Thursday, April 23, 2015

Around the Web in Six Clicks

A round-up of random things that struck my fancy - enjoy!

A spelling quiz for my fellow word nerds - can you beat my 8 out of 10 score?

These six ingenious tech gadgets are designed with special needs parents in mind.

A quick and simple shortcut for making bulletproof coffee.

What a fun party idea!

An inexpensive way to keep your special needs kid safe and cozy overnight.

Your newest total waste of time. You're welcome.

And a bonus link just because I love you so much:
Makes me smile every single time I watch.

Have a lovely weekend.

Friday, April 17, 2015

In the News

A couple of months ago, I got an email from Katy Magazine, asking if they could do a story on Lily and I for their spring issue.

Now, for Lily, being a media figure is becoming quite common. When we lived in Austin, not only was her school featured in Austin Family magazine, Lily was the cover girl. Right after we moved to Katy, Texas Children's Hospital asked if they could photograph Lily and her neurologist for their website. And now, a story in Katy Magazine.

Just another day at the office for Bird.

And I'm just riding on her coattails.

I'm not going to try and act like I wasn't a little nervous about doing the interview.

But because God tends to take care of me in even the smallest ways, it turns out the writer assigned to our story is a member of Kingsland Baptist Church. Oh, you know. The same church we attend. The one where Ryan is the pastor.

And that's how I met Kelly Boldt.

Sweet Kelly, who asked a few questions and basically let me tell our story with all the words. And then she had to take all the words and condense them into less words. Much less words. I did not make her job easy.

The end result is a truly lovely article that is a beautiful reminder of the miracle that is Lily Bird.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Track Meet

This past weekend was another first in the Rush house.

Lily is participating in Special Olympics track and Saturday was our very first official track meet.

Opening Ceremonies Parade

Before I tell you how Lily did, I have to say how impressed I was with the whole event. It was eye-opening and awe-inspiring and lump-in-the-throat inducing. There is something incredibly stirring about seeing a young adult step out of a wheelchair, tightly grip a walker, and at the crack of the start gun, take off in a manner that looks almost physically impossible and cross a finish line 50 meters away. Forget pity and sadness. Try motivating and uplifting. These people are doing hard things every single day. And I won't forget it.

It was also fun! Clapping and cheering. High fives. And don't even get me started on the dancing. So. Much. Dancing. But really - who can help themselves when Michael Jackson's Greatest Hits are being played over the loudspeakers? No one. That's who.

Lily was in two events: the 50 meter run and the softball toss.


Lily likes to do things her own way. She always has and I suspect she always will. She is not motivated to do something just because everyone around her thinks she should. She tends to get around to doing things in her own time.

Running the 50 meter is no different. She has run it several times in practice. She has also walked it a few times. She has hopped it and skipped it and jumped it. She has stayed in her lane. She has run across all the lanes.

So, it's basically a free-for-all, who-knows-how-it's-going-to-go kind of event for Birdie.

Does it matter to her that it's a race? No.

Does it matter to her that there will be a first place winner? No.

Does it matter to her that it is a running competition? No.

So for Bird, there were no butterflies in her stomach before the big race. There was no standing at the starting line, visualizing the run. No rush of adrenaline when the gun sounded.

Instead, last Saturday, this is how Lily decided to do her 50 meters:

I know. I know.

The thrill of competition made it difficult to take your eyes off the screen, right? I mean, it was this close. I was kind of surprised no one asked to see a video replay to determine the winner.

I thought about demanding a re-race because that floppy bow was in her eyes and might have blocked her view of the lane.

But that smile on her face at the end?  Lily was perfectly happy with her "run".  I think it went just like she planned.

On to the softball toss, which Lily has only practiced one time. But today, in the spirit of competition, she threw that ball harder than she ever has. And then started jumping up and down:

Maybe she was starting to catch the Olympic spirit.

Or maybe she just knew she was done and it was time for a cheeseburger.

Sidenote - that woman saying "good job" at the end of the video? Surely that's not me. She sounds a tad bit redneck and I'm much more sophisticated than that. 

So the first ever Special Olympics track meet?

In the words of Frank Sinatra, Lily did it her way.

And that is a-ok with us.

Receiving her first medal

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Adventures in Easter

*This was originally published in April 2011 when I taught Lily how to hunt for Easter eggs. It has been edited somewhat for today's post*

In the back of my mind, I've been trying to decide how many Easter festivities the Rush family is going to attempt.  And by that, I mean all the Easter Bunny-type activities.

Dying eggs, Easter baskets, hunting for eggs.... all these things Lily could care less about.

So part of me is thinking why bother with all of it.  But then the other part of me is thinking that she may never get it if I don't at least try.

So try we will.

Like many things in our lives, this requires some outside the box thinking, along with some plain and simple common sense.

Lily is not going to hunt eggs for 15 minutes or compete with her cousin to see who can find the most.

In fact, she may not hunt for a single egg unless I can find some way to show her that while she may not care about the egg itself, she will love what's inside the egg.

Based on some tips from Lily's therapists who hosted an all-out Easter party at school yesterday, I have formulated a plan.

It goes a little something like this:

Dying real eggs?  Forget about it.  All the kids wanted to do at school was eat the eggs.  They saw absolutely no point in taking the time to color an egg when you could simply consume it.  So we will not take the time to dye eggs this year.

Hiding large plastic eggs?  This we will attempt.  But there are some guidelines that might make this a little more successful for us.  I'll fill the eggs with edible treats only - no stickers, little erasers, or cutesy toys for us.  Lily is motivated by Skittles and M&M's - candies she doesn't normally eat because of the dyes. So while we won't go totally nuts with the amount that we let her eat, (or else we'll have a child going nuts on our hands!) I'll put a couple of these candies in each egg.  Hopefully, this will encourage her to roam the backyard a little looking for eggs so she can have what's inside.  And if I can get her to look for 2 or 3 eggs, I'll consider the hunt a huge success.

We'll be having a practice egg hunting session this afternoon so that maybe by Sunday, Lily will know just what to do with all those eggs that the adults have scattered around.

Don't you just wonder sometimes what the kids are thinking, though?  I imagine Lily is wondering why we have to go to all this trouble when we could just as well snuggle on the couch together and eat a bag of Skittles.

Speaking of Easter treats, have you seen some of the recipes floating around the web?  Some of them look almost too pretty to eat... almost.

Whimsical Spring Bark - this looks too sweet, even for me.  But I love the colors!

Fun, whimsical and incredibly easy chocolate candy bark.  Inspired by the talented Katherine Sabbath!  Great on it's own, or on top of cupcakes and cakes. So pretty for spring and Easter.

Bunny Bait - such a cute name and looks even cuter!

Muddy Buddies - Easter Style - we call this Monkey Munch at the Rush house.

Easter Muddy Buddies -- a super simple recipe to celebrate Easter and spring!

These cute little pancakes are more my speed - quick, simple, and no recipe needed. 

Adorable for Easter! Bunny Pancakes from Taste of Home's Simple & Delicious magazine.

I would love to try some of them but I have decide it they're worth making yet another trip to HEB.

Kind of like trying to decide if hunting eggs is worth a few Skittles.

P.S. - Need a few new Easter egg filler ideas? Well, here's 37 of them.

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