Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stuff (in Sixes)

________________________PART 1___________________________

"Sixes?" you say. "That looks like a lot more than six."

Well, you'd be right on the number of boxes. There're a LOT more than six.

But here's a blog about 6 things we've done in the last two weeks.

And it just so happens my friend Daniel helped me build 6 (how title-worthy!) shelving units for my food storage. Now I'm organizing. Soon you will see "after" photos, both of the living space above and the newly filled shelving units below.

________________________PART 2___________________________

Bridgette has been sleeping well through the nights with very few accidents. I wanted to take her to the Redwood Forests of California this week (note: I'm not there... I'm at home writing this blog entry), so we tested our mettle in her first backyard camp out!

We had a star party and read books and played with flashlights and attempted to sleep.

(Bridgette has been pretending to watch rocket ships travel to the sun with a telescope ever since.)

The camp out was successful! (For several hours . . .)

We beat Jeff's prediction of coming in at 10PM and made it all the way to 11:30.

________________________PART 3___________________________ Summer Party!

Bridgette, Kelly, Heidi, Ellie

I may have mentioned this once or twice, but Bridgette & Ellie are pretty good friends.

Different stages of jumping . . .

Bridgette was fearless in the water. Which was awesome. And somewhat unnerving.

At the bottom of this slide, we both went under.

Me: Bridgette! (*splutter*splutter*) Was that fun?

Bridgette: (*spluttering too*) Yeah!

Me: Want to go again?

Bridgette: No!

Little Miss Independent

And a few times around the lazy river . . .

Just we girls being swept away.

Watched Tangled on the big screen from the pool. Home at 11:30. What a night!

________________________PART 4___________________________

This is my daughter with Jimmer Fredette.

Nuf said.

________________________PART 5___________________________

Bridgette has a couple of serious interests at the moment.

First is space.

She can tell you that Mercury is very hot during the day and very cold at night. She knows that we live on Earth and that Venus has no water. She'll tell you that Jupiter is made of gas and has a great red spot. She knows that Uranus is tipped on its side, that the moon is made of rock, and that Pluto is icy. She will tell you that Saturn's rings are made of ice particles.

(Oh hey! This is funny! Yesterday I had a cup of ice at the doctor's office and she asked me for some ice particles...)

Another one of her current interests is the human body.

I have this chart on my wall and she asks to look at it every day. She knows the location of her femur, her ribs, her skull, and her brain inside her skull.

So I busted out my Barron's Anatomy Flash Cards. She loves them. (So do I! And I highly recommend them as educational tools to those interested.)

Not surprisingly, she was fascinated by the detailed cards on the digestive system.

But her favorite body parts right now are veins. She likes to find the veins in her own body and is happy to point them out in yours.

She knows that veins carry blood, but in order to really help her understand, I took her with me to my Red Cross blood donation Saturday.

The workers pulled a chair up, so she could lean over and watch them stick me. She was very intent. She wanted to donate too, but alas, she's too small. :) They did give her a matching red bandage though.

________________________PART 6___________________________


I'm participating in/helping organize two emergency exercises coming up in less than a month.

The first happens on Saturday, September 10. It's a county-wide medical-surge coordination involving all 7 hospitals in the area. They will practice evacuating and treating 250 patients.

My part is small in that drill. I agreed to help round up 250 patients, so I've been encouraging my past/present/future BYU students to play as well as some other groups of students/actors I know. I'm going to an all day class in SLC to learn moulage (wound make-up) and will apply moulage to the patients that morning from 7-9AM. Then I will participate with the Medical Reserve Corps, probably leading a triage team at one of the hospitals.

There are a lot of agencies participating that day. It should be interesting.

The second happens on Monday, September 12 (very close on the heels of the first). That's the annual Lindon City Drill. I'm the lead planner for that one, and we're adding several new components this year, so there are some pieces to coordinate still. I'm lucky to work with a lot of very good volunteers on this drill. Everyone of them plays a big part in organizing.

We had 84% participation from the entire city last year (meaning approximately 8,400 of 10,000 residents participated), and we're hoping for as good or better this year. From the hours of 6-8PM we'll be accounting for everyone in the city, practicing radio communication through two separate radio nets, working through 25 emergency scenarios at the city EOC, letting the city council take on council specific responsibilities, and running an hour long CERT mock.

A lot of neighborhoods have block parties, potlucks, and seminars about emergency prep, so it turns into a pretty fun evening for the city.

In addition, every school will do a drill earlier in the day, and we're encouraging Lindon businesses to do the same. We'll have visiting VIPs, independent evaluators, an after action debrief, and other support from the city and county.

The signs are a little saggy in this photo, but we fixed them after I took the pictures. :) This was from our Lindon Days booth on Saturday.

I also went to my first ham radio face-to-face picnic last night, and the guy who ran it (unexpectedly) asked me to talk about the Lindon City Drill. So that was cool. Hopefully we get good amateur radio participation this year.

Also, also, the new semester starts in (eegads!) 13 days . . . so I've been arranging guest lectures and writing my syllabus, etc. Want to see? It's pretty fun: Health 422: Disaster Response and Emergency Preparedness.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Saturday Picnic

Wherein, we once again realize that Piper is actually a cat.

We had a lovely lunch in this most beautiful, almost secret setting:

--Per normal, I enjoyed the water, trees, sun, mud, rocks, and all else nature.
--Bridgette experienced additional firsts like stepping into a cold creek and pushing tall grasses out of her face while hiking.
--The dogs *adored* their freedom.
--Jeff squashed bugs more proficiently than he normally does while writing software. Who knew such a thing was possible?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

3 Advanced Steps

Today a friend of ours who lives on the next street over invited me and Bridgette to join her kids at the Highland splash park.

The Bridgenator had a grand time.

In our everquest for Bridgette to catch up to her peers, we're still working on mobility, and we've seen some incredible advancements this week.

For fear of being hurt (who can blame her, she's endured a lot of physical pain since the hour of her birth), Bridgette prefers to be quite confident that her safety is ensured before attempting anything. So she's been a hesitant little button most of her life.

She's considerably more willing to try variations on ambulation if I am present... and possibly holding her in some fashion. She takes her sweet time gaining confidence. Then, once she's assured, she's off and independent and rarely looks back.

This week I have seen 3 brand-new developmental gains!

And I really can't explain, no matter how hard I want to convey it, how excited I become every time I see her do something new or even "dangerous"---things kids and moms around me seem to take for granted. I'm ecstatic every time she tries!

I know she can still come across as delayed to people who are meeting her for the first time. (When she's in public play areas---parks with jungle-gyms, etc.---she tends to aggregate with children 1 to 2 years younger than herself, and they typically outpace her, their mothers asking, "Now how old is your daughter? THREE? Oh... that's fun.")

But to others who have watched her life, to those who can compare the last two months to the last two years, it's another perspective completely. Especially to me, inside the day-to-day-to-day of every day, I'd say she's a speed-demon of development right now.

Every time she succeeds at the tiniest new thing, I'm awash in giddiness. I suppose, like any anticipation, wanting something for a long time can make the receiving of it sweeter. And I guess what I want for her has little to do with her actual locomotion and everything to do with her confidence and happiness and increased life-opportunities.

Gone are the days when she'd smash her head on purpose, repeatedly, as hard as she could against the floor, the wall, or furniture--an expression of her frustration. She no longer punches herself in the face with her fists, angry that she can't move.

She's still frustrated at her lack of speech, but her non-verbal communication has improved by degrees right along with the number of words she attempts to say... so we're managing in that realm too. Sometimes we both have to take a deep breath and recognize that the other is trying (her = to speak; me = to comprehend), and revel in small speech victories too.

And now I share with you this week's

Step 1: Taking steps down without holding on to a hand, wall, or railing!**

(Click on photos for enhanced viewing.)

**Careful observers have already noted that she always leads with the same foot. She is very left-bodied, preferring both her left-hand and her left-foot. (Another advancement we're trying to develop is her ability to alternate feet while ascending and descending stairs.)

Step 2: The two-footed jump from one surface to another!

This fan-super-tastic development was first witnessed by me and Jeff on Monday night as she bounced around BYU campus with her cousins. She practiced it for hours off a low step at the Orem Public Library on Tuesday morning. And she finally got to show it off today at the splash park into (drum role please!) MOVING WATER!

Step 3: Well, blow me down! The girl can climb!

Even if she can't get down . . .

"Mommy! He-e-e-elp!"

So, Bridgette saw some kids sitting on this railing, and in a trice she was up and over! No help from me, I guarantee it! She's never climbed anything like this before, and I was shocked, I tell you. Shocked! At the top she swung her leg over the rail like she was mounting a horse. But, railings being uncomfortable without a leather saddle, she didn't want to sit there for long.

And there they were!
Three fabulous developments from this week!

Just for fun, here are two more videos.

The first shows Bridgette playing, fairly unaware that I was in existence.

One thing I love about this video is how often she throws her arms up above/over her face, her special move to block the splashes from the kids running around her. She's the one with the big yellow ball in the video, and she almost loses the ball several times because she pauses for her ninja block.

If you've got a little patience, here's the second video.

I took this a few minutes ago while I was still mid-blog. It began raining, and I was summoned to see a beautiful rainbow that stretched so nicely it looked as though both ends were landing in our yard.

I'm including it so you can hear a sampling of our current speech challenges... both with her pronunciation and my perception. As I was transferring the video to YouTube, I realized that Bridgette was saying, "Popcorn!" when she first saw the hail. It makes sense now, but it obviously took me a while to catch on.

Other current favorite phrases:

"Wha-hey!" = "What's that?" and/or "Why?"
"See-hey!" = "Look there! See what I'm seeing!"
"Play me!" = Evident
"Hi. I me." = "Hi. I'm whatever I'm pretending to be... and really, that could be anything and you'd better guess right."