Friday, April 16, 2010

The Shepherd's Nook is Now Closed

(I'm stealing Tom's post that he put on his blog earlier this week. After 8 years, this past Saturday was the last day for our store to be open.)

The Shepherd’s Nook is Now Closed

Dear Friend of the Nook,

After two years of financial struggling with less community support and higher costs of moving to our new location…. and with a great deal of prayer….. we have been led to close The Shepherd’s Nook. We wish to thank all for their support of our ministry over the last 8 years.

For your immediate needs, please contact the Living Word bookstore in Edison at 419-946-5000. They are just 15 minutes from our store on State Route 95 in the Edison Depot building.

Long term, we are working with a local person who is hoping to open a new Christian bookstore in Marion soon. When this happens, please support them in your prayers and with your spending dollars. Invest in the Kingdom and not just where you can save a dollar.

Again, we thank you for standing by us and ask you continue to keep us in prayer as we focus more on our church ministry. If we can pray for you, please contact us at


Tom and Jenni Hypes

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Botox Follow-up

(NOTE: there are 2 new posts today... there's another one right after this that covers the last couple of months and has lots of pictures!)

Last month, on St. Patty's Day nonetheless, Emily received another series of botox injections in her calves. For those of you new to the blog, Emily has been getting these every 3 months for the past year or so. Emily is almost 4 years old and has cerebral palsy. Her version of cerebral palsy causes her to leg muscles to tighten up and she walks on her tiptoes as a result. The botox is used to weaken the tight muscles and she wears leg braces (DAFOs and AFOs) on her calves and feet to keep her from going up on her tiptoes and to help retrain her muscles. She also wears a similar brace that we call a "night brace" on her left leg. It is more padded and able to be adjusted so she can get more stretch in her heel cord while she sleeps and her leg is relaxed. There are pictures of these and a better description in this old post from last July.

Sooo... Em's been wearing her braces every day for the most part since the end of September '09.

We are always scheduled to go back to Children's Hospital 3 weeks after her botox injections because that is when the results will peak and we can see how well it's working. Our doctor was very excited by our last visit a few months ago and was very excited again today to see how well Em is doing.

As I've mentioned before, Emily's doctor is in a wheelchair and has an assist dog, named Travis. It works out great because at each visit, Emily gets to walk down the hall to the doctor's office to get Travis and then gets to take him for a walk down the hall a few times. She's more focused on the dog than working her runway walk so we get a better idea of how she's really walking when she's not thinking about it.

Today, I opted to let Em wear her dress shoes and bring her braces in a bag instead of having her wear them. She stayed flat-footed nearly the whole time and popped up on her toes only a little bit when she was excited to see Travis. When we took her shoes and socks off, it also looked like she was starting to use the muscles in her feet correctly.

Dr. Kaitz is happy with the results and has given us good news for the next several months. Emily has grown quite a bit since she was initially fitted for her braces and Dr. Kaitz is worried that they are starting to get tight on her. Instead of getting fitted for new braces right away, Dr. Kaitz would like us to stop using them for the next 3 months AND skip the next botox injection and see how she does. She feels that as long as we keep stretching and flexing Em's legs and ankles that we might not need shots or braces any more. She also mentioned that we need to make sure we're getting a really good stretch on her heel cords because she's starting to get the beginnings of a bunion on one foot which I believe she said is the result of an arch falling and a tight heel cord.

Only time will tell! When I asked about continuing PT twice a week, she smiled again said that was overkill and that we could drop back to once a week. We will check with our physical therapist for her opinion as well since she is also working on getting her whole body working smoothly together (trunk rotation, spinal mobility, shoulders, wrists, etc.)

Needless to say, we are really pumped about this news and Emily is pumped about no more shots! We're going to keep working hard and our hope is that in 3 months we still have the same, if not even better news.

(Don't forget... there's another post after this one... with pictures!)

Catch Up (Ketchup?) Time!

As I did last year, I gave up "leisure internet use" again this year for Lent. It may sound odd to give up internet because most people give up certain types of food or drink, but I find it more meaningful. My mistake this year was that I forgot to let people know I was going to "disappear" for a while. Sorry about that!

Here's what you've missed out on!

At the end of January, we attended a Bridal Shower for my cousin, Matt and his fiancé, Stefanie. Emily is going to be the flower girl for this wedding so it was extra fun!

Later that evening, we got to surprise Ryan at his 18th birthday party. Emily was pumped to be able to surprise him and on top of that she got to play with some new friends at the party. Ryan is such a great big brother. He had a lot of family and school buddies at his party and still spent extra time with Emily which made her feel so special. They really do have a special brother-sister bond considering there is 15 years difference between them. It's very heartwarming to watch them together.

We had more cold weather and snow than normal. So, to help fight the winter blahs, we broke out the play-doh a few times.

Emily spent a little more time working on phone etiquette this winter. This particular night she wanted to talk to Nannie before bedtime. We happened to buy some curlers earlier that same day... who could resist taking a picture of this?

Now that Ryan is still going to high school full-time and working a part-time job on top of that, we haven't been able to spend as much time with him this school year. We spent an evening at Dave & Buster's with Ryan. Emily was intrigued by the air hockey table. She had a blast playing against another girl her age while Ryan and I looked on.

Fast forward to Easter. As I mentioned earlier, Emily is going to be the flower girl in my cousin's wedding. I thought it would be fun to make her dress for the wedding and since it's been a while since I've sewn a formal (my own wedding dress - almost 10 years ago!?!) I thought it might be wise to make a practice dress using the same pattern. Enter: Easter Dress. It's not made of any fancy material, just plain ol' cotton. But I wanted to be familiar with the pattern and instructions before I sewed on white satin. Emily was very patient with me and after about 4 evenings we had a dress.

A few days before Easter, I realized we didn't have shoes or tights to go with the Easter or flower girl dress. We went shoe shopping together and found a pair of strappy sandals that would work but have been a little tight on her toes. Just as we were getting ready to leave, I spotted another pair that would work much better. Em tried them on and said, "LOOK! Mommy, they have hips!" "Sorry, what did you say?" "Hips! Mommy, they have hips!" "Can you say that again? I don't understand."

At this point in her life, she's used to my ignorance. She's gotten very good at finding other ways to describe or even pantomime what she's talking about. Being ever so brilliant, she points directly at the heels. "See Mommy? Hips!" "Oooooh. Baby, those are called heels."

Here's my girl on Easter morning with her new dress and her "hips".

After our Easter service at church, we spent the early part of our afternoon at Uncle Chuck and Aunt Connie's house with our extended family. The food and family were fabulous and the weather was spectacular. When everyone was done eating, we got to take the kids outside for an Easter egg hunt.

I think this was the first year that I could just turn Em loose and let her run on her own. It was great to sit back and watch their excitement.

Well, maybe I should have supervised a little closer. Emily found a stash of golf balls that were filling a hole in the yard. Eggs! Hmmmm, I wonder how those got there? I'm pretty sure she realized they weren't eggs, but she kept reaching into the hole and finding more and more golf balls. There might have been 6 or 8 balls in that hole! Surprise!

This one was set up to be a great picture... but you know... kids and sun in the eyes... doesn't always work like you hope it will! ...well that, and her cousin in the blue dress behind her had previously been pulling the hem of her dress up to her eyebrows and I was laughing too hard to snap the "good" picture.

After the fun at the Easter egg hunt, we ventured to Utica to hang out with the other side of our family. Em loves getting to play with her cousins, Jeffrey and Rachel. (On a side note: The crowns were part of Em's Easter basket and she took them to each party to share with her cousins.) Again, I think this was one of the first family functions that I was able to let Emily play on her own most of the time and just check in on her occasionally. She did great and Tom and I got to enjoy grown-up conversations with our families!

Easter's over now and Emily has initiated a LOT of conversations (almost daily) about Heaven, Jesus and God. She's been asking things like:

"Where's Heaven?"

"Can we go to Heaven now?"

"Can I see God?"

"Is that Heaven?" (while pointing to a field with a pretty sunset)

"Maybe there's popsicles in Heaven! Maybe there's jumping beds in Heaven! Maybe... MAYbe..... MAYBE..... (and then in a whisper) there's CAKE in Heaven!"

"Why did Jesus die?"

"I don't want Jesus to die."

"Can we be with Jesus all day in Heaven?"

We do our best to answer her questions. She gets a lot of it... but it's hard to phrase things for a 3-year old to understand. Well... a 3-year old that still thinks Shrek, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and other stories are found in her Bible.
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