Saturday, March 27, 2010

Everyone Makes A Difference

Every month our church publishes a magazine called The Enisgn. In April's issue there is an article about a child who reminded me of Cici. I got a little teary eyed as I read it and thought about how Cici has touched my life, and the lives of so many others. I hope you don't mind, Jenny, but I wanted to share this story as a reminder that Cici, and others who face similar challenges, are special spirits who are a blessing and inspiration to those around her (them).

Taylor’s Talent
Heather Hall, Utah, USA
Heather Hall, “Taylor’s Talent,” Ensign, Apr. 2010, 62–63

“Can you tell me what talents Taylor has that I could share with the class?” my eight-year-old’s Primary (children's Sunday School) teacher asked me. She had telephoned because Taylor’s class would be talking about talents they had received from Heavenly Father.

My mind went blank. I thought back over the past eight years, trying to come up with an answer. At four days old Taylor had suffered a stroke that left him with profound brain damage and an uncontrollable seizure disorder. He is unable to see, speak, or communicate. He has never progressed past a six-month-old child’s level of mental development. He spends most of his days in a wheelchair as we care for him and try to keep him comfortable.

We cheered when he learned to giggle or drink from a special cup, and we celebrated when he could stand and take a few steps. But while we cheered and celebrated on the outside, on the inside we wept with the realization that these small achievements were probably as significant as any Taylor would attain. Somehow I didn’t think this was what his Primary teacher wanted to hear.

I cleared my throat and uncomfortably answered, “Taylor really doesn’t have any talents that I can think of.”

This kind sister then forever altered my relationship with my son by her response.

“As I thought about this lesson, I realized that every child of God has a talent,” she said. “I would suggest that Taylor’s talent is that he teaches others to serve. If it is OK with you, I would like to talk to our class about how I have noticed Taylor’s talent here at church. I have seen the other Primary children learn to push his wheelchair, open doors for him, and overcome their fear to wipe his chin with a handkerchief when needed. I think that is a great talent by which he blesses our lives.”

I murmured in agreement, and we quietly said good-bye. I wonder if that Primary teacher knew what a profound impact that conversation would have on my life. Taylor remained the same. He still requires a great deal of care. Hospitals, doctors, and therapists still take up a large part of my life. But my perspective changed, and I began to notice his talent.

I saw how people around us would alter their behavior as they sought to care for him. I also noticed how he reminds us to slow down, notice his needs, and become more compassionate, observant, and patient.

I do not know God’s purpose in having Taylor face such daunting challenges, but I believe that his Primary teacher gave me a small glimpse of it. He is here to share his talent with us. He is here to give us the opportunity to learn how to serve.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Facebook Dilemma

I have been thinking about posting about this for awhile, but I am glad I waited because something really funny happened today that goes along perfectly with this topic.
Ok- Facebook.
Facebook is an interesting place because it is a world where communities from various parts of my life meet. There are high school friends I haven't talked to in years, church friends who I don't really know all that well, great friends who know me inside and out, some of my former students, family members, and a plethora of people in between. It is a hodgepodge of various people I have encountered throughout my life. I enjoy that- it is fun to see where people have ended up and get reacquainted with people I have not seen in over a decade (wow I am old) as well as keep in touch better with those I am close to.
But because of this weird mix of people, I always try to be as generic as possible in my post- not wanting to offend somebody with what I say. I think Facebook is different than a blog- you choose to come to my blog, and if you don't like what I have to say, you can easily go away. With Facebook, however, what you write GOES TO other people- you are infringing on them, not the other way around. Your comments wind up on their wall, and what you have to say may not be welcome. With such a strange mix of people who I am "friends" with, I know it can be easy to upset people with what I say. I made a comment or two about politics, but have since decided it isn't worth it. If I want to talk/debate politics, I will go elsewhere, where I think it is more appropriate.
I have actually even considered "unfriending" people, but in the end decided against it and am choosing to just ignore what some people write (you know who you are:)). But the reason I considered it is because I don't want these views that I completely disagree with coming TO me- uninvited and unasked for.
But today on my Wall was a post from a girl I knew years ago about how horrible the health care bill was (THIS IS NOT A HEALTH CARE DEBATE- GO TO THE POLITICAL BLOGS- OR FACEBOOK-TO DISCUSS IT- I AM MERELY TELLING MY STORY OF WHAT HAPPENED TO ME TODAY). This is the ump-teenth time she has written on my wall how horrible Obama is and how she hates our government, etc. etc. Again, I have not actually talked to her in years- but she insists on talking politics on Facebook. I have never once responded. But, today I decided to. I commented on her post:
"I love the health care bill. I am so excited it passed- what a marvelous time to be an American and experience these wonderful events! I LOVE the USA!"
That was my comment. Again- I have NEVER commented to her rants before- this is the first time.
Within 5 minutes, she "unfriended" me. I laughed hysterically- here she has been blasting me for months with her political ideologies, and I make ONE comment against her, and we are no longer friends.
And that's why I think Facebook creates a series of dilemmas. What is appropriate to comment on (I don't mean just politics, either)? When should you "unfriend" people? If you post on somebody's wall, is it so horrible to think they might disagree with you?
Maybe friends of the past should stay in the past. Well, obviously this one should!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Potty Training: Part Two

A couple of weeks ago, Audra started changing her own poopy diapers at naptime. This was not good as clothes became toilet paper. Once I accidentally left the wipes out, and she used EVERY SINGLE one to wipe herself. My fault, I should have known better. It was annoying, but an obvious sign: time to potty train.
On Monday, we gave it another go. After our horrible experience a few months ago I was not expecting it to go well and braced myself for the worst.
We started as soon as she woke up in the morning. By mid-morning, she was telling me when she needed to go and going by herself! I couldn't believe it! On Monday she had 3 very small accidents and 4 successes. Yesterday she had 1 small accident (simply because we weren't fast enough) and 7 successes. Today: Nothing but successes so far!
Granted, I put in her in a diaper for naps and at night and during naptime is when she has been going #2, but I am perfectly OK with that.
Thankfully, this has been a surprisingly easy process so far (knock on wood- I have yet to take her out in public). I am VERY grateful I waited until she really was ready instead of trying to force her before she was ready and having accident after accident. The best part is, SHE is super excited when she goes on the potty- it is HER success, not mine. There are no battles, no crying, just happiness all around!
I have been told having her potty trained will give me a whole new world of freedom. I hope so.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Yesterday was Ben's Birthday. What do you do for a father of two when he turns 32? We went to Chuck E. Cheese!

You may think this was actually a party for Audra. But, I took Ben to a Murder Mystery Dinner Party a week ago for his Birthday, so he got a night for him, and then a night with his family. His parents and sister and brother-in-law joined us as well.

While Daddy and Audra played, what did mommy and Claire do?We just hung out!

We had a great time as a family- Audra LOVED putting the tokens in the rides and playing with the "sound stage" equipment. I loved that I didn't have to cook for a night (Ben's mom made the delicous cake- YUM!)! Oh, and I am pretty sure Ben had a great time as well!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bids For Cici!

Cici's fall auction is up and running! Check it out here:

There are a ton of great gift items for baby and bridal showers. 100% of the proceeds go to help pay for therapies not covered by insurance, and these therapies have shown massive results- Cici is doing so incredibly great!

Go bid away!!!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

So Sweet!

Audra just came up to me and said:

"I love you so much. I want to give you kisses."

What a great way to start the day!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

8 Months

Yes, it is true, today Claire turns EIGHT MONTHS OLD! I will do my obligatory mommy "I can't believe she's 8 months old already!" saying. And, yes, it is true- I really can't believe it.
Here is what she is up to:
Crawling, climbing, wanting to stand. This girl is all over the place! She has even started climbing stairs, MUCH to my dismay! This behavior is absolutely NOT encouraged in our house, but it is happening nevertheless.

Mommy's Girl: When I say she is all over the place, what I really mean is: Wherever I am, Claire is right there beside me! I absolutely do NOT have to worry about whether or not this girl loves her mommy, because she LOVES her mommy! Which is just fine, because I sure love her too!
Weight: 15.2, with a diaper on. We need to fatten this girl up!
Eating: In the last week she has really started eating a variety of foods (finally!). Her favorite is still- by far- mangoes, but now she also likes: yams, avocados, and Cheerios. I am starting to introduce her to a new food every few days, so next month she will have a full menu of food choices.
Sleeping: AWESOME! (That does not mean I am getting much sleep, however. Lately Audra has been keeping me up at night, but that is another post entirely). She is still a horrible napper- taking two 30-60 minute naps a day. Once in awhile she will nap for longer periods, but ONLY when I am gone running errands and daddy is in charge. How on earth does it work out that way? At any rate, I am just glad that she is sleeping through the night without any problems. She is incredibly easy to put down to sleep- literally just feed her and put her in her crib. The only problem is that she wakes up early- about 6:30- but I guess it is worth it for a full nights sleep.
Talking: Ben insists that she said "da-da" on Sunday but I refuse to agree.
General well-being: she is still a happy and fun baby, and as cute as can be!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Her Latest and Greatest

There are only two rules for Audra's outfits: 1. They must be modest, and 2. They must be appropriate for the weather. Other than that, we have opted to not make what Audra wears an issue, as I have said before. But, I was a little surprised at this outfit which she chose to wear to the grocery store yesterday:

A Minny Mouse shirt, purple pants, yellow sun dress, and hot pink boots. Luckily, I am relatively certain nobody believes I picked out the outfit.
And, here is the first picture Audra has ever taken:

Not bad, huh?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Attention All Wal-Greens Shoppers

I can't decide if shopping at Wal-Greens is worth the effort or not, so I am curious to see what others who shop there think. I got all of the above for $36.73. Supposedly I saved $115.11, but I think that just means you should NEVER pay full price at Wal-Greens because they are expensive. Anyway, here is what I got for the 36.73:
-2 packages of Huggies diapers
-6 Garnier Fructis hair products
-2 pkgs. DayQuil, 2 NyQuil, 1 Vicks Vapor Rub
-3 Men's Dove Body Wash
-14 canned olives
-3 canned salmon
-4 boxes of Kotex
-4 big rolls of toilet paper
-2 Puffs tissue
-3 cans chicken broth
-1 caramel (didn't want to buy, but I had to because my coupon wouldn't pay for tax)
That averages out to .73 an item. Obviously, a great price when you consider the items I bought.
BUT (and there is a big BUT), it was a TON of work! This is a total of about 12 transactions and hours figuring out the deals. In short, it was a PAIN IN THE REAR END! So, I don't know if it is worth shopping at Wal-Greens. What do you other couponers think?
And, because I like to keep track of this, my February totals:
Money spent: 205.23 (not including Wal-Greens- I did it! I got down to basically 200/month- granted, February is the shortest month, but still, I want to celebrate this accomplishment anyway!)
Money saved: 291.80 (not including Wal-Greens)
I still bought lots of stuff for food storage, so I consider this a great month!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Things That Make You Go "Hmmm..."

Apparently the Chilean earthquake literally knocked the earth off of it's axis. I am not a geologist/scientist/anythingist so I thought I would ask all you smarties out there: should we be worried? That seems like it's not a good thing. Any thoughts?
In other earth shattering news: Today Claire ate yams! YIPEE!!!! So far she has only willingly eaten mangoes and bananas, and rice cereal and oatmeal mixed with mangoes. I am glad we are expanding her food choices!