Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Going On a Field Trip!

1 What are your thoughts?
Last week, I got to join Ellie and Nina on their school field trip. It was a hot day at a farm, but it was so much fun!

I took lots of pictures, and so you get a photo-dump post today!

Of course I asked the girls to pose, and Nina is a more willing participant, since she is not running around all over the place (which is actually something I appreciate about CP, Nina actually gets to hang around and I spend more time with her)

The plan was to use Nina's walker, but we soon realized that the terrain was not ideal for the walker. Not to mention the farm was pretty large and I wasn't sure how much she would last there. One of the owners approached us and asked if we would like to use one of their wagons. I was so thankful! So we got Nina in her fancy ride, then I folded up her walker and put it in there, along with my heavy backpack. I also had the other friends help me push it, Nina loved it! Sometimes, she would lay down and close her eyes with a smile of contentment in her face. Love this girl!

 Our first activity involved these bouncy horses. There were three different sizes and the kids loved them!

 They also had stilts. I tried them too!

 One of the favorite activities was feeding the goats. It took the kids a little getting used to having the goats lick their hands, but once they got used to it, they loved it!
And yes, Nina was balancing like a super star, even while feeding the goat!

Another favorite activity was petting the bunnies. Now, I will say that some kids were mean to the bunnies, picking them up and dropping them, or jumping on them (one little bunny had his back broken). These poor animals were terrified of the children and trying to get away from little hands, so I had to intervene and help Nina hold a bunny. You cannot see this here, but I had three other bunnies hiding between my legs trying to stay away from the children.

 And of course there was petting the kitty. Nina loved it, Ellie was scared of the kitty, afraid she would get scratched!

 There were a couple of rope swings, Ellie did amazing! We tried to get Nina to do it but that proved to be challenging.

Next to the ropes, there were these long tunnels, I love the pics, and there is a story to this photo, but I will share more about it at the end of the post, because it was a God moment, and we are framing the picture with a special saying for Nina.

 The girls with their teachers. We have AMAZING teachers. I love them to pieces. Both of them! Ellie's teacher challenges her and affirms her, as a mom I appreciate that so much! Kids need to hear praise form other adults in their life, not just their parents! Nina's teacher has been such an encouragement to ME. There have been times when I have had doubts about what Nina can or cannot do, she looks at me straight in the eye and says, "She can do this." and I just need to hear that from someone else! So often I am the one having to advocate for my daughter. She is one remarkable lady, how blessed we are that she is Nina's teacher!

 Nina got the "hamster wheel" turning!

 They had these sections of large pipes (same as the long tunnel material). Except these were set on some sort of rails. The kids then got in them and rolled them from one end of the rails to the next. I tried it, and fell a couple of times. it was fun!

 Fun tractor!

Wooden horses, and swing horses. No real ones but hey, the farm had horses kids could ride!

And proof that I was there with my girls!

This was not an ordinary field trip, God met me there in a meaningful way. The picture below was a gift from God.

I actually wrote about it for Not Alone. If you want to read that post, click here. I highly recommend you do! And it is a pretty short read ;)

Here is the significance of this photo:

God had been showing me His love for Nina throughout the day. His love, His delight, His pleasure. Then we got in the tunnels, and it was so bright I could hardly see. Then I snapped this picture and God reminded me once more that Nina is His beloved, and His light shines bright on her, illuminating her, reminding me, and showing her, how much He loves her. it was a Holy moment, right there at the farm.

 And this might just be one of my favorite pictures of all times, because somehow God allowed me to capture a Holy moment.

So to get the full story, do check the post for Not Alone in the link above.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Our First Dance Recital

3 What are your thoughts?
I have so many pictures to share and all sorts of catching up to do. I will begin with most recent events and work my way back, so bear with me.

To start, Ellie had her first ballet recital last Friday. She did amazing! I know I am her mom, and I am most likely biased, but I think she stood out in her dance. She was poised, graceful, and she flowed with the music. This girl has the gift of dance!

I was a dancer since I was little. I danced ballet through the Royal Academy of dance, and danced tap, jazz (modern theater), and national dances through the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance. My Junior year in high school after one of my examinations, the examiner offered me a possible slot in one of their companies, she said if I kept it up, she would help me get to England and continue my dancing with them. Then we moved to the US and there was no ISTD studio in our area.

To say the least, dancing has been a part of my life for a long time. I teach Zumba (which is close enough for now) but I hope to be involved in dance again.

I did not realize how invested I was in dance until Ellie and Nichole began dancing this year. As we got ready for recital, I understood the "parents living through their kids." I could get really caught up in this, so I have to watch out my attitude (because I had a bad attitude most of the year, expecting the same quality and standard I grew up with) and I don't want to take the enjoyment of dance away from Ellie.

Ellie was a shining star (I am her mother, what can I say!).

My little ballerina!

The studio sent very detailed instructions on how to do makeup. Including what eye shadow color to use, and making a V on the eye corners. Ellie hated the makeup. We did makeup for rehearsal and there were minor tears involved not wanting to do eye liner. This was enough for her to say she did not want to be in dance if she had to do makeup like this. Imagine my surprise when we got to rehersal to find out nobody was making sure that makeup was done properly, and there were several girls that did not follow the "guidelines." I promised her we would go lighter on recital day.

The day of the performance with my little ballerina!

We got Ellie flowers and she posed for us after her fabulous performance!

Proud mama and daddy!

I already promised Ellie we won't bother with eye liner next year, I think she might stick with dance then!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cerebral Palsy, Rhizotomy, and Gait Lab Study

3 What are your thoughts?

A Gait Lab Study is done to determine the way someone walks (their gait). People with cerebral palsy have difficulty walking, and looking closely at how they walk provides information about how their body works, and what muscle groups are affected, shortened, etc.

My daughter, Nina, has spastic diplegia. Before her rhizotomy (SDR: selective dorzal rhizotomy) her cerebral palsy was quite involved. They chart kids in a 1-4 scale. One being mild, and four being most involved. My daughter was at a four before this surgery.

Before her rhizotomy, Nina had a gait lab analysis. This last Monday, she had another gait lab done to determine her progress two years following her surgery, and determine the next steps.

The progress she has made in two years is pretty amazing! Here is a before and after video.



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