Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Mountains Win Again

We just got home from a short vacation and as always when life is stressful, nothing beats a few days secluded with no cell phones or wi-fi, no doctors or appointments, no fighting or arguing. Okay - who am I kidding? The mountains are great but they don't get rid of sibling rivalry. I wish.

Regardless of some sibling squabbling, being surrounded by scenery like this is just downright calming to the soul.

My parents took the kids to the mountains a few weeks ago and took them bowling. They loved it, so that was our first order of business. The boys killed the girls, but it was still a big hit.

Up next on the agenda? Playing superheroes. Apparently they were Pajama Girl, Cereal Boy, and I'm not sure what to call the two year old with a gun? Scary?

Last but not least? Some creek side adventuring followed by s'mores, also known as an awesome afternoon.

And in case you're wondering, after much discussion, we decided strawberry flavored marshmallows are the bomb. Seriously. Try it sometime.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Friday Night Sibling Sleepover

The kids begged for sleepovers in the boys room on Friday nights.
Who am I to say no when they're so dang cute?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Can I get A Woot Woot?

Sometimes we can get so bogged down in certain parts of life, that we forget to see the blessings and answered prayers in other parts. I guess it's not fair to say "we." Maybe I'm the only one who struggles with this? Maybe everybody else is great at seeing each blessing in each moment of each day of each year.

I, however, have been bogged down lately with this new "label." I've been bogged down with trying to wrap my brain around all the details and trying to get our ducks in a row for what's next.

And tonight?

Tonight I was like hold up a sec homesplice.......because I do believe that we just had a day where Owen did not fight me or throw up during any of his meals. Seriously? Did that just happen? Did I push him with things like broccoli, chicken, beef, carrots, sunflower butter and chewy crackers and he ingested it without another care in the world.

Today Owen was like "what's the big deal, Mom? This broccoli that I usually take one look at, clamp my jaws shut, and know that only one of us is going to make it out alive? Well today, I totally got this."

And dudes, if that isn't an answered prayer, then I don't know what is.

And remember when I asked you to pray for no more allergic reactions like this?

Well, the last really bad reaction he had was during our first week in New Jersey. As a matter of fact, it has been one month since that reaction. Oh hellz to the yeah.

And remember when I asked for prayers to come off his meds?

Well, he's still on the majority of them, but he's off the one that made him really sleepy. And he's doing well being off of it. Seriously? Can I get a woot woot? And we have another endoscopy soon to see if we can come off the steroid for a spell.

So even though my ducks are most definitely not in a row yet with this new label and new information; even though the ducks are running all over the place quacking their rear ends off and not even close to walking in a straight line, I know God's got this because He's gotten us this far. He's done amazing things and I know He's not even close to being done with my little man.

And He's using awesome people like this to bring Owen farther than he's been in a long long time.

This is Sara (his feeding and broccoli introducing therapist from St. Joseph's).

And she was not about to take "no" from O-Dawg. She pushed him and made him work hard. And it was hard to watch, but she is the reason we are now having days like today.

And this is Jessica. She pushed him even harder trying to strengthen his abdomen. She was not even a little bit scared to mess with his shoes or listen to him scream if it meant he would progress.

She's the reason he can now jump on both feet without falling. No small feat in my eyes.

We miss them.
We were most definitely blessed by them.

If I was some great political person who could declare today in their honor, I would do it. I would name it some National Owen Ate Beef and Broccoli Without Puking Day. Or something along those lines.... and I would give all the glory to the big guy in the sky, and prayer warriors like you, and people like Sara and Jessica who make a difference every day in the lives of kids.

So Happy Owen Ate Beef and Broccoli Without Puking Day everybody!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Why Do I Love Them?

Because the other day I came downstairs to find them doing this without being asked.

Because things in life have been pretty crazy lately, but I've been seeing more of this smile than I used to.

Because she leaves sweet notes like this and also left a dollar for the tooth fairy because she was worried the tooth fairy never gets any money to buy food and stuff. (The tooth fairy was tempted, but she didn't take the dollar when she added another one to the pile.)

Because he tells his grandpa that he wipes his own butt at home, but apparently he thinks he shouldn't have to do it on vacation. Of all the things to want a vacation from....... And yes, his grandfather was smarter than to give in to his shenanigans.

Because sometimes trying on all your brother's shoes just gets exhausting.

And because pajama parties with some of your besties just make life more fun.

Yup - life is good.
It will be even better after Friday when Todd gets home and our family is finally in the same state at the same time.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Huh? What?

Been storming and researching various schools, specialists, services the state will provide, etc for the majority of the day and here's the conclusion I've come to: in order to figure out the ins and outs of special needs, one needs to be a genius.

Of which I most definitely am not.

Anybody else see the irony?

After one of many 30 minute phone conversations today, I did learn that I will be assigned a "service coordinator" in the next few weeks and this person will help me with all the resources, decision making and even something called transition meetings. I don't even know what a transition meeting is yet, but apparently I want my service coordinator with me when we have one. Apparently, he or she will become my new best friend. Hope they like margaritas, because I'm going to need one after trying to figure all this out on my own in the meantime.

And in honor of all the other acronyms and new terms I'm trying to learn, I've decided to come up with my very own acronym.


In case you're wondering, it stands for

I Don't Know What The Heck I'm Doing Somebody Please Help Me Before I Lose What Few Marbles I Have Left In My Teeny Tiny Brain.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pooling Around

It is definitely summer time around here.
With temps in the 3 digits, the kids are spending their mornings doing some of this:

while I rush around like a chicken with her head cut off like the calm, cool, and collected parent that I am, packing stuff up so we can go do this:

(That last pic is supposedly my mean face. I was trying to get Erika to stop taking pictures.  Apparently it didn't work.)

We've enjoyed our five days of doctor-free living.

Back to the grind tomorrow and Friday for Mr. Man.

Bye Bye Jersey, Hello UNC.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Hairy Situation

We may look different, but when it comes to hair, Isaac is just like me....the girl who will grow her hair out for years and then decide in one hour that she wants to chop and donate it....which usually results in tears and regret and promises to never be so drastic again.

My boy will work and work to grow his hair out, even when we're begging him to let us trim it. And then all of a sudden, on a whim,  he decides he wants it short. And it has to be done right then. And if Daddy took his clippers with him on his mission trip, then we borrow clippers from Mr. Donnie and we cut.

Here he is picking out the afro he has been proudly sporting the last several months:

Those are some gorgeous curls, but a little bit too long for my taste. Especially in the heat of summer and especially when he cries the majority of the time we need to pick them out.

We tried the 1/2" guard first.
I loved it.
But the boy who has begged and pleaded us to let him grow his hair out?

Nope. Had to be the 1/4". If he's cutting it, we're going all the way.

The end result?
Still pretty dang cute in my opinion.

Love this kid.
Love these curls.
I'll miss them, but I know they'll be back soon.

Until the next whim....

Monday, July 11, 2011

Seeking Random Stranger

We're figuring out that one of the more difficult aspects of parenting Owen is discipline. It was explained to me that his brain learns things a little differently than the "typical" child,  so a lot of times the normal disciplinary actions aren't going to work on Owen.
(Of course, they don't work on my other two half the time either......just sayin')

Anyway, one of our biggest thorns is shoes.

He likes his shoes to be a certain way. He does not like the velcro to overlap or veer off the intended path. Easy fix, right? Just line it up perfectly and move on.

I wish.

Specialist said to intentionally mess up his shoes and make him cry it out. Hopefully over time, the behavior will change.

So as we're leaving the hospital one day, his OT reached down and messed with his shoes (thanks, Jessica.....) and he, of course, launched himself into an all out fit.  I'm talking knock down, drag out. This was the kind of fit that had the other parents looking away and thanking their lucky stars it wasn't them while the toddlers in the room took notes and admired his tenacity. 

And if you've been wondering if it hurts to get hit in the mouth by Horsie?
I can assure you, it does.

As I dragged my mini Mike Tyson out of the hospital kicking and screaming, we walked by an older man sitting on a bench. He definitely seemed interested in what was going on. He was giving me the Look. You know the one? The look the older generation has that basically says "that kid needs a serious a___-whoopin'!"
Usually the the older generation is right. Just sayin'.

I ignored our audience and just kept dragging Owen along and telling him his shoes were fine while he screamed bloody murder and hit me repeatedly.

Got all the way to the car.
Forgot to get the parking voucher.
Double Crap.

Dragged him back in still screaming and hitting me.

Random Stranger still staring audaciously.

Fourth trip by Random Stranger and Owen threw himself on the hot concrete.
Yup, still kicking and screaming.

I just stood beside him and waited.

Random Stranger stops me.
Me in my head: Oh geez. I know you think he needs his butt whipped but there's more going on here than what you're witnessing.
Me for real: "What?!"
Random Stranger: "I just wanted to say I think you're doing a great job. A lot of parents would have given in by now. You're teaching him."
Me, embarrassed with my jaw on the floor: "Uummmm. Thank you."

He had no idea how much I needed to hear those words right then.
Or maybe he did.
Maybe he was an angel in disguise.
Maybe he was just a grandpa who gets it.
Maybe his shoes annoy the bejeezus out of him and he could just sympathize with the battle.

I don't know why he was there at that precise moment to encourage me,
but I sure as heck needed it.

And now I'm trying to track him down to come live with us and continue being my personal cheerleader. So if anybody from New Jersey is reading this, I'm looking for a tallish, thin, 70-80ish year old African American man with gray hair.  He was last seen outside the St. Joseph's Feeding and Swallowing Clinic in Paterson. I will pay his fare to get here and I have his pom-poms ready.

If you see him, please call asap.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Photography Tips

Now I know that I'm not a professional by any means, 
but I do love taking pictures so I thought I would share a few tips with you.

When you're driving your car very slowly (look in bottom right corner of tom tom) and  stuck in traffic and rain like this,

do not be afraid to use the time to play with your camera and try to get some great shots.
(Of course, Mom, I definitely kept my eyes on the road at all times.)

You just turn your camera on, angle your arm in a very awkward position and shoot away.

The result can be quite adorable.
Like this:

But more often than not, they turn out like this:

I won't charge you for this lesson.

You're welcome.

PS - We're Home!!!!!