Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year!!

Although 2012 certainly has had his down moments, there were lots and lots of fantastic ones too.  I had fun putting this together looking back on how the kids have changed so much!  

Wishing you all a very Happy and healthy new year!!  Here's to many more fun times!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Clean Up

We were sort of expecting to wake up today to find ourselves in the middle of a snowstorm.  It would have been an excuse to stay inside all day cleaning up the house from the happy mess that was left behind after Santa had come and gone.  However, instead of the winter wonderland we were expecting it just rained but we still gave ourselves the opportunity to be "stuck in" and spend the day at home.  Despite the cleanup that still happened, it was really nice to just be home for a change with  no reason to go anywhere.  We got the greatest gift this morning though when Colin was the first one up to come walking in our room at 8am!  I couldn't even tell you the last time we slept in that late when all 4 of us were home.  What a great surprise!

Kailey taking care of her babies.  She loves her new dolls and strollers that she got this Christmas!

Colin helping Daddy take the tree out of the stand.
Saying goodbye to the 2012 Christmas tree!

While taking down the Christmas decorations is never fun, it does feel nice to have a really clean and organized house again!  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Magic of Christmas

Chris echoed my sentiments exactly when he told me yesterday that this was the best Christmas in a really long time.  I couldn't agree more.  Everything about the holidays this year was a lot of fun and most especially because the kids understood a lot more and were really excited about all of the different things along the way.  We had some snags like a touch of the stomach virus, but for the most part, we had a fantastic time.  After the last of our family had left on the day after Christmas, I think we all had a touch of the "darn, it's really over now feeling".  With all of the excitement and fun brought a quiet afterwards that often feels a bit depressing.  However, in looking back through the pictures, I can honestly tell you that Christmas was really magical and I am thankful that Colin and Kailey brought that feeling back for me (and Chris too!) again.  

We have been celebrating Christmas for days and all started when my family was over on Sunday since my brother Tim, his wife Val and son CJ were up a bit early since they went back to North Carolina for Christmas.  

Then, on Christmas Eve, we had a bit of a crazy morning.  Kailey had been fighting the stomach virus on and off since last Wednesday night.  She generally had been ok, minus a lack of appetite and some unpleasant diapers but when she woke up on Christmas Eve morning, came into our bed, only wanted milk (had 2 cups) and then proceeded to throw up all over me and our bed.  She was fine after that since she wanted MORE milk and had breakfast.  However, we had to spray down our bed with arm & hammer pet and odor eliminator which Kailey later found while I was giving Colin a shower and covered herself in it and may have ingested some.  The pediatrician at first just said to clean her up and her mouth and keep an eye on her, but she quickly broke out in a rash on her chest.  The pedi became concerned so we were sent to the ER.  Thankfully it was a very quick visit and she was fine (the rash cleared up before I even checked in) but gave us a scare nonetheless!

We spent the rest of the afternoon and night with Chris' side of the family at our brother and sister in-laws house.  The kids were kindly spoiled with gifts and we had a great meal and quality family time spent together.  

Santa came and left lots of fun gifts for the kids.  Aside from a rough start from Kailey (she is NOT a morning person whatsoever), the kids loved opening presents and seeing what they got.  

After a fun morning, we were then off to my grandparent's house to celebrate with my mom's side of the family.  I couldn't believe how willing the kids were to pose in their Christmas outfits!

The day after Christmas brought more family time with it but once all of the partying was over, it was safe to say, we had one tired little boy.  

It really was a fantastic holiday with Chris and the kids and all of our extended family.  We are SO grateful for the wonderful ways in which our kid were spoiled with gifts from everyone and for making it a wonderful holiday.  Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas is Really Here?!

I feel as though this past fall has been a blur.  To think that in just a few short days Christmas will be here is almost unimaginable, but despite the craziness, I am more excited than ever.  This weekend will be filled with friends, family, and hopefully some VERY happy little kids.  

We kicked off the weekend today at the kids' school, the Growing Tree Children's Academy for their Christmas party and show.  The kids all looked so cute and it felt great as always to see how much the teachers there love our kids.  

Looking forward to many more fun days ahead!

Monday, December 17, 2012


In our household, November and December are tough times because of the amount of time that Chris is away from home for work.  The kids clearly recognize these times and it becomes evident when they are asking for Chris frequently and most especially when Chris is home with us.  After just getting through a few weeks where Chris was gone more than he was home, Colin makes sure that Daddy is always around.  Lately, when sitting next to each other at the dinner table, Colin will often sit there holding Chris' hand while he eats.  

...that's love for sure.   

When I tried to get a picture of him holding Daddy's hand, he also reached the other direction and asked for Aunt Kimmy to join in.  This little boy sure loves his family!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Transportation: Denied (Part II)

Back in November, I put up a post about a transportation issue we were having with the school district after asking a special request to have Colin bused in the afternoon back to the Growing Tree Children's Academy (the school he had been at since he was 6 months old).  We were facing some challenges because we had started Colin out in a new daycare in town so that he could be bused there when his preschool day had concluded.  We were weary about the decision because we didn't want to have to change, but also needed to comply with the policy of the district since Chris and I both work and were unable to be home to get him off of the bus.  After 2 months in the new school, we had noticed some changes in Colin that were very unlike him and had experienced a few unpleasant situations where we did not feel his needs were being met.  After  our radars really kicked in, we decided that he could not stay there any longer and spoke to our case manager about the possibility of getting Colin bused back to where we knew it would be a better fit.  She told us that since it was against policy, our request would be denied, but to put a request into transportation.  My post highlighted the negativity I experienced when simply trying to follow up after not hearing anything for almost a month with the transportation department.  

Subsequently, we spoke to the director of special services who suggested we put in a written request to the superintendent (she was also going to speak to him).  After several weeks of that process taking place, I just received a letter today from the superintendent that told me they couldn't "because it wasn't within town borders" and that they "do not have enough vehicles to begin that practice".  Also, he said "transportation is currently being further taxed helping displaced students".  

I feel very defeated because we asked for an accommodation that would require the bus to drive 2.5 miles one way one time a day ("do  not have the vehicles...for 5 miles round trip 1x a day....really?)  knowing it was the best fit for Colin (and saw evidence of that!).  Being a rule follower my entire life, I understand that there are rules in place to protect the district, but I also know that there are lots of accommodations that will transport students MILES to other locations because it is best for that student.  I am also disappointed that he brought up about helping displaced students because I completely understand the situation, but my request was made two weeks prior to Hurricane Sandy hitting (oh, and thanks for making me feel bad for trying to do what's best for MY child).  

We are not going to push the issue any further because we made the decision to do what was best for Colin before having an answer from the district and after a month of being there, know without a doubt that we have done the right thing.  There is something to be said for doing what's best for your child, even when it's not convenient.  We have been grateful for the help we have received to get him to school, but will probably have to reconvene to figure out what we need to do next to find an alternative since he cannot be bused.  It's very disappointing but I guess you just can't break the rules sometimes, no matter how hard you try.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Today marked our 3rd visit at feeding therapy and so far I have been really happy with how things are going.  I think Chris and I are in a good place to be doing this now for several reasons.  First, we have sort of settled in to just accepting (for now) that since Colin IS eating, it's ok that he is not eating a variety of foods (even though that's been our goal for a long time).  Colin seems a tad bit more interested in different foods and while is not willing to try most, we occassionally get a glimpse of a little boy who seems like he wants more, just doesn't quite know what to do with the food even if he is apt to try it.  I think this is also a good time because we are incredibly patient right now to be in this for the long haul (we know this isn't going to be a quick process).  

So far Colin has been really happy and willing to work with Miss Josie (love hearing him say her name) and she is just taking her time building trust and a comfort level with having certain kinds of foods in his vicinity.  She always has a lot of information to give and comment on and is extremely positive.  We liked her from the start for that reason.  She will never force him to eat something, but rather, will continue to push and work with him.  Colin has always loved the therapists who are not all in his face, but rather, have a demeanor that is calm and comforting.  If this takes a year, than so be it.  We are ready to see some changes, even if they take a really long time.  

It's funny though to me because while Colin's feeding struggles have certainly been annoying challenging, Kailey can also be a pain in the arse between what she wants at meal time and what she doesn't want.  The girl loves pasta, but when I tried to make pastina tonight (with hopes Colin would try it) she only wanted the big ziti noodles and not the pastina ones.  -Sigh-

In combination with the progress with feeding therapy, we are starting to see some very subtle improvements as well in the speech department.  While Colin certainly has a LONG ways to go, we are hearing new words and short phrases pop out all of the time.  For example, common phrases lately have been "my turn", "Mom/Dad/Kailey look", "mom, tree, cheese", and "mom/dad/kailey go".  It's always neat to hear them pop out when you aren't expecting them.  

I really like Colin's speech therapist and she has been working really hard with him on saying actions (ie: Colin is eating) and answering "wh" questions like what and why.  While I posted recently that she reported him being a bit "skoochy" lately, she still continues to push through.  Clearly, even though he often needs maximum cues, his brain is certainly absorbing the information as it pops out here and there.  She has always incorporated lots of things from home for Colin (late summer we made a bunch of action flash cards using pictures of family and she uses those a lot).  More recently, she got a new flashcard maker app fort he ipad so I just have to email her pictures of things we do on the weekend, or rooms around our house and she incorporates them into therapy.  She often reports how much he loves doing this.  

Tonight, I captured a few pictures of Colin making his bed that I emailed her so she will be able to use those actions for therapy.  

Despite the fact that I often go through phases when it comes to patience in this journey, I feel like I have calmed down a bit from my more recent posts and am back to my old self in terms of seeing progress.  I think sometimes I often forget about the little tiny pieces of the puzzle that often mean more than the "end result".  Grateful to see those little steps lately!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas is REALLY Here! (Part II)

This weekend was another busy weekend for us, but when you spend so much time celebrating that the holidays are here, it feels ok to be running from one place to another.  Yesterday, the Special Olympics put on a really awesome event called the Jingle Jam.  It was so much fun!  They had different rooms set up for different activities and my kids just went from one room to another in excitement.  

One of our most fun things we did yesterday was visit with Santa.  Part of why this year is turning out to exceed all of my expectations is because both kids are talking a lot about Santa, they absolutely love the Christmas tree, and really seem to understand some of the traditions behind this season.  Colin has been talking about Santa a lot so I have really been talking up seeing Santa with hopes that he would be ok going up to him.  When Colin and Kailey discovered what room Santa was in, they very excitedly ran into the room, but would only say hi from afar.  It took several trips into the room for Colin to be comfortable enough to go up to him, and once he did, there was no looking back.  Kailey, on the other hand, was not happy to sit on Santa's lap, but was completely OK getting close enough to get her "gift" from Santa.  

In the big gym area, they had Miss Amy's Kids Band and she was awesome!  The kids had such a great time singing and dancing with her that we stayed for both of her shows.  Seriously, I am curious at her cost for birthday parties because it would make for one fun birthday party!

They also had an area set up for storytelling and arts and crafts where Colin got a Santa tattoo on his hand.  Coincidentally, the little boy to the left of Colin in this picture is the same little boy we randomly ran into on the boardwalk this summer.  I enjoyed catching up with his Mom and Dad too!

It was such a fun day and another exciting way to get ready for the holidays!

And to add to the excitement of the day, Colin ate 5-6 solid bites of a banana!