Category Archives: Ella Kate

Fall Fun

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Y’all.  We’ve been so busy.  I don’t want to blog.  Well, I want to get my thoughts out, but I also want to play Candy Crush, watch TV, and let my mind veg.  Usually after the kids go to bed, the last 3 things win out (well those and laundry).  Laundry, oh you are my nemesis.

So, here are a few tidbits of info.

Caden has settled in at his new school.  He’s still making all A’s.  He just turned 8, and he had 6 buddies over for his party.  They went bowling and 5 of them spent the night.  They had SO.  MUCH.  FUN.  He had the time of his life.  We have been incredibly blessed by some sweet boys who are his age.  We are so thankful!

JL has started kindergarten.  Like I said in my last post, he was the first golden apple in his class, such an honor. :)  He has also received 3 bug awards for “Being Unusually Good.”  He continues to be thoughtful, caring, and compassionate.  We are so proud of the boy he is becoming.

EK is progressing in her language by leaps and bounds.  We have changed therapists and they mesh so well.  We are so thankful for Mrs. Kelli.  She is a GOD SEND.  EK has caught up to her hearing age, and now we need to get her caught up to her actual age.  So thankful for the progress we are making.  She is still in Pre-K at CCPS.  She is loving school and she is doing really well.  She enjoys going, which makes it so much easier for me to drop her off.  She’s my other half, so it’s weird when she’s not with me.  EK was golden apple for her class a few weeks ago.  What an honor for her.  So thankful she is an example of good behavior in her classroom.

My dad got to go to “Pumpkin Carving with Dad” for JL’s class.  Jeb had to work, so I was thankful Dad was able to take time out of his day to hang out with JL.  He even came early and ate lunch with me.  :)  Love my daddy!

Jeb took 2 of his best friends to the UT vs. UA game a few weeks ago.  We all went to the quad to tailgate, and had a blast.

The next day the girls and I went to Target and the guys watched the kids.  They climbed a tree. :)

Then there was Halloween.  It was supposed to rain on Halloween (which it did. bah!), so we went out to a church trunk or treat on the day before Halloween.  EK was Rapunzel.  She is slightly obsessed with Rapunzel right now.  Caden was a soccer player.  He’s not the dressing up type.  We told him if he didn’t dress up he didn’t get candy…he decided to be a soccer player.  JL was Yoda.  He lives to dress up.

I have made it a priority to eat lunch with the boys once a week.  They don’t get a lot of one on one attention, so I choose days EK is at school and I eat with them.  I am so thankful they still enjoy seeing me at lunch.  It won’t be that way forever.

Here’s Caden with his buddies from his bday party.  Love it!

He chose Shogun for his birthday dinner.  He LOVED the bday candle.  He wasn’t a fan of the ice-cream.  I was green tea.  EK LOVED it though.

JL lost his first tooth.  I tried to pull it out at home, but he HAD to wait till school for it to come out.  He was a determined little guy because it was out that afternoon when I picked him up.  He was so excited to get his sticker at school (you only get the sticker if the tooth comes out at school) and to add to to the tooth tally.

We all were really missing Disney, and we were able to make a reservation at there over Thanksgiving.  I am so incredibly excited!  We’re going for JL’s bday and EK is just to the point where she is in LOVE with the characters and such.  So so excited to see her there.  She’s finally excited about all of those things, and seeing characters, and all things Disney.

JL and EK had their Veteran’s Day program last week.  It was great!  We are so thankful for our Veteran, Grandaddy.  He served in the Korean War.  He has come to Caden’s programs the past 2 years, and now to JL and EK’s.  He did make it to Caden’s for the last 5 minutes this year.  Hopefully they won’t conflict next year. :(

One of my best friends went with EK and I to Disney on Ice.  EK was in awe of Mickey and Minnie.  She had a blast.  So glad we got to go!

We have a lot of trees where we live.  And this time of year, that means we have a lot of leaves.  I mean, like a ridiculous amount of leaves.  I’ve semi raked the front yard, and this is what happened.  Leaves are so fun to play in, and they were so deep the kids could hide in them.  :)  We LOVE all of our neighbors.  It is so fun to have so many kids out here.  Unfortunately there are no boys, but our boys make due. ;)

And, last but not least, we had pictures yesterday.  Here’s the before and the after. It’s not as bad in this pic as it was in real life. After pictures we went to Yogurt Mountain and they had chocolate and whip cream all over their faces and shirts. It was hilarious.  These 3 keep me laughing, keep me on my toes, and show me what’s important in life.  I love them to pieces.  

More Evaluations

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We had Ella Kate’s sensory evaluation a few weeks ago. I completely forgot to update about it. We took EK to get tested for Sensory Integration Disorder. There is been a link between hearing loss and sensory integration (in some patients). The symptoms we saw in EK that lead us to believe she had SI was constant motion, getting into peoples faces, oral fixation, not being able to sit still in the car, always wants her shoes, jacket, and backpack on, and a few other things. The eval went well. She gave us some things to work on home and we were supposed to go back in 2 weeks.

Amy couldn’t really pinpoint what would help Ella Kate. She wasn’t a black and white case of sensory integration disorder. As we worked at home we gathered more info on what helped EK and what didn’t seem to make a difference.

We came to the conclusion EK has mild sensory integration disorders secondary to core weakness. Amy gave us exercises to help EK strengthen her core. She’s using the wrong muscles causing her to not feel like she’s exercised her muscles and feeling the need to continually move to make up for that lack of pressure.

We’ve worked with her for a month off and on. We’ve gone from fighting her to do the “wheelbarrow” exercise to now being able to walk across the room on her hands while we hold her feet and then she puts pieces into the puzzle propping herself up on one hand while we continue to hold her feet. It seems to have helped calm her down in everyday life as well. We need to work on it more often.

We were supposed to go back for another appt but I had to cancel because I am exhausted. The end of school has been full of lots of awesome things that have completely drained me. More on that later. For now, I thought I’d finish this sensory post. :)

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The verdict of the spend the night party was: success!  I texted Peyton’s mom on Sunday asking if Caden wanted us to pick him up before our church service and he said, “I want to spend as much time as possible with my friends.”  So glad he had a good time!

The verdict of night with Michael and Brittany was: success!  We always love catching up with Michael, the kids adore him, and we all loved Brittany too.

A couple weeks ago JL had Dr. Seuss week.  His teacher made it low key too.  I’m a big fan of that.  We had to send him in black for cat and the hat day.  Mrs. Betty sewed all of their hats.  Isn’t it cute?  He had to wear green on green eggs and ham day.  On “Oh The Places You Will Go” day he was supposed to dress up as what he wanted to be when he grew up, he chose a teacher…then a builder…then a teacher…then he was undecided.  We went with wearing his CCPS shirt and jeans because “Mrs. Amy said teachers wear regular clothes.”

This little girl is growing so fast.  She’s learning more and more words, it’s slow, but steady.  She’s definitely making progress.  We’ve had some issues with her complying in therapy and are trying to work through them.  The last couple of weeks have been MUCH better, so hopefully we’re past the brunt of the therapy battle.  We have an appointment for her to have a Sensory Integration Evaluation in April too.  She shows signs of having sensory issues, so hopefully this will help us know how to treat them.  She’s still loving school.  She’s started telling them when she needs to go to the bathroom.  She still doesn’t tell me at home, so hopefully she’ll start that soon.  We’re working on oral motor skills like tongue movement and trying to pronounce things correctly.  Like instead of “A-ee” saying “Amy” and being able to move her tongue from side to side and up and down.  She’s making progress, so that’s great!

She’s pretty funny these days.  

Caden is such a big boy now.  He can read so well.   I love how he can read pretty much anything I ask.  That is very helpful!

He loves to write too.  We were playing outside Sunday and the kids had been fantastic.  They were playing in the pile of sand our neighbor was using to mortar his bricks in his backyard (we live next to a builder).  Our neighbors were playing in the sand too, so no harm no foul for messing up the mortar sand.  They got tired of that, so they started playing on old broken toys our neighbors are getting rid of.  Currently they’re all piled in our empty lot between us.  It looks like an episode of Sanford and Son, but has provided much entertainment until the dumpster hauls them away.  Once they were tired of that they all decided they wanted Chad to drive them on the Razr.  Everything was well and good until H’s foot got stuck on the gas and then I’m not really sure about the part between the beginning of the story and the end…I do know how it ends… they flipped 1 1/2 times and landed on the side.  The boys were suspended in the air by their seat belts and Chad was thrown all around the Razr.  H got a burn on his neck (as you can read in Caden’s letter).  As soon as this happened my boys were emotionally FINE.  They escaped completely unscratched…and not emotionally traumatized.  I cannot say the same for Carrie and I.  I kept looking at Jeb, who of course happened to not be home when the incident occurred (he was at a SS teacher meeting) and saying “It just flipped.”  Which was a take off of “That dog just died” which is what we kept saying to each other after we went to visit friends for the first time ever and within 2 minutes of being there (and meeting their kids for the first time) their dog just died.  Like dead as a door nail.  For the next week we’d just look at each other and say, “That dog just died.”  It was emotionally traumatizing.  So, “it just flipped” was my catch phrase for a few days.  And Jeb would say, you’re still thinking about that?  Why yes, I am still thinking about what could have been and how I saw it all with my own eyes.  We are all so very thankful they are all in one piece and still living life like little growing boys should.  Here is the letter Caden wrote to his teacher IMMEDIATELY after it happened. (TRANSLATION:  Yesterday we went on a ride but unluckily we fell over. When we fell over I was hanging by the seat belt.  But luckily I didn’t get hurt.  But my friend Harrison got a scrape on his neck and his dad got a dent in his leg and my brother didn’t get hurt.  I think we should not do that again.  I don’t know how it happened.)

This guy turned the big 3-2 on March 9.  We had a fantastic weekend celebrating him!  We started his birthday out at Waffle House, which was interesting with our 3 kids.  I left feeling like I  needed to bathe in sanitizer and then take a shower.  After that Jeb played Skylanders with the kids and I cleaned up the house, which was fine with me.  I didn’t realize it would happen this soon…the kids already know more about certain things than I do.  Skylanders?  I have no clue about.  They were asking me questions in the car yesterday about which was the first water element, undead element, etc. they bought…I said I don’t know.  JL said, just guess mom.  I said, no, really I can’t even guess.  I have NO idea.  That’s something they do with Daddy.  I just go with them to spend their money buying new Skylanders.   Back to Jeb’s birthday, that night we went to Fleming’s with some of our best friends, The Yeagers, and had a blast as always.  The food was wonderful as was the conversation.  The guys always discuss new business opportunities and Jennifer and I discuss life and then throw in our 2 cents about the guys business plans.

I started this post a week or so ago…I feel pretty confident something new is going on, but I don’t know what it would be.  Honestly, it’s been pretty quiet around here.  Quiet is relative when you have 3 kids.  Nothing out of the ordinary is going on.  No kids are playing sports (amen).  There’s nothing going on with PTO at school.  Caden had a field trip last Friday to Sci-Quest, so EK stayed at school all day.  That was a pretty big deal for her.  We decided to stop going to our church for Sunday School and Daystar for Worship, we need to be committed to one church.  Jeb’s medical practice is doing well.  He’s seeing 65-75 patients a day.  The restaurant I couldn’t remember from the last post was Urban Cookhouse.  We’re selling the boys “Trash Pack.”  The bidding is up to $91…for rubber trash type things.  Crazy.  Our dryer burns our clothes when you put too many clothes in it.  After burning Pottery Barn sheets, one of Jeb’s favorite GAP non iron (so it’s my favorite too) shirts, and a few JCrew Shirts, we have decided we need a new dryer.  You might think we should just put less clothes in, but no, we have a super capacity washing machine…we fill it to capacity…and then the dryer can’t handle it.  I have someone cleaning the house weekly again instead of biweekly.  It has been a God send.  I can’t tell you how much it has lightened my load.  I’m actually sitting right now while EK is at school…all the clothes have been folded put away and ironed (except for the ones in the washer/dryer right now because lets face it…it never REALLY ends), the beds have been made, the floor is swept, and the counters are clean of clutter…it’s a March 20th miracle.  I haven’t made dinner though.  I should probably think about doing that.  My car’s pretty trashed though.  Oh, and I need to buy EK eggs for her egg hunt.  They were due today.  Oh well, maybe someday I’ll have it all together.  I guess that’s about all the random I can muster for one post.

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Something I forgot to mention in my last post, the boys have their own rooms now!  They decided one Sunday morning they wanted to split up.  I thought it would be tough on them since JL hadn’t had his own room since he was 15 months old and Caden hadn’t since he was 3, but they really seem to like it.  Here’s a mid-way through photo of JL’s room:

Ella Kate got a little room makeover too.  Her room is the only one I have a final photo of, of course.  Poor boys.  They get the photo shaft most of the time.

We also got a cat.  Yes, my daddy is allergic to cats, so I was raised to think cats were closely related to Satan himself.  After I left my parents home I held firm to that belief, but eventually did some soul searching and concluded that cats weren’t all that bad.  My friend Jesse would like to take credit as that being her legacy to our children, cats.  She brought cats into our world.  They have 2 cats at their house, Edgy cat and Sally cat.  They started naming their animals after U2, but for some reason they stopped after thier initial naming of The Edge (aka Edgy cat).  I kind of wish our cat was a boy so we could have named it Bono.  Cat number 1 was given to us by a friend from Sunday School.  It was a pretty cat.  It hung around for about a week and a half.  We played with it on Halloween and then put it back outside…and haven’t seen it since.

Ever since Allie the Cat (aka Shila – the name given to her by her original owner) ran away, the kids (mainly JL) have been bugging me to get a new cat.  One afternoon we were discussing how after we knew Allie was definitely gone we would get a cat from the shelter.  I talked to them about how it was good to get a cat from the shelter because it had already had shots, been spayed or neutered, and had a micro-chip inserted into it…and they put animals down at the shelter after they’d been there too long…so we needed to rescue one.  Well, they started asking if there was any chance our cat who had run away was there…oh I definitely didn’t see that coming.  We ended up going to the shelter and Pet Depot to make sure Allie wasn’t at either place.  At one point during the afternoon I thought we were going to end up with a school of goldfish and a cat, but ended up with NOTHING.  I felt like that was a huge victory for moms everywhere.  However, he next day JL started in again about wanting a cat.  He knows how to get me to agree to something…bug the crap out of me until I cave.  Worked like a charm.  We got another cat.  This cat’s name is Izzie.  

Izzie is a sweet cat.  Until today she’d try to dart in the house any time the door opened, but tonight she calmed down and would stay in the garage when we’d open and close the door.  She went on an adventure with Jeb and the kids this afternoon.  She stayed right with them like she was a dog.  :)  That’s what I need, a cat that acts like a dog.  I really want a dog, but don’t need something else to potty train…because apparently I’m not so good with that these days.

Caden had his 5oth day of school last week.  They celebrated by dressing up in 50s attire, having a sock hop, drinking soda, and doing other 50sey things.  

We were rebels on Halloween.  We didn’t go to our church fall festival.  Yes, I know, we are horrible people.  Y’all don’t realize how much those things stress me out and make me anxious.  I do not cope well in crowds with Ella Kate.  Someday it will be fine.  Halloween 2012 was not that day.  We went trick or treating with some sweet friends, who I have deemed will now be our Halloween buddies.

Caden didn’t want to be anything for Halloween.  I don’t really push Halloween, so I didn’t really care that he didn’t want to dress up.  Dressing up isn’t really his thing anyway.  At the last minute he decided he would be a Trash Pack kid.  He was Rank-instein…or stink-instein…I don’t remember it’s Trashy name.  JL pulled an audible at the last minute and decided to be Mario.  Whatever.  I threw EK’s outfit together that day.  She was “girl in poofy skirt with adorable ‘pig tails.’”

I love these 2 boys.  They are the best of friends, which makes me so happy.

Here’s JL and Sadie.  They have been good buddies since they were 2.  Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long!    

 

JL says Sadie is his girlfriend.  He also says he’s “in love with her.”  I asked him what he thought love was, and I’d give anything if I had the conversation between him and Caden that followed my question.  JL mentioned love had to do with holding hands, getting married, and going on dates…then Caden chimes in, “Oh you can’t be in love then, you don’t have any money to take a girl on dates.” JL is notorious for spending every last cent once he gets any money, leaving him with nothing.  Here are a couple pics of Sadie and JL from Christmas last year.

This picture cracks me up.  Lukey is laid back on me all spread out, and Sadie has her hand perched on his knee. :)

And here they are before their Christmas Program

 

If only we could do an arranged marriage…

 

The Friday after Halloween was a Community Field Trip for Caden.  They visited different places in our community and learned about each one.  After they finished, the parents were asked to meet them at Depot Park for a picnic.  It was Caden’s birthday, so he got to wear his birthday crown.  He loved it.  He also loved that he got to check out after the picnic.  I need to add more about his birthday, but it deserves a post in it’s own.

We had some friends over Saturday night for the UA vs. LSU game.  That was one of the most nerve wracking games ive seen in a while.   I may have screamed at the top of my lungs and scared a small child toward the end of the game. The kids played together so well, which made watching the game more enjoyable.

Sunday I grabbed a craft I had planned on doing over the summer with them.  Better late than never.  The boys had fun building with their gum drops.  Ella Kate preferred to eat them.  

And that bring us to this past week.  You know, I envy the people who sit down every night and write on their blog.  I wouldn’t have to catch up on 3 weeks of info in one post.  I’ve almost fallen asleep 3 times since I started this…pressing on…We celebrated election day (not the election results…just the day).  I love a hands on activity, so I googled electoral college map and printed one out.  The boys then colored in each state as it was called out.  They had a great time, but then got too tired to stay awake…much like me right now.

Caden’s school always does a Veteran’s Day program, and honors the student’s family who are veterans.  Grandaddy has been able to be “Caden’s veteran’ the last couple for years.  I can’t get my picture of the two of them to upload to the blog.  I’ll try again tomorrow.

Here he is with his teacher.

Today, Caden had his pizza party for his class winning most box tops.  They had 2,200.  That is so great because it means their classroom will be able to get $220 from Box Tops for Education!  Such a great program.  We cbecked Caden out after the party and hung around the house all afternoon.  We even got most of our Christmas decorations up.  :)  Well, that’s all I can muster up for tonight.  I still have NYC and C’s 7th (yikes!) birthday to post about.

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A couple weeks ago we went to The McWane Center to celebrate Dr. Woolley’s 300 implant recipients.  He’s done many more than 300 implants since most of the kids he implants now are bilateral.  EK wouldn’t look at the camera for our pic with Dr. Woolley…probably because the room we were in was LOUD and full of people.  We are so thankful for the gift of cochlear implants and are forever grateful for them and Dr. Woolley.  The McWane Center is such a neat place, but I was happy to be headed home afterwards.  I’m not much of a museum person…especially with a 3, 4, and 6 year old.  

We’ve been doing therapy as usual.  We decided to mix it up a little and put together a Mr. Potato Head.  EK did this by herself!  I told her to pick up various body parts and put them in, and she would do it.  Yay!  She was proud of herself too.

We’re still reading books nightly.  This particular night Caden read aloud to me while I was cleaning up the kitchen.  Jeb was working late, and we had to make it work.  EK decided she would “read” with him.  It was fantastic.  What she was “reading” made NO sense, but was priceless nonetheless.

I’ve been a regular up at Caden’s school too.  EK started preschool there.  I expected the worst when I picked her up the first day.  Much to my dismay, they went on and on about how awesome she did.  They were so impressed with how well she learned routines, sat in group time, etc.  We decided to extend her to 3 hours 2 times a week.  She did fine with the extra hour, but it messed up our therapy we did at home.  We decided to change it back to 2 hours, and add an extra day.  She’s going 3 days a week, 2 hours a day.  I am so thankful for this little class.  They work one on one with EK, as well as give her time to interact with other kids her age (who aren’t her brothers)…and she doesn’t have to be potty trained to go. :) The past couple of weeks have been full of box tops, fall festival, Golden Apple, and Parent Picnic.

Here’s the basket me and the other homeroom mom got together.  This is one of the fund raisers for the school PTO.  It’s a basket for the silent auction.  Our basket brought in $190. :)

The wretched box tops I had to count, cut, and separate for Caden’s class.  In case you are wondering how many are in the 3 gallon zip lock bags, that would be 1600.  1,600 box tops.  So far, Caden’s class is winning.  Caden is so excited they will probably win the pizza party given to the class who brought in the most box tops.

Golden Apple is awarded to students displaying “good citizenship.”  We are so proud of Caden for his award. :)

After the Golden Apple presentation I took the little kids home to do a quick therapy session before we had to get back to the school for Caden’s Class Picnic.

After the picnic I checked Caden out of school and we geared up for a fun weekend!  We headed to Walmart, like we usually do on Fridays.  We buy our dip ingredients on Fridays.  Last weekend we had 3 dips.  It was UA vs. UT, so that called for a lot of dips.  We had Pioneer Womans Black Eyed Pea Dip, Buffalo Chicken Dip, and Snickers Dip.  I think I’ve gained 10lbs this football season.

Saturday morning Jeb woke up wanting donuts, so he took the little 2 with him. JL had just gotten his Toad costume the day before, so he decided he should wear it to the Donut shop.  EK couldn’t be the only one without a costume on, so she found her skirt and put it on top of her pajamas.  I got them all to pose before they left, because I needed proof of what they went out in public wearing. :)

Later we made caramel apples, went to the boys soccer games, glittered pumpkins, ate dip, and watched football.  Such a fun fall Saturday!

Before soccer, dipping our apples in caramel…

After soccer decorating our caramel apples…

Decorating pumpkins with glue and glitter.

Jeb has a new little football set up.  He watches 3 games at once now.  Ella Kate kind of likes it.  She sits her little chair in front of one of the little tvs and just takes it all in. :)  

This past week we’ve been immersed in planning for the Fall Festival.  I’m PTO Treasurer, which I’ve found out is more than just writing checks every now and then.  The Fall Festival was a huge success, but full of stress along the way.  We are so thankful for the school Caden goes to and the parent involvement.  We ended up making close to $6000 for CCPS.  

This past weekend we made Mississippi Sin Dip in honor of playing MSU.  It was about as good as MSU.  It had the potential to be good, but fell short when it counted.

We also had:

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili
2 chicken breasts, still frozen
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can corn kernels, do not drain
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
1 T cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t onion powder
1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese
_________
Put the chicken in the crock pot.
Top with the tomatoes, corn,
the drained and rinsed beans,
ranch dressing, cumin, onion and chili powders,
stir to combine then top with the cream cheese.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring one or twice
to blend in the cheese.
Shred the chicken into large pieces
and serve over rice.
Can also serve in tortillas or taco shells.
Serves 4
This was SO easy and it was phenomenal.  It will definitely make it in the regular rotation of soups around here.
Today we went to our niece’s 8th birthday party.  The kids had a great time, like they always do with their cousins.  When we got home I took a few pictures of the boys looking cute in their warm jammies.  I take pictures of Ella Kate all the time, but I don’t take them of the boys too often.  After we got EK to bed tonight (she fell asleep on the way home from Millbrook) we did our Bible story time together and I took some phone pictures of the boys.  So thankful for these two wild kids.  They make me laugh on a daily basis.  They are so full of love, thoughtfulness, and crazy. :)

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Ella Kate would like to tell you, she’s so excited about the Cullman city school system agreeing to provide her with AV Therapy!  They will be paying for her to go to therapy in Birmingham at the HEAR Center.  We are praising the Lord!  These meetings were prayed over, and we give Him 100% of the credit for the outcome.

She’s pretty pumped.  :)  We had a 2 1/2 hour meeting Monday morning trying to revise her IEP.  I am very pleased with the outcome.  She will continue 1 hour of speech therapy in Bham 1 time per week and also start the preschool at the Primary school in our city.  She will resume School for Hearing when she is 100% potty trained.  I don’t want to put her in and then her have another accident. We may wait until November or so…

Remember the adoption fundraiser I mentioned in the last post?  This is the treat John Luke wanted from Frostings.  He called it a “cookie burger.”  It was close to the size of this head.  He ate approximately 1/8 of it and said he was finished. $5 well spent.  Glad 25% of it went to Jim and Kelly to bring Anna Grace home from The Congo.

This makes for some interesting conversations with Caden.  He has quite a time saying different words right now with his lack of teeth.  He has to try multiple times to say certain things.  He has 2 teeth growing in on the bottom, and no teeth on the top.  We’re having family pictures made in 3 weeks.  :)

This is our neighborhood biker gang.  Aren’t they fierce?  One of EK’s favorite things to do when she gets home is to go play with them and steal one of their bikes to ride.  :)

We had speech therapy today and we have 10 vocab words to work on with EK this week.  She’s going to be “tested” next Tuesday to see if she’s learned her words and can say them.  This is a new challenge for EK.  Hoping we’re to the point where she can rise to the challenge.  I have high expectations for her.  Praying she decides to not be stubborn, and meet my expectations. :)

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It’s the day we’d been waiting for since March.  The day we’d been potty training for.  It was finally here.  My stomach was in knots.  I had Ella Kate home with me all day every day since March.  We had done therapy.  We were inseparable.  I had no idea how this school thing was going to go.  Would she have accident after accident?  Would she cry all day and not get anything out of it?  I knew it was were she needed to be, so we went.

We took the boys to school, and then went off to Birmingham.  We walked her into the school and met other “friends.”  It was so fun to see her with other kids like her (but all older).

Her school lasts for 4 hours.  We went back to pick her up and here’s her expression…

I probably was crying at this point.  I shed a lot of happy tears over the past 2 weeks.  Our baby is finally “getting it.”  She’s repeating short phrases.  It doesn’t sound just like what we say, but  it’s getting there.  This school has been the best decision we’ve ever made for her.  She loves it.  She has learned the routines.  She’s doing great at potty training.  She did have one accident, and we’re praying it won’t happen again.  She’s also having trouble staying in her seat at lunch and not touching other friends food.  We’re praying she will learn this routine quickly (that would make meals at home nicer too if she’d learn it).  I have seen such a difference in her.  While I still get down that she’s 3 and isn’t a “normal speaking” 3 year old, I try to remind myself of where we were at the end of July.  At the end of July she understood around 120 words and could come up with 20 words on her own.  Now, in September, she knows over 300 words and can come up with at least 115 on her own.  She’s saying 2 and 3 word phrases…not all of them are super clear, but, like i said, we’re working on it.  That all happened in 1 1/2 months.  When I get down about where we are, I think of how much she’s progressed in such a little time, and I’m so thankful.  I am seeing a light at the end of this tunnel.  I can’t wait to see what every new week holds.

You may be wondering what in the world I do in Birmingham every day.  Mom and dad gave me a gift card to Ann Taylor Loft (yay!), so I’ve been taking advantage of their 40% off sale.  I’ve been able to grocery shop at Publix!  Publix!!!  It really was a pleasure.  I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect pillows for our bed.  I never get to look for any here in Cullman because you know what kids don’t like to do?  Shop for pillows, or follow me around shopping for anything really.  I have looked at Target, Walmart, TJ Maxx, World Market, and then the angels sang and trumpets sounded as I entered into Pier 1 and found the perfect little paisley pillows.  It hasn’t been all shopping, although that has taken up a significant portion of my time (I’ve been told to get a handle on that).  I also went running one day, however I decided, being sweaty in Birmingham all day wasn’t going to cut it (we ended up buying a treadmill today in hopes to get back on the running bandwagon…this new schedule and all it demands have killed our running).  And, last but not least, I hung out in Barnes and Noble inputing PTO forms into google docs for 3 hours one day and only got HALF of them done.  I had resorted to using peoples email addresses and requests to be notified by phone but not listing their phone number entertain me, then the man I love (that’s Jeb in case some of you were wondering) sent me a text telling me about a website I needed to go to for a humor break.  Y’all, I was in Barnes and Noble.  I was doing the quiet polite chuckle at first because it was quiet in the bookstore.  Then I would accidentally overcompensate for my quiet chuckle and let out a loud laugh.  I finally had to stop reading and wait until I got into my car.  It was hilarious.  Here is a link if you feel so inclined to read:  http://hahasforhoohas.com/the-fart-that-almost-altered-my-destiny/.  Yes, it is a post about a girl who has to fart.  If you think that wouldn’t be something I would think is funny, we probably shouldn’t be friends anymore.  Just kidding.  So, yeah, I find things to fill up my time.

This is what happens most days on the way home.  She is exhausted, and she rests until we get into Cullman.  We’re dealing with some over exhaustion still.  I’m hoping she catches up on sleep soon.  When she gets too tired, she has trouble sleeping.  All of our kids have had this problem, but until now it’s been from a long weekend or something…it hasn’t been something that will be lasting for 3 years.  We’re trying to get her to bed by 730.  She’s been getting up in the middle of the night and again at 5am.

And I’ve been doing a lot of research and writing trying to show our school system why they need to provide Auditory Verbal Therapy for her, so I’ve been up past midnight.  We’re all so very tired.  I sent my last email to the school system yesterday, so I’m hoping our nights get back to being veg out times once the kids go to bed. Advocating for your child is more work than I ever realized it would be.  We have our IEP meeting September 24th to try to get the school to change EK’s IEP to include an AVT (which is what she’s received from the HEAR center for the past 3 years).

As you can see in this last picture, she got a big girl back pack and  new lunch box to match. :)

On our days home (Monday and Friday), we enjoy the “laziness” of the day.  Last Friday, I had a PTO meeting, then we picked JL up from school, went to Walmart, ate Popcorn Chicken as we shopped, and then picked Caden up early from school for fun.

So, we’re home. Real life started back. Well, real life with VBS. I’m thinking I probably could have benefited from a few more settle into summer and recuperate from vacation days before I started VBS. I’m a crew leader this year, which is a fancy term for child wrangler. Just kidding. We have one more day of VBS and then this weekend I get to hang out with some of my best friends from college to celebrate Karenina’s birthday! Jeb’s going to hold down the fort for me here. Such a great hubby, huh?

So, this week so far…

We got home Friday, I went to Bunco Friday night, and Caden got over his stomach virus. We woke up Saturday and I’m not 100 % sure what we did that day. I remember debating if we were going to join the aquatic center or not. We decided on not. It’s just too hard trying to keep EK’s ears dry and I will not take them off her while we’re there. We decided to buy lots of outside water toys and still come out cheaper than joining the pool. Seriously, I am at a loss for anything else we did. Oh, I just remembered! We went to Neil and Jennifer’s, ate dinner, and let the kids play outside. So much fun! Love the Yeagers.

Sunday, we went to church and EK wore this precious dress we got from a friend.

Sunday afternoon I’m going to take a stab in the dark and guess the kids napped while we watched a Burn Notice. I can’t be sure, but it’s a pretty good guess. Oh, I just remembered! I ran Sunday afternoon after it stopped raining. I ran 5 miles straight! Whoop whoop! Jeb played Mario with the boys and EK hung out in the basement with them while they were playing.

Monday started VBS. I also got my ankle x-rayed, because oh my at the pain. It was fine, so I had to rest it Monday. No running for me that day.

Tuesday Jeb was off, so he went to therapy with us. All 5 of us went to therapy. It was not as productive as some of our past therapy sessions. After therapy we went to Chuy’s to celebrate the fact that we made it through therapy. I’m thinking Grangran and Grandaddy might could come keep the boys some so our therapy appointments won’t all be as crazy.

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Wednesday we had Mapping at the HEAR center. For those of you who aren’t up on the CI terminology, mapping is when the tweak the CI and make sure all the electrodes are hearing at the same level. Emily didn’t have to change much and EK did awesome. She has mastered a task kids usually don’t get until 3 (praise God!). She dropped the toy in the water when she hears the beep, and this let’s emily know how to program the CI.


I’m trying to wrap up this post from last week, so I’m going to stop with that. :)

Day 3 continued the there’s no where to eat for breakfast saga, but this time without one of the leading cast members. Jeb had a conference Friday through Sunday. Friday I took the kids to the pool which proved to be quite a handful. We have been leaving EKs ears on her because of this very informative, yet apparently too enthusiastic, email cochlear sent us saying her ears were water resistant (saying we could wear them in bath, sprinkler, etc). I let her wear her ears. They got splashed a time or two. Nothing big. Certianly, not soaked or drenched. So, the first issue of the day was one stopped working. We put it in the dryer and went potty and BOTH of them fell in the potty. I already had right back up on, so I dried it as best I could and then put left back up on and put both wet/not working ears in the big daddy dryer. By this time it was lunch time so we went to where Jeb was having his conference and ate lunch. We ate, JL slept, we met Jeb, and then I noticed one ear wasn’t flashing…so I turned it on and it was flashing orange (which is what is supposed to do until it touches her head), when I put it on her head it would turn off…sending my heart into my stomach. If you want to fluster me, make EKs ears not work. It will do it EVERY TIME. I tried not to panic, not to think, “OH MY GOODNESS SHE HAS AN INTERNAL FAILURE AND WE’RE ALREADY USING THE BACKUP FOR THE OTHER EAR! WHAT IF IT STOPS WORKING TOO AND SHE HAS NOTHING!! NOTHING!!!” We walked back to the hotel as fast as we could. As soon as we got into the room I put on the back up that had been drying. Phew, it worked. Sigh. Of. Relief. Come to find out…I got our audiologist to look at the implant cochlear sent us that wasn’t working properly and…it had NO MAPS IN IT! Cochlear sent us an empty CI. All of our implants are working properly at the moment and the empty implant has been mapped. It sure is nerve racking sometimes when we depend on an electronic device for our child’s hearing, but I’m oh so thankful for them!!

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She wanted to wear her purse like her mama.  It made me smile.  :)  I love this little girl.  I have lots to update on, but not tonight because I’m tired….running, therapy, baseball, Caden’s solo at school, and life in general.  I’ll be back soon, but until then, just smile at the cuteness in this photo. :)