Saturday, January 30, 2010

All By Himself!

I love it when we figure out how Clayton can do something by himself--and sledding turned out to be pretty easy for him! That is, of course, after we went through a few homemade sleds that just didn't quite work out, even with some great engineering by Brian and the neighbors. We ended up borrowing a real sled (why don't we have one of those for a just in case??) from a neighbor who stayed up all night sledding and had no use for it this morning.
I think this is the only time I've ever been thankful for a steep driveway!

And who says a boppy pillow can't multi-task? Those things are great for several uses, including a back rest on a sled! As soon as Clayton would get to the bottom, he'd yell, "BACK IT UP!" Translation: somebody get down here FAST so I can go again!!!

Friday, January 29, 2010


After a sleeting all day, we've finally had the changeover to snow! Big, fat snowflakes--it's beautiful coming down!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Meet Jack and Annie

After reading about these toy people on Pioneer Woman's website, my mom quickly purchased a set for Clayton. He's never played with "little people" and he loves these little guys! He immediately started calling the girl in the wheelchair Annie and soon after we began to call this other young man Jack. (All in an ode to his favorite books: The Magic Treehouse Series). And since they had names, we were obligated to name their friends. Brian helped him out with that:
Left to right: Nelson, Jim, Mrs. Walker, and Susan
And just like any other boy, he thinks it's the most fun to torture them by throwing them off his tray, sending them over to certain death---Annie is usually the only one who gets to stay on the tray and play!

Monday, January 25, 2010

On Being Creative

Remember when I used to share my creations regularly? Boy, do I miss those days! I've been getting a serious urge to let my creative juices flow, but there simply isn't any time to drag out all my supplies, much less actually get something done that I'll be happy with it . . . Plus, I'm a little obessessed with my videos at the moment and I'm determined to get several boxes of pictures into some albums that I bought (GASP!) at least two years ago. I bought six massive albums (so they would match of course), and I've yet to put one picture in any of them.
I'm hoping that once I get going on that task I'll give myself permission to play a bit with my pics and dust-collecting scrapbook supplies. Not to mention my cards--my stash of handmade cards is nearly gone and I loved giving them instead of store-bought. We'll see if I can get going creatively very soon!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Pop!

December 2006
Saved my flashback pic for today since it's my dad's birthday!
Happy Birthday, Dad!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wagon Trail

The weather has finally been warm enough for the boys to start enjoying a few wagon rides around the neighborhood! It feels great to get out of the house, even if it is for just a limited time. They both love it, but Jackson doesn't have any trouble showing his enjoyment! In fact, I had to watch him like a hawk since he wanted to hang out the side the whole trip! He was a wild man!
Clayton didn't have time to get his picture made since he was so busy watching the cars and neighbors.

But he did manage to smile for at least one:

We've even had a caravan going on some of these trips. Clayton thinks he's neat stuff since he's pulling Jackson in the wagon. Jackson had a party when he was in it by himself--he was literally about to bounce right out of there with all the excitement!

Can't wait 'til spring!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Spoke Too Soon!

We saw Clayton's speech therapist today and it seems he didn't quite get the usual A+ on this year's evaluation. He made definite gains in receptive and expressive communication but he regressed in articulation . . . hmmm. I do notice him getting lazy with his speech a lot, so it makes sense he wouldn't necessarily have gains, but regress? Tsk, tsk, tsk! Let's hope he turns that around to impressive gains for next year!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Y is So Last Year

We are still chugging along with Letter of the Week and the routine is working wonderfully for Clayton. Our last letter before the Christmas break was Y:
On the bookshelf:
Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep, A Yarn About Wool
Yard Sale
This Next New Year
See the Yak Yak
Song of the Week:
Yellow Submarine

Online Resources:

For our math lesson, we measured ourselves with a YARDstick. I had him lay on the floor to get measured, and he thought it was so fun when he got to help measure Daddy and Momma! And when we were telling my brother about it, Josh asked "how tall are you?" Clayton answered, very sure of himself: "TEN POUNDS!" =)
Art projects are always tricky with Clayton, so I kept it S.I.M.P.L.E. with this one! We played with yarn all week, and on Friday, I had him help me glue the yarn in the shape of a y. Not much, but it took all his concentration to help me with this!

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Tell the Blog That"

So since Katy asked, and since Clayton is always wanting me to "tell so-and-so that," I thought I'd take a walk down memory lane and talk more about Clayton's talking. His receptive language has always been leagues ahead of his expressive language. And I really feel like (as do the therapists) the onset of spoken word for him was mainly delayed by his lung disease, since breath support is such an important factor in speaking. His mouth motor skills did and still do lack, but as his lungs have healed, his speaking has become better and better. He started speech therapy in the NICU, but it definitely was more aggressive once he was here at home. And since he was still very sick most of his first year and a half, we didn't see many gains in his speech at first. He has pretty much always shown signs of knowing what is going on around him, but wasn't able to really begin telling us until he was around two years of age. And even then, we were usually the only ones who understood him on a regular basis. These were his words in December 2005 (28 months):

He spent 2006 getting better lung-wise, but that was the year his seizures began, and with those and a couple of other issues, he had a few hospital stays. But by 2007, he was on a roll again, and he had become quite the talker: You have spent the first half of 2007 talking non-stop! In these last few months, you have literally had an explosion of words, the count quickly grew--100, 200, and now too many to count! You have so many words we can't keep up! I'm so proud that you are able to tell the world what you are thinking!

And of course, he had his own version of several words. If he did get up the nerve to speak to strangers, we spent a lot of time translating for him:

And we can't forget the music! He has learned so much just by learning song after song after song after song . . .With any lull in conversation or quiet time, this is what we hear from you. While stacking your fist, we hear you ask for "Wi-Built." This is your way of telling us to sing your favorite song, "The Wise Man Built His House Upon a Rock." And with such a cute way of asking, how can anyone resist singing it for and with you? June 2007

The sentences came in 2008, with most of them being commands. He learned quickly how to boss, boss, boss! I recorded his most used sentences in March 2008: Oh, big deal! Ready to go! Mama, get my vacuum. Guitar, daddy! Get my music. Go outside. Daddy's truck. Go kitchen. Get my green! It's too much! Get my dishwasher. Go in there, Mamma! Get my wheelchair. Ready go play! Katie's bed. Bye-bye house. Couch! Pop cook. Drama! Get my floor! Get my kick, Mamma! Daddy's grill. Did you poot? I can't take it! Kiss it. Good grief! Pop, get my baby. Bye-bye truck. Ready go bed. Get my book! Pop cry. Granny's house. Mamma, get my blanket. Help me! Hold you. Get my blue chair. Baby, belt. Hush, Chase! Oh my goodness! Go take shower. Get my piano. Samson, hush! I caught ya! Don't worry, be happy! Sing, Mamma! Diaper change. Sit in my chair. Go take bath. Oh my word!
And nowadays, if he's in a familiar environment, he talks non-stop--still spending most of his time giving commands to most everyone in the room. Tells everyone where they should be sitting, what we should be watching on TV (Food Network), what room he wants to go to next, what activity we should do next, etc. When he is speaking clearly, he is understandable (at least I think so but I listen to him all them time), but he still cannot say the "l" sound or the "x" sound. We do end up translating a lot when we around people who don't listen to him a lot. His big gain in 2009 has been mastery of pronouns. Every once in a while he still speaks of himself in third person, but he has really figured out the Is, mes, yous, us, we, etc. There are other issues (lack of volume, repeating not-so-nice words/phrases!); but for the most part, speech has definitely been the area of therapy he has excelled in!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Flashback Friday

Baby Clayton, early 2004
still doing his best to learn to eat from a bottle!

I'm betting a lot of you Special Needs moms out there are recognizing that "preemie head"! Amazing how great Clayton's head shape has turned out considering he laid in that bed for so many months!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The View From Here

I've been going through my old videotapes this week. Only two of them were actually labeled (GASP!) and I'm trying to get my memories better organized! Clayton's been having a ball watching all of the more recent ones, but his demeanor changed when we started watching the ones of him in the NICU. In fact, I had to turn them off he got so upset . . . and after watching just those few minutes of us in the NICU and also watching some tapes of when Clayton had gotten so heavy, I couldn't help but have these thoughts:

**Watching us with Clayton in the NICU, I think one thing: NAIVE. I can remember how we felt back then. If we could just get him out of the NICU, we would be homefree!!! And now we know it was really only the prologue of the story of his life . . .

**I AM SO ANGRY about the weight gain that he had in 2006! What the heck was his doctor thinking??!!! And what the heck were we thinking???? And did everyone else think we were nuts, just didn't bother to tell us? I look at him on those tapes and he is struggling to move! How much ground did he lose in physical therapy because of all that extra weight? HOW. MUCH. GROUND???!! His breathing was labored as well. No telling how much sooner he could have come off the oxygen if only he didn't have so much weight to labor over. In fact, I told Brian not to even watch the tapes because I knew he would get upset over it.
**I don't care what you say about telepathy, our son has a definite SIXTH SENSE about things. He clues into my mood like a radar gun--if I'm upset, he's the first to know. If I'm thinking about someone I haven't thought about in a month, he asks about them. And when he sees himself on a TV screen, in an intensive care unit, he immediately gets upset. I assured him it was just pictures of Baby Clayton. He wanted no part of it! Sobbing upset, he was! And nothing horrible was happening on the screen. But he knew. Deep down, he knew.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Tonight I was feeling quite frustrated and sorry for myself with the sleep situation/night time routine around here. Although he's come a long way, Clayton still struggles to go to sleep each night and actually stay asleep. On a good night, it's an hour ordeal. And most nights, it's closer to two. Add Jackson to the mix and it's exasperating! But then I jumped over to the Kidz blog and read this post. Nothing like some perspective to slap you in the face, not to mention a HUGE reminder from the Lord!

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
Psalm 121:1-4

Lord, please be my right and left hands (and whole entire body for that matter) during these night time sagas! I figured out that I can't do it alone!!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Flashback Friday

January 2006,
when our only outings were weekly trips to my grandparents' house, church, and of course the doctors' offices

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Clayton--These Days

I look at this picture and only one thought comes to my mind: I. LOVE. HIM! He is so precious and he is growing and changing these days just about as fast as Jackson is! Such a little boy!! Let me just tell you about Clayton these days . . .

**He doesn't miss anything that goes on around him--he soaks up every detail and then as soon as the coast is clear of strangers, he regurgitates it all back to us over and over and over and over . . . and just when you thought he had forgotten about that particular event or detail, he brings it up again! One example: I bought a red purse. As soon as he saw me carrying it for the first time he said "it's like Gail's." Gail is my aunt and 90% of the time, she does carry a red purse. Who knew he had even paid attention to that?

**He is quite the comedian. He does things on purpose because he knows it will get a laugh. And once you laugh the first time, you might as well get settled in, because he'll keep on with the same thing over and over!

**He's very obessive about routine and order. (Wonder who he gets that from???) To the point of getting bothered when we go a different route to a common destination. Church, for instance. There's two ways we can go and it's about the same distance. BUT, you can only go one certain way with Clayton in the car because going on the other street means the questions start flowing on "where are we going?" "where are we going?" And he'll even laugh if he thinks you've gone the wrong way. Again, he's so observant, he knows the route to almost all our destinations and deviating can't be tolerated!

**Most people know he's never been a TV watcher except for just a few select things: Little People, Big World (the dad has crutches); any Scooter Store commercial (wheelchairs galore!); and any live concert or music video (parent approved, of course!); and Gaither Homecoming Music on Saturday nights. BUT, he's suddenly discovered you don't have to wait until Saturday to watch the Gaithers. You can buy a DVD and watch them on demand! Brian found one we forgot we had on Christmas Day--Clayton was glued to the TV, playing his drums along with the music. And now, he wants to watch them ALL. THE. TIME. I had to go buy more so we didn't have to watch the same one over and over! The other thing he's discovered on TV is home movies. I had to watch several the other day to get them labeled correctly. I was just going to pop them in and out, but he wanted to watch every single minute and had more fun reliving the moments than he did during the actual live event!

**For a while now, he has been on this "tell _____ that." It doesn't matter what happens or what I say or what he says. It's always followed by "tell Jackson that" or "tell Daddy that" or "tell Granny that" or . . . well, you get the picture. I spend most of my time saying "why don't you tell Jackson?" or "he's right there, he saw it" or "I'll tell them when I see them." Man, I'm a sucker--always following his orders!

**He still loves riding in Daddy's truck and loves looking out the window to wait for whoever's coming next. If it was warm enough, he'd be on his bike every day.

**He craves independence. If I'm busy taking a shower, folding clothes, etc., he wants to do his own thing. And for him now that means watching out the window and listening to music, watching the Gaither videos, or kicking his legs while laying on the bed and looking out the window (he still gets great exercise doing this!). And if I don't leave him alone, he reminds me to--"Momma go in there." "Momma go take a shower." He wants me OUTTA THERE! Independence. It's a very good sign!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Reading Aloud

I'd love for you all to take a look at my post for today over on the Kidz blog. Some of my best memories of fourth and fifth grade are of my teachers reading aloud (thank you Mrs. Benton and Mrs. Doolin!). And reading aloud has certainly become an intergral part of our days here. I was definitely skeptical at first, with Clayton having such a short attention span, but he looks forward to our reading time each night with great anticipation! So head over to Kidz and read my full post . . .

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Seven Months

Jackson is changing by the day! He is so social and in general, he's just a little stinker!! A busy little bee, he's wanting to touch and hold everything and is having lots of fun exploring all of his toys he received at Christmas. He sits up for short periods of time, and crawls backwards---wait, it's more of an accidental scoot than an actual crawl . . . and he's already jealous of any time we're spending with Clayton. It's interesting having two boys who would prefer to ignore each other and would prefer everyone else follow suit!