Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Feeling Thankful

As Thanksgiving approaches this week, may of us often reflect on things we are most thankful/grateful for. The days and the weeks go fast for many of us and sometimes we forget how lucky and blessed we are.

For me, I am thankful everyday for Alex and Evan. Although they challenge me everyday, they have made my life better, brighter and made me a better person. I often think back to their first days in this world. Just how tiny they were, hooked up to all kinds of machines, having all kinds of blood work and tests done. I think about Alex and his Cerebral Palsy and how things are going to be challenging for him, but you know what, it could be a lot worse. Both of my boys are happy and healthy and that's what matters most.

I am very thankful for my husband who has been by my side through a lot in our 14 years together. We have weathered a lot of storms and we are still standing. We may not always see eye to eye on things and we have had a lot of ups and downs, but we keep fighting because we love each other and neither of us are ready to give up. We have built a really nice life together and there are still a lot of memories to be made.

I am also thankful for our families. I am happy to still have both of my parents in my life, my sister and her family, my in-laws and Eric's brother and sister with their families. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Nieces and Nephews galore. I am also grateful to have one grandparent left. My grandma who is 87. She has had her share of health problems this year, but I am so glad that my boys have been able to know her. She is the only great-grandparent they have between both families.We are all very close and that means a lot. Sometimes they can cause grief and frustration but they are still family. They are still there for us and no matter what we all love each other.

This past weekend we were blessed to spend an early Thanksgiving with Eric's family. His sister and some of her family were here from Georgia and those few hours with everyone together meant so much to us. Seeing the boys play with their cousins is so nice.

We have decided to spend Thanksgiving Day at home this year and since we just had a full turkey dinner on Sunday, I will be cooking BBQ Pulled Pork. I am looking forward to some down time at home with my boys.

From our family to yours, we wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Things Alex and Evan are thankful for!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Birthday Eric

Today is Eric's 34th Birthday!! After work, we met up at Rainforest Café for dinner. Such a nice Daddy to think of the boys. Alex LOVED the thunderstorm and we got to sit right by the elephants!Here are some pics of our dinner. Evan took most of the pictures. :)


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Family Photos - 2014

This year we had our family photos taken on the property of Banbury Cross where Alex goes horseback riding. They turned out better than I thought. The boys were very tired and uncooperative as usual. But they aren't bad.

Evan and Al

Alex and his horse Stormy

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Joy of Christmas

November is here, Halloween is over and now we are onto the holiday season. Christmas music is playing on the radio (yep, I am listening!), the stores and malls will flood with people on the weekends and all of the ads will be offering deal upon deal to get you to spend money.

I have always loved Christmas. Ever since I was a little girl. I remember setting milk and cookies out for Santa and that butterfly feeling of waking up to a tree full (and I mean full) of presents. My parents always made sure that my sister and I had a wonderful Christmas. They always went out of their way to get everything we wanted as long as it was within their means. I loved baking and decorating Christmas cookies with my Mom and I looked forward to seeing my extended family and spending time with my cousins.

As I got older, some of the excitement seemed to fade away. Christmas was still great, but different. Our baking of cookies disappeared for a number of years and you just fall into life. I have been lucky to always have a bountiful of nieces and nephews to buy for ever since Eric and I started dating. The feeling still felt faded, until I had children of my own.

The excitement of shopping for my boys, setting family traditions of our own, baking and decorating cookies with them and decorating the tree brings so much joy to me. They like singing Christmas songs and reading their Christmas books before bed. Evan loves to help me decorate the tree and both love to decorate (more like eat) the cookies.

I was afraid that with having boys, they might not want to be a part of certain things when it came to Christmas, but so far they love it. I am sure it will change as they get older...but I hope not! I plan on many more years of fun before the feeling fades again. Then, I will have to wait for grandchildren to spark it again.

I am thinking about putting our tree up this weekend. I usually wait until the weekend after Thanksgiving, but I just have this strong desire to put it up this weekend. I really like to enjoy the tree in the weeks leading up to Christmas, then once it is over, everything has to come down. I am over it! So an extra week or two won't hurt. Of course my sister beat me to the punch this year and got hers up last weekend which makes me want mine up even more!!

Over the weekend Evan picked the spot where he wants the tree and made it very clear to me. I can't wait to get it out and have him help me with it!!

We are also headed to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth this weekend. It is the World's Largest Christmas store and is about 45 minutes north of us. We go every year and let the boys pick out a new ornament for the tree. It is one of my favorite traditions! So I guess it makes sense to have the tree set up so they can put their new ornaments on it. I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!!

Bronner's Christmas Wonderland

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My Inspritations

      Just the other day at school, Alex was finishing his snack with his Special Ed Teacher Liz across the room from the other children. They were in large group getting ready to sing and perform a song called "Shake your sillies out". The music started playing and Alex could hear it, and on his own and independently he began to do the motions of the song himself. He was able to shake his hands, he brought his hands together for a clap and the final motion was to yawn - which he did. Liz just sat back (in awe of him) and let him go. I cannot tell you how amazing it is to get a note like this sent home, and then to have her tell me the story. It makes me cry tears of joy every time.

He also has been doing very well with "choices". He has a communication book at school with individual pictures of things he likes or commands such as "more", "all done" etc. I am also about to develop my own book here at home so he can stay on the same page throughout the weekend and it becomes a way of communication for him both at home and at school. I am hoping that it will eventually bring verbal communication out in him as well.

He has sounds, both consonant and vowels so I truly believe the potential is there, it just may take him awhile. (I hope I am not just telling myself what I want to hear)

I don't think I have ever believed in someone more in my life than I do Alex. He is such an amazing inspiration to me. I know many of my posts probably sound like I am just the most positive person on earth. Well, I am not. I get frustrated, I cry and I have many down moments. But it's the moments like the one above that pick me back up when I feel like I have lost faith. It is what keeps me going as his mother, to never give up hope, to never give up on him and to keep on fighting. I guess those amazing moments are God's way of telling me that everything will be ok.

If one amazing inspiration wasn't enough, God blessed me with another. Evan. Oh, this boy keeps me on my toes, but he blows me away with his brains and his ability to build and create things. He is doing really well in preschool. He has had a few rough days with not listening and not sharing with his peers, but for the most part he does very well. He loves books, movies, and building roads and trains. He can go go go and I wish I had just a portion of the energy he has. He is also artistic and loves to paint. Watching him explore and use his imagination is so cool! This weekend he was drawing maps with paths to the "beach". When he paints, he shows me the trees and water. He is full of wonder and lots of questions. I know he is going to go far and do wonderful things.

I am a very lucky lady. I know a lot of people look at me and may feel sorry for me at times because of the struggles I have to endure. I am not going to lie, it is not easy but these two boys are my world. They are my inspirations and I wouldn't trade either of them for anything.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

When Reality Hits

{The conversation listed in this post happened a few weeks ago, I just haven't had time to post}

I knew the day would come, but no matter what, I knew I wouldn't be prepared; to answer questions from Evan about Alex.

A couple of months ago Evan made a statement about how he wants Alex to walk like him. Talk about breaking your heart into a million pieces and staying strong enough not to break and let it show. I told him that we hope someday Alex WILL walk just like him. I hadn't really heard a whole lot since, but I knew by putting them in the same class this year, that other kids would have questions about Alex and Evan would more than likely hear and begin to wonder as well.

Evan is knee deep in the "Why" faze right now, so this morning I got bombarded with "Why" questions about Alex as we were getting ready for the bus to come get them. I realized this is what it feels like when reality hits.

"Why can't Alex walk or run like me? Why can't Alex get dressed by himself? Why can't Alex put his shoes on?" Keep in mind that Evan is four. I told him that Alex is different, and that all people are different and that it is ok to be different. I have already tried explaining the world of Cerebral Palsy to him, and I tried again this morning as he gave me a blank stare. I know he doesn't get it...yet, but he will someday so it is important to bring awareness to him even as a four year old who doesn't get it...yet. Because there will come a day where he will "get it" and when he does, I want him to remember us talking about it so it isn't new to him.

This morning I tried talking about Alex's muscles, because Evan knows all about muscles and how his are big and strong! LOL. I explained that Alex goes to therapy to work on his muscles so that one day his will be big and strong like Evan's and will hopefully be able to walk and run alongside his him.

This is probably one of the hardest things I have had to deal with. Trying to keep it together without falling apart is extremely difficult and one of my biggest struggles is not having my boys run and play together outside, or at a McDonald's playground, or at the park. Especially because that is what you envision when you find out you are expecting twins. You never expect your whole world to be turned upside down and have to face some of the most difficult of situations and questions. To constantly fight and advocate; To guess or try to read my non-verbal child when he is upset because he can't tell me; To help him do things that our brains don't think twice about but that his may never be able to do. It is overwhelming.

With all of this being said, Evan will always understand the special needs world, he will not judge, he will not make fun of or turn his back on a person with a disability because he will know the importance of that world because of Alex. A person he will forever have a bond with that I will never know but always admire.

Evan asked to hold Alex's hand before I took this picture

Although it isn't always present, there is a closeness between them