Saturday, December 14, 2013

rEcess Flu

It was time for rEcess, and it was flu season.

You have to know the two don't mix.

We had already put it off a week because of another conflict in the church calendar, so that was just enough time for half of our volunteer base, including the main leaders, to come down with the flu.

For those who might not know what rEcess is, it's where volunteers care for special needs kids and their siblings, free, on a Friday night, so parents can have a date night and have time just for each other.

These aren't kids you can leave with the teen down the street.

This week, we had Pete, who has Down's Syndrome and doesn't communicate very well, as well as his twin brothers, who both think hitting others in the head with balls is how to play (they are very rough and tumble boys).

Pete runs to the end of the hall, Gracie runs after him.

We had Jack, who cannot walk and has limited control of his arms and hands.  He has to use his chair, or be carried, or roll everywhere he wants to go.

Jack rolls up the steps.

Jack rolls across the stage.

Gracie watches Jack roll across the floor, and claps for him.

Jack, carried by Marty.

As you can see from the photo, Jack's limbs are totally stiff, he cannot move them much, so he rolls and squirms himself where he wants to go.  He doesn't let it stop him from playing ball.  His version of football uses a tennis ball that he can just barely grip between his hands, and everyone else playing has to roll on the floor, too!

We also had Lynn, and her older sisters.  Lynn is non-verbal, and has several severe handicaps.  She is tube fed, and has always been in a wheelchair. 

Lynn, as she has always come to us.

We had a huge surprise this night, as Lynn is now crawling, and even pulling herself up to stand a bit!  Her sisters were proud to help her show off.

She crawled so well she had to be chased!

Gina and her two sisters and brother came.  She wouldn't let me get her picture, she is shy that way sometimes.  She was especially shy when i caught her trying to sneak crackers from the Sunday school snacks!  She's on a special diet, some of which has to be tube fed to her, but it doesn't stop her from running and having fun.

Then, there's my friend Gracie.

She started her life in an orphanage in a Third World country, where she was in a crib for most of the first two years of her life.  She has a seizure disorder, one they think she will outgrow, and is behind her peers in many skills.  She's making strides to catch up, though.

Gracie never lets a closed door stand in her way.

While we were short many volunteers, we weren't short on a good time.  Each special needs child had a person assigned, and that left three volunteers, including Little Girl, to watch the siblings.  We made obstacle courses, and played indoor ball (including Jack's special way, everyone on the floor), watched the Grinch, and even made angel crafts to take home.

Gracie's angel.  She loves to use glue!

This night, i really noticed how far Gracie has progressed.  She's never wanted to participate in the craft before, and this time could hardly contain her excitement.  She watched Jack closely as he rolled on the floor, and had to get down on the floor and try it for herself.   It's like she wants to imitate all that she sees, instead of just watching as she has done for so long.

In spite of the flu trying to ruin a good time, we had a great night, and will meet back again in February.


Today is:

AKC/Eukanuba National Championships -- Orlando, FL, US (top dogs from around the world compete to see -- who really is top dog? through tomorrow)

Ako Gishi sai -- Ako, Japan (traditional dances and warrior parades honoring the 47 Ronin)

Buy a Tree Day / Deck the Halls Day -- internet generated, and if you are going to decorate, why did you wait this long?

Christmas Bird Count begins -- sponsored by the National Audubon Society (through Jan. 5; since 1900, the longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations)

Christmas Festival in Salvador -- Salvador, Brazil (one fun party, with many different activities through New Year's Day)

Day of the Horse -- California, US

Hakidaore Ichi -- Tokyo, Japan (fabulous shoe festival; through tomorrow)

Halcyon Days begin -- a time of calm and tranquility (beginning seven days before the winter solstice, lasting until December 28, seven days after the solstice; named for an ancient fabled kingfisher bird [or halcyon], which hatches and raise her young during this time)

Hanatoro -- Kyoto, Japan (flower and light festival; through the 23rd)

Icelandic Yuletide Lad of the Day, Stufur -- Shorty, who is also known as Ponneskefill, the pan-scraper, who will scrape food scraps from the pans left out

International Shareware Day

Khoiak Ceremony for Ploughing the Earth -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Le Foire aux Noix -- Bastogne, Belgium (annual "Nuts Fair", commemorating the liberation of the city and the Rights of the Child; through tomorrow)

Live: Family Christmas at the Benjamin Harrison Home -- Indianapolis, IN, US (Christmas as it would have been during the life of the 23rd President)

Magal de Touba -- Touba, Senegal (Muslim pilgrimage to honor the memory of Sheikh Amadou Bamba, with the main festival on Dec. 21)

Monkey Day -- unofficial, by animal groups, to draw attention to the plights of simians kept in labs and as pets

National Bouillabaisse Day

National Energy Conservation Day -- India

Play An Old Song That You Didn't Like To See If You Still Don't Like It Day -- internet generated, and don't bother, bad songs don't improve with age

Precalentines Day -- an unofficial holiday for math lovers begun by a precalculus class at a Nova Scotia high school

South Pole Discovery Day -- thank you, Roald Amundsen

St. John of the Cross' Day (Patron of contemplative life, contemplatives, mystical theology, mystics, Spanish poets; Ta' Xbiex, Malta)

St. Spyridon's Day (Patron of Corfu, Greece, and potters)

Victorian Christmas Tours at Frank Lloyd Wright Home -- Oak Park, IL, US (today and next Saturday)

Winterfest Boat Parade -- Ft. Lauderdale, FL, US (The Greatest Show on H2O)

Anniversaries Today:

Alabama becomes the 22nd US State, 1819
Princess Mary Stuart is crowned Mary, Queen of Scots, 1542

Birthdays Today:

Vanessa Hudgens, 1988
Paul "Beakman" Zaloom, 1951
Dee Wallace Stone, 1948
Patty Duke, 1946
Jane Birkin, 1946
Ernie Davis, 1939
Lee Remick, 1935
Charlie Rich, 1932
Don Hewitt, 1922
Shirley Jackson, 1919
Morey Amsterdam, 1914
Spike Jones, 1911
Margaret Madeline Chase Smith, 1897
James Harold Doolittle, 1896

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"Saturday Night Fever"(Film), 1977
"Diamonds are Forever"(Film), 1971

Today in History:

Osman ibn Affan is appointed the third kalief of Islam, 644
The Zuider Zee seawall collapses, 50,000 lives are lost in the floods that follow, 1287
The first artificial pearls, made of gypsum pellets covered with fish scales, are manufactured by M Jacquin in Paris, 1656
The Montgolfier brothers' first balloon lifts off on its first test flight, 1782
David Wilkinson of Rhode Island patents a machine that cuts nuts and bolts, 1798
The American Academy of Political and Social Science is organized in Philadelphia, 1889
The Commercial Pacific Cable Company lays the first Pacific telegraph cable, from Ocean Beach, San Francisco to Honolulu, Hawaii, 1902
Norwegian Roald Amundsen becomes the first to reach the South Pole, 1911
Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Laos, Libya, Nepal, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sri Lanka join the United Nations, 1955
The United Republic of Tanzania joins the United Nations. 1961
NASA's Mariner 2 becomes the first spacecraft to fly by Venus, 1962
Kiribati, Nauru and Tonga join the United Nations, 1999
The Millau viaduct, the tallest bridge in the world, near Millau, France is officially opened, 2004


  1. Interesting that by seeing them intermittently you can really see progress in some children. Raising a child with a severe handicap can take a lot of energy, and while you give mom and dad a well-deserved time to talk to each other without interruption, I am sure you also sleep well on Friday night after all this.

  2. You are just the nicest person. To do this is a labor of love. Yes it is. Bless you.

    Have a fabulous weekend. ♥♥♥

  3. You are such a love for helping to care for these beautiful kidlets. I love the way you photographed them.. their cuteness showing but their privacy respected.

  4. Not even the flu could stop you and the other volunteers from earning Heaven points. Way to go. You're setting a wonderful example.

  5. What Stephen said. :) You rock!


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