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Monday, April 13, 2009


Okay. Time to update!

I went through the past monthish of pics and came up with a few to share. Lucky you!

Ellie's been a true Canadian this winter, attending some hockey games. Here she is at her first non-pro game, watching her "big brother" Shane play in the provincial finals. Good little Canuck she is!

I know I already shared a pic of Ellie showing off all of her Play-Doh butterflies. We have been spending a LOT of time with Play-Doh lately. The girl can't get enough of the stuff. While a bit messy and annoying for me, I secretly love it. Why? Because that's what a 4-year old SHOULD be playing with. And any time that Ellie does something age-typical I smile inside. 'Course, my smiling isn't quite as cute as hers, especially in this pic!

So, we took another trip to Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago. This was Minneapolis-with-a-twist, since the drive down consisted of Mommy and Ellie. And a whole lot of Sesame Street. And even more praying.

Richie-Rich was away on business and we decided that at the end of his work-trip, he would fly to Minneapolis and meet us. We needed to go back down to the Twin Cities to pick up Ellie's new hip and leg braces at Shriner's Hospital. This was the only weekend in March that worked. I convinced Richard (and myself) that I would be just fine conquering the what-should-take 8-hour drive by myself.

That was before I knew that the worst blizzard of the year would hit northern Minnesota during our drive down! It was buh-rutal out there. I've driven in Canada many a winter, and these were by far the worst road conditions I've encountered. I was averaging 30 miles per hour. Ellie was unbelievably amazing and sat quietly in the back seat, watching her Sesame Street and, when asked, praying to Jesus for our safety. Precious girl! Needless to say, our eleven-hour drive finally came to an end and we arrived safely (albeit traumatized) in Minneapolis.

In fact, we arrived a day earlier than Richard expected, as it was our plan to surprise him at the airport! He had no clue that we were already in Minneapolis, and we got him good! Ellie and I hopped onto the hotel's airport shuttle and we were waiting in the back seat of the van when he hopped on:

It made the brutal drive ALMOST worth it!

Getting to Minneapolis early meant that we could spend an entire blissful day, just shopping and relaxing and loving on each other (remember, we'd been apart while Richie was away on his business trip.... cuz, I need an excuse to love on the guy!). It was SO GOOD. It felt like it had been a long time since we relished each other's company.

We found a Sesame Street ride outside of a Toys R Us in Minneapolis and Ellie thought she'd died and gone to heaven...

Of course, the main reason for the trip was to head back to Shriner's Hospital. We didn't get a ton of pics from our visit this time 'round, but it was once again amazing. I'm just blown away that we can leave a hospital with $2000 of equipment and a "thank you" as payment. It's an unbelievable place.

In the waiting room...

Thank the Lord we didn't have to endure another blizzard on the way back home (even a hardcore pack of Zoloft couldn't handle any more snow!), but we DID have to detour a bit in order to bypass the big Red River flooding in Fargo and Grand Forks. Being the Nosey Ned that he is, Richard had to snap a pic of the bloated waterway as we crossed over the last passable bridge. Thankfully, we didn't see any floating cows this time (as was the case in THE flood of '97).

We made it home and I was quite giddy to show Gemma, our therapy goddess, Ellie's new hip brace. It's called a SWASH (stands for something, just can't remember what!). It's supposed to keep Ellie's hips aligned and stop her from scissoring (criss-crossing) when she walks. It also works to take away some of her muscle tightness (spasticity) in her legs. You could tell that she was a lot weaker with it on, because it was making her often unused leg muscles work harder(which is what it's supposed to do).

Here she is with her SWASH on, being encouraged by the Amazing Gemma, to push her doll into class.

I'm pretty encouraged by the brace, but I have to admit that once again, I'm reminded that this is all a journey of endurance, requiring much patience. With every new piece of equipment, I get excited for a mini-miracle. Maybe this will be the silver bullet. Maybe this is THE thing that's gonna get Ellie really walking. Of course, the rational part of me realizes that the miracle equipment, the miracle surgery, doesn't exist. But, I always fight a bit of disappointment when I'm faced with that reality.

Right now, Ellie actually walks worse with the brace on, because with it, she has to learn how to walk properly and figure out new ways to move her body. It's frustrating for everyone, but I know it's worth it. So, ask me in six months how I feel about the SWASH and I'm really hoping that I'll be super-enthused.

Lastly, to keep to the "random" theme, I will leave you with Easter pics of Princess Ellie and her precious cousin, Zach. All dressed up, ready to celebrate Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection! Sweeter than a million chocolate bunnies!


Jennifer said...

Thanks for the update and all the great pictures!!! I love how Ellie's doll's dress matches her own. How sweet! and it's beautiful.... can't forget that. She's getting so big! thanks for always sharing her with us.

Anonymous said...

Ellie looks great...she is a sweet girl!!

And the baby looks so did that happen so fast?!?

Happy Easter! I love your blog to bits!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how grown-up she suddenly looks! Where did her baby face go? I love these pictures!

Sheila said...

I was thinking exactly the same thing....Ellie looks so grown up all of a sudden! I'm so jealous that you girls get to play with Play Dough - Malayna still insists on eating it (and any other craft item I introduce, including crayons) so we don't get to experience that fun! So glad you made the trip safely! Good luck with the new brace, I'll be following the updates. Love all the pics!