Saturday we had a Christmas breakfast at church. After a rough Friday night with Deeds we were on edge a little bit when we got there. Overall Deeds did pretty well. I could tell he’d had enough when he was laying on Magpie and hiding under the table and playing on the iPad.
We went from there to my parents home. Every year we make gingerbread houses on the first Saturday of December. Since it hits as I’m cramming for finals and we are dealing with other things we opted not to bake a house this year to decorate. We were going to just stop by and have lunch before heading home. My sister ended up having little houses for each of the kids to decorate.
I didn’t think Deeds would decorate it but he surprised me and adored decorating the house with my mom. It made me realize that growing up I loved decorating houses every year. It was a tradition I still think back on fondly and I never think about how my mom might not have wanted to make the gingerbread, or other stressful issues that might have been going on. I remember the family spending time together, some years we had friends come too, soup for lunch and decorating for hours. A lot of laughter and even more sugar. I realized that as a mother I need to not assume that my special needs child won’t want to do something and that I should start these traditions with them so they can have the same wonderful memories I have.
Thank you mom, for being so amazing with us growing up. Also thank you for taking the time to sit with my little man and make his day.
This past week we were one busy family. We had a birthday party for little sister Gwendolyn (Happy 2nd birthday baby miracle girl!). We had the party here at home and within the first hour my sister found Deeds trying to shut himself in the laundry closet. When she asked him what he was doing he replied that there were too many people. He did pretty well even with the chaos. Magpie was also overwhelmed with all the attention here at home where she is normally not working.
Happy Birthday Gwen!
Thanksgiving day was spectacular. Half our local extended family was out-of-town so it was just 7 adults and the 6 kids for dinner. It worked out fantastically and when Deeds was done with all the attention he just took the iPad into the other room and played for a while. He had Peanut butter and Honey instead of Turkey but that just left more for the rest of us. The turkey was tender and the Pumpkin Cheesecake I attempted was declared a winner and a new family tradition in the making.
Kids table for Thanksgiving
We reflected on all our blessings this past week and while I was sitting in church yesterday looking at Deeds laying next to Magpie I was reminded of all of you. The sports bloggers, autism parents, family, friends, strangers, news reporters…all of you. YOU have helped us, help our son. Our lives have changed, and each time we see Magpie we are reminded of your donations and help. Every dollar has had tears shed in gratitude over the past year and we are SO blessed.
We have now been able to go to church three weeks in a row. It is not something we’ve been able to do for a long time but Magpie is adjusting well and it has been spectacular.
It’s been a rough couple of days at home for Deeds. He was even grumpy at the neurologist appointment at the children’s hospital today. He usually loves it there and wants to ride the elevator over and over but today he didn’t even want to ride once.
The the doctors are still trying to find the best seizure medication balance and since the past few weeks he’s been having what appears to be complex partial seizures along with a Tonic-clonic Seizure. His dosage has been increased again and we will see if we can find the right balance this time around. Our doctor said it may take some time to find the right balance since she started him on a very low dose. I’d rather have it be a low dose and work up than over dose him with medications that might slow him down.
We decided to decorate for Christmas last night to calm him down when he was having a rough night. He LOVES Christmas lights and so we got out our little tree and let the kids decorate it. The trip to get Magpie cost more than expected and add on the work Jeremy and I missed we believe we will be sticking a big red bow on Magpie to celebrate Christmas morning (and maybe next Christmas too…ha ha). Thank goodness the kids are young because I went through their toys and pulled some out they haven’t touched for a while and we’re going to wrap them up for them to open. I thought it was a great idea someone gave me! I am actually thinking of trying to find some other families that want to do the same thing so our kids will all have new-to-them toys on Christmas morning.
Here is a link for the little commercial that is airing for Deeds and Magpie’s story that will be on TV tomorrow night.
After the day we had yesterday it was so nice to have a good day with the kids. Both kids stayed at training and were happy as clams. Daddy had to work a lot so he had to stay home which made it even nicer that the kids were doing well.
I forgot my memory card again and then was so busy that I didn’t get a chance to take pictures during training.
We learned some awesome new commands that the dogs know. Like how to have Magpie help with behavior disruption by nudging Deeds with her nose or putting a paw on him. We’ve already been using it today with some of his stimming behaviors and it’s amazing how well it can work.
One amazing thing we have been working on today is getting Magpie to bark when she sees a seizure with Deeds. She is already trained to bark when the trainers would mimic a seizure but now we just need to transfer the reaction to Deeds. How amazing would that be to have her alert us if he had a seizure in the middle of the night, even if she didn’t alert us beforehand.
We worked on tethering a little bit and I am SO excited for this. Magpie is a champion and doesn’t move for anyone but the handler when she is tethered. This means I can put her in a down position and checkout from a grocery store without wrestling him and a wallet and Gwen. Or have to run out of a store without finishing because he bolts from me. Freedom for both of us, and I’m excited for that.
Mom did both the tracking runs with Magpie this afternoon and she did well again. I can’t wait to practice with her more at home.
This evening we had a little party at 4 Paws with some trunk or treating for the kids. Deeds and Gwen both had a lot of fun and I did remember the camera then but of course the battery died not long after we got there. It was really great to just relax with some of the other families and not have to focus on training for a little bit.
It really was a great day, and since I’m getting a cold and feeling pretty crummy it is nice that everything went so well. Tomorrow we will do some more tracking and then practice tethering at the mall. I will make sure to take the camera then since Deeds will be going with us!
Deeds is a morning person, Mommy on the other hand is not. I thought I’d snap a picture of him to prove how happy he is the first thing in the morning. You can also see how well things are healing on his little face.
Today was Deeds second time on the school bus. Today he was great and walked right on all by himself. When he came home we snapped this picture of him getting off all by himself too. Last time it looked like he’d fallen asleep on the bus but today he was bright-eyed.
The minute he walked in the door we opened his backpack so he could show me all of his valentines (and then beg to eat all the candy!). I felt a bit bad about the simple ones I sent with him after seeing how fancy the other kids were, but he didn’t care, and you know what… I’m sure the other kids didn’t either.
Styling in the Heart Hat
Tomorrow Deeds turns 3 years old! We celebrated with family and a few friends this afternoon. I was worried it would be overwhelming like it was for Christmas but JD did wonderfully! I think he is learning to tune out when things start to be too much. At one point everyone around him was playing and he sat in a chair and played with a toy, totally zoning out. Later in the afternoon I found him sitting on the floor in another room by himself looking at a book. I think those little moments allowed him to enjoy the rest of the party. People staggered when they showed up also and I think that was great rather than all at once having a big influx of people.
He wanted a ninja birthday. He has never cared before but since he LOVES the chop chop ninja game on the ipod he actually had an opinion this time. When I asked about his cake he asked for a green ninja. I googled green ninja cake with him sitting next to me and up pops tons of pictures of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (TMNT) birthday cakes. He was so excited. He’s never seen the ninja turtles before but he shrieked “NINJA AND TURTLE CAKE”.
Since you can’t find anything TMNT anywhere but ebay we ended up having to freehand the cake. I was worried he wouldn’t get it but he recognized it instantly and then asked me where the blue one was. I guess I made the wrong ninja turtle…. I thought a kid who hasn’t even seen them wouldn’t care. He’ll be excited when his TMNT t-shirt comes Monday, since it didn’t make it in time for the party.
I’m amazed at how much Deeds has grown up the past month or so. We’ve had a really great couple of weeks and he is just such a joy. His communication is getting wonderful and while he is still quirky the meltdowns have gone down a TON. We are learning new things with him as he gets older. He is very literal, has an incredible memory and will echo almost anything you say. Some of this we already knew but the more he talks the more it is obvious. I hope he continues to have such great leaps and bounds, but we know all too well how sometimes there is a big surge forward and then a large stall in development with him. Cross your fingers.
We have been spending some wonderful time together as a family. Its heaven. Daddy and Mommy both have today off so it is a lazy day for us.
JD has decided to name the ninja on one of his games “Ninjy”. Its quite funny to hear him cheering on “Ninja Ninjy”. We aren’t sure where he got the name from.
We had an amazing donation of $300 yesterday for Deeds fund. That means we now have 10% of our total. What a blessing.
We have been trying to compile a list that names all the people on twitter, Facebook and bloggers that helped us out in fund-raising the money for 4 Paws. As the list continues to grow I realized I can’t add everyone to a blog post for fear of having some names slip through the cracks. I was overwhelmed at the sheer number of SB Nation blog posts we found, and then all the retweets from your followers. I also was so touched by family and friends who reposted the donation link on Facebook multiple times over the past 3 weeks. It wasn’t just the donations that helped. It was everyone spreading the word for Deeds too. THANK YOU!
As Christmas approaches tomorrow we wanted to open our hearts and let you all know what you’ve done for us.
It has been a tough couple months for our little family and Jeremy and I knew that we wouldn’t be able to afford much this season. I had a very bah humbug outlook on December after the rough November we had just come out of. I was also not optimistic about fund-raising for 4 Paws. It was hard for me to keep asking people to donate, but we kept focusing on Deeds and what this would do for him.
You all opened your hearts, your wallets, and our eyes. Your donations, comments and posts about JD and his cause touched us more than I can tell you. We stalked many of you through your blogs, read your comments, and talked about you each individually each night before bed. Prayers of gratitude were constantly spoken. The Christmas spirit has never been in our home or our hearts so much as it has been this December. The miracles, and giving have made this one Christmas we will never forget, and will tell to our grandchildren. It didn’t take big presents under a tree, candy canes, hot chocolate and caroling. All it took was the love shown to us by hundreds of friends, family and strangers to give us the best Christmas ever.
We pray that you each also felt a touch of this special Christmas also. May tomorrow bring you love, laughter and may you feel our prayers of thanks that flow your directions as we celebrate the birth of Christ.
THANK YOU THANK YOU! JD hit his goal for 4 Paws today!! We are in shock and so thankful for all the amazing support we have gotten from friends, family and even total strangers. NFL Rants and Raves fans pushed JD over the top today.
All of the money on the fundraising page goes directly to 4 Paws for Ability.
If you want to contribute to our travel expenses for our two-week training in Ohio, care of the service dog, or Deeds medical bills, you can click on the Dog 4 Deeds logo on the side of the page and it will take you to PayPal to donate.
Many thanks and a very Merry Christmas!
Someone has been doing the 12 days of Christmas for our family. We have loved the little goodies each night. Every time anyone knocks on our door JD now screams “A SURPRISE!” and runs full speed for the door. Thankfully we have the door locked or he would get there long before whoever knocked was able to run off. It’s really been fun for him.
I can’t believe we are already only $1355 from our goal for 4 Paws for Ability until they start to train JD’s service dog! The time has just been flying by and we continue to feel very humbled and blessed from all the love and support. Thanks for spreading the word, every dollar counts and we are still trying to see if we can reach our goal by Christmas.