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Note to self about Christmas next year

As Baylee matures, she has more and more anxiety issues. She hates interruption of routine and when things change her anxiety gets the best of her. She worries when people in her life are absent….such as a teacher, aide or bus driver. She worries when people appear to be injured. She gets anxious and her behaviors escalate when people visit (especially grandma & grandpa!). This year I was enjoying the fact that Baylee, at age 13, still believes in Santa and she was excited for his visit to her house. She seems to have some concept that Santa brings her stuff. On Christmas Eve I told her that tonight was the night Santa was visiting. Big mistake. She immediately starting getting anxious about it and it got her all out of sorts. She did not sleep one wink on Christmas Eve! She was up ALL night. She mostly wandered the house, stood by our bed, and watched TV but did some of her screaming that she does when she gets anxious. I think it’s her way of venting her nervous energy and it sounds hideous. We affectionately call her the Banshee Woman when she does her screaming. Needless to say only the teenager in our basement got much sleep that night. Thankfully with the windows shut, our neighbors did not hear any 2 am blood curdling screams. We probably would have had the police at our door.

By 11 am Christmas morning, Baylee fell asleep in a chair and didn’t get up until late afternoon. With Baylee asleep during the day our house was quite peaceful yesterday!

Note to self for next Christmas–don’t tell Baylee tonight is the night Santa comes! She can wake up and be surprised. We’ll all be better rested.

Happy New Year everyone!


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Merry Christmas!

Hello all! Merry Christmas!

I have sadly neglected our blog for a very long time, but I assure you our adventures with Baylee have continued without interruption! Thank you to all who have sent snail mail Christmas cards, photos and newsletters! I cherish them all and love getting them in the mail. Unfortunately, time got away from me this year as it has in the past few years and my Christmas card will have to be this blog post.

2009 was good to us! It was a year of work and more work, but we are very fortunate in this economy to have the opportunity to work. I never, never complain about being overworked anymore.

Baylee is doing well, but her behavior is always a challenge. She has thankfully been very healthy and continues to make progress. She is in 8th grade and has a great team working with her at school. After 5 years on a waiting list for services that we were told was 10 years long, we got the phone call in September we really didn’t expect for another 5 years. Baylee will begin to get services (an in home caregiver) starting in a few weeks. We are starting out slow with just Saturday morning help, but will go from there and slowly build in more hours as she gets to know her new caregivers. We hope that in the next 3-5 years that we’ll be able to transition her to a group home. I think much of her behavior stems from boredom, and the extra services will keep her busy with numerous activities and they are also required to work on living skills with her, so I expect we will see much growth in her in the next few years. It’s very exciting….for her and for us. In the meantime Baylee continues to keep us on our toes. She customized our ceiling the this week by pouring water all over the sink counter top in our upstairs bathroom. As we were watching TV it began to “rain” in our dining room! At first, we could not figure out where it was coming from until we realized the sink top was wet. The water just ran down the wall slowly, into the baseboard and then pooled on the ceiling above our dining room until it burst through. The fun never ends! Neither one of the boys will admit to who left their bathroom door unlocked, incidentally. Baylee continues to enjoy playing outside (when the weather is nice, she’s a fair weather person), eating and playing with her “babies” (stuffed rabbits and dolls). She still believes in Santa is obsessing over his visit tonight. She calls Santa the “Ho, ho, ho”. Santa is bringing her her yearly iPod (hopefully it will last longer than last years iPod!), a new baby doll and some Aeropostale clothes. She is 13, and like a typical 13 year-old she loves new clothes. I love those glimpses of normalcy with Baylee!

Lukas is 17 now, and a senior in high school. His plans are to attend the University of Nebraska next year so will be staying in town, and probably living at home since his help with Baylee is often needed. He’s thinking about pre-pharmacy, radiology or perhaps some sort of engineering. He’s still involved in band and plans to try out for the Pride of Nebraska Marching Band this summer. It’s very competitive to get in and very few make it, so keep your fingers crossed for him. He is working at Hy-Vee and when our new store opened in October of 2008, he transferred to the new store and works for Dave. He works a lot of hours and keeps very busy. Unfortunately, he wrecked our trusty van of 15 years the other day. His car was in the shop so we let him drive the van and as many 17 year-olds do (present company included), he made an error in judgment. Thankfully no one was hurt! We signed the van over to the junk yard today. (RIP trusty Ford….we had many memorable travels in you.) Unfortunately, the news on his car was not good either. The transmission is fried, so we are junking that as well. Down two cars in one weekend! We found a wonderful used car from a friend who had just purchased a new car, so guess what Lukas is getting for Christmas? A 2000 Dodge Intrepid. The car is absolutely immaculate, so he is thrilled to finally get his wheels back.

Colton is doing great. He’s in 7th grade now. He was on the Cross Country team and is proving to be a talented runner (my next TeamCdLS recruit!). He also plays the trumpet in band and loves to play video games. He’d do that all day if we let him. We finally had to extract his reimplanted front tooth that he lost in a bike accident a few years ago. They sawed off what remained of the root and attached it to his braces. He thinks it’s pretty cool that he can spin it around on the brace (ewwww), but he’s broke it off the braces at least twice now and he hates looking like a hillbilly when he has to wait to get into the orthodontist to have it put back on. When he’s fully grown he will be able to get an implant, so for now he has to deal with the inconvenience and the gross out factor. Next month he has oral surgery to expose an impacted tooth that is high up in his gum and laying sideways. He can’t get a break in the teeth department! He’s having a lot of anxiety about the surgery, and I don’t blame him, though it is a really minor procedure. I don’t think he’ll ever have any affection for dentists. I told him if he makes it through the procedure bravely, we’ll go to the Sprint store afterwards and get him a new phone since his contract is up. Hopefully that bribe will take care of the dramatics and anxiety we endure with most dental procedures with him!

As for me, after working a day job and a night job since October ’08, I decided to give up my school job this fall and work for Dave at Hy-Vee only. I like just having one job now. I think I’m starting to get my life back and never realized how exhausted I was all that time, but you do what you have to do. I continue to sub at the school now and then. It works out well because Dave writes our schedules which ensures that either Dave, Lukas or I am home with Baylee when she’s not in school. We are blessed to have such flexibility…not every family with a child with special needs is as fortunate.

Dave is still with Hy-Vee and our new store is continuing to bless us with brisk business. Our kettle corn business had the best ever summer and we can’t wait to start it back up May. Dave’s ankle is still healing, though I think it will always give him some trouble. He’s very cautious on the ice now! He still works a ton of hours, but I don’t think Dave would be happy unless he did. He doesn’t really have any hobbies since he works so much, but he’s a political junkie and keeps up on what is going on all the time. He’s still is, and will always be, a hard core conservative.

Tonight we are settling in as another big winter storm hits us. The wind is terrible and the temperatures are absurdly cold! We aren’t able to make the trip to church tonight because the roads are getting bad and we can’t risk another car. We were planning an extended family Christmas with Dave’s family on Saturday, but it looks like some family members may not be able to make the trip because of the weather. It is very disappointing but it is what it is. Hopefully we can find another time to get together soon. I hope all of you in the path of this storm are safe and warm!

Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New year! We hope 2010 brings you many, many blessings!

Christy, Dave, Lukas, Baylee & Colton

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Going Mobile!

I haven’t posted much lately because I’ve been working so much, but I’m off work from my “day” job for the summer, so I plan to devote more time to my computer endeavors. I still have the “second” job and the family business to run this summer, though, but I hope to keep posting more of Baylee’s adventures soon. In the meantime, I’ve created a “mobile” version of this blog for those of us who have little time to actually sit down at the home computer and instead rely on our phones to connect to the web while we are on the go.

The mobile address for this blog (if you care, that is!):

Here’s to enjoying every moment summer has to offer!


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Quotes we should ponder

In this era of unprecedented, irresponsible spending, we might be wise to ponder these quotes:

‘Here’s my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose.’

‘The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’

‘The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.’

‘Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.’

‘I have wondered at times about what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress.’

‘The taxpayer: That’s someone who works for the federal government but doesn’t have to take the civil service examination.’

‘Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.’

‘It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.’

‘Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.’ (My personal fave.)

‘No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.’

‘If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.’

Who said these?

Ronald Reagan.

Wise man was he.

If you care about your children and their future opportunities, email your representatives & senators and tell them that you think the “spending bill”, aka “Porkulus” package was a very bad idea and next time you’ll elect representatives that reflect your values. It is our children and our grandchildren who will ultimately pay the enormous price of the new governmental irresponsibility.

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Blog Challenge: 2008 in Review

As 2008 comes to a close, take some time to reflect on the past year. Tell us about accomplishments and triumphs, good times and bad times. What will be most memorable for you about 2008?

I would say that 2008 will go down in infamy for our family.

The year started out great. We were SO very close to being debt-free and our four long years of delivering newspapers were finally coming to a close as soon as we paid off our last debt. On February 8th, as I was delivering papers on one part of our route, Dave was delivering a few blocks away. I got a phone call from a strange number telling me that my husband was down on the ice and that an ambulance had been called. I raced there to meet the firetruck and ambulance and they took him off to the hospital. It was obvious that he had suffered a severe break which later turned out to be a fractured ankle.

Later that morning I turned into a person I had never been before. I stopped at the house where he fell on the ice and gave them a piece of my mind and I was NOT nice. They obviously thought the flying fairy delivered their paper EVERY day (ummm, no, people with real bones, do). I was a mama bear in a rage and needed to lash out at someone. I know I should regret that I did that, but I don’t.

DH needed surgery a few days later to insert screws and we promptly all came down with the influenza….”all” meaning the ENTIRE family. I think I experienced the lowest point of my life when I had to go out and deliver our papers alone, sicker than a dog, on a frigid, windy, snowy February morning. My kids were too sick to help and DH was strung out on Vicodin and obviously incapacitated physically.

It was tough. Dave’s parents were in Australia and my parents couldn’t come with all of us so sick and contagious. I was on my own. I had to leave all my sick kids home alone to attend to my DH in the hospital. I stayed up with him for several nights while he experienced tremendous pain and made many trips to the doctor’s office (which may as well been in Omaha it was so far across town), to get stronger prescriptions of Percoset. They can’t call in those type of drugs to the pharmacy.

I lumped along, caring for all “four” of my kids (three kids and one invalid DH), delivered papers, cooked, cleaned and worked my regular job until April when I snapped. I delivered my last paper mid-month. And I took the whole darn summer off! No extra job for me during summer break! It was a much needed rest.

So needless to say, this will be a year neither I, nor DH, will ever forget. We are all much better now, though DH would beg to differ…I don’t think his ankle will ever feel normal again.

My summer was wonderful and relaxing. At the last minute we decided to attend the Cornelia de Lange Syndrome Conference in June in Chicago, which was the highlight of our summer. We even managed a visit to Lou Malnati’s for a big piece of heaven (Chicago style pizza…yummmmm) while we were there. The time spent with other families who have children with the same syndrome as your child is something you always, always remember. For one brief moment every couple of years we get to be somewhere where our child is “normal” and celebrated. That’s something that never happens any other time. Unfortunately, conference was a disruption in routine for Baylee and she spent much of her time washing her hands in the bathroom (a familiar routine for her), but she was none the worse for the wear after conference and LOVED every second in the hotel pool.

The last big highlight was Dave moving to his new store in October. It was a long time coming. It was an ordeal at first, but I think now we have finally gotten the hang of the new store. Dave got his first full day off since the store opened the day after Christmas! This also means our income has been slashed nearly in half and let’s just say finances are interesting right now, but with the economy I know that we could be much worse off and for that I’m grateful. We have enough. And hopefully it’s only temporary, but that all depends on the economy. We’ll hope for the best.

Some other memorable things about 2008 are that my baby started driving. He even got his own car. I’ve learned a mom never stops worrying until her kid is safely in the door at night.

I discovered Facebook and got addicted, but I’ve reconnected with lots of family and old friends through it. We got a Mac in January and I’ll never go back to PCs. I (heart) my Mac. I quit running and delivering papers, and now I need to lose weight (New Year’s Resolution maybe?).

Goodbye 2008. I won’t miss you. I envision good things for 2009.


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Blog Challenge: Holiday Traditions

Share your family’s favorite holiday traditions and/or winter activities. Tell us a bit about them, such as how they started.

I find it a bit odd I’ve never really thought about this before, but I guess it’s just because it’s the way our lives are.

We only have one holiday tradition and that’s work. When you have a DH in retail it means that the holidays are the busiest time of the year for work and money making. It means there’s little time to engage in traditions.

That said, we know Christmas Day is the one day of the year that we know for sure DH will not have to work and he won’t get work related calls because his 24/7 store closes on Christmas Day. Since I’m moonlighting for DH and Lukas also works for his dad, we know we won’t be working either. That’s a plus! We usually hang out that day, play some board games and eat a big meal. This year we’ll get to celebrate sleeping in as it will be the first Christmas in four years we truly won’t have to work since we delivered papers for the past four Christmases!

I guess if you consider putting up a Christmas tree a tradition, we do at least do that, but frankly, I’m not sure the tree will get put up this year at all. Lukas was home all day babysitting for his sister and brother, and I told them to put up the tree while I was at work, but apparently it wasn’t important to them as it didn’t get done. They’ve always enjoyed doing it and now that they are older I’ve let them take on the task for the past few years, but something might be changing. Maybe they’ll feel the motivation next Sunday.

I usually like to put up Christmas lights outside, too, but since they aren’t up yet, it seems silly to bother at this late date.

Am I a Scrooge or what???

You know what, though…..I actually feel unburdened by letting the traditions go and not letting myself be bothered by the fact that I’m not stressing myself out trying to do things I simply don’t have the energy for. I think I just might enjoy this holiday more than I have in years. Our ‘holiday” will come in January.

PSA: As you engage in the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping be patient and understanding with all the retail employees you meet. They are working hard and deal with DOZENS (if not hundreds) of Scrooges a day which can really be hard on the spirit. A patient smile from an understanding customer is all we need to keep providing service with a smile. (Off soapbox….)


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Election day sadness and trepidation

Politically I am a conservative. I wouldn’t technically say I’m a Republican because I consider myself a Libertarian which is even further to the right. I think government should be small and stay the heck out of our lives–personally and economically.

I’ve always been a voter since I was old enough to vote. I vote in all elections, even the local ones in the off years. I’ve never felt the sense of fear and trepidation I feel now. I haven’t completely given up hope that McCain will win and keep the radical leftist Marxist out of the White House, but the possibility is real enough that it has my stomach in knots. I know that Obama’s tax and energy plans will devastate our family’s livelihood and plunge the American economy into another Great Depression. My DH’s business is not recession proof. We have worked so hard to get ourselves in a good economic situation and to know the devastation that a punitive business tax plan will do to the company both DH and I work for is positively frightening. I know it’s real possibility that we could lose everything we’ve worked for–our house, our savings, our businesses, and our 401k.

The worm has turned in America. We have officially become a nation of takers instead of givers. Our work ethic is gone. The generation of young voters have no idea what they are voting for. They didn’t live through the Carter administration which was an abysmal economic failure that took Reagan a good four years to turn around. I remember it well. I remember the difficult times my family went through wondering how ends would ever meet. I remember the lack of jobs….any jobs. When a lone Wendy’s restaurant opened, they had so many applicants that they had to call in the police to direct the traffic while several hundred people dropped off their applications for a paltry 20 jobs slinging hamburgers and frying french fries.

I don’t want to have to tell the Obama worshipers “I told you so” in two years when we experience double digit inflation, socialization of our 401ks, massive layoffs, and the massive flight of jobs overseas where the taxes are less punitive. By then the damage will be so bad that it will take YEARS for our economy to recover. Years I don’t have being 40 something.

Where do the Obama worshipers think businesses will pass their tax increases onto? The middle class of course. Grocery stores will pass their massive tax burden on in the prices of their goods sold. Energy prices will skyrocket. Families will be praying to figure out how to pay their electric bill when the coal industry is driven out of business. You cannot actually tax corporations. People like you and I own pieces of those corporations in our 401ks. When you tax corporations, you tax the shareholders…people like us who are depending on our 401ks to be there when we retire. In addition it’s quite likely our 401k will be seized and with a super majority in all branches of federal government there won’t be a darn thing anyone will be able to do about it.

I don’t understand the brainwashing that is going on here, but I know for a lot of people, especially the young, it’s just ignorance, the lack of wisdom and the lack of life experience.

Obama is indeed a socialist/Marxist. His policies are spot on socialism and Marxism. And the only thing socialism ensures is that everyone (outside of politicians) are poor and dependent on the government.

I certainly hope that tomorrow isn’t one of the saddest day in American history. The only hope I can take from this if Obama wins with his $430 billion dollar new spending plan is that we will only have to endure four years of his tried and true failed economic policy. Hopefully fiscal conservatism and common sense will make a comeback before it’s too late.


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