Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Messages of Love and Hope

Here is a fantastic youtube channel that gives inspirational medicine a few doses at a time. I hope you'll watch Jeffery Holland's "How Do I Love Thee". Short and sweet. His words inspire me to be better. I want to be better at loving. Especially loving Sam. He is so good to me. I'll be thinking about this little clip all day and "how" I can love him.

I especially appreciate the beautiful video on Temples and why they are built today. The President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers an eloquent yet simple statement that brings hope to my heart. There is goodness, light, hope and healing in this world. We can find it in the Temple and all that the Temple represents.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Spina Bifida Monday: Know Your Equipment Well

One of Esra's challenges with Spina Bifida is that she needs some help to sit. She does not walk or stand, but she has become a confident sitter. We are so proud of her. And her strength improves more and more each week, but without the support of her arms or a device, her sitting time can be pretty unsteady. This is certainly true of the bathtime. Since Esra needs some support while sitting, bathing can be quite the challenge. But she enjoys it nonetheless. Despite the slippery, soapiness of a full bathtub, she loves to take a bath. Both she and Estelle had become very proficient at signing "bath". As for me, I couldn't always say that I enjoyed doing the bath. Esra, is basically a big, wet noodle. And crouching over the tub to pull her out isn't getting easier. But I sure do love wrapping her up in her big towl and holding her tightly right after I hoist her out of the tub. Usually, Sam has to take over from that point, though because my back is too tired.

But things have gotten better and now its quite enjoyable, thanks to a Columbia bathseat we received second-hand. We used a bathring for a long time, but she was starting to need a bit more support, especially in the slippery surfaces of the tub. About a year ago, I had seen a bathseat in the Rifton catalog. It looked perfect for what we needed. This one could recline and it had interchangeable leg supports, so one could sit closer to the tub or be at standing height of the caregiver. And I didn't even think that there could be different types of designs of bathseat. So, I told our rehab vendor to order the Rifton.

Now we have a beautiful, only-used-once bathseat sitting in our shed. We tried it once, but Esra was terrified of its reclining motion. {I now know better not to adjust a device while she is in it.} The next time she saw it, she protested. And that was the end of that. So, Esra has continued to sit more and more precariously in her bath ring, her legs to long to get her in or out of it without two people. One to hold her and the other to shimmy her legs in and out of the the rings.

But things are different now. She sits so comfortably in this new seat and she plays pleasantly with Estelle. They splash and giggle. And its so much easier for me to do bathtime. I could use a bigger bathroom to fit her wheelchair and a changing table. Ooooh, a pocket door would be nice too, but those are dreams for the next house. We're just grateful for what we've got.

Moral of the Story: Know Your Equipment Well. If you can't, find someone who does. Never assume that what a vendor shows you is all that is available. You always have the right to research your options, choose a different product and/or vendor and get what works the very best for you.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Creative Friends Save the Day

As the fifth week of 2009 rolls forward, I want to write about some great people in my life, helping me do great things. My friends have helped me be even more creative and thoughtful, as I endeavored upon quite a few projects already this year.

First, there is Mary. She created the most lovely quilt for Estelle for her birth. So, in preparation for Estelle's first birthday, I thought it would be a treat to give her a doll-size quilt that matched her own bigger one. So, I proposed my idea to Mary, and thanks to the APO/FPO mail system, we got the gorgeous fabric scraps in a weeks time straight from the Philippines. And I think the little quilt turned out very well. Especially considering I'd never done pleats before.

Then there was the need to make a website for Sam's dad. For those of you who have just started reading, his life dramatically changed in January, as he adapts to the affects of a brain tumor. Wanting to help get the news out and share his inspiring and ongoing story, I thought a blog might just do the trick. So, I turned to the heftily talented Chris to put something together. She designed this blog, plus my first blog, Fresh Courage, as well as doing the photography. Really a consummate professional and thorough in every way. She did a great job in putting together a blog design that will represent Sam's dad, the fishermen and, now, fisher of men. (Now to show Norm how to post...)

Then there was Esra's mishap meeting with the concrete at the bottom of our basement staircase. I got an appointment for her in Boston, but I needed to find a place for Estelle to go for the day. So, I called my friend, Pretty Girl's mom, and she gladly took our little wiggle-worm while Esra and I hurried off to Children's. I'm so glad Estelle got to spend some time with her and her children. Her home is so full of beauty, art and learning. She inspires me to be creative everytime I get together with her.

Lastly, I was looking to make a gift for my energetic nephew, Reed, who turned eight this past month. He lives in Japan and he was ready to have his Pop and Grandma (Sam's parents) come visit for his birthday and baptism. He was sincerely disappointed when he learned the news that his Pop's health would change their travel plans. So, I wanted to give Reed a gift of a poem that would help him appreciate and remember the moment of his baptism, as if his Pop was there. That's where my friend Catherine enters the scene. She is exuberant and radiant and she is the best poetess I know. And so, I asked Catherine to help me come up with a poem for the occasion, since, I think, she should have delivered the Inaugural Poem, but I digress! Its called "The Promise Pop Made"...here are the first few verses:

It started out with Pop
A promise made long ago
To always remember God
And Christ's example to follow.

A promise to be true,
to obey and choose the right
A promise to remember
And with faith to fight the fight.

A promise to embrace new traditions
To serve, to help, to give
A promise to seek for God's will,
To repent and to forgive....

The beginning of this year has started out well, even amidst the set-backs. I am working to SEE and BE (my words for the year). These creative projects have helped me do those things. But I couldn't do it by myself, though. Thank you, my sweet friends, for helping me beautify and uplift. I hope I can do the same for you one day soon.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


An upbeat and creative short film. 16 minutes that will make you smile.

Estelle's First Birthday

Estelle's garden birthday party was a big success. We had tissue paper flowers and ceiling decorations. Lots of pinks and creams and green. There were delectable cupcakes decorated with hyacinths, daffodils, dahlias and irises. Plus, mini quiches and other scrumptious finger food. Its was an adorable party. My dad was there and Sam's parents and his brother, plus, some wonderful family friends and their daughters. All-in-all, a nice little get-together. And, Esra was so happy for Estelle's great birthday gifts. The doll, stroller and quilt made her very happy. She loves playing with them, too. Especially since she figured out how to attach the stroller onto her stander and take the doll for a walk.