Friday, December 6, 2013

Light at the end of the tunnel…

So I promised my followers I would get better at blogging and catch everyone up with what has been going on with the Hamilton’s.  Well….I failed you all.  My last blog I was playing catch up and the goal was to bring everyone up to the present day.  Unfortunately work picked up instead of scaling back and the in-between weekends was spent on getting some house projects done, rest, or being sick.  Before I knew it a full year lapsed and it is November already.  Crazy how fast a year went by…  the good news is working weekends is only a week away.  The bad news is I feel like I missed out on so much and that I have let down my friends and family by not being able to attend to events like birthdays, happy hours, sporting events, or just be there.  

Quick recaps…

October 2012 – Bought a house, traveled a bunch of times to train field techs for my companies Windows 7 upgrade, Jackson started at a new school, and we celebrated Sara’s birthday and Halloween to end the month… you can read more details on my previous blog post.

November 2012 – Jackson had a seizure and we hosted Thanksgiving dinner.  Sara’s mom and dad came over and the Hamilton’s which includes my mom and dad, my sister and boyfriend-in-law, my grandma, my sister-in-law, nephews, and Josh (boyfriend-in-law).  This Thanksgiving rocked because our new house is much bigger, not that busting out of the seams of our other house was awesome, it was just nice to have elbow room at the tables.  I think my nephew Andrew loves my turkey because for second year he said, “This food is awesome…”  The holidays are still hard without my brother, but his boys are more and more like him each year.  There are more details on my previous blog post.

December 2012 - I worked back to back weekends and a full week on the Bridgeline, which made it difficult to shop for Christmas, but I managed to get some surprise gifts thanks to Amazon.  I missed my BFF’s birthday because of work; I was really bummed about that.  Then I missed my other BFF’s wife’s birthday, no LRC money for me.  We took Jackson to milk and cookies with Santa and he got to see Santa at our local fire house.  I am very proud that even though Jackson likes to pull hair, he leaves Santa’s alone. Christmas morning we went over to Sara’s parents to celebrate first.  Jackson had a great musical Christmas and got his first acoustic guitar.  It is always so nice to Sara’s brother and sister-in-law over the holidays. We spent the second half of the day over at my grandma’s house.  Jackson got a riding tractor which Poppy was so proud to give him.  It is going to take a lot of work to get Jackson’s motor skills up to par, but even though he didn’t get the concept of the pedal his smile was priceless.  I almost needed a trailer to get everything home.  

January 2013 – My softball ladies helped me celebrate my birthday at our favorite place Pizza-a-go-go.  They serve old school hand tossed pizza and you bring your own beverages.  Always fun to catch up with everyone after the holidays.  I worked my birthday weekend, then the week after.  I also migrated some of our home office executives so I could document the process moving forward for them.  It’s also my moms and Sara’s dads birthday month. Sara’s grandpa, the great Earl Weaver, passed away and she traveled to Miami for the funeral.  Around that time we were doing some adjustments to Jackson’s medicine trying to find a good balance between extreme Hyper-ness and Zombie land.

February 2013 – I worked two weekends. Saturday’s we are supposed to be done by 6:00 PM, but to avoid working on Sunday the project sometimes pushes us to work later. Unfortunately that caused me to miss Andrew‘s, my nephew, birthday party.  It breaks my heart to disappoint anyone in my family, it absolutely kills me.  I didn’t get off until 12:30 AM that night. Imagine having a phone to your ear from 8 AM until 12:30 AM, let’s just say I was exhausted and not a happy camper.  The only thing that pulled me out of that funk was my niece was born. My sister broke the boy streak bringing us a little princess.  I was so excited to go see her only a few hours after she born. The next day we had snow, snow, snow…. Man our new driveway is huge.

March 2013 –I worked two weekends, had a weekly Bridgeline, and migrated some of the execs. My team lead added a few more team members to the project to help relieve some weekends.  Sara traveled to Washington DC for FX advocacy day which gave me the opportunity to spend 1 on 1 time with Jackson and take a few days off.  The lawn mower started to stall out, so we had to buy a riding lawn mower.  I figured with my knees not getting younger and since Sara loves to cut the grass with her allergies it was a wise purchase. Plus the smile it brings to Jackson’s face when he gets to help me cut the grass is priceless.

April 2013 – The cycle was broken and I wasn’t scheduled to work any weekends, but did 3 back to back weeks of Bridgeline.  Since I had free weekends I thought it was a good idea to tear up carpet and start the stair project. My goodness my hands were sore for a full week.  We also painted and put together our front porch rockers.  We love our new house.  We celebrated Easter with both our families.  Sara and her family traveled to Baltimore where the Orioles celebrated the life their one and only “Earl of Baltimore”.  Last by not least my softball season started, I love my softball ladies..  

May 2013 – So much for the broken cycle….I worked two weekends and two weeks full of Bridgeline. For mother’s day I planted one of Sara’s favorites the Japanese Crimson Maple tree.  I also was able to put down a second coat of stain on stair project of 2013. I am sure there was more in May, just having trouble remembering the rest.

Fragile X Walk 2013
June 2013 – The month started off with the annual Fragile X walk.  Each year we gain new walkers and we continue to surpass our team fund raising goals.  I am so lucky to have supportive family on both sides and loving friends; I know next year our team will even be bigger. I can’t thank everyone enough for showing their support; it means the world to me.  Compton came over and helped me finish painting the second half of the basement, the man cave side. We also had our family vacation….we decided to take a full week to visit the amazing Dr. Elizabeth Berry-Kravis in Chicago at Rush.  We stopped in Utica, IL on our way and stayed at Grizzly Jack’s Grand Bear Resort.  They have an indoor water park with a wave pool and a lazy river.  The key is to go in the middle of week because the rates are cheaper and when we checked out on Friday it was a complete mad house. So if you an anxious kid like we do….go during the week and it will be a great experience.  We came home from vacation to an awesome must odor from the basement.  It took us a week to figure out where the smell came from and found we had leak. Excellent!  The best way to find a leak in the basement is to walk around with socks on, Sara might disagree since she found it.  My mother’s day gift with soaker hose on a timer for twice a day contributed to the extra water.  I went out and bought a dehumidifier and we called our favorite carpet cleaners “The Griffin Brothers”.  I am glad we called them first because they were able to get everything cleaned up and saved us from calling someone to replace all the carpet and the walls.  They enzymed everything, set up a drying system with an industrial dehumidifier, and left it setup for over a week. Then they came back and cleaned up the carpets. Since we knew where the source was from, Sara and I dug a trench along in the front of our house where I would later install a French drain. My sister brought my niece over for a mini photo shoot; I can’t get enough of baby Emma.  Naturally since I had the first two weekends off I would worth the last two back to back.  The good news was we didn’t have any more leaking the bad news I am not sure when I will get to take care of French drain.  June was a super busy month….  I also have lots of pictures I need to dig up for this month that I hope to share later.

To be continued....

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Where have I been ….

So no…I did not fall off the planet and everyone in the family is doing really well.  I am sorry to disappoint my loyal followers; I didn't realize how many of you look forward to reading about us.  It blows me away when I see you in person and you mention our blog.  I am not an excuse person, or try not to be, but honestly I have been so extremely busy. Besides business of life I have been working a lot of extra overtime.  Our company is upgrading to Windows 7 and I am one of the leads from my team on this huge project.  I made many attempts to write between the last time I wrote and now, but never got to complete those entries.  I looked back as my last few blog posts and couldn't believe how long it had been since I last wrote.  Obviously so much has happened since.  I will give you some snip-its and try not to be long winded…  Ha…ya right, LOL!

Pumpkin 2012
October: We survived the move from High Ridge to Ballwin. We are still hanging pictures on the walls and getting ready for our favorite holiday, Halloween, which is also Sara’s birthday.  Growing up my family always went above and beyond for Halloween. Really it was a time for my dad to be a big kid; he really enjoys celebrating this holiday.  So when I met Sara and found her birthday was on Halloween it was perfect.  We have new and old traditions we both have brought into our family and the most important being one upping the year before costume is in full affect.  When Sara was pregnant with Jackson we dressed up as Juno and Paulie Bleaker. Jackson’s first Halloween we dressed as a skeleton family and we only took Jackson to a few houses.  I made my famous Jack Daniels chili and Sara’s parents came over to celebrate and give out candy.  I set up the fire pit to keep us warm. Chili and fire pits were something my family did every year. Jackson’s second Halloween we dressed a family of vampires and for his third we dressed as a family of pirates.  Jackson usually only makes it to about 5 houses before he is done with the trick or treating.  The first year we took him it was hard for us because I think we both wanted him to be really into it.  Either way, we keep on trying.  This year I loved our theme, Sara was a sunburned tourist, Jackson was a Shark, and I was deep sea diver photographer.  This year was also special because we had just moved into our new house.  Jackson helped us carve the pumpkins; he seemed to enjoy pulling out guts.  We also went to a Halloween party at Sara’s work where Jackson showed off for Miss Jen.   On Halloween it was go time as soon as I got home from work. I pulled the fire pit out front before dark, made the chili, and we all got ready to go trick or treating.  We took Jackson to the houses around our culdesac.  Meeting our new neighbors and working with Jackson on taking 1 piece of candy and not dumping the bowl out people’s hands.  Sara explained Fragile X to all our neighbors.  We figured we would just hit our circle and Jackson would be over it, I would start the fire pit and we would give out our treats, but Jackson completely surprised us.  He loved going from house to house, saying hi to everyone and signing thank you as we left.  He also wanted to make himself at home at each house we went to which the neighbors thought was so cute.  It was so much fun and he did so well.  Sara’s dad stayed behind giving out candy at our house and when we returned we still had two full bowls of candy and treats.  We had noticed when we were out that there weren't very many other children out and about.  After we were home there were only 2 more trick-or-treaters and by they were teenagers.  I didn't even get a chance to start the fire before the night ended.  It was great night and I was so proud at how well Jackson did.  By the way it is now May and we still have a bowl full of candy, please stop by in your costume any time for a treat…

My little carver helper
Halloween 2012

November: The month of Thanks!  I traveled back to back weekends for work so Sara had to take care of all our family stuff solo.  We still have our other house on market and there was a lot Sara had to do with that house.  She also organized a panting parting at our new house and half our basement is finished.  Yay!  One of the weekends I was gone Sara found that our house on the market was broken into and they took call the copper piping and the AC unit. No so yay…  Slowly we getting more pictures hung up on the walls in the new house.  Jackson started at his new school and everything is going really well there.  I didn't get to participate in his IEP review, but Parkway was as shocked with the lack of services that were written in his IEP from Northwest.  The most important thing Parkway did was add an hour of speech week on top of his 30 minutes of language.  Northwest argued with us when we asked for speech because Jackson didn't make 3 of the 5 required sounds. Um, hello…he is non-verbal…required sounds to qualify for speech….I know you are shaking your head with me here.  Sorry….side tracked on the negative, back to the positive because it is the month of Thanks.  Jackson’s speech is coming along wonderfully.  He is learning the sounds of all the letters of the alphabet and knows a couple letters by sight.  I am so proud of him. 

We decided to host Thanksgiving at our house and bring both our families together under one roof.  The Tuesday before Jackson had a seizure. We finally had our follow up visit with the neurologist a few weeks prior to this episode; follow up from the February big seizure ICU visit. We developed a seizure action plan in which if the emergency medicine brings him out of the seizure and he doesn't have any more that day, then we do not need to head up to the hospital or emergency room, but keep him home from school, keep his activity level low, and don’t leave him unattended.  I was at work when the seizure happened, so Sara had to take care of everything solo.  Jackson had a rough night sleeping and to be honest I was really worried he might have one.  When we saw EBK in the spring she said erratic sleep patterns could trigger a seizure.  When Sara and Jackson woke up, she said he was not himself.  When Sara tried to give him his medicine, he fought it a bit then after one bite threw up, shortly after had his seizure.  Sara administered his emergency medicine and called me while he was coming out of it.  I hated not being there for that.  Sara called into work and Jackson stayed home from school.  He got a lot of rest and by the time I got home from work he was more his high energetic self. 

We discussed it thoroughly and decided to still host Thanksgiving.  The night before I smoked a turkey breast and on the day off baked a traditional turkey.  Everyone else brought the rest of the feast.  We had yummy h’orderves, a wonderful dinner, and delicious deserts.  Jackson had a blast playing with his cousins, and Auntie Tricia. Having his trampoline and swing available is helpful keeping the hair pulling down in numbers.  It was so wonderful to have everyone together and it was great to actually have enough room to host.  I am so grateful for having such a loving, fun family on both sides.  We were told at the end of the day that we are hosting Thanksgiving from now on.
Maple glazed smoked Turkey

Tradition bake Turkey

To be continued….