First week with Josie

December 30th, 2015

She has come back to us highly motivated to read.

She’s trying to read all the words around her, from the motto on the living room wall to the many children’s books that live at our house.

She has read several Dr. Seuss books aloud from start to finish in one sitting.

She’s read some stories to the little kids.

She tries very hard to sing Christmas carols with us each night, watching Joe as he leads the singing.  If she doesn’t know the words, she hums along.  If she does know the words, she sings out loud and clear.

She very politely asks others not to help her when she knows she can do it herself.

“Could you please not hold onto my walker?”

“Thank you!” said with a cheerful sing-song voice.

She doesn’t want us to make things easy for her.  So we assume she can do things and know that she’ll ask for help if she needs help.

We give her choices all day long, and she thinks things through, makes good decisions, and always has a reason for her choices.

She is choosing her own outfits and dressing herself completely independently of us, only needing assistance with her MAFO leg braces.  “Getting dressed is easy,” she said.

She was delighted to learn that we think Christmas is too big to fit into one day, so we celebrate it all week long!  We listen to Christmas music all day, eat special food we only have at Christmastime, work on jigsaw puzzles, sing lots of Christmas carols together in harmony every night by tree light, and stay up late playing games, eating Christmas cookies, and drinking yummy stuff like egg nog, hot spiced cider, and hot cocoa.  If we start to run out of cookies during the week, we make more!

She wants to help with everything–washing dishes, folding laundry, baking cookies, setting the table, putting cookie trays and tins together.

She wrapped a gift for each member of the family, and that is a lot of wrapping for a girl whose hands don’t cooperate very well with what her brain is telling them to do!  Josie has cerebral palsy, but she can do so much for herself that to us it seems like she has superpowers.  We simply don’t see her in terms of her disability, and we have told her that.

She participated in our usual gift-opening tradition–after opening a gift, the receiver chooses the next gift from under the tree and takes it to the recipient.  This required a lot of getting up and down, because our gift-opening can take hours!  I asked her if she was getting tired of hopping up and down and wanted a break, and she told me she loves hopping up and down and wishes she could hop on one foot!

On Christmas Day, our builder came over to cut down a tree that was in the way of the new drain field that is going in this week.  We didn’t want Josie to miss seeing it come down, so we all went out to watch.  She clapped and cheered, and as we turned to go back into the house, she clapped again and said, “Best Christmas ever!”

She is courteous to an unusual degree.  Daniel was home from work yesterday and came in for lunch.  Josie asked him if people were working on the addition.  He explained that two people were painting, and he was working on other stuff.  She replied, “Thank you for working on the addition!”

She’s getting more talkative by the day, and expresses herself remarkably well.  She’s hilarious!  We’re going to have to start keeping a list of Josie-isms!  She loves to tease and be teased!  Her laugh is so infectious, you can’t help but laugh and smile when you hear it!  All the kids down to John Michael are out in the kitchen goofing off as I write this, and I just heard Josie say, “Thanks for bringing me a cookie I didn’t want!  Merry Christmas!  God loves you very much!”  Amidst much laughter…

Laura told me, “We’ll never be out of laughter with Josie in the house!”

She is an absolute pure joy!

We love this girl so much.

Thank You, God, for the gift of Josie to our family!



A very few photos from this past week…

Sweet little girls on Christmas Day~



Katie’s favorite gift was her toy guitar.  It’s made like a real one, and requires her to pluck the strings to make music. 



Josie’s new and improved Clementine smile!



Josie opening one of the family gifts–an audio book~



Hopping up and down and choosing the next gift~



That one was for Jane~



She had lots of gifts from her rehab and school staff to open.  They genuinely cared about her and we are so grateful~



She never gets tired of being read to~


Musser family 2015~


Family Photo 2 - Copy


Out for a winter day’s walk.  She wanted her gloves on before they got back, but she told me her hands had still turned into ice cubes~



She approves the maple sugar candy~



Reading aloud always draws an audience in this house~



Always an adventure going on here, from multiple workers coming in and out of our house all day and sometimes into the evening, to calling our state representative to get the insurance company to do a miraculous U-turn and suddenly be as obliging and helpful as they can possibly be, heh heh!

We’re again experiencing the truth that kids don’t need everything to be perfect to be happy; it’s adults who get their knickers in a knot when things aren’t perfect!  For kids to be happy, they need the adults to calm down and not stress over everything not being perfect!  Those who are close to me know that I’ve decided to live without stress, and it is a choice.  We’re hanging loose and having lots of fun in the middle of the current craaaaaziness!

Sending our love to all of you friends, and our thanks for stopping by!




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10 Responses to “First week with Josie”

  1. Linda Williams says:

    You have such a beautiful family Susanna!

  2. Deanna says:

    Merry Christmas to you all! I missed getting to say Hi and get a hug on Sunday. Josie looked so darling at church in that adorable dress! I watched her get around with her walker and she is one determined girl!

  3. Stori says:

    I’m crying over in Texas! I’m so grateful that Josie is your beloved daughter. You are an amazing family.

  4. Jo Moseley says:

    Merry Christmas, Susanna. I love your family and am delighted to see Josie settling in to her family life. Your family is such a blessing. Love, Jo

  5. J says:

    There’s so much joy and happiness in this post, I can feel it in your words. I feel like this addition has been an added blessing into healing that you needed in your heart and then for Josie too. I am so blessed to read this and know that Josie is in a family who welcomes and loves her and doesn’t view her as a burden but as a joy. She needed that and your family needed that too! Merry Christmas! Happy New year!!

  6. Rebekah says:

    I just love this update! Thank you so much for sharing Josie with us!

  7. Esther Paris says:

    I hope one day I’ll get to come again to visit & meet her in real life. She can already tease me about my biking habits. Wink!

    The photos look good. Won’t switching heads around be messy and painful? Laugh!

    Happiest New Year to ALL of you.

    Oh & I have a Christmas package, to you and Joe, so Christmas is going to last way longer than a week. I’ll let you know when I get to the Post Office. (I had a procedure done yesterday so in theory it’ll soon be easier for me to get to the PO.)

  8. Jennifer says:

    I enjoyed reading this more than words can say, and the pictures are wonderful!! Happy New Year to you and your family!

  9. Susanna says:

    Esther, it’s done, and bloodlessly. :) Check it out!

  10. Bri says:

    “Thanks for bringing me a cookie I didn’t want”. Oh, that is priceless! Josie sounds delightful!

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