Thursday, August 25, 2011

Back to School

Wow. This summer flew by. Busy is an understatement, but we had a blast, and great memories were made.

All kids got up pretty easily, most of them excited to start their first day. I'll let you guess which one wasn't (hint: he's taller than I am).


my handsome high schooler to ...

my excited 5th grader to ...

my preschooler!
  • Through the summer, Aiden slept until 9 or 10. No joke. First day of school, he got up with no problem! The best part, the lack of our typical wrestling match trying to get him dressed.

  • Aiden says, "No more J! Mary!" ("J" is what he called his teacher, Mrs. J, from last year, Mary is his new teacher). Love it.

  • No tears on the bus! AND, his friend Eric is riding with him this year too! It's amazing for as little of a city we live in that there's another little boy Aiden's age with bilateral Nucleus Freedoms. They are the only two with CIs in our local school district, hence our reason for sending them out of district. ; )

  • At drop off, he looked back, waved to his bus driver and yelled, "Bye Jahtee (jackie)!"
  • He was a bundle of laughter and smiles the rest of the night, talking nonstop.

  • Kailyn's one of the "big kids" in the school now (K-5th) and boy is she loving it!

  • As her bus pulled away today, she was in the back seat and mouthed to me, "Look! I get the back seat!" Guess it's still cool to ride in the back of the bus.

  • My best oldest child ever, Ryan, wasn't too excited about his first day, but then again, what teenager is. We decided to enroll him in a Catholic high school for the remainder of his high school career. Our local district h.s. wasn't a good fit and there were a lot of things we didn't agree with or like about the school. The good thing is he's completely on board and is very positive about his new start. He's hating the whole uniform thing - I on the other hand, love it.
  • I struggle with the thought of Aiden being in school five full days a week. He's just three. The good thing is they nap the last 60-90 minutes of school - this is good as he won't nap at home, but he will with others. It's a long day, but a structured day full of language enrichment. I'm going to give it a month or so, if it seems too much for him, I'll change back to 1/2 days like we did last year. I honestly think he'll be just fine.

  • On top of the long school day, he has quite the bus ride, which makes his day even longer. He's on the bus a good 45 minutes each way to and from school. I may start to pick him up though, since I'll pick up Ryan everyday and their schools are only a couple miles from each other. I gotta say, he loves riding the bus though, and I like the thought of some one on one with Ryan before my wild ones get home. We'll see.

  • On top of school, Aiden will still have his auditory verbal therapy every other week and OT once a week, each during the school day. Then there's the possibility we may have to add a speech pathologist in the mix, but I'm going to fight to get him more speech time at school through his IEP. I'm thinking of taking him out of school one day a week and deem it "therapy day".

  • I have worries for each of my kids this year, one no more than the other. I worry about Ryan and Kailyn just as much as I worry about Aiden. Being a teenager is not easy and honestly, you couldn't pay me enough money to go back to those years. I hope he finds himself and realizes how much he has to offer this world. He truly is brilliant and has such a big heart. Kailyn struggles in some areas and I pray the school jumps on board and starts working as a team with me. I have to say, my girl always has a smile on her face that lights up a room, but is her own biggest critic. I'm working hard with her to get that "I can do anything I set my heart and soul to" attitude. Aiden has new obstacles to overcome on top of everything else we continue to strive for. We're still on the unknown path, with no official diagnosis, but we've also already entered the path to success as we work through mapping issues and get a jump start in OT. All I can do is hope. Hope and pray, and continue to support each of them in their own journeys. It's not easy, but I know they will all overcome.
I have a feeling it's going to be a good year for all of us; very busy, but good. We all have some hard work ahead of us, but I think we're at the point where we're ready for anything ... either that, or about to all fall on our faces, but what fun would that be?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ten on Tuesday (ok, eleven)

I have so much catching up to do. All three kids start back to school tomorrow, so hopefully I'll get in more blogging time and able to catch up on our summer journey.

For today's "ten", I thought I'd post ten of my favorite photos from our three week journey at the John Tracy Clinic. Truly though, they are all priceless.

my partner.
I love this picture for many reasons, foremost, it screams - WE MADE IT! all after:
getting to the airport at 5:30am in Cleveland;
to taking the tram to switch planes in Dallas;
to arriving in Burbank then having to tote two suitcases, a car seat,
four carry-ons, and a 3-year old to the rental car bus to the rental car place;
to navigating our way in LA (first time there) to the apartments and,
having to make an extra go around in lunchtime traffic through LA before finding it.
This girl was my ROCK! She didn't complain once, she helped out without being asked,
she kept Aiden entertained, and she gave me many smiles and hugs throughout.
She kept me grounded and calm.
and we celebrated our success together - this girl is AMAZING.

lifelong friends.
I remember the day I called up my friend Kat and talked to her about JTC.
We met each other right before I left Texas.
We talked on the phone MANY times after I left.
We became best buds through all our hour plus long conversations -
like we'd known each other for.ever.
We met a third time and experienced a once in a lifetime journey together at JTC,
and tightened our bond even more.
and while there,
our kids created that lifetime bond as well.
one day, our kids will look back at this picture and laugh at how small they were,
then provide a "cheers" at how far they have all come.

a smile.
Ahhhh, Kathleen, the perfect way to begin and end everyday,
with her welcoming, heart warming smile. If you needed something,
she'd do her best to have it to you by the end of class.
She is beyond amazing.

quiet time.
This reminds me of the down times we had.
no tv in the apartment, electronics were limited,
and we could only bring so much. when we weren't outside,
Aiden did a lot of "reading". here he decided to read to
his new horse, which was given to all the kids
the day of orientation.

best buds.
It was hard to choose between the two above.
As Aiden would say, this is "Monden" (London).
He was the first name Aiden knew from his class;
they were buds the whole time.
Both were more quiet around others,
but sure did chat it up to one another.
i LOVE these two pics.

the path.
this was our walk every morning to school.
aiden, always the "lolly-gagger", would take his sweet ole' time
down this path, having to stop and check everything out.
to the right was the "never-ending"
gathering lawn and the apartments, and
if you asked Aiden which way to school (once out the gate),
he'd point to the left, and say, "Dis way!"

We all know the (out in public) "stares and looks".
here, our children were unified.
not just our hoh/deaf children, but our hearing children as well.
and not just the children, but just as much, the adults.
being around people who truly "get it",
learning from one another, realizing,
we're not climbing this mountain alone.

The sibling program at JTC was one of the largest they've ever had,
nearly 20 siblings coming together,
and it was purely phenomenal.
Kailyn made life long friends with girls and boys
from around the world.
she made crepes with Armelle and Clarence from France;
had sleepovers with Sydney from Texas;
ran the lawn (and tv room) with Debi, OJ, Christian, Gregoire, Louise, Owen, and Cole;
became a "big sister" to many of the younger ones,
and adopted her own big sister, Alyssa from Alberta.
the relationship and memories these kids built together,
was priceless.

the first two weeks was Kailyn, Aiden, and I.
By week three, we were missing "our boys"
and ready to reunite as a whole family.
I am so grateful that Aiden's daddy and brother got to experience
a piece of this life changing journey with us.

it takes a village.
each person in this picture has touched my life in some special way -
through words, hugs, tears, smiles, lessons learned, listening.
relationships were built, life-long friendships were made.
each with our own journey, yet
together. united.
with similar goals and hopes -
to overcome obstacles, to obtain services our children NEED,
strength and knowledge to forge on & fight for what WE know best - OUR CHILD,
for our deaf/hoh children to LISTEN and SPEAK.
and together, we will make it.

and this list wouldn't be complete without:

the infamous tree.
and just like the John Tracy Clinic,
you have to be there to truly experience all it has to offer.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

and in the meantime ...

check out one of my favorite people in the world's blog, who ventured with me to California, and who wrote this post about our amazing adventure.

She says it perfectly.

miss you so much my friend.

Ten on Thursday

Here are my top ten reasons for not being on here to write a post, or read my favorite blogs in what seems like FOR.EV.ER.

1.(and I'm not talking about having fun at Universal Studios - I'm talking about a teenager, a preteen, and a toddler.)

2. Not ONE day on my August calendar is blank. seriously.

3. Many days on my August calendar have multiple entries.

4. I'm still catching up mentally, physically, house work wise, paperwork wise etc. from our three weeks away at JTC.

5. A three year old who will not sleep in his bed and has night terrors even when sleeping in my bed. I have not had a solid night sleep since WAY before our trip to California. I'm ready to commit myself just so I can have some alone time AND get a decent nights sleep.

6. Two weeks before JTC, my better half was in Georgia for two weeks. I leave to JTC for three weeks, he comes in for the last one. As soon as we get back home, he's gone again for another week to D.C. This week, he's sick. Can you say!?

7. At JTC one of the dad's gave me advice to "go home and take 5% of time for YOU." Love the sound of this. I'm yet to try out this soundsamazingandwillhopefullyhappenrealsoon rule. See #'s 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6 above. Unless I want to get up at the crack of dawn, which doesn't work because of #5 and I'm already a walking zombie, PLUS I've already tried that and low and behold, it was the same day the troops decided NOT to sleep until 10am.

8. Prepping for the new school year - I have three kids, three different school districts, two different IEPs to review and update, three different logistics to and from school to figure out, who all start on the same day and I cannot wait.

9. When we're not running to an appointment or to a sports camp, we've been spending time with family. Our first weekend back was spent in Cleveland, then last weekend we had a houseful here, then tomorrow we're heading BACK to Cleveland for our first "out of the box" mapping session and TWO family parties. Whew.

10. and I'm supposed to go back to work as soon as the kids are back in school.?.

whatever. I'm going to add up all those 5 percents per day I've been missing out on and call it my sick time. Gotta go do the math. oh, and get my oldest to a parent meeting/prayer service at his new school and his sister to soccer camp which of course are both at the exact same time. so thankful for the counselors at JTC who taught me some seriously good deep breathing, calm yourself down techniques!