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Monday, March 28, 2011

Successful Saturday!

The Phoenix MDA Muscle Walk this year was so great. It started earlier in the day, so our on-site meal was breakfast (thanks, Fresh N Easy!) instead of lunch (lunch didn't go so well last year). The twins did me proud, navigating their chairs in all the crowds. It makes sense that for three year olds, navigating a bright and sunny outdoor crowd of hundreds of people might be taxing on the brain. And it really is.

I am fully convinced that we have conditioned them to be so aware of their surroundings and so conscientious of the safety of pedestrians that when they get strapped into their wheelchairs in large crowds, it overloads their senses after an hour or two. Do you remember how you felt when learning to drive a car? There's the unfamiliarity of a car you've never before driven, those vain feelings of hoping that you "fit in" and that the others on the road don't realize that you only have your learner's permit, and that serious-as-a-heart-attack awareness that you are directly responsible for the safety of others simply by not straying from your lane.

Yeah, you were fifteen years old back then. These kids are three. Years old. And one single hand-talking, backwards-walking woman stepped in between Lauren's wheels and stumbled into her. Lauren melted down because of it. See, ordinarily I read her the riot act when she runs into stationary objects, but this woman was a complete dolt (sorry, lady--I'm so glad you were there to support the cause, but really), and so Lauren reacted appropriately--she ran over a woman's foot, and so melted down and sobbed uncontrollably for ten minutes. From this experience I learned that maybe I've been a little hard on them for their driving mistakes. Honestly, it's just that I know they have such mad driving skills that I want everyone to be a witness to them--but no amount of discipline or self-satisfaction is worth how completely horrible I felt when Lauren took that accident so personally.

I can mostly control my children in their ridiculously expensive wheelchairs. I cannot control the rest of you. I am nearly as inexperienced with dealing with the oblivious public as my preschoolers are. I'm working on how to handle this stuff. All I know at this point is that next year's walk will go even better than this year's. Team Double Trouble raised lots of good money for the MDA, and we had a blast at the Walk. That's really all I care about.

Photographic evidence of the morning's events follow. Phoenix locals, please note the last few photos with local news station celebrities. I'd hate for anyone to think that we're not a big deal and that people know us.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Muscle Walk 2011

The annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Muscle Walk is being held tomorrow in Phoenix. This is the day when I wake up the four other members of my family at 0-dark'thirty to head down to Tempe by 7:15am to join a couple thousand other "walkers" (technically speaking, many of them are "rollers") to raise money for the MDA.

Did you know that the MDA offers free clinics staffed with some of the best neurologists, therapists, and wheelchair/medical device experts ever assembled so that those with muscular dystrophy can consult with experts on their care? No muscular dystrophy case is the same, so there is enormous value in having access to these centers of excellence where one can be confident in the advice given for our varieties of medical needs.

The MDA also funds critical research towards treatments and cures for the 40+ types of muscular dystrophy. They provide opportunities to places like Harvard, Yale, Emory, Johns Hopkins, UCLA, Temple, St. Jude's, UCSD, University of Michigan, Laval University (Canada), and University of Rome (Italy) to CURE. THIS. DISEASE.

The MDA also provides my family with a local, tangible, helpful support system consisting of compassionate MDA staffers and other MDA families where we have found community, advice, and moral support crucial to our financial (and mental!) stability. If my three year old twins had to be diagnosed with a terminal disease, we couldn't be luckier to find ourselves with such an amazing extended family like this.

I don't expect to raise a ton of dough for my MDA. But do me a favor and click this link and read our story. If you're curious as to how muscular dystrophy affects my children and my family, click here and here and here. Donate if you feel compelled, but if you can't right now, that's okay--I have two other fundraisers later this year in which you might choose to participate. :)

Lastly, our family was featured on our local Fox news broadcast earlier this week. The focus of the news story is on the one year anniversary of "Obamacare" and how it has positively affected local families. I tend to keep my political opinions to myself, but suffice it to say that the segment made the kids seem almost as charming as they are in real life. :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

I still wouldn't call myself a "writer", but...

I like a challenge. I enjoy entertaining people. I don't mind being a parent. I don't have a day job. Or a night job. I know my way around a keyboard. For all this, I was invited to sign on as a weekly contributor to a friend's blog--a blog that gets thousands of hits per month, woot woot!

The content I publish there is not like the content I publish here--my Bahamas blog is essentially an open letter to my sister on how her nieces and nephew are doing (you're welcome, sis), whereas my column at Everyday Childhood is more a top-down look at parenting with a sense of humor. Except by "top-down", I'm referring to peeking into my life from above--I don't actually take my top off, you weirdos. I save that for a different kind of blog. (snort)

My words at Everyday Childhood run on Tuesdays--because in the wide, wide world of the interwebz, Tuesday is known as "Twin Tuesday", and I have twins. So far a lot of my posts there have not a lot to do with twins. But I do have them, and so I staked a claim to Tuesday over there. I do my best to publish my Twin Tuesday stuff by the time I'm finished with my first quiet cup of coffee of the morning.

I am not employed by them, I receive no compensation for my writing, there are no ads on the site. I participate for my own satisfaction, and just to be read, quite frankly. Ah, though sometimes Kelly buys me a cup of coffee. I reserve the right to recycle a post from here, or to use a post I've published here to kick-start a more embellished post there, so you may encounter some familiar stories as time goes on. If you find anything offensive, unpleasant, or otherwise not entertaining, well--in the words of Shaggy--"it wasn't me". You can access my archive there by clicking here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

We're Going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo--How About You, You You?

I took the twins to the zoo on Monday to kick off a sickly-yet-epically-fun week of Spring Break. It was gorgeous weather--the temp was about 68 degrees F that morning. It was our first trip there with both wheelchairs, and it went pretty well, actually. The twins gave up and asked for driving help when we found ourselves in crowds, and then as the morning wore on and they grew a little tired, but overall I am very proud of them. I am proud of Jenna, for hanging in there with us, keeping helpful and upbeat, and not getting impatient. I am proud of all the kids we met at the zoo, who kept their hands off the wheelchair controls and stayed friendly and respectful. And I give a big "thumbs down" to the zoo's policy to allow families on bicycles on the property. I have nothing against bicycles, but I do have something against the heart attack near-misses I endured as my children attempted to avoid getting run over by the same damned family on bicycles. Poppycock!

The highlight of the day was when I realized the twins can't seem to pronounce "flamingo". Even Lauren, who's verbal skills are sometimes better than my own, says "fum-a-lingo". Flamingo. Fumalingo. This will never not be funny.

Kyle was not feeling like having his photo taken. I have no photo of him at the zoo, beyond the last shot which mostly serves simply as evidence that he was present.

Here, the girls pose on the zoo's little Mexican cobblestone street that's supposed to teach us that Mexico has real animals (and not just drunk American tourists).

Lauren poses outside the tortoise exhibit.

Lauren demands I snap a pic of her giving a "silly face". Her sense of silly has a ways to go, but "A" for effort, Padawan.

Me: Yay, let's pose for a pretty picture! Them: A BUNNY RABBIT JUST RAN INTO THE BRUSH. Me: I really can't compete with a live animal running loose in a zoo.