30 December 2011

Latvian School Play

It's that time of year and I've had no time to blog.  Please accept my sincere apology.  Over the next couple days, I am going to work on catching up on the events of the past few weeks and I am going to work hard in the new year to blog more.

So nearly 2 weeks ago Eriks had his last day of Latvian school before Christmas break.  Latvian school is once a week.  In the fall and spring it takes place on Friday nights and during the winter it's on Saturdays. In the younger grades the kids learn Latvian songs, Latvian folk dances, reading, writing and grammar.  When Eriks is older, he will learn Latvian history and geography.  I am a Latvian school graduate and although I hated the homework and giving up my Saturdays as a kids, I am very thankful I had that kind of opportunity to learn about the country my family came from.

On the last day of Latvian school the students put on a Latvian Christmas play.  As a kid the majority of the time they include animals, elves, evergreen trees...typical Christmas stuff.  Eriks was an elf this year in the play.  He had one line to deliver and did it with style.  The kids also sang some Latvian Christmas songs and did some dancing.  It was very cute and we enjoyed it.  After the play Santa made a visit to the kids and gave them presents.

 My little goofball!
 Christmas music being played on traditional Latvian instruments.  
 My niece L was a rabbit in the play.

 My other two school age nieces B and A were also elves like Eriks.  B is standing right next 
to Eriks and A is in a dress that matches her sisters (second from left).
This is the photo I took of the kids and used for our Christmas cards this year.  

29 November 2011

Random Thoughts

Not a whole lot going on right now.  Gearing up for a 3 hour drive to Columbus, OH on Thursday for a Cardiology appointment with the new doctors.  Wish they weren't that far away but I've been told they are some of the best around and when there are no specialists in the area that take your insurance, you have to go where you can, even if it's 3 hours away.

Thanksgiving was very good.  My mom is a wonderful cook and did a fabulous job feeding her kids and grandkids.  I am so thankful that she is in my life not only because she still takes care of me, but because she has taught me how to cook and I'm figuring I may be doing Thanksgiving at my house next year for everyone.  I did make the chocolate bourbon pecan pie that my family, especially my sister loves so much.    Good grief was it good.  We finished it off last night.

I did do some shopping online Thursday night to get in on some early Black Friday deals and did some shopping on Friday as well.  My nieces L & B both had their birthdays on Saturday - sisters born exactly 2 yrs to the day apart.  I had to get them their birthday gifts.  I didn't purposefully wait until the last minute, I just had way too much going on over the past few weeks.  They loved their gifts which I'm glad and now I need to worry about Christmas gifts.  I've got Emi finished and Eriks has one more gift that needs to be bought for him.  All but 1 of my nieces has been bought for.  When my in-laws drove back to TX on Sunday, I sent back with them their gifts as well as our nephew M's gift.  I still have to buy for Lane's sister, Marla but she's so hard to buy for because she has what she needs and says she'll appreciate whatever she gets.  I'm going to have to bug her for ideas.  Lane is another person that I'm going to have a terribly difficult time buying for.  He has pretty much everything he wants or needs other than Starbucks gift cards and gift cards to buy stuff for his e-readers.  He has both the Kindle and the Nook.  I bought him the Kindle for Christmas last year and he won the Nook in a raffle this fall.  I'm just glad I've made a good dent in my shopping.

Not much else has been going on with us.  Lane is studying for finals and going back and forth between, "I can handle this," and panic, "I'm never going to learn and remember it all before the exams!"  His first final is next Monday.  On the bright side, he is looking forward to them being over with so that he has a month to relax before Spring semester starts.

On that note, I'm going to share a video I took of Emi with her cousin L at my mom's house last Wednesday when we went over there to hang out so Lane could have some quiet study time in the house.  The girls has a blast!  It's only about a minute long but enjoy it anyway!

15 November 2011

I Am NOT Super Woman

But gawd how I wish I was.  You know how they say you are your own worst critic?  They're right. I'm having a hard time accepting that I can't do it all.  I blame my mother for this (sorry mom).  Not only did my mom work a full-time job, she took care of the house, the laundry, the cooking, the yard work and us kids.  And she rocked it!  In my opinion at least.  She wasn't always in the best of moods at the end of the day.  Being an inner-city school teacher and all - dealing with parents who sent their kids to school because it was the law but cared less if they actually got an education and kids who knew this.  Granted there were a handful of kids she had through her teaching career who were good students, hard workers and were taught to treat others with kindness and respect, but this was not the majority.  I'm getting off track here.  She still managed to try and muster enough patience with us to help us with homework we couldn't figure out on our own while making dinner.

I'm very much overwhelmed, overworked, overtired and under appreciated right now.  Not to mention I've been sick for almost 2 months and because of my responsibilities, I've really put taking care of myself on the back-burner.  Some of what I think I'm dealing with is now allergies not the sickness I had.  Moving back to Indiana there's something in the air my system just doesn't like.  Less than 2 weeks ago I started a 2nd round of antibiotics to get rid of the gunk that wouldn't go away with the 1st round and I ended up getting pink eye to boot.  It's been lots of fun.  Thankfully, I'm the only one dealing with it.  Emi has had a runny nose off and on too but so have all the kids in her class and she's never complained that she feels bad.  I'd like love to get over this and feel like myself again.  I think that would drastically help because I'd have the energy I'd need to get most of my stuff done.  It doesn't help that my 3 kids (it includes the hubby) aren't helping any by leaving their stuff all over the house no matter how often I ask them nicely to pick up after themselves.  So then my work becomes double.

I know Lane is doing what's best for our family but how can part of me not be jealous?  I know it's not all fun and games.  There's a lot of hard work he's putting in on a daily basis, but it's been a passion and fascination for over 4 yrs ago.  He doesn't even stop talking about law when he's away from it.  That's the kind of person that really deserves to be a lawyer.  I don't like the fact that I can't work a full-time job outside of the home because I can't be on my feet all day long and I just don't have the energy to work all day and then come home and take care of all the at home responsibilities.  I am envious of anyone who is able to do this.

I've all but given up on crafting or anything else I love doing.  I just don't have the time or energy to.  Not completely true but by the time the kids are in bed and asleep, I'm wrapping up stuff and then moving myself towards bed because I'm just that dang tired.  It drives me nuts!

I know, I know, I know.  I need to make time for myself.  My mom  in a conversation earlier today asked me if I was depressed because I was crying about not having enough time to get stuff done and complaining about life in general.  The answer is a firm NO!  I'm just a bit lost right now.  I look at my husband, my adult friends and family members and see that they are doing things they love and want to be doing with their lives.  I love being a wife, mother & caregiver but I'm by no means content in that defining who I am.  I know there are people out there that are OK with that defining them, but I'm not.

I have a fire in my belly telling me that there's more to who I am than just that.

I just need her to show up.

If any of you see her walking down the street tell her I'm looking for her.

Oh, and if you see Super Woman and she's available, tell her I'd like to hire her for a few days.

08 November 2011

Indiana Wine Trail Fall Haul

Saturday was a beautiful warm Fall day for Indiana.  It was a perfect day to head to Southern Indiana for visiting some wineries.  There are 6 wineries on Indiana's Wine Trail (although there are about 50 total wineries in Indiana) that do special events periodically throughout the year.  In the Fall, they all do something called Fall Haul - they feature wines either in recipes or pair them with recipes.  They feature the food and the wine.  It sounded like fun and a good time for Lane and I to have some adult time without the kids.

We invited my sister, Edite along for the ride.  In all my years as an Indiana resident before I moved away, I have spent very little time venturing to other areas of the state.  Besides spending time in Bloomington during college and the Indiana metroplex, I haven't seen much of Indiana.  Completely disappointing since I'm proud to call myself a Hoosier.  Upon moving back I made the decision that I wanted to take more day or weekend trips to areas undiscovered.

In our adventures on Saturday we found that Indiana tends to produce wines that are either on the semi-sweet or sweet side or are fairly dry.  Not that I mind sweet wines, but they are not necessarily my first pick.  There were some wineries that we really liked, others we'll never buy wines from.  One thing I'd like to see is some Indiana wineries maybe import some grapes to blend with the sweeter grapes.  I think one of the reasons Indiana wines are sweeter is because the soil is more conducive to growing a sweeter grape variety.  By far my favorite Indiana winery is still Oliver Winery.  Their wines are sweeter but unlike the majority of the wines we tasted on Saturday from the 5 wineries we visited are that they're not overly/sickly sweet to me.

We came home with 4 bottles of wine.  There were others we would've liked to have bought but it just wasn't in our budget right now.  So we'll start looking for them in local groceries.  One winery we visited that was my 2nd favorite of the day doesn't sell in stores because they can't keep up with the demand.  So we'll have to get in touch with them directly to ship to us or make another trip.  We're hoping to visit other Indiana wineries and maybe even start making trips to Illinois since they have quite a few wineries there too that I've been told are pretty good.

Some of my photos are from a few of the wineries.  Unfortunately, the wineries around here aren't the typical wineries with tasting rooms in California that we encountered.  And yes, one of the wineries had already started decorating for Christmas but their decorations were pretty cool.  A few of the photos are from downtown Madison.  I wish I would've had more time to walk around and take photos of the amazing older buildings and homes.  I guess that's one thing I love about this state - the smaller towns have so much history and character.  My other slight disappointment was that I had hoped So. Indiana still had quite a few leaves on their trees but most of the color was gone.  Actually, I think more trees were missing leaves there than up here in the Indy area.  Oh well, might just have to see Fall down their earlier next year!  I can't wait to keep exploring around the state.

04 November 2011

Grandparents Come for a Visit and Halloween

Last Thursday, Lane's parents came into town to spend some time with all of their Indiana grandkids.  With our house being about 98% put together we had the guest bedroom all set up for them and were very much looking forward to them spending a few nights with us.

The kids really enjoyed their time with Grandma and Grandpa.  Emi and Eriks got to read with Grandma Thursday afternoon.
Later that evening my nieces came over with their parents and we all hung out together eating pizza and watching the World.Series.  There was also a skit that the girls and Eriks put on for us that involved Medieval knights and sword fighting.

Friday we headed to the Children's Museum for the haunted house.  We walked through with the lights on because I knew none of the kids would've enjoyed it with lights out.  They would've been too frightened.  I don't know how many of the adults would've enjoyed lights out either.  The person in our family who really likes haunted houses is my sister-in-law Marla.  Eriks was a little scared even with the lights on.  I think he was afraid something was going to jump out at him.  The two smallest girls going through, Emi and my niece A were the least scared and enjoyed it a lot.

Grandma and Grandpa left for TX Saturday afternoon.  It was a short visit but we were glad they were here with us.  We'll see them again at Thanksgiving.

The weather for Halloween couldn't have been more perfect.  We ended up going over to my mom and dad's house for dinner and the kids put on their costumes there.  That way they could trick-or-treat at Omi and Opi's house before heading home to trick-or-treat in our neighborhood.  I even got a chance to take a picture of my niece Laila in her panda costume which she at first refused to put on, but after my brother took her next door to visit a neighbor for trick-or-treating and she got candy, she was happy to have the costume on.

 Our jack-o-lantern.  I did a quick carving.  Usually I use a pattern but this year I had no time so I free-handed.  We still got a lot of compliments on it from our neighbors.
Eriks and Emi with their candy loot.  

Tomorrow Lane and I are heading to Southern Indiana to take part in the Indiana Wine Trail's Fall Haul.  Six wineries will showcase wines for tasting as well as used them in cooking.  They will share the recipes for the food they make using their wines.  We are so looking forward to this.  The fall colors in Southern Indiana should be amazing and we can't wait to try some more Indiana wines.  Best part is we are going without our kids (although we will miss them dearly).  This is some very much needed adult time!

24 October 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

I was awarded my 1st blogger award by Liene over at Femme au foyer for my honest, positive blogging style.
I have to admit that there are times where that is not so easy to do.  Life has thrown us quite a few curve balls this year - Eriks' diagnosis being the big one.  His doctor was put on bed rest due to her pregnancy and is still finishing up the report so that we can start OT which he desperately needs and likely medicine to keep him at an even keel through the day.

All the rooms in the house have now been painted with the exception of some touch up work.  This is a very good thing since Grandma & Grandpa are going to be in town from Texas later this week and are staying with us.  Now it's just a matter of finishing up putting stuff on the walls and away in the storage room.  I am desperately trying to find a china cabinet that I can paint black and put in the dining room.  I have boxes of china and crystal that I would like to start using again.

We had an uneventful weekend.  Put together a desk for the office which Lane is currently using (no class today).  I have not stamped or crafted anything since before we moved up to Indy and I have been itching to do stuff.  Now I have a desk I can sit at and work at during the day.  Watched my Colt$ lose miserably last night.  The head coach needs to go.  Made a fabulous pot roast for dinner last night and had my parents over for dinner.  My dad was over here putting up insulation in our garage where there wasn't any.  I figured I could give him a good dinner for his work (thanks Dad).

Have a good week and I will have some photos of Grandma and Grandpa's visit over the weekend!!

16 October 2011

ER Visits - CHD Post

I'm fine.  I have made NO visits to the ER in almost 3 1/2 yrs thankfully.  It's been awhile since I posted something about CHD to all my CHD blog readers and after being woken up at 2:30 am by red flashing lights from an ambulance next door, it made me think about my ER visits.  I found out Friday afternoon when I saw our neighbor's wife outside that he has atrial fib issues and the doctors had made a change to one of his medicines and he didn't deal with it well and went into an A-Fib episode and took a trip to the ER in the middle of the night.  He is fine and she hopes the meds will start working the way they should.

Anyhow, while standing at the window watching the flashing lights, I thought about my 1 ER trip in an ambulance when Lane and I were living near DC.  I was being seen at Johns Hopkins.  Lane was out of town and I was supposed to go pick him up at the airport sometime that evening.  Well, my heart had different ideas.  I went into a pretty bad A-Fib episode that would not go away.  When I was having A-Fib episodes, my doctor told me to take another dose of one of the meds I was on in attempt to slow down the heart rate which would allow it to convert on its own and return to a normal rhythm.  Well it wasn't happening and it was getting bad enough to the point where I had to call 911 and have an ambulance take me since I didn't have anyone else around to do it.

Thinking back on it, it was kind of funny because although our dog at the time Sydney was harmless, I was told by the 911 operator that I had to lock him up when the EMT's arrived.  I felt so bad for him being locked up because he was going to be locked up for quite some time.  But he handled it like a trooper when all was said and done.  It was also fun calling Lane and telling him that he was going to have to take a cab from the airport to the hospital and then a cab home from the hospital.  Those were some expensive cab rides.  After I was loaded up in the ambulance I got the lights and all ride through town.  It was kind of exciting!  Out the back window I could see the cars that had to pull over to let us go by.  The EMT's thought it was pretty weird too that I was in such high spirits considering my 120-150 heart rate and the fact that I looked terrible.  All the color had drained from my face and they told me I looked pretty white.  I told them that A-Fib was no longer anything new to me and I'd learned to take it with a grain of salt.  I knew I was going to be dealing with this for a long time.

After pumping me full of Cardizem/Diltiazem, my heart converted.  I spent the night in the hospital just in case and then Lane got to take me home.

Then there was that one time, Lane was busy with work.  I think he was flying actually.  I did have him called to return because I had another A-Fib episode but instead of calling an ambulance, I drove myself to the ER.  I don't recommend this.  I wasn't feeling that bad and figured I didn't want to deal with an ambulance and the 20 minute drive wasn't that bad.  My mom had a cow.  I swear if she could've, she would've reached through the phone and strangled me for doing it.  I'm sure she tried.

So what's the real purpose of this post?  I guess it's learning how to deal with this stuff as an adult when you have to deal with this when you're no longer living at home.  I had a small handful of ER visits as a kid all for broken bones or sprained ankles, but I never made an ER visit for my CHD.  So when I started having the A-Fib issues, I had to decide when it was time to go to the hospital and how I was going to get there.  Luckily I was married and had my husband around the 1st time I had to make an ER trip because of my CHD.  It wasn't too bad before we adopted Eriks.  Lane was around 99% of the time and could take me to the hospital.  When Eriks came into the picture it became a bit more complicated.  When he was a baby we just took him with us.  As he got older there were times he still went with us and other times we scrambled to find someone to take care of him so that we didn't have to worry about Eriks having to go with us.  Being a military wife, never having family around when I had to go to the hospital was bad.  I highly recommend to other CHDers and parents of CHDers, if you move away from home, make sure you have a strong network of people you can count on if you need help and have to make an unexpected trip to the hospital.  I wish we would've had a long list of people to count on in all the different places we lived.

If any CHDers reading my blog or parents of CHDers have questions to ask me, please email me.  I'd love to do a Q & A blog post sometime.

15 October 2011

Apple Orchard

Emi had a day off from school on Monday because of Columbus Day so my mom and I took her about an hour south of where we live to get apples.  We had hoped to pick apples, but we waited too late in the season to do that.  All they had were apples in bags for purchase.  Next year we'll go mid-September instead of waiting.  Unfortunately, with schedules and other stuff going on, we had no choice this year but to wait this long.  Doesn't matter because although we didn't pick apples, we bought them and they are some of the best around.

My mom was introduced to Anderson Orchard by her aunt and uncle years ago.  While driving down my mom and I were talking and she was trying to figure out how the heck they found this place.  But they were notorious for getting in the car and taking drives.  My best guess is that it was either a word of mouth, they saw it on TV, or read about them in the paper.  Uncle Albert loved going to the orchard.  He looked forward to it.  My mom said he would also pick the biggest and prettiest apples he could find.  I miss them both terribly.

Monday was a warm beautiful day.  The weather earlier this week was truly Indian Summer weather.  Low 70's for highs and sunny.  Now it's cold and windy and I'm not liking it much.  The orchard was surprisingly busy but I'm thinking that had a lot to do with the weather.  Emi loved the apple she sampled and made a complete sticky mess of her hands.  She also loved the apple cider we shared.  We came back with apples, cider and mums for the yard.  It was a good day!

04 October 2011

Ballerina Emi

A few Saturdays ago while I was cleaning house, my bedroom to be exact, Emi went into her dresser and found the leotard handed down from her cousins and a ballerina skirt that came with a pajama set.  The leotard is honestly too small and I need to get her a new one because she loved that thing and refused to take it off.  The music was going via our satellite TV and she began dancing around.  Unfortunately she was moving so fast that some of the pictures I got were blurry and I wasn't happy about that.  But she makes one stinking cute ballerina and I would like to see how she would do in a dance class.  Maybe when she turns four we will give it a whirl.

03 October 2011

Wedding Weekend

I am able to take a deep breath again after much craziness helping my parents' goddaughter with her wedding.  I loved every minute of it but, doing it while taking care of 2 kids, a house and a husband who's in law school is hard impossible!

The bride and groom left for their honeymoon this afternoon and I hope they have a very enjoyable trip.  Eva picked a really great man for her husband and since she is very much a part of our family, we couldn't be happier for her.

The kids are exhausted from the weekend and one of them is actually ill.  I picked Eriks up from school this afternoon and he slept the entire way home.  I took his temperature and attempted to give him a snack while he watched some cartoons on the couch.  As he was getting ready to take a bite of his snack, he dropped it and tried to bolt for the bathroom but didn't make it and ended up puking all over the rug - twice.  Poor kid.  Needless to say, I have one child who will not be attending school tomorrow.  I am praying that he does wake up feeling better and there is no more puking to be had.  I'm battling a cold.  Part of it is the crazy up and down weather and part of it the nonstop running recently (see paragraph 1).

Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of the kids this Saturday at the wedding since they wouldn't stand still.  I can't blame them, it was a rockin' reception.  You'll just have to enjoy some of my favorite wedding photos. I loved taking and editing every one of them!

22 September 2011

Finally Breaking the Silence

I've had the official answer since the end of June even though I knew before then what I've known for quite some time.  It's still really hard to talk about it because most people don't understand it.  And I'm not comfortable talking to people and saying, "Emi is deaf and Eriks has Asperger Syndrome."  Although this is a fact, I don't like labeling them or want it to define who they are.  However, I feel more and more like I have to explain the above to people all the time.

I'm sure my regular readers remember posts where I've talked about Eriks' behavior issues and trying to diagnose him.  Originally Dr L diagnosed him with mild AD/HD and then starting seeing behavior that made her change her mind.  So she got a bit more aggressive on testing him and even giving us a fairly intense questionnaire to answer.  When a bunch of our responses starting pointing in one direction she chose to give Eriks an IQ test.  But a different type of IQ test that wouldn't only gauge his intelligence level but also give answers to his behavior patterns.

To make a long story short, his diagnosis was handed down at the end of June.  Eriks has an autism spectrum disorder called Asperger Syndrome.  If you take the time to go to the link, especially if you know him, you will see that many of the behaviors typical of AS, Eriks exhibits.  The ones I see most are: lack of social and emotional empathy, impaired nonverbal behaviors such as eye contact (you can't get him to look at you when you are talking to him if you paid him), engaging in a long-winded and one-sided conversation (he can go on and on about things like you've got nothing better to do than listen to him), fixation on certain topics (he will ask you 10,000 questions about a Star Wars character you know nothing about until he gets the answer he wants to hear), repetitive motor behaviors (he has a pattern of tapping on his fingers over and over again with his thumbs that either starts with the thumbs hitting his pinkies and going to his index finger or vice versa.  It almost mimics a nervous twitch), sensory issues (needing to touch things constantly), light and sound sensitivity and sleep problems are the big ones.  He also has a very exaggerated laugh for things he thinks are absolutely hilarious but the majority of us would think are dull or dumb.

I'm glad that we finally have an answer but I am an OCD person, just ask Lane, and Eriks' AS conflicts with my OCD.  I've always lacked patience because of my OCD and when I am doing something, I don't deal with interruption/disruption well.  Eriks doesn't understand because of his lack of social & emotional skills that there are things that are more important than the story he is telling me.  Another common trait among AS is easy frustration and anger, especially when what the person with AS is trying to articulate is not being understood or there is something that takes priority over their story.  Eriks also gets frustrated when things don't come easily for him, especially school work.  He is very smart.  Based on his IQ test results, he has an IQ of 112, but Dr L also said that because of his lack of long term focus (also common among AS), she honestly thinks that his IQ is probably 118 or 120.  Eriks knows he is smart so he assumes everything needs to come easy.  If it doesn't he gets mad and calls himself dumb.  As a parent this is so hard for me to see because I know it is so untrue.  But you just can't make him understand that.  I easily get frustrated with Eriks because I expect him to understand rules and directions and there are times he just doesn't.

The hardest part is he is socially isolated, especially at school.  Not because he chooses it, but because kids just don't get him.  It breaks my heart when he gets in the car some days and says, "No one wanted to play with me today at recess."  I know sometimes it's because of his AS he expects kids to do what he's interested in and when they want him to join what they're doing and he's not interested then he gets left out and sees it as being rejected by his peers.  There are kids at school that I know really do like him, but probably as I said, just don't get him so in his little mind thinks that they don't like him.

I'm going to wrap this up soon but Dr L was telling us some of the questions on the IQ test she gave Eriks that is given to kids who likely have AS or autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and this one still makes me laugh.  She told us going into her testing of Eriks that you can't give kids you suspect are AS or ASD a typical IQ test the rest of us would take because their brains don't process the info the same way.  One of the questions showed a man sitting on a tree limb with a saw facing the tree getting ready to cut down the limb.  Kids without AS would answer the question by saying that if he cuts the limb off the tree the way he is sitting, he will fall with the limb.  Eriks answer was, and I can't quote it verbatim, was along the lines of, "He shouldn't cut the tree because the tree will die.  Trees make oxygen and people need oxygen to breath and stay alive.  So cutting the tree is very bad for the environment and for people."  Dr L said that was a VERY typical AS answer.  It wasn't so much that the guy would end up falling and hurting himself but what was more important was how he was damaging the tree.

One of the best treatments for AS is OT (occupational therapy).  It helps kids with AS become more sensitive to others.  I'm not 100% sure what other benefits it has because we're still trying to get the final report from Dr L's office and recommendations for specific types of OT.

Living with Eriks puts a lot of stress on me since he demands so much attention due to his AS.  He physically drains me daily.  I know a lot of who Eriks is isn't because he had a choice in it, but at times all the time, I don't understand why he's refuses to accept my answers or argues with me.  He has it in his mindset that he can make his own rules.  He doesn't think before he does things, also a common AS symptom and disruptive to my OCD ways.  He'll get on his bike and head to a neighbor kids house before he would ask permission or even say, "I'm getting on my bike and going to so-and-so's house."  This goes back to the social insensitivity to others. This has happened several times when he's gone out to play in the backyard and I peek out the window to check on him and he's not there.  I go out and call for him but there's no answer and see the open gate and know he's wandering the neighborhood.  I have gone into a panic not knowing where he is because it's difficult for me to drag Emi all over the neighborhood looking for him.  It's scary and I don't wish this for anyone.

OK, I could probably write pages and pages about this so I need to save some for later as the OCD me tries to deal with understanding and learning to deal with Eriks and AS.  Besides what I've read about AS, I have no clue as to how to be a parent to a child with AS.  Someone recommended a book to me written by another mother of a child with AS.  I need to get my hands on it.

It's going to be a long journey for us as we learn how to deal with Eriks' behaviors and I hope that those who know him will begin to understand him better now that the news is out in the open.

21 September 2011

Coming or Going???

Yeah, I haven't figured it out either.  I have been a bad blogger because my life is utter chaos right now and I'm hoping to have it back under control in a few weeks.

It all started when Eriks went back to school about a month ago.  After we got him in school we were in a feverous pitch to get Emi where she needed to be.  That did not come easy.  Although I spent a few years of my K-12 schooling in public schools, I can clearly see why my parents chose private schools when they could and why Lane and I from the start decided we wanted our kids in private schools.  I'm going to condense this as best as I can.  We found out when Indiana.School for the Deaf started classes and went directly to them to get Emi registered for their Pre-K program because we found out that there is no program like what she had in GA in any of the county schools.  We were told by I.S.D. that we had to have permission from our school system to send her there.  Seriously???  I was beyond ticked off.  So we set up a conference with Westfield.Washington Schools to discuss what would best meet Emi's needs even though I knew exactly what she needed.  We spent nearly 90 minutes going back and forth.  The school system was convinced they could accommodate Emi even though they couldn't guarantee the intense speech therapy she needed nor was there anyone who could sign to her.  If it weren't for her BCA (bone-conductive aid) she would be completely deaf.  There are times where she will be unable to wear it - bathing, swimming, etc and she will need ASL for communication.  Lane and I couldn't get that across to the school system.  They were so in the mindset that if she has a hearing aid now, she's fine and needs to be in a regular classroom.  We held firm and said that what they had to offer Emi was not good enough.  They finally let us have our way.  It was frustrating and infuriating.  I am not happy with our school system at all and thankful Eriks is in a private school.  I pray that Emi never has to go to a public school in our school system so long as we live in this house.  Anyhow, Emi finally started school on Monday and loves it!  It's amazing that just a few days of signing and speech again gives her the motivation to start signing and talking again.  Not to say she wasn't doing it at all.  But she loves school and has wanted to go back all summer.  I know she misses Jenna, Karen and Lauren so much, but is enjoying her new teacher.

I have gone through medical h-e-l-l trying to set up specialists for myself.  As much as I liked the cardiologist and nurse practitioner at Emory, I hated Emory itself.  I wouldn't recommend anyone seek medical services there at all.  I'm sure there are many wonderful Dr's there, but the support staff and administration stinks!  I needed more test strips for a machine I use to check my blood.  Similar to a glucose meter but it's to check the thickness of my blood.  My CHD followers will understand INR levels.  The clinic there would not approve more test strips since I no longer lived in the area even though until I see the new cardiologist, I'm still a patient there.  I could choose to travel there, but I'm not going to.  I called my new cardio's office and explained the situation and we're working on getting it taken care of.  So very, very thankful.  It has definitely been stress I don't need.  I was in tears over this last week.  If I don't check it every 4 weeks I could be putting myself at risk for a stroke or a bleed.

Lane's crazy busy with school leaving me dealing with pretty much everything.  This is so not what I signed up for but the 1st year of law school is the hardest.  We had the water heater replaced today.  It's the 3rd one this 13 yr old house has had.  Why the previous owners didn't have an expandable water heater before, we have no idea.  Thankfully most of it was covered under the home warranty we insisted upon when we bought the house.  Our fridge broke last week.  Yeah, after 2 months the fridge went out.  Repair guy came out Monday and yesterday to replace one of the 3 motherboards that control it and it's not a motherboard issue.  It's an internal issue that probably occurred during manufacturing.  So now I'm waiting on Sam$ung to approve replacement even though the fridge is under warranty.  Meanwhile I'm going to the store almost daily because it's not in fridge/freezer in the garage.  Thank gawd for the backup or I would've lost a lot of groceries.  I have always loved my Sam$ung electronics and appliances but this really bites.  It's a brand new model they recently rolled out too!

When it rains, it pours!!!

I know there's more stuff that I should talk about but I'm out of time.  Too much to do and kids need to be picked up from school in just over an hour.

Hopefully I'll be back soon with some photos, etc.

29 August 2011

No Fear

My daughter may be deaf.  At 3 1/2 she may hardly be able to speak because of the combination of deafness and the repair of her cleft lip/palate but nothing, I mean nothing keeps this kid away from water.  Since moving back to Indiana we have spent our fair share of time in my parent's pool.  Last year was Emi's first real swimming experience in a pool.  The year we brought her home, we didn't get in a pool at all.  She was a little apprehensive last summer.  She pretty much just hung out on the steps and absolutely disliked the baby float.  She was somewhat OK in our arms but we needed to stay where it was shallow.  Towards the end of last summer she got more brave and we were hopeful.  This summer she is crazy in the pool.

As a matter of fact, just yesterday she was wearing her water wings and decided to take them off and jump straight in.  Mind you she can't touch the bottom.  She's still too short.  Eriks was in the pool so he helped her but she is well on her way to learning to swim.  After jumping in, she did shoot herself back to the surface and was trying to kick to stay afloat.  The problem is she doesn't want to use her hands to help her swim forward. With the water wings she is jumping into the 8 ft deep end of the pool and loving every minute of it.  Jumping into the water is her thing.

So here's praying she'll be swimming by next summer without water wings.  Enjoy the photos from Emi's water fun this summer.

27 August 2011

A Week in Paradise

It's been more than a month since our trip so I figure it's about time to blog about it.  I've been busy this week with sending Lane off to law school and Eriks off to his new school.  Both of them seem pretty happy with their new surroundings.  Although Lane is concerned about balancing family, school and studying but I think in a few weeks he'll have a groove going and it'll be fine.  Eriks really likes his new school.  Although it's a haul from our house (luckily it's close to where Lane goes to school so he can take him in the morning), he is in a very small class.  Only 9 second graders total.  I think the whole school only has about 70 students.  So I'm happy that he's happy.  We'll see how things are in a few weeks when he's got a bit more school work to do.

So mid-July, Lane and I took an early 15 yr wedding anniversary trip to Riviera Maya, Mexico.  We stayed at a very nice all-inclusive adults-only resort.  It was pure relaxation.  Most mornings we woke up between 9 and 10.  And most mornings we skipped breakfast and went straight down to the pool.  I often started the day with the non-alcoholic beverage of the day.  Of course it wasn't long after that I'd move on to a pina colada or some other fruity beverage with alcohol.  At some point we'd wander to one of the restaurants at the resort and have lunch.  Then it was back to the pool.  Lane and I would hang out at the pool until about 5ish and then head back to the room to get ready for dinner.  It was humid enough while we were there that the majority of the time I actually wore my hair curly.  So in the photos I will post you will actually see my curly hair.

Some of the restaurants at the resort were really good.  Others I wasn't too impressed by but the food was edible.  Our favorite was the Japanese restaurant.  We ate dinner their twice.  Usually we'd have to wait for a table so they give out pagers that work to my knowledge all over the resort but we'd sit at the martini bar and sip cocktails until our table was ready.  I found a love of lemon drop martinis and both Lane and I found that we like gin martinis as well.  Every night the resort had entertainment of some sort as well.  A show, a band, etc.

Some of the interesting parts of the trip were seeing an interesting naked guy standing on his balcony at the resort next door while we were eating lunch one day.  Another highlight was that the resort gift shop actually sold Via.gra.  I guess in Mexico you don't need a prescription for it.  And a waiter that looked like he could've been Obama's twin brother.  Lane and I actually joked that being a waiter was Obama's real job.  He was just moonlighting as the president.

We loved every bit of our vacation.  We relaxed, we got to catch up on some sleep.  I can't wait to do it again.  Enjoy the photos!

 Super big lizard on the sidewalk across from our balcony.  His tail must have been close to 18 inches long.
 Pool view from our balcony.  There were tons of pools to choose from.
 On the left is a gin martini and on the right is my lemon drop martini.
 See, I have curly hair.
 Drinks poolside.  We kept them coming all day!  Loved it!

 Cool fountain they had on the grounds.

 President O.bama doing his real job.  
 Tequila shots the last day before we took the shuttle to the airport.  It was very yummy!  Should've had another one!
And finally, the Via.gra in the gift shop.  
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