Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Zoo Tracks

 Today we visited the Zoo with the Nowell family.  It was a beautiful day, especially for April.  We had to slather on the sun screen as it was over 80 degrees (almost unheard of at this time of year for us!) When I heard that we were going to have such good weather, I sent out an e-mail to all Emma's friends parents suggesting the Zoo.  The Nowells were the only takers, but several other play groups had the same idea, and the Zoo had a busy day.
 I had promised Emma that the next time we went to the zoo, we would take a MAX Train.  So, for the first time in over 4 years, I road MAX.  The trip in was easy, and Emma asked me at each stop if we were there yet.  The ride home we had some troubles (Red line and broken breaks caused us to get off twice and wait for the next blue line.) But Emma loved her train adventure.  As for Mommy, I really like to drive :)
 When we got there, I asked Danielle what her girls wanted to see, and the answers were Tigers, Monkeys and Elephants.  We started with the Leopards and Tigers.  The girls got to see the leopard, but the tiger was sleeping in the bushes and they had a hard time finding him.  The Monkeys were out in abundance, and this guy give us some good poses.  The Elephants were also out.  We got to watch one lay down in the dirt, which I don't think I had ever seen before.  That is a lot of body to lay down and get back up!

 We enjoyed lunch on the field by the stage, and let the kids run around some.  Emma could hear her drums, and tried to take off to visit them on her own when Mom wasn't coming.  After correcting that behavior, we finished our lunch and continued on.  Eventually we found the drums, and Emma and Jessica loved them.  Stephanie didn't care for the loud noises, but got in some licks on the cow bells.
 We moved onto the lions, but he statue's were too hot to climb, and the cats had all found shady spots to lay down and nap.  Emma couldn't find the lion, but I think the twins did eventually.  We continued on, and Emma got mad at me for not going where she wanted to go.  We headed for the hippo's, and Emma threw a tantrum.  I ended up strapping her into her stroller and ignoring her all through Africa until we got to the new Porcupine exhibit, where we cuddled.  She was so tired by now, and it was well into her nap time.
By the time we got back to the top, all three girls were in a daze and ready to sleep.  Emma lasted until we got home, then took a good nap.  Lots of fun and sun for this beautiful Spring day.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Grandma Sharen

 Glenn's mom Sharen Case lives in a Memory Care Unit at Farmington Square in Beaverton.  We placed her there in November 2010 as she could no longer be alone and is too much work for any one of us to take on.  As she is living there, we try to bring Emma to visit her often.  Today we took to opportunity to visit her. Our visits tend to take the same track.  We take Sharen back to a little visiting area next to her room.  Emma runs into her room and brings out her stuffed animals.  Then Emma plays with the animals and runs around making noise.

As a routine, this has worked well.  When we arrived today, Sharen was in a mad, and sitting off by herself. She was angry at us from the moment we arrived, and informed us that we wouldn't believe her because nobody believes what she says happened to her and tell her it is the disease!  I have to admit that I was not sure how to react at first, but was so grateful and proud of my husband for his response.  He has the ability to just let his mother vent and let her work her mad off. It wasn't long before Sharen was calmed down and we could have a good visit.

Watching Sharen change with her Alzheimer's has been a difficult and emotional experience. And not at all what we expected.  In the reading we did when we first learned that she had Alzheimer's, we expected her to just lose her memory and to have lots of confusion.  While that is an aspect of her disease, she has changed so much physically it has really surprised us. When I met my Mother-in-law, it was not unusual for her to jump up and do a little dance, to never sit down and keep doing things, to be totally active.  I really thought that she would be the one still going on power walks at age 90.  So when Alzheimer's took her activity away, we were shocked.

 It started with her vision.  She is not blind, in that her eyes still work and she can see, but her brain has stopped processing what she sees, leaving her effectively blind.  There is a name for it that I am not currently remembering. So early on, one day she could see and read one of Emma's books, and the next she couldn't see a thing. This was very difficult for her, and frustrating.  Due to this "blindness" she started having some accidents and falling.  She stopped trusting her spacial ability, and became uncertain in moving around, even with help.  Eventually due to her falling, she was placed in a wheel chair.  In the year and a half that she has lived at Farmington Square, she has gone from a woman who could move herself around and wanted more physical activity, to someone who cannot even stand on her own.  Glenn recently took her to the doctors, and the effect she is having with her eyes is now effecting her whole body.  She does not even know how her body is working at this point in time, and has lost the ability to even reach out and grab something most days.

As with all of us, Sharen has good days and bad days. She is still a joy to be around on the good days.  Sometimes we arrive there, and she is singing songs for all to enjoy.  She loves to see and hear Emma, and always remembers who she is.  She doesn't always remember me, but that is okay.  She thinks of me as the nice lady who takes care of her Grand-daughter, and I am fine with that.  Emma is her happy memory in her later life, and there is such joy in that for her, that she doesn't forget her, and how awesome is that! We can even get her talking on some of her joys form her early childhood, such as her stuffed bear Bruno whom she loved.  Sharen loves to have visitors and loves to see her family.  We need to remember to take as much time with her as we can while we still have her.  Love you Grandma Sharen!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Exploring OMSI

 I decided late Thursday night that I would take Emma to OMSI to play the next day.  She just loves it there, and would spend all day if I let her.  Since I was still up, I posted to Facebook that I was going, and invited whoever wanted to go to join us.  So, I got up early, got Emma ready and we headed out.  About half way there, I received a text message from Emma's Birthparents that they would love to join us (they were leaving in two days to Hawaii for their Honeymoon, and had been relaxing and playing and moving Kristen into David's apartment! now theirs! :)
 Emma and I arrived about an hour before Kristen and David.  She headed to the Water area first, like always, and got soaked.  Then it was time to shop in the market and play in the kitchen.  I was very happy to see Emma decide to share with another boy in the kitchen as at first he just tried to take her stuff, so she offered.  What a nice little girl she can be. 
 After a quick trip through the rest of Discovery Space, Kristen called and they were there.  We went and got them in, and explored the LEGO exhibit, then played with them for a while. David was showing his inner Builder and made a few houses.  Emma kept checking him out.
 Next we explored more of the museum.  Emma and Kristen looked closely at bugs, and Emma and David played with shredded paper on the wind machine. It was good times!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday

 First thing Easter Morning, Emma explored her Easter Basket.  She still had wedding hair from the previous day, and wanted to keep it in.  After discovering the contents of her basket, it was time to hunt for eggs!

 Daddy asked Emma to show him her eggs, and this is what we got. She had such fun, and wanted to open them all right then and there.
 After having some picture fun, we packed ourselves up and headed to Grandpa and Grandma Cawood's for a lovely afternoon and dinner.  We were once again blessed by the weather, so we ate on the deck by the lake and did some sidewalk chalk.  It was a lovely day of family and fun.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Egg Hunts and Weddings

 April 7th was a big and busy day for our family.  We started the morning at a Ward Easter Egg Hunt.  Emma loved finding eggs with her friends and exploring the yard. She kept looking after she found her dozen, so we ended up hiding a few after she was done.  It is wonderful of our friends to offer their yard each year for this activity.  And the last two years we have been blessed by the weather.

After Emma found her eggs, we had to cut out early and drive to Otis Oregon for a wedding.  Emma's birth parents were getting married at her family's second home.  We were pleased that the drive was only two hours, and we took it through the beautiful farm lands of NW Oregon.  We took a quick trip into the ward meeting house in Lincoln City to change clothes for the wedding, and then on we went.

Poor Emma was so tired by the time we arrived for the 3:30 wedding ceremony as she did not nap in the car. She recognized the house from our previous visits, and just wanted to play as she had last time.  She just didn't understand that we had to wait for the wedding to start and that the dogs were not there this time.

Kristen (E's Birth mom) looked beautiful and David couldn't stop smiling.  We were so happy to be included in this special day for them.  During the ceremony, after all but the Bride and her Father had arrived, the music paused to change resulting in complete silence.  Emma looked at me and said "Momma, are we done yet?" which was heard by everyone.  It was a great laugh for us all, but poor Emma was upset that she had everyone's attention.  This is such a fun memory to have of this moment.

After the ceremony, we all moved into the meal portion.  Emma made a new friend at the wedding named Abigail who was born two days after her in the same hospital.  They had such fun dancing and playing together.  Emma was also spoiled by her Birth Grandma's who had presents for her.  She loves the bubble machine from Grandma Kim and the drum set from Grandma Mel.