Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top Ten Moments to Remember From 2012...

There have been so many big moments in 2012.  Some that caused our hearts to leap!  Some that forced us, once again, to focus on the positive and not dwell on the pain or the heartache.  Through all of it - the good and the bad of 2012 - you were there.  And we were grateful knowing that.

Here is a look back on our journey this year... (along with some cute photos that couldn't fit on our Christmas card!)  Click any of the links to go back in time!


January 9th, 2012 was Brian's first day of pre-school.  Turns out, the only anxiety that day was MINE...he didn't even turn around!!  He goes to a pre-school that provides speech therapy services.  When he got there, he was barely talking.  Just months later, you couldn't stop him from talking!  His IEP just recently was a breeze and the comments from his teacher and therapist made me swell with pride.


Sara quickly became a big part of our family before she got through her first month with us.  She's been a huge influence on the boys and a big help to me this year!  The poor girl started right after my Dad died... I had two black eyes from an accident at home... months later I'd have infertility losses... Gavin had his first seizure... and now she rides the bus and stays with Gavin in school every day!  She's seen us through a lot and we love her dearly.


Well that sucked!


Our last try to conceive ended up not working, but we sure gave trying for a third child our all!  It was a devastating journey for me, to say the least.  I ended up deciding that I was done trying this year... a place I had to get to on my own, as strange as that may sound.  It was a painful journey - and a difficult decision.  I ended up writing a post about loss - and what to say to friends and family members who are struggling with infertility or carrying pregnancies to term.


One of our scariest parenting moments ever.  That day prompted us to create emergency kits for both boys should something like this ever happen again.  Especially if it happens when we're not home.  I went to nursing school and I forgot EVERYTHING while Gavin was on the floor in front of me.  And Brian, who hid in the other room when the paramedics arrived, still talks about that day when Gavin left in an ambulance.


I was naive to "internet trolls" - people who just look for blogs to write hateful comments on anonymously and then sit back to watch what unfolds.  I took it so personally - and I really resisted "monitoring" the comments.  But since this post, I have gotten little to no mean comments.  Actually, since I tightened up the comment section - hardly anyone comments!  I think it's not worth having to jump through the hoops to write anything.  Most of the comments appear on Facebook.  I'm hoping in 2013 to somehow marry the two so everyone can see all the comments!  If anyone knows how to do this, let me know?


I thank God for this bed every single day.  It makes me so happy that Gavin can have a bed that keeps him safe AND is unbelievably comfortable AND will grow into adulthood with him.  I can't say enough about this bed!


Honestly - even I didn't believe it.  The allergist didn't, either.  I faithfully followed the technique our acupuncturist taught me - every day - and it worked.  Brian is no longer allergic to nuts.  He didn't "outgrow" the allergy according to the doctor - it was too soon for that.  It's truly one of my proudest parenting moments.


The surgeon came out to us in the waiting room to proclaim the surgery was a breeze.  But Gavin went into respiratory distress in recovery and spent a harrowing week in the intensive care unit.  Nine days later, we were home.  The surgery was a success - Gavin no longer snores - but it was tough getting there.  Those posts were the highest read in my blog history and I felt like every visit was an extra prayer for him in that hospital room.  Those are the moments that I am most grateful for your extra support!


A big moment for this Mommy was watching that bus pull away.  And another big moment was the school district saying YES to Miss Sara accompanying him every day.  But the biggest victory of the year belongs to Gavin.  He has thrived in school.  He has smiled at home when I ask him about his friends.  He made a beautiful and seamless transition.  We said goodbye to his old therapists (which was not easy, as you can see) and hello to new ones that love him already.  

But the biggest moment of 2012 - for sure - hands down - is Gavin's walking.  This happened at school on December 20th, 2012.  Lucky for me, Miss Sara was there and thought to grab her cell phone to capture this!!  Neither of us will ever forget that day.  It was Miss Sara's one year anniversary with our family!

As we enter 2013, we are grateful for the journey we walked this year.  I know I learned a lot as a Mom.  And even with a few speed bumps, Gavin and Brian ended the year with big successes.  We have much to celebrate - and much to be thankful for.

Brian speech is no longer delayed...

Gavin is walking more and more...

I think the sky is the limit for the Leong family in 2013!

We wish each and every one of you a Happy, healthy New Year!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Four Year Physical...

The yearly physical.

This happens every day in places everywhere in the world.  Little boys and little girls are ushered into the doctor's office for check ups.
Weights are measured.  
Brian weighed in today at 37 pounds.  Five pounds heavier than last year.
Heights are taken.  
He's now 3 feet, 3 inches!
Eyesight is examined from near...
...and far.
And the doctor asks all types of questions.  How does he eat?  (Very well!) How many hours does he sleep? (Average: 13 hours/day)  Is he making friends? (Yes!)  What does he love to play with?  (cars, blocks, Little People, books, angry birds!)  

And then he gets examined.
Brian checked out just fine.  Actually, he looked great.  Despite his ticklishness, Doctor Forman was able to complete his examination.  He even took THREE needle sticks without even wincing.

Me?  I made it through, too.

It may sound silly to some, but Brian's yearly physicals are harder for me than any doctor visit for Gavin.  Sounds crazy, right?  With Gavin, I usually know what to expect.  And when I get bad news, I take that with a bit of a grain of salt - because you and I both know, Gavin is an anomaly.  Hearing loss?  Whatever.  May not sit up?  Phhhhtt. I'm walking now, dude.

But Brian?  He's a different story.

I go into his doctor visits with a smidge of anxiety.  I hold my breath and pray "Please, God.  Please don't let them tell me there's anything wrong with Brian's health in any way."  I'm sure every parent has that same wish or prayer for their child.

I don't speak for all - or even one - special needs Mom - just me.  But I will tell you in all honesty, I harbor a ton of guilt.  Gavin has his issues, Brian had a speech delay, Darcy didn't make it and so many other babies didn't, either.  It's hard not to take that personally.  So, I don't believe that my fragile ego - or my heart - could take any news that would begin with:  "There's something wrong with Brian..."

Thankfully, we checked another physical off the chart.

We, of course, celebrated.  Brian picked out a new toy at the store (a Jake and the Neverland Pirates tub toy) and then the three of us had lunch at Wegman's.  Brian said it was a "fancy lunch" because he got his very first "Kid's Meal" in his own little box.  And he ate his very first "sub sandwich," too, which he loved!  
It was a very good day.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Day, 2012!...

Christmas morning was so much fun this year.  Brian was so enthusiastic about everything and his reactions to each gift made Santa feel soooo appreciated!!!  I had hoped to get a photo or a video of the boys coming down the stairs... but this is basically how it looked.
I tried to stop him - to wait for Gavin and Ed - to force a photo. When I noticed frustration rising up in me because I didn't capture that traditional "moment," I quickly checked myself.  After that, I let everyone "be" - Brian opened whatever toy he wanted in whatever order!  Gavin checked out one new toy before he crawled away into the other room to play with the toys he's had for years.  He would come back and forth to see what was going on at the Christmas tree at his own pace.  Everyone was happy doing what they wanted - and that made for a less stressful Christmas morning!

Secretly, Gavin did thrill me by gravitating to the special toy I picked out with him in mind.  A Little People school that requires little pressure on the mat in front to play music.  It comes with a school bus that is wheelchair accessible!!  The bus driver looks like his bus driver, too!
When he picked up the boy in the wheelchair and brought it to his mouth, it melted my heart.
Brian oooed and ahhhhed at everything.
He would open a gift - gasp - and say breathlessly, "Wow."
He kept saying, over and over, "I am so lucky!"  And he'd want to show or share his presents to his big brother, which was very sweet.
Brian was speechless when I brought him to the table we put Santa's cookies and milk on the night before.  I told him that I was going to set up my camera on the tripod and leave it out to hopefully "catch Santa."  He couldn't believe that I did - and that Santa ate the cookies they left out.  His reaction was priceless!!!
Brian also must have said "Santa remembered!" ten times that morning, if not more.  He was SO excited that there were cars under the tree... and really loved the race track he got!  (I love this, too!)
Gavin came back and checked out his new Christmas book that has lights and music...
And laughed out loud with his "Laugh out Loud Elmo!"
Brian was THRILLED to get his very own Angry Bird calendar!
And spent much of the afternoon playing with his new Pirate Ship.  "Santa remembered I was a pirate for Halloween!"
I think the Puppet Theater will be a big hit!
For the record, if I can brag - I do a great Pirate impression.    But Brian will definitely be the star of the puppet shows...
Brian was SO excited to see what Santa left in his stocking!
Check out the video to hear his adorable enthusiasm.  He sure knows how to make Santa feel good!!!
Close by, Gavin discovered his new Alphabet spinner and had a lot of fun!
While Brian was content playing with his new Marble Works...
...I took Gavin upstairs to check out one of his new toys in one of his favorite places on Earth - the water!!  He got a set of drums that float in the water and got a kick out of my rendition of Little Drummer Girl.  
When we came back downstairs, we settled at the art table to try out Brian's new "Light Up Paint Palette" which is the COOLEST toy ever.
When he dips his brush into a color - the whole palette lights up to match.
And the best part?  It's mess free!  The color only shows up on the paper and not anywhere else.  So if it gets on his hands or his clothes or the table - it's clear!  Perfect for a Mom who doesn't like dealing with messes!  Check out Brian's creation!
Santa also brought mess free finger paints for Gavin.  You never know where his hands will fly so mess free is perfect for him!

We took a break from art to play with Gavin's toy - a FIJIT Friend!  It's kind of dumb, but I thought - er, I mean SANTA thought - he would get a kick out of it.  This FIJIT's name is Lola.  You can talk to her and ask her questions - and she'll answer!  We asked her if she wanted to dance with us and when I put on a song, she moved with the beat of the music!  She's a good dancer... but she could never bust a move like Brian...
By bedtime, the boys were tired and happy.
After tucking them in, I hit the road!  I snuck out to see the Premiere of Les Miserables in the movie theater!  It was packed and I won't lie if I didn't feel a little bit anxious.  I was in a crowded movie theater at night for a highly anticipated opening - perfect set up for a shooting.  Isn't it awful that my mind would go there?  But it's become a big fear for me whenever I'm out in public in a crowd, unfortunately.  Soon I was able to get into the movie - my favorite Broadway show of all time - and it did NOT disappoint.  My only complaint?  I wish I had brought more tissues!  It was a wonderful ending to a happy Christmas Day.
I hope you enjoyed your Christmas day with your families!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas To You...

We are having lots of fun today and hope you are, too! 

 I appreciate every single one of you that takes time out of your own lives to peek into ours throughout the year.  Your support, love, encouragement and investment in us means so much.  I don't take it - or you - for granted.
I hope you're all remembering that Norman Rockwell was only a painter!  If you stress about creating that "moment" you may miss the good stuff - the real stuff.  I'm writing this to remind myself... while I watch Gavin more interested in the tangled bunch of mylar balloons left over from Brian's birthday than any of his new presents!  But with the biggest smile on his face, how can I care??  Ha ha!!

I'll be back tomorrow with all the photos and videos from today!!  I'm off to watch a puppet show in the play room.

 Merry Christmas to all!
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