In Honor of all the “Super Dads”

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” ……Proverbs 22:6

A couple of days ago, our family celebrated Father’s Day a little early.  Mark’s schedule is always a bit crazy and last week was no exception.  We didn’t really do anything too out of the ordinary for most of the day.  Just hung out and played together around the house.  Many games of Hide-and-Go Seek were played, lots of Chase, and tons of rolling Lightning McQueen across the floor.  Back and forth.  Townsend is a bit obsessed with the latter right now.  Hide and Seek plays out interestingly in our house.  When Cannon is the counter, he counts while chasing after you to your hiding spot.   But if you force him to wait till he gets to 10 before looking for the hiders, and he can’t find them immediately……he gets scared and cries hard.  He shouts, “Dad, Dad, Where are you, Dad?  Cannon is worried.”  So, you have to help him work through it and systematically look through all the rooms of the house.  This exercise in patience and being thorough is quite difficult for Cannon and usually results in a meltdown.  If he is the hider, he generally hides in the same couple of places.  Even if you put him in a new place, he will run to an old one.  If you hold him in a new one, he screams.  And he refuses to understand that you aren’t just running aimlessly in circles when you play chase.  I tag him and let him tag me at times but he hasn’t picked up on it yet.  But he has fun for the most part and we have faith that one day he will understand playing these games if we just keep practicing.

After Mark and Townsend took a nap……I changed Cannon and Townsend into their special t-shirts.  Our theme for Father’s Day this year was “Super Dad.”  Did I mention I like themes?  Well, I love them actually and can’t get enough.  I sought out and purchased Superman t-shirt’s and then altered them with fabric paint.  I also got a hat and altered that for Mark.  Have a look….

The boys also ran around the house all afternoon yelling “Super DAD!”  It was super cute!  I tried desperately to get a pic of the boys together in their t’s but there was no cooperation from Cannon.  He would just scream and say “Is everybody taking a picture” over and over.  He heard this somewhere.  It is a script he repeats in this situation.  It was a big bummer after the work I put in but that is life with Cannon and there are worse things.

When dinnertime rolled around, I made what Mark requested……Inside Out Bacon Cheeseburgers, Homemade Steak Fries, and a Green Salad.   Cannon had an organic beef burger that I made special, some unseasoned potato wedges, and plain organic greens with a little lemon juice.    As soon as the last bite was in his mouth, and before he had even begun to chew it, Cannon was asking for cake.  They had seen me working on a special cake throughout the day and were VERY excited about it!  So, I presented it to my sweet husband.  He laughed and said he liked it!  Here’s a peek…….

Baking and decorating cakes is another method of therapy for me…….along with cooking in general.  It relaxes me, allows me to be creative, and makes me feel good.  I need it!  I crave it!  I am very average at it when it comes to the cake decorating shows I like to watch on t.v., but I could care less.  Before cutting the cake, I took it back into the kitchen so I could pull the switch.  I grabbed a GFCF cupcake from my freezer stash and reheated it.  This was for Cannon and he got his first.  Then, I served everyone else the Super Dad cake.  Cannon was so busy consuming his cupcake that he didn’t realize everyone else had something different.  And when he was done, he just wanted to get down and play.  He didn’t even notice!  Thank goodness!

After that, we gave Mark his gifts.  I tried so hard to get Cannon to give his Daddy the cards or any of the gifts.  He just ran into the other room and wouldn’t come back.  Even when I brought him back and put a gift in his hand, he just let it drop to the floor.  So, Townsend did everything…..even helped Mark open his gifts.  Two books, a Dodger t-shirt, a movie, and a new cell phone later…..we were done and the boys went to bed.  Still talking about “Super DAD!”

On a day when we honored fathers, I must take the opportunity to mention mine.  Oh, where do I begin?!  Right.  (Here come the tears.)  My dad is an incredible man!  And I am totally a Daddy’s Girl!  Many people know my dad for his mission work.  He heads up an organization that has orphanages, churches, schools, seminaries, and medical facilities all over the world (  They know him as the man who is in church every time the doors are open, sits in the same spot every week, and has been volunteering in the baby nursery at that church almost every Sunday since my 22 year old sister was a baby.  They know him as the former businessman, joker, the incredibly faithful friend, ………  A man who works hard on his yard and garden calling it his therapy.   The man who, on his morning bike ride, rides by and puts the newspapers of his friends on their porches.  But I know him as the man who began taking me running with him when I was 6 years old every day when he got home from work.  It made me feel so special.  I know him as the man who never missed a piano recital, play, or basketball game.  The man who took me on Date Nights about once a month and then dared to take me shopping.  The man who got a key to my high school gym and took me there on Sunday afternoons.  To rebound for me so I could shoot around.   The man who taught me lessons like the difference between right and wrong, how to put God first in my life, give cheerfully,  do good to do good and not care who gets the credit, and trust God with all my heart even when life gets tough. He always practiced what he preached, too.  What more could a girl ask for?  I am honored to be his daughter.

Finally, there is my husband.  VERY early in our relationship I took him with me to babysit for some kiddos whose parents were in a Bible Study.  The boys wanted to play outside and the girls inside.  Mark volunteered to stay inside with the girls.  When I came in to check on them later, I found him dressed up and playing tea party.  It was then that I thought…….I might really have something here.  My husband is gentle, he is kind, he is loving, he is a fantastic playmate for our children!  He is creative, he is funny, he is silly, he is their buddy.  My boys live for when Daddy is home!  The other day when Mark was leaving for work, Townsend said, “This is just terrible!”  I am so proud to call my husband my husband.  But I am even more proud when I watch him with our boys.  I love you honey!

On this particular journey, Mothers get a lot of praise.  The title “Mother Warriors.”  And can appear to do a majority of the work when it comes to the therapies and appointments.  But there is no way on this Earth, I could do this without my husband.  And my dad.  Their support keeps me going and helps me to fight harder and longer.  I was recently talking to my dad about some breakthroughs with Cannon.  He immediately began asking me exactly what we were doing differently, wanted explanations of new meds and treatments, and suggested I write it all down and call our doctors to tell them.  See what I mean?  And my husband does awesome things like taking Cannon to OT and PT every week so I can have one on one time with Townsend.  Doing the grocery shopping.  And goes to work 5 long days a week to support our family.  Where would I be without my Dad and husband?  I don’t know and I don’t want to.  They definitely deserve the title “Father Warriors.”  And so much more!

I hope every Dad reading this had a wonderful, special Father’s Day!

“One night a father overheard his son pray: Dear God, Make me the kind of man my Daddy is.  Later that night, the Father prayed,  Dear God, Make me the kind of man my son wants me to be.”  ……Anonymous

Final Surgery Consult


Our family met with Cannon’s surgeon this afternoon to discuss our surgical options.  There had been two tests ordered and performed since our last visit with him and we were interested to hear what they had shown.

The Sitzmark test was one where Cannon swallowed a clear capsule with 24 tiny rings in it.  He got an x-ray at the end of a 5 day period to see if he had passed any and/or all of them.  And he did pass them all! Which means that his issue is not necessarily a motility issue.  And would therefore eliminate the possibility of bowel re-section surgery (the removal of most of his colon).  The second test performed was a Barium Enema.  The surgeon’s goal with this one was to see how stretched out Cannon’s colon is from his many many impactions.  Well, he did see a very stretched little colon but he said he thought it could have been worse.

His final decision was run by and presented to his 2 partners.  The 3 of them are the only Pediatric Surgeons in our city.  They all agreed that it was the right one.  Cannon will NOT have surgery. The first surgical option was to have a Chait Button implanted in his side that would directly access his colon and open to allow insertion of medicine daily. To cleanse him completely every single day.   This is what Cannon’s G.I. doctor recommended.  The surgeon feels that “the risks outweigh the potential gains.”  The chief concern is that Cannon will not be able to handle the presence of this plastic button in, on, and protruding from his body with his intense sensory issues.  And that he would just pull the button out!  If he was to do this, it could puncture other organs and potentially cause sepsis.  Essentially poisoning his body by leaking stool into areas that aren’t intended to have it.  He is also worried about scar tissue buildup around the button which could cause pain and potential blockage.  There are also other reasons but these are the more serious ones.

We are relieved that Cannon will not have to have major abdominal surgery but saddened that there is nothing that can be done to help him long term.  We were told to keep doing what we are doing with diet and medication and that if we ever feel like we need new options…….there is a place in Columbus, Ohio that specializes in his kind of issues.  The surgeon commented that he felt it would be better for him to endure hospital stays every couple of months than to live in constant sensory and physical pain from either of the surgical options.  So, there it is.  We will have to live with that and I think we can……for now.  

I was reading this morning and found this very familiar verse.   Clinging to its promises  today and for the future……….

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”   – Jeremiah 29:11-14

Thank you so much for all the prayers and support for our sweetheart.  Our Cannon.  Much love!


Observation Days 3 & 4

Sorry, I am a few days removed from reporting back to ya’ll on the conclusion of Cannon’s latest hospital stay.  I was just totally and completely wiped out!

When I last wrote, Cannon had finally come out from under the medicines used to relax him for the hooking up of the EEG.  The night before Day 3 was a bit tough.  He was up at midnight due to the fact that his diaper leaked.  So, I had to clean him all up.  Change his diaper and clothes.  Which included cutting his shirt off!  (I brought him several button up shirts for the days he would be hooked up but he only has 3 button up ones.  So, I brought him in a regular shirt with plans to change him when we were ready to start the procedure.  Well, I forgot and no one caught the mistake.  So, he was stuck in the one he came in.  I know it is silly but cutting off his brand new Gap shirt was painful for me.  After being puked on and now sustaining diaper leakage……there was no choice in the matter, though.)  We also had to change all the sheets and blankets.  He even soiled his special blanket from home but thankfully not his beloved Curious George.  He got really awakened while this was all going on so it took him a while to go back to sleep.  Then, he awoke again at 3 a.m. and talked to himself some but mostly stared at his hands for about 30 minutes.  He was up at 5 and the day begun.  We didn’t have anything really scheduled today so we just did our own thing.  We painted a couple more pictures, did some new puzzles Child Life brought over, put stickers in a Thomas the Train sticker book, colored a page in a Charlie Brown coloring book, read lots of books from home, and watched a couple of new Veggie Tales videos.  I marked 3 staring episodes with my special button before noon, one of which was very typical of the spells we see.  The typical one also occurred while a Child Life Specialist and Social Worker were in the room.  It was obvious to each of them even before I said something that this spell was what we were there to document.  (No worries in regards to the Social Worker friends.  The hospital has them act as a support system and liason between you and the staff when you have a child with chronic medical issues and hospitalizations.)

Soon after, my mom and Townsend arrived to say hi and we ate lunch together in the room.  Afterwards, I took Townsend down to the cafeteria for a treat.  He decided on a cookie so we each had one.  He cheered loudly for me when I finished mine because he is Townsend and he is hilarious.  (“Yay Mommy!  Good job! You finished your cookie! Yay!  You’re such a good eater, Mommy!”)  Everyone around us got a good laugh out of it as well.  Then, we went by the hospital library and got a couple of new books for Cannon (Dr. Seuss’ “If I Ran The Zoo” and another book called “If You Give A Pig A Party”).  Of course, Townsend couldn’t resist playing with the interactive wall and train that you have seen in previous posts. He starts talking about them the minute you pull up in front of the hospital.  When we returned, Mom and Townsend left cuz it was nap time. Cannon and I spent our afternoon doing more of the same.  Along with making letters out of modeling clay and rolling a bus back and forth forever!


Mark came to visit after work each day and I would shower super fast and spend a few minutes in the Meditation Room praying and reading my Bible.  When bedtime came, I was determined Cannon was going to get a good night’s sleep.  So, I gave him a big old bear hug and snuggled with him all night just like that.  (Which is also why you got no report from me at the end of Day 3.  I didn’t want to move for fear of waking him.)  He slept fantastic!  I did notice some slight twitching in his sleep so I noted it but I am not too worried.  It didn’t seem super abnormal.  Day 4 began with a plan.  I begged the docs to unhook him at 2 in hopes that he could be rewarded for all his “toughing it out” by getting to go to his 4 o’clock swim lesson.  We all agreed and set this as our goal.  So, after a breakfast of banana muffins, coconut yogurt, and raspberries (all brought from home)……we set out to fill the next few hours with fun before it was all done.  We split time between playing with the ipad, making letters (lots and lots of letters) out of modeling clay, and writing and reading words on the Magna Doodle. We probably watched a video or 2 in there as well.

When 2 o’clock rolled around, I was relieved.  Except that the hardest few minutes were upon us!  He was going to be awake for this part of the procedure and we had to remove all 27 leads.  Thank goodness they come off easier than they go on but sheesh!  It was no walk in the park!  The tech began by unwrapping the bandage.  Then he used a solution that smells absolutely awful to unstick the glue. Cannon fought and screamed “Help me!  Get me out of here!  Ouch!  Help me Mommy!”  Ugh!  Dagger to the heart!  Two nurses held him as best they could so I could just whisper soft, sweet words to him and try to keep him calm. Yeah…..well…..that didn’t work but at least we tried.  When the last lead came off and everyone let go, he let out a huge sigh and sat down looking exhausted.  But, then of course, he asked to go the playroom.  His favorite spot in the hospital that he hadn’t gotten to lay eyes on yet in the 4 days we’d been there.  I gave him a good shower first.  And boy did he need it!  His hair was and will be impossible for a while.  The glue does not come out easily.  You are advised to use non acetone fingernail polish remover to get it out.  And let me tell you, it is not easy to get near a child with hyper sensitive sense of smell with that stuff.  Usually the best we can do is just wash his hair 3 or 4 times every time he gets a bath and it is usually gone in about a week.

Before we left the hospital, I spoke with the Neurologist.  He said that they would review all of the data collected and have a report finalized within the next couple of weeks.  He would also speak with our Neurologist and relay his findings to her.  He said that as of right now, we did not find anything of great concern and could consider keeping him off of the seizure
meds.  Yay!  That was our goal!  To see if we could get him off of them and see if that could make a difference in his tummy.  Now, we will wait and see!  We consult with our surgeon next week to hear the results of the 2 tests he did.  Thank you all so much for all of the support, kind thoughts, and love given to our family during this “tougher than most” week! We are so strengthened by it all!  God Bless!

Oh……and yes……….he made his 4 o’clock swim lesson!  And he had a wonderful time!

Observation Day 2

Today was our second day in the hospital monitoring Cannon for seizure activity.  He awoke around 5:30 after a decent night’s sleep.  He had woken up a couple of times during the night and tried to bother the leads but not too badly.  Nothing I couldn’t handle.  Cannon was still incredibly groggy and slurring his words in the morning.  So, the nurse called the pharmacy and found out that he was given such a high dose of medication yesterday to get the hook up taken care of that the effects could remain for 24 hours.  They weren’t kidding!  The effects remained until about the 23 hour mark (around 2 o’clock in the afternoon).  These effects did not alter the test, just made him super sleepy.  So, he was up for a couple of hours in a fog.  I fed him about half of his breakfast before he lost it.  Yep.  He actually lost it.  He threw up.  After we got him cleaned up, the resident came in and examined him.  She said they believed that the meds from the previous day were probably the culprit.  That they had made him nauseous.  To have him sip on juice and water for a while before trying more food.  By 8 a.m., Cannon was asleep again.  His ABA therapist arrived around 8:30 and he was out cold.  Snoring, mouth open, the whole nine yards.  So, we waited.   At about 10:30, he finally woke up and he and his therapist did some light work.  They worked with some apps on the ipad, did some simple imitation activities, and a puzzle.  I had hoped for more but Cannon was in no shape for more.  During this time, a baby in the next room had a massive seizure that sent everyone flying in and out of that room for some time.  You want to talk about perspective!  I got some fast!  I always say it, but some days I get clear examples of this fact.  Today was one of them.  It could always be worse!   I couldn’t help but tear up and begin praying for this sweet, little child.  I did later hear that he is stable, for now.  THANK YOU LORD!


After his therapist left, I gave Cannon a rice cake with peanut butter to try.  It went down fine so he had more juice and the rest of his lunch.  Afterwards, I attempted to engage him in any activity I could come up with……books, songs, puzzles, toys, cars, etc.  He wasn’t interested in doing much except play with the ipad or watch a video.  I want the data taken to be reflective of him doing many different activities.  So, I didn’t allow him to fixate.  I did use my special button to mark an “event” around 3:30.  A staring spell.  Around 4:30. Cannon’s speech therapist paid him a visit and they had a marvelous session.  Cannon did protest to it often but, as is typical with most of his therapy sessions, he pushed through and did well.  She did all kinds of things with him.  They played with an interactive book, acted out actions with dolls, played a turn taking game, did a puzzle, drew on a dry erase board…..all  while working on verb tenses, personal pronouns, and asking questions.  We were thrilled with how well he did under the circumstances.  I will say that I noticed he was beginning to look tired or like he was going to stare off during this hour.  I plan to try and push him this hard tomorrow.  We actually want to see what his body‘s reaction will be to this.  Anyways, after this we painted a couple of pictures, read a couple books, and played a couple of letter games.  By dinner time, I could tell he was himself again.  He was agitated by the wrap on his head and voicing it.  But, overall, it wasn’t too difficult to handle.

The neurologist came in tonight and we discussed the day.  He said that there was an event in the first 24 hours that was recorded by the machine.  He said it was located in the Parietal Lobe which is where “events” on his past EEG’s have also occured.  I think he was saying that that fact would already label the EEG “abnormal.”  He also went and looked at the episode I marked today and said it showed there was a change at that time but he wanted to see the video before he came to any conclusions.  And he can’t watch the video until the test is complete.  So, we will wait and see.  We also discussed and decided that he will remain in the hospital an extra day.  They really want a good, accurate, typical 48 hours of data.  And because he slept most of the day yesterday and this morning……..we will not have that late tomorrow.  So, we will stay and do this test justice.  Well, that about wraps up Day 2!  Thanks for listening to my ramblings!  We so appreciate  all of the support!  God Bless!!!!!!!!!!

Observation Day 1

Today was our scheduled day to admit Cannon to the hospital for a 2-3 day EEG observation.   We arrived at 10 a.m. and checked him in.  After getting to our assigned room, we spent a while going over his history and getting his med schedule straightened out.  One of our therapists, thankfully, came and helped me bring all of our bags up to the room.  We always look like we are moving in but I just have to be well prepared.  Even the hospital cannot accommodate Cannon’s crazy diet so we have to bring all of his food and drinks.  We were sent down fairly quickly to the area where they would hook up all 27 leads for the EEG procedure.  He had been prescribed a medication to take at home before leaving for the hospital and another to take right before the procedure.  We did this and when it came time to begin, the techs were just not satisfied that he was relaxed enough.  He was quite hyper.  So, they decided to send us back to our room and talk with his neurologist.  I was informed that they were going to recommend I.V. sedation.  I questioned this because I thought that would mess with the test.  They confirmed that fact and said it would mean that we would lose the first 24 hours.  We came back to our room and I was bummed.  I did not want him to go through this any longer than he had to. 

During this “in between” time, we had a special visitor.  “Lady,” the therapy dog, came by to say hello and play.  Cannon enjoyed petting her and rubbing his arm on her soft fur.  She even got up on his bed for more fun and interaction.  I love this hospital for all it does to make the kids comfortable!

Thankfully, because our hospital is so wonderful, they came up with a better plan.  They decided to try a combo of 2 other drugs that were unpredictable but should get the job done.  And the good news was that they wouldn’t affect the test.  So, we did and they worked.  He fell asleep!  The men came up to our room and did the hook up.  Cannon stayed asleep throughout but did stir often and protest somewhat about these leads being glued to his little head.  First, they put a clear substance in the desired spot.  Then, they place the lead.  Followed by a big glob of green goo over the whole area and a small strip of wet, white tape.  The final step is to squirt a white, conductive jelly into the small hole of the lead.  They, then, bind all the wires coming off the leads with tape, hook them up to a machine, and put the machine in a small backpack.  When they finished, they placed a net cap over his head.  We were given a button to push when and/or if we see anything that troubles us.  Anything that looks suspicious.  We press the button and it marks the report.  We can use the intercom on the wall to tell the techs in the control room what we saw.   Did I mention there are cameras in the room?  They are watching his every move and will follow him if he moves around the room.    He continued to sleep for 2 more hours!   When he woke up, he was incredibly groggy.  He didn’t speak except when spoken to and when you spoke to him he responded with short answers that were quite slurred.  I fed him some dinner, he watched a Sesame Street video, and he fell back asleep.  So, that was Day 1.  Not too much to report but a report nonetheless.  Thank you all for your continued, thoughtful prayers for our family!  You guys are the best!

P.S.  – We also got an x-ray today to see what is going on in his tummy.  It showed a ton of gas and air but no impaction!  Yay!     

“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.  In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”  – Psalm 33: 20-22

Child Life & Paying It Forward

(The phrase “pay it forward,” according to Wikipedia…………, “is used to describe the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid by having it done to others instead.”)

If my calculations are right…… Cannon has been in the hospital for 3 one week stints, 4 outpatient procedures, 2 additional E.R. visits, and 1 surgery this year so far.  With another hospital stay to come next week.  That is a decent amount of time in the hospital for a 4 year old in just 5 months.    There is a division of our hospital and any other Children’s Hospital I have ever heard of called the Child Life Department.  What would we do without the Child Life Department?  I do not want to ever find out!  They are a spectacular group of people whose sole purpose in existence is to make the unfortunate event of a hospital experience more bearable for the kiddos.   

A description of Child Life, per the Child Life Council (, is that………

“Child life specialists are trained professionals with expertise in helping children and their families overcome life’s most challenging events.  Armed with a strong background in child development and family systems, child life specialists promote effective coping through play, preparation, education, and self-expression activities. They provide emotional support for families, and encourage optimum development of children facing a broad range of challenging experiences, particularly those related to healthcare and hospitalization. Because they understand that a child’s wellbeing depends on the support of the family, child life specialists provide information, support and guidance to parents, siblings, and other family members. They also play a vital role in educating caregivers, administrators, and the general public about the needs of children under stress.”

I have given examples previously of some of the things that these people have done for Cannon, personally,…..but I feel compelled to tell you again and a little more.  They have not only been present for all of his procedures to lend moral support to Cannon and to us but also to use toys, books, games, and music to help distract him from the procedure itself.  They made posters of his beloved letters for him to look at when his hands were restrained and he couldn’t play with toys.  Their playrooms are full of color, toys, games, books, computers, t.v.’s, crafts, and volunteers ready to play!  And if you are too sick to come to the playroom, they bring the fun to you!  They will watch the kiddo so the parent can take a quick break.  They provide a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and/or a hug as needed.  They even bring activity packs for the siblings. They will explain procedures to parents and kids and sometimes even show the kids what will happen using a doll.  And if you still don’t understand….they will get you someone who can.  They even act as an extra advocate to help explain Cannon’s particular special needs to healthcare providers.  Some of the events we have been able to be a part of are riding a miniature horse, visiting with a singing Ronald McDonald, playing with therapy dogs, and listening to harpists. We’ve also heard of special character visitors during holidays (ex: Santa at Christmas) and their very own prom!  It takes creativity, heart, intelligence, and generosity to do this job.  And the Child Life Department at our hospital has that, for sure!

When I was in high school, I actually thought I wanted to be a Child Life Specialist.  I volunteered for a couple of years at my local Children’s Hospital when I was in high school and absolutely loved it!  So, I wrote the Child Life Council and got lots of info.  Researched colleges that had a Child Life Degree and did a lot of pondering over the idea.   The conclusion I came to after losing a couple of patients that I had grown close to, was that I wasn’t sure I could handle the emotional side of the job.  Also, the colleges that had a degree program for Child Life, at the time, were much farther from home than I wanted to go.  So, I went down a different road. But I think that it’s interesting that I have been led back to a life that is surrounded by Child Life. Who knows what the future will hold?

Anyways…. I have been so grateful to our local Children’s Hospital and their Child Life Department for the exceptional care that they have given Cannon.  I wanted to give back.  So, I spoke with the nurses and they mentioned that besides volunteering (which is not really an option for me with Cannon’s intense therapy schedule and the distance we live from the hospital) there was the option of donating toys, books, and games to the Child Life Department.  Knowing the excess that lives in my home….that was easy!  So, I gathered up some loot and put out 2 Facebook updates asking friends to do the same.  Several friends took me up on it and I ended up with a nice trunk full with very little effort.  We are hoping to move soon and I am looking forward to further editing through our toy collection for more donations.  I also plan on doing this periodically throughout the year.  Why not?!  Everyone wins!  You have a smaller chance of tripping over excess toys in your home and a kiddo forced to be in the hospital gets some joy for a few moments.

I write this not to gain praise but to encourage you to do the same!  It is so easy!  If you have kids, then you most likely have more toys than you need or that they have grown out of.  Consider donating what they no longer play with.  In these tough economic times, I bet we all still wish we could give to good causes.  And we may not be able to do so financially.  So, what is better than giving what we already have been blessed with and don’t necessarily need anymore for the good of others.  Another option is that if you see a great sale at the store or good deal on gently used toys at a yard sale….think about picking them up for the kiddos in the hospital.  Generally, hospitals will take anything except stuffed animals.  And some hospitals even take clothes.  Ours just switched their policy to only accepting brand new clothes so check before you show up with a donation.  And if you have time……..VOLUNTEER!  Doing so will provide you with an amazing experience……. A great feeling inside and the knowledge that you answered God’s call to love one another and give cheerfully to others.  All while touching lives and hearts and giving a dose of happiness to children having a tough time.  I really hope and pray everyone who reads this will put some thought into this.  You never know when someone you love may need to be in the hospital and may need the services I speak of.  I am so grateful for the loving care that has been given to my precious son and am thankful for the opportunity to pay it forward.   God bless you friends!

I leave you with a couple of verses on giving.  My last ditch effort to give you a nudge.  😉

Romans 12:13…..”Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.”

Acts 20:35……”….we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said:  ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “

Last Days

Last week, Cannon had his last days of both AWANA and preschool for this school year.  Both have been extremely beneficial to our sweet son in many ways.  AWANA, as mentioned in previous posts, is his Wednesday night program at our church.  It is set up to have a club atmosphere and his class was called the “Cubbies.”  (the 4 and 5 year olds).  Every week, they would call the meeting to order and do their pledges.  They would choose a Cubbie to hold each item and then pledge to the American flag, the AWANA flag, and the Bible.  Then, they would sing some songs.  Always the Cubbies theme song followed by other fun Bible songs.  The class would then watch a puppet show and listen to a Bible story.  A craft usually followed and the time where they would recite the verse they learned at home for the week.  (Patches were earned for their vest when the kiddos completed their at-home lesson for the week and recited their verse.  Cannon earned every single one!)  After that, to all the Cubbies shear joy, was snack time! 

Cubbies was not easy for Cannon, especially at first.  He struggled to sit during times that required it.  I shouldn’t say struggled…..he just didn’t.  He wanted to run around the room, talk to himself, and play with the toys during the times that no one was allowed to do so.  It was tough.  I resigned myself, for a while, to allowing him to mill around a small area as long as he wasn’t bothering anyone or anything.  Later in the year, we worked up to sitting for longer and longer times.  Not one night was easy and I needed to be with him always.  But, we persevered and I know that was good for him.  We also worked on standing still for the pledges, being quiet and respectful during prayer time, and doing the motions to some of the songs.    

There were many special events throughout the AWANA year for holidays and just for fun.  Our favorite was the Drive-In Movie Night.  All the kids made themselves cars out of cardboard boxes and watched a movie while eating popcorn with all the rest of the AWANA clubbers.  It was a super fun night! 

The end of the year was capped off with an Awards Night.  Each class of kiddos got up in front of everyone in the sanctuary and sang their groups theme song and one additional song.  There was a funny puppet show and awards!  We had practiced our songs at home and Cannon had them down pat.  When we got on stage, he became immediately fixated on the piano next to us.  He repeatedly asked to play it and had to be very restrained by me to keep him from doing so.  I have to admit I was a little bummed that Cannon refused to do any of the motions or sing the songs he knew so well.  So, I helped move his hands the way they should and he stood there like a limp dish rag and with a blank look on his face.  I thought that maybe the crowd was freaking him out so I turned him to face me but it made no difference.  When it came time for his leader to call him up for his awards, he was growing very agitated.  I was holding his hands while on my knees.  All of a sudden, at the very moment she called him, he buckled his legs and  fell backward konking his head on the stage floor.  Nice, right?!  We accepted our award through tears.  He did manage to say “thank you.”  As we waited for everyone else to get their awards and for their parents to come up from the crowd to join them, it became impossible for me to restrain him the way I had been.  So, I had to pick him up.  I hated doing this because I don’t want him to feel different… a baby.  But, we have to survive, too.  So, I chose to do so.  We watched some of the rest of the ceremony.  Cannon amused himself by reading the hymnal.  This is a very soothing activity for him that he discovered when we visited my parent’s at Christmas.  Whenever he would get overwhelmed or over-stimulated…..he would run into the living room where the piano resides, grab the hymnal, and start reading.  He flips through the book and reads the titles.  It is pretty hysterical to hear such a little person reading things like, “Be Thou My Vision” and “Come Thou Almighty King.”  He found the same comfort and coping ability from the hymnal on AWANA Awards Night.   It was a great year!  Thank you to all who helped make Cannon’s year at AWANA great!

Last week also concluded Cannon’s first full year of preschool.  He attended last school year after he turned 3 but only for about 3 ½ months.  His class is a peer intervention class that meets 3 days a week for 3 hours.  My understanding is that the class attempts to have a 50/50 ratio of kids of average intelligence to special needs kids.  He has a wonderful, attentive, caring teacher who really makes us feel so safe and secure when it comes to leaving our precious Cannon.  He also has an unofficial aide who worked with him most of the time and helped him cope with the school environment, do specific activities, stay on task, and taught him how to interact with others.  He receives physical, occupational, and speech therapy while at school.  Each of these therapies occurs once a week.  We especially noticed incredible progress this year with the new physical therapist.  He works mainly using classic physical therapy, not the sensory integration therapy that our private physical therapist does.  He worked with him on climbing stairs, throwing, catching, and kicking a ball, galloping, riding a tricycle, playground equipment safety, and overall safety awareness and visual attention to tasks.  Cannon was unable to do any of these things at the beginning of the school year and now is doing them all well or very well.  The OT worked with him on things like transitioning from activity to activity without distress, stringing beads, and visually attending to tasks for certain periods of time.  The speech therapist gave him simple goals like being able to use the words “big” and “little” appropriately, stating the function of an object, and understanding negative concepts.  The previous year, Cannon had been denied both OT and PT by the school therapists.  We met with the principal about the issue.  Needless to say, we were thrilled to have new therapists this year who saw how badly he DID need these therapies and cared enough to push him hard towards great results.  His preschool teacher packed the year with lots and lots of fun and learning. Above and beyond does not even come close to describing the work this teacher and her staff does!  Here are a couple of examples.   She would meet me (and the other parents, too) at the door to ask how he was doing physically and feeling emotionally each day.  And at the end of each day she would give me a detailed report of how things went …..the highs, the lows, etc.  This was special to me and also important with all of the medical issues he has had this year.  She always let me know when they would be having an event that involved food Cannon’s dietary restrictions wouldn’t allow.  So, I could provide an alternative and he wouldn’t feel excluded.  She and other members of the staff visited him in the hospital.  His teacher also executed a cool idea to help get him to start talking about his day.  He was given a notebook that his aide and I would write in each day.  I would write before school about what we had been up to that day.  We or he would read it aloud and then take it to school.  At school, he would read what I wrote to his aide.  Then, she would write about what they did at preschool at the end of the school day.  They would read it together and he would read it to me when he got home.  Nice idea, right?!  We feel so incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful school environment for our little guy.  Here are a few pictures of his preschool year.  Enjoy! 

Thanks for continuing to follow our journey friends!