Thursday, September 6, 2012

One little sheet of paper

It is done. Three little words that bring me so much happiness. Elijah's adoption is 100% complete and the little piece of paper that arrived in our mailbox today was simply the icing on the cake. Our names are listed as his parents. The name he has been called since he was 2 months old is listed and our address is given as his home. Folks, we received his birth certificate in the mail today! The last little piece of paperwork that was still out there is finally here and we are overjoyed! 


Monday, September 3, 2012

32 days!

The Mickey Mouse countdown has begun! We leave for the happiest place on earth, Walt Disney World, in a little over a month! We are thrilled and oh so excited! We are beyond thankful to the Make A Wish organization for making this trip possible!

Malachi and Elijah have no idea what is in store for them. We will be staying a Give Kids The World, which I hear, is absolutely magical. We will get to go on a private safari at the Animal Kingdom, walk Main Street at Magic Kingdom, travel around the world at Epcot and experience Disney's best at MGM. We are looking into a special dolphin experience at Sea World too. I am 100% positive that we are not going to want to leave!





I created a paper chain countdown to help the boys visually see the amount of days until we leave. Today Malachi got to rip the first chain off! I also made there Disney luggage tags. I think they are super cute!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The "R" word

I feel like it is a never ending battle. The fight to educate those around us, our community, our world is a challenge. I question if I am doing any good, if my words change their hearts. Often I feel like I am casting my heart out in a lake only for it only to fall in the water and make all the fish swim away. I'm asking you dear blog friends, what is your most effective way to educate those around on the use of the "r" word? What boundaries do you have set up in order to keep your children safe from the word? How do you gracefully deal with those who, despite knowing your thoughts on the word, continue to say it around you? What are some of your favorite websites on the issue? I'm revamping my "R" word arsenal and I really need your help!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Going places

My boys are adventurous explorers, on the move constantly. They like to jump off couches and and throw balls. Wrestling matches are in abundance and black eyes are inevitable. They never stop moving. These simple facts make trips to the park with them nearly impossible for one person and visits to friends houses challenging and sometimes their energy drive me nuts. Seriously, there are days when I wished they would just sit and play with a toy like it is supposed to be played with rather than turning it into a demolition derby. Today was one of those days.

Elijah and I went to a beach. Our individual plans for the day were obviously different and was apparent the moment his little feet hit the sand. He was off, right to the water. I was looking forward to a relaxing day building sandcastles, munching on snacks and visiting with friends. My reality? I spent the next hour keeping Eli away from the nasty green stuff (why does every lake have a collection of green goo on the shore? Seriously nasty.), keeping him in shallow enough water, picking him up when he fell, chasing him back to our area...the kid was on a mission and while I was chasing him around I found myself wishing he would just sit still and play with the freaking sand like the other kids.

After an hour I was done-zo. As I tried picking up our sand toys with my feet (my arms were full of screaming toddler) I grew frustrated and it got even worse as I tried to collect our things so we could get in the car to get the heck out of there. Just when I thought the spectacle couldn't get any worse...my cheap old navy flip flop broke. This mamma could have cried. Why can't he just sit and wait for me to pack up the car? Why can't I trust him to not run away? Why can't he sit still like the other kids? After what seemed like forever we were finally on the road. That's when the tears came and the mom guilt started. Am I giving him enough attention? Am I strict enough? Does he not get out enough? I could go on and on about all the questions running through my head on the hour drive home.

About 10 minuets from home, I looking in the review mirror and saw Elijah drifting off to dream land. I found myself stopped at the stop sign a little longer to watch his eyelids grow heavy. His hair was a mess, his skin tanned from the sand and his sweet little hands rested quietly in his lap it's then that I realized how thankful I am for all that energy.

Elijah will never be content to just sit. He is a born explorer, always looking for the next thing to be discovered. He lives for adventure and has no fear. He is a mover and a shaker. He loves to create excitement and dance until he falls over. Elijah is full of life and that is going to take him far!




Thursday, July 19, 2012

still here

Hello friends!!! We are still here, just enjoying a little blog break. Lot's has happened since my last post, im sure of it, I just can't remember! HA! So I guess we will start with the most recent.


Malachi turned 4!! Wowza! Where in the world has the time gone?

                             
                             Malachi at 4 years                                           Malachi at 1 year

We spent the day hanging out and relaxing. It was perfect. He was able to open some presents, went to toys r us and he got to pick out a toy (he picked a back of plastic animals) and we had ice cream with grandma and popop. Here is a list at some of his likes and dislikes...

Likes:
Music...it MUST be on in the car at all times.
Signing Times...The kid is obsessed.
Books...Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is the most recent favorite.
Finger plays...Where is thumbkind, itsy bitsy spider and song the involves movement is sung about 300 times               a day!

Dislikes:
Lots of people.. He enjoys his space.
New foods...especially healthy ones.
Naps...he's been on a nap strike for a few weeks.

New skills:
A HUGE one that we have seen lately is his ability to copy. We make a sound and he tries to imitate it although it's not usually right, he is at least making an effort.

He can now successfully sign his basic colors and identify them when shown to him. His favorite color is black currently.

My boy is a mountain goat and is FINALLY walking up the stairs alone! Yippiee!

He is showing an interest in picking up his toys and helping do basic tasks (bring this to daddy, shut the door, turn off the light...)

We have been able to nearly triple the types of food he is eating this summer!! Some of his new favorites are fish crackers, french fries and hamburgers! Seriously this makes me sooooo excited! Feeding has always been a HUGE struggle and I see him making HUGE gains over the next year!


His use of sign language has exploded, so much so I often have to ask his teacher what he is saying. He has always picked it up fast but since he has started school it has been CRAZY! 


Things we are still working on:


His speech is still very behind and we are looking into a possibly diagnosis of Apraxia in the coming weeks.


This child is as stubborn as they come and really struggles with listening. Especially when it comes to keeping his hands to himself. He is a hitter and we battle it hourly.

He is a sensory seeking beast! Seriously people! Hitting, licking, throwing, pounding, pulling, pinching, climbing, chewing...he does them alll and it is enough to drive a momma mad! We are working hard to find proper sensory input in hopes that the other behaviors will decrease. (Please sweet Jesus work your magic because I may go crazy the next time he throws the little people farm over the gate!!!!!)

Our goal was to get him potty trained this summer and it's not going so well. In fact, its not going at all. The stubborn beast refuses to pee in the potty and will hold it for hours at a time.

Another goal we had this summer was to get him out of the crib and into a big boy bed. Haha, I laugh now thinking back to the night we were up till midnight frantically putting his crib back together. He is just not ready and frankly neither are we.

Alright, that's enough about the birthday boy! Josh and I each celebrated a birthday this summer as well and just recently celebrated our 7th anniversary! We were able to get away for a few days without the kids which was amazing! We are currently getting ready for a camping trip next month and stocking up on a lot of adult beverages because the only way we are going to survive is if we are intoxicated at least 30% of the weekend!! (I kid...neither of us are drinkers...although at times I wish we were! hehe) Okay, seriously I am JUST KIDDING!!!!!

And now I have to go and attend to the real exciting things like dinner and diaper changes. Until next time!




Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mommy knows best...part 2

 I walked in the meeting room to a group of people who truly love my child. We laughed as we shared stories from the past year and I cried as each team member shared Malachi's triumphs and what he still needs to work on. Malachi is not just another child in the class, he is the heart and soul. His personality infectious, his smile warms your heart. When Malachi is absent the class feels it. I am a proud mom.

The meeting itself went better than expected. He is progressing and has made some huge gains over the past year. We discussed PT, OT and Speech, his desire to please adults and his love of books. Extended school year was recommended and we quickly agreed to it. Every aspect of the meeting was perfect, we were a team doing our best to figure out the best possible environment for Malachi to succeed and I believe we did it perfectly.

He will continue the next school year in Early Childhood. He will work towards his new goals and grow as a person. We all feel that this is the best option for him right now. I am please and at peace with our decision.

Way to go little man, mommy is so very proud!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mommy knows best

Today is Malachi's yearly IEP. It's the big one where new goals will be set, we will discuss his previous goals and talk about what the next year of school looks like. This is always a day I dread but not because I am worried about his progress. This day is all about Malachi and what is BEST for him. I worry that I am making the wrong decisions, that mystubbornness will hurt him in the long run. I worry that I am going to be judged not just by his team but by other parents, especially those who have children with special needs. What do I do? What atmosphere is the best for him? inclusion vs. segregation? Where will he flourish? What environment will benefit him emotional well beings as well as his educational progress? The questions can go on and on. Its a never ending battle. And then when you finally come to a decision there is a new article written or another mom which tells you why your decision was wrong.

Doubt. It's constant. Which was is right? One group of people says inclusion, inclusion, inclusion. While there is the other group that says special ed, special ed, special ed. There is no compromise, its one or the other according to them and which ever side you chose, the other will disagree and label you us uneducated. This conversation is EVERYWHERE and everyone claims to have the right answer but which is really right? I have no idea.

What I do know is Malachi. I know his struggles, his triggers and his strengths. I know that music has magical powers over him and that he responds to positive attitudes. He is a love but is also very stubborn. I know him better than anyone else and I am the ONLY person qualified to decide what is best for him. And that is what I try to do every day of his life. My goal is to provide him with all the opportunities in the world to be successful, to be happy and to be as independent as he can possibly be. And right now the absolute best place for him is in a Early Childhood Education class where there are 5 other students, one teacher, 2 assistants and where he receives speech, occupational therapy and physical therapy. PERIOD. There is no discussion on the topic and I do not need to justify my decisions to anyone. I am passionate about doing the right thing for Malachi and that's it. As time goes on things may change and I may feel he is ready for full inclusion but I may also feel like a modified version is better.

What is right for Malachi may not be right for your child and that is absolutely okay in fact it's part of what makes this world so beautiful.

I refuse to pick a side. I say do what is best for your child regardless of what the latest study or self advocate says, you are the ONLY person that knows your child and what is BEST FOR HIM!

Monday, April 16, 2012

MRSA?

Elijah went to the pediatrician today for a pre-op exam (tubes in, adenoids out on May 9th) and I expected everything to go normal. HAhahAHA. I was mistaken. As we were heading out of the exam room I remember I wanted ask Dr. M about his diaper rash that has not been getting any better. He has had this before, she give him special cream and bam its going in a day or 2. She decided she wanted to take a peek and boy am I glad she did. It turns out my little man "probably" has MRSA!!! Where he got it from and how the heck it ended up on his man giblets are beyond me. They took at culture and started him on general antibiotics once the results come back we will decide the best medication to clear it up. Good news however, he is cleared for surgery and he gets out of therapy for a few weeks! 

Daddy told him a story about a man who had MRSA in his legs and he had to get them amputated. Eli is genuinely concerned about him manhood. 



In addition to the great MRSA epidemic of 2012, the weather has been freakishly nice here in northern Illinois! Well not this week, or last week but we did have a few 80 degree days a few weeks ago! We made the most of it taking long walks in our summers finest duds! There is nothing cuter than chunky baby legs and let me tell you Elijah has a made case of cankles! 



And since the weather has been unusually nice, my wonderful husband decided we needed to clean the windows. Thankfully we have 4 little hands that love to help.




We have some mighty fine window washers in this house, Josh included!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The flight of a bubble

There is something so beautiful about a bubble. Perhaps it's the colors projected on it's delicate surface or how quickly it's formed with a simple breath. Maybe it's the way it floats though the air following a path that is unseen with the human eye or maybe the gentle noise it makes when it finally finds a resting place and pops. It' seems like every child loves bubbles, mine included. 



 
And I LOVE watching their face as the tiny bubbles float away. The Easter Bunny found this awesome bubble machine this year and it is the single best gift my children have EVER received from any fictional holiday character. I decided to allow them to play with it in the house (perhaps the soap will clean my carpets?? why the heck not! ) and now this small bucket of fun has been added to out daily routine. The other day while I was watching the boys squeal with delight as bubbles filled the room, I began to cry. They joy in the hearts, the smiles on their faces were enough to send my mommy emotions on a rocket right out of my heart. I sobbed like a fool, I laughed with tears streaming down my cheeks and my soul was overflowing with love.




...we all can learn a lot from a bubble. 
It's not about where the bubble ends but its the path it takes that is magical. I needed to be reminded of the journey we have taken. The beauty in the pain, the joy in the unknown and the adventure in the trials. If my boys can find pure joy in something as simple as a bubble, then why can't I?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The truth

The truth? I'm struggling. The weather has been beautiful around here and everyone has been out and about. Parks, cook outs, play dates with friends...we have done it all. Typically I have enjoyed the winter send off and the arrival of spring but this year it has been different. Each trip to the park, a chance to compare. Each cook out, a reminder of struggle and each play date a slap in the face. The truth? I have times when I don't want to be around other children. 

I said it and I feel guilty for it. 

Malachi is nearly 4 and still not verbally communicated in a typical way. He can't walk up the stairs, he can't swing alone, he can buckle himself into the car seat and he still struggles with eating. These are just a few of the things I am reminded of each time we are around other kids.

I know I shouldn't compare, but I do. For so long I have managed to steer clear of this road focusing on the long list of positives and brushing the negative aside to worry about another day. Well, I think that day is finally here and it sucks. It's like the black hole, once you are in it seems nearly impossible to get out.

Oh yeah and the real kicker? I get to multiply these feelings by 2. 

So what do I do? How do I get out of this place? I don't have the answer for you, not sure if I ever will. What I do know is that my children are beautiful and perfect. They are happy, active and joyful little men who light up the room when they walk in. Yes the have their challenges but we all have our own mountain to climb and we will reach the top in our own time. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Just another day in paradise

Things here have be going GREAT! Winter is over and we have been experiencing amazingly mild temperatures here in Illinois. The warmth had allowed us to get outside and enjoy the sun which I am extremely grateful for! I attempted my first trip to the park with the boys since Elijah has been walking and the second I put them down they each took off in a different direction. It was some what of a comedy as I am running around trying to corral my children. We lasted about 20 mins. before I was spent. As I was gathering the boys, Elijah decided to throw the biggest temper tantrum, the kid didn't want to leave and did everything possible to get me to leave him there. He has done this a few times since then, little stinker! While at the park another mom asked me if  I was there for my job, as in a nanny. Ha! What is wrong with people? Are white parents not allowed to have black children? I answered no and walked away. I know she was thinking I was a hussy, having 2 toddlers so close in age clearly by different dads. Welcome to my life, it really could be a sitcom!

Malachi is rocking it at school! He is just growing up so quickly! We are excited because we just found out he will be getting an extended school year. 6 more weeks of school will be a HUGE benefit for him and his current teacher will be teaching it!

Elijah has turned into a little boy in the past few weeks. He is independent and stubborn as ever but at the same time he is a little comedian and keeps Josh and I laughing constantly. We are looking forward to seeing him develop strong communication skills this summer. His verbal speech is coming along great. He can now say up, down, I got ya, hi and go. He is truly doing fantastic!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

3 years ago

This blog was started 3 years ago to keep our family and friends informed of the latest news. We were just starting our journey to become foster parents. We had no freaking idea the journey we were about to take but we were ready, or so we though. Malachi came into our lives like a flash. For moths we prayed for him while he was fighting for his life in a NICU 2 hours away. We cried, worried, hoped and dreamed for him. What would life be life with a baby and a baby with special needs at that? We were terrified but so ready to hold him and kiss his sweet little cheeks. At our first meeting I fell head over heels in love with him. His little body fit perfectly in my arms, his big brown eyes melted my heart and his sweet hands tugged on my very soul. He was my son and at that very moment I knew that no matter what lay ahead I was going to be by his side every day of his life.

Soon we were able to bring him home and let me tell you the tears that filled my eyes on that drive home were like none I've ever experienced. FINALLY I had my son in the back seat. The son that I prayed for, cried for, hoped for and loved with every fiber of my being was coming home. It's a time I think back to often. No I didn't carry Malachi in my tummy, no I didn't get to bond with him like a newborn does with their mom and no I was not legally allowed to claim him as my son but I knew he was here to stay forever. I trusted that God would make that happen. Malachi has NEVER been anything other than my son, never...not once.

The past 3 years have been full of challenges, struggles and fear's so indescribable but it has also been full of hope, laughter and love. For the past 3 years I have dreamed about what is going to take place tomorrow at 12:15pm. I've played it out in my dreams, I've spoke about it with my husband and close friends and now my dreams are coming true...I'm still in shock.

Tomorrow we are going to adoption court and Malachi will officially become ours. No more home visits, background checks, travel consents, surgery approval from the state. As of tomorrow I am legally him mom and can make every decision for him. I can sign paperwork as him mother. I can change his name at his doctors offices and at school (no, legally his name is not Malachi, well not until tomorrow)...tomorrow makes it official even though I have been his mom always.

My parents, brother and best friends will be joining us in the court room as the judge signs the final paper. Together we will witness the end to a very long journey and together we will celebrate crossing the finish line together! I am so freaking excited!

Tomorrow Malachi will be ours...forever and ever. And that is the most awesome happily ever after I have ever experienced!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Make-A-Wish

A few months ago I was contacted by one of Malachi's old nurses from his pediatricians office. She had left the office for a new opportunity as the director of Stroke at the local hospital. She called asking if she could use Malachi as a case study for a class she was taking which was full of doctors and nurses. I, of course, agreed and began to re-tell the story of Malachi's stroke and subsequent brain surgery in Boston. She wanted to make sure that the others in her class were educated on pediatric stroke and Moyamoya. Well after her perfect presentation one of her colleges suggested she nominate Malachi for a Make-A-Wish. A few days after Christmas we found out that Malachi was approved and wold be able to grant a wish. Well that day is next week. The wish granters will be here to grant any wish Malachi can come up with. Of course Malachi can not express his wish, so we have to do it for him. We have struggled trying to come up with the perfect wish, one that we know Malachi will love. After a few weeks of talking we think we finally have a wish that will be perfect for Malachi and on Tuesday next week we will officially make Malachi's wish! We are so excited for him and know this will be a once in a lifetime experience for him! Can not wait!