I found this awesome tutorial for Modern Portrait Plates over at Fireflies and Jellybeans and I immediately went to the store and bought clear glass plates (I found mine at Walmart for about a dollar)!
I can’t wait to hang them on the wall in our kitchen!
Sunday we hopped on a plane and flew back to St. Louis for Cliff’s 4 month post op visit with Dr. Park. This time the craziness of us buzzing through airports struggling with a walker, stroller, bags and more bags was different. The excitement was written all over our faces, we couldn’t get there fast enough. We were proud of Cliff, all that he has accomplished in four short months and we were eager for Cliff to show off his new “tricks” for THE Dr.Park.
This time people stopped, they smiled and encouraged Cliff to walk through the airport even though he was slow, everyone that was bustling through the airport racing to catch their next flight stopped. They stopped and learned from Cliff. A little boy who most people would think was “in the way” was teaching complete strangers. They listened to Cliff’s story, some of them teared up, others praised God and wanted to touch this child that was so blessed by our Savior. Cliff probably touched more lives in that airport than we will ever know and we are so thankful that the Lord uses Cliff as a teaching tool.
This time, Cliff could stand at the window, just like any other three year old little boy and watch all of the commotion happening below. Planes, trucks, carts, workers, he was in heaven!
Two planes later, we arrived in St. Louis. We love this city, although we have actually only seen a few blocks, this city is where Cliff’s life was changed forever. This city represents hope. This city is magical to us. Our excitement grew and grew the closer we got to the city. The taxi was filled with our laughter. I was sure the taxi was going to bust with our excitement and joy.
And then we saw it. THE place. I swear we could hear the Choir Of Angels sing when we saw it. To us, this hospital is better than Disney World, so much better.
This time was so different. The boy HAD to push the buttons every time we went on the elevator.
He walked around the Parkway as if he owned the place. This was his palace and everyone knew it.
He was so excited to show everyone at the Parkway his “new legs” and what they could do! Last time they saw Cliff, he could hardly stand in his walker and now he was walking everywhere! They were amazed, Cliff was proud, the lobby was filled with pure bliss.
We took the boy to the Science Center and he had a blast! He danced on the magic dance floor with all of the other children. He was included, part of the group and he was loving every moment of it!
He learned about tornadoes.
And just in case you wanted to know, it would cost this much to send me to space:
Cliff got to pretend to fly a spaceship, just like Buzz Light Year from Toy Story! He was smitten!
And daddy taught Cliff how to operate a tractor!
The next morning we woke up and rushed to therapy then we met with Dr. Park! The PT was so impressed with Cliff and how well he was doing! Before the SDR, Cliff could not do most of the things they asked of him and now he can! It was so wonderful to see his little face light up with pride when he accomplished each task. The expression on Dr. Park’s face when he walked into the room and saw this was priceless:
Dr. Park reviewed the new x-rays of Cliff’s hips (his left hip was about 25% out of socket before his surgery) and was happy to inform us that Cliff’s x-rays were now normal! God is good, so awesomely good. Dr. Park told us that Cliff did not need to wear knee immobilizers at night anymore (aka “sleepy braces”) because Cliff has great range of motion in his hamstrings and all we need to do is daily stretching to maintain flexibility! Can I get an Amen?! Then he did THE “test” and asked Cliff to lift his toes to get his hospital badge… and Cliff did it! He did this right before the surgery but the movement was teeny tiny and that is when Dr. Park initially said “Cliff has a good chance at walking independently!” But this time he looked at me dead in my eyes and said…
“Cliff WILL walk independently!” The tears welled up in my eyes and I swear the earth stopped spinning. ”Really?” I squeezed out around the lump in my throat. “Yes. He will walk independently” Dr Park said again. Then I made him repeat himself two more times. Then Dr. Park said “The goal is that Cliff will begin to walk independently within the next 18 months.” I couldn’t hear those words enough. No Dr. has ever said those words to us and with such ease and confidence. It was no surprise to Dr. Park. He knew it. God knew it. And now we KNOW it. CLIFF WILL WALK INDEPENDENTLY! I will remember this moment for a long as I live.
Then we went over a ton of other things like the fact that Cliff will now wear SMO’s, braces that go up to his ankle instead of covering his whole calf (of course I thought “Wahoo! Just in time for summer!”) and he will only need to wear these when he is out in public. Dr. Park wants Cliff to walk barefoot around the house to build the strength up in his feet and ankles. They also sent us home with a prescription for canes! Yep! Dr. Park thinks Cliff is ready to begin using canes and will eventually use these all the time instead of his walker! We also got a prescription for these shoe inserts called Pollywogs. The goal is that sometime in the near future Cliff will no longer need braces and will just have shoe inserts! A-mazing! We also learned about Fabrifoam Straps. Cliff’s left leg turns in a little bit and this band will help him take straight steps. He will need this for a little while during therapy so he can learn how to correctly take straight steps and build up the muscles in his left leg. Dr. Park wants Cliff to walk pretty much everywhere we go. It is so easy for us to pick him up and hurry through our daily routine, but now we are going to have to learn to slow down and let Cliff walk. Dr. Park told Cliff “You have to walk, walk, WALK!” and Cliff smiled then said “Alright!” Then most importantly, Cliff walked with Dr. Park to get stickers:
And this time, Cliff walked out of the hospital!
It’s hard to believe that all of this can happen in just 4 short months! What a miracle! I can’t share this wonderful news without giving 100 percent of the credit to God. He is amazing. I can’t sing his praises enough. From the moment Cliff entered this world, God has placed his healing hands on him. Everyday we are witnessing God’s good work in our lives. Every step Cliff takes is a miracle and we will forever be thankful to God for blessing our family and especially Cliff. God is so good. We are so grateful. We are so blessed.
When I decided to create the picture wall in our kitchen, I looked all over the internet for ways to “properly” make a picture wall. Ummm… too much measuring and taping… who has time for that?! I sure don’t!
So I decided that I can totally do this MY way! And this is how I did it:
I started with one picture frame somewhat in the middle.
And continued to add from there. Do not worry about pictures or the frames (we will address this a little later).
Just keep on adding frames… (I just eye balled the location of each frame by holding it up where I thought it should go. Then I would put a little nail in the wall and hang the frame! – Super simple.)
…until the whole wall is covered!
Once I got all of the frames where I wanted them, I took the frames I wanted to paint off the wall and got to sprayin’!
Then I printed out new pictures to replace the old ones. When selecting pictures to put on your wall make sure you get the ones that make you smile, the ones that bring back your favorite memories and the ones that represent your family best.
Put the new pictures in their frames, hang them on the wall in their spot, add a little two sided tape to the corners of the smaller frames to keep them straight and …
…enjoy your new picture wall!
PS – I used old frames and spray paint I already had for this entire picture wall! It cost me about 10 bucks to print the new pictures! Can’t beat that!
I wish I could press pause right now. These are my favorite days. These are the days when life feels so perfect it seems like a dream. These are the best days of my life. These moments. Right now.
I want wake up to this sweet little face every morning for the rest of my life:
And read “Llama Llama Red Pajama” a million more times just to hear her squeal with delight as we turn each page.
I want to hear him say “I Lush You, Mama!” everyday.
And see his face light up with pride when he accomplishes something he has never been able to do before.
And hold her so close to me as I rock her to sleep. Breathe her in. Feeling that sweet, soft baby hair brush against my cheek right before I lay her in her crib. Fighting the urge to hold her for just one more minute because I have gone through “Ok, just one more minute” about 45 times already.
These days are like a drug. I can’t get enough.
And even though some days I am exhausted, overwhelmed and wondering how will I make it, I know that these are the moments I will miss one day. So, I soak them in. Absorb every giggle, every tear, every triumph, every boo boo. I look at the chaotic mess that has taken over my house and you know what I see? A beautiful mess. I finally realized that it’s ok to be a little messy because I have the rest of my life to have a spotless, perfect house and I want to spend my days playing with them, not cleaning. I try to etch these memories in my mind so I can keep these moments forever because I know this blazing trail we are all on called life will soon leave these moments in the dust. So these moments, I treasure them. Love them. I strive to be the best I can be for them.
These are the days, my friend, these are the days.
The littles stop and stare at all of the fimiliar faces that now cover our wall. And the boy tells the story behind each photo. Where we were, what we were doing, how much fun we were having – He is so brilliant.
You want a behind the scenes look at how I did this?
Lately I have been spray painting pretty much EVERYTHING in our house! I think it’s the fact that SPRING is here (wahoooo!) and I am so inspired by all of the beauty around us. Flowers of all colors are blooming and I love it! So I decided to bring some color into our house to lighten things up around here!
My first Re-Do were these old containers I found at the Thrift Store for a few cents. They were brown and uuuugly, so I attacked their ugliness with some spray paint and… I won!
They used to look like this:
Ok, Ok, not the WORST thing in the world, but just not enough color for me.
The reality of Cliff’s disability knocks me off my feet. Overwhelmed by all of the equipment. His cries because the braces he has to wear hurt him break my heart everyday. The hours and hours we spend doing different therapies each week begin to suck the fun out of life. The struggles I watch him go through on a daily basis. The simple tasks we take for granted everyday are so difficult for him to complete.
The fact the I can’t fix it.
The pain rushes over me. I can hardly breathe. Shear panic takes over. The flood gates open and tears slide down my cheeks then fall onto my lap.
(Cliff pulled to stand all by himself for the first time this week)
My heart breaks. Shatters into a million tiny pieces. Pieces so small they can never be put back together.
I go back to that moment standing over my little baby in the pediatrician’s office and the words “He has some spasticity. You know, Cerebral Palsy” slid out of her mouth. The diagnosis. Silence. Just seconds before I was singing songs and taking pictures of my perfect, sweet baby. I had no idea what “spasticity or Cerebral Palsy” meant. I couldn’t even ask. There were no words. The room was spinning around us. I looked deep into Cliff’s eyes like I had never looked into them before, he grinned and in that second our souls fused together. I could feel the connection between us and knew that I would do everything in my power to help Cliff. And looking back I realize that the love I had for him grew and strengthened in this moment. The unknown kicked me in the gut. I muttered “ok”. That was it. I gathered Cliff and all of his toys we had strewn across the examination table and we walked out into this huge world with a secret, a huge, scary secret.
In that second my life changed forever.
This always happens when everything is going “great.” When I don’t have to be strong and have my “game face” on. When I am relaxed and I let my guard down for just a moment too long. When I think I have my head around Cliff’s disability and his future.
I mourn not for what we “lost”, but for Cliff and all of the opportunities he will not have.
The questions begin to flood my mind. “Will Cliff fit in at school?, Will he go to College?, Will I have the right words and strength to answer when he asks ‘Why me? Why am I different? What caused me to be this way?’, Will Cliff get married and have a family of his own? Will he be able to drive?…”
Sometimes I cry for a few minutes. Sometimes I cry for what feels like a life time.
But it always ends the same.
I answer these questions with one word: “YES.”
I pick myself up off of the floor and begin to put the broken pieces of my heart back together.
(Cliff said “look Mom, no hands!” while playing with his cars at the coffee table this week – This is a tremendously huge accomplishment for him)
Then I am strong. Because I have to be. Not for me, but for Cliff.
So, I grab his little hand, look into those beautiful, trusting eyes, remember that commitment I made to my baby two years ago and we continue down that Road Full Of Promise.
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