Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It’s been such a long time since I wrote in my journal, I hardly know where to start.
As a two-year-old Amelia is showing off her little personality in all that she does. Usually she is very good-natured, but the “terrible twos” do shine through on occasion. She knows exactly what she is allowed to do and what is a no-no. Sometimes it just seems to be worth it to pull all the towels off the bars and throw them on the floor! I’ve seen her smack her own hand after she pulls all the CDs of the rack! Most of the time though, she is easily entertained and co-operates with all our instructions. Her sign language skills improve everyday and she keeps us on our toes. Whenever we introduce a new sign, she tries it immediately and knows how to pose her little fingers in ways I never thought such a young child could. She now responds to little sentences, like “what is Siena doing?’ or “tell Opa bye-bye”. She puts a few signs together herself, such as “get more books” and “dirty, throw away”. A few weeks ago she invented a sign for broccoli. (The word is usually finger-spelled, which has no meaning for her yet.) She calls it “little trees”. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Amelia’s small motor skills are terrific and she is a whiz at puzzles, matching games, play dough and stringing beads. Since she does not put things into her mouth like other toddlers, she is allowed to play with toys containing small pieces and she loves those, especially if they belong to big sister Siena.
Gross motor skills are another matter. Amelia is walking much better, but is still somewhat unsteady when she is outside or in unfamiliar places. Her depth perception is not very good and she is uncomfortable when the color of the pavement changes or there are cracks in the sidewalk. Her physical therapy includes climbing stairs to strengthen her leg muscles and to help her coordination. We have to watch her carefully since she would just launch herself off the steps if we did not stop her. She also has to walk on a low beam to narrow her wide stance and increase her sense of balance. An obstacle course of small stools and boxes is also good for her. She is beginning to pedal her own tricycle and attempts to ride a little scooter. Outside she still wants to hold onto something or someone most of the time and she does not like bright sunlight as it really bothers her sensitive eyes. Amelia’s glasses transition to sunglasses, but they are still not dark enough for her. She loves cloudy days which is not the norm in southern California.
A few months ago Amelia’s hair finally started to grow in. It’s very fair and wispy and has defied all our efforts to make it lay down. It has been a source of amusement to all who see her since it stands straight up in the air and looks like a fuzzy halo. Nobody can resist touching it! Just this week it’s beginning to settle down a little.

Since Kristina and DJ made the difficult decision to go forward with plans to take Amelia to Italy for a brainstem implant we have been overwhelmed with the response from our family, friends and even from perfect strangers. The fund is growing steadily and we are so thankful for each one who has been able to contribute.
First the blog went public, then a Facebook account was established and we sent out letters appealing for help to nearly everyone we know. In early October a wonderful group of Kristina’s co-workers hosted a fundraiser in a local park which was so much fun. There was great food, a raffle of items donated by local businesses, a silent auction of beautiful paintings, crafts and other items, a jumpy for the kids and even an appearance by Batman and Catwoman in the bat mobile. The event raised almost $8000.
Next weekend the Tango Restaurant in Escondido is hosting another fundraiser for Amelia. The owners are friends of DJ’s and they are planning a special luncheon with raffles, silent auctions, entertainment and fun for the kids.
In November another friend of Kristina’s is running a marathon to raise money for Amelia. She will be running from Coronado to Imperial Beach pushing her 1-year-old twin boys in her jogging stroller. That should attract some attention!
Meanwhile some articles have appeared in the local papers to appeal for help and Amelia has become a recipient of the Mitchell Thorp Foundation which will sponsor a huge Walk-a-Thon in January. The MTF is a local non-profit organization which helps critically ill children with medical expenses. We have begun attending their planning meetings and are so impressed with the wonderful people who work so hard to bring hope and help to others.
Kristina had an email from the clinic in Italy offering a November date for Amelia’s surgery, but since at least a third of the funds have to be in hand to schedule the operation this was not possible. Since then we have received a large donation from some very dear friends and are now hoping to be able to schedule the trip in February. Keep praying that the Lord will continue to bless this effort and provide all that is needed.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fundraiser at Kit Carson Park - Oct 1st

Our first fundraiser was so much fun. My friends did an amazing job getting everything organized for the event - from walking store to store to get items for the raffle, to figuring out the food and drinks and then cooking, decorating, selling tickets, making sure everyone had a good time, and cleaning up afterwards. Whew, they did it all! One of my friends even designed a shirt for the event with the help of her son. The shirts turned out so good that we are looking into having some made professionally so they may be available soon.

Amelia had a great time meeting everyone (including Ivy, an african-senegal parrot) and enjoyed her first experience in a bounce house. We had lots of great items in the raffle and silent auction. There were beautiful pieces of artwork including paintings, photographs, jewelry, birdhouses, and a hand painted child's rocking chair to name a few. Thanks to everyone who really meant a lot to us!

I know I've said it before but it was awesome to see so many people from different areas of our lives come together to support Amelia. Family, friends old and new, coworkers, neighbors, friends of friends, .......... everyone was there. It's hard to explain how good it felt to be surrounded by so many people who care about us. It reaffirms our decision to go for the ABI and I know we will be able to get there with all of your help. The moral support has been overwhelming.

Here are some pictures of the event. I was too busy to take any so thank you to Kristin and my dad for remembering to take some pictures for me.