Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless [captioned] Wednesday

Thanksgiving Day:

Nothing quite like a Daddy and his girls.

Ethan looking way too grown.

Somebody's ready for dinner!

Ethan and Betsy - BFFs

Kinston Vikings vs. Reidsville Rams:

The Lord's Prayer after a 20-16 victory over the Rams.  See the empty stands? That's because everyone's out on the field!

A regional champ coach and his team.

Carter Finley - here we come!

A beautiful wife + a regional championship plaque = one happy man! So proud of you, Nick.

Family Reunion - Ladies' Night:

My lovely Mama with cousin Gwen.

The cousins - this is only a fourth of my 1st cousins! I'm one out of 32.

The aunts - Four beautiful sisters (plus two sisters-in-law)

Love these girls - you can't tell we're related, can you?!

Fall fun in Mebane:

Ethan finally got to play in some leaves!

Having fun with Grandma.

Where's Ethan?

Exploring with PawPaw.

The End.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Cozy Little Christmas

Hi all! I hope each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving; we sure did! And, for the first time in years, I braved the Black Friday crowds.  Jessi, Jeramie, and myself found ourselves at Wal-Mart at 10:00 on Thanksgiving evening, standing in awe with mouths agape - watching women tear through bath towels like they were pairs of Jon Bon Jovi's underwear.  We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, and had only two items in mind: pajamas and slippers.

Most of you know that I am a part of a family advisory council for the pediatric intensive care units (general and cardiac) at Duke Children's.  Our mission is to support those families who find themselves in either of the units, and we've done everything from providing meals to creating crisis admit bags for them.

Recently, we learned of a need for things like kid-friendly, comfortable shirts and pants, underwear, and slip-resistant footwear for the children in those units.  During the first critical hours/days in the ICU, most children are either wearing only a diaper/underwear (at least), or are covered up by hospital blankets (at most).  Very rarely do clothes come into the picture.  However, during that period of time between "critical" and "stable", when children may stay in the ICU for monitoring before being moved out to the floor, clothes still aren't always readily available, but are needed.  The fortunate ones - whose parents live close by, or who have friends bringing things to the hospital - may find themselves in a clean pair of underwear or a favorite t-shirt.  But, many nurses end up scrounging around for a decent-sized hospital gown for their patient just so the child can take a walk around the unit.

Our council decided to do something about this and, without further ado, I present to you...

Christmas Flyer
One of the mothers on our council has volunteered to cut the t-shirts up the back and attach a piece of Velcro at the neck so that they are easy to put on and take off amidst wires and tubes.  And what child in the ICU wouldn't love a pair of comfy, fun pants?! The side-snap onesies will come in handy for the wee little ones (I speak from experience), and our family chose to go the slipper route instead of socks (either are completely fine).

I know many of you reading this have spent lots and lots of time at your local children's hospital and may already have something planned for them this Christmas season.  But, we will greatly appreciate any item(s) you wish to donate! If you're reading this from Canada and can't physically deliver items to me, I will gladly accept monetary donations and purchase something for you!

I would love nothing more than to deliver bags and bags of clothing to the units, knowing that no child will have to sit half-naked in a hospital bed on Christmas day (and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that), and I would love for you to help make that possible!

Thanks for considering this as part of your holiday giving this year!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the Earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise; 
give thanks to him and praise his name.  
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; 
his faithfulness continues through all generations."

-Psalm 100

What are you most thankful for today? I'll start ... 

Today, I am most thankful for my own little turkey - for the laughs, the challenges, and the love he provides each and every day!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Tri Mulli!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Today / Tomorrow

Today: Slept-in until 8:30.

Tomorrow: Up with the sun.

Today: Went to church, as a family, for the first time in 3 weeks.

Tomorrow: Back to work.

Today: Ethan's 1st movie!

Tomorrow: Ethan's 3rd (and hopefully, last) kidney ultrasound - be gone, hydronephrosis!

Yesterday: Fall decorations.

Today: Christmas tree and stockings.

It's been a lovely weekend here.  Hope the same has been true for you and yours!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

From the Mouth of My Babe

Two posts in one week?! Wow; Mama (or, Mom, if you ask Ethan) must have some time on her hands!

Truth is, I should probably be taking a nap. Tonight, I'll be joining Edward-lovers all over Garner for the midnight showing of "Breaking Dawn" (don't judge me!), and I'm sure I'll be feeling quite sleep deprived come tomorrow morning.  The things we do for a little bit of entertainment! 

Anyway ... moving on.

If you follow our Facebook page you've read some of the cute things that have come out of Ethan's mouth lately.  His language is really starting to pick up {insert sigh of relief here} and he's always surprising me with the things he says!

Exhibit A:

I walked downstairs a few days ago to see this on one of our walls.

"Look, mom! It's a A!" 

Thankfully, it was written in chalk and when I mentioned that I needed to clean it off the wall Ethan said, "I do it!", and he did.  But not before I could snap a picture of it, of course.

Exhibit B:

"Look my monkey face, mom!"

And other random musings:

{Ethan, riding his tricycle around the kitchen}
Me: Where are you going now?
E: I go get groceries.  OK, mom?


Anytime we go anywhere these days, Ethan wants to bring a toy car along.  One day, I asked him to pick just one and he said, "I want take both-uh-dem with us!".  In his world, "both" = any amount more than one!

{talking about Christmas at the dinner table}
Me: And Santa may even bring you some toys!
Ethan, who is currently afraid of Santa: Don't be scared.  Jesus is with you!


I sure do love my funny, talkative little boy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Other Side of the Table

In schools, and special education classrooms, and filing cabinets all over Wake County sit green folders.  Thousands of them are locked away for safe-keeping, marked with names of students, and filled with IEPs documenting needs and growth and goals.  Teachers, principals, and parents join together to create these individualized files, pouring uncanny amounts of time and information into them.

Of the nineteen-thousand green folders belonging to Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS), my signature can be found in a handful of them.  From the students I've taught, to the meetings I've sat in on, I've spent my fair share of time devoted to these sacred green beings. I've cried over a few of them, stressed over most of them, and celebrated the strengths in all of them.  While a few will always stand out as the "special ones", none will hold a candle to the newest green folder in Wake County's collection.


As he currently receives therapies through our local Children's Developmental Services Agency (CDSA), and those services will end when he turns three (in just four months!), WCPSS is stepping in.  He has already been referred to the school system, and evaluations will begin at the end of this month to see if he will be eligible for services through them.

It's an odd thing, being on the other side of the table - to step out of the role of "case manager" and into the role of "parent" - but it's happening.  Although I gave up my days of managing green folders when I left my special education job a year and a half ago, it seems as though those emerald beauties aren't quite finished with me yet.

I've been spending nap-times and night-times filling out personal information, explaining medical conditions, and answering awkwardly asked questions.  While I did my best to sympathize with my students' parents during my teaching days, only now can I really empathize with them.  Only now can I wonder what my answer will say to a group of strangers about my child - can I feel anxiety about them not seeing what I see (or vice versa).  While I may understand the system more than my students' parents, our hearts are the same.  Whether I'm a former special education teacher, or an immigrant hoping to gain U.S. citizenship, I want exactly what they wanted.

Only the best for my child. 

It's going to be an interesting process, for sure - learning to switch hats - and I'm sure I'll need a few deep breaths along the way.  But, it's also an exciting time.  I enjoyed reading my students' evaluations because it was an official celebration of their growth, and a map for where to go next.  I am a "results" person, no doubt, and this evaluation will give Jeramie and myself the facts we need to continue to do all we can for our son.

Only time (and a few evaluations) will tell if Ethan's green folder will follow him for the years to come, or if it will find its way to the inactive pile.  Pray for us (um, me) over the weeks and months to come - that I'll suppress the need to control the situation, that I won't get hung up on numbers and percentiles, and especially for my emotional state if it's determined that Ethan will start preschool in March.

Lord knows there will be some ugly cries happening that day.

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