Saturday, April 30, 2011

Southwest Wildlife Sanctuary

We don't venture out of the paved grid of suburban Scottsdale very often.  But today we did.  Hopekids invited us to tour the Southwest Wildlife Sanctuary, an animal rescue and education center in northern Scottsdale.   Narrower roads, dusty, hilly streets that turn to paths, brought us to an amazing place in a rural neighborhood!  We saw owl, fox, bear, mountain lion, wolf, javelina and the like.  After the tour, the director and owner, Linda, brought out her trick horse and let the girls take turns riding.  Thanks to Linda and her crew at Southwest for letting us come.  And thanks, Hopekids!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Meeting Elmo at the Ryan House

It has been a great day.  We just returned from an outing at the Ryan House in Phoenix to meet Elmo.  (And this is after going to Sesame Street Live sponsored by HopeKids.) It was a grand time.  The whole week the girls have been anxiously awaiting when they could see Elmo and Grover and the like.

As we waited in line to meet the Sesame Street characters, Esra said over and over again, "Sit Elmo Lap".  She was just enthralled with everything about this life-size Elmo.  Enough so, that after her photo-op, she attempted several times to cut back in line to get another peak at her furry favorite.

I must say, I am always recharged after a visit to Ryan House.  The marvelous nurses and stellar staff there adore every child and, as a parent, I feel just as appreciated and welcomed.  I feel most gratified by meeting other moms and dads doing the same thing we are.  And seeing those tender little ones doing their best with their challenges helps me remember how far Esra has come.  One can't forget the special siblings, like Estelle, that amidst their exuberance and willfulness, must balance their life with their challenged sibling.  They, too, are exceptional people.

That's Ryan House is really about.  Exceptional people being brought together for one purpose, to find joy in their journey together.

Like I said, it has been a great day.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Learning Tower

For physical therapy this week, we were lent a Learning Tower.

I have seen it in the Sky Mall catalog on many an airplane flight. It is at 30,000 feet that I remember that I want, want, want this great tool. But, alas, it is $200, or more. Thus, as I snack on my roasted nuts and ginger ale, I conveniently park that lovely little want in the back-lot of my mind.

Thankfully, we get to borrow this forgotten want for awhile. And, boy howdy, does Esra sure love it. She has been able to participate in washing the dishes for the first time in her life this week. And she helped make fresh corn tortillas with our new assistant, Marta, who is a doting grandma originally from Mexico City. We had such a great time rolling and pressing the masa harina. Esra loved being in the middle of the daily work and conversation that comes with it.

But she really brightens up to any chance to stand at the sink. The Tower is such a great bridge for Esra and her innate desire to wash her hands. (Esra is not alone...A few days ago, I read a great post from Rachel Coleman of Signing Times about how she and her husband finally have an accessible bathroom for their teenage daughter with Spina Bifida. Lucy, too, just wants to be able to wash her hands all by herself.)

There is another plus to having Esra in the tower. She is in her standing frame in these shots. She can turn and swivel at will within its square confines. Tami sees this small space as a super introduction to another back-lot want: manuevering with a walker.