Birthday Flowers

This is the first time I have gotten flowers in years.  They are from Grandpa Mike and are beautiful.  Today makes me 36.  Not too bad.
I haven't heard anything this morning about Gwen or the baby.  I am assuming that no news is good news.  My friend is going to call and check in a little bit to see what is what.  Thanks to everyone that is praying for her.  I KNOW that prayer works.  Happy New Year's Eve everyone.  

Emergency Prayer

 A pregnant friend of a friend had a seizure today and had to have her son taken by c-section.  She has been in surgery for 3.5 hours because they can not stop the bleeding.  Please pray for healing and comfort for her family.  Her name is Gwen and this is their first baby.  Prayer works so please help us pray for her.  

Gwen is out of surgery.  An artery to her spleen ruptured and cause the problem.  She is in ICU, but may have brain damage.  There are a lot of unknowns.  The baby was sent to a different hospital and is on ventilator.   If you pray please add them to your list.

In Simple Terms

Angie was brave enough to admit that the previous post was kind of hard to read.  It was technical, for sure.  Basically, Apraxia means that the brain knows what it wants to say (ex. I want the ball), but the signals themselves going from the brain to the mouth muscles are broken OR the muscles aren't receiving them correctly.  What comes out may be ahh baa or even less understandable as pure gobbledeegook.

Essentially, it might be like trying to talk when your mouth is completely numb from the dentist?  You know what you are trying to say, but your mouth isn't responding exactly right.  You have to really slow down and focus to talk to your family as you wait for the feeling to come back.  I read somewhere online comparing Apraxia to having Cerebral Palsy of only the mouth.  There are varying degrees of severity and varying responses to treatment.

Treatment is intensive speech therapy where they have to learn to talk.  It is not like traditional speech therapy for children that are delayed in speech or have pronunciation problems.  Imagine learning a foreign language while your mouth was taped shut or full of pudding or something.  Your brain has learned it, but you have never had a chance to practice.  Now, the learning tapes are gone and you are required to speak the language.

I have heard stories of children who speak completely normal after therapy and are no longer considered apraxic.  I have also listened to a tape of a 15 year old boy reading and he obviously had a serious speech issue, but was understandable if you focused.   I have also heard of children being forced to rely on alternate means of communication because their speech never becomes understandable.

I don't know that Jack has Apraxia yet.  I suspected it after much research and the speech language pathologist mentioned it without me bringing it up.  I am not going to mention seeing an SLP to the other SLP that he sees on January 7th and see if she comes to the same conclusion.  Many professionals believe you can NOT diagnose it until 2-3 years of age because a child needs to be able to participate in repeating a few words to do the "test" to diagnose.

I tried to tape him copying me saying bubble today, but then realized I was in my nightgown.  Geeesh,  woman, pay attention!!!  I will try again tomorrow.  It's adorable.  He says "bu -b"  He kind of swallows the second part.  You will have to see it to know what I mean.  So, cute.

Apraxia Definition

I got this defination from the Apraxia Kids website.  Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a motor speech disorder. For reasons not yet fully understood, children with apraxia of speech have great difficulty planning and producing the precise, highly refined and specific series of movements of the tongue, lips, jaw and palate that are necessary for intelligible speech. Apraxia of speech is sometimes called verbal apraxia, developmental apraxia of speech, or verbal dyspraxia. No matter what name is used, the most important concept is the root word "praxis." Praxis means planned movement. To some degree or another, a child with the diagnosis of apraxia of speech has difficulty programming and planning speech movements. Apraxia of speech is a specific speech disorder.
The act of speech begins with an intention to communicate.  Next, an idea forms, outlining what the speaker wants to say.  The words for the desired message are put in the correct order, using the correct grammar.  Each of the words are comprised of a specific sequence of sounds (also called phonemes)and syllables that must be ordered together.  All of this information is translated from an idea and information about order of sounds into a series of highly coordinated motor movements of the lips, tongue, jaw, and soft palate. 
The brain must tell the muscles of these “articulators” the exact order and timing of movements so that the words in the message are properly articulated. Finally, the muscles must work properly with enough strength and muscle tone to perform the movements needed for speech.
In typically developing speech, children make word attempts and get feedback from others and from their own internal systems regarding how “well” the words they produced matched the ones that they wanted to produce.  Children use this information the next time they attempt the words and essentially are able to “learn from experience.”  Usually once syllables and words are spoken repeatedly, the speech motor act becomes automatic.  Speech motor plans and programs are stored in the brain and can be accessed effortlessly when they are needed.  Children with apraxia of speech have difficulty in this aspect of speech.  It is believed that children with CAS may not be able to form or access speech motor plans and programs or that these plans and programs are faulty for some reason.

No time to blog

But here I am.  Funny how that works??   I am typing with one hand because Jack is snuggled across me, wallerin' would be the correct term.  He is getting molars, poor kid.

Four more days until.......

I turn 36

2008 turns to 2009

My friend, Teresa steps down and I assume the role of Childrens Chairperson to the Christian Education Board

Having the boys home for break is always such a good time.  I really dig my kids, they can be so sweet.  Don't get me wrong, they can be real jerks when the teen mood swings get moving, but they calm down much better than many kids I know.

My favorite gift this year was having the ex husband visit so close to Christmas.  All the kids loved having that time with him and when they are happy, I am happy.

Various dramatic reactions.

After Christ's Birth, this is the best part of Christmas

Merry Christmas

My oldest son is on the front row far right, but you can't really see me as I am in the second row middle. We are playing chimes as opposed to handbells for this song.

This time I have no words.

This afternoon was hard.  Jack was evaluated by an SLP at the local hospital rehab unit.
The SLP was very nice. I had to fill out a huge questionaire first and she took the time to look over it before beginning to talk to me. She asked me good questions and then "played" with Jack for a bit.

She says her first impression is Apraxia. I know that I thought that was the most likely possibility. But, of course I wanted to be wrong.

She said that she will submit to insurance (medicaid), but they might not allow it because he is age eligible for Early On. She didn't say "Your son has Apraxia of Speech" but she referred to it on several counts. Saying, "that is very common in apraxic kids" and "that leads me back to apraxia"

She said to work on vowels for now with him. I have been working on M, B, D. So, O it is. She also said to simplify family names to use those exclusively to encourage him to label us. And to continue with sign language using it more ourselves to help him internalize sentence structure and whatnot for when he does begin verbalizing.

She was super sweet and if insurance does approve I am glad we will get to work with her.
We have an evaluation appointment Jan 7th with the SLP at Early On and she said if that SLP suggested a wait and see approach that I should really talk to her and advocate for starting therapy now.

I am pretty sad. There have been times when I have been wrong because I was overreacting or seeing things that weren't as bad as I thought. I was hoping this would be in that vein. I know it is not the end of the world if he is apraxic. My head knows, but my heart is crying.

For those who want to know I will do a post on what Childhood Apraxia of Speech is later.  I am too tired to do it now. 

Goodnight Sanity, I mean Moon

Firstly, My hair is finally growing out.  I have had it long for years, but cut it after the birth of Jack.  He is a hair puller.  I think it is finally safe to grow it again.
Jack is OBSESSED with "Goodnight Moon".  He wants to read it all the time.  He kisses the pages, he points and aahhh and mmmmm's about everything, he even attempts to say "hush".  Last night we only read it about 6 times before he got sleepy.  Has anyone bought the companion book, "My World"?  He likes "Runaway Bunny" But, nothing wins out over "Goodnight Moon".

In other Jack news, we see a speech therapist tomorrow through the insurance.  I found out about this today.  I am so excited, but dang, give a girl a little notice when it is snowing cats and snowmen.

My boys are having such a good day, I mean it is winter break and I haven't asked a lot of them today.  It has been video games and free range kitchen privileges.  I have to be careful lest they go feral.

Oh Little Trainwreck

Just kidding,  Our performance went very well.  I was so proud of everyone.  

I loved the Wise Men background but it was too hard to read.  I might suggest to Cutest Blog on the Block to remedy that for next season.  It was the only Christian background available.  If anyone knows how to do blog background and wants to gift me a new one from my birthday (Dec 31st) Lemme know.  My friend, SleepGoblin knows how and is quite good, but she is traveling to move from Wisconsin to California for the next few weeks.  

I was clearing some pictures off my cell phone and found one of my favorites.  

This is how Elijah used to "watch" the baby.

A few months later, I found him doing it again.  So cute to me.

I may have mentioned before that Jack was a girl on ultrasound.  Here is one of a few pictures I have of him in pink pajamas.  I didn't take him out in public in pink.  I am not that thrifty.  But, I couldn't see wasting all those good warm pjs.

Oh Little Town

Our town is finally dug out of the snow.  The kids and I went to the final hand bell practice before we play tomorrow.  We are playing "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem".  It is a beautiful song.  But, if you know music and know what an accidental is you know that this song is full of them.  In hand bells, that means putting down one bell and picking up another.  Without clanging them together because they cost more than my car.  

So, we had an extra practice today without the director.  I am so glad we did.  I think we are going to do so well tomorrow.  Everyone felt good about the practice.  We even did "Silent Night" a few times which we will play during the Christmas Eve service.  

One family has 4 members that play in the hand bell choir and they had brought 4 show shovels in case we had to dig our way to the door of the church.  They asked about my driveway and when they found out it was still snowed in, they offered to come and shovel it.  I am in awe of how kind the members of our church are.  With their 4 shovels and our 1 we got the entire driveway done and done well in about 15 minutes.

What an excellent Christmas present from an amazing family.

Snowday for a price

The kids and I were hoping for a snowday today to get an early start on the holiday break.  We got our wish, but the snow was too much for my gazebo and one of my arbors.  Insert whine here.
I am going to leave this arched arbor as is until spring because I want that Sweet Autumn Clematis to survive.  It is huge and gives amazing white flowers in the early fall.  
The good news is we're snuggled in warm and enjoying a completely lazy day.  The kids are laying about playing video games and watching movies and the baby and I just got up from a warm nap.  I am going to do a bit of laundry, but other than that I think putting life on pause for a day is awesome!!
I hope your day is treating you right.

Leaps and Bounds

In the last week or so, Jack has had a signing/language jump.  He has started signing in public trying to tell me about things around us.  Twice he has started laughing and I when I ask him what is so funny he signs "baby".  Sure enough, I look around me and there is a baby on a magazine one time and on a package of diapers another time.

Today, he is signing "bird" over and over, but there isn't a bird anywhere.  We are in the produce section.  Maybe I am not reading the sign right?  No, I finally notice there is a bird on my shirt.  What a smart fellow!

I made teacher gifts today by dipping pretzels in chocolate, baking cookies, adding candy and bagging them in pretty Snowman cellophane bags.  15 teachers done for about $1.25 a bag.  That feels good.

We are all riding a sugar high.  I am hoping the crash happens right at bedtime.

Shazam I am super mom.

From Chaos....
I bring ORDER!!  Shazam!
Now I need a super coffee.  


Today was Monday.

The End.

I am just kidding. I tried to finish Christmas shopping today and I did, kinda. I ran out of money. Everything is so expensive. It's ok. I think I did pretty good and the kids will be getting their number one present, so I am only a little sad.

I registered for a VBS workshop yesterday. January 1st I become the Childrens Chairperson to the Christian Education Board at church. The biggest duty will be Vacation Bible School. What was I thinking? If anyone has any experience I would LOVE to hear it. I have organized a few things including a mock job fair for a non profit org for 30 at risk girls. There were about 15 vendors from local businesses and it went very well. So, I think this will be much like it. At least, I hope so. Past VBS's have had about 50-60 kids. I am nervous, but I know God will handle it.

I am keeping it short because my beans are boiling!


The Speech Therapist from Early On called yesterday to schedule Jack's evaluation.  It will be January 8th.  I am so glad.  It took longer than the social workers predicted, but I am ok with it.  I know they are incredibly backed up and understaffed.  I asked my pediatrician to see about also going through his health insurance to get additional speech help, but she said she wasn't sure if it would be approved or not.  I haven't heard from that side yet.

The virus that has been running rampant through our home may finally be dying.  I have been thrown up on more times than I care to count.  Thankfully, I didn't get that part of the deal.  I hate to vomit.  Ok, I just thought, wait, who really enjoys it.

I still have some Christmas shopping to do for small items and stocking stuffers.  My pennies are being pinched so hard that they are crying.  Poor pennies.  My friend, Teresa and I will go together early next week to shop together.  I am looking forward to it.  She is a good buddy.  I haven't begun baking yet, but I will.  Eventually.  When I am no longer contagious.  Yeah, that is why I haven't started.  Suuure.

I do, however, have my Christmas cards done.  Woot!  I used the picture from Tuesday's post.  I am amazed that they are all smiling so nice and looking at the camera.

Happy Weekend Everyone!

How can they be so good looking!!!

I am it!

 I haven't been tagged in ages, it tickles!

Francesca from Three Bay B Chicks tagged me for a holiday meme.  I love her blog, go and peek!

Egg nog or hot chocolate?
I like both, but we have egg nog on the holidays.  And it is *gasp* store bought.  I can only enjoy one cup then it is too much for me.

Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree?

The presents arrived unwrapped under the tree.  I figure it saves paper and frustration on my part and the kids can just go for it!!

Colored lights on tree or white?

Colored and blinking please!

When do you put your decorations up?

The day after Thanksgiving is my favorite day to decorate, but sometimes, like this year, it gets pushed back a day or two.

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

My mom makes the best sausage balls that we eat cold with quiche or muffins on Christmas morning as we enjoy presents.  I am a HUGE fan of green bean cassarole also.

Favorite holiday memory as a child:

This took some thinking.  I think running about my Granny Belle's house with my cousins while all the adults were cooking in the kitchen.  My Granny Belle was a rough neck and might smack you as you went by, but she wouldn't spill her old milwaukee beer.  She could cook like nobody I have known before or since and was hilarious.  I miss her.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I don't remember, but I think I was 7 or 8.  I don't have a cool story to tell about it, sadly.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
We do because it is a family tradition started by my mom when I was a kid to wear new pajamas to sleep on Christmas Eve.  This year my boys will be wearing these 

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

With christmas music blaring, people laughing and much singing and tomfoolery.

Snow! Love it or dread it?

Dread it, if you live in it, you know.  I do love to sit with a hot cup of coffee and watch it fall through a window.  Beautiful.

Can you ice skate?
hahahahahahahahahahah, whew.  What was the question?

Do you remember your favorite gift?

As a teen I got some badly wanted Duran Duran albums.  I squealed for an entire evening.  As an adult, every year is filled with such wonderful memories that the gifts are secondary.

What's the most important thing about the holidays for you?

Making sure that my sons remember that this holiday celebrates the birth of Christ.  

What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Jam Cake made by my mom.  I shall have to get the recipe and post it.  I love it.

What is your favorite tradition?

On Christmas Eve after all have gone home and my sons and I are in our matching pjs, I dim the lights and read the story of Jesus birth from the Bible.  My children's faces are lit only by tree lights and they look so beautiful to me.  It is a time of bonding and love that matches nothing else.

Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?

Everyone say giving and I love making sure somebody gets that present that makes them smile.  But, I love to receive for the simple reason that it is giving the giver joy.  Did that make sense?

What is your favorite Christmas Song?

Oh Holy Night especially when sung by Josh Groban.

Candy canes! Yuck or yum?
I am gonna say yum.  I don't crave them, but I can dig it.

Ever recycled a Christmas present?
Not as far as you know.

Don't Be A Scrooge! Tag 7 friends to Deck the Halls...

I hope I don't retag anyone, but I choose scifimama.  Anna ,  Eyes that keep the old soul , and C Beth 

Sorry I couldnt do 7.

Happy Holidays!

I didn't even need to count my chickens

The ex husband arrived after an hour delay and the kids were thrilled.  Last night was very mellow.  Today the kids went to school while the ex, Jack and I went to my mom and dad's house for the two grown men to replace a part on my van.  Then we had coffee and donuts.  Then the ex, Jack and I went grocery shopping where he laughed with the baby and I shopped in almost total peace.  Then the ex put gas in my car.

Home we went to start Taco Soup and back out to pick up big boys from school.  Then all boys stayed home while I went and rang the Salvation Army Red Kettle Bell for an hour in 17 degree weather.  It was awesome and I am not being sarcastic.  I am doing that again next year.

Now, I am sitting on the couch in flannel and all the big boys and the ex are laying in about eleventy hundred blackets on the floor watching movies.

I smell a rat.

Ok I am kidding.  It is just being a good visit.


Brag Post about my Signing Baby Genius

It may seem that I focus on what Jack can't do, but honestly I am super proud of my 4th son. I wish I had thought to do sign language with the first three.

Words Jack can sign:

Thank You
Brush Teeth
Lala (fingerspelled, almost has this one)

WOW!!!!!! I just went back and counted. I got 83 words. I knew he was getting a few under his belt, but I hadn't bothered to count in some time. Now, I am REALLY impressed!   Everytime I thought I probably had them all another one would come to mind. Now, he does more than 75% of these perfectly. The other 25% he knows the word when I say it and attempts the sign getting pretty close.

He also knows his body parts, dances like a fool, remembers the moves to certain songs, not only walks well, but runs! He climbs on things and follows directions very well. Tonight, I told him to throw his diaper away as we were getting naked for a bath and he put it in the bathroom garbage can which I didn't even know he knew about.

I think that is why I get worried for him. If you could see the frustration in his eyes when he tries to copy my mouth.

The most endearing thing is watching him "babble in sign". If he is trying to tell me something and does not know the sign for it, he will try a few on me and then kind of make up some arm/hand movements. It is adorable.

And on top of all this, he is one gorgeous dude.

Even when I am torturing him with holiday wear.  Bad Mommy!!

I live with a Rock Star

He is really putting his birthday present to good use.

AllExperts Answer

I sent a question to this website called AllExperts to see what they said about Jack.  Here is what I got.

Subject: Speech delay or mountain out of molehill?

Volunteer Expert: Tim Runner

My 15 month old son has no words as of yet.  I started sign language with
him at 12 months and he currently has about 50+ signs.  His hearing is
100% and he communicates with me very well using either his signs or
gestures.  He will mimic me when I encourage him to say mama, baba, dada.
All other attempts to get him to mimic are ignored or he signs back at me.

He has been evaluated by Early On and they found that he scores higher than
age level in all areas except speech.  His signs known and used actually put
him higher than age level for language.  We are currently waiting (4 weeks)
for a call from the speech therapist to find out IF she wants to evaluate him.

My question is should I be worried??    I have heard everything.  He will grow
out of it, Einstein didn't talk until he was 4, you are creating the problem by
letting him sign instead of speak and more.

He seems to focus so hard on my mouth and WANT to mimic, but just can't.


It sounds to me that your son has a significant delay in speech and needs professional help right away. I'm glad that you are having your son assessed by a speech and language professional. Many medical insurance programs will pay for this. If your plan does not, contact the school in your area that he will be attending when he gets older and seek their help. They can tell you what government agency to contact for help.

I wish you and your son the best,
Tim Runner, Education Advocate
You can learn more at my web site: (for DSL and phone)

I am glad somebody agrees with me.  Thanks so much to everyone for the sweet comments and positive support about my stress level.  It is awesome to have people understand.
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