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5/18/2011 Category :General 3

This morning Brenden and I were talking about how he wanted to be an astronaut when he grew up. He was asking me how you drive a spaceship and I told him that I’d never been on one before so I wasn’t sure how the controls worked. He graciously told me that when he is a grownup he’ll let me on the spaceship and then he’ll blast off. After school he wanted to play with the camera and take pictures. He really loves doing this but hasn’t done it lately. He sometimes gets some pretty good shots. I was asking him if he’d rather be a photographer when he gets bigger and he hesitated. So I asked him if he wanted to be an astronaut who takes pictures or a photographer who goes to space. He’s reply was that he’d like to be an astronaut who takes pictures of space.

Below are some pictures he took of me. He was directing me to make funny faces and even specifically telling me what to do in some of them.

Athletic Emily

5/18/2011 Category :General 1

3 really short videos I took of Emily when we were at hand camp. This is my incredibly lazy way to get these up. I just merged them into one and didn’t bother to edit, but it’s still short and cute!

Caught Up

5/1/2011 Category :General 0

Ok, I think I’m caught up on the blogging. This crazy grad school thing might be keeping me a bit busy! But if I can make it through the next 9 days, I will get almost a month off! There are 3 new posts below this.


5/1/2011 Category :General 1

I have no idea how it happened, but Brenden turned into a big 5-year-old boy yesterday. We had all kinds of firsts as far as party time went. Usually we have a party with family and friends at our house and we just let the kids play and make a huge mess with all the toys. But for 5, we decided we’d do it up a little more. Also, for the first time we had kids from school to invite and with only 12 kids in the class, you kinda need to invite them all. So we booked a party at Pump it Up Jr an inflatable bounce house type place. Because times for Saturday parties were terrible, we decided to hold the party Sunday. So Saturday, we had a small party at home for the grandparents and a great aunt and uncle who live in the area.

I told Brenden about the plans for the weekend in the car on the way home from school Friday. He’d asked to go spend the night at my parents house and I wanted him to know what to expect for the rest of the weekend. Mistake! He could not stop talking about how when he came home it was going to be his birthday! I tried to make sure (about 200 times) that he knew Sat. would be a little party and that his friend party was on Sun. Apparently, my parents explained the same thing about 200 more times!

When they arrived on Sat. we had the party set up with Scooby Doo decor which included a bunch of balloons, one of which was a huge Scooby. Brenden immediately saw that balloon and wanted it. Emmy on the other hand, saw the cupcakes and wanted those! I explained to Brenden that the balloons were going to be used again at the next party, but that after that he could have Scooby in his room. 400 times later, instead of asking if he could have Scooby he switched it to, “I know I can have Scooby after the next birthday!” That kid is something else. He enjoyed his family party and when everyone had gone we went to fly his new kite in the park.

Today he could barely contain himself as we waited for the 1:00 p.m. party time to arrive. But it did finally arrive and we all had a great time. The group size turned out perfect and there weren’t so many presents that it felt out of control. We have one happy little man today. And I for one, was very happy to relax and enjoy this year rather than having to worry about planning it all!

Hand Camp

5/1/2011 Category :General 0

You can read Patrick’s account of Hand Camp here , because he is obviously doing a better job at keeping up with this whole blog thing!

Brenden first went to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children for his hand when he was about 3 months old. We immediately became involved in the support group the hospital offers called Hands Down. From our first visit to the hospital we’ve been hearing about Hand Camp and how we had to go. At every Hands Down meeting someone would tell us how wonderful Hand Camp was and how we had to go. But the kids can’t go until they are 4. Brenden’s 4th birthday came two weeks after Hand Camp last year. So this is the first year we could go. So we’ve been waiting for this for nearly 5 years. Because of this, I think my expectations were pretty high. And because of that, I was ever so slightly disappointed. But only slightly.

We had a really great weekend. One of the best parts of it was that it was an extremely rare weekend were there were no errands to run, no where we had to be, no responsibilities (obviously we still had to take care of the kids, but you get the idea). We got to spend all weekend in nature away from everything with lots of other families facing similar things. We arrived Friday in time for dinner and songs around the “camp fire.” A burn ban meant that our camp fire was actually just a lantern, but oh well. It was late when we got the kids back to the cabin. I’ll mention here that while we knew the cabin was going to be shared by two families, we didn’t known it was all in one room. I was nervous about getting the kids to sleep in that type of environment, plus, I wasn’t crazy about the idea of sleeping in the same room as stranger. Plus, I forgot to take pillows! But it all worked out fine. The kids were up a bit later then normal.

The next day started with breakfast, group photo and then our chosen activities. We’d chosen to do a nature walk, weird science, and sports for the first day. There were also a couple of break out sessions for the parents to attend while the kids played in groups broken out by age. I really enjoyed the parent session we went to. It was broken out by diagnosis, so all the parents in our session had kids with symbrachydactyly. We all shared stories and fears and advice. Probably one of my favorite parts. We had also scheduled in some down time in the cabin and by the end of the sporting event toward the end of the day, we were all ready for that down time. So we went and slept and made the choice not to go to the next breakout session. It was a chance for the parents to ask questions of the teens, which thanks to being a part of Hands Down, we’d already done in meetings a couple of times. So we slept instead and woke up in time to go to the basketball carnival. The kids got their faces painted (puppies of course) , danced, ate cotton candy and snow cones, and played in a big sand pit.

The next day we had my second favorite part which was a cooking class were the kids did all the cooking. We made squid dogs (hot dogs with spaghetti noodles stuck through it) astronaut food (cool whip, crushed graham crackers, and chocolate chips), lemonade, and a layered bean dip. Very fun for the kids to get to do all of that with minimum help. We also had another breakout session where the parents got to ask questions of parents of the teens who were serving as counselors.

It always makes me happy to be around the other families and all those kids happily oblivious to their different hands. And as we pulled out of camp on Sunday, Brenden was already asking if he could go back next year. So when I say I was slightly disappointed, it doesn’t mean much. Only that I think I thought it was going to be much more emotional than it was. But it was all pretty great.

Dallas Zoo and Arboretum

5/1/2011 Category :General 0

A few weekends ago the family went to the Dallas Zoo for the morning. We had a membership two summer’s ago and we enjoyed it, so after taking a summer off, we renewed for this year. The kids love playing in the creek in the children’s zoo. This time, they even managed to pay attention to a few animals! We didn’t make a full day of it because I had plans to take the kids to the Arboretum the next day with a mom’s group I’m trying out. The kids were a bit harder to manage there and didn’t seem to want to listen, so we made that a short day as well, but still managed to have lots of fun.