February 24, 2011

The Most Amazing People

Recently I was able to take the kiddos to go and visit my Grandmother. She's a pistol, that one.(The one on the right.) She's strong, independent, incredibly intelligent and would do just about anything for her family. She's brought us all through some hard times and given us reason to laugh. She's creative and good at whatever task she sets her mind to. She's totally computer literate and will show her grandkids and great grandkids a thing or two about her top of the line laptop and what it can do. She's almost 80 and drove herself down the west coast to visit family and friends for a month or so. She doesn't plan on stopping these trips any time soon either. We were able to visit her in AZ. I miss living closer to her.
     When she's learning something or teaching something you learn quickly that good enough is not good enough. If it's not right, you get to do it until it is. One memory of a lesson from her is when I was learning to crochet. I was grown up and my son was about 4. I had done an entire two rows in an afghan about 5 feet long and realized I was doing the wrong stitch and had missed a couple of them along the way. She wasn't even there, but my son shook his head and said "You better take it out and do it again.... She's going to make you do it over anyway." He was right. And I learned to crochet and be proud of my work that day.
On the left is Emma. She's my Grandmother's step mother. She's not all that much older than Grandma, but she hasn't slowed a bit either. At 90 she still drives herself and is capable of it, cleans her own house, cooks her own meals, does her own shopping and gives the plumber and earful when he doesn't come back and finish the job he said he would do. She doesn't give up either. She's pretty amazing. I only have one childhood memory of her at a family wedding and what I remember is her laugh. It was great to be able to get to know her again and see how independent and strong and patient she is. Anyone else would have thrown me and my kids who were on less than best behavior out of her house. I think she just turned down her hearing aid and let it ride. So sweet.
   This is Auntie Dolores. She's no slacker in the strong, creative, amazing department either. I love her music, her ability to find the good in the midst of the bad, her tenacity and the way she finds a way to make everything work out. She can drive a tractor or a luxury car with the same skill and comfort. She can shoot a snake and play the banjo, use a cell phone and talk you into just about anything. She puts people at ease, no matter their station in life and relates to just about everyone. No matter what mood you were in when you came into her company, you leave feeling loved. That's a gift. I am grateful and amazed at the line of strong and capable women I come from.
   Here's Grandpa Joe. Not an actual blood relative (not that that counts for much anyway) but one of the best guys in the world. He takes care of my kids like his own. He's good with meeting the whims of childhood, teaching my kids that "Can't" isn't allowed and finding ways for them to succeed. He takes us all on great adventures and worries about us like no one else. We leave his house tired because we have a had a good time on an adventure or staying up too late laughing so hard we can't breathe. That's just about the best thing ever.
   I left this long weekend exhausted. We drove and drove and drove, but I am so glad we did. The kids got to visit some of the most amazing people on the planet. I am so glad to be able to tell them about their families in the coming years and how blessed we are to learn about life from some of the best. Sometimes they drive me crazy, sometimes they talk a little too much, or not quite enough, sometimes I hear one opinion too many, but always I love them. We are real people and this is real life and they are real family. What a real blessing.


February 15, 2011


This is our new face of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Aren't they just the cutest things?

In all fairness, Adam is the one who was diagnosed this week and Meg hasn't been examined yet, but based on my statements to the geneticist, she has the same genetic disorder. As far as genetic disorders go, this is an easy one to have. I am glad to finally have something to point to and show the doctors from my past I am not a bad mother, even though my children scar and bruise easily and that I am not insane for insisting that a 2 year old waking up screaming his legs hurt at night was not normal. It's not just growing pains.  Now that we know what it is, we know what to look for in the future and what to do about it now.
   Adam has the Hypermobility type (formally type 3) of Ehlers-Danlos. There are other types, and sometimes symptoms overlap, but for the most part, that is his diagnosis. From the EDNF.org site, here's the description:
    Joint hypermobility is the dominant clinical manifestation. Generalized joint hypermobility that affects large (elbows, knees)and small (fingers and toes) joints is evident in the Hypermobility Type. Recurring joint subluxations and dislocations are common occurrences. Certain joints, such as the shoulder, patella, and temporomandibular joint dislocate frequently. The skin involvement (hyperextensibility and/or smooth velvety skin) as well as bruising tendencies in the Hypermobility Type are present but variable in severity.
   So the fact that he had "nursemaid's elbow" for the first time at 3 months old and then almost monthly until he was 3 is now magically explained. The long term affects of this disorder are early onset arthritis, say in late 20's or maybe earlier. Scoliosis, which he already has a bit of and easily injured joints. Connective tissue in the eyes may also be affected, so we will watch for that. Treatment at this point is limited to physical therapy to strengthen muscles around joints that could be easily injured. It's not going to be a big deal right now. As they get older, different things may come up, but at least we know what direction to look in now. This also means his NFL career is over before it began, the NBA is out, and he will not be an Olympic wrestler, gymnast or skier. He could still take the gold in swimming though or take the Tour De France title at some point, so look out world.
  Here's the cool factor... at least my kids think so. Bug can take his left arm, wrap it around his back to the right side of his body and touch is belly button. That's pretty darn flexible. Meg can crinkle her thumb back almost to the point of touching the back of her hand with it. Crazy. They think party tricks are fun.

February 10, 2011

A Safari Adventure

Last weekend we finally made it to the Zoo Safari park in Escondido. The kids had so much fun. I love the picture at the bottom left where they are both laughing. We were at the live bird show and they were laughing at the Gray Parrot doing his show. Megan was impressed he could talk "like a human" she later told dad. I am a little sad we haven't gone up there before now. The zoo pass we have includes this park. We have another month left on our zoo pass, so maybe we will head back up there again. Thanks to Heather and Chase for coming with us and making it an extra fun time. On the way home we stopped a little farm stand that had Emu and Ostrich eggs for sale. They were really beautiful to look at, but I don't think I could eat that much of an omelet. We did come home with chocolate covered banana chips, which were a huge hit. The weather was beautiful, don't you want to come and visit?

February 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Grandpa Joe

Happy Birthday Grandpa Joe. Sometimes life has a way of placing people at the right place and right time to help you be the best person that you can. I am thankful for this Grandpa who has adopted my family and loves my kids like his own. We know you don't like to make a fuss out of this age thing, but we just had to let you know how much we love you. Hope this year brings wonderful, marvelous, amazing adventures to you. See you soon.


February 1, 2011

I just can't help it

My kids are just so darn cute. I had to share. Thanks to Jodi at MCP actions for these cute FREE Valentine's card downloads. I had them printed up and will be sending them out to family soon, since I missed Christmas cards all together. Sorry about that folks. Life doesn't always fit the "want to's" in. Enjoy these cuties.