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!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Update on Tics!

Elijah's new tic is still around! He seems to be experiencing a LOT of tics lately, both vocal and motor. He has also been more argumentative with me at home and teachers at school. He has had more issues at school too! We had already increased one of his medications by 0.5 mg in the morning, but I went ahead and called the doctor after another phone call from the school. He is now taking 1.5 mg of this same medication three times a day. Overall, this is an increase of only 1 mg per day. Overall this seems to have helped with his behavior and with tics.

We go back to see this doctor around the middle of January. I am hoping things stay stable between then and now. It is amazing to me how his behavior is tied to his tics, but I know his tics get on his nerves and drive him a little crazy. I know when I have the hiccups for a long period of time, that I am a little snappy with people, so imagine having tics constantly. I also think his tics tend to increase around the holidays, because he is excited about them. He is also out of his routine, which is  never good.

I took him to the movies today and he had several loud tics during the movie. Thankfully, they were spread apart and didn't all happen at once. He does pretty good and I tap his leg so he knows he is being a little loud. Here's hoping these tics calm down for him when we get back into our routine after the holidays!

Sunday, December 8, 2013


We have been iced in for three days, so I started my Christmas baking a little early. Today we made a FULL batch of Christmas Sugar Cookies and decorated them. We even got fancy and used some decorating gel to fancy them up a bit. Jacob even helped decorate them! Elijah really got into it and my honey even sat down and helped out a bit.

This is a recipe that my sister got from her mother-in-law and we instantly fell in love with it. The cookies are not too sweet and the icing adds just enough sugar to the cookie, but again, not too much. I usually make 5-6 batches of cookies each Christmas. I take some to school with me and my itinerant kids and I decorate them. It is a good language activity!

My dad remarried and I have a brother and sister that are now 25 and 22 years old. They were eight and five when Jacob was born. Every Christmas, I would keep them over the break and we would make cookies. I have so many memories of making cookies with them. When Elijah came along, he joined in. Now my niece and nephew come over to make cookies with us over the Christmas Break. I try to take pictures and make it memorable!

Next weekend, I will be busy making the Sugar Cookies, Snowball cookies and a new recipe of mints that I recently found. As I get closer to Christmas I will start making pralines. I send a lot of this to Jacob's and Elijah's teachers as well as some of Jacob's friends. I also make them for the teachers I work with.

It has been nice to have this extra time to bake and not have to rush. It also gave us something to do and something to EAT! These cookies are awesome with a BIG glass of milk!

Here is the recipe if you want to give them a try.

Sugar Cookies


1 ½ cups of sugar

1 cup of butter softened (2 sticks)

2 eggs

3 TBS of buttermilk

1 tsp of baking soda

¼ tsp of salt

1 tsp vanilla

All purpose flour


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the sugar, butter, eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, salt, vanilla and flour together. IT WILL BE VERY RUNNY! Once it is mixed, start adding flour. There is no set amount to put in, you just keep adding it until it isn’t so sticky and runny. Then put flour down where you want to roll the dough and spoon about 1/3 of the dough out onto the flour. ADD flour again this dough and KNEED it until the dough is ready to roll out and NOT stick to the surface. Roll it and cut your cookies, then roll again and cut until you are out of dough. Then start again with the next part of the dough in the bowl.

Bake for 8 minutes or until the bottom is brown.

Let cool and then icing.

Friday, December 6, 2013


We have been told all week that a massive ice storm was headed our way. It became clear by Wednesday, that it was REALLY going to hit. The school district I work in cancelled school for today, yesterday afternoon. The boys' school district cancelled around 9:00 last night for today. Well, the ice did arrive. We lost power around 12:45 AM, but it did come back on around 5:30 this morning.

A branch in our front walkway.
Elijah sleeps with a light on in his room, so he woke up and called for me. I got him a flashlight and he went back to sleep. While I was in his room, I heard a LOUD POP! It really scared me. It took me a few minutes to figure out what it was. IT was the trees outside cracking when the limbs broke off from the heavy ice. I heard several more of these popping sounds throughout the night, but none as loud as the first one.

When it was finally light enough to see outside, I stepped out to look around. There were several tree limbs in my front yard. I looked up and down the street and see a HUGE tree trunk split down the middle, with limbs in four different directions. I think that was the loud sound that I heard in the middle of the night.

I hope we can survive three days together, because it will be Sunday afternoon before it gets above freezing.

Our tree in the front yard.

Our neighbor's small tree.

Our second tree!

Tree split in four directions.

One of our bushes in the front.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

New Tic

Elijah has a new vocal tic. It is a sound I cannot even explain. His "clearing throat" tic is also back. I wish I could explain this new vocal tic. It is a tone that is at a high pitch and the tone changes. It starts as a low pitch wound and then gets higher. Like a "aaa AAAAAAAA". It is actually a little louder on the second part of the tic along with the higher pitch. Thankfully, this is not a tic he does ALL day. It does come and go. The throat tic also comes and go, but I hear both daily right now. His chewing tic is also pretty intense right now. He actually got his chewelery and used it the other day, with no prompt from me.

The tics don't seem to bother him, as far as I can tell. Right now, the tics aren't bothering me too much. I can usually tolerate them, unless I am under stress, and then the noise just seems to bother me more. I think he has been excited about the holidays and this has caused his tics to increase. All we can do is just keep on keeping on! That is life with Tourette's!


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I got up this morning and made the Schwan's apple pie that we bought a few weeks ago. We will go off to my mother's house later to eat. I am thankful for my family this morning! Jacob has to work today at the grocery store, but he doesn't seem to mind. He gets Holiday pay and we will bring him home some food.

I am especially thankful for all the doctor's who have helped Elijah through the years. Since birth he has seen his pediatrician, developmental pediatrician, pulmonologist, audiologist, endocrinologist, neurologist and psychiatrist. He still all of them except the developmental pediatrician and endocrinologist. I am also thankful for his cochlear implants, his Auditory Verbal Therapist, audiologist, and the medication he takes. All of these things have helped him to be a productive student and citizen. I am also thankful to all of his teachers through the years. He has had some great deaf education teachers, special ed. teachers, regular ed. teachers, principals, and behavior teachers.

We still take it day by day, but overall we have more good days over bad. I am also thankful for Jacob! He has grown into such a fine young man. I am also thankful for my honey, who supports me and helps me be a better mom.

I hope everyone has a great day today!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's Cold!

It sure is cold here in the Dallas area, and across most of North Texas! We are expecting freezing rain some time after midnight tonight and may be stuck at home all day tomorrow. The boys and I are out for the whole week of Thanksgiving, so we don't have to worry about playing the "is school closed" game tomorrow morning. Jacob has to go to work at 6:00 pm and I'll be watching the weather all night until he gets home! He has to work to 11:45 pm, but he said that if the weather gets bad the managers said they will send people home early.

We have heard this weather was coming for a few days, so we got groceries yesterday. We don't have too much planned for this week. I am supposed to do some mystery shops tomorrow, but will cancel or get an extension if needed. Jacob is having his Senior pictures taken on Tuesday, so we shall see how that goes, but the studio is very close. I don't see the ice sticking around too long!

We have Netflix to occupy us if we get bored and I am watching the Cowboy game now!

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and y'all be safe!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Grammar Graphics!

I very rarely write about work, but I wanted to write today about a workshop I attended. It was about Grammar Graphics! This is a short explanation from their website:

Grammar Graphics is a sequential language program which bridges the gap between identifying the parts of speech and writing. It was developed to make language fun and skills easy to remember. Learners are verbally, visually, and physically engaged in a non-threatening, active language experience.
I have to say, it was one of the best workshops that I had been to in a LONG time! It was a very intensive workshop, but the two presenters were awesome. They kept the discussion moving, and I was eager to learn! I have been using some aspects of Grammar Graphics with my students, but I learned so much more today. I may even start using it with Elijah! I think it would really help him with his writing. Of course, he will see it as work, but I think I can make it fun! That is what is really neat about this, it can be FUN. Believe me, I am not into diagramming sentences, but this is so much more than that. The workshop explained so much about the program and how to implement it. I have a week off work, and I wish I could get back sooner to try some of this out. I will spend some of the next week preparing to go back to work to implement this program!

Here is a link to their website: Grammar Graphics

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Growing Up is Hard to Do!

Jacob has learned two important lessons this week! First, he decided to transfer money from his savings to his checking account one too many times and was charged a $6 fee. I caught it when I was double checking his accounts. He was not too happy that he had to "pay" to use his own money. I went up to the bank and they gave him his money back and we set up his account, so he can have more transfers. I didn't tell him that though! I am trying to instill in him that a savings account is for savings!

Jacob was then at work last night, and when he went to come home, his car wouldn't start. I got a call from him around 10:45 to tell me that it wouldn't start. I went to pick him up and we decided to handle it this morning. It looked like the battery was the problem, but we weren't sure. Thankfully, the parking lot where the car was is very close to an auto shop. We went here first and the mechanic and Jacob walked over to the car. The mechanic took a jump starter kit with them. The car started and they drove it back over. It was the battery! I paid to get it replaced and he will pay me back half.

I am glad these things happened while he was home and not away at college. He is learning how to take responsibility and grow up.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Good News!

A few months ago, I wrote about buying Elijah's rechargeable CI Freedom batteries and how the insurance company did not cover them. I did call and ask for it to be reviewed, and TODAY I got a phone call that I they are going to reimburse me 80% of the cost! I AM SO EXCITED. Finally, something that has gone my way. Of course, the money will go straight to the credit card to pay off what is left of the batteries, but I am so glad that it worked out. It was worth the phone call back in August. I really didn't expect to get the money back!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tourette Support Group--Perot Museum

Elijah and I went with our Tourette Support Group to the Perot Museum today in Dallas. I have been hearing great things about this museum and it was definitely worth the trip. Here are some pics from the visit! Elijah had a great time! We were there for 2 hours.
Elijah and the moon!

taken from the upper floor

Checking out some gems!

it sure is big

checking it out.

having fun!

driving the robot

what a big dinosaur?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Twelve Socks!

I never know what I will find when I walk into Jacob or Elijah's room. It can range from plates, utensils, and sometimes even food being left in their rooms. Thankfully, this has decreased quite a bit, but I still never know what will turn up.

About a week ago, Elijah snuck into Jacob's room when no one was home and went through Jacob's things. He left A LOT of evidence behind that he had been in his big brother's room. In fact, he knocked over a whole shelf of books and even the shelf on this small book case. Jacob wanted Elijah to clean it up and I agreed, however Jacob kept forgetting to remind me to have Elijah do it. Jacob bossing Elijah around is NOT a good idea....they usually argue.

Well, yesterday I was in Jacob's room and saw this mess of books on the floor and said, "let's get Elijah in here to clean this up." Jacob has a big bed and a big dresser, so I started moving a few things out of the way so Elijah could get in the corner to get the books up. In the process of doing this I found a few socks. I started digging around the base of the bed and found a few more socks between the bed and wall. I look at Jacob and say, "what is up with THESE SOCKS?" He replies with, "MOM just leave it alone." Well, of course, I keep looking and when it is all said and done there are TWELVE socks....this is SIX PAIRS of SOCKS!

I asked Jacob why these socks don't seem to make it to the clothes hamper that is IN HIS ROOM. His reply is, "I forget to put them in there." I reminded him that when he removes the socks if he would DROP them in the hamper instead of ON THE BED or ON THE FLOOR he wouldn't FORGET! I told him that if I find any clothes on his floor or between the bed and wall, I will take his laptop up earlier in the evening. I then had the same discussion with Elijah, because he just drops his clothes right on the floor and he has a hamper in his room too. Is this just a GUY thing or do they ever learn?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Time for an Update

Wow, I just looked at my last post and it was done several weeks ago! I have been so busy with work and grad school! I am happy to say that grad school is going well. I am ahead in both of my classes with my assignments. I have five projects that need to be completed in the next few weeks, but I think I have a handle on them. I really only have ONE more assignment that needs to be done!

Jacob continues to work at a grocery store each weekend. He still likes his computer maintenance class. He will be applying to Texas State Technical College next month! We then need to decide about housing! WOW! His senior year seems to be flying by already.

Elijah is still doing well. He has had a few minor issues at school, but when you compare them to what has happened in the past they are really minor! He is really into Pok√©mon books and loves to read! It is cute to see him with his nose in a book all excited about what he is reading. He and I went to Tourette Support Group meeting this past weekend and he had an awesome time. He call them the "tic meetings"! Next month we are going to the Perot Museum with the group!

Work keeps me busy, but thing seem to be slowing a down a little. I'll take whatever I can get. The weather has turned cooler and we are all enjoying that. My honey is working a LOT of late nights, and I wish I saw her more. We have plans to go out to dinner with a friend on Sunday afternoon, so that will be nice!

I'll try to post more often, but really there isn't much going on but work and school for all of us!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

My Bookstand

Here is the bookstand that ordered, so I can do my grad school work. I have noticed that my neck and back have been bothering me after I do work on the computer for school. It didn't take long to figure out that laying the book in my lap and typing was not working! I went online to Amazon and ordered this bookstand!

I finally got a chance to try out the bookstand today and I love it! It is easy to set up and there are clips at the bottom to hold the pages in place. This is going to save my neck and back! I can't believe  I didn't think of this sooner.

Grad school is going well and I am ahead in both my classes by a few weeks. I should be registering for next semester by the beginning of November!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Three Weeks In!

We are three weeks into school and all of us are doing well. Elijah has had an AWESOME start to 7th grade. So far, his behavior chart is working well and he is earning trips to Sweet Frog each week. He loves the yogurt and candy there. Jacob is also doing well. He is enjoying his computer maintenance class, which is a college class. He gets out of school at 2:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and he really LIKES that. He works at a local grocery store on the weekend and likes having his own money. He pays for all of his car insurance and gas! He is even managing to put some money into savings!

I am doing well in graduate school. I am taking two classes and have had five assignments graded! I received a 10/10 on all five assignments. I have turned in one project and am waiting for my score on that one! I am actually a few weeks ahead in both classes and am glad. I have a few projects that are coming up that will keep me busy. I am planning on staying ahead so that I have plenty of time to get assignments and projects completed with little stress!

Elijah and I go to the library each weekend for a few hours. He enjoys playing video games in the Teen Room. He gets to be around other kids and practice those social skills. I take my books and laptop to work. I am able to set everything up and work right outside of the Teen Room, so I can check on him. So far, he has done well, except for last Saturday. He got a little loud and was given three warnings. He had to leave the Teen Room. I am fine with that, because he has to learn how to behave in public. We went again today and he did just fine. He really enjoys going and it is good for both of us!!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

First Week of School for ALL of Us!

Jacob, Elijah and I all started school this past Monday. Now, I am a teacher, so many of you may think that I just went back to teaching. I also started GRAD school this past Monday online through Texas Tech! I didn't even get to look at my assignments until Monday night, and by then I thought I was crazy for even trying.

Let's backtrack a little, though. Jacob had a great start to school. He is now OFFICIALLY a SENIOR! How did that happen?? He likes all of his classes and really likes his computer maintenance class. He gets out of school at 2:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays! He is still working at Albertsons, but only two days a week!

Elijah started seventh grade at the junior high school. He also had a great first week of school. He is using his status sheet again, and had NO REDS! He can earn a green, yellow or red for each class. If he gets all greens he can have the iPad that night. We also count the number of greens he gets each week and he can earn a trip to SWEET FROG for frozen yogurt or something else we decide on!

Now, let's get back to me! I rarely get to talk about ME! I am taking two online classes through Texas Tech to earn my Masters in Special Education and Diagnostician's Certificate! I am finding both classes very interesting. As of today, I have all of my lessons for this week turned in and have started my lessons for next week! My plan is to stay ahead, so that way I don't have to rush! I have observation hours I need to complete, but can use all of my hours from teaching last year towards that, so that is a load off of my mind.

I am so caught up this morning, that I even worked on a Power Point lesson for one of the new deaf ed. teachers in my district. I'll be home this morning, and then Elijah and I are going to the library this afternoon. I figure I can work there on my laptop and he can play in the Teen Center. It works out good for both of us!

I'll try to keep y'all posted on how we are doing, but if you don't hear much from me then I AM BUSY!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Big Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow is almost upon us! Jacob starts his Senior year and Elijah starts his first year in junior high school. I return to work, after a week of inservice last week, AND start graduate school. I won't even be able to sign in until after I get home from work tomorrow to check out my classes. 

I am driving Elijah to school and my honey is driving Jacob. She is using his car because her car is in the shop. After school, he and I will go and pick up his car that she will leave at the mechanics after picking up her car. She has to work tomorrow afternoon and can't go with us to get her car! I know it sounds confusing, but we have it all worked out.

Hopefully at some point, I can check on my classes! I will hopefully get to update you all soon on how it all went!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Having a Schedule

Tomorrow is the big day that I go back to work. Jacob and Elijah still have one more week until school starts. Jacob will be staying home with Elijah to babysit! I sat down this morning and made out a daily schedule for Elijah. He does much better at home, if he has a schedule. Jacob has even agreed to play the Wii with Elijah twice a day! Elijah will be sure that Jacob sticks to the schedule. We even write in lunch and a snack time!

Elijah also has a schedule at school he follows. When I met with his principals, I let them know that on days that the schedule changes, they need to let Elijah know a day ahead of time. He knows how to tell time, and he doesn't like it when his schedule changes. Some people may think it is a hassle to have to do all of these extra things for Elijah, but I am glad I finally have figured him out! I am sure I will have more figuring out to do in the future. OH and his chewing tic is back. He is munching down on chewelry.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Graduate School

Today's blog is more of an update on ME! I am returning to college and will be working on my Masters in Special Education focusing on becoming a diagnostician. I had been wanting to return to school for several years, but had never followed through. Now that the boys are older and Elijah is more mature(I hope!), I can finally focus on me a bit. I also wasn't sure what I wanted to study if I returned to school, so that had kept me from pursuing a Masters.

I did some research and found that I could attend Texas Tech online and complete my Masters in three years. I can do it in two and a half if I take two classes for one summer. I decided to focus on becoming a diagnostician, because there are very few, if any, diagnosticians in our state that know sign language and who have an understanding of how deaf kids function. I have worked with some great diagnosticians, but there is a piece missing when an interpreter has to be used.

I am excited about starting my online classes on August 26th. I have ordered my books and am all registered. I applied for financial aid and received a grant and a loan. Jacob is going to be a senior and Elijah will be in seventh grade. It will be a very busy year, but in the long run, I think this will give me many more options in my career.  I will let y'all know how it is going!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Igneous Rock

One things that amazes me about Elijah is how well he learns new vocabulary words. He is a deaf child, who does wear cochlear implants, who has a strong vocabulary. Many of the words he uses, I have not taught him. He has learned them at school or incidentally through experiences in everyday life.

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about him telling me about obsidian rocks. Well, the other day we were out driving and I asked him again about studying rocks. I asked him what his favorite rock was and he told me obsidian rock. He then added, "It is an ignus rock." I then said, "An igneous rock?" and he replied with "YES!" All I can say is WOW! His pronunciations aren't always great, but he does know what he is talking about. I wasn't sure if obsidian rock was an igneous rock so I looked it up and of course, Elijah was correct!

Elijah is so very smart, and I am hoping that he will show it more in school and in his life. He loves science, so of course, he has soaked in this vocabulary. However, he hates doing homework, so he doesn't want to work on any school work. ARGH! Not good for someone who wants to study rocks and go to college!

We will be visiting his junior high school in a little over a week. Due to some rezoning of the school district, he will be attending a different school than we had planned on at his ARD. I am going to be sure to tell them about his love for science!

Friday, July 26, 2013


Sometimes, I wish Elijah was just deaf. Dealing with his deafness has been relatively easy, when compared to dealing with his behavior due to his Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD issues. Most people understand that he is deaf. His cochlear implant processor are a clear indication that he can't hear. However, he hears everything while wearing them and does pretty well with communication. Explaining his other issues is more difficult sometimes.

Just yesterday we went to the library. They have a teen room that he enjoys going to and I have let him have some independence and let him go by himself. They have video games and laptops the kids can use. I spend about 20 minutes in the recreation center working out and then check on him. I then stay in the library so I can keep an eye on him. I usually check on him after about 45 minutes and then we head home. A few days ago, when I entered, he was being asked to be quiet. OK, no big deal. We discussed it and how he needs to behave. Well, yesterday they moved the Teen room to a larger room. They had board games, along with the video games, a raffle, and some snacks. I checked on him after about 20 minutes and he was doing fine. I then told one of the librarians where I would be, and went to read some of the newspapers. I came back after about 30 minutes and started looking for him. Well, one of the librarians found me. They told me he was a bit aggressive, pushing some other kids. He didn't understand that he couldn't just have one of the raffle items. He was now crying and trying to get his way using tears. He does get a bit of sympathy due to his deafness and people will give him a little leeway, but only so far. I thanked the librarians and we left.

Elijah and I talked about his behavior. I told him that he could no longer stay in the teen room while I went to the recreation center. I told him we could go to the rec center together and then I would go to the library with him. I would let him go in the teen room alone, but check on him every ten minutes. This would allow him to "practice" how to behave. He could stay for 30 minutes and then we would visit on another day. I have found that if he practices an activity, he does better. We can then move up to me checking on him every 15 minutes and so one. We can then work on him staying for 45 minutes.

When he has done well in the teen center, I come in and he is playing with other kids. No one has teased him or made him feel uncomfortable. I am glad this is a "safe" place for him to play, but it also not a daycare. As his mom, I have to help him learn to be around others. The only way his behavior can improve is if he practices how to behave and learns what is acceptable.

I really don't mind having this "duty" as his mom, but there are days when I wish I could just be a typical mom and not have to PLAN all of this out. I love him though, and he is worth it!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Swimming with a Nammu Hat

The rechargeable batteries, aLoksak bags and Nammu hat all arrived this week. Today was the first time we got to go swimming and have Elijah use all three to swim with his cochlear implant Freedom processor. Compared to his other swimming caps that we have used in the past, the Nammu hat was much easier to put on him. He enjoyed being able to hear while swimming and had a really good time! He even let me help him try and swim. He is still not very confident in the water, but being able to hear increases his confidence.

He looks a bit like a pirate! I let him pick out what design he wanted on his Nammu hat and he chose this black one with green letters on it. Here is a link to the Nammu website.

I am sure he will want to go swimming again really soon!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Filed the Claim

The rechargeable batteries for Elijah's Freedom Processors arrived on Friday. I went online and found my invoice and filed the claim by fax to be reimbursed. The insurance company said it would take about 30 days for them to pay on it, and just hoping they do. I have decided that I will probably keep the batteries even if they don't pay on them. I will just have to suck it up and pay for them out of my own pocket. At least I can write it off on my income taxes, and YES, I have enough to write medical off on my income taxes. Between both boys, they have MANY prescriptions and Elijah has several doctors he sees each year. I keep it all in an EXCEL document and keep it updated!

We are still waiting on the Nammu hat to arrive to use for swimming. The aLoksak bags arrived yesterday! We use his backup Freedom processors when he swims!

I'll let y'all know when insurance pays on his batteries. This is ME being optimistic.

Monday, July 15, 2013

UPDATE on Ordering Rechargeable Batteries

I last wrote about dealing with my insurance to get rechargeable batteries for Elijah's Freedom CI processors on June 10th. Finally, today, July 15th, I was able to order four rechargeable batteries! It was definitely a process.

  1.  I called my insurance company and was told I needed a pre-determination letter from Elijah's doctor for the batteries.
  2. I finally got the letter emailed to  me, but it had a mistake in stated that he needed batteries for his N5 processors, so we got that fixed.
  3. I faxed the letter to my insurance company.
  4. I called to make sure they got the letter, and they had.
  5. I called two weeks later, and the purchase of the batteries was approved. However, I waited until the doctor received the letter.
  6. My insurance company told me that the doctor had to order the batteries, but the doctor's office said they didn't order supplies.
  7. I called the insurance company back and got a different person. This person told me that I could order the batteries, but I should get a prescription from the doctor. He also told me how to file the claim and where to find the claim form online.
  8. I finally got my copy of the letter from the insurance company saying they would cover the batteries.
  9. I called my doctor on Friday and got the prescription today, July 15th.
  10. I ordered the batteries today.
I made sure that I wrote down who I spoke to and on what date I spoke to them, each time I talked to my insurance company. The last associate I spoke with was very helpful. He said that they would cover 80% of the cost of what they allowed for the batteries. Basically, I will get reimburse about $480 of the $850 it will cost to get the batteries. I wish they would cover more, but at least they cover this amount.

I am only going to open one of the batteries when they arrive. My insurance company said they will reimburse me within 30 days and Cochlear says that I can return the batteries within 60 days if they are unopened!

I can't wait for the batteries to come in so he can swim with his CI processor. I will write about that next!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Elijah is GROWING!

I took Elijah to see the endocrinologist yesterday and it was a GREAT visit. He has grown two inches since December and is definitely in puberty! The doctor said this was exactly what he had hoped to see when we came in. He said that we don't need to come back in for any more visits. Finally, one less specialist to see! The doctor also said he expected Elijah to reach the height of 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 9 inches! That is as tall as Jacob!

Elijah is also has the appetite of a teenager. He is eating hamburgers, ham, cheese, pork, and many other things that he has NEVER eaten before! He helped mow the yard last weekend and acting more mature, at least some of the time.

The visit to the doctor was a quick and Elijah was very happy that he didn't have to get any SHOTS! That is all he was worried about!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lot's of Noise!

Tics are back in abundance. Elijah has been making noises now for two days and chewing on his shirts again. He is now wearing his chewlery(pictured left, he uses the larger necklace one), so he doesn't chew a hole through this shirt. The noises aren't too bad, but I have had to remove myself from the living room a few times. There are a lot of loud raspberry types of sounds and loud sighs. It will stop for a bit and then start back up again. I don't know how it doesn't drive him crazy.

He is also letting the coil on his left ear processor dangle a lot. He goes through phases where he does this. If I ask him if he wants to take off his left "ear" he says no, so not sure why he lets it dangle. He can't hear without the coil on his head.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Update on Jacob's Job

Jacob has been working at Albertson's for a month now. Some people might not be aware, but Albertson's is a grocery store chain. He is a courtesy clerk and his duties include bagging groceries, helping customers to their car with their groceries, cleaning bathrooms, sweeping the store, doing put backs, and getting carts in from outside. I am sure there are a few other duties, but those are the ones he has mentioned to me. He even gets to drive those electric carts in, if a customer leaves it outside. He actually enjoys doing that.

He has really enjoyed having a paycheck each Friday. The first Friday he was paid, he didn't want to make a trip up to get it. He waited until he worked the next day to pick it up. Since then, he has gone up each Friday to get his check. His hours have increased a bit and he likes seeing the increase in his paycheck. He pays me $30 a week towards his car insurance and another $10 to put in his savings account. I put it all in his savings account, then pay his insurance when it is due. He is also paying for his gas, which isn't a whole lot right now. He only drives back and forth to work. He drives to a few other places to SPEND what money he keeps, but even that is not far.

This week he will be working fourteen hours. I am hoping once he gets a bit more money in savings, that we will go to the bank and open a checking account for him. This way he can have a debit card. I can transfer him money when he needs it. He could also learn HOW to manage a debit card/checking account. I told him we will set it up, that if the money is not there then the card is refused. If he truly wants to go to Waco to attend a technical school next Fall, then he needs to know how to handle a checking account.

We are going to visit the technical school on July 22nd! I'll let y'all know how that goes!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Elijah's Deaf?

This is a picture of my nephew Trent and Elijah out at a restaurant this past weekend. Elijah and I went to the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin for a Weekend Retreat and then drove in to see my sister who lives near San Antonio.

We arrived on Sunday afternoon and later that night we had to decide on sleeping arrangements. The boys quickly agreed that they would both sleep in Trent's full size bed. I let Elijah stay up a little later than his usual 9:00 bed time and so he was very tired when I finally got him to bed. It was around 10:00 that night and we had done a LOT of walking and working in the days before our arrival. Elijah got into bed before Trent and quickly fell asleep. I went into the guest room to get ready for bed and when I came out Trent was in bed and Elijah was asleep.

I went in and talked to Trent who was whispering, because Elijah was asleep. I whispered an answer to a question he posed to me and then said in a regular voice, "Hey, I don't have to whisper, Elijah can't her me." Trent whispered back, "He can't hear you?" I said, "No, he can't, he is deaf without his implants on." Trent had this surprised look on his face. Now, I know I have talked to him about Elijah not being able to hear without his processors, but I guess kids have a hard time comprehending NOT hearing anything. Trent continued to whisper and said, "He's deaf." I said "YES" and then yelled right into Elijah's ear. Of course, Elijah slept right through it. Trent sat there dumbfounded and started talking in a regular voice.

My sister came into the room to see what all the yelling as about and I told her the story. Later, I heard her talking to Trent and asking him if he wanted some music to help him fall asleep. I heard him answer with, "Yea, that would be nice and it won't bother Elijah." Too cute!

We had a great visit and both boys got along very well. They both loved swimming and I signed with Elijah while he swam with no processors on. Trent learned a few signs too as did my sister!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Locked Doors

My sister, nephew, Elijah and I are staying at a hotel on the Riverwalk in San Antonio. We let the boys swim last night for a bit. Elijah and I headed up to the room first. He went in the bathroom to take a shower and locked the door. He didn't have his "ears" on so there was no way to communicate with him. He is notorious for taking long showers and getting water everywhere. I was not happy the door was locked. I grabbed the do not disturb sign and slid part of it under the door and waved it back and forth. He finally sees it and yells "what". I waved it some more and he opened the door. I sign to him to NOT lock the door. He nodded and got in the shower. Oh the fun of traveling with a deaf child.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What a Weekend!

Elijah and I left on Friday around lunch time to drive to Austin to participate in the Family Weekend Retreat at the Texas School for the Deaf(TSD). Jacob had to work over the weekend so he stayed with my partner, who also had to work! We arrived around 4:00 and got checked in. We went to our dorm room and settled in. Dinner was at 5:30, so we left a little early to walk down to the cafeteria. I have learned from past experience, it is good to get to the cafeteria early when attending something like this!

We had about ten minutes to wait and there was another family there waiting also. Elijah and their daughter played and ran around a bit. The mother and grandmother chatted with me. I then hear a scream and someone crying.  I look over and Elijah is getting up and holding his nose. He had fallen while running up the stairs. He comes running to me and when he moves his hand all I see is BLOOD. The other mom handed me tissues and when I wiped away the blood, I saw this huge gash! It was deep. I knew it needed stitches.

He and I started our walk back to the check in area, because our car was there and I needed to find out where the closest hospital was. I was a nervous wreck. This would be my second trip to an ER in two weeks and this was in another town! The nurse looked at Elijah's nose and agreed it needed stitches. Someone offered to drive us, because by this time I was in tears and my hands were shaking. Elijah was crying and all I wanted to do was take care of him.

We arrived at the ER and they got us back pretty quick. The woman who took us waited in the waiting area. She was the first of many angels that night. They took X-Rays and he had also broken his nose. He got five stitches. Elijah was not very happy about stitches and threw a fit. I told him they would have to give him medicine to calm him and he would get sleepy. There would be no ice cream social at TSD if he was sleepy. He calmed down and after two huge shots he got his five stitches. We then got his prescription for antibiotics and left. It was now around 7:45. We found a CVS and arrived right around 8:00. The pharmacist then tells me they closed at 8:00. I explained the situation and she filled the prescription. Our second angel of the night.

We arrived back at TSD and they had saved us dinner. TSD is a huge campus. It reminds me of a small junior college and there are lots of stairs! Another staff member then drove us over to the ice cream social in a golf cart, because the walk was SO long. This was Elijah's favorite part!!! We ate our dinner, had our ice cream and Elijah got to play with other kids. He was a real trooper!

The rest of the weekend was awesome. I went to workshops on Saturday and Elijah went to a day care where he got to play with other kids. He swam, but did not submerge his head due to the stitches. He had an awesome time and he behaved! I arrived back and we hung at the dorm until our group got to eat dinner. We then went and watched them shoot off rockets at the football field and then hung out with some other families. Let's just say we crashed hard that night and were in bed by 9:30.

Sunday morning was our last to be there. Elijah went to day care after breakfast and I went to two more presentations. We left around 11:15 and met my sister and nephew for lunch. We are now at their house!

Once we get home, I will post some pictures that I took. I really enjoy connecting with other families at this retreat. This is also a time when Elijah gets to be around other deaf kids his age. There was a good mix of families there with kids who signed, talked or did both! If you live in Texas, I encourage you to take your family if you have a deaf child. It is only $75 for the weekend. You stay in the dorms and they feed you while you are there! You can't beat this deal. Just be careful on those stairs, or you will spend some time in the ER. OH and I am ever so glad to have that accident insurance, WHO knew I would need it again so soon!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Accident Insurance

While we were sitting at the ER with Jacob's broken finger, I remember that I had accident insurance on me and the boys. I called them the Monday morning after he broke it and got them to send me the claim forms I needed. I faxed it to them on that Monday and then faxed them the bill from the orthopedic visit after that visit. Quick update on that...the doctor said he could remove the splint after a week and he didn't need a follow up visit. There was no joint or tendon involvement.

I called the accident insurance company yesterday and they said they had just sent me a check for $250. This will cover the $150 copay for the ER visit and the $30 copay for the orthopedic doctor. The extra amount is because he broke a bone. I will take it and probably put it towards his car insurance.

I am very glad to have this insurance. The only other time we have used it was when my then husband was in a car wreck several years ago. Accidents are unplanned and usually expensive. I am glad that this money will cover his co-pays. I hope we don't need to use it again for any of us!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ordering Cochlear Implant Supplies

I like to use rechargeable batteries in Elijah's Freedom CI processors in the summer. First of all, it saves him from using disposable batteries and he needs the rechargeable Lithium batteries to swim with his processor. We put his processor in an aLoksak bag and he wears a swim cap. The disposable batteries won't work because the need air to work and the bag seals them off from that.

I called Blue Cross Blue Shield and was told I needed a pre-determination letter. Ok, I can do that. I called his audiologist's insurance department and spoke to someone there. She got back to me and they no longer order supplies for patients, and told me to call Cochlear and they will handle it. She said if Cochlear needs the letter they will contact the audiologist for one. I then call Cochlear and they tell me they will only order if Elijah has Medicaid, which he doesn't. He suggests I call BCBS back and see the best way to handle it. He said I could order the batteries and then file it on my insurance. I then call BCBS back and they NEED that letter to authorize payment. If they approve it they will send a letter to the audiologist and one to me. She said I can still order the batteries and then file a claim. I then called the audiologist and spoke to the same woman in the insurance department there and she said they could do the letter. I had her email, so I emailed her what I needed.

MY OH MY, what an ordeal. Thankfully, we have over 300 disposable batteries, so I won't need to order those. I can just see BCBS telling me later that they won't pay for disposable batteries, because they just paid for the Lithium rechargeable batteries. ARGH. I am considering letting Elijah wear them to school IF insurance does pay for two new ones.

I am very thankful to have good insurance, but it can be a real beat down sometimes trying to figure out HOW to get things paid for.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Last Day of School!

Today was the last day of school for both boys. My last day is Saturday, and yes you read that correctly....SATURDAY. I will survive, I am sure. I now have a SENIOR and a SEVENTH GRADER in the house! Jacob will be in his fourth year of ROTC and taking a college class each semester in Computer Maintenance. Elijah will be moving up to Junior High! Where has the time gone!

I took Jacob into the orthopedist today, just to check out his finger. He really did break the very tip of it. There were no tendon or joint involvement which is great. He needs to wear the splint for another week and then he can go without it. The orthopedist said it takes about three weeks to heal. The ER doctor had told him to wear the splint for six weeks! He was happy to hear he could take it off in another week. He also got a note stating he could work. He goes into work tonight, as a matter of fact!

Elijah and I are leaving for the state school for the deaf for a family weekend retreat in about a week. Jacob will be staying home with my honey so he can work. Other than that, we have a quiet summer planned!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Jacob Broke his Finger

We arrived home from the grocery store yesterday and as Jacob was getting out of the car, he managed to slam his finger in the door. He reacted as would be expected and we managed to get in the house to take a look at it. His index finger on his left hand was pretty banged up. We bandaged it up and put ice on it. After about two hours, the bleeding would not stop. I left Elijah home with my honey and took Jacob to the local ER. This was my first time to take Jacob to the ER for something that had happened to him. Elijah has been MANY time!

An x-ray revealed that he had broken the tip of his finger. He also had a hematoma under his fingernail. The doctor numbed his finger and then relieved the pressure by putting a hole in his fingernail. He sure did squeeze my hand pretty tight, when she did that. The nurse then put a splint on it and we came home.

He did fine at school today and slept good after having some pain meds last night. I called the pediatrician and got the name of an orthopedist. I am taking him on Thursday to see that doctor. I need to stop and pick up his x-ray from the hospital before we go! I also called the Accident Insurance people and I do have a policy on Jacob! That will help with some of the co-pays! I am glad to have good health insurance but copays add up quickly!

We took the bandage of and cleaned his finger this evening. It looked a lot better, but still pretty bruised. It is still pretty sensitive. He will be in the splint for at least six weeks. I am curious to see what the orthopedist says on Thursday. I'll keep y'all posted!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

State Testing and Summer is Coming

Here in Texas we have the TAKS and STAAR testing for our state testing. Such fun acronyms. Jacob took the TAKS test this year and his Junior class is the last group to take the TAKS. He passes his English/Language Arts, Science, Social Studies and Math tests. He got commended on the English/Language Arts and the Social Studies test and even got a perfect score on the Social Studies test.

A few years ago the state decided to change the TAKS to the STAAR test and make it even more rigorous. Elijah took the STAAR Modified test, since he is in resource classes. The modified test is on grade level, but has fewer answer choices and the reading passages are broken into smaller passages. Elijah passed his math test and almost passed his reading test. I think he has the skills needed to pass the reading test, but he rushes and doesn't put much effort into the test.

With all of that being said, Elijah has many more years of STAAR testing and Jacob is thankfully all done. He is on track for graduation next year!

We don't have too much going on this summer. Elijah and I are going to Austin in two weeks for a Family Weekend Retreat at the Texas School for the Deaf. We will then go and see my sister for a few days. Jacob is staying home, because he is no employed at a grocery store and will hopefully be working while I am gone. My partner is staying in town too, so he won't be home alone. Jacob and I will make a trip to Waxahachie in July to the Texas State Technical Institute to see what they have to offer. He wants to go to school there after graduation. We will be swimming and going to movies this summer too. There are a few doctor's appointments each month, but nothing too horrible! I will also be doing my mystery shopping to make some extra money. I am blocking out two days a week though, so I make sure to spend time with the boys and RELAX!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Converstaion with Elijah

Elijah and I were on our way to a doctor's appointment yesterday and below is a conversation we had:

Mom: Elijah, what is your favorite subject in school?
Elijah: Science
Mom: Oh really, well what do you want to be when you grow up?
Elijah: study rocks
Mom: You want to study rocks?
Elijah: yea, there is black rock....ossisian(approximation of what he said)
Mom: what kind of rock?
Elijah: Ossisan
Mom: Obsidian rock
Elijah: yea, the rock made from lava and cool water.
Mom: oh, well how do you get that kind of job?
Elijah: go to college.
We then practiced how to say obsidian several time, using visual phonics. However, during all of this I was just amazed at his vocabulary. I even looked up obsidian rock and we were correct....meaning I was able to guess what he said from his speech approximation. Finally, teaching high school science paid off for me!! He picks up new vocabulary so easily. We do have to work on articulation, but he gives me enough information to work with.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month

Yesterday was the start of Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month! As many of you know, Elijah has Tourette Syndrome. It is a very confusing thing to try to explain to people. Elijah doesn't have many tics, but when he does they can be very intense. He also has OCD and ADHD which are two co-morbid disorders associated with Tourette Syndrome. I would say these two things give him more trouble than the tics do.

I am trying to educate more and more people about Tourette Syndrome. Awareness is the key!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

More Pictures from Camp!

Here are some more pictures of Elijah at the Tourette's Camp.

He is very proud here!

Painting a bird house!

Elijah at the top!
Climbing HIGH!

OH My what a big SNAKE!

Monday, May 6, 2013

IEP Meeting!

I went to Elijah's annual IEP meeting this afternoon. Here in Texas we call them ARD(Admission, Review and Dismissal) meetings, but I will call it an IEP meeting for today! The meeting went well. Elijah has made good progress. We reviewed his IEPs for next year and his class schedule. The Dean of Students from the Junior High attended the meeting. We discussed areas of concern and came up with ideas. I was really worried about PE, because I thought he would have to dress out in PE, but he won't! None of the kids have to dress out, unless they are in athletics. We also discussed making sure he has an inclusion aide with him in PE and putting him in the smallest PE class that they could find.

It was one of the easier IEP meetings that I have had for Elijah. I let the Dean of Students know that I expected a few bumps along the road next year, but as long as we all worked together it would be OK. I am hoping the transition goes well and he has a good year next year. Only two more years until high school, YIKES! Jacob will be a senior next year and I start graduate school....oh what a year we will all have!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

"Houston, We Have a Problem!"

Elijah's cousin, Tabbie, is over today for a few hours so they can play. They played some Wii games and now they each sit on the couch with an electronic device. They are chatting and comparing games. I just heard Elijah laugh and say to Tabbie, "Houston, we have a problem!" I now sit here wondering where HE heard that phrase and amazed that he then used it himself and most likely appropriately.

I have written several times about my amazement of hearing Elijah speak and use the vocabulary and grammar structures that he does. I work with hearing impaired kids every day don't hear them use the vocabulary that Elijah does. Just the other day, Elijah was in the bath when he YELLS for me. It sounds like he is in terrible danger! I go in and he says to me, while pointing to some blisters on his heels...."MY SKIN IS DISSOLVING!" He has no processors on so I motion/gesture to him to finish his bath and BLAH basically, don't worry about it. I then turn around and GRIN from ear to ear thinking..."DISSOLVING!" WOW, what a word for him to use!

DEAF children can learn and pick up language incidentally. Even children who rely on sign language can IF their parents sign with them and use language around them all the time. I don't dumb down the language for Elijah. I speak to him like he is a 13 year old, and if I see he doesn't understand I change the way I say it and then say it the original way I said it again. I have done this since he was a baby. THIS IS WORK and it is a LOT OF WORK, but it has paid off!

I look  and listen to Elijah in amazement sometimes, and wonder HOW did we get here, but I know it was all the work we did in the past. We still have work ahead of us, but it is worth it when I hear...."Houston, we have a problem."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Elijah's Weekend at Camp

Elijah had an awesome weekend at camp. We dropped him off on Friday afternoon and picked him up on Sunday morning at 11:00. He rode a horse, climbed a TALL rock wall, went fishing, rode in a canoe, ate ice cream and made friends. He did things I never expected he would. I still need to take his camera in to have the film developed, so I 'll be posting more pictures once they are ready.

On Sunday, each cabin read their wishes. Many of them wished that more people would understand Tourette Syndrome. Another wish, was that camp would be a week long! At the end, each cabin had balloons, that they attached their wish to. They then let the balloons go. It was such an awesome sight to see. Elijah didn't want to let his balloon go, but he finally did! He wants to go back again next year!

Oh and I love the shirt he got. Take a look at the second picture..."Keep Calm and TIC ON".