Monday, February 28, 2011


With all the earthquakes my friends just north of here have been feeling, I've been thankful that Brian and I have decided to stay put and not follow the crowd to that area of the county.  But it seems even we are not immune now.

Didn't like it.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

8/52 The View From Here

With the theme for this week being all about what I see around me, the possibilities were endless.  But I thought it only appropriate to focus on what I see daily as a Momma.
Taking This Call

I came around the corner to find Jackson playing with his trucks.  By the time I returned with my camera, he had ditched the trucks to take a phone call.  :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

No, Momma, No!

This is pretty much all I've heard out of Jackson's mouth for the last three days.  Anything that is my idea is a total no-go in his opinion, but his ideas are always great . . . and it's the. end. of. the. world. if he doesn't get to follow through with his plans.  Needless to say, we've had a lot of drama as a result.  Drama in the grocery store, drama at the library, drama at the restaurant.  And a ton of drama here at home.  I'm thinking the terrible twos are here a bit early!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Jason Crabb!

Well, Clayton had some kind of special Saturday night!  We heard that Jason Crabb was coming to town last week, and I considered it a God-thing when we were able to get front row seats to his concert.  Jason originally sang with his siblings, but has been out on his own these last few years.  And while we really came to love his music by watching the Gaither DVDs, his musical style isn't just limited to Southern Gospel.  He plays all over the board, and does a superb job on anything he sings/plays.  He is truly blessed with God-given talent and definitely annointed to spread The Word through song.
Clayton goes in cycles with his Gaither DVDs, but the one we've been watching for the last two months has Jason singing two or three songs and speaking on it.  It is with this exposure that Clayton has become currently obessesed with Jason. 

We were hanging out at our seats when someone found out Clayton was a fan of Jason's. They quickly sent word to Jason himself, and the next thing you know he's walking up with a photo signed just for Clayton. When Clayton realized who it was, he was just plain giddy!  He was beside himself and really didn't even know what to think!! 

Jason left our seats and went straight up to the stage for his first song--naturally, it was then that I started boo-hooing!  I just love these special moments for Clayton!!!  There simply aren't any words to describe how incredibly blessed we are to have him; and simply put, I want him to have an unlimited number of these awesome moments in life.  In some ways, I guess I'm hoping they'll maybe half way make up for all the battles he has had to fight physically.   (And if this is how emotional I get with Jason Crabb, how am I going to be when Clayton meets The Homecoming Friends in May???!!!)

In his usual manner, Clayton was watching EVERYTHING.  He watched everyone on stage, and of course all the people around us.  But Jason really got his attention when he started playing the blues (Clayton is also currently obsessed with Stevie Ray Vaughn--because he also has a wide taste in music!); and he rocked Clayton's world when he started singing "Jesus on the Mainline" (one of Clayton's favorites).  I thought Clayton was going to be healed right then and jump right out of his chair he was so excited! 
He would just look at us every once in a while like "is this really happening?!" 

Brian and I both agreed that this is probably one of the best concerts we've been to.  The musicians were UBER-talented--they didn't have a set list, and even played a few on the fly when requested from the audience.  True pros who went with the flow of the Holy Spirit.
And of course, Jason Crabb is now on that list of mine.  That list of people who have treated my baby with some extra special lovin' that is priceless.  Warms this Momma's heart to no end.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

7/52 Open Your Heart

I had a couple of great ideas for this week's theme, but actually getting a photograph that depicted them proved past my logistical abilities this week.  Therefore, I stuck with applying the theme within in our own little family. 

As I try to type my words for this post, I actually get a little tounge tied.  How do I explain without getting all teary?  Clayton isn't "close" to anyone his age.  It's not like he has a "best friend" that he plays with each day.  He has "friends" at church, but his peers just simply aren't mature enough yet to have a true relationship with him.  His relationships right now are all with people much older than him.  It's not anyone's fault, just the way it is.  The kids at church do include him, but the real relationships haven't begun to grow yet.  

One Exception

This is why I love watching him with Jackson.  And Jackson with him, for that matter.  Jackson has no pre-conceived notions.  He accepts Clayton exactly how he is and expects the same from him as he would anyone else in his world.  And over time, Clayton has slowly let Jackson into his realm--lets him get by with stuff no one else could accomplish.  Like all the hugging and crawling into his space, for instance.  And I've seen it with Clayton's chairs as well.  I'll be honest:  part of it is me.  I see Clayton's chairs as an extension of his body.  The wheels ARE his legs, so I don't see the chair as a toy at all (and I can be pretty ruthless about too, but that's another story!).  But Clayton has always been particular about it too.  He gets all out of sorts if someone is in his "blue chair."  However, I've seen him give a little on this rule as he has grown to love Jackson.  He wants Jackson to ride with him, and doesn't even flinch if Jackson sits in his blue chair.  So I wasn't surprised when he wanted to "show Jackson" how to drive the power chair the other day.  I think he's starting to take this big brother thing quite seriously!  And even I don't mind him making this exception to the rule . . . I think it's what having a brother is all about.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bumps in the Road

With the nicer weather, Clayton is getting more time to drive the power chair in the wide open spaces of our neighborhood.  Only he doesn't want wide open spaces. 
He wants a whole lot of bumps that he can drive over and back, several hundred times in an afternoon.  We've managed to get him going down the street, but every. single. driveway curb has to be plowed over--forward, then back, forward, then back.  And he keeps a close eye on those tires:  who knew the excitement of going over a curb?!

His heart's true desire is to four-wheel right through everyone's yard, but I think we finally have him convinced the neighbors might not like him very much if he did that.

So our "walks" down the street go quite slow these days with a detour at every house.  We don't mind a bit, since we're letting him catch up for lost time. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ohhhh, Mr. Wil-son!!!!

Jackson is some kind of character.  There is just no way to describe in words how busy he is these days!  There is no question he inherited one major trait from his Daddy:  he never meets a stranger and makes friends super fast.  And of course this includes our neighbors who we see quite often. 
As soon as we get outside, he almost always makes a bee line across the street for Sherman's front porch and front door.  I had to laugh when our next door neighbors, Tommy and Lori, said they had already decided that Jackson was a future Dennis the Menace, and that they expected him to start showing up at their door everytime they turned around!

In fact, when he finally realized that Sherman wasn't home yesterday afternoon, he decided to camp out on Tommy and Lori's porch and wait for them.  He waited quite a while before finally heading back home.  It's too bad he gave up because it wasn't too long after we went in that Tommy arrived home.  Guess he'll have to pester them all another day . . .
(And all that waiting?  It's a thirsty business!)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


We took Clayton for a drive in the power chair last night.

He took off down the driveway saying "I'M RUNNING!"




And the tears just flowed . . .

Saturday, February 12, 2011

6/52 Words

I didn't pick the most exciting thing to photograph for the theme this week, but it is the topic that came right to my mind when I saw the theme was Words.  (Warning:  lots of sarcasm from a Special Needs parent ahead). 

Clayton's therapy evalutations always take place at the beginning of the new year.  So just when I get all excited about new beginnings and fresh starts, we have to tackle goals and setbacks and all the protocol that comes with testing Clayton.  The last few years have been the same:  each therapist starts questioning me on what kind of goals I want Clayton to have for the upcoming year, and they are met with the same old grimace on my face as I reluctantly say "let me think about it."

Just Words on Paper

What am I supposed to say?  Re-evaluations are becoming the time of year when Brian and I have to look at each other and say "Well, that didn't work.  What else can we try?"  When Clayton first came home from the hospital, his PT goals were easy:  get him sitting up, crawling, walking.  Then we had to come to the realization that walking wasn't going to come easy.  So as a parent, you readjust to the idea of a walker.  Okay, that didn't exactly work.  Let's readjust again to the idea of a wheelchair "just until he gets going in the walker."  Yeah, right.  Years later, we're testing power chairs.  Does that sound like we're moving toward a walker? 

Um, no.

Clayton didn't meet any PT goals this past year.  Granted, he did have a major setback with the Shunt Debacle of 2010.  But in 2009, he only met one PT goal.  I'm not blaming Clayton.  He does work hard, and his strength in general has improved greatly over these last couple of years.  But then, that's not on The Test.  The Test is cut and dried:  can he do it or not?  And because of that, The Test only shows that he is on the level of a six month old physically.  Well, how freaking exciting is that for a parent to read each year?!  

And as far as OT goals go, I just get frustrated for Clayton.  I know it can be done, but all these dressing goals, self-care goals--how does one do that one-handed exactly???  Especially when that one hand is definitely not the strongest in its class.  Clayton is learning to use his left hand as a "helper" for his right hand, but he still has a long way to go in figuring out the logistics of using both hands together.  And the OT Test also compares Clayton to a regular seven year old.  Here's an idea:  how about you test his ability to adapt instead of the old "can he do it or can he not?"  Because more often than not, if he does complete a task on The Test, it isn't the way The Test wants him to, so he doesn't even get credit for it.  HOW COMPLETELY FRUSTRATING!    

My mother's heart mourns each year when I read these "results."  (Like I didn't know what they were already!)  I have to consciously remind myself that they are indeed "just words on paper," and they tell nothing of Clayton's actual story.  Like all the things he CAN do:

At seven and a half, Clayton . . .

1.  memorizes a song after hearing it once, twice at the most (and even sings the parts every once in a while!)
2.  memorizes the clothing and mannerisms of everyone in a room or on a Gaither tape!
3.  manages to call the people he wants to talk to on an iPhone even though can't officially read their names in the contacts list
4.  knows right from left
5.  knows the routine involved in driving and operating a car (talks us through it every time)
6.  memorizes the route to anywhere after just one trip, and if you go a different route the next time, starts with twenty questions on why the different route
7.  greets everyone at church with a smile, and shakes many hands each Sunday
10.  rides the tube behind the boat when other kids his age are scared of it
11. counts to ten, sometimes twenty
12.  spells his name
13.  kicks booty in Speech Therapy
14.  remembers every detail of a story or event, even after years have passed
15.  thanks people for the smallest of things, which usually melts their hearts
16.  generally brightens the world of everyone he meets!

I'll end the list there, although I'm sure there are some major things I'm leaving out.  I'm positive my mom will be adding to the list as soon as she reads the things I have included!!

So TAKE THAT, MR. TEST!  No matter what the circumstances, your numbers can't begin to measure the abilities of my child.  This momma finds that the results of the evaluation are as follows:  WE'VE GOT ONE PRECIOUS MIRACLE ON OUR HANDS!

Friday, February 11, 2011

He'd Rather Be Swimming

We were so glad to get out of the house yesterday, that Brian and I assumed Jackson would be up for any activity in the snow.  We were wrong!  Before we even got Clayton outside, Brian threw Jackson on the disc and pushed him down the driveway.  He was NOT a happy camper!  So then Brian decided he might like it as long as he had someone with him.  Wrong again!   Clayton, on the other hand, was glad to go down with Daddy multiple times.
But for the most part, Jackson stood in the garage pouting and crying for me to hold him.  And I had to force both of them against their will to take a picture with me!
I've learned with these last snows that Jackson is definitely a warm weather kid.  Both times he has preferred playing inside over romping in the snow.  I guess spring can't get here soon enough for him!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

{Almost} Snowed In

As if there is such a thing in Arkansas! 

I do have to admit that it has been a long time since I've seen it snow this hard for so many hours straight.  We enjoyed the day inside together and even ventured out for a tour of the town in the evening.  We look forward to a day of playing in the snow today since the actual falling snow will have moved out of the area.  I can't wait to see if Jackson takes to sledding like his brother did last year!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

More Than a RAK

Sunday, my parents took Clayton to IHOP for lunch.

They ate.  They visited.  They enjoyed a Sunday lunch with their grandson. 

When they asked for the ticket, the waitress said someone else had paid for their meal.

That someone's booth was already empty.  No public recognition, no thank you sought after. 

An ordinary day became extraordinary because one person decided to do the unexpected for my parents. 

This Random Act of Kindness (RAK) left my parents speechless and overflowing with blessing.  Their tears were flowing before they could even leave the parking lot.  It was more than just paying for a meal.  More than just buying some pancakes.  I don't even know if there is a word for it, but whatever you call it, it went way down deep into the hearts of my mom and dad.  

What a beautiful reminder.  There are still people in the world who are genuinely good and generous with their gifts, talents and resources.  A thought that often gets lost these days with all the negativity we hear around us.

So to the Random Someone who paid for my family's meal yesterday:  THANK YOU.  We intend to pay your kindness forward and pray we can bless someone even half as much as you did us!   

Saturday, February 05, 2011

5/52 Muse

This week's Project52 theme was Muse.  (They seem to be getting harder!!)  I thought about it all week.  Where does my inspiration come from?  Music was one big answer that kept popping into my head; but in the end, I always came back to my boys.  And in particular, Clayton.  Talk about inspiration!  Because of him, I look at life from a totally different perspective.  This woman, who has always been a rule-follower and never colored outside the lines, has slowly evolved into a woman who is learning to think outside the box.  A woman learning to see and enjoy the gray areas of life instead of always seeing things as completely black or completely white.  I am continually learning from him--learning more about my present self and how I can change to become a better version of me!
Clayton on Friday

This most precious boy.  He greets each day with excitement ("Momma, what are we going to do? Where are we going?").  And he hasn't let any disability get in his way of living and loving life! 

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Still Scrapbooking . . .

Although not near as often as I'd like, and not near as thoughtfully as I'd like!  Back in the old days I had lots of time to think about what I wanted my layouts to "say" about a certain subject, and had plenty of time to execute the vision perfectly (or what seemed to be perfect at the time!).  But these days, I'm just glad to put pictures down on some colored paper and call myself creative!  I love so much of the work I've done in the past, but I wouldn't go back and wish for that time again.  Know why I had all that time on my hands?  Because I had one very sick child who had therapists in and out, and who couldn't do much more than lay around.  We hung out, listening to music and singing as I put pictures and paper together.  Putting all that energy into a creative outlet helped me keep what little bit of sanity I had at the time.  And it still will through this phase of my life, but in a totally different way. 

Tips on how I've sped up my scrapbooking:
1.  I've used my blog as a reference point:  Before the last two crops I've attended, I've printed off journaling to have and hand copy onto my pages once they were done.  (I supposed I could have printed off the journaling instead of handwriting it, but I wasn't sure what color/size, etc. I would need the journaling to be).
2.  Back to old school:  stick with stickers!  I used to use a lot of chipboard in my layouts.  I still *love* chipboard.  But using chipboard usually requires paint, drying time, etc.  I really don't like hauling all my paints around to crops so I've just been using bare chipboard, already finished chipboard, or skipping it all together.  I do try to dress up my stickers.  I use pop dots constantly and usually ink up my stickers to give them some dimension. 
3.  My old friends, The Brads:  I've always used brads on my pages, but it's amazing what kind of finishing touch a couple of brads add to a layout.  I learned a long time ago a simple way to step up any page was to "anchor" the elements of the layout (give it a sense of being attached to the page instead of just floating).  Best way I know how to anchor any element is to nail it down with a brad!! 

I usually don't do many Christmas layouts, but was inspired since 2009 was Jackson's first Christmas.

Even found the energy to get a two-pager done:

Yes, I still use flowers on boy pages:

And my favorites, which I never sit down and do anymore--a couple of cards to add to my depleted collection of homemade ones to send to friends and family!