Greetings from Palm Beach, where the weather was a balmy 75 with a giant sunshine today. Not too shabby for January 12. Happy to hear it's been a mild winter for everyone up north thus far. Dan left Monday to return home and I'm especially happy he didn't have to deal with any snow when he got there. I'm especially unhappy however, that he is no longer here. He's pretty awesome. I realize more than ever just how helpful he is to me and how much of a wonderful dad he is to Mariel. Thankfully, he received an amazing gift before leaving -- getting to see Mariel up on her feet for the first time in 3 and a half weeks! Monday was a milestone day at physical therapy. Mariel took her first few steps with the aid of a walker. Each day this week since, she has walked a few steps further. She even shot some hoops and played ball with a lovely young lady from the Netherlands (a five year old, also here having her first lengthening). As Mariel's leg continues to grow, the lift on her shoe will be cut down accordingly. In other words, as more length is gained in her leg, the lift will get smaller and smaller until she is on even soles. Pretty cool, huh? We have our second follow-up appointment with Dr. Paley tomorrow during which more x-rays will be taken and new growth amounts will be determined. We'll also find out more about the next surgery she needs and when it will be scheduled. Wish I could say that Mariel is becoming more agreeable, however, she is still in a great deal of pain on and off throughout the day and night. She also is missing her dad and friends at home. Needless to say, she is less than happy most of the time. We've been using FaceTime each night with dad and hope to set up some calls/Skype time with friends soon.
We've gotten a few wonderful packages from the amazing teachers and adorable children of Mariel's preschool program, Five Mile River Nursery School. Yesterday we opened a beautiful photo album of fall memories from the classroom and personal notes from the teachers. Mariel was so happy to "see" everyone. She can still name everyone in the class and can't wait to get back to school. They have also sent paintings and personal notes from the kids. She is working on a self portrait to send back to the class -- among some other of her "Mariel masterpieces" as she calls them. The cards, letters, emails, texts, etc. continue to brighten both of our days and we appreciate them so much. Thank you!
In other news, my dad, Mariel's poppy arrived last weekend and he will be with us throughout our time here. My dad loves to cook and he has made us quite a few nice meals already. This alone is very helpful as caring for Mariel without Dan's help is filling my day more than ever. We also had a wonderful visit with our dear friends Beth & David, during which we enjoyed amazing sushi and Thai food and even got in a nice walk on the beach. B&D brought Mariel an entire litter of tiny stuffed kitties, all individually wrapped. Such a perfect gift for her - she loves little kitties and they even meow! It was great to see our good friends and have some much needed laughs.
Another highlight this week was that our friends Kate, Tim and Emily Tredwell welcomed sweet baby Paige! Warmest congrats to them!
Now back to our regularly scheduled program: Put one foot in front of the other... and soon you are walking cross the flo-or-or! A little bit harder, just a little bit more, a little bit further than you've gone before.