Saturday, January 31, 2015

Blessed to Swing!

My Riley girl loves to swing! I have been very worried because she is quickly growing out of her swing and special needs equipment is incredibly expensive, well beyond my budget. There are just so many little ways like this that having a disability like Cerebral Palsy will get ya! If my girl likes to swing, then I really want her to be able to swing!

Well I have such exciting news!! June Mittelstaedt is an incredibly generous family friend who is also an occupational therapist. She had a patient who had an extra JennSwing, which is this awesome special needs equipment swing that I could really only dream of buying for Riley because it is way too expensive!

And June DONATED it to US!!

I am so overwhelmed by the generosity and feel SO incredibly blessed! Now Riley will be able to swing for many, many more years!! This is such a huge blessing for us!

She really loves the new swing and was seriously in it for over an hour this afternoon! I didn't know your arm could get tired from pushing a swing! And Miss Keagan loves it too but Riley barely let her have a chance in it! I have a feeling that is going to be a problem for many years to come! And since both girls will be able to swing side by side for many years, that will be a great problem to have!

For the millionth time, we are so blessed!

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Button Pusher

Oh this girl knows how to push my buttons! She is so strong willed, loves to be in control and has two cents to put in about everything. Which really means she is determined, knows what she wants and is observant and smart! So it's great stuff, it is. But it sure can be hard to parent some days! Today was one of those days!

And then I'm at the school and one of the secretaries stops me to tell me how impressed she is with Miss Keagan. Apparently at lunch today some girls were being mean to another girl in their class and wouldn't let her sit by them. This secretary saw Keagan go over and get the girl who has a hard time in class and say "you can sit by me!"

And then my heart melts. You have no idea how proud this made me!

When we talked about it after school she told me "that's what Jesus would do." And man is she right! How lucky am I to have a daughter as such a wonderful example?!

With all my impatience and struggle with Keagan some days, I am still in awe of this incredible little girl! She is helpful, smart, totally hilarious and makes me think. She is wise beyond her years and has so much to show this world! I'm truly blessed to be her mom! Buttons pushed and all!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Celebrate Good Times!

We are celebrating around here this week! Which really means I am trying desperately not to focus on all the hard stuff and make the great stuff great! These girls really do provide me with some good material to celebrate!

Keagan received an award at her school awards ceremony on Monday! It's the "Bronco of Responsibility" award! She didn't even tell me about it, I just found it in her back pack. She acted like it was no big deal but when I emailed her sweet teachers to ask about it, this was Mrs Jones reply.."It was a huge deal!! She was chosen for showing responsibility in the classroom and at school! The principal, assistant principal, and counselor chose the recipient- Tricia and I had no clue!!! We were very proud of her!" I am SO proud of that amazing girl too!!

Yesterday we got to celebrate the Foster's house having a birthday! Yes we celebrate our house's birthdays and you should too! Especially if you have a sister who will make an amazing rainbow cake!

We are also celebrating the amazing weather outside! 75 degrees and sunny is my favorite kind of winter in Houston, TX!

And finally, we celebrated that Riley got her own banana this weekend and somehow she peeled it and ate it all by herself!! She snuck off to do so and was pretty proud of herself!

Almost as proud as she was of carrying her own basket at Walgreens today!

These last two I had to really try hard to celebrate with her and not get frustrated! I can't say I was 100 percent patient and nice about cleaning up smushed banana everywhere or our quick pharmacy trip taking twice as long today. But I can say that there are no two people that I would rather do it all for or celebrate with!

Love ya girls!

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Friday, January 23, 2015

A For Effort!

It was report card day today! Yes, it's just Kindergarten, but I am SO proud of my girls!

Miss Keagan received ALL E's for this grading period! That's the equivalent of all A's! The "E" stands for excellent! And Miss Riley received 11 E's and 5 S's which would be the equivalent of a B. The S is for satisfactory. Her Aunt Sa is rather miffed that Riley would receive anything less then an E. But for things like "uses time wisely" and "general conduct" I can understand an S. Those time outs will come back to bite ya!

But I am very proud of both girls! I reminded them that the reason I am proud is all about their effort! If they try hard then I will always be proud! Congrats girlies!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Heart Attack!

When we were pulling out of the driveway this morning, I was more the startled by one of Keagan's famous loud as her momma screams! She was screaming because we had been heart attacked! Some darling family and/or group had showered us with love last night by sticking hearts on sticks all around our yard and hanging hearts on string in our trees and bushes! It was seriously the cutest thing ever and made us feel incredibly loved! Thanks to our amazing anonymous friends!!

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Another Day

Another day, another doctors appointment for Riley. At least it was just the Orthopedist and at least they have an awesome waiting room! We will go back in a couple of weeks to get Riley's new hand splint.

Then it was party time on our day off at the mall! This is good low cost entertainment at it's finest folks! Special needs kids ride the carousel for free, and then the pet store and riding the escalator up and down a gazillion times cost my sanity but not my wallet! So I sprang for dippin dots.

And then we seriously enjoyed the 70 degrees and sunny weather! Gotta love January in Houston!

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Mornin

Singing..."easy like Sunday mornin!"

I'm thankful for this years 1 o'clock church time slot! I still have to wrestle Riley to get her to church and in Sacrament meeting. But it's working out much better then 9am!

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Mommy Fails

Mommy fails. We all have them. Some days I have more mommy fails then other days. On the heels of Riley getting locked in the bathroom the other night, I really should be on my game! Instead, today was not my best mommy day.

After being up quite a lot last night, Riley woke up this morning bright and early at the unforsaken hour of 5:10. When I brought her in my bed to desperately try to get her to go back to sleep, she somehow wiggled out of my arms and fell flat on the floor! Of course it was right on her face! Serious mommy fail!

Later, Riley wasn't doing what Keagan wanted her to. Keagan thought I had left the room so she said "Holy crap Riley! You are driving me insane!" Wow!! I wonder where she has heard those exact same words before. Definitely a mommy fail!

Even later, both girls were in the bathroom because apparently none of us can tinkle in private! Through the door in a cutesy voice I hear Keagan say "Riley you are SO lucky! You get to go poopies in a diaper. I have to go poopies in the toilet. See this toilet Riley? My poopies goes in here. You just get to poop in your diaper and mommy will clean it up!" Yep! That happened. I'm really teaching her right.

Then I apparently destroyed the greatest fort in the history of all forts that Keagan was going to live in for the rest of her life! Mommy fail.

Tonight we went to the gym with our wonderful Gamas to play. Kellie, Addie and Natalie Meyers came with. When both girls went diving in the foam pit, I fished Riley out by the foot swinging her upside down. I let everybody basically throw the baby around, let Riley skin her chin on the trampoline, let Kelly jump over the rest of the fragile children, and full on yelled at Addie and Keagan for their endless fighting- twice! Not my best mommy moments for sure!

Everyone is beyond exhausted tonight, so hopefully we all get a good nights sleep and do better tomorrow then we did today! It's amazing I haven't screwed these kids up more then I have by this point! But hey, I got a long way to go. They're only six!

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Play by Play

I'm much too tired to put any effort into being interesting or witty tonight! My day was far from boring, but this post will be boring. A play by play of the day...

A fantastic morning at the Temple.

Lunch with Taryn and Melissa Hecker at Outback to take a trip down memory lane.

The sun is finally out again so we played outside after school. Riley seriously pedaled her tricycle a couple of times! We have been trying to get her to do that in PT for like 3 years! That's huge and so exciting!!

Oh and her sister played on her harmonica while she rode around with her two babies in tow. Hilarious!

Dinner with Fosters of course.

Riley got herself locked in the bathroom at Miss Taryns house all by herself! It took us like 15 minutes, a prayer and the rockstar Miss Taryn totally removing the handle off the door to get her out!

I got my Christmas gift to myself in the mail! So exciting! It's my blog printed for 2013 and 2014! PS I also bought myself new flip flops and a pink Swiss Army Knife key chain. And I wonder where Keags gets her weirdness!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Tiny Dancer

She begged to switch from gymnastics to dance. I didn't tell her this, but she really didn't need to beg! I'm happy for her to do what I love! And she is happy to be in the same class as her sweet friend Tiernan from preschool!

She did a great job and I just love a little girl in a black leo, pink tights and ballet shoes! I wish she could wear it all day!

Ok I promise I won't turn into some kind of crazy stage mom, but seriously when she put her hands on her hips and did a pliƩ in first position, I about had a heart attack!

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Why I am Happy

One day when my girls read my blog, which I print out into books by years, I want them to know...that I am happy.

It's by choice that I am happy. There is a serious amount of things in my life that I could choose to focus on that could really make me unhappy. But, instead I pick happiness. It's not always easy and I have bad days and moments ALL the time. But overall I am very happy. And this is how...

I strongly believe a grateful heart is a happy heart! A grateful person is a happy person! I have learned to live this principle with the help of The Lord, and it has dramatically helped improve my life. Keagan and Riley please count your blessings! I have lots to count and I count each of you twice!

Celebrate the little things! Yesterday I did three loads of laundry and all the socks had matching pairs! That made my whole day. Seriously! It's the little things! Don't wait for big things to celebrate.

Things don't make you happy! Don't waste your time trying to fill voids with things. It's everything that you can't buy that will bring you joy! Relationships, experiences, memories, hugs and kisses, laughter, learning something new, good conversations, peace from The Lord. Spend your time seeking those things!

And with every part of me, I know this to be true, so please listen. If you follow The Lord and do His will, you will be happy. It won't mean your life will be easy, but it will be happy. And you will definitely make mistakes but that is what our Savior is for. Repent and rely on The Lord. I know it will bring you joy!

Oh How I love you! And oh how I hope you will be happy!

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Monday, January 12, 2015

New Heights

This hotshot of mine has been really rockin her therapy lately! Her new Occupational Therapist, Mrs Wiltse, is working out fantastically well and Riley is working hard to make some progress!

Today she worked so hard and decided to push and challenge herself! For the first time ever she stacked some pegs all by herself to build a tower! This is very difficult with her high tone and low motor planning. I am SO proud of her! And she was proud of herself so of course we celebrated!

She is constantly pushing and striving! And though her steps may be small and much further behind on the path then others her age, she is moving in the right direction with an incredible strength, overcoming all the obstacles in her way!

She never ceases to amaze and teach me! I'm so proud of you Miss Riley!

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

One on One

Today I got some very unusual and precious one on one time with each of my girls! They are different when they are by themselves and we all need this time. I held each of their little hands in mine and hoped that would never end!

First up was taking Keagan to get her new dance stuff. She has decided to switch from gymnastics to dance, so we needed the gear. She was so cute trying on shoes and was very specific about her black leotard. She didn't want any rhinestones, lace, extra straps, etcetera and wanted to try them all on. Once we were in the dressing room she proceeded to leap and turn while wearing the three different ones she had picked out. She settled on the one that she could "dance the best in!" It was seriously precious! Having danced my whole life and gotten so much out of it, I'm secretly hoping she really loves this!

Then Riley and I went to a birthday party together! It was the cutest Toy Story party for her sweet friend Noah from school. And it's a plus that I love his mom, we went to high school together. We had a great time! Riley made herself right at home, had way too many chips, devoured a cupcake and greeted all of guests in true Riley fashion.

I guess a little time apart did these girls some good cause they were just as sweet as could be at bed time! They laid together, giggled, cuddled, kissed and did the hug a mugga (rub noses)! Seriously it doesn't get much more heart bursting then this!

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Friday, January 9, 2015

It Happened!

One of the things that is extra challenging in our family because of Riley's Cerebral Palsy is eating on the go. Even though the girls are six, I can't usually just grab them something to eat in the car. I've discovered a few little options, but not much. You would be surprised how often I wish this wasn't a problem. But, Riley just needs quite a bit of feeding help still. The girl also makes a serious mess and eating is a little bit of an event. One that she definitely loves!

But tonight, it happened!! Totally unprompted, Keagan fed Riley in the car!! It was seriously amazing!

I know that sounds silly, but in our world this is a big deal! After dinner out with the French's, we stopped by Sa's house to say hi. One thing led to another and I ended up with a bunch of girls in my car for a Starbucks run. Keagan really wanted to be cool like the big girls and get a vanilla shake. I told her it had to be a small and she had to split it with Riley. She agreed. Then once the gaggle of girls was dropped off, Keagan took the initiative to feed her sister the treat! She was so sweet about it and Riley was beyond giddy! I'm not sure if Riley liked the shake or that Keagan was feeding her more! And I'm not sure Riley swallowed any of it because she was giggling so much. Either way it was a really great moment!

I'm not so sure we've got a total solution or how often this will go so smoothly again with everyone cooperating. But I'm so thankful that my little family of three faces our challenges together and we always find a way to make it work! Once we've got this little challenged conquered, I'm thinkin road trip!

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Filling in the Gaps

My thoughts wandered today on an afternoon walk with my girls on a gorgeous January day in Texas.

I looked at this beautiful girl of mine in awe, as she was sailing ahead of me. I said a quick prayer as she raced, floated and danced away on her scooter, thanking The Lord for loaning her to me knowing full well that I would be doing this alone and raising her incredible and special sister too with all of my short comings and weaknesses.

As I admired my Keags I prayed that our struggle back and forth for her to have control, doesn't diminish her great determination.

I prayed that my impatience with her doesn't ever crush her confidence and unique and amazing spirit.

I prayed that the attention that I sometimes have to give Riley because of all her extra needs doesn't decrease her self worth.

And I prayed that even though it's just me (with added love from family and friends) that she will feel loved and treasured like she deserves!

I often worry that these things, these places where I fall short, are holding my Keagan back from all that she deserves. And then I hand it over to The Lord. I ask Him to be my partner and give her what I'm not, or what I can't, and to help me do better for both of them each day.

Hopefully that, and my unconditional love and adoration will be enough to fill in these big gaps and give her wings to fly. It's one of my greatest prayers. And as far as I can see, she is on her way there.

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Back At It!

Our Christmas break officially ends tonight. It has been a great two weeks with a whole lot of not much!

Overall we were pretty lazy. Stayed in our jammies, watched movies, played games, had tea parties, and cuddled, wrestled, tickled and laughed.

They go back to school tomorrow and they are happy to see their friends and teachers. I am happy to get back to our regular routine but I may miss these little people a little!

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Good Start!

We had a great start to 2015!

Since it's cold and rainy we cuddled up in our jammies and watched movies. Then we enjoyed football, friends (they are much more like family) and fun at the Dibbles. And dinner with the Fosters where Keagan finally got to make her "big hooja sanwhich"

Somewhere in between there we sat down to write out our goals for 2015. We had talked about goals for Family Home Evening on Monday and I was really proud of Keagan for thinking about and coming up with her own goals!

Our Family goals are patience! Patience! Patience! And to read the scriptures every night. My goals are more water, a lot less coke. Less crap, more veggies. No yelling and attend the Temple 15 times. Keagan's goals, which she came up with are to finish learning how to read and count to 100, and no arguing! Riley's goals are to learn her colors and how to jump! I think those are all really good goals and totally reachable. I can't wait.

And finally I LOVED these thoughts on a new year from Elder Jeffrey R Holland that I found today...

"So, as a new year starts and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone, nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives....Dismiss the destructive and keep dismissing it until the beauty of the Atonement of Christ has revealed to you your bright future and the bright future of your family and your friends and your neighbors. God doesn’t care nearly as much about where you have been as He does about where you are and, with His help, where you are willing to go. "

Happy New Year! Can't wait to see what 2015 has in store!

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