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Movin’ On Down

March 12, 2010
The best lil' partner out there

My Lil' Partner and I

When Kolette and I thought about having a baby in the years BC (Before Cole) I was filled with concern about what role I’d be able to play.  If you follow the blog at all you know that we’ve been able to do things I never thought possible.

Just this morning we worked our way through another obstacle.

Coleman loves to ride around on my lap.  The problem is each ride means someone (usually Kolette) has to lift Cole up on to my lap, and then help him off when we’re finished.  Well we haven’t figured out how to get him up on my lap yet (although Cole’s REALLY trying), but when it comes to getting him off my chair and on to the ground–check.

We’ve been working on this for a little while, and today it all clicked.  Check out the video below, and prepare to be amazed – for I am.  I am continually amazed at the way Cole, Ko and I figure out work-arounds. Videos like this are precious to me. I watch them over and over and every time my heart is filled with love.

For, it’s quite a thing to watch my lil’ partner work hard so I can be more involved in his big ol’ life

Jh-

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Switchin’ It Up

March 9, 2010

Just a little fun (dedicated to my ol’ “Comic Book Buddy,” Erin & our “Brian Regan Understudy,” Ryan).

Hope it brightens your day!

Jh-

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ReelDirector Makes You a Real Director

February 12, 2010

ReelDirector for the iPhone 3GS

One of the best things about being in an “iPhone State of Mind” over the last 13 months came in an addition iPhone made to it’s 3GS model–a video camera.

Catching Cole’s special little moments has been so much easier with a video camera in my pocket.  Kolette and I love our Flip video camera and use it often, but there have been a lot of great stuff that we would have missed if we would have had to go to find the Flip first.  (We love the Flip though. It takes great high-quality video for being such a small little camera)

So, with our iPhones at the ready Ko and I captured all kinds of video from Coleman’s life.  The problem was that the only way to do any editing, was to download the video to my computer and put the clips into a program that would allow up to manipulate the footage.

Now, thanks to the folks at Nexvio, “There’s an app for that.”  They’ve come up with an app that allows you to edit video on the fly and right from your phone.  It’s called ReelDirector, and it is so easy.  We just take the video, trim the clips, add transitions and titles, import audio if we like–and voilà.  Just like that a finished video that we can instantly text to all our loved ones (Grandma’s mostly).

In fact, just recently Cole’s Grandma Coleman who currently lives in the Dominican Republic just mentioned how she doesn’t feel so far away, because of all the video we’ve sent.

If you’re an iPhoner, I totally recommend it.  If you use another device with a video camera there’s gotta be something else like it out there.  It makes things loads easier, and keeps those you love close.  Just look at the way I chronicled some of Coleman’s best “walkin’ work” using ReelDirector.

It’s like I’m James Cameron on wheels……well let’s not get crazy!

Jh-

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The Saving Grace of the iPhone

February 11, 2010

The iPhone

Kolette and I love our iPhone’s.  In many ways, it was a literal godsend for me.  The world of Cell Phones pre-iPhone was all about flip phones.  Motorola’s RAZR was the phone to have, and because it was everyone was making their best knock off.  Finding a bar phone was nearly impossible (a bar phone being any phone you don’t have to flip to open).  This made things really difficult for me.  Try flipping a phone open without the use of your hands.  It wasn’t that I couldn’t do it, but it required both of my paws, along with my teeth.  By the time I did open the dang thing the caller was at home, in bed and had been asleep for two hours.  Not to mention the fact that it wasn’t going to be long until opening a phone with my teeth would either have me calling the dentist or customer service.

So, I was stuck using a substantially outdated, non-digital phone in a world that was going digital-only.  The salespeople at the store were quick to remind me about the blackberry, but have you seen those buttons?  Again, not really an option.

Then along came apple!  (It sounds better if you sing it to the following clip of “Along Came Jones” by Ray Stevens which you can find by clicking below.  Just substitute Apple for Jones and you’ll get an idea about how I felt)

The bar phone was not only back, it was king of the castle.  Now all those followers who wanted their stuff to look like the RAZR was hustling about to get their stuff to look like Steve Jobs’ new creation.

What’s more, the phone was big.  It wasn’t gigantic, just big compared to the other stuff I had access to.  I guess I mean to say it was manageable.  A long way from everything else that seemed to want to get as small as possible.  I could type, call, text, email, take pictures and even answer  the phone–while the phone was still ringing.

I’ve been a dedicated iPhoner ever since.

It’s amazing how little things like a bar phone can change a life.  But, isn’t that usually the way things go.  It’s the little things in the periphery of our lives that often pack the biggest punch.  The big stuff gets all the attention, but the little stuff move the stone and grinds the corn.  If a butterfly flapping it’s wings in South America can alter the weather outside my window, imagine the bluster a helpful neighbor, a kind word, or even an iPhone can make.

I’m grateful I realized all of this today–or was reminded of it anyway.  I started writing with a whole other objective in mind and halfway through the a-ha moment came.  I’m thankful for a the great little stuff that makes my life so grand, and am committing to redouble my efforts to help move that same little stuff through the lives of those I come in contact with.

Jh-

And, if your curious to see what I began writing about today, come back Friday–i’ll post it then..

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Walking Man

February 3, 2010

Things are movin’ and groovin’ here at the Hall Home.  Coleman had his first birthday party (for more info and pics, click here) and now the kid’s decided to get up and get going.  Up till now, Cole played for the non-walking part of the family, which was good–Non walkers 2, Walkers 1.  However, now it looks like Cole might be jumpin’ ship for greener pastures.

All I have to say is, “Go Coleman, Go!”

Jh-

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A Letter to Cole (On His First Birthday)

January 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Coleman!!!

There are a lot of birthdays that fill up a lifetime, but few are as historic as your first. Coleman is going to have a birthday party on Sunday where he is going to receive all kinds of presents from all the people who love him. I’ll try to restrain myself, but you can probably guess how successful that venture will be.

However, in addition to the plastic “Fisher Pricey” thing he’ll get from me, I wanted to give him something else—something from the heart. I’ve decided to give him a letter; filled with my idea of how the talents and gifts that are already evident, and innately his will bless him as he grows to be a man—Just a father’s look into the future of his precious little boy on his first birthday.

Dear Coleman,

It’s hard for me to believe that it has already been a year. In some ways it seems like just yesterday I came home from the hospital at 6:00 am, all bleary eyed from being up 24 hours straight. I’ll never forget that morning and how no matter how hard I tried, the thought of getting back to you and your Mom kept me from getting any real sleep at all.

On the other hand, I don’t think I can remember life without you. It’s kind of like “The Three Musketeers.” I’m sure there was a time before they got together, but no one ever writes about it. You’ve completed this family in ways you’ll only understand when you yourself are a Dad.

At the hospital, you were the best thing since sliced bread—even the nurses thought so. They all went on and on about how handsome you were. Then before Mom and I could tell them thank you, they’d reply that they really meant it. One nurse even cornered me in the hall and couldn’t stop gushing about how you may have been the best look baby she had ever seen.

From the very start it was easy for people to tell that you were different from the crowd, and that’s only been reinforced to me over every one of the past 365 days. This letter is filled with some of the things I’ve seen in your little spirit that I hope you keep every day of your life.

Your birth was a miracle and every one knows it. When I showed your picture to my Physiatrist (Quadriplegic Doctor) she told me how happy she was that we were able to adopt. I told her that you weren’t adopted, and that you were my flesh and blood. She was flabbergasted (and freaked out a little bit) as she ran down the hallway telling everyone she saw that you were my genetic child—no one could believe it. So, I went down the hallway after her telling everyone that it was true. Miracles happen my son. Every breath you take is a testament to that. If you ever wonder if there’s a God, or if he hears and answers prayers, stop for a moment, get real quiet, listen to your heartbeat, and you’ll have your answer.

From the first day we brought you home you have had this happy attitude about you. You seem to have a smile for everyone. People love to be around you little Coleman J. Much of this comes from that happy attitude. When people meet you they always tell me what a happy little guy you are—keep that attitude it will bless you always.

Inside you there is a little spark of exaltation and intensity that can serve you well. I love to watch you take a toy in your hand, or get behind your big “standing toys” and shake the tar out of them. You do it with real passion. It’s evident when you bang your hand on the side of my bed or the way you become a whirling dervish in the bathtub. If you carry that same passion and exuberance into your life, you’ll always end up with success.

Man, can you pay attention. In the beginning it was the wall next to your changing table and the fans throughout the house, That turned into a fixation with cameras (which made it a little difficult to take your picture, but Mom worked it out) and now it’s everyone and everything. Never stop watching the world or the people in it. Never miss an opportunity to help another, or cost yourself the chance to do some good by losing your fascination with all that lives and breathes around you.

You have been blessed with a pace and patience that has already impacted me. When Mom and I talked to others about what it was going to be like to try to help you while being in a wheelchair, everyone said that I’d be fine—the only hard part would be my inability to help you because you would wriggle your body and arch your back right out of my arms. But that never happened. From the very beginning you’ve been calm and patient on my lap. It allowed me to feed you, burp you, and even carry you around on my lap. You just sit there. Take life at your pace. Never be in too much of a hurry. If you will, you will savor each year of your life the way I’ve enjoyed this first one with you.

You have a special love for everyone. You’ve always gone to others easily, never had a problem staying the night away from home, and have kisses for all. Give your love freely in the same way you share your little wave hello—plenty for everyone. If you will, you’ll be happier and the Savior will be proud. Remember the words Jesus spoke when he said, “As I have loved you, love one another.”

It didn’t take you long to figure out that you can always count on your Mom. She loves you so much and it’s easy to see you feel the same. I love the sweet relationship the two of you share. You can count on her for anything and everything. Talk to her throughout your life as much as you have “Jibber Jabbered” to her in this first year. You’ll meet a lot of special people in your adventures, but never one you’ll be able to count like your good sweet Mom.

From the first time I held you in my arms, I could feel the power of your spirit. More than once I’ve wondered how such a gigantic spirit fit into such a tiny body. But, more than anything, I’ve felt the closeness you have to your Heavenly Father. No matter how many birthdays pass by, never lose that special relationship with Him. He knows you and loves you and will do so today, tomorrow and forever. He’s never more than a prayer away.

Finally, always remember the three things I’ve told you every day of this first year

I Love You,
Your Heavenly Father Loves You,
And You’re a Good Boy.

Love,

Dad

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Dan The Man

January 12, 2010

My Uncle Danny

I spent this weekend with both my extended and immediate family rejoicing the life of My Uncle Danny.  Danny passed away on the 30th of December 2009.  He spent his life battling Downs Syndrome.  He was my Dad’s youngest brother, he lived to be 51 and he beat all the odds.

Daniel Jones Hall was born in September of 1958 to Florence and Elmer Hall.  When he was first born the Doctors told my grandparents that he was going to have to stay in the hospital longer than usual—eventually telling them that he shouldn’t ever accompany them home at all and that he should simply be institutionalized.

Having a boy of my own nearly a year ago, I can’t imagine the heartache and pain they must have felt.  But, my grandparents told the doctors that regardless of the advice, they were taking their boy home.

This is no easy task today, but then, it was unheard of.  The “retarded” weren’t supposed to be a part of society. It wasn’t easy, things like this never are, but they were dedicated to giving him every chance.

They taught him to eat by himself by putting him in the bathtub to eat because it was easier than continually cleaning him up.   They got him into school by pushing and pushing until the people at the district couldn’t stand to be pushed any more.

They taught him to sing.  I remember Danny singing.  Although his words weren’t always clear, or correct, his pitch was always perfect, and the result always beautiful. He loved to perform and was in many of the school plays.  He loved attending church and would bear his testimony of it’s truthfulness every chance he got.

All this happened with very little support.  My Grandpa and Grandma Hall had to figure it out on their own.  The only manual they had was scripture on Charity and the only instruction they received was the love they felt in their hearts,

When I think of my Uncle Danny, I remember him singing “God Bless America,” and “Take Me Home Country Roads.”  I remember his love of Ketchup and soda in his Maverick Mug.  I remember him with the cowboy hats he loved, the horses he’d play with and his records by Glen Campbell, John Denver and Donny and Marie.

I remember Danny’s guitar, and drum set that he made clear was “off limits” to little nephews like me.  I remember how he liked pretty girls, and how his impression of The Incredible Hulk” would send this little eight-year-old running for the hills.

I remember how he was at every family function.  He wasn’t simply hidden away.  It made for some funny moments, and interesting ones as well, but he was a part of the family and he was always present.  I remember the pure love of my pure grandparents.

I also remember Danny’s kind face.  I remember his big laugh—especially when his brothers were around.  They’d call him “Dan The Man” which always brought about his sheepish laugh and reply, “C’mon guys.”

I wonder about what Danny is doing today.  I know some of it.  I know that he’s in a heaven that has a loving Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ waiting there.  I know Danny is back with his parents and that he is whole and perfect there.

I wish I could have seen that reunion—Danny in the arms of his parents who loved him so.  It brings me to tears, just writing the words.

Part of what I realized this weekend, was that Dan was “The Man.”  I’m proud of the way he fought the good fight far longer than any doctor ever dreamed he could.  I’m proud to be his nephew, and I’m moved by the way my grandparents fought to give him a chance.

I have so much more to write, but just now I have tears in my eyes as I hear Danny singing “God Bless America” and think I’ll just leave it with this…

I love my Uncle Dan.

Jh-