Friday, July 11, 2014

Go Ninjas!!

This was by far my favorite soccer season!!  We have played with these boys in both fall and spring season and I fell like they are all mine.  Bear coached the team to a very successful year.  These boys were a wild, rambuncious group but so, so much fun!!  We will be sad to see our older group move up to U10 :(

Oh where art thou..........

We are still here........
Things are just so busy.  I was hoping that Summertime would bring us some down time and it has but we have managed to fill that down time in with lots of fun with family and friends.  We have thoroughly enjoyed the long Summer nights.
I could spend pages writing about what we have been doing since January but I will hit a few highlights.  My babies aren't babies anymore.  They have grown up and although it appears that they love each other in these pictures---keep in mind they were heavily bribed :)  However, Cohen hugging Kinson is a HUGE step for her.  Our baby who has always been sweet, also could be stand-offish and avoid physical contact.  We are so proud of how far she has come.

Kinson is ALL boy.  He always needs to be playing.  Thankfully he LOVES to play outside all the time.  He does spend his fair share on a video game but he prefers to outside on the move.  He has become such a social bug with all the neighbors and teammates and we have enjoyed getting to know them and their families.  
Bless this little girl's heart.  She was whacked in the eye by a therapy swing resulting in a HUGE black eye.  At the time there wasn't anything to do about it but her eye has developed a bony prominence on the outer edge and a black ring remains around her eye.  We are going to see a pediatric opthamologist July 31 to determine the next course of action.  Never a dull moment.
Baseball filled a lot of our time this Spring.  We have never been "baseball people" but Kinson had the desire to become one :)  So we set him up with some private lessons (he does better 1:1) and fortunately were selected with a great team and set of coaches.  He had a blast playing with these boys.  Never would I put in my child's mind that you have to be good to play or good to enjoy his time there but unfortunately sports have become so serious to some.  We didn't push for him to be the best but helped him to be on the same level as the others just so he was included.  We could see a dramatic change in his attitude about playing after he got the confidence he needed. 

Eater was a fun time for us.  Too bad I didn't take more pics :)

Hoping to get my new kitchen pics up next!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

Kimberly 33, Memphis, TN

I am participating in Kelly's Korner Show us your Life to introduce one of my bestest friends, Kimberly!
Here is what I want you to know about my friend, Kimberly:

Kimberly is one of the kindest, most caring, and hands down, most loyal friends that I have.  Between this and our annual Girls Beach Trip with our other 7 besties, is why we have been able to maintain our great 20 year friendship after she moved 4 hours away to pursue a wonderful career in Memphis, TN.  Originally from Jackson, MS, Kimberly is a hard worker but still knows how to have fun and make time for her friends and family.  She enjoys traveling, music, reading, exercising, and all types of sporting events. She is very active in her church and volunteers with the youth.  

Kimberly is a strong, Christian woman who deserves a strong, Christian guy who will appreciate how sweet and special she is and treat her with the same kindness she treats others.  In her words, "a guy who loves Jesus, first and foremost, is honest and has integrity, has a serious side but a good sense of humor, wants a family, enjoys sports, and is ambitious."
She is a girl worth getting to know :) 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Papa killed Rudolph!!

December came fast and furious here!  I am so sad to see the break end and the craziness start back this week :(  I don't have a ton of pics from Christmas-- just never got into it-- I know I will regret it later.  But here are a few that we did take.
While I was out of town, Bear took the kids up to the neighborhood clubhouse to meet Santa.  
Kinson was so shocked that he couldn't remember what he asked for on his list.
On their way home from the gathering, Bear needed to make a quick trip to the grocery store and not 100yds out of the neighborhood, a deer ran out in front of him!  Both the kids were with him but luckily they were all ok.  However, Kinson got real upset since Santa was so close that it might have been one of his reindeers---Rusolph in particular!!  Now everytime we stop, Cohen asks, "Did we just hit a deer?"  
Kinson's class Christmas party!!
Cohen as a cow in Magnolia's Christmas Program-- "Big Story."
She did her part so well and for the first time, she actually sang with the group!!
Still working on that smile :)
Her whole group were the animals in the stable where Jesus was born.  They were all adorable.  We have gotten to see all these kids over the last few years make tremendous progress and I feel like they are all my own and get so emotional during her programs.  
We did complete a BIG project in our house over the last 10 weeks-- we completely remodeled our kitchen!!  Hopefully I can get the before and after pics off my camera and post them soon.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Our new family members....

Meet Starburst and Poppy!
Kinson asked for a fish at the last minute when he wrote out his Christmas list.  So B.B. and GDaddy pulled through and granted him his request.  We are now the proud owners of 2 beta fish.  So far they have been very low maintenance and kind of peaceful to watch---my kind of pets :)  They got them on the Saturday before Christmas.   Kinson loves Post it Notes (note the nametags on their bowls) and left a note for the elves to take back to Santa that said "We already got  fish!"  It is so cute, I have the note hanging in my office :)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Where did my sweet baby go?

Cohen has always been our "easy" child.  Yes, I know that she is involved but she has always been a very good listener and followed the rules.  Things are changing quickly.  At first we thought it was some frustration in communication because we are constantly having to remind her to "use her words."  But now I am thinking that this is typical kid behaviors and for that reason (and that reason only) can i be thankful for these behaviors!!
Thanksgiving night after she was put to bed Cohen decided to express her artistic side.  The funny thing is, it took my half a day Friday before I realized what she did.  She came downstairs Friday morning with marker all over her hands and face---which isn't all that unusual :)-- and when asked what she did, she said, "I don't know!"  That little stinker did know!!
Thankfully, the magic eraser took care of it!
Mrs Amanda's class put on a performance of the "First Thanksgiving" the week before Thanksgiving and Cohen was the perfect "Dancing Feather."  
Squanto and his Indian tribe
The friendly neighbor helping the Pilgrims!!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Apraxia and more

I always link into the "Kelly's Korner blog" when it is for special needs moms.  I know how hard it was when Cohen was first diagnosed to find any other families going through what we were going through.  If anybody wants to visit the exact post that I use to link, click Hearing Impaired and Apraxia.

That post is from 2 years ago and unless you want to read through all the other craziness and exciting posts, I will add a little update.  Cohen has started her 4th year at Magnolia Speech School and she has far surpassed anything we thought possible.  She has an endless vocabulary (no exaggeration here).  Her speech is still unclear at times but can be given a few cues and she can correct it some.  Now there are some times when she tells me something and I have absolutely no ideas what she is saying.  It is usually when she is telling me about something that happened when I wasn't around and don't know the context to figure it out. But that is happening less frequently.  She is up to 24 sounds in her sound book.  She has these sounds mastered on their own.  However some of those sounds she has difficulty saying in different parts of words--initial, middle, or end.  This is where you really see the apraxia-- she can isolate the sound but can't say it in a word.  She continues to get speech therapy 3 times a week, audiology 2 times a week, OT 2 times a week, and Auditory-Verbal therapy once a week.  I know it sound like a lot but luckily it is all done at Magnolia!
Her main struggle at the moment is socialization.  She is a very social child but struggles with typical conversational dialogue.  This has not been an issue before but as her peers get older, they are recognizing the difference.  When Cohen is in a situation where she is unsure what to say or how to answer, she will just state a random sentence, for example-- Cohen on the soccer field runs up to the coach during the game, she doesn't know what to tell him so she says, "I saw a black dog yesterday."  She doesn't expect a response and usually has moved on to something else.  She has shown some improvements this school year and I believe it has to do with having 2 other girls in her class this year.  She is used to having all boys so I think this has helped.
Her hearing still fluctuates from mild-mod loss and she is pretty good with letting us know if she is having difficulty hearing.  I really don't think that she misses much-if any!  She is now responsible for taking them out, opening battery doors, and putting them back in when she wakes up.  I never thought we would get to this point!  I also never thought I could trust a 4 year old with devices that are worth thousands, but she can do it!!
As far as the hypothyroidism, it has been controlled very well by Dr. Moll.  We have upped her dosage in very small increments over time to keep her in "her" range.  It took time and some frustrating discussions with the drs for everyone to get on the same page as to where Cohen functioned best.  TSH, T3/4 levels are not as black and white as other lab values.  What might be considered "normal" levels might not be where Cohen feels best.  This took ALOT of time, bloodwork, and observations to convince the drs that I could tell where she felt best.  But like I said, we have controlled it well recently and hope for that to continue.
It has taken us so long to get to a this point and honestly, I never thought we would get here.  I am now struggling with decisions that I never put a lot of thought into because we never thought we would get to make them!  We are starting discussions and looking into schools for AFTER Magnolia.  If you would have told us she would mainstream at anytime before junior high, I would have laughed at you.  But knowing she could attend First grade at Northshore or a private school near us, excites us.  It does.  But it scares the you know what out of me too!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It's been awhile

For those who read for updates on myself, I will make it quick!  I have my 4 month follow-up PET/CT Scan tomorrow morning.  I don't have any reason to think that it might show that I have any change for the worse-- no enlarged lymph nodes, night sweats, or unexplained fevers-- but I am kind of nervous that things are going on.  Any extra prayers would be appreciated-- prayers for good reports and for my apprehensions!  I follow-up with Dr. Elkins Monday afternoon and will be sure to update.  For those who read the blog to see my sweet, precious kids, please continue :)

School is back in full swing and somewhere between dance, soccer, gymnastics, karate, cub scouts, and fall baseball, we DO actually go to school :)  Kinson is doing great in school, loving reading and spelling, but requiring a little bit of reminders that his behaviors might be a little too wild for school!  Cohen is transitioning a few of her regular lessons to a different version and if you know Cohen, then you know that she doesn't change well.  It has been rough lately but I am sure like every other thing, she eventually adapts.   
Kinson is rolling through the karate belts!  He competed this weekend a received his low purple belt.  As wild as he can be, it amazes us how focused he can get during karate positions.  The instructors use his outgoing personality as an asset and he leads his group.
My sweet little Tiger!  We have had this uniform for 3 years and it is just now fitting her right.  She is the cutest little thing when she puts this on.  She only knows to say, "Geaux Tigers!!" and will say it over and over.  When I picked her up from school, she was showing the little boy beside her, her "cheerleading panties" and informing him that she wears 2 pair of panties with her cheerleading outfit!!  I am trying not to worry about that yet!!
Have you seen a more beautiful group of girls!?!  These are my nieces, cousins, and sweet sister-in-law and this was a few weeks ago after eating at Babalu.  My cousins live in Virginia and we only get to see each other once a year (which is nowhere near enough!) so when they come we pack a ton of fun into a few days.  I know they read my blog---- WE MISS Y'ALL!!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Obligatory "First Day" post

Just like the rest of the South, my kids are back in school.  And let me just say...........we were ready!!!  This summer wore us out.  I am not sure if it because we really only get 5 weeks out (Cohen goes extended school year) or if we tried to cram a whole lot into it.  Either way, we are glad to be back and getting into a routine.
Cohen is at Magnolia for her FOURTH year!!  Can you believe we started this journey 4 years ago?!?  Some days it seems like eons ago and other days it seems like we just started.  She got a new teacher for her, Ms. Amanda.  Cohen was excited until we got there.  At that time she realized not all of her friends came with her.  We talked a lot about how 2 of her very dear friends were going to "Big Boy school" and she understood, she also understood that she would move to the next class....well, because that's just what you do next.  Cohen can understand concrete rules.  But what devastated her and was hard for her to comprehend was why a friend did not move up and went to another room.  Not sure if we have grasped it yet, but like everything else---on to the next thing! 

And this little rascal started First grade!  Kinson got a new teacher to his school, Mrs. Hicks.  We had heard wonderful things about her and were eager for fresh ideas and maybe better ways to approach his behaviors.  He was also ecstatic with his classmates-- he was reunited with a few favorites and also some new friends.  So far, he has amazed us with his eagerness to learn and if you can believe it---he requests to read!!  Bear just bought him a chapter book and this is a HUGE deal according to him!
Like we need a new hobby, but I am really thinking this one might be good for him.  It is fast paced, not team oriented (meaning he can't blame anyone else for his performance), and convenient.  Bear is teaching him in our neighborhood for now.  Come spring we will decide how serious he wants to be!
Just a funny---every Sunday before Church, she wants her pic taken.  I know I have said before, she loves Sunday school and especially the dressing up part!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

So far behind

Summer is flying by and we are sure enjoying it.  I might be all over the place, but bear with me :)

Do you think they are starting to like each other?  Maybe......just a smidgen! Cohen has become obsessed with Sunday school and is the first to have her clothes picked out---this usually occurs midweek--and the teachers are so impressed with her capability of recalling the Bible verses........from every class she has ever attended!!
It finally happened.....Kinson lost his FIRST tooth!!!  At his last check-up, Dr Tiffany warned us that Cohen might lose some teeth before Kinson.  Well fortunately, Kinson had a tooth start wiggling Memorial Day and we finally pulled it last week.  He was so excited.  He already had "tooth fairy list" made up that he was going to leave her so she would know what he wanted the next time.  Uh--it's not Christmas, child!!  Needless to say, he got $5 and was ecstatic.  

Kinson is starting his 2nd year of karate.  I think we have found a perfect match for him.  His Sensei says that he is the leader of the group and does well keeping the others in line.  He tested and received his "high" green belt last weekend.  (If you are curious about the belts, they don't start solid belt colors until next year.)

It was a week of firsts---Cohen had her first date :)  Her and her sweet friend, Isaiah, went to see Monster's University.  They are so sweet together an the love for each other can not be denied.  Cohen still hasn't mastered sitting through a movie but has made a huge improvement with it.  

There are nice people everywhere.  I am overwhelmed with the generosity of some people.  Mr Barksdale, a grandfather to a fellow Magnolia Speechster, invited a few kids and their families to be his guest in his company's sky box at the Mississippi Braves game.  It was so special for some of us, as this might have been a rather stressful time if we were contained to a regular seat, the loud noise, and fellow fans.  The kids had a blast being spoiled with popcorn, ice cream, and jumpers.  My kids will never understand watching a game any other way now!!

It takes Cohen awhile to warm up to you and she usually chooses the quietest person as her friend.  The bigger kids had gone to the jumpers and the moms and Cohen stayed behind. While the moms were catching up, Cohen decided at that time to pick her prey :)  Mr Barksdale was great company for her.  He was so patient with her and she was enthralled with him.  

These kids were so excited!!

Cohen's Crew made its annual appearance at the Magnolia Speech Sprint this year.  The adults survived and every single child placed!!  Graham won 1st place overall, Kinson won 3rd in his age group, and Reid and Mackenzie each won 3rd in their groups.  As always, it is such a fun and easy way to support a great cause.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The forgotten Mothers Day....

I have had this as a draft for awhile but never finished!!

I had a wonderful Mother's Day and the kids and Bear spoiled me as usual with furniture for our outside balcony.  The kids made tons of crafts and cards for me school that they were so proud to give me throughout the weekend.  Monday morning came around and I was loading up Kinson's backpack, I see a pink paper stuffed in there.  I pulled it out and looked at it.  I asked Kinson who sat at the bar eating breakfast, "Why didn't you give me this card?" His response, "Oh, don't worry about that one, I didn't mean it!  I am not going to do that stuff, I just wrote it because everyone else was!!!"

If you can't read it clearly, it states that he will "help mama with______" garbage, folding clothes, go get mail, etc.  Not sure if I should be worried at how easily he gave in to peer pressure :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Chat with Kinson

Kinson has zero filter when it comes to speaking his mind.  And lately, we haven't been able to keep a straight face when we are talking to him!  Kinson has been seeing a therapist (long story for another time) for the last few months and he has really enjoyed 1 whole hour of non-stop talking and attention each session.  I get to sit in there and listen as they "talk" while they are playing, this gives me an opportunity to learn how to facilitate some modifications and coping skills she is assisting us learn.  Kinson is very comfortable with her and again, speaks whatever comes to his mind.  Here are a few sneaks:

Mrs. L:  Kinson, when we get mad or frustrated we don't need to kick and scream and throw a fit.  We need to use our words
Kinson:  I know, I know.  You mean like say sh*t!!

Kinson was grabbing himself a few times throughout the session.
Mrs L:  Kinson, do you need go to the restroom?
Kinson:  No, my papa says its ok to grab my pee-pee and move it around.  Sometimes you just got to do it to make it feel better.

Mrs. L:  Sometimes we need to try and be brave.
Kinson:  What's brave mean?
Mrs. L:  Braves means doing something even though you are scared to do it.
Kinson:  Oh, you mean like last night when I was afraid to draw on the bar stool with the sharpie because I was afraid I would get in trouble, but I did it anyway!  That was me being brave!!

Here is just another little funny!  Kinson photo bombed Cohen's dance pics :)  

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


These are the sweet faces sending me encouragement Wednesday during my long day of tests.  The tests weren't that bad but it was a long day of no food or caffeine and that led to grumpiness and headaches.  We got to meet with Dr Fayad on Thursday for the results.  We got to speak with a intern first who explained what has been going on better than we had been in the past.  Basically, they were able to cut my tiny little lymphnode into 100 sections to make slides.  In those slides, there was 1 lymphoma cell.  Yes, just 1!!  He went on to explain that this is not the typical way that malignant cells present, cancer cells are usually found in pairs.  So this in itself is an anomaly and the reason for the "in situ" part of the diagnosis.  And again, this was only 1 lymphnode so this might not be the actual case in all the rest of them.  But The good news is that in the last 4 months, my reactive lymphnodes were still there but SMALLER!!  At this point, there isn't a lymphnode that is available to biopsy-- no surgery next month!!  Dr Fayad is comfortable with me being seen at UMC every few months with a scan in 6 months that he will review and unless something comes up, not returning to Houston for a year.  So many prayers have been answered and although nothing is resolved, our situation has gotten so much more better and tolerable.  
We are so excited by this news.  I still meet with my drs at UMC next week for their opinions and if they agree with his plan.  I know it is still the "watch and wait" protocol and at first I was apprehensive about waiting so long but I am becoming more at ease with this approach.  It couldn't have come at a better time.  I finally feel like we can plan ahead for the summer.  I have been saving all my PTO hours for dr appointments and possible surgeries.  I will be so excited to have a day off that involves some fun!!  I know that so many have been praying for us and I truly feel them all.  God has blessed me in so many ways and shown Himself to us constantly throughout this.  There have been many hard moments but honestly I can count a few more good moments that might not have otherwise happened.  I am meeting with Dr Ahmad Monday and Dr Elkins the following Monday an will be sure to keep everyone up to date :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The fun stuff

I know we have a lot of things going on at our house right now--Don't we all!!-  but we do have a lot of fun times too! 
2 of my besties from way back getting ready for the Color Me Rad race.  It benefited Batson Children Hospital, which has been a vital part of Cohen's diagnosis and interventions, so we were glad to participate!!
Not to mention it was lots of fun to get all messy too :)

Hanging out with the best friend Carson at the bowling alley.  Note to self:  6 year olds can be very competitive!!

Easter morning before church.  Can't believe they actually touched each other!!

Cohen had had enough at this point!!  (Please diregard the dead plant on the porch!!  It has since been replaced :))

He will absolutely kill me one day for this picture!!  But this is my child's personality captured!!  He is so full of life and wants everyone around him to know exactly what he is feeling-- good or bad-- and just be part of it with him!  This is him singing some Luke Bryan before bedtime!!

Now she is Miss Prim and Proper when it comes to her dance style!!

Working out with me!  She is doing her reverse lunges and watching Shaun-T and his "clean belly" as she calls it!!

She requested her picture to be taken before school one morning.  She is getting to be such a ham when it comes to pictures.  She SCREAMS "Cheeeeeeeese!!" at the top of her lungs when she wants her picture taken :)