...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Friday, April 28, 2017

Sometimes I'm a dork who can't use a screwdriver

Once upon a time, it was a Friday morning and I happened upon this interesting post about making your home more break-in proof using only a couple of 3-inch screws.  The idea seemed simple enough -- change out the standard plate screws for longer ones and increase the anti-break-in-ness of your house.


So I decided to put this new idea to work.  I found a couple of long screws, took out the short babies that were already there, used my handy-dandy drill to pre-drill guide holes for the bigger screws, then swapped out the drill bit for a screwdriver head and attempted to install the new screws.

And this is what happened.

Now, you can't tell from the picture but those screws are 3 inches long and STUCK!

They won't go in and they won't come out.

And that means that I can't close the door.

Which sorta stinks.

And even after lots of coaxing and pleading and begging those babies are still hanging out of the door frame mocking me with their stony, "We're here and we like it and we're not moving" glare.  Fiends!  Someone I know is getting their trouble-causing, metal behind tossed in the trash later!

This is the part where you tell me how impressed you are that I am ALMOST handy.  

And then this is the part where I sigh and think how grateful I am for a husband who will laugh with me (or at me, I'm not really sure) and then make a plan to fix the trouble I've caused.

Guess I really screwed this one up (see what I did there).

Monday, April 24, 2017

Golden Anniversary

This weekend, my parents-in-law celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary -- their golden wedding anniversary.

It seemed like an appropriate occasion for a little family shin-dig so Josh and his brothers got together and rented a building and catered a dinner and created a fabulous event.

The timing was pretty perfect because everyone was in town (even those who live in Texas) so it was the whole DeMoux crew all in one spot -- which can be raucous for sure but is also a TON of fun!

Our building at This is the Place Park.

We decorated the building (and I have to tiny brag here because my husband decorated the tables all on his own and I think he did an incredible job).  

We had a table that noted ALL of the Jim and Louise DeMoux progeny (as a side note, Louise is not her first name...but she doesn't like her first name so she goes by her middle name -- which may be a tiny bit genetic as her mother used to keep a running list of names uglier than her own because she hated her name too).  Six children, 15 grandchildren thus far -- it's a pretty good sized clutch of kin.

Upstairs in the building, we had an area for kids that let them do crafts and get all creative and stuff.  This also included a table with a huge canvas on which everyone put their handprint as a gift to the happy couple.

There was no fancy program or intricate presentation to celebrate fifty years of love and life, but that's the way they like things.  Simple, intimate, one-on-one.  There were hugs and laughs and stories and smiles and it was a really really beautiful evening.

Because of what these two started fifty years ago, our lives are eternally better, and we were all grateful to take a moment to look back and remember how thankful we are for these two humble, kind, sincere, uncomplicated people.  

And how we all hope to be very much like them.

A "precious" gift -- so cute!! 

Mom and Dad and their boys.

With all the grandkids.

True to life, kids are running like mad all around us -- and life goes on (or maybe that is what life is really all about after all).

Friday, April 21, 2017

Two girls, one disability, and something much more

Aubrey is 15.  She is interested in clothes, and musicals, and boys (oh my, is she ever interested in boys).

In most ways, she is just your typical teenager.  Except for maybe one thing.

Every Thursday for more than two years, this book-loving, fashion-forward, boy-crazy adolescent girl has scurried out of her dance class and rushed to spend the rest of the evening with her disabled cousin.

Becca is 10 years old and was born with Rett Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that has left her unable to talk, walk, or control her body.  She spends much of her time in a wheelchair and expresses herself through an augmentative communication program called CoughDrop using just her eyes (which pretty much rocks).

Every Thursday, Aubrey forgoes sporting events and sleepovers in favor of feeding tubes and medications. Instead of texting with her friends, she gives piano concerts to an audience of one.  And she smiles the whole time.

Because Aubrey and Becca have a secret.  Despite the difference in age and ability, these two girls are fabulous friends.
It didn’t start that way.  Sure, they loved each other from the get-go — they are cousins, after all.  But this arrangement started out as a way for Aubrey to learn how to take care of Becca so that when her parents needed a babysitter there would be someone available who understood all of Becca’s needs.

You see, they couldn’t leave Becca with just anyone.  They needed a caregiver who knew how to feed their daughter through her g-tube, how to help her clear the mucous that sometimes builds up in her throat,  how to move her safely from place to place, how to give her the medicines she needs, how to recognize her discomfort and pain, and how to treat her like a person, not a problem.

Enter my teenage daughter.

Aubrey quickly learned all the logistical requirements of caring for her cousin, but then something happened that went much deeper.  Aubrey and Becca connected.

Becca is comfortable with Aubrey.  She tells her things like her favorite color, what happened at school, or what she feels about life in general.  Communication with Becca isn’t fast, it takes time and great focus for her to compose her thoughts using her AAC device, but Aubrey has learned to be patient.

And Becca doesn’t hold back.  I watched from a distance one afternoon as Becca told Aubrey, “frustrated, you.”  
Aubrey probed deeper and eventually discovered Becca was frustrated with her because Aubrey had been out of town the week before so she hadn’t been able to come to see Becca that Thursday.  Guess I might be frustrated too.

Aubrey watches during the week for stories or songs that Becca might like that she can bring to share with her.  At gatherings, Aubrey makes sure Becca is positioned so that she can see and hear and be part of whatever is going on.  She tucks in close to whisper explanations or funny thoughts in Becca’s ear and she always looks for a way to involve Becca in whatever is going on.

Aubs and Becca dancing at a wedding reception.

But this kindness and caring is not a one-way street.  Becca’s love has changed Aubrey as well.  Becca has taught my daughter that everyone has something to say and that just because someone is different doesn’t mean they are less.  Becca listens intently to my daughter’s concerns.  She shares her feelings and ideas and pushes Aubrey to grow.  She has helped my daughter learn to see the needs of others and to look beyond herself (a difficult task for anyone — but especially for a teenager).

These two are friends — not in some “I feel sorry for you so I’ll give you some extra attention” sort of way.  They actually enjoy being together.

So, maybe Aubrey is really more typical than I’ve made her out to be.  Yes, she spends every Thursday night taking care of her disabled cousin, but really, she’s just hanging out with one of her best friends.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Ring Around the Bathtub -- and other fun

Kids can be weird (which is actually part of their charm, I think).

Take for instance this game of ring around the bathtub which is played by walking around the tub at ever increasing speeds with the object of NOT falling into the tub.  If you fall in, you lose.  Then you do it again.

Fun for all ages!

Also fun is getting metal removed from your face.  This teen happily traded in his braces for their less obtrusive cousin (a pair of retainers) recently.  His younger sister still has wires glued on her teeth so she is a little on the jealous side.  Sigh.

Sometimes our small people get all ambitious and try to sell water (yes water) from our front porch.  Sadly, Mom had to put the kibosh on this one as it was Sunday.  I also tried to gently explain (for future reference) that most people probably will not be excessively interested in purchasing small cups of water AND that parental permission is required before any other sales take place.  They were not pleased.  Sometimes it's hard to be small.

And last, but not lease, my middle boy put his creative skills to good use while watching conference and built himself a temple out of Lego blocks (who knew we had that many white pieces).  I am actually pretty impressed with his work.  I love it when he gets all artistic.

Just another week in the life, and I wouldn't change it for anything.  

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