The Day Sensitive Santa Came to Town

A few weeks ago I saw on Facebook that a local hospital was having a Sensitive Santa event.  Children who have sensory issues and/or autism could schedule a special time to visit Santa.  No waiting in line at a crowded mall.  This is amazing.  I decided I was going to call the next morning and make an appointment for Mikayla and Hope to meet Santa Claus.

A very nice lady named Mary answered the phone.  She began to ask questions about the girls.  Is there anything they needed to be aware of that might bother the girls?  Do they have any food allergies?  Is there a special snack they would enjoy?  She said there would be a photographer and we would receive a flash drive with pictures free of charge.  Santa would be giving each of our girls a gift.  Mikayla and Hope would meet Santa on December 17th at 1:00.

The girls were super excited when they woke up on the 17th.  Hope kept saying “Santa’s gonna give me a present!”  I asked her what kind of present she thought he would give her.  She said “A candy cane!”  I knew Santa was going to give them something much better than a candy cane.  But it was nice knowing Hope would be happy with just a candy cane.

We were met at the front door and a nice man led us to Santa’s private suite.  I told Mikayla and Hope to go first and we would follow them.  The girls were acting a bit shy but they were brave and went through the door first.  Santa gave a jolly greeting.  “Well…….Hello Mikayla and Hope!”  Santa had a jolly laugh that made all of us giggle.

Mikayla marched right up to Santa and sat on his lap.

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He told her that he had a present for her.  Mikayla’s eyes lit up with excitement.  Santa helped her open the package.  It was a set of Melissa and Doug stainless steel pots and pans for her play kitchen.  dsc02094

Hope got really excited as she watched Mikayla open her present because she knew that Santa was going to have a present for her too.  What did Santa get for her?  It was finally her turn.  She quickly ran up to Santa and jumped in his lap.

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And sure enough Santa had a present with Hope’s name on it.  She grinned from ear to ear as Santa helped her unwrap the package.  It was a Melissa and Doug Mixer set.

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The girls stood and gazed at their new presents.  They talked excitedly about their new toys and what they were going to cook in their play kitchen. Santa asked them to make him some cookies.  He said chocolate chip cookies are his favorite.  The girls thought that he was funny.  The ladies  who were helping Santa kept saying “They are so cute!”  Yes they were.  Our girls were absolutely adorable.

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They hugged Santa and thanked him for the presents.  Then we went to the snack room.  The girls ate goldfish crackers and drank milk and juice. All four of our girls were given a gift card to McDonald’s.  A lady printed out some pictures of the girls with Santa for us to take with us.  I was so thankful for such a wonderful day with Santa.

This day wasn’t just about our girls meeting Santa Claus.  It was so much more than that.  Kids who have sensory issues are often overwhelmed by the world they live in.  They spend every day of their life trying to adapt to a world that is too loud and overwhelming.  Standing in a long line to see Santa in a loud, crowded mall can end with tears, a meltdown. and a lot of disappointment.  But on this day the world adapted to our girls.  We didn’t wait in a long line.  We were escorted to see Santa as soon as we entered the building.  Santa booked a quiet, private suite.  He set aside 20 minutes of his time just to be with our girls.  There was chocolate milk for Mikayla and white milk for Hope.  Our older girls were recognized and given a gift because someone who planned this day understands that having 2 sisters with special needs isn’t easy.  Taylor deserves a couple of frappes from McDonald’s and Brynna deserves some french fries, an apple pie, and a large Sprite.

This day brought hope back into my life.  The hope that there will be more days like this in our future.  That our future won’t always be spent adapting to an overwhelming world.  But that maybe, just maybe, the world will find moments to adapt to our girls and help them to not be so overwhelmed by their world.  I’m so thankful for this day.  This day when we didn’t have to stand in a line.  This day with no tears.  This day with no meltdowns.  This day when our girls found total acceptance.  The day that Sensitive Santa came to town.

When Your Child Asks for the Toy of the Year

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A few weeks ago I asked Hope what she would like for Christmas.  She didn’t hesitate to give me an answer.

I want a Hatchimal for Christmas!

A Hatchimal?  What in the world is a Hatchimal?

I went on Walmart’s website and here’s what I found out:

Hatchimals are magical creatures that live inside of eggs. Who’s inside? It’s a surprise! Each egg contains one of two interactive Hatchimals. Love and care for yours inside the egg and its eyes will light up as it makes cute sounds, telling you how it’s feeling! Once you’ve played with it enough, you’ll see rainbow eyes—that means its time to hatch! Hatchimals can’t hatch on their own. Your touch encourages them to peck their way out of the egg! It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Now you get to raise your furry Hatchimal through 3 stages, from baby to toddler, to kid. Your Hatchimal sings “Hatchy Birthday” each time it enters a new stage! Teach yours to walk, dance, play games and more! It will even repeat what you say in its own voice!

That sounds like the perfect present for Hopey.  A couple of clicks and we’ll have a Hatchimal on our doorstep in a few days.  Online ordering.  It’s the most magical thing about Christmas.

Uh-oh.  Walmart’s out of stock.  I’ll check Toys R Us.  Oops.  Out of stock there too.  So I checked Amazon.  They’re in stock.  Wait a minute!  You’ve got to be kidding me.  $200-$300 for a bird that hatches out of its egg?  They were $50 at Walmart.  I’ll keep looking.  I checked Ebay.  $150-$300?  And suddenly I realized that something was happening to me that has never happened in my 19 years of being a mom.  My little sweetheart had picked the toy of the year.

Every time Hope was asked what she wanted for Christmas the answer remained the same.  And she would say Hatchimal with so much enthusiasm that it would send me racing back to my computer.  I’m going to snatch my sweet girl a Hatchimal if it’s the last thing I do.   Let me rephrase that.  I’m going to snatch my sweet girl a $50 Hatchimal if it’s the last thing I do.  I’m not paying $150-$300 for one.  I signed up for in-stock alerts.  I checked multiple websites several times a day.

And then I saw the announcement on the manufacturer’s website:  The consumer response to Hatchimals has been extraordinary, exceeding all expectations. Some of our first shipments have already sold out. While additional product will hit retail shelves in November, we anticipate this inventory will also sell out quickly. We have increased production and a whole new batch of Hatchimals will be ready to hatch in early 2017.

Great.  Looks like Hopey isn’t going to get a Hatchimal for Christmas.  What am I going to do?  What if she cries on Christmas morning because there’s not one under the tree? I don’t think my heart can take that.  Should I talk to her and explain to her that Hatchimals are hard  to find?  Will she understand what I’m telling her?  Or will she keep insisting that she’s getting one for Christmas?

I decided to sit her down and be honest with her.

Mommy is having trouble finding a Hatchimal for you for Christmas.  A lot of kids are wanting one and the stores are sold out.

Hopey:  They’re sold out?

Yes.   They’re sold out.  It’s really hard to find one.  I think it’ll be easier to find one after Christmas.  Maybe we could get you one for your birthday.

Hopey:  Get one for my birthday?

Yes.  We’ll try to get you one for your birthday.  Will that be ok?

Hopey:  Stores are sold out.  I want a Hatchimal for my birthday.

And just like that I witnessed our Christmas miracle of 2016.  The miracle wasn’t that Mommy was able to snatch the toy of the year.  The miracle was in that moment that I looked at my little girl and I saw her process a situation that she once wouldn’t have been able to process.  Hope understood what I was telling her.   She didn’t cry.  She didn’t stomp her foot and insist that she is getting a Hatchimal.   She decided to patiently wait for her Hatchimal to arrive on March 29.  We won’t have any memories or pictures of Hopey smiling this Christmas as she opens her Hatchimal.  But we have a greater memory than I ever expected.  We have a little girl who has processed a very disappointing situation and she handled it with grace.  And I couldn’t be more proud of her.

He’ll Make the Crooked Places Straight

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Hope was a teeny tiny 7-year-old when she and her crooked little smile walked into the orthodontist’s office for the first time.   We were told it was important for her to get braces before she turned 10.  I couldn’t picture our little spitfire sitting still long enough for them to put braces on.  They took her into a room to get a panoramic x-ray. It sounded simple.  Put your mouth around this piece of metal and stand still for 20 seconds.  Wait a minute.  Stand still for 20 seconds?  I’ve never seen her stand still for 20 seconds.  But maybe I’m about to witness a miracle.

They brought her up to the machine and there was a problem. She was too short to wrap her mouth around the metal piece.  The nice lady asked her to stand on a stool. Balance on a stool?  She has trouble balancing while standing on the floor.   I was getting a bad feeling about this.  But maybe she’ll surprise me. Hope tried her hardest but she couldn’t balance on the stool.   The x-ray was blurry.  We had to try again.  Hope was tired of trying and she started acting goofy.  She put her mouth around the metal piece and started fidgeting.  The nice lady told her that she could break her teeth if she didn’t stand still.  Hope didn’t stop.  Ok.  We’re done.  I would like to leave here with her crooked little teeth still inside of her sweet mouth.  They scheduled an appointment to put the braces on.  If she couldn’t sit still for a 20 second x-ray how’s she gonna sit still long enough for them to put braces on?  I went ahead and made the appointment because I believe in miracles.

I was nervous as we walked into the office the morning of her appointment.  Hope was 7 years old and she has ADHD and sensory processing disorder.  Will she sit still and let them put the braces on?  Or will it be too much for her?  The first thing they did was put a contraption in her mouth to pull her gums away from her teeth.  She started gagging.  We’re 2 minutes into this and it’s not going well.  Once she gagged she was done.  They made a note on her chart to not use the gagging contraption in the future.  The orthodontist said that her sensory issues were going to make it harder for her to withstand having braces put on.  They decided we should wait 6 months and try again.

Life got out of control during the 6 month wait and I had to cancel Hope’s appointment for her braces.  We finally took her back in when she was 9 years old.  We told her if she would sit still and let them put her braces on then we would take her to Toys R US and buy her a prize.  Hope sat very still while they put her braces on.  Is this really happening? or is this just a dream?  Is she really letting them put braces on her teeth?  If I didn’t already believe in miracles I would’ve started believing in them at that moment.   Hope walked out of the orthodontist’s office that day with braces on her teeth.  I was dancing as we made our way through the parking lot to get in the van.  Well, not really.  I was dancing on the inside anyway.  We danced our way into Toys R Us and Hope picked out her prize.  I don’t remember now what it was but I’m guessing it was a dinosaur.

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September 2014

The estimated treatment time for Hope’s braces was 9-12 months.  She had appointments every 5 weeks to have her braces checked.   She never once complained that her braces hurt.  She had to give up popcorn, caramel, peanuts, gum, and so many other things that she enjoyed eating.   But she never complained.  12 months passed and it wasn’t time for her braces to come off.  The doctor was waiting on some of her permanent teeth to come in.  He decided to do another panoramic x-ray.  Hope marched up to the x-ray machine.  Well, would you look at that.  She’s tall enough to reach the metal piece without standing on a stool.  And she stood still for the whole 20 seconds.  A lot can change in 3 years.

Hope’s 9-12 month treatment time turned into 2 years.  September 26th was her big day.  The day for her braces to come off finally arrived.  And she was excited.  The night before her appointment she was naming off all the foods that she was going to be able to eat.  I can eat peanuts.  I can eat caramel.  I can eat popcorn. At bedtime she wouldn’t stop talking about peanuts, popcorn, and caramel.  The excitement was getting to be too much for her.  She was over the moon as we sat in the waiting room listening for them to call her name.

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Her excitement escalated as we waited on the doctor.  She’s usually really quiet when the doctor is in the room.  But she talked his ear off this time.  He thought it was pretty funny.  It didn’t take long for the braces to come off.  Ok Hopey show us your smile.

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Very funny, Hopey.   Now show us the smile that we paid for.

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She had to have an impression made for her retainer.  She gagged the first time.  The second time she wouldn’t open her mouth because she was afraid she would gag. The stuff for the impression got hard before they were able to get it in her mouth.  The third time she cooperated and they got the impression.  The doctor handed her a bag full of all the stuff that she hadn’t been able to eat for 2 years.  Cracker jacks, snickers, tootsie rolls, and laffy taffy.  The smile on her face as she gazed at that bag of goodies was priceless.  The cracker jacks were almost gone before we even got out the door.

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We ended her big day with a trip to Toys R Us.  Because any girl who wears braces for 2 years deserves a prize from her Mommy and Daddy.

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Isaiah 45:2 says I will go before you and make the crooked places straight.  This verse has come more alive to me now that my little girl’s crooked teeth are now straight.  God is with us as we go through all the crooked places in our lives.  He’s with us as we go through things that we don’t understand.  He’s right in the middle of our chaotic mess.  It seems like most of the time our trials take longer to get through than we want them to.  We hope it will take a year but it will actually take two. We look around and we notice that some people are able to get their braces off after only a year.  But we still have to wear ours.  Everyone else gets to have the things we long for.  They’re eating caramel, peanuts, taffy, bubble gum, and popcorn.  But we can’t eat those things right now.  We want to feel sorry for ourselves and start complaining about how hard life is.  But then we stop and we look at a little girl.  A little girl who didn’t let sensory processing disorder keep her from getting a brand new smile.  A little girl who never complained even though her trial took twice as long as it was supposed.  She inspires us and she reminds us that we can overcome some hard stuff too.

As our journey comes to an end God reminds us of how far we’ve come.  We see that moment when it was impossible to stand still and balance on a stool.  Time went by and we grew up a little.  The day came when we marched into the room for the x-ray and this time we left Mommy out in the hallway.  The stool we once needed sits in the corner because we’re tall enough now.  And after what seems like forever we finally make it to the end of the race.  There’s a bag of gooey, crunchy goodies with our name on it.  The race was definitely long and hard.  But it was worth it because of the new smile we now have on our face.

Learning To Laugh My Way Through The Crazy

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Our family just got back from Florida.  We had such a great time last year we decided to go back again this year.  We stayed in the same condo, went to the same beach, and did some of the same activities.  We had fun but this trip didn’t go as smoothly as last year.

On our first evening at the beach we watched dead fish float up on the shore.  We had heard the algae was bad and people were seeing dead fish the week before.  But we were hoping it would be better for our week of vacation.  This was definitely not what I had pictured happening on our first day at the beach.   None of us got in because it was just too gross.  The next day we went to a public beach.  The girls got in the water and had a great time.  But I was hoping we wouldn’t have to travel to public beaches all week.  On the third day the beach by our condo was clear and the girls were able to swim.  And I rejoiced.

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Last year the highlight of our trip was the dolphin cruise.  We saw 20 dolphins last year and we were excited about taking another cruise.  This year we saw 2 dolphins.  Only 2 dolphins?  I couldn’t believe it.  Apparently we were spoiled last year.  A crew member told us it’s really unusual to see 20 dolphins.  The girls still had fun because they got to feed fritos to the seagulls.

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As we set sail this year the captain announced that we would be traveling out into the Gulf.  We weren’t able to go into the Gulf the last time because the waves were too choppy.  The captain announced that if you started to feel queasy you needed to go to the back of the boat.  I don’t remember the nicely phrased words that he used. But basically he said to puke off the back of the boat where it won’t fly in someone’s face.  Because we don’t want your puke to ruin someone else’s good time.  Ok.  Now I’m feeling a bit uneasy.

Mikayla got really quiet just moments after we started this voyage into the Gulf.  Then she said “Don’t feel so good.”  Oh great!  So we rushed to the back of the boat and stood by the rail.  She told me she wanted to sit down.  We sat down on the nearest bench and I quickly noticed there was a trash can to our right.  Oh good.  If she starts to get sick I’m going to get her to that trash can.  Another one of my girls wasn’t feeling well either so she joined us at the back of the boat.  Then I started feeling queasy.   We were only 1 hour into this 2 hour cruise.  Suddenly a woman came running from the side of the boat.  She was holding a paper towel up to her face.  She ran over to the trash can and deposited her breakfast. She did it without getting any on her fellow passengers.  Good for her.   I spent the last hour of the cruise wishing I could abandon the ship.  Please don’t let any of us puke.  Please don’t let any of us puke. Please, please, oh please don’t let any of us puke.  And none of us did.   Half of our family didn’t want lunch when we docked.  Was that really the same ship that we had so much fun on last year?

The next day we went to the Gulfarium because Mikayla and Hope insisted that we go see the dolphins.  We went to the dolphin show as soon as we got there.  The doors opened at 9:30 and we came in at 9:36.  The only seats left were at the top.  We sat down and one of our little sweethearts started yelling “I can’t see! I can’t see!  I CAN’T SEE!!!!!”  They sat on the front row last year so they were expecting to sit on the front row again this year.  Brett remembered that last year people stood around the rails that surrounded the dolphin pool.  He thought the girls would be able to see better if we  moved down there.  The little sweetheart who couldn’t see was still not happy and continued to let us know.  It was extremely hot.  Sweat was running down our foreheads and our backs.  Our other little sweetheart started yelling “Fix my bra! Fix my bra! FIX MY BRA!!!!” Our girls are new to this whole wearing a bra thing.   I guess the sweat, the bra, and the sensory processing disorder all mixed together was driving her crazy.  And the other little sweetheart was still yelling that she couldn’t see.  People were staring. I felt totally overwhelmed.  My bottom lip started trembling.  The tears were starting to come but I was determined I wasn’t going to cry.  We’re here on vacation and I’m not going to cry.  The dolphin show started and the girls settled down.

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As soon as the show was over our sweetheart once again started yelling “Fix my bra! Fix my bra! FIX MY BRA!!!!” So I did what any overwhelmed, slightly embarrassed mom would do in the same situation.  I took my little sweetheart in the bathroom, peeled her bra off, and put it in my purse.  There.  Now we can enjoy the rest of our day.

I sent a message to my friend Evana.  I told her I was having moments when I wished we had never come to Florida.  She reminded me that even though it’s hard to go out and do things and battle the meltdowns we are giving our girls life experiences.  And that’s what’s really important.  She told me to try to laugh off the times that make me crazy.  That’s really easy to do when you go in a gift shop and your girls turn into a horse and a crow.

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Taylor decided she needed to experience parasailing.  Brett booked an early morning time for them to parasail while the rest us slept in.  It was  a really good plan because I didn’t want to see my husband and my daughter 500 feet in the air.   I’m funny that way.

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We had some fun and we had some trying moments.  I laughed some and I never cried.  Maybe I’m finally learning to laugh my way through the crazy.  I’m thankful for every memory made with these 4 girls who call me mom.

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Sensory Processing Disorder: A Day At The Dentist

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Mikayla and Hope were irritated with each other from the moment we stepped into the dentist’s office.  I was hoping they would call one of them in quickly so they could get away from each other.  They called Mikayla back for her cleaning and Hope started playing a game on her iPad.  Wow.  This is going smoothly. But after only a few minutes Hope became restless.  And she started talking.

It’s my turn!

No it’s not your turn.  They will come out and say your name when it’s your turn.

She went back to playing with her iPad.

It’s my turn!

Have you heard anyone say your name?

No.

Then it’s not your turn.

She played her iPad some more.

It’s my turn!

No.  It’s not your turn.  They will come get you when it’s your turn.

After 30 minutes of listening to Hope say “It’s my turn” the hygienist came out.  She had finished Mikayla’s cleaning.  She explained that Mikayla’s molars have deep pits.  She said that she could put sealants on them to prevent her from getting cavities.  She had some extra time and could do it while we were there.  I told her to go ahead.  She went back in with Mikayla and Hope went back to her same routine.

It’s my turn

No.  It’s not your turn.  They’re still working on Mikayla.  When they get done with Mikayla then it will be your turn.

It’s my turn.

Have you heard anyone say your name?

No.

Then it’s not your turn.

30 minutes later the hygienist brought Mikayla out and a strange odor filled the room.  She said Mikayla did fine with the sealants until they tried to do the ones on the top.  She gagged and then she vomited.  It was all over the front of her dress.  And it was in her hair.  They had cleaned her up but she gave me a moist towel so I could work on her some more.  She said she would be back to get Hope as soon as she cleaned the room.  I left Hope in the waiting room while I took Mikayla in the restroom. I cleaned her up the best I could but she still smelled.

When I got back to the waiting room I was very happy to find that Hope was the only person in the room.  Maybe we’ll get out of here without anyone having to smell the vomit.  Mikayla started eating the sucker they gave her.  Hope got upset and started yelling because she didn’t have a sucker.  Then she went back to the routine she’d been doing for the last hour.

It’s my turn

They’re cleaning the room.  They will come and say Hope when they’re ready for you.

It’s my turn.

Did you hear anyone say Hope?

No.

Then it’s not your turn yet.

20 minutes later the hygienist came out.  It’s finally Hope’s turn.  Hallelujah.  Mikayla and I start playing a game on her iPad.  I’m feeling very thankful that we’re still the only ones in the waiting room.  Then the door opens and a lady comes in.   A couple more people come in.  Then another.   I wondered if their noses were picking up the scent of my smelly little sweetheart.

After 2 hours had passed I was really needing to go home.  Hope finally came out.  I walked up to the window to make their next appointment.  Mikayla took her Despicable Me umbrella and hit Hope with it.  Then Hope took her My Little Pony umbrella and hit her back.  I told them to stop it.  They didn’t.  You stand here.  And you stand over there.  Don’t touch each other.  But they did.

The receptionist asked if I would like to make their appointments on 2 different days next time.  Yes.  After the way today went I would like to bring them on different days.  The receptionist apologized for it taking so long.   The computer was being slow.  Hope started eating the sucker they gave her and it made Mikayla mad.  They started hitting and kicking each other.  I suddenly felt as if I couldn’t breathe.  A panic attack began to take over my body.  I told the receptionist that I had to leave.  The printer finally spit out the appointment paper.   As my trembling hand reached for the paper the tears started to come like a flood.   As I turned to leave I didn’t look at any of the people in the waiting room.  I felt ashamed. What kind of mom can’t control her own children?  As soon as we got outside Hope started yelling because she dropped her sucker.  It’s stuck to the front of your shirt.  Peel it off and let’s go.

I cried the entire 25 minutes that it took to get home.  Why does going out in public have to be this hard? As soon as I got home I told Brett I was going to bed.  I didn’t care that it was only 3:30 in the afternoon.   I went in the bedroom, put on my nightgown and crawled in bed.  All I wanted was to forget that this day had ever happened.   And there’s no way I will ever write a blog post about it.  That’s for sure.  But here I am writing about it.  Crawling into bed and trying to forget the day wasn’t the end of the story.  A few days later I found a card in our mailbox from the ladies at the dentist’s office.  They each wrote me a personal note of encouragement.

Just a note to let you know we think you are great!  I hope your day got a little better.  

I enjoyed seeing your girls.  I can tell you go above and beyond taking excellent care of them just by looking in their mouths.  What a wonderful mother you are.

I was stunned.  They didn’t look at me and see a bad mom.  They looked at me and they saw a good mom having a bad day.   As I closed the card God whispered in my ear.  He said That’s how I see you.  I look at you and I see a good mom having a bad day.  And He loves me.  Even when my attitude stinks and I’m impatient He still loves me.  He gently reminds me I need to work on some things.  And I nod my head and agree.

The next day I took the girls to appointments at the eye doctor.  Guess what?  They were complete angels.  They didn’t yell at each other.  They didn’t touch each other.   I told them I was proud of them and I wanted to buy them a prize for being so good.  They wanted ice cream sandwiches.  I don’t understand why life can be so different from one day to the next day.  Or from one moment to the next moment.  But perhaps next time I feel tempted to carry shame out of the doctor’s office I’ll remember the ladies who looked at me and just saw a good mom having a bad day.  I’ll shake the shame off and walk out the door with my head held high.  And I’ll trust that tomorrow will be a better day.

Therapeutic Riding: Help on Horseback

At the end of 2014 I began to search for a therapeutic riding program for Mikayla & Hope.  The only one I could find was an hour away from home.  I filled out the papers, got our doctor’s referral, and sent the papers back.  We were placed on a waiting list.  Spring, summer, and fall of 2015 all passed by without the girls getting to ride a horse.  I was so disappointed.  At the beginning of the year my cousin sent me papers for a therapeutic riding program that is only 30 minutes away from home.   I filled the papers out, sent them in, and then the call came.  2016 was the year we would see it happen.  The first 2 weeks were canceled because of rain.  But last Tuesday was the exciting day that I would finally see our girls ride a horse.

I didn’t tell the girls where we were going.  I told them to get in the van and we were going to a surprise.  When we pulled up to the arena Hope yelled “horse” with great enthusiasm.  I asked “Would you like to ride a horse?”  They yelled “yes” in unison.  They were so excited.  Hope has always been fascinated by white horses.  So I wasn’t surprised when a white horse immediately caught her eye.  She quickly announced “I wanna ride the white horse!”  The workers put a safety strap on Hope and had her ready to ride.  A brown horse was in front of her waiting to be mounted.  Marti, the lady in charge,  said “Hope is going to ride the white horse.”  They walked the brown horse away and brought the white horse up.  As Hope was mounting the white horse I knew that we were in a safe place.  A place where people will listen to our girls hearts.  A place where they will be loved unconditionally and accepted exactly as they are.

Hope was all smiles when she mounted the white horse named Babe.  Mikayla’s horse was named Angel.  Both of them started out leaning forward too much and seemed unsure about this new experience.

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But they quickly relaxed and had a great time.   The girls worked hard.  They held a pin wheel and shot baskets.

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And Hope lit up like a Christmas tree when she got to ride her horse backwards.  She thought that was the greatest thing ever.

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Mikayla didn’t ride backwards but she still had a great time.

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Every Tuesday evening from now until the end of September we will be at the horse arena.  And it’s because people are willing to take time out of their lives to love kids and make them smile.

Happy 11th Birthday Mikayla and Hope

Mikayla & Hope hospital picture

11 years ago these little gals came into the world. They’ve taught me to slow down and see things that I can’t see when I’m hurrying. They’ve taught me to giggle at things that most people don’t even notice. They’ve taught me that life is about the journey and not just the destination. Seeing the world through their eyes is one of the greatest blessings that God has ever given me.   

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Hope told me she wanted a bird feeder for her birthday.  A bird feeder?  That’s perfect.  Absolutely perfect.  And Grandma is the perfect person to give Hope a bird feeder.  Hope loves to watch the hummingbirds when she’s at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and now she wants to see hummingbirds at our house.  So Grandma bought a bird feeder for Hope and one for Mikayla too.  They were so excited.  Now we have to wait for it to get warm enough for the hummingbirds to come.  The girls want them to come right now.  Pray for me.    

We took the girls to Chuck E. Cheese last Saturday to celebrate their birthday.  They would see a game that they once loved and would say “That one’s boring.” or “I’m too big for that one.”  What a difference a year can make.  They gravitated towards anything that vibrated and would make them bounce.  Their favorite game was one where they had to hold onto these silver levers that vibrated.  They called it the “shocking” game.  They loved that thing and would grin from ear to ear every time they did it.  

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The girls love dinosaurs and they’re crazy about flying a kite.  So we gave them each a dinosaur kite.  Now we just have to sit and wait for the wind to blow.  They also got a couple of games, some dinosaurs, and The Peanuts Movie.  

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I just can’t believe my babies are 11 years old.  I’m thankful for the progress they’ve made in the last year and I look forward to the progress they will make in the next year.  I look forward to hummingbirds and the wind blowing so we can make memories together.  Happy Birthday Hope and Mikayla!