Sunday, October 28, 2007


I love fall. Correction, we love fall. It is one of those things that Dave and I see eye to eye on. Everything about it leaves me with a warm and cozy feeling. The colors, the sounds, the smells, the food, the laughter. This year especially the laughter. Ben doesn't eat candy and really doesn't like scary so the Halloween part of fall has not been a big deal for him in years past. Not this year! This year he loves to dress up, loves to pretend, loves to say "trick or treat", loves getting the treats and loves showing Kiera how to do all of it. She is taking his lead and is having a ball. One of the fun things about this year is that they don't care what they get. We have two treat bags that they haven't even looked into. They don't eat the candy and play with only a couple of the toys. When I asked if we should share some of our toys they said yeah. It is Halloween for the fun of it!

We started early this year with trips to the orchard and then moved right into a Halloween train ride. What a blast! It was a really cool old train that made me think of movies about the 1920's. It was geared toward preschool age children with fun, singing (not scary) witches and snacks. The ride was an hour long which turned out to be perfect. When we pulled back into the station the kids were still excited to be on a train. It didn't hurt that we had a ton of friends there too.

Our next adventure took us to the Zoo. I have never done this before and I am so glad that we did! The Zoo that we visit the most has a couple days of Halloween fun for older kids and about three years ago started two days just for preschoolers. Again, nothing scary. We got to trick or treat and see monkeys all in one day! Who could ask for anything more. Dave got to go with us so it was that much more fun.

Today was our busiest day yet. We had two parties to go to and were determined to make it to both. We made it to the barn where Ben has Hippotherapy and got to see a few friends from our initial CP support group that we haven't seen in a while as well as some school friends. Then we dashed off to my sisters for pumpkin carving. This is now a tradition and one of our favorite events of the year. There were thirteen of us this year and the rule is everyone has to carve a pumpkin. Ben and Kiera had goopy pumpkin hands, very briefly, but they gave it a try and we all were treated to the wonderful smells of fall comfort food. Ahh... the fall.

AHH! THE FALL! We had been lulled into cozy complacency (it has been 4 days since I "found" the hair clip Kiera swallowed) and Ben took a header into a chair. We are pretty sure that it was a pumpkin related injury because it happened at the edge of the pumpkin carving table. Just slip and bam! Five minutes later we were in the local ER for our first parental stitches. It occurred to me when we got there how amazing it is that we have never had stitches before. With all of the falling and lack of reflexes, you would think that at 4 1/2 we might have already traveled this road. No, this is a first. So now he has 6 stitches right above his eyebrow. It wasn't fun. Let me say that again, IT WASN'T FUN. He got it together really well by the time we got to the hospital (3 blocks away) and as soon as the stitches were done he calmed right down again. He was a trouper, but boy was he mad. Thankfully, mad at the stitcher and not us. We made it back in time for dinner and pumpkin lighting then took our exhausted selves home.

Three days until Halloween ; )

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Shannon and Dave

Shannon and Dave. These are two words rarely spoken with out the addition of "Ben and Kiera". Even more rarely would you hear "Shannon and Dave are out of town."

In fact it has been three years. Three years since Dave and I have been away for a weekend together. The last time was a bit good (the away part) and a bit bad (the coming home part). Ben was 18 months old and decided to pay us back for leaving him to suffer with my wonderful, doting, loving, Ben worshiping sister. He hit us where it hurt- for Mama he decided that eating was an option and for Daddy he decided not to hug, talk to or even look at him for about two weeks. We were all (accept my sister who had a great time with Ben) a bit scarred by the experience.

It took us a while to figure out how to leave not one but two children, but Dave worked it out. Behind my back. And happy anniversary, we were on our way to a cozy cabin in the Michigan woods overlooking a beautiful little lake edged in fall colors. It was fantastic. We enjoyed every moment of just us. No stress, no bills, no projects to catch up on, no house work, no crying. We had a minute to have a conversation and actually found each other interesting. We had fun, just to two of us. Then, 43 hours after we left, we got to scoop up our kids and love all over them again. A wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


And this is what happens when you put away laundry and your daughter figures out that she can climb the trim on the cupboards to get what she wants off the counter.

When I walked around the corner (she was being really quiet) she jumped and said "uh-oh! Mommy hiccups on the floor". I have come to learn that hiccups are in fact makeup and not easy to wash off a little girl. The sharpies were all me. The hiccups, all her. After today if she did it again THEN I would take responsibility but you just can't predict when your children are going to learn to climb walls.

Ben was helping me put away the laundry, came into the kitchen, took one look at Kiera and RAN to her saying "Kiera what happened? Are you OK?" He was really worried until I told him what had happened. Then he looked at her and said "Kiera just dirty. Kiera dirty and in big trouble." He thought it was pretty funny. So do I. Now. Ask me again when I try to get the "warmth" off my carpet.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


This is what happens when you leave 2 Sharpies out and leave Hubby at home with the kids. That is, if you have a great Hubby that tries to get laundry done so you don't have to think about it. At least Kiera has the grace to look sheepish. If you can believe it, Dave took these pics then CLEANED THE WHOLE FLOOR so that I wouldn't have to. Am I the luckiest wife ever? Love you Dave!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Things people say

Today I walked into a children's "play place" as Ben calls them with my two squirrely children and fantastic Mom. Now, we came late because it was more important to me to get us out than get Kiera to nap right on time, so the place is deserted except for us and one other family. Here I am with Ben running around and having a great time. Sometimes he is using his walker but most of the time he is trying it on his own which is a bit stumbley and tipsy today. Kiera makes "friends" with a girl just about her age and they start up and over a ramp. This ramp is pretty steep (for a one foot tall, seven foot long ramp) and is covered with carpet and we are all wearing socks. To up the challenge, Kiera hands the little girl a maraca. Now that we have the scene-Kiera goes up and over the ramp with just a few grunts of effort. Next comes our new little friend who is finding it difficult to crawl up this carpeted, steep ramp with a maraca in her hand. I have been chatting with the Mama and so I pipe in with "keep trying! You're doing it!" and no sooner are those works out of my mouth than the dad pipes up with "She can't do it.". No it gets worse! He continued to diminish her efforts and even called her dumb for not putting down the toy. He capped it off with "I bet she'll be on the short bus." I had a moment of- open your eyes? Can't you see that there is a family in the room including a special needs child! Who does, in fact, ride the short bus. But that was quickly pushed out of the way by pity. I feel so awful that that sweet, determined, typical little girl had to hear anything other than encouragement from her father. And pity for the louse who would rather bully his own daughter than play with her. It was the saddest moment I have had in a while.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I missed it!

I swear I turned around and it is winter! Maybe that is because it was 90 degrees all last week, but October! Really? Worse, I missed all of the season premiers on TV. Now that is a really big deal because I am never able to watch the same show two weeks in a row so if I don't get the first big directional overview I am lost for a whole season. DVR you ask, TVo? Not us. If I give out my hubby's cell phone number, how many random calls do you think it would take to change his mind on the subject? The good news is that I finally know what happened to "Men In Trees". It starts again on Friday. While I'm out at a thinly veiled girls night. Come on DVR!

The good news is that the heavy life evaluation of last week has given way to the homey feel of trivial annoyances. Like-why does Kiera follow me around and move anything smaller than a table out of place? Why do I step into my bathroom to find a diaper, 3 books, a matchbox car, my bra and a dog bone? Why do they all need to be in my bathroom? What is the reasoning behind the assortment? Was it just everything that she passed on the way there or does she make a plan to assemble the most random articles to see the look on my face. Or-Why has Ben's idea of being polite become yelling "no thank you!" instead of just plain old "no"? I make it my goal EVERYDAY to say "yes" more than I say "no" so why is the response to everything I say to him "no thank you!"? Even when I haven't asked a question! I hadn't thought of the terrible twos as a contagious childhood disease until Ben caught it from Kiera.

More good news is that while I was busy defending my sanity against my beautiful children, they are finally feeling much better. Coughing is nearly gone which means that everyone is sleeping better. I was worried about getting something new with the whole "it's summer again" but we seem to have made it. During the heat wave we went to a local fire station for their open house with some dear friends (of ours and the kids). Sooo much fun for everyone and the heat helped insure that we had kids that were ready to go instead of fighting to stay. What a really nice way to eek out the last stolen days of summer. Now it is on to find a last minute pair of cowboy boots for my wonderful boy who wants to "wear cowboy clothes AND boots, Mama" for Halloween. I'm taking a deep breath.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Where is our niche?

I often have to wonder where and when we will find a niche. I'm not sure there is one made just for us. Ben was a preemie, but a 34 week preemie who weighed 5lb. 7oz.. Boom! Right there. We are not term and we're not micro. Just in some no mans land where term parents wonder how you managed a preemie and micro parents wonder why you were ever in the NICU. Ben spent 28 days in the NICU. Again, more than many want to imagine and not enough to blink at for some. He was on oxygen for 5 months but doesn't have respiratory issues now so we don't fit typical but also, not so bad. Ben has CP but walks with a walker, has minimal increased tone and is verbal. We deal with social issues but he looks me in the eye and says "I love you, Mama". We don't fit. I'm not wishing for anything to be different so that we can identify more closely with any of these issues but I think that I wish others wouldn't be so quick to say "you're not like us". We, in most respects, are just like everyone. We were given a deck of cards with no rules, no guaranties and more than two jokers. Some days my life is more complicated than others, but everyday it is less complicated than someones. It makes my sad that Ben is disabled enough to get stared at by others but not so disabled that he fits into a community. Is the pain any different for a child in a walker as opposed to a wheel chair when someone says "whats wrong with him"? Is my fear more or less for Ben than Kiera? Is it harder to hear "your baby is not breathing" when you have a 30 weeker or 34 weeker? We can't feel each others pain and for that reason alone shouldn't we be cognisant that others have experienced pain? Regardless of the situation? Shouldn't we embrace what we have learned, and do everything in our power to ease the pain of others? Yeah, I guess I want to buy the world a Coke (Pepsi really) and find a perfect harmony where we just support each other, where we just fit.

Friday, October 5, 2007

One of those days

Have you ever had one of those days? Not the one that you have everyday where your every move is interrupted with obstacles you could no more avoid than predict. We live with children! Every day is one of those days. No I mean one of those other days where you somehow make it through the trials with a bit of dignity. The ones where everything does go wrong but you laugh anyway. The days that the little things are just that instead of being heaped with the weight and frustration associated with the repetition of "little things". One of those days when you were brave enough to say "This is my life." with a touch of serenity instead of insanity. I wish I could share my day with everyone who needs one. You know, it's never easy, but some days that just doesn't matter.