Friday, July 31, 2009

Then there was one....

After two days of cousin fun, we are all worn out! We had such a great time that we dragged it out as long as we could tonight. After the final goodbyes were over, my little star just put his head down and drifted off to dreamland where family fun never ends.
Oh yeah, exciting news! Jack swam with his arm floaties in the pool today. Just arm floaties, no float suit, no little ring. It was great. He was playing on the steps of our neighborhood pool where he is Mr. Confidence. He accidentally floated off the bottom step and found himself out in the deep (for him) water. He was saying "Hup, hup" (help, help) as he held his arms out and kicked his feet. McCahill, Jeanie, and I cheered him on and encouraged. I told him, "You're doing great! You can do this." And he swam for the 2-3 minutes it took him to get back to that bottom step. I'm so proud!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Meet Joshua, Chillin, and Wild Life

Meet Jack's newest littlest friend. Jack's been kind of saying "Hey" to Joshua while Joshua resided in Ms. Dina's belly. Since he's been out, Joshua's been kind of quiet so they haven't really played together yet. Look for more pictures of Joshua as he gets older and they play together more.

Here's what Jack's been doing over the summer--chillin out at home. Doesn't he look absolutely relaxed?
David is quite good at catching our local wildlife in pics. Here are two giant red-headed woodpeckers hanging out on the same tree! This was right outside our back door up on the hill behind our yard. You may remember the deer. This is the same area. Who knew we had so much wildlife around here?


Speaking of wild life.....

Here are the three cousins on the way to dinner. Jack adores all of his family. He was very excited when I told him that Jeanie and McCahill were coming. Funny story though...I was talking to him on the phone and said, "Are you excited about seeing Jeanie and McCahill?" He said, "Nie pool". I had to burst his bubble and tell him that Jeanie and McCahill were coming to stay with us and we could not go to the pool because it was raining. He was still happy to hear they were coming!

Jeanie and McCahill rate us a big "thumbs up!"
We had dinner at a local pizzeria where we all enjoyed some excellent pizza. Mmmmm....just ask the kids about the dessert pizzas! Next we picked out a couple of movies to rent. Jack did not really care which movie we picked as long as Jeanie and McCahill were coming home with us.
With the assistance of another local video renter, we avoided renting a movie that was "too much for the young crowd you've got!" We settled on Open Season 2 for tonight's viewing pleasure. It was fun and very appropriate for our little crowd. The kids decided that they really did not want to keep the air mattress in the spare bedroom/playroom. They pulled the air mattress out into the living room and sort of bounced around on it and ate popcorn while watching the movie.

This is the way all the kids wanted to sleep.
We had to remind Jack and the other two that Jack needed to sleep in his bed with his Bipap, oxygen concentrator, and pulse oximeter. Sweet McCahill tried to tell us that we could just bring all the equipment out to the living room and he would hold Jack's mask on him all night if necessary.
So the plan was that Jeanie and McCahill would sleep on the air mattress out in the living room while Jack slept in his bed in our room. We told them that if they needed us at all during the night to just come on in. I wish I could capture in one picture how our sleeping arrangements ended up. It's a good thing we've got a fairly large bedroom. Jack is in his toddler bed which is against the wall on one side and next to our bed on the other side. At the foot of the bed is the air mattress with Jeanie and McCahill. So sweet!
Good night, everybody!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

You Can Choose

I follow a few blogs. One of them is about a little girl named Bridget who has a birthday close to mine. I love this entry that her mother posted this morning. It's so right. We can focus on blessings. We can focus on happiness and love. Sounds easy, right? It's not always easy but it truly feels better. If you're having a hard day today, take a moment and look around you, surely there is some blessing that you can recognize in your circumstance. Focus on that and see if it doesn't feel better.

P. S. Someone remind me of this post next time I get whiny. :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Birthday Movie

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Mama's Birthday!

We had a great time today. Mamas don't throw themselves birthday parties. We usually wait for big numbers and let other people surprise us. :) No party today but I got to hang out with some great folks. Lisa, Bobbie, McCahill, Jeanie, Christie, Kyle, Sophie, Sidney, Pat, and Jack all came and hung out with me at the pool. I don't have many pictures because I forgot my camera but Kyle (my ever faithful photographing friend) took a couple of pics. It's so great not to worry about Jack having a dairy allergy. We ordered a pizza and had it delivered to the pool.

When we got back to the house, I tried to tell McCahill that the tunnel was a little smallish.
But he would not listen.

Is the boy wearing the tunnel or is the tunnel swallowing the boy?

Cute, petite Miss Jeanie could have fallen right through!

Thank you everyone for remembering me and calling, texting, facebooking, emailing, visiting, and just plain ol' thinking about me. I'm blessed to be so loved!

Friday, July 24, 2009

H-pee Burday Wawa!

What more can a Mama ask for? Happy Birthday to me! I'm blessed abundantly more than I could ever imagine or ask for.
My birthday is actually tomorrow but we're celebrating tonight--just the three of us.
Jack and Dave gave me my birthday present early and I used my new Kitchen Aid mixer to make this yummy although not super pretty 2 pounds of strawberry strawberry cake. We're getting some barbecue (my favorite!) for dinner. Mmmmmm....

ETHAN!

You may remember last September Jack and I helped to host a baby shower for his sweet cousin, Alichia. Well, Ethan was born last October. I don't have a great picture of him from right after he was born but you can kind of see him here.




Alichia and Ethan came to town yesterday so we went over to Rob, Bobbie, McCahill, and Jeanie's house to visit. He's gotten so big!!!!
This time of year, visiting Jeanie and McCahill means getting in the pool! Yesterday, we had the added bonus of Emma who was visiting Jeanie. Here's the swimsuit girls.....
Emma and Jeanie are sweethearts who had a great time "babysitting 2 babies!" Ha ha, Jack's just about as big as Jeanie and she still calls him a baby. :) Actually, Ethan is about as big as tiny Jeanie too. Jack had a lot of fun playing with Emma this visit, too. We've met Emma before but never really had a chance to play with her until last night.
I love this picture of McCahill. Doesn't he look like one of those crazy wrestling characters?
Bobbie shot some video of us in the pool but Ethan did not bring his swim trunks so he was in his birthday suit and well, this is a family blog. he he he....Ethan loves the pool just like his older cousins and just like his older cousins (and Jack) he knows that he can count on Aunt Marie (Mama) as the ONLY adult who will jump around and act a fool in a cold pool so the kids can have some fun. :p

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day Pool!

I am very fortunate to have a flexible job. I work some odd hours sometimes. I might leave home at 5 am on my way to an appointment and not get back home until after 7 pm the same day because the last appointment runs late. But then there are days like today where I get started fairly early in the morning and get finished early in the afternoon. We try to take advantage of those kinds of days. Today it resulted in....Day Pool!
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Why do we call it Day Pool? Well, Jack recently began calling swimming at Jeanie and McCahill's house Night Pool. Today, we were telling him that it was daytime so this was Day Pool not Night Pool. Thanks again, Jeanie, McCahill, Bobbie, and Grandma (and Michael for the brief moment we saw you), we had a great time!

McDonald's Old Style-We're Lovin It!

McDonald's Happy Meals are being given out in the old style happy meal boxes again. Now that Jack can eat the fries from McDonald's (the "flavoring" in them has dairy), he can have a full-fledged Happy Meal. Isn't he adorable?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Awesome Kid!

Jack is just an awesome little guy. Today I cried over the most ordinary of events. Jack rolled a ball and talked with a guy at our church. Sounds pretty uneventful, right? Well, not if your kiddo does not talk much around other people, not if people don't usually understand him, not if he is still mostly at the stage of playing beside and not with others, and not if you've never seen him spend so much time playing with and talking to an adult that was not you or your husband. We attend a small house church and Jack was outside playing on the deck. Stephen stepped outside to play with Jack because Jack pulled him and asked him to "wok ah side (walk outside)" with him. I watched this as I tried to listen to our preacher. I heard Jack sit down and start bouncing and spinning Irish. "Ah well," I thought, "I guess that's the end of that interaction." Then I heard Stephen ask Jack to roll him the ball. Jack continued to spin and bounce Irish. Stephen remarkably persisted. As I heard Stephen continue to ask, I braced myself. Imagine my surprise as I heard Jack say, "Ready". Somewhere between my actually listening to and participating in our church discussion and having my thoughts, Stephen had gotten Jack to begin playing with him. I heard them go back and forth a couple of times. Jack was talking WITH Stephen and playing WITH him! I almost couldn't believe it. It was so awesome that I actually interrupted our church discussion to say, "I'm sorry to interrupt but, praise God, Jack is playing with Stephen." Because we are a small church, everyone knew how much this meant and joined me in my joy.
Of course, Jack's not a perfect kiddo. He did not want to leave church and fussed and griped about getting into the car. I had to be firm and put him in the car even as he fussed about it. I reminded him that we needed to go shopping--an activity that he enjoys very much recently. Jack's been doing this fussing about getting in the car alot lately so when we got to the store, I reminded him before he got out that we were going to go into the store, walk around a bit and do our shopping and then we would check out and get back in the car. I told him that after check-out, we would not be delaying but getting straight into the car. He enjoyed shopping and waited patiently in the check-out line. But when it came time to go to the car......he made his protest loudly and initially tried to drop to the ground as our helpful grocery bagger pushed our cart to the car. I picked him up and reminded him that we needed to go directly to the car and since he was not getting up I would have to help him get there. As we got closer to the car he asked to be put down so I did. He continued to fuss as we got into the car. He continually said, "Get out. Get out." as he cried and HELPED ME get him in his carseat. It was almost funny. There he was crying and fussing but doing exactly what I asked him to. I feel so blessed to have such a great kid. He obviously did not want to get in the car but there he was doing exactly as I asked. Was he happy about it? No. Did he lie and pretend to be happy about it? No. Did he communicate with me? Yes, yes he did. How awesome is that!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Meet Irish!

It occurs to me that some of you have not gotten to meet Irish. Tom Hanks (in Castaway) had Wilson. Well, Jack has Irish. Irish is a green basketball with Luck of the Irish written on one side and a fairly fierce looking basketball playing leprechaun on the other side. Grandma gave Jack Irish some time ago but it wasn't until a couple of months ago that Jack & Irish grew close. Irish goes just about everywhere with us. Yes, we talk about the basketball as if he's a person. He's a versatile guy who is great for spinning, kicking, bouncing, rolling, balancing on, playing alone with or joining a friend or two.

Backyard Fun!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

*sigh*

Well, you can't really feed a child two hamburgers, have him traumatized by allergy testing, then give him his apple pie and another burger (the leftover one that you ordered for yourself but did not eat) and then expect him to get excited about a pizza that wasn't even a very good pizza. $5 Little Caesar's cheese pizza, I'm sorry but we don't love you....he took a couple of bites of pizza, and he ate about 1/4 of a breadstick but that was it. We'll try again at lunch tomorrow. And next time, I'm getting a better pizza!

Ever been asked to pray for a pizza?

We're praying that Jack eats this pizza, enjoys this pizza, and still has a restful night of sleep without increased congestion.

Allergy Testing Results

The scratch test and intradermal tests were both negative. That's good. It really is good news...but it's also puzzling. The reason we finally proceeded with the allergy testing was because Jack's congestion became so bad that it was out of control recently. His nasal turbinates are still impressively huge. They are so big that our allergist did not even believe his own eyes and memory. He looked three times during the office visit today and had the nurse practitioner look too. The swollen turbinates are a pretty good sign that a person has allergies. There are other causes too. Dr. LaRussa said that it is possible that Jack has vasomotor rhinitis. Nobody knows what causes it. It is aggravated by fumes, odors, temperature and atmospheric changes, smoke, and other irritants. This type of rhinitis occurs year round so that does really sound like Jack. This could explain why Jack has increased difficulty with congestion when he is around strong smells such as cleaning productsand strong perfumes. Regarding the dairy, Dr. LaRussa says that based on the history we provided it's pretty clear that Jack has a dairy intolerance and it would be wise to continuing avoiding obvious forms of milk like milk, yogurt, milkshakes, ice cream, and forms of uncooked milk. However, he said that Jack may be able to tolerate cheese (YIPEEE!!!) and he stated that typically things like birthday cake, pancakes and waffles have their milk proteins so denatured by cooking that dairy intolerant people can tolerant them okay. He basically advised us to proceed with caution. He acknowledged that Jack's predisposition for congestion may cause him to need to avoid more than your average dairy intolerant person. So we proceed with caution.
Sent from my Palm Treo

More Allergy Testing

Scratch came back essentially negative. This is especially puzzling given Jack's swollen nasal turbinates. They are huge! Dr. LaRussa was scratching his head and so are we. So after much consideration, we opted to proceed with the intradermal testing. Jack screamed and cried and I feel like a punk. David who was holding Jack for the testing is currently not talking much. We're taking a break and letting Jack walk the halls for 10 minutes. Pray for us trying to take him back in and pray that we'll get to know something helpful.

Allergy Testing

It begins with a scratch test.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Really We Mean It! Let Your Kids Comment and Ask

If you have not read my previous post on children's comments, you can read it here. I wrote that almost two years ago and David and I still mean it and we meet people every day that simply refuse to believe us when we say, "It's okay. Your child is just being curious. Let him/her ask. We don't mind." So I'm saying it again....
We know that Jack is different. We are fairly confident in saying that Jack knows he is different. David, Jack, and I are very comfortable with his differences. He's a happy boy and we feel extremely blessed to be his parents. The truth is we feel unworthy to be his parents. But that's a whole other topic....
Young children open their mouths and their thoughts often spill out without any kind of filter. They use their immature vocabulary to speak their mind. I am quite sure that one day the shoe will be on the other foot and Jack will embarrass me by something he says quite innocently. So I'll ask you now to show mercy on me and be understanding that Jack will be speaking his mind with whatever vocabulary he has.
Jack loves being around other children especially laughing, squealing children. As he gets close to your laughing, squealing child, your child might begin to notice his obvious physical differences and point out that Jack has a big head or his face looks funny or he looks weird or I've never seen eyes like that. Your child may truly truly embarrass you by saying, quite loudly, "Hey, look at that kid." I promise you if you try to shush your child at this point, he or she will be even louder when they say again "Look at him." It's okay, really! Look, you know your kiddo. If you truly feel that your child is willfully being mean/spiteful/hateful, then please escort them far far far away from us and have whatever talk you need to have. But I'll bet most of the time you know that your child is just being curious and does not have a big enough vocabulary to express the curiousity he or she has. Please introduce that child to us. Escort him/her over to us and say, "Hello." Ask us for Jack's name. Introduce us to your child. If you ask us, we will answer so let your child ask. If it makes you feel better, help to rephrase your child's questions. For instance, your child has said "Look at that kid's funny face." You know your child is not being mean but he/she does not understand what he/she is seeing. Bring him/her over and say, "Hi, this is [insert your child's name here]. What's your son's name?" I will say (probably with a huge smile on my face), "Hi, [your child's name], this is Jack." Then I will turn to Jack and say, "Jack, this is [your child's name], 'can you say hi?'" He might say, "Hi" but then again he might not. At this point, please ask me about Jack in whatever way you feel comfortable. Or let your child ask. I'm really quite friendly and will try to explain things simply in a way your child can understand. Some days my responses are more in-depth than others. What's really important to us (David and Marie) is that you and your children not avoid us. By talking to us (David, Marie, and Jack) you will get to know us as regular folks. Everyone has differences. Jack's differences are just readily apparent.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Worn Out but Breathing Pretty Well

We were able to go back over to Jeanie and McCahill's again this evening. Our swimming got cut short by thunder, lightning, and a sudden "monsoon" but we still had great fun playing. Jack was worn out from all the fun. He is a bit congested but he was breathing fairly well on his own for a bit. Isn't he the cutest little sleeper?
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Night Pool

Jack's cousins, Jeanie and McCahill have a pool in their backyard. They've been wanting us to come over and swim but we have not managed to make it over there at a good time or a good weather day for swimming until yesterday. It was night but it really wasn't as dark as this video appears. Bobbie took the video using her cool (sorry I don't remember what it's called) phone. At the beginning of the video, Jeanie and I (and Jack sort of) are chanting, "Night pool" because that's what Jeanie and McCahill call it when you go swimming in the dusk or dark. Bobbie is shining a flashlight on us so you can see us in the pool. It was like one of those old movies where the suspect is interogated with a light shining in their eyes. LOL
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This year Jack is actually head and shoulders above the water. I kept his float suit on him just for additional protection but he loves being able to independently move about in the pool. "Night pool" was a lot of fun and we're going to try to get over there a bit more often. So many of Jack's favorite things in one place--cousins, water, outside, and walking and swimming and Mama, too!

Jack's First Cake Decoration

Thursday was our pastor's (known as Pop to Jack) birthday. We decided to celebrate today. I made a yummy dairy free cookie cake and Jack helped decorate it by lending me a couple hands. :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

More Videos!

I can tell that I will be playing with Windows Movie Maker now. Here's a couple more videos.
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Wow! I did it!

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I'm very proud to say that I edited the pan of the sky, the deck, and the water out of this video and made it small enough to fit here on the blog. It's my first video edit. Hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for capturing the fun, Anne!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cameras are downloaded.

It's really not easy being the press agent and photographer for a fun loving and well-loved little guy like Jack. Over half the time I forget the camera, sometimes I don't really get any good pictures, and sometimes I don't download the camera(s) for months. I downloaded both the digital cameras and found a few good pictures that I don't think I've posted yet. If we've hung out with you over the last few months and you find no pictures here refer to sentence 2 above or maybe I gave you the camera (Anne!) and you took video instead of pictures and they are too long to post.

We rode the train at the zoo. We all wouldn't fit on one seat and Jack had to make sure his friends boarded before the train took off. (Ha--just noticed that Jack and Christie matched that day.) Jack loves trees. Sidney loves animals. I'm gonna miss those boys when they run off and join Green Peace. LOL!
Sandra was one of Jack's favorite classmates this year. She was really sweet and always ready to give him a hug. This is the only picture that I managed to take at her 5th birthday party. I think she was trying to give him the balloon but he wanted another hug.
Mr. Cool heads out to the pool on a hot day.
It was Grandma's birthday and Jeanie crowned her Queen for the evening.
Queen Elizabeth has a lively, fun-loving court.
We traveled a few hours to meet up with some of our friends with Apert syndrome. Sorry the picture is so dark. I did not take this so I don't know what happened.
I did not get very many pictures this year. Here are Jack and Morgan enjoying a movie together. Morgan was very excited that she would get to see Jack again this year. She still calls him "Baby Jack" and she actually mistook Isaiah for "Baby Jack" because she was thinking of Jack as a baby. Jack was excited to see Morgan too. I don't know what it is about those too but they are somehow drawn to each other and very happy to just be together.
What's that on the hill behind our yard?
It's a deer! David got this shot one morning while he was just looking out the window.
They have a pond near the splash park we took Jack to when we were at the beach. It has turtles and ducks in it. We were saying, "Look, Jack. Turtles. Ducks."
Jack was over on the bayside of the rail looking up at the underside of the bridge that leads to the beach.
Jack's teacher and classroom aides gave each of the kids this nifty little mesh drawstring bag filled with fun stuff at the end of the year party. It was perfect for having Jack carry his toys out to the beach.
But at the end of the day when Jack was tired, Daddy carried him off the beach.
We went over to Oma and Opa's house for Independence Day. There was a technological mishap and there are lots of videos of pretty much sky and water but not many pictures (LOL). I took this one from the safety of the trampoline while Noah lit some fireworks. Noah is such a great uncle to Jack. He's a kid and he was incredibly excited about his fireworks but he would not do anything that might scare Jack. Before he lit a single firecracker, he reviewed each and every item with me to make sure that it would not bother Jack. How sweet is that? How many 11 year old boys take the time to think of a 4 year old? Jack adores Noah. I wish I'd gotten a picture of him playing with Noah. It's precious!

Jack is becoming much more social and interactive lately. He actually talks more in front of other people and talks to strangers at the store. It's awesome to see him grow and develop.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bathing not washing!

Tonight I was giving Jack a bath. As I bathed him, I said, "Washing Jack."
He pushed my hand away. I said something like it's time to wash that's what
a bath is for. [I know--too many words, not a "Jack-able" phrase. Never said
I was perfect :)] Jack pushed my hand away, said washing and signed wash
hands gesturing toward the sink. I said "Yes, washing, like wash hands." He
looked at me quite seriously and said, "Bath." "Oh" I said, "Bathing Jack"
and he allowed me to bathe him. Isn't that great? He basically said, "Hey
you wash hands at the sink. In the bathtub, you do not wash, you bathe." How
awesome is that? What complex thinking and expression of thought! Oh the
things I will learn from him!

Have a great night everyone!
Marie

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Back Home and Off Again

Dave had to go back to work today so we got in from the beach sometime after midnight. Poor David!
Jack and I are off to celebrate Independence Day with my dad (Opa), Anne (Oma), and my little brother (Uncle) Noah.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This is great!

Sun, sand, and this cutest little guy in the world on my beach blanket. Not to mention Mr. Handsome, his ocean companion. Thank you Lord!

The fun begins

with a SPWASH! Jack did so great driving down with very short stops (only 2 and just for quick potty breaks). We thought it would be nice if we took him to the local free splash park first. I sure wish we had some of these at home. He loved it, of course!

Ocean

We're almost there. We can see the ocean.

Road Fuel!

What else? Fwies and hom buh guhs from Burger King. We are off on an impromptu short beach vacation. It feels so good just to be headed out. We are so glad that Jack loves the beach and the ocean (he still sometimes calls it the pool). White sandy beaches here we come!!!