THE SHADDOX BOYS

Jacob and Elijah Shaddox are brothers. They live with their mom, Mary, who is the writer of this blog. Jacob is 19 and is now four inches taller than his mom! He also has ADHD and gorgeous red hair. He is a freshman at a technical college studying computer maintenance. Elijah is 15! He is in 9th grade and he is not in ROTC at his high school. He also had red hair, but it is lighter and not as thick as his brother's hair. He is hearing impaired(auditory neuropathy) and wears two cochlear implants. He also has tourette syndrome, ADHD, OCD and anxiety! Mary just started her 25th year as a teacher of the deaf. She is also in her last semester of graduate school to be a diagnostician! She will graduate in December of 2015!





Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Genetic Testing

I took Elijah into his doctor today for genetic testing. The nurse swabbed both of his cheeks and will send the samples off to the company to have it tested. The testing will show which medications Elijah's body metabolizes better so that the doctor can decide which medications to try with him. It will cost around $300 and I think it is worth a try. Right now he is maxed on some of his medications and the doctor wanted to try a new ADHD medication for his impulsivity, but what to try? It is a guessing game. She did up his intuniv medication by 1 MG and we will see if that helps. We should have the results next week and they will call me to discuss them. Another parent had mentioned genetic testing at the Tourette Syndrome Support Group meeting back on December 12th and said that the results had really helped with medication decisions. I am hoping this helps the doctor to made future decisions about Elijah's medication.  Elijah takes medication for OCD, ADHD and for his tics, and it is always hard to know what is helping him and what isn't. I'll keep you all posted!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Rechargeable vs. Disposable Batteries

Disposable batteries
Elijah has been using rechargeable batteries since he was upgraded to his Nucleus 6 processors. He had rechargeable batteries with his Freedoms, but his FM system had a separate battery rack so we didn't use the rechargeable batteries much until he started using the MyLink FM system. He has had the Nucleus 6 processors for 18 months now and one of his rechargeable batteries is starting to not hold a battery all day. I started doing some research on disposable batteries and found that I can get a box of 60 batteries for $18.25. After doing the math, I would need about 600 batteries, or 10 boxes for one year. That is $182.50. The cost of one rechargeable battery is $199. The only reason to go with the rechargeable battery is for swimming with the Aqua+ kit.

rechargeable battery
I still have some disposable batteries that we can use until I decide what I want to do. One advantage of the rechargeable batteries is they do last all day and we just switch them out at night (he has four batteries for two processors, so one set charges while he wears the other two). The disposable batteries will last for 2-3 days, but can die at any time and then you have to stop and change them. Elijah doesn't like it when his batteries die, so I would have to have a chat with his case manager so she understands that he may not react well if they die at school. He knows how to change the batteries, so that is good. The disadvantage of the rechargeable batteries is they only last about a year, so if we switch them out every other day then they should last 2 years, but you never know. For me to buy four new rechargeable batteries would cost $800 for 2 years. The disposable batteries would cost about $360 for 2 years. I could try to get insurance to cover the batteries, but that is a hassle that I am not sure I want to deal with right now.

I am curious to find out what others prefer! Please leave a comment.

Nucleus 6 with disposable batteries

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Our Christmas Break

Elijah and I are off for two weeks for Christmas break and Jacob will be home for a whole month. My hone still has to work, but has the next three days off! We have actually gotten to sleep in a few mornings and we are enjoying the nice weather.

I completed my Master's Degree in Special Education from Texas Tech University this month. I am not a certified Educational Diagnostician. I am still waiting for my diploma to arrive in the mail! I can't wait to get it. I was able to print my certification out on the TEA website, and that definitely made it feel more real. I can't believe I have my master's degree! Jacob has only one more semester left in school and he will graduate with his associate's degree in May of next year!

Elijah is doing well. We went to see his doctor for his Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD. She got to see a lot of his impulsivity at this visit. He was persistent at trying to get his way when she tried to talk to him. We are changing his medication a bit, and will go back in about six weeks. She mentioned a genetic test that might help pinpoint which medications would work best for him. The interesting thing, is this was mentioned at the Tourette Support Group meeting we attended back on Dec. 12th. I called the genetic company, and our insurance is not on their list yet, but I was assured the out of cost for me would not exceed an amount that I am willing to pay. I am going to take him next week for a cheek swab and then see what we can find out. The family at the support group meeting said that when they had the testing done, they learned a lot about the medications that would help their son and it has been very helpful. The doctor wants to possibly change his ADHD medication, but it is hard to know what to change him too, but hopefully this testing will help. I am excited about it, but don't want to get too excited

We are very excited about Christmas. Elijah got a new bed, which my hone, Jacob and I put together yesterday. Elijah helped some, but it was a small room and we needed all the room we could get to put the bed together. He did run some things back and forth for us and keep an eye on our progress. He was so excited to get his bed. Jacob's big gift is the car he is now driving. I have a few surprises for both boys. All of my other shopping is pretty much done. I have a few more things to pack. My honey and I want to go shopping and look at some jewelry. We just aren't sure if we want to fight the crowds tomorrow.

We have also been busy baking. I have been making snow ball cookies and will be making pralines later this week. We have also been making truffles! Jacob and Elijah love to help make truffles.
TRUFFLES
 My honey and I roll out the truffles and then put them in the sprinkles. The boys are in charge of making sure the truffles are covered in sprinkles.  They then put them in the mini muffin cups. Every 10th truffles requires a taste test for quality control and we each take our turn testing the truffles. We let them know what time we will be making truffles and the boys make sure they are there, or they know they miss out. We have fun as we make the truffles and it is a nice time to talk! We have made several batches of truffles.


Jacob and Elijah making truffles.
Today my nephew and niece came over and we made Christmas cookies. This is something else I enjoy doing this time of year. We had a lot of fun and the kids got to cut out cookies, bake them, and then decorate them. We use sprinkles on the cookies as well! My honey also has some Christmas favorites she likes to bake. We have been baking for several months. Elijah takes treats to all of his teachers and I hand treats out to my staff.


I am looking forward to 2016. I can't believe how much has happened this past year!! I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!


Friday, November 27, 2015

Decorating the Christmas Tree!

Jacob, Elijah and I spent the day decorating for Christmas! Jacob helped me get all of the boxes and the Christmas tree out of the attic. He then got the box of ornaments that we keep in his room. Grandma Linda made him this box back when he was a baby to keep all of his ornaments in. After Elijah was born, we started keeping his ornaments in there also! These are the ornaments that either my mom or another relative has given them. Some of them are the ornaments they have made over the years. Both boys like hanging their ornaments, along with the other ornaments we have collected over the years. Whenever we travel, I look for ornaments. We now have a "Blue Bell" ice cream ornament from Brenham and an ornament from the birthplace of Texas; Washington on the Brazos!

One of my favorite ornaments is one I made when I was in the Girl Scouts in 1976. It is a ceramic gingerbread woman! I painted it and it was put in a kiln (I think that is what it is called) and finished, so it has held up nicely over the years. I also have some ornaments that my mom actually made when she first got married. I have ornaments from Fredricksburg, Texas and Gulf Shores, Alabama. I have ornaments that friends have sent me. I have a group of 10 women I have corresponded with for about 18 years and we do an ornament exchange each year. I love finding these ornaments.

The three of us had a really nice time decorating the tree. It was nice to see that both boys enjoyed it and didn't consider it a burden. They enjoyed finding the ornaments they had made in school. I told both of them that when they are married and have their own families, they will get to have some of these ornaments, and that they will begin their own new memories!


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Thirty Million Words


Thirty Million Words is a book I just bought about a month ago. I read a Facebook post about it and it looked interesting. It is written by cochlear implant surgeon. It is an amazing book! I have only ready the first few chapters and can't wait to read more. It is not about cochlear implants, but more about how very young children learn language. It does discuss cochlear implants and I am telling many parents about this book. These are parents of not just deaf children, but also hearing children.

I look back at all of the hard work that went in to making sure that Elijah would speak and have language. His articulation is still iffy on a few sounds, but overall he is an oral communicator with a huge vocabulary. Just yesterday, while helping his brother take out the trash he used the word PHOBIA. He freaked out when he saw a dead bug in the garage. His brother told him to get over it and just bring out the trash bag. I then hear Elijah yell, "I have a PHOBIA!!!" I later asked him what a phobia was and he said it was when a person is scared of something. He got most of the definition correct. He then told me he has a phobia of bugs. He then told me that arachnophobia is when you are scared of spiders. WOW! You would think I would stop being amazed by him, but he still amazes me on a daily basis. All of the hard work that we put in at the beginning of this journey has paid off. It has not been an easy journey, and it still isn't over yet, but we are definitely on the right path.

Thirty Million Words is being sold on Amazon and it is less than $20. Parents should be giving their children the gift of language....hearing or deaf, please talk to your kids. I learned to narrate my life when Elijah was in auditory-verbal therapy and I still do it to this day. It doesn't cost anything to talk to your kids!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Memories

Elijah

Elijah and I attended a Cochlear event today in the Dallas area. He wears the Cochlear brand cochlear implant and they sometimes have events in our area. We have not been to an even in several years as it always seemed to fall on a day when we had other plans. We were both very excited to go and it was fun.

We walked in and the first table we went to had all of the Nucleus 6 items, so we walked to it first. I heard the Cochlear employee talking and I thought, "I know that voice." We stood at the table and the woman looked over at me and said, "I know you." I said, "I know you too, Jennifer. Do you remember me and Elijah?" Her jaw dropped as she looked at us and said, "THIS IS ELIJAH". I grinned and said "YES!". She then said, "He is so tall. The last time I saw him he was such a little guy." Jennifer was the audiologist who turned Elijah's first cochlear implant on. She was also there when he got his second implant. She had not seen us in nine years! Seeing her brought back so many memories of his activation and all of the things we did to make sure that Elijah would hear!

We spoke for about 10 minutes and then more people came up and she needed to speak to them. Elijah and I visited several more tables and we got to see the wireless accessories that he can use with this cochlear implant processor. I got to ask lots of questions about which accessory might work best for him. He got his face painted and he also got some balloon animals! They served us lunch and we ate with some very nice people who also had cochlear implants. Of course, everyone thought Elijah was too cute as he ate his chocolate chip cookies and then asked for more!

I got a picture of Elijah with Jennifer later and she and I spoke again for a bit. She showed me how the scan technology works on his implant processor and how to use the remote control with it. It was pretty interesting to hear about the different settings that his processor can use to SCAN the room and change his settings for him to have optimal hearing. He got to meet other adults with implants. There were a few kids there, but most of them were younger than him.

Overall, it made for a very fun day! I got to pick up some "freebies"--Cochlear bag, microphone protectors for his processors, some magnets and some pamphlets! I hope we can go to another one if they have it near us!

Elijah and Jennifer

 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Back To School

I returned to work on August 17th for the inservice and prep for the new school year. Elijah started high school this past Monday on August 24th and I started my last semester of grad school. Elijah had a very good first week of school. There were no major issues, except for him getting on the wrong bus the first morning, but he managed to get to the right school. I managed not to panic when Jacob told me he got on the wrong bus....I am still not sure what happened, but lets just say it ended well and that is all that matter. The bus route did change after the second day, because he was being picked up late and dropped at home around 5:20. Now he is picked up at 8:05 and dropped off at 4:30! This is much better. He is in ROTC and seems to like it. He is also taking a digital media class and that is going well!

This is my last semester of grad school. I am taking two class, which both involved intelligence and achievement testing. I have to get 160 hours of internship hours through my school. I am going to be practice the testing on my honey and Jacob on the weekend. I have a MAJOR project that is to be completed in place of a Master's thesis or Master's exam. I am still trying to figure it all out. I have a LOT of videos to take....giving assessments, mock consultations with a parent (my sister in law has agreed to help me), interventions (with my niece, but this one is not videos), mock ARD meetings and a few others. Lets just say I'll be BUSY...between family, work and grad school!

Jacob was home this past week for a few days. His semester starts on Monday at TSTC. He will graduate in May of 2016. He is no taking classes that are all focused on his major, computer maintenance.

I'll try to post and keep y'all updated, but it may be DECEMBER before you see me again, or at least get more than just a few sentences in a post!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Teaching Elijah to Tie His Shoes

Elijah is 15 years old and up until yesterday did not know how to tie his shoes. How could this happen you wonder? When Jacob started kindergarten, we were told part of the curriculum was that he would need to learn to tie his shoes. We practiced at home and he practiced at school. He learned to tie his shoes and that was that.

When Elijah was born, there were other things to worry about and the least of my worries was him learning to tie his shoes. He spent four weeks in the NICU and then four weeks in the special care nursery. He came home on oxygen and stayed on oxygen for the next seven months. I spent the winter keeping him healthy and alive. From that point on the focus was on his lungs and his deafness. I was constantly taking care of him, Jacob, my husband, trying to work and trying to find answers on how to help Elijah.

Elijah started school at three in a deaf education preschool classroom in a district that was not in the city we lived in. He started in a signing classroom and then moved to an oral classroom. He had been implanted at 18 months and then in the middle of his second year of pre-k he got his second implant. My focus was still on his lungs as he could get sick quite quickly and on him learning to listen and speak.

Elijah started kindergarten in another district to receive services from a deaf education teacher in a deaf education classroom. Learning to tie his shoes was not on the curriculum and I didn't have time to teach him. This may sound like I was lazy, but that is far from the case. I had been taking him to auditory verbal therapy from the time he was 18 months old through 1st grade once week. His dad took him for another visit each week.  We needed time for therapy at home, homework, my prep for teaching and to hopefully have some fun in there somewhere. When Elijah was in 1st grade he started with occupational therapy for some fine motor issues. Learning to tie his shoes was not a priority. When we couldn't find Velcro shoes I bought LockLaces to uses in his shoes. He also gets frustrated really easily so it was just easier to use the LockLaces.

What has changed and why does Elijah need to learn to tie his shoes? Elijah wants to be in the ROTC this coming school year when he enters high school. Once he is fitted for his uniform he will be required to wear it once a week, and this means dress shoes. Thankfully, all of this is provided by the school at no cost, but he will need to know how to ties his shoes. I will leave in the morning before he is quite dressed and ready and my honey doesn't want to be tying the shoes of a 15 year old boy each morning who isn't always the most cooperative on a good day.

Elijah and I spent about 30 minutes yesterday working on him learning to tie his shoes, and me having to really refine the steps as I tie my shoes without even thinking. He stuck with it and by the end of the 30 minutes could tie a shoe with some prompts from me. We practiced again before he went to bed, again this morning and once again this afternoon. He can now tie a shoe but it still requires a great deal of concentration on his part. We will practice every day for the next three weeks and even after school starts. I am proud of him. It didn't take as long as I thought for him to be able to complete the steps and tie a shoe. Now he just needs to get it more automatic and refine his methods.

Oh and he is a lefty, so I had to tie a shoe using my left hand as my dominate hand....well that gave me some perspective, because I really had to THINK about how to tie the shoe when I was using my left hand.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Almost Halfway through Summer

I cannot believe we are approaching the middle of July! It has been a busy summer. My niece has been coming to stay with us on Mondays and Wednesdays. We have visited one museum, gone to one movie and been to the library several times. The library has a "TEEN ROOM" for kids in the 6th-12th grade, and this is the first year she could go into the room. She was SO excited! She and Elijah hang out there for about an hour or so and I read the paper or look for books. We plan on doing a few more things this summer!

Elijah, my mom and I all went to Alabama to see our family there. My grandmother just turned 89 years old and I really wanted to see her. I also got to see several aunts and uncles as well as cousins. It was a long drive, but we had a good time!

My grad school class started on July 7th and boy is there a LOT of work to do. I am not doing many shops for my mystery shops ( I think have three shops scheduled for the rest of the month), so I have plenty of time to do the work. I am driving and seeing two hearing impaired babies this month as part of their early intervention program. Extra pay for me and it is fun to play with the babies, even if it is work. I have also driven into work for a few meetings, but nothing too serious and I also get paid for those. I start my internship in the Fall and that will be VERY interesting. I did get a $7,000 scholarship for the summer class and for the fall, so I really don't need to mystery shop. I got a small grant too. Jacob even got a scholarship for school!! I will be graduating in December!

Jacob has been home a few times this summer. He is taking a FULL summer semester, meaning 15 weeks of school. He will be graduating in May of 2016! He likes his classes and is doing well living on his own. He does listen and take my advice most of the time!

We have had NO 100 degree days so far this summer but that may change next week. Elijah has a few more doctor's appointments and he will be seeing the ophthalmologist next week. HE MAY NEED GLASSES! Just one more thing!!

My honey is doing well and working hard. She hopes to have a day off in a few weeks and maybe we will go shopping. I almost forgot, we have gotten the guest bathroom redone. We are still waiting on the vanity, but everything else is done! I am so excited!! I think that is all for now! How is everyone else doing?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

SUMMER!

We started our summer on June 6th this year! We haven't done too much so far. I am keeping my niece two days a week and had hoped to do some fun things, but the weather is not cooperating. We were going to go to a local outdoor museum that has nature trails, but it rained the day we were to go. We have had a LOT of rain recently, so when I called I was told that the trails were REALLY MUDDY. We went to the movies instead and then out to Steak 'N Shake for lunch. I was going to try the museum again tomorrow, but we woke up to RAIN again. We haven't even been swimming yet!

Overall though, the summer is going well. I am taking fewer mystery shops so I have time to do things. We renewed our membership at the local recreation center so we try to go daily and walk. I have taken my niece and Elijah to the teen room at the library and they really enjoy that. My niece is now old enough to go to the teen room and she thinks it is SO COOL.

Elijah and I are going out of town for a few days and my honey will be here at home. We are going to go and visit my grandmother in Alabama and my mom is going too. Jacob is in Waco all summer attending school, but is home this weekend! He brought two weeks worth of laundry home! My grad school class starts on July 7th, but it is only ONE class so I think I can handle it. I will stop all mystery shopping by that date. Elijah has three doctor's appointments coming up in July. The newest doctor he has added to his list is the ophthalmologist. He didn't do very well with his eye exam at his check up a few weeks ago. He is also going to the pulmonologist and the audiologist. 

I also have two babies through ECI that I will be seeing all summer. One baby is only twice a month so that is no biggie, but the other one is weekly! I enjoy the babies though. We don't have any other big plans for the summer. I just want to try and relax and bit and sleep in!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Counting the Days

I am counting the days until Summer break. I have 5 1/2 more days with students and then 1 1/2 work days. It will be a busy summer. I am planning on doing some mystery shopping in June and my mom and I are taking Elijah to Alabama to visit the family. My grandmother turned 89 this month and I really want to see her. It has been two years since I have been back home. Jacob is down in Waco for his summer semester at TSTC. It is a full 15 week semester, not summer school which moves at a much faster rate and is only about four weeks. He has already texted me to tell me he needs some help with math when he comes home this weekend.

I got some good news this week! I received a $7,000 scholarship for graduate school. It will cover my summer class that I am taking that starts July 7th and my Fall semester classes. I am going to call Texas Tech and cancel my school loan! This will cover tuition, books, and any other supplies I need. I plan on quitting mystery shopping come July 1st and focus on school and the family. It will be hard to give it up, because I love the thrill of getting good shops and extra pay. Next Fall is my last semester in grad school and I will graduate in December. I will be completing my internship for my certification as an educational diagnostician, so it will be a tough semester, but I know I can focus on school now and still be able to focus on the boys, my honey and the rest of my family! It is really wonderful that this happened, and I feel blessed!

We really aren't doing much except for the trip to Alabama. I have one two day workshop in June and Jacob's girlfriend is going to watch Elijah for me. It is close enough that I will drive back and forth each day. I plan on taking a few days here and there to go to the movies, visit some museums and plan some other activities with Elijah. We are also planning on joining the rec center here in town. It is a good price and I like to go walking there. The library is right next door, so Elijah and I will go and walk and then go to the library. Once my class starts, it is a good place to work and let him hang out in the teen room. He also likes to check out books and read. I want to have him read to me this summer.  Hopefully, my honey will be able to join us on a few of these days when we go to a museum or go shopping!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Elijah's Tics are UP!

Elijah's tics seem to have increased in the last few days. Thankfully, he doesn't have many oral and/or motor tics, but when they appear, boy do they appear. I have heard a lot of "HMMMM" and "HMMM HMMMMMMM". It is hard to explain, but it can be constant and after a while the tic can grate on your nerves. Another vocal tic he is doing is a loud SIGH or GRUNT type of sound. Again, it is hard to explain. The other tic I noticed today was him licking his hands and then whipping his face with his hands. This is one of his older tics that I have not seen in a LONG time.  One time, he was riding on the bottom of a grocery cart and he actually licked his hands and ran them on the floor, then went to LICK them. Let's just say, I stopped him in time. The licking can be a CONSTANT TIC for him when it starts. He has also been a bit more argumentative this weekend, which usually happens when his tics increase. I am sure it is because the tics bother him more than he lets on.

I just never know when the tics will start or how long they will last. They just happen and then they are just gone or at least occur less often! If he weren't on his medication then I am sure the tics would happen more often and be more severe!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Update on Us!

We have had a busy few weeks. My honey and I took Elijah down to the weekend Tourette Syndrome camp back in April. He had a wonderful weekend and we had a great time shopping in Brenham. He is so much more social when he is there and seems to get along with everyone just fine. He can't wait to go back again next year. We both have four more weeks of school left and then it is SUMMER TIME!!


Jacob has been home for the last week, but goes back to school tomorrow. He and his girlfriend are going to PROM tonight! I can't wait to see them all dressed up! He starts his summer semester on Monday. It is a full 15 week semester and he should be graduating in May of next year!!


I finished my semester of grad school on May 3rd, but I had already turned everything in by April 10th. I got an A in both classes and will take one class this summer starting July 7th. It will be 13 weeks of a class crammed into about four weeks, but it is doable.  I then have two classes next Fall and will graduate in December.


Elijah will be a freshman next year and wants to join the ROTC. I am going to let him join and see how it goes. Both Jacob and my brother Alex were in ROTC and really liked it. I think it will be good for Elijah and hopefully teach him a lot about responsibility and how to get organized. We shall see!! Changing schools is always a huge transition for any kid, but really seems to be huge for Elijah.


We don't have any big plans for the summer. My mom, Elijah and I are going to travel to Alabama in June. I have a two day workshop in June also. My niece is going to stay with us a few days in June and that will be fun. Jacob will visit during the summer and we will all enjoy the time off.


I am truly counting down these last few weeks of school. I have enjoyed my year teaching at the elementary level, but am ready for the change that is coming next year. I will fill y'all in on that later! It isn't a huge change, but it is a change! The next few weeks will be hectic with a few field trips, a field day (I hope I survive that), and some high school students visiting us at the  elementary school. I am sure it will all move too fast and summer will be here before I know it, at least I hope that is what happens!!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

NBC Dateline Episode 4/12/15

Tonight's episode of Dateline covered young me with autism who were "aging out" of school when they turned 21. The episode highlighted two families' struggles with finding services for the sons after they turned 21. All parents of special needs students should be watch this episode of Dateline. This affects young people with intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, and other developmental disabilities.

We had a transition meeting at Elijah's last ARD meeting (IEP meeting) back in February. Elijah attended the ARD and I asked that a representative from the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) to attend his ARD. The DARS representative works only with students who are deaf and hard of hearing. I signed consent for her to meet with Elijah at the high school next year and in the years to follow. I am hoping that we can come up with a plan for him for after graduation. Elijah can stay in school until the age of 21 since he is under special education. I don't know if he will need to stay in school until he is 21 or graduate when he completes four years of high school and passes his classes. He will be 19 at that time. He repeated second grade back in elementary school.

Like the moms in the Dateline episode I have educated myself on Elijah's rights and am his strongest advocate. I also have my experience as a teacher in special education to assist me. I am not sure how parents who don't have this background navigate the system. I don't usually write about work, but I do worry about my own students. All I can do is try to educate the parents as best I can.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

I'm Hungry!

Elijah seems to always be hungry. I guess it is part of being a teenage boy and he will be 15 in just about two weeks. However, there are times that I know he is NOT hungry! Last weekend, my honey and I took Elijah, Jacob, Jacob's girlfriend and my mom out to eat for my birthday. We went to BJ's restaurant and my honey brought a cake from the "Nothing Bundt Cake" store. They make some awesome cakes and she got me a white raspberry cake!

We ordered two appetizers and Elijah did eat quite a bit. He ordered a small pizzas for his meal and ate three of the four slices. We all finished our meal and the waiter brought some plates for the cake. Elijah got his piece of cake and then told us that it didn't taste right. I told him he didn't have to eat it and he seemed fine with that. He then looked down at me as he rubbed his forehead looking quite sad. He says "I am hungry" with a tone of despair. My mom chuckled and I tried not to laugh. There was NO way he was hungry. He wanted one of the desserts from the restaurant. They have hot cookies with ice cream and that is what he wanted. I told him we were NOT ordering desserts because we were having cake. He sighed and just sat there looking all forlorn. He looked at my mother to see if she would get him something and she avoided eye contact. We all ate our cake and talked. He then looked down at me and said, "Can I have my cake back?" I gave him his cake and he ate it. My honey and I have laughed about this all week, because it is a running joke that Elijah is always hungry! In this way, he is a very typical teenage boy!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

It Happened Again!

We got a new front door today, so workmen arrived early this morning to take out the old door and install the new door. It was a good three hour job with them even installing a new door frame. There was a lot of noise and a lot of work going on. Elijah and I were just hanging out in the house and watching TV. The cats were locked up in Jacob's room and my honey was off at work.

About an hour before they finished, one of the workmen says to me, "there is someone here to see you". I was surprised to hear this, because I wasn't expecting anyone. I then walked to the door and said, "there is someone for me?" He then pointed to two women and a teenage girl walking up to my door. Of course, there is a lot happening in this area so they didn't get too close. All three of them were dressed up like they were going to church and one of them voice and signs "hello, I see you have some construction. We just wanted to stop by to see you with an invitation." I immediately knew they had see the DEAF CHILD SIGN at the end of the street and asked some neighbors where the deaf kid lives. She then signed and voiced, "your son is deaf, right?" I said, "yes, but he doesn't use sign language. He is oral.". She then said, "Oh, ok." I just stood there and didn't say anything else. She then said "thank you. I guess we won't bother you" and they left.

The three of them left and then I looked at the workman and asked him if they had driven up to my house. He said that they had. I am not sure WHY this bothers me BUT it does. They had  probably found out where I lived sometime before today and then made a special trip to come and see the deaf kid and his family. I relayed the story to my honey when she called later. She then told me that someone had stopped by a few weeks ago when Jacob was home for Spring Break. Elijah and I were not home, because I had taken him to a doctor's appointment. This happened about a year ago too. While I appreciate that they want to reach out to the deaf community, I would really prefer they just NOT show up on my doorstep uninvited. The woman today signed better than the last woman who stopped by though.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Jacob: Life at College

      Jacob started his second semester at Texas State Technical College in Waco in January. He only has three more semester until graduation with one of those semesters being over the summer. He has become more independent each day. Today he texted me that he was having some issues with his car. He said it was "sputtering" and the check engine light was on. I called him to get more information. One of the other staff suggested he take it to Auto Zone and let them run a diagnostic. I searched the web and found one close to him. I told him to ask them for a suggestion on where he might take the car to be checked over.


       He called me a little later and said Auto Zone suggested a garage and I looked it up for him. He was still at Auto Zone. I gave him the address and he found it. He then called me back and said that he made an appointment to take the car back on Friday morning for them to check it. It could be any number of things. They also said they would give him a 10% discount since he was a student at TSTC and many of their mechanics come from the school. I reminded him to call me with a quote prior to approving the work and I told him how proud I was of him for handling all of this. It is a learning opportunity and he did well!! I am VERY PROUD of him. He listened and handled the situation and made some decisions all on his own. He still has some growing up to do, but he is on the right track. Life is a journey!



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snow Days!

Elijah, my hone and I have all been home for the last two days due to the ice. School was cancelled for both Elijah and I. My honey cancelled her classes, because she didn't want to drive out in the ice and I don't blame her! I just found out that my school district has a two hour delay tomorrow morning. Now, being home has been nice. We have slept in and made a nice dessert today. I even got a nap and also got ahead on several grad school assignments.

However, being stuck home with a child who has OCD and tics can be a challenge. Elijah was determined he was going to play outside yesterday. First of all, it was ICE not snow and secondly HE has a nasty cough. He got breathing treatments every three hours yesterday and today. He would NOT drop it yesterday and kept trying to sneak out. He just had it stuck in his head that HE HAD to go outside and play. The tics have not been too bad, but there were a few times I had to ask him to go to his room to watch TV. I could only take the noise for so long and my computer is in the den where I do my grad school work. This only happened once yesterday and once today, so overall it wasn't too bad. I also limit his time with electronics (iPad, Nintendo DS and Wii-U) so he was BORED quite a bit. I played with him some, but there is only so much we could do!

Of course, now Elijah is determined that there will be NO school tomorrow. He is even arguing with me about it. I have remained calm and reminded him that the decision has not been made and we will get up in the morning and see what the news has to say. The school district will call me if there is a late start or cancellation. I am hoping he just doesn't argue with me in the morning and then have his bad attitude carry over into school. At least there are only three days left this week.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Turkey Bacon

When Elijah was very young, I worried the child would be TOO skinny. He just never seemed to gain any weight or to grow taller. I took him to an endocrinologist and he was behind the curve when it came to growth, but the doctor thought we should wait and see if he would catch up to his peers. He did and is finally growing TALLER.

 Unfortunately, many of the medications the takes for Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD have cause him to EAT, and now that he is 14 he is really EATING. We got him walking over the summer and started counting calories, and he lost 10 pounds. Overall, he is doing well and we monitor what he eats. However, when he is very hungry he eats and eats whatever is around. He has been known to eat a whole package of luncheon meat or a package of pepperoni in the fridge. We recently bought a small box to lock up a few things in the refrigerator, for two reasons. He cannot just EAT all the time, or he will really gain weight and he has to learn some self control. We also keep the freezer in the garage locked.


Some of you may think I am a mean mom! Well, my honey found an empty package of TURKEY BACON in the fridge today. There had been about 3 slices left two days ago. He stated that he had eaten it. Upon further questioning, I learned that he ate it RAW. OH GROSS....that is all I have to say to that. Later tonight I was putting clean sheets on his bed when I reached down between the bed and the wall to grab a few stuffed animals. I found two bowls, several dried up orange peels and CHOPPED PECANS. We found the empty bag in the fridge when we went to look. Somehow he had grabbed the bag of pecans and spilled all of them between the wall and the fridge. We had not even noticed they were gone, because we use SO many pecans during the holidays for baking that we can't keep track of them between us. I found a LOT of pecans under his bed and we are going to flip the mattress off tomorrow to see what else we can find. Pecans are expensive, and he didn't even eat them, he wasted them. I also don't think he is hungry most of the time, but thinks he is hungry due to the meds. The doctor told me kids like him on these meds will eat trash out of a trash can. I didn't really believe him, until Elijah ate RAW TURKEY BACON! YUCK!

Monday, January 12, 2015

And So it Begins.......

Elijah and I started back to school last week on January 5th. Jacob was home for a few more days and then returned to Waco to get ready for his classes that started today. Grad school starts for me on Wednesday, and hence the title of my blog AND SO IT BEGINS! Unfortunately, I may only get to PEEK at my classes come Wednesday, since I will be teaching my students, but hopefully I will have some time during my lunch.


Elijah has had a good start back to school. I have an ARD (IEP) meeting for him at the beginning of February and we will be talking about him going to HIGH SCHOOL next year. Where hast he time gone. So far there have been no issues and he seems happy. Work for me has been crazy, but by next week it should calm down some. I love the people I work with and that makes it worth it. I love the kids too and they are working so HARD!


Keep your fingers crossed that I don't get too overwhelmed with it all! My OCD can be a real hindrance at times, but it does motivate me to get ahead in my classes! Now, if it would just warm up a bit. I am really tired of the cold!