Saturday, June 7, 2014

Love, laughter, and happily ever after

My husband and I have been married for almost a year and a half now (Yes I can't believe it's already been that long). Although we sometimes get into little disagreements, I believe us to be one of the happiest couples I know. I think I've figured out one key part of a happy marriage. I know. I know. What does a "newlywed" know about marriage anyway!? Well let me tell you.

Like I've mentioned in other posts, Callie has taught me to be more selfless. Boy, do I apply that to my marriage.

Everyday, (usually in the morning) I think to myself "what can I do to make Shawn's day easier or more pleasant?". Sometimes I even ask him (usually he says "come home and let me see your beautiful face" or something cheesy like that). I try to do AT LEAST one thing a day for him. It can range from making his lunch to mowing the lawn for him (or taking care of a phone call that he doesn't want to make). Anything that lightens his burden and makes him feel loved.

I know I still have a TON to learn about being married but I've found a gem that I won't let go. I know that having a happy marriage is when both people try to keep the other happy. Just look at us ;)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Our Angel Mother

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mothers out there!

I am grateful for the wonderful mother that was chosen to care for our Calligator! Not just any woman could have been given such a heavy load and bore it so gracefully.

Having a child with Cerebral Palsy as severe as Callie's is challenging. For over 22 years my mother has been on call 24/7. Callie is completely dependent on my mother for everything. I have so much respect for my mother who feeds, changes, and cares for her every need. My mother never complains about the daily repeated tasks, only shows love towards Callie.

It is a honor to have such an inspiring mother in my life. I am grateful to all the other mothers who care for one of these amazing children.

I am grateful to my Heavenly Father who has blessed me with this amazing family. My mother has taught me so much about selfless service and what it really means to be a great mom. I can only hope to be half that mom she is.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

DIY Cute Quote in a frame

So our little sister's birthday is today! Callie and I needed to brainstorm a cute, cheap, and meaningful gift to make for Jenny. I LOVE repurposing Goodwill items (especially frames), and we stalked her Pinterest to try to find some inspiration.

So this is what we came up with...

First we started with a goodwill picture frame.
Jenny's walls are white so I decided a black frame would be better. I removed the back with the hubby's pliers. (Remember to put them back tehe)
Then get out your handy dandy spray paint, take your little butt outside, and spray that puppy black!
Now I couldn't remember how I glued glass to the frame last time, so I had to do some trial and error. Hot glue dried too fast, so I used super glue... I don't think that's what I used last time.  But I'll have to try some other things because it got on the glass a little and annoyed me.

Next, I used my Cricut to cut out what I wanted the glass to say. I cut on paper first to measure, then made cuts on the vinyl. Once I learn the art of transfer paper these projects will be easier, but for now it's one letter at a time. But all in all it turned out pretty good.
Hoped you like! Callie & I love it! Best of all Jenny LOVES it too!!!

Happy crafting!

Monday, April 14, 2014

A smile warms the soul

Growing up with a sister with Cerebral Palsy you learn a thing or two about not caring what other people think. People stare, point, ask questions and it doesn't even phase us. We never get offended and often explain to children who are staring what is wrong with Callie.

Exposing children to people with disabilities is a blessing to them and the person with the disability. It teaches them that people are different and they don't need to feel awkward around people who have a disability. In turn it helps the individual with the disability to feel loved and included.

I know that it has blessed me in my life. It is second nature for me to interact with other children/adults like Callie. I LOVE them and their sweet spirits. 

I know that it has also blessed the youth group of our church. They often came up with activities that Callie could participate in. They were always helping with her so she could be involved. The youth offered to push her and talked to her like anyone else. I could see the difference she made in their lives. 

I know these individuals were sent here with a purpose. To inspire. To touch the lives of everyone they meet. It is a rare occasion when Callie can't get someone to smile. 

Next time you pass by someone with a disability I challenge you to just give them a smile. Nothing warms the soul quicker than a smile :)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Focusing on our blessings instead of our trials

This has been on my mind a TON lately! Maybe it's because my husband and I have been going through a tidal wave of trials this year.

When life just seems like EVERYTHING is going wrong it's Satan. He's clouding your vision and all you can see is the trials and you forget about all your blessings. It's your choice to get down in the dumps when every dagum thing is going wrong. Stop it. It's not healthy and it's not making anything better. 

Well my little sister and I flew out to Utah to visit family for two weeks and I have had more time to focus on my blessings and I feel amazing! I am a million times happier. One small set back of this trip is that I had to leave my husband and my Calligator. :( when I called my mom, Callie wanted to say "hi" and she instantly started crying which got me crying... She misses me and I miss her.

Now I must tell you how Callie taught me to focus on the good and be happy. (She seriously teaches me so much). Well if I was stuck in a wheel chair and continually watched everyone else do everything, I think I'd be grumpy to say the least. Well any of my readers who know Callie can count on one hand the times they've seen her grumpy and feeling sorry for herself. She is the happiest person I know. She is always laughing, tripping people, smiling, sticking her tongue out at people, and blessing everyone around her with her sweet positive spirit.

What a blessing it is to have an example like her in my life. I am honored for my children to grow up with such an inspiring aunt. She is so generous and will greet anyone with a smile. She taught me how to serve her any way I could, which brings me to a story. (I LOVE stories!)

When Callie and I were really little and celebrating our birthday (we are identical twins she just has cerebral palsy) we were eating cake with frosting.. Of course! Well some of that frosting had escaped the dark hole, which was Callie's mouth, and had slid towards her chin. Now I'm really little like between 1-3 I'm guessing (stories get told and I can't remember every detail) and I walk over and scrape that frosting off her chin with my finger. Everyone is lookin' at me waiting to see what I do (they were all thinking I was gonna eat it)... But no. I put that frosting back in her mouth! What kind of toddler does that!? ****update**** it was our first birthday!

I know that we can all learn from these angels that are among us. I know Heavenly Father uses others to bless us. We all have trials but when we focus on the blessings our trials seem less. 

"In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed not just endured."
-Gordon B. Hinckley 

Monday, March 31, 2014

God sent you to me because I needed you

My dear readers,

I'm not sure y'all understand the impact that Callie has made on my life. I'm the woman I am today because this amazing spirit was sent to earth with me. 

Callie literally saves me. 
How many times have I been beat down and sent into a depression that I felt I could never recover from? Many a times. It's her love, her sweet smile, her affectionate swats (Cerebral Palsy doesn't make it easy to comfort lol), and amazing spirit that gets me through everything.

She is my reason. My reason to carry on. I truley believe that she is part of my purpose in life. 

She has taught me so many of Christ's attributes. She has taught me patience. (Feeding her by mouth takes FOREVER!) Having to put her needs first and take care of her taught me selflessness. She has taught me humility. When my trials are "hard" I remember my sweet sister who can't walk, talk, or control her movements. She has taught me to find joy in service. I absolutely LOVE feeding her, giving her a bath, painting her nails, etc. The joy on her face when I paint her nails her favorite color or scrub her hair brings me so much joy.

Whenever I feel down I just go serve Callie. Serving others is the prefect way to make you feel good and fight off depression. There is never a day that she can not make me smile. :) 

I know from the depths of my soul that she was sent to me and my family because we needed her. Heavenly Father couldn't have picked a more loving home for her. She brings us together as a family and is such a beautiful blessing in our life.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Love and help through family and friends

In honor of throwback Thursday today's post is to honor and remember all the family and friends that has helped with Callie and touched her heart.

Whenever I had a friend over they were always willing to hangout with Callie too. They treated her like a normal girl and we all shared secrets with each other. ;) I was lucky to have friends and family that helped with the "Callie chores"... Like getting her dressed, giving her a bath, giving her her medicine, putting her in her wheel chair, feeding her, brushing her teeth, changing her sheets, and much more. 

It's so touching to me that God put these people in our lives to help with her and to show her love. We will always be grateful for them in our lives. 

Callie chillin' with brandy & her chillens at trunk-or-treat

My handsom husband and I carrying her to get her cast removed.
Callie and I in the pool :)
My cousin kelly and I hanging out with Callie :) in our jammies
One of our dear friends,Julie, who ALWAYS helped with calliegator :)
Hope you enjoyed today's tribute


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Don't leave me behind!

Having such an amazing daughter of God in our home has been inspiring. Since she cannot be tempted by Satan in her physical state we believe that she will go to heaven and recieve the highest degree of glory. That one day she will be made whole again and enjoy a perfect body. Wow! What amazing happiness our church brings to our life! (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Since we believe in eternal families and that this mortal life isn't the end it's important that we strive to live a life like Jesus Christ. Well that can be harder than it sounds...

How difficult it is to have all of Christ's characteristics. He is always kind, humble, steadfast & immovable, meek, willing to turn the other cheek, and full of forgiveness.

Now back to my Callie girl. It inspires me to work even harder to be more like him in this life because I want to go where she's going. I don't want to leave her alone and I couldn't imagine life without my Calligator.

So I hope her gorgeous smile and love can inspire you to come unto Christ for he is the light of this world.

Ps. My mom said as a reminder growing up "we want to be in the celestial kingdom with Callie... Be good" 


Monday, March 24, 2014

A tribute to my sister...

Our little Callie girl LOVES babies! We like to help her hold them and put their little heads by her mouth to recieve kisses. She has the same maternal mindset that any woman would have... She just doesn't have the working body to have children in this chapter of her life.

Now me being the twin and the sappy individual I am, I'm always crying to Heavenly Father wondering "why her and not me?" and "can't we switch for a while?". But then I think how special she is that Heavenly Father would protect her in a way that us mere human beings might not understand. So I just find ways to make her happy and include her in everything.

Well I got married January of 2013 and here I am now pregnant with our first child which they are fairly certain is a little girl. My husband knows how important Callie is to me and understands that we are a package deal so... He agreed to name our first baby girl after Callie.

Alyssa Mae is due August 25th, 2014 :) Alyssa is Callie's middle name and needless to say she is super stoked to meet her new little niece!

It is a small tribute to my Callie girl but I know how much that small gesture means to her. Not a day goes by that I don't wish that my sister could be walking and talking like me but she is the happiest girl I know. We still swap secrets and giggle to inside jokes and we are like two peas in a pod. I wouldn't have her any other way.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Every flower grows through dirt

"Your child is deaf"
How frustrating was it for my mom to hear this when my beloved sister was in elementary school and my mother had already endured so much shocking news. It's not everyday that your perfectly healthy newborn develops Cerebral Palsy. Not to mention having two of us at a time! My mom saw Callie respond to her voice and was certain that her being deaf was not the case!

There is a misconception that because my sister is physically handicapped that it means she is mentally handicapped. I love it when people talk really slow to her (it makes her chuckle). We never get offended we just kindly explain that she understands everything going on around her and everything you say. 

Cerebral Palsy has nothing to do with your smarts and everything to do with with your motor skills (the jaundice only hurt the brain stem). It's like a perfectly intelligent brain stuck in a body that doesn't work... Yeah it pretty much sucks.

Needless to say it turns out our Calligator is not deaf and actually excelled in honors classes in high school. She graduated with honors and understands everything you say to her. I personally enjoy the looks I get in public when I carry on intelligent one sided conversations with her. 

Now despite her handicap of not being able to speak, with the help of occupational thereapy we developed a form of communication. Callie now sticks out her tongue when she wants to say yes or just agree with something that is said. She frowns in order to say no or just doesn't stick out her tongue. What a great blessing this was for our family! It made communication a million times better and now makes it easier to find out what she wants.

Learning how to give these beautiful children an amazing quality of life is a journey and takes time but is well worth it. :)


Callie and I taking tongue pictures ;) 

I've loved you since the day I met you

Callie and I have been inseparable since... well, the womb. She followed me out 19 minutes later and we have not gone more than 2 weeks without each other. In fact she cries when I leave for extended times and cried when I got married and moved in with my husband.

There is something about the bond of identical twins and boy do I feel it. When I was younger I would frustrate my mom with my secret twin power. She would spend forever trying to figure out what is wrong with Callie and I would prance out of my room and say "mom, she has a headache".

Callie has a severe case of Cerebral Palsy. She cannot walk, talk, has high tone, and crazy spastic movements. So we can see how my mom would get frustrated when she couldn't figure out what was wrong. Yes, having a child like our Calligator can be hard, frustrating, scary, and down right tiring but nothing brought our family closer or made us more happy than her.

I am writing this blog not only to tell our beautiful story but, to help encourage others in the same situation, to give people a good laugh, to promote Cerebral Palsy Awareness, and to show people the blessings that come from these incredible spirits.