Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Conversation with Kameron

As you can see, my kids have no self esteem problems... but we may need to work on being humble! haha

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Conversation with Kassidy

Here is Kassidy's conversation. I think I'm going to print these and frame them. :o)

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Conversation with Keeghan

I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it was really cool! The point is to make a new one each year so you can remember what your kids liked that year. I plan on doing new ones every January. I only have Keeghan's completed so far because the 3 big kids are at school. I'll get theirs done this weekend.


I love Pinterest!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

One Day Down...

I dropped Frank off at Ft. Carson at 10:00 last night. They were set to have their goodbye ceremony at 1:00am. Frank and I decided that it would be crazy to keep the kids out that late. They were already emotional and get more emotional when they're tired. So, we put them to bed at their normal bedtime and Frank said goodbye to each of them. Around 9:30, my friend Tiffani came over to sit with the kids, who I thought would sleep the whole time.

Kass got up right before Frank and I walked out the door. She said she had a bad dream and needed water... and maybe an extra hug from daddy. ;) Then we headed out to Carson. I helped Frank get his stuff inside and hung out for a few minutes and then we said our goodbyes. He didn't want me out until 1 or 2 in the morning and I have been to LOTS of goodbye ceremonies, so we agreed it would be best to just say our goodbyes privately and go on... it's probably a whole lot less emotional that way, too.

When I got home, Keeghan was awake, and not happy. He was crying and saying that his ear hurt. Tiffani said he had been awake most of the time I was gone. poor little guy. He climbed into bed with me and he slept horribly. Even the Motrin I gave him didn't seem to help. This morning when we woke up I asked him how he was doing and he said he was fine and wanted to go to school. Whew!

When I picked Keeghan up from school, he said his ear was hurting again so I called their pediatrician and they were able to get him right in. His ears looked fine, so he said it could be some congestion draining into his ears or something. He seems to be doing ok tonight. They also reminded me that he needs his shots for Kindergarten. Keeghan was NOT happy about this news at all! We'll get them done eventually... but don't tell Keeghan!

After the trip to the pediatrician, we came home and rested for about an hour, and then Kennedy had dance class... Keeghan asked last week if he could try dance too, so he joined her tonight. He really seemed to like it! I guess we will enroll him and see how it goes. Kameron has been missing Tae Kwon Do because he got a part in his school play and they've been practicing after school twice a week. Thankfully one of his friend's mothers offered to take Kameron back to her house after practice so he could do homework with her boys until I got back from dance. When I went to pick him up, they were having a great time making an Angry Birds play. (They said I can even have a part in it! haha)

We came home and grabbed a quick dinner and now everyone is showered and bathed and we're getting ready for bed. Ahh! I'm praying that Keeghan will sleep well tonight and wake up refreshed in the morning. Tomorrow will be a little less hectic, which is a good thing!

As for Frank, we've talked a few times today. They went to San Diego this morning to pick up some Marines and then headed off to Alaska. Here's a picture he took while he was there... it's -3 degrees! Brrr!

I just talked to him a little while ago and he was getting ready to fly again to somewhere else. He said he's been fed well, the plane is only 1/2 full so he can stretch out, and hopefully he'll be able to sleep on the next leg of his flight. 

Thank you to everyone who has sent prayers and words of encouragement over this past week. I'm feeling much better about things even though I lost a "friend", and I'm going to keep blogging... maybe not every day, but when I have something to say (which may be every day! HA!). Thank you to those of you who love our family... I appreciate you more than you know!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Here We Go Again...

Tonight we begin another year of deployment. This is number 5 for our family... twice to Iraq, three times to Afghanistan. Every deployment has been different... more kids, the kids at different ages and different stages of awareness about what's happening. Frank has been in different locations at each time, which means different accommodations for him and most importantly, different forms and quality of communication home.

Last time was really hard because the communication there was horrible... he would try to Skype with the kids and the connection would freeze or drop completely which made Kennedy very upset. She didn't understand anything except that she wanted to see her daddy.

This time, we've been told, the communication will be good. It's well established. I am praying this is true because it makes things so much easier. I am thankful for communication, for technology. I think often about the Army wives before me, in the days of the World Wars, the Korean war and even Vietnam when they eagerly awaited letters... sometimes coming weeks apart. Never knowing if their husband was alive, or hurt, until long after the fact. I am so grateful to all of them for paving the way for our country and our military now. They inspire me and help me get through each deployment with my own husband.

Kassidy and Kameron are strong. They amaze me. They are so proud of their father, yet they worry too. Kassidy takes on the role of the oldest well. She protects her siblings. She hugs them often. Even when she feels like crying, she hangs tough. And she helps me. Sometimes too much... but I love her and I appreciate her and her sweet spirit. Kameron has blocked all deployment talk out. He may be in a little bit of denial. He was literally surprised when Kassidy reminded him that daddy was leaving today, even though we've been talking about it for weeks. He plays everything cool... like the big kid that he is, but sometimes the little boy inside comes out and you can tell he is scared. No matter how much I try to protect them from the news, they know. They know that sometimes daddies just don't come home.


Kennedy is understanding in small doses. She knows that daddy is going to help people. She knows he won't be back for "lots and lots of days". She knows that when he does come back, we are going to California. And that makes her happy. She gives big hugs and kisses and wraps her arms around anyone who needs a hug. "It will be ok..." she assures us. We talk about how she will get to see daddy on the computer... and he will talk to her and check in on her, and make sure she's being good at school. "And he'll watch me dance?!" she questions. Yes. He will watch you dance. And he will smile and call you a princess.


This is the first deployment where Keeghan is really aware of what is happening. We've been talking about it for some time. He's had lots of questions, lots of anxiety. When he hears the garage door open, he will come running, tears in his eyes, wondering who's leaving the house, where they are going, and when they are coming back... and please oh please give him a hug and kiss before you leave. I'm not sure what the next few weeks will bring for him. He's just a little guy who loves his daddy... and it's going to be hard for him. 


Kellsey is blissfully unaware. She doesn't understand. Doesn't know. She will go to bed tonight just like always and tomorrow she will get up just like always and go about her day. Will she look for him? I wonder. Eventually will she wander around the house, looking for her dad who usually sits in the chair next to her while she scribbles on her magna doodle... and will she wonder where he went... why she only gets to see him on mommy's computer? I don't think she will understand. She may have it easier than the rest of us.


My kids are strong. Tomorrow we will wake up and we will begin our new routines. We will go forward, getting everyone where they need to be, when they need to be there. We will all pitch in and keep the house running and we will smile. And we will laugh. And we will make memories. And take lots of pictures to send overseas. And we will get through the next year one day at a time... looking forward to skype calls and phone calls and R&R... and we'll watch this circle go from red to green... because green means that daddy is coming home.


Please be praying for Frank and his fellow Soldiers as they start this journey once again. One year. We can do this.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Blogging...

I have been thinking a lot today about this blog. I feel like it's being neglected. I went all last year and didn't miss ANY days blogging until November when we went on vacation... after that I kind of gave up. And now I feel like I have nothing to say. Of course that never lasts long. ;o)

I have thought about closing up shop, calling it a day, and sticking to Facebook (and my new found love of Pinterest! haha). I'm just worn out. I'm tired of having to think before EVERY post, "Who's going to judge me for what I'm about to say?" or "Who's going to pick apart this cute video of my son and find something to insult my 4 year old over?" or "Who's going to freak out that I don't post enough about the older two, and instead of realizing I'm respecting their privacy, they'll accuse me of not loving them enough, and even when I DO post about them, their posts are pretty much ignored which makes them sad, so why bother?" or "No matter what I post or what I do, even though some of you know my heart, people who I thought were friends are out there spreading horrible things about me."

I read somewhere that what other people say about you is none of your business. And I like that saying, in theory. But it's really hard when I get comments on my blog picking apart my innocent children or people questioning my motives behind what I do, or heaven forbid I post more about one child than the other... and really, when you insult my children, it IS my business.

I am also fully aware that all of this... crap... comes along with blogging. Eventually, no matter who you are, someone is going to come along who does not like how you parent, how you talk, how you write, how you think, what you post... whatever. I closed down anonymous comments a few months ago, and that's helped a lot because no one seems to have the guts to leave their name to back up a nasty comment, but then in passing, I find that someone who I thought was a friend was really trashing me... and has been for years. And I'm sure there are more.

There are a few purposes to my blog...
1. To keep my family and friends who we don't talk to every day updated on our lives and our children's lives.
2. To bring awareness to Down syndrome and childhood cancer and International Adoption... it may not be all positive information, but it's real and true; and no I don't know everything, but I know if I post a question, someone out there will have the answers. It's been so wonderful being part of this Down syndrome community... one where I've received support and prayers and ideas and love over the years... and hopefully I've returned that to others.
3. To keep my husband up to date and informed when he's deployed... and we're heading there again soon.
4. It's a place for me to vent... like I am doing tonight. It's a place for me to rant about news articles or whatever I feel like talking about at the time... And I thank those of you who have indulged my soapbox for so long. :o)
(And that list was really more for me as a reminder than for all of you..) ;o)

But now... I'm not sure what to do. I've thought about turning off ALL comments (but that doesn't really stop people from talking behind my back, does it?). I've thought about going private, which seems to be the most logical thing to do, but every time I get an email from a mother who found my blog because their baby just was diagnosed with Down syndrome or Leukemia or AOI or CIPA and wants to talk about their experiences or has questions about our experiences, I think that going private is not the right thing to do. If I can help other parents on this journey we are on, then that's amazing. That's what I want to do. SO many parents helped me when Kennedy was born... and I want to pay that forward forever.

I don't really know what the point of this post is... except that I'm worn out. And I'm sad. And yes, I'm having a little bit of a pity party stemming from the hurt caused by this "friend". But I'll get over it, I promise. And it's going to be a really long week for all of us. Anyway, those are my thoughts for tonight... take them for what you will... because they're probably not worth much ;). And if something in this post offends you, which I'm sure it will to someone out there, let me apologize right now for being me. Because apparently to you, that's never good enough.

Nuff said, pity party over. Back to life.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mindless Babble...

I'm still here. We were wiped out after Kennedy's competition yesterday. It was crazy and busy and there were tons of people there, but we had SO much fun!! Kennedy's dance team won first place for their category and first overall. :o) She got a pretty gold medal. Her dance academy raked in the awards... lots of golds, silvers and platinums! They had more today, and I'm sure it went great!! The older kids work SO hard! Many of them were in 4 or 5 dances plus had solos. They are amazing! Kenn's next competition is the end of February. I'm not sure where that one is, but now that Kennedy's had a taste, she's excited and ready to go again! :o)

Today we went to church, spent time together, and then I met a friend for tea (does that make me sound British?!) and when I came home from that, we all went over to a friend's house for dinner and to watch the game. Sadly, the 49ers lost. *sigh*


Anyway, now I am editing pictures from the Family Dance and getting ready for bed... it's going to be a long week. I'll get some pictures up soon!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Let's Dance!

We had a great day today! Kameron and Kennedy's school puts on an annual dance, and since I signed up to help at events with the PTA, they asked me to help... then they asked me to be in charge! I was a little nervous since I've never been to one of these before, but I had lots of help and it turned out GREAT! We did a Welcome to Paradise theme and we decorated the gym and cafeteria in a Hawaiian theme. There were probably 500-600 people there... I tried to count a couple times but... everyone kept moving! LOL

Kameron took off with his friends... I saw them running around a few times and they stopped by for goofy pictures; and Kennedy ran off with her friends too. I was in charge of taking family and friend pictures, and Kennedy showed up in my line several times with different kids... some of them were a lot older than her! Haha! She's obviously very well loved. :o) Keeghan loved the dancing and was super excited to see his teacher there, turns out that she has a daughter at their school, too. Frank hung out with me while I took pictures and kept track of the kids as much as possible.

Kellsey was not feeling so hot, so she stayed home with Kassidy, who wasn't interested in going anyway. I think she just has a little head cold, but we thought we better not take her out in the cold if we could help it. Hopefully she'll be feeling better in the morning.  

Tomorrow we will be getting up bright and early to take Kennedy to her first dance competition in Denver! We are all so excited to see her on the big stage, and she can't wait to get out there and dance. She's been practicing hard with her group and they're looking good. :o)

I have some pictures from the dance tonight and I'll have pictures from the competition tomorrow, I'm sure, but for now, I am beat and I'm going to bed so I can wake up early! ;o) Hope you all had a nice Friday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Homework

Remember last week when I talked about Kennedy and how well she's doing in school? Well, this week she's decided that she doesn't want my help with homework anymore. "I can do it myself!" she said.

Awesome. Go for it.

I have to admit I was a little afraid of what would turn out... the girl can be distracted by a fly! But, she worked hard, stopping only to tell me, "I'm NOT finished!" about 20 times. I DO still have to help her with math, that requires extra concentration and some prompting from me, but she's catching on quickly... maybe at some point she'll be doing all her homework totally by herself! :o)

Here's some pictures of her homework from this week... look how far her writing has come along since the beginning of the year! All those right side up e's. :o)

Carefully writing... 

All by herself!! 

I did help her with the spelling on her sentences... she chose what she wanted to write, though 
and chose the correct punctuation mark for the end. 

More working...

And some math... the dominoes are her favorite! Easy and fun! 

I love my girl... even if she IS kicking me out of homework time! haha

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

All About Keeghan

I feel like I've talked about Kennedy and Kellsey a lot lately, so this post is all about Keeghan! :o) First, a Keeghan quiz... it should be pretty easy for you long time readers. ;o)

1. What is Keeghan's favorite animal?
2. What is Keeghan's favorite color?
3. What does Keeghan want to be when he grows up?
4. What does Keeghan want to name his first daughter? (Bonus points to the person who gets this one!)
5. What is Keeghan's favorite food?

First, here's a picture that Keeghan drew tonight... Do you know what it is?
This is Keeghan's lemonade stand. Keeghan says, the top row, in order, is Keeghan, Kennedy, me and Frank (he gets to hold all the cups) and below are Kassidy, Kameron and Kellsey... they are buying the lemonade... which Keeghan insists is tea! haha Only $1.00 a glass, what a bargain! :o)


And here's a video from tonight... Keeghan brought down this key that he got awhile ago and told us this great story about Keeghan the Monkey King. I tried to get him to retell it on camera, but it will never be as good as the original. He is still flipping cute though!





Hope you enjoyed this tiny bit of my little guy! Good luck on the quiz! ;o)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Q&A #229

I think you said once that you don't cook. What do your kid's eat for dinner then? And if Frank cooks, what do you do when he's deployed ? Takeout?
Hmm, I believe I said that I do not LIKE cooking, not that I DON'T cook. Frank cooks sometimes, I cook sometimes, sometimes we just do a "choose your own meal from the pantry or freezer" night and I'll get it made. We eat a lot of meals from Schwan's. LOVE them... quick and easy, especially for school nights. On Thursdays it's dance/tae kwon do night and we get Chic-Fil-A, and we go out for lunch on Sundays. Not really sure what that post had to do with my cooking though. ;)


Ok, dumb question, but what is a para? I assume that's short for para-something. Too early in the morning for my brain or maybe it's a new term I'm not familiar with. :) 
Sorry! It's short for paraprofessional and some schools call them educational aides or just aides. :) Basically, someone is with Kennedy during all of her academic times (not lunch, recess or specials) to help keep her from getting distracted (which she does SO easily) and help her with anything she needs help with... this makes sure that her classroom teacher can focus on teaching and Kennedy still gets the extra help she needs to succeed in the inclusive classroom. Typically, kids who needs aides (or paras) have one who stick with them all day. Kennedy has 4 who rotate. I wasn't too sure about this at the beginning, but every one of the ladies who work with her are amazing and they're all so different. They each help Kennedy in different ways and she loves them all! 


How long before Frank leaves? Just wondering if you were going to be getting results back before he goes. 
Actually he won't be here for any of the results... and that's all I can really say about that. 


Not sure if you read Ella Grace with the Pretty Face but she has the same thyroid thing going on and was diagnosed with Graves. You might use Kacey as a resource on that little portion.
Kacey and I have been talking. She's been a huge help. Thank you! :o)


Megoblastic anemia (which causes high mcv) can also cause low white blood cells.Treatment is vitamin b and is pretty easy to fix. It's usually seen in patients with celiac but I am sure if Kelsey is having absorption problems that could be the cause. Prayers that it's nothing!
I've also heard hyperthyroidism can cause a high MCV, so that's encouraging to me! Her Vitamin B levels were normal, that's another thing they tested, so we will see what they say at Endo. She also has a GI appointment on Tuesday and she had mentioned a biopsy for celiac's at her last appointment, so we'll see what she decides to do. 


Where did you get all the awesome little Angry Birds out of curiosity?? We have allllllllll the plush toys (in 4 sizes...*sigh*), but I've never seen little plastic ones!
We actually found them on eBay. I did a quick look to see if there are more and didn't see any in the first 100 results or so, but that doesn't mean they aren't there. They're actually like a plaster... they're really hard, but they're all hand painted and so cool! 


You should get them the Angry Birds Knock on wood game. Then they can actually send the birds flying and knock things over. Its only like 15 bucks at Target.
I saw that when we were Christmas shopping, but I wasn't sure if they'd get the same thrill out of playing Angry Birds when it wasn't on their iPods... obviously I was mistaken! haha That might be a good Valentine's Day present! :)


When I was hyperthyroidism I had heart palpitations and lost weight is she having any of those issues?
Well, it's hard to say with her heart, because she has a heart defect anyway, so her heart never beats correctly. She has not lost weight, in fact, since her g-tube was put in in October, she has gained about 11 pounds. But I don't know if the G-tube would... override the weight loss that usually happens with hyperthyroidism?? I don't know... just wondering. Before her g-tube was in, she had a really hard time gaining weight, but she also didn't eat well... so it's hard to say all the way around. 


Hyperthyroid can cause weight loss, tremors, nervousness, fatigue and trouble sleeping. One of the most annoying things about thyroid issues is that they can often be overlooked or run concurrent with other things and it can be so hard to tell what is the thyroid and what is something else.
She has been having tremors. They actually asked about that when I called to make the appointment. And you're so right, because we were thinking the shaking was related to whatever neurological issues she has going on, but maybe not... She definitely has trouble sleeping which is really how this whole thing started. We just need to figure out what is what!


Also do not know if you had heard that Aaron Shust wife delivered a baby boy at 37 weeks in NICU diagnosed with Down Syndrome and AV defect waiting on surgery.
I did hear that!! We have been praying for Michael as he gets ready for surgery. You can see his sweet picture here and read his birth story. He's beautiful!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Quality of Life

That's a strange phrase for some to hear. "Quality of Life." Yet, it's one that has passed my lips several times in the last 3 or 4 years. Quality of Life. Who decides, exactly, what that means? Certainly not the Ukrainian hospital, who 5 years ago told two very scared parents that their newborn baby girl would have "no quality of life". Because of their words, those parents left that baby... alone. In a hospital. A month later, she was moved to an orphanage... and her parents never saw her again.

The director of the orphanage again said, "no quality of life" and on her 4th or 5th birthday, that baby would be moved out of her baby home and sent to an institution. It would be dark, and cold, and dirty. She would not receive medical care or much food or water. She would be left tied to her bed, not allowed to run outside, like most 5 year olds love to do. There... in that institution... she would then truly have had no "quality of life". 

Thankfully, God spoke to our hearts and told us, "Go get your baby. She needs you." And two years ago, we did just that. But there are small children in other countries all over the world who are suffering the fate of an institution, just because they have a physical or mental handicap. They are robbing these children of their "quality of life". 

Then there's Amelia Rivera. She has Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome. If she doesn't get a kidney transplant, she will die. Plain and simple. But unlike all the children I spoke of earlier, Amelia lives here, in the United States. She lives in a country where children with disabilities thrive. The most diverse country in the world. You see handicapped parking spots at every store. Almost every school has accommodations for children with Special Needs. There are programs and developmental doctors and therapies to help them thrive in every area of their lives. How lucky for Amelia that she was born here! Right? 

Wrong. 

You see, Amelia's doctor at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, has decided that Amelia Rivera does not qualify for a kidney transplant. This is not because she's too sick and wouldn't survive - she would. This is not because she doesn't have health insurance - she does. Her doctor's reason for denying Amelia this life saving surgery is because HE believes that Amelia has "no quality of life". 

Amelia Rivera

Imagine how her parents felt, sitting in a room at the hospital hearing a doctor tell them that their daughter shouldn't be alive. She's not worthy of "saving". She's better off dead. 

And when her parents said they would fight for their child, they said, "I have been warned about you. About how involved you and your family are with Amelia." 

Warned. About parents who are TOO involved with their child. Warned about parents who want their little girl to live. Warned about parents who want the same medical care for their child as any other child in the United States. 

Shame. On. Him. 

When doctors get to decide whether or not a child is "worth" a donated organ, when they can look a parent in the face and tell them to just let her die, we are NO better than Ukraine or Russia or Serbia or any of the other countries who lock children with SN away and let them die. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia should not be able to get away with this, and this is my plea to help the Rivera family in the only way I know how. 

There is a petition here that hundreds of parents have signed already. Will you please go sign and let CHOP know this is NOT ok? Will you go to CHOP's Facebook page, and let them know again that this is NOT ok. Ironically, their motto is "Hope Lives Here" apparently only if you're a typically developing child... who will have "quality of life". Let's be loud. Let's stand together for Amelia, and for all children in this country with special needs. And let CHOP know how much quality our kids really have. 

God bless you, Rivera family. Thank you for being amazing advocates for your daughter! I hope she has many, many more years here on this earth. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Road to Alcoholism

So we've had a busy day running errands, then Kassidy, Kennedy and I went to the movies tonight to see Joyful Noise... GREAT movie! We laughed a lot!! I don't really have much to blog about so I thought I would share this email with you. It made me giggle and I thought you guys might like it, too! ;)


I used to be like this... 

Then I met a girl... 

She was like this... 

Together, we were like this... 

I gave her gifts like this...

When she accepted my proposal, I was like this...

I used to talk to her all night like this... 

Then at the office I used to do this... 

When my friends saw my girlfriend, they stared like this... 

And I used to react like this... 

But on Valentine's Day she received a rose 
from someone else like this...

And she was like this... 

And I was like this... 

 Which later led to this... 

And this... 

I felt like doing this... 

So I started doing this... 

NOW look at me... 

Darn girls

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Angry Birds

So, I have to admit, I don't "get" the craze over Angry Birds. That could be because I passed the first 5 levels and then got stuck. Stupid game. Whatever. However, Frank, Kassidy and Kameron love it! They play it all the time! When they bring out new themes or seasons or updates they get all giddy and talk about things that I don't understand. I'm glad they have this game to bond over... crashing birds into poor little piggies. *sniff* LOL

Anyway, in Kameron's stocking he got a bunch of little Angry Birds. He's played with them a lot. Last night after dinner, he and Kassidy disappeared for an hour or so and then Kameron ran upstairs and said, "Come see what we made, Dad!" I couldn't understand why he didn't ask me to come see, too! Usually I'm invited to share in their works of art.

When Frank came back up with these pictures, I understood...





Even though I don't "get" the game, I love my kids' creativity!!! :o)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

School Days

Excuse me while I brag for a moment.

I just have to say that Kennedy is doing fabulous in school right now! Before Christmas break, the number one "issue" we had was getting her to line up at recess. She LOVES recess and when she gets out there, she doesn't want to come back in. Every morning, every afternoon, we would talk about it...

"What do you do when the whistle blows at recess, Kennedy?"
"I line up!" Sometimes followed by, "But I already DID!" HA!

Except she didn't! She would pretend she didn't hear that whistle and just keep playing. The rest of her class would go in, and a para would be called to coax Kenn inside. What can I say, recess was my favorite subject, too! ;o)

Finally, one of her paras brought in an American Girl catalog and told Kennedy that if she lined up the first time the whistle blows, that she could look at it for a few minutes at the end of the day. She was speaking straight to my daughter's heart. Kennedy jumped up and down. She got excited. It worked. Sometimes. Recess won out over babies... who would've thought?!

At the end of the semester, her teacher said she had another idea for the beginning of the year... 5 minute warnings to get her prepared for the end of recess and stuff like that. I thought it sounded like a good plan.

Then she went back to school.

I was a little worried... she had almost 3 weeks off from school, and admittedly we did a whole lot of nothing. I worried that she would lose what she's learned this year. I worried she would be SO thrown off schedule that her teacher would call me and say, "Come pick this kid up!" I worried that the new recess plan wouldn't work and they'd just take recess away from Kennedy altogether. (They wouldn't do that for real... I'm pretty sure.)

I worried for nothing.

The first day back, she had a GREAT day. Her teacher bragged that she lined up the first time the whistle blew with no prompts and the special ed teacher tested her for regression and she tested higher in her reading than she ever has before! Go Kennedy!!

Her days since then have been good too. I've had all good reports come home... no problems at recess... and even though she tells me "I got NO homework!" every night, she has been doing it without a fight and maybe *gasp* even having a little bit of fun with it! Her handwriting has come so, so far this semester. I see the progress constantly. No more hand over hand... no more upside down e's... just her, writing words.

Amazing.

Her team at this school has been so good for her. I feel like it's HUGE... there are SO many people involved in Kennedy's education daily... a teacher, a special ed teacher, an OT, an ST and 4 paras who rotate throughout her day. That's a lot of adults involved in her academic day, but they all love her, and she loves them.

And I am loving watching her succeed. Watching her smile about her school day. Listening to her speaking in full complete sentences about what she ate for lunch, who she played with at recess, and what her favorite part of the day was (you know, besides recess!).

She's come so far. And I couldn't be prouder.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Q&A #228

Just wondering if they are considering celiac with Kellsey. It can cause anemia. 
I'm not sure... I think they tested her for that at Vandy, but it was just a blood test and I know a definitive test is a biopsy. Her GI doctor mentioned possible testing her for Hirschprung's Disease as well because of her chronic constipation, so they would probably test her for both at once. I THINK the pediasure is gluten free... but I could be wrong about that. 


I would like to recommend you take a look the Feingold program. It is basically an elimination program where artificial petroleum based ingredients are removed as well as some fruits/vegetables which may possibly be added back in later (but not the artificials) Ever since we've been following it, my son's sleep issues and asthma have went away. It has helped my daughter's anxiety and shortness of breath issues. It has been amazing how much we've learned about how foods, both artificial and some natural can cause our bodies to react in various way. You can read more about it at www.feingold.org if you haven't heard of it before. Best wishes. 
Thanks, I will look into it... there's so much that Kellsey can't eat because of her allergies, and so much that she won't eat because of her sensory issues and the fact that she can't taste food, that it would be hard to restrict her diet any more than it already is. She is 50-90% tube fed right now depending on the day, and we want to encourage her to eat by mouth as much as possible.


This is going to sound strange, but one of my daughters had an iron issue no matter how much she was getting. doc finally decided it was an absorbtion issue and sent us to a dietian. she had me give her peanut butter and jelly sand. with apple juice for lunch three times a week and it worked! to this day (she's 29) every time her iron dips she does this for a month or so and back up it comes . . . weird but it works  
That is SO interesting! I think her neuro is thinking it's possibly an absorption issue as well, and if that's the case, even getting her nutrients through her tube isn't helping. I'll be curious to see if the drops even help because it seems like she wouldn't be able to absorb those... either. 


Thanks for this post, it always is helpful for similar medical issues. Tommy hasn't been sleeping more than 4 hrs a night even with melatonin so I think ill head back to our pediatrician for a workup maybe with neuro. He had severe sleep apnea but after tonsils and adenoids out the study was good. I do know that anemia in my older son caused night restless leg syndrome and he would wake with night terrors or just sleep horribly. Iron helped but you need to take with orange juice for proper absorption.
That's exactly where Kellsey is. She gets about 3 hours a night and I keep saying that she HAS to be exhausted, but really, that's what she is used to so she's really not... she does take a nap most days too but I'm not sure how often she actually SLEEPS for that either. Her neuro said that deficiencies on several different things, including iron, can cause sleep problems, which is why she went back for a more thorough blood work up. We should get those results soon. I hope they don't say she needs orange juice with her iron though to make it work, because she's allergic. :o/


She is going to be going for a consult for braces too..she is really hoping to get them in the next few months, we will see since she still has quite a few teeth to lose! 
Kass has ONE more baby tooth and it's loose but she won't let me pull it. It's driving me crazy! haha


You know, if Kellsey is having some seizures, that would definitely explain not sleeping well. Jax is sleeping horribly now, and he is having tons of seizures. He never sleeps when his seizures are bad. There are a bunch of other things to try for sleep, so don't hesitate to ask for something else if this doesn't work! 
I definitely think something is going on. There will be times that she will just space out and we will be talking to her and she's just not... there. Then she'll snap back to reality and act like we scared the wits out of her because we're standing there talking to her and she had no idea we were there. 


 I am on Gabapentin (Neurotin) myself for my Fibromyalgia. It is similar to Lyrica, but has fewer side affects. I hope you find the right dosage to help her.
Oh that's interesting that it's similar to Lyrica! Kennedy was on Lyrica when she was on chemo for nerve pain. I'm still hoping the Gabapentin will kick in soon and start doing something for Kellsey. :)


Oh boy, sticking with the CH- names will be a challenge if many more American Girl dolls join your home!! 
No kidding! LOL Each of the girls have one now though so our little American Girl family may be complete! ;) Kennedy does have her eye on the girl of the year though! 


KELLSEY! She is so animated, so lively! Such a precious little muffin. How's she doing with her medical issues anyway?
You've probably seen it by now, but just in case, there's the whole rundown here


How long did it take them to fall asleep after that?? LOL
LOL actually they settled down quickly. It may have been that they all crashed from exhaustion though. Thankfully we only do that once a year! ;)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Back to School

Well, Christmas Break is over, and I have to say, I'm sad about that. I miss my kids when they're not here... I miss laying around the living room and watching movies with Kassidy and Kameron. I miss all the crazy jokes Kameron tells me all the time. (By the way, did you know that Lady Gaga has a sister? Her name is Lady Googoo. Ha!) I miss Kennedy coming in to perform for us and then demanding that we, "CLAP!" I miss Keeghan talking. All. The. Time. (Maybe.) I miss Kellsey drawing on her magnadoodle and then patting me on the leg and saying, "MA!" and showing me her creation with pride... then erasing it and doing it all over again. I miss late bedtimes and late dinner times and late breakfasts and the riveting rendition of "Flat Stanley" that I'm right in the middle of with Kennedy and Keeghan... and watching Kameron play with his Lego ship that he worked so hard on building, and tucking Kennedy into bed in Kassidy's room for a "sleepover", and eating popcorn for dinner if we want, because "who cares, it's vacation!" I miss minimal doctor's appointments and no homework and not packing lunches or laying out school clothes. I miss not thinking about upcoming deployments and having Frank here to run to the store for milk and wrestle with the kids just to make them giggle. I miss taking 100 pictures just because I can because the kids are all here and around me. I miss dishes all over my table, toys all over my living room floor, and I miss noise. Lots and lots of noise.

School is overrated.

Seriously. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Q&A #227

Disneyland wouldn't allow the wagon. They don't allow any items that are supposed to be pulled instead of pushed. I have seen them turn people away at the gate.
Seriously?! WOW I could have sworn I saw people with wagons in there, but then again, I am SO not observant! haha Well, that's good to know so we don't bother taking ours next time! Thank you!


Who makes your jammies? They are too cute! 
I ordered them from a great lady on ETSY! She did a wonderful job! Here's a link to her store... be sure to check her out! Sew Fabulous Boutique

The plate your cookies are on... We totally had that same pattern when I was growing up. In fact, I still have a serving platter with that pattern on it. :)
Too funny! Someone on FB said the same thing! :o) My mom has had those plates forever!


Wow, $500 bucks just in their stockings alone! After the stocking money and the gifts,you guys must spend a fortune on the kids for Christmas! My kids would be so jealous! They just get little stuff in their stockings, haha! Do all your kids still believe in Santa or just the younger ones? Do you guys have college savings funds for each child or do you just plan to save one at a time? Just curious how families do it with many kids!
Actually, the little animals with the money were all from Grandma... it's spending money for the kids for when we go back to California. :o) We figured that would be better used than buying them more "stuff" right now that they really didn't need. We actually don't spend ALL that much on the kids for Christmas... we stockpile all year and shop sales, and a lot of their gifts come from grandparents and great grandparents... NOT that they're deprived! LOL As far as Santa goes... he IS real... right?! ;o) Yes we do have small accounts for each child... whether or not they'll use that for college is up to them... I'm more for using it for their first car! HA! 


Where do you find all the cute Hello Kitty stuff??? 
The headphones and jewelry box came from Hot Topic of all places! Frank found them on a whim and it was all marked 75% off. The jewelry box is super cute, it has little compartments and a mirror inside, and the headphones work great... except for the fact that Kennedy completely tunes us out now! HA! 


Okay, so because you're new to this whole 12 year old girl thing, just know they are just weird. I won a penguin diaper for Alyssa (we are cloth diapering her) and Natalie who loves penguins was walking around the house with it, cuddling it, and I swear if I would have let her she would have brought it to bed with her. Now that it has been used she might not be so cuddly with it even if it is clean, but well you get the picture. They are just weird at this age ;). 
LOL Yep sounds like what Kass would do if it had ducks on it! haha She's a goofball, but I wouldn't have her any other way! :o)


Wow do people think Keeghan and Kellsey are twins?? They look sooo much alike! 
Yep I get asked that often, especially now that Kellsey is filling out more and getting Keeghan's chubby cheeks! :o) She is about 3 pounds from outweighing him now which is just amazing!! It helps that they're only 6 months apart, too... and I love to confuse people when they ask if they're twins by telling them that, especially for the 6 months of the year that they're the same age. It's fun! haha


 Was wondering if you and Frank plan to have any more kids whether it be bio or adopting? You're so young still, and are clearly such a loving and devoted mommy! I can so see more K's fitting in!!
Aww thanks! :o) But we are done!! Our baby factory is officially closed and Frank and I plan on just watching our children grow and thrive now and invest our time and love into them. I just know they're going to grow up to be amazing adults, whatever they decide to do (but if Keeghan decides NOT to be a firefighter, I'll be shocked! haha). 


Natalie wanted the Kindle Fire, but there was no way she was getting that. Is Kass having any problems with it. My cousin got one for Christmas and it lasted a week and wouldn't turn on. Tech support had her do a hard reset and I guess it's up and running now, but she is a little nervous and I can't say I blame her. A week old item isn't supposed to do that ;). 
Yeah it definitely shouldn't do that! My mom got one too about a month or so ago and she was having some problems with hers, but I think it was just problems loading or something, and she was at my grandmother's at the time... I think it's working better now that she's home with a better wi-fi signal. Kass hasn't had any problems with hers so far! Here's hoping!!


Where did you get the Anger Management book and who is the author? My daughter could use something like this. 
That's actually just an Angry Birds notebook... just blank pages inside for Kameron to write in or draw in or whatever he chooses. It has a little spin wheel on the front with birds from the game. It came from Claire's. :)


You all have such a happy family and it was fun.. and one more thing on kellsy.. is she getting some weight on?? Her little cheeks look like it.. You must be thrilled.. 
She is! She is up 9 pounds now since she got her G-tube put in. I'm hoping she will hit a growth spurt in height soon too so she can even back out a bit... she is definitely turning into a chunk quickly! We (Kellsey and us!) are extremely happy not to have the battle over food anymore. :o)


Where did you get the matching robes? We have Bitty Baby and got Kanani this year. My daughter is obsessed with dressing like her dolls. Also on a side note...American Girl is really missing the boat, they should make matching Big Girl, doll, and Bitty Baby clothes!!  
I agree!! The robes came from Totsy or one of those sites but they are actually the Dollie and Me brand. I can't get their official site to load, but you can find their stuff on Amazon (super cute Valentine's robe on there right now) and eBay. Also check Sears and Dillards. :o)


Love Kellsey and her new doll!! But shouldn't Christie be spelled Kristie? To match the special K's? 
WELL, it all started with Kennedy... she got her American Girl and immediately decided that her name would be Charlie (because her favorite TV show is Good Luck Charlie) and so when Kassidy got her American Girl SHE decided that she would name her doll Chloe so it would stick with the CH beginning and the long e sound on the end. Then we had Kellsey's doll and of course Kellsey is not talking enough to really name her, but Kassidy said that we needed to continue with the CH theme. (See, I'm not the only OCD namer around here! haha) Kass wanted to name her Chelsea but I thought that was WAY too close to Kellsey and Kennedy calls these dolls by their names! SO Frank came up with Christie and it stuck. Aren't you sorry you asked now?! LOL 


 Am I right in guessing that she and Kennedy were break dancing with LMFAO on TV? I love it!
YEP! LOL Kennedy is notorious for seeing dance moves on TV and copying them and I guess Kellsey decided to copy Kennedy. I was watching her closely though because I worry about her neck. Thankfully she doesn't know how to do a somersault yet... as far as I know anyway! ;o)


I hope they slept till something like about noon the next day!!!
HA! I wish!! I have a household of early risers around here... except for me. And Kellsey. The rest of them need to learn to sleep in!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Our New Years

We had a pretty low key New Years, which seems to be normal around here. :o) We spent the day at a mall in Denver where Kameron exchanged the Lego set we got him for Christmas for a different one, then he disappeared into his room for hours starting to put his new ship together.

When evening hit, we popped some popcorn, put on a movie and hung out waiting for midnight to hit. I have to admit, I didn't think Kellsey would make it until midnight. She is notorious for falling asleep during movies. But she hung in there with the rest of us! Around 11:30 we stopped the movie, pulled out our sparkling cider and got ready to watch the ball drop... first though, daddy made sure the kids were all WIDE awake...

Daddy's got my feet!

 Quit tickling me, dad!

Charlie made it until midnight too! HA!

 CHEESE! 

Kass proving that she is WIDE awake!

I'm awake too! haha

 Yes, I'm looking at the camera! 

Hmmm... I'm thinking Kellsey is singing shock rock! 

Everyone pull daddy off Kellsey!

 They're funny...

 Is it midnight yet?

Here's Dora!

Is it midnight YET?!

This is the best smile you're getting from me!

Is it MIDNIGHT yet?!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

THEN before we went to bed, we had to DANCE...





Thanks for sharing our New Years with us! :)