Monday, July 20, 2009

Corporate Sponsors

Now that Grace has entered the arena of competitive gymnastics we are finding ourselves looking for a corporate sponsor (or two....). We have to be careful because the NCAA will not allow any money to be given to Grace directly. Yes, even at the tender age of 8, taking money will jeopardize Grace's eligibility to compete in college! YIKES!

So, Dave and I are making the rounds of some of the local businesses that we patronize in hopes of finding someone who might be interested. Oh, there are benefits to the business, it really is a good way to advertise (name on a banner at the gym and their company advertisement in the meet bulletins). However, many of the businesses have already obligated their advertising funds or have already sponsored the local schools for some event or another. Of course the the state of the economy isn't helping.

Several businesses have indicated that they will consider us when they are budgeting for NEXT year, so we are, at least, making some progress. Also, if Grace has a good competitive season and places well in her state meet then we'll have something to back up our claims of what a great athlete Grace is.

Please say a prayer that somewhere there is a sponsor just waiting to help Gracie realize her dreams....what great exposure they'll get if (when) Grace really blossoms into a world class gymnast.....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes....

Analiese ALWAYS is talking, always has something to say. Because she requires specific answers or comments, no ahha, um or yeahs for her, it is important to listen to everything she says. Of course, this can be difficult at times, especially with her speech challenges.

Today, there were two separate times she just made me smile and my heart swell.

The first conversation, in the car, went something like this: (Do check my previous post to see how big of a dog Hillary is)

Analiese: Mommy, do you think Sissy shrunk? (Our neighbor's med. sized dog).

Me: Not listening, "What Analiese?"

Analiese: Did Sissy shrink?

Me: Thinking, WHAT did she say?

Gracie: coming to the rescue, "No, Analiese, Sissy can't shrink!"

Me: Smiling, trying so hard not to laugh, "Sissy just seems smaller because Hillary was so big."

Analiese: "Are you sure? Sissy seems like she shrunk!"

The next conversation took place at home while Analiese and I were laying on the couch together. Analiese loves to lay on top of me. It's generally OK because she is so, so very little. Today, she did just that, as I lay on my back she got on top of me, laid down and put her head on my shoulder. Then she said:

Analiese: "I'm so glad to have a mom."

Me: Heart SWELLING with love, "I'm glad to be your Mom."

Analiese: Kiss, kiss, kiss

Me: Oh, how much I LOVE this little girl!!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

And the Dentists say....

Analiese's mouth is healing very well! The visit was a good, productive one. We were able to see 3 of the 4 cranio-facial team members--and they ALL actually saw each other! We have a plan in place and we are moving forward!

The team decided:

Analiese has an extra tooth--not sure which one it is, the one that came through the middle of the palate or another that has yet to emerge. From Analiese's x-ray taken in March, her 6 year-old molars are still a ways in her gums. From looking at the x-ray, Dr. Granger, orthodontist, agrees that Analiese is probably more like 5 going on 6 years, than 6 going on 7!

Another mold was taken of Analiese's mouth to see if her obturator can be reshaped because it no longer is fitting. Let's hope they don't have to make a new one.

We need to see the plastic surgeon to set a date for Analiese's p-flap surgery. That means we had to set up a "clinic" appointment (where all the team members are at the clinic together and can collaborate). Clinic appointments NEVER are on time and we wind up sitting for HOURS. Sigh....

After the p-flap surgery is completed than the orthodontist said we can start the orthodontics portion--expander, braces and whatever else will be needed! That will most likely start at the end of the year or beginning of 2010.

Overall I am very pleased with the outcome of the appointment. Hopefully we'll get some positive input from Dr. Williams, the plastic surgeon. We want the p-flap surgery to work the FIRST time!

Sweet Analiese has such a great outlook and attitude about the entire situation. She isn't sad that she has to have more surgery nor is she upset that she will have to have braces. Analiese really is just full of happiness and sunshine--even in light of all that she'll go through. I wonder if we can bottle and sell her positive attitude? I know of more than a few people who could use a dose--or two ;)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Even the dog....

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I LOVE animals. I would have gone to school to be a vet if I could have had a practice for well visits only! Oh, and if I was better at math and science...!!!

Growing up, my first dog was Chesley. I don't remember him but have seen photos. After him I know that we had some cats and then we had Curly-- a Heinz 57 mutt! He was the BEST dog ever! He used to walk me to school and sometimes he waited for school to end and then he'd walk me home. He always went the corner store with me and waited outside. The best thing he did was go to the Good Humor Man (remember the Ice-cream trucks???) and get a dixie cup for himself. Whoever gave out the ice-cream knew that we were not far behind with the .25 and if we weren't he always told us on the next visit that he gave Curly some ice-cream and we paid for it! What a great companion he was and I'm sure part of my foundation for loving dogs!

When I moved out as an adult I got my first pets; Lhasa Apsos--Mogwai and Magnum (yes after Tom Selleck!). They eventually had a few litters and I kept one of their pups; Samantha! I loved them and treated them like children. They moved with me everywhere--even to Germany! It was hard letting each of them go and when the final one went on I was very reluctant to get anymore pets.

But, then we got Duchess our sweet cat, even though I was NOT a cat person. Cats are different from dogs but still wonderful companions, just a lot more independent. I love my cats!

Why am I telling you this? Because when we were in St. Louis, The Browns have a WONDERFUL Heinz 57 dog! Her name is Hillary. She is certainly too big to be a lap dog (sheep dog, irish wolfhound, and standard poodle) but someone forgot to tell her! I so fell in love with her!

When we first arrived at the Browns, Nancy told us, "I'm going to let HIllary out, DON'T make eye contact". Well, out galloped Hillary and we just couldn't help but look at her. Big mistake! She jumped on us, tried to lick us and overall all tried to be our friend!

Well, I certainly became her friend and from the following photos and Nancy's comments, she became mine. Seems that Hillary has been mourning my leaving. What a sweet, sweet dog! I sure wish I could send hugs over the internet to make her feel better.

Hillary before our visit

Hillary after we left!

See, just one more reason that we should live closer to the Browns!

Oh, and thank goodness Nancy took a photo of our chinese princesses! There is Grace and Kira, adopted at the same time and Maya and Analiese adopted two years later, at the same time. The girls are just the bestest of friends. Where is Sarah and Connor you ask? Playing Wii of course!

Best Friends


Saturday, July 11, 2009

TOPS testing

Warming Up


Hold it...!

Oh, Gracie's nemesis!

Grace participated in her second testing for TOPS. She did a great job and worked so very hard. We aren't sure she made much improvement from the first time. I attribute that to her missing two weeks of training for our vacations.

Now, that doesn't mean she didn't "WOW" us -- she certainly did! Once again, climbing the rope seems to be the hardest for Grace. Yesterday at practice Grace actually slipped off the rope and had a mini-meltdown. I only could see her from the back and Grace was shaking while talking to her coach. I so wanted to run down onto the floor and just hug her!

Gracie's coach, Erika, is so wonderful. Today she hugged Gracie so hard after Grace completed the climb up the rope! I am so pleased that Erika is so aware of the needs of Gracie.

The next and final TOPS testing for this year is scheduled for August 1st. We'll be working on some of Gracie's skills that we can practice at home! Next summer Grace will test not only at the state level, but she will move on to the National Level. She'll then be eligible to attend Karolyi's camp if she scores high enough.

Go Gracie, go for your dream! We love you!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Great Fun!

Welcome to Missouri!

The Arch!

Analiese is so happy at camp!

The Dance

The "slipper"

We had a WONDERFUL time in St. Louis! Unfortunately the battery in the camera died and we did not bring the charger so I don't have any photos to share. But, we have some great memories of our time with the Browns!

It didn't take long after our arrival for the kids to pick up where they left off last summer. Sarah and Connor were best buds and playing Wii in no time. Sarah LOVED Connors IPOD and he was such a gentleman letting her use it (Thanks Connor!). Analiese and Maya are really two peas-in-a-pod! The physical resemblance is amazing as they've come from the same province. However, they are just about the same height, weight and shoe size. Their personalities are so similiar it is scary! Grace and Kira just fit in where they can--they are the odd-men-out but it works!

Of course, it was great to see Nancy and Alan. We feel so at home in their house! They've remodeled and have a huge home theatre! I so wish I had a photo to show. The kids just loved watching movies--as did we!! As usual, the Brown's were great hosts and we were busy the entire time. We went to the city museum-- a great place compiled of items they recycled, the magic house where the kids got hands-on experience in real life activities, the fire-works and of course, the Kirkwood quaintness!

We have SO much in common with the Browns. Nancy and I have the SAME colors we painted our interiors, the girls love the same things and we all just "mesh". It is so comfortable with them. It really is unfortunate that we live so far away. We'd love to live closer and get to spend more time together. Maybe someday we'll get to be closer neighbors. For now, we'll enjoy the time we spend together.

While in St. Louis we did get to go up in to the Arch. What a great experience! From the amazing elevator ride (a small pod that fit only 5 people--8 pods together to make a tram). Of course I imagined something totally different. I thought we'd go up in a traditional elevator. Oh,not so! It was fantastic! From the top we were able to see the Mississippi river as well as the baseball park--WOW!

The museum under the Arch was fantastic. I only wish I had more time to spend there--WITHOUT KIDS! I guess I never thought of St. Louis as being so important in our country's history but, boy, did I learn alot! From the Dred-Scott decision to the gateway to the West, Missouri is more than riverboats and Tom Sawyer!

Thanks Nancy, Alan, Connor, KIra and Maya (and yes, you, too, Hillary) for a wonderful time!

When we returned home, Analiese was to start princess camp. Of course, I forgot! At 11 AM on Wed, we got a call wondering where sweet Analiese was. In a panic, we got dressed and drove to the dance studio! The teachers were so glad to see our angel!

For 3 days Analiese had a great time. It all culminated in a performance today. Amazingly, Analiese learned the dance in the short time she was there! It was fun watching her; she was ecstatic that Daddy was able to be there (she just expected that Mom would show up!).

There were lots of crafts the kids made. One was the "glass slipper" and another was a "princess diary" that Analiese kept calling her diarrhea! What a hoot she is!

It was a great fourth but we are glad to be back home. Hopefully we'll be able to find our "new normal" and settle in. Tomorrow Grace has her second TOPS testing. I'll post more about that later!

In closing, I'd just like to tell Nancy and Alan how much we love them and their family! We are so lucky to have found you as friends!