Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Look at Momma!"

I beg.

I plead.

I promise the moon.

And stars.

And this is all I get these days for pictures. . .

Jackson posing:    (yes, he froze in this position for me!)
And Clayton finding all kinds of things to keep him busy to keep from looking my way.  (Not to mention he was needing me to "look in my ear" around this time--it seems he's always got a crisis when I'm wanting him to smile for the camera).
I'm hoping the tide will turn soon, but until then I hope everyone loves non-smiling, cheek-turning views of my boys!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Noisy Mornings

Mornings before Jackson:  Clayton and I slept as long as possible without risking being late for therapy, snuggled lazily for at least thirty minutes after waking up, and we barely uttered words to each other until we were almost ready and out the door.
Mornings after Jackson:  Jackson wakes up around 4:00 crying, I run in his room to grab him before he wakes up Clayton.  He "sleeps" in our bed for the rest of the morning.  And by "sleeps" I mean he tosses and turns, talking and whining in his sleep, constantly needing his cup of milk and constantly losing it in the bed.  Around 6:00/6:30 he officially wakes up and wants to play, scream, and wrestle in the bed.  Meanwhile, Clayton's door is shut, our door is shut, and I'm doing my best to keep Jackson as quiet as possible.  Clayton only sleeps when it is stone silent and needs a lot more sleep than most kiddos his age.  It takes all my power to keep Jackson corralled in my bedroom until 7:30 or 8:00.  And if he accidentally escapes, he makes a bee-line for Clayton's door and either pushes it open or bangs loudly on it.  Poor little Clayton doesn't know how to react to such rude awakenings in the morning!  And me?  I'm still trying to figure out how I could give birth to a child who wants to live so much life before the noon hour!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall Ball

Clayton's baseball league has a fall season, and since he enjoyed it so much this spring (and didn't get to finish the season because of his shunt issues), we knew we had to get him signed up.  Brian and I have already decided we like this season better--it's much more pleasant when you can sit and watch the game without sweating to death! 
I think Clayton just likes it because he always gets a couple of girls to be his buddies! 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"It's From Bill Gaither!"

As I've mentioned many times before, Clayton is obsessed with the Gaither Homecoming videos.  We watch at least one a day, and he usually talks me into a second one as well.  And while he was sick this summer, these videos were the ONLY thing that even halfway calmed him down during those terrible headaches. 

Knowing Clayton's love for the Gaithers got our music minister and family friend, Kent, working on a project.  He spent a lot of time emailing/phoning Bill Gaither's assistant trying to figure out how we could get him to Clayton for a meeting.  Well, the meeting didn't work out, but Bill did promise to send Clayton a picture.  We got it last week and Clayton LOVES it!  At least twenty times a day he reminds me "it's from Bill Gaither!"  He gets a huge grin on his face when he's telling me. 
We're still working on an actual meeting with Bill Gaither and many of his Homecoming friends, but in the meantime Clayton is tickled to death to have this hanging in his room!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Night of Praise

We enjoyed a super Night of Praise at our church this past weekend.  Brian is convinced we've got the best choir around and I'm just quite tempted to believe him!  I know I've never worked with a group like these people--it's not like we've got a bunch of choral scholars in our choir, but we've got a lot of dedicated folks who sing their hearts out every weekend!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.

The LORD has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to the house of Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music . . .
Psalm 98:1-4

Sunday, September 19, 2010

You Know That Old Song?

It's too hot to fish,
It's too hot for golf . . .

Well, that was us on Saturday.  We decided we'd take a family fishing trip to the lake.  But it takes us so long to get somewhere that we ended up arriving right at midday.  And even though it's September, it's still Africa Hot here and we only lasted about an hour.  The fish were glad we showed up though--they nibbled every worm off our hooks.  We just  sat and watched them enjoy their lunch while we left without catching a single one!

The good news is apparently it wasn't too hot for a nap:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Southwest Service Dogs

So I didn't think my life was full enough, so I volunteered to be in charge of our homeschooling organization's activities and events.  (What was I thinking?!)  I had ulterior motives when I agreed--1.  I would be forced to get to know people, 2.  I could try and incorporate more activities that were "special needs" friendly.  And with that very thing in mind, I started the year out with something different than anything I had seen done in the past.  I invited Kate Morgan and Chuck Archer of Southwest Service Dogs to come do a demonstration for our group.  And low and behold, everyone loved it!  We had over 150 people there and I was going to consider it a success if 20 people showed up! 

Southwest Service Dogs trains and places dogs with adults and children who are disabled.  Kate brought two dogs with her and Chuck brought his personal dog with him.  They were absolutely beautiful and they were great with the children.  Kate let them show off many of their tricks (taking off her jacket, getting her a kleenex after she sneezed, opening the "fridge" and bringing her water, helping Chuck at the "counter" when paying for items, etc.).  It is absolutely amazing how these dogs can help a person with their daily tasks! 
Of course everyone wanted to know if we plan to get Clayton a service dog.  The honest answer is we just don't know yet.  Clayton really isn't mature enough yet to handle the responsibility (all of the dog's care and commands would have to come from him).  Your home environment also has to be just right for things to work out, and with Katie being the alpha female that she is, I don't see us having another dog in the house while she is still with us.  We're definitely leaving the option open though because we know it would give Clayton a lot of indpendence from us. 

At any rate, I was glad to start the year of activities off with a bang.  I just hope I can keep up the creativity on what we plan in the future!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Busy Week

Just checking in to let my blog readers I'm still alive!  We have a very busy week planned, so not much to blog about--YET!  I'm singing tonight, we have homeschool activities this week, and our choir is getting ready for a Night of Praise at church.  If we can get everyone ready and arrive on time to everything, I'll consider the week a success!

Friday, September 10, 2010

School's In!

Our homeschool is officially in session for the year!  I have to admit I was dreading getting started because I knew that having Jackson so active was going to be my biggest obstacle in educating Clayton this year.  Last year, it was the nursing that got in the way, and this year it's just the distraction of having Jackson so busy!  I was a little lost on the direction I should go with Clayton as well.  I wasn't totally gung-ho about following our same system as last year, but knew we needed to concentrate on letter/number identification again.  I decided to combine two things I did separately last year:  Letter of the Week and Before Five in a Row.  I'm doing a little of both and playing them off of each other.  I did a "test run" last week just to see how Jackson would do while I worked with Clayton and it was a disaster!  I was doing it our usual way--sitting with Clayton and teaching in a more conversational tone as opposed to really turning on the "teacher mode."  That just didn't work this time because the whole time we sat together, Jackson was climbing all over us and bringing us other books for us to read.  :)  I decided to change my approach to help include him more and it's made all the difference so far. 
I bought this board (I liked it because it's mobile and can be put away--essential with little hands!).  My method is I just sit in this chair with our books and materials and teach the "class" as if there were more than one (two) student.  Clayton has something to focus on, and Jackson is loving it!  He still plays off to the side and is moving constantly, but he is actually participating!  He gets excited when I praise Clayton for something and was even "repeating" the vocabulary words today!  I decided I would just totally include him after that and he got a turn at everything we did and loved every minute of it.  I think it will all turn out to Clayton's advantage at any rate--he is motivated when he sees Jackson doing something, so I'm hoping it's no different with learning activities. 

This whole method is a little too "school at home" for me, but whatever works, right?  I'm sure we'll have to tweak it every now and then, but that's the beauty of homeschooling!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

15 Months + 5 Days

23 pounds, 3 ounces
31 inches long

Jackson had his fifteen month check up today.  It always seems so weird during his well-child appointments.  I'm so used to long conversations with doctors regarding our concerns about Clayton that it almost seems as if I'm forgetting something during Jackson's appointments.  Nothing to discuss, nothing majorly wrong going on--just normal life!  What a relief!!

The handout the nurse gave me for fifteen months was titled "Whirlwind of Activity."  TO SAY THE LEAST!  Jackson is soooo busy.  It's even started affecting his sleep.  He is the worst napper--I'm lucky if he stays down for 45 minutes.  And these last few nights he has been crying in his sleep and flip flopping around like crazy.  Seems like he is busy even in his dreams!

And so, at fifteen months Jackson . . .

**has more words/phrases "whatisthat?" (all one word for him).  He says both syllables of Katie's name now (the dog).  His newest phrase is "OH, MAN!"

**scribbles on paper, and scribbles with the electronic drawing things we have.

**is all about Jackson--throws lots of temper tantrums each day when not getting his way!

**loves "hiding" more than ever.  If there is a cubbyhole to sneak into, he finds it.

**tries his best to snap while calling the dog.

**tries to play with Clayton, but Clayton is having a hard time figuring it out.

**loves books, still brings them to us to "read." 

**spends all of his time in stores waving and saying hi to all the other people he sees.  It's like a parade route for him!

**is discovering his world by touching everything in it--he's determined to have this house completely investigated!!

Monday, September 06, 2010

60 Years

This weekend, we celebrated my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary.  Such a rare feat in today's society; I am blessed to have their example before me.  In fact, I find myself especially lucky to be a grandchild with all of my grandparents still living, and both sets have celebrated 60 years!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Dichotomy of LIMBo



As a parent who has experienced a Loss in Multiple Birth (LIMBo), these words are never far from my mind.  When I think about Shawn's death, I wallow in self-pity, begging God to turn back the clock--let me hold him one more time!  let me tell him I love him just once more!  I beat my head against the wall wondering what I could have done differently to stay pregnant longer, and in turn given him a fighting chance at life.   And in spite of myself and the years that have passed, I still ask WHY?

And then.
And then, I look at this precious face.
How blessed I am!  How incredibly precious Clayton is to me!  This little boy is proof that modern day miracles happen.  He is proof that God heals our hurts in more than one way.  After Shawn's death, Clayton gave me a reason to get up each morning.  A reason to keep moving and breathing.  And in the years that have followed, I have needed only to look at his smile and my tears dry up.  How can I weep when his beautiful face is looking up at me?  I am blessed indeed.  

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


I love this view of them together.