Archive for April, 2011

Broken window

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Last night some guys broke our window for the SECOND time in  just under  four weeks. (Causing us to fill out our second useless police report since moving in.) My husband heard the noise and a  few guys running away as he was putting Laelia down for the night. He told  Lali it was nothing and tried to not let her know  there was anything scary going on.  She got to stay up later just so we could make sure no one had broken in and that she was safe.

Scary.

They broke  that window  the first time the day after the house became ours. Brenda swept up the glass before we moved in,  and Alan replaced the window for us just two weeks ago! (Both Fellowship folks.) We also found broken bottles around the area and shards of glass in the grass. And cigarettes in the driveway… and we don’t smoke. This time  they  probably used  a base ball bat. The screen stayed in tact (My dad says,  “When I make a screen, I make a screen!”), but the window shattered and shot glass across the garage.  Charley spent last night cleaning up glass. I spent the afternoon cleaning glass out of the cat food, the baby’s crib and all the other places Charley couldn’t see last night. It really rips away my sense of safety; I had nightmares all last night.  If they had decided to destroy the next window over to  the right they would have shattered glass all over my  daughter’s face.

And I’d be going to jail for murder.

Videos!

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Want to see how one little girl earned all these cheese crackers? Just click on the picture above to see what she did!

And click here to see  her attempt of that same feat  the day before.

And below is a video of Laelia turning on the  lights all by herself! (If anyone has a better idea of how to set this up let me know. I’m using a wand for window shades and duct tape. Sometimes the weight of it all turns the light off.)

 

And lastly, here is my little girl and her new found story telling ability. :)

Yay videos!

Churchy thoughts

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

We went to Easter service last Sunday at the Fellowship of San Diego  after  a couple Fellowship guys  came by to mow our lawn and several members personally invited us. These people always reach out to meet needs around them. I love that!  And their church is disability-friendly! (And during a time of Easter egg hunts  with lots of able-bodied children running around, being disability-friendly  becomes really important to us.)  During the service we heard the testimony of a lady with physical disabilities.  Her circumstances  are obviously different than ours, but it got me thinking about churchy-type things.

I try never to get very religious (it’s bad for your skin or something), but since I’ve been thinking of these things, and since it’s my blog, I thought I’d just write whatever I wanted. So nany nany boo boo.

But, if you, like me (most of the time), don’t like this sort of thing, then please stop reading, grab some ice cream and watch some 30 Rock. I’ll join you in a minute.

At church a couple years ago I remember I had a young child ask me what happened to my daughter. Another adult stepped in before I could answer (probably intending to spare me from something) and said, “Because God made her this way.”

o_O

He did? God is that true?  That’s it, God. You and I are taking this out back! :)

But the odd thing I found funny at the time was that this adult actually believed that!  And I couldn’t help thinking that  that can’t be right. Because if he made her this way then why are we trying so many surgeries to fix her? (“Thank you God for this wonderful gift of a little daughter. Now bless us as we begin to clean up your sloppy handiwork.”)

So what I found in the Bible is that it’s true that just like other kids, Laelia is fearfully and wonderfully made by God. (Olive Garden, flattery and a back rub also played a part in making her as I recall. :)) Psalm 139 seems to indicate (if you can apply it to all people, and I think you can) that Laelia’s frame was known by God while she was in the womb; he saw her unformed body and knit her together, and the number of her days are written in his book.

And after all that wonder of creation she still ended up in a body that’s not cooperative. Huh.

From a church/biblical worldview there was a time when everything was perfect and then sin entered the world and messed everything up. Not only did it  separate us from God, but it also introduced things like entropy into the world that never existed before.  Now things  get worse, rot, decay, mutate  and deform. But people take that to mean sin causes disabilities directly–like somehow little unborn babies can do some personal sin that God punishes specifically? No. That application doesn’t seem to jive with the rest of the Bible. From what I’ve read, neither  Lali nor I did anything wrong to cause her disability. (John 9:2-3) Sometimes bad things just happen because we live in a world affected by sin. (Luke 13:4)

So then as I kept reading  I was super surprised to find God take the  credit for creating people with differences/disabilities in Exodus 4:11! So even though anything  less than perfect comes as a result of sin in the world, and Laelia’s body seems to be a bit further from the mark than the child who first asked me what was wrong with her, it’s not the end answer. “The world is a messed up place and messed up things happen” is not the end answer. Even “God allows bad things to happen” is not the end answer.  Because God takes credit for people. And he cares about people. He doesn’t let you be mean to people he’s created with disabilities. (Lev. 19:14)  He knows we’re stuck in the muck of sin and still, through grace,  tends to us. And I can’t deny that he’s tended to  my family.

So now I can be a crazy church lady too (yay?) and say things like, “God designed her this way!” And when anyone with half a brain raises an eyebrow I can add, “He made her gorgeous, spunky, witty, smart, beautiful, encouraging, determined, hard-working, friendly and funny. He also allowed her to have arthrogryposis. Good thing she’s his favorite or I’d have issues with this.” :)

Oh and I have to add that I’ve run into two faith healers (TWO!!) who have tried to tell me otherwise–that somehow we caused this.  So during my research I ran into a Times Magazine interview with Joni Eareckson Tada, a lady who became paralyzed at the age of 17. She has this great story of her run-in with a faith healer. I’ll quote her because I loved this.

“This very earnest young man named David came up to me, knelt down by my wheelchair, and asked me, ‘Joni, are you sure there’s no unconfessed sin in your life? I just know that God wants to heal you.’ He was basically saying my faith wasn’t big enough or strong enough or righteous enough. I reminded him of the story in Luke where the four friends brought their paralyzed buddy to Jesus to be healed. But it was the faith of those friends — not the man’s own faith — that Jesus used as a channel for healing. Well, there you go, David, the pressure’s on you.”

So there you go. There are my “churchy” thoughts. 30 Rock time. :)

Sit to Stand Success!

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

“Now I can has some cake!”

:-D

Disneyland Break!

Monday, April 18th, 2011

We met so many characters! The most we’ve ever seen! It was great!

Laelia wanted me to hold her up to meet Cinderella. Cinderella is Laelia’s favorite princess of all time. This Cinderella was beautiful and had the mannerisms down. I was super impressed. She treated Laelia like the most important person in the world, even taking both her hands and holding them. We ran into the princess off in some secluded area of the park quite by accident. Only  a few people were around  so the character could spend more time with each child who stumbled upon her. Laelia was wide-eyed; I was  completely charmed!At one point Cinderella asked Laelia if she had any animal friends. Laelia was about to say, “cats” because that’s how she always  responds to that question. But something came over my daughter. Maybe it was meeting her idol. Maybe it was the magic of Disneyland. I don’t know.

“I have ca…. a… AN ELEPHANT!”

So cute!!! Cinderella gave her a hug and seemed to realize her effect on the little Laelia. Afterwards my daughter  talked endlessly  about meeting Cinderella and wondered aloud  what Cinderella was doing for the rest of the day. I mentioned that Cinderella seemed to really like  her and that made Lali beam and blush! I wish I could bottle this!

Then Laelia exchanged some sass with Mary Poppins.

Then rode Mary Poppin’s horse after Ms. Practically Perfect told her about it.

Note the Mary Poppins identifying markers on the side of the horse. It’s the same one from the movie hidden in the carousel.

We ran into a very playful Peter Pan. He ran off (literally, while skipping and jumping and soaring with his arms) soon after.

She became part of Ariel’s world.

She got to meet the princess whose name is the same as the shape of her dress. (Laelia pointed out.)

And here’s the princess Lali sometimes dresses up as.

“Mama, it’s Roar-Ruh!” (Aurora from Sleeping Beauty.)

She held hands  with  Devin and Lily  while we walked.

So cute!

We made wishes!

Lily got Laelia a Cinderella music box! She loves it! She demanded to hold the bag herself and sleep with it that night.

We did Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

NOT WHILE DRIVING!

Ah so cute! Ryan kisses back!

“Don’t make me pull this car over!!!”

Disney knows what kids will eat. :)

Free stickers?! Yay!

Laelia’s room demolished in minutes!!

We had so much fun! (Now back to housework. :))

Our New Home

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Since moving two weeks ago we’ve…

Lost the cat. (Can you  find him?)

“Helped” Grandpa fix the sink. (She’s holding the light.)

Had a birthday party in the mess. (My  cake is  in the left corner.)

And…

We got our first house plant! Unfortunately it was  growing under our  only working toilet. (Note: Not an April Fool’s picture.)

And Laelia has been blessed most of all! Volunteers from The Fellowship of San Diego built her a wheelchair ramp!

Ta da!

They also painted her room!

And they painted the closet.

And here is  Laelia’s real bed for those who worried about it from my April Fools post. ;)

Speaking of April Fools,  I like how a lot of you figured out my April Fools post right away  just because I said I got anywhere near a spider. Forget the human remains or pad-locked room with the decrypted bed, oh no, Alexis was  fearless in the face of  spiders? Must be false. :) Well you’re all right, I lied about killing the spiders with my fingers. In actuality, I cry in a corner while my husband comes to kill them. We kill about three small, harmless spiders a day. (I say “we” to make it seem like my crying somehow constitutes a consorted effort.) Although today Charley just went around killing spiders and says he thinks he got about 50. Dang.  We are starting to vacuum up webs in hopes  of getting the eggs too.

Things have been great but crazy lately! We’ve done a TON in the last two weeks, but have been too busy to think or sleep or get online much. (Or email back Laelia’s doctor who is trying to check in on her. D’oh.) Our home is so beautiful and we are so blessed. I was just walking through our new home last night and looking at each room and thinking about how much of that room  has been  given to us for no reason. In each and every room, without exception, 80% of what you see was a gift from others. For example in Laelia’s room (see pictures above)  her bed and bedding we got cheap when John married Megan and didn’t need it anymore, Laelia’s furniture cubbies and storage drawers were gifts from our friends when they surprised us by cleaning and organizing our apartment while we were in Philadelphia getting Laelia’s osteotomies, the books are mostly from when I was a kid or gifts from holidays, most of the stuffed animals are from hospitals, hand-me-downs, or holidays (ooh alliteration), the clothes are mostly from Laelia’s friend, Lily, (her mommy just dropped more off last night!), a lot of the toys are gifts from friends and family and Laelia’s “grandparents” who we really met after Laelia was born and aren’t related by blood, the dresser was a gift from ladies I hardly knew at the time who threw me a baby shower after I visted their church only a handful of times, the lamp was from Craigslist for $5 so that felt like a gift, even the paint job in the room was done by friends and the little kid furniture was my grandma’s given to me by Aunt Charlotte. If you take a walk around Laelia’s room you are left remembering at least twenty-five people and their generosity and love.

I feel like this is a Cinderella story and Laelia’s pumpkin is a new home!

Laelia can get everywhere now! She goes from any room to any other room. She can get off her bed and into her books. She can  roll up her ramp and get  into the living room. She’s moving more, scooting farther and doing more than ever before!

I love our home! I love our wheelchair ramp that’s almost finished! I love Fellowship of San Diego and David Powell for coming to fix things, letting us borrow all sorts of tools, helping facilitate the group of volunteers that came to clean and rip out carpet and paint! Then  yesterday they came with a big truck and hauled away all the trash and debris from the demolition. How did we get so blessed?! I feel like I’m in an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition! Alan (from Fellowship)  also helped by coming over a few days and doing odd jobs. He’s helping to replace the window that some  hooligans (Yay, I got to use the word hooligans! It’s a great word. Under used. Anyway… that some hooligans)  broke the day after we got our home. Apparently not everyone knows this place is occupied now and they need to find another place to drink. They have been kicking the stucco off the front of the house and leaving their trash, including broken bottles, too.)

We also have an annonomous donor. Seriously! He or she has magically paid for a few needs we had by contacting my dad secretly. I’m super curious who it is but I can’t get my dad to spill! There have been a few big purchases that were just magically covered by this special “someone.” This includes the Roto Rooter bill (our pipes didn’t work) and a power drill. This person had previously given us some traveling money before Laelia’s last major surgery too. Wow!

I prayed for a home for years and years and now it’s a reality! We’ve done nothing to deserve it and it’s ours anyway! And it happened at just the right time. And it was only a 3% downpayment that we were finally able to afford after six years of saving! We could have gotten it sooner if Laelia’s medical needs had not cut into our savings so much and  so often, but then it wouldn’t have been as cheap since home prices hadn’t fallen as far yet! We bought it for half of the price it was a few years ago! Half! The timing was perfect! And we would have been happy with renting a house or owning something much less awesome. But we were blessed! I wonder what God wants to do with our home, because he’s certainly supplying for it. I feel like most of this place belongs to our community of friends and family. I want to give back and use this home for whatever needs come our way.

The only catch for having something big and wonderful was that it was older and a “fixer.” Being as naive as I am, I did not realize how much work a fixer was or how much time it would take to clean up something that had been abandoned for a year. (It’s  ours now, spiders!!!) My dad and Christina offered to fly down here to help, but I don’t think they knew what they were getting themselves into. Christina also took care of Laelia in the mornings because it was her spring break from preschool, so the timing was perfect. It’s nice to not be the only person making Laelia do her push ups for one thing. Christina also made all our meals, cleaned the entire kitchen (including all of the drawers and cubbards), and also cleaned a bunch of other random things including walls and shower doors. After they left (this last Saturday night) things don’t magically get picked up, dinner does not  magically get made,  dishes don’t magically get done and life is not nearly so easy. :)

Then there’s Super Fix-It Dad. (Cue super music.) :) By my estimate Dad has done about $6,000 – $7,000 worth of free  labor in the last two weeks. Here is a list of things he has fixed.

1. He built screens by cutting frames for four widows, and added screens or fixed screens for seven windows total.
2. He fixed the sliding glass door and added a lock.
3. He installed a cat door and then fixed the door hinge so it would open.
4. He fixed the sink in the kitchen by replacing the faucet, fixed the garbage disposel,  put up the paper towel holder, added a filter line to the fridge, a water line for the ice maker and replaced the water-damaged wood under the cabinet.
5. He installed ten curtain rods (we haven’t made the curtains yet).
6. He added a lock and dead bolt to the side door.
7. He fixed the gate outside by shaving the bottom so it slides and adding some screws to the post that was cracked.
8. He caulked the gap between the outside window and the wood edge so rain won’t pool there anymore.
9. He replaced sprinkler heads so the weeds can get watered I guess.
10. He reinstalled the closet doors and replaced the wheels on them.
11. Fixed the leak in the washing machine, hooked up the gas dryer.  (Both were $75 on Craigslist just because they’re beat up a little and are missing knobs. Score!)
12. Fixed the garage door.
13. Fixed some random base boards and trim.
14. Installed two toilets.
15. Fixed the lights over the bathroom cabinets.
16. Fixed the outside light.
17. Replaced the water pressure regulator and hooked up the garden hose reel.
18. Caulked the chimney.
19. Fixed the locks on the bedroom window.
20. Then there was our bathroom…

It had a cracked shower pan, so Dad was going to replace it.

Then he noticed  all the dry rot behind a smashed tile so he started to tear up the wall.

And he found termite damage!

It goes all the way up the entire wall!

So Dad had to tear out the entire shower and walls and wood!

Then rebuild from scratch.

And they didn’t make that size shower anymore so he had to build  new walls around a smaller one.
Then he put the doors back on.
Ta da!!! Two weeks later and around $6,000 saved thanks to Super Fix-It Dad!
Sorry I just had to share about the shower. Funny thing was that Charley went to use it for the first time and realized it leaked out the knobs. And Dad and Christina had to be at the airport in two hours. So two hours of quick work, super stressing and THREE trips to Home Depot and now it works again. He finished right before we had to walk out the door. Dad jokes that now he needs a vacation from his vacation. :) Good thing he’s retired.
So in conclusion, we love it here! So happy! Who wants to visit?!

Moving Day

Friday, April 1st, 2011

I hate spiders so why am I moving in with so many?

So tomorrow is moving day. Today is packing day. And every day this week has been cleaning day.

Laelia is reacting to the chaos around her in equal parts excitement and meltdowns. Naps help so I starting bringing Laelia’s playpen to the new place and letting her take a nap while I cleaned out the spiders. There are spiders everywhere. I’ve cleaned about 800 so far. I’m getting pretty brave about it too. I can now kill them with my thumb and finger. It’s only freaky when I hear what sounds like bones crunching because the spider was so huge it had some serious mass to it. (Even creepier is when they squeal, “Noooooo!” right before I do it. :))  And every time I clean a wall I get bug parts all over it from something I inadvertently killed in the process. Yuck.

But so far our move is still on schedule. I’ve been all over Craigslist finding furniture. I got Laelia’s new bed! So exciting! The owners said it was “lucky.”

Laelia’s new room and bed! (Before cleaning. Mind the mess.)

Speaking of mess, my kitchen was the worst. I painted two of the walls myself (learned the difference between a brush job and a roller job… big difference!), and cleaned all the walls. I only have a few permanent spiders who are painted into the wall, but I’m still  very proud of the job I did! But the bugs!!! Ugggggh!  I can’t kill one without twenty more showing up. I thought of sweeping them up and then just killing them outside, but they overtook my broom. :(

I kept the smaller black ones. Apparently they are  a different kind than the brown ones and are good for your yard. And since I’m so excited to finally be around grass (first time living  with grass and dirt  in my whole adult life!) that I’m just thrilled to help out my new backyard however I can.

Speaking of my backyard, Charley was out there the other day with David and they noticed a stone poking out the side lawn. It turned out to be one of those pet cemetery deals. Creepy! I definitely didn’t want “Fluffy” or in this case, “Adam Sinroy” in my yard so I had them dig him up.

Ugly dog bones.  

Well now I’m off to finish cleaning my apartment. I don’t cook so we eat out a lot. The take out trash has been piling up lately.

I hope that our move goes smoothly tomorrow. I’m so excited about our new place. Even the “dog” bones are excited. They started talking one day so I kept them around. Apparently they  came with a scary warning about disturbing them and curses. Bah. He’s making friends with all the spiders. :)

Happy April Fools Day!