Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Top Ten To DO's

... for Monday...

1. Call to get Morgan (our labradoodle) an appointment for... *ahem* ... a... neutering... and grooming.

2. Totally work on making this beautiful tent for Jaiden... except in purple.

3. Stalk this blog some more because I am obsessed with this woman's style; she has single handedly renewed my faith in humanity and the importance of craftivity. (I also stole the idea of the tent from her... sshhhh.)

4. Do some craiglist shopping for Jaiden's room... I have several items I'm calling about first thing this morning.... a white dresser and an awesome *purple* chair!

5. Lunch date with my friend Calvin to try out his Wii fit to see if I want to spend the money on it or not. He promised to only laugh a little... I'm not sure what that means.

6. Wait patiently for the hand surgeon to call about Jack's appointment.

7. Finish this book because I love it so much!

8. Work on our 2 year post placement reports for Josh and Jameson. Wow. 2 years home soon!

9. Run. So... I'm trying to run longer distances without stopping to walk at a very slow pace, alternating with running short distances faster with more frequent periods of walking.

10. Do my taxes... keeping my fingers crossed on this one. I could use a little refund!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Library Fines...

Remember how I told you my public library has a love-hate relationship with me?

Well today... they love me.

Well actually, the Ozarks Food Harvest should love me. Our library had a special this week where you could actually pay off your library fines by donating canned items to the Ozarks Food Harvest!


Of course we had to do it on the day of a blizzard.

Cause that's how we roll.


Friday, January 29, 2010

OOPS ...


Update on Mr. Thumbkin

Quick Update:
I heard back from the pediatrician's office. The xray report was long, drawn out, and very confusing.

Here's what I heard:
"3mm density at the IP joint, cause unknown.... blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah"

There was a whole bunch more stuff I don't remember.

They are calling the hand surgeon on Monday.

I feel OK about it ... for now.


Random Things About Me

I secretly judge other people's parenting skills by how their kids' fingernails look...

I once went insane at a MSU hockey game and started beating on the glass window screaming, "hit him. hit him. hit him."

My husband once left me at a hockey game...

I am a grammar fanatic, yet I still use commas inappropriately and utilize the ellipses way too much...

I don't consider myself a "dog" person, yet I slept with a 3 pound chihuahua on my head last night and even got up at 4am to take him outside in the snow to pee.

I snore.

I once changed my name for an entire summer.

I enjoy doing laundry because I can see progress when I'm done.

I graduated from college in 2003... when I was 31 and had 4 kids.

Someone spilled something on the keyboard of my laptop, specifically keys k, m,n, and l... and it's driving me absolutely crazy.

I always wanted to be a photographer for National Geographic. (little did I know I would be photographing my own wildlife here at home)

I am an adrenaline junkie.

I love bad weather and am disappointed in the storm that was projected as the blizzard of 2010 and ended up being lame.

Oh and I'm about to be a redhead for the second time in my life... I'll let you know how that goes.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thumbs Up

So, if you've known me for very long at all, you'll recall my story of my son Jack's special congenital "gifts."

He has two conjoined big toes on each foot. It's like one ginormous big toe, complete with two toenails and two bones, but all smushed together.

He has a thumb that doesn't bend.

I won't go into the whole story behind his birth, but basically from about the 18th week of pregnancy, we were told that he might not live too long after birth or he might be perfectly fine. They just didn't know. During that God-awful prenatal testing, he tested at high risk for Trisomy 18, which is fatal.

But after an amniocentesis and a very stressful few weeks, we were told he had a chromosomal abnormality which wasn't necessarily Trisomy 18, but could represent a translocation of the genes, which would still be Trisomy 18th which could still result in fetal death or death immediately after birth.

Confusing right? I know.

Amazing I still remember all the details of that part...

Thanks to the internet, which was a new thing to me then, I had plenty of time to dwell on all of it.

Long (very long) story short, he ended up being born perfectly healthy, weighing in at a whopping 8# 14 oz...

He had a few extras here and there and a thumb that didn't bend correctly. But to be perfectly honest with you, considering we were looking at most certain death from Trisomy 18, we kissed those toes and loved that thumb.

Perhaps if we had gone into it expecting nothing to be wrong, we might have been devastated to have a baby with 12 toes, but it was a rejoicing day. Trust me.

Jack had surgery on his thumb when he was 7 months old in an attempt to release a tendon to make his thumb move; this surgery was not successful.

What 7 month old needs two opposable thumbs anyway?

Jack learned to use his thumb just the way it was. It's a long standing joke that this is the reason he always beats us at video games...he can keep that thumb straight for longer periods of time than the rest of us.

For several months Jack's been complaining about his thumb. I kinda blew it off. Nice. I know. The outside of his "special" thumb has a hard knot on it.

When he said something to me about it yesterday, I looked at it and realized it had grown a lot. And now it was painful to touch.

You can just email me your "mother of the year awards"... Thankyouverymuch!

I called the pediatrician's office to make an appointment. I tried to explain that it wasn't an emergency. I mean I've known about it for 6 months for heaven sakes. I can't very well pretend that I need to be seen immediately...

They get us in immediately.

The visit started with Bobbie, our wonderful pediatrician's gruff nurse, coming in and standing back to back with Jack to see who was taller. We have gone to that office since Jordan was little. Jack was taller... by a hair.

The Dr. was concerned. He mentioned a bony tumor... said they're usually benign... needs an xray... may be heading back to the hand surgeon who saw him when a baby. We will wait and see.

And so we wait on the results of the Xray. Of course we end up going on the afternoon before a huge snow storm is projected to hit. I called Jeff to tell him what we were up to and he asked, "Why did you decide to take him today of all days?"

My reply? "Because today's the day I thought about it."

Hopefully, we will hear back tomorrow.

Please pray for speedy results of the xray and a quick and easy fix.

My boy needs his video game thumb in prime condition.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Look what my kids are doing without parental supervision this time...




I wanna go somewhere. I wanna get away. I need an adventure. I need to get away.

I definitely have wanderlust.

I spent hours the other night on the internet looking at cruises, cheap airfare, even outlandish extravagant trips. A 3 day cruise? Is that really even worth it? A weekend in Branson? Again? Really?

I know that things are just really stressful around here... taking Jameson to IM therapy 3 times a week, in the middle of our homeschool day, is disrupting everyone and everything. Only our third week back to school, and we're already behind. GREAT!

I feel bad for wanting to run away... but it doesn't make me want to run away any less.

I looked at the Treehouses in Eureka Springs... but they're booked.

Cheap trip to Chicago? Jordan has finals and wouldn't have time to see us.

But where to go? When to find the time?

How in the world to finance the adventure?

Our 12th Anniversary is right around the corner... maybe I'll spring us from the daily grind and surprise hubby with a trip.

In the meantime, I can just pray for the snow to fall tomorrow to keep my mind off how I wish I was somewhere else...

Maybe I'll relocate to an igloo for awhile.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Text Message Tuesday

Message: "I just heard a kid say "glitter is the herpes of arts and crafts. it stays with you for life."

*I clarified with the texter that this was a high school age kid and not one of our elementary age kids...

Message: "Yep. Taking Josh to get his braces tightened. Worked last night. Slept for an hour. Kinda want to die."

Reply: "I bet you do..."

Reply: "Not enough coffee in Ethiopia to wake u up."


Message: "I'm reading a book about frank lloyd wright and I love his designs. I wanna it."

Reply: "Ah u and Brad Pitt have so much in common."

Message: "Haha. I love him too. But I really love this book. She leaves her kids and husband to have a torrid love affair with frank lloyd wright."

Message: "But I accidentally googled that she and her children were murdered by an insane servant at the end of the book in 1914... I'm my own spoiler."

Reply: "I hate it when I accidentally google stuff."

Reply: "That's why I don't have servants. U just can't be too careful..."


Message: "My patient is a cross between edward munch's The Scream and the cryptkeeper... Google that."

Reply: "I'm pretty sure I don't want to. Have fun with that. Whatever THAT is."

*In case you're wondering, it looks a lot like this...



Message: "My cousin lives in ft worth and I asked her to run with us in the Big D."

Reply: "Sure. Wait. Is she really skinny and fast? Cuz then no..."

Message: "Well she's skinny but she has asthma."

Reply: " Good. Well not for her but for us.... She's in. Tell her to send a picture before we make it official."


Message: "There's a fifth grader here with a full moustache."

Reply: "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Take a picture."

Message: "It's my volunteer day at Co Op. I've only slept for an hour. It's gonna be interesting."


Message: "Justine is so weird. So very weird. She told her entire class at co op that she was a vampire and begged me not to tell them to truth."

Reply: "Hahahaha. Such a Bella complex."

Message: "She is so strange. I know she's destined for great things but all I can do is shake my head at her."

Message: "I'm at walmart with jus. She's dressed like she's blind and homeless . Purple striped tights. Mini skirt. Green sleeveless shirt. Black and white musical notes jacket."

Message: "Did I tell you I tried to put a red stripe in her hair with kool aid and turned her hair pink?"

Reply: "I'm sharing these texts with the neighbors. They think ya'll should have your own show. But then again that could result in removal of some children from your home..."


Message: "I just ate a bacon, cheddar and fried egg burger. We're about to see The White Ribbon. I'm scared."

*Straight from the streets of Chicago...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pants on the Ground

Why can't my kid keep her pants off the ground?

Oh I know... because she stuffed about a million rocks in her pockets.


IM Update

Since you are all traveling along this I road with me, I thought I would share with you an email I received from our IM therapist today.

"Hi there,
Very busy weekend.
Sorry I'm just now responding.
I love the prayer. Keep it coming! : )

For some kids, this is the key and we see world-changing results in a few weeks. For most, however, this is just one tool in the toolbox. I suspect that will be the case with Jameson. She has so many things going on that they all need to be addressed before real change takes place. For example, I have a student right now who struggled through IM. He really did okay but never met all of his training goals and we stopped and moved on to reading because he was worn out. About 6 weeks after stopping IM, the light went on for him and I saw night and day changes in his reading in the span of two sessions. In his case, I attribute the sudden change partly to the change that was continuing to take place in his brain from IM and some basic reading skills he was missing.

I have had some kids that had that "sudden" change a full year after finishing IM. Others, it was a month or two. Those tend to be the older kids that have more neural pathways in place that need changing. The research backs this up. As long as the big goals are met, the brain continues to re-map itself as time goes on. Kind of like with the inter-continental railroad, nothing big happened until that last golden spike was driven. Then, trains could race across the country carrying all kinds of good stuff.

I emailed my education director at IM last week concerning IM and its effects on PTSD. She responded very quickly but, unfortunately, with bad news. Walter Reed had begun a study specifically on IM/PTSD with returning soldiers but, the lead physician's husband was deployed and she withdrew the study. My director is asking if we would be willing to put together a case study concerning PTSD with Jameson. The hope is that, if we can show gains specifically with PTSD that another university or hospital will pick it up and continue the research on a larger scale.

This would require two things: 1. getting a physician and/or counselor involved now and 2. documenting along the way. Let me know what you think about this. I think it could really serve the larger good.

For now, would it help to try to move her times to later in the day in order to get school work in before coming? I have emailed a former professor to see about the ESL/IEP issue. I will let you know as soon as I hear something back.

Angelique "


The Power of No

Several years ago, Jordan came home from smart kid camp to share what she had learned in her psychology class. The idea was that the human brain does not comprehend the word "no" or "not" in a sentence.

So for example, if I say, "Do not climb on that chair", what the brain hears is "Do climb on that chair." I have looked for the research to substantiate these claims and I've only found a little bit of information; mostly to do with sentence structure and understanding of what is being said. But I still believe it!

In knowing this idea, I can see how it works.

Several years ago, we had borrowed a turtle shell camping thing that goes on the top of your car. It was secured atop our Expedition, therefore made the thing REALLY tall. I had to go to work before we had a chance to take it off. The ENTIRE way to work, I kept telling myself, "Do not park in the garage. Do not park in the garage. Do not park in the garage." I had no reason to even think that I would park in the garage. I had never parked in the garage before. NEVER.

But what did I do?

Yep. Like I had parked there every day of my life, I pulled right into the garage. The exact thing I had been trying to avoid. Luckily, my senses returned to me just before I peeled our Expedition like a can of tuna on the roof of the parking garage.

But why? Why would I do something so out of character for me?

Because I mentally told myself to.
I told myself. "Park in the garage. Park in the garage. Park in the garage."

I have tried to change the way I speak to my kids using this idea. Instead of telling them "not" to do something. I try to always remember to tell the kids exactly what I DO want them to do. I made the mistake of telling Jameson today, "Don't forget your folder." Guess what she did? Just what I told her... she forget her folder.

In my every day life, I'm trying to tell myself what I AM going to do. For example: "I am going to have a good day"...instead of "I hope I don't have a bad day." I have no idea if this is sound or not, just something I was thinking about today.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lesson learned...

I'd been promising the kids a field trip for quite some time now. The weather man said it was supposed to be in the 50's and it had been one of those weeks. You know, the kind that make you scratch your head and think "what was I thinking?"

Jack is vigorously studying the Civil War, and when I say vigorously, I mean he knows all the important battles. He's memorized the Gettysburg address. He can tell you more about the political significance of the North and the South than I probably could. We are working our way through coloring each and every Civil War uniform there ever was, and they have to be exactly as the book says. (He's a lot like me, in case you hadn't noticed...)

Just 5 minutes from our house is Wilson's Creek Battlefield, where a Civil War battle took place in 1861. There is an awesome museum, with a small 30 minute movie, great dioramas, and real artifacts.

Jack ended up getting a Union hat for his history banquet later this year, and was the happiest I've ever seen him. He ran around pretending to load his air enrifle, rolling around in the high, dried weeds, pretending to shoot all of us. He was absolutely thrilled beyond belief.

We decided to go for a walk to the old Mill site along the creek. It starts out innocent enough. We run a little, walk a little. I take some cool pictures. The kids run from informational sign to the next, reading the fun facts excitedly. We cross the creek. We cross the cornfield. We keep on going. I mention once or twice that we're getting really far away from the car. Echos of "No let's keep going" cut the now cooling air.

The boys run. The girls learn how to pee outside. I take some more cool pictures. We emerge from the woods to find ourselves on an abandoned road. We take a left and keep moving north (or I hope it's north.) We make a few stops along the way. The sky is overcast, and my phone keeps beeping that I'm roaming. The temperature never did reach the 50's and I'd say is now much closer to the 30's. The cold wind burns my cheeks while my hot breath fogs my glasses.

The walk back seemed to take like 10 times longer than the scenic hike through the woods. We were now on the side of the black top road, anticipating the vision of our car. With the climb of each hill, Justine became a little more despondent. I knew when the whining had crescendoed to a feverish pitch, perhaps I was in trouble. I began to silently pray that the car would just appear out of no where. We had been walking for a really, really long time. I began to mistrust my usually keen sense of direction. What if I had turned the wrong way when we emerged from the woods... what if we had just spent the last hour walking in the wrong direction?

The boys, of course, were at least 100 feet ahead of Jameson and Jaiden, I was behind, but mostly because I was begging Justine to keep walking. The boys topped the hill and began shouting, "The car. The car. We see the car." Thank you GOD. Justine was crumbling as we prepared for the climb up this last hill. Despite my better judgement, I told Jaiden to stay with her on the side of the road. I would come right back with the car for both of them.

I climbed the top of the hill and rounded the next corner to find the boys jumping up and down saying, "We tricked you. We tricked you." There was no car. We were never going to find it. We were all going to die. If I could catch those boys, I'd kill them.I don't know if you know why they call it the Ozark Mountains, but it's because the hills are like freaking mountains. Up and Down. Steep. Repeat.

I stood at the top of the hill, not knowing if I should go back down to get the girls and do what with them? Carry Justine back up that hill? That's not going to happen. Should I keep going? I knew that damn car had to be there somewhere. It wasn't that big of a place. We had walked about 5 miles at this time, hiked up and down the hills, in and out of the mud, all the way through the woods.

This is definitely not one of my prouder parenting moments. But what else could I do?

Up another hill. Down another hill. I began to panic. The only car I've seen all afternoon passes us on the one way road. I memorize their license plates... you know just in case. As we round the next hill, the boys begin to scream "car," and this time, I know they mean it. We sprint to the car. After hiking 5 miles, this is harder than it sounds. Josh, Jack and Jameson now understand that I AM FREAKING OUT.

We hop in the car and skid out of the parking lot. Within seconds, we see Jaiden and Justine walking slowly down the road. THANK YOU GOD.

As we finished out the afternoon, I made the mistake of asking the kids what they had learned that day...

"Well for starters, not to leave your children on the side of the road without a cell phone..."
I don't even have to tell you who said that, do I?


Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Heart Minus one (1)...


Ellerbee Archives

And deep from the Ellerbee archives...
we bring you the year 2001.

When I look at this picture, memories of the ghetto house on Fort street come flooding back. Jack and Jaiden were about 3 and 1 and a half here.

The ghetto house was your typical 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage ranch style. It just happened to be on a very busy road with frequent squeeling of tires and the occasional gunshot.

The laundry room at the ghetto house was actually a crappy closet right by the back door. The yard at the ghetto house was actually pretty nice and Jack and Jaiden loved to place outside in their play house. I would stand at the closet and work on laundry while keeping my eye on them, running in and out to get some work done.

On a day I don't even remember the date of, Jack came running to the back door, pounding on the door, crying and screaming. I naturally assumed Jaiden had taken something away from him because truly she may look sweet, but she was the alpha child of that duo.

I quickly ran out to see what was the matter, just in time to see two little barefeet sticking straight up out of the sunken window well on the back of the ghetto house.

Jaiden was upside down, with her head under the water from that day's rain, stuck in the window well. Jack was grabbing at her little legs in a desperate attempt to get her out of the hole.

Without even thinking, I grabbed her legs and swung her out of the hole and onto the ground. All three of us laid on the ground, just sobbing and holding each other.

She was covered in leaves and dirt. Grass speckled her tiny brown waterfall of a ponytail. Her little onesie was wet and dirty. She was such a prissy little one and a half year old. Her little life was nearly snuffed out and her only response?

"I got gawraaaaass in my haaiirrr..."