At the Litore House

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A good month, friends and readers! This post is a celebration. We just moved into this house:

House1

Unlike the apartment we were living in, this one doesn’t have six flights of stairs to navigate before you walk in the front door. We have approval to modify the interior and add a ramp for the door, as needed; service and assistance animals are welcome. In short, Inara is much safer here. There is a room we are dedicating to her therapies, there is a playroom, there is a study… There are even two fireplaces:

House2

River adores the living room fireplace. She watched it for an hour today and then told me, quite seriously, “Daddy, dragons love fire!”

Yes, River. Yes, they do.

These are gas fireplaces, and I’m embarrassed to say I had to have someone walk me through how to operate them. I grew up with a wood stove, and we had a wood-burning fireplace in our apartment, and this is the first time I have encountered that marvel of modern engineering with which most of you are probably well familiar — the gas fireplace — and like a medieval monk confronted with an automobile, I am still a bit mystified. Though quite pleased.

I am thankful for a recent performance bonus at work and for the support of my patrons on Patreon who have made this move possible. I didn’t think it would be. Yet here we are! I am greatly blessed.

River has a backyard:

River2

A little light snow was sprinkling down this afternoon, and River looked at me from her trampoline, pointed to her beach ball and volleyball, and shouted across the neighborhood: “Daddy, it’s snowing! It’s snowing on my balls! My balls are cold!”

Oh, dear.

Oh, my dear River…

She shouted it very loudly.

River3

She loves the new house. She calls it her Green House. Here she is capturing tiny snowflakes:

River4

By the way, my wife tells me that River announced to her Friday afternoon, “Daddy’s at work! Daddy’s hunting zombies!”

To my own surprise, that is what my daughter believes I do at work during the day. I think I can live with that…

Below: here’s a shot of our half-unpacked dining room and kitchen. Can you spot two happy daughters in it?

House1

And, achievement unlocked! At long last, I have a study. A library. A writing room.

House4

What can you tell about me as a writer from this shot? I shudder to think. Paper notes strewn everywhere. A confusion of formats and genres and a tiny TARDIS lurching against one end of the desk. Don’t worry, though; it’s bigger on the inside. Truly.

Inara1

Our dear friends — and patrons — Jan and Jim Buntrock, who have been there for my family time and again, gave my little Inara this blue dragon. She has been gnawing on it happily ever since.

Inara2

And my lovely Jessica — who recently received her CNA certification — had some nursing equipment strewn about the coffee table today. Her briefly unattended work phone and stethoscope (“River, what’s this?” I asked, holding up the stethoscope; she looked at it carefully and pronounced, “That’s Mommy doctor helpers, it might be a stethoscope!”) provided ample motivation today for Inara to practice her standing:

Inara3 Inara4 Inara5

Tell me that isn’t the face of a young girl plotting world dominion!Inara6

Jessica gave that photo a “vintage” look, below:

Inara_and_dragon

Inara7

Here is Inara collapsing into giggles (above)…

We are worried about Inara’s increased seizure activity, but her growth and learning lately are wonderful! I have scheduled an EMU (Epilepsy Monitoring Unit), a weeklong stay in the hospital, for her in March, to monitor her seizures. I am anxious to adjust treatment where needed and ensure that her seizures don’t spiral out of control again. This healthy growth and learning and joy in her eyes, I don’t want anything to mess with that.

If you’re new to my blog, you can read Inara’s story here.

But her learning! She is so smart. Our little dragon. Standing, trying to walk, making such a range of noises. I really believe she will talk a little some day. At first, her neurologist didn’t believe she would ever stand. But she is. She is standing.

She is my daughter.

Our daughter. A lot of that strength (and stubbornness, too) she gets from her mother. I used to tell Jessica — rightly — that if I had searched the world over for a woman as beautiful and compassionate as she, I would have still chosen her. As it happens, I could have searched the world for a better mother and never have found one of those, either. Jessica is so good with Inara. She has been Inara’s champion from the start, and believes in her. When people see my wife and youngest at the grocery store and express their pity–“It must be so hard for you”–Jessica just looks at them with confusion. How could anyone look at her daughter and not see a beautiful, thriving, child? “My daughter is not broken,” she tells people.

I am blessed in my wife and daughters, in my friends, in my patrons, in my faith community, in my colleagues at work, and now in my house, too. And I would write much more tonight on this blog, except that it is time to go write. Stories are in wild stampede through my head tonight, and if I don’t get them out on paper, they will trample me! If you’re interested, you can read my stories here.

Everyone who has helped us get to where we are today — whether with encouragement, or through patronage, or by buying and reading my books, or by laughing with little Inara and River — thank you! I owe you more than I can tell.

Now to write!

Stant Litore

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