Time with my family fills my sole, my heart, and my belly. Henry and I had the chance to fly into Portland and fill up on an extra dose of the good-stuff. We were able to pack all of our favorites into this one trip (minus a trip to the Oregon Zoo and perhaps a day trip to the Oregon Coast - guess that will have to wait until next time). My favorites, in particular order: Lillian Elise (my Lilly Girl), the sun, NW 23rd, Whole Foods, running, Paper Source, lattes, naps and curry. Oh, how I love my time with these people that I get to call family.
|Lillian, Colleen and my mom, Bobbie|
Despite the fact that we've been told that Lilly may need a second surgery to correct the ongoing instability in the C1-C2 region of her neck, I was impressed by Lilly's ability to want to get-up-and-go. She kicks arse on her walker and I'm quite sure, that if given the opportunity, Lilly would walk hand-in-hand with her mama for hours. That little girl loves to move and although her gate is not typical and she struggles to balance without aid, it's not stopping her or slowing her down one bit. The sun was shining and Lilly was all for heading into NW Portland to get her move-on.
We found a gem of place just a block off 23rd. I've been a fan of this Portland neighborhood since high school but sadly have to admit that this was my first experience at Elephant's Delicatessen. A little slice of heaven in my book. It was like walking into an authentic Boulangerie. Great french bread, baked goods, espresso and a lunch menu that knocked-our-socks-off!
My parents, Colleen, and I managed three kids and hands full of sandwiches, salads, coffee and bread and made our way outside to the patio seating. A sunny, warm day (40s) in February is a treat in the NW, so we took full advantage of the gift.
I think my favorite part of the visit was time spent at home cuddled up together. Lazy mornings with rosy cheeked kiddos, pajamaed-up 'til noon. It doesn't get much better than that.
Homemade sauces, french bread, shrimp creole and wine. . . all made better while visiting around the dinner table at night. Yes, these are a few of my favorite things.
Prior to my visit to the westside, Matt and Colleen took the kids (along with their beloved sister and brother-in-law) to the Great Wolf Lodge. The hour and a half trek north was scheduled after Lilly's surgery to celebrate her recovery. Even after the news of a possible second attempt at fusing, Matt and Colleen decided to celebrate Lilly kicking tail with her first surgery and recovery thus far - take that failed fusion! Oh, and celebrate they did, as you can see:
|Lillian not too sure what to think; Bear is a bit unsure himself.|
|Um, that didn't take long, Lil'!|
|Bear Bear lovin' it, too!|
|Poolside cousie time with Liam!|
|Aerial view of Lillian's work of art.|
I've returned home refreshed and renewed. Lilly continues to inspire me to be a better daughter, sister, and friend. Somehow, she's mastered these three roles at the ripe young age of "almost 4." She and I are sole-sisters and, because of her, I've pushed my shy self to get out there, help others, and make a difference. In honor of Lilly, I've met with pediatric therapists, volunteers, and parents with the hope of spreading the word about the Special Olympics, in particular, the Young Athletes Program. Last Tuesday morning, with the help of three great employees of Idaho Special Olympics, I welcomed the Young Athletes program to North Idaho College. This program is growing and being embraced in a big way. Lilly's spirit has moved me to give back and increase the awareness and inclusion of children of all abilities. I had the help of over 20 volunteers, and over 20 Young Athletes turned-it-out and are now on their way to becoming Olympians. Lilly, look what you've inspired me to do. . . .
|These kits are the tools we use with our Young Athletes. All equipment is donated by Special Olympics and the Mattel Children's Foundation.|
Many favorites were enjoyed and lots of Lilly lovin' was had during our visit. As well, many of you have been inspired by Lilly and you've been getting up to move in honor of this amazing little girl. In the past two weeks, another 183 miles have been logged for Lilly. Movement by y'all included running, walking, swimming and biking. We're well on our way to logging 1,000 miles for Lilly! Let's keep up the great work and please don't forget to email or FB me to share your mileage. Every step counts and I thank you all so much for keeping our Lilly girl in your thoughts and prayers. I think it's working. I know it is.