Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Holy goodness. The last few days for our country and locally in Memphis have hardly been filled with joy and the gift of giving. Unfortunately, we have been filled with sorrow and the sadness of loss. Loss of a local police officer, a mother and a friend to many. Loss of children, teachers and administrators in the ever so lively media covered aftermath of the horrific murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. Might I add I have really not been watching much of the media coverage on that. I just can't bring myself to turn it on and listen to too much about it. The media continually makes references about the school shooting as the "2nd worst in history". Last time I checked, any loss of life in a school is a tragedy, no matter if it is 1 or 21. My prayers and heart definitely go out to all of those families laying their loved ones to rest. And Adam Lanza, whew that name is hard to type. What a troubled young man. Apparently he suffered from Asperger's which is so sad. I often wonder when things like this happen, what causes someone to take such extreme actions??? Just another reason for parents and the entire world to be truly educated about struggles they are facing whether it's related to mental, social or emotional causes. I can hardly even imagine what those families are feeling, especially right before the Christmas holiday. 

Speaking of being educated on those situations, I received a packet in the mail for Jackson's psychological testing in January. It's all starting to seem real and yet so surreal at the same time. I will say here lately Jackson has been doing pretty well. He is VERY EXCITED about the Christmas holiday. He gets kind of "fixated" on certain toys and things he wants and the other day at Target he was riding in the cart with an Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga game. I literally had to put it on the counter, have the clerk scan it and put it in a bag to make Jackson think we were buying it. We finished up and he was scouting out the bags for his game and started to panic because he didn't see it. (btw I'm becoming quite crafty on spur of the moment solutions for our breakdowns, ha) So I told Jackson let's go back to the counter and ask the lady that checked us out about the game. She knew that we weren't buying it and put in under the counter, bag and all, which I appreciated her going along with the "plan". So we look for the bag and I quickly told Jackson, "Oh my goodness Jackson, Santa must have come and picked it up to put it in his sleigh for you for Christmas. No wonder we can't find it!" He looked at me and replied, "That sneaky Santa!" Ahhhhh ha! Yes! He totally bought it and the breakdown was minimal! WHEW, that was a close one! So we left and everyday since he's been talking about that game and that Santa better not let him down, kinda deep there but I know what he means! (Thank goodness that's what his Godmother got him for Christmas so he can make sure he gets the gift! Thanks Aunt Kim!) 

Our wonderful teacher Ms. Beth! Love her!
School has also been going pretty well. He has had good behavior for the most part and we have been working for about 3 weeks on memorizing his line for his Christmas program. Last night we went to see the program at the school and I was a little nervous that he would not say his line. For the last three years he has never participated in his Christmas programs. Instead he has stood there like a statue, completely not interested and did not act the least bit phased by not participating. I have the video to prove it. 


Ms. Beth's Assistant teacher, Ms. Wendy! We love her too!
So fingers and toes crossed, my Christmas wish was that he would just say his line when it came time. I knew he probably wouldn't sing (he's not big on that) but if he would just say the line, I'd consider that a win. The program got started and the time came. I think I stopped breathing for a minute... HE SAID IT! He didn't even flinch! And when that microphone came to his mouth he said, "And Joseph put Mary on a donkey and they went to Bethlehem". (Whoooooo!) Cue Mommy tearing up. I was trying to video, cry, clap, smile... haha. I have never been so proud of Jackson. He had been saying all week he din't want to do his line, so when he did it I was so happy to hear that line! Never mind that his teacher told me after the program that there was a bit of "compromise" (aka bribery) involved if he would say his line. I don't care, whatever it takes. I know other parents can relate to that. You pick your battles and sometimes you have to give a little incentive to get a little performance and that's what we got!  
                                   Jackson and Grandpa                                                Jack & Sister Yosefa


 
















I felt I like Jackson had a "tiny Tim" moment last night. Against the odds of him saying his line, he felt the love and support of Mommy and Daddy, Hallie, Grandpa and Nona and Uncle Derek and Aunt Katie there to support him along with his teachers and classmates. He beat the odds! So, recapping the "performance of his life" here's my little monkey saying his line at his Kindergarten program and some pictures from las night. 


video
                                        I love hearing this little line! So proud of my monkey!

Looking forward to spending time with my family and hugging my kids countless times over this Christmas holiday. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and as Tiny Tim would say... 

"God Bless us, Every One"

With Love,
~EM




Monday, December 17, 2012

Day of Silence


I know all of you share my sadness over what happened yesterday.  As a mother - I can't FATHOM how those parents must feel. I hope you will all be praying for the people of CT.  They need our prayers. My heart goes out to all of those people who will be forever changed by this tragic event. May God bless and keep your families close in his arms. I'm praying for all of you. 



On Tuesday, December 18th, there will be a blogger day of silence. We will post the button and that's it. Please try to not post anything else that day if possible.

 We are also raising money that will go to an organization in the memory of this tragedy. The organization is called The Newtown Family Youth and Family Services. Here is the official description of the support service we are donating to: 

"Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families achieve their highest potential. NYFS provides programs, services, activities, counseling, support groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.

ANY DONATIONS MADE TO NEWTOWN YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES WILL BE DONATED DIRECTLY TO THOSE EFFECTED BY THE SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SHOOTING."


Please visit THIS PAGE to make your donation.

 We can't imagine how they must be feeling, especially this close to the holidays. We would love for you to spread the word on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Let's make a difference and use blogging in a positive way. Thank you in advance for participating.

 Love,
The Blog World 

p.s. If you would like to, copy-paste and repost any part of this, please do. Share on.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Filling in "THE" Blank

What's that expression? Close, but no cigar. Yep.... that's about all I got at the moment. (excuse the poor but deliberate English there) Call it what you want, I call it CRAP. Serious CRAP. Sooooo...... of course after I posted my frustrations about this whole "blank" that was left blank, I finally got someone to answer my call later that same day. Go figure. (more on the "blank" here)

I guess it should come as no surprise that every time I take two steps forward, consequently I take two steps back. Or at least it feels that way. Just as I think we are making "progress" with all of Jackson's testing, my phone call for answers didn't quite fill in the "blank" like I thought it would. 

Let's set the scene...me on my cell phone, pen and paper in hand ready to vigorously write every word of the conversation (you should see my shorthand from these medical calls, the dog could write neater LOL)  and then we have the nice lady on the other end of the line at the therapy office. Pretty simple, right? I begin to ask her about the ever so dark blank line from our OT evaluation and why there was no medical diagnosis on the line and her response to me was, "Oh, a doctor has to do the official diagnosis, so our screening for his occupational therapy is limited without a medical diagnosis" (Cue my interior monologue: "Excuse me what!?! I thought that's what you all were doing? She can't be serious? Is this for real?") My real response came out as "That's what I thought you all were doing?" She then went on to tell me that they cannot medically diagnose for Sensory Processing Disorder or anything else OT related, they can only do an evaluation at their office. (Ummmm, NOW'S a FINE TIME TO TELL ME THAT!) So I calmly (yes calmly) asked her what I needed to do about getting to a doctor that can give me those results so we can continue on the path of getting Jackson the testing and things he needs to succeed. We went back and forth for almost 30 minutes and to make a long story short, I needed another referral from our pediatrician for psychology testing and he needs to see a neurologist for the sensory testing. We are also planning to meet with the school about Jackson going into first grade next year, etc. which I explained to her as well. We were coming to the end of our conversation and her advice to me what that I just needed to be calm about everything but that she also maybe should have pushed a little harder for the other testing things for Jackson and that she wanted me to just enjoy my Christmas with my son blah blah blah (yep I was tuning her out by then) Hmmmm, okayyyy. And I'm suppose to still be calm? I could feel the steam starting to come out of my ears at that point. 

I sat there in silence for a minute. How would you respond if someone said "I should have pushed harder for your child"? I simply said I would be in touch with our pediatrician for the other referral and we hung up, although I was ready to BLOW up! For a minute, ok maybe a few hours, I felt like I was failing at all of this for my sweet Jackson. In my mind I was falling just short of success and getting nothing for my efforts. How could I have missed these important things. Why didn't anyone tell me we needed additional doctors and referrals? I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised. Things could only go "according to plan" for so long on this long journey. So, I called my Mom, threw myself a short pity party and put the whole conversation to rest. I just couldn't think about it anymore. Talk about having the scrooge mentality, phew. 

Fast forward, I called our pediatrician's office to send my "cry" for help because I wasn't sure what else to do. Lisa at the office, (an angel in my book) listened to every word of whining and complaining about my phone call. She told me not to worry and that she would call the doctor that we needed to see and demand that we get some answers so we can get back on track.  Keep in mind I have been trying to get in touch with this neurology clinic for a while to see a great psychologist, or so I have been told that he is. Within about three hours she called me back. Whoo! 

Now to fill in that blank. Lisa said, "You're in." THAT was the answer that was missing from the blank. We are in. Finally, we are in. HOLY...... And we are in with a good one, maybe the best? What a sigh of relief. OMG what does that mean? Well, so the neurologist that we are scheduled to see will evaluate Jackson to diagnose or rule out Sensory Processing Disorder and he will also be doing Jackson's Autism and ADHD testing to diagnose or rule those things out as well. He specializes in pediatric ADHD and all forms of Autism. (We do have a psych eval for Autism with EDFTC but not until at least February due to their physician being out on maternity leave) But Lisa's magic has fast forwarded us to another doctor for January 10, 2013. 

That's 28 days from now. Days that will go by fast, but seem like eternity. I called John to tell him and I was so overcome with emotions. I wanted to smile, cry, jump up and down, not to mention I feeling drained all at the same time. (that's a one woman circus of emotion huh? lol)  After years of wondering and searching, we are finally getting "our turn". Suddenly, my world stopped turning for just a moment. Nothing mattered at that moment except knowing my itty bitty monkey is going to get his turn. 

I could HUG and KISS you Lisa! Thank you will never express my gratitude to you. As we approach Christmas, the season of hope and my mind goes a mile a second...

Some days are a rock, some are a stone. For now, I won't look forward, nor behind us.
I am looking for hope and I have fear. What's on the other side of January 10th I do not know.
I cannot predict and don't want to think, I just want to give one final sigh of relief. 
I want to succeed as a Mom for my child, this world is beyond wild. 
And I am not scared of what's to come, though the path is not clear.
So for now, the blank has been filled and my time is served best... right now, right here.

Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. -Luke 2:10
~EM


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Miss Mishnastics

Mishnastics: plural of mish-nas-tics (noun)- my pint sizes diva's vocal version of gymnastics.

Ever since the summer Olympics, Miss Rhea, aka Hallie has been asking to take "mishnastics" and NOT ballet! Direct quote: "Momma, I don't wanna do ballet" What! I have 20+ years of dance experience under my belt, with many many years of ballet and my dream was to always have a little girl and for her to love ballet just as much as me! Noooooooo!!! (Ok, not my life, not my choice, fine.) I threw myself a teeny tiny pity party from those words, but honestly it's ok. I just want my children to be involved in something that makes them really happy and something that makes them proud. Something they want to put their whole heart into and love it, like I love dance. Alright, so mishnastics it is! But before we get to that, I just have to post at least a couple of shots from ballet here or I'll kick myself later. At least I have a couple of pictures of a princess ballerina for the books. HA! So I'll go ahead and fulfill my dreams here....

          Cutie pie ready for her first class!                I have the same pic, same pose when I was little.
                                                  So happy to help her do her first bun! 

Soooooo NOT interested! (tear)

Now that I'm done living vicariously through my child, we'll move on to what SHE likes! (I guess, ok last whiny moment I promise, LOL) 

Watch out Olympics 2024, Hallie's coming for you! We have retired our tutu for a super sparkly purple IRIDESCENT leotard that is SKIN tight! Hallie picked it out herself, imagine that.... so we took a couple of test classes to see where she wanted to take lessons and I let her decide where she wanted to go. Yes, I let my 3 year old decide where she wants to take gymnastics. I wanted her to be comfortable, and yeah it may sound silly letting a 3 year old decide, but I feel like empowering your kids to make their own choices helps them really love what they do. And for me it didn't matter which place we went so I let her pick. So River City it was. She has been taking class for about 3 months now and she LOVES it! She is surprising very serious about it and very focused. She always wants to go to the side where the "big girls" are as she calls them and she loves her coach Miss Elaina! I love going to watch her, and she looks up every now and then to the observation room to make sure Mommy's there clapping after every move, ha! And yes, I am the obnoxious Mom that claps every time she looks at me, oh well! 

So without further adieu, my little gymnast and some of her action shots! 



               


I think I'm in for a long journey of "mishnastics" here, but I'm super excited for my sweet little lady! I couldn't be more proud that she has found something she is so passionate about, even at 3! Although, I will mention, she may be 3, but she thinks she's 16! Whew, gonna have my hands full with this little diva! So proud to call her my little peanut! She says she's going to the Olympics... if that happens I'll definitely be clapping and obnoxious after ever move then too! HA You can look for me on the "funny parent reactions and faces" the  media always broadcasts of Olympic parents watching their kids compete. I'm sure I'll be posting about our "mishnastics" in the future! Can't wait to see where this journey takes us! 

~EM

Results Minus the Results

It's a chilly Tuesday. It's about time it felt a little more like ole man winter around these parts. (that makes me sound slightly country/ borderline heathen doesn't it? ha) Wanna know a secret? It may come as a shock, but I am developing a serious LOVE-HATE for doctors. I mean don't get me wrong, doctors are wonderful people who save lives everyday, but by golly they can't answer a phone to save their LIFE!!! Secret number two.... I have more test results for Jackson. Yep those ones we've been waiting on since ohhhh about 2 months ago. Good thing I've had Halloween, Thanksgiving and a few blog posts in between to keep my mind focused elsewhere.  

I am finding myself extremely frustrated today. Why, I don't know. Maybe it's just "one of those days". And quite frankly, who cares right? Since when is every day peaches and cream for everyone? If you are one of those people who claims to never have a bad day, stop lying to yourself, we all have a bad day. I feel like a little hamster on the wheel. Running and running, but that darn wheel isn't going anywhere. Hamsters have to be the most frustrated little creatures....

In case you are not fully on the spinning hamster wheel of Jackson's testing, I'll quickly recap. So far, we've had speech, hearing and language evaluations (more on that here) and vision testing. The second set of  OT tests includes the DP-3 (more on that here), Fine Motor Assessment and a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) evaluation. Still to go, Psychological evaluations and testing for Asperger's (which is a form of autism), Autism (all ASD forms), and ADHD. My goal in all of this is to hopefully have some firm answers for my little superhero, by April 2013. Just in case you are wondering how long all this takes, April will make 9 months of actual testing and about a 15+ months total of waiting lists and appointments to get some answers (not to mention our previous years of wondering, but hey, who's counting right? haha). Jackson will be just a few weeks shy of 7 by then. If your are a parent out there and you think you are a similar journey, or should begin down the same path for answers, get your rechargeable batteries, you'll be on the "spinning wheel" for a while, but don't ever give up on your little person! I firmly believe that their future depends on your actions today, so whatever you do, don't let that wheel stop turning for them, no matter how long you have to keep it going.

So on to the meat and potatoes of results. 

Jack's results today are the full Occupational Therapy evaluation to include the Fine Motor Skills Assessment and Sensory Processing Disorder. Are you still with me or did I lose you at chilly Tuesday? Ha. All these tests and details and foreign language medical terms can be a bit overwhelming, trust me I KNOW.

Without going into too many details and because I don't think I need to blast Jackson's every area of concern, I'll just recap the areas of testing and results. As you read these, should you find yourself thinking internally: "what does that listed medical term mean?", well... Google it friends. Here we go...


Motor Skills Testing:
  • Musculoskeletal Observations
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Visual-Motor / Visual Perception Skills
  • Oculomotor Skills: 
    • Tracking-results: within normal limits (YAY!!!!)    
    • Scanning- results: needs therapy                    
    • Convergence- results: impaired 
    • Accommodation- results: needs therapy 
    • Divergence- results: impaired
  • Additional Visual Information
  • Self-Help Skills 

Sensory Processing Disorder Testing: 
  • Sensation Seeking
  • Auditory Processing
  • Visual Processing
  • Tactile Processing
  • Vestibular Processing
  • Oral Sensory Processing
  • Cognitive Skills

And so for all those areas of testing came these results: Occupational Therapy (OT) should begin in January 2013 for Jackson, with a re-assessment scheduled at the end of the school year to observe for improvements. Jackson should also be involved in social interaction group and/or a sensory processing based play group or camp. 

The the most important line on the whole darn report, MD (medical diagnosis) and here's what it says: 


MD:____________________________________

What? Huh? Nothing? What the.....? Okay, what does blank mean? Is this a bad joke because it's definitely not funny. Does that mean there is no diagnosis, yet he needs to have OT sessions? Does that mean we can rule out Sensory Processing Disorder? Does that mean there will only be a diagnosis after more tests? How can you go through all these tests and things for the most important line to be BLANK!!!! I mean if he doesn't have a diagnosis, fine. But write something on that line to say one way or the other. All those results with no real result!?! Ugh! Maybe my frustration today is starting to make more sense. I have called at least (no joke here...) 20 times to ask about this. 

Of course we will be at therapy this week, so I plan to pin SOMEONE in a corner til' they answer me why that little line was blank, so stay tuned and hopefully I'll be able to fill in the blank! 

I guess I can add this to the "speed bump count" on Jackson's journey. But don't worry, I'll get my answers. In the meantime, the plan is to start OT for Jackson at the beginning of the year and hopefully get scheduled for the psych testing next. 

Since that all important line was blank and I'm rather frustrated today; I'll just fill it in for them... 


MD: Milford Done

~EM

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

You Can't Have That

Ever heard the words "you can't have that"? It's like finding the perfect pair of heels only to flip them over and see just how many 00000's are behind the $ sign on the tag. Shattered dreams.....

So okay, you recover and your on to the next thing. What about repeatedly being told "you can't have that"? That's a whole other story. It's hard enough to process things you can't have (for whatever reason), let alone when you process things a little differently and are told those 4 yucky words. Which leads me to my point. Yes, there is a point here. Ha! I know there are tons of allergies out there with our kids, our own allergies, etc but do you live with one? Do you stare at food labels and read them like a hawk? Well, I do. 

Jackson is allergic to tree nuts. What are those.... well anything like your pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews (especially those little half moon suckers!) and others. But he can have peanuts (for now). Anything that can potentially contain tree nuts, he cannot have. If you have ever been to an allergist you know that little porcupine looking gadget that poke your back with?? Yeah, it has traces of the elements on it when they are testing you for an allergy. Jackson blew up like a balloon before the nurse could even get finished and get out of the room. Cue the epi pen epidemic!!! We have SIX of those suckers! One at school, one at home, one in my purse (always), two back ups, and one that travels in an overnight bathroom bag in case he spends the night anywhere without me and John. 

We figured out this lovely "allergy" a couple of years ago, thankfully at a graduation party for our friend Patrick who just so happened to be graduating as a NURSE! So lots of medical people were on hand at the time we tasted the lovely cashew that caused Jackson to blow up like a balloon. He didn't even look like himself he was so swollen. Long story short here....luckily, with the medical folks there, a police officer and a whole heck of a lot of benadryl, we had him under control pretty quickly actually. (Mr. Cop was trying to pull me over for speeding down Poplar in Germantown, until I rolled down the window and he saw Jackson's face and became our escort instead, hehhehehe I won that one Mr. Po-Po!). But seriously, whew! 

Looking back on that night, it was really scary to see him so swollen! But now we check everything. I had no idea how many foods are made with tree nuts or manufactured in places that touch tree nuts. RIDICULOUS. Especially the good stuff like cookies, muffins, cakes, etc. So last night we were ready to make some cookies from our cookie dough I ordered as part of a school fundraiser. Then I read the label. Yep, you guessed it.... so I delivered the news to Jackson that we can't make those cookies because they have tree nuts in them. Commence breakdown. Hurry Mom, plan B, you need a plan B. Ok, other cookies. No other cookies in the house (of course not, that would be way to easy). So with my crying little man, I offered for us to make muffins. Which I'll insert here, DARN you Hostess! They were pretty much the only ones with the mini muffins pre-packaged without tree nuts! So, I got some other muffin mix sans tree nuts so we could make our own. I offered to let Jackson do all the mixing and make his own. Problem starting to divert! We are working with him on his adaptive behavior skills (you can read about that  here). So I thought if he could try to make these on his own he would feel a great sense of accomplishment, have something sweet to eat, and it's even better for you than cookies! I've lost count on my win win's with this one. LOL

To most kids making cupcakes, etc is cool when you are little but as they get older they are just more interested in eating them, than the whole baking/kitchen labor part. But Jackson was so excited to make his muffins last night and I let him do the majority of the work on his own! He only got upset once or twice with the mix "missing" the mini cup on the pan. (he likes things neat, not outside the lines, so muffin mix on top of the pan will not do for him) But I gave him a napkin and showed him how to clean it up and try to move on and not "obsess" over a little spill. He did pretty good with it! He even set the timer on the oven (he's obsessed with the "countdown" of timers) and then put his hand in the oven mit with mine so we could take out the muffins together. I gave him a toothpick to "stab" the muffins so he could get them out of the pan without burning himself and put them on a cooling rack. 

Super excited and so proud of himself he asked to call Grams (aka my mom) and tell her all about them. (He rarely asks to call people on the phone and usually has to be prompted or helped with his phone conversations on how to respond, so the fact that he wanted to call was so awesome!) He was so happy that he had done it. You wanna know what making muffins really means in Jackson language? That means with a lot of practice and help, he has the will to do better. That means he understands what it feels like to succeed. That means my little monkey can improve in everything he does and there is no limit to what he can do. Of course it takes an entire post about allergies, muffins and yelling at Hostess to get me to the "read between the lines" message here, but my point is just because "you can't have that" doesn't mean you can't have something else that's even better that what you wanted to begin with.

Hanging my hat on a HUGE hanger of success for this one. And my little superhero being super proud of himself... I can't do  much better than that. 
~EM



Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Dirty 30...

Welp. You only turn 30 once right? Not that I need ANY excuse to have a few libations, (hehe) but turning 30 warrants well....libations! Soooooo I was led to believe by my hubby that we were going out for a MUCH NEEDED date night and that he had already lined up for the kids to spend the night at Grandpa and Nona's. (that should have been my first hint that he was plotting, he's no Martha Stewart when it comes to party planning) But little did I know that he had been on the sneaky sneaky with one of my best friends for over a month! 

Skipping to last night, we were headed out to the restaurant Local in mid-town (or so I thought). Pause... since when has mid-town become a booming metropolis in our city? Or am I really just that behind and sheltered? Maybe I should get out more??? After ten minutes of circling like a shark for a parking spot, we finally found one and were headed in. We got to the door and all of a sudden J says, "Ok, change of plans." Uhhh, ok? He said he didn't want to hurt my feelings, but Local was booked so we were going to Bosco's instead. Well ok, that sounds good to me. So we get in, bypass the hostess and he tells me to just keep going straight to the back. (ok this is starting to get a little "weird") I turn the corner and out comes the loud squeal... "SURPRISE"!!! There was an entire group of people at a big table all there to help me celebrate being one year closer to geriatric-hood! Ha! We had a great time at dinner with some of my best friends and the rest of the night was up to "wherever the wind blows us" aka wherever the cab drove us lol. 

Kelly, McKenleigh, Ashley and me at Bosco's 

After dinner we headed over to Local, for real this time haha to hang out and have a couple of drinks. Of course we tend to take pictures like there's no tomorrow, so here's a few pics of us attempting to "act our age" (like we ever do that).

Typical..... 
   
      
Wifey swap! LOL
My mini-me....  (just act like you don't see this pic Mom ha!)


After a while we headed downtown to continue the party. Side note, last night was "dress like Santa pub crawl downtown" that one of the local bars hosts every year and we saw some pretty funny attempts to look like the the big guy who comes down the chimney, ha! I WISH I would have taken some nonchalant, potentially embarrassing pics of the Santa's but ask me if that crossed my mind at ONE O'CLOCK in the morning? NOPE. Oh well, on to more shenanigans...

         


              
          Holly and Kyle.... oh these two...aren't they cute?? I'm sure he thinks our family is NUTS!
                                                                                   
Me and Holls! (We missed our other sissy, Auburn... don't worry Aubs, we drank one or two for you)
Sad and scary my youngest sissy is old enough to even go to a bar!
I feel like she should be at home playing barbies! Guess I'm starting to show my "age" LOL

Me and Kelly! So many fun nights and memories with this sweet girl! LOVE YOU!

We had such a fun night and got home around...hmmm, yeah it was late. Ha. I am so thankful and blessed to have a sweet hubby and friends who came out to celebrate me turning the DIRTY 30 as I have been hearing from everyone for a while! Don't worry though, just wait til' they all turn 30...hehehe. So getting sentimental here for a minute, from the bottom of my HEART, a HUGE thank you to everyone that came out and helped celebrate my birthday. Really, it meant the world to me! I feel like such a lucky girl to have such wonderful friends and family that love and care about me! 

In other breaking news... Jackson is back to 100% Whooooo, FINALLY! The kids had a great weekend and now that I'm getting closer to "old fart" status, I'll gladly share all my AARP discounts with my YOUNGER friends! (yes, I'm admitting that one of those came in the mail for me the other day) Hahahaha! I mean good grief! I'm only 30 AARP! That's about the equivalent of someone making a phone call and asking for someone who is no longer alive! Can you say awkward!?! GEEZ! I hope your weekend was as fun and blessed with love as mine was! 

Here's to the DIRTY 30! Til next time friends!
~EM

Friday, November 30, 2012

Frustration, Spilled Milk & a Side of Gangnam?

Sometimes you just have to get it out. Today is one of those days for me. (I'll go ahead and apologize for the small pity party I'm throwing here) Jackson is still sick, day 12. I think a 4th trip to the doctor is in our future tomorrow morning. Poor baby. Whatever this "virus" is or isn't is really throwing him for a loop and a half. And if I am being really honest and candid, I'm SO OVER THE SICKNESS! Not only for him, but selfishly for me too. I'm tired. I want to pull the "I want my Mommy" card, too!  

After a long week of leaving school early for multiple days, missing school all week last week, a lot of sleeping and not a whole lot of eating, I am really starting to worry about my little man. We had therapy tonight and I guess I shouldn't be surprised but we still don't have any more test results even though they were ready before Thanksgiving.  UGH! The "printer" has been messed up at EDFTC or so I am told. I'm sorry but where is the customer service?? I have begged for them to just fax it, email it just any way they can come up with to get me these darn results and still nothing. Oh well, there's always next week, I suppose. Jackson's session didn't go very well today. I could hear the frustration through the door as he was trying to work on his speech. I guess I wouldn't have much patience if I didn't feel well either, much less on a Friday. Feeling helpless, I listened on the other side of the room as my poor little guy struggled and was anything but interested in focusing on his speech. Cutting his session 20 minutes short, his therapist Ms. Courtney opened the door and said he had reached his limit today. 

Game over.... Therapy-1, Jackson-Zilch.

As we continue on our journey for answers, I'll share some of Jackson's "habits". Frustration is putting it lightly for Jackson when things are going "according to plan" for him sometimes. If he spills even one drop of milk, he wants a whole new glass and the world is coming to an end. He has cried and cried over  his spilled milk, multiple times. So much for the saying "no use in crying over spilled milk" huh? He also tends to process things differently. You know how people ask you "If you could be anyone for a day who would it be?" I would want to be Jackson. I wish I could walk a day in his shoes, see his perceptions of how the world turns and really experience things the way he does. 

Often times he becomes very obsessive over things like movies, commercials, the weather, certain iPad games, etc. I mean really... if there was such a thing as the Jim Cantore School of Weather, I would have earned a degree in Meteorology by now! He is also very analytical, which I find interesting. He likes puzzles and he's really good at them. He likes to know how things work, taking them apart and putting them back together, things like that. He's very interested in, surprise... the weather, sports and scores and who's winning or losing. He' also critical when he thinks sports teams/players don't do well. He's very quick to say "they didn't do good, or they need to try again or that was a bad shot" and seldom is he interested in anything but winning. He doesn't understand the concept of losing. He can't lose at anything or there is a guaranteed meltdown. I think he ponders about how technology works. He's very good at using technology too, just ask my Apple iTunes account how easy it is for a six and a half year old to get past a password and buy apps. (cue the OUCH to the ole bank account)

He's also very in-tune with sounds or select words and repeating them, a lot and at totally random times. Like theme songs in commercials, just think "ba da ba ba ba, I'm loving it" from McDonald's. Phone numbers from ambulance chasers, I mean lawyers on tv. For all you Memphians out there....trust me, if anyone ever needed Nahon, Saharovich and Trotz, Jackson could recite Corey B.'s # on command!  Guess that "catchy" advertisement of their phone number is working for at least someone, lol. 

I could go on for a while about obsessions that he has, because there is a laundry list of them, but the last one I'll talk about tonight and perhaps the most hysterical to me is Gangnam Style! O.M.G. I mean, it's really quite funny. Don't even ask me how many times we have watched that You Tube video because I'll never admit to the actual number. I'll just put it this way.... he has watched that video enough to LEARN all the words and dance moves on his own. Now he's no prima ballerina when it comes to his dancing skills, but in his mind he thinks he's on Dancing With the Stars. I even caught it on video....hehehe!!!!

video


Don't judge my messy den of kids homework, toys and junk. Sometimes you pick your battles so cleaning that day wasn't at the top of my list (sorry). I'm sure this video will go on the list of "I can't believe my Mom did that to me", but I love to capture him in all his happy moments of glory and feelings of accomplishment! It's also "good Mom code" to have embarrassing moments of your kiddos right!?!

After a long week and an unsuccessful therapy session tonight, I'm looking forward to getting up our Christmas decorations this weekend and crossing my fingers for a healthy boy.

TGIF
~EM

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Memphis- Birthplace to Bon Qui Qui? Huh?

I know you are wondering what the heck is this post about??? Well... as I am STILL patiently waiting for more of Jackson's test results, (there's always tomorrow huh)  tonight it's time for a post with a little ehhhh light-heartedness. Soooo here we go.....

Often times with all the stresses going on from day to day, I search for the little things that keep my mind clear, make me giggle like a school girl and maybe contribute to my sanity in some small way. After all, you do burn calories from laughter and I can't remember anyone that just loves to be around a scrooge, right? I'll admit I am a junky for all things funny from movies, to SNL, to completely obnoxious cards I can send for holidays and birthdays. (sorry family hehehe) But my huge weakness you ask? YOU TUBE & HULU. Good grief I could laugh at ridiculous skits and "wanna-be superstars" in terrible video clips all day. It's amazing the things people will post. Some hilarious, some not so hilarious and then there's always that ONE video that has to be somehow related to home.....Memphis. 

Known as the birthplace of Rock and Roll, Memphis has produced it's share of mega superstars like Elvis and Justin Timberlake along with our great city name  being "name-dropped" in  more songs that any other city in the world! (bet ya didn't know that tid bit did ya... if you did, humor me and act like I taught you something today ok?) But of all the great history and musical artifacts Memphis has to offer, we also have a small reputation of being labeled as ghetto? At least from outside this great city. And is word ghetto even cool anymore? Well, you get the point. Now don't get me wrong, I've had my share of uh um how do you say it...interesting experiences (yes that's a nice way to put it) for the last 10+ years I have lived here. Which leads me to this chick....meet Anjelah Johnson aka Bon Qui Qui. Funny, somewhat ghetto and guaranteed to make me laugh every time I see one of her comedy skits. What I didn't know is how Bon Qui Qui came to be... until yesterday! The short clip below recaps her experience of being at, yup you guessed it, a MEMPHIS Burger King drive through. 

Between that "drive through gal" and her brother (I'm guessing he's a hoot) Bon Qui Qui was brought to life. HA! What!?! Who even knew Bon Qui Qui stemmed from something and someone that was actually real in little ole Memphis, TN.

For your viewing pleasure and maybe a few chuckles, I hope Bon Qui Qui makes you laugh and appreciate all the "characters" you encounter. Funny things like this remind me to never take myself too seriously and give thanks to all those that contribute to my well being from a good daily dose of laughter! Providing Memphis history and a cheap laughs, hmm not too bad for a Wednesday! 


So funny and maybe a little ghetto-fabulous! LOL


~EM

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Going Out With A Bang!


Yay for Saturday! Ummmm, why is the weekend going so fast? I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and time well spent with family, too much food and maybe a libation...or 10 HA! So recapping Thanksgiving, we drove over to John's cousin's house for the day and spent the day playing whiffle ball (yes, we have enough family to make two full teams and fans to cheer us on), knock-out, bocce, corn hole and eating pretty much all day long. But we had so much fun getting to visit everyone. John's Aunt Terry was campaigning for cash to go buy scratch off lottery tickets, which I thought was hilarious and "worth the mention". Ten years from now, this will be funny as hell to look back and remember her walking to the gas station with about $50 of donations, a couple of kids under the age of 5 and a handful of lotto tickets. Have I mentioned I love this family! Never a dull moment and I would NOT change a thing! I'll tell you, I had planned with the best of  intentions on taking all these great photos on Thanksgiving and posting them for the family and ask me how far I got with that???? Absolutely nowhere would be the answer. So FAIL... just put it on my tab. As a matter of fact, these were the only pictures of my own kids I got! What kind of Mother am I? Thankfully... John's Godmother to the rescue! Ginger took lots of photos and is going to send them to me soon! Whoo! 

                                                    

So obviously as you can see above, Thanksgiving was winding down and we were on to the next thing. I feel like we have been running the 100 meter olympic hurdles all weekend! Friday was spent doing very LITTLE black Friday shopping mainly because I am an online junky shopper. Seriously! I need an online shoppers support group ha! But I'll argue my case for a second and say, when you have two kids that have minimal attention spans for comparing "this to that" for Christmas shopping, they don't last very long! I know all you parents can feel my pain here! And on the flip side I can shop online ALL day long and they can play at home. It's a WIN WIN people!!!

The monkeys had finally started to get over the "funk" we have been fighting all week (praise the LORD), so last night we decided to head to the zoo to see Santa and the Zoo Lights (kinda becoming a cousin tradition) Even though we were missing a couple of cousins due to, ehhh sickness is a good way to put it. 

Disclaimer*** Secretly we take the kids to the zoo lights to see Santa because we all get a great LAUGH out of the terrible face that someone always produces from seeing the big guy in the red suit. It's like a cheap thrill for the adults HAHAHA! And boy this year was no different. Miss Ella delivered like a champion! (See terrifying face below as I giggle)


Ha!!!!! I'm so sorry but this picture is hilarious and worth a thousand words. Auntie Ericka loves you Ella!!!! So with the terrifying pic, here's a few more of the fan with "happier" faces. 


Big Christmas tree at the Zoo entrance
Hallie and Ryan, best friends! 
Joe and Kristen
Me and J :)


Jackson and Ella tuckered out!  
Checking out the tree!
Sweet smiles, but double trouble!

Today we are headed to Maryn and Annie's baptism along with a little football later tonight. Go Irish!  Rounding out our weekend, I'll make the extremely fast mention that today is my last day in my 20's! Woah and yikes!!! Good thing I fully loaded the weekend with lots of great family time and love before I celebrate the dirty 30 tomorrow LOL..... Oh well, what is it they say, 30 is the new 18? Ok, yeah I'll go with that. Mentally I feel about 12 most days, so that HAS to count for something right? 

What a blessed and great weekend we are having so far, my cup runneth over!

Going out with a bang... goodbye 20's, hello older and wiser! (HA, yeah right) 
~EM





  




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Good Things Come in Small Packages

Happy Thanksgiving eve! My mind has slowly started migrating towards "holiday mode" and man am I ready for the break! Since Jackson didn't get to go to school all week this week, (thank you viral infection) his sweet teacher sent home a small care package of all of his projects for Thanksgiving. We  have an abundance of cutsie art goodies including a pumpkin, a handprint turkey placemat, a headdress and Indian t-shirt,  complete with his Indian name "Cow Jackson" on the back (I have no idea where he came up with that one LOL) and maybe most importantly, his vision screening results from LeBohneur. 

My husband (God love him) is pretty much a blind bat without his "eyes" otherwise known as contacts, so I was expecting the possibility of glasses in our future for Jackson. Much to my surprise however, he is 20/20 in both eyes! Whoooo! I know that sounds so simple and maybe somewhat silly, but since we are racing the Indy 500 of tests these days, these are the first "test" results that we have back that have been different than what I expected and we'll take it! Our OT results are in as well, but I still don't have a copy of those (go figure) so I'll be on the edge of my racing seat until Monday for those results.

As we ski down the slope to being fever free in our house, (YAY!) tomorrow I plan on devoting my entire day to being thankful for relaxation and hugging the necks of family members that we haven't seen in a while. Good food, laughter and love.... that's what I look forward to this Thanksgiving. Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday weekend! I'll be posting.....

I can never have too many kisses from this little man!


Cheers!
~EM

Monday, November 19, 2012

Finding Peace....Giving Thanks

Today I took the monkeys to the doctor to see if we can try and kick the sick. Two hours later and a finger poke or two and we have a nasty, make that two nasty viral infections. Yummy. As they were sleeping today, I was working to with the lovely sound of two little chainsaws buzzing heavy at work. (ha) At least they were sleeping together though. 

Poor pitiful babies....(yes, I took them to the doctor in their pj's don't judge me)

 

As far as results go today.... SURPRISE! A whole lot of NOTHING. Wah wah! Don't be too shocked folks, medical test results and their timing are like weather forecasters. Always predicted but hardly accurate. Sooooo until tomorrow for more results I suppose (and hope). I have only called harassed them twice today anyway. I might have to start hitting the *69 or whatever that code is so that my phone number won't show up so they'll actually answer me because I think they have memorized my number. I'm sure they argue over who will have to answer my call "this time". HA! 

As a pretty eventful or ummm uneventful Monday at the Milford house winds down I do have some sad news to share. This afternoon I was catching up with a dear friend, to be told that another wonderful and dear friend that I have known for many years has passed away. Yesterday would have been his 30th birthday. He went to sleep and simply never woke up. Hard to believe and shocking for sure. I have to say after I got off the phone today, I had to call my Mom for a small breakdown and lots of tears. How lucky are we all to have each and every day we are blessed to have? Pretty lucky and fortunate I think. I only hope my dear friend is resting peacefully above and that his family is finding peace through their all too soon loss of their son and child that was loved by so many.

So in his honor, I give my thanks and offer peace and love to my friend that will be missed dearly. I am happy, grateful and thankful to tend to my sick peanuts and because he always made me laugh and smile.... I'm thankful to obnoxiously cheer from my couch as the Grizzlies hopefully fry the Nuggets in tonight's game. Don't take your days and loved one for granted!

Life is not measure by the number of breaths we take,
But by the moments that take our breath away. 
                                      -Anonymous


Rest in peace my friend. I love you and know you have gone to a far better place. As I cry....

~EM

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Not So Funday

Two monkeys with two fevers.....ahhh that's not how I wanted to start out my Sunday. Oh well, I guess we'll take today to really "rest" since Sundays are suppose to be a day of rest, right? Hoping the monkeys are back to normal for school tomorrow, the rest of my day will be spent doing laundry, cleaning and de-germing the house and getting stuff ready for the week. So much for that whole idea on resting, guess I should know better. 

A positive of today is that today is my sister or as she's better known "Auntie Auba's" birthday! (don't worry sis, I won't say your age :) And although Jackson was running a fever this morning he squeaked out his rendition of "Happy Birthday" to Auntie Auba (complete with Cha-Cha-Cha's between every line HA!) Hilarious and yet pitiful too. 

As Jackson's test scores are still setting in, I think I have 3 things I am debating. #1 I am starting to put Friday's scores into my brain folder: plethora-o-info for  Jackson, #2 I am starting to focus on what the next scores (fingers, toes and all things crossed) hopefully coming tomorrow will be. I wonder what they will reveal? Will they be a pleasant surprise? Will I have round two of picking my jaw up off the floor again? Either way, it's just one more step in the right direction. And #3 and maybe the most important, how do I begin to try to make Jackson understand what all of this means? Of course he realizes he goes to therapy, but does he know why? I highly doubt it. Maybe in movie terms since that's relatable for him?

Like the journey of the "yellow brick road"? You are headed to that magic wizard that can grant all your wishes but along the way.... LIONS and TIGERS and BEARS oh my!... but just like in the Wizard of Oz.... those lions, tigers, and bears end up becoming not feared but welcomed. That's what these test scores are starting to turn into. Yes, they scare me (Jackson probably won't care about the scores really or even understand), but I sure am thankful for them because without them, we won't reach that magical wizard that can grant all of our wishes! (call it dumb or silly, I guess that's just my mind making it all relatable for Jackson if I try to explain things to him) I also need to decide if he is even ready to hear my "attempt" to explain these things to him. I can just see it now... A 5 minute discussion (at the MOST, and I'll be lucky to get him still for two minutes), I try to explain things like a "movie" or something relatable to him and then Jackson's reaction "Cool Mom, can I go watch that movie now?" (insert MOM FAIL) Ha... but it will be funny and I'll be ok even if he has no clue what I am trying to tell him.  

He had a hard night last night as we tried attempted to play a game with the kids. Just as playing a family game is simple for me and you, it's like asking Jackson to run the NYC marathon. I won't go into that struggle, but as the journey continues I'll talk about Jackson's habits and "super powers" he has been blessed to have. :)

Hoping you all have a great week and blessed Thanksgiving! Meanwhile my little dude is trying to kick the fever......


~EM

Saturday, November 17, 2012

What's Your Age???

Hello loves! Yesterday was not the happiest of Fridays, but as always tomorrow is another day and today has been great! Hallie and I have been to a make-up open house (yay) we went to a crafts fair at our church, we are making Christmas lists, watching football and playing games with the kids. In other words a good family day for a Saturday. This weekend is the first weekend in a VERY long time that we have not had anywhere to be or anything to do. Can I get a hallelujah!?!

In other news, we have more test results. Long post here, so grab your wine and read on.....

Finding the words at this moment is hard. I feel as though I have a case of writer's block in trying to get the words out - even though what I have always known has now been confirmed on paper. Make that NINE pages of confirmation. (I am now starting to see why it takes so long for these tests and the results) 

So, on to (or back to), October 24th....another testing day. We started the process for Jackson's Occupational Therapy (OT) assessment with a parent interview, the OT therapist doing an interview with Jackson and then the actual testing. I also had to fill out a profile for Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and Developmental Profile Test (DP-3). And by fill out I mean FILL OUT a profile. You know when you buy a house and it's closing day? Yeah... imagine that stack of pages as you sign your life away only apply to a six year old for testing. I guess I see it as another signing day to "buy" a better future for my sweet Jacks. I thought I would NEVER get through that packet!!! I could have published a documentary of Jackson's life there were sooooo many pages, ha! But again, all so worth it if we can get to the light at the end of ever so dark tunnel. 

So, testing begins... I didn't get to go in for this test like I did for the speech, language and hearing tests. Instead, I got to sit and wait and watch the clock tick by. OMG!!! My nerves were shot and that hour and a half seemed like eternity! (I swear, paint could have dried faster that day) The testing was finally completed, I did my interview part and we left. Ms. Jackie (our OT) said she would have the results back to us in a couple of weeks or so. My interior monologue kicked in...."Weeks? Really? Ugh!" My response out loud was a little more cheerful and along the lines of: "Ok, thank you so much for seeing us and we'll see you soon", along with a grateful sigh of relief. Another set of tests to check off the list and the waiting game begins yet again. Anybody wanna contribute to the "Ericka needs to buy more patience fund?" LOL 

Finally on November 13 (almost 3 weeks later, yes I counted) and we have some results. I thought I was ready....I mean I was ready....I mean I really wasn't ready, was I? My head was a wreck, my heart was pounding. So I get the call, get a few results, continue with my night with nothing really "hitting me yet" and we were scheduled to get the "hard copy" of the results on Friday, November 16 (yes that would be yesterday... and in case you missed how great my day was yesterday, you can read it here). Jackson had speech therapy as usual last night and meanwhile, I had hard, down on paper, pretty (or not so pretty) graphs and charts, recorded results. In Jackson's case, we are doing a series of tests for a multitude of things. I have the results for the Developmental Profile (DP-3 Test) so far. The rest of our results will come on Monday or Tuesday (or in medical time, sometime in 2013.. HA!)

I'll give you the easy to understand run-down as usual. The DP-3 tested Jackson for the following..... Physical Development, Adaptive Behavior, Social-Emotional Development, Coginitive Development, Commincation Development and then  General Development (this is like a composite score of all the other tests combined)

The easiest, most understandable terms I can put these results in is to say that for each of these tests, they give you an "age range" that your child falls into for each test and then an overall General Development Diagnosis. So I review the results: 

            Tests:                                                                                                 Age Equivalent:

Physical Development (carrying objects, jumping, etc.)                                           3-6
Adaptive Behavior (i.e. how make a bowl of cereal, daily life habits, etc.)               4-5
Social-Emotional Development (expressing needs, interacts/plays with others)    3-10
Cognitive Development (what's real/not real, memory, etc)                                     4-2
Communication Development (verbal/non-verbal skills, etc)                                    5-1


Ok, the first one- physical development- ages 3-6? That's not too bad right? Keep in mind he is now 6 years, 6 months (yes they record the months when they test) So I thought the age range of 3-6 was kinda wide, so I asked about the range. WRONG. SO WRONG. 

That was age 3 years dash 6 months. (Cue, my nervous stomach falling from my throat to my FEET!) I know the look on my face had to tell it all. I was shocked. Jackson turns 7 in May and as you can see above, each test score is well below the age of 7. He's 6 and a half and physically 3 years and 6 months? Woah. I almost for a second couldn't wrap my head around that. I wasn't expecting it to be that bad low for any of the tests. I honestly thought his communication would be the worst and it was the best! Phew! Need a deep breathe at this point. You can read the rest above as the same... the first number is the age in years and the second number is the age in months. 

So for his General Development he is: Developmentally Delayed (by years in every category). I knew it, I just hadn't seen it. Seeing it makes it all come full circle. It's hard now to even type it all down. I needed to just take it all in yesterday before I shared it. And although this was the outcome for this test, I don't really want to cry. I want to FIGHT. Fight for him to do better and improve. Fight for him to develop more and more every day. Clearly, we have a ways to go in working on Jackson's development, but we will get there! We have a plan to work on at home, therapy and school for the next 6 months and the DP-3 test will be done again to see what kind of improvements we are making. And he will improve! I firmly believe that. I am still letting all of this sink in and still not sure if it has completely hit me, but we'll continue on the path of nothing but success. There is no room for anything but improvement for Jackson and I won't settle for anything less. 

As it all sinks in...... 
~EM