Thursday, October 28, 2010

Garrett's Evaluation and Our State Fair Experience!

The past couple days have been crazy!!! But mostly fun anyways. We had Garrett's evaluation with the Speech and Occupational Therapist yesterday. Let me begin by saying - WE LOVE THEM! His Occupational Therapist's name is Mrs. Cre and she is so sweet and so good with Garrett. He absolutely loved her. He even played with her hair and looked at her ring and gave her the shocked face when he saw it! So funny! And his Speech Therapist's name is Mrs. Audie and she is such a sweetheart too. It's so obvious that they both love what they do and love the children. Garrett warmed up to both of them, but Mrs. Cre in particular! He cried when we had to leave her room and go to Mrs. Audie's room. But he did so well with both of them and the entire time we were there. They asked me hundreds of questions and played with him some. They do think that he needs a little help in both areas, but they didn't have any major concerns. They think he will catch right on up in no time. Which made me feel so happy and relieved! They both gave me great suggestions and recommended more interaction with children his own age some. A lot of why he probably doesn't talk is because he's not in daycare and he's never really HAD to say much because his Mama just gives him whatever he needs! HA. But we will get there! They suggested a few toys that are "Cause and Effect" - so he has to do something to make it work! And things that make him really work his little fingers and make his mind think. He's got SO MANY little knick-knack toys in his bin here at the house and they suggested to sort of clean it out and only have a few things available for him to play with at a time so he can focus more on one thing at a time. And to also have a designated area for him to sit and color or play with a certain toy! So after his appointment, my Mama, Garrett, and I went on a little shopping spree for things that he needs. Thanks to his MeMe and his Daddy's hard working, he's gotten some nice new toys and learning activities.. some "early Christmas presents"! He has absolutely loved them all so far too! We couldn't find a little activity desk and chair like we wanted, but his MeMe ordered one online for him!! One thing Garrett really loved at the therapists' office was the little mats they played on. I found some at Toys'R'Us with the alphabet and numbers and as soon as we got home today from spending a couple nights with my Mama..we set them up! He was running and stomping on them for a WHILE! He's so funny. We will be seeing Mrs. Cre and Mrs. Audie on Tuesday's for a little while and see how he does. I've also got him on the waiting list to start next August at the Child Development Center in Springhill (sort of like Mom's Day Out, but a learning center). He'll go twice a week from 9 to 2:30! They start pre-registering and she said it's pretty likely that we will get accepted because he's not too far down the waiting list (one of a few perks of living in a small town). I know next August is a little ways away, but we will find other activities to do from now until then to get his interaction with other kids that he needs.

We decided to stay the night again with my Mama and take him to the State Fair today along with his cousin Macee! I was a little afraid it would be a disaster because he hadn't really had a nap, but fell asleep shortly before we got to the fair... but then again, I know how he LOVES to ride almost anything so I thought it'd work out fine. When we enter the gates, we have to stop and either buy tickets or a wrist band... we chose wrist band so we could ride whatever, whenever, and however many times without having to go back and purchase more tickets! Garrett has NOT been crazy about anything around his wrists... long sleeve shirts, jackets, and much less a wrist band. He was having a come apart when the carney put the wristband on him. After the first couple rides, Garrett just wasn't having it - so I walked back over to the carney and asked him if he (I initially called him "mam" because I thought he was a she) could put a band on his leg instead of his wrist and he tells me no because the bands are "all accounted for and I'd have to pay $10 AGAIN for one to go on his leg" - FORGET THAT. I'm not paying $10 AGAIN for a piece of dang paper!!! That was the dumbest thing I'd ever heard. But Aunt Sharon wiggled it off of his arm and we just attached it to his shoe! It was all gravy from there! He had such a wonderful time. He loved EVERYTHING! I could go on for days. I'm not a big coaster junkie - and was even sort of nervous to get on the kiddie dragon coaster, but he was NOT riding that alone. The carney kept telling me "This is not an adult ride..it's for kids" But I didn't care.. Garrett wanted to ride and I wasn't putting him on that alone. My knees sure wish I hadn't of rode though. They are getting bruises on them from being so scrunched in the short cart and them banging against the metal with each turn, hill, and jerk.. but it was worth it! Garrett loved it. I think that may have been his favorite because he threw the biggest fit getting off of that one! We then got on the carousel in the kiddie area... and I was wondering when that one was going to end after about three minutes of going up and down and up and down while having the death grip on my son. Turns out the carney fell asleep for a few minutes.. no lie. Those people just really freak me out, but Garrett had fun nonetheless. Here are a few pictures just from my point and shoot camera! I wasn't bringing my big mama-jama up in the fair!!!

This is the first carousel we rode - he wasn't happy about his wristband! (Not the one where the carney fell asleep)

Still not happy about the band... HA

I sorta love this one - We were riding the little doggies!

My fearless child petting the goat! When we asked one carney where the animals were - he literally turned around in his area (some sort of game area) and pointed at the stuffed animals. No lie!!!

Okay - Seriously, I laugh my hiney off EVERYTIME I look at this picture and think about this story. A lady walked by us when we were standing next to this llama and whatever the other animal was and she had a bunch of food for the animals and she said "The animals weren't wanting to eat when we were trying to feeding them! You can have it and see if they'll eat it!" - so my Mama grabs the cup with little bits of food in them and this llama sticks his head out of this hole in the fence(we had just been laughing about his MAJOR under-bite) and my Mama is trying to gently feed the llama and he almost bites her hand off trying to get the food. He was very snatchy - no manners at all. My Mama's face was just priceless - I guess maybe it was one of those things you had to be there for. Mama is pretty fearless, but she was scared of this thing... SO FUNNY. I have tears in my eyes. **Note that Garrett isn't scared at all**

This part of the day almost broke my heart - this little train ride, I decided I'd let him ride alone if Macee rode with him. All was well until we couldn't get Macee's buckle snapped in and the carney came to help out - and he scared the crap out of Macee, poor baby! Then she wasn't having it. I'm telling you... there really was something strange about all the people running EACH RIDE... But anyways, Macee wasn't riding it anymore after being scared and Garrett was READY... so he rode ALL BY HIMSELF. And he sat so still and just looked around and did so good. It broke my heart because he looked like such a big boy. It really made me want to cry when the train would pass by and we'd holler "HEY GARRETT" and then he'd go by and I could see his little head poking up above the seats from behind.
In his own cart - all by himself!
HEY GARRETT!!!

Here we are riding the teacup (excuse my hair - it was windy!) - This particular carney was a tad strange himself.. Bees were surrounding the poor little big guy. He was hollering "Get the hell away from my damn coke damn bees! I'm gonna have to tell my boss about this problem! If I get bit once, I gotta go to the emergency room!" - Pretty sure the bees understood him... and pretty sure the children in the KIDDIE AREA could also pick up his curse words.
Brittney and Macee on the teacup!

So - Today was very interesting to say the least with all of the carnies. But it was worth it - my baby boy had a blast and I actually want to take him back! However, I can't say that I won't still be wanting to ride the rides with him again (even if he's like 4... or 9..or 16).

As far as other updates - it seems like everyone around me needs prayer (including us) at this time. So just keep family and friends in your thoughts and prayers!!! I'm exhausted and ready for bed... after I watch Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Updates! Updates! Read all about it!

Unfortunately, we had to schedule for next Wednesday for Garrett's Speech and Occupational evaluations, BUT that's probably for the best anyways. Because he has been sick since he got his shots last week. And it's been even worse the past two days. Now guess what? I've got a really sore throat - I've not been feeling really good all week either. I've been weak, tired, and fainty feeling.. and now on top of that a sore throat. Brandon and I have a "date night" tomorrow night and I'll be totally bummed if that gets canceled because I don't feel good because we rarely ever get to have a date night!! I was happy to get rid of the hot Summer months, but the transition to Fall weather always makes our allergies go wild. But we are so excited that we are getting right on in for Garrett's evaluation anyways! I had them mail me his paperwork so I could go ahead and get it filled out...and boy am I happy that I did that! It seriously took me an hour to fill them out and was 10 pages long. MOST PAPERWORK EVER! My Mom is going with us for the evaluation next week. She was going to go so she could keep an eye on him while I filled out the paperwork and for moral support! Luckily, we've got one part out of the way. So we're just waiting on next Wednesday now. The other day, he dropped something and I said "Uhoh!" and he repeated it clearly a few times. And he's jabbering more and more.. not just "dee dol dee dol dee dol" LOL.. He has other sounds in there now. Brandon and I were talking about how we just know he's going to be coming around soon and probably start talking clearly with full sentences. However, we still want the evaluation done just for peace of minds!!! And my sanity! I'll tell you what though - Brandon and I used to say "Our child WILL NEVER..... act this way, talk like that, get by with that, yada yada yada". But I'll also tell you that it's not easy to get onto him when he's so dang cute and funny. He wasn't eating much of ANYTHING yesterday at all. He would drink his milk and juice, but that's it! He LOVES sweet potatoes but didn't even want that. I got him to eat a Goldfish cracker at supper so I tried to trick him and put some sweet potatoes on it. Well, since he's SOOOOOOOO very independent.. he wanted to feed it to himself and as soon as he felt the sweet potatoes on the goldfish, his face look disgusted and he started flinging his hand to get it off his fingers. It was like slow motion and it finally landed in the floor and made a big mess... I used to say I'd tear his butt up.. but it was so hilarious.. Brandon and I just stared at each other and I did my ridiculously loud laugh. I couldn't contain it. It was just so funny and it seemed like it took forever for the goldfish and sweet potatoes to land on the floor way behind him.. I guess maybe you had to just be there to think it was funny, but I assure you.. it WAS indeed funny and I am still snickering every time I think about it. Garrett, Brandon, and I were also playing in Garrett's room last night and Garrett was having a good time turning his Pottery Barn chair over (he loves being a strong boy) and Brandon was pushing it back around and it sort of hit and pushed Garrett a little bit and Garrett got BOWED UP and was clinching his fists and going crazy on that chair for hitting him. It was HILARIOUS!!! He's just so funny. I can't wait for him to start talking and saying funny stuff then.. I do believe we are in for it! And I'm pretty sure I will have to be the punisher because Brandon lets him do whatever he wants to do and Brandon is also clear about how he'll probably never spank that baby.

On other good notes, I took my Granddaddy for his LAST CHEMO treatment on Tuesday!! We meet with the doctor for the planning of radiation on November 2nd and we will go from there on starting radiation and seeing how much he'll need. Since it will be Monday thru Friday each week, MeMaw and Granddaddy will pretty much move in with my Mom and Pops so they don't have a two hour round trip every day of the week! Keep him in your prayers and I'll keep everyone up to date on how he's doing!!!

Also, Brandon's buddy Heath got moved to the "step down" unit at the LSU Burn Center! We are so excited about that. One step closer to coming home!!!! The power of prayer is amazing!! And again, here is his sister, April's blog about his recovery - she hasn't posted in a week and I am constantly stalking her blog for another post!! I love her writing and hearing about his recovery!


I'm getting stoked about deer hunting! I killed my first deer around 2005, I think... It was a doe and my father-in-law too me hunting. This was back when Brandon was stingy and didn't want to miss out on HIS opportunity to miss a nice deer by taking me hunting. And since his Daddy loves to scout and take kids hunting.. he was nice enough to take me. I remember it like it was yesterday. Mosquitos swarming all around us and then a doe walked out. I don't know if you know me, but I laugh at the most inappropriate times. Such as when I'm nervous, when I SHOULD be quiet, and all sorts of inappropriate times (hints the times Garrett should be getting in trouble).. Anyways, when the deer came out Charles was telling me what all I need to be doing to get ready to pull the trigger but all I could do was laugh and laugh. Finally, he told me to settle down and aim. HAHA. I'm ALSO a HUGE flincher. You can be 100 yards away from me and if you throw a punch.. I am GOING TO FLINCH. It's horrible. My brother makes big fun of me. So when I'm getting ready to pull the trigger, I'll get it aimed on the deer but then I have to close my eyes to shoot... and it makes me pull the gun some. It was pretty comical and I remember it like it was yesterday. But I did get the doe (even though my father-in-law had to shoot the deer again to kill her) and I was so excited. But then two weeks later, something hit me and I was SO UPSET with myself that I'd killed that beautiful deer. I was upset for a few weeks. And I got to where I couldn't even eat deer meat because I got so sad about it!!!! Until now, I've not had any interest in killing another doe. I refuse. But I am hunting for the horns! I do think I'm more excited than Brandon about hunting this season. He wants me to get one of the big bucks we have back behind the house! So these are a couple deer that I'm hunting for!!!



Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!!!! I'm looking forward to my husband FINALLY having time off and having some quality time with him on date night! Hoping my throat feels better TODAY! I don't want to feel like crud on date night!!! Good day!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Playing the Waiting Game..

I hate waiting around. Plain and simple. Thursday and Friday I waited around for multiple phone calls...many which didn't come. The call I was waiting for Thursday, about insurance coverage for speech and occupational therapy, didn't come until Friday. That call made me need to make another call, which still has yet to be returned. So with all the waiting and testing my patience (which is like NEGATIVE 8 billion) it made me think about my other pet peeves.. and boy do I have a lot. That'll be a post in itself. HA. Anyways - Our insurance coverage only allows for 20 sessions of therapy per year AFTER the deductible is met and then they pay 80%. Which would probably be okay this year since we are so close to the end, but that's only 10 sessions each if he needs both Speech AND Occupational Therapy. So that wouldn't get us far at all next year. We are looking into Early Steps as well because their services are free, but have been told by the receptionist there that the "in-take process" could take about 45 days. I don't WANT to wait until around Thanksgiving and the holidays to start his evaluation and stuff. There goes my patience thing again. But at the same time, Brandon and I both want answers now. We've talked about it over our very little time together over the weekend and we've decided that we will get the Early Steps program "in-take process" started but also go ahead and see the other Physical Therapist for his full evaluation. It's worth the $210 to get him evaluated before 45 days are up to us. We're ready for answers! We both know that one day we'll probably think we are ridiculous for jumping in this deep because he's probably just a late bloomer! But OH WELL! We are both tired of stressing out about it - and I'm the worst because that's all I have time to think about since I stay home with Garrett. Brandon hides his feelings a lot, but I know this bothers him a lot too.. especially because he also has to deal with me crying all the time. HAHA. Tomorrow I'll be calling to schedule the full evaluation for very soon hopefully and getting the Early Steps process started. Ever since Garrett got his shots - he's been sick! Really congested, runny nose, and coughing and LATE LATE NIGHTS. This happened last year when he got the flu shot... I'm started to think it's not so "coincidental".

Keep Garrett on your prayer list as well as my Granddaddy and Brandon's Papaw. Both of them aren't doing very well at all. The chemo is really getting to my Granddaddy - it took all I had not to cry when I saw him yesterday. He can't eat or drink anything. He's so nauseated. It's not normal for him to not smile or being excited to see Garrett. It was like Garrett KNEW his "best buddy" didn't feel well yesterday because he kept getting in the rocking chair with his Granddaddy and letting his Granddaddy rock him... and if you know Garrett, he does NOT sit still - so that was so sweet to see! Brandon's Papaw has also been very weak and having a lot of pain. He was in the hospital for a couple of days and they have found more lesions in his right ribs and his illiac bone on the right hip. We still aren't really sure what all is going on - he sees the cancer doctor Tuesday. So does my Granddaddy - we aren't so sure he'll get his treatment this week or not seeing how this past week has been.

Hope you all have had a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

All about Garrett!!

After much thinking, stressing, and concern... I finally got a lot of advice and information from several friends and family members and decided it was time to change pediatricians and have Garrett looked at and evaluated to help answer some of my questions and concerns. And boy are we so happy about the move to a new pediatrician!!! Dr. Sharye Atchison is such an angel!!!! We are so thankful for my cousin Kristina and friend Lynda for referring her to us. Thank ya'll SO MUCH! Garrett warmed up to her pretty nicely. I loved how she interacted with him and made him feel comfortable and made him smile... until she started looking at the "sweet potatoes" in his ears! Ever since he had those several ear infections, he FREAKS out about people getting near his ears... doctor, hairstylist, Mama, Daddy, or ANYBODY. He can't stand it. So he still freaked out when she was checking his ears out.. it took Dr. Sharye, my Mom and myself to hold him still enough for her to peak in his ears! And even then, he was screaming and crying.. I know he doesn't talk, but I'm pretty darn sure he was cussing me for bringing him to the doctor and letting her do that to him!! I always feel so guilty because his ears look so waxy, but we've always been told not to put a q-tip in there (even though he won't let anything/anyone near them anyways) - so they look bad! It's killing me.. I just want to get them cleaned out! Then maybe, just maybe he'll start talking! Ha. Anyways, after talking my concerns over about Garrett - she suggested that we see a Occupational and Speech Therapist for an evaluation of his cognitive (thinking) skills, comprehension skills, and coordination. Also for a hearing test and evaluation for his speech! I'll be calling in the morning to see how insurance covers and scheduling his evaluation. I'm that much closer to feeling better!!! Today has helped me a bunch - I feel comforted now knowing she doesn't think that he's autistic. She just thinks he needs some help with his speech and communication skills!!! He also got two shots today - flu shot and hepatitis-A shot. He was NOT a happy camper because he'd already missed his nap time.. and then fell asleep in his Meme's arms while the doctor and nurse stepped out.. just for them to wake him up and poke him twice with needles!!! He's doing pretty well tonight - in fact, after I gave him a bath he was just running around in his diaper and he ran up to me giggling.. when I looked down, he had taken his diaper off and was running around naked! This boy LOVES to be naked. We also attempted a haircut today after he had breakfast. Like last time, it didn't go too well! He freaked when she was getting close to his ears! But we got a nice bit cut and after I got him out of the bath tonight, I put him on his changing table with my phone and let him play with the "Talking Tom" app that he loves oh so much and I got it trimmed up around his ears! It looks so sweet now.

After scheduling the appointment yesterday for his appointment today, we decided to go spend the night with G's Meme and Pops. So after he woke up from his nap yesterday, I wanted to take him to the pumpkin patch close to their house. I knew this year would be much harder because he's RUNNING now..where as last year, he wasn't even walking yet.. so I could just sit him down and he'd sit still. Ha. Sometimes I miss those days - even though he's getting more and more fun!! Cousin Brittney and Macee (who is only one day younger than Garrett) met us at the pumpkin patch. Needless to say, I couldn't hardly catch two running babies in one picture - especially looking at me, but I did get two of them together that I think is just plain cute!!! Here are a couple pictures from yesterday (keep in mind that this was BEFORE his hair cut, LOL)!

I had no idea it was so windy outside until we got there! This is the only decent one of him on the bench - and completely unedited! I'm so tired I don't feel like playing with it right now! HAHA.

Where's Garrett?!?!

Garrett sitting in some punkins!


Macee girl! She's so cute - she loved the tiny pumpkins!


Garrett and Macee staring at each other and giggling!


And last but certainly NOT least - my favorite of the two of them! (I had to play with this one before posting it!)


Well - That's all for today folks! Hope you all had a fantastic Hump Day!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Once again.. It's been a while!

It's been almost two months again... I'm one busy Mama! It seems like the last two months have flown by, but yet... I still feel like there is a lot that I'll forget to mention here or like a lot hasn't really went on. I was very faithful to my blogs that I love, but I've even been to busy to get on Blogger and follow up daily like I used to! As I also told my friend, Stacey, I just don't have but one or two readers on here (that I know of - if you visit here, please say hello!).. and I feel like I'm not too interesting! HAHA.

Updates:

Garrett is still not talking hardly at all. It's gotten to the point where it's almost all that I can think about! I'm now writing friends for suggestions and opinions and one of my best friends, Amber, told me about a girl we went to school with and how she's a Speech Therapist.. so I shot her a message on Facebook to see what she thinks. We took Garrett for a well-baby checkup last month when he was 20 months and I brought it up to the doctor... but he didn't seem concerned much. He just thinks it's because Garrett isn't in daycare, doesn't have much interaction with children, and his Daddy isn't a big talker either..so it tends to be sort of quiet around here a lot. But I can't help but worry. I can repeat like a broken record all day, but can't get him to say anything! It's driving me CRAZY. And anytime I look at Parenting magazines or hear/see that a child way younger than Garrett is HAVING CONVERSATIONS.. It makes me upset, sad, angry, and a million other words. I'm just ready to know FOR SURE if he's a "late bloomer" or if something is wrong. Please keep him in your prayers!!!

Brandon is still loving his job and we love having him home every night! It's made things a lot easier. The insurance, pay, and everything is SO MUCH BETTER!! We are so thankful for his job!!!

One of Brandon's best friends since they were babies, Heath, was burned nearly two months ago when he was called out to a gas location for a faulty pump and it exploded on him. He's at LSU in Shreveport and has been in ICU since day one. He's got a long road ahead of him, but we are so thankful he's being such a strong guy and really pulling through!!! He has the biggest support system LSU nurses have ever seen!! Heath's sister, April, writes about this journey every couple of days and I sob with almost every story - she is an AMAZING writer. I wish I could tell stories like she does!!! I wanted to share her blog for anyone who may want to read or pass it along - Heath still needs many of prayers so please keep him in your prayers as well!! Here is April's blog link:

http://lagirlrevelations.blogspot.com/

On my last post, I was debating on what I needed to do - cakes or photography or what. Cakes were totally consuming my weeks and weekends! I've decided to stop taking orders for a bit and get back to learning photography - after all, I do have an amazing little man that I need to be taking pictures of... If I could ever get him to sit still!!! I have so much to learn, but I'm so excited about it. I love capturing memories. Making cakes did help bring in a little extra cash, but right now.. it's just not worth it to me.. especially for the time and effort it takes.. Not to mention the time I need to be spending with Garrett and practicing on his speech!

My Granddaddy is still doing chemo. Initially it was only supposed to be about four, three week rounds of it.. but he's been dehydrated a lot because he doesn't like drinking much fluids.. He's always been that way! We try to push it on him but you know how it is when you don't want something to eat or drink.. it's hard to force yourself to drink or eat. But we don't want him to go into renal failure or something bad to happen to him. So they've only given him half of his treatment a couple of times which is throwing us way off schedule. He has a long treatment tomorrow, another treatment that I'm taking him to next Tuesday, then a week off..and we'll see what happens then. As soon as we finish chemo, we will have to start radiation five days a week and we aren't sure how many weeks he will have to do that yet. Then after all of that... We still have the aortic aneurysm to deal with!!! He's so weak and he gets out of breath with minimum steps so PLEASE keep my sweet Granddaddy and MeMaw in your prayers. She is almost as bad as him.. It kills her to see him feel like he does. She cries more now than ever!!!!

I've been horrible about taking pictures of Garrett and posting them... especially editing them! I'm just so busy!!!! But he did finger paint back on September 9, 2010 for the first time.. he wasn't sure what to think about it! But he liked mushing the paint in his fingers.. not too much on the paper though! He was putting it on his diaper, table, chair, belly... everywhere but the paper almost! HAHA. Here is a picture from the finger painting:

He says "Momma, I'm DONE!! You better get me down!" - He slung paint on his face! LOL!
Seeing these pictures reminds me of something else -- We are trying to get rid of the pacifier!! We've got it down to him not having it AT ALL during the day.. He ONLY gets it when he lays down for nap and bedtime. My family swears by the full moon, so we may try to get rid of it cold turkey for nap and bedtime during the next full moon!

I can't believe my boy is going to be two in only three months!! I've officially decided that his birthday party theme is going to be "Finding Nemo" because he LOVE LOVE LOVES that movie. And I ran into a cake the other day online with Finding Nemo theme and that's when I just knew that was it!!! I started looking for things to design his party invitations with as well!!! And I found a cute kit.. just gotta start working on it!!! I was looking for what I wanted our Christmas cards to look like too... From Halloween until after Garrett's birthday party in January... thinks are just HECTIC!!! It's non-stop.. Planning Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Years, then Garrett's birthday... Man, it's stressing me out just thinking about it!! Good thing I'm a little "plan-ahead" type person. Getting started ahead of time this year! Ha.

And if anyone who doesn't really know me that stops by - I am a Scentsy Consultant and I am doing a giveaway this month! Anyone who orders $25 (before taxes and shipping) this month is entered to win a full-size Scentsy "Charity" warmer with their choice of one Scentsy bar! It's over $35 value!! The warmer is one of my favorites!! It's a beautiful rustic cross warmer!! Check out my website! If you want to order anything, you can click on "Buy from party" under "Open Parties" on my home page: https://andreaneal.scentsy.us/Home

Thanks for reading! I hope to keep this up and find more interesting things to post about!!!! I've thought about doing recipe tutorials or something fun!!!! Who knows!!!