Jacob and Elijah Shaddox are brothers. Jacob is 21 years old and just moved into an apartment with his girlfriend. He graduated from a technical college with an Associate's degree in Computer Maintenance. He works for a school district as a computer technician. Elijah is almost 18 years old. He is hearing impaired, has Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD. He is a junior in high school. Elijah lives with his mom Mary and her wife, his stepmom. Mary has a bachelor's in deaf education and a masters in special education, and is an educational diagnostician. Life is always changing and this blog has chronicled many of these changes and will continue to do so!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I am not the best cook in the world. In fact, I don't really like to cook much. I will cook dinner and I enjoy green bean casserole, but I get just what I would call, average excitement about cooking. However, when it comes to baking, I love this time of year!

In the last few years, my mom has taught me how to bake snowball cookies. These are pretty simple to make and are VERY good. I have learned my lessons on a few things, like the margarine REALLY needs to be soft when you make these! I baked two batches today and am taking them out to her house tomorrow. I also make a lot of these right before Christmas and give them in cute containers for Christmas presents for family, the boys' teachers, bus drivers,  friends and staff. Many people tell me they look forward to my cookies each year, and that makes me feel good!

I also enjoy making homemade pralines. My mother has been making them since I was a baby and my brother told his wife, "someone better learn to make these before mom dies." Now this was a few years ago and we all got a good laugh, because my mom really isn't that old and was no where close to dying. My sister, sister-in-law and I all decided we should learn how to make them, after my mom said they were a real challenge! Well, she was right! First we had to find the right POT for use to use to make them in. She has a pot that is probably as old as I am that she uses. It has to be a very heavy duty thick pot that can withstand the heat of the stove and boiling sugar. My mom gave me a tutorial at the house about four years ago and the hardest part, is each time you make them, it is a little different. It is all about the feel of the pralines in the pot and getting them the right temperature. There is no real way to tell when you are ready to add pecans and then plop them on wax paper. I have to say, that I LOVE the challenge of making them and I have gotten decent at it. I usually have several good batches, and sometimes a batch that takes forever to harden.  Hopefully, I will get it down in the next 10-20 years! I also give these to family as part of their Christmas present. My dad just LOVES these as do everyone else

The other thing I enjoy baking are sugar cookies. My sister got the recipe from her mother-in-law. They are pretty easy to make and the recipe makes a LOT of cookies. I would say between five and six dozen! We usually use cookie cutters to cut out cool Christmas shapes and then icing them. We add sprinkles at the very end! Elijah just loves helping cut out the cookies and later icing them. He really loves the SPRINKLES! I usually make a huge batch of these and take them to school to use with my students. I bring all of the things we need to icing with and I use it as a language activity. The kids learn and they get to eat! They also keep very well if you keep them sealed up in a tin and so you can eat on them for a good week or so. The cookie itself is not very sweet, but the icing adds just enough "sweet" to the flavor of the cookie!

I use my cooking stone to make all of the cookies and I think that also makes for a better cookie! I get a lot of satisfaction from making the cookies and then from seeing people enjoy them! I feel like it something that I am good at and that makes me happy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Two Days of Doctor's Appointments

Having a week off of work usually means a few doctor's appointments for the boys. I don't like using my stocked up "leave" at work for doctor's appointments. I usually need them for sick days for me or the boys or for the random appointments we just can't get scheduled during a break!

It started yesterday with a visit to the pulmanologist for both boys. They both got a clean bill of health and we were done in about 90 minutes. This is pretty good for this doctor. We have been there for three hours before, for a scheduled visit...not a sick visit.

We came home and then Elijah and I went off for a visit to the audiologist in the afternoon. We made sure his back up processors were programmed and then did a hearing test. Here is how he did:

Right ear:
250 Hz    10 db
500 Hz    10 db
1000 Hz   10 db
2000 Hz   5 db
3000 Hz   10 db
4000 Hz   10 db

Left ear:
250 Hz 15 db
500 Hz 15 db
1000 Hz 10 db
2000 Hz 5 db
3000 Hz   5 db
4000 Hz   5 db

We were all pleased with the results. She asked if he had a favorite "ear" and I told her that he prefers his right ear over his left. She says that is pretty common for kids who had their implants done with years in between surgeries. I mentioned that he still has to wear his left "ear" because I know he gets benefit from it. When I have him wear only his left ear it NEVER falls off. He uses it just fine and hears excellently with it. I guess he just gets tired of all of the noise!

Today we went to see the psychiatrist. It was a quick visit and for now we are leaving all of his medications the same. She thinks he is doing well and that we just have to keep up with the behavior management.

The next round of doctor's appointments start with in January with a trip back to the psychiatrist and one to the endocronologist. We go back to the pulmanologist in February!

I have a lot to be thankful for:  Elijah's cochlear implants, medications for both boys that help with their asthma and for Elijah's Tourettes, OCD and ADHD, my sweetheart and for my extended family.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Being a Mom

No one ever said being a mom was an easy job. I must say being a mom can be very rewarding, but it can also be very tiring. Being the mom of a child with special needs is even more difficult, but it can also be even more rewarding. Right now, we are in the more difficult part of raising Elijah. I must say we have had many things to celebrate in the last 12 years....cochlear implant surgery, the turn on of his "ears", his first words, coming off of oxygen, and the fact that he can converse so well.

Now Elijah's behavior has always been a challenge. Even before we knew about his Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD, we knew he was never typical. The typical discipline techniques just didn't work well with him. Even now, I have constantly be on my toes on how to handle him. Last night he lost the privilege of having a snack before bed time. He really didn't like that, so I may just use that to motivate him to behave more at home and at school. I hate taking things away from him, because I would rather reward him for good behavior, but sometimes that just doesn't seem to be as effective. I remind myself daily that Elijah's neurological system is just not like that of a typical child, but it is still hard. This past Thursday my honey had to go and pick him up from school because he was so wound up and the the principal didn't want to put him on the bus.

All I can do is take it day by day with him. As his mom, I have to keep just isn't easy. I am glad to have the support of my honey in all of this.