Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Cast

I love this photo of my Tin Man:
The whole cast (Yes, there are multiple Dorothies and Glindas. That can't be avoided with so many girls!) Poor Chase can't see out of his costume. It was really hard to hold him upright with the wings and padding and all...He was happy, though! Really!

Ian and Leah...even cuter than they were last year. Who knew that was possible??

Next year I will be dressing up as something that doesn't require quite so much makeup. I think I weirded Chase out a little.


Now I'm going to shower the rest of this green film off of me, and fall into a deep sugar-induced coma.

Happy Halloween to all!!

Bumps in the Night

Both kids were in bed and asleep by 8 last night. Heaven!

I scrapped a little, then hightailed it upstairs so I could watch House in bed under my heating blanket. On level 22. It's cold here!

10:00- House is over. I decide to break out Life Goes On: Season One. I ordered this from Netflix because I happened to miss the show in the 80s. I feel a little left out, and I figure one day I may meet Chris Burke now. So I want to be prepared.

10:15- Already crying. Corky goes to his first day of high school and can't find Room 72 for English. Ugh. All I can think is that all these things will happen to Chase. Heart. Breaking. Maybe this wasn't such a great idea.

10:30- I start hearing whimpering from Ian's room.

10:45- It gets worse. I go in to see what's wrong, and Ian is just generally sad, slightly stuffy, and I offer to let him come sleep with me. We fall asleep all wrapped up together. My nose is in his hair- he smells like little boy.

Midnight- Huge THUMP followed by wails. Ian has managed to wiggle worm his way out of the covers and off the side of the bed. This would have NEVER happened if Bryan was here. (It's all your fault, Honey.) There is no permanant damage, but he's going to have a bruise on his forehead. That's the worst thing about falling out of bed- you're not coherent enough to try and catch yourself. Ian landed flat out, face down on the floor.

12:30- Ian decides he wants to sleep in his own bed by himself. I couldn't blame him. It's dangerous in mine.

1:00, 1:20, 2:30, 3:00, 3:15- Ian calls me for various things. He needs water. His Blue Dog fell out of bed. He got out of bed and wants me to put him back in. His nose is stuffy.

3:30-5:00- I dream that I am cast as Corky's mother in the theatre production of Life Goes On. The director doesn't like my accent.

5:00- Chase wakes up.

Coffee, anyone?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Massage-onistic?

I bought this Mini-Massager from Superduperinc.com on the advice of Chase's play therapist (who I LOVE). She's trying to give me ideas for speech therapy since EI won't do an evaluation on Chase until he is one (I tend to think they should start it proactively, but I'm not the expert, I guess).

It didn't come with instructions, so today I just turned it on and buzzed his little face. If nothing else, it made him laugh! Maybe Carole (Play Therapist) will have some ideas on Thursday.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rolling Update

Yes, Chaser remembered how to roll again today! Although, with considerably less gusto than he had yesterday.

Tune in tomorrow for another installment of Almost Mobile Baby...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pumpkin Carving and Rolling Pumpkin


We carved pumpkins with the Gallers today. Ian spent 10 seconds scooping out the guts, and 5 minutes sitting on my lap carving. I guess pumpkin carving really isn't a toddler sport.

In other news...I think Chase has FINALLY got the hang of rolling! Usually, when he gets propped on his elbows, he stays for a few seconds, and then wings his arms back and swims. But today after pumpkin carving, the little dude kept pushing up on his left hand to tip himself over! He did it over and over again. I'm hoping that tomorrow he'll remember how much fun it was and he'll want to do it again :)
Something REALLY shocking must be over to the left...
He tips...(his giant heavy head helps a little in the initial momentum...
And he's OVER!

removed

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Developing a Complex?

Last night in the car on the way home from the party, Ian was talking about his sucker, and how he wanted to take it with him to bed. I told him that he would have to wrap it up and save it for tomorrow because it's not a good thing to fall asleep with it.

He says, "Yeah, because I will fall asleep with it and then when I wake up all my friends will laugh at me."

...?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Halloween Festivities

Geez, I wish Bryan was here. I can handle day-to-day stuff without him, but, MAN! I miss that extra pair of hands during things like the Spooktacular Halloween party at the Aquatic Center.

A little rewind, first, though. We had the CDS Crew kids who were dressing up in the Oz costumes this year over for a pizza dinner and Wizard of Oz showing on Thursday evening. The kids watched for about half an hour before completely losing interest.



Tonight we went to the Fall Festival at Walter Bickett Elementary (just down the street from us- that's where I did my practicum last semester). Ian was cute. He played a bunch of games, ate some blue cotton candy, and watched the principal kiss a real pig.

From there we trucked to the MAFC for their Spooktacular. Ian was very resistant to wearing his Tin Man costume that I had spent all day putting together, so I finally told him that he could go to the party, but he could not have any Halloween treats if he didn't wear his costume. He caved. And was so freaking cute.


My favorite game of the evening was the eat-the-donut-off-the-string game, just because it is so hilarious to watch.

And where would the Tin Man be without Dorothy??


*Chase slept in the stroller the whole time we were at the Spooktacular! It was loud and crazy. I can't believe that doesn't bother him! And yes, he passed his hearing screening...

Monkey See


We're getting ready for a couple Halloween parties this evening. I just finished the wings for Chase's flying monkey costume (we're doing the Wizard of Oz theme) and I dressed him up for a dry run.

I think he likes it...

Casual Friday


I want to dress up, but I'm here to party!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tenne- what?

Bryan has left us.

Not really :) He's in Tennessee for 10 days on business.

I was talking to Ian about it today, and I told him that Daddy drove to Tennessee.

Ian answers, "Yes. And he is going to play tennis."

What else would you be doing in Tennessee?

Question.

I bought some new socks for Chase because the weather finally warrants sock-wearing, and I am sick of the mismatched hand-me-down sock collection that he has.

I got white crew athletic socks, and they came in a resealable bag. And in case you missed it, there is a label on the bag that says "Resealable" or "Bolsa Resellable."


Is this really necessary? Are there people out there with stale socks?

Monday, October 22, 2007

I just can't stop.


Someday soon I'm going to have to buy one of these...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Maize Maze

Today was our second annual visit to the Aw Shucks! Corn Maze with the Gallers Family!

Although it was a little dry and dusty (yet another consequence of this nasty drought! Is NOTHING spared?!?) it was still an a-MAZE-ing time. Couldn't resist. Sorry.

Ian and Leah, showing off their best sides:




All the kiddos...don't mind the picture fuzz to the right. we need a new camera!


Way cute pedal-tractor :)


Family in the woods:


Highlight: Ian watered the plants in back of the pretend outhouse.


Mommies with strollers:


After the maze...Ian sleeps on the table at Subway (no nap today!)

Hunter Farms

Geez. This October has been PACKED with activities. That is my excuse for my sorry attempt at blogging every day.

Saturday we went to Hunter Farms with the Roots and Shoots group (the 0-3 age group for the Down Syndrome Association of Charlotte).

So much for the adorable pictures of the boys in the pumpkin patch. This was the best one I got of the two of them:

Either Chase needs to learn to sit unassisted, or Ian needs to develop a stronger grip.

Ian is a ham (for those of you who have been around a while, yes, this is the same hat that he wore for his first Halloween...he WILL NOT pass it down to Chase!):


Ian and Alex (sister to Chase's friend, Lindsay :)


This very cool blue tractor was ripe for the climbing...


Chase and Daddy enjoy the beautiful sunshine


Sorry, April. This was the only picture of Chase and Lindsay together!


Ian and I (and Chase, who is sleepting in my arms- can you see the phantom baby hand in there?) fed the sheep along with pigs, bunnies, goats, and some funky chickens.


And what would a trip to the farm be without a pony ride?? (Ian was so excited- he kept talking about the "Tony Ride" that he took later on.) We had to wait a really REALLY long time to get on, but that 5 minute ride around the pumpkin patch was worth it!


Then we stopped for pizza on the way home before Ian conked out in his seat...


It was a good day :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Always One More Thing...

Whenever I try to get to bed early, I think of just one more thing to do. Then that turns into 10 more things, and then I end up getting 4 hours of sleep.

Anyway.

My one more thing is to tell you about Lakeshore Learning. I used to get all my teacher supplies here, and just today rediscovered it for the boys. There is lots of COOL stuff here. And it's all organized by age and concept. Great developmental toys.

I think I can spend a lot of money here before Christmas...

Random Photos

I downloaded my pictures and found some funny ones this time.

This one captures Ian's flight-of-the-bumblebee craziness when he skips a nap:


And this is what happened 10 minutes after that burst of energy:


Ian wanted Chase to be a king, so he put this sparkly bracelet atop his head:


I took this in the theatre before the play. Chase looks terrified, and Ian looks like he's ready to do something really really funny (like dump Chase over the balcony...):


That's all for now. I promised myself I'd get to bed before midnight tonight.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Henry and Mudge

I took Ian and Chase to see their first play today. I'm hoping that a little of my drama dorkiness has been passed down to them.

By chance, my friend from high school (Fadi) is in a touring show of Henry and Mudge, and they came within 2 hours of our home. So, I started preparing for the trip at 5am this morning. Chase had therapy at 9:15 (she came a little early) and by 10:15 we were in the car ready to go. We drove all the way to Middle of Nowhere, NC (and I didn't get lost!) and arrived at the theatre with 20 minutes to spare! Unbelievable.

I don't think Ian knew exactly what to expect. He loves Henry and Mudge books, and he's been to the movies before, but trying to describe a musical production of the story just wasn't easy.

He kept asking for popcorn to eat when the movie started.

But as soon as the first actor stepped out on stage, I think he got it. He turned to me with this enormous goofy grin on his face when they started singing. It made me want to cry (those happy, hormonal Mommy tears- yes, the same ones that surfaced at the Rennaisance Festival and the Thanksgiving Day parade last year). I told him to clap when he liked something, and he kept giving little Ian rounds-of-applause. He also laughed 5 seconds after everyone else did at the funny parts (he's still developing his sense of humor, I gather :)

The show was an hour long, and Ian sat, completely entranced, for a full 50 minutes before announcing "I don't yike this anymore" during the only quiet pause in the entire show. Luckily, we were in box seats, so he could get out of his chair and wander a bit without bothering anyone.

And Chase? The perfect theatre baby. He smiled at everyone as we came in, flirted with all the elementary school girls (this was apparently a BIG field trip destination) and the grandma-usher ladies. He nursed a little, watched the show, and quietly drifted off to sleep.

After the show, we met up with Fadi at the local podunk McDonald's. Ian ate one chicken nugget and an entire hot fudge sundae, then played with a little southern girl on the playground while I caught up with Fadi (and Chase slept). I wish we had more time to chat. It's hard to catch up on 3 years in an hour. Hopefully he'll be able to swing by the L&B B&B sometime.

The ride home was uneventful except that we had to stop on the side of the road so that Chase could eat. Both boys fell asleep (ah, the peace!) and I sat in traffic for a while without hollering at anyone to stop throwing peanut shells from the backseat (note to self: although peanuts in shells may keep Ian busy for snack in the car, they make for many small missiles later on).

Good times :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Down syndrome Understanding

Today I took the kids to Target, because I am still delusional in that I think that I can get some shopping done while playing hide-and-seek with Ian in the clothing racks.

Chase woke up while we were in the dressing room (it had nothing to do with Ian poking his face, I'm sure). For the rest of the trip he talked. And talked. And talked. And he doesn't just do the baby blabbering thing. He kind of screams. The happy kind, but loud and screamy, all the same.

So this draws one of the Target ladies to us. I would tell you her name, but her nametag just said "New Target Employee." New Target Employee comes over and peeks into the stroller and says some generic "oh-you're-baby-is-so-cute" comment. Then she pauses, and looks a little closer, and exclaims, "Oh! You have a face just like my nephew's!" She continues with lots of "yes-you-do"'s and "you just have a little something extra special, don't you"'s.

Now, Chase has an awesome, special little smile, but sometimes it takes a little work to get it out. But I think from the time that NTE looked in on him until she finally went back to tagging merchandise, he was BEAMING at her.

She chatted with me about her nephew (who is 3) and how he is learning sign launguage right now, and how she teaches her son sign so that they can communicate. She said lots of other nice things, but I think what really touched me the most was the COMPLETE and TOTAL understanding that she had about Chase and I. I could tell that she knew the heartache, the worry, the disappointment, and the fear...but also the joy, the hope, the absolute wonder about what will be.

I think some people, even complete strangers, just have that it factor. That Down syndrome understanding, if you will. They don't necessarily need to be connected to the T21 community, but there's just something deeper underneath the surface than that generic, "Oh, you are so special" understanding.

Anyway. I love meeting those people. They feel like little T21 angels, just out and about, there to give me a boost every once in a while.

So, thank you New Target Employee. You totally made my day.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

BooBoo Face

Poor Chase.

When he gets upset he makes this face, and all I want to do is laugh!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Tagged

Jen from I Never Thought tagged me to write about things that I've learned from Chase, and also things that I wish for him.

I'm having a really hard time putting all of this down in words. I've started this post about a hundred times. I'm trying to figure out why I'm having such a horrible time writing this, and I think it's because I feel like I'm in process. I haven't mastered any of the lessons that he's teaching yet. I feel like I'm getting a C on the Mommy Report Card. Just getting by. And I know that it's still early. Chase has lots of time to help me get it right.

So I'm going to write about the things I'm learning:

To lose control. Sometimes things don't go the way you planned. What are you going to do?
To live life one day at a time. You can't enjoy today if you are scared of tomorrow.
To appreciate everything that I have. I never knew how much I wanted to be awakened in the middle of the night by a screaming infant until I had to leave Chase at the hospital by himself. And my problems seemed so trivial the night when we had to wait outside the NICN because the twins in the isolettes near Chase didn't make it...
To believe in myself and in others. People surprise me every day. And I surprise myself. Sometimes I do things that I didn't think I could.

My wishes for Chase:
Happiness.
Safety.
Health.
Appreciation.
Love.

As I'm writing this, I'm realizing that what I wish for Chase isn't anything different that what I wish for Ian. And all those lessons? They are lessons that I learn from Ian, too. But Ian would teach them to me at a slower pace than Chase. Ironic, isn't it?

I have to tag people, but feel free to decline. This was a lot of thinking. Kacey and Cate- you're it if you are up to it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Score

About an hour later, Ian wanted his Blue Dog. He wanted me to help him find it. I told him that it was put away in my Mommy Box because he didn't want to help clean up earlier.

The tears.

He immediately told me he was ready to help clean up now. We had a Talk. I got the Box out from the garage and Ian put away every single toy that was in there back on the shelf in the playroom.

Smiles all around.

Mommy:1 Toddler:0

Backfire.

I asked Ian to help me pick up his toys from the living room and kitchen this afternoon so I could vacuum. He refused. He moped. He brought more toys out.

So I decided to try the classic ok-mommy-will-pick-them-up-but-then-the-toys-will-be-mine routine. I got a big box. I announced every toy that I put in, followed with, "Now it's Mommy's..." and a big sigh.

No reaction.

I even put Blue Dog in. He didn't care.

Then, he started helping. But he didn't put his toys back in the playroom. He was helping me put them in the Mommy Box. Each time he put one in, he'd say, "Ok, I guess this one is Mommy's now."

Then we put the box into the garage.

He is either obstinate or clueless. I will let you know if he ever realizes what actually happened.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Synagis

Chase was approved for Synagis, the super mega expensive drug used to prevent RSV. The nurse called today from the pediatrician's office to tell me about it. Great, right?

Nope:
1- It is given over 5 months, 1 injection each month. That is equal to 5 $25 copays. ($125)

2- My insurance pays for 90% of each injection. Yay, right? Nope. My 10% is $150!!! Holy crap! Yeah, and that is only for 1 shot. $150 x 5 shots= $750. Oh, and if he gains any more weight, they will have to up his dosage and our portion will be $200 per shot.

3- Let me just reiterate: $875 for this drug.

Now, I love Chase. I don't want him to get RSV. But, really. Who has almost $1,000 just lying around for this??

Luckily, the nurse referred me to this program, Patient Access Network Foundation, where, if we qulaify, my portion of the injections would be covered, and I think we would only have to pay the copays for the visits. Unfortunately, we always seem to earn just enough income to prevent us from getting aid, but we don't earn enough to pay for surprises like this outright. I talked to the rep from the foundation and she's sending a packet out, though. Hopefully we will qualify.

Has anyone else done this before? Is it worth it? I tend to think of Chase as relatively healthy. Does he really need it?

We Got Games Too



Cate posted about buying some new games, and I've been eyeing the game aisle at Target ever since. Sadly, there is no extra money to spend on board games just yet, especially with Christmas and birthday around the corner.

But guess what?? As I was being a good wife and mother and cleaning out the downstairs closet for our garage sale on Saturday, I found a mystery box that had yet to be unpacked from our move (16 months ago). In it, I found CANDYLAND! WOOT!

AND Chase is taking an unusually long nap this afternoon, so Ian and I had some really good Mommy and Me time.

I wasn't sure about Ian's attention span, if it would last through the game, or even through the first round. But we actually made it through the entire game. He totally kicked my ass. If it wasn't for the stupid gingerbread man and the peppermint stick cards, I would have ruled.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Neighbor Update

You know the neighbor who passed out the other night and was rushed to the hospital?

It was a sinus infection.

No joke.

I guess he had a really really bad sinus infection, and he turned quickly and blacked out and in the process whacked his head something terrible on the doorframe, thus ending up out cold on the bathroom floor.

Everything is ok now :) Crazy.

Dental Retribution

I thought the dentist saga was over.

At the time that I had all that work done, they gave me an estimated portion to pay before they submitted the claim to insurance. I paid $303.20.

I just got a statement from BC/BS saying that I owed them $503.60!! WTF???

So I called the insurance lady and she told me that the charges were there because he was not an in-network provider. SHUT UP. I asked her if he had ever been an in-network provider because I distinctly remember him being one of three providers on the online list of in-network providers. And he was the only one taking new patients, and that is why I took the family to him. Because I hate him. And I had no other choice because he was listed as IN NETWORK! She couldn't tell me if he had previously been on the list.

I called the dentist. The stupid cheery receptionist told me that Dr. McLeod (Yes. I am posting his name. Do NOT go to this dentist if you are ever in the Charlotte area in need of dental work.) has NEVER been on ANY in-network lists. Ever.

Huh?

So, if his name wasn't on the list provided by BC/BS...how did I get his name?? I KNOW I didn't just whip out the phone book and pick him out of the Yellow Pages.

I just went to the BC/BS website to try to find his name on the list. Of course, he is nowhere to be found.

I am not crazy.

The BC/BS lady said she would send a Claim Appeal form. But, please, are they really going to dismiss the charges because I thought he was in-network?

Grr. I hate insurance.

Lefty McSharpscissors

Over breakfast, I cut a recipe out of the paper. Ian wanted to cut things out of the paper, too.

I thought, sure, I guess we could experiment with scissors. We've tried before, but Ian has never really mastered the open-shut concept.

So I set him up with a pair of Friskars and today's paper. And he totally went to town. I helped him grip the scissors in his right hand, and he was happily snipping along.

I turned my back for a minute, and he had switched hands. He had the scissors perfectly positioned in his left hand, and he was cutting even better than he had been with the right.

I guess I have a lefty.


I love the look of pure concentration on his face.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sneaky Mommy

Recipe for a sneaking veggies into your toddler:

1 cup milk
1 frozen banana
1 handful frozen kale
1 T chocolate syrup

Blend it all together. Present it as a COOL NEW GREEN MILKSHAKE!

I tried it. You can't taste anything vegetable-y. I even made myself one without the chocolate syrup! Still good!

S is for Spider

Today I got it together enough to do a Halloween-ie craft with Ian. Fun :)





My goodness! There are spiders at my toes! And I have a phone call.

Life Comes at You Fast, Part Deux

We thought that Monday would be a day to catch up on household stuff and more importantly, sleep. We went out for dinner (no kitchen clean-up. kids go straight to bed. parents follow shortly thereafter.) and as we drove back into the neighborhood, we saw an ambulance and a firetruck, lights flashing, in our culdesac.

My heart nearly dropped out of my stomach.

We drove closer and discovered that it was our new neighbor across the street. They were carrying him out on a stretcher. His family just stood in the driveway watching.

Oy.

Bryan went over to see if he could help after the trucks left, and he came back with their 11 year old twins. They hadn't eaten supper yet, and I guess their mom wasn't ready to take them to the hospital until they figured out what had happened.

The kids stayed with us until 11. We tried to take their minds off of their dad. We watched a movie. We played Monopoly (which they had NEVER played before. Is it just me, or should kids know Monopoly by the time they are 11??). It seemed like they were having a marginal amount of fun. But I felt so helpless.

What is the right thing to say or do when they don't know if their dad is going to come home?

And I thought I had problems.

Every once in a while, things are put into perspective.

Rennaissance Festival

And as a last hurrah of the flurry of activities that I dragged the Boyens' to, we went to the Ren Fest in Concord on Sunday.

What a bunch of freaks. The Ren Fest people, not the Boyens :) No, really. Freaks in an entertaining way. Although it would have been a lot more fun if it wasn't melting outside. Again, I ask: Where is Fall?

Some highlights:
*Grace and I participated in a "Carriage Race" to the front gates (about ten people with babies in strollers running madly to a man wearing tights)


*The Dead Bob Show, in which he refers to Rule #2 as "Rule Number Poop". Potty humor, I know, but really, lots of my time is consumed with #2.

*Ian found the fairy from last year who gave out fairy rocks! Then he dropped his fairy rock under the stadium bleachers at the beginning of the joust...:( Bryan is an awesome Dad, though, and combed the grass for it and found it afterwards.



*Making the kids try on hats.



*We paid Seamus the Insulter to insult Bobby. Good times.

*Pictures of the kids in head cut-outs.



My blog-friend Kacey recently talked about how before she had Ella she either didn't see or didn't notice people with Ds in the community. I totally relate to that. I don't know if Chase has some magnetic Ds power or what, but I'm constantly noticing Down syndrome everywhere I go. Bryan and I saw a couple with a humongous triple jogging stroller at the fair during lunch time. There were 2 girls with Ds and a little "typical" boy. I wanted to go over and say something, but I just didn't know what. "Hey- Chase has 47, too!" "Hey- I have one of those!" "I'm Down with that!" Nothing seemed right. So I just watched from afar and wished I had the guts to do something.

Later I nursed Chase under a tree and as I was getting up, I was almost face to face with the gigantic jogging stroller again. I thought that this was destined to be now, so I ventured over to the mom and told her she had a beautiful family. I was holding Chase, but I never know if people "know" right away. I still find it hard to say, "My son has Down syndrome" sometimes- and it just didn't come out of my mouth. Eventually I made a comment about his Brushfield spots, and then she asked about his heart and if we had been at the Buddy Walk the day before. Apparently she was there, and is pretty active in the DSAC, but hasn't been around a lot since they were in India adopting their second daughter (also with Ds).

Anyway. She seemed super nice. I'm looking forward to seeing their family at other functions. Hm. The power of Chase.