December 20, 2010

Graham Crackers and Glue Guns

Once upon a time, I would work for hours in the kitchen making custom gingerbread log cabins and painstaking assemble them with fussy royal icing for kids to decorate.  This year, I slapped some graham crackers together with a glue gun and opened some icing in a can.  Good enough.

That has been my mantra for December and every time I say it I can't help but break into a big satisfied smile.  My mind is whole, my inner zen is maintained, the last unclaimed specks of my time stay protected as I declare, "Good Enough!"  So the Christmas tree is leaning severely and practically all of the ornaments were placed by the kids on one overly strained branch - Good Enough.  The Christmas goodies I made for our half dozen bus drivers and attendants were over baked - Good Enough.  The Christmas card picture turned out so small that you need a magnifying glass to see it - Good Enough.  The Messiah music that I played with the sing along for our church and local community only was practiced for 10 minutes before performing - Good Enough.  There is a tree in my yard covered with lights that have yet to shine because I don't have an extension cord to connect it to the rest - Good Enough.  I have declared "Good Enough" at least 2 dozen times so far this month and quite frankly, I haven't felt the greater benefit of my previous 'just rights' or 'absolutely perfects' to my current 'good enoughs'.  Conversely, the greater benefit is definitely being felt as I am loving my December.

So enjoy our Good Enough candy house pictures and before Christmas gets any closer - all you perfectionists out there - try my "Good Enough" challenge and walk away with full sanity in tact.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
A free picture slideshow by Smilebox

December 12, 2010

Just a Spoonful of Sugar

helps the barium go down.

No.  I tried it.  It didn't.

Mix barium in any single thing and Bridger has proven that it will come right back up again.

Bridger had to have a swallow study a week or so ago to further pinpoint the cause of his aspirating and frequent pneumonias.   gag. vomit. gag gag.  vomit.  That is about summarizes the study.  This is just the latest test in our smorgasbord of medical delights he has been through.

Driving home I was counting the number of hours we will be in doctors appointments this month.  I stopped counting when I got to over 100.  On top of that there will be the 50 hours of administrative work that will result from those appointments.  Since I hit too many red lights on the way home, I also decided to mentally list Bridger's team of specialists:

Doctor of  Physical Medicine
Doctor of Developmental Pediatrics
Physical Therapist
Occupational Therapist
Speech Therapist
Vision Therapist
Feeding Therapist

Those are just the ones we are regulars of.  There are many other "first dates" Bridger has had with others.  The unfortunate development in this journey is that I have become a self-labeled "doctor snob".  With the amazing high quality pool of specialists we have in this area, I only go to the best.  If they aren't the best in their field, it isn't worth my time.  Very snobby of me, but I love our team and am so grateful to the skilled and talented medical professionals that watch over Bridger's health needs and concerns.

On some medically fun news. . . Bridger just got his medical bed this week!  Many hours of sleep have been lost between myself and Alan as Bridger often wakes up during the night, and once his brain is in the "on" position, it is hard to convince it to turn off again -- so we log many hours in his race car bed with him.  If we don't go in there, then he will make grunting noises the rest of the night as he exaggerates exertion sound effects as he is pulling himself up on the sides of the bed to get out.  Several times he has been successful at flipping himself out of the bed with not the most graceful and safe of landings.  So now we have ourselves a monstrosity of a contraption that takes up a good majority of the room and there is just no way to decorate around this thing to help it blend into the space and appear more subtle.  I LOVE it!!!  And so does Bridger -- and everyone else!

We ordered the full size so when we have to sleep in there with him we are still able to walk the next day.  It is fully articulating so Bridger can sleep elevated to minimize his aspirations due to his reflux.  It has high, fold-down sides with clear windows to play peek-a-boo with.  The mattress height lowers and raises to full chest height so the strain of lifting is minimized.  The icing on the cake is the iv pole for tube feeds.

It is a bed fit for a king but a wonderful place for our little prince.  I found that I can trap all the kids in by raising the sides and lowering the mattress far enough.  Hmmm, maybe that part from "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" about ma and pa in 'kerchiefs and caps settling down for a long winters nap. . . I think I just might have a way to make that happen now thanks to this.  Yes, this will not only be a special needs bed -- but a family sized play pen.

October 29, 2010

Snips & Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

That's what little boys are made of. Or so the poem goes.

This one is made of a few more things. And there are very clear and acute moments in life that I get a glimpse of exactly what he is made of.

A boy in his class has diabetes. His father came in to the class to talk to them about the disease and Johnny's insulin pump. The father was explaining about how everybody is different when Lance raised his hand to help further explain, "We all have things to make us go. I have these glasses to help me, my brother has his wheelchair to help him go, and Johnny has his pump. That's just the way it is."

The dad also explained about genetics and how things are passed from our parents to us. Lance asked me about genetics when he got home.

"Mom, is CDG genetic?"

I was sad to answer, but I explained to him that it was. To which he replied,

Fist-pumping, "YES!!!! I SOO want a CDG son or daughter!"

I laughed and cried. He wants this?! Despite all the challenges of this journey that affect him - all of the things we can't do, all of the things that are cut short because of Bridger's screaming or health, etc., he loves this journey. Not many over-indulged, self-absorbed, overly entitled little 8 year olds out there would say that. He absolutely has the heart of an angel.

Bridger recently had a scary accident. Sparing the details, it involved Bridger strapped in his wheelchair falling down three porch stairs and landing face first on a large slate rock. I was out of town at the time so Alan had to calmly and quickly collect all the kids and drive them down the mountain the 40 minute ride to the hospital from the cabin. Because of the severity of the concussion and skull fractures, Bridger was drifting off to sleep immediately. Because of the mouth injury, Bridger had a pretty steady flow of blood coming from his mouth. As Alan drove, Lance's job was to keep Bridger awake and to wipe the blood from his mouth. In his little 8 year old mind, he thought Bridger was dying, and it was job to keep him alive. He kept wiping the blood from his mouth and saying, "Come on Bridger, you can make it" all the way to the hospital. He truly is a big hero in a little boy's body.

When I got back in town, we, appropriately, threw a "Hero Party" for Lance and the others that were heroes in their own way. The greatest place you can eat a hero dinner, so says the kids, is in the Fairfax hospital cafeteria. Luckily, we have standing reservations there.

I'd like to claim it was my mothering that created this brave, selfless, loving, tender soul. But I know better, and have come to realize that he came to our family just that way.

9 years ago I became a mom. I went into labor at Krispy Kreme doughnut and am convinced that is why this slightly overdue baby decided to come into the world - to partake of the wonderful delight of doughnuts for himself. He is my doughnut-aholic, fishing frenzy, rib eating, collecting scrap metal to melt down to make his own helicopter, book worm, super scout and I couldn't be more in love with him!

Happy 9th Birthday Brother Bear!

September 30, 2010

And Then There Was One. . .

And 45 minutes later there were two again. . .

then three and four. . .

and 30 minutes after that there were 5 again. . .

But for a few minutes, there was just one and what a delightful few minutes those were.

With five daily trips to the bus stop I have now worn a path in the sidewalk. I think I am going to like this. Don't get me wrong - I love the summer, I love my kids at home, I really am a step away from homeschooling. Well, maybe several steps. But I have earned my stripes by having, at one point, 4 kids at home without anyone in school yet. So this is a whole new experience for me and I have found a whole new world of normalcy.

I now have 45 minutes. 45 glorious minutes with just a baby at my feet to clean the kitchen up from breakfast, put the lunch fixings away, get dinner in the crock pot, rotate some laundry through, exercise, shower, make my bed, return some phone calls, snuggle the baby down for a nap and then dash back out to the bus stop. Give me 45 minutes and I will amaze you with what I can accomplish.

I am finding my inner-zen and at the current moment, the household is running like a well-oiled machine. I'm sure that in a month or two, some kinks will be thrown in and the gears will be grinding again. But I am enjoying today.
So much more to blog about. So much to catch up on. Not today. My inner-zen does not feel like it today.

July 28, 2010

Go Play Somewhere Else

Trying to be "normal". Trying to "fit in". Trying to do those things as a family that I did "before".
Trying to go to the squirting fountains at Fairfax Corner.


The weather was beautiful, there was a one-man-band playing children's tunes, dozens of children were playing in the water feature, including my younger three. Bridger was so excited that he was practically flipping out of his wheelchair each time a fountain would squirt..

Then a wannabe police officer (aka security guard) with his fancy patch and walkie-talkie came and told me that Bridger would have to leave -- that wheelchairs were not allowed in the concrete area where the fountains were.
I asked him why.
He replied something about it being a health code violation because the rubber wheels of his wheelchair touch the street and then touch the water area.

I pointed to the dozen+ children wearing shoes.

He said that they were rubber shoes.

I said that they were rubber wheels.

He got a little gruff and told me, again, that Bridger would have to leave.

Perhaps I derived a little courage from having another special needs mom by my side who is the coolest person I know (and her husband who is a professional photographer who captured some priceless moments of the fun.) My normal chicken-liver-ish self would not have pursued the matter any further, especially considering I was being watched by all of the other typical moms there. But I continued to push him and finally explained to him that I wanted him to understand the thin ice he was walking on in what he was saying, which was despite ADA compliance laws, that he was telling a little boy in a wheelchair that he couldn't play there.

He replied, "yes."

"Well then," I said with my blood pressure rapidly rising, "I need to go ahead and talk to your supervisor." He was livid at this point and called his supervisor. He came back and reported to me that we could stay there.

When I got home, from the prompting from my friend, I emailed the property manager of the incident. Immediate reply - dripppping with apologies and a list of action items that he would follow up on and then some more apologies.
I followed up with him a week later to see if it was just lip service to an email, or if he had actually done anything. He replied with 10 items of action that had already been taken from disciplining the security guard to re-educating the entire property management staff on ADA compliance. I had also attached a photo to the email so he could see the cuteness and delight of a little boy that was being excused from the play area. He, of course, thought the picture was adorable and wanted permission to put the photo on the website because he thought it embodied what their mission was all about.
I gave him permission and warned him that a dozen of our wheelchair friends were going to descend on his water feature and test out their new handicap-friendly atmosphere. Which he warmly welcomed.
Shocked that I had to go through that. Sad that it probably won't be the last time. Determined to help our family live a life of inclusion in our community.
Check out their website -- Bridger is 6 pictures down.

Dear security officer: Don't mess with the mama bear, you will get bit.

July 15, 2010

To the Girl

To the girl who came into the world and brought with her a breath of fresh air to a mom that needed it and reaffirmed my new perspective that babies are easy. I'm so grateful to a wonderful caregiver that summer that allowed me to have hours and hours of time to completely spoil you with snuggles and cuddling beyond what any 5th child could ever possibly receive. . .

To the girl, who, at 2 months was sleeping through the night -- which I would like to claim was due to wise mothering, but really was just a gift from God because he knew that sleep was really needed to get through my otherwise long days -- who at 3 months old had quite literally been loved to pieces by 4 siblings and carried by the older kids as some helpless limp cat and thankfully through all of Bridger's hugs you came out unbruised and with all of your limbs still attached. . .

To the girl, who, at 4 months had me convinced that God sent me the most passive, mild and sweet little soul because that is what I thought I needed for my #5. And to the girl, who at 5 months, showed me that she was not a passive, mild little soul, but instead, saucy, sassy and spicy to boot. . .

To the girl, that at 6 months, learned to crawl and motivated an adoring, slightly older brother to do the same and who at 7 months could crawl with him completely hanging on the back of her - dragging him along as she let out little grunts of exertion as she would progress slowly forward. . .

To the 8 month old girl that blessedly became the flexible go-with-the-flow child that lived through mounds of boxes and three homes until we finally got settled and never gave indication that her nap or feeding schedule was disrupted. . .

To the 9 month old that caused me three new gray hairs as her favorite game became "climb on the chair when mom isn't looking and stand up on it with no hands and when mom turns around just giggle". She still loves that game. I'm not quite a fan. . .

To the girl, who, at 10 months was (and is) completely infatuated with a fuzzy, white animal, lovingly named Smelly Bear. . .

(you can see how a bear that is suckled every night like this eventually gets his name)

To the girl that at 11 months, could climb into her brother's wheelchair, rotate herself around into sitting and wheel herself around, including turning, all. . . by . . . herself. . .

To the girl who at 12 months discovered the fun of having an entire chocolate birthday cake to herself -- to do with what she pleases. . .

To this girl. . .

Happy Birthday!

We adore you, we cherish you and we are so very grateful for you little Eliza!

June 04, 2010

The End of the Tunnel

There is light there. We are finally in it. We go through a lot of tunnels, some are shorter than others, some run a little deeper, but there is always light at the end. We have to soak up as much light as we can between tunnels to make sure that the other children don't feel the strain of this lifestyle. So here are a few of our recent lighter moments. . .

Bikers for Barbecue

All exercise must be rewarded with a motivating prize at the end. What better motivation is there than biking for some yummy pulled pork sandwiches from the best little barbecue pit on this side of the Mississippi? The kids could smell it coming from a mile down the trail.

Happy National Doughnut Day!

I looked in Hallmark for cards to send out but apparently the card companies don't see a market for Doughnut Day cards and all the slots were taken by grad and dad cards. But that won't stop the celebration from happening. Doughnuts are very important to us. . . I went into labor with Lance eating a doughnut, we own stock in the Krispy Kreme corporation (even in this economy it has doubled since we purchased). We hope that everyone took a moment that day to honor a doughnut.

Under the Big Top Part II

To counter any jealousies the kids had from Bridger having his special circus experience, we took the others to the circus as well. The cage for the tiger portion suffered some mechanical difficulties (before the tigers were released, thankfully) so they had to skip the tiger performance but offered us tickets for another performance the following week. So after three circus trips and all the cotton candy, popcorn and overpriced-spinning-blinking-made-in-china-glow-toys that grandma couldn't resist, we have had our fill of the circus.

Here Fishy-Fishy

We found a "handicap fishing pond" on the map and decided to give it a try. Handicap on this map legend apparently means that there is a long, bumpy trail sprinkled with gravel that lead to a large pond hidden in the middle of nowhere with piers lined with pavers so you have to really push your chair hard to fall into the water. Bridger's chair is more of a Porsche (both in design and in cost) than it is an SUV - but it managed to survive the off-roading it had to do to make it to the pond and the pavers did keet him from going for an unexpected swim. Because the pond was so remote, the fish were abundant and all that the kids had to do was cast and they would get a fish. That is the perfect kid fishing pond. Bridger had a blast and even caught his own fish that he wanted to squeeze. The rest of the time he held a pole (sans line and hook) in the water and copied his siblings. Eliza just enjoyed some fresh air and snuggles.

Lance was beaming to come show us his fresh catch - done all by himself. Hook, line and sinker.

Playing with Fire

Good old fashioned hot dog dinner over the fire. Served up mostly blackened with a cool inner. Unlimited s'mores to wash it all down.

The Swimmin' Hole

Toe-Tapping Fun

I took Evie on a date to see Riverdance. She was mesmerized and has found her new passion. Her classes begin in fall - stay tuned for some darling pictures.

Phew. I'll end the update there.

Bridger has bounced back in a truly miraculous way. We have been surrounded, buoyed and sustained by love shown in many different ways and have been very overwhelmed by all of those expressions. I'm grateful for the wonderful "highs" that we experience to more than counter all of the "lows". Resilience is a wonderful quality and I am grateful for children and a husband that exemplify that.

May 08, 2010

Welcome to the Neighborhood

I know that a few out there wondered due to the severe gap between posts if we survived the pantry experiment. The answer, barely. We did it though, and ate through all of the reject cans and our move happened without any boxes of food in tow. We are slowly getting settled in our new home and my new leaf is unfolding as my pantry has a scarce single layer of food across the shelves.

We love our new home, and adore our new neighborhood. But how do you really make a splash in your new neighborhood -- one that makes others say, "Oh, they are going to be THAT kind of neighbor"? Well, you call in a ambulance, a ladder truck, a fire-rescue suburban and two police cars with sirens blaring to your home at 11:00 at night. Really, we only called in the ambulance, everything else that followed was just bonus.

Bridger had a fever hit hard hard and fast Wednesday night. I put him to bed and allowed him a couple hours for his tube feed to settle before I went to give him some Motrin. When I entered his room I found him gurgling, blueish, unresponsive and covered in vomit. I called up Alan and quickly dialed 911. We lifted his limp body gently out of bed and laid him on the floor where he proceeded to turn even more blue, breathing grow more labored and he went into full seizure convulsions. The ambulance finally arrived and we hurried off to the hospital. The seizure lasted for several hours despite a cocktail of medications to try to get it to stop. Finally some paralysis drugs were given to halt the seizure. Bridger was not able to breath on his own so they had to intubate him. Because he aspirated so much of the vomit he had an acute pneumonia. They then life flighted him to another hospital where he was placed in the PICU. The seizure finally stopped and several hours later he began breathing on his own.

He is stable now, although he isn't able to control any of his muscles or hold his head up and occasionally can open his eyes to just little slivers. He did contract a secondary infection in his lungs due to being intubated. That combined with the pneumonia he is still fighting makes breaths still a struggle, fevers still lurking and muscles very weak. He has offered us a couple of the cutest, weak little smiles from him that are the most precious sight you will ever see.

And there I sat today watching this little guy while the cd player in his room sang the lullaby, "Baby Mine". I can put my tough mom face on and push through quite a lot. But play that song and my vulnerability will get to me.

Baby mine, don't you cry.
Baby mine, Dry your eyes.
Rest your head close to my heart,
Never to part, baby of mine.
Little one, when you play
Don't you mind what they say.
Let those eyes sparkle and shine
Never a tear, baby of mine.
If they knew sweet little you
They'd end up loving you too.
All those same people who scold you
What they'd give just for the right to hold you.

From your head down to your toes
You're not much, goodness knows.
But you're so precious to me
Sweet as can be, baby of mine.
So now I prepare for another holiday in the hospital tomorrow. I've never appreciated those Hallmark commercials for fear that they are warping every mother to think that Mother's Day is about wearing your tiara, rolling out the red carpet and presenting your list of wants and wishes for your "special day". I have been a mother for 8+ years now and I enjoy my trays of cold eggs, warm milk and other breakfast delights that I eat in bed while making scrumptious sounds for the eager eyes of little chefs watching and I have a darling husband who knows that little black velvet boxes are really fun. But Mother's Day is not all about what those wise marketeers suggest. As I watched Bridger's little body be loaded up on the helicopter, as I watched with hope and faith as he fought through the life threatening challenges he faced, as I fought back the tears hearing my other children express their concern and love for him (and their pure excitement for him, not jealousy, that he got to ride in a helicopter), as I cleaned up the vomit of the stomach flu that hit our homefront here this morning (which always seems to happen when we are in the hospital), as I experienced a lot of hugs, love, smiles in between, I was reminded that Mother's day is not about being a queen for a day. Along with recognizing my own wonderful mother, Mother's Day is reflecting on all of the reasons I am a changed, gentler, wiser, more humble, patient, more faithful, stronger and better person because I am a mom. And I am so grateful that I am.

March 23, 2010

The Parable of the Pantry


Once upon a time there was a pantry. It started out empty, but then it slowly developed a layer of food items in the back that became permanent residents. Soon that single layer grew into two, then three. Those items once had a purpose, a mission to fill as the key ingredient of a recipe that never came to fruition. But soon that food became invisible as people would look in the pantry that was half full and still declare that there wasn't any food to eat and insist on going to the grocery store to bury that food behind more desirable items.

This is the story of my personal pantry conundrum.

In preparation to move in a couple weeks I decided that I wasn't going to be moving any food. It is a tremendous waste of resources to move food -- time, energy, and packing material. Quite inefficient (and I am the self-crowned queen of efficiency.) So I launched a game a few weeks ago called "Pantry Surprise" with my children. How much could we empty our pantry without going to the grocery store? The game started out ok -- pancakes, mac-n-cheese, chicken noodle soup and casseroles. The more layers I got through the more challenging the game became and my critics started having more of a voice. Frosting-less cake apparently isn't acceptable. Last night was a weak beef stroganoff using a mixture of rotini and elbow macaroni pasta topped with chow mein noodles. Lance asked what country the food was from. I stuttered through an answer. Now I'm staring at Hoisin sauce, hot chocolate, generic Cheerios, spinach pasta, croutons and marshmallow cream. This could be an interesting week.

There is a stomach-turning euphoria I have about every new creation that empties that pantry. Is mine the only pantry like this? I dare you to take the pantry challenge.

March 13, 2010

Under the Big Top


While I live in a three-ring circus under my own roof, there is another circus -- a quaint little circus that comes to town each year. In addition to their regular performances, they perform a free "sensory" circus just for special needs children. Bridger's preschool class went on a field trip there this week and lucky me got to chaperon. Knowing what such outings are like with him, I never in a million years would have spent a cent on a circus ticket for him, so a free ticket was the perfect price tag for such an event.
The clowns, while still clowny, suppressed some silliness as to not overwhelm the children that have sensory issues. They brought out their extra wigs to let the kids touch them and had calm interactions using bubbles and quiet rubber chickens. Bridger was fascinated with the clown he got to pop bubbles with before the show began.

The big top was filled with over 400 special needs children and the people that love them as their caregivers, teachers and parents. So what did I do as all the excitement and lights and sounds of the circus began? I started crying. What crazy person CRIES at the circus?! I couldn't help it -- I was overcome with a feeling that I hadn't anticipated. Being surrounded by all of those children was intense. There was such a feeling of love under that tent and I was overwhelmed with the power that surrounded me being in the presence of so many perfect spirits. The tears quickly dried shortly after the show started, though, as I began my WWF match with Bridger and wrestled him throughout the entire show. I don't blame him -- with his vision impairment he couldn't really see the show at all. I would have been wiggly too.

Then came the extra cool part. At the conclusion of the circus Bear's vision therapist (who LOOOVES him) told us to stay put as the 400+ kids exited the circus tent. She came back to give Bridger a golden ticket that allowed him to be one of a dozen kids that got to go down to the circus ring and have a hands-on circus. Bridger got to touch all the animals, feel the feathery costumes that he couldn't see from afar, and even swing on the spinning-metal-daredevilish-acrobat contraption.

He had a great time and it was so fun for me to watch him enjoy something that we otherwise wouldn't have. My list of "can't do's" and "wouldn't do's" is growing as I'm making my way through this journey and I'm so grateful to companies like the Big Apple Circus that step out of the box and make accommodations to make my list have a few more "can do's" and "will do's".

February 16, 2010

When Life Gives you Snow. . .

Make Snowcones!

I ate my share of snow growing up, and I lived to tell about it. Pollution has worsened since then but the snow falling through the country sky at the cabin still looked white enough. So after the sledding had become dull and snowball fights were just ending in fights, I brought cups, spoons and snowcone syrup outside to the kids and told them to eat up. They looked at me like I was crazy, but they know not to question my sanity anymore.

Apparently Jack Frost didn't get my memo. I'm oVeR him. Unfortunately, he is not ready to move on yet. I ran over the snow shovel this weekend. Poor shovel, it probably wanted to end its life anyway after what it has had to go through over the past several weeks. RIP little shovel. Trying to make the most of these storms we decided to get snowed it at the cabin. Warming ourselves from the fireplace to counter our power outage, we still managed to have a delicious breakfast thanks to our propane powered stove and enjoyed the snow while the kids played endless rounds of checkers and Old Maid. But now I'm done -- done with the snow, done with the cold, done with piles of wet snow clothes in front of my washer. Lowe's has stocked its seed displays and hasn't restocked the shovels, spring must be near. Please spring, be near.

Some Arctic weather tubing.

Bridger was the smart one who played in the snow while keeping his internal body temperature stable. He eventually overcame his sensory issues and grabbed at it with energetic fists when he saw that you could make balls with it.

Kid-style sugar cookies: 100 calorie cookie with 800 calories of toppings.

Just the cutest babes ever.

Lance's prayer last week was so cute as he blessed all of the people in Haiti that they would be cared for in this storm. We had a little discussion about latitude after that prayer. It really is sweet though as my kids, without prompting, have included the people of Haiti in every single one of their prayers every day for the past month. Yesterday for Valentine's I was asking them how we could send a valentine to God. They came to the conclusion that showing love to someone else would be the way and they decided to donate money to Haiti. When I asked them to go get the amount of money they would like out of their banks, Sadie came back with everything she had. Eva came back with her only paper dollar that she just received for losing her long-overdue first tooth. I told her that she could just donate some of her coins and she declared, "Mom, I can always lose more teeth!" Lance came back with a quarter. After discussing it a little with him he went back and returned with a dollar. He had been saving so hard for some Pokemon cards, but I reassured him what you give always come back to you in some way.
Those images of Haiti are forever in my mind. Particularly, the pictures of some little children as they had waited in line for hours in the heat, in crowds of thousands, to finally receive a single 12 ounce water bottle. On their face was the biggest smile ever as they graciously thanked every person they passed after receiving their bottle. I'm not sure people here would have had the same reaction to waiting that long in the heat for a small water bottle. But if those children can -- and have a radiating, grateful smile after, then surely my threshold for happiness has to be stronger than the annoyance of always choosing the wrong grocery line, or the inconvenience of our street not being plowed out, waiting for 2 hours to see our 8th doctor of the week, or any other trivial circumstance life throws around.

I have at least a dozen 12-ounce water bottles (however frozen they may be right now) and can get more at any time. I'm grateful for the simple lessons of faith, patience and happiness demonstrated by the humble people of Haiti.
Do what you will Mr. Frost, the winter blues will not have a home here.