Saturday, January 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Blondie

Blondie had her 7th birthday this past Thursday, and today was the day for friends to come over. It was pretty mellow, and the kids just played well together.

There was a pinata,




Presents,




And a cake.



Simple day with good friends. Happy Birthday Blondie. We love you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

WHOOOOOOOO - check out the elbow

Okay, my family is giving me grief for my exuberance, but I am STOKED at what Blondie can do today. She can bend her left elbow and then straighten it out.

video

WHOOOOOOOO!!! Are you clapping? Are you cheering? Are tears running down your cheeks? Are you screaming, "BLONDIE, BLONDIE, BLONDIE?" I am (between coughs that is).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Water pictures from trip

First up the 2nd snorkel excursion to the river without Manatee.



Students diving down to the bottom - one trying to reach Captain Larry with the scuba gear.

Like swimming in a giant aquarium.


And then the 2nd Manatee excursion on Saturday.

My hand rubbing the back of a manatee





Aren't they cute? No wake Florida, and quit fertilizing your yards - these mammals are spectacular.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I almost forgot







I won't say it is because I am a bad mom, I won't say I am negligent. I will say that it no longer rules our life, and we are very blessed to be where we are.
Four years ago tonight, Brian and I sat in a pediatric ICU room holding the hand of our 3 yo Blondie, amazed at the gift of stillness. Rasmussen's had wrecked our lives for too long. That night we knew our life had veered a bit off the original track, but we were thankful for the ability of Dr. Park and Dr. Lee to give our daughter a new "normal."
Now, she rides a bike (with training wheels), roller skates, is learning to play tennis, knows how to swim, is in a regular first grade class, annoys her sisters, gets time outs, hates to clean her room, sneaks off to watch too much tv, is very silly, and eats anything loaded with sugar. This week she celebrates her 7th birthday - and unlike the picture above from her 3rd birthday in the hospital, this one will be happy, and giggly.
Now, the everyday, "regular" things take up our time, and we
only think about how to do things differently (adapt) when we need to do so. We don't worry about seizures, we don't worry about if she falls, we let her try anything she wants to do. We all live our lives, we don't live with Rasmussens.

Manatee pt. 2

Sorry, still no underwater pictures. I have the "crud" - to be honest I had it during the trip, so now I'm just dealing with it after swimming in the cold.

After our first manatee encounter on Friday, the students return to their rooms and get dressed into dry clothes, and pack for another wet adventure. We grab boxed lunch, and head to another river that is totally pristine. There are no manatee in this river because of the locks, but there are a lot of fish. Believe it or not this is one of the favorite places for everyone because all of the confidence and snorkeling skills tend to come together. They put us in a boat, and take us about half a mile up the river and then we put our flippers on while standing on a sandbar. The current is pretty strong, so you just have to float on top with your face in the water until you get back down to the park. It is very peaceful and like swimming in a giant aquarium. I went with the "strong swimmer" group, and those kids had a ball! There are some places where it is 15-20 feet deep, and they kept diving down trying to reach boulders on the bottom. One of the crew is a scuba diver who makes a video tape for us, and many of them tried to give him a high five. None of them want to get out when we reach the dock and ramps, but we finally corral them all, get dressed, grab pizza and head to a Manatee toy shop. Once they have purchased their Manatee trinkets we drive over to the Gulf of Mexico.

Apparently there is only this one little strip of beach (filled with every seagull in Florida) for about 100 miles. My teaching parter is very athletic so she had the kids out there playing boys v. girls football and they had a great time. Other kids chased the birds, or built castles in the sand. Around 6:30 the sun sets and we get back on the bus to head for the hotel. That night the kids are tired, but thrilled with their day, so there was a lot more evening plans for ice cream or shopping in the hotel gift shop. Even with their excitement they are all quietly in their rooms at 9:00 - do we have great students (and chaperones) or WHAT!

On the last morning we again get up early, get on a wet, wetsuit and head for the Manatee. Again, cold and foggy, but we head for another spot. This one is more residential, and has a sanctuary area full of manatee. It also has a channel to swim through up to a higher spring where some manatee hang out. It is a tough swim though because it is a stong current coming down a slight hill - I totally felt like a salmon trying to swim over the rocks and fighting that current. Of course you can't go into the sanctuary, but they were EVERYWHERE. A lot of people (another group) were standing up complaining they could only see the sleeping ones, and while their feet are on the sand they are totally missing the manatee swimming around their feet. This water was a little clearer than the other spot, so much easier to see, and it was shallower. There were two giant manatee sleeping just outside the sanctuary, and a bunch of younger ones - but not totally babies- swimming around. One came up and bumped me and as I tried to take a picture of his lovely face he quickly turned and gave me his back. After I rubbed it he turned over to have his belly rubbed - it was great.

We were out there for about an hour and a half, and then had to head back. We packed up, showered, put our bags on the bus and sadly drove away. It is a tremendous adventure, and I recommend everyone try it. Even little kids can do it - we saw a little boy about 4 with his 6 year old sister out there and they were having a great time. Once we got home it was great to see my kids, and they all got "prizes" from the toy shop - especially Cheesie who reassured me that she hadn't cried the whole time I was gone. Bonus.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Manatee

***You're going to have to check back tomorrow for pics because my underwater pictures are still on the cameras...You know I say tomorrow, but really I mean sometime because who knows when I will actually get it done.***


Every year my school takes the fifth graders go on a much anticipated Manatee fieldstudy. Last year I went with Big Al, this year I went with my class. WAY easier to go as the teacher - I didn't have to keep up with wet clothes and dry clothes for 3 little girls. We definitely put in work before by preparing this thing, but it is SO WORTH IT. Our first science unit of the year is landforms and oceans, and then we move into our second unit which is ecosystems.

Sorry about the flash in this one - window glare


Thursday the kids were all at school at 5:45 AM - early, but its a 7 hour-ish ride to Florida. On the way down, I kept pointing out marshes, and other ecosystems along the way - I'm sure they were listening, and their iPods and DS games were not being played. When we get down there we drove STRAIGHT to Homasassa Wildlife refuge. These folks take care of lots of animals that are found injured in the wild, or kept by idiots, or retired from movies. At the headwaters of a river they have put bars under a bridge to keep the injured manatee in, and the healthy ones out - but the bars are wide enough for the other creatures in the ecosystem (see how that sneaks in) can come and go on the river as they please. My students went to the underwater observatory in the river, and saw HUGE schools of fish and their first sighting of the manatee. They were THRILLED - and worried, because we were going to put them in the water with those things. We went to a Manatee presentation where a lady explained about the manatee rescue, and fed them. She climbed into the water with them, which was great because it showed the kids they were actually quite gentle animals. They asked a lot of fantastic questions, and were absolute EXEMPLARY in their behavior.
After Homasassa we then go to the hotel in a nearby town and drop our bags in our rooms. Then high tail it down to receive our borrowed wet suits. The water is always between 72 - and 74 degrees, so we need them to keep warm. We then get a gourmet meal of grilled hotdogs and potato salad, but we don't care because there are also ice cream stores and lots of junk food to eat in the rooms that our students have been so lovely as to bring. The rest of the evening is up to the chaperones, but GET THIS - we started a bed check at 8:30, and half of the rooms were already in bed and NO ONE was wandering the halls.
Now the good part. On Friday we got up at 6:30 a.m. to get a breakfast biscuit and OJ, and then don our "only time dry" wet suits and head for the boats at 7:15. We get "camel spit" in our goggles to keep them from fogging, and shiver and chatter our way out to the Manatee sanctuaries. It was so cold this time (felt good getting into the water) and it was SO FOGGY. "Kelly," I hear you ask, "Why must you go in January when it is actually 39 degrees this week in Florida." "Well," I answer,"The Manatee only come in from the ocean during the winter to the warmer (72 degree) water to survive." The sanctuaries are about a 15 minute ride (past GORGEOUS HOUSES - one of which is rumored to being currently built by J*hn Tra***ta). The manatee are endangered, so the state wildlife people have set up bouys with ropes and PVC pipe that they may swim into to avoid people, but people are allowed to snorkel just outside of them. They come out to visit though because they are incredibly curious. You may swim quietly and touch with one hand if they are not sleeping on the bottom - obviously you can't chase them, or swim into the sanctuary, or feed them. Because of the cold air temperatures lately in the south, the manatee were everywhere. The problem was, that not all of our students were keen on getting in the water. The first encounter is unnerving for some. You have to get used to a wetsuit, snorkel breathing, flipping your fins, and then the fact that these 1000 pound creatures are interested in you too can overwhelm those that haven't done it before. First we get the strong, gung-ho, swimmers off the boat. Then we convince the others to get in the water. Now, I sacrificed my manatee time the first encounter to try to get as many kids in the water as I could, because lets face it, they didn't know the crew, the crew (about 6 of them) didn't know how to talk to my kids, and their parents paid some serious cash in the current economy for their child to have an amazing adventure. I managed to convince two that they could do it (the crew worked with the others). All but one got in for more than a few minutes. The cool thing about the wetsuit is that you don't have to work to float in them, so there is really only mental blocks to overcome - swimming skills are preferred, but non swimmers aren't exempt if they have courage. I must confess that I lied...um .... exaggerated many times that morning because the kids I was trying to help wanted to swim but not deal with the big mammal thing. I kept telling them they weren't around us they were "over there" in some vague spot. They believed, but I need to confess none-the-less ('cause I saw snouts coming out of the water for air). We were out there for about 2 hours, and had a great time. On the way in the fog had lifted and we saw a lot of wildlife. We did learn that this area was once fairly clear water, but due to the fertilizer run-off from lawns, the algae likes to bloom and now the water is green and murky.
I'll post more tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow storm 2009, and pushups

We lived in the Seattle area for about 10 years, and used to crack up when we would have a blizzard, or a wind storm and King 5 news would name the storm. So in keeping with that tradition here are the details on SC Snow Storm, 2009.


Last night around 5:00 p.m. I was sitting here at the computer considering writing an article about Blondie, when I get an email from our school district saying that school is already closed for tomorrow. At that point, the news was forecasting anything from a dusting to 2 inches of snow. This of course means that our lovely southern state must shut down, and everyone needs to head to Piggly Wiggly for peanut butter, and batteries in case we're in the house for a long time. The girls were thrilled- I was less so. It sounds strange but I needed to be at school today because I only have 2 days to teach this week before I take my students down to Florida to swim with the Manatee. This meant ONE LESS DAY of FRACTIONS - and that just hurts.

The snow was supposed to show up between 3 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m. and then of course heat up to 90 degrees (okay, I exaggerate, 4o something). I woke up this morning around 7:30 to shrieks from Blondie and Cheesie as they experienced snow. Now these two started asking last year to go to the mountains so they could go sledding, so they couldn't wait to get out in the snow. Now, take a moment to glance at the pictures. If you live in Minnesota or New York, quit giggling (I hear you). It was only a dusting, but my kids were sure going to try to make at least one snowball from it. They spent all morning running in and out ('cause it was COLD). At one point I had several neighborhood kids in the house drinking hot chocolate, and chatting about the possibility of another snow day - keep in mind a 4 day weekend just changed into a 5 day weekend, and they wanted 6. It did flurry throughout the day - very pretty, but by lunch it was melting off of the roof and the ground, so they have no alternative but go to school tomorrow.
Both therapists came to the house today - OT does anyway since a car drove through the clinic, but PT came too, which was nice. I guess this way I didn't have to brave the .... um.... dry roads. Tonya (OT) has Blondie doing pushups. Tonya holds down her sleepy arm and then Blondie does all the work. Doesn't Blondie look like she enjoys it? I think not. I'm quite impressed with how far she is coming though. Kathy (PT) had her eating celery with lefty, and holding a skinny cup with two hands to drink. Blondie had to push her hand out to reach for it, open her fingers with help, and then hold onto the glass. This she did very well, considering that it is still hard to rotate that hand, but she did very well bringing her elbow into her side and dropping it down as her hand came up. Progress, folks, progress.
Bundle up. Low of 19 degrees tonight, High around 43 tomorrow.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Don't shoot your eye out, and pitching in

With four kids there comes a point (round about #3) that you own every toy known to man, and you really don't need anything else. You could push things and find something new to spend money on, but will it really be played with? So, about 2 years ago, my sister started taking the girls on a special day out for their birthday. It might be dinner and a movie, it might be a concert, or something they really want to do... it might still be a present they really want that they didn't get for birthday or Christmas.
Yesterday, was T-rex's turn. She had received a lot of things she wanted for Christmas, but one thing on her list was put on hold because honestly - it was not on my usual shopping route. So yesterday, Christy and I, my neice, and T-rex went to buy a simple bow and arrow set for T-Rex's archery lessons. She knows what she is doing, it isn't like I'm just handing my almost 10 yo a weapon and telling her to go play. We ended up on a rather rural road to a building that looked to house warehouse space, but right in the middle was a little door marking the archery "store." We walked in to the biggest collection of camouflage I have ever seen. Although I live in the south, and have lots of family and friends who hunt, I can honestly say that I have never sat in a deer stand, and have had countless students tell me they couldn't finish their Algebra " 'cause I was huntin." A man was in there buying a crossbow, and there were three generations of salesmen standing around and of course their old hunting hound. We quietly found what we were needing so she can practice in the yard for competitions, and then waited and waited while the men discussed the virtues of this particular crossbow. At some point the grandpa salesman noticed us, and got up to see that T-Rex was actually holding a bow, and found a couple arrows for her to notch up. Now, T-rex has zero intention of shooting an animal - ever, but the only target they had in the store had a deer crudely drawn on it, with the BIG HEART of it outlined in red. T-Rex of course hit it, and then the man started gushing about her hunting skills. Actually said more than once that he thought I had an indian on my hands - I'm thinking it was a compliment. These were VERY nice men, they just use bows very differently than T-Rex does, but they helped her out and got us on our way - if she ever makes the Olympic archery team we'll be sure to tell them, they want to watch. T-Rex had a very nice day out and about without the crowd of sisters tagging along, and when she got home she immediately set up some targets and started notching arrows - Don't shoot your eye out.


******************************************

On a completely different note, I was reading my yahoo groups today for kids like Blondie, and one person had mentioned that we rarely stop in our busy schedules to truly ask how someone is doing. We have many children facing the surgery right now, and the thread of "how are you" turned into what do you ask people to do who want to help. We've all offered at some point to help a family in need, and genuinely mean it, so I thought I might offere a list of things to specifically offer, because it is hard to take someone up on an offer when you don't know how deep they really want to go.


1.) Yard work - Did you see all those pinecones around T-Rex's picture. Neighbors picked those up when Blondie was sick.
Bag leaves, cut grass, trim hedges, lay down mulch, whatever - curb appeal will not be a priority.
2.) Pick up siblings - When Blondie was in the hospital I tried to keep the others on schedule and that required picking kids up from chorus, or girl scouts, or soccer, or horses, or whatever. If you're going.... pick up their kid.... don't take no for an answer unless they are using that activity to take a break from their crisis.
3.) Bring healthy food to the hospital or house - This is a given in the south, but I have found this is not automatic in other parts of the country in which I've lived. One of our neighbors is from up north, and when her husband had heart surgery she was genuinely perplexed at the idea of us making an extra meal for them. If you are the best friend, or family member, organize the schedule for the family. They don't need 3 pots of spaghetti in a row. Tell the family to give out your number if people want to feed them. I gained 35 pounds when Blondie was sick - make it healthy - watch those carbs.
4.) Babysit - even if they are in the next room, take the kids to the backyard so the parents can take a shower, or get their hair cut, or sit in a quiet house. If there isn't a medical issue with one of the kids then take them to the movies, or to your house to spend the night - even one child out of the house can make a difference. My mom used to sit with Blondie downstairs and I would sleep upstairs so that I could be roused in case of big seizures, but I really didn't want to be too far away. Some moms on my yahoo list are in school, and can't study because they are overwhelmed with watching their child.
5.) VISIT the hospital. Even if you can't stand hospitals, you aren't in it - they are. Nothing breaks up a day like a quick visit - bring something for them to do like books (read alouds or books on CD are great too), or play-doh, or bubbles, or whatever. Enough with the stuffed animals - we need diversion. Offer to stay with the child while the parent takes a shower in the next room - I couldn't bear the thought of Blondie sitting in that unlocked room with me in the shower.
6.) Grandparents/Aunts/Uncles - offer to take the child to one therapy (specific to the people I know). Even just once that gives a parent an unexpected moment of time that is a HUGE gift. Even if you can't do it every week - if you have the day off, step up.
Pray, and SEND MAIL OFTEN - even if they are at home, please send a quick note to let them know you are thinking of them and that the difficult time doesn't necessarily end when the hospital stay is over.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Brian is loving his new camera and all of the lighting buttons.
View from the back deck.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cheesie could sleep anywhere

Daddy's chair


Grandma's and Granddad's chair



The Couch


The Computer Chair - in the playroom




If its 7:30, Cheesie starts looking for a place to sleep. She sometimes just puts herself to bed. If we can't find her after 7 then we check her side of the bedroom to see if she is burrowed under the covers.





Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Praying for another Abby

I came across this little girl while reading some of my favorite blogs from people who have adopted special needs kids or have adopted and have large families (www.buildingtheblocks.blogspot.com and recoveringnoah.blogspot.com ) These ladies are great by themselves, but one of their friends is going through a crisis. Their daughter Abby has cancer and is beginning a very yucky part of her chemo. After watching my Dad go through treatment I can't even begin to tell you how difficult it is to think about a tiny little girl trying to fight. I watched my big strong dad become a very old man through his illness. So, I am throwing a LOT of prayers over to their Abby and her crisis, and remembering that miracles do happen. If you want to drop them a line you can find Abby's family at www.riggsfamilyblog.com . I don't know this family, but they have an amazing amount of strength.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quietly spiritual

I am generally a quietly spiritual person. I have a religion in which I have faith, and belief, but I don't generally speak about God to many people. I know people who have experienced the same crisis my family has faced, and then share their testimony with others through church or groups. That isn't me. I guess I have my blog to share our experiences, but I will rarely speak about God here. For me it is a private belief, a private place for me to be at peace with myself and God.

My aunt posted this video from youtube on her facebook (Thanks Liz) and I think it fits the theme we try to live as a family. We teach all of our children that they are miracles. They are not defined by their looks, or their money, or their disability or illness (they all have "issues"). Rather they are defined by their character, and their abilities to help others. This is what I try to teach my children. It was brought to my attention earlier this year when Blondie brought home a biography type assignment early in first grade. One of the questions asked, "Why are you special?" Blondie wrote that she was special because she had brain surgery. It caught me off guard because that isn't what makes her special. She has incredible perseverence, and is FUNNY as ... heck. She is generally cheerful and outgoing. Now when Cheesie had the same question for her class she said, "I am special because I am Cheesie." Same family, different perspectives. So then I really took a look at how I speak to Blondie about the type of person she is, and we continue to work on perfecting things that have nothing to do with her body or therapy. I'm glad there are people like this man out there to give us all a little reality check.

We knew several months before my Dad passed away that he wasn't responding to chemo. I was stressed, I was sad, I was angry. I happened to go to my daughter's school that day and heard from the teacher that she hadn't done her schoolwork for a few days - unacceptable. I only had to look at her to hear the excuse. She told me that it was hard to concentrate because Granddad was so sick. I erupted. Shouldn't have.... but I did. "Don't you dare use Graddad as an excuse not to do your work." I went on to rant that my father valued independence and responsibility and found great honor in work. These things were important to him. There was never an excuse not to do your best, we might fail, but we had to put forth our best work. I later recounted this conversation to Dad, and it was the first time I ever heard him cry (we were on the phone). He said, "You get it Kelly, you understand what I believe." I promised to carry on that same philosophy to my girls, which I do everyday.

I believe God may expect the same things from us as people - disabled or not. We take whatever comes our way and we move through the experience. We can't hide from it, we must participate in it - painful or joyous. We need to learn from the experience and grow as people, not wallow in the negative energy. We are all miracles, but we need to learn to be as independent as possible and responsible for ourselves. We need to help others, and find honor in working.

I'm finished rambling. Enjoy the evening.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Simple machines






Big Al came home with a simple machine project over Christmas, and had to build a contraption that used 3 simple machines. At the same time, our state museum had an exhibit with examples of Da Vinci's drawings made into huge models.



We took all of the girls to see the exhibit last weekend. Whoever put it together was quite intelligent because many of them were hands-on. Cheesie and Blondie just wanted to touch EVERYTHING and make it work, T-Rex had been with her class, and used Da Vinci for her leadership project, so she was going in to great detail about all of the exhibits. It was great to listen to her because she remembered most of the information, and didn't need to stand there and read everything - so she obviously got a lot out of it. As Big Al and I walked through we were looking for examples of levers, pulley, inclined planes, etc - which each of them had.










So Big Al decided to make a candy dispenser and she and Brian spent today in the garage. There was some serious suffering for her project because they had to go to Home Depot 3 times (all of my girls hate that store) for things they didn't buy in the first place. I was worried this would be one of those projects where the parent had to do it and the kid got the credit, but Brian had her cutting boards and using the drill, spray painting, etc. He did have to help a lot with the engineering, but I think Big Al was enthusiastic about working on it. So how does it work? You take your candy, and pour it in the hole at the top. It collects in the funnel, and when the lever is pulled it releases the candy down the inclined plane to the candy dish waiting at the bottom.


Please don't point out to her that you could just pour the candy into the dish itself, she is quite proud of herself.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back to the regularly scheduled program

If you have read this blog related to therapy, I'm sure you've noticed my frustration with the lack of services in my town. Well, thankfully our therapist opened her own place a few months ago and we of course followed her over. It is a townhouse sort of building with a storefront (therapy clinic) downstairs, and a two story condo above (which they rent). Apparently on New Year's Eve, after she had left (THANK YOU LORD!), the former husband of the tenant decided to drive his car through the back of the clinic to get the attention of his former wife. THANKFULLY, Kathy had pulled out a bunch of the things a few days before to do inventory, and adjust to a new business snag that has come up so nothing but the building was damaged. But that is the problem isn't it.... the building is damaged. So Kathy moved a couple of doors down to a fitness place that allows her to use it during the day, and Tonya (OT) now comes to our house. I am very glad that these women are so flexible and so obviously dedicated to the children they serve.

So Blondie had a spectacular therapy yesterday, but I only got a few pictures of OT because I had forgotten the camera. But, Blondie is beginning to ROTATE HER THUMB UP. I know, for the unititiated that is small potatoes, but Blondie's "sleepy" hand wants to desperately rotate so that her thumb is totally down. PT got her moving it some yesterday, and then I was able to capture a picture of OT having her raise it to touch her nose - again - tough for her to do. It requires the elbow being brought in close to the body, muscles that don't want to
work being forced to stretch, and finally that wrist rotated a tiny bit to bring the thumb around. Progress folks, progress.






On another topic. ... Remember when I was rooting for Big Al to stick it to the band director and show him that she could be a percussionist, but I was being a good mom and allowing her to earn it herself without that annoying parent phone call being placed? Well, somehow her bell set (looks like a metal xylophone thingie to me) has found a home in my foyer. The foyer with terrible sound reflecting tiles (which will sometime this year be replaced with hardwood 'cause I didn't put those ugly things in) that allow ding ding dings to bounce up the stairwell and into every room in my house. THEN, it was left out so that little sisters could practice their own "musicology" on it. Since Blondie can't work two sticks at one time - yet - she talked Cheesie into holding the other one.


All this was being presided over by Maggie. She sleeps on our stairs, just high enough to see through the front windows and guard us from cars passing by, and those darn people who insist on exercising on her road. So if you ever pop over and need to use the stairs - be sure to skip the 4th one from the bottom, because that spot is taken.



Thursday, January 1, 2009

Closing a chapter, starting another

My first intention in starting this blog was to post for family members, and allow myself a place to vent about raising my kids, and to show how one of my super kids was really living quite the normal life after a very abnormal experience. At first it focused mostly on Blondie, but I realized that our world didn't revolve just around Blondie, but around the 6 of us and our extended family. I really didn't expect to see many people reading this, but then Jessie's family linked up to us, and a LOT of people started checking in on Blondie, and we began receiving emails about how our way of trying to plod through life helped others.


Last year we lost my dad, and yesterday my Great Aunt Ruby (a fantastic person), we experienced an Arlington funeral, and learned to move forward. Blondie finished Kindergarten, and Cheesie started, now all are in school. I switched jobs, we switched therapies, and we switched some after school activities. We started a garden, ate from the garden, and tried to live a little healthier - Dad's cancer was a BIG motivater. I've lost 14 pounds, and have a ways to go between the weight gained when Blondie was in the hospital, and the weight that wasn't lost after Cheesie was born the year before that... another motivation from the the cancer.

This year.... well.... who knows. Definitely going to continue to lose weight. Definitely going to do the garden again, although maybe larger. We need to live an even healthier lifestyle, so we need to work on that. I hope to use those little grocery bags we now have that always stay on the hook or in the car but never with me in the store. I hope to get more organized (HA - definitely the one that will get dropped pretty early). We will continue to post Blondie's progress, as well as the strides made by all of our girls, but we recognize that Blondie may get more blogspace because it might help others. T-Rex and I are determined to make a lot of things this year, so we'll post our project progress too.



So for now, we just keep moving forward.

Kelly