Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This Is New

Ari has recently grown an interest in the doll house.  She plays with it like you’d imagine any child her age would (but for shorter periods of time).  She walks them up the staircase, puts them to bed, and helps them move all about their house, doing daily tasks.  Watching her express her imagination in this way is so special.  She loves to say “Mom”, “Dad”, “daa (dog)”, and “bay” (baby) as she’s playing with them.  With Ari, we appreciate every little step in the right direction, every milestone, and every everyday miracle.  She teaches us to how to look for and how to find joy and beauty in all things.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

New Kinds of Living

I have been really lousy at photo editing and blogging lately.  I blame my desk chair.  It looks pretty cool, but it isn’t comfortable.  The reviews said it would be comfortable. 

Truth is, it isn’t (just) my desk chair that’s keeping me away from my work.  It’s my new life.  Since we moved into our new home in the country, we’ve been enjoying our life here in different ways.  Having spent all of my adult years in a subdivision with an HOA and block walls on all sides, I am experiencing freedom here like it was my childhood all over again.  I am watching my children and my husband (especially my husband) do the same.  We are learning new things as a family.  Like how to garden, bake, do serious yard work, eat healthier, entertain at home, drive power chairs, and play.  It’s the kind of play that is so often forgotten in our children's’ generation… or at least, relegated to play structures in community parks. 

I loved my life before, and I had no idea that I would ever find the country life appealing.  In fact, I turned my nose up at the very idea of it once upon a time.  I’m sure that had I not come across this house, I’d never know what I was missing.  And perhaps, I wouldn’t be missing anything, and everything would’ve worked itself out beautifully some other way.  But for now, I’m kind of newly fallen in love with this place life.  So, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go prune my roses… I was hoping to get a second bloom out of them.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Field Day

Field Day at Carlson was so fun!

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Ari was able to participate in almost all of the activities in a modified way.  Her friends are so supportive to her in everything that she does.  It is so beautiful to watch how she brings out the best in others.

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Nothing stops my Bella.  She is one competitive little lady, and I love that about her!

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Gabe is such a social creature.  I love watching him goof off with his friends.  At home, he would be perfectly content if I let him play Legos and read most of the time, so I enjoy watching the playful side of him that comes out whenever he’s around his buddies.

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Baby and Daddy

Every once in a while, I’m ready with camera in hand when a sweet moment hits.  Liam’s cuddles are to die for.  When he loves on us, it’s as though he is trying to make us feel special.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Daddy & Daughters

Jake escorted these two beautiful young ladies to their first Daddy Daughter Dance at Carlson Elementary.  They were both so excited to be with him!  Papa also showed up, which was an unexpected bonus.  Ari and Bella are so lucky to have this man as their daddy.  He is truly the best and couldn’t possibly love them more. 

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Upsee by Firefly

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Many of you have heard about the Upsee by Firefly, which is a new and innovative invention by a mom of a child with Cerebral Palsy in Belfast, Ireland.  It is essentially a harness that holds the child up in a supported way while they feet are simply strapped to the adult’s insoles, allowing them to walk along with their parent.  This amazing product allows young children to learn what it feels like to walk, but perhaps more importantly, allows them the experience of interacting and playing with their peers they in ways they never would get to while sitting or laying. 

For those who have spent time around Ari and I, you know that I often hold her in front of me in this position, supporting her arms and shoulders, while attempting to kick her feet with mine.  As much as I love doing this for her, it has become almost impossible for me to continue this as her legs and core have weakened since her surgery, and she now weighs 50 lbs., which is over half my body weight.  The Upsee would allow me to continue this much more effectively, practically, and comfortably (for both her and I).

We are so fortunate to have such wonderful people in our lives, both near and far.  One of our dear friends, Tanja and her husband Matt, have set up a donate site through GoFundMe with the idea in mind that others might want to contribute and be a part of Ari reaching this goal and having this experience.  We feel very grateful for this, and we are so excited by the idea that this might be a part of Ari’s life very soon.  The Upsee reaches the worldwide market on April 7, I’m told, which is just 5 days away!

If you would like to contribute to Ari’s Upsee Fund by Tanja, you can find the link here: http://www.gofundme.com/7wpqpw

Thank you so much for your support!  I know Ari thanks you too! :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Gabe & Ari’s Magical 7th Birthday Party

My kids have recently become fascinated with magic.  I decided that a magic themed birthday party would be great for this age and also would allow me to achieve the increasingly difficult task of throwing a fun coed party for the twins that both genders would enjoy.  And it had to accommodate at least 50 kids and their parents… no big deal, right?

The menu was simple, which was okay because it was an afternoon party.  It included Hidden Hot Dogs (corn dogs), Presto Pasta Salad (pesto pasta salad), Rabbit Food (veggies & dip), Wizard Hats (Bugles), Magic Potion (color changing Sprite), Tricky Tower of cookies, Magic Jellybeans, and Vanishing Cupcakes (regular cupcakes that vanish when you eat them).

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Ari had been waiting for the time when she could debut her power chair to her friends, and this was it.  She was so excited.  She had been practicing her safe driving every day in preparation for her big moment.

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The kids played in the yard.  Ari kept up and was surrounded by a flock of friends and a watchful Brittany wherever she went.

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I broke the kids into teams for our Potions Class.  Ever since changing their dad into a frog and back, the kids have been excited by spells.  We didn’t really say many spells, but we did mix volatile solution, dragon spit, ground root, unicorn horn, leprechaun elixir, and unicorn milk, to ultimately create an erupting elixer, a fortune telling potion, and of course, a small explosion.  The potions didn’t work every single time, but as we are all aware, magic is not always reliable, making it all the more fun when it works.

The parents were really good sports about assisting me with the activities.  I couldn’t have done it without them!

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I can’t believe my babies are 7!  I just love them so much!

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Throwback to when they were 6 months old circa 2007!

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Back to 2014 (*sigh*).

After everyone sang Happy Birthday and ate cake, we gathered in the shed where a comedic magician awaited our crew.  He was the perfect combination of magic and slapstick humor for this age group.  There were times when Ari could not catch her breath, because she was laughing so hard (Ari loves slapstick humor).  We got so lucky finding this magician, and I would have him back in a heartbeat. 

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I’m so happy that so many awesome friends came to celebrate Gabe and Ari’s birthday with us.  We had an amazing day that we will always remember.