Sunday, August 28, 2011

Little Red Dog Foundation

What a great organization!  The Little Red Dog Foundation does incredible things for incredible people :)  On Wednesday, August 17th, they gave Samuel, Olivia, and George wheels... in particular, they gave Samuel a new found freedom of movement.

That day, the LRDF presented five children with AmTrykes, therapeutic tricycles.  Of my three, Samuel's tryke has more bells and whistles, including the hand peddles that, among other things, aid in learning to walk, but all three increase strength and coordination. 

Such a celebration, with, as the LRDF puts it, "hope and courage to follow" :)  (Laura, huge thank you for the photos and kudos on the write up in the paper!!!)

Pre-tryke entertainment included balloon animals from a clown and Popsicles - woo hoo!

Of course, the best pre-tryke entertainment was Omi :)

Samuel getting fitted for his tryke by two of his favorite friends...

... and ready to go!  Come on guys!!

No worries, Samuel has a new friend :) 
Love it, looks like they've been buddies for years, just riding along and chatting.

Meanwhile, Olivia gets fitted...

(Something to keep in mind, this was during the first week of school and both Olivia and George wanted NO ONE besides mommy... it was nuts.  I felt bad for the people trying to help them... I'm amazed there are a few photos in which they are near other people and not crying.)

George takes a turn pushing :)

Wee!  Why is BB pushing both?  Well...

... everyone tried to be helpful, DB (above), Rachel, Omi, therapists, but as I mentioned above, these two didn't want anyone else pushing them.  Gee, I'm glad they appear so grateful.

Our cruising crew!

Riding in style :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On His Own Two Feet, Part 2

26... the number of steps Samuel took in a row, on his own, during PT yesterday. 
No walker, no nothing, just walking :)

Today, he walked down almost the entire hallway in our house.


We are overwhelmed with happiness :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Our New World... School!

The horizons have doubled... maybe even tripled... or quadrupled... for our three kiddos.  On Monday, the 15th, we started school!  What an eye opener, for them and for us :)

First, we added the word school to our vocabulary.  George and Olivia already knew the word, but it was generally referred to as where BB and DB work... therefore we've switched our terminology.  Now mommy and daddy go to work, and the kids go to school.  How terrible would that be to think you're going to visit mommy and daddy and instead get left at a new place where you don't know anyone?!  Oh, wait... 

Then again, mommy and daddy work at a school, but George, Olivia, and Samuel go to scyool :)  Best spelling I can provide... there apparently is no K sound in their scyool.  Ha ha!

Monday - G and O were a bit overwhelmed and had some tears when they realized we were leaving, but as soon as we got them to hold hands, there wasn't too much drama.  Then again, we did kind of sneak out... is that bad?  We told them earlier we were leaving!  No, not guilty in the least.  When we picked them up, George's face lit up, then his little bottom lip started to quiver... sweet boy :) 

Tuesday - Much drama from G and O.  G had the hardest time... we was so upset about having to go back that he barely ate breakfast.  Once there, the teachers tried to distract him, but every minute or so he would remember I was gone and run back to the exact place I left and weep.  But so sweet, G and O comforted each other throughout the day :)  That afternoon at home I heard G talking to himself... over and over again, "mommies always come back."  Break my heart!!  Night was the hardest for O... she is my sleeper, but had a tough time and frequently asked, "mommy, where are you?" 

Tuesday was Samuel's first day at his school!  It's about an hour away, so we can only do twice a week, but it works out well because the other three days a week he has 6+ therapy visits.  DB wasn't in school yet, so he took him, found a good spot near there to get some work done, and then drove him home.  DB is definitely concerned about me making this drive so often (it's been nearly 8 months since we visited so our memories have cherry coated the drive time), and we have talked about how we hope it will be worth it.  On the drive home, DB called me to say it is SO worth it!

A sweet story from Samuel's first day is that he cried when DB left.  I know that sounds nuts, but it hasn't been long since we wondered whether he really knew/cared who we were... and recently, the bond is becoming clearer and clearer.  What a wonderful feeling!  Also, Samuel played with another little boy :)

Day Three - G wakes up again talking about "I don't have to go to scyool," with a pleading look that cuts right through you.  Lucky for him, we took a break from school for G and O for Little Red Dog Foundation presentation.  Great organization!  Post coming...

Day Four - G and O still not excited.  Lot of tears at drop off, but they were fairly quick to settle.  G still had the hardest time, but O made sure to bring him lots of toys and hugs to try and cheer him up :)  Too cute, when O got upset, G gave her a little twig and she carried it around all day.  Love it!

Day Five - G had a complete break down upon seeing the school when we rounded the corner in the car.  By the time we parked the car, he was crying so hard that no noise was coming out.  Sheesh.  But, once again, he calmed quickly once I left and they both had a good day :) 

Day Five (Friday), was also Samuel's second day for school. DB made the trip again, and had nothing but positive things to say about the day!  The nurses love our Samuel, and he's pretty fond of them, too :)

While we had some rough days, I'm pretty sure the only reason I cried this week is for joy.  My babies can go to scyool and hang out with other boys and girls... my Samuel is healthy enough!

On Day Six, George was relieved to hear it was Saturday and there was no school that day :)  Stay tuned for the second week, it's all uphill from here for G and O, and Samuel continues to be a rock star!

Happy First Day of School!

Olivia and George, blissfully unaware that we will be leaving them here today :)

After the failure of the original good bye, holding hands seemed to ease some anxiety :)

Olivia: Hey George, do mommy and daddy seem to be getting further behind us?

George: Nah, I can still see them!

Mommy and Daddy: They haven't looked back in at least a minute, go!

Samuel's first day was actually Tuesday... my big guy!

Samuel and DB ready for the drive... road trip!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Museum Mayhem

BB's parents, known to the kiddos as Mo and Do, came to visit for nearly two weeks... we had the best time!  I just loved hearing the kids ask each morning when Mo and Do were going to be here.  They absolutely loved spending time with their grandparents! 

Lots of reading books, singing songs, playing dress up, and showing off all our tricks, but there were also a few adventures.  One of which being a trip to a Children's Museum...

First, whoever came up with the term Children's Musuem, has been to some VERY different museums than I have.  I think the term Children's Free For All would be better :)  The kids did have a great time, and there were some really neat play areas, but going into this experience I was dilousional about the constant motion and noise level.  Yes, I seriously pictured little children quietly, and thoughtfully, spending time at interactive stations like it shows on the website.  Um, not so much.  In reference a previous post, everyone there could have qualified as "those people".  Ha! 

We did have a blast... there was an incredible art room (will be more fun when we're into doing more than just scribbling on a sheet of paper); a castle with a dungeon and lots of prince, princess, and dragon costumes; a room full of what I refer to as elaborate ski ball ramps with twists and turns and different sized and colors balls; the biggest water table I've ever seen complete with rivers, dams with flow control, and cool rock gardens; a giant pirate ship; a mini grocery store complete with shopping carts, tons of "food", a checkout counter, and a deli counter; and then there was a toddler room.  The toddler room was a haven away from the chaos of the big kids... especially for Samuel.  We didnt' have his walker yet, and he really wants to be independent, which at this time was crawling.  Unfortunatly, it was a tough place for crawlers, but in the toddler area Samuel was free to roam. 

Photos below... not many, I think due to the craziness of the day, the high level of play, play, play, and the focus it took not to loose a child :)  We really did have a great day!  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

On His Own Two Feet

Samuel continues to gain more and more independence!  This past Thursday we got a loaner walker... and he loves it. 

Samuel's walker has been ordered, but they take a while to go through the approval process (seriously?!).  We are really lucky and excited that he can borrow one in the meantime.  I'm telling you, this kid is practically running!!!  Yesterday we went outside for a bit and he did not hesitate at all taking the walker down or up the step from the house to the patio.  Good thing we were there to guide a little bit :)  He is absolutely using it like a pro, navigating around corners and obstacles, and trucking through bumpy backyard terrain, as if he's been walking his entire life.

Then this morning, he walked from the church to the car, only pausing to take in all the sites.  And, this afternoon, he walked both from the car into the Y and to the pool, and back again afterwards.  We both laughed at how precisely he waited to pass the car, then turned off the sidewalk towards the car door and right up to his car seat.  Unbelievable.

Have I mentioned lately that Samuel is amazing?  Not only medically, but as he faces day to day challenges head on.  He literally lives and breathes the line, "If there's a will, there's a way."  If he could talk, and he saw my amazement at him walking, I am positive he would look me straight in the eyes and say very matter-of-factly, "no worries, I got it!"  Good thing, because I about lose it every time I see him walking... my boy is walking!!!!

 Showing off one day last week at physical therapy for Mo and Do :)

 Taking our loaner home!  Samuel trekked straight across the parking lot to the car, not a complaint to be heard. 

 Arriving home... hi dad! 
Check him out, walking to the front door like a big boy :)

 Outside and loving his new friend! 
Not once did Samuel sit and scoot or crawl, he went from the door,
to the pool, to the swings, back to the pool, took a tour of the patio,
and then inside. 

Go Samuel, Go!
Notice the fogginess?  Oh no, not fog, that's steam on the lens of the camera
because it was so hot and muggy out that day.  Gross. 
But as I mentioned before, not a single complaint from Samuel :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Making It Known

On July 31st, we finally got our chance to make public our decision to raise our children as Christians!  It was their Dedication, and such a wonderful feeling!  I know the day doesn't actually change anything, but it's something we have always wanted to do, but couldn't.  Now, everyone is home, the vent and trache are gone, DB's chest is mending nicely, and we are ALL well enough to be around this congregation who has supported us every step of the way... it feels good to stand up and say, this is what we believe, and this is how we will raise our children.

(In our church, you get baptised when you're old enough to make that decision for yourself.  A dedication is DB and I saying to the world that we are dedicating ourselves to raise our children as Christians.  The congregation also has a line in the ceremony in which they commit to helping us :) )

I am happy to say that, as DB put it, it couldn't have gone any better... or any worse :)  Early on the kiddos started causing a ruckus, but overall it didn't matter, the day was perfect because of it's intention.  As it turns out, saying "we do" trumps most tantrums :)  YEA!

Kind of dark, so not great photos... and I was a complete slacker and took NONE of everyone together.  How often do you get three children and three grandparents all in their Sunday best?!  Unbelievable.

Hello everyone!  Look at those adorable, well-behaved children!

Hmmm... not sure if the blurriness is from the camera or
the actual movement of those same well-behaved children pictured above...

Definitely the movement of the children!  Ha ha! 
I think George is literally swinging from the rooftops,
Samuel is wondering why in the world he can't get down and scoot, and
Olivia is about to bust out her foot-stomping rendition of "get me up, mommy!"

Back to calm again, but wait, things have changed...
everyone is being held :)