Monday, November 29, 2010

An Incredibly Great Night!

A great many thanks to you all for your prayers and support.

I was beyond honored to be invited to speak to a class of early childhood educators, early childhood special educators, physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech language pathologists tonight at UAB.

The reason I felt this opportunity was more important than the last was because I was invited by a faculty member from UAB who was in the audience at the Montgomery conference.
I was so worried that I would let her down.
If I didn't do well, not only would I risk losing out on any prospective future opportunities, but I would also have lost the opportunity to educate the people who will soon be making a difference in the lives of families who so desperately need them.
If I don't let my voice be heard, then all of our struggles will be in vain.

It is so important to me to try to do whatever I can to make the journey easier for families who follow behind us.
If there is any way to prevent other families from experiencing the pure heartbreak that we experienced because of hateful comments and shear lack of compassion from medical providers, then I want to make that happen.
Nobody should go through the pain that we went through and the things that we heard and the things that we were told.

I walked out of the building tonight feeling like I honored sweet Addie, our God and each special child that is close to my heart.
This opportunity was such a blessing for me and I cherished each minute.

Thank you all for your continued love and support as we continue on in our "Wait and See World".

A Few More Selfish Prayers

Another opportunity has presented itself.

If you all feel led, could you please keep us in your thoughts this afternoon/evening?

This time is even more important than the last (and I had no idea that was even possible) and I need the same clarity, courage, strength and wisdom as last time.
Once again, I need emotional stability and the ability to truly honor Addie and all of the sweet babies who are on the path that we travel each day.
Our beautiful path chosen by GOD.
Your support is very much appreciated.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Poor Christmas Tree...

Does it get any better than this? I could have watched them all day!

This year is a bit more interesting.
Chunky Monkey can say, "tree" this year so she is really excited about the lights and the tree....BUT, Evil Monkus has not yet grasped the concept that we put the ornaments on the tree and then leave it alone.
She managed to break a couple of ornaments...including ripping the legs off the poor reindeer below...which forced me to do immediate reattachment surgery.
She is worse than the cats and I just don't know if our tree will make it through to Christmas this year.
Regardless of it all, I am just amazed to see her so excited this year.
She is noticing the lights on houses and wreaths and even points to the inflatables...she is just noticing more this year and it is so wonderful to watch her excitement!

Speaking of exhausted after Thanksgiving.
Chris and I took Julien and my niece out for their first Black Friday shopping experience (I have no clue how I managed it).
It all started because Chris and I wanted to go out for a little while...just to have a little time together.
Once Julien discovered what we were doing and discovered that he actually had a good amount of birthday money, he decided that he wanted to go with us.
My niece found out Julien was going and wanted to go as well.
It turned out to be a really fun night!
After my trip to AFC to see a physician that holds a medical degree from a Cracker Jack Box, we headed out at 9:30 p.m.
It was a rainy and cold night, but we had the best time and finally made it back home at
4:00 a.m.
We didn't buy much at was all about the experience.
Julien and my niece both said they want to go again next year and I'm looking forward to it!
So...every few minutes while decorating the tree, Julien would do his best to "rest his eyes".

We are still trying to put up some sort of Christmas decorations.
Chris took a spur of the moment trip out of town and unfortunately, the Christmas boxes don't get themselves down out of the attic, which means that we have absolutely nothing finished.
At least we have a lighted tree with broken ornaments and each other.
I realize that is more than some have right now.
We are thankful for all we have.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Lunch

I don't know exactly what happened, other than it was over before I knew it.
I didn't take family pictures and once my behind finally hit a chair, it stayed put for a while.
I was beyond exhausted.
Fungus Girl just had me beyond tired and it never occurred to me to take family pictures...that's just how bad it was.
Cousins kept Monkus occupied playing with wildlife...
had her smiling...
and took her for wagon rides through the house (if that gives you an idea of just how bad I felt, it wouldn't have mattered if the kids would have brought mud pies in the house to bake...I just didn't care).

They had the best time playing...
and M.K. did a great job of showing Fungus Girl how to keep her hands inside the wagon.

Thanksgiving...that's a wrap!
I still can't believe I didn't get any other pictures....Errrr!

Thanksgiving Morning

Thanksgiving morning did not start out well.
Monkus is sick, yet one more sinus and ear infection.
While Chris, Julien and I prepared for lunch, I let Fungus Monkus take as many bowls as her little heart desired out of the cabinet.
It kept her happy, which meant we were happy.
Thank goodness for family connections...I sent a text asking if there was any way this most beloved family member could pretty please bring an otoscope along with the Turkey.
Thankfully, we got a really good look at Fungus Girls ears and the right tube was open and clear, while the left was filled with beautiful sludge.In case there are those of you that pick apart everything in the background of a photo - yes, that is a mirror near the baseboard on the wall.
That mirror is there for Fungus Monkus and is a wonderful tool to aid in her speech therapy.
She loves looking in the mirror and is more than thrilled to "work" on her speech development...although she has no idea that is what we are doing!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

All I Could Think Was, "Wow".

After I spoke at the Montgomery conference, the very last person to approach me completely amazed me.
She started off the conversation by telling me that she "loved my son".
It was one of those moments when I was desperately trying to put a face with a name and couldn't do it.
She went on to tell me that she was disappointed that I didn't say more about him during the conference (ouch).
After a minute or so of talking, she told me that she admired the relationship that Julien had with Addie...
Almost two years back, Chris and I went to a meeting, which thankfully, provided childcare.
We were more than comfortable with letting Addie and Julien go to the childcare area because of the person who would be watching them (the wife of one of my favorite physicians).
Also in the childcare area was this lady and as much as I tried, I couldn't recall meeting her before.
She told me that watching Julien and Addie that night made an amazing impression on her.
She said that the love that Julien showed for Addie was unbelievable and that she has often thought of him.
As she was talking, she started to cry.
She told me about her children and how she worries that her oldest will not bond with the youngest (who has special needs) and at the times when she worries the most, she always thinks back to Julien.
She thinks of Julien and she prays that her children will have the bond that mine do.
We continued to talk for quite a while and she just about left me speechless.
It was amazing.
It was amazing to hear her tell me such beautiful things about Julien and how he left such an impact on her heart.
Can you imagine?
I walked out of there with such a mixture of emotions.
I was overwhelmed by the thought of how God had put Julien in her path - completely unbeknown to me for almost two years - and I was beyond grateful for Julien and for the opportunities before me.

On To Dinner...

It's the night before Thanksgiving...the only option was dining out! She's going to hate me for this one, but is about the sweetest picture that I have of the two of them!
Not everyone can say that they celebrated their birthday under the watchful eyes of Big Brother and a dead stuffed wild boars head.
My son has now officially passed me in the world of technology.
I absolutely do not think that it is fair!

I am thankful for Julien!
I couldn't ask for a better son and I am so proud to be his mother!

Hallmark - Bring it On!

On those very special days, we all want that one picture to capture the memory for a lifetime.
Well...this is about as good as it was going to get.
Julien was in the mood to play and pick on us, so this is the result.
I was in the middle of telling him that we would sit there until he actually tried to take a semi-decent picture, while he was picking on Addie and she was trying to tell on him.
Man, I should work for Hallmark...the cards would just fly off the shelves.

Wow...12 Already.

Today is Julien's 12th Birthday.
I took the day off so that I could basically be at his beck and call and do whatever his little heart desired.
He reminded me of that about 27 times while he waited for me to pick out a new lipstick at Sephora and I felt the need to remind him that 24 hours of unmedicated labor, followed by a C-Section that produced an almost nine pound baby deserved basically whatever I wanted and he should just be happy that it was just a new lipstick that I was picking out.
Other than that one minor little detour, the day was all his and I enjoyed each and every minute with him.
Some of you will remember that this is something that I do every year, but unlike last year, there were no additions to our family.
Don't get me wrong.
He tried - desperately, but I stood firm.
There was absolutely no way that I was paying for a rodent.
Zero, Zilch, Nada.
Not going to happen.
So, that sweet little beady eyed rat is still at PetSmart...unless of course he went to visit with one of the snakes a few cages down, his soul.
After a wonderful day, we picked Addie up from school and headed home to get ready for dinner....and picture time:
He is oh so careful with her on the steps...
but once they make it to soft ground, it's WWE Smackdown time.

One of Many...Pictures of the Day

Whew....Somehow it happened that I didn't have any time during my five day "holiday" to update the blog.

For now, enjoy one of my favorite - Pictures of the Day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Email From a Friend

Nothing like a beautiful email to brighten my day - see below:

Hey Jennifer…

I just had to share a sweet story about Addie from Friday afternoon. I had arrived to pick "T" up from school and Addie met me at the door with the biggest, sweetest smile on her face holding her hands up to me. I squatted down to talk to her for a minute. Then I made my way over to "T's" cubby to gather all the projects he had done. Well, Addie followed behind me…and as soon as I picked up the candle/candle holder with the beans that they all made, she leaned up to blow out the candle. It was so sweet. Then we were looking at it together and she leaned towards it to smell it. Sweet girl!

Thought I would share…hope you have a wonderful day!!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Birthday Madness!

Tis the Season!
I am certain that I have previously mentioned that there was a massive outbreak of pregnancies in our little region of the world back in 2006 - and the majority of the births took place between November and December 2006.
Frankly, I expected all of us to birth blonde haired/blued eyed children, but thankfully, that didn't all of us.
So, here we are - four years later - and in birthday party madness!
Since October, we have had at least one birthday party each weekend and we are already booked through December.
Addie feels very special to have received so many invitations and we are honored to celebrate these very special days with her friends!
Addie had a very nice time at our latest party and enjoyed the time with all of her sweet friends!

Addie even participated in the sack race!
She did such a great job and even cried when it was over because she wanted to do it again.

Then it was time.
Time for cake.
Addie knew where it was and kept an eye on it...just to make sure it wasn't going to sneak past her in some way.

Once it was placed in front of her, it never had a fighting chance.

Addie had so much fun in the ball pit.
When her friends decided they were going to jump from the mini trampoline into the ball pit, she was so excited and clapped for them all!
May Addie always be surrounded and blessed by wonderful and loving friends!

Great Little Supporter!

Some things never change and one of those things is how much Addie loves to stand at the door or window and watch her Daddy cut the grass.
Our yard is quite large so there will be times when Chris will be completely out of her sight for a few minutes, but she will just stand and wait...and wait...
and then when she sees him coming back near the door, she starts clapping for him!
(Me too Baby Girl, there's nothing like having a grass-cutting kind of man in the house!)
We can't forget the turkey bow...I mean really.
What is the month of November if you can't walk around with a turkey on a clip stuck to your head?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Voice For My Daughter

When I say it was an honor, I mean it from the bottom of my heart.
I was asked to speak at the 26th Annual Early Intervention Conference in Montgomery.
I was asked to speak just as a parent and to share Addie's story.
I would tell you what I said, but I have no idea.
After walking to the podium, I glanced at the screen behind me and saw this precious photo.
I turned back to the audience and the rest was just a blur. This opportunity was so incredibly important to me, more important than words could possibly say.
I was given the opportunity to speak for my daughter, to share her story and to follow God's plan.
I don't know if my presence at this convention made any difference at all, but I do know that
if nothing else, I spoke from my heart and as I spoke, my sweet Addie and our dear friends that are walking this path with us were on my mind.
I needed to honor them and I hope that in some way, I succeeded.

It's Just The Way We Are...

Granted to varying degrees, but still.
Women are evil.
We are and although we know we are, we must be powerless to change it.

I am not a crier, but I almost hit meltdown the other day when I was frantically trying to figure out what I was going to wear to my very important meeting.
It was to the point that Chris finally asked me why I was so worried about it.

So, I told him:
"You don't understand how women are.

It's awful.

There is no winning, ever.

I am going to be in front of a room full of people for an hour and a half and that gives them ample time to pick apart every big and little flaw that I have.

Even if they are listening to what I have to say, let me also tell you what other things they are thinking about;

if a woman is thin, then she's too thin and must be anorexic;

if a woman is overweight, then she must be lazy and we wonder why she doesn't lose weight;

if a woman has big, perfect boobs, then they're fake;

if a woman has tiny boobs, then she should get implants;

if a woman has perfectly white teeth, then she must bleach them;

if a woman doesn't have perfectly white teeth, then she should bleach them;

if a woman has shiny makeup, then she hasn't put on enough powder;

if a woman has flawless matte makeup, then she must be vain;

if a woman laughs at a mans joke, then she's flirting with him;

if a woman doesn't laugh at a mans joke, then she thinks she's too good for him!

(and by this time, my voice is getter louder and I can feel a little tinge of tears way back in the inner depths of my tear ducts)

You don't understand!

I could stand in front of a room full of men in sweats and a baseball hat and they would probably be thinking about how long it will be before I'm done yapping my mouth so they could head out for lunch, but if I stand in front of a room full of women, they would pick apart every single detail.

Every detail, from the way that I speak, to how I look, to what I say and trust me, they will have honed in on every piece of jewelry that I have on my body and have a mental estimate on just how small or large my wedding ring is.

They will find and note every piece of lint on my black pants and point out that I need new lip gloss AND heaven forbid that I have lipstick on my teeth!

If I were standing in front of a room full of women to tell them that they all just won a gazillion-million dollars, a free cosmetic makeover including the new insta-tiny thigh fat sucker outer, a husband who jumps at their every whim and perfect children who will wear all the silly smocked outfits their parents tried to put them in AND that I had just found the cure for acne, crows feet and cellulite, they would remember one thing.

They would only remember me as the lady who had lipstick on her teeth.

AND to top that off, heaven forbid there be that one woman, that one amazing woman who has it all;

the perfect body, sense of humor, education, husband, house, kids, job, car, wedding ring and plastic surgeon, then you know what would happen?

Do you?

Yep, that's right...we would hate her!

So, we can't win - ever.

That's why you don't understand the pressure in picking out whether I should wear the fully lined black pants or the black pants with the cuffs because whichever one I choose,

will be wrong."

By that time, I think he was rubbing my back and saying something about how much he loved me and that HE thought I was gorgeous - no matter what.
Holy cow.

No wonder why our husbands flee to the golf courses and hunting lodges every time the opportunity presents itself.
We are freakin' crazy.

A Wonderfully - Go Figure Kind of Day!

Today was wonderful (well, the part that involved me) - thank you for all the encouraging thoughts and prayers!
On the other hand, our sweet Addie-Pa-Tattie woke up with an awful ear infection this morning and has been beyond miserable tonight.
Which means that some lucky provider will get to see our whiny little faces sometime before they sit down for their Thanksgiving feast.
Thank goodness for a ready supply of ear drops and motrin to get us through!
More details coming soon...

Addie and Mommy - We Could Use A Few Selfish Prayers Today

Today is a very, very important day for us.
Chris and I are making a little day trip - part business/part pleasure.
Please keep us in your thoughts today.
I need a day of clarity, courage, strength and wisdom.
I need a day of emotional stability and I need the ability to truly honor Addie and all of the sweet babies who are on the path that we travel each day.
Our path chosen by GOD.
It is going to be a beautiful day!

Picture courtesy of Kim at Kim Sharit Photography.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Yep, She's Rotten

Another look into our session from October 30.
I know I have said it a million times, but Kim has the patience of a saint!
Addie was completely and totally off the hook for this session!
I am amazed that Kim got even one halfway decent picture of the rotten little Monkey.
I just don't get it.
Addie is so sweet, but the last few sessions with Kim, Addie has acted like a little's exhausting - but Kim makes it all worth it!
(Addie doesn't look the least bit amused)

Picture by Kim at Kim Sharit Photography (love, love, love her!)
All of Kim's contact information is listed on her website or you are more than welcome to harass me about how to contact her.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What Can I Say?

I did good...
and I will always have Kim to thank for this amazing photo of Julien!

Kim sent me a sneak peek from our October 30 photo session and frankly, I have just been too selfish to share...until now.

If you are looking for an amazing photographer, please visit Kim's website.

Only You Can Prevent Wildfires!

I have had people try to tell me one reason or another why I have difficult moments.
It's either that I am tired, the weather has me down, I must be getting sick, stress, etc...
I try to ignore the comments because what those people don't understand is how emotionally taxing it is to have a child with special needs.
I understand more than anyone realizes that I am beyond blessed to have Addie and to have her do so well.
That doesn't negate the validity of my emotions.
Sometimes it's just plain hard and it doesn't take an "event" to bring on those emotions.
This week I have been unable to talk to anyone about Addie without having to fight back the tears, this is an emotional week for me (details coming later this week).
I wanted absolutely nothing more than to stay in bed all day today; the curtains drawn, LMN on the television, a vat of M&M's by my bed and a five gallon bucket of chocolate milk to sip through a twirly straw.
I couldn't do it, because I never have done it and don't see the point in ever doing it.
I would like to think that I got out of bed today because I am a responsible adult that values my job and cares for my family and while both of those are true, the real reason I got out of bed this morning is because of Smokey Bear.
I was laying in bed this morning listening to the sound of pouring rain and refusing to put forth the effort to knock my alarm clock across the room when Smokey Bear appeared in my mind.
He reminded me that only I can prevent wildfires and that if I did indeed remain in bed all day the way that I really wanted to that I would never, ever, ever be able to wear corduroy pants again.
As all of us big girls know - corduroy is not always your friend.
So, I opted for comfy work clothes, my hair in a ponytail and sweet kisses from my children and husband, then a visit to Starbucks.
All in all not a bad day, especially since Starbuck's computer was down, which equaled FREE caloric intake.
Minute by minute, day by day in our "Wait and See World".

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's Official

Julien is now taller than me.

We have had a really rough week.
Anyone that has or has had a "tween" before knows that there are times when you really want nothing more than to pick up the telephone and call DHR to tell them to start heading on over to your house - it's the least anyone can do to take the burden off the neighbors having to call.
Since it is not socially acceptable to take a switch to your children, I resort to sending my oldest to his room until the demons have exited his body.
Usually if I have a rough few days with either one of my children, it means they are getting sick. Not this time though - it was a major growth spurt.
I gave Julien a hug right before bedtime and that's when I noticed that he appeared to be taller than me...I immediately had him follow me downstairs.
I grabbed the tape measure and measured and remeasured and then had Chris check behind me (because girls don't know how to read a measuring tape).
Holy child is now officially half an inch taller than me!
That's so not fair!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Could Someone Please

Bring me my cane?

Over dinner tonight, we were talking about Julien's school, specifically about typing class.
I asked if he was doing well in the class and turning in all of his papers.

Which led to the question from him, "What do you mean turn in a paper?", "There is nothing to turn in.".

As the conversation proceeded, I mentioned that when I was in school (gag...I know kids hate hearing those stories!), we had to use an actual typewriter for typing class instead of a computer....
to which he replied,
"I think I've seen pictures of typewriters".

Then Julien had a few questions.

He wanted to know:
Exactly how the typewriter worked;
How to backspace;
How to make a correction - which allowed me to give him a very detailed explanation, right down to the powdery white correction strips;
What would happen if the ink ran out and what exactly I meant by, "change the ribbon" and;
How to submit a paper for grading.

He was more than surprised that our teachers actually had to grade - a piece of paper.
(I think he was extremely surprised that our teachers actually sat in the front of the classroom, on a stool and watched us, spoke to us and taught us things...instead of sitting in the back of the classroom directing the class to an assignment on the computer and proceeding about their business)

ask your children if they submitted all of their work for typing class...
apparently that is a dumb question for anyone who thinks there is not such a thing as,
a dumb question.
I can prove you wrong - all day long
(and my 8th grade physics teacher will back me up on that).

Monday, November 01, 2010

Please Disregard This Post

If you are a card carrying member of the AAP, if you are affiliated in any way with Martha Stewart or if you are Bob Vila.
For everyone else, I figured out a solution to our baby gate dilemma.
I was walking through the hallway trying to ignore Addie's baby bed resting up against the wall when a dim little light bulb came on in the non-creative part of my brain.
I decided that it would be super easy to take the side piece from her baby bed and turn it into a baby gate.
A little begging to my husband, a trip to Lowe's and voila - a new safety gate...still without the final coat of stain.
It works like a charm!
Sweet Addie doesn't seem to mind having it on her door and it brings us peace of mind.