Monday, October 31, 2011

This is Halloween...

Oh my goodNESS.  Halloween is so much fun with little kids!  Trick or treating?  I'm sure I loved it as a kid, but it's possible that trick or treating with Callie and Sammy was way more fun than doing it myself as a kid.  uhhhhh maybe not.  But still.  Callie was so excited and said cute things like:

"oooo this one may be a bit scary guys"
"Now Sammy, this may be scary for you"
"I'm Callie and this is my sister Sammy.  But she's older than me.  Happy Halloween."
After being given a handful of candy: "WOA!  It's almost full to the top!"

Her excitement for life was palpable and it was so. much. fun.

Halloween this year lasted not one, but 3 days over here. 
1) Ward Halloween Party.  Fantastic.  Sammy won "Prettiest Costume." 
2) Sammy's Halloween party at school.  Marcus brought Callie (while I was stuck in an office downtown...grrrr) and she walked in the parade at the elementary school and played some games afterward.
3) The real deal.  Halloween night.  Trick or treating.

Here's a small glimpse of our insane fun.

Friday night, before the ward Halloween party


Rapunzel and Snow White
Callie chose the Halloween costumes this year.  She did a good job.

At the Halloween party

Sammy and Callie at school's Halloween party.  This was before the parade.  I think Callie had fun participating in Sammy's school party.  One thing that I love about Callie is how much she loves her sister.  She is protective over her, but also, in a way, proud to be her sister.  Everywhere she goes, she makes sure people know that Sammy is her sister.  She looks forward to being with her.  She loves waiting for her after school.  She just loves being with her.  So I was very happy that the school was more than happy to have Callie included in their parade.

These 2 fourth graders love Samantha.  They volunteer almost everyday in Samantha's class where they read stories and play games with all the kids.  They have grown quite attached to Samantha's sweet.

Post-parade dancing.

Halloween night.

this was the best I could do getting a picture of the both of them together.

Trick or treating

At the end of the night, Callie couldn't have been more ready to rip into her candy ~ and Sammy more ready to go to bed.  It was a fantastic night.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Out of It No More

I've been so completely out of it lately.  So much has been going on I can hardly keep my head straight it seems.  I've been burdened with a lot of worry...a bit of fear...and it has totally taken over me.  I've never had this experience before.  And I've come to a point where, unfortunately, I have shut down.  It's hard for me to put my heart into anything but my family.  At least, I guess, I feel like I can put heart into them.  I've really really struggled.

Then, today, something clicked.  I talked to a friend and began to cry a little.  Surprisingly, it helped.  I also taught a lesson in Young Women.  It went well.  In fact, it was fantastic...if not for them, for me.  Afterward, I held a presidency meeting with our class presidency.  This is something I've been wanting to do for a very long time, but today, we started and set up a schedule to do it regularly.  Today we celebrated Scotty's birthday and played with Nathaniel.  I talked to my mom on the phone.  And I started looking for a house for rent for a family moving here from Michigan.  I accomplished good things today.  And it made a difference. 

A few times last week I logged on to update our blog and almost immediately logged out.  I didn't have anything to say...even though I did.  humph  Anyway, now I'm back in the swing of things.  No more Ms. Out-of-it.  I think I've turned a corner and am ready to live again.  And it feels good (or at least, better).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

* Apple Crisp Muffins

Oh how I love these muffins.  And so does the family.  So, that's great.  These are vegan, but don't taste like cardboard.  Yippee!  They are baking as I type...and I think everyone should make these.  Today.  Happy October.

1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. rolled oats
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. raw sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
a dash of nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 c. apple, diced
1/4 c. pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease muffin tin or spray paper liners to prevent sticking and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices together until well combined. Add applesauce, sugars and maple, then stir until almost combined. add apples, stirring until just combined. Spoon into muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle additional oats and brown sugar over top if desired. Bake 18-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Nutritional information Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 muffin

Amount per serving:
Calories 124; Fat 0.40g; Carbohydrate 28.80g; Dietary Fiber 2.40g; Sugars 15.40g; Protein 1.80g

Recipe courtesty of The Happy Herbivore

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sammy's Video

Now I Can just sent a video of Sammy during her therapy.  It was so so fun to relive those 3 weeks.  We haven't even been home 2 weeks, but it feels like it was so long ago that we were there.  Anyway, it was a fun video of her to watch.  I'm so proud of her!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Community

When I became pregnant with Samantha, I had no idea I was joining a community that would be so uplifting.  I certainly knew I'd join the ranks of motherhood and would be connected to the millions around the world who are parents.  The idea of starting our family filled me with  True joy.  We made our decision to start our family, and do it right away.  We knew it was right, and we felt such deep happiness.

But, parenthood is filled with a many of sub-groups, or sub-communities. 

mothers of daughters
mormon families
"newlywed" parents
student families
BYU babies

special needs families

I never could have anticipated that we would be entering the special needs community.  And as shocking as it was at first, I have felt a change of heart.  That shock has turned to love and deep appreciation for the many I have met who have been in this community far longer than I have.  I've learned from the many who continue to share their insights and their hearts with me. 

I know I've shared this before, but I have loved being a part of Kidz.  Recently, it was featured on KSL in Utah.  Even though Tara, who started the blog, is from Utah and so it gets a lot of readers from there, this is a blog that helps people worldwide.  I'm so honored to be a part of it.  One of my favorite parts of being in Utah, aside from Samantha's progress with therapy, was being able to meet some of these moms who I've been writing with and getting to know.  Meeting them in person helped solidify my love and compassion for them. 

This community is incredible.  Some of the kindness, gentlest, wisest people I know are elite members of the special needs community, and I'm happy to be a part of it...even if it means some heartache here and's one great group to be a part of.

And being a part of this community, led us to entering another:

families who adopt

What a blessing.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Had to Share....

I need to pack up the car.  We're headed back to California tomorrow, the kids are in bed, Marcus is at the football game, and I really really need to load up the car and get things ready so we can leave in the morning.  But, I needed a distraction.  Why?  Because I needed to be distracted from the deep sadness I feel from losing a pair of earrings that I still can't find.  When I feel up to it, I'll share about these earrings.

So, Pinterest came to my rescue.  Thanks Pinny.  You always do the trick.  And when I saw this, I laughed.  And laughed some more.  In fact, I think my spirits are sufficiently bouyed up enough to carry on.  But, I do need to share this before I start working again.  (I'm sure this makes me a horrible mom....but it still makes me laugh.  Maybe because Marcus' family is such Lord of the Rings fans...this is Lord of the Rings, right?  That's how backward I am.)

Sweet dreams friends.

And you thought putting your child on Santa's lap was bad?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kneeling and Standing

We, able bodies, take positions like kneeling and standing for granted.  But, when you can't do those things, and then begin to...and do it  It's pretty awesome. 

Today I caught some video of the Lil' Samsquatch kneeling and standing.  Yes, she's in her suit so that helps, but not until today could she hold a position this long.  She's a champ.

As a side note: Brady is the volunteer today.  I find Sammy growing an affection with him -- and it occurred to me that he looks like David!  As in, cousin David.  Family, any of you agree?  Susan, could Brady be your son?  I think so.


Pictures taken in the middle of Olympic dives.  Hilarious!  I love it.  

A Thank You Letter

I was asked to write a letter to the donors at Now I Can, explaining our experience.  I thought I'd write it here as well.  I was also asked to post it on Kidz.

To Whom it May Concern:

When we stumbled across Now I Can, it felt right.  I frequently follow my feelings -- but this feeling required more money than I usually spend, so I did my research.  And our decision was made.  We weren't sure how, but we were getting our Samantha to Utah.

After we decided, we scheduled her session, and miracles began to happen.  The finances appeared little by little.  A place to stay opened up for us (we are from California).  And everything just fell into place.

Upon arriving and beginning therapy at Now I Can, those tiny miracles continued.  Samantha is 5 years old with extremely tight muscles (high muscle tone).  In just 3 weeks, I've seen more improvement in her body and body control than I've seen in over a year!  She stands with increased stability now, flat on her feet a majority of the time.  She stands straight up instead of with her back hunched over.  And she extends her arms out further than she once could.  

Since being here, I've seen many physical changes in her, but I also see a proverbial door opening up for her as she gains control and learns to master her body.  What an incredible gift of increased quality of life.  With each stretch and movement here, her future opportunities are increasing.  She gains better knowledge of the world around her as she gains the proper mobility that enables her to explore it.  Again, what a gift.

Please take it most sincerely when I say Thank You.  Thank you for supporting Now I Can -- a seemingly small facility that brings about incredible change.

Jeanette G.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Last week I was able to meet up with some friends.  I was so glad I could.  These are little kiddos I've been wanting to meet for a long time (though there are still so so so many more that I want to meet -- and their moms!).  It was a nice, warm day at the park in Provo.  These are some amazing moms and some amazing kids.  My heart just feels so full thinking about them.
Chrystal, Hunter, and Kaitlin 



At the swings.

Callie, Chloe, Tara, and Sammy

Chloe and Samantha actually became quick friends.

All of the kids -- Chloe and Sammy gazing at each other, Callie trying to be patient, Kaitlin looking a bit bored, and Hunter just waiting it out. :)
Me and Sammy with the beautiful mountain backdrop.

Jumping Jacks

Well, I'm a little behind on things I wanted to write about.  Oh well.

Yesterday, after therapy, we needed to go have some fun.  We needed to just ~ have fun.  One of the therapists at Now I Can gave me some discounted passes to a place called Jumping Jacks not too far from here.  We went, and we loved it!  Then we hit Cafe Rio.  It was a pretty great afternoon.

Sammy was sooo happy!

And our little dare devil Callie -- she was all about doing it herself .  It was pretty fun to watch her.

So, I like this picture of Sammy because you can really see her standing straighter.  Sometimes I still think "Is this therapy doing anything?"  But then I see this and realize...look at her shoulders pulled back, she's standing straight up, etc.  She may look a little crazy, but she's standing straight.

Aw.  Sammy's so cute.  And ... my hair is brown.

So.  Much.  Fun.

This was just what we needed.  A day of fun.

This is moments before Marcus drops her down the big slide.  She loved it.  Check out the video.

I think this video is hilarious.  Samantha loved the slide, which is great.  But it's Callie that makes this so fun.  She runs up and tackles Sammy after she gets down.  Ahhhh sister love.  Sometimes I'm reminded of just how perfectly imperfect our family is.  I love that Callie and Samantha have this bond that only true sisters have.  It doesn't matter their background...these 2 are sisters ~ in every meaning of the word.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Almost Over?

I cannot believe that the time has passed so quickly. When we arrived, I thought, for sure, that these 3 weeks were going to feel like very long THREE weeks. But, the time has just flown by for me.

Samantha is doing well. She still cries but tolerates a bit more each day. I've wondered if she had a different problem -- like instead of having super tight muscles she had really low muscle tone -- if that would make the experience less painful and difficult for her. I hate to hear her cry and be upset. But, I do know it's good for her. And, admist the cries, she still smiles. She still stumbles when she walks, but overall, I can see that she is more comfortable in a more erect posture. She stands taller and straighter. And, if you think about it, babies learn to stand before they start taking those first steps. So, I'm good with her getting a solid standing posture.

I just can't believe it's Tuesday of our last week. I feel so blessed to have been here. Sergio has a gift and I am grateful he was able to work with Samantha. I look forward to April when we hope to return.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Peter PanPeter Pan by J.M. Barrie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was so fun to read.  I partly wanted to read it because my sister-in-law, Annie, rates this among her favorite books.  But, I have been wanting to read a good, fun book.  This fit the bill.  In the Disney version of Peter Pan, I liked Peter (or I think I did).  In the book though, I found myself annoyed with him.  Perhaps I'm just too grown-up.

It was a fun book that Callie keeps asking me to read to her -- and I will one day.

View all my reviews


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