Wednesday, December 26, 2007


We had a pretty interesting trip so far to the great white north. Some events were better than others. Here are just few of the things that happened...

1) We had saved gas cards that I received from my job and did not have to pay for a tank of gas yet. Praise the Lord!!!

2) Tyler won a GPS from his work and we used it coming up to PA. We programmed it to the British man and tried to copy his accent every time he told us where to turn.

3) We stayed in a cabin in WV and split the drive into two days. Ty and I relaxed by the fire and soaked in a hot tub after Lauren went to bed. There was nothing around us but a couple of cabins and woods. I thought I heard a banjo strumming the 'Deliverance' theme song, but I was wrong. If it had snowed, it would have been perfect.

4) Lauren threw-up in the car in the middle of the highway. I had to pull over on the berm of the road and hope that a 18 wheeler didn't plow us off the cliff. We were still in the mountains and had no rest stop in sight. It was fun.

Hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas. Can't wait to get down to the warmth again. My blood had thinned and I feel like an 80 year old woman who can never get warm.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Grottoes of North America

This is the foundation that the kind people at Lauren's dentist office told us about. It is a humanitarian foundation that provides dental care for children (under 18) with special needs. Their program is for children who have Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, mentally challenged or if the child is an organ transplant patient. Lauren has to have primary insurance because the Grottoes are a secondary carrier. They supplement the remaining cost after it was turned into the primary insurance. I don't think they pay it all, but every little bit helps.

Here's the website if you know of anyone that could benefit from this. I had no idea it even existed until now. Even though I still have to apply (nothing's a guarantee), it's good to know there's hope that I don't have to sell a kidney everytime Lauren has to go to the dentist.



Monday, December 17, 2007

Gift Giving

Now is the season for all the ads targeted at kids. New toys and activities that look really cool and make you wish they had that when you were young. At least, that's what I say to myself. Things just look cooler and more entertaining now than they did when I was a pup. (I had a play kitchen made out of cardboard with the dished painted on them. Sorry, mom. I had to spill the family secret!) You would think that this would be an exciting time of the year trying to figure out what cool and interesting things I want to get Lauren for Christmas. I find myself being a bit frustrated and sad instead of excited. She is getting to the age where the toys are a little more involved. The more involved they are, the harder they are to play with using only one hand. There are a lot of toys that require the fully functioning use of both hands. That's tough to do after a stroke. When my family and friends ask me what Lauren would like, it's a hard question to answer. She's not mastered language and doesn't have an opinion of what she wants. I have to make sure it's something that can be played with half of your body. It's a little tricky sometimes.

I hope you don't think I am whining or being mopey. I don't want to sound ungrateful or like I'm complaining. The Christmas season is not about getting stuff. But, stuff gets given and it is a reality I have to face. It's a little easier now, because she doesn't know any better. How am I going to make her feel better when she's ten and all her friends are playing video games and she has to watch because she can't get the fingers on her right hand to push the buttons on the controller? Knowing Lauren, she's going to do what she wants to do no matter what. She might just blow me away when and if those times creep up. The thoughts just seem to seep into my head and make it hard to wait and see.

I've come to the realization that things like this will rear it's head from time to time. The good thing is when it pops in my head and I have control of how I deal with it from then on. Yes, my stomach drops with the thought of Lauren feeling bad because she can't do the things her friends do. But it also leaps when I think about all she's overcome and what God has in store for her. So she can't play an X-Box, big deal. I just saved myself hundreds of dollars. So she can't roller blade, whoop-de-doo. I just saved myself a trip to the emergency room (especially if she falls like I did as a kid). I guess what I had to figure out is that it's ok to feel a certain way about something that's going on in your life. You don't have to have all the answers or always put on a happy face. You just have to gain control of how you look at it. Feelings are hard to ignore and dangerous to push down. The more you try not to deal with them, the more power they have over you. Your perspective on your problem can change everything. I might feel bad about Lauren and her limitations, but I get to change how I look at it. I won't allow it to sneak in and continuously make my heart sink. It doesn't get to have that control over me. Will I feel sad about things that happen to Lauren? No doubt. But, I have something stronger than Hercules and Superman combined to help me when those times come knocking. I have the wisdom to know that God does not make mistakes and did not put us on this Earth to be miserable. There is a reason that Lauren is here despite the scary start to her life. I don't want to waste too much time worrying about what she might not be able to do. God has already prepared her for something wonderful. I just get to sit back and wait to see what that might be. If I spend the time wallowing in sadness, I might miss it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I just got off the phone with Lauren's dentist office. I got a call from someone who needed to talk about the payment options we set up. I was thinking, great, I forgot a payment or something. By the time the conversation was over, I was in tears. I can honestly say that it takes a lot for something to take my breath away. Today it was the kindness and generosity of a stranger.

The lady who I was talking with had some information for me about parents of children with disabilities. There is a little known company that works with your primary insurance to help patients with special needs. I was told that it could help pay for the anesthesia. I thought that was the good news. It got better. Brandi, the lady I was speaking with, told me that there was a person who would like to stay anonymous who payed some money towards Lauren's bill. I am in tears right now thinking about the amazing blessing from this person. I am humbled and awed that someone would do that for us. We do not deserve the kindness they showed.

If this kind stranger is a reader of this blog, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. May God bless you ten fold! You are an amazing person and I hope that you know what this means to our family and to our precious little Muffinhead. You will never know how far reaching this act may go. From people reading this blog to the people in the dentist office. You showed how to love someone and that affects everyone. Words could not express what I am feeling inside. I wish I could hug you and thank you over and over again. I am humbled and grateful.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Crazy Mutt

I have got to tell you a story of what I came home to last afternoon. I picked up Lauren at preschool on Monday and brought her home to take a nap. As I walked in the front door, I heard a ruckus in the kitchen. I rounded the corner in time to see my dog's tail heading for the other door on the opposite side of the kitchen. We have a swinging door from the kitchen that leads to the dining room. Rugby blasted through that door and knocked something over. I went through the living room and saw him duck under the table. As I got closer, Rugby started freaking and flipping out under the table. I was beginning to wonder if he had rabies or something. This was not like him, so I had no idea what was going on. This is a dog that only likes to take a few steps outside to go to the bathroom. Walking around would be too much effort. He is a laid back, southern mutt. To see him moving fast or for that matter, moving at all, let me know that something was up. I couldn't see him, but I knew he was there under our dining room table. He was hard to miss when lifted the table about an inch off the ground and moved it 3 inches to the left. I saw a chair on it's side as well. At this point, I moved Lauren to the living room and went to investigate.

I leaned down to grab Rugby's collar and pull him out before the table and the vase sitting nicely on top went hurtling through the air. It was then that I noticed the problem. My silly, silly dog had gotten a Frosted Flakes cereal box stuck on his head. All I saw when I looked down was the tip of his nose sticking out of the bright, blue box. No wonder he lifted the table. He had NO idea where he was because he couldn't see a lick. Imagine walking into your house and seeing a 115 pound lab stuck inside a cereal box. Where's the video camera when you need one? It was really stuck, too. I had to rip it into five pieces before it came off. I have no idea how long it was there or how long he wore it on his head. I still am not sure how he even got it in the first place. It's probably better that way. The whole ordeal really wore him out. He pretty much slept the rest of the day. Oh, wait. He does that anyway.

Friday, December 7, 2007


Lauren did better than I thought she would do at school this week. Not because I don't think she's a good kid, but because it was a long day and she's three. I will say she was wore out and still has some sleep to catch up on.

I do have to take a moment and say that Myers Park Traditional School well exceeded my expectations. I admit that lately, I've been a bit of a Doubting Thomas. I'm a little weary of new things that concern Lauren. We have been let down so many times that I fear my preconceived notions tend to dictate my attitude. Myers Park helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel. The school was a real elementary school with 750+ students. Lauren's room is on the Kindergarten wing and is a self-contained hearing impaired classroom. There are 5 students that come at different times during the week. Some come Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Some come Tuesday and Thursday. Either way there are no more than 5 students with two teachers. I like that ratio. The coolest part is the assistant in that classroom. She is hearing impaired and wears hearing aids as well. I couldn't think of a better role model, personally.

The teacher, Mrs. Geysbeek (Guys-beck) is one of the top teachers I have seen and I've been in the school system for over 10 years. On the first day of school she made a book for Lauren full of pictures she had taken that day. She put captions under the pictures and sent it home. Impressive. Lauren loves looking through the book and talking to her friends. It was above and beyond. Mrs. G also called during lunch to let me know that she was doing fine and not to worry. I really appreciate the extra mile. It showed me that she really cares and understands what I am going through. She even has a son who received a Cochlear Implant. She truly knows what moms of hearing impaired children are experiencing. It's a good fit.

I am happy to say that the extra time during the day isn't so bad either. I got to catch up on my Family Feud watching and was able to eat my lunch without having to share a bite. I even got to go to the bathroom by myself. I could get used to this....

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

School Days

Lauren has her first day of school at Myers Park Traditional school tomorrow. I talked to her teacher today and I think we are all set for tomorrow. Here's the details...

The school day is from 9:00 - 3:30! Yes, I know. That is a long day for a 3 year old, however, they do have a rest time that requires me to bring her a blanket to lay down with during that time. I just don't know what I am going to do to fill the day when she's gone. I'm not used to being away from her that long with nothing to do. I guess I'll be able to catch up on laundry or read a book. Weird! They eat lunch with all the kids in a real school cafeteria at a little table off to the side. I would die to see all these three year olds walking in to a room with elementary students. The looks on their faces have got to be priceless. They also have a snack time and breakfast at school. It's a lot like Kindergarten only they are three not five.

The bus situation will take a little longer to remedy. They are waiting to get a Star Seat for Lauren in the bus. When the seat comes, she will start riding the bus. Until then, we will need to drop her off and pick her up from school. In a way, I am glad that she will get to go to school for a while before she has to ride the bus. I think that all the new stuff at once might overwhelm her tiny little self. She will be picked up and dropped off at Stonecrest Shopping center at the cinema when the bus transportation starts. I have to go wait with her until the bus comes at 8:15 a.m. and pick her up from the cinema at 4:10 p.m. If I chose to have them drop her off and pick her up from my house, she would not get home until after 5:30. Yea, I'll drive the two minutes to the cinema if it saves having her on the bus for an extra hour and 15 minutes. That's just insane!

There is another little girl that lives in the neighborhood next to ours that will also be going to this school. She will be in Lauren's class. It will be nice to have a neighbor that is going through the same thing. Hopefully, they are nice and Lauren can have a playmate that's close by. The oldest girl on the bus is in fifth grade. I was told that she is very responsible and will be a big help.

It seems a little surreal that this is actually here. I am so thankful that she will be getting the specialized instruction she so desperately needs. Her therapies will start up again and we can finally get into a routine. I feel relieved. I just hope Lauren will have a smooth transition to this new schedule.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Working 9 to 5

As some of you already heard, we did not qualify for Medicaid and we are on our own for hearing aids. I knew going into it that, financially, we wouldn't qualify because both Ty and I work. I was told however, that if your child has a disability you would automatically qualify, you just had to go through the motions. I was misinformed.

Lauren's Assistive Technology grant runs out in February. I went on the Internet and got a list of places that help with hearing aids. Most of them are for lower income families. I feel like I'm in limbo. We are not a low income family, but we aren't wealthy enough to buy the hearing aids without a little help. Hearing aids run from $1,000 - $3,000 PER AID! We are looking at the possibility of having to spend $6,000 for her hearing aids. It doesn't pay to be a middle income family. Either Ty and I quit our jobs and get Medicaid or we win the lottery. These appear to be our only options right now. I will say that I am a little disheartened with the system.

I've placed a call to my case worker from the Beginnings Program (They are advocates for children who are deaf and hard of hearing). She has been a great source of help so far and I am confident that she will be able to help. Otherwise, I will be donating plasma and turning in aluminum cans for some extra cash.