Thursday, June 28, 2012

Memories

Does this bring back memories of hot summer days?
We lived in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, until I was almost nine years old. I remember those horribly hot summer days. We didn't have a pool in our yard, other than a kiddie pool. We had the old fashioned metal swing set/slide. Because the metal would be so hot to slide down, we put the hose at the top of the slide and the pool at the bottom. Instant water slide! Who needs the Wisconsin Dells? Such sweet memories.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Please Don't Stare

When I was out shopping a couple of weeks ago, walking through the parking lot, I noticed three grown women standing near the rear of a car. I thought perhaps they were friends who met each other in the store and were chatting.

As I got closer, I saw one of the women leaning in close to another one. What could be going on? The shorter one was wiping the taller one's nose with a kleenex. As I observed their behavior for a moment, it became clear that the tall woman was developmentally disabled.

This turned my thoughts to Jonalyn and what the next few years with her will bring. She is still tiny for her age and I dress her "cute", so many people who don't know her think she is younger than her almost 10 years. Eventually, though, she will grow and develop like any other young lady. Then what? We incur enough stares now. Will they increase?


A young man (maybe 15 or so) was at hippotherapy yesterday. At first, I thought he might be the brother of one of the kids riding or a volunteer. When he opened his mouth, however, and spoke more like a five year old, I realized he was disabled.

The well-meaning people at the grocery store and the bank and the myriad other places we frequent don't know Jonalyn is cognitively delayed by looking at her. When they ask her questions about which grade she is in school or how her summer is going, she can't answer and I have to either answer for her explain. We have to order for her in restaurants. More and more we need to tell people about her disabilities. The worse part, what makes me dislike all of this, is the pity we then get. "I'm so sorry." I'm not! I love my daughter!

In the future, the explanations and the stares will increase, I'm sure. We've even seen a couple of adolescent doctors at the children's hospital and don't feel they "get" Jonalyn's special needs.

The next time you meet a parent with a teen/adult child who is disabled, please don't say you're sorry. And it's O.K. to engage the child. I met a high school friend in the store a few months back and her disabled son. I shook the young man's hand and spoke to him. He smiled at me and I enjoyed our repartee. Yesterday at hippotherapy, a precious little girl with Down syndrome sat next to me. I'd guess she's no more than four or five years old. We had a cute conversation, which included her telling me a story about how Elmo went in for surgery. She put a band-aid on him in case he started bleeding. Adorable!! Trust me - if you engage these children at their level, you will be so blessed by them.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Girls

Last week I was without Alyssa all week long. She was at church camp and did I miss her! I was left with my hubby & my son, whom I love very much, but who don't care about things like nail polish and could care less which shoes match which dress. Jonalyn can't converse about such things, though she likes nail polish and shoes well enough.

Alyssa is a mixture of tomboy and little lady. She is quite athletic and is looking forward to being on the basketball and soccer teams this year at school. No pink for this girl, and please, no "cutesy" clothes. She would rather watch movies with her dad and brother than with me.

At the same time, she enjoys wearing skirts, is super into nail polish, and has always loved American Girl dolls. She has an eye for color and can put together a cute (not "cutesy") outfit. She has her own style.


At dinner Sunday, we were finally all together. Doug and Brian chatted about some car-chase type of movie. Alyssa and I bent our heads together and talked nail polish. I had to tell her about the cute and easy-to-do nails I found on Pinterest. Brian overheard us and got this very confused look on his face. Sadly, he doesn't understand. I'd been suffering from girl-talk withdrawal.

I'm so glad to have my girl back. She's coming shopping with me tomorrow!! Okay, it's just grocery shopping, but she talks recipes with me at the same time!

For those of you with girls, what do you like best about having a daughter?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wonderful Words - Love


What is love?

Love is much more than a feeling. Love is an action.

Love is a smile. Love is a helping hand. It's a kind word, good advice, wisdom.

Love is someone who gets you. Love is someone who isn't afraid to tell you the truth. It's someone who will stay by your side through the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Love is a private joke. Love is a shared memory. It's a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day and a glass of iced tea on a warm one.

Love isn't saying how much a person means to you - it's showing how much they mean to you. Love isn't three little words - it's constant steadfastness. Love isn't a Valentine's sentiment - it's a 365 days of the year commitment.

Love is God, our Creator, our Father, stooping to meet us in our greatest need, taking our punishment for our sin, and cleansing us, justifying us, and giving us eternal life.

What does love mean to you?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ahhh...

Doug, Jonalyn & I took advantage of Alyssa being at camp this weekend to make a quick jaunt to the cabin. We brought another full sized mattress up so now we can have three couples stay there at a time.

Again, we had to make getting there interesting :) We (meaning Doug) decided to take the scenic route to the mattress store. We ended up having to pull out the map (this place isn't that far from our house) and after enduring a couple of wrong turns and some construction, we made it. Finally, we could hit the road for real.

Or not. The straps weren't tight enough and the mattress slid. Ugh. We had to pull off the highway and adjust them. While standing on the side of the exit ramp helping with the straps, I got a fun phone call. More about that another day.

So, anyhoo, we did make it to our destination at last. Always good to pull in the driveway. It's amazing how you can start the trip in kind of a crabby mood and end up relaxing more and more as the miles slip by. Before you know it, you're in a good mood. We set up the grill Doug got for Father's Day, brought the bed frame and mattress in the house, and had hamburgers for dinner. Boy, were they good.

I was exhausted, having not slept well in several nights, so after Doug soundly beat me at cribbage, we called it a night. Of course, I didn't have my night time medication with me. Another restless night were I ended up in Alyssa's bed.

Funny, but I was ready to tackle the day today. I took a walk, then made some breakfast. While I walked, I noticed the sky getting dark in the west. We ate quickly, then went outside to undertake a couple of projects. It never did pour - just rained softly enough that we were able to keep working.

One thing I have been dying to do is to touch up the paint inside. It's a pet peeve of mine, to have chipped paint. Unfortunately, we only found one of the three colors I needed. Now I have a few precious paint chips in a baggie to take to the paint store. I hope they can match them!

We did manage to spend some time hanging out on the porch before we needed to head home. Doug and I were able to have a really nice conversation. Have I told you how much we love our cabin??

Well, I must toddle off to bed before I fall asleep on my keyboard. No pictures - sorry. We did some serious work instead this weekend.

How did you spend your weekend?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

CT Scan

In order to better prepare himself for Jonalyn's surgery, the doctor wanted a CT scan of her hips and legs. This way he'll know exactly what he has to do when he goes in. Good thing in my book!

I didn't remember any special instructions when I scheduled the scan, but a week or so ago, I got a letter telling me that she couldn't eat anything for four hours before the surgery and she'd need to drink some concoction for contrast. Forgive my medical ignorance, but I didn't have clue what all was involved in a CT scan, so I followed the directions.

We arrived way too early for the appointment because she didn't have to drink anything. Poor girl, I starved her for nothing! They simply laid her on the table, strapped her legs down and told her to lay very still. They even started a movie for her, to keep her from wiggling. The things they think of at a children's hospital!

She did great and the scan was over in no time. Wow! One appointment checked off the list. She has several more before surgery.

We haven't begun to prepare her yet, not wanting to go over it too much before hand. She has no concept of time, so two months to her could be short or long.

That's it from here. I thought about starting a Caring Bridge site for her, but have decided to share her story via my blog instead.

Thanks for all of your prayers.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Camping!

A couple of weeks ago, we went on our annual spring camping trip. This year it was so much fun to have some friends of ours go with us! Our boys have known each other all their lives.
Here we are, setting up. It was so cold that day - and so was that first night - but we all survived. Cuddle duds, thermal pj's, socks and two blankets and I was toasty warm!

That next day, because it was still a little chilly, we decided to go to Amish country. We spent the morning and into the afternoon shopping and taking it all in. Bakery, grocery, cheese, furniture. What fun! We visited a few places we hadn't been to before. Once back to the campground, some of our group took a dip in the indoor pool.

On our second full day, we girls decided to go antiquing. There is a great little antique mall in the nearby town, and both of us came home with some treasures. The young girls then thought it was warm enough to try out the lake - and all the cool inflatable toys they have. Here is Alyssa and their 15 year old daughter, going down the giant slide.

Jonalyn wasn't about to be left out. She was shivering, but resisted getting out of the water!
Otherwise, we did some fishing and kayaking,


That Janet is such a hoot! She actually really enjoyed her kayak ride :)

We relaxed and enjoyed sweet fellowship.
We've already decided - same time, same place next year!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

This is Funny!

Jonalyn wanted to know why I was laughing. Actually, I was reading my agency's blog and it was hilarious. So click here, and enjoy a little weekend humor. I'll be back with pictures tomorrow - if blogger decides to be nice to me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wonderful Words - Cuteness

Yes, this week's Wonderful Word is cuteness. And my, oh my, Jonalyn abounded in it this weekend.

We went to the cabin and she played with her old-fashioned wooden blocks. You know, the kind with the letters and numbers. She picked up an M and declared that M was for Markie, her favorite hippotherapy horse. They may have taught her that in school. Then she located a T and said T was for 'tato. Um, pretty sure they didn't teach her that one in school. Next came a C which she proudly proclaimed was for kitty. Certain that didn't come from school! Soooo cute. And wonderful and encouraging to see her putting sounds with letters.

Doug, Jonalyn and I spent some time sitting on our front porch. The weather was gorgeous and since it's been dry, the mosquitoes weren't bad. The birds sang all around us. At one point, there came a loud squawk from the woods. Doug teased that there was a baby elephant in there. Jonalyn's eyes grew wide. She asked if there might be a mommy elephant, too, which Doug assured her there was. She kept pointing in that direction and talking about the elephants. Then a noise came from another part of the woods. Jonalyn promptly pointed in that direction and announced there was a lion over there! We laughed because she was sooo cute! Great to see that she can understand a joke and play along with it. That's a higher thinking skill.

Her cuteness didn't stop there. On the contrary, she got cuter. We weren't getting any TV reception and Alyssa didn't bring a DVD, so the evening was quite. I much prefer it that way, anyway. We ended up playing a game of Sorry. Jonalyn got to have her own men. She had to tell what the number was on the card and count to move her game pieces. She did such a great job! The game ended and she asked if she won. Sorry (pun intended), but Daddy won. No problem. When I told this story to someone at church on Sunday, she was next to me and piped up that Daddy won. She was so excited about that! Too cute.
How can we stand all the cuteness going on around here?

Do you have a cuteness story about a little person you know?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Growing Up


For the past few years, Brian has been adamant that he wants to join the Marines when he graduates high school next year. I have to admit that I hoped he would change his mind. I also decided that, difficult as it may be for me to see my child in danger, I wouldn't stand in the way of his dreams, but would support him with my whole heart.

Monday night, Doug, Brian and I met with a Marine recruiter. He was very nice and took the time to determine Brian's goals for his life as he serves our country. Brian would like to be a mechanic and that's great - it will give him a useful skill when he gets out. My son recognizes that self-motivation and self-determination are things he wants but needs to work on.

Brian took a preliminary test that he passed. The recruiter believes the Brian will be a great Marine and we agree. He has the drive to do it. So we filled out the paperwork and signed the consent form to allow Brian to join the Marines. He's only 17, so he needed our go-ahead.

He needs to finish his national security clearance form and he'll meet with the recruiter in a couple of weeks to turn all of that in. Then at the end of the month, he'll undergo two days of tests, including a written test (sort of like the SATs for the military) and a physical test.

If he passes both of those tests, he'll become a Marine. During his senior year, he'll train with other recruits - both physical and mental training. Because he is enlisting so early, he'll have his pick of jobs. No Marine goes in without a job, which is another benefit of the Marines. He'll also have his pick of ship-out dates, probably in July or August next year.

It's difficult to believe that this tiny baby we brought home almost 17 years ago is standing on the verge of manhood. He is making adult decisions that will impact the rest of his life.

We are very proud of him. He is growing into a fine young man and we believe the Marines will hone him further. He did very well in the interview and we were impressed by his answers. He was poised and self-confident and spoke well and clearly.

Brian, we love you and pray for you daily, that the Lord will bless these decisions that you are making, that He will bring you the desires of your heart, and that you will continue to grow in Him. May He watch over you and keep you always.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Wonderful Words - Pastoral

We spent last weekend camping with some dear friends of ours. Our boys have grown up together (my, have they grown!). They are the sweetest people you could ever meet. We had such a good time - kayaking, swimming, relaxing, shopping, talking, fellowshipping. Precious times.

Anyway, more on that later. I hope to have pictures to post in a day or two.

This week's Wonderful Word is pastoral.

Not as in relating to things a pastor does.

Pastoral - of or relating to the countryside : not urban and
pleasingly peaceful and innocent : idyllic

As we drove home yesterday, I peered out the window at the Wisconsin countryside. It's beautiful right now - green, lush, crops sprouting, cows in the fields. The rolling hills are covered with trees. You top a rise and can see for miles. The sky was blue, the temperatures perfect.

Comparing the beauty of Wisconsin to the beauty of Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon is difficult because they are all such different places. Out west, you find majestic beauty. Awe-inspiring. Breath-taking.

Then the word pastoral popped into my head. That describes the beauty of Wisconsin the best. It's peaceful, serene, restful. Pastoral. Deer grazing at the side of the road. Turkeys strutting around the fields. Cardinals calling to each other from the trees.

Pastoral. A river wending it's way through the marsh.
A waveless calm lake at sunset.

Waves lapping at a sandy beach.


God created a beautiful world for us to live in, with unimaginable diversity. As for me, give me a pastoral scene any day. Right now, my window frames green grass, swaying trees, and a colorful garden. Sigh.

What about where you live?