4th Birthday Photo Session

4th Birthday Photo Session

Thursday, May 18, 2017

New York Reunion: Part Deux (One Day In New York City Without A Stroller)

So, the day after the big birthday bash, we tackled New York City.  We drove into the city and found early bird parking right off Times Square.  There were four and a half of us... and we were game to  take on the city!  We did Times Square, Bryant Park, 5th Avenue, Rockefeller Plaza, NBC Studios, Grand Central Station, The Chrysler Building, The Empire State Building, Central Park, Soho, Little Italy and our final drive-by was Freedom Tower.  We walked well over 10 miles, some of it in the rain. Andi probably walked about six of those.  The remaining four plus were spend on either her Dad or uncle's shoulders.  Although she was a super champ, I think they really won the prize.  We had dinner in Little Italy and although it was expensive, it was extremely delicious.  We drove back up the hour north to drop off our new friend Will, and then drove down to Parsippany, where we were staying the night.  Again, those last ten miles were brutal.  But, if you were going to tackle a major city in just one day, we did it right.  Needless to say though, I think we would've had more taxi's stopping for us if my brother flashed his tits.  I mean, no one stopped otherwise.

Here it is four days later, and my feet still hurt and I'm still feeling exhausted.  The city kicked our butts.





The next morning, Andi and I left before 6 a.m. and were at the airport by 6:30, landed by 11:35 and after some grizzly ATL traffic, home by 2 p.m.  By the time we got home, I made Andi a PB&J, and made myself a quesadilla, and then I proclaimed my need to take a nap.  I asked Andi to take her iPad and relax on the bed with me, while I napped.  It was glorious, but hard to get up from that to tackle dinner.  Andi was her usual awesome self and put no demands on me for entertainment or anything.  She received many high-fives for her ability to be my big-girl traveler.









Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Dusting Off The Cobwebs: New York Reunion, Part One

This past weekend, Andi, her Dad and I went up to New York to celebrate my uncle's 80th birthday.  It was a massive reunion on my Mom's side of the family, all of which hadn't actually met Andi yet.  It was mind-blowing, overwhelming, and ridiculously fun.  Sitting with my cousins, it was like no time had passed since I'd seen them last, which honestly was the last century!!!  But seriously, there was an uncanny familiarity that only family and the closest of friends can provide.  It's fulfilling, calming, even healing.

My cousin Suzanne sat me down and talked to me about how much she enjoyed my writing.  She went on and on and on about how great I am, and how much she worshipped my words - that I honestly stopped listening.  I think I actually went to the beach in my mind while she proclaimed over and over, again and again how great my writing is.  What I did hear is that it almost always made her laugh.  In speaking with her, I decided to get off my ass and write again.  I'd been thinking about continuing this blog so that Andi would have a diary of sorts in which she can read about herself, our experiences, and possibly hear me and my voice, well after I'm gone.  So, here I am, choosing to restart my writing.  Let's face it, I don't get much creative release in my corporate job where honestly, the word "Brandville" makes my butt itch.  Forgive me, Werner.

So Suzanne, this one is for you.

Oh wait, ...getting back to our trip... My brother flew into JFK.  Andi and I flew into Newark.  My brother, who happens to be one of Andi's biggest fans, got in several hours earlier than we did, and took a shuttle from his airport to ours, to spare us from navigating to his.  Poor thing had to take a shuttle to the transit authority, wait in the rain for 45 minutes - thus forcing him to buy a basic black umbrella that is straight-up out of Mary Poppins -- it's curved handle resembling a hook.  By the time Andi and I claimed our suitcase, he arrived.  The three of us went to information and found out we needed to go up two fricken floors on the escalator, get on the train, to get to the rental car office.  It was a cluster of confusion for me, for reasons I don't understand.  Thankfully, my bro was there to help me figure it out.  We signed our paperwork and met my newest best friend who hooked us up with an upgrade.  I don't know what it is, but sometimes, I just happen to hit it off with people.  The person I aspire to be, pours out of me and I am the animated, fun energy that doesn't seem to make people puke.  This is one of those instances.  The youngin' (whose name I forgot as I accidentally left his card in the car when we returned it) has an 8 month old son.  This kid was adorable.  In any case, our 20 minute conversation of laughter came to a close, and we trotted off-site with Andi in her first convertible car seat.  Ha, you thought I was going to say convertible car... no... it wasn't THAT great of an upgrade!   We headed about an hour north through the nastiest, unrelenting monsoon.  I mean the wipers were on maximum speed and you still couldn't see much further than the car in front of you.  I think our fastest speed was about 40 miles an hour... it was exhausting.  3/4 of the way through the drive, my brother and I concluded... "I need a drink!"  So we stopped off at the hotel, and then promptly found ourselves a swanky pizza place where we enjoyed a "Scooby Snack" and a glass of wine, to shake off the rough road.

After which, we went back into the hotel where our reunion began with 2/3 of our cousins.  It was so cool.  We met up for prefunking in their room, where they got to interact with Andi and we all just sat around chewing the fat.  It was stellar.

After we had our initial reunion, we then all walked down the hill and hit up Applebee's, where we closed the joint down.  Well, Andi, my brother and I didn't ... oh no, we had to drive back out to EWR (Newark airport) and pick up Andi's Dad.  Although it wasn't raining nearly as hard as it was earlier, the dark, wet roads in an area of unknown is rather exhausting.  We finally arrived and drove another hour back.  I had to talk myself through those last 10 miles.  It was brutal.

We crashed hard and started the next day with a breakfast down the hill at the diner.  This place was awesome.  The food, the service, and the 15 or so people we had at our tables pushed together.

It's funny.  Thinking about how one person can pull a variety of people together for such a short time, and yet, it's this seamless unity.  It's just amazing.

After breakfast, we all felt the need to walk off some calories, so we followed Uncle Pete and the girls into the downtown district, where we walked around cruising in and out of shops.  I bought Andi a Star Wars math workbook - trying to incite some enthusiasm for math.  For myself, I bought a hardcover book at full retail price.  *shrieks of horror*  I saw a lot of things in the next store I would purchase with glee, but my senses kicked in and I decided to spare my checking account the direct hit destruction that store could've provoked.

That afternoon, we went to the official birthday party.  It was at a restaurant off the Hudson, and apparently not far from Sing Sing.  We took over the joint and it was this awesome blend of friends and family and hello... open bar!!!  It was a glorious party!  After the party, we went to Uncle Pete's house for more fun.  We were greeted by a police officer out front.  Apparently, he heard I was in town... No... there was a call about some kids in the forest... such a party pooper!!!  So, we were inside, we were outside, we ate, we drank, we talked, we laughed, and we spent way overdue time together.  It was wonderful.

Happy 80th Birthday Uncle Pete!  So glad we all could get together for an overdue reunion!  So glad we all could get together to spend time celebrating with you.

And Suzanne, dusted off the sticky cobwebs for you.  Promise to work at it more and find my voice again.  Next post, part deux:  New York City -- a six year old, over 10 miles walked and no stroller.  Fun reading ahead, I'm sure.  😃

Monday, January 26, 2015

Changing Of The Guard In CHARGE!

Andi isn't yet fully aware, but there will soon be a changing of the guard In CHARGE.  Her life is about to change very drastically, as is mine.  After being at home for 5 years, and working only part-time these past 4.5 years, I am prepping to go back to work full-time in one week.  Andi will be going from school to after-school care with a bunch of strangers.  The good thing is that this after-school care will give her an opportunity to immerse herself in a group of peers who aren't hard-of-hearing.  I think it will encourage further growth and development.  In fact, I'm banking on it.  In Andi's current classroom, she honestly is the only kid who is totally verbal.  She gets a lot of attention from the teachers/aides/office staff and she soaks up all the conversation.  However, her interactions with peers is sorely lacking, and I'm confident immersion will help her learn quickly the social rules that all the other kids already know.

Another aspect of shock will be Mom not being there.  I've been there almost every single day, day and night... and that is going to change completely.  I will not be the point person to all-things-Andi.  I will not be the main contact for issues, the person to call for pick-up, questions about medical history, levels of care, seriously, ...all things Andi.  I will not be there to protect her from everything, or swoop in and make things better when they go bad.  This is going to be tough on all of us, as most drastic change is... but I'm so eager for it, I can taste it.  But the change will be an adjustment for all.

This afternoon, we are starting at after-school care.  I have to pick up Andi for her first ENT appointment here in Georgia.  Her tubes are out of place and we're hoping they will remove them.  We are going to get an opinion on if a new set is needed.  Her right ear (the aided one) is draining, and we haven't had any ear infections, so I'm guessing she does not need a new set at this time.  Which is great, as we're still paying off the set from August 2013.  *thumbs up!*

So, after her appointment this afternoon, I will take her to "go play with the kids."  Thus, starting an introductory week of transition to a new routine.  Andi really likes kids, almost too much.  She touches kids a lot and hasn't really learned all the social rules, so, this should be a great learning adventure for her. However, because she isn't yet potty trained, she will be in a room with younger kids.  They said they would work with her on that... I hope so, because I definitely need help with this obstacle.

So here we are in our last week of the first chapter.  Man, it has been such a wild ride.  We are uber grateful for the ability to have worked from home, even part-time, so we could get Andi through so many horrible storms.  Eight surgeries and nearly five months in the hospital.  More appointments with a variety of specialists than I can count.  Feeding  clinics, PT, OT, speech, ENT, audiology, cardiology, urology, ...wow, it's been a lot of hands helping us get her to her current superstar level.

Which reminds me, last week, Andi had a two-hour speech evaluation at a therapy service clinic down the street.  We are doing all her evaluations so we can start weekly therapy (PT, OT, Speech) outside of school.  She was given a standard test on vocabulary comprehension.  They stop the test when the child gets a certain number of answers wrong.  Well, Andi kept going, and going, and going.  The therapist was rather surprised.  Her words were, 'blown away', actually.  Andi was scoring in the 6-7 year old range at 4.5.  Pretty impressive.  Sadly, I could've told her that prior to administering that test.  What we need to work on is enunciation and breaking through to better speech sounds/clarity.  In any case, it was really cool to have an official test confirm what we already knew to be true.  Wednesday, she will have her third evaluation, a two-hour appointment with OT.  I don't know how we'll work out the logistics of all these therapies, but that will no longer be my responsibility!  Again, the changing of the guard in CHARGE is about to commence.  It's going to get very interesting around here really quick.  Hopefully, I won't miss this chapter too much.  I'm looking forward to writing a new one, a well-overdue new chapter.



Wednesday, December 31, 2014

FROZEN Potty Training


Imagine a little girl.  She gets all the words, but doesn't yet get the action.  Frustrated, her Mom starts singing her own words to the tune, "Let It Go!" from the movie Frozen:

Let It Flow! Let It Flow!
Let it flow out your woo-woo hole!
Let It Flow! L-E-T   I-T   F-L-O-W!!!
Let it flow, this is getting old!
I don't care, how long we sit here! 
You want to wear big girl underwear!!!

Rinse & Repeat. 
*thumbs up!*

Holiday Photos


Here's a collection of holiday photos of our big girl!



















Friday, December 19, 2014

VIDEO: HOLIDAY PROGRAM

Here's the video from Andi's Holiday Program at school!  Andi is front row and center!

video