Friday, November 21, 2014


A few nights ago we were all sitting at the kitchen table finishing dinner when Tom noticed some ink on the table.

He glowered at me and the girls, wanting to know who’d written on the table.

Olivia said, “I didn’t. I was writing on paper and it went through the paper to the table.”

I assured him, “It will come off. It always does.”

He rolled his eyes at the implication that there is often ink on the table.

Whatever. I finished dinner and cleared the table.

The next night as I was washing dishes, Tom called from across the room, “You were right, the ink came right off the table.”

“Awesome,” I replied.

He continued, “I cleaned it off this morning.”

Ahhh. Okay. I got it. “I forgot to wipe it off last night, didn’t I?”

He nodded, “I kind of thought you wiped off the table every night.”

Ha! I actually did laugh at this. I asked him, “What gave you the idea that I did that?”

I looked around the house. Right now it’s pretty cluttered due to some home improvement stuff going on. We don’t live in filth but I could definitely be a better housekeeper.

My comment actually got a smile out of him.

We do our best but there are always places we could improve.

I keep telling him that if we don’t laugh at how similar we are to the Hecks from the tv show The Middle, we’ll cry.

I mean, we don’t have a hole where our kitchen sink should be, but there is definitely room for improvement when it comes to clutter. I’d say our house looks ‘lived in’ but that implies a sense of comfort and really, there are just piles of crap that need to be cleaned up more often than they are.

Soon. I promise. Right after I paint the family room, dining area, kitchen and entry way.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Can someone please save this little boy?

His name is Devine.

He needs a home. He's only seven years old. He needs the therapies that Olivia needed, he needs someone to take him home, to love him and to let him show them what he can do. Just like Olivia needed that.

I wish we were a family for whom adoption was an option. But we're not. But I know there are people out there, amazing people who are looking for an amazing child to bless them and their home. Do you know where his mommy is? Are you his mommy?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Potatoes

Ahh yes, the potatoes. Julie mentioned the giant mounds of shredded potatoes from our breakfast at Denny’s last Sunday. It was insane how many potatoes they piled onto each plate.

See, I don’t really eat potatoes, especially not for breakfast but Alyssa likes hash browns, thanks to my mom, who convinced Miss Picky Eater to try them a few months ago while at McD’s.

‘Hash browns’ are on the Denny’s menu. They come with almost everything on the breakfast menu. I don’t usually get them but I did this time because I figured Alyssa could eat them. I got her a side of bacon, one scrambled egg and a ‘hash brown’ of her own. Except Denny’s hash browns are not an oval of potatoes that come in a handy paper envelop the way McD’s hash browns do.

Denny’s hash browns are an enormous pile of shredded potatoes. Yes. Enormous.

So there were several piles of shredded potatoes among the six of us eating breakfast. Some of those piles did not get eaten because there were just so many.

Another thing I forgot to mention in the original post about our big, amazing weekend at IU was the cookie.

It was an enormous chocolate chip cookie with purple frosting spelling out Happy Birthday Olivia.

She loved it.

We decided to save the cookie for Tom. Olivia declared, “Daddy would love to eat this cookie with me.”

And she was right. He most certainly has loved eating that cookie with her. In fact, they’ve been eating that cookie for the last three nights.

Last night, Olivia got the piece of the cookie with the O. She was so excited. She looked at the cookie after Tom cut her portion out of it and told us, “Now it’s just Happy Birthday Livia.”

I asked her when she got so smart. She rolled her eyes and ate her O.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

We're All Tired

So, the last two nights have had Olivia sleeping all night long; in her own bed. I know! Wonders never cease.

Anyway, travel exhausts her and so she’s been sleeping well. But during our awake times, everyone in our house is cranky these days.

Tom is laying new flooring in our kitchen/dining/entry areas. He’s cranky.

The girls and I have traveled almost 500 miles in the past four days. We’re tired and cranky.

When we got home last night from my mom’s (I have to go there to watch the latest episode of The Walking Dead every Monday evening; Olivia takes a bath there while I watch, it keeps her from seeing the zombies and other crap an eight year old shouldn’t see) Tom was almost done with the floor for the night.

We both said a few things and he said, “Don’t get mad. Remember that we’re all tired.”

We said a few more things and I reminded him, “You can’t get mad. Remember, we’re all tired.”

And then we kissed and made up.

See, we’re lucky we are self-aware enough to be able to actually say things like that. Of course, there are times when we aren’t aware of how cranky we are and we just get pissy with each other.

But last night the tiredness wasn’t so great that we were overly mean to each other. Sometimes, reminding each other that we’re both tired is our way of saying, “I love you.” That and sometimes taking the girls from one room to the other so one of us can have a moment of peace and quiet. It’s the little things, I tell you.

Another sign I was tired was that I couldn’t even stay awake long enough to watch Scorpion last night.

It appears from this post alone that I watch a lot of television. It’s true. I do watch a lot and we don’t even have cable.

But even I, television addict that I am, can decide that I’m just too tired to watch. That’s when we know that it’s time for a time out for me. Or, you know, bed.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Giant Unicorn

That kind right there kind of describes our weekend. It was a giant unicorn kind of weekend.

My mom and I took the girls down to Bloomington to attend the Indiana University Dance Marathon.

It was amazing as usual.

This was the first year that Olivia was sponsored by a sorority. Let me say right here that every other sponsor (ie, the Alumni Association) has been wonderful and generous. But the girls of Delta Phi Epsilon went all out. They were generous beyond belief. They made this weekend more special than ever for both Olivia and Alyssa.

I have pondered over the years how hard is must be to be the typical sibling of a child with special needs, especially a child like Olivia, who’s special needs aren’t really that apparent. I worry that Alyssa feels lost in the shuffle that is our celebration of Olivia.

But the ladies of DPhiE made sure Alyssa felt as special as her sister this weekend.

When we walked into our hotel room on Friday night, we were greeted by a giant unicorn. As in, this thing is almost six feet long. It’s HUGE.

Olivia looked at it like it might pounce on her and eat her head. But Alyssa’s eyes widened, her face lit up and she pounced on the unicorn (which she names Sparkle Eunice) before it could pounce on Olivia. Olivia grinned as she watched Alyssa fall in love. Olivia then promptly forgot about the giant unicorn in the room and found the rest of the stuff that had been left for her. She found Chap Stick (one of her very favorite things) and nail polish (another of her faves). She found a Frozen coloring book and several candy bars. And not the little regular sized bars, oh no. The ladies of DPhiE gave her the GIANT candy bars, one Hershey Milk Chocolate bar and one Hershey Cookies and Cream bar. She was in sugar heaven. She also got some gummy bears and several other edible items.

But that wasn’t all.

When we arrived at the Tennis Center the next morning and there was more stuff! There was a sheet hanging on the wall with Olivia’s name and a unicorn. Olivia loves finding anything with her name on it. We got to take that sheet home with us and my mom plans to make a quilt out of it.

They had decorated an A and an O for the girls to hang in their room. Someone had painted a scene of Elsa which was beautiful.

There was also a two foot stuffed Olaf. I know! Again, Alyssa was so, so excited.

Olivia? She’s not so much into stuffed animals of any kind. But she sure loved watching her sister get all excited about those things.

She also got some feather boas. Craziness in such a good way.

We stayed many hours, told Olivia’s story on stage and then went home to sleep off the adrenalin buzz.

Olivia took three baths during our two nights/days at the hotel. I watched some HGTV and we messed around with her sleep number beds. Have I mentioned before that I hate sleep number beds? I’m sure they’re awesome for other people but I have never found a number that is comfortable for me. Seriously, never.

In the end, the only number that mattered was the 3.2 million dollars that IUDM raised for Riley Hospital for Children. How flipping amazing is that? They are changing the lives of children at Riley and the lives of those children’s parents and siblings.

We are so lucky to be a part of such a phenomenon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Too Tight!

Anyone who has done any research on 5p- Syndrome knows that people with 5p- are going to have issues with their speech.

Some of this research even says that afflicted people will be non-verbal. Period. As in, this syndrome takes away any and all ability to speak.

Parents of children with 5p- in this day and age will tell you that the research isn’t true. Some of our children can and do speak very well.

My daughter is one of those lucky kids who has found her voice and uses it often.

Just this morning when I was putting her shoes on her (almost always a production) she shrieked, “Too tight!!!”

I sighed and took the shoe off and loosened the laces before stuffing her foot back in.

But you know what? Instead of sighing at her, I should have thrown Olivia a damned party. My child, the one who isn’t supposed to be able to speak, at least according to research that is probably 40 years old, can tell me when something is uncomfortable. She can tell me when she is sick, what hurts, if something is bothering her.

She can tell me about her day at school, a time when I am not with her.

I worry so much about Olivia and the possibility of mistreatment. It is so easy for less than ethical people to victimize children like mine, children who often can’t tell anyone that someone is hurting them. But Olivia can tell, she can tell me if something is wrong, if something is happening that hurts her or makes her uncomfortable.

I know how lucky we are that this is the case. I am so grateful for this.

I can’t imagine not hearing her voice, not knowing every single though that goes through that beautiful brain of hers.

So even when we’re rushed in the mornings, trying to get everything done before the bus arrived, I want to take a moment and bask in the sound of her beautiful voice, her words, her thoughts, even if she is shrieking at me that her shoe is too tight or that I’m ‘killing’ her as I brush the tangles from her hair or even that the shirt I picked for her to wear is too boring.

How amazing is it that this morning she asked me why I’d picked out a boring shirt instead of a tunic? I didn’t even know she knew the word tunic. She probably heard it from someone at school and used context to figure out the meaning. But however she worked it out, this morning she used the word properly as she scolded me for not picking out a tunic and instead picking a boring shirt that ended at her hips instead of skimming over them.

She’s always listening, always learning, always taking in the happenings of her world. She’s always putting her own spin on what she’s seeing, hearing, learning and then she puts back into the world for the rest of us to appreciate her brilliance and wonder at her awesomeness.

Monday, November 10, 2014


Last Friday was my birthday. After renewing my driver’s license I was able to go to lunch with Olivia. She’s always so excited when I can join her for lunch. I’m so lucky to be able to do this every so often. I’m sure her teacher appreciated the extra time after the regular lunch time when she’s usually with Olivia coaxing her to eat some of her lunch.

After lunch, I went to my mom’s house where she surprised me with a new sewing machine. I know! So exciting. Now I can actually sew stuff myself. Let me tell you how excited I was when I managed to thread my first bobbin and then thread the needle for the first time.

Those first two pieces of material that got sewn together will always be special. I hope to gain enough momentum to sew some pajama pants for the girls for Christmas this year.

I picked the girls up from school, fed them dinner and then my mom, Alyssa and I went to a movie. It was fun.

So here I am. Forty-four as of Friday. And you know what? My forties have been pretty great. I feel so lucky to be where I am right now. I’m working on getting comfortable in my own skin, whatever that means. I’m learning from my girls every single day and that is such a blessing.

And get this…after over eleven years of marriage, my husband and I still like each other most days. I know! That’s pretty awesome if you ask me. Love? That's kind of a given, but actually liking each other? That takes work.

So yeah. Forty-four.

Four is my favorite number (yes, I have a favorite number ,what of it?) So I figure that the year I have two fours in my age must go down as being the best year yet.