Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Waking up very early this morning I stared out the window watching how beautiful the sun slowly brought light on to the Colorado mountains. The glimpse of beautiful snow top mountains and pillow soft clouds gave me a feeling of peace and happiness. Just then I remembered seeing the sign "God's Country" which really put everything  into perspective. Though every year we have celebrated the Holidays with Family and Friends this year is starting off very different. Different in that as parents we truly understand  and appreciate the meaning of being Thankful.
As I walked around the house waiting anxiously and knowing everyone was still sound asleep, I came to see that I could not take my eyes of my kids cuddled up next to their mommy. DJ had his Super DJ Blanket and his sisters Tiana & Kiara on each side of him. At that moment I was thankful knowing that our children were always going to be there for each other. I started to remember when I was younger and my 5 brothers would stay up all night watching movies and wake up to the smell of Turkey, Ham and Fresh Pumpkin Pie as  our mom cooked a Feast for all of us! Those were some of the Greatest memories I want my children to have someday when they look back on there childhood. I then looked over to Kristen and found myself thanking God for bringing her into my life. This beautiful woman, wife, mother and best friend has helped me be a better man and I hope she knows how much I truly love her.
DJ is doing better everyday. At his last therapy his therapist said this was the best session he has had yet. His right side is really coming along. We have been working with him on stairs and he is walking up without assistance now. His speech is improving and is starting to put words together. How hard it must be for him knowing what he wants to say, but can't quite put all the words together yet. We keep hugging him and let him know that he is getting stronger and stronger every day. We have a lot of videos that are to help him regain his speech and practice with him every day. It's wonderful to hear him getting his words back. The other day the girls and him were coming down the stairs and he clearly said "Wait for me". We know it's going to take time and with a lot of love and support he will get every thing back. He has come along way in 11 weeks and the Doctors at his last visit were very excited and hopeful about his progress.
Kristen has recently been in contact with the parents of Jessie Hall who is a beautiful little girl that had a hemispherectomy and touched the heart of many as she continues on her journey. Her parents Cris and Kristi started The Hemispherectomy Foundation to help other kids and family's all around the world. Jessie's Grandparents who live in Wyoming, only a few hours from us, have dedicated acres of their land with Christmas trees that they are lighting for all the children that have had hemispherectomy's. Jessie and her parent's will be visiting during holidays and we are hoping to drive to Wyoming to meet this wonderful family that has done so much for so many.
Our family has a lot to be thankful for this year and are blessed to have all the Love & Support from Great Family & Friends. We will never be able to express just how much you helped us through our tough times and are Grateful for everything. You will always be in our prayers.
  We have many chapters of life that we go through, some good, some bad. Some families stay very close and some seem to slowly drift apart. It doesn't mean we stopped loving each other, it just means we are all growing and adapting to our lives that may take us down different roads. In the end the most important thing to remember is that we are all still family and that is something very special. HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!! Have a safe and wonderful day with your families.
-From the Rivera Family.

"Once you choose hope any thing is possible" -Christoper Reeve

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Family & Friends are always the best medicine

   It has been close to 4 weeks that we all have been home now and it is very nice to have a sense of normality back in our lives. DJ has come a long way since his surgery 8 1/2 weeks ago and we know still has a long journey ahead of him. We really have to thank God for all the continued support from family & friends we have been receiving. These prayers & love have really been the strength which has motivated DJ and kept him smiling as he reaches new milestones in his recovery.
   This past weekend was Halloween and DJ along with family and neighborhood friends had a wonderful time. DJ wore his Superman outfit, Kiara went as Supergirl, and Tiana went as a Pirate. It was very nice to see DJ  back with all his wonderful neighborhood friends. House by house DJ seemed to be getting more and more excited as he visited some of the neighbors who had not seen him since he has been home. All the interaction with everyone was such a great medicine for DJ. He stopped and took pictures with his best pals and gave hugs to show them how much he was glad to see them. Our friends Tara and Theo (who live right next door) had a Halloween party with games and prizes for the kids.We all really had a great time enjoying each others company.
   DJ also made a visit to school to attend his class Halloween party. All the kids were dressed up and even his teacher had dressed up as Where's Waldo. We are very thankful that DJ is part of such a great school as Turnberry Elementary. The students and staff have been absolutely wonderful. Dino and I took all the kids to family night where the kids played games, trick or treated, and had lots of fun! DJ's energy is definitely  coming back because even though we were ready to go he still wanted to stay and play.
   One of DJ's highlights was receiving a special gift from our cousin Ramiro in AZ. Ramiro made him a Superman pajama outfit with a cape and all! He was very excited to see it and even though it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon wanted to put it on for the remaining of the day & night. Thank you very much cousin for the outfit and the beautiful heart felt words you sent in your letter.
DJ is walking without assistants but is working hard on his strength & balance. We are taking him to outpatient therapy during the week. He has started walking up the stairs all by himself! His therapist have really seen a difference from session to session. Though sometimes getting him to therapy has its challenges. I think he would prefer watching the Disney channel and lounging on the couch. Wait...I guess I see his point. He is now able to slowly raise his right arm and just a few days ago started to squeeze with his right hand. Dino and I are working everyday with him doing different activities to help wake up his muscles and help his brain to start making more connections with the right side of his body. Sometimes it's very hard as a parent seeing your child struggle with things that use to be so easy for him, but that feeling quickly vanishes when we see his beautiful eyes light up from accomplishing another goal. Letting us know to stay strong because he has not and never will give up on his journey.  He has made our family bond closer and continues to every day. We seem to appreciate each other much more and he helps to remind us that love can move mountains.  

"Once you choose hope, anything is possible" -Christopher Reeve