Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fall into Winter

As the summer days passed by, we spent our time making memories.  Our oldest attended summer camp, the middle boy attended preschool, and Josiah had his usual fill of early intervention and outside therapies.  With each passing day, we could feel Fall approaching.  Each day, we were one day closer to the change that each Fall brings.  By the third week of August, we frantically tried to slow time down.  We added family activities to the schedule...knowing we would soon be limited by school-year scheduling.  By the last week of August, it had all come to pass.  Summer had ended.  The oldest began 2nd grade.  The 4 year old embraced a new school year, at his preschool.  Labor Day was right around the corner.

As September began, we counted the weeks until Josiah turned three.  The big boys were in school, full time.  Around the corner, big changes were in the air. Josiah was about to start preschool, in the local public school.  Our first IEP was in our immediate future.  Early Intervention was going to come to a grinding halt.  Our way of life, for 3 years, was about to change.  Though exciting, we were feeling the nervous energy that often accompanies anticipation.

By mid-Sept, we had received notice of the scheduled IEP meeting.  I didn't know if I should be excited or dread it's very existence.  I had heard nightmares about IEP meetings, attitudes, different perspectives where no one is willing to work together, etc.  The morning of the IEP meeting finally arrived.  Carl & I arrived to the school with Josiah's EI worker & an advocate from the local DDS office.  We were, truthfully, prepared to be unimpressed.  

I was never so pleased to be proven wrong!!!!  The IEP meeting was amazing!  They had considered everything & then some!  Josiah's needs had already been considered.  Special accommodations had already been thoughtfully planned out.  They were offering him 7 therapies per week, in addition to his classroom work.  They offered him an extended school year so that he can attend in the summer.  They had already included sign language as a method of communication (as Josiah has few spoken words). 

I asked only for two things: 1.  Potty training - it was included before I could finish speaking.  2.  A communication log - which was implemented on day one & has been a constant!  We walked away impressed.  We walked away knowing that we were blessed!  This was the right place for Josiah.  We didn't need to fear the unknown any longer.

As we prepared for Josiah's first day of school, we said our goodbye's to Early Intervention.  We said goodbye to the Early Intervention Child Coordinator who had been with us from the very beginning.  It was a strange be actively involved with a team of people, then they simply stop coming.  Strange, strange, indeed.

Before we had time to mourn the loss of our friends, we quickly met new friends as Josiah's Physical therapy was moved to an outside agency (where he was already receiving OT and Speech).  Josiah transitioned nicely to all the changes.  Before we knew what was happening, it was the first day of preschool.  He was up, fed, dressed, and outside waiting for his bus.  We could hardly believe our eyes.


And so it began, mid-October.  Josiah attended his first day of preschool.  There were a few tears, the first two days of school, then he was off and running.  He attends school 4 days per week, 2.5 hours per day.  During those four days, he received OT 2x/week, PT 2x/week, and Speech 3x/week.  Two afternoons per week, he attends therapy at an outside agency....OT, PT, and Speech, each day.  That's 13 therapies per week!!!  Unbelievable!!!

So, four days per week, this Mama finds herself with 2.5 hours to get errands done, clean the house, do laundry, change beds, etc....without interruption.  By lunch time, each day, Josiah happily arrives home.

This has been our life for the past 10 weeks.  Meanwhile, we've celebrated family birthdays, enjoyed Thanksgiving, survived a stomach bug, and now excitedly prepare for Christmas.

This Mama finds herself tired....blessed, but tired.

Enjoy every single moment, as they cannot be repeated

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Therapy Overload

Being proactive, we called Early Intervention before Josiah was born.  We called again about one week after his birth.  He was six weeks old when the assessment took place.  Starting at six weeks, he was seen weekly by the case manager, physical therapist, and occupational therapist.  Three appointments per week, for the first year-and-a-half.  Then speech was added.  Four therapy appointments per week, at home.

Shortly before his second birthday, the occupational therapist moved and we had an issue with the speech therapist.  Knowing he had one year left with EI, and then would age out, we switched occupational therapy & speech therapy to an outside agency where he would receive both services twice weekly.  Two appointments at home, four appointments outside the home.  Of course, playgroup was additional.  These didn't account for 'extras' - trips to Children's, the DS clinic, pediatrician, or dentist.

Given the last three months (with C being ill), this Mama is finding herself on therapy overload.  C used to take Josiah to his outside appointments (two days per week - two therapies back-to-back).  I would attend to grocery shopping and the like.  All of that has changed as C can no longer lift Josiah.

Thankfully, C drives the two 'big' boys to/from preschool/camp each day, while I stay at home preparing Josiah for his day.

Some mornings roll around and I think to myself, "I just can't do this today."  Yes, I have cancelled therapy due to my own inability to carry on.  It doesn't happen often, but happens more than I like to admit.  I week, I simply decided to take the week off.

Josiah is such a little trouper as I carry him from appointment to appointment.  He arrives with a smile, every time.  He works hard at everything he does.  I sit, exhausted, watching him.

He ages out of EI in 3 months.  That will end the home visits.  Physical therapy will get added to our list of outside appointments - six therapy sessions per week.  He will receive some services at school.  We will continue to take him to playgroups, when scheduling allows.

Sometimes, I am tired just thinking about our schedule.  I feel like we're on therapy overload.  I wonder if other parents feel that way too..... 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Change is in the Air

Kids grow so fast.  Josiah will be three in October.  That means he ages out of Early Intervention (EI).  His services (physical therapy) will be switched to the rehabilitation center where he received OT (occupational therapy) and Speech.  EI will also prepare Josiah for transition to the public preschool in town. 

We were determined to send Josiah to the same preschool that his brothers attended.  EI (early intervention) assumed the path of the public preschool.  After all, Josiah has Down syndrome and is granted an automatic spot in their program.  We didn't know a lot about the program but we initially railed against it.  It wasn't personal.  I guess we didn't like the idea of something being presumed for our son.  We didn't like the idea that he would be 'singled out' because he has an extra chromosome.  His big brothers didn't go there; why should he?

Acting on intelligence, and not simply emotion, C & I decided to take a tour of the public preschool classroom.  We were so glad we did that!!!  We brought an entourage with us that day.  C & I had Josiah as well as my best friend (who is a preschool teacher at another location).  The EI worker met us there, as well.  The assistant principle was taken aback by the amount of people with us.  The fact that we brought Josiah (something they encouraged me not to do) also may have thrown her.  However, if he was to attend there - we needed to see how he would react to the environment.

We were accompanied to the preschool classroom and asked to sit against the wall to 'observe.'  After about ten minutes, Josiah couldn't contain himself any longer.  He wanted down.  He wanted to play.  The lead teacher graciously allowed him to join a small group of children who were playing with blocks.  He sat in the group, like a pro.  He stacked blocks, was mindful of other children, and even used a few signs to communicate his wants and needs.  He fit in just fine.

We watched small groups of children move from 'station' to 'station,' always with a teacher.  The classroom was organized; Teachers were amazing.  We sat stunned.  Suddenly, our feelings about preschool changed.  There are only 10-12 children per classroom in this public, integrated, preschool.  We couldn't tell the 'peer children' from their counterparts.  

We walked out of the school with the realization that what we 'plan' isn't always the best plan.  This preschool program quickly proved to be the best option for Josiah.  When you are able, and willing, to be open to possibility - God shows you the best path to take.  He certainly had His hand in this one!

The teachers have since been to the house, to observe Josiah in his natural environment.  We learned that the teacher has two deaf children, of her own.  She is fluent in sign language and knew every sign Josiah used to communicate with her, even his approximations.  We were thrilled!!  Josiah took a liking to his new friends.

When the school year resumes in September, the IEP meeting will be scheduled.  Josiah will attend preschool Monday-Thursday, two-and-a-half hours per day.  A bus will pick him up at home, and return him after school.  He will receive some services at school, in addition to those he receives at rehab.  

I am nervous about sending him 'out' in the big world but have faith that he will grow and learn.  I know it will be good for him.

C & I will suddenly find ourselves with 3 hours per day where we are kid-free.  That will be a new experience for us.

In the meanwhile, we will spend our summer experiencing life with our children.  We will excitedly prepare for what's to come.  We will continue to be grateful for the many blessings in our life.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Though I Walk Thru the Valley....

The realization that I have not written in four months hit home tonight.  I apologize to my readers for taking such a long hiatus.  My friend Kel refers to this blog as her "Sunday Paper."  Although I provided her with a phone update, I'm surprised she hasn't fired me yet :)

My last blog entry was dated March 2nd.  My husband C was weeks away from a planned surgery.  Before I explain recent events, let me start at the beginning.

Almost ten years ago (before we were married), C had symptoms that would alarm anyone.  After suffering with the symptoms for almost 7 hours, I woke up and received a message (from him) that something was clearly wrong.  I drove to his location and convinced him that medical attention was necessary.  A couple of hours later, we were sitting in a local emergency room.  Once we entered the e.r., C began undergoing tests and examinations.  Soon after, the same alarming symptoms reappeared; They were clear indications of internal bleeding.  I contacted his family, and I waited for their arrival.  C was transferred upstairs (to ICU) for further testing.  His family and I waited patiently.  When a code blue was called, we couldn't imagine that it was him.  Our worst fears quickly became a reality.  C had coded during the test.  He was dying.  Emergency surgery was his only hope.  This was at approximately 2pm.  Family signed consents.  We waited.  Around 11pm, we received word that the surgery was over & C was in recovery.  We were allowed to see him at 12:30am.  The visit was brief.  

Over the course of the next week, I held vigil by his bedside.  It was a long and arduous recovery that lasted about four months.  Feelings I had had for C prior to this emergency had only grown.  I had faced the possibility of losing him but was given another chance.  It was (probably) then that I knew we belonged together.

Life continued as it does.  We moved in together, got married, and started our family.  As time ticked on, we moved past the fear of the early medical scares.  

Two-and-a-half years ago, we were awaiting the arrival of Josiah.  I was eight months pregnant.  My brother S died suddenly.  Two weeks later, C woke up with the same symptoms that alarmed me years earlier.  This time, we wasted no time.  911 was called.  C was taken out of the house in an ambulance.  The big boys (ages 4 and 2) were in the house.  I sat on the steps (very pregnant) and watched them drive C away.  My Mom came to watch the boys and I raced to the hospital.  C was released two days later.  24 hours after his release, the same symptoms reappeared.  Again, 911 was called.  C was rushed out by ambulance.  My Mom raced to the house.  I wasn't sure how much more I could bear, but proceeded to the hospital.  Ultimately, C was transferred to the hospital in the city (via the med flight team); I followed behind in the car.  It was about 1pm.  At 10pm, the surgeon decided that another surgery was needed.  It was an intense surgery, but C made it home in about a week.  Josiah was born one week later.

Though C hasn't been well and continued to struggle with the underlying cause (ulcers), time began to diminish the fear.  In January, we discovered that the ulcers were aggressive and posed another life-threatening medical crisis.  After much consideration, the doctors suggested a planned surgery in an effort to avoid another emergency.

On March 29th, C went in for a planned surgery (to remove his stomach).  Surgery went well (only lasting about 4 hours).  C was looking good.  On day four of recovery, C developed pneumonia.  He was transferred to the ICU and placed on life support.  Time continued as it always does.  My friend C helped me in every way humanly possible.  She drove kids to school, helped with Josiah, picked kids up for school, took the kids to give me a break, drove me to see C, let me cry on her shoulder, was a sounding board, and (some days) was my rock, my inspiration and my strength.

As time ticked on, I feared the outcome.  By day five (on life support), I wondered what the immediate future held for our family.  I wondered if tragedy was about to commence.  I cannot truly explain, in words, the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that I encountered during those trying days.  C ultimately was removed from life support.  He was sent to a rehabilitation facility (due to the inability to walk).  When all was said and done, C was gone for one month.  He returned home on April 30th.

His return home has been a joyous one.  However, this 'recovery' is proving not to be so much a 'recovery' as it is a 'change in lifestyle' (eating, etc).  C cannot lift anything over five pounds, for at least one year.  He cannot eat more than an ounce or two at a time, but must eat often.  He's in pain often.  It is not always easy.

It has truly taken this long for me to start to feel comfortable again.

I am grateful to have my husband home.  I also fear what lies ahead.  Though an optimist at heart, I pray we have no more medical crisis adventures waiting for us.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Who's This New Kid???

Since our return from Disney, Josiah has been an amazing little boy!!!

First more baby food...

We had struggled to transition Josiah from baby food to 'people' food.  It's not all his fault, it's partially ours.  Face it, baby food is easier (at a certain level). Baby food is more costly, but less time consuming.  Josiah had been sick for the two weeks leading up to Disney.  He favored baby food while he was sick. Admittedly so, we preferred it too.  Then we went to Disney, and his sickness was still questionable.  He seemed to have developed a secondary lactose intolerance (I must admit, I'm not sure what that means, how long it lasts, or when to know it has ended).  As a result, we stopped feeding him yogurt (the one food he ate consistently).  While in Disney, he ate (almost exclusively) baby food.  It was safe & kept him well.

We arrived home and, honestly, just decided to stop feeding him baby food.  Well, low and behold - it worked.  Suddenly, Josiah was eating people food (and was happy about it).  In the three weeks we've been home, Josiah has eaten pot roast, beef stew, chicken, onion rings, hamburger helper, mac & cheese, and the list goes on.  He hasn't touched baby food in weeks!  We are ecstatic!!!  Just last night, I noticed the secondary gain....Josiah's orange tint has finally disappeared!!!  I thought it would never be so!!! 

Here's Josiah, after eating a piece of birthday cake last week.  Look at the smile on that face!!!


Second up...mister curious...

The day we arrived home, I thought Josiah seemed more if he was willing to explore more.  Well, I don't know what that trip to Disney did - but it is amazing.  Josiah is an exploration monster.  Luckily, he doesn't risk safety.  He explores things in a whole different way now.  He challenges himself to do things.  He explores things in a whole new way.

This has led to climbing up and down off the couch and beanbags.  He thinks sliding down a slide (face first) is hysterical!!!  He is such a curious and fun little boy.  He makes my heart melt (and sometimes causes my hair to turn gray) lol.  Here are a few of his recent explorations...

Third...suddenly signing...

We have used sign language, with Josiah, from birth.  Knowing language may be difficult for him, we hoped sign language might help.  He has always seemed to understand sign, but not usually willing to utilize it.  Since our return, he has been signing "be nice," "more," "all done," "eat," "sleep," and "phone."  He's blowing them away at speech therapy, too!  Mister stubborn is suddenly makes sounds (and signing) on demand.  It is absolutely amazing!!!!  I'm in awe of this little boy :)

Fourth...about to walk...

Josiah has been walking with his toy walker, for months.  Occasionally, he takes a few independent steps.  Well, last night was mind blowing!!!  He stood up in the middle of the room & took 4-5 small steps.  Then he stopped (while maintaining a perfect stand), regained his balance, and continued.  He took another 4-5 little steps, stopped, regained his balance, and repeated one last time.  He took 4-5 little steps and lunged onto his Elmo bed with a resounding laugh!  He knew what he had done!  In excitement, I texted his physical therapist D.  I told her what he had done.  She texted back.  "Don't tell him I know.  He'll stop doing it if you mention me."  I truly laughed out loud.  I'm not sure she's wrong, by the way....


I stopped looking at scores from Early Intervention, and the like.  I don't like them.  They do not accurately reflect my child's capabilities!!  With that being said, at play group parents are asked to fill out a questionnaire (of sorts).  It assesses a child's overall development (and where they fall in the spectrum).  Josiah's scores have always gravitated towards zero.  No matter the age, his low muscle tone inevitably biases the score.  It's ok and doesn't bother me.  Last week, we arrived at play group & received the results of the last assessment.  In all categories, he fell ON THE CHART!!!  He "needs improvement" in all but social - but he actually fell on the chart!!!  He didn't score zero's, like he had previously.  Our little man, is catching up!!!  So much so, that I keep asking "Who's this new kid?"  :)

"Don't underestimate me.  I would never do that to you."

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Back Into the Swing of Things

I'll chalk last weekend up to a complete loss.  C and I felt like we were in coma's for much of the weekend.  Monday approached like wild fire.  I was glad J1's teacher had sent work along for him to complete while on vacation.  Although he had completed everything, our vacation extension meant he had missed several extra days of work.  I knew he was going to have to catch up quickly.  J2 is in preschool, thus no homework.  He was, however, going to have to jump right back into full swing.  Josiah hadn't had therapy in three weeks (2 weeks in Florida, and sick the week prior to leaving).  Monday was going to be a test.

After getting J1 and J2 off to school on Monday, we headed to play group with Josiah.  It was like we had never left.  Over the weekend, we noticed that Josiah seemed more independent.  He seemed to be exploring more.  In Florida, the tile floors made exploration difficult.  We thought maybe he was just happy to be in environments conducive for small children.  Here, in play group, he was definitely acting more independent.  He was crawling up (and down) the stairs to the climbing structure.  He was suddenly taking more risks (but not dangerous ones).  Little man....

Monday afternoon brought out the EI worker (whom Josiah hadn't seen in weeks).  She was accompanied by her supervisor and Josiah's PT (an occasional co-treat is not uncommon).  Well, that didn't go so well.  For the next 60 minutes (or so), Josiah cried like nobody's business.  He didn't want to stand.  He didn't want to walk with the walker.  He simply cried.  He sobbed.  Yes, it was not his finest hour.

Tuesday morning, he returned to Speech & OT (after his three week hiatus).  What a difference a day makes.  He stunned the speech therapist.  He made more sounds than ever.  He signed more, all done, yes, and no.  The speech therapist was elated (he is usually quite stubborn with her).  OT was just as successful.  He used the same signs with her.  He even said "bye-bye."  OMG!  This kid is amazing!!!  Thursday's sessions were about the same. Josiah is vocalizing more sounds.  More exciting than that (for me), he is finally using some signs.  

After feeling like we were never going to be able to wean him off baby food, we have finally accomplished the impossible (or so it seemed).  We have gone the better part of the week without baby food.  Josiah has happily eaten pork chops, rice, pot roast, potatoes, mac & cheese, tuna fish, chicken alfredo, onion rings, bread, and beef stew.  His first week without baby food!!!!  Yay Josiah!!!!

I feel like Josiah has turned a huge corner this week.  He is vocalizing more.  He is FINALLY signing (even if just a few words).  He's imitating a LOT!!!  He's more engaged in active play.  And, he's eating big people food.  He never ceases to amaze me.

I love my life <3.


Disney Day Ten & Eleven

We slept until about 8:30 on Thursday.  I immediately started laundry.  It was time to think about packing.  The big boys spent the morning in the pool.  At noon, we left to visit a friend.  The 'quick' trip took longer than expected.  We were headed 'home' at 6:30.  We stopped for dinner, but the four year old got sick - so we headed back to the house.  I think it was sheer exhaustion (and maybe a little car-sickness).  Luckily, everyone was ok for the remainder of the night.

C and I didn't go to bed until about 11:30.  I didn't fall asleep until 1:30.  The 3:30 alarm, came far too quickly.  We managed to finish laundry, pack, and get out the door around 5am.  We were at the airport by 5:30; we arrived at the gate at 6:40.  It was only about 10 minutes before we were allowed to board the flight home.  By 7:20, the plane was taxi'ing down the runway.  Our trip to paradise was over.  We had all survived (C and I needed to get home - we were exhausted lol).  We were so proud of our three boys.  They were amazing little men.

My sister met us at the airport, as promised.  We arrived back at our home by noon.  We were pooped.  Later in the day, we ordered pizza and had friends over.  It had been a lovely trip but we were glad to be home.

Dorothy was right....'there's no place like home.'

Here are a few pics from the last leg of our journey....

Disney Day Nine

We woke Wednesday to a beautiful day.  It was our last day to visit the parks.  We were headed to where it all began....the Magic Kingdom.  Mom and Dad were joining us for the day.  It would be a wonderful day.

After arriving at the parking lot.  We procured a manual wheelchair to assist Dad in getting to the Ferry.  In the parking lot, we had noticed a large camper.  Outside of it, several adults were standing around a stretcher.  They were traveling with medical equipment.  We didn't make a lot of it; we simply noticed.

After a half an hour wait for the ferry, we could see the boat approaching the dock.  A woman gently hollered to gain the crowd's attention.  Her announcement indicated that a child from 'Make a Wish' was amongst us.  The request was simple: let him be the first to board the ferry.  The crowd was more than willing to accommodate this simple request.

The previously-noticed stretcher was wheeled onto the ferry first.  The young boy appeared to be between the ages of 7-10.  Numerous adults accompanied him, some wearing 'make a wish' buttons.  They traveled with tubes, oxygen, and the like.  People were teary watching this young man board the ferry to his dream come true.  We didn't know we would share space with a little king <3.

The Magic Kingdom was sensational.  We spent a better part of the day in one section of the park.  It rained, intermittently.  No one seemed fussed by it.  Before we knew it, it was nearing sunset.  It had been a beautiful, long, day indeed.  It was time to head 'home,' and so we did.

Thursday, we would focus on packing.

Friday, we were going home. 

Here are a few pics of our day.....

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Disney Day Eight

Tuesday was another beautiful day.  We were excited about going to Epcot.  I couldn't wait to stand with my Dad, and watch the Illuminations fireworks/laser lights show at 9pm.

Unfortunately, Dad had overdone it the day before.  His foot was sore.  He made the difficult decision to stay home.  He hoped to join us for the Magic Kingdom, on Wednesday.

We were out the door by would be a late night.  We were prepared, and excited! 

Epcot was as I remembered it.  We started out in the Epcot ball.... the adventure into space.  From there, we headed to the Dinosaur ride.  I wasn't concerned about the many reminders that "This will be a 37 minute ride, so if you feel like it may be too much for any member of your party, please exit now."  Piece of I thought.

About 7 minutes into the ride, Josiah had begun to fuss.  The bag of Nilla wafers would have helped.....but I had mistakingly left them in the bottom of the stroller, outside.  Pat-a-cake and hugs weren't working.  We were about 15 minutes into this dark ride; Josiah was now screaming.  He had crocodile tears!

C was frantically pawing through the diaper bag looking for any hidden treats.  Josiah took one sip of his water, then promptly threw it.  The Dorito was even less of a hit.  As I frantically tried to quiet Josiah, I looked around at Epcot's guests wondering how badly we'd be hated when the ride ended.....another 20 (or so) minutes away.

I'll tell you....when your child is screaming & disrupting other people (at a very expensive location), and you can neither exit nor stop them, tension starts to rise.

Due to a plastic spoon & a jar of baby food, I was able to feed Josiah (in the dark).  Though I missed most of the sights and sounds, I knew the glares would be minimal, at the end!  Lol.  I was never so grateful for a ride to end...

We went to lunch hoping to put Josiah in a 'good place'.  It was 3pm and Illuminations was 6 hours was the thing I looked forward to the most.  Josiah went into complete melt-down mode, during lunch.  I couldn't eat....too stressed out.  It was 4pm.  I announced, "It's time to go.  I can't deal with this!"

I was sad.  We made our way out of the "World Showcase."  We had eaten lunch in the USA so we were at the furthest point from the exit.  As we were crossing from the World Showcase into the 'front' part of the park, a kiosk caught the eye of our 7 year old.  Josiah was quiet (finally) so we agreed to stop.

The two older boys were given a play cell phone & asked to help save the world.  They were promoted to "secret agent" status and agreed to complete their assignment.  Josiah was still quiet and I remained cautiously optimistic about seeing the later show.  So.....we headed back into the World Showcase.

The boys had a great time traveling to the different countries, completing tasks (dictated by cell phone) along the way.  They had a blast!!!  We were so glad things had taken a turn for the better.

By 8pm, we staked out a good viewing location.  We hit the gift shop & returned the cell phone.  The big boys passed time playing with a third child.

At 9pm, Illuminations began.  It was everything I remembered & everything I hoped it would be.  Josiah was being an angel.  I was watching the show I had been anxious to see.  Yes, I was blessed.

By 9:30, we were heading for the car.  It had been a long day.  Everyone was tired but happy :)

Here are a few pics....

Disney Day Seven

Monday morning ushered in pure, and unadulterated, sunshine!  It was our originally-scheduled-travel-home-day.  I couldn't be happier that we were there to stay.  We were headed to the Animal Kingdom & Mom and Dad were joining us!

Upon arrival, we successfully procured Dad an electric scooter.  He was delighted!!!

We enjoyed great rides, fantastic atmosphere, and superb shows!  By 2pm, we were hungry.  Josiah was starving!  So, we headed for the gates.  The 4 year old had been asking for days; now it was happening.....Rainforest Cafe for lunch.  This would be the second, and final, time.

We enjoyed a leisurely lunch and browsed the gift shift.  Despite the early hour of 4pm, the thoughts of home (and the pool) proved too tempting.  We bid adieu to the Animal Kingdom, and headed home.

Tuesday, we were going to Epcot!

Here's a few pictures from our day....

Monday, February 3, 2014

Disney Day Six

We were up at 7:30am.  It was very foggy but free from rain!  We were headed to Hollywood Studios!  It would be just the five of us, again.  Mom & Dad were staying in.

We were out the door around 11am.  We headed to the New Balance outlet store - Mama needs new shoes!!!  Lol.  Fifteen minutes in the store, and Mama had new sneaks!  Off to Hollywood Studios!

The park was a lot of fun!  The big boys rode a Star Wars themed ride with Daddy.  The highlight for the four year old was his encounter with Woody & Buzz Lightyear.  I enjoyed seeing the Wicked Witch of the West appear & disappear in a ball of fire and smoke!!!  Fun times :)

We shopped, ate, walked, and rode.  We stayed right up until closing.  At home, the boys swam in the pool & we all relaxed!

I was so glad we weren't leaving yet...

Disney Day Five

We woke Saturday morning to raindrops falling on the pool cover.  Luckily, the forecast wasn't calling for a washout.  It would clear by noon.  Mom and Dad were planning on staying in, to nurse Dad's foot back to health.  We were headed to Universal Studios!

We arrived there around noon.  The lines were long, and slow.  It rained intermittently.  It took over an hour (and more money than I care to admit), but we were finally passing through the gates.

I had last visited Universal about 20 years ago.  Back then, there was one park.  Now there are two: Islands of Adventure & Universal Studios.  Not sure of the difference, we headed to Islands of Adventure. 

We visited the worlds of Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Dr. Seuss, and various super heroes.  We ate at a comics cafe and dodged raindrops.  It was 5:30pm by the time we headed to the 'other side.'  Yes, that was the Universal I remembered.  With only an hour until closing, we rode ET (twice) & drank milkshakes, before seeing the 7pm fireworks show.  A real rainbow even appeared in the sky before being swallowed by darkness. 

By 7:15pm, we were headed to the car.  It had been a long, expensive, day.  We had fun!  We would hit Hollywood Studios (formerly known as MGM) on Sunday.  I was so glad we extended our vacation.

Here are a few pics of our day.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Disney Day Four

I don't suppose it would come as a big surprise to say we woke to rain on Friday.  Sadder yet was the forecast predicting no let-up before Saturday.  This didn't help my obsessive thoughts (which had begun on Wednesday).  We were leaving Monday and didn't have enough time.

So, I did something I have never done before.  I figured out the logistics, went about gathering detailed information, then implemented my action plan:

Confirm our ride home from airport can accommodate a change, check! 

Change flight home, check!

Email elementary school to inform them of 1st grader's extended vacation.

Call preschool to inform them of 4-year old's extended vacation.

Cancel Josiah's PT with EI.

Cancel Josiah's OT & Speech through rehab.

Cancel karate for extra week.

Extend house-sitter.

Extend baby rental gear, check! Mama is happy lol.

With that resolved, we proceeded to plan our day.  We enjoyed lunch at home & the boys played in the pool, in the rain.  I found a place called Wonderworks; they were open until Midnight.  We would head there.

Mom & Dad stayed home.  We headed out.  Wonderworks looked very cool.  I looked forward to seeing it.  The legend goes something like this:

Wonderworks began as a top secret laboratory in the Bahamas.  Scientists were involved with many projects, one of which was capturing high speed winds.  Something went horribly wrong!  High winds enveloped the building, picking it up off the ground, and catapulting it through the air like a tornado.  It eventually landed upside-down, on a red brick building, in the city of Orlando, Fl.

That is where it sits today.  The experiments remained intact but are upside-down (just like the building).  Upon entry, guests pass through an inversion tunnel in order to defy gravity & enjoy the 3 floors of hands on exhibits.

In the end, I wasn't overly impressed.  However, seeing the building was great; time with family never wasted.  Mama no longer feels like we're running out of time.

The building IS pretty cool, isn't it?

Disney Day Three

Thursday was a lazy day at Disney.  We awoke to cold rain.  It was mid-50's with no indication of sunshine.  I was already yearning to stay longer :)  With Dad's injured foot, and inclement weather, it was going to be a chill out kind of day.

Josiah caught up on some much needed sleep.  The boys played in the pool.  Everyone enjoyed extra relaxation.  We nibbled for much of the day.

In the late afternoon hours, we get ready and headed for Downtown Disney.  Our destination: Rainforest Cafe (and perhaps, a little shopping lol).

When we arrived, Dad sat in the van while we shopped in a Disney store.  Then, off to the Rainforest.  Given the 70 minute wait time provided for the family ahead of us, we were delighted to be seated immediately..... it must have been the party of 7 that was to our benefit.  As always, the food was excellent!  The company, unrivaled.

We couldn't leave Downtown Disney without stopping by the LEGO store.  There were a lot of expensive choices thus we were ecstatic when the boys picked LEGO keychains.

We were quickly in the van and headed home.  The boys enjoyed another dip in the pool, then bedtime commenced.  Oh, Monday was coming to quickly....we haven't done enough yet.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Disney Day Two

At 2am, I was awakened by a sound I knew all too well.  Josiah was sick.  Why was he sick?  How long would it last?  I didn't know.  Luckily, I whisked him out of bed and subsequently saved the bedding.  We weren't up long.  We cleaned Josiah up, and were tucked back into bed.  It was a restless night; Josiah made little noises all night.

He slept until 10am.  An immediate bath was needed.  We stripped the bed, bathed Josiah, and fed him breakfast.  He still didn't act 'right' but was better.  Our initial plan of attack: no dairy!  My Dad had hurt his foot the night before, jumping into the pool.  Josiah was questionably sick.  It was cold and rainy.  We made an early decision to stay home for the day.

At noon, Josiah decided to take a nap.  The big boys stayed home with the guys.  Mom & I escaped to buy crutches & do a little grocery shopping.  We returned around 3pm.  The big boys were happy and Josiah was just waking up.  Dad was fitted with crutches.  We were in for the duration of the day.

When Josiah awoke, he seemed 90% better.  Dad was mobile again & all was well.  We enjoyed a home cooked dinner, watched tv, and hung out in the heated pool.  Life was good & we were blessed indeed.

Josiah went to bed at 8:30, a happy boy.  The big boys went to bed at 10pm.  We followed suit at 11:30pm.  I fell asleep grateful for my beautiful family & the life we have.

Here are a few pics from our day....