Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memories From MS Resort (Camp) 2011

This is a photo of my granddaughter riding with a volunteer affectionately nicknamed "Sunny"!! Sunny has a busy life with her children but comes every year to camp. I think she has helped over 12 years. Yes I think I have gone there 12 years. Amazing.

This was taken as we arrived. My smile was probably as big as Rosa's when we arrived. They take items from the cars to the cabins using golf carts. Rosa was thrilled to ride along. Sometimes she is shy but she went eagerly. Emma walked and I scooted. Mike , her Daddy, and Greg came with too. She was the hit of the show. On this day that is much like the beginning of a family reunion it is fun to bring our families and of course show them off. Emma was so happy and has a bubbly personality.

That was day one. We arrived around 11:00 am. We unpacked just a bit and headed down to lunch. Rosa just barely fits on my scooter with me so she liked that. There is a seperate building that is the dinning hall that has a great view of the lake. It has a ramp for all up to the main floor. The bottom walk out floor is a big meeting room used for various activities. Both have great views.

The family is welcome to join us for a simple lunch. Rosa liked that. They has sandwich items and a salad etc. Rosa kept asking me which people were the people I knew? I know a lot of them but of course not all. I think there were over 110 participants and volunteers. I do not know the exact count of course. There is another camp in May but the guests as they call us with MS can only come once. Many volunteers come both full weeks. Imagine many of them if not most use their vacation time to come out to be with us. They tell us it is a joyful week for them though they work very hard.

I am was in one of the "independent" cabins. That means the individuals with MS there can manage there own self care and also cognitively manage independently. MS can impact people in cognitive ways. Most of us notice it in ourselves but it does impact some very significantly and that is sad. They live in the cabins with more volunteers. Those more physically disabled also need to have more care 24 hours a day. Every cabin has a nurse to help out. In our cabin she did not need to sleep there and could also be on call to help at other cabins as needed.

Rosa was not happy when it was time to leave. She told one of the staff that they should let the grandchildren stay to help their grandma's. She encouraged me to make new friends and have fun before she left. Greg had to work in the evening since it was a Sunday. She did insist on helping me unpack and lay out my sleeping bag on the bed. My son Michael was also great and my husband. It was so nice to have them there. I think everyone liked meeting them and they liked putting faces to the names of individuals I will talk about after camp.

That day of camp is slow moving and relaxing. An orientation meeting is held in the later afternoon to explain rules, procedutes and give an over view of the week. I notice the new comers and remember how nervous I was that first year. We all try to be so good to new comers we have to try not to overwhelm them. Also at camp there are a wide range of abilities. That first year seeing so many walkers, scooters, and wheel chairs can be scary. There are some people who have it so severely that it can really be tough to take the first time you come since you have the same disease.

Each year you note that some people are worse and some much worse indeed and that is sad. But as you get to know individuals especially over the years - you don't even notice the wheechairs or other aids. You can look at the faces and smiles and be so glad to spend the time in that beautiful place with such wonderful people - including the volunteers and MS staff.
Most the help is volunteer.

Emma was intrigued by the sights, and smells in this beautiful natural place. It is held at camp Courage.

We had a great time.

Mary and Emma

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

A good day to remember those who have served in the Arm Forces or are serving now. I knew personally individuals who died in Vietnam. I also have a great nephew currently in the Army and a great nephew in law who has served in the Marines. God bless those who serve and their families.

I didn't have a patriotic picture so I just found one I find so cute. It was taken I think about a month ago. Rosa had been over and played nonstop with the toys Emma is hugging. I don't think Rosa placed them there. I think they were on the couch and Emma snuggled in with them the way she wanted. So darn cute.

Our family was here today and we are blessed. It was super fun. Lots of food, conversation, and laughter. Hot and humid here so we were mostly indoors. Also it rained all morning so the playground in our backyard was muddy. We had a great time. We need to head to bed as we are super tired.

Hope you all have a good week. Emma and Mary

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Where did May go??
Can it really be Memorial Day tomorrow?
Will the sun shine much here this summer?
Why haven't I blogged more often?

I hope to get back to blogging. My personal life has been busy and I have had Dr appts and things since camp. Let's hope life is more like normal now - what ever normal is!!

We have clouds again today. Boy do we wish we would get more sunny days. Last Sunday a horrible tornado hit North Mpls including the area where I grew up. We were a tight knit neighborhood where most families were there 20-40 years. My mom a full forty years or more. So sad to see the damage. We had bad storms here too but no damage.

Today we are happily getting ready for a family gathering Monday. I am so blessed as all my children will be there and Rosa. Sophia spends this holiday with her biological father. We will miss her but that is her life now. I want her to be happy. I don't have a lot of energy so I do some prep, relax, and then do more. Greg is doing a lot of the work. He is a great cook. He has perfected his dad['s recipe for brown beans with various types of beans and pork roast. I am working on my mom's famous potato salad though it never comes out quite as good as when she made it.

Emma is enjoying the smells and the activity. The past week we have tried to get outside inbetween the raindrops. Some days have been cloudy but dry. Anyway she has enjoyed this week. We have been home more the past few days. She likes the activities but also her naps. I think when I am more relaxed she is most certainly more relaxed also.

This picture was taken by a MS staff person at camp. I really like that my scooter is in the background. She helps me all the time but as I use a scooter more and more that help is appreciated. I love going for walks outdoors with her with my scooter.

Hope you have a good Memorial Day Weekend. I have a great nephew who is in the army and headed to the middle east soon. I am not sure which country but we pray for his safety. We also remember individuals I knew who died in war. May God Help the military families and the soldiers serving at this time.

More pictures will be coming. Thanks for checking back on the blog. I probably lost some readers when I didn't write for awhile. Be assured I will try to resume writing daily.

Love Mary and Emma

Isn't this a great picture? It was taken at camp. I love Emma's eyes. She is so wonderful. I am a bit weaker so getting her to get my cane more often and a few things. Of course she is rising to the challenge. Don't worry though my MRI for the MS was pretty good all things considered. I am managing though have some days which are better than others.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


We are okay and back from camp.
Will write more hopefully tomorrow.
Today a bad MS day meant id needed lots of rest.
Emma didn't mind.
After camp we had a busy weekend.
Tomorrow Dr appointments.

Thanks for checking to see if we are back.

Pictures soon!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

off to camp

This is the letter that I am mailing to my Aunt with a card while we are gone. Thought it might interest you to hear about camp?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dear Betty,

Hope you like this card. Emma and I are just leaving for MS Camp. It is really fun there. The cabins are neat the lake so there are pretty views. There is also lots of trees and a wooded side of camp. There are paved trails and Emma likes when I drive my scooter and then she gets to walk in the woods. We see wild flowers and lots of greenery.

I will see lots of people I have met before and new people too. When I am with people with MS it is good for me. We laugh, we chat up a storm, but we also give each other coping ideas. Everyone likes when Emma and I are in the cabin they stay at. The cabins are big with about 25-30 people I think. Each cabin has a nurse to help with things too.

We are spoiled we get a smaller room. Big enough for three because of Emma. I have two great roommates. They love Emma and are also the cabin leaders. That means that they help organize the cabin and deal with any issues. They also welcome us, hold cabin meetings, and let us know what all is happening and where.

There are many activities. Boating on the pontoon (hope it isn’t too cold),
Fishing, swimming in an indoor pool, games like crochet, visiting the rookery, bird watching, speakers, movies, dances, campfires (our favorite) and so much more.

One friend of mine organizes a coffee shop each year. It is in a big room with a great view of the lake. It has all kinds of drinks and snacks – not just coffee. They also have games in that room. Board games and card games. It is a fun place to visit. Those who stay up late go there to meet. The cabins have a 10:00 bedtime. I am one of those asleep by 10 as there is so much to do.

Emma tuckers out too. She loves the smells and the sights and sounds. Each day I take her on at least one slow walk. Then she can really smell and look for for new sights and critters. I also take her on some brisk walks for exercise. Remember I am the lucky one I am on a scooter. I have to watch to be sure I always have water for her with me, and also some treats. She eats more at camp due to the extra exercise.

I never went to camp as a child but wished I did. MS Camp is so fun. It is funny though because unlike a kids camp, we have a nap time. Really a time you have to be quiet in the cabin in the afternoon, and not much is scheduled. Of course some don’t nap so they go to the coffee shop, or outdoors, or read or something. Emma and I and my roommates normally do nap. I have to set an alarm to wake up so we don’t miss anything.

There are lots of volunteers at camp. The staff from the MS Society come out too. They really work hard to make it all go smoothly. They like to spoil us.

It is inspiring that due to the volunteers that even those that are very handicapped with MS can attend. There are many scooters, wheel chairs, lots of walkers or people with canes. It is very unusual to see someone walking without any help. Usually that means they are a volunteer or staff person.

There are so many scooters it reminds me of the shriners in a parade. All of us with MS say we feel more “normal” because we are all in the same boat.
You don’t even notice too much that some people are in wheel chairs full time. You just see the faces of the many friends and new friends. It is more fun than I can describe. A heart warming time for all of us.

There will be other service dogs too. I think Emma and two other dogs. They are not in the same cabins. All three are from Helping Paws. They also bring out some smaller therapy dogs. Those dogs can be petted. Usually they have an ice cream social by the lake one afternoon and those pets are there for others to play with. Other people I mean to play with.

The lake is too cold and Emma won’t swim. But she will have a good time too. She and I share a bed though I do bring something for her to lay on the floor too. My roommate Kathy, loves dogs. Last year Emma hopped up in her bed and Kathy didn’t mind one bit.

The MS Society does many great things. They do research for a cure. They also offer programs for people with MS. I go to water exercise and book club. I also attend a monthly support group. There programs help me pay for help cleaning my house and other things. But gosh today I am thinking about how wonderful camp is for us. It is held at Camp courage which is fully set up for wheel chairs etc.

Well I better finish packing and get out the door. Rosa, my granddaugher, her Daddy (my son Michael) and Greg will all drive us up. They even get to have lunch with me there and look around.

I hope you have a great week. Susie will be available by phone if Maggie needs her. Maggie will take good care of you.

I did talk to Todd Lunda. What a nice man. I called him by phone. He said he hopes your arm keeps healing. He does not need to see you till August or September. You are correct you were just there in April. We can call him if there are questions but he does not drive to Augustana. He sure likes you and says to be good to yourself.

We love you,
Mary and Emma

EVeryone have a good week.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hi on late hours Friday.

Not a bit packed for camp. Lots to handle this week. But two evenings at the theater so don't feel too sorry for me. Saw Next to Normal at the Ordway Thurs with a friend. Very serious as it deals with mental illness. A musical that won tonies and makes you think and touches nearly every emotion. I actually enjoyed it more than a community theater I saw tonight with another friend. It was suppose to be like being on a cruise and included a buffet but I would rate it only fair. I was tired. I had said I would go months ago and the other person and I both forgot till today. I am glad to have friends to do things with. So rare rare rare to go to theater so two nights in a row was so strange.

Must head to bed. If I don't have time to write its because of MS Camp. Know we will be having a great time.

Please remember my Aunt Betty, and a friend Charlie who are both facing medical struggles and adjustments. Charlie can't go home yet as after a back surgery he had complications, ended up with pneumonia, weakness, can breathe on his own but not swallow yet...life journey is sometimes so darn challenging. Aunt Betty is somewhat better in some ways. My siblings will have to handle things with her while I am at camp.

Have a great weekend and week...Mary

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Today's temperature was 85 here. Wow. A big change and it was humid. Emma and I went to water exercise and were outside at times too so she could play. Tonight there will be thunderstorms I think it is starting to rain now. I think tomorrow will be warm also.

Emma is really enjoying her new bed. I tried to take a photo but then she moved. I will keep trying. She is just such a great dog. I love having her with me...she is watching the Mn Twins Game with us now.

We go to camp on Sunday and can't wait. I wonder if it will be hot or cool? After tomorrow I think it is suppose to go back down to the 60's again.

Not much else today to say. I like this photo of Emma. Hope you have a great day.

Mary and Emma

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Correction: My daughter's friend's DOG died. Hence we got the dog items.

Saturday a quiet day for Us

Wonderful weather today! Emma and I have enjoyed the outdoors. Ready to go out again before it is dark.

The picture is from my wonderful friend Jan. Her orchid bloomed today. Greg got roses for me for Mother's Day that are pretty but I am having issues with my camera. Flowers help us in MN believe that maybe??? spring is finally here? I see tulips and daffodils blooming in gardens in the neighborhood. I don't have flowers blooming yet but see the green growing at least.

Emma got some new things today. Sadly a friend of my daughter's died though he lived till age 15 with lots of TLC. We got a grocery bag of goodies. Emma got a cool new bed too. I know a few people who have had their beloved Pets die this past week or two. Prayers are with them - I know how difficult that can be.

Emma is eager to go out. I better go now. Happy Mother's Day to all tomorrow.

Love Mary and Emma

Friday, May 6, 2011

Eight Days til Camp
We can't wait.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Emma had to change where she layed during water exercise today. We still used the familar towel to lay on. For five years she has been in the same spot. She was obedient but a bit surprised. She kept looking longingly at where she usually is placed. by the end of class she was fine and snoozing away.

We are hanging in there. Not much new. Going to see friends tonight and to a play of my godson. That will be fun for all. Tomorrow home most or all the day.

Hope you are doing well. Mary and Emma

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Yeah Twins Win


We are so excited. I am already thinking about what to pack...though I know things we get to wrinkeled if I packed now. Also I can wait as I hope the weather warms up. We have had a cool spring.

I am sorry I don't have a lot to report tonight. Emma is being super like always. We had water exercise, spent some time outside, did picking up around the home and napped. Water exercise really tires me out for the day.

I have taken care of some things for my Aunt again today but could do it from home. She remains in the nursing home rehab unit.
I welcome your prayers for her.

The Twins one a shut out - what a surprise and delight. Here is a picture of Emma at a ballgame with me when they still played at the metrodome. I think it was two years ago?

No matter where I go, people comment about how beautiful Emma is - especially her expressive eyes. She sure adds joy to every moment of every day in my life.

Have a good day.

Mary and Emma

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1

Puppy photos - check this out helpingpawsblog.org

Cool and cloudy here for May. It even snowed a bit this morning. You could see if falling but not on the ground. Emma and I have had some times outdoors as there is no rain. I like being outside with her. We also took our normal nap.

We have been watching the Twins game. Normally Emma kind of sleeps most the time. But she seemed to be watching the tv today. I got a kick out of it.

For some reason she thinks it is time to eat about every half hour. Not sure why but she has to wait till 5 fpr her meal.

We are headed to camp two weeks from today. Did not need to go see my Aunt today. My cousin is going down so that is nice. I needed a day at home.

Hope you have a great weekend

Mary and Emma