Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!!

Princess Josie, Gypsy Melissa, Cowgirl Mayra

Thanks Aunt Michele for the coat. Josie stayed warm

The Loot

Carving her pumpkin _ Notice the canes in the background. She walked to her table today to carve her pumpkin.

Aunt Harriet's front porch with the "Josie" pumpkin. Notice it even has a bow on it!!

Happy Halloween to all! We have had a great Halloween day and night. Josie and I carved our pumpkin this morning. She wanted it to look like her so she had long eye lashes and two predominant front teeth. She even had a bow around her stem. I will post a picture.

This evening we went to the Eger's for dinner and trick-or-treating. The girls were so cute all dressed up. It was cold out and really felt like what Halloween should be. The moon was almost full with a few clouds around it. The leaves were falling and all over the ground.

The girls were cute in there costumes. Josie was a pink princess, May was a cow girl and Melissa was a gypsy.

They have a neat thing here when you go to the door to trick-or-treat. Instead of ringing the door bell or knocking, you yell trick-or-treat and wait for someone to come to the door. Josie thought this was great fun. Lory and I got Melissa and Josie out of the strollers at almost all the houses. There were a few we got lazy at and held the bags up to get candy for them. We went to a lot of houses and the candy bags got really full. The girls and Grady had fun sorting the loot when we got back to the Eger's. Thanks Egers for a fun Michigan Halloween!!

To all the DD families, we thought about all of you tonight and missed not seeing all the kids dressed up. Hope it was fun. Someone send us a picture of the group please. Jenny and Princess Josie

Friday, October 30, 2009

Officially worn out

Sweet girl

Lilly "the bummble bee" service dog at the therapy center

Above is a picture of Josie trying to fall asleep at the kitchen table. I was finishing up after dinner and she was trying to fall asleep in her little chair. She ought to be tired with all the incredible work she did this week. You could see in her legs today the fatigue. She was even having a harder time in the walker which she does effortlessly now. We finished the therapy day with an obstacle course around the gym. First she had to walk across the parallel bars then transfer onto the walker. Walk over to the climbing ladder and climb to the top to touch the ghost decoration. Climb back down and get into crawling position to crawl over the balance board. From there she had to walk with her canes to the end of the room where I set up a finish line. She giggled her way through the whole thing. Przemek was shocked at her ability to transfer on her own from the parallel bars to the walker. He didn't teach her this so he didn't know she could do this...moms can teach too, sometimes!! It made the last hour of therapy bearable for her and she even put in every bit of last effort she had to give. She really wanted her friends to come back again today. Melissa and Reggie, you guys were missed today. She actually was given the whole night off from walking. Tomorrow, however, he wants her to hit it again. Josie and I decided tonight that we are going to make a scavenger hunt around the kitchen in the morning so she will walk around and get the clues. This makes boring walking interesting. I am going to have to get creative for the next 3 weeks. If anyone has any suggestions love to hear them!!!

Thanks to the many of you who have been sending such supportive emails. You can't believe how much it helps both of us. Keep them coming. She will need the extra support to finish strong her.

We can't wait for Halloween tomorrow. I will post pictures. Love to all, Jenny and Josie

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Friends came to therapy

Melissa coming to see Josie

Hugs...amazing picture of 2 little girls that couldn't walk, STANDING and hugging each other.
The Cane Gang...Josie, Melissa and Reggie

Sweet Girls

It was a happy therapy day for Josie today. Her good friend Melissa Eger and sweet Reggie Livingston came to see the center. It was great how well Josie continued to work despite the audience she had in the room. Melissa is her friend that is already walking with canes so I think it helped motivate Josie even more. The amazing thing is that all 3 kids are Healing the Children kids that have been adopted. Very few adoptions have ever taken place in Healing the Children and we had 3 sitting in the same room. Not to confuse all of you, we used to be Healing the Children and now we are Mending Kids International. I am so lucky to have meet these great moms, Lory and Janey. It is fun to talk to someone that is going through similar situations as yours, especially being so far away from home.

Josie did 4 long rounds of cane walking with very little breaks. It is remarkable what she has accomplished in the past 4 days. This is how fast it goes...when I went to the market today, Matt asked if Josie is starting to move her walker more. Josie was in there with her walker mid Sept and could barely get it around the store. I was telling Matt that we hardly use the walker because she is almost about to conquer the canes. He couldn't;t believe that she was even trying the canes. Some days I feel like the progression is so slow and then days like today I can;t believe that I am telling someone she is practically past the walker. So much fun.

A little update on Pibb, Josie's walking dog. I talked to Sarah and Pibb has mastered his "Josie" commands already. He is doing so well that they are using him as the demo dog for there 3 upcoming speaking engagements. One of those happens to be for the state wide 4H meeting. Go Pibb!! Josie is so excited for him to come 3 weeks from today. Sorry about the video yesterday. I never could get it to load. I think it is too big of a file. I did some shorter videos today so you can get a glimpse of how she is walking right now. Ciao, Jenny and Josie

This is Josie walking with some upbelieveable catches

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"That was the best!!"

"That was the best," exclaimed Przemek as Josie finished the most amazing first round of cane walking today. It is the video at the bottom. It looks like he is touching her but he isn't. He is just prepared to catch her if she goes over. You can hear him say the line after she falls into his arms after walking. We were all so excited to see her really turn the corner. Yesterday and last night were truly the turning point. It will be so much easier for her for the rest of the season. All she has to do now is perfect the cane walking. In another week or so he will start the preparation towards independent walking. This is just preparations. His goal is to complete this by the end of next summer. I have seen him work miracles so far and I don't doubt for a minute that he can do it.

Let's recap for a brief moment...the first day of therapy this summer at the end of June, Sylvia had to hold Josie's hips up, help her shift her weight, move her feet and help her move the walker. Now she is walking totally independently with the walker and is walking with the canes. She proceeded to do 4 more rounds with the canes today and her "breaks" today consisted of her walking around with the walker pushing the stool all over the gym. Breaks before were sitting in the corner resting legs so she could walk some more. Wow. I am so impressed with her attitude and hard work. I am also including the video that she wanted to record today. She says in it that she loves her canes. I think she said that to put an even bigger smile on my face.

I will stop writing today so you can see for yourself her progress. It is about 5 minutes long. He wants her walking to be slow and meticulous so that it is done with such perfection that she forms perfect habits. It will be almost impossible to break bad habits. My love to all, Jenny and Wonder Woman Josie

***Can't get the walking video to load! Will try again in the morning.***

I can't seem to get the video loaded. I did put it on Youtube. If you type in Josie walking Oct. 28, 2009 and scroll down a bit you can see it. I will try again tonight to get it loaded on this site

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Through this journey of Josie's walking there has been a slew of choices to be made. Should we even embark on this journey was the first choice we had to make. Next came for how long? Looking back these first choices seemed to be so big and monumental and we somehow made them with happy hearts and then accepted and are on the journey now.

The journey was made and accepted by Josie and I together as a team. Somewhere between leaving here a few weeks ago for a break at home until today Josie forgot (or chose not to) really get back into this journey. She has been going to therapy and through the motions but without the sparkle in her eye. It was more of a fight, or my journey. I was pulling her along questioning if I was still making the best decision or choice in this journey.

Don't get me wrong, she has still made incredible progress these past couple weeks. I just wanted and needed this to be her choice to continue this journey. After therapy today (which she did have the best walking to date but not without the whining) we got home. Instead of the using the walker from the door to the room for tutoring I had her use the canes. She was so steady on them today even taking them to the bathroom instead of the walker! Huge. As soon as she saw the canes she began to fight me. Throwing them, yelling and carrying on. It was almost like she had made her choice. Nice Mrs. Bergman was so kind and supportive of us at this moment. She was reassuring to us that this is a choice. She so kindly worked with Josie and let me leave for a little break. She has no idea how good that was for both of us. I took that hour to really offer up the struggle we have had the past few weeks and ask for guidance on our choice. When I returned with a clearer head and a more patient heart for what choice this 8 year old has had to make it, changed our path again...for the better.

After dinner, we watched The Biggest Loser. Ok, admittedly this isn't necessarily the best show for an 8 year old, but in this case it was. The contestants on the show have a big choice to make and then work incredibly hard mentally and physically on that choice. We watched the part where Jillian is asking the girl to choose. Was she going to fight it or was she going to change her mind and attitude and make the hard choice to work through it. Without saying a thing, Josie leaned over the couch (almost gave me a heart attack because I thought she was going to fall) and picked up her canes. Instead of talking I just watched her. I could see something in her eyes. She had made a choice. She positioned her canes in front of her, grabbed them and stood up by herself. She just stood there watching the TV. There was silence in between us but a deafening sound of the choice she made right there. She proceeded to sit and stand about 10 times. Each time she would stand steady for about 3 minutes at a time. When she was done, she leaned over and kissed both canes, one at a time. She then scooted herself back on the couch and sat back, snuggled into me as to say, "I have once again made my choice". Welcome back Josie.

I can't promise that the next 4 1/2 weeks won't be without its own trials and tribulations. I just think that she has once again committed to this process. She said her prayers tonight with happiness and fulfillment. She went to sleep with her usual sparkle in her eyes. Thank you God for answering the prayers of our hearts. May he bless all intentions asked tonight. Jenny and Josie

Monday, October 26, 2009

Keep on going

So I was thinking of not posting tonight because I really didn't have any new information. Then I received 2 really nice emails from people who where excited to read everyday Josie's progress even if it seems so redundant. So for you guys here it goes...

We got to keep our 11:30 - 2:30 spot for one more week. The boy that was due to take it got the swine flu and Izabella, so thankfully, told him her could not come until he was well for 3 weeks. I had to juggle around tutoring and a couple of appointments but am pleased with the time. Josie did a good job today. Przemek asked me to come back for the last hour. He was hoping she would work better if I was there for the hard part. Remember Friday was a bit of a disaster. She did fairly well on canes for him, but for some reason she actually did them better with me. Whatever works at this point.

We came home and got to take Theo for a nice walk in the neighborhood. We did lose him at one point. He tried to walk through a very tall, racked pile of leaves and he all but totally disappeared. He looked like he was swimming to get out. Josie was laughing so hard I thought she was going to fall off her bike. She thinks that little dog is a riot. We were thankful for the 60 degree day and that we could walk Theo without the full winter gear on. It looks like the week is shaping up to be a good one.

Tonight we relaxed at home with Harriet. Josie is so sad she is leaving next week for Florida. We are definitely going to miss her. It is so nice having company in the house. Josie did 2 rounds of walking tonight. She did great the first round (the tv was in and she was distracted). The 2nd round she complained a bit but was very pleased with herself when she walked all the way across the kitchen and got to the table. It is amazing that she has the hang of it so much that she finds time to complain and still walk. She could never have done that 3 weeks ago. I am definitely not saying that she is totally independent but making big strides towards it.

Off to bed so we can get ready to do it all again tomorrow. We are always grateful for another day here. Good night, Jenny and Josie

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Blakes Cider Mill and Apple Orchard

Pumpkin picking. See the big one nicely perched over the top of her head! Picture looks worse then it was. Yikes.

In the orchard

Josie picking her own apples. She was so proud

What a great Michigan day we had at Blakes Cider Mill and U Pick apple orchard. We went after church when the weather was so nice and sunny. It was a beautiful drive through the great fall foliage. We picked all different kinds of apples. The man told Josie to taste each kind first to see if she liked it and she certainly took him up on his offer. She decided that she liked the Empire variety the best. We ended up picking a half bushell of apples. Sorry to all our friends and family here because you all know I will keep replenishing you with apples!! After we picked we had lunch in the cafe. She enjoyed the Blakes grown corn on the cob. We loaded up on donuts and cider to share with the friends and family here. Sorry CA gang I can't find a good way to ship this to you guys. We picked our pumpkins. We got 3 - a big one for Harriet, a medium one for me and a small one for Josie. She is looking forward to carving them and hopes that Jeanie and Roger will want to carve too.

We also got to go on a train ride around the orchard. Funny thing that happened here. The train had 4 cars with about 10 rows in each was a huge train. We wanted to sit in the last car, mainly because all the rest of the train was filled. So I put her on the seat, made sure she was holding on and went to put the stroller back outside the ropes. All of a sudden the train starts to pull away and at a fairly rapid pace. The drivers is so far away he must not have seen me move the stroller. The woman in our row reached over for Josie and the lady behind her reached up to grab her because she is precariously perched on the edge. I started running in a full sprint down the dirt road and literally took a flying leap onto the edge of the train grabbing the rail. People started clapping and laughing as I dove onto the train. It must have been the most awkward site. Come hell or high water was I going to let that train get away from me with her on it. Watch out McGuiver you might have some new competition.

When we returned to Grosse Pointe we made a few apple deliveries. We had a nice soup dinner with Roger, Jeanie and Theo. Cane walking happened right before bed. She decided to argue with me and while she did she kept her balance the whole time. She has the hang of this even when she is being argumentative. She finally settled down and walked herself across the kitchen floor to see what the little door did on the wall. It was the laundry shoot and she, while standing, proceeded to take off the top portion of her clothing and sent it to the laundry room. Whatever keeps her standing on those canes I guess?! She then walked down the hallway to her bedroom. I was forbidden at that point to tell her what to do. The stinker darn well knew exactly what she had to do without any instruction. Didn't care for the attitude, but love her competence.

We sang a great song in church today. The last verse had the words...I will call your name, Stand up, now walk and live, do not be afraid I am with you. She looked up and me and smiled when we sang that part. I hope she can embrace that line. Good night to all. Jenny and Josie

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Beautiful Fall Color

These pics are of our street Cloverly Road. Josie likes to ride her bike on her finding beautiful leaves. There is definitely an ample supply of them

We are so lucky to experience the fall color of Michigan. It is a treat to actually see it with our own eyes. Josie said the trees are like seeing fireworks...everyone you say ohh, ahh oh look at that one. It is like a constant display of the grand finale on the 4th of July.

We had an incredibly relaxing day. It was too cold and rainy to go to the Cider Mill. We will go tomorrow because it is suppose to be warmer, partly sunny and around 54 degrees. Much better then today. Today we hung around the house with Harriet doing "house" things. We finally ventured down the street to the Village and did errands. We found Josie's Halloween costume. You will have to tune in on Oct 31st to see what she will be. She did give a pre Halloween fashion show to Harriet, Barry and Andrew. Barry and Andrew came for dinner which was such a treat to be with them. Josie finds Barry to be as funny as Harriet. She enjoys their humor. In fact, she even let Barry watch her walk down the hallway on her canes. She did it with a fair amount of cooperation. She tried to negotiate a shorter distance and yet walked with great ease all the way. I think she even shocked herself because by the time she was done negotiating her was farther then her spot she was negotiating for. She is getting so much steadier on Rita and Lilly it just shocks me. She may complain for the next five weeks but she will do it...I may have to invest in a good pair of ear plugs!! just kidding. I love teasing her.

We will try again tomorrow to go to the apple orchard. Happy fall day to all, Jenny and Josie

Friday, October 23, 2009


The new number tonight is 30!!! 30 beautiful steps down the hallway with her canes on her way to bed. The only reason it was only 30 is because we were stopped by the door. The stubborn monkey won't do a darn thing for Przemek today...that's another story. Yet she walks the best at the end of the day when she is beat tired. I don't get it, but I'll take it.

I just wanted to encourage all our LA friends to go on the Mending Kids website and join them for a fundraiser on November 6th. NiColle Holland is doing a great job organizing a fun evening. For more ticket information you can also call Mending Kids at (661) 298-8000. Check out the website to learn more about what Mending Kids does. It is amazing.

My best to all of you this fine Friday night. We are off to bed with prayers for a clear day tomorrow. We want to go to the Cider mill and go apple picking. We hope the rain will stay away for long enough to go. Cheers, Jenny and Josie

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pediatric Fitness Center Restroom

Instructions from Przemek

Learning to come off the wall and grab canes. She isn't touching the wall. the picture just looks like it.

Funny title to a blog but great story about it. As you know from yesterday, Josie is now to walk out of therapy to the car and everywhere in the house with her walker or canes. Today we were leaving and she had to go to the bathroom. (I will apologize now to any of you who think this is too much information) One thing she has never been able to do is go into and use the restroom without a lot of assistance. Yesterday she saw her friend Dustin, who happens to be a very handsome, outgoing 14 year old that is also at therapy, come out of the restroom with his walker. So today she wanted to use the restroom with her walker. She walked in there, held onto the handicap bar, pulled down her own pants (left hand held bar right hand did pants) and got herself onto the toilet. She went, got off the toilet, wiped, pulled up her own pants, turned herself around and got her walker. Walked to the sink, washed her hands and walked out. That it progress!!! She even walked ou to the waiting room and then across the waiting room with her canes. Rimind you that she just finished a grueling 3 hour workout. The more independent life skills she can acquire the more independent she can become. I know it seems silly to most but for this little 8 year old that has never been able to go to the bathroom by herself it is miraculous. She is so proud. I even had to call her therapists at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles because I knew they would totally appreciate this.

OK, enough potty talk... you should have seen her balancing against the wall and coming forward with control to get her canes. It was more control then I have ever seen her have. She never even fell to the sides. There are pictures above to show you. She worked really hard again today. She even asked for her canes twice today. I might post the video of that.

Tonight she had her tutor, Mrs. Bergman who is wonderful with her. She is learning so much. She made a pizza for she and Aunt Harriet. She loved rolling out the dough. There was flour everywhere. That just makes it more exciting. It was so cold and damp outside to take a bike ride so she took an extra long bath instead. She just walked across the kitchen with her canes with the best weight shifting I have seen. What great accomplishments for the day. We jsut need to keep her healthy and strong for the next 5 weeks. Sweet Dreams to all. Jenny and Josie

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday, Oct 21st

Hi all- very productive day at therapy. There is a new rule at home set by Przemek...there is absolutely no carrying of Josie allowed in the house. She is to use her walker when ever she needs to get somewhere and to practice the shorter distances on her canes!! 2 exceptions to the rule. 1st thing in the morning she can be carried to the restroom before getting dressed and she can be carried after getting out of the bathtub. That is it. We started this new regime tonight and it was fairly seamless. This isn't just difficult for her it is going to give me a new level of patience which will be health for me. I will have to be more organized and not so rushed to get everywhere because it will take us longer to do things. In the long run it will be the best thing for both of us.

Josie had tutoring after therapy today so we had to get home for that. We took a nice bike ride after tutor. She collected so many beautiful leaves. It was almost 70 today and this evening. We welcome warm weather.

I just got off the phone with Teresa's dad, Werner, and he was saying that Teresa is doing so incredibly well they tried to release her to go home from the PICU TODAY!! She is only 24 hours post op. That is improvement. Werner so smartly requested her to stay at least one more day to finish IV antibiotics and make sure her labs stay normal. She will go home tomorrow afternoon or Friday. This is still 4 days earlier then expected. She has had a long month at CHLA. Bless all there who took such great care of her during this difficult time. Werner and Florie wanted me to express their deepest gratitude for all the prayers that were said for Teresa during this time. They know that they helped. Goodnight to all. Jenny and Josie

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy day

Receiving the news that her sister was out of surgery and doing well. What a huge relief

We had a happy day all around. Therapy was successful again today. She is starting to get the hang of the canes. They are becoming more automatic instead of being so forced requiring so much concentration for every movement. I ended up staying the whole session today which is very unusual. I am usually only there for the walking part. Josie woke up sort of off. It could very well have been that her sister was going into surgery or that she just needed mom today.

As for Teresa, she did have her surgery. It was longer and tougher than anticipated but she did really well. Werner sent texts and pictures as soon as she was out. She looks great. She was awake and alert right away. Her eyes seem to be tracking better then when the shunts were externalized. He even sent a short video and she looks like herself again. She just needs to get through the next few days infection free. Then she can go home!! Just at the moment Josie finished therapy we got the text saying that she was out and fine and included a picture. Above is the picture of Josie when she saw the picture. She was squealing with happiness. We called Teresa on our way home and the nurse in the PICU held the phone to her ear. She said when Teresa heard Josie's voice her eyes got bigger, she started to talk and smiled a bit. True sisterly love. Keep fighting the good fight Teresa. We love you so much.

And finally for the other happy news today...Mike and Steph are having another BOY!!! Luke is going to be a big brother. We are going to have 4 male cubs and one reigning queen. Matt and Luke will both be great brothers. We are thrilled. Congrats Richards family. Let the name game begin.

I hope everyone had a happy day. We are so thankful for all our blessings. Jenny and Josie

Monday, October 19, 2009

18 and Princess Pig

Princess Pig side view with coat on

front view with coat on


without coat- notice the boats on the feet because it is so cold here.

What do 18 and Princess Pig have to do with each other you ask?? NOTHING! 18 - that is the number of steps that Josie took tonight on her canes, Rita and Lilly, in the kitchen without any help!!! You have no idea how great this is and how quickly her confidence has come back. I don't want to completely count my chickens before they hatch but this is huge progress. Last week I thought that maybe I had maxed her out and we should call it a good run for now. Today I wish they didn't get snow here and we could go all year. One day, one hour, one minute at a time. I am newly encouraged and I think she feels the same. There was no argument or fight tonight to walk. Just doing it. She even walked twice. Over to the stove, helped me cook her soup and then back to the table. Then she walked 18 steps across the kitchen floor, started to fall I caught her and she kept going to her bedroom. Wow.

Przemek also decided that he would go back to the basics of walking like with the parallel bars, walker, etc to build her confidence and break her fear. He was gentle, patient and kind today. He really liked meeting Rita and Lilly and used the same names and method which proved to be highly successful.

She was so tired tonight she didn't even want me to read to her. She is trying so hard. I am looking forward to seeing the progress tomorrow.

As far as Teresa goes, they postponed her until tomorrow. All levels are normal and she is doing very well physically. They will take her into the OR in the morning if all stays ok. She is so depressed that they need to get those shunts back in there, wait the 5 days in hospital for observation and then get home. She will perk up when she leaves. Florie and Werner need to get home too. It has been so stressful for them with her in for a month and the ups and downs she has been through. So, she needs your prayers again tomorrow.

And finally, Princess Pig. I heard from many of you how disappointed you were that there weren't pictures of the pig they are! Best to all, Jenny and Josie, Rita, Lilly and Princess Pig

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tea at the Ford house- Dinner at the Hull House

Blue Ribbons for Moriah

Josie and Piggy having tea at the Ford house

Hi All - We had a nice, cool Sunday. After church, Josie and I went to the Edsel and Eleanore Ford house on the lake. Unfortunately, they were booked for the house tour so we had lunch in the tea room. It was a fun treat to be there. We will definitely go back for the tour.

After lunch, Josie decided we needed to make Piggy (her stuffed animal that goes everywhere with us)a Halloween costume. Off to JoAnn's for the much needed supplies. We came back and assembled the princess costume. She looks quite cute and with the help of iron on Velcro her costume will stay together!

We did some more cane walking with Lilly and Rita (her new names for her Left and Right canes). I have to say this naming the canes thing is really working. She walked so well with them today. She went across the kitchen with them. You can't believe how painstakingly slow it is to accomplish each task. It is remarkable that she is even able to do it at all. We will get there.

The picture of Josie with the blue ribbons on her hands and canes are for Moriah Nelson. This is our sweet little friend who has been through sooo much in her 20 months of life and keeps fighting and pulling out miracles right and left. She is doing really well right now. People are wearing blue ribbons for her and Josie wanted to send her a picture and video. I have attached the video at the end. It is hard to stand with canes and try to think of a video message at the same time. This was good practice. We love you Moriah. Keep going strong Girl!! You can see the Nelsons and Moriah's amazing journey at

Tonight we had a fabulous french dinner prepared by Julia Childs, or at least the recipe by Julia Childs but Jeanie Hull might as well be. We are so lucky to get to go to their house for dinner. It is fun to be with Jeanie and Roger and Jeanie is such a good cook. I need to take lessons.

I am looking forward to starting this week. I hope and pray it is a successful one. We only have 6 more weeks left of this session. Even though that sounds like a lot it is not. We need to make every minute count. I will work more with her at home so we can hopefully achieve the goals set for this session.

Please keep Teresa in your prayers tomorrow. They are going to try again to take her into surgery and put the shunts back in. They think they have figured out the coagulation problem. There was talk about needed to give her a transfusion do to some anemia she is having but they were pumping her with vitamin K first. She has been in the hospital a month and really needs to get out. She is so bored and depressed that she won't smile or "talk" at all. My best to you all on this Sunday night. Love, Jenny and Josie

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lilly and Rita/ Greenfield Village

Josie and the steam engine...Luke will like this

Josie trying to stay warm on the train

Josie and a 1914 Model T Ford

Happy Saturday to all. You are probably wondering who Lilly and Rita are? Well in the great effort to get Josie to like her canes I decided to join her imaginary world. As most of you know she has a great imagination that takes her (and who ever happens to be in ear shot) to a magical world. I decided that her new best friends should be there too...introducing Rita (her Right cane) and Lilly (her Left cane). Yes, Lilly Dunbar she is named after you. You are now apart of her magical adventure and you didn't even know it. As far as Rita goes, she was originally Rachel after Rachel MacLeod. Once we used the name with an L in it she always thought it was Lilly so we switched to Rita. We still love you lots Raych. Now that Josie has her new friends you should have seen her with them tonight. It was like a new light went off in that brain or at least the neuro pathways were firing in the right direction(most liking this one). She was using them better then I have ever seen. We hope this team work, best friend approach with be the ticket we have been looking for. Poor Przemek. He might have my head when he has to use these names. At this point he would do a jig if that helped.

Before we got wild and crazy with Lilly and Rita we spent the day at Greenfield Village. This is a village where they have recreated and also restored Henry Ford's childhood home and other things throughout his life. It was an amazing place that helped with our history portion of her home schooling. Josie was very intrigued by Noah Webster's home and all his publications. It was so neat to see a small sample of how life was lived in the early 1900's. We rode the old carousel that had all hand carved animals. We rode on the steam engine and took a lot of pictures to send to Luke. We know he would love this. We were so bundled up to stay warm that I had to keep checking if she could see out of her hood. It was freezing cold but a great adventure for the day. Hope everyone had a great Saturday. Love, Jenny and Josie, Lilly and Rita, too!!

Friday, October 16, 2009


Wow, quite a trying week. Struggling to get back in this gruelling workout routine. We are going to take a nice weekend off, try to stay warm and start again next week. She has been at this intense pace since the end of June, so I understand that some moments are going to be tougher. I just have to remember patience. Besides the cane walking, she is healthy and happy. That is the most important. Looking forward to having a few light adventures this weekend. Will update tomorrow. Jenny and Josie

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Really back in auction now

Josie has had a hard time coming back to work. She had so much fun at home and thinks the whole family is still together with out her. Her workouts have been mediocre at best. The law was laid down last night and bribes were offered. Well it worked. She had such a great attitude today and worked her canes and walking really well. She also talked to Grandma and she told her with all the new babies coming in our family she needed her help. Grandma can't carry Josie and the babies. Josie loved the idea of helping and was going to walk all over getting diapers, clothes, etc for Grandma. Motivation is great. When we were in the car driving home, Josie called Grandma how well she did. She told her that at first she thought she couldn't do it then she said, "I switched my brain and said Grandma needs my help I can do this, I can do this." and I did do it. Thanks to the Flintridge Guild of Childrens Hospital members for all signing a copy of The Lttle Engine that Could for helping us find a new mindset. By rereading this book it has helped her remember that it isn't always easy but if you try you can do it. Thanks FGCH!!

A quick Teresa update, she was suppose to have her shunts put back in. They cancelled her surgery at the last minute because her lab work showed that she was having a slight problem coagulating. Hemotogoly is looking at the reason and hopefully they will be able to proceed with the surgery with in the next couple days. Will update as things happen. My best, Jenny and Josie

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Back in action

This should have been the title to last nights post, but yesterday ended up being topsy turvy. We were half way to therapy yesterday when I received a call from Przemek (her trainer) asking is we were ok because we were 2 1/2 hours late!!! Most of you know that I am not the most punctual, but not like this. The time got changed but I wasn't informed. I am happy about the new time just wish I knew after beat feeting in back from CA. The good part is that we got to spend time with Roger, Jeanie and Aunt Harriet as well as play with the Egers for a little while. It was nice to catch up with everyone. Cute Melissa Eger is making a charge with her new canes. What a complete joy to see her progress. Lory and I were texting back and forth about possible weekend plans and apple picking is one of them. She said that would be great if it didn't snow. SNOW??!! Josie and I laughed when we got that text. Please don't say the S word yet.

Today Josie was back at it. Great day except for rebellion with the canes. We had a nice "goal" setting session at home tonight. Now I know the rebellion is fear. We will work through this.

After her tutor tonight, we got to walk Theo back to his house. We borrowed the bike from therapy and she rode Theo home. She was flying on it. I had to run to catch her. She is definitely so much stronger. I was at a slow walk with her on her bike at home at the end of June. Go Josie girl!!

One funny, dumb blonde from California thing today. I was at the market before I picked Josie up. I was getting a few meat items, so thinking about how not to have them spoil on our hour and a half journey home I asked the lady for a bag of ice. She looked at me funny and I assumed I was putting her out by having her get this for me. As I was checking out I told the checker that I has a bag of ice for a few of my cold items and could she put them together in a separate bag. Again, from someone else I received another funny look. Couldn't figure out why they had such a problem with my bag of ice. Finally it dawned on me...only a silly blonde girl from CA would need a bag of ice in 45 degree Michigan weather to keep a couple pieces of meat cold. The lady and I got laughing so hard. I told her at least I would bring a smile to her face all day because now she had something to talk about!! She said, "Yes I do!" At least I made many people laugh in her check out line to do something to keep warm in 45 degrees on Oct. 13th. Night to all. Hopefully your day was filled with laughter too!!Jenny and Josie

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Leaving CA...back to MI we go

The Kids

My beautiful and loving Grams and Gramps (My mom's parents)

Mom and Dad - Happy 39th Anniversary!!

Julia and Matt Hannah - their first dance

Joellen and Jim Yundt

We had the great pleasure of being at Julia Yundt and Matt Hannah's wedding yesterday in Palos Verdes. What a marvelous celebration of a marriage between 2 wonderful people and their families. The whole evening was spectacular. Thank you Jim and Joellyn for inviting us. It is fun that Matt and Jules share an anniversary with my parents.

It was sure fun to be with the family at the desert and then onto the wedding. I feel like one of the luckiest people to be in the family I am in. It was really hard to leave everyone today, but we know it is the right thing to do right now. We miss you family and can't wait until we are all back together again...Michelle and Brian's baby boy will be born by then!!

I also got to see the Mending Kids group yesterday for a wonderful and productive board retreat. Mending Kids is growing so quickly and we are all excited about this new journey we are on and how many more kids we can offer life saving surgical care to.

Even though leaving CA is tough be are so blessed to return to the extended family here and the nice friends we have meet. It definitely makes the journey a great one. Josie is ready to embark on 7 more really tough weeks. Przemek gets her back tomorrow for the remainder of the time. He is excited about what his treatment can do for her. As I was reading her "The Little Engine that Could" tonight (given to her by the Flintridge Guild of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and signed by everyone which made me cry) she said that she was like the little blue engine and thinks she can. When she is finished with Przemek she wants to say "I thought I could". Go brave, strong girl. Thanks for all your support. Love, Jenny and Josie

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fun in the Sun

Poker with Great Grandpa

Balboa Island - in the sand with Grandma and cousins

Brooke, Alex and Josie

Sleeping with canes - trying to get her to fall in love with them!

Walking to the pool

Can we fit anymore people in here?

Driving range

Josie hitting balls on the range

Lesson from Great Grandpa

Movie night with cousin Luke and Grandpa

We are having a great time with the family at the Desert. Josie is loving all the company and playmates. We spend every morning in the pool for at least 2 hours. We have been to the driving range. Josie even hit. We secured her to the bag rack!! Well it worked. It is fun just hanging around talking and laughing. It is so great that even my 85 year old grandparents are here and in the middle of it all. We are so lucky. Enjoy the pictures. Jenny and Josie

PS. Przemek and Sylvia - she has walked every day with canes at least one. She also is walking everywhere she goes in the house with her walker. She is doing great. Can't wait to see you guys next week.