Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Transitional Week

Hello!

I have an idea for a new post, but I want to get some pictures for it on Saturday.  I will post that one next week.

In the meantime, if you haven't already checked out the Dino ABCs video, here's the link.  

Brady P and I are probably the only people I know who could recite them.  But want to know an even cooler thing about it?  He doesn't even say the same names each time he goes through the alphabet!  That's right.  He knows so many dinosaurs that I never know which one he is going to say for each letter.

Pretty stinking' amazing.

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Dino ABCs Video

Here is the link to the Dino ABCs video on YouTube!

If you are viewing this through the email, copy and past the link below.  It's safe, I promise!


Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

A Jurassic Tease

Hey!

I've got a real treat for you!

But it's not ready yet.  Ha!

I'm traveling the next two days, so be patient with me.

Want to know what it's about?

Well, last weekend I attended my first Michigan Technological University hockey game.  It was part of their Winter Carnival event.

At one point between periods of the game, the announcer quizzed two students (college age, I think).  The question was: How many dinosaurs can you name?

Dinosaurs?!?!?!

The girl they selected named four dinosaurs and the guy named six (but technically, he got one wrong.  I know these things).

Craig and I looked at each other and laughed because we know that Brady P. could name waaaaaay more than that.  I don't remember how much time the contestants had to name dinos, but they ran out of ideas before they ran out of time.

This hot, valiant feeling ran through my body.  I realized that I must show the world how smart Brady P. is at dinosaur names!

*Shing!*  

(That's me pulling my sword from its sheath.)

You can laugh.  It's a bit dramatic.  And dinosaurs are extinct, so why does it really matter?

Dino Lives Matter

But I believe that you know.  You know why it matters.

I'm working on captioning the video I took of him saying dinosaur names in alphabetical order, so you can see how amazing it is.

So the whole world can see how amazing it is!

And then it will go viral, and we will get on a talk show where everyone can see how cool that little boy is.  It's trending, you know...

I'll post that video as it's own, when it's ready.

Stay awesome!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Puzzling

Brady P. has been into puzzles lately.

Pretty much every day we do at least one of those big floor puzzles.  Anywhere from 32-60 pieces.  And he is getting really good at it!

He's got many to choose from: dinosaurs, Charlie Harper animals, pirate ship, farm and (his new favorite) the United States of America.

It's quite charming to hear him say "United States of America" because, well, that's a mouthful!  He says it so fast that sometimes it just sounds like "Jamaica," but at least I can recognize what he's getting at!



So we'll sit down and do a puzzle or two in the afternoon.  The puzzles sit on the floor for a little while and when he comes back to one, he'll pull a few pieces out, bounce that little index finger in the air and say, "one more time."  Then put them all back in.

I find that quite unique.  I haven't known anyone else to do that before, but I like it.  If we leave a puzzle on the floor, he will do part of it over. 

He will actually do it several times and pull apart different corners or edges of the puzzle.  And he always gets it back together 100% on his own.

What a guy!

He is also really into these opposite cards.  He is quite proficient in matching each of the opposites together.  Then he likes to sink them all back in the box.

Never ending entertainment, I tell ya!

And to recap our bowling event last weekend, it was a success!  A few families came.  All the kids made friends with each other (I could tell by how they were all chasing each other around at the end).  A few of the parents exchanged phone numbers and some picked up resources for future use.

We will do this again with older kids soon.  Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Brady P. Project Update

I've got some exciting news!

The Brady P. Project is proud to announce that we're helping to sponsor our first event!  Here's the flyer.


Pretty cool, hey?

The mission of the Brady P. Project is to spread unconditional love, advocate fairness for all human beings and help people learn about and respect Mother Nature.

Pretty much like saving the world, right?

We're doing it!  With this first event, families that have a child in school that might need help, but don't know where to turn or who to talk to, can now get out for a social afternoon of food, bowling, friendly conversation and resources to help make sure all their kids are on track.

One step at a time.

The Brady P. Project took shape when I (Braeden's mom) realized that my little boy with an extra chromosome is made of pure love.  He is in the moment.  He is all inclusive when it comes to people.  He is curious about nature and loves to be outside.  And he always wants people to be happy.

Well, gosh darn (as my Grandma Gertie used to say), we should all be like that!

So through this non-profit organization, I am trying to give people the opportunity to have resources available to make these things happen.  With our funds, we are able to donate to events and other organizations that follow this mission.

Do you want to be a part of the mission?  You can donate too! 

Here is the link to the WEBSITE.

No pressure.  I'm not that kind of girl.

But here is the cool magnet you get for donating!  We can even throw in a sticker if you donate in the next week because then I'll know you donated through this post.


I just had to put a shout out to the Project because I believe in it.  I believe in helping others.  I believe in kindness.  I also believe that anything is possible.

Anything.

I also believe that if you follow your heart and do the right thing each chance you get, you will have a wonderful day.

Cheers!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Getting Out

Remember that little cold Braeden got?  Well, he had it for a month.

Yup, hacking and barking throughout the night.  Crying for me several times in the darkness.  Telling me his throat was "ouchie," so I had to squirt kid's cough syrup and pain reliever into his mouth.

That wasn't flying with me for many reasons.

So I had to figure out what the problem was.  I didn't want the goop in his respiratory system to turn into pneumonia (if that's really how it works), so I took action.

It was time to go outside every day.

I was already picking him up from school most days in his chariot with skis.  Easy to get from here to there, but he was pretty much sealed up inside it to keep the wind out of his face -- which he hates.

He also wasn't getting any exercise that way.

So I started making him walk home with me.  He likes to pull his red sled, so I put him in charge of that, and he walks and runs quite purposefully with it.  He feels proud.

Sometimes we'll go around a few blocks if it's sunny.

It's been wonderful for us both!


He even helps me move snow!  Well, he thinks he's helping.  He has his own shovel!


And when he gets bored with that, he uses his digger from Uncle Matt!


His cough is just remnant at night and he only calls for me once or twice.  I haven't administered medicine for about a week.  

Whew!  I think we're doing it!

I sure hope so because we all deserve to rest well at night.

Oh, and by the way... Brady P. is officially a big brother!  Aaron and Kelsi had a little boy last week!  His name is Cedar.  Braeden can say his name and knows that's his little brother down in Arkansas.

I think he really wanted a sister, but I'm sure he'll love this guy too.

Stay awesome!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Someone is... Reading!

I have to brag a little bit.

Okay, it's more like a lot.

It has brought me to tears to realize that...

... are you ready?

Brady P. can read!

He can open his kindergarten reader books and read many of the words by sight.  He is also able to sound out some other words and use the pictures as cues and context.

The boy has a photographic memory, so he also memorizes words easily.

He is very proud of this fact, and will read his books to anyone who will listen.

He might start out pretty quiet and shy, but when I remind him to read loudly, he straightens up and nearly shouts the words!

So, ummm, wow!

This little 5-year-old boy is reading and loving it!

Here is a little video for evidence.

Please enjoy.  And remember... anything is possible!



After I took this video, he read a new book about vegetables.  What really surprised me was that, even though some of the pages read "This is a ______," some of them read "These are ________," and he caught it!  He read the correct words the first time!

This lets me know that he is not just reading robotically.  And he is so sweet when he gets to a word that he doesn't know, and he looks up at me for help.  We sound it out together and keep on reading.

Those are some moments to cherish, I tell you!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Stage Fright

Brady P. had his first Christmas pageant last night!

It was all pretty new and exciting as he has't yet performed in a Christmas, Thanksgiving or Memorial Day Program.  This was his first performance in front of half the town.

He had no idea what was coming.

We went to the school house early to get him in his elf costume.  


Cute as a button, he was!  I was pleased with how eager he was to put it all on.  No struggles.  Whew!

He ran out into the performance area with the other kids before the show began.  Everything seemed pretty normal to him.

Then, just 10 minutes before the show, all the kids went into the "preschool room" to wait for their grand entrance.

Unbeknownst to Brady P, the room filled up with townsfolk while they were in there. 

The lights dimmed as I sat in my front row seat.  When I heard the first jingle of bells prancing out, I started my video rolling.  Out came the first elf, then the second, then... a jingle of bells plopped down by my feet and pouted, "Noooo!"

Braeden parked his green and red velvet tushy on the floor and was not going to budge.  

Alrighty then, I thought.  Into the preschool room we go.

I thought I'd be able to convince him to go back out.

"Your friends are out there!" I said.  And I told him the names of some of his favorite people in town.

"No!" he retorted.  "It's too scary."

"All the people are too much for you?" I asked.

"Yes," he said and grabbed a fistful of my hair for comfort.

I immediately thought back to my first Christmas program.  I was in preschool.  The moment I saw how many people were in the audience, I bawled, and refused to go on the stage.

So I had compassion for the little man.  

I told him my story and held him in my arms.  We changed him out of his elf suit, so he didn't feel like such a spectacle.

By the time the show was over, chairs were moved, people stood up and the lights were bright.  Brady P. was happy to enter the masses in that setting.

Then, all the sudden, we heard a "Ho ho ho!"  Santa came!

All the kids rushed out, and gathered around.  Braeden was the first (and maybe only) kid to give him a big hug.  All the people said, "Awwww," and I don't blame them!  I teared up!

So the rest of the night went well.  And we made it through the debut performance.  I think it's a right of passage to run off with stage fright your first time out there.  Brady P. is apparently no exception.

Next time he'll know what to expect!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Video Memories

I think it was Friday before I realized I forgot to post on Wednesday.

But Wednesday was Christmas.  I was in Wisconsin with my family and even extended family that I haven't seen in years. I drank a couple Old Fashioneds and walked around with bells on my shoes. 

I was being so merry that I forgot about you.  Sorry!

So here are some highlights from our holiday.  It sure was a banger of a Christmas time.  As someone who doesn't have a real Christmas tradition, I never know what we're going to encounter year to year.

But this year was pretty special!


(If you are reading this on the automated email, please click onto the blog page, so you can see the videos.)

That first video is a visit from Santa.  I was shocked that Braeden was so excited and warm to the jolly man.  He wouldn't go near him at Winter Wonderfest, but maybe he felt safer at Nana and Grampy's house.

One of wee man's gifts was a microphone/music playing stereo. It's sweet.  We even figured out to turn it into a karaoke machine!  I don't have permission to show you those videos, but let me just say that when Nana sang Super Trooper like she was on stage, my dad and I almost peed our pants.

This next video is an example of what Brady P. does with a microphone.  He starts to say the names of dinosaurs in alphabetical order.  Whaaaaaaaat?  What 5-year-old knows a dinosaur name for each letter of the alphabet in order?

Brady P. Pie Rogers does.

He is a genius.

Here's a snippet.



So we had family and friends over every day for four days in a row.  That's a lot of homemade wine sampling.  That's a lot of meals.  And at each meal, Brady P. would look at people, one by one, and say, "EAT!"

The accused non-eater would say "I'm eating!" through a mouthful of ham or meatballs or pie or whatever was being chewed.  We chuckled at his love for bossing people around.

But then we turned the table on him.

When all four grandparents were sharing a meal (a beautiful thing in itself) we all pointed to little man and told him to eat.  His reaction was priceless!  We all cracked up with tears in our eyes.

Here is a replication of that moment.  His reaction was the same, but you can never quite capture the surprise and humor of an original moment.



That little boy.  He sure knows how to command an audience!

Well, I hope you have some wonderful memories yourself.  By gosh, by golly, have yourself a joyous new year.

Happy 2020!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Not Just a Cold

Today is day two out of probably (hopefully only) three that Brady P. is home from school.  Sick.  With a cold.

How do I know it's just a cold?

Because I took him to see a medical professional yesterday.  After new parent trial and error, most parents don't take their kids in to the doctor when they think it's just a cold.  There's really nothing to do except keep them comfortable, keep them away from others and push the fluids.

But "just a cold" does not mean what it means for most kids what it means for Brady P. 

Monday night was another one of those scary nights.  I almost called 911. Several times.  But once I got little man calmed down enough, he could breathe better.  Yes, he was breathing.  That's vital.

Living 45 minutes to an hour away from an emergency room is a bit daunting when you wonder if your child is going to keep breathing through the night.  However, this isn't our first (or second or third or forth, etc.) time dealing with this.

With a little memory prodding from my mother the nurse, it finally clicked with me just what is going on with Brady P's breathing.

Please note that most kids with Down syndrome often have a thing or two or three that their parents have to deal with as extra medical conditions.

The two big ones we have dealt with Braeden are mostly resolved.  They continue to be on watch each year or two.

But now I have finally realized that this is Braeden's extra medical fret.

Not only is his entire body smaller than an average child his age (less than 1% on the growth chart), but so are most things inside him -- his airway being no exception.

So take his extremely small airway and shove a ventilator tube down it for two different surgeries before he was one year old.  Each time after the tube was removed, he had excess inflammation and gobs of mucus build-up.  I would bet there's a bit of scar tissue from all of that as well.

These days, even now that he's five, when he gets "just a cold," there is one night of no sleep, calming him down between gasps of air, wondering if I should call 911 and all the small child vocal expressions that go with it.

One night of that is one too many, thank you very much.  Here's where I finally got wise.

Little Brady P. needs special medical treatment at home during that time.  The albuterol nebulizer doesn't quite seem to cut it, so I went to see the doctor yesterday to get him a three day supply of prednisolone, a steroid that helps keep his airway open.  As my mom always said during these times, "You don't mess around with a little person's airway."

She's absolutely right.

I am going to hopefully get him an inhaler of some sort for the next time (and the next and the next) this happens, so I don't have to worry about calling 911 that first night.  Or strapping him into his carseat and navigating the winter roads at 2 in the morning myself.  Cuz the latter is a pretty bad idea for many reasons.

Hopefully, we've got it figured out!

So, that's what we're dealing with during each cold.  And let me tell you, school is amazing in most ways, but pretty brutal in this way.  Before we were just usually quarantined in our little house.

But this is life, and here we go.

We are making the best of it.

Here is him posing in front of the Dino puzzle we finished today.

Little poser

Well, here's to your health and wellness!  Be prepared, my friend!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Leaps and Bounds

Tuesday I walked into the schoolhouse to pick up wee man, and the teacher started gushing to me about how awesome Brady P. did writing and spelling that day.

"What happened over the weekend?"  Miss Jill asked.  "I mean, it's like leaps and bounds from Friday to Monday."

I didn't even know what to say.  I was just so proud.

His afternoon aid stood there smiling.  A big, blushing grin.

His morning aid sent me a picture of his work earlier in the day.

Lili's name!

His special ed coordinator was blown away too.

"He wrote all the students' names," Miss Jill continued.  "A couple times. And he even wrote mine and came up to me all proud to say 'look what I did!'"

I know he's doing awesome.  I do his homework with him.  I read books with him.  I watch him progress. 

But to see other people beam at the accomplishments of my son fills me not just with pride, but with gratitude.  I am so grateful that he is a student in that school.  Not just because he's progressing, but because everybody notices.  Everybody is impressed.  And everybody is so proud of him.

The fact that little Brady P. shows significant progress in the areas he is so far behind in because of his extra chromosome, really touches the people that work with him.  Because they genuinely care about him.

His progress is their heart hard at work.

It's like a sprinkling of magic pixie dust blew through the schoolhouse and tickled everybody to the bone that day.  It's one of those moments where you can take a step back and say, "Wow.  We're really making a difference here."

And it means so much.  To everyone involved.

So, thank you to everyone involved!  You know who you are.  I'm not going to embarrass you anymore than that.

Thank you for caring.  And thank you for feeling proud of your efforts through a little boy who's going to help change the world.  Because you are giving him the tools to help him change it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

It's Not About Me... or You

Guess who is back!

The cutest, sweetest little boy my world has ever known!

Nap time snuggles... irreplaceable!

Did I ever tell you that I never really wanted to have kids?  

Probably.  It wasn't my thing.

To most people, "having kids" would mean raising one or two "typical" children in a household with a mom and a dad.  And often, that mom and dad wanted kids.

Brady P. and I are not the norm!

Instead, I raise this little boy with an extra chromosome.  Extra indeed.  Me and him.  Him and me.  Unless we have family in town or an occasional sitter. 

I went from not wanting a child to that being my life!

Want to know that ironic part?

I love it!

I absolutely love hanging out with that little man (with the balance of school, of course!).  He is such a joy.  He's an extreme test of patience, psychology, energy and troubleshooting, but a joy nonetheless.

And that somewhat selfish woman that I used to be has totally transformed her purpose in life.  I have realized that my life is not even really about me.  None of our lives are really about ourselves.  They're about how we act and react toward others.  How we give of ourselves in order to help others thrive.

With that said, let me give a quick shout out to Brady P's grandparents: Grammy, Gramps, Nana and Grampy.  They have all, in their own way, gone above and beyond what I thought grandparents would ever desire to do for their grandkids.  I am amazed.  

Though it's not biologically likely, I may have a slim chance of being a grandma someday.  I promise to always give of myself for those little tykers if I get that chance.  Because, like I just said, that's what life is about.

That's the most fulfilling thing you can do for somebody else: help them in their time of need.

So through this whole cycle of, wow, now I have a kid, and wow, I really need help, and wow, look at how people step up to help, and wow, look how much love my child brings into this world, I'd say I'm a much different person.

Not just different, but better.  Purposeful and worthy.  Full of love and light to share.

This world isn't just about my career and what I want to do.  It's not about yours either.  It's about showing kindness and compassion toward others -- especially when times are tough.

That is really how we become better people.  It's how we learn and grow.  And it helps make this world a better place.

Thanks for doing your part!  What's next?

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Balancing Act

So today's post is a tough one.

For one, it's a stinking' blizzard out there to the point that most people just planned on not driving anywhere except maybe to catch a glimpse of the lake.  Plus, the power is out in the harbor.

I'm seeing at least an inch of snow fall per hour in Hancock.

The other tough part is that little Brady P. is with his dad and grandparents in Wisconsin, so I don't really have a cool update.

I can tell you about how I felt before he left, though.

It was different for me.

Before Brady P. was in school, we share darn near most every day together.  All day everyday.  For a mom with dreams other than to raise a child who needed extra attention, it was frustrating.  For a boy who just wanted his mama to do everything he wanted her to do with him and hopefully see the people sometimes, it was boring.

But now, with him in school 5 days a week, we have a balance.  A lovely balance.

I am so excited to see him after school.  I feel like I have the time and energy to dedicate to him on a whole new level.  Sure, Brade, let's play catch for an hour.  Let's sink it for an hour.  Let's do three puzzles in a row.  Let's dance to all the same Beach Boys songs again.

And I cherish it.

All of it.

Because there is balance.

In fact, I now cherish that time together so much, that I actually fretted sending him off to his grandparents' house for over a week.  Don't get me wrong, I know that they will be absolutely wonderful to him.  But he is such a big part of my purpose, that I cried about missing him three times before he even left.

P. Pie and Gramps in their backwards Stormy Kromers

Before he left!

That never happened before.

If you are a parent, you can relate that you need balance and that your child is a part of you and they bring you joy and all that good stuff.

Yes, I know the break is good for everybody.

But Braeden Philip Rogers has such a tender heart that tears well up as I type about it.  He is one of the sweetest little beings I have ever met.

He gives me smooches on my arm when I help him get dressed.  He gives me smooches on my leg when we do his homework.  He smooches my lips and hugs me good morning.

It takes a lot of my energy to give him all that he needs each day, but the rewards have become priceless.  I mean, who wouldn't want those sweet little smooches throughout the day?

And I know that now he's gone smooching Grammy.  But that's okay.  She more than deserves it.  I would smooch her too, if I was there!

Perhaps that's all for now.  You enjoy your day of eating too much food and hopefully being grateful for all that you are, all that you have and all that you can be.

That motto gets you anywhere, my friend.