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I’m missing CANADA!

I just said that because I had to put a title on. I do miss our wonderful trip. But since I have this wool hat and mittens with a maple leaf on them I am amazed how many comments I get on them and then a group of firefighters even said “Canada EH?” to me as I was running past a few days ago. It makes me laugh because even with the hat on my head I forget what is on the hat because I don’t see it. Then someone reminds me. I had emailed to see where I could get the hat and mittens. They don’t sell online, they don’t sell to anyone in the US and I was actually told in a response  email…”Guess you will have to come back and visit us this summer!” Ugh! Do they not know Wisconsin and Minnesota are colder than the greenbelt? If they sold online I’m really good advertisement.  LOL! Maybe I’ll tell them this and have another job. 

 
Ok, on to what this blog is really about! So Kodiak had a good week for the most part. Except for the fact it was a full moon again on Monday. So our sleep has been disrupted a lot this week. I’m exhausted now. But he had some good times in school.

Monday:

Kodiak pushed a cart full of pop to the vending machine and loaded 40 cans of Diet Coke by himself. 

  
Tuesday:

He didn’t really cooperat to well for anyone this day. An example is he stopped here to rest at school and refused to go any further even with repeated prompting. Official bench warmer!

  
He wanted to wear his coat instead of pants and he had the coat selves on his legs. Several times we took it off. But then when we were not at home and he was being a clown and did it again we tried getting it off in the bathroom. He fought so hard his sister and I both struggled to get it off his feet. His pants ended up soaked as well as the outer shell of his coat. The fleece lining however stayed dry and so he got his way and got to wear the jacket on his legs only like a kilt. It was not what he wanted but that is how he got home. He fell asleep in the car on the way home.  

Wednesday:

Long story here but bottom line very rattled, uncooperative day. Two accidents instead of staying dry all day. Hitting, fits and just an all around OFF day. He got an ice pack to help situations. Well from this I’d say he liked it. Maybe his head hurt….

   
Love your smile buddy!!!

Thursday:

Workout day….

   
   
Friday:

Ugh!!! This week none of us had much sleep. Kodi… This is nuts!

So today he chewed goldfish… And went for a walk outside.  Hope he sleeps tonight! I’m exhausted!

   
   
All in a week of a little grizzly’s week. Mine? Work. Other two? Not much new. But now two errand runners… 

Have a good weekend!

  

 
 

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Unforeseen circumstances…

Wouldn’t it be nice to just make a plan and it actually all works out? Or nothing ever throws a monkey wrench in your plans? 

Every year for the past several years the kids and I, as well as family, go skiing/snowboarding. It seems though like people end up hurt. Well, my middle kid Colt is the concussion and fracture King. But this year it was Symone with the concussion. She didn’t want to admit she got hurt the first hard impact to the head. She tried to shake it off. She was wearing a helmet but then went back out. She was off balance and dizzy and her head hurt but she didn’t admit it. So when she hit it the second time minutes later, she came in not looking so good. She began to cry when she found out she couldn’t play ultimate frisbee the next day as she was really not feeling good at all. Nauseated, dizzy, pain, etc. We were advised to take her in. I thought we were taking her to the right place because of insurance. But waiting there in ER, and then put in a room and ignored even when we told them she was feeling so much worse… and over 2 hours later we were told no tech was staffed. I called a trauma 1 hospital and asked if they had a tech. So I walked out.

 But here’s the thing. As family was bringing my truck to us, it began to act weird. It was cutting out and lights going dim. So we drove to the other hospital and we took their van in the ramp and they drove my truck home. Anyway, in a short time my daughter was seen and had a head CT and it was determined she also had like whiplash. As her neck was hurting by this time. Once the anti nausea was kicking in the nausea was wearing off and she was getting hungry. My poor kid now had to wait. So whiplash and a concussion. A weekend of brain rest (no tv, video games, texting, phones, friends, activity etc.) was disappointing because family was in town. My truck wouldn’t start. Ugg! So we took my daughters car. We played Ultimate Frisbee indoors with friends while Symone chilled out on sidelines with sunglasses on. They say irritable is another symptom? But I didn’t notice that so much. What I noticed is my kid that rarely cries… Cried at everything… Like really really cried. Talking with the Doctor helped me see it’s also another symptom. I have to say she is a lot better. 😉 

She has to get cleared to do finals and activities but much improved. No longer wearing sun glasses indoors.😎

So my truck it ended up just needed a new battery. However, then Symone’s car died. Some sweet people and situations really helped out with our delema. 

Here’s some cute brailler tactile photos for Kodi. 

My nieces… The glasses happen to be because her glasses got broken and that was another disaster.  
My parents… 

I also want to especially thank people that work daily with Kodiak. His sweet adoring PCA/Intervenor, his bus Driver, the aide on the bus, his school intervener, teachers and all staff. Kodiak is my baby and I’m so proud of everything he accomplishes in life. He really is such a smarty pants. He knows how to work people. He puts people in compartments and tests them all out to see what he can get away with. It’s ok to feel bad about what he has to live like but don’t stop seeing his potential. He really wants to learn. The big piece is learning what is expected then he will do it. Unless it’s boring. He loves to play possum. Pretend he is tired or sleeping to get out of work. This is what cracks me up. I love how happy he usually is. But those fullmoon’s make me exhausted. The latest this last weekend.

Some of his school fun:

   
    
   
Then his big brother got his drivers license…. 😉😁😳😥😀

  
Now I’m done training drivers. Since Kodi won’t be driving I can delete that driving app. I’d still rather be able to teach him to drive though. 

Someday….

Congrats Colt, heal quick Symone, and Kodi? Stay sweet my little sweetie!

To all my family, friends and aquaintences, readers and others… Thank you for your kindness, I hope your days and nights prove to be peaceful and joyful. Sleep well and never stop searching for answers to life’s biggest questions like “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” The answers are out there we just have to keep searching for them… It’s comforting.

 

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Some days are harder than others…. To stay positive!

I will start with the fact I enjoyed my time of vacation and vacation in between jobs. It was exactly what I needed. It was time I could sleep, and be a mom and not be working over 40 grueling hours. But I also learned something. Not everyone who has a business really understands customer service. Customers are not ALWAYS right and sometimes are just out to get people fired. I recently read somewhere how some people are just actually very bad customers. Some are actually just mean people. Funny stories developed over the past month to prove it. (Really not so funny).

I was enjoying my grocery store visit while kids were in school. Until this one lady in a hurry cut in front of me. She was so rude to the check out girl when the check out girl discovered that the lady’s gallon of milk was leaking. Stop! What? Yes she discovered it NOT the lady who was in a hurry who probably never noticed the leak because she was in too much of a hurry. The check out girl explained that she was going to call to get another brought up. That lady swore at her and said,  “I want to see a manager you probably did something to it.” I began to unload my things and that lady was getting ruder and louder. The look on that poor girls face made me feel for her. I practically had the same look. Dumbfounded, shock, eyes wide and mouth almost gaping open. That poor girl looked like she was going to cry. That lady was so rude. Then the lady demanded she get the new gallon for free because it took so long. Mind you I was waiting too? And I was not upset at all except at how rude the lady was. The manager came and she was making so many demands. “This is like this all the time. You’re check out people are so slow!” Good grief now attack all the check out clerks. I don’t know if they gave into her but she left with a free gallon of milk, and phone numbers to the big guns, because they are all “incompetent!” Of course when that sweet check out girl, near tears, apologized for my delay I said “Not a problem for me! Shake it off. I’ve had my fair share of very rude people too and she is the one with the problem not you.” She said she was worried about her job. I went to the manager and said I saw the whole thing and I want to say that she should never lose her job for that kind of person. He asked what happened and I explained she was being nice and letting the lady know it leaked. Whew! That manager was upset by that lady too. But thinking the check out girl did something wrong. But then he said more people should speak up for the good than the bad! I felt good!

Then I had his major issue with my internet service! But it got worked out and 4 different people told me “Thank you for not yelling at me about this situation.” The guy that came to my house said the same thing. I thought “Wow! People must do this so often.”  Then my son got his alert system installed so that we are alerted if he leaves his room at night and also any doors or windows. I was so happy to have this done.

November 13, 2015 – I started my new job. Orientation that day was actually fun. Very profession organization. They explained the concept they decided to change. Excellent service and treatment only can be achieved from happy employees. Let me tell you it was so refreshing to hear. Everyone speaks with slow deliberate calming tones. I felt so happy with this move. All very approachable. 

The next few days and we got Colten ready for hunting. My parents drove up to get him. It was awesome to see them even if it was only 5 minutes!

Symone and I had a mom and daughter party. Well, Kodi was a little monster and he went outside. But we heard him. Later he went into basement. He was looking for his big brother. His brother earlier in the day got this…

  
Later in the week my daughters friend pulled up and we headed to my parents. That Wednesday night was a late one. But it was a fun weekend. The kids played silly games and then 4 of them did this: 

  
Then we put Kodi on this human chair. I guess the kids had to deal with my dad’s weird car that kept turning on, flashing lights and wipers and acting crazy all by itself. Come to find out it’s got some wier short but it was nicknamed Herbie…. In this case Herbie goes bananas! 😁 

Then on Friday we went to a town. My sister-in-law, Kodi and all of us girls. Well we experienced another good deed! We were in Dunkin Donuts drive through because I needed coffee as I had a headache and needed caffeine. About to order and a lady knocked on my window, the passenger front window. She said “Just wanted to tell you all that your passenger back tire is flat.” We thanked her and I got out to look. Yep! FLAT! What is with all the flat tires lately. Well we went to a Fleet Farm and they said they were full but when my sister-in-law explained how many of us there are and because it’s kind of an emergency because we have to get back to the home town and get one of the kids to work and one is disabled… Well they were very helpful and willing to help us. We walked around the store and she ended up having to get all 4 new tires. We called my nieces boss and she wasn’t even really late! It was an eventful day. 

   
Hugs from his cousin Abby.

  
The driver! 

So anyway, back to school and work. The next Friday was Kodiak’s pre -op physical. Great doctor my kids have! Then life was a blur. But the funny thing is we all went into target. This grandma and her granddaughter were in front of us. She kept stopping and staring at Kodi who was spinning and giggling. No not the little girl. She was about 8 or 9 and acts used to it. Maybe even has seen him in school. But the grandma kept staring like she was disgusted at him or like he was contagious or something. The young check out guy was working fast trying to almost get the items out of her hands to scan them quicker to move her along. The lines were long. She was so rude. He kept telling her the total and she kept staring. I finally got eye contact and grinned and raised my eyebrows and then looked at the chashier like “He’s waiting for you to pay.” He apologized for her behavior. I told him kindly that she acts like he was contagious and thanked him for being so kind and he shouldn’t have to apologize for someone else but I do appreciate the thoughtfulness.

Later in the week or maybe it was the weekend before? I don’t remember but we went to a different Target. All the carts were in use. So I stood patiently waiting with Kodi for someone leaving to give me their cart. This one lady only had one small bag and pointed to me mouthing “Do you want this?” I nodded and made my slow way over because Kodiak was choosing to spin. Before we got there this rude lady came running up and grabbed the cart and I was like 2 feet away and that other lady had just turned around and was walking away after I said “Thank you!” WOW! The Target was swarming with people. The security officer got us another cart. Later in the store my kids were looking for something and again as I’m walking with Kodi she completely cuts me off and knocks things off the shelves and looks at us like we did it but actually we were no where near it so she just took off without picking it up. A store employee saw it and I went and helped her pick it up. She thanked me and said “It’s such a zoo!” Anyway, guess who tried to cut in front of me in line? Yep but my older kids were already unloading and she realized we were together. 

Why am I pointing this out? Because out of no where people surprise you. Like a neighborhood Senior about to graduate came to our house and we were not home but Kodi and his PCA/intervenor were. He said he wanted to give her a gift card for how hard she works with Kodiak. He works with some during his study hall hours the school. Then he said he had something for us. So she told us. When he came by he was concerned it was not very much but I reassured him it was not about the money. It was about how he took the time to acknowledge our struggle and do something about it. A young person who has lot of distractions but took the time. What a nice young guy! I’m in the process of thanking his parents for a job well done! He met Kodi on his walk with his intervenor around the block and Kodi loved petting his puppy. 

Then last Thursday after visiting Kodi in school we headed to his sedated MRI. Me and my hungry little buddy!

 
Let me just say I have a bad habit. I push not getting gas until almost empty. Well I was in a hurry and decided I didn’t have time to get gas. I was right because I sat in line driving up hill in the ramp trying to find a parking spot. Well, again I met up with rather rude people.  I let a guy by me because he was honking. I figured he was trying to leave and not actually park. I had my blinker on to park after the car pulled out. He zoomed into my spot. Yes blonde, with sweater tied around your neck, and sunglasses on a cloudy day, and you in your sports car… It was rude. 10 minutes later I found another spot. I got inside and was sent to another department. Then that deprtment took us back to where we came in. They explained that they sent us to the wrong place. Kodiak was now 10 minutes late for check in. That guy then walked us to the right department. It was quite a jaunt and Kodiak was in no hurry to get anywhere. He wanted to spin. We finally made it and the lady was so kind. Said not to worry when I apologized and told her what happened. Then his OR nurses were so kind. The doctor, the anistesiologist was also very kind. The police department gave a bunch of gifts to Kodiak.

  
 He loved the puppy and blanket best! 
But as we sat there another parent kept giving my son dirty looks as they walked by. And they made a point of walking by often and slowly and staring with that look like they can’t stand you. Wow! I vented a little on FB. Then when we left I still had to get gas. Another wait and my low fuel light was on. When I got to the gas station on fumes,  the situation was a creepy one. I had that ” DONT MESS WITH ME LOOK” But inside I was scared! Let’s just say I got the plates and I’m safe!

Anyway, at my job I have been told over and over again thank you so much for your help and being so kind. Patients and coworkers are sweet. Then there are the few that are crabby. But most often we can calm them down. Just remember we can make those happy most of the time. There are some that just are not happy until they make your life miserable. But I choose to go to bed on a happy note. I love my kids! I got some not so good news about my little boy today… Write more later as I know more. For now? I’m happy to have a home. I’m happy to not only have job but to like it as well. I miss some of my co-workers but I’m in a good place. 

I have family and friends struggling. Some very serious! Some health, some extreme struggles that I cant fix, some not as bad. But choose those that treat others with respect and kindness. I pray for you all! We all deserve to be treated with dignity, respect and kindness. 

And to my 3 babies? This Mama grizzly loves you fiercely! I wildly go down fighting to protect you! ❤️❤️❤️

 

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Things hard to explain…

So have you ever been asked by your small child “Why?” And not know how to answer? Have you asked your teen “Why?” when they did something crazy dangerous or just plain stupid and they just look at you? Have you ever wondered why people act crazy on a full moon? Or why someone is in so much pain but nothing shows up wrong? Or why people are mean to nice people? Or why bullies just keep it up? Why do teachers treat kids mean? Why do mean people get their way?  I also don’t know how those people even sleep at night. But I will say this. Treat people with kindness and treat with respect, show love and care about others and sleep is a beautiful thing. That is if you also don’t have a DeafBlind family member awake all kinds of crazy hours. 

So two weeks ago my little guy woke up at 5:00 am on 10/29. He was wild, changing clothes constantly, giggling laughing and carrying on like crazy. It was around a full moon again. He went to school. He came home and when he got home was just as crazy wild… AND he never went to sleep. I was tired. I had to work. Kids had school. But so did Kodiak. He needed sleep but was awake and wild all night long. I was worried they would let him sleep at school.  


  I went to my last day on the job. I was exhausted but managed. I was told to use up my vacation and leave sooner. At this point I couldn’t agree more. I was burnt out to a point that I was excited for the new opportunities. But when I got home I had no idea as I walked in the door and told my family I was done at work that my Kodi was even wilder. Why? Child I NEED sleep. But he had other ideas. He at one point had all his clean PJ’s on and couldn’t move. He couldn’t find the one pair that he wants on. It was a battle of wills. I fought to stay awake. He fought to be even wilder. I tried rubbing back…  

  He finally crashed around 5:00 am.  

 Poor baby. I can’t tell you how exhausted I felt. My other two as well. But we decided life must continue. So we made him do things that day. Well he was a crab. But he finally slept. 

However, Monday Nov 2nd was a crazy day… Our internet glitched out. Again I as WHY? And Why on a night when kids need it for their homework? Why did it take 6 different people and hours on the phone and still no internet? But now I have internet TV?  I refused to hook it up I said so keep your equipment. But no instead they sent two very different things. I asked to speak to a manager. I got told by each and everyone of the 6… “Thank you so much for not yelling at me… Usually with this much trouble we have people screaming at us.” I said, “Do you ever wonder why? Like do you know how irritating it is?” They just offer me a survey. And more packages. Finally I was told a tech had to come out. Why? Then my kid tells, me about the rude comment his teacher made. Again… WHY?

So we drive to get supper and use the Internet. They they tell us they closed at 9:00 now. Again WHY? So off we were home. Now kids give up. But not Kodiak. He finds candy. And more candy. And even more…. That little stinker gobbled it upas fast as he even 

Don’t worry he got some sleep. But that night he slept good. 

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2015 in Kodiak My Little Grizzly

 

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Vacation – Part 6

Vacation – Part 6

Sorry that this is so long. It’s just there was so much that we got to do and see and enjoy. It was now Friday, October 23, and we needed got get on the road. I had another wonderful nights sleep in the best bed ever! I was up before the sun. I sat in the chairs facing the windows and just watched. All 3 kids sleeping soundly.  

 
It was So beautiful. The mist was so thick. There were huge birds from everywhere diving into the mist. I could not figure out why. With my iPhone I couldn’t seem to get them. The top left was one bird! But there were hundreds. I wondered why they were doing this? Shower? Catching some sort of bugs in the mist? Or drinking it? Whatever they were doing it was an amazing morning to watch. 

I began waking up the troops… But this next phase is what got them stirring! The sun!

  

It was bright, shining right into the room and warm. Again very beautiful. As they began waking up… “Mom, can we go to the falls again one more time?” “Mom, can we go to that gift shop that is by the falls? We never got to because it’s always closed?” “Mom, I’m hungry.” Then Kodi signing “more eat” So we texted the valet early because they actually do take longer than 10 – 20 minutes. But we understood why everyone ruses them and they are very busy. We got all packed up, watched the falls a few more minutes and began our decent from 11th floor to the lobby. We were happy to see our car was there parked and ready to go. We were filled with mixed emotions. All of us felt at home in Canada and would have loved to stay. We didn’t want to go home. We didn’t want our vacation to end.
We drove down and parked. Went in the gift shops and watched the falls from inside. It was really coming down and was like it was raining so it was nice to feel dry. We were in that gift shop and Kodi fell face first on the floor. The staff was very quick to get us ice. He kind of cried. Colt right away took him out to the car and began feeding Kodi more food and water. Symone and I were not far behind. We then headed into Canada further to cut across to Flint, MI. First though Colt begged to see what a Bass Pro Shop was along the way. He’d never been in one. It’s very much like our famous Cabelas with animals and fish. It was so cool to see. My favorite thing to see? This huge fireplace…. The top of the opening was taller than me. 

  
We then asked the people where we could get food. They told us a food court around the corner. The kids went in… I should have them tell this story… I was not inside and wondered what was taking so long…. They ordered 4 cheese burgers and fries and water. Well, they got the hamburger (fresh) and formed the patties, then chopped the potatoes into wedges and cooked, sliced the cheese, onions and tomatoes, and on fresh daily made bread put it all together with fresh lettuce. When they brought it out I was in disbelief it took so long. Fast food was not very fast. Then they explained the process that happened right before their eyes just like a Chipolte or Subway. Yes it took longer. But I really have to say it was the best burger and fries I ever had from any resturaunt. Hands down we decided that would be worth moving to Canada. (Well it was that good!)

Now that we all ate, we got on the road. Programmed the GPS for Flint, MI.  

 
So going through Canada this way we got into some farm country. We passed wind farms, wetlands, cattle ranches, vinyards (greenbelt area) and some wildernes. The trip didn’t disappoint. It was still so beautiful. But we must have been antsy because we had to keep stoping at travel centers. Stretch legs, use the”washroom” as they call it in Canada, get gas, um and well get snacks. Kodiak enjoyed every bit of it.

 
  
We finally got to customs. The line was long. We were told to turn off all cellphones as they are not allowed. We thought this was odd as we finally all had cell coverage. But we tried to comply… Tried. people were calling and texting us….

It was finally our turn after about 30 minutes. The officer asked for our passports. I handed him all 4. He asked our names, where we were from, (all on the passports) then he wanted all of us to speak. He was wondering where Kodiak is and I explained he is backseat passenger side and is DeafBlind. He wanted Symone’s backseat window rolled down. Then he asked what all the stuff was in the way back. I explained we were on a long roadtrip and headed home and it’s was dirty clothes and blankets. He still kept asking questions. What were you doing out east? So the kids are missing a lot of school? Why did you go into Canada? When did you enter Canada? Was it busy? Did we like the falls? Did we take any tours? Did we have any fruit or weapons with us? Did we visit friends or just tour? Did we stay in a motel or with friends? Where are we headed now? I said “home.” And he said “Not all today yet right?” I explained “No, we are headed up to Mackinaw City to stay the night and then keep heading home?” Then as if we were not a threat to the country we are citizens and residents of he handed back our passports and said “Drive Safe.” After shutting all the windows and pulling away we passed several more police cars and Symone says from the back seat, “Wow! I’ve never felt so guilty for something and we didn’t even do anything wrong!” Deep breath! Welcome to Michigan! We kept heading east until we reached Flint. Then we headed north. But the sad part was it got dark as we entered the pretty mountains. So we saw nothing! We got to our motel. Checked in, unloaded only what was needed. And for the first time the whole trip we had food delivered to us. I ordered Pizza. We all stuffed ourselves. It was raining and we had a balcony with a door. Kodi was a pistol. He was going nuts and Mr. Pizza mouth was getting his face on everything. Since Symone was in the shower we didn’t have anything to wipe his mouth with…. Ugh! My dad said we have to go this way to cross the 4 1/2 mile long bridge… I hate bridges and we crossed hundreds already. We decided to book a ferry to Mackinaw Island for the next day.

 I didn’t sleep well. Partly the anticipation of the bridge, partly the beds, and partly the stress to make it in time for the ferry ride at 9:00 am. We needed to get back on for the return trip to mainland at the 11:00 am time and drive on home.

 
THE BRIDGE! I was so glad I didn’t tempt it the night before in the dark. The construction was a little confusing. The kids got this photo as we crossed. So happy to get on the other side. WECOME TO THE U.P.! We drove right to our spot, parked, and realized we really didn’t have warm enough clothes. It was threatening to downpour buckets on us. But once aboard the ferry we were inside and it was warm. The heaters blasting. The windows fogged up. The wind from the storms created huge waves. This presented an opportunity to sign again to Kodiak. “Boat water waves wind rocking” He was laughing and bouncing all over.

The guy that was talking to us was hilarious.  

 
 Once on the island we were told to get fudge. First things first. We needed Starbucks. Hot coffee for Symone and I. Hot cider and hot chocolate for the boys. Kids wanted to take the horse drawn buggie ride, but one of the guys driving them yelled at everyone to get on the sidewalks and off the streets. We were along the edge and decided he was to crabby to ask how much or how long the ride was. So we went looking for fudge. We got it to take home. Then we just went looking in shops. We found a shop that was custom sweatshirts and shirts. That lady was so nice. She wanted to do something for us plus they were closing down and had sales. She did a sweatshirt for us all. We were warm in there and it was dry. We tried to do a bear for Kodiak. So instead she gave us a bear shirt for him. But we all got a sweatshirt. Now we were warmer. LAYERS! We hurried back to find out the ferry we need doesn’t come until 11:30. It was pouring. The kids left me with Kodi to get more coffee. The line was too long so they came back. Kodiak was so cold he even had my jacket on and his Nordic hat.

 

He learned this pose from Nana or its in his genes. 😉

While the kids were running around another couple came and sat down across Kodiak and I. They told me they were on their 25th anniversary. I told them I would take their photo if they would take ours. They were so impressed with Kodiak.

  
It felt so good to get back on the boat. HEAT!!! I don’t like to be wet. Cold and wet I’m not a fan. It was pouring. But then Colt begged to go up on top. He did. I asked the guy who we talked to from the first ride if he is safe alone up there. His response was only funny. “I’ve never lost anyone overboard on accident. He is just fine. He won’t last up there though because it’s raining so hard.” I have to say I was still concerned. I asked Symone to just go by the stairs and watch. Just as she was about to go Colt came down. He was happy to get his photos he wanted.

   
    

 
Kodiak kept signing “more”. But we didn’t know what he wanted more of. It was an even rougher ride back. Once at the dock we had to rush to our car. Now we were really soaked. No place to dry off and no dry clothes to put on. Good grief. Crank the heat, crank the tunes and program the GPS to home. No more motels. Just a nice beautiful drive home. After a ways out of the town we came upon the north shore beaches of Lake Michagan. The kids just HAD to stop. Many other cars did as well. Some of the photos from the beaches. (It was raining so I stayed with Kodi in the car where it was mostly dry.  

    
  

The drive was soothing and beautiful. The colors were not as bright anymore but it was still beautiful. It was raining and windy and cold. Kodiak was so happy to be snuggled back in the car. He was in his blankie from my cousin, his woozy hat and he was happy.
 
  

The mountains proved to be amazing as we expected. As the sun began setting it was hard to see the deer. The first one we saw was a huge buck and he ran across the road right in front of us and he was running fast. He must have been camera shy… We saw many more. Then once it got dark we saw even more deer. But we were much closer to home. We arrived home about 8:30 pm. 

 

I hope you enjoyed our journey. It was way to much to post about but we all had a really good time. Kodiak was bathed and we got him ready for bed. He was both happy and confused. I think he was clingy and just wanted us nearby…

        

Goodnight Bear Cheeks! Sorry couldn’t resist!

Chow for now!

PS: I have found other photos, so I will be updating the other vacation parts with more photos…. I also want to thank the generous people that helped make this trip possible. Gifts, rental car and gas money, as well as those that donated to GOFUNDME on behalf of Kodiak. We are hoping now to get to some of the projects needed to help Kodiak learn. Thank you everyone that donates and continues to help in what ever capacity you do so. Even the encouraging comments help keep us going.This kid has so many that work with him hands on. It’s appreciated everyday you spend helping him learn. THANK YOU!

PLEASE feel free to send us a note if this inspired you, you know more details I can add or just encouraging comments or your own stories. We have a PO Box you can write to. 😉 

 

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Vacation – Part 5

What an amazing night of sleep. The Marriott Fallsview Hotel and Spa does not skimp on comfort. The beds you sunk down in like they were clouds. At times I jerked awake. But mostly because we had a big day planned and I didn’t want to miss it. 

The morning brought such wonderful views. 

   
As I woke up my kids, I kept wishing Kodiak could see this beauty. I found my heart aching for him. I can’t even communicate to him how we are in Canada, Niagara Falls, there is a beautiful view our our 11th floor falls view room. I sat reflecting Perkins and the assessment, our life, school, my job as a mom and what it should look like. I should still be at home with my kids. But instead I have to work. I feel like my kids have suffered more that me. I said a prayer, took a deep breath and got them rolling out the door. 

We headed to our morning destination. A tour.

   

 
We got there and waited briefly when someone else came in with family and saw Kodiak’s cane. She asked if Kodi was blind. I said “Yes, actually DeafBlind.” It looked like she was maybe going to cry. She began communicating with him. 

 
 
She told me how she has a DeafBlind friend she is helping. I could not have been more amazed. And then to find out she is visiting and from the U.S. as well. We exchanged info. Now we have a new friend. I felt blessed. We were running so late than planned that morning. Valet took longer than we thought,discovered we needed gas, got lost… Had we been earlier we would not have met her. We enjoyed our tour so much. My kids were amazed at the tour and the one giving it as well. Hearing his story encouraged them.

We then headed back to our motel. Changed into warmer and layered clothing. It was a jaunt but we headed down to the boat tour that takes you into the horseshoe of the falls.  

  
The line was long, the sun was warm, and Kodiak wanted to be carried. Colten gave him a piggy back ride. Once we got to the ticket window, the lady said “3 adults?” I said, “Well he’s little but he’s actually 13 (adult price) but he is also DeafBlind.” She said “3 adults then ok?” I was confused because then she left. She came back with a supervisor. They did something and then I paid for 3 adults. When she handed me the tickets she gave me 4 tickets but one was N/C on it. Meaning Kodi was free. I thanked her and she smiled. We began walking down the ramp. When we got close to the dock another lady took our tickets and gave us ponchos. We went and stood in line. We put our ponchos on. But Kodi fought it. Finally we got it on and he then ripped the front. Colten tried to tie it.  

   
  

Once on board… Well the deck was slippery, the boat rocky, and the bars wet. Kodiak was getting the feel of the place. Then we headed to the heart of the horseshoe of Niagara Falls.

   

A lady who did not speak any English actually understood we wanted to have our photo taken. My area was not long enough to and the boat was rocking. But with gestures she offered and took this great photo of us four.

  

  

  

  

  

  

  


This was so amazing. Kodi finally understood the reason for the poncho. We signed water fall, rain, boat. He understood. It was clear. We got back and he was so happy to take his poncho off. He was not too wet. It was a success. All 3 kids and myself included loved the experience.

We headed back. We needed some serious food. We ate at some little brick oven pizza place. I can’t explain the crusts. But very light like waffers? Like it crumbled? And we loved it. 

Then we headed back down by the falls. We walked in the park and gardens. It was warm and sunny. The trees amazing. It was so peaceful and calm even though people were all over town the park was calm. Animals and birds all over. Some trees losing their huge maple leaves. It was beautiful. At one point the kids left the trail and walked in the leaves with Kodiak. Showed him the leaves. After dealing them he smiled. He signed “leaf” he also signed “tree” at one point.

I captured his smile, signing and the falls in the background. 

              

And more moments – a little humor here. Every time we walked by this place with all the fountains and lights the fountains would stop. I was beginning to take it personally. I heard another lady complain about the same thing to her family. The kids and I laughed. We actually got this one right before it went completely down. Grr! They were so pretty too. The colors changed from green, blue, red, pink and maybe more. But just as we would try to take a photo they would stop.

     

   
 
Photo Symone took of Colt, Kodi and I walking.

   
 
Kodi and I walking.

  
 

We probably walked 15 miles this day. We headed back to our room. Kodi began protesting. Notice he picked up his legs? Luke Bryan’s songs Kick the Dust Up and To the Moon and Back were playing in my head.

Everything we saw was beautiful. It was so amazing! That day my dad was texting requesting we change our plans for the next day. This meant cancel our motel in Sault Sainte Marie, ON Canada to Macinaw City, MI. I think he was worried we would be in the rural part of Canada and he can’t enter Canada without a passport to help.  😉

More adventures to come!
  
 

 

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Vacation – Part 4

Where were we? Oh! Yes! Watertown, MA. By this time we were finding it hard to believe we were on vacation now for a week. Studies have been shown that it takes a few days on vacation to unwind. Usually, by the time your week is almost up you have to think about returning and so never fully get a break. But this day I realized it had been a week and I was more than relaxed. I was thoroughly enjoying being with just my kids. But this morning I was tired. I was also wondering what this day, that we have looked so forward to, would look like. First, I woke kiddos up. We had to check out, load up and get breakfast and be at Perkins School for the Blind by 8:30 am. On this day, of all days, Kodiak woke up moody, mad, agitated and unwilling to cooperate and put clothes on. This is not the usual Kodiak in the mornings. I said to the other two…”Do you think he knows today is a big day?” We tried putting him in the car and he refused to put his feet in so we could close the car door. Oh! Boy! Our strategy? One kid opens other back door leans in and tries with two arms to grab all four of his limbs and keep them in the center of the car. Boy he is tricky. Finally, in a split second it works and I get the door safely shut without getting any fingers or toes. 

Once all in, we programmed the GPS and begin our journey. Did I mention that the streets in Boston area don’t make sense? There are reasons for it… It’s actually an excellent historical research project that I won’t list but feel free to click on the link we looked up… Did you know out east there are a ton of Panera Bread shops? We grabbed breakfast and then Starbucks coffee. We made it to the school with 30 minutes to spare. With Kodiak’s mood only slightly improved we walked up to the entrance for the DeafBlind building. It was such a beautiful walk full of beautiful mature trees in full fall colors mixed with beautiful evergreens. It was sunny and cool. Kodiak actually began to calm down.

We met and discussed the day. Then Symone and Colten headed off to a lounge to work on homework of their own. I went and met the team of amazing people that began to work with Kodiak. It’s like they instantly understood him and that he understood them. They had various tasks available to see what he knows and how he explores. It was clear he likes active activities and likes to stand more than sit. Seeing him settled I went and met with an audiologist. I got some good tips… One big one is get that sedated hearing test done and the bone conduction hearing aide so that he can be taught sounds that mean danger. He could also enjoy soothing sounds or music. The thing is a child learns language the first 5 years of life. Kodiak had not heard enough speech to ever speak or understand spoken language. So this option would not help him with this. Asside from this he also needs a sedated MRI to determine if he has his olfactory nerves that would tell us if he can smell. We also learned that all these kids in some form or another want to spin, hang upside down etc. So we need to also have his semi-circular canals checked to see if they are deformed or working correctly. You know… I have researched these guys before. The cool experiment we did at one DeafBlind conference is blindfolded and with ear plugs in we had to quickly shake our head with an exaggerated  yes several times, shake it with an exaggerated no several times and then alternating move right ear towards right shoulder and then left ear towards left shoulder. Then stand up. I was so dizzy and off balance I thought I was going to lose my breakfast. I quickly took off my blindfold and earplugs and it didn’t help. At least not right away. After my eyes focused and my head stopped spinning I began to feel better. I had a brand new sense of understanding of my sweet little boy. So when asked these questions I realized I knew this about my little boy all along. No I don’t know if they are missing or deformed… But I know he is affected by the fullmoon, weather – namely barometer, and if he has sinus issues or different things that it can make a person off balance. My little guy has been always seeking his balance. 

As they learned quickly he also depends on others like leaning on them for balance if he is touching them. But forcing him to stand on his own he does just fine. Except up or down stairs… THAT needs major work. Kodiak also seeks communication. If he doesn’t understand or doesn’t want to do something he says “No” by shaking head “No” or hitting his head or says “Ugh! Ugh!” All things we as a family know but can’t always communicate. Only cause we have learned Kodiak’s language but we can’t always interpretate it to others. It’s like we just know but it depends of what is going on at the time when he does it. Some are more out of anger, frustration, kidding, asking a question or confused. 

We got to lunch and ate at the DeafBlind residence building kitchen. Those kids are so sweet. Some very social some more quiet. But Kodiak was my big eater. Then he went for a walk around the grounds with the motility teacher. We had a tour and saw all the things those kids do. Like the chores and meaningful things they are taught to and make to sell. They even get to go into the community and have jobs. I felt they give these kids meaningful things to learn and do. It gives them a purpose. Not just live and be entertained but made to feel like they have value in their special gifts. Their keen sense of touch that the rest of the world doesn’t really pay much attention to because they can see and hear is being used in a full way to the fullest potential possible.

I could go on and on about this day. But, it’s so hard to process it all let alone put it all into words. I will say everyone was so sweet to Kodiak. He was treated with dignity, respect and with a gentle touch. He was also laughing responding and performing. By 2:30 pm though he was tired. Coming back from a walk he felt his big brother and he put his head on him and began to cry. I know that cry. It’s one of his “I’m done. I’m tired and I need to rest and process all of this information.” Kodiak I understand. I felt the same way. I needed time. I needed space and I needed to get in the car and drive. He did so good. New school, new environment, new people, new things to do and explore but now he needs a break. As we walked outside and got closer to the car he realized between his two older siblings that he was ok, safe and we were leaving. He willingly got into the car. 

  
This photo was the end of a big day at Perkins. It’s full of memories, love and knowledge.

We programmed the GPS and headed off to our next destination. We headed to New Heartford, NY near Utica. The drive was beautiful, peaceful and full of conversations at different times related to the day we just had. Many “what ifs?” were asked. We stopped and got a good supper at the same time we got gas. We also needed Starbucks again because we still had a drive. I wish I knew the town we were in (we think this was at Albany, NY.) but it was in mountains and was amazing I think along this area is where we saw two dear on the rocky side by the highway and one began to fall but at the last second it caught its footing. Both Colt and I were in shock. It would have fallen to to its death and onto the highway and us had it not caught its footing. In all things we see like this I try to point out life lessons to my kids. Like, had the deer been on safe ground the risk would not have been there. Don’t risk your life for fun. It’s never worth it. It doesn’t mean you don’t try things it just means don’t put your life or the lives of others at risk it worked out this time for that deer, but next time it might not. The rest of the way got dark. The roads winding and when we got to our room, in short order was when Kodiak made a mess of the bed.

You will notice part of this is repeated. But I wanted to fill in some gaps that I left out in my last post, unintentionally, because that day had so much to process. I couldn’t find all the words. 

The next morning, Thursday, I went to check out and told the front desk lady how beautiful it was here when we woke up. 

  

She told us “if you think this is cool you need to drive through the Adirondack mountain and park areas. We seriously discussed it. But we needed to visit friends near Rochester and get to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls before dark. After looking it up and seeing how large of an area it covers, and seeing how beautiful it is, we decided it’s a must see in the future and not this trip. 
We headed on to Rochester area. We stopped and saw some old friends and met their kids. Cute little boy and new baby girl. We stayed longer than we intended. However, it was good times. 
We were ready for the remaining drive to the border. So many bridges. We began counting them and then gave up. Crossing rainbow bridge and now at customs I handed over our passports. That lady was so welcoming and even told us what we had to see and told the kids to enjoy the falls since it was their first time. They were getting excited now. When we got to the falls we drove by. The mist was so much we needed the wipers on. They were excited to get to our room so we could walk down by the falls. We got to the motel. It is right on the falls and on 11th floor with a spectacular view. We were in awe of the room. Kodiak just found a bed and collapsed face down on it.  

    

 We regrouped after. Taking photos. We were very hungry. So we got supper across the street at an Outback  Steakhouse. I realized I had my favorite people with me in a different country for the first time. The only adult and we did it. It was ok. We were safe. It hit me then just sitting the looking at all 3 and seeing them smile and giggle like they were.  

   

Content, happy, excited, peaceful…. I mean just look at the faces and the smiles reached their eyes. It was not just this place. It was the whole trip up to this point. I think the 4 of us quite possibly could just roadtrip all the time if money, school and time was never an issue. Clearly we all were having so much fun. After we were done eating we stopped at a gift shop. Then we decided to head down to the falls. It was dark, it was a steep walk down the hills. But Kodiak wanted to run down them. The closer we got the more mist we felt. I realized I was not dressed warm enough. But the lights were amazing.   

 

My little monster was practically running up the hill on the way back. The kids were having so much fun with him and giggling all the way. We got to the top and stopped in a little shop to get some bottled water and a snack. The kids discovered the maple syrup suckers. Some shaped like maple leaves and some like moose. Back in our room we got Kodiak ready for bed and then sat with the lights off looking out the window at the falls. Exhausted we went to bed and slept well. 

Stay tuned for the next adventure… It was not over yet…😉

 

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