids," You're not really sorry if you keep repeating the offense." Well, here I am one month past my last post...again...and I really am sorry! I want to write more, but the time just gets away from me. There are some really great ladies out there who update their blogs daily. I wish I knew their secret. :-) In many respects, I do feel like I am getting my feet back underneath me. It has only taken four years of a "baby blur", but I think I am coming back! We have been working super-hard in the house recently. My brother, Thomas, came over one day and totally dumped my garage into my driveway. I spent the day going through stuff, getting rid of stuff, and marveling at the machine he is. Four too-sweaty-to-wear shirts later, he had my whole garage put back together and in an orderly fashion. Those of you who really know me, know that garage had been a real thorn in my side for YEARS! I have had sweet friends help me over the years..thank goodness (Who knows how bad it would have been otherwise!), but I have never been able to just finish it. I still have a small row of boxes I need to finish sorting, putting away, and getting rid of, but I am well on my way. It's amazing how big that garage is. Now people who look at our house will be able to see that! To go along with our clean-out, I have been cleaning out drawers and closets...some that were really messy form my four year baby blur, but some were a wreck from our panic cleanings to get ready for a showing. We have just crammed stuff everywhere. Hopefully, we will not have to do that anymore soon, 1) because everything will have a place and the surplus will be gone, and 2) because hopefully our house will sell soon. In the meantime, we are keeping Goodwill in business!!

Well, there is so much to update that I will probably need two or three posts to do it. So much has happened this month, but so many of you have asked about Clara, I will start with her. Medically, we got another kick in the gut. That's exactly what it feels like when I take her to the doctor for what I think will be a routine check-up, and then we get some more stinkin' news. We continue to be concerned about her legs, but now her growth seems to be an issue, too. Clara, as well as my other three girls, have always been 90th percentile kids. Some higher or lower, but always in the 90's for height and weight. Clara has only been a slight exception, as her head measurements are in the 120th%tile, give or take, and her height and weight were always lower 90's or upper 80's. She has a tibial torsion, which the orthopedic doctor said is NOT the same as bowed legs, but the neurologist said it IS the same (story of my life....every doctor says something different), but either way, they aren't straight. We were hoping, by now, to have seen more progress. Not only are her legs still very bowed, but her height has dropped to the 15th %tile, which means not only are her legs not straight, but they are not growing correctly. She is growing well from the waist up, but not so much from the waist down, and her knees are 'thick' where they are having to take the brunt of her weight-bearing. This is all just how I understand it for now. We have an appointment with an orthopedic in September...yes, September, so we will know more then. As you may remember from previous posts, we found an orthopedic we absolutely ADORED last year (after a very bad experience with another one), but when we called to make an appointment for this year, he is no longer taking our insurance. I was very nervous about trying to find another, but God worked it all out, as usual! Long story short, the one we have been scheduled with is supposedly THE guy for mito kids, and would have been the one recommended by both therapists and Mito Mom (whose opinion I greatly respect). Thank You, Lord!!

Now, for happier Clara news, we experienced what I will consider one of happiest days ever on June 5th, 2010. Butterfly Dreams had its first ever Fun Show to give all the therapy kids an opportunity to ride and "show their stuff". There were no "placements" made-all the kids got to choose their own color of ribbons-but it was proof that you can just love to ride without all of that. Don't get me wrong, there is certainly a place for that. Clara, apparently, is quite the natural little equestrian, and I would let her show horses for real in a heartbeat if money were no object. But it is, so we are just savoring every minute of that day!

This is Clara with Ms. Peggy. Peggy is a certified Physical Therapist who works with Clara while she is on the horse to improve tone and balance. Clara has become so much stronger in her torso and her balance has improved SO much with this therapy. I can't say enough good things about it or Ms. Peggy!

This is Clara with Ms. Laura. Ms. Laura is a certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor at Butterfly Dreams. She has given so much of her time and expertise to help Clara. I know little-to-nothing about horses, but she and Ms. Peggy think Clara has a lot of promise. Normally, the hippotherapy kids don't learn to use the reins, saddle, and stirrups, but Ms. Laura and Ms. Peggy have been working together to give Clara the best of both therapy worlds. Words cannot express out gratitude to these two ladies!

Additionally, Rosie, Clara's normal horse, was not rideable for the show, as she decided a week earlier to roll in an ant bed and was covered from head to ant bites. Ms. Laura came to the rescue with her own, personal horse, Mage. We all fell in love with Mage. He is one fabulous horse! Ms. Laura is holding the basket of goodies Clara and I put together for Mage with all of his favorites: big, juicy carrots and apples. YUM!

Couldn't resist this shot. She just looked so doggone cute in those breeches!

Here she is, sitting tall, on Mage! She was all smiles, all day! As a matter of fact, she rode in three events, and even after all of that, she did not want to get off. They said, "It's time to get off, Clara." She said, "But why?" She loves it!

Clara won three ribbons. She chose two pinks and a blue. :-)

Ready to ride!

Here she is navigating her way through the obstacle course. For liability, she has to have one person leading the horse and two side-walkers, but Ms. Peggy assures me she was steering that horse all on her own. Pretty amazing. Well, to me, anyway. Maybe someday I will share my (2) horse stories...or...maybe not. :-) Let's just say that it's a good thing my middle name is not Grace, because I sure wouldn't live up to it. :-) I am just thankful Clara did take after me in this area.

And then, to finish it all off, Clara began waving at the audience when she walked by. What a ham!! She thought that was hilarious!

Clara and Mage. They made a great team. Aren't they both beautiful?

Well, I hope I haven't totally bored you by going on and on, but when I say it was one of my happiest days really was. Seeing Clara on that horse just makes me so happy I could bust. Not only do I think she is beautiful up there, but it melts my heart to realize there is a physical activity that Clara could be really good at, in spite of her legs. Did I mention that we found a therapeutic riding ranch about 30 miles from where we'll be in Michigan?? Yep. Sure did. God is good!!

Well, there is so much more to update you all on, but it will have to wait another day. Please continue to pray with us for our house to sell. We have dropped to a VERY competitive price and so now it is totally in God's hands. There is not one more thing we can do but pray and pack! He has used this time to grow us in so many ways. In many respects, we are experiencing a revival, right here in our own home. We know He still has us here for a reason, and we have stopped even trying to guess what that reason is. Ideally, we would love to be up there before the first week in August, but we'll be ready whenever He is. Also, we are trying very hard to get our newsletter out. We try to send those out every 3-6 months, but I think it has been close to year since our last one. We would really like to have that done within the next week. It is such an important part of our ministry to stay in contact with our supporters, and a part we really love, but it is very time consuming. Please pray that God would multiply our time this week and that all of our technology would cooperate. When we are trying to print out letters is usually when our printer goes on the blink. As always, we would love to pray for you, too!! Please let us know how we can specifically pray for you or someone you know.

Many Blessing, My Friends!!