See Christian and Lola's ISR video!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Thank you, CrossFit!

We've been back from our trip to LA for a whole week now and it's time to share pictures!

Just to review, CrossFit filmed our video for ISR. See for your self what a great job they did!

ISR CrossFit video from Shauna Quintero on Vimeo.

So they invited us out to LA for the CrossFit games AND a day at Disneyland and California Adventure! All compliments of the wonderful people at CrossFit!


We had an awesome time at Disneyland! It really is a different experience taking small children. It's not about ride hopping and getting in line for the best roller coaster as fast as we can. Bringing small children to Disneyland is soul enhancing, I swear. We discovered new parts of Disney we had never seen before and we loved every second of it.

We ventured through "Mickey's House" and the end result was meeting Mickey Mouse, ears and all!

Lola crawled into the teacup and I wanted to get a picture with her and look! We were photo bombed by the Mad Hatter!

Crazy Mad Hatter. And he wouldn't pose with anyone else because Alice was looking for him so he was off and running.

And, oh my gawd, I just have to take a moment to tell everyone what a religious experience I had watching my little girl meet her first princess. She met Belle, Ariel, and her last princess was Princess Tiana. I had to make myself stand back and allow her to say hello to the princess herself, just like a big girl. With a half shy, half confident Lola voice, when the princess asked her what her name was she announced, "I'm Wowa." Can I just tell you that I seriously had tears in my eyes. I don't even know why! Pretty sure Disneyland is made of magic, that's why.

Can I also just tell you about how amazing Disneyland is at accommodating those with special needs and wheelchairs. We've taken Christian to Disneyland before with his special needs stroller, and they've always done a wonderful job at making everything accessible. But the set up on the Jungle Cruise takes the cake. Hands down.

Take a look at this ride.

That's Christian in there. Prince Christian gets his own throne! It rises up from the boat, connects to a platform, and then Christian is wheeled on to the boat where he gets his own special seat, set aside specifically for kids as cool as he is. Well played, Disney, well played.

It was also his favorite ride. He looked around at all the animals and trees, all from the comfort of his "throne."

I bet you thought Gabe hadn't come along. Nope! He was there. But he's all old and teenagerish so we let him go find the best roller coasters on his own.

The whole thing was so cool and Disney really goes above and beyond. I mean it is the happiest place on earth, guys.


See, there's Gabe!

We ventured down to the field to watch the rope climbing event and Christian got his first sunburn. Parents of the year over here!

Christian liked his pass.

We didn't really know what to expect with the games but it's kind of a big deal.

After three awesome days, Christian was spent!

The whole trip to California was such a wonderful opportunity and we are humbled that they even invited us!

One last thing, we're really trying to raise funds for scholarships so other kids can attend ISR lessons without cost being an issue. If you find it in your heart to donate to these scholarships, you may do so in Christian's name!

Please click on the link here:

Thank you!

And thank you, CrossFit!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

ISR - The video.

We're back from our CrossFit weekend in LA! It was a really awesome trip and I want to share about all the amazing things that we got to be a part of over the weekend.


There is something else I'd like to share first!

Remember that video I told you were were filming to spread the word about ISR? Well, CrossFit filmed the video, hence the reason for being invited to the games last weekend.

And the video? Well, I've been waiting anxiously to share it with everyone. After the finale of the CrossFit games, they posted the video on their website and I finally got the go-ahead that I could share it with everyone.

So, here goes!

ISR CrossFit video from Shauna Quintero on Vimeo.

!!!Click here for a direct link to the Crossfit Journal Entry featuring the video!!!

I have to admit that I was nervous watching it again. For some reason I questioned whether I did the right thing, outing myself and reminding everyone how this happened. I was afraid of being judged and looked upon as a bad mother.

But I had to get over myself and remember what drove me to do this in the first place. Of course, I wanted to spread the word about how wonderful the ISR program is. But I also really want to help make ISR more accessible to more children without cost being an issue. We want to raise money so we can assure another little boy just like Christian will have the skills to save himself should he ever fall in the water.

Those desires are what drove me to do that video. And because of that, I can't be scared of what others think. It's the truth about what happened. It's the truth about how easily it can happen to even the most diligent of parents.

That truth is why I'm asking you to donate to ISR. You can donate in Christian's name. It will be his gift to who ever receives an ISR scholarship.

This is life saving stuff.

Donate by clicking here.

Here's the actual link if you'd like to share.

Don't forget to check the box, "Donate in Christian's Name."

Christian thanks you. Our family thanks you.

And so does the child who receives a scholarship.
Thursday, July 12, 2012 we come!

Road trip chocolate chip cookies are fresh out of the oven.

Why are they "road trip" chocolate chip cookies? Well, because anyone who knows me knows that if you are coming on a road trip with us, you're getting homemade chocolate chip cookies.

What road trip, you ask?

Remember when I referred to the super awesome LA trip coming up?

It's here!

Let me back up...back in April we were involved in a project for ISR, telling our story and why ISR was so important through a video. The company CrossFit shot and produced the video. I've seen it and I love it! I can't wait to share it with everyone!

Anyway, the CrossFit games are happening in LA this weekend and CrossFit invited our family to attend! We were so honored by the invitation we said YES immediately. Because driving for us is easier and totally doable living only a state away, we are road tripping it effective tomorrow morning!

It's so funny how this all ties in. I can't say enough about how wonderful ISR is and has changed our lives.

Today, Aidan's little brother and sister completed their first summer of ISR lessons. This is very special because Aidan is just like Christian. He also suffered a near drowning and has a similar brain injury to Christian. I know it was very hard for his Mama but she was brave and made it through the classes along with Aidan's little brother and sister! I am so happy they were able to do this. And I'm so proud of Aidan's Mama! (She's a "tribe sister" of mine!)

And even more good news, a family friend of ours recently enrolled their eight month old baby in his first round of ISR classes. I got this text message:

Started ISR on Monday. Watched the baby float on his back by himself for about ten seconds today. Super excited!!...
I am so excited about this, too! These friends of ours have known us since before Christian's near drowning so they know just how important this is for their little man. I am just so excited that this is becoming a ripple effect and more and more children are benefitting from learning not just how to swim, but how to rescue themselves. It is very emotional for me, but I feel like getting the information out, and most of all, making the opportunity available is a personal mission of mine.

And there you have it. The day before we take off for the CrossFit games and see some of our ISR friends, two messages summarizing the beginning and end (for now) of the ISR journey of two families. Am I hearing the Circle of Life song swelling in the background? No? You don't hear it? I hear it! And, yes, I'm a total cornball right now. It's all the cookie dough.

On that note, I'm ready to pack up these road trip chocolate chip cookies and head out!

Los Angeles or bust, Baby!
Sunday, July 8, 2012


The evening ended with DQ Blizzards and sparklers.

Today we celebrated three extra years with Christian. Bonus years, as I see them.

Three years ago today we lost Christian...but he made it back to us. And so, we celebrate.

I think these kinds of anniversaries are difficult for families like ours. With good reason. I do a lot of "this time last year...this time two years ago...this time three years ago." When playing that game, now always wins.

From the first anniversary I always felt compelled to celebrate. I know it's hard for people to understand my intention and I know others couldn't imagine celebrating a day like that. But for me, I see no other option! So we spent time together as a family. Just us.

We decided to go out to eat. It has become an anniversary tradition. Christian wasn't thrilled with the outing seeing as how the whole thing was interrupting his late afternoon nap. And after the novelty of coloring the paper children's menu wore off - all of about ten minutes - Lola was ready to walk (run) around the restaurant as soon as she could get the chance. Mama said no, the tears started, and before we knew it we were a regular family with whiny kids trying to enjoy some Lobster Nachos.

See?! Normal. Just like everybody else.

That type of normal was what we were celebrating.

This date doesn't make me sad. No. Walking through a football field and catching four year old little boys getting their feet wet playing flag football makes my heart jump into my throat a little. But not this day. On this day, I feel nothing but a sense of gratitude. Every part of me feels so thankful and I actually feel like our family as a whole has conquered three years of this new life of ours.

I always go back to how this could have easily been a day where we were visiting a grave yard. And that would be sad. Truly sad.

That's not the case, though. We got some bonus years and we intend to take full advantage of them and with that, celebration is required.

So we wrapped up our celebration day with a visit outside for some left over sparklers and ice cream.

We celebrated Christian today.

'Cause Baby you're a firework!
Come on show'em what you're worth...

...Boom, boom, boom,
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Clearing something up.

After writing last week's post about getting respite hours, something has been nagging at me.

My words.

I feel like I need to clear something up. Nobody said anything to me about it but I feel like I came off a little judgy about nursing care and respite without meaning to. So here it feelings about the subject of outside help.

First, let me tell you my story. I know you already know, but I want to be completely honest and forthcoming about my thoughts on the matter. And everything I write on this blog is from my perspective, our family's experiences, and our walk in this world. So I might offend from time to time in getting that across.

Next, I want to say I know a lot of families, a lot of families, that use nursing care and respite and that's what has helped shape some of my opinions on the matter. Those families are families in our boat, just like us, walking the same path. I love and respect those families and watch in awe as some of those families pave the way for me.

When Christian was in the hospital, nurses took care of him around the clock. Never could I have imagined it would ever be necessary for him in the future. I was just trying to get through to the next day.

Learning to "take care" of my son again was a paradox for me. I always knew instinctively how to take care of my babies. So to have someone have to teach me how to take care of my son was almost an affront to my own instincts. But, yes, there were things I had to learn that involved tubes and suctioning and medical ports and therapies and all kinds of things that weren't exactly "instinctual" or very natural at all.

I'm not sure when it happened but at some point I realized that this is the way I would be parenting my child. Not taking care of a patient. Not rehabilitating a broken child. Not trying to make him better. Although, all of those things were, in deed, involved. This was the way I was to parent my child. It would look different in comparison to parenting my other children. But he was still to be my baby that needed loving and caring and mommying. So I took the reigns with ferocity and vowed that nobody was going to have to teach me anything about my son. I didn't say it out loud or anything, but it was implied.

The prospect of introducing a nurse or respite care provider into the fold honestly stresses me out like mini heart attack style. I've never applied for nursing. There was a short time in the beginning where there was a mix up stating we were required to have nursing in order to go home. (Pshhhh!) That was soon remedies and we never looked back.

Fast forward three years and it still causes me stress. Our house is small. It's just enough for us and the thought of adding one more person (who I barely know) to hang around and take care of my child in our small space is mini heart attack inducing alone.

I've also heard horror stories. I've heard good stories about wonderful nurses, as well. But those aren't the ones we remember, right? Those stories alone are enough to make me never, ever want to mention the subject of in home nursing again. No, thank you.

I also have a huge problem with having to explain ourselves to anyone. I don't want to have to explain what I feed him and why and how much. I don't want to have to explain the decisions I make for him. I don't have to do that with any of my other children, why would I do that for Christian?

I do realize that every household is different. I acknowledge that some people choose or have to work outside the home and rely on nursing care for this reason. It's an entirely different conversation and I'm not discounting that at all. I'm just speaking for myself and from my own situation here. I'm not challenging anyone's lifestyle or choices, trust me. The fact is that the majority of parents of special needs children I know can't work full time away from home because is it just too difficult all around.

And the whole subject of taking Christian with us versus leaving him with respite or nursing - I don't think I quite articulated myself well last time I mentioned it. Of course, I don't take Christian everywhere. Some things are just not great for him. And a lot of times he's not in the mood. In these instances, maybe I'll take Lola and Christian stays with Daddy. We split up or we all go together. I just can't imagine myself on a family outing - all of us minus Christian. It makes me sad.

Someday that may be a reality. I'm sure others may think -

Well, what about when he gets heavy and he physically can't come with you guys? Will you all just stay home for the rest of your lives or the rest of his?

I don't know. We may have to face that in the future. If there is one thing Christian's life has taught me it's to live in the now. Worry about now. Do it now.

There are many things I won't be able to control down the road. There are many unknowns. So the things I can control when it comes to Christian, I will.

Popular Posts