Sunday, January 22, 2012


Goodbye to Przemek...we've enjoyed our time together!
Lila and I arrived home late Friday evening.  Lila had a small snack and then went directly to bed.  She woke up at 4:00 a.m. for the day  (as this is 6:00 a.m. in Louisiana...the time she awoke every single day, unless it was 5 a.m. :-)  Matt went to lay in her bed with her, as Nora woke up crying at 5:15 a.m.  So, instead of fighting it, we all just got up.  Nora didn't know we were home until she came out of her room, and it was like Christmas morning!  Really, this doesn't even begin to describe the joy we all felt to be together again.  Amazing what a great feeling it is to be back with Matt and Nora, and have them feel the same.  What a great day, despite the exhaustion.

Anyway, Louisiana is a 2 hour time difference from Reno, so it has been rough transitioning.  Today Lila woke at 5:30 a.m., but took a 2 hour nap, which has helped her demeanor.  Oh, and last night she put her face in her soup bowl at dinner (she has never done that before...I think she fell asleep!).  Pure exhaustion!  Nevertheless, I hope we can get her back on track today before school starts tomorrow.

It was very nice to go to church today and see all of our family there.  Love the hugs!  Lila was in heaven, as she asked for Cheri and Brooke (her favorite people ever) multiple times while we were away.

As for Lila's progress, she is doing quite well.  Although, we are having to change the rules in the house so that she uses her quad canes everywhere except on the rug in the living room.  She is having a hard time with this change, but I think we need to keep enforcing it as this will help her get one step closer to independence.  Besides the fact that she is fully capable!!  Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to see a change with her grabbing her canes herself and using them in the house.  Fingers crossed :-)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Hump day!
I learned something fascinating today...only 30% of our brains help us to function in all of our daily activities. The other 70% is fresh, ready and waiting to take over when necessary. This is the reason that our kids can see such great results. The part of the brain within that 30% that is not able to regenerate, due to damage, is able to call on the neurons within the 70% of undamaged area and the neurons can respond to take over the necessary skill, processing, connection, etc. With enough therapy, and the right therapy, we are programming the brain to learn these skills that are just second nature to us, and this is possible because of the large scale of unused neurons in the brain (by the way, we have at least 100 billion neurons in our brain).
while I am on this subject, here are a few brain facts:
1. Each neuron in the brain is responsible for one specific thing (I.e. emotion, movement)
2. The human brain is typically 2% of our body weight.
3. The brain is made up of 78% water.
4. The cerebellum makes up 10% of the brain (Lila's is smaller than normal)

Hope you have enjoyed our little science lesson :-)

As for therapy today, Lila balanced independently for 2 1/2 minutes!!!!! Awesome!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


THE BEST DAY OUT OF THE THREE WEEKS!   Lila seriously worked for the entire three hours straight!  After the tough love from yesterday, I think she did not want to do exercises in the hallway, and have no cartoon time after nap.  It worked :-)

Unfortunately, I don't have any photos/videos because I was focused on filming her every move today, in order to go home and create the same program.   Looking forward to her using her canes all over the house, as we are going to have a strict no crawling rule, except on the area rug in the living room.  This is where her and Nora play all of the time.  Gotta give a little somewhere :-)

A few quotes for the day....
Make a difference
Ask for what you want
Give more than you receive

These are three of my absolute favorite quotes, as I try to live by each and every one of them :-)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Beginning of the last week :-)

What I learned today was that Lila is bored.  Bored with the same routine she has been doing for the past two weeks already.  So, after a talk with the therapist, I am sure we can change that for the rest of the week :-)  Aside from her not working very hard today, she did make her own decision to show us this new skill she has found...

Really!  No one prompted her to do was all on her own!  Love it when she can figure out how to make all of her new skills work together :-)

On the other hand, I am having to be hard on her so that she will start to listen to Przemek this last week.  So when we got up from naps, we spent over an hour in the hallway balancing and walking with her canes.  Really making her finish what she started this morning.  Sure enough, with a little focus Lila stood independently for 90 seconds, and walked down the hallway and back with her canes.  Very good end to a rough start.

Sunday...downtown Covington, Louisiana

Today was finally a day where we took our time in the morning, and stayed nice.  Lila and I left the hotel around 9:30, after a nice morning conversation with Matt and Nora.

After getting lost last week, and happening upon the cute little downtown of Covington, I have been wanting to go and explore.  So, we started the morning by having breakfast at this adorable cafe called Toad Hollow Cafe.  They had gluten free bacon, and amazing omelets, which made Lila and I very happy!  That was fun because we never take the girls to restaurants.  We always cook at home because of all of their allergies, so what a gem this was :-)

After a nice breakfast, we jumped in the stroller and headed down the block.  Lucky for Lila, at the end of the block was a huge park (by the way, when we got lost last week we were looking for a park and could not find one for the life of it was all along).  This park was full of little nooks and cranny's, steps that went nowhere, fun slides, and certainly swings.  I could not believe the scale of this park, and that Lila just kept wanting to explore new parts of it.  Check it out!
Just amazing...this structure!
After playing at the park, there was a nice little path to walk around, so Lila allowed me to do so.  Nice time for her to play, and for me to play too :-)  The day was a beautiful one, and nice to just be out in the fresh air.  Below are a few photos of the trees in the park...
Favorite building downtown Covington
Seems as though Covington is more craftsman and Victorian than "Southern" (like Mandeville).  Still love the homes, but they are definitely different from it's neighboring towns...
Cute craftsman home 
Little more Southern in style
Thank you Covington for the nice morning with Lila :-)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Friday, Saturday...

Well, it has been a long few days, but I am going to try to recap as best as possible...
Therapy was so/so.  I think Lila was so fatigued after the entire week, that she did about 50% of what she was supposed to.  Within that 50%, she walked across the room with her quad canes, and then took 18 steps with one quad cane :-)

64 degrees...sunny all top it off, we got to spend the morning in the French Quarter with Leonard (grandpa Leonard to Lila) Munoz!  So great to have a touch of home to get us through the last week of being away from Reno.  I am sad to say that I was feeling a little out of sorts yesterday, so didn't even get a photo with the three of us in New Orleans.  I did get some architectural photos, but none of all of us....bummer.  Nevertheless, we had a nice morning while strolling around the very narrow, dirty, "smelly" streets of New Orleans :-)
Here are some photos I took:
Charming door at the balcony level
Favorite building in the French Quarter
Greatest old bookstore
You know who

An amazing band on the sidewalk...Lila was fascinated...the best part of the day

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Walk Your Talk...

Ok, I know I didn't want to talk about therapy yesterday, but I sure do want to today!  It's funny how one day I think that we should just get on a plane and come home, and then the next day I think we should stay another two weeks :-)

Anyway, yesterday afternoon Lila's new quad canes arrived here at the hotel.  This morning we took them with us to therapy, had them cut down a bit to fit her size, and she began her journey to upright, balanced walking.  You may think, "it seemed as though her sticks gave her the ability to maintain upright balanced walking", which was the case in one way, but actually harmful in another.  The great thing about her sticks is that they have given her a ton of confidence in her ability to be upright and controlled, more so than ever before.  The bad thing is that  there is a tendency to lean forward on the sticks in order to maintain your balance (at least for Lila).  So, when we arrived here and she began balancing exercises the first day, she was on her two feet, but had to lean forward (like you would see one of those "skiers" on a commercial) so far that she could not regain her balance and would fall to the floor every time.  This habit has been formed so quickly from using the sticks, that we need to transition to some assistive device that allows her to use the strength of her legs (not her arms, as with the sticks), and her own balance to begin walking upright, and then transition to independent walking.  This is what the quad canes will do for her!

After the frustration of having to pay for the sticks, expedite them to get them in time to use them here in Louisiana, and then pay more to get them cut down to a smaller size (these are now the most expensive sticks ever seen!), I needed some fresh air.  I ventured outside to make a couple of calls, and within 10 minutes Przemek comes running outside with this look of excitement.  I head back in to the studio only to find Lila walking with one quad cane, and full balance!  The most exciting part is that the next step for her is independent walking!  WOW! (I am very excited about this, even though it may take a long least we are in the right track to independence!!!).

The moral of the story is that everyone has a bad day here and there (Lila's was yesterday) but it doesn't mean that I should give up on her, as today she could not have done better!  Lila proved her skills today more than Przemek and I could have ever imagined :-)

Tomorrow I will have a video of this exciting time to share.  Until then, have yourself a good night and smile with me in the excitement of Lila's new skills!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Take personal responsibility....

Just a quote for the day :-)

Rather not talk about therapy today, but would like to share some more photos of last weekends adventures...
1.  A few more Southern Lake Homes....

The view through the demolished lower floor of an 1800's home....

Charming courtyard that caught my attention (for some reason)....

Quaint, charming, welcoming....

This fun little building housed a hot dog stand called "Rad Dogz".  It was made of 2x's and corrugated metal, surrounded by a front courtyard full of colorful painted picnic tables and Adirondack chairs.  So welcoming and artistic!

Lastly, Lila and this little girl became intrigued by each other at the playground.  They climbed on the structure together and Gabby showed Lila how to swing on the monkey bars :-)  She loved it!

So, farewell for now, and Lila says "join in more :-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


First of all, here are a few wise words for the day...
Understand more, judge less...
Fail, and dare to succeed...

So, our sleep has declined again, and Lila is being quite uncooperative. Yesterday was a bit rough, as I thought this morning would be as well. She has surprised both Przemek and I this morning! She is having long, consistent spurts of focus, and then we lose her for a bit. However, the focused times are so productive! She began the morning balancing away from the wall for 35 seconds, and within 30 minutes sent to 37 seconds, 45 seconds, 60 seconds, then 75 seconds! Wwooohhooo!

Lila then began working with quad canes this morning (the pair she is using are the only pediatric pair they have and are too tall, however we are getting a new pair for her that should arrive today or tomorrow).  Quad canes are very difficult to use because she cannot lean on them like she can her sticks. She needs to gain her balance first and then move the cane. Lila also must stand up straight in each step, which is helping her to not hyper-extend her knees so much. This is quite challenging, and she is taking to the canes quite well :-). Does this mean we will stop using the sticks/ walker? No, but we will most certainly work very hard to use the canes more often.
(sorry, sideways again...uugghhhh)

So, off we go to the hotel for some lunch and rest. Hope you all have a good day and be sure to always give more than you receive :-)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The end to a nice weekend

Guess where we went today....
No, not the French Quarter.....
No, not the Superdome....
Yes, the Audubon Zoo!  (seriously, that first photo of the gorilla really happened today :-)

Sunday...this morning we woke up very early, but I was determined to head into New Orleans and enjoy the nice weather.  Lila was excited about the zoo this morning, but as we headed to the city she just wanted to go to a park.  I decided we should check out the zoo anyway, and Lila was very lucky as we found a park in the middle of the zoo!  (Really, I should have just taken her to the park and headed to the French Quarter, but thought she would enjoy the mistake.  Live and learn :-)).   Nevertheless, I enjoyed the zoo, and the 75 degree weather.  I was wearing crop pants and a short sleeved shirt, and was sweating! January!

A few random thoughts....
Last week was a bit rough, and I noticed a poster on the wall in the facility that had many refreshing statements of which helped me to regain my perspective for the week.  I would like to share some of those positive words with you all throughout the next two weeks.
1.  Yodel more, yawn less
2.  Believe in your dreams
3.  Count your blessings

I love little sayings like this, which give us a different perspective on the day.  Enjoy!

Secondly, here are a few more photos from our walking tour yesterday...
This is where Lila and I ate lunch yesterday.  
After we sat down, I looked at the ground in front of the bench and realized that each end every one of these benches is dedicated to an individual who has passed on....our bench, Jeanne.  So sweet!
Our view at lunch...can't complain :-)  Beautiful day

There were dogs jumping off of these concrete walls that jut out into the water, and a young adorable couple sitting on the main wall (bottom left in the photo) writing music together with their great!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

End of week one...

Lake Ponchurtrain
Our walk today felt very different than yesterday.  When I would see a family of 12-15 ducks in the lake, just hanging around, I would notice one go under to get some food, and another randomly show up 7 feet away.  The one didn't come back up when I was round, and it made me laugh.
Large trees with benches below

I saw a bunch of very very old trees, whose crowns were easily 40-50 feet in width, which made me dream about how long they'd been there, and what they had endured during that time frame.  Under this batch of amazing trees were four or five benches, all occupied by day-dreaming individuals, also a calming site :-)

Then we began to head towards the homes, and I thought about the floods of Katrina, and noticed that the bulk of the homes are raised on structural piers so that they can beat the odds in a storm as such.  These homes have such history, as my mind wandered.

My favorite tree!!!!
Back to trees, on our first walk I just stopped and stared at this absolutely amazing tree.  It seems to be full of life and so absolutely massive, that you wonder how it is still standing.  Again today, I stopped and stared, unfortunately this time there was a couple sitting on the bench under the tree trying to have some quiet time, so I felt obligated to take my stares elsewhere :-)

Lila and I stopped to play on the swings, and she wanted to get back to walking so that she could finish her candy cane treat :-)  This little play area was old for what we are used to today...all plastic slides and powder coated metal railings everywhere.  Well, the slide that was just next to Lila was straight metal, and apparently very slick.  This little 2 year old slid down with excitement, shot up into the air and landed flat on her back (it reminded me of something Nora would do).  Funny to me, but not to her parents :-)

On our way back to the hotel from the lake I had made a wrong turn to get back to the main road, only allowing us to find old downtown Mandeville.  So cute!  There are adorable restaurants set up in old houses, amazing looking thrift stores, and a cute little second hand shop called "MAE".  Most of you probably know that this is Lila's middle name, so I thought it would be proper to stand her to the left of the sign, so that it states "Lila Mae" (thanks to a good diea from my sister :-).  This place was adorable!  Lila then wanted to go to a coffee shop and have some tea.  I told her that we can do just that this coming weekend :-)

This photo I like to call "Lila Mae"
So, as you can tell, we are catching up on sleep, and starting to settle in.  Lila was so tired yesterday that she went to bed at 5:45 and woke up at 6:30 a.m.  Crazy!  She woke up happy for the first time, and as we laid in bed (waking up) she sang her own words to the tune of "one little, two little, three little Indians"...."One little, two little, three little, Easter bunnies", and ended it with "all in a garbage can!"  So funny!  I love to watch her wake up happy and be so creative :-)

Therapy today, however, was about 50/50.  I think she just needed the weekend to rest.  She had decided before getting there in the morning that she only wanted to do exercises on the table, and walk on the bars.  I thought she would participate in the other activities as well, but NO.  She actually would laugh as Przemek became more and more frustrated, and just say no.  I was trying not to show my frustration, because she plays on that even more then.  Nevertheless, she did well enough for her last day of the week and now we have the weekend to rest.

It is supposed to be 75 degrees this weekend, so Sunday may be a lazy day playing in the sand at the beach.  I thought about going to the Aquarium or Zoo, but really all Lila would like to do is play in the sand, it is me that would like to give her the experience of those other attractions.  We would spend a lot of money to only be at the aquarium for an hour or two.  After talking to Matt tonight, I realized that this plan seemed very silly.  So, to the French Quarter we go, for a nice morning stroll, and back to the room for lunch and naps.

Sorry for the long post and all of the photos, just excited to be thinking of other things rather than the stress of lack of sleep :-)

Hope you all have a great weekend!


This morning came, as Lila woke at 5 a.m. (what the &%$^((!).  I fell back to sleep, but not sure she did.  We ended up wrangling ourselves out of bed around 7:30, and decided that we were going to head to the French Quarter for some fresh air and history...until we were in the elevator and ran into our friendly housekeeping ladies.  When we told them where we were going they thought we were CRAZY!  This is a big weekend for New Orleans, basically Mardi Gras style for sports fans!  Friday night was a professional basketball game, tonight the Saints play the Detroit Lions, and Monday night LSU is hosting the big college game.  This photo shows how excited people in the area are for these events.  They advised us to wait until tomorrow, seeing if the Saints won or lost, as most people might head out of town tomorrow, or schedule for next weekend when the professional sports are down to one game for the weekend.  So, downtown Mandeville here we come to follow our own architectural photography tour (guided by your very own)...hahah!
Old fence on a property that had been abandoned following Katrina.

This was such a fun morning around the lake, looking at the homes, bright colors, and adorable little corner restaurants, playing at the playground, and having a snack under a huge tree bordering the lake.  I hope you enjoy the photos!
Adorable Southern architecture

Love this house!  From the ceiling fans to the mailbox, and the full height doors that line the front of the house, to the wrap around porch.  Just looks like I could sit there all day and look at the lake :-)

Old 1800's hotel that is owned by the historical society and is being renovated.  They are not allowed to tear it down, and boy will it need major structural work!  Love the welcome sign above :-)

The adorable Broken Egg Cafe.
The guest house beside the old hotel.  The lower portion of the home has been totally gutted, maybe by a storm, maybe by contractors, but it amazes me that there is enough structure there from the 1800's for this home to still be 12 feet above the ground!  Also, as you walk by you can see one light bulb hanging from an electrical cord in the center hallway...pretty neat.
detail in dilapidated fence
Doors on an old, unihabited, home
Love this window!

Even the old abandoned homes have charm!  Just want to scoop it up (Gary?  Terra?)
Ok, that's enough for now.  I will add more of our photos as the weeks go on :-)  Don't want to bore my audience :-)