Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Picture this

Play along...

OK, so I'm driving down the interstate when out of nowhere, right in front of me, is this horrific accident. I immediately pull over, assess the situation and go straight to the car that appears to be the most in need. I approach; see a man behind the wheel, chest wide open, no pulse. I plunge my hands deep into his chest cavity and massage his heart until life flight arrives and takes him to the hospital. Wow...I'm really gonna need a shower.

OK, next I come home, put the kids to bed, walk into my bathroom, open up the linen closet door to grab a washcloth to wash my face, when something catches my eye. First thought that runs through my mind is that Julien left one of his toys...in the linen closet???
That's strange.

Then flashback to yesterday.
My poor husband had to escort me to my car because there was a lizard that was lurking on the wall next to the driver's door. I just knew that if I approached the lizard without my husband escorting me, the lizard would morph into ninja attack mode and leap right into the car. I get in the car, slam the door shut, shudder and thank my husband for the escort.

Aha! Whoa...wait just a second. There is just no way that the morphing ninja lizard is now laying D-E-A-D on the floor of my linen closet. Uh-uh. I immediately pull my hand back from the shelf and start backing away...never removing my eyes from the lizard (because he is obviously scheming and playing dead just to trick me). I scurry from the bedroom, down the stairs to round up my husband...and the camera. I immediately start explaining that THE lizard, that's right, the one that YOU let stay in the garage is now DECAYING in our bathroom!
There are two possibilities. Either the lizard slithered his way up two flights of stairs to my room OR my cats drug his poor helpless body up two flights of stairs, probably played with him on my kitchen counter, duvet cover and all over my toothbrush before sliding his salmonella incrusted body into the linen closet for a proper burial. Oh wow...chills.

So, all that to say. There is a better chance of me slipping my hands into someones chest cavity than there is of me scooping up a dead reptile and throwing him out the back door of my house.
Seriously, WHY? I don't bother creatures in their homes, is it really necessary to invade mine?

The Lakeshore Foundation - decision

I knew that the answer would become clear to me if I just sat back and let God show me what to do.

Our first day at Lakeshore is tomorrow. It is going to be tough to make it all work, but I know that I can do it.

Addie's OT gave me a certificate for three months free on a twelve month membership. Also, if we signed up in the month of September, the enrollment fee was waived. With the certificate and waived enrollment fee, we saved almost $500 off the $1300 fee. Every little bit helps!

With the addition of Lakeshore, our schedule changes once again.

Here is the gist of it:

We won't even mention that Chris and I work full time.

Addie attends The Bell Center two days a week.

Julien has football practice two days a week.

Addie will attend Lakeshore three times a week.

Addie will get lots of PT time at Gymboree once a week.

Julien will have one football game a week.

If you add that all up, we have ONE day a week to fit everything else into. That includes laundry, shopping, spending fun time with the kids, whatever else requires my attention and keeping my marriage a priority.

I can do it all. God has not let me down so far and I know HE never will!

Mooooo - huh?

Addie had a great morning at therapy! Her volunteer couldn't wait to tell me how well Addie did and that she "talked" so much today! I asked her to give me some examples and she told me that Addie said "Moo" and "Meow" when they were using farm animals as incentive for Addie to use her walker. I thought that was fantastic news, but you know me...I'm skeptical until I hear it myself. When I picked Addie up from school this afternoon, I nonchalantly asked her teacher if she by any chance has heard Addie say either of these words. She was very matter of fact and told me that Addie was indeed saying, "Moo"!

That's great...but I still haven't heard it, so I have no proof. Of course I didn't come straight home and find every cow I could find and try to lure the word out of Addie...what kind of a parent do you think I am? Hmmm?

She STILL hasn't said it tonight. I cannot wait...I pray it is true!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pictures of the day!


It is electrifying!

I don't know if you can tell, but Julien and Addie have an amazing, deep bond. They truly love one another and nothing makes them happier than being with each other!

I am the luckiest Mom in the world!

Julien decided to practice his tackling skills on Addie this afternoon.

:)

Team spirit day - not worth the fight!

Today was team spirit day in Addie's class.

Let me give a brief explanation. I love football. I love the season, the atmosphere, the excitement, the food....did I mention that I love football food?
I was raised to be a Bama loving Roll Tide screaming adult and then Chris came along.
I quickly decided that arguing over favorite teams was completely pointless. Since I have to sleep next to Chris every night and I really do like peace and harmony in my house...I bought an Auburn shirt and agreed to cheer Auburn on at the appropriate times.

When we saw the note on the door last Friday announcing team spirit day, I knew there was no point in even trying to bargain this out. Every once in a while, I just have to give in and let Chris have his way. So, if you will notice, my baby girl is wearing an Auburn outfit today. Chris picked it out and couldn't have been happier had he been buying a new $3000 set of golf clubs for his weekend guy's trip to Mexico.

Here is my precious Addie...sporting an Auburn jersey and enjoying the day with her friends and teachers.

I promise I couldn't care less either way...

Roll Tide and War Eagle!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

No more duck-duck

I finally decided that it was time for duck-duck to go.

It was a tough decision, but the right one. Addie has finally managed to gain enough balance so that she can sit upright in the bathtub (on a mat) and not fall over. Chunky now has free reign of the bathtub and LOVES it! She had such a good time, that melt down occurred as I was taking her out for the night. Her defiance continued until she had her pajamas on and then I guess she figured it was pointless to continue...she didn't win the fight.
Thank God for continued brain growth and development and for allowing my Addie to be able to have enough balance to enjoy one of life's simplest activities!

Deep conversations

Julien had the opportunity to go to Alabama Adventure today. After lunch, we dropped Julien off with the group who was taking him to Alabama Adventure and decided to stop by the cemetery where my Dad and Grandmother are buried.

This is the very first time that Monkey has gotten out of the car at the cemetery. I decided that she needed to go and that she would love to "walk" down to "see" my Dad in her new pair of squeaky shoes.
I realize that I am taking a risk of having everyone think that I really am certifiably crazy, but I do believe in angels and think that children have a special ability to see things and know things that we don't. No, people, I didn't see Casper sitting on a tombstone...it is just the atmosphere and the way Monkey lit up when we got to the graves, that I knew that she knew exactly what I was saying to her.
Believe it or not, take it as you will.
I walked squeaky Monkey over to my Grandmother's grave - my Grandmother, the namesake for Monkey. I took Monkey's hand and pointed to the name engraved in granite and I told Monkey to "Look, there is your name, do you see? That is your name, isn't it beautiful?". Monkey laughs the sweetest, most knowing laugh.
She understands.

We turn to my Dad's grave and are looking at the flowers, Monkey doesn't seem to care about the flowers, she is too busy looking around. I tell Monkey that it is time to go and as we are passing by the tombstone, Monkey tries to turn back. Monkey sees the statue by the tombstone and her eyes light up! The statue is tattered, but she needs to touch it. If she doesn't touch the statue, then we can't leave. Monkey gets more excited when I ask her if she wants to touch, Monkey touches the statue and stares and stands in silence for a moment.
Then Monkey is done and ready to go.

Monkey's innocence allowed her to see and hear what I couldn't. Monkey is an angel from God.

For whatever reason, Chris and I didn't immediately make our way out of the cemetery. We drove around...looking. Looking at the tombstones. Talking about the people who are there and about the future. We try not to go too far into the future, because then our worries seem to overwhelm us.

We talk about our friends and we talk about our families.
We talk about how we have lost friends and gained friends after Monkey's birth.
We talk about how our lives have changed and how we have seen the true nature of people.
We talk about how our friends that were once friends, don't seem to have too much in common with us anymore.
We talk about our new friends and how they understand.
We talk about our families and how some of them don't understand. They don't understand our schedules, our worries or why we act the way we do.
We talk about our neighbors. Our neighbors who are wonderful people, but some still keep us at arms reach.
We talk about how people just don't know what to say or do...
We talk about those same people. We wonder if they would have been any different to us had our second child not been born with a diagnosis.
We talk about how much we are blessed to know this life in so many ways that others don't.
We talk about football and how we can't all go to a big game together - for now anyway.
We talk about how we always make it work and how we would do it all over again - knowing then what we know now.
We talk about how people are missing out on knowing the gift that we have been given.

I know that there are so many people out there that couldn't fathom the life we live. I couldn't fathom not living this life. It is amazing and I am so thankful that it is mine. Every choice in my life took me to this point.

I am thankful.

Inquiring minds want to know...

Today was a day full of really deep conversations and lots of inquiring minds.

The deep conversation explanation will come in another post.

Chris, Julien, Addie and I spent the day shopping. We are always so busy, that when the weekend comes, we try to cram as many errands into one day as humanly possible.

We were able to go about our business just fine up until our trip to the wholesale warehouse where people must be members in order to shop. There is no reason to name names, but it rhymes with hams, lambs, jams, rams, clams and yams.
So, anyway...we are meandering through minding our own business, when this absolutely beautiful woman makes a point of saying hello and telling me how beautiful my little Monkey is. I honestly didn't put too much thought into it, said hello and kept right on going. Chris pointed out later that she had a little girl...with Down Syndrome.
Aha!
So, she was being "ME", going out of her way to say hello because she KNEW...she knew - it all - and wanted to say hello. That is so something that I would do. She knew that people had probably spent more than their fair share staring at us and wanted the chance to brighten our day.
She knew and I am grateful she crossed my path.

Then there was somebody's Granny.
"Granny" was giving out samples - of some dead fowl diced up into a salad and served on a cracker. Hmmm, no thank you to the salad, but how about a cracker for my Monkey? "Granny" gave Monkey a cracker and when I signed "thank you", the door to the conversation just flew right open. "Granny" had lots of questions about sign language and was impressed with my Monkey's ability to understand. I was liking "Granny" and then "Granny" won a prize for asking a question that no one has dared to ask before.
We go from talking about sign language and church programs to..."so, is there some kind of corrective surgery that she can have done when she's older?".

(I can only assume because Monkey is wrong and needs to be corrected.)

Seriously?
Really?

Well, well, well...I AM the one who says, JUST ASK and by golly, she did!
It didn't offend me; I just didn't expect THAT question. I politely told "Granny", "no, there is nothing that can be surgically done or that is needed" for my Monkey and I politely said "enjoy the rest of your day" and Monkey and I moved on.

Monkey and I needed to go to Publix to pick up a few items, so we make a quick trip by the house to unload the car and then us girls are off again. I really do love our local Publix. Almost all of the employees know my Monkey and are so kind to her! Many of them make a point of going out of their way to say hello and most of them know her name. Monkey and I made our way through, chatting with people along the way and then we get to the check out lane. As I am bending down to unload the cart, I heard the bagger say something, but didn't understand what. Oh yes, I did ask him to repeat himself, because I was being just that chatty. Weeellll, new bagger boy doesn't know my Monkey. New bagger boy said, "oh wow, she is SOOOOO SMAALLLLL". OK, new bagger boy, you do get a pass because you are new. I explained to new bagger boy that, "Yes, she is smaller than other babies. Her brain didn't develop like other babies brains do and that resulted in a smaller head than other babies". "She's just so sweet, isn't she?". OK, so now new bagger boy has stopped BAGGING my groceries and is just staring at Monkey. I actually have to prompt him to continue with his job duty...the one that will speed up the process of me exiting the store while I still have a smile plastered on my face. New bagger boy then wants to touch Monkey's hand, that's when I tell new bagger boy that we sure are hungry and just can't wait to get home. He takes the hint and out we go. On the flip side, "old bagger man" spots us going to the car and makes a point of saying hello from across the way! Old bagger man knows my Monkey and genuinely cares for us.

I actually still managed to sing to Monkey as I was buckling her in her car seat and I sang to her on our way home.
Inquiring minds didn't put a damper on my mood.
Remember, I am here to educate - it was a good day.

All done!

I am officially done shopping for Addie's Christmas. I don't believe in buying tons of presents for Christmas, I think it takes away the whole meaning.

Instead of buying lots of different toys, I bought Addie ONE thing that she will just adore!

I plan on having a little chat with Santa about the item that is left on Addie's Christmas wish list. It is a "big" wish, but I just know we can make it happen!

Julien on the other hand, will take a little more time and planning...
:)
One down, one to go!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Play time with Julien!

Julien finally got the chance to go to Gymboree with us!
Addie was thrilled and loved every minute of her time with Julien!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Can you say handsome?

Check out Julien's new glasses!

He is such a trooper! He is all about being able to see clearly - imagine that!

As our luck would have it, the frame got scratched, so "they" had to order a new frame, which will hopefully be in tomorrow.

Julien is just thrilled to have his glasses and to be able to SEE. I think he made a great choice when he picked out the glasses! He looks just as handsome with them on as he does with them off! Whew...I will have to beat the girls away with a stick before long!

WAKE UP and Q and A time!

I am very disappointed.

My attempt at humor managed to confuse some people. Very few people got my post:

Answer for Polly

I was trying to be funny... you know, I do have a sense of humor. I'm not doom and gloom all the time!

Instead of just telling Polly where we worked, I was trying to give not so subtle clues. Hence, the pictures that clearly shows where we work. So, for my readers that are still trying to digest my unsuccessful attempt at humor:

Chris and I work for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. It is an amazing company and we love our jobs!
Chris is a Server Engineer and has been with the company for over nine years.
I am a Senior Benefit Analyst and have been with the company for over seven years.

We are very blessed for what we have and wouldn't voluntarily trade it.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am trying to find a way to put a button on the blog, which will allow my readers to ask questions. I am still trying to figure out how I want to do this because I obviously don't want any random question just sitting out for all to see. So, for the time being, if you have a question, you can leave it in the comment section of any post. Your question can be left anonymously if you prefer.

As I have stated many times before, my primary goal is to share with whomever may be interested, the miracles that our God is working through Addie and to educate people on Addie's extremely rare diagnosis. I am hoping that this blog will touch at least one life, to allow at least one person to know that having a special needs child is indeed a gift from God. A gift to be cherished and thankful for! I cannot imagine my life without my children and I am so blessed to know "the other" part of this life. The life that not everyone gets to experience and the life that not everyone understands.

I will respond to the questions as a post on the blog.

I am very honest and usually don't hold back...so beware! That, once again, was an attempt at humor. :)

Poor blog...

I have gotten lots of feedback and apparently the template is being blocked at lots of businesses. I will try to replace it soon, but I am very weary of messing around with the HTML code too much. I also don't want to import any code that may corrupt the blog.

So, for all the people complaining about the look of the blog lately...here you go. I removed my cutesy template and just defaulted to the old, boring one.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pretty cool afternoon!

Julien participated in a fundraiser at school this month. One of the top prizes was a limo ride from school for "dinner" (early bird) and then back to school. Although this wasn't Julien's first ride in a limo, he was still excited about the chance to go and have a good time with his friends. Chris and I met the kids at the restaurant for dinner, it was so nice to spend time with Julien where my attention was completely undivided.
Everybody seemed to have a nice time and all the kids were very well behaved!

(the limo driver seems eerily familiar...hmm)

The limo returned Julien back to school just in time for football practice and the parent/teacher conference that I scheduled. Since we missed talking with Julien's teacher last week, it was nice to be able to touch base with her to see how Julien is doing so far this year. Julien always does well and never has any areas of concern...other than just being a B-O-Y. I am so very, very blessed.

Julien, I am so glad that I had the opportunity to spend this time with you! I love you!

Answer for Polly

Polly left a comment regarding my post about the company that Chris and I may or may not work for. Thanks to Polly pointing it out, it would appear that I am insinuating that Chris and I are nomadic day laborers, when in fact we are not. :)

We both have outstanding jobs with an amazing company - which I won't name and I don't think these pictures from our baby shower at work and Addie and Julien's visit to work would provide any clues.

I was trying unsuccessfully to be facetious, never wanting to imply that our company was blocking the template that the blog uses. I didn't want to sound negative, so I was trying to use humor instead.
I also want to clear up any implication that anyone at this company - that I did not name - would ever view this blog during working hours. Uh-uh, no way.

We love our jobs, the company that we work for and the people that we work with. All are amazing and we are two very blessed people!

Word of the...

My word of the day or week, who knows, maybe even month:

snarky - (snär'kē)
  1. Rudely sarcastic or disrespectful; snide.
  2. Irritable or short-tempered; irascible.
Isn't it just fabulous?

Snarky describes:
1. a conversation with a "friend" yesterday and
2. my mood this morning.

Doesn't it just roll right off of your tongue? I bet you can't say it just once.

Blog

Well, we figured out why the blog isn't displaying correctly when accessed at the company that Chris and I may or may not work for. I'm still trying to determine if I can get a fix for it. Bear with me...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Hi"

"Hi"

"Hi" she says.

Monkey that is. Monkey had a weekend of "hi's".

Monkey said "hi" to the cat.

Monkey said "hi" to her Mommy.

Monkey said "hi" to the man from the bakery.

Monkey said "hi" to the lady so intent on finding the perfect cheese that she didn't hear the miracle that was speaking to her. That miracle, MY Monkey, said "hi" and "hi" again and "hi" again until the lady realized that she was missing the miracle that God wanted for her to witness. The lady looked at MY miracle and said "hi".

Monkey said "hi" to her baby.

Monkey said "hi" to her Daddy.

Monkey said "hi" to the ducks at the park.

Monkey said "hi" to the babies in the mirror.

Did Monkey know that one of the babies was a miracle that God sent to earth for me to cherish every moment of every day? Did monkey know that the baby in the mirror was her? Did Monkey know that speaking those two little letters meant she was defying all odds? Did Monkey know that my heart skipped a beat?

Monkey saw the babies in the mirror and said, "hi" and then gave her Mommy a kiss.

Monkey says, "hi".

My beautiful miracle!

I kept the video short so nobody would get bored! video

Look at Monkey grab the side of the slide to pull herself forward!

Look at my beautiful baby girl as she shows you GOD's WORK, GOD's GRACE and the continued MIRACLE that our GOD has blessed us with!

We are meant to share this with the world!

Bad, bad cat!

This is exactly why our cats sleep in the basement at night. We can't trust Alley. She wants to snuggle with Addie and is very determined to do so regardless!

I was just updating the blog when an image caught my eye on the video monitor and it was fatty creeping into bed with Addie. Of course, I have to take a picture before I remove her from the bed!

You know...Addie doesn't seem to mind!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Having a great time!

Addie had such a great time at the party that she didn't want to leave!

As we were backing out of the parking lot to leave, I told Addie to say, "bye-bye". She smiled so big and started clapping! :) That is her way of telling us that she is happy and excited! She knows she will be back!

She always enjoys our time at Gymboree. I am so glad that we found her a place that she enjoys so much!


Loving the bubbles!


Thank you Jackson!

Jackson was super sweet and was a great sharer with Addie! It's as if Addie is saying, "neener-neener", what a rotten little Monkey!

Happy Birthday Jackson!

Jackson celebrated his 2nd Birthday today at Gymboree Play and Music! We had the best time, but who wouldn't enjoy themselves? We had so much fun playing and Jackson seemed to enjoy his big day! We took lots and lots of pictures! :)







Grown up time!

Chris and I had a wonderful night out with friends. It's not often that we get this opportunity and it is not often that I want the opportunity. I hate leaving the kids, even for a few hours. Tonight was really, really nice though. We needed the grown up time!

Friday, September 19, 2008

An apology is in order

Julien's teacher had good reason for not showing up at open house last night. She was in an auto accident. Of course, details were not given, but she was not at school today either.

:(

I apologize for my smarty pants comments about her not showing up.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

PERFECT timing!

After we left the park where we witnessed our newest miracle, we went to Julien's school. When we pulled into the parking lot, Julien pointed out the smiley face that a plane had just drawn.

The timing was perfect!

It was the angels smiling down on us, showing us that this is truly God's work that we are witnessing!

Unbelievable - completely amazed!

I didn't get THE picture and I am going to get a video soon...you won't believe this!

After the 300th time of Chris and me helping Addie slide down the slide, I finally just sat her up at the top to see what she would do. That sly little MONKEY scooted her bottom forward and slid down all by herself!!! You know me trying to disprove the obvious, I had to try it over and over and each time she would slide down by herself!
"Things" are clicking...she is understanding more and more! When I saw her tonight, I immediately thought that this is what any other twenty-month old would be doing. She is SLIDING DOWN A SLIDE BY HERSELF!
You don't know how bad I want to video this and email it to a few unnamed physicians. Had I thought someone at the park wouldn't have called the ambulance to transport me to the psych unit, I would have called everybody over just to witness the miracle that was taking place right in front of their eyes! Oh you guys...I can't wait for you to see it!