Friday, October 29, 2010


That is the total raised to date for the Chicago Walk for Children with Apraxia of Speech.
The walk was held on a gorgeous October morning a couple of weeks ago.
We were registered.
We had a team all ready to go.
But a nasty bout of pneumonia got in the way, and we had to stay home.

But CONGRATS to all of my Chicagoland families who walked and supported CASANA and the cause!
Because of you, $31,364.00 will go for research.
Because of you, $31,364.00 will benefit apraxia programs.
Because of you, $31,364.00 will bring awareness to this communication disorder.
Because of you, $31,364.00 will help children with apraxia.

Thank you.
Thank you, all, for all that you did on that beautiful October morning.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Meetings, Meetings, and MORE Meetings!

Monday: Meeting with OT to discuss my OT concerns with Kaitlyn's therapist.

Tuesday: Parent-Teacher Conferences for both kiddos.

I have an agenda, although I am not 100% prepared yet.
But never fear, I can whip up some questions, belt out some statistics, and talk the talk with the best of them...without getting rattled.
Of course, my concerns circle around speech and fine motor skills.
Something needs to be adjusted on both fronts.
Something is missing.
And something tells me that these meetings are going to turn into much longer IEP Meetings in the coming weeks.


Alright...gotta go prep!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Did Anyone Read This?

While going through some of my online stuff, I came across a rather interesting article.
And while my purpose of this blog is to neither promote a product or discourage the use of another, I feel compelled to share this link with you.

We did the whole fish oil supplement thing in the past.
One time it seemed to work well.
One time we had some serious side effects.

My only advice is this: research.
Talk to your physician.
Make informed decisions.
Be safe.

Thanks for listening.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten

10. Can a. Mom get a break over here? Puh-lease???

9. Pneumonia for Kaitlyn. Ick.

8. Croup for Andrew. Double-ick!!

7. Celebrating Kaitlyn's 7th birthday at a hoity-toity restaurant, only to have Andrew cough so hard that he gagged and puked all over me and the floor. Yes, I think we are on the "do-not-seat- list" for that place now.

6. Noting a decrease in Kaitlyn's desire to practice writing....and the subsequent emails sent to her teacher and school OT regarding these concerns.

5. Having a Sunday off to spend with the family. Can't get better than that!

4. Actually having the kids' costumes for Halloween TWO WEEKS before Halloween! No, I didn't wait until the last minute this year!

3. Prepping for Parent-Teacher conferences next week..

2. Enjoying the 70 degree weather as of late. 70's in Chicago in late October??? Love it!

1. I love my kids!

Monday, October 25, 2010

"If You Give A..."

" a Cupcake..."

Yep, that is where Kaitlyn is today: A field trip to see the play "If You Give A Cat A Cupcake".
And, if you live anywhere in the Chicagoland area, you can come here to see it, too!

And, it's educational!
Why? Because it is teaching students how to correctly sequence plot events in a fictional story!!
Cool, huh?
Sequencing is a reading comprehension skill that elementary students need to learn to become proficient readers. Knowing how to order events in a story helps elementary students better understand the text they are reading.

Little does she know that she is getting some speech and language therapy today!
(Insert evil laugh here!)

For those of you who are not aware of the meaning of this story or the author Laura Numeroff (she rocks, by the way), here is a recap:

***This story begins with a girl, a cat that originally appeared in Numeroff's If You Give a Pig a Party (HarperCollins, 2005), and a cupcake. The cat asks for some sprinkles, and naturally, they spill on the floor. Cleaning them up makes the cat hot, so he asks for a bathing suit, and hijinks ensue. The resulting series of events leads the protagonist and the cat to the beach, into a boat, through an amusement park, and eventually back to the sprinkles and another cupcake.

All of a sudden, I have the urge to bake now.
Thanks, Laura!

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

OT: Let's Huddle!

Yep, can you sense the OT frustration over here?
It is so thick you can cut it with a knife!
Kaitlyn has no desire to do anything OT related.
And her boycotting of OT skills is very evident: poor handwriting, poor coloring, just plain poor.

So, an email has been sent to our school OT with a "cc" to the teacher.
A request for a meeting has been made.
We need to huddle here.

Our game plan is not working folks.
Back to the drawing board, I guess.
We are still using the "Handwriting Without Tears" game plan, but something is just not clicking.
We are doing all of the "warm-up's" before any OT skills and lessons.

Hey, any Occupational Therapists out there reading this blog?
Whattya think?
What would you do is she was your client?

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Slow Down!!!!

I never thought I would hear myself tell my daughter to do this: slow down!
She has become quite the chatter box and has so much to say, but has a problem with talking so fast that the words become crammed together.

This is a problem.

Not only do I have to decipher the words of an apraxic child, but now I have to decipher blended words of an apraxic child.


We have incorporated tapping and counting when she gets excited and falls into one of these "phases".
Tapping the table with her hand to each word works well to remind her to slow her speech down.
And when we are doing some sort of reading assignment or story recall assignment, a strip of construction paper with stickers works well, too.
Each sticker counts for one word, so she is required to point to each individual sticker as she explains her story, thus slowing down her speech.

Although it can become frustrating for both Mom and daughter when the speech is so fast that it is almost incomprehensible, it's pretty darn cool that her words are taking form and she is able to communicate her needs.

I guess this is what is meant by "resolving apraxia".
Yep, this is cool!
Speech therapy does wonders for these kiddos!

Friday, October 22, 2010


Translation: yuck!

Four days ago, Andrew came home from school with a 102 degree fever.
Then it went away.
Then he spiked on Wednesday.
Then it went away.
Then he started harfing last night.
Yes, you read that correctly.


I am not a peds nurse, but croup was one thing that I remember well from that nursing rotation.
And luckily I remembered the immediate home remedies: breathing frigid cold air or sitting in a steamy shower.

So, when the first bark occurred, I thought some neighbor's dog was in our backyard.
It did wake me out of a dead sleep at 12:53am.
Then I heard the harf-sound again.
Maybe I should turn on the news to see if a seal escaped from Sea World?
No, we live in the Midwest, far from Sea World.
Then I heard "Mom (harf!) meeee".

My boy was harfing!

My husband looked confused as I scooped the small boy up and took him outside onto the back patio.
Thank goodness Chicago was experiencing its almost-first frost of the season because the brisk 30-some degree night air would be my savior.

Nope. Wrong!

So instead of making other neighbors think that there was an injured seal in my backyard, we tried Plan B: the steam shower technique.

And it worked.
Within moments, he stopped that horrible sound and fell asleep, nuzzled against me.
Maybe it was the lulling sound of the shower?
I would like the think it was my heartbeat, but that was still racing and I was awkwardly perched on the lid of the toilet seat rocking back and forth and slightly off-kilter.

But we were to repeat this technique on an hourly basis.
Finally, enough was enough, an we took him into the local peds ER.

Have I mentioned that I LOVE our peds ER??? They are beyond awesome there!

They diagnosed him before they even saw him because they heard him coming down the hall.

Poor guy.

A quick exam proved that his lungs were fine and he indeed had croup.
A quick dose of a steroid that would last for three days, just in time for him to start feeling better.
Oh, and Andrew beat up the male nurse and wrestled with all the strength he had as he was being forced to drink the meds.
And, we were in and out of that rockin' ER in 30 minutes, from admission to discharge!

(Disclaimer: I did warn the RN that he was a strong little boy!)

So, hopefully we are on the mend.
Feel better soon, big guy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Of Birthdays and Blessings

Today, I celebrate Kaitlyn's 7th birthday.
It is so hard to believe that my little girl is seven.
Didn't she just enter my world yesterday?
Didn't I just hold that 6lb 8oz teeny tiny pink body of a miracle?

She is truly a blessing to me.
For me.
God is so good, and I cannot thank Him enough and praise Him.
He blessed me with this little girl that I see as perfect, regardless what labels have been affixed to her.
I am beyond blessed to be able to call her my daughter and for her to call me "Mom".

Well, today she called me by my first name (ahem!).
That hurt!

Happy Birthday, my baby girl, my blessing from Above!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wear Pink Today!

I heard this on the news today:

"Wear pink today to support National Anti-Cyber Bullying Day".

But my work uniform scrubs call for blue and white.
Gotta find a pink shirt and socks!
(And keep my fingers crossed that the "higher-ups" don't notice!)

Bullying of any kind is unacceptable!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten

Eek. Its been a long week!

10. Getting rid of the CAM boot! Yippee!

9. Having my husband call me at work on Wednesday to say "the girl is looking a little pale, but her temp is only 99.5 and she won't eat". Dum-da dum-dum-dummmmmmm........

8. Having same husband call back 4 hours later to say that girl's fever is now 102.4 and they just left the pediatrician's office. High-five, Dad!

7. A fever of 104.1: I don't like that.

6. Sleeping with restless child induces back pain in Mom. Where's my Motrin?

5. Antibiotics and nebulizer treatments. Walgreens loves us!

4. The feeling of my heart breaking when I saw my son walk out of speech therapy today like a limp noodle. The culprit: 101.6 fever. Here we go again!

3. Two napping kids and a napping Mom to make up for lost sleep.

2. A pizza party! That's what they wanted for dinner, so that's what I made. With their appetites being so low, I'll take orders at this point!

1. I love my kids (even if they have fevers and germs lately).

Monday, October 18, 2010

You, too?!

There is nothing worse than having a good morning at home with a recovering sick girl then to go to preschool to pick up your son and with one look...something is wrong.
He usually skips happily to me after school.
Today, it took all the energy he had to saunter over to me and fall into my arms.

OMG! You are burning up, little man!

Funny, but I didn't get a phone call from school that he was sick!
He didn't have the best day in speech therapy, and now I see why.
So as I literally carry him into the elevator and down to the office, I ask to speak with the school nurse.

She's not here today?

Damn Illinois budget cuts!

So I walk down the hall to his classroom where his teacher is finishing her lunch.
Well, you may be at lunch, but my boy is hot as hell right now and I want to just make sure that he wasn't like this all morning.
You see, this came from outta nowhere!
Left field, perhaps!
And no one called me at home.
Or my cell phone.

Once home, a violating thermometer confirmed my suspicion: 101.6!

I knew it was just a matter of time before he succumbed to her bacteria/virus/pneumonia thingy.

So now he is curled up on me with his darned binky, Sponge Bob robe, and best friend Bear.
Oh, and his fever.
Get well soon, guy!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pneumonia: Take 2

Today was supposed to be our Apraxia Walk.
We couldn't have asked for a better day: bright sun, gentle breeze, and mild temperatures.
A perfect recipe for walking!
But today, the only walking that we are dealing with is walking pneumonia.

Yep, she's got it again!

Lightening strikes twice in eight months!

So our recipe is a strong white antibiotic every twelve hours and nebulized bronchodilating medicine every four hours.
And rest.
And pushing fluids.
And some chest physical therapy.
And lots of puzzles.
Because the last place that I want to be is in the hospital.
And we follow up with her pediatrician on Tuesday afternoon, knowing that there will be a pneumovax of some sort waiting for her.
She doesn't know that yet.

Feel better soon, little girlie.

And congrats to all of my fellow WindyCity Apraxia walkers!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


This is her current temperature.


When she gets sick, she really knows how to get sick.
Bacterial vs viral?
We don't know the source as of yet.
This just happened yesterday after school with a low-grade temp of 99.5.
Now, we have shot up big time!


All I know is that her chest sounds a bit congested and she has quite the productive cough.
Well, we have traveled that road before.


I wish those were my winning lottery numbers that I was writing about.......

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In The Name of Your Child

Sometimes, you have to put people in their place.
And sometimes those people are family members.
And I did just that.
No, I am not boasting about it.
But it had to be done, once and for all.
Because the only one that matters to me is my child.
And if blood is thicker than water, then that family member will respect what I had to say.
If not, my child will still be my priority.
Yes, this is a deep yet vague post.
Because my child is my world.

End of subject.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten

10. Counting down the days until my 6 year old girl turns 7. Seven??? When did that happen?

9. A great follow-up Ortho appt.

8. Only 6 more days in the CAM boot.

7. Wondering when I will "officially" hear from Andrew's teacher about her concerns. Still waiting.....

6. A little boy with intense temper tantrums lately. *sigh*

5. Still having adjustment to preschool issues. Thought this would be done by now!

4. Kaitlyn's first school field trip of the year this week!

3. Gearing up for our Apraxia Walk on Saturday. The weather forecast is looking good so far!

2. My scrapbooking obsession. Need I say more?

1. I love my kids!

Monday, October 11, 2010

No School Monday...

...means improvised therapy at home!
Here is what is on the agenda today:

1. Daughter making scrambled eggs. Works on OT with breaking/mixing eggs, pouring milk, adding shredded cheese, and stirring in frying pan (with my supervision, of course!)

2. Daughter putting own socks on, taking all the time she needs. Again, more OT.

3. Daughter and son playing "Memory" game. Works on speech therapy, matching, and recall.

4. Son taking nap. That is "Mom therapy". Trust me, I need it with his "Terrible Two's-oh-yes-he's-three" melt downs as of late.

5. Daughter working on writing her name. More OT practice since she has to sign in during morning activity at school.

6. After boy's nap, we will be coloring and making boats with paper, sticks, glitter, glue, and sparkles in honor of Christopher Columbus. I would attempt to float them, but that may cause yet another wonder boy meltdown today.

7. Swim lessons for Kaitlyn this evening. Since she is still on the DL with the whole boot thing for another 7 days, that will be the extent of physical therapy for her today.

8. Shaving cream in the bath tub. Provides sensory input, OT, and a chance for small boy to decomposed from this morning's meltdown in Hobby Lobby. And Target. And clinic. And car. You get my point, right?

What are you doing at home for therapy on a holiday????

Saturday, October 9, 2010

This Chosen Path

What an amazing experience today!

Kaitlyn had her first religious education class.
She took to the teacher willingly and without fear.
Left me without a whimper or even a "Mom?"
Maybe it was the relaxed atmosphere, maybe she realized that she belonged there.
Whatever the case may be, she fit in.
And the sense of comfort that surrounded me just felt right.

This will be another avenue for Kaitlyn to learn new skills, improve on existing skills, make new friends, and explore new opportunities.

For me, it will be another chance to network with other parents of special needs children and see what the religious venue has to offer us in terms of spiritual support.

Many people question their God when faced with challenges.
I won't lie: I have questioned His plan and path for me as well.
But I also believe that when a door closes, He will and does open a window for us.

Today was our window.
And we entered through that window without hesitation.

Yes, this chosen path is going to lead us to something quite amazing!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ortho Follow-Up

Eight days in the CAM boot for an ankle/foot injury of unknown etiology.
Enough Motrin to cause a GI bleed, if you ask me.
But she seems to be on the mend.
Of course, when I ask her how her foot feels, her response is always the same: still hurting.
But, I don't believe her.

And neither does her ortho doc.

Ah, the joys of medicine vs special needs!

However, he wants to keep her in the boot to ensure complete recovery and avoid risking repeat injury of an already compromised site.
As of October 18th, she can be boot-free!
But she can participate in gym/PT with the boot on, with as much that the boot will allow.

And yes, she is happy with that plan.
(So am I!)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Religious Education and the Special Needs Child

I am giddy with excitement over here.
Actually, giddy is not the word.

Over the top?
Cloud 9?

You get the picture.

Kaitlyn will be doing something that her Daddy and I didn't think would be possible, given the numerous hurdles she faces.
This is the one thing that we wanted so badly for her.
And now, it will become real.
Kaitlyn will be starting religious education this Saturday morning, at our own parish!
She will learn all about her faith.
She will be able to participate in sacraments.
She will fulfill the one dream that her father and I want for her: to know her Creator and understand in her own way.

God is Great!

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten (on Wednesday!)

Lost track of days for a moment here.
Kinda happens when one is shuttling kids here and there for this and that.

10. Still no clue as to how feisty six year old injured her ankle/foot.

9. Still no clue as to what actual diagnosis of ankle/foot injury really is.

8. A CAM boot to slow down the girl (um, I mean to protect her foot!)

7. A little boy who is still tearful with school transitions. When will this pass?

6. The excitement in Kaitlyn's eyes as we shop for a baby shower gift for her teacher.

5. Hopefully (fingers crossed) starting inclusion for Kate this week.

4. Swim lessons = hydrotherapy.

3. Days until the Chicagoland Apraxia Walk: 10

2. We are "Team K.A.M.P." in case you want to know.

1. I love my kids!

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010


What better way to "treat" a recovering ankle injury than some hydrotherapy?

Well, not exactly therapy per se.

But our regularly scheduled Monday evening swim lessons at our local gym.
Little does she know that she is doing more than just having fun.

Monday, October 4, 2010


(Pause my music on the right lower side of the blog to hear the video. thanks!)
Now you can see the sweet, yet deviant, side of Andrew.
I have been meaning to share this for some time now.
He has been spelling his name since early summer.
Yes, you read that correctly.
SPELLING his name!
And yes, he always tries to get a rise outta me by putting things in his ears that don't belong there.
Crayons are no exception.
And that giggle.......welcome to the deviant world of Andrew!

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Da Boot!

Yes, this is Kaitlyn's newest piece of apparel.

Lovely, isn't it?

She had been complaining of "foot hurts" for almost 10 days.
Her first complaint was last week Tuesday, when I thought it was just an old pair of sandals that were bugging her.
On Wednesday, the foot was swollen.
On Thursday, the foot/ankle xrays showed no fracture.
Rest. Ice. Elevation. Motrin.
One week post-first complaint, we saw the ortho doc.
He couldn't pinpoint what was wrong...if something was wrong.
She didn't complain about pain as he pressed and manipulated the foot and ankle, knees, shins and hips.
He reviewed the negative xrays and agreed that they were indeed negative.
She was able to walk and run in the halls of the office, although he thought she was favoring that left side.
I didn't see it, but he's the doc, not me!
But due to the fact that she is only 6 and doesn't know how to protect herself from further injury (um, what 6 year old does???), he put her in a boot.
That boot pictured above.
For at least one week, when we have repeat xrays and another appointment.

At least this fashionable boot will not interfere with her Halloween costume!
Yes, a bright side to anything!

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Thank You, Physical Therapists!

We first met you in Feb 2004 when Kaitlyn was diagnosed with torticollis.

16 months of PT.

And you still treat her today in school for some minor things that just need tweaking.

But this month is dedicated to you and all of the great work you do!

Happy Physical Therapists Month!

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