Monday, August 29, 2011

Vivian's first pep rally.


Vivian's teacher sent me this picture of Vivian at her first high school pep rally on Friday. The cheerleaders don't seem to be rallying much pep in her!

Thank you for all of your sweet messages about Vivian's transition to high school. She still seems to be managing remarkably well, although she did have one incident last week where she stood on her chair when it was time to work. {sigh}

Vivian and me eating dinner in Wyoming

My mother reminded me of another funny Vivian story from our time in Wyoming:

When we're visiting at her house, my mom prepares fabulous breakfasts for the kids every morning (pancakes, French toast, eggs, etc.). One day she had fixed fried grits* which are my favorite. I sat next to Vivian at the table, and fried grits are evidently also a hit with Vivian because she ate hers very quickly. I, on the other hand, was savoring each bite and had about half my serving left when Vivian finished hers. She pointed to my plate and said to me, "May I borrow yours?"

*Fried grits are made from leftover grits that have been spread onto a plate and refrigerator. You cut a serving of the grits, dip it in egg and fry in a frying pan.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Funny Vivian story and update on her arm.


I took Vivian back to the orthopedist last week for follow-up on her arm. You might recall that at our last visit, Dr. Brown determined that Vivian did not dissolve internal stitches as designed but that instead her body "spit" them out, which was causing her incision to open in spots and was resulting in little pockets of infection up and down the incision. At our appointment last week Dr. Brown was satisfied that the antibiotics had taken care of the staph infection. He indicated that he thinks we can address any future flare ups that might result from remaining undissolved internal stitches with more antibiotics and thus more surgery is not necessary (hooray!). Dr. Brown also measured the range of motion in Vivian's elbow. He observed it going from 70 to 110 degrees. Not enough change to have warranted the surgery if we'd known in advance that would be all we would gain, but at least it's some improvement over the stuck-at-90-degrees Vivian had before.

A funny Vivian story: Vivian was perfect on the trip home from Jackson Hole last week. She got out of her stroller and onto the plane without incident and then slept for most of the flight back to Dallas. As we were exiting the plane, Vivian mowed right past an older Asian lady in the aisle (in Vivian's defense, the lady was just standing there blocking traffic for no apparent reason). I scolded her, "Vivian! You need to say, 'Excuse me, please.'". Instead Vivian called out, "Hey! You're in my way!". I am hopeful the lady didn't understand English, or Vivian's English anyway!

Vivian's first day at the high school yesterday seemed to go very well! Thanks for all of your kind words of encouragement. I hope this will be a good year for her.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to School!

Will, Dots and Robert before we left to take Will back to TCU

Lots to catch up on at Casa Weasel. We had a fabulous 10-day trip to Jackson Hole to see my parents, I have a cute Vivian story and a mini-update on her arm and we got Will moved into the fraternity house for his sophomore year at TCU. I promise to post on all of those things this week.

For now, though, time is short this morning so I will just post a couple of Back-to-School pictures. I hope everyone had a great summer! I also hope that the start of school means that the end of 100+ degree days in Dallas is nearing. Fall cannot come soon enough for me.

Vivian started high school today!

Vivian's bus driver is the same one she's had for the last ten years - quite a blessing as this sweet lady is wonderful with Vivian

Today, however, Vivian was quite happy and genuinely seemed so glad to be going to school that she climbed right onto the bus without incident - even kissed me goodbye!

Dots is in 8th grade this year - top of the heap at her middle school!

Dots (left) wasn't too keen on my coming inside to take her picture. She quickly met up with two friends to walk into the building, sans mom. She did not kiss my goodbye

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Disney redux.

My cousin Cathy, me and my sister Marian at Walt Disney World, c. 1971

Marian and me riding Autopia with our dad. I was the older, bossier one, so of course I'm driving

Marian, me and Cathy on the teacups with Uncle Frank

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Quick update on Vivian's arm.

Vivian with her stack of colored pictures for my neighbor Karey. Vivian works very hard on these creations, and as she completes each one, she says, "Allison's mom will love it"

We are still experiencing a few issues with Vivian's arm after her surgery in mid-June. Apparently Vivian is *allergic* to Vicryl, the material used for internal stitches, in that her body does not dissolve them as intended but rather *spits* the stitches out. As a result, Vivian's incision has yet to heal completely, and now there are signs of infection there.

The allergy is not serious enough to have been the cause of Vivian's catastrophic fever last summer, but it explains how back in March she developed a staph infection in an incision from her g-tube placement some seven months after that surgery.

Dr. Brown is treating Vivian with antibiotics, and hopefully those will clear up the infection in her arm. Once the infection is gone, we will evaluate whether to schedule an additional minor surgery to remove any remaining internal stitches and sew up the incision externally. I'll keep you posted.

Since her *cactus* was removed, Vivian has a very small amount of improved motion in her elbow, though certainly not enough to warrant surgery had we known this would be the result. Vivian rebounded so quickly from the procedure, however, that I'm not sorry we tried. In typical Vivian fashion, the incision on her arm has not bothered her one bit, even in its current inflamed state, and I am very grateful for that.

As always, I deeply appreciate your prayers and concern for Vivian.

Monday, August 1, 2011

More Disneyland pictures, part II.

Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney California Adventure - this was a really cute, fun ride, but the lines for it were always quite long, even first thing in the morning

In the interest of full disclosure/keeping it real, I should point out that Will appears in no morning pictures because he was too grumpy to get up early with the rest of us and head to the park before the crowds and midday heat and sun hit (never mind that we had gained two hours going from Texas to California). On Wednesday morning when Will balked at waking up, I told him that was fine as long as he kept Vivian, who was also being sleepy and irritable, at the hotel with him. So Robert, Dots and I headed to the parks by ourselves and had the nicest, most relaxing day! Will had planned to bring Vivian to Disneyland around lunch, but she was so content coloring, looking at books and watching her phone in the room that he decided to stay back. This ended up working out really well because the rest of the week Will got up and went with us in the morning, and he and Vivian were both in better spirits.

All said, we had a great week at Disneyland. Our family was able to spend a lot of time together which doesn't happen much anymore, and it was overall a relaxing and fun vacation. I loved the rides, the shows, the characters; I'm ready to go back!

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. I couldn't believe how much I loved this ride! I went on it four times

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Dots and me in the hotel lobby of the Tower of Terror

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I was especially taken by the conceptualization of the 1930's hotel that served as the setting for the ride. The queue line ends in this lobby

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Picture from the Tower of Terror. I'm on the middle row, far right, hanging on for dear life with my eyes closed!

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I haven't ridden a roller coaster in about 25 years, but I went on California Screamin' and enjoyed it! I look like Cousin It from the
Addams Family in this picture, however (behind Robert and to the right of Dots), because I wouldn't let go even for a second to get my hair out of my face

These sisters are from Charlotte, NC and go to camp with Dots! The girls were in California visiting their grandparents and we made plans to meet up with them one day at Disneyland

Wednesday night Will, Dots and I ate at Bubba Gump in the Anaheim Garden Walk near our hotel. Sweet Robert stayed at the hotel with Vivian so we could enjoy a peaceful dinner

Thursday morning - Will and Dots on the Mad Tea Party

October 2000 - Will, Dots and Robert on the tea cups!

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Riding the bus down Main Street

Waiting in line at Toy Story Midway Mania

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This ride was so cute! We wore 3-D glasses and played arcade shooting games as we rode through. A monitor on the dash showed our score

Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure

Paradise Pier at night just before the World of Color show

Vivian and Robert at the Mike and Sulley to the Rescue ride (from
Monsters, Inc.). Vivian really liked this ride - she enjoyed trying to find the baby in each scene as the little taxi car rode around. This was another attraction that had a handicap-accessible car so we could take Vivian straight on in her stroller. I think that made a huge difference in her whole demeanor

Exterior of
It's a Small World at night

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Earlier in the week when we rode on Small World, Vivian got out of her stroller and sat with me. This time she refused to get in a regular boat, so we waited on a wheelchair-accessible one. Her stroller was loaded into the back and Robert and I sat on a bench some distance in front. We were both terrified Vivian would melt down and try to get out! Fortunately she was mesmerized enough by the ride that she sat contentedly

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Outside Soarin' over California - a simulated hang-glider ride that takes you over the sights of California. This was one of my favorite attractions. Vivian looks so happy you'd never know she just completely fell apart, hence the reason she and Robert were waiting in an empty exit hallway! We were able to trade off afterward so Robert could ride. Disney is very accommodating about parents taking turns. In fact I can't say enough good things about how helpful the cast members (Disney employees) were to us throughout our visit

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Dots entertaining the other guests while they waited for their Animation Academy cartoon-drawing lesson. Robert, Will, and Dorothy enjoyed this so much that they went back for a second lesson. Unfortunately the first class was on drawing Chip and the second was on Dale!

Our last morning in the parks. Will had flown home early for a fraternity function, so it was just Dots, Vivian, Robert and me. We took turns riding Space Mountain and Star Tours again before heading to Fantasyland one last time. While I shopped for souvenirs, Robert took the girls to see
Captain EO, a 1980's movie with Michael Jackson. Inexplicably, Vivian loved it!

We had a hard time convincing Vivian to give back her 3-D glasses after the show

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Back on the Casey Junior Train

You might guess that our entire family knows the words to the Casey Jr theme song by heart

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Pretty, manicured miniature gardens comprised the landscape between the train tracks and the canals

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On the Storybook Land Canal boats. Vivian was fascinated by our passage through the mouth of the whale from Pinocchio

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Dots and I loved the miniature scenes constructed along the banks of the canal. Behind her is Cinderella's castle

Dots chose this California tank top as her souvenir of the trip. If this child were to go to college in California, she would never come back home!

After we discovered Napolini in Downtown Disney, we never ate anywhere else for lunch! They have delicious pizza and fresh salads and sandwiches

Clearing security one last time as we journeyed from Downtown Disney back past the park entrances

Heading back to our hotel

Goodbye, Disneyland! We hope to return again soon!

The children at Disneyland in 2000