Saturday, December 17, 2011

I Don't Know About You, But I Need to KICK When I Swim Butterfly!

This year, since Karly was aging out of our neighborhood swim team, she decided she wanted to swim in the 50 Meter Butterfly event for 15 - 18 year old girls.  Karly has been swimming on our team since she was 9 years old, but she generally swims breaststroke or freestyle, although she often swims butterfly in practice.  The kids on our team are AWESOME, as they will swim butterfly with her and not use their legs as well.  We have had the best experience with everyone in our league being not just supportive, but very encouraging to Karly (please notice her friend Ashley in the lane to the right, and see that she walks toward Karly after she completes her race to give her friend encouragement).  And Karly impresses me as well.  Of course she can't go as fast as the other swimmers, since she can't use big, strong leg muscles, but she knows that her goal is to compete against herself and she has kept track of her times for years.  She continues to amaze me every day!

Friday, November 25, 2011

More From Karly's Make A Wish Trip

While on Karly's Make A Wish trip, we visited Sea World (which is right across the street from Discovery Cove).  It was definitely another fun-filled day.

We started by visting the very glamorous flamingos. 
Then we went to visit the manta rays and had a chance to feed them.

These guys would practically throw themselves up out of the water to get to the food people are passing out.

Next, we saw our favorite marine creatures -----  the Manatees!

Eating bagged salad greens. The same kind we get at he grocery store.


....And one more favorite -- SEALIONS!

What contentment!

....and, last but not least, an amazing octopus

We had such a fun day!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Puppy Pictures

Oops - I can't forget the puppy pictures. 

Our new little Pippa.  She is keeping us VERY busy and she even kept our extended family members pretty busy (while we were in the hospital!).

More Make A Wish Trip Pictures

Wow!  Time sure flies when you're having fun!  Or maybe when you've spent more than 25 days in the hospital with your child over the past 2 months.  Fortunately, this time, it was a pretty quick and easy issue to address - once we all figured out exactly just what the issue was (that was definitely the hard part).  Now that life has returned to normal, at least as normal as it can be since we added a new puppy 2 weeks ago, we wanted to post more pictures from our trip.  Maybe we'll even put up a puppy picture....

We decided to spend a day out on an airboat while we were in Florida.  Boy, did we have a great time.  We saw all kinds of wildlife, including a 'congregation' of 'gators.

Here are several young 'gators sunning themselves on a bank.  That was close enough, thank you!  After seeing the alligators right off, we went on to see beautiful settings and some gorgeous wildlife.

This picture cracks Karly up.  She thinks it looks like the heron is bossing the little bird around.  I think it does too!

Here are several more pictures, including my very favorite picture from the entire trip - a Great Egret caught just when he jumped into the air to take off in flight.  Look at the detail of his individual feathers!!!

This next one looks like a ballerina, as a different Great Egret lands.

We saw several birds of prey.  Below are two of my favorite 'predator' pictures.

A final Great Egret picture reflects the beauty and serenity of the day.

We all had a wonderful time.  Thanks Make A Wish and Boggy Creek Airboats Rides (who offer free rides to families on Make A Wish trips while they are staying at Give Kids The World Village).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Make A Wish Foundation and Karly

Karly had the most amazing experience in late December/early January when she had the wonderful opportunity to go on a Make A Wish trip.  Karly's wish was to swim with dolphins, so the Make A Wish team arranged for a trip to Orlando, Florida, where we swam with dolpins at Discovery Cove.

We ended up having TWO wonderful days at Discovery Cove (due to a computer scheduling issue).  The first day was spent snorkeling in the artificial reef, which was such a wonderful experience! I am not sure how possible it would be to give Karly that opportunity in the open ocean.  We also had a great time at the aviary - will post pictures from the aviary later.   But the day with the dolphins was the most awesome day!  We started out meeting 18 month old Acai, who let us play with her and hug and kiss on her.  The interaction with this sweet, young dolphin was such fun!

Karly's brother Rob got to come with us, and all 3 of us enjoyed meeting Acai!

After meeting Acai, her big, strong daddy came out to see us.  He showed off some of his tricks and then took us all for a ride around the lagoon.

It's pretty clear that Karly was having a good time!  She LOVED this opportunity and we are all so thankful to the Make A Wish Foundation for making this happen!  Big thanks to Discovery Cove too.  Their facilities are awesome and it sure seemed to us that the dolphins enjoyed their day just as much as we did!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Karly and Taylor - BFFs

"The Best Days of Your Life"
(a song that Taylor and Kellie Pickler wrote together)
Karly would say this was definitely one of the best days of her life!

Just a few weeks after Karly's kidneys failed, we were planning at attend a Taylor Swift concert.  With a sudden onset of a very serious illness, there was grave concern about Karly's future.  When I shared this will Angie Ward, a DJ for WTQR (104.1), she said that she would arrange for Karly to meet Taylor backstage after her performance. 

Taylor was amazing - very friendly and caring.  We took a few pictures and then she spent a lot of time visiting with Karly, while I had a little time to chat with Taylor's very cool mom. 

Thanks, Taylor, for a great visit!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How to Have Fun at the Beach

1.  Find a hunky lifeguard to give you a lift to the water.

2. Make friends with these great lifeguards who provided you with a beach wheelchair to make life much easier!

3. Ask some of the guards if they would like to get in the water.

4. Enlist mom to get wet too.

5. Wait for a big wave!

6. Just a little help getting back on the beach.

7.  A good book!

8. A fun trip back to the car.  We had a GREAT TIME!  Thanks Atlantic Beach Lifeguards.  And we appreciate the town providing beach wheelchairs!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Riding with Tony

Karly has been participating in therapeutic horseback riding for 11 years.  She has been riding Tony, a Belgian gelding for 3 or 4 years.  He's a gentle giant and takes good care of her.  Since Karly's kidney transplant she can no longer ride independently, as the doctors require her to have a side walker for safety purposes, but she still has a lot of fun!

In these pictures, Karly is participating in an egg drop class at a local horse show.  Riding is one of the greatest joys of Karly's life!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Karly's Life

My daughter, Karly, was born 18 years ago.  When she arrived, we found out that she had spina bifida, a condition caused by a hole in the spinal column, which is very similar to having a spinal cord injury.  While spina bifida can be a complex life situation, Karly has had a great life, with minimal medical issues or intervention until her kidneys failed 4 years ago.  Since then she has been through a lot, including a kidney transplant, but she is the most amazing person I have ever met and I wanted to share her story with you.