My perfect Valentine

They are beautiful!

If there is such a thing as a perfect Valentine’s Day, it would be like this:

  • There would be extra hugs and kisses.
  • We’d start with breakfast together.
  • We would each receive a thoughtful, homemade gift, or something that would delight the other person.

Sigh….some of us rose to the occasion and someone phoned it in (and I won’t mention names).  Two out of three ain’t bad.

Not to be ungrateful, but for years I’ve let it be known that I don’t care for candy or flowers. Thank goodness they weren’t roses, but more like daisies, which are my favorite.

This year, what I really wanted was that jar of dates that we saw at the market.  Not the kind you eat, but filled with notes with ideas for dates!  At this stage of our marriage, creativity is what’s needed, not more stuff…sigh

My gift was food, I served stuffed grape leaves, pita bread, Labneh and salad for dinner, all which was homemade. This took time and effort and I knew it was what, whose name I won’t mention, enjoyed.  Will share recipes in another post…

Hands down, Jess was the Valentine’s winner this year. Not only did she come home with a card she made, but she had a break through at her program. Over lunch, Meghan started the conversation by mentioning to the group that Jess wasn’t sleeping in her room.  She said “your mom thinks it’s because of the movie ET”.  The rest of the group told her she shouldn’t be afraid, it’s just a movie. Jess sat and listened to everyone before replying on her Talker “isn’t movie”.   Meghan shared this conversation with me because she knew we were trying to guess what was bothering Jessie. I loved the fact that Jess was discussing this with her peers.

That afternoon, I told Jessie that I heard that ET wasn’t the reason she wasn’t going to bed at night and she nodded yes.

“Did your friends make you feel better?”, she said yes.

“So do you think you could try and sleep in your room tonight?”, she said “yes” on her talker and then looked at me.  That is the sign that she means it.

After a month of avoiding her room like the plague, Jessie settled in her bed. I wasn’t planning on her wanting me to stay with her.  We watched TV for a little bit before she fell asleep. 

At 10:30, I tiptoed back to my room. Felt good to snuggle in my bed.  Unfortunately, Husband was snoring, so I tiptoed to the guest room.  And this was how I spent my Valentine’s night!  

Believe it or not, I was happy.  Finally, Jess was sleeping in her own bed. The next night I had to stay with her till she drifted off in slumber and was able to return to my room.  

Maybe someday, Jess will tell me what all of this drama was about…but for now, I’m happy that we are all getting a good night’s sleep!  When it comes right down to it, sleep is the best gift of all.

PS-  Husband, I LOVE YOU!

If you have to go shopping.

Typically, we don’t run errands on the weekend. I hate crowds and traffic and especially hate standing in lines.  However, yesterday we were out of cheese….  If you need cheese, you probably are going to want some crackers to go with it.  If you are an adult, you are bound to want some wine too.  Even though I began with a list, I kept thinking of other things we needed, like coffee, gas for the car and deer repellant.

This is not my photo, but if I had a dog bed outside…

Because the ground was snow covered, the deer started munching on the bushes by the front door.  We enjoy their visits, but they will eat all available vegetation down to a nub, a gardener’s nightmare!  Husband banged on the window to get them to move along, which they did, on to the bird feeder.  Fortunately, the birds didn’t leave much seed behind, so the deer kept moving.  They didn’t go far. 

The next morning there were snow tracks that led to the back of the house and there were six grassy spots for the two moms and their four kids of various ages. The warmth of their bodies melted the snow.  I was surprised how close they slept to the house. 

We do share our property with the deer and many other critters. I’m okay with them spending the night, but prefer not to feed them dinner, so it was imperative to add deer repellant to the shopping list.

the grassy spots are where the deer slept

Three pit stops later, we headed home, but then decided to stop at the local market for milk so I could make yogurt. Sometimes I suffer from that “just one more thing disease”.  While in line, the cashier asked Jessie what app did she have on her Talker?  Oh my goodness!  Someone actually recognized her AAC device! (why it’s Speak for Yourself of course!) This is a first for someone to know it wasn’t a game.  I kind of wished she asked Jessie “how are you?” instead, but it’s exciting to witness awareness when it blossoms.  Needless to say,  I was thrilled and Jess was proud.

If Jessie is not feeling pressured or rushed, she will answer questions on her Talker.  She’s doing her part about raising awareness, I hope everyone that is reading this is raising awareness too.  My motto, the more people that know that iPads are used for talking, the bigger our world gets!

P.S.-  The deer don’t like how the bushes smell and there was no whine with my cheese, but we did enjoy the crackers that went with it.

I wonder if one of these was the fawn that visited us one spring?

Time to seek professional help

There are many things that keep me up at night.  Sometimes I can’t stop my brain, sometimes it’s the full moon, but at this moment, it’s Jessie.

For the last three-weeks, Jess has not been able to sleep due to unknown causes. 

At first I thought she might be having seizures, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.  Then she appeared to have a 24-hour stomach bug, no fever, no remarkable symptoms, except that she was leaving her room alarmed.  Something was causing her to work herself up into a tizzy, something was very wrong and we are baffled.

Jess had not been regular and was thinking maybe that is causing her distress, so, we changed her diet.  We stopped milk products, cheese and homemade yogurt thinking this was binding.  At the same time, I added a fiber supplement.  The end result was her system slowed down even more.

This all seems rather logical, but I made three big mistakes.  By removing the yogurt, I reduced the digestive enzymes.  Adding the fiber would have been good, but she wasn’t drinking enough liquid to have it work properly. Finally, changing a diet suddenly does not give the body time to adapt.

Whenever Jess is not 100%, I review the previous six months to see if I can find a cause.  Doctors haven’t been much help. They focus too closely on her Angelmen Syndrome and this overshadows their judgement.

My review reminded me that Jess’s system slowed down after we traveled last fall. She had a healthy, varied diet, but she wasn’t drinking very much.  By the beginning of January, she was not herself and this was when I started to make changes.

So here we are and I’m just as bewildered.  For the first time ever, Jess refuses to go to her room at night.  She won’t even watch TV in her room and we both ended up on the couch together.  When I lamented about this to a friend, she suggested changing rooms. Brilliant!  We are now in the guest room.  Jess is sleeping like a rock, however, she doesn’t want to be left alone.  This is so not like her. Typically she tells me to go so she can be by herself. 

There is one more piece to this puzzle. Recently on Netflix, they added E.T.   Jess has a history with this movie.  All she has to do, is hear a few bars of the music and her eyes get big and her lip quivers.  Just like my mom warned me not to watch The Blob, I have advised Jess to not watch this movie, but she’s a rebel.  She’s at the age where she thinks mom doesn’t know what she’s talking about…sigh…this may be partly true, but I do have a bit more life experience and shouldn’t be completely dismissed!

As much as the diet change has caused issues, I’m afraid that she is having nightmares and is afraid that she will be abducted by aliens.  Sure, this may sound far fetched, but we all have fears.  I’m afraid of heights, my sister is afraid of spiders and Jess is afraid to be alone because her imagination has gotten the best of her.

For now, I’m blocking her on Netflix and am being more careful about making sudden changes to her diet. 

On a side note, there are people in the AS community who are following a diet that is being led by someone who is learning as she goes.  Recently, one of the followers ended up in the hospital with severe constipation.  That should have been the first clue that the diet was not working and the diet was not balanced for her child.  It’s dangerous to not have professional guidance, especially when your dealing with someone who has a seizure disorder.

Some families have had success with the LGIT diet and others do well on the Ketogenic diet, however, they are being monitored by dietitians. They typically have blood work done before participating.  We have not gone this route.  Jess has been off all seizure meds since her late teens, so a strict diet didn’t seem necessary, however, there may be a modified version that will work for her.  Time for professional help…and for my friends that are reading this, I don’t mean that kind of help, I can hear you laughing…lol

Small talk leads to big Talk

After listening to my mother and I chatting, my father once said “the sum of your conversations is nothing”.  Well, maybe it was, until it wasn’t. Often Dad would listen and then ask us to repeat something when he heard a tidbit that interested him.

In my father’s defense, even though he wasn’t interested in the daily minutia, he loved learning. Dad also enjoyed sharing a good story. One of my favorites was about his serving in the Navy. He was on the aircraft carrier the Shangri-la.   He told us about the time he had received a letter from a buddy who was in the army and was complaining that the food was cold. Dad replied using the back of the ships menu for stationary.  As much as his friend enjoyed the letter, he re-read that menu.  I need to share this story with Jessie. Dad passed a month before she was given the Angelman Diagnosis, just as she turned 13.

In order to captivate someones attention, you need to talk about something that intrigues them. Even though my father wasn’t fascinated by woman’s small talk (my husband falls into this category) that doesn’t mean these conversations aren’t important.

When Jess was little, on rare occasion, she’d pop out with a word or short phrase. I assumed that she was going to talk. Even though this never came to be, because of my belief, I never stopped talking to her. Our longest conversations were had on long car rides and to this day they still are.

While driving, there are no outside forces to interrupt us. If a good song came on the radio, I would look at her and she would turn up the volume. While I sang like a cat, she’d bop her head to the music.

In between the songs, I’d talk about where we were going, who we would see and share stories.  Sometimes Jess listened with rapt attention, but she often drifted off to her own thoughts.  As I write this, I’m realizing how much she is like my Dad.  If I say something that is of great interest to her, she becomes completely engaged.  She is also in inquisitive like he was.

Now fast forward 25 years. Our story is slightly different. Jess is still not one for small talk and we don’t make conversation per se, but she is beginning to open up more.  What’s difficult for Jess is that most everyone she meets has never met anyone that uses an AAC device. This means that at home, we need to step it up. Even though I’m talking and she’s tapping her words, her conversations broaden when I use a Talker too. I’m reminded that I should speak her AAC language on a daily basis…. I need a kick start.  This week we began the 12-week AACtion plan challenge but we are doing an accelerated version. Initially, this was to help make me become a better communication partner, however, this time I thought we should do this together.  Thank goodness, Jess has better Talker skills than I do.

At least this exercise gives us more to talk about.  Jess gets satisfaction when I have to search for a word, especially when she can find it easily.  What I am careful about is to not make her feel like she is being tested.  I don’t have her repeat the words 10x like they expected at school, but rather follow her lead and repeat once or twice.  I’m the one that needs the repetition.

There’s an aspect of SFY that often gets overshadowed by other features. The symbol  initially helps you find the location of a word, but the word is also found above the symbol.  At dinner last night. I thought I was being clever and spelled to husband S-A-L-A-D because I wanted Jess to eat her dinner and not just salad.  Jess immediately tapped “salad”.  Then I asked her, “did you say that because of what I spelled?” and she immediately replied “yes”.

Jess has never been taught to read.  Of course, we sang the alphabet and tried to read to her, but due to her three second attention span that wasn’t very successful.  What is note worthy is that even though I didn’t think she was following along, she was. Even though she didn’t give me any indicators that she understood, she did.  When using an AAC device, hearing the word models language and seeing the written word is helping with literary skills.  How exciting!

I’ve had a few conversations recently with other  Angelman mothers who told me that Jess is doing so much more than their child. It’s important to remember that I’m careful what I write about when it comes to Jessie and her challenges.  This is her story and I’m privileged to share it. Because of this, a lot is left to the readers imagination.  You need to know that we struggle and I share so she might inspire you to keep an open mind.

What most don’t realize is where Jess started from.  Jess’s path reminds me when I was in 5th grade. I remember not understanding something in class, but when it was reviewed in 6th grade, suddenly I got it.  This seems to be Jess’s road too, but it’s taken her years rather than months.  It’s so important to reintroduce things where they have failed.  It might not be the second or tenth time they find success, it may take 500x.

It’s been a long, long, long road, however, I believe that it was our small talk that kept Jess thinking and her big Talker that has changed her path forever.

Just keep talking, just keep Talking…they are listening!

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Life is better when everyone is happy

After having a rough day at her new program, I knew a meeting needed to be set up pronto. The following week, I met with Jess’s job coaches and program manager.  While we were huddled together at a small table, Jess was sitting with her group, with her back to us and was eavesdropping in our conversation.  The focus wasn’t about her per se, but showing them how the app Speak for Yourself works on Jess’s Talker.

There are many things that contribute to Jess having a bad day, but 99% of the time it’s due to a communication breakdown.

Everyone always assumes Jess is the one with the problem, however, I’m realizing that most of the time, they don’t know how to talk to someone who uses an ACC device. The big secret is there is no secret. Whether a person is verbal or uses a Talker, the same etiquette applies.

The first part of the meeting was an overview of SFY.  This is Jess’s voice and it’s vital they understand her language.  I could see that they were overwhelmed by Jess’s home page. Most likely they were thinking, if it was difficult for them, how could Jess possibly access this to talk?  I explained that Jess began with a few words and then words are added as she needed/used them. This isn’t the same as learning vocabulary and word meaning, as it is motor planning and where to find the word.  In the beginning, you scan for the word you are looking for. As you get more proficient, your finger automatically knows where to find the word without thinking.  This is how we all access a keyboard.  We don’t think about each letter we need to tap as we type.

The second part of the meeting was to show them how to be a good communication partner:

  • When you ask a question, WAIT for the answer.  Wait for Jess to finish a phrase. Sometimes she is looking for the exact word that completes her thought. Once she has done this, she will look at you and then it’s your turn to talk.
  • Sometimes Jess will use a word approximation. This means, if she can’t find the exact word (because it’s not there and needs to be added), she will use a word that sounds like it.
  • If Jess talks about something that doesn’t make sense, she might be trying to tell you something she has done, or something she is thinking about. It helps to understand the context in order to understand the meaning. Not always easy with an AAC user, but I’ve learned to politely go with the conversation, just as I would anyone who is talking. Sometimes you have to hear more before you understand the point.

At the end of the session, I shared a video of Jess using her Talker in a conversation. (This is an old video, but it’s my favorite.  I don’t take many videos of her talking, but I should). At this point, they had their ah ha moment. Unfortunately, people don’t really understand what someone is capable of until they witness for themselves. You really can’t/never/shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.

The following day, the job coach was very excited! Jess had a great day!  Now when Jess talked to them, the job coach knew how to support her.  Once Jess felt understood, then she willingly participated with the rest of the group.

The foundation of happiness is communication.

Life is so much better when everyone is happy.

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A mother’s inner voice

img_7622We live in a world that is caught between common sense and nonsense. This morning I called a doctor about a concern.  Of course, when it’s last minute, not life or death, and a day before a holiday, it’s difficult to get anyone to answer a simple question.

I’ve gotten pretty good at diagnosing things I know nothing about.  When Jess was six-weeks old, I discovered a hernia. I didn’t know what a hernia was, but my inner voice said this was what I was seeing.  Another time I alerted our neurologist that I thought Jess was showing symptoms of high Valproic acid after reading a medical journal (this was before Google existed) in another doctor’s office.  At the time, I didn’t realize that this was connected to the Depakote that Jess was taking for seizures.  The doctor told me “to stop reading things I didn’t understand”  and poo-poo’d my concerns.

I changed doctors. The first appointment with the new neurologist was a 3-day EEG. 30 minutes after a blood test, it was confirmed, Jess’s Valproic acid levels were extremely elevated.

Through the years, I’ve diagnosed many things, including Jess’s big diagnosis of Angelman Syndrome.  You’d think I’d learn to listen to my inner mom voice…

This morning, Jess had a tiny spot between her eyes that wasn’t there the night before ( I don’t have her permission to share an image).  Due to time constraints, I called our dermatologist office to ask if they could look at a photo.  My guess was ringworm (it’s a fungus, not worms).  I was told it was probably a freckle that appeared (which apparently they can do over night) and they made an appointment for next week Thursday.

This afternoon, I could see the spot was bigger.  Now it is much later in the day.  Called two of our GP’s and there is no doctor available.  So, I did what I should have done in the first place; I googled ringworm, found a description with a photo and am treating her with anti-fungal cream.  Out of the three doctors offices I called, why didn’t anyone suggest this?  I gave them a spot on description (no pun intended).  Apparently, no one listens to Mom..what could she possibly know?  Not going to medical school and all…

Is the world moving too fast, or is it lacking sense to solve a simple problem?  I don’t believe this is about billable hours, but more the inability to stop long enough to listen.  Maybe we all need to take time to pause so we can think things through and solve the little things before they turn into big things?

Come to think of it, I probably should take my own advice.  Next time, instead of getting alarmed, I should have just followed my inner mom voice.  Mom’s tend to know their children better than anyone else.  Maybe someday, doctors will actually listen to us!  Someday… sigh…

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Life imitates art

jane-jetson

Jane Jetson’s morning face

Every time Jess uses Facetime, it reminds me of the Jetsons.  As a child, I was intrigued with the idea of being able to see someone while talking on the phone.  Now 50 years later, we have this capability in the palm of our hands and no one realizes what a big deal it is!

One change I’d make to this app would be to have the option to use a profile photo. I don’t feel pretty in the morning. Jane Jetson solved this by using a morning mask, but I’d rather have a set photo.  Thank goodness, Jess has no image problems and this is not an issue for her,  but I still think having screen saver photo would benefit the rest of us.

One of Jessie’s boy-friends lives in Minnesota.  When he figured out FaceTime, she was one of the first people he called (I’m not sure if this is true, but we like to think it is).  Positive peer pressure was what motivated Jess to figure out how to use the app herself.

Yesterday morning, Jess tried FaceTiming another friend. My guess is she wanted to thank her for the Christmas gifts she had received the night before. It’s moments like this that remind me how far Jess has come. Communication is something most people take for granted, but for us, it is such a life changing gift.

Jess has a dedicated speech device. This means, her iPad is only used for communication. Games, movies, podcasts and FaceTime are all accessed on an iPod.    Presently, she can text and email on her Talker,  but for her, this isn’t very effective.  The visual on FaceTime makes it possible for Jess to have a “phone” conversation and is more rewarding than text.  Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t allow audio for phone calls. Just like I did with the Jetson’s phone, I’m fantasizing that Jess would have access to FaceTime on her AAC device.

img_7619Well, apparently I’m not alone.  There’s a petition asking Apple to make an exception for AAC users. This option would greatly broaden Jess’s ability to communicate.  Having access to FaceTime on her Talker would give Jess a way to contact me if she had an emergency. It’s important not to be completely dependent on others.

We are not trying to avoid the cost of a phone plan, we just want her to be able to use her AAC device to it’s fullest capacity.

If you can, please take a moment to sign the petition.  Every form of communication makes Jessie and other AAC users world bigger!

 

 

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I HATE CF

Aiden's Mom was one of Jess's favorite teachers. She invited Jess to her wedding.

Aiden’s Mom was one of Jess’s favorite teachers. She invited Jess to her wedding.

There is nothing more exhausting than being sick. I rarely get sick, but when I do, it hits hard.  At least this is what I’ve been experiencing this past week.  I’ve had a wicked cold.  The headache and sore throat were annoying, but the cough and congestion pushed me over the edge.

Last night, I had taken a cough medicine that tasted like orange flavored phlegm and was just as effective. The coughing jags started without warning. I was up, every hour, on the hour and woke up exhausted. I could not breath!

For the average person, while miserable, colds will pass, but last night after a coughing jag, I thought about those who suffer from chronic illness.  After a week of not being able to breath and all the other symptoms,  I imagine this is just a glimmer of what it may feel like to have Cystic Fibrosis.

Recently, I read a friend’s matter of fact account about her son Aiden having to endure yet another surgery due to CF.  Jess has had more than a half dozen surgeries, but this pales in comparison to how many Aiden has had. He and his family have been dealt a hand which forces them to be brave.  While they battle CF, they also live as typical a life as is possible, which centers around their family and friends. They didn’t ask for the position of role model, but that is what they have become.  I love them, but I hate CF.

My hope is that reading this gives you pause. Say a prayer that a cure for Cystic Fibrosis is found. Say a prayer for Aiden and his family.

PS- I’m writing this just as the FAST conference in Chicago has come to a close. Even though Jess is part of the Angelman Syndrome community, I’m painfully aware that there are many life threatening diseases.  Though our challenges may be different, we are all connected.

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Maui…our final chapter

It has taken me awhile to write about the conclusion of our trip. Either we were on the go, or too tired … needed time to reflect… this is filled with photos!

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The challenge: much to do, so little time.
The trick: to fit everything in without rushing.
It’s an art to make this balance, but I’m happy to report, mission accomplished.

Our trip was filled with highs and lows, but this is not what you might think. Keep reading and you will understand.  Our adventure began when we became a band of three. After a few weeks on our own, my husband joined us. The first family thing we did was have breakfast together at Kula Lodge. The view, food and service were outstanding.img_4351 img_4360

The Lodge is one turn away from the road to Haleakala, where the road meets the sky, literally. At first, it was fun driving along the winding road, but after the ranger station, the road narrowed and we drove through clouds. There was no road beyond the white line. My fear of heights went into crisis mode and I squealed every time the car was close to the edge. Those last fives miles were brutal. When we reached the top, I wanted to kiss the ground. Over the years, I’ve done this drive five times, but this was the first time I felt panic.img_5247

At 10,030 feet above sea level, it’s cold and windy at the crater. The landscape looks more like the moon than earth. It’s odd to look down on the clouds. It feels like this is the top of the world.img_5145

After exploring, Husband took the wheel and we headed for the sea. I asked him to tell me when our lane was hugging the mountain so I could open my eyes.  Even so, this didn’t stop me from shrieking. The view is phenomenal, but the only way I will return is if I’m taken against my will.

On the drive down, when I could open my eyes

On the drive down, when I could open my eyes

img_5346Our next destination was the Kaanapali Ocean Inn. It’s managed by the Royal Lahaina which allows us access to all their amenities. We LOVED the salt water pool!  Our room wasn’t beach front, but it was ocean view and Molokai was in our direct line of site. We arrived before check-in so waited at the bar, overlooking the pool and ocean. Jess ordered a root beer (that’s as hard as she gets) and was beside herself with excitement!img_5369

img_5488The next morning we headed to Lahaina.  We walked around the harbor and the next thing we knew, we were taking a ride in a yellow submarine called the Reef Dancer ( This was our low). The first part of the tour, with the aide of a diver, we explored the reef.  On the way back, we sat up top and enjoyed the view of Lahaina, the harbor and the west Maui mountains.

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On Tuesday we swam at Black Rock and hung out at the Tiki Bar (I have history here, but that’s another story). The drink special for the day was a Pina colada. Jess finished mine, but then made a face because she could taste the alcohol. She’s a teetotaler.

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img_5695There were many highlights during this trip. We all enjoyed the Ulalena show It’s a blend of ancient hula and Cirque du Soleil. It was extra special for me because one of my friend’s daughter is part of the cast. Jess was star struck when she met Natalie after the production.
img_5690img_7202Jess worked through her ocean anxiety. At first she wouldn’t step foot on the sand, but with Dad’s reassurance, not only was she willing to walk along the shore, but she swam in the ocean with ease. Jess and I loved sculling on top of the swells at Kaanapali. The sensation of the waves passing around your body before they land on shore is relaxing.

Husband had a couple of memorable experiences. The water is rather shallow over the coral in Olowalu. While snorkeling, he discovered a sandy channel that led him farther out to sea. At one point, he was out of my sight. I was momentary alarmed with the thought of his being lost at sea. and wondering “what will we img_6223do?”.  This is another irrational fear that pops in my head on occasion.  Finally, I caught sight of him. Phew… Not only did he see many types of fish, but he had to stop and let a giant sea turtle pass in front of him. When he shared this story with our friends, it was then that they told us about a shark attack. It had been years ago. Just like the movie “Finding Nemo”, there is a drop off not far from where he was swimming.  All they found was her torso. Sharks like deep water.  Stories like this make you respect the ocean

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When we were back in Lahaina, husband had his first surf lesson. He caught four waves and rode two. The water wasn’t very deep and the surf break is coral. His surfing experienced ended when he cut his hand.  It’s wise to get out of the water if you are bleeding, especially after being told about a shark tale.

img_6434The helicopter ride to Molokai gave us another perspective of the island. After the first few minutes in the air, Jess said this was “more, more, more remarkable”. This experience was made possible because we consented to suffer through a time share presentation. They said “it’s not a time share”. No, maybe not, but there is no advantage to buying into what they had to offer either. Consider this warning my public service.

img_6687img_6502img_6659img_6500img_3439Attending The Apostolic Faith Church, aka Jesus Coming Soon church, was an emotional experience. It’s a tiny little church that was made famous in an Eagles song. At one point they had a 20 minute prayer. It was a little long as far as Jess was concerned. She injected humor on her talker and said “Martini, want, find”. I’m afraid this church doesn’t get many visitors which is a shame. They worshiped by singing classic hymns and all praise to our Lord.  As they say, if you don’t know the answer, the answer is Jesus!

img_6375There is no doubt that I ate too much. Makawao Steak House has outstanding food for reasonable prices. I preferred dining in the comfy leather chairs in the bar area. My only regret was not asking exactly what was in their Lychee Cooler.

I couldn't resist taking taking this photo of such an adorable couple

I couldn’t resist taking taking this photo of such an adorable couple

Honu in Lahaina was my other favorite. Seating is as close to the water as you can get. Happy hour is a must and eating off the bar menu makes it one of the best deals in town. Their fried oyster sandwiches practically melt in your mouth. Evy, thank you for sharing this with me, I probably wouldn’t have found it on my own. I took the family there and we had a wonderful, memorable, family moment.img_5939

Friends and family made this trip extra special. It wouldn’t have been possible without Kathy offering us her bungalow. She greeted us at the airport with lei’s, helped me find our rental car and then had us follow her home so we wouldn’t get lost. There are no streetlights upcountry and no one to ask. The bungalow had a welcome sign, bouquet of flowers, a fridge of food and slippers for our feet. Kathy even did my laundry and tidied up for us too. She included Jess in a “girls night” so husband and I could go on a date. We rarely get out as a couple and this was unexpected to have alone time. Mahalo to you and Jody for making us feel at home.  Evy and Jini, you spoiled me too!

I never thought Jess would be able to make this trip. Traveling 17 hours by plane (two flights with a two-hour layover in California) to get to Maui seemed inconceivable. Then there was the six hour time difference. How would she manage that? Every day we were on the go and nothing phased her. She acted like a seasoned traveler. There was a time, whenever we planned anything special for Jess, it never went as planned and everyone was miserable. However, this goes to show that anything is possible and why we need to live the motto, try, try and try again. You never know what is possible.

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Santa was having a photo shoot at Mamma’s Fish House. He was just as surprised to see me as I was to see him!

PS-We had a friend from church on our first flight,  Jess was recognized by a friend of Kathy’s on top of Haleakala and the diver from the Reef Dancer sat next to husband on the flight out of Kahului on our flight home.  The  world really is a small place.  You never know who you will meet!

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