Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Day at the Zoo!

YES! We went to the Phoenix Zoo yesterday. My husband is amazing, which I think I may have mentioned a time or two, and pushed me through the entire zoo in the wheelchair. The kids tried to help but on uneven terrain it takes a great deal of strength. The weather was absolutely perfect and we all had so much fun being out together like we have always done until I was injured.

Our first stop was to see the giraffes, Shelby's favorite animal since she was a tiny tyke.

The tigers are my favorite...just look at that gorgeous face!

While I waited outside and above, they entered the Squirrel Monkey habitat where the monkeys roam freely around you.

Dylan is getting a closeup photo of a Squirrel Monkey in its habitat.

One of the last animals we saw at the end of the day was this magnificent jaguar.

I have never taken for granted the activities we share with the kids and those we enjoy when it's just the two of us; but now, I have an even deeper appreciation of all the things we have the good fortune to experience on a regular basis.

Lovin' Life ~~ And the Phoenix Zoo

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saints' Football

The Saints team that we watched play today is the flag football team that both boys play on and Shawn coaches. It was a beautiful day...finally...so it was great that Rich could push me all the way across the Payne campus and over to the opposite side of the field so that we could sit with the rest of our team's fans.

The opening games of this season have been delayed for two weeks so they played two games this morning and will have another double header in the next few weeks. They were amazing today, they dominated both teams they played this morning, with neither team scoring against them. Jackson is wearing the dark sports glasses and has double white stripes down the legs of his pants. Dylan is wearing dark shorts and has on a gray shirt with black long sleeves.

Rich left soon after bringing Shelby and me home so that he could ride the bike again this afternoon. He is loving this off-road riding because there is so much open land on which to ride out where we have the motorhome near the Superstition Mountains. Yesterday morning he had ridden for a couple of hours before coming to take me to Chang's. He's exploring so much of that beautiful terrain that you just can't get to except on foot, horse, or bicycle.

Lovin' Life ~~ On This Gorgeous Winter Day

Friday, January 18, 2013

A P.F. Chang's Gift

Yesterday was my first outing since last Friday. It is just so difficult to handle that heavy wheelchair and I don't want Rich to get hurt doing that, so we don't go out very often. Marianne had given us a P. F. Chang's gift card for Christmas, knowing it is one of our favorite restaurants.

It was a gorgeous afternoon to be out and around with the added pleasure of sharing a delicious meal with MOAO. Thanks Marianne!

Lovin' Life ~~ And These Rare Outings

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Our AZ Family

Today I'm going to bring you up-to-date on our AZ family. They are such an active bunch!

The biggest news this past week is that Sandee has been offered and accepted a Librarian position! Since Shelby started school, she has taught at a preschool and enjoyed guiding little ones through their earliest successes there. She is so excited though to now be returning to the field in which she earned a Masters Degree, one she loves and left to stay home with the kids when they moved to AZ from CA!!!

Yesterday evening, after football practice, we celebrated Shawn's birthday!

Jackson, along with his parents (haha), has been touring and comparing two local high schools; after this morning's visit, they may have made a decision. Yes, you read that right...we will have a grand in high school next year...yikes! His first love is football, especially college football. With that season now over, he remains "in the game" by playing on a flag football team that his dad is coaching.

Dylan has several irons in the fire. He still plays on a hockey team, is also on the flag football team their dad coaches, plays tenor sax in the school band, and serves on the Student Council at his school. Tomorrow they will attend orientation at the Junior High he will attend next year...egads!

In addition to being the family fashionista, Shelby is also very active in after-school activities as a member of the Nighthawks Cheer Squad and the Chorus. Thank goodness we will still have one grand in elementary school next year!

Meanwhile, I still sit here in my wheelchair or on the bed in the family room watching this whirlwind of activity!

Lovin' Life ~~ And Them!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

It's Our Anniversary!

Twenty-seven years ago today we spent a glorious day on the slopes, getting back to our hotel in Aspen in time to change and make it to the Courthouse to get our Marriage License before meeting the judge who married us early that evening. And what a truly amazing twenty-seven years we've had together! I don't know that either of us dared dream that it would all turn out to be this great.

I have to include this full-length shot of me standing on one foot so that no pressure is placed on the casted one, not that I will ever forget how this injury robbed us of our normally busy daily activities this winter.

This morning, Rich loaded the bicycle into the car and drove to Usery Mountain Regional Park to ride some off-road trails. He ended up riding for about three hours, relishing every moment of it. I reminded him to take his camera and here are a few of the photos he took.

Pass Mountain

See the bike trail off to the left side?

This huge ocotillo forms an arch over the trail.

I especially loved the sky in this shot. It's been very cold, high 20s the last couple of mornings, and cloudy much of the day.

Lovin' Life ~~ And This Man I Married!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Busy Family Week

One thing about living with a busy family is that there is always activity and sometimes I can even join them!

Sunday, January 6th

The evening before we had received a package from my Cousin BFF, Kathy, our master baker which generated much excitement even before it was opened. Remember this post with the "Lucky" image? Kathy drew the image of Lucky, just by looking at the blog, worked her magic, then sent us these...

Did you notice the white criss-cross bandage like the one on Lucky's nose? Did you notice the flesh-colored band-aids complete with tiny air holes? And just look at those darling mulit-colored hearts! But the stars of the show were these cookies that were exact replicas of the dog Lucky on that card. I cannot imagine the patience, time, and magical talent it takes to create a cookie like this...and they were mouth-wateringly delicious too!

That afternoon Dylan's hockey game was at the ice rink where there is a full length glass wall that I could pull up to to watch the game from my wheelchair. That meant Rich could take me to the game too! Dylan is #7, see that battle for the puck in the second photo?

Before going back to their house we took the kids out for dinner. The most impressive part of that dining experience was getting to open the drink bottles...teehee!

Monday, January 7th

If you are not a die-hard fan of any sport, then I don't know how to express the importance of the Alabama/Notre Dame BCS Championship football game on Monday evening. Sandee and Shawn are both Alabama alums and loyal fans...which is putting it mildly. So, even though there is a hospital bed in their family room and me in my wheelchair, they hosted a party here. With TVs in both the living room and outside on the patio, there was plenty of room to enjoy the game...not to mention the excitement of the game itself with Alabama easily defeating Notre Dame 42 to 14.

Not only our grands, but Dexter too, are all decked out in their Roll Tide regalia!

Jackson staked out his seat during the pre-game show...and held it throughout the evening!

Shawn's adjusting the heater and see...Jackson's still holding onto the best seat on the patio!

There were lots of fans, and some yummy food, inside too!

Tuesday, January 8th

I knew the days could and would get worse when the calendar turned to this date. The kids returned to school today so my days seem longer and are much too silent. Rich has been exploring on the bicycle that Shawn loaned him for the winter and tonight attended his first meeting of the Gilbert Model Railroad club that he is joining.

Thursday, January 10th

Rich came today after the kids got home from school and brought The Girls with him. They are always so lively and so much fun! I miss them...

Look at sweet Dora awaiting her turn with Shelby while Bella demands all the attention first.

Bella climbed on Jackson's lap to get his full attention...she is such a seeker of the limelight, that girl!

Rich and The Girls getting ready to go back to the motorhome.

Friday, January 11th

Oh what a special day! Rich picked me up and we drove out to my favorite Superstition Mountains. That was the first time I had been out there since I left to go shopping the day I was injured.

Our first stop was at Silly Mountain where Rich learned that bicycles are no longer allowed on the trails there. We checked out a couple of other parks that he had seen online and is interested in for off-road bicycling. 

Silly Mountain Park

A great view of my Superstitions.

Then we went to the KOA! Yes! I got to sit in the car and visit with our neighbors Pam & Donnie, Bob, and Dave. I am so looking forward to the day I can move back out there to our own little home!

To wind up our outing, we went to our favorite restaurant, Cantina Laredo for a late lunch. As always, the food and drink were perfection.

Cantina Laredo is located in an upscale outdoor mall. On our few forays out into the world we continue to experience surprising barriers to those in wheelchairs. For instance, this mall is certainly held to a lesser standard for handicapped parking than your local WalMart, Target or grocery store. There is not one single handicapped space in either parking lot near this perimeter restaurant so we drove around and only saw two on each block within the center, all occupied. We parked in the near lot anyway, in an end space, only to discover that there was no curb cutout to the sidewalk on our side of the restaurant. That meant wheeling me in the street, dodging cars that were supposed to be stopping at a four-way intersection, to access the cutout around the corner. Using the restroom was a challenge that I won't share details about except to say that it's difficult to open doors from a wheelchair and to comment how grateful I was for the woman customer who handed me a towel from the out-of-reach shelf where they were stacked. Getting back to the car was even more treacherously dangerous with some vehicles refusing to wait at the stop sign while Rich wheeled me across the street. This whole ordeal sucks so bad...all day...every day.

We were not finished though. On our way back to the kids' we stopped at Walgreens and Rich got the wheelchair out yet again so that I could actually go inside. That is not trivial because the wheelchair is very heavy and extremely awkward to load in and get back out of the car; I worry about Rich doing this too often which is why we don't go out much. What a treat though! This was the first time I had been in a store since...you know. Kudos to Walgreens...the greetings cards are placed low enough for me to browse them, selecting all the ones I needed for January occasions!

I do appreciate those of you who are still checking in here to see if I have posted. I fear I have lost many readers since we are not able to enjoy our usual range of activities and my posting is so intermittent.

Lovin' Life...Still

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Firsts

The first three days of 2013 have been filled with "firsts" for us.

Tuesday, January 1st

On New Year's Day Rich brought the girls over. This was the first time I had seen them since I left to go shopping on December 12th. We were all so excited to see each other!

I even made my way out onto the patio for the first time to sit in the sun for a bit that afternoon!

Wednesday, January 2nd

With their parents back to work today, Grandpa picked up the kids for a day of fun at Amazing Jakes. It is an indoor amusement park that we go to every year but, for the first time, Grandpa took them without me. They all have their jokes and competitions, especially with the bumper cars and laser tag so they all had a great time and came home with stories to tell. He got some good photos of them on the climbing wall.

Thursday, January 3rd

This too has been a big day for me. I had physical therapy this morning; he comes to the house of course. He was confident that my transitions are strong enough to safely transfer from the wheelchair to the car and back. So, after Rich got here we decided to go out for a late lunch...did you catch the importance of that...OUT for lunch...for my first outing! I can't imagine how many years (decades?) it's been since I've gone 23 days without going out to eat. I was able to get in the front passenger seat too, which meant facing forward and riding like a normal person instead of sideways along the entire back seat like I had to do coming home from the hospital and going to the appointment with my surgeon a week ago...the only two times I've been in a vehicle since that eventful day. Oh the little pieces of life we take for granted.

It was the five of us, riding and joking and laughing, just like we always do. We are missing out on so many times like that with our grands this winter. When Dylan suggested La Casa Blanca we all immediately agreed! No steps, you just roll right in through two large, arched doorways (something we had never consciously appreciated before) and our meals were absolutely delicious (something we had often consciously appreciated before!).

Lovin' Life ~~ Enjoying Some "Firsts"