And the results are….

Today Tay gave us the results of the testing she’s been doing with Cadet’s speech. Read THIS post first for clarification.

First of all, Cadet’s scores from last year were MUCH lower than I had realized. So, last year, at age 23 months, Cadet was in the 4th percentile for receptive language, and the 8th percentile for expressive. He was understanding and speaking at 13 and 15 months, respectively.

Tay and I went back through his old test, and I was shocked at what he didn’t understand back then. For instance, he couldn’t say or identify a ball. He couldn’t say or identify mama. These are basic words that most 2 year olds should know. So where is he now???

In exactly 12 months….how well has he done? Insanely well. Like, OMG, my kid is “normal”. Here’s the numbers: at 35 months, Cadet is in the 87th percentile for receptive language, and the 55th percentile for expressive language. His age equivalents are 3 years/7 months for receptive and 3 years/0months for expressive. His “total language score” puts him at 3 years/2 months (or the 77th percentile). Some of his skills are crazy-high…getting into gifted territory. He is over one standard deviation above the norm in several areas. Tay showed me the graphs from the test, and Cadet has literally hit every skill at or above developmental levels!

My kiddo, who just one year ago was almost a year behind his peers, has not just caught up…but surpassed them in some areas. He’s jumped almost 24 months developmentally in just 12 months. That’s insane.

Tay told me that this is so unusual, she actually reached out to several of her colleagues to check her results. And all of them were astounded at Cadet’s leap in skills. And all of them agreed that the results were accurate.

After I had finished ogling the results, Tay said we needed to talk about where to go from here. At Cadet’s levels, he doesn’t qualify for speech therapy. Not at all. Not one bit. He technically doesn’t need it. She suggests that we go from two hours a week to one hour, and then after a few months we go to “maintenance visits” every month. She said that our insurance would cover a slow transition to ensure we didn’t have a reversal of skills. I told her that I would talk to McRuger, but that it sounded like a good plan.

The rest of the session, Tay probed at some of Cadet’s lower skills and some of his higher ones too. She wants to start coming up with some goals. Because, even if she’s not here, she’s going to come up with a program for me to help Cadet continue his progress.

Then she left. I gave Cadet a zillion kisses until he wormed his way out of my arms in search of his “noisy doggy toy”.

And, just in case I wasn’t sure how well Cadet was doing…he gave me a pretty solid example a few nights ago. Cadet was eating his dinner at the table. I had gone into the kitchen to grab him some more zucchini. I heard his little voice say: “uh-oh”. Then I head the patter of his little feet, and suddenly he was in front of me with a very solemn look on his face. “Mom,” he said, “get the broom”. He’d spilled some rice. He had a problem, wanted to solve it, and came to me for help.I actually cried. How far we’ve come…

Categories: Cadet, Celebrations, developmental delay, speech | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Wherein my son surprises us….

This post is going to be about Cadet. However, I wanted to also let you know that the adoptive situation I had mentioned is no longer moving forward. The expectant mother is exploring other options. But, on to Cadet…

First of all, his cast is off, as of Tuesday. After a particularly nasty poopy diaper (some of which got in/on his cast), we took him to the orthopedist. He ordered new x-rays, and there was still no fracture visible. The doctor said we should keep the cast off, and we agreed. Cadet DID NOT like this. He fought leaving the hospital. And he refused to walk or even bend his leg for a good 18 hours…probably because his leg was sore and he felt insecure. Now, almost 3 days later, Cadet’s still walking like a peg-legged pirate, but he’s bending his leg. And, when he forgets about his leg, he walks/plays normally.

But, that’s not what I wanted to write about….

***********************

Almost exactly one year ago, Cadet started seeing Tay…his speech therapist. Since then, she’s been working with him for two hours every week. Last year, Tay gave Cadet a standard assessment of his skills. The test only looks at expressive (spoken) and receptive (understood) language. This particular test is one that is used to ascertain a child’s language level from “birth” to seven. On this particular test, the tester is looking for a basal score (the level at which Cadet is solidly comfortable in) and then Cadet’s ceiling (at what point Cadet no longer can complete the tasks or answer questions). In order for the “ceiling” to be reached, Cadet has to miss at least 5 questions in a row. Last year, when Tay tested Cadet (at 25 months), he was at 21 months for expressive language and 29 months for receptive language. Those were his basal scores. His “ceiling” was pretty close to those numbers.

Since Tay has been working with Cadet for a year, it was time to re-test him. We all knew that Cadet was having a real language explosion. And everyone on Cadet’s team has been curious to see where Cadet’s new scores would put him.

Tay hasn’t finished the testing yet, she’s got one more section to go. However, some of the raw data has blown us away. Cadet’s basal expressive score puts him around 35 months (a huge jump, and close to his developmental age). But, that’s not the amazing part. Cadet’s receptive language score…well, he hasn’t his his ceiling yet. Tay is testing him at the 6.5-7 age range, and he hasn’t hit the ceiling! Cadet hasn’t missed more than three in a row. His basal receptive score puts him around age 4.5-5! Again, this is the raw data, and Tay still has some testing to do…but it is amazing information.

As we were doing the testing, Tay and I kept expecting Cadet to hit his ceiling, but every time…he’d just causally get the right answer, and look shocked that we were so excited. As we were going through the 6-6.5 age range of the test,Tay told me that she’s NEVER had to use this part of the test before with a child Cadet’s age. Tay works with all kinds of kids, both those who are on-track, and those who have delays.

I keep reminding myself that really those numbers don’t mean anything yet. They are just numbers without context at the moment. Any test is basically just a snapshot of Cadet’s skills in that moment. But, I’m celebrating!

On Friday, during his OT appointment, I shared with Dr.M some of numbers that Cadet was testing at. She wasn’t surprised. Of course, she’s never had any doubts that Cadet is pretty darn amazing…with just his sensory needs getting in the way of everything else. She reminded me of an analogy I heard a while back. Imagine you’re walking on a tightrope over a shark tank, it’s really dim or misty around you, and you can hear the sharks snapping below. You have to use every sense to just put one foot in front of another. At that moment, could you recite tons of information? Would you feel like talking much? Kids who have sensory issues, often feel like they are walking that tightrope all day…that’s Cadet. It doesn’t mean that Cadet isn’t capable of learning, more that he is very focused on putting one foot in front of the other…

So, my little tight-rope walker is learning more than we thought. He’s able to pick up an incredible amount of information…he just isn’t able to talk about it yet.

As soon as Tay crunches the numbers, I’ll report back what his actual scores are!

 

 

Categories: Cadet, Celebrations, SPD, speech | 10 Comments

Leg Fracture Follow-up… and other stuff

This morning, we loaded the diaper bag and took the 45 minute drive to the orthopedic surgeon’s office. It’s normally a 20 minute drive, but traffic was awful.

Contrary to my last visit, this one went swimmingly. We were checked in quickly, given a room within minutes, and everything was taken care of easily.

First, they had to remove the cast…which is a LOUD process. The tech, Kevin, showed us how it works and right before he started sawing, he gave Cadet a set of little cars to play with (brilliant!!). Cadet had his ear muffs, and spent the 5 minutes of removal playing with his new cars or watching curiously. McRuger and I were on either side of him, quietly explaining what was going on.

The hard (fiberglass) cast came off first, then the cotton batting, then the liner. And there was my son’s leg. The first thing he did was start to scratch at this skin, which I had been expecting. I had been worried about his eczema, but it didn’t seem to be a huge issue. There were no open sores or obvious patches. Thankfully, I had brought our own soap and towels to clean up his leg. I spent about 5 minutes gently cleaning his skin. The towels became solid brown from all the dead skin that had built up. I made sure to use warm water, not to rub hard, and make sure everything was dry. With the doctor’s permission, I also rubbed on some of Cadet’s eczema medicine over the area covered by the cast.

Next, they had to x-ray the leg again. This proved to be the most traumatic part of Cadet…mostly because it made a loud sound and we didn’t have his muffs. Thankfully, it went pretty quickly.

We were moved back to the pediatric room and waited for the doctor. When he came in, I knew that this was going to be a much better visit than last time. The doctor was kind, listened, and generally looked me in the eye when talking to me (always a plus).

So, technically, the doctor couldn’t see any fracture on Cadet’s leg. He said there’s (at most) a 10% chance that it’s actually fractured. However, he said that he tends to err on the side of caution, and he would recommend a cast for another 3 weeks. I looked at the side-by-side x-rays, and couldn’t see a fracture on the newest x-ray either. On the old x-ray, it was clear…a 2.7 centimeter fracture. Either Cadet’s leg was turned slightly different for the x-ray, or there never was a fracture, or Cadet is healing incredibly fast. And he gave us 3 choices…a long cast, a short cast, or no cast. If we chose to leave the cast off, Cadet had a small risk of doing serious damage to his leg. The short cast would offer very little protection if there was a fracture, since it would increase Cadet’s mobility significantly. The long cast would offer the most protection and would give the fracture (if there is one) the ability to heal.

McRuger and I aren’t gamblers, and we certainly don’t gamble on things like Cadet’s health. So, it wasn’t much choice for us…the long cast is back. It’s for 2.5 weeks (basically double the time he’s had it already). At that point, we’ll go through this whole process again…but most likely he’ll come home without a cast.

Cadet picked the same color (neon orange) and seemed perfectly happy to have the cast on again. This time he has a little walking boot to go over his foot, so we can take him on walks. The doctor said that since it’s going to happen anyway, might was well get some energy out in a positive manner (rather than crashing/jumping). We can even let him ride his bike, if he can manage it with the cast.

So, we are continuing to pump up the calcium in Cadet’s diet, lots of leafy greens, lots of protein, lots of mineral-rich things. His new favorite thing to eat is yogurt and honey.

Sleep is still a big issue here. Cadet isn’t really sleeping much (ugghh), but we are seeing a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Last night was the FIRST night in close to 3 weeks that we all got more than 6 hours of sleep in a row. Let’s just say, it’s been a very ROUGH time. The toddler bed that his crib converted into has been a real disappointment. Frankly, it’s starting to break down (after just a few weeks of use). Note to self, NEVER buy a convertible crib again!

We purchased Cadet a twin futon (organic cotton), which will be placed on slats on his floor. Hopefully, the relatively firm (and un-bouncy) futon will discourage jumping. And we won’t be getting a bed frame until his jumping tendencies are a bit more under control. We have a bed tent that we’ll be using to achieve that sense of “security” that Cadet craves so much of. Plus, a new “bed time only” toy that he can have in his bed (currently he’s not allowed any toys/books in bed). Hopefully, the new set up will be welcoming and Cadet can settle back into a decent routine of sleep.

Cadet’s been through a ton of changes in the last few weeks. And for a little guy who thrives on schedules and predictability, he’s handled it all wonderfully. Yes, he’s grumpier. Yes, we’ve seen more tantrums. But, overall, I’m in awe of how well he’s done.

*************

And the adoptive situation? Haven’t heard a word. No calls. No e-mails. Nothing from the referring agency. Our lawyer emailed me, giving me assurance that the expectant mom still wants to place with us. However, McRuger and I are very hesitant to rush into anything where the communication is this bad. Both of us have written the entire thing off. If something moves forward…yay. If not? Moving on. If this referring agency can’t get their act together to make a phone call/email in over a week…ummm, why would we want to complete an adoption with them? Or at least that’s my thinking.

*************

So, off to bed. Hope you all are well.

Categories: Adoption, Cadet, doctors, food, SPD | 1 Comment

So, what’s up with this match…?

When our adoption attorney called on Tuesday, I honestly thought it was a “hey, have you re-done your profile yet” call. It wasn’t. After a few minutes of pleasantries, she said that our profile had been chosen by an expectant mother. You could have heard a pin drop…except for Cadet working with Tay in the background.

Honestly, I had all but given up on ever hearing from them again about a match. But, here Lawyer B was (Lawyer A is no longer with the firm)…giving me some details.

It’s not the greatest of matches. There’s a lot of red flags for both McRuger and I. It’s an expensive adoption, because it’s going through an agency. We have the funds, but it would tap out most of our savings and would require us to sell some stock (eeeekkk).The EM (expectant mom) wants a closed adoption…which is not something we’re very interested in. To be fair, Cadet’s adoption was supposed to be semi-open or closed, but clearly that hasn’t happened. I think the biggest red flag for me is that the paperwork we were forwarded is really devoid of any sort of information. Okay, so she doesn’t have glaucoma…but what does her immediate family think of the adoption plan? There were 16 pages (out of 28) devoted to what kind of medical conditions she or her family have (none). But no pages about why she’s thinking of adoption or what her hopes are for the child.

There’s also some major inconsistencies in the paperwork. I was told by Lawyer B that the biological father is “unknown”, but the paperwork says differently. Lawyer B also told me a few other pieces of information, but the paperwork says something else.

When I was speaking to Lawyer B, she kept saying over and over how this isn’t the “ideal situation” for us, but she wanted us to look at it since we were chosen. When I asked her to clarify, she said she was speaking about the money. I have a feeling she was also talking about the lack of information we have at this point. The due date is less than two months away, and usually we’d be presented with detailed social histories, sonograms of the pregnancy, and a cohesive birth plan. It’s fine that we don’t have those things, except the EM has been in contact with the adoption agency for over 3 months at this point. I guess I’m just used to a little more information. We usually not contacted until our lawyers have their ducks in a row. Lawyer B also said several times that she was waiving her fee for this match, which didn’t (and still doesn’t) sit right with me. Why? She mentioned something about how sorry she was about how our failed match had happened, but I am still wary of any attorney “waiving fees”.

I’m not terribly excited by this match at this point. Yes, it’s nice to be chosen, but I just don’t know enough to be feeling much of anything. McRuger’s feeling the same way, but even less curious than I am. He’s feeling pretty overwhelmed with Cadet’s leg getting fractured and the sheer amount of stuff on his plate at work.

At the moment, we’re waiting to be connected to the EM’s social worker, who wants to talk to us about some of the details of the situation. After I talk with the social worker, then I will speak to Lawyer B about where we want to go from here. It’s been over 48 hours since I’ve talked to Lawyer B…and I still haven’t heard form the EM’s social worker….so I’m growing even more concerned with the lack of communication.

Frankly, I’ll be shocked if we decide to move forward. Unless the information given to me by the social worker is vastly different from what I expect, I just don’t see this being  good match for us.

 

 

 

Categories: Adoption, Choices, McRuger, Questions | Tags: | 7 Comments

Of course it happened like that…

Monday is Garbage Day in our neighborhood. It’s always an exciting day for Cadet. He loves to watch the trucks and tractors rolling by. I always leave a window open so he can hear them coming and find a good spot to view them (usually the couch).

This Monday, however, was a more exciting day than usual, and not for a good reason. After 8 excruciating nights of trying to transition to his toddler bed, Cadet woke up with a limp. He just had the smallest hitch in his step. By the time we got to OT at 8am, it was more pronounced. And by the time his ABA therapist showed up at 9, he was seriously limping. He wasn’t crying, or clingy, or even grumpy. Just limping. But, I decided to call our pedi’s office. Thankfully, the advice nurse got us an appointment almost immediately.

The pediatrician (not Dr. Smiles) examined Cadet carefully. Admired his good behavior and his happy demeanor…and then sent us to get his leg X-Rayed. She said we could just “wait it out”, but she wanted to be on the safe side…McRuger and I agreed.

The X-Ray process was generally painless for all involved…which was a relief (the presence of gummy bears helped Cadet immensely). And the pediatrician said she’d call me after the films were reviewed.

About an hour later, I heard from her. They suspected a toddler fracture, and wanted us seen by an orthopedist immediately. A fracture! My son! How? He hadn’t fallen. In fact, he hadn’t been out of our sight all weekend. She said that sometimes these things “just happen”. Given Cadet’s love of “crashing”, and jumping…it didn’t take me a long time to put the pieces together.

Here’s what I think happened…..On Sunday night…after a day fraught with dysregulation and grumps. I took Cadet into his bedroom for some “crashing”. He has a dedicated mattress for his crashing…and he loves it. We spent a good 30 minutes in there, as he crashed (imagine a superman jump, followed by a full-on belly-flop right onto the mattress). After one crash, he started crying. He came over to me and told me he had hurt his tongue and that he wanted to go upside-down. So, I did some hanging upside downs with him, but he didn’t want to be in that position too long…which was unusual. And we never got back to crashing. I think he hurt himself on that last crash, but didn’t know how to tell me.

Back to Monday. The orthopedic surgeon who saw us was completely unhelpful. He didn’t know what SPD was, looked confused by my description, and blew off several of my concerns. He said that there were only two options: a full leg cast or a “walking splint”, and given my overview of Cadet’s activity level…he was recommending the cast. And he wanted Cadet to “stay off the leg for 10 days”. Say what? I explained to him that our son rarely sits still for 10 minutes (even when sleeping he’s always in motion). How in the world was I supposed to keep him off his feet for a day…let alone 10? His response was: “Well, when he wants to move, he tells you…and you move him.” Ummmm, yeah….that’s not how a kiddo with SPD…and who is almost 3… behaves. What toddler has the forethought to ask to be moved? I didn’t even start to mention Cadet’s speech delay.

However, the doctor moved on, and told us he’d see us in 10 days. At that point, they would remove the cast, take another set of X-Rays, and recast (for 6 weeks or longer) if it was required. He then left, and we never saw him again.

Two techs came in and gave Cadet a choice of colors, we settled on an orange one…since Cadet looks very good in orange. The process was quick, and thankfully Cadet was too curious about what was happening to care that they were immobilizing his leg.

And here we are. Cadet has a full leg cast (from just under his hip to just below his toes). He has learned to get around pretty quickly on it. It only took him a few hours to learn how to get up on the couch, get from a standing to seated position and vice versa, and how to use his cast as a cool/bumpy road for his trains/trucks.

Of course we can’t keep him off his feet all day, but his mobility is severely limited. He is restricted to the front of the house (living room, dining room, and kitchen) during the day. Being in the yard is too much of a temptation to play in the water or run around (we learned that quickly).  I have lifted some of my restrictions on screen time, so he can watch a few things on his iPad or play one of his vocabulary games that Tay approved of. We filled one of our smaller rolling suitcases with a few of our older weighted blankets, and Cadet uses that as a form of “heavy work” when he really needs to move. He walks places when he can, but we try to discourage him from doing that (hahahahahaha). Otherwise, he scoots around on his butt or tummy to get to places or toys he wants.

Today I braved BRU (I HATE that store) to purchase a wagon so we can take Cadet on nature walks. I also got him a few new trains to play with on the floor, because…well…because I need something for him to focus on while I do things…like go to the bathroom or answer the phone.

We are feeding him lots of milk, high protein foods, leafy greens, and I made some bone broth. I made extra bread this week (a Monday tradition now) and made it from mostly sprouted whole wheat and oat flours. It’s a little more dense than usual, but it’s packing more nutrients. Lots of water, daily vitamins, and a good sleep will hopefully help as well.

Speaking of sleep, Cadet and I are sleeping in the guest room. Neither McRuger or I feel like he should be alone at night with the cast…mainly because he hasn’t learned his limitations with it yet. And we don’t want him to feel trapped or alone. I would just like to say that waking up at 2am with a toddler butt in my face…as he’s farting…isn’t the greatest moment of my life.

Cadet’s therapists have been amazing. All of them have been sending e-mails back and forth to me and each other…talking about what stationary sensory activities might appeal to Cadet. Because just because Cadet can’t move, doesn’t mean his SPD just disappears.

**********

So that was Monday. Wanna know what happened on Tuesday? We got a call about an expectant mother who chose us. Uh-huh. It never rains, but pours..eh… I’ll write more about that later.

But, please, for the moment…send some healing thoughts to Cadet. Let’s all hope and pray that this cast is only on for 10 days.

 

Categories: Adoption, Cadet, doctors, health, McRuger, SPD | Tags: , , | 9 Comments

All aboard!

I have a whole post written about the horrendous sleep issues Cadet is having due to transitioning to his toddler bed. It is a long one. But, then I realized you’ve probably heard enough about that…don’t most toddlers have issues with that transition?

I’ll leave it with…we’re all suffering from major sleep derivation and having a rough go of it….we are now 7 days in…and it’s not improved that much.

*********

Instead, I want to talk about some of the amazing changes that are happening in Cadet these days. First of all…HE’S TALKING UP A STORM. Yes. I am screaming that to you. My son, the silent one, is talking almost non-stop these days. And he’s loving it. New words are brought into his vocabulary every day. DrM, his OT, calls it a “word spurt”. It’s really amazing.

He’s just getting to the “conversation” phase of speaking, and it’s really cute. He narrates his days. Yesterday morning went a lot like this, as he looked out the window: “Big truck. Big garbage truck. Green garbage truck. Doggy. Chase (his word for people jogging). Trees. Big trees. Wind. Red car. Mama drive in car? Papa in car? Cadet in car?”

“No, we’re at our house.” Which he knows, but it gives him the chance to have his favorite “convo” with me. He starts off: “My house?” “Yes, your house.” “Papa’s house?” “Yes, Papa’s house.”….and so on down the line until he starts pointing at his toys and saying: “Tunnel’s house?” or “Book’s house?”

His speech therapist, whom we call “Tay”, has been very impressed. She’s having a hard time keeping up with all his progress. Actually, all of his therapists have been a little shocked and very excited about his new skills. And frankly, his ABA therapists are a little baffled as to what to do with him. He’s flying through his programs almost as fast as they can create them. His “programs” are basically “goals” that they want to see him meet. So, we spend a lot of time just trying to get more ideas about how we can help him.

With Cadet’s new vocabulary, suddenly, his world is opening up. He is trying new things, wanting to do more, willing to experiment with his words/body.

To be clear, if you came over, you might still have a hard time understanding him at first or he’d be quiet for a while as he figured out who you were. But, eventually, it’s hard to get him to stop talking (not that I want him to stop). While he’s still generally behind his peers, it’s clear that he has the memory, the drive, and the brain power to learn at an incredible rate. The kiddo is a very hard worker.

Just last evening, I was saying “thank you” to him for handing me something. As he walked away, he said (clear as day) “you’re welcome, mama”. McRuger and I looked at him in disbelief. He’d picked that phrase up and was using it properly. I gave him a huge hug…my boy!

I am savoring every word as if it were his first!

I’ve been keeping MsJ in the loop on his accomplishments, and she couldn’t be more thrilled. I send her snippets of video several times a week. She and I have talked about what a huge step he’s been making.

**************

I have much to catch you up on: the search for our new babysitter continues, the drought and my garden, our efforts at simplifying, our upcoming anniversary, and our first foray into homschooling!! But, those will have to wait. In the meantime, I hope you all are doing well!

 

 

 

Categories: Cadet, SPD, speech | 6 Comments

So, that was unexpected….

Several months ago, I signed up to go to BlogHer2014. It was happening near my house, my friend Robyn was going, and I was searching for some inspiration for this blog.

For a while now, this blog has been a source of confusion and guilt.

You see, when I started this blog, almost exactly 5 years ago (over 1100 posts so far!!!), I was searching for a community. We were going through infertility treatments and it was scary and shameful. No one in my family knew, our friends didn’t know, and I didn’t have a way of reaching out to others. So, my blog became my soapbox and my confessional. Thanks to Mel and her blog roll, I found a community.

Within months, I had “friends” out there. Women who shared my journey. Women who understood the pain and hope that stood with me during those years. For a while, my blogroll consisted of over 175 blogs that I read and kept up with on a regular basis. I fully participated in the infertility community. And, I loved it. I felt so lucky to have the support of all of you. Heck, I could talk about anything, and I would get support and advice.

But then, we adopted. I wasn’t really part of the infertility community anymore. I wasn’t talking about OPK’s, or BFN’s, or my cervical mucous (that stuff is still gross). Suddenly, I was talking about diapers and feedings and sleepless nights. And my community shifted.

The adoption community was harder to be part of….mostly because I was parenting (which is an incredible and lovely time-sink). But, I followed and commented on blogs, slowly finding bloggers I could identify with. Although, the adoption blogging world was more fractured than the infertility one, I still felt part of a greater community.

Commenters became people who I looked to for advice, dialogue, and community. YOU, my readers, supported me through so much! And over the years, I have come to know you as my confidants. Many of you are friends with me on Facebook, some of us exchange Christmas cards, and even some of you I’ve met with and become actual friends with. In fact, some of my best friends I have found through this blog (I’m looking at you Rose!!).

But, over the past year, my blogroll/reader has shrunk from 175 to about 30…only about 10 of which are updated regularly. I don’t have time to comment much anymore, let alone post, or find new blogs to follow. And I began to feel strange about not blogging more.

And so, I signed up for BlogHer. I needed to think about…actually meditate on… blogging for a while.

To say the BlogHer eventually ended up being at the most inconvenient time is a gross understatement. That weekend was chaotic and challenging. I don’t want to talk about it too much, other than to say that Cadet wasn’t a fan (that’s putting it mildly) of my being gone.

**********

I wish I could have spent more time at the actual conference. As it was, I was only there for one full day (out of three) and was back and forth the rest of the time (McRuger and Cadet needed me more…).

I attended the Social Media session with Robyn. I learned a lot about how to promote my blog (which I don’t do at all, and have no interest to with this space). But, I got a lot of ideas on how to make my business pop…when I get the time to do that.

I went the “Voices of the Year” reception with Robyn…which had great food and wonderful blog entries for us to read.

I was especially disappointed with the “Special Needs” mini conference. Frankly, it was 3 moderators sharing their story…and then some minimal networking. I didn’t feel I got any special resources or insights. However, I did get to meet a few local (and not-so-local) moms and got to talk about their struggles and joys.

And I got to hear Robyn read her post about Adoption Myths for the OpenMic Night…which was AWESOME!!

I spent a lot of time thinking/mulling/meditating about what I wanted for this blog. And what has become clear is that I this space is not where I want to be focusing right now.

For a while now,  this blog has become an afterthought…a hurried rush to get something/anything out there. No thought, no real planning, and no intention…other than I owe it to my readers. But this sporadic posting isn’t what I want.  I want to be intentional with my writing, and for a reason other than guilt.

I know I don’t want to be that blogger that leaves people hanging. I didn’t just want to leave, because that is kind of messed up (in my view).

Then I read Esperanza‘s post (and her follow-ups)….and I felt jolted. I’m not exactly sure why, other than I have left this blog fallow for huge amounts of time. Was I being an asshole by not writing (that wasn’t what she was saying, but what I was feeling already)? I was writing because I felt guilty. Because I feel like I owe you (my readers) something.  Which I feel strange about. I do feel like blogging is a conversation…and like any conversation there is a good deal of give and take.

But, I don’t talk about infertility anymore…and adoption is pushed to the back in favor of other topics. I want to spend time blogging for my crafting and my homeschooling journey. And when I blog about those, I want to be blogging as me…not as Rain. Can I be honest? I’m tired of being Rain. I know why I chose to be anonymous, I know it was the right choice, but it’s still not easy.

So, I’ve been investigating starting a personal crafting/homeschooling blog….something simply dedicated to those pursuits and tied to my Etsy store. A space for me…not Rain.

This post ended up being a lot less about BlogHer and a lot about this blog….sorry about that. It’s been a chaotic morning, to say the least…training a new therapist and trying to find a new babysitter (still).

 

 

Categories: blogging, thoughts, Writing | 12 Comments

A trip to the farm

Last week Cadet and I were at my parent’s farm. Yes…just days after returning from the Midwest and the Death Trap, Cadet and I made the 6 hour drive to the farm. Originally, it was prompted by my mom’s health…cue quick recap….

****So, my mom has had almost constant sciatica/nerve pain for the last decade. It was exacerbated by her job which required her to be on her feet or driving in cars for hours (she was a social worker). Her doctor told her to take Ad.vil because my mom wasn’t in that much pain. So, basically, she’s been taking “therapeutic” levels of Ad.vil for many years…almost constantly. This, in turn, eroded the lining of my mom’s stomach…causing her more pain and the possible cancer diagnosis.

First her doctor told her she had cancer, then another doctor told her she didn’t, then another doctor (just last week) told her she did…and hence the trip north. In fact, I got that call (“hey, so I might have cancer…again”) while I was at BlogHer…just one day after returning from the Midwest. It kind of derailed me, if I’m being honest.****

After talking to McRuger, and my parents and Bro/Jewel, we all decided that last week was a good time to go. Mom had a doctor’s appointment about her pain and potential cancer. To save you the worry…she doesn’t have cancer (yay!).

It was possibly the worst time to go…for Cadet. He’s a kiddo who likes his rhythm and daily schedule. After almost two weeks of travel and being away, he wasn’t in the best place. But, life happens, and he went with me.

To be honest, most of the trip was rather dull. Cadet had a very rough time sleeping (which had a negative impact on me…since he was sleeping with me), but overall, the trip was a normal trip. My dad took a day off of work to hang out with Cadet and me, which was great. The drought is so bad there, that my parents are keeping a trough full of water…for the wildlife! The deer (a long-time nemesis of my father) are so thirsty for water that they are looking dehydrated…which is bad for this early in the summer. The trough and apples that my dad is putting out, drew lots of excitement from Cadet. He was thrilled to see the baby deer and the birds that now frequent my parent’s front lawn.

We had dinner one night with Bro, Jewel, Bug, and Mouse. Jewel cooked a nice dinner of lasagna, bread, salad, and cobbler. Despite my best efforts, Bug and Mouse still completely overwhelm Cadet. They are LOUD children. And by loud, I mean constantly screaming/running/screeching/moving/talking. They are NEVER quiet, unless they are watching TV (which is on near-constantly for the girls). So, Cadet doesn’t really enjoy his cousins that much yet. Combine the noise with more toys than you can fit in my house….and it’s overwhelming for me, let alone my sensory-challenged kiddo.

To be honest, I don’t understand Jewel very much…despite the fact that I’ve known her since kindergarten. She’s one of those people who has to have everything be perfect…no matter what it costs her (Bro is the same way…). To that end, she keeps her house immaculate…no stray socks on the floor, no toys strewn about, no messy fingerprints on the windows. Of course, her mother comes in daily to help keep the “mess” in check. Her mom does all the laundry for the family, takes the girls for close to 15 hours each week (lots of shopping for new toys), and also designed/planted/weeds/waters Jewel’s veggie garden. Plus, Jewel has a team of three housecleaners who come in twice a month for a “deep” clean. I swear, I have never seen a speck of dust in their house. And despite all the help she gets…she’s constantly complaining about how little time she has…because she’s always cleaning. Because she’s always cleaning, and the girls don’t help with that at all, she basically doesn’t spend much time with them. They are entertained by the TV or Jewel’s mom…or by just screaming all the time. I just don’t get it….

But, the best part of the trip was the day my dad brought down my boxes of toys from the attic. My parents have been storing most of my childhood toys and memorabilia from middle/high school in their attic for the last 18 years. They have been “threatening” to have a big cleaning and toss everything for years…but have never done it. When I suggested we get a start with some of my boxes, my dad jumped at the chance.

We brought down 8 boxes that were labeled as mine. I was most excited to see my dolls, since I had quite the collection starting at a young age. My Cabbage Patch Dolls, especially were loved. At one time, I had almost 30 of them, but had pared it down to 19 when I packed them away in high school. I got my first CPK doll in 3rd grade, when they were all the rage…because one of the storage facilities had burned down and they were hard to get. I named her “Betty”, my second was “Mary”, then came “Tom”, and “Jocelyn”….I honestly can’t remember the names of the rest of them. It was surreal to see them again…dolls that (in my mind) had distinct personalities and histories. I gave them each a hug as we unpacked them. And then came the decision about what to do with them….  In the end, I kept my favorite 4 (named above), I gave Bug and Mouse each one, and donated the rest to a local thrift shop.

However, what surprised me the most was my reaction to my “Pound Puppy” stuffed animal. I actually cried when I saw him. I was in tears and I couldn’t stop hugging him. It was like I was reunited with a friend. I don’t quite know why that stuffed animal impacted me so greatly, but he did. Of course, he came home with me!

We also went through lots of things I had forgotten about or never seen: a blanket, hat, and coat my grandma had crocheted for me before she died, clothes I had worn when I was a baby, a tea cup collection from my great-grandmother, a box of vintage doll furniture that had been hand made (we think) for my grandmother, and some play jewelry that I had loved as child.

In the end, most of the stuff was donated. But, it was a great trip down memory lane for me.

******

We ended up coming home a day early because Cadet was really struggling with sleep: averaging about 6-7 hours a night (and I was getting about 5 hours a night, which isn’t good). I needed to sleep in my bed, and I needed Cadet to catch up on his sleep…since he also wasn’t napping well. Cadet actually slept for 4 hours on the drive home…and still slept the entire night once we got home.

It’s also nice to be home to our normal routine. This morning, Cadet and I made bread for the week (a Monday ritual), and did some cleaning up (together) of his room and his toys.

I still owe you all a review of BlogHer…soon, I hope!!

 

 

 

Categories: Cadet, Family, Household, travel | 3 Comments

Warm Corn Salad

While at BlogHer, I met Elizabeth…I have read her blog for a while and she’s been a loyal reader of mine. In her most recent post, she’s looking for recipes. So, this post is for her…..

Several years ago, McRuger and I were stumped. We needed a salad for our Thanksgiving dinner, but didn’t want a boring green salad. After checking out our fridge/freezer, my eyes landed on a bag of frozen corn. I thought that I could do something with that. Over the years, I perfected my recipe and made it for various sized crowds. With only 5 main ingredients (which are stapes in my house), it’s a simple, go-to recipe that you can use year-round.

Please note, that this recipe is easily doubled or tripled. It is best served warm, but leftovers can be heated in the microwave/stove.

 

Warm Corn Salad

1 bag frozen sweet corn (I use super sweet bi-color corn)

1 fresh jalapeño

2 slices uncooked bacon

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey (can also use agave syrup)

Salt and pepper to taste

********

Cut the slices of bacon in to small pieces (julienne). Sprinkle them in a cold pan and render the fat out, until the pieces are crispy. Remove the bacon pieces and drain them on a paper towel. Reserve a tablespoon of the bacon fat.

While your bacon is cooking, stem and deseed your jalapeño. Dice the jalapeño very fine (or a brunoise, if you are a foodie like me…).

Heat your skillet and bacon fat to a medium/low temperature. Sauté the jalapeño until they are just tender. They shouldn’t be brown or get crispy, just soften them.

Once the jalapeño has softened, turn the heat up to medium, and add the corn to the pan. Let the corn get coated with the grease. Cook the corn until heated and starting to sizzle.

Add the vinegar and honey and stir. Be sure to keep your face away from the pan when you add the vinegar.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm, topped with the crispy bacon bits.

**********

Variations: Adding fresh, diced tomatoes can be a great addition. A perfect summer addition!

 

Enjoy!

Categories: food | 2 Comments

Returning from the “death trap”…

We were gone for 8 days, but it feels like longer. It was a really long 8 days. We went to visit McRuger’s family in the Midwest for a family reunion. First of all, there were a lot of great moments. I loved getting to know my nephews and nieces more, especially now that they are older. They were a HUGE help with Cadet. We had some fun family activities and I got to teach a few folks about felting. And it was wonderful to see Cadet making deeper connections with McRuger’s family.

However, there were a lot of “downsides”. So, McRuger’s parents own a lake (several actually) and a lake house. That sounds mighty glamorous, doesn’t it? Yeah…not so much. The lake house (or unfinished cabin) was lovingly dubbed “the death trap”. In the five years since I was last at “the death trap”, the cabin has remained pretty much the same. It’s like camping, indoors, with LOTS of construction equipment. So, there was a good deal of work we had to do to make sure Cadet didn’t kill himself. Plus, the lake had some sort of oil slick…and smelled like death…so we didn’t get to swim.

There were lots of tension between some of McRuger’s family members. It seemed like every day there was some new issue to be worked out.  MIL fighting with BIL. SIL fighting with her husband. It made for some very tense meals. But, McRuger’s family doesn’t just “visit” each other….they live together. Lots of sibling rivalry, a good deal of miscommunication, and just a dash of unresolved issues….I’ll leave it to your imagination how much fun that was.

Toss in 90F heat, 70% humidity, and lots of VERY LARGE bugs and it was just what the doctor ordered…NOT.  Oh, and I’m pretty sure that my doctor would not be pleased with the typical diet of McRuger’s family: “juice” (aka Crysta.l Lit.e), sausage, potatoes, bacon, eggs, and a good deal of highly processed cheese. You know how when you eat breakfast and you have toast with your eggs? Yeah…no…they serve pancakes or (more commonly) biscuits and gravy. When it was my turn to make dinner, I made lentil loaf with a green salad…people liked it after they heaped on the salsa and sour cream. Every time I cooked, I made something with a vegetable: sweet potato hash, warm corn salad, or sautéed kale.

How did Cadet do? Well, it was rough for him at various points. He did fantastically during the plane ride out. I was really impressed. He was calm and curious. He got a little fussy toward the end, but it was a 4-hour flight, and he’s not used to sitting down that much. We had packed him his own little “carry on” (a fabric lunch box with treats, new small toys, stickers, and animal flash cards). Cadet loved his “suitcase”, and carried it everywhere.

While we were there, Cadet did pretty well. After the first few days, we had to instruct McRuger’s family about how to read some of Cadet’s cues, but they did pretty well. Sleeping was the main issue. Cadet, who normally sleeping in his own room, wasn’t about to sleep in a strange room. He only wanted to sleep with me. McRuger and I were sleeping on a double-sized bed (we’re bigger people….and it was tight), so I didn’t really have room to accommodate Cadet. In the end, Cadet and I shared the double bed, and McRuger slept on the floor on an old crib mattress. We all suffered from a good deal of sleep deprivation.

However, Cadet got to do lots of new things and learned new words. Some of his favorites were: feeding the donkeys, riding on the pontoon boat, watching the corn wave in the wind, going over the train tracks, and tickling everyone’s chin. He also got lots of time to play and explore with his cousins….they cried when they hugged him goodbye!

The journey home was ROUGH. I mean….ROUGH! Cadet woke at 3:45 the morning of our flight home and refused to go back to sleep. After an hour of trying everything to get him back to sleep, McRuger and I decided to make a mad dash for the airport and try to get an earlier flight home via standby. We literally had 40 minutes to pack, drive (20 minutes), and return our rental car. Thankfully, everything went smoothly (although it was tense)…and we got the last three tickets on the flight. I got to hand it to Virg.in Americ.a….they were amazing to deal with. And on the actual flight, Cadet was a nightmare. I’ve never seen him so dysregulated before. He was exhausted…and so were we. After a good deal of screaming, he finally slept the last hour of the flight.

So, we got home on Thursday morning…and on Friday I was at BlogHer (which is another post).

I’ll leave you with Cadet’s impressions of the trip. When I asked him what we saw in State X…he said: “Corn, big corn”.

Categories: Other Stuff | Tags: | 4 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 110 other followers