Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye Tough Year! Bring On the Blessings!!!

2011 had so many blessings, mainly the wonderful people we have met, a new church family, a very healthy year for our kiddos, and the amazing blessing of Medicaid services for Garrett which has brought us even closer to the loving caregivers who help with him so much!!! And lets not forget those people who touch our lives by teaching and caring for Garrett. And of COURSE our time with family and friends was dreamy!! However, when I look back, I must admit that 2011 was the toughest year I have had. So many challenges, twisting turns of life....nothing truly horrifying or tragic in the "normal" sense of those terms, but it was honestly a bumpy year.

But I will not dwell on that!! Instead, I wish to bid farewell to 2011 and try to be thankful for the inspiration, endurance, patience and peace that has come from enduring the year. It is always the tough times that make us appreciate the better ones, the valleys to help us enjoy the peaks, and so on. I am glad to put it behind and look ahead ANTICIPATING God's blessings, riches and love. The slate is clean and for crying out loud, I have NEW PLANNER PAGES, so of course the world is a better place, HA!!!!

Garrett enjoyed having Grouchy's parents here this week!! Shoot, we all enjoyed them being here. It was his dad's first visit since we moved here, and we made the most of our time, I think. Grouchy had to be gone for part of their visit as he had to go work for a while. Garrett certainly enjoyed the love only grandparents can provide!

I have some Garrett funnies to share, but my eyes REALLY want me to go to sleep!! Addie and Ainslee want to stay up another 35 minutes to see in the first new year they have been able to stay awake for, but that time seems SOOOOO far away!!!

As for resolutions, I can only resolve to do my best.....my parents taught me that from day one, and it is always the best policy!

Godspeed,
Clara-Leigh

Monday, December 26, 2011

Caught a Cat On a Fishing Line

So looks like we may name Ainslee's new kitten "Catfish" thanks to today's adventure!! A couple of weeks ago we caught two wild kittens on our little ranch. They had teased us for a couple of weeks just letting us see the three of them scram back into our large stacks of hay bales,but we couldn't seem to catch them! One day while we were doing school in our room over our garage, we were at our desks facing a huge window that faces the mountains to the west and our alfalfa field, the girls started yelling, "MOM, the KITTENS!!!" And there was momma cat and her three kittens heading out on a hunting lesson. They were far enough from the stacks of hay that we felt we had time to go try to get them. We grabbed a couple of plastic storage box lids and got hats and boots on and RAN outside as quietly as possible. Momma cat deserted her babies real quickly, and the three babies ran down into this 6 foot deep and 15 foot wide empty irrigation canal. Of course the girls tagged me as the one to do the actual grabbing, but I had on my work gloves so felt fairly safe! One kitten shot off past us to the hay, but the other two went down into the big irrigation ditch. Can I interject here that I LOVE my kids!?!?!? SO I dove down the steep ditch bank and almost skit down on my chin! Some tumbleweeds were all caught up together in the ditch, and one at a time we cornered the two remaining kittens under tumbleweed tangles, and Addie and Ainslee would distract them and I would grab. They were both grey striped kittens, but one had a little white and orange on it. It was the calmer of the two. After losing one of our last kittens to a vanishing and another to an incident with the garage door (quite tragic for the kids since they found her...dead), I told the girls we would raise and tame these kittens to barn and stable life as to hopefully prolong their 9 lives better than the last pair of hay kittens. SO we fixed up a large wire dog crate with a small crate inside so they had a cave to sleep in. We made a little box, and the girls kept them fed and watered and brought them in sime each day to tame them. Then IT happened. Ainslee accidently left the wire crate door unlatched, and the kittens both escaped and were not wanting to be caught. I even tried for over an hour by myself yesterday, but the kittens are getting big and very quick!

We drove to Boise today to pick up Grouchy's parents who flew up from Louisiana for the week. We got home and went to take them over to the bunkhouse, and right away Ainslee took Grouchy's mom, DiDi, to see her kittens.....who were still loose in the barn. And a couple minutes after they went from the bunkhouse out into the barn, Ainslee comes in crying and saying something about a kitten and a hook. A WHAT???? The kitten had managed to get a fish hook attached to a line on a pole up through her top lip and the barb end coming out of one of her nostrils. OUCH!!!! DiDi was holding the line and waiting for us to bring a towel to catch the kitten as it was hissing and very scared. We grabbed it and cut the line and took it into the house. We then treated the injured area, hook and all, with betadine and then clipped the barb off with my Mito bracelet-making wire pliers, and it easily slid out. We then cleaned the hole and wrapped the kitten in a soft blanket of Ainslee's where it has spent most of the evening purring happily! SO thus the name possibility....a cat caught with a fishing pole....Teresa, you might be right!! CATFISH!!! Ainslee isn't buying it, but we will work on her!

So another first for our family. We caught a cat with a fishing pole!! Only us. Promise!!!

Many other weird things have happened to us lately, but I haven't had the time to report on those, but I will. Here's a sneak peak of some recent headlines:

"Clara-Leigh survives jury duty in a tiny wild west town 40 miles from home where "you better bring a sack lunch 'cause there isn't food in this town"

"Unmanned car rolls out of its parking space at WalMart and smashes a large dent into Clara-Leigh's car"

See, you just have to read these blogs because they can bring so much useless info and entertainment to your home!!!!

I should blog about Christmas, and will. It was a wonderful day. It was just the 5 of us in our Idaho home Christmas day, and while it was different and sad being away from our LA and AL families, there was something wonderfully calm and peaceful about just being here, going to the Christmas Eve candlelight service and Christmas Day service and keeping Garrett in his groove and calm....sort-of!!! The kiddos were way spoiled with too many cool gifts, we enjoyed reading the Christmas stories in the Bible, delivered some pies to our dear neighbors/friends, and then went to bed at a reasonable hour even!!!

I also want to blog about the year in review. It will probably be a long one.....not all cheery, but overall insightful and full of thankfulness, reflection, and a depth of love and growth I cannot claim during any other period of my life. I really should stop here and get sleep to recover from the past 4 nights of past-midnight work trying to get 2 iPads and an iTouch synced and loaded with lots of youtube videos and aps for my kiddos. Let's say I have learned A LOT in that time!! I have also learned to check under the tree FIRST when a gift is missing........at 2 a.m. Christmas morning, I found it.....wrapped.....under the tree......just like I had planned the day it came in the mail.......I NEED SLEEP!!!

Oh, and thanks to my parents for the electric mattress pad...oh my.....life was good..... now it is GREAT!!! It's the little creature comforts that make a big difference for me these days!!!

Looking forward to a wonderful week with Grouchy's parents!!!! And BEGGING God for some now so we can FINALLY ski!!!!! Also looking forward to many visitors in the coming months!!! Can't wait to see the Gusinde family in a couple of weeks and then Aunt Beth and Emma and Colton in late February!!!

Christ the Savior is BORN!!!!
Godspeed,
CL

Monday, December 19, 2011

Runaway Car, Police, and ME!!!!!

After Addie's dermatology appointment to get her stitches our from a suspicious mole being removed last week, it was on to meet Grouchy and Ainslee so I could give Addie to Grouchy and get Garrett for a PT evaluation and checkup for his AFOs. Both appointments went well. I kept Garrett with me so we could have some time together running some errands and pushing some shopping carts at WalMart (Garrett LOVES pushing any shopping carts!!!). We did very well in WalMart, getting some last minute gifts and gifts for a family we are honored to buy some gifts for this year. The checkout lines were slow and long, but my little Garrett did well. I was so proud of him. Once we paid for our items, we headed out into the parking lot to my GMC Yukon. But when I saw it, there was a small, red Chevrolet Aveo smack dab (that's a Southern term) next to it. I mean REALLY up against it, as in its right rear bumper corner was packed tightly against my Yukon's left side just behind the left rear tire. And there were people......a nice lady named Rebecca with her baby and 13 year old, a Wal Mart manager and a WalMart security guy taking pictures and video. I was stunned for a moment and realized I was totally confused about what was happening when I said it was my car and everyone said they had no idea where the driver of the other car was! WEIRD!!! I was filled-in by Rebecca. Apparently the car had just rolled backward from its parking space and crunched into mine.....WITHOUT A DRIVER!!!! And poor Rebecca and her daughter and baby watched the whole thing!! Luckily no one was smashed in the process. Seems the car was a manual transmission and the driver didn't leave it in gear and did not use the parking break! It was getting colder and Garrett wasn't happy about sitting around, but the manager told me I needed to call the police to get a report and wait for WalMart to page the (non)driver of the other car. He FINALLY came out, and it was really pretty funny. It was a new little red car with a GQ magazine in the seat, so I wasn't expecting the 70 year old little white-haired man!! He was so kind, and I could not be angry....there was no conspiracy here, just a freak circumstance really. The police showed up several more minutes later but didn't have the right form for us to use to exchange insurance, so more waiting began. Now Garrett is getting pretty raw. I knew he needed to get to a potty, but the potty in WalMart was closed and I wasn't about to have him whiz in the parking lot with 200 cameras and my very own police officer!! So we waited....I will get back to that whole potty topic later. About an hour and a half later, we were all laughing about it and making sure we were all in touch so we could get USAA, the insurance companies both of us in the accident use, could handle the case. I just have a huge dent, but no other damage. WEIRD!!

Now since we had spent so much time in the WalMart parking lot, we had exactly 8 minutes to drive a 5 minute drive, but in rush hour, to the pediatrician's office to pick up Garrett's Focalin prescription. He ran out Friday, but I thought we had one more month of paper script on file at the pharmacy, but I was SO WRONG, so I had to go get more scripts. Focalin is pretty tightly controlled....translated=PAIN, but wow you can tell when Garrett DOESN'T have it!! So I ran in to get it. I even got it filled there at the pharmacy in the same building....SHA BAM!! I am feelin' so efficient and powerful about this time. Until.......

Until I get into my car where I left Garrett so he wouldn't pick up too many more germs, only to realize he had thrown a toy into my large diet cherry limeade, causing a huge puddle of ice and red drink to flood the floorboard carpet and mats. Great. I began to sop it all up with the thousands of McDonalds napkins I hoard in my door pocket for times just like this. And again, I was feelin' pretty self sufficient and downright boy scout-ish when I was done cleaning, and then I remembered that Garrett had not gone potty in a LOOOOOOOOOOONG time now. SO I ran across the way to put the Sonic mess into the garbage can, then opened the rear door to get Garrett out so he could pee pee in the parking lot, and when I reached to unbuckle his lower buckle of his 5-point harness, I realize he and now my hands are SOAKING WET with urine. It's under the car seat, all in his pants, the lining of the seat, etc., and so I left him buckled and decided to just deal with it at home. And all the while, my sweet boy is saying, "Mom, you mad? You mad at me. I didn't mean to spill. I drop my toy and it spill. It not nice I did that? Mom, why you not mad?" And how on earth can I be mad at THAT?????

So let me go back a month or so. I got my first jury duty notice a couple months ago. I was really quite surprised and excited. I have never been called to jury duty, so I thought it might be a good adventure! I mean what mom of three young kiddos wouldn't love a day or ten of sitting in a peaceful room, perhaps reading a new book to pass the time........I sent the reply in and let the court know I had no "blackout dates." Last week I got a notice I was to report on Wednesday, Dec. 21 in the courthouse of our county. We live in a huge county with a county seat waaaaaay far from where we live and in a tiny little town. I was suppose to call Tuesday night, tomorrow night, and press a number of a certain extension to hear if they still needed me on jury duty or not. This had happened once before last month, but Grouchy had left the letter in his truck by accident, and I didn't know I was summoned until the evening after I had to be there....OOPS!!! Later, I called to apologize and learned that if I had called to check, they would not have needed me. WHEW!!! So as far as I know, I need to call tomorrow night to see if they need me Wednesday or not.

I have been thinking about going back to school......that's another long post......but in order to go beyond my bachelors degree, I need to take some courses over that I never understood, mainly chemistry. I have been accepted to a local junior college where I had also made an appointment to see a counselor tomorrow so I could get finished registering and enrolling in a chemistry course that starts in a few weeks. I was so excited to start back one class at night per quarter to wake my brain back up!!! I need it!!!! And I want to truly understand and grasp all things chemistry. But then my phone rang as soon as I was heading out of the pediatrician's parking lot. It was this lady from the court telling me to be in the tiny town in the tiny courthouse at 8:30 in the morning, a day early, and plan to be there all day Tues and Wed!!! Oh and, "Bring your lunch because there isn't much to eat around here!" So at the very last moment I need to reschedule my appointment with the counselor at the college, call someone to get Garrett off the bus since my Grouchy has to have the girls at the gym for dance and gymnastics when Garrett gets home, have someone else at the house to meet the new PCS girl for her first day AND hit the road by 7:30 for the almost hour drive to this old wild west town that doesn't have food for jury duty. WHEW!!!

It was just one of those afternoons!! It was plain nuts!!! But it worked. The car seat components have been washed, Yukon seats and floors cleaned, meds all ready for tomorrow for Garrett, caregiver getting Garrett off the bus (THANK YOU KALI!!!), caregiver staying to show new PCS gal around, Shelby lined up to take over with her developmental therapy once PCS gal leaves and Shelby gets out of school, a bag packed with books, magazines and bracelet-making supplies........oh, and my new Franklin-Covery planner pages ready to be prepared for the new year...MY FAVORITE!!!......and even some snacks in the car for the day in the wild west town in the courthouse!!!!

Glad most of the Christmas shopping is done!!!!!

Tonight so many children and families are in my prayers. And I reflect on the blessing I have in being able to take my Garrett on outings, to the doctor, therapy, having the opportunity to change his urine-soaked pants, feel him kick the back of my seat in the car, scream violently after he is sick of being in the car. That means I still have him, and that is a huge blessing. Tonight Ainslee was frustrated with Garrett, even after not being with him most of the day, and she asked, "Mom, why did God make Garrett this way, and why did he put Garrett into our family?" I froze, as I had to ponder because I ask this question very often. All I could assure her of is that for reasons we cannot grasp on earth, God believes in us and trusts us because we are capable in His plan.

Blessings to all as we near the Savior's birth!!!

Godspeed,
Clara-Leigh

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Waves

I grew up in northern Alabama on a mountain in my own paradise of forests and trees and vines to cut at the ground and then use for swings.......and animals and at least one trip to the beach each year. Most of you have been to a beach of some sort, but unless you have been to the sugar-white, dreamy beaches of Alabama or the Florida panhandle, you cannot fully imagine the beauty of the beaches I was so blessed to grow up on. It was truly dreamy. Thank you, Mom and Dad!!! And I remember very clearly the sounds of the ocean in the Gulf of Mexico along the silky, white sand. I can remember hearing it as I swam, built sand castles, chased sand crabs, or as I became a teen, lying out until I was crispy "getting a tan." The sound is calming, rhythmic, soothing, but not truly consistent. It had its own rhythm, but sometimes it misses a beat. So there might be a minute or so of similar sized waves washing ashore, but then sometimes there are these pauses where the rhythm is still there, but barely audible.....like skipping a few beats and then another wave coming ashore after a few that didn't really come on shore at all. This is the best way to share the emotions I am feeling tonight.

Yesterday I was so excited about the Make-A-Wish wish being approved for Garrett, and I still am very, very happy. I am thinking I may be happier for Addie and Ainslee than I am for Garrett even. I feel like they deal with so much. And I have shared before, but I will state again that I am not the parent I was before Garrett. I am not as energetic and fresh and motivated. Yes, I know I am getting older each year, but it's not that. It is just the toll and change in focus and need to just survive the next thing with Garrett that have taken so much of me from Addie and Ainslee.

But the waves. That is how I sense the emotions. There are days where the waves crash all day, albeit gently, but on time, never missing a beat, and I allow myself to settle into a groove of knowing things are "off" in our household, but that we are okay and I can handle it. But then there are days like today when even just 5 minutes after Garrett getting off the bus at noon, I am feeling anxiety as I hear his weird screams, watch him struggle with his emotions, fill his diaper from past days of constipation, and go from thing to thing to thing without meaningfully doing anything focused. I spoke with a very dear friend today, Kim. She moved from Louisiana to Texas about the same time we moved from Louisiana to Idaho. We are close and our kiddos are close. She had not talked to Garrett in many months, but then he got on the phone with her and had a cute little chat. She was blown away by his verbal skills and how much he is communicating. I beamed, I BEAMED, and I was so excited to hear how she could see so much progress!! In the back of my mind I am guarded as I see every few minutes how not normal he is, but I did bask in the progress!!! The Grouchy stayed home with Garrett while I took the girls to their respective dance and gymnastics. I wasn't 5 minutes from home and he called to share his frustration with Garrett. Garrett had asked for a bowl of Raisin Bran just as he does most evenings before dinnertime, and Grouchy made a bowl for him with milk and all and took it to the table. Keep in mind Garrett can clear his plates on his own by taking them to the sink, can drink from a cup sometimes, etc. Grouchy puts the bowl at Garrett's place at our table and turns around and walks 20 feet to the Garage to put something in his truck. He walks in to Garrett standing by the table with the entire bowl of Raisin Bran poured out on the table. Grouch was very frustrated and I was feeling for him........but not because he had to clean up the huge mess, but because Garrett does this when I am with him at least three times per week!!!!! I have just gotten to a point where it just hurts now. It doesn't make me mad anymore. I don't get frustrated. I just take a breath, feel like I am shrinking, and start cleaning. And do you want to know what Garrett has to say when we ask why he does it. He says, "I don't know. I sorry." WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? And then lately he got into my car and wrote on the display panel glass with a pen, put another dent in Addie and Ainslee's room, lost 3 Nintendo DS games, broke our new Apple desktop computer by putting multiple "things" into the CD drive, broke the kitchen drawer he stood in......from the PRICELESS post a few posts ago, lost the DVD player remote for our main television, ripped his Nintendo DS Nerf cover to shreds, has trashed 3 shirts by chewing on the sleeves until the fabric is completely ruined, AND has started pillaging my car's interior by unpacking everything in the console, seat pockets, etc, and I am back to having to lock my car and hide the key again. We are about to have to drill holes in our nice computer armoire so we can put a chain on it with a lock so he cannot get to the Mac desktop computer.

So is Garrett making progress? YES!!! He knows most of the letters of the alphabet when he wants you to know he knows. He is counting to 20, knows his colors and shapes and chats like ME!!!! He is saying please and thank you more often and still telling many people that he loves them. And there is the stuff that makes the waves gently break on the sand and roll up onto the shore. But then times like today when it is oh so hard to just face the abnormal and off and hard when I can no longer hear the rhythm, feel the sand, or even hope for it to resume. It's the waves, the roller coaster, whatever you want to call it. But it is real, it is always just around the bend, and it makes all of the joys and progress sometimes not seem so exciting or even promising.

I remember the psychologist plainly saying, "I think Garrett will need assistance in living throughout his life. I do not think he will live independently." I was shocked, but not shocked that what she said is likely, but that she SAID IT!! And times like today when I cannot hear or see or feel the waves, it is painfully real and it all comes back as I realize that while Garrett is making some great forward progress, the things that are off are not allowing Garrett to fit in with the world and manage better at all sometimes. He is improving, but he is also aging, and as he moves forward over time, the bar moves up so much more month by month that passes him by. And that is where I find this sadness. It's not a panic really, but a sad reality. The Raising Bran is the case in point. When I see the mess on the table my heart sinks. I sink. It is so painful to see my son do things that are so way out there and then say he doesn't know why he does them. And I believe him!!! He doesn't know. And neither do I.

There is my rosy analogy and overview of the latest emotions. Thank you for listening!!! And if you are in the same shoes, feel free to share. I hope I enable someone else to be real, share their feelings, and take a load off!!!

On a very bright note, Addie has her very first dance recital Saturday, and I am so excited. And just a tiny bit of news...SHE TURNS 11 TOMORROW!!!! OH MY!!!!! Addie is so beautiful and sensitive and loving. Her heart is HUGE (hopefully not literally, but I haven't heard back from the cardiologist on her tests yet!!) but she is beginning to be challenged by those stinkin' hormones. She has been off the past few days, not feeling energetic at all, just seems to have the blues. I am hoping tomorrow's shopping trip with Ainslee and Grouchy and their trip to Build A Bear help her perk up some!

Godspeed,
CL

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

WE GOT THE CALL!!!!!!!!

Make-A-Wish called me today to let me know that Garrett has been approved for a wish!!!!!!!!

The process had started a couple of months ago, some paperwork got lost, but now it's all good to go!!!!

I cannot express my sincere joy and happiness!!!!!!

We have talked about a wish for Garrett because he isn't to a point developmentally where he would know what this all means, but when I talked to the coordinator who signed him up and called me to tell me the great news, Disney World seems to be a great fit, as I had hoped it would. But the employee also shared with me that the wish can be something the entire family will enjoy as my typical two kiddos have endured this struggle alongside their little bro and should enjoy it as well! So next step, two volunteers will set up an appointment to come see Garrett and talk to us in our home. After that, I am not really sure how it all goes, but right now I am just so excited that it doesn't really matter!!!! He he he!!! YIPEEEEE!!!!

Just had to share the great news!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We would LOVE to take the whole family to Disney, but I cannot imagine how long we would need to save for that.....then there's the whole pieve of where to stay where Garrett's needs are met and we are not having to subject him to long car rides to and from areas and lines and all.....and this might be the answer!! My parents would love to meet us there, and that would give us two more sets of hands to help us with the kiddos....we will have to see how it all works out!!

Oh, and Garrett sleeps with a big Mickey and a little Mickey every night, so I think he would like to go see the mouse!!!!


Godspeed,
Clara-Leigh

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Garrett's Healthy Heart, Fun Day With My Girls and Welcome Home to OH SH%$

First and foremost, WOOOOHOOOOOO!!!! Garrett got a clean bill of health on his little ticker!!! His heart is in great shape, so much that the pediatric cardiologist doesn't need to see him for TWO WHOLE YEARS!!!! Can I get an AMEN?????

Addie's office visit went well today, and she had an ECHO, and EKG and then got a Holter Monitor to wear for 24 hours just like Garrett did a couple of weeks ago. Dr. Walker will call with results next week on all her testing once she receives the monitor back. I was a little worried because the first tech who did the ECHO took FOREVER and then after I thought FOREVER, she left and another tech came in and they looked Addie over again FOREVER!!! And they pointed at the screen and whispered.........ggggrrrrr....And of course they wouldn't tell me anything good or bad.....

Garrett was in great hands with Andrea getting him off the bus at noon and then Shelby loving him for me once she was home from school. So I had a FABULOUS day with Addie and Ainslee!!! It started with ice skating at 9 am with a homeschool group some friends of ours are in. Next it was to lunch with our friends Janna and "Little Shelby." Big Shelby is the one who keeps Garrett for us so much. Then to Addie's cardio appointment where she had her testing and we got Garrett's results. Next it was to the MacLife store to take our new Mac desktop system that is broken because SOMEBODY (aka Garrett) shoved "a couple, at least" things into the CD drive, according to the technician. THANK THE LORD the nice guy who helped me in the store offered to fix for FREE!!! WOW!!!! Next we met up with our lunch friends for a fun dinner in a downtown Boise restaurant where the kids sat at a table inside the restaurant, but the table was in an actual trolley car!! Way cool!!! Then it was off to the botanical gardens for the festival of lights. We went last year and absolutely loved it. We had friends from Louisiana here for that last year, and I missed them sooooooo much as we walked through the winter wonderland of lights, but we were with some super-sweet new friends, so I was thankful!!!!

Then it was home where we ran into the OH SH%$. I got the cows and horses fed in 22 degrees just fine, herded Addie and Ainslee around to get ready for bed as it was getting late, and then I walked into Garrett's room where he was sleeping. I was planning to go pray by his bed and kiss one of those million dollar cheeks, but when I opened the door, the green cloud hit me in the face. And then I saw him stir. And then I realized he had a hand in the BACK of his diaper. And then I realized his hands were CAKED WITH POOP!!!! And it was dry and not coming off easily and was all down his legs, in his bed, on his blanket, his hair, HIS FACE. I woke him the rest of the way and gave him a bath, much to his sweet tired confusion. Had to clip fingernails down to the quick to get them cleaned. It was really yucky!!! And then I had to change his bed, wash his old dirty bed linens and then vacuum his poopy room and spray deoderizer all over the universe.

So a yuck ending to a great day, but the yuck cannot take away from the fun time I had seeing my two precious little girls enjoying friends and beautiful activities!!!

Prayers for all our mito friends tonight and anyone inpatient for any reason. It's a tough season for so many this time of the year.

Godspeed,
Clara-Leigh

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hearing Test Partially Flunked......Again

Garrett was a big, brave boy for another afternoon of hearing screening. In a previous post I shared that he passed most of the tests just fine, but one he completely flunked, like no response from his ear! So he did a tad better with that one today but it was still not nearly normal. The audiologist was FABULOUS with him, and she got another round of telling date. Her synopsis is that he hears well right now, but the test he failed twice now shows he is having some hearing loss. She believes that since it is in the part of the ear that it is, the culprit is Mito and the lack of mito function, thus energy on the cellular leval. She just wants to re-test annually and have us come in sooner if we notice anything weird......I mean more weird than his usual weird!!

Addie sees the cardiologist and we get Garrett's 24 hour hears monitor results tomorrow.

In the morning we are joining the online public school homeschool group for an ice skating field trip. The girls are soooooo excited!!! My friend Andrea will get Garrett off the bus and her daughter Shelby will have him after she gets home from school. WHAT HUGE HELP!!!!! The girls and I will get some errands run getting ready for dance recital and Christmas shopping.

Our house is all decorated! This is the first year in many, many years I have gotten the decor out this early and started the Christmas music and truly enjoyed this preparation for the birth of the Christ Child!!! I don't know why. But it's great!!!

Merry Christmas!!!
Clara-Leigh

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Medical Update and Great News!

First, the GREAT NEWS!!!
Actually there are two bits of really great news!
First, Shelby, who is 17 and in high school and a dear, sweet friend of ours, has taken over all of Garrett's in-home and community developmental therapy. Her mom was covering until Shelby turned 17, since the developmental therapists have to be 17 years old. Shelby is so amazing with Garrett, and he adores her. She works so hard to engage him in the therapy activities, and she is so creative and willing to try her own new ideas. I absolutely adore and love this gal!!!
Second, and Shelby would probably write a very excited contribution here about this topic:
GARRETT HAS BEEN GOING TO THE BATHROOM ON HIS OWN TO PEE!!!!!! Now some of you might not appreciate this, but trust me, it is HUGE!!!! We have been working with him since summer by taking him to the potty every hour, then every two hours and so on, and it took months for him to do that, and he was doing really well listening to us and usually cooperating by going potty when we asked. But just a few days ago he was upstairs in our home and he came lumbering down the stairs and broke into a trot as he passed through the living room and said, "Mom, I have to go to the potty!" I almost fell over but then relaxed as I realized he likely was just spitting out phrases he hears frequently. But then I had Ainslee spy on him and he DID go potty!!!! WOOOOOO----HOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
Pooping on the potty isn't on the radar just yet, but I think it might be on the map at least!!!! THERE IS HOPE!!!!! He has gone to pee on his own 5-7 times, and even twice for Shelby. THANK YOU LORD!!!

And I realize I haven't mentioned much about medical things as far as Garrett goes. Friday Addie has a cardiology check-up, and we will also get the results of Garrett's 24 hour Holter monitor he wore a couple weeks ago. I expect it to be all good news. Addie had a little strange something show up on her ECHO in Louisiana over a year ago, but the doctor was not alarmed. He just wanted to see her annually. So we have a cardiologist here who I think I have raved about before. LOVE HER!!! Then tomorrow we go for a repeat of a portion of the hearing testing Garrett flunked to see if it is still the same result. The ENT was not worried, but the audiologist wanted to be cautious. As for Mito issues, we have decided to transfer Garrett to Dr. Saneto with Seattle Childrens as it is a quick one hour flight from Idaho as opposed to the one day of flying needed to get us to Houston to Dr. Koenig. I am bummed because I adore Dr. Koenig and her staff, and they have taken such great care of our boy. However, I need to be practical and logical here! Every time we have to go to Houston, which is about every 9 months, I have to jump through hoop after hoop with insurance since we are going out of our region for care. This should make things simpler. Meanwhile, we have to get a fasting blood draw done locally for Dr. Saneto's office, and we have the kit for the larger mito genome testing that we will have done if our insurance covers. Just have to wait and see! Garrett is around 42 pounds now and is a little string bean!! I cannot believe how he has gotten taller, and more handsome, if that is possible! His tummy is still not cooperating, but I know it could be much worse. He still trips and shuffles when he runs sometimes, but overall he can do what HE wants to do as far as play, so I am thrilled!!!
SO there is the very delayed update! Not too exciting, but it's what's up!!

Godspeed,
Clara-Leigh

Monday, December 5, 2011

One Horse in a Lifetime


They really do usually only come along once in a lifetime of a horseman. It's that magical, huge, powerful, flight-response prey animal who is kind enough to tolerate anything. This is Ernie. I have had him since he was 2, and he is 19 and has been so patient with Addie and Ainslee. Ainslee and Addie were sitting on their horses while they grazed the other evening and then THIS happened, this goofiness in the photo!!!

I grew up on two wonderful horses who taught me tons. I had other horses I was lucky enough to borrow or ride for other people, and there were a couple of heartbreaks along the way, but then Ernie came available to me......at a price I could not afford. One of my riding lessons kid's parents offered to co-sign a loan for me to buy him....without my parents knowing.....and it worked!!!! Don, if you are reading this, I still love you dearly for believing in my dreams and supporting me in making one of the biggest ones come true by having Ernie!!! My parents learned he was mine only after I had made the last payment......months early! I was always hauling horses back and forth to college at Auburn University, so they thought he was just another horse I was breaking or training or fitting, so I don't think there was any suspicion. It was quite a scandal that I was so excited about!!!! And that was about the worst secret I kept from my folks, and in the end they didn't seem upset.....maybe too shocked?!? But now my mom loves him and rides him when she is here, so I think in the end it all turned out well! Leave it to an only child with a dream!!

So here is our Ernie giving this little Ainslee a dream come true moment of her own!! There are not many horses who will tolerate this craziness, but I trust him and he does care for these kids beautifully! I just happened to get lucky enough to have a beautiful backdrop and my camera nearby!!

May your dreams come true, and may we all be thankful for God's very special four-legged creatures!!

Godspeed and Happy Trails,
Clara-Leigh