Little's Life

Little's Life

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Card 2012

Merry Christmas!

The red one is my creation but "be Merry" was made by my friend, Jen, of Plum Pudding Designs  and here is her website.  She is fabulous!!!!!

I love, love, love, LOVE Christmas cards, so thank you to the plethora of folks who sent us theirs!  We hope you have a wonderful Christmas!!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

$2098.01 to go!

Well, it's that time again - the time where I start bugging you all to join Little's League and either donate or walk with me in March for MDA's Muscle Walk!  Last year was our first year and we did so much better than I was anticipating!  We raised over $1400 for Central Arkansas' walk and over $600 for Nashville's.  This year, since both cities have scheduled their walks for the same day, I am combining that amount and making our goal for the Central Arkansas Muscle Walk to be $2,098.01!  Odd number (yeah, that's a math joke) but our goal is to raise more money than last year, so that's the number that will do it.

To kick start it, I've come up with our first fundraiser - Christmas gifts!  To help you guys out with Christmas shopping and help Little's League out with some donations, I've come up with a way to combine the two - gifts that keep on giving.  Why not give to the MDA for Christmas?

It's simple!  Click on this link ---------> Little's League Muscle Walk  then click on the big blue box that says Donate to our team and it'll walk you through the rest!  Then shoot me an e-mail ( or comment on here or msg on Facebook (Little's FB page) or call/text me if you know me well enough and tell me where to send the card!  I can e-mail it to you so that you can send it or hand it over, I can put it in the mail addressed to the person you donated on behalf of with your information on the return address label - whatever YOU want.  I can even change the greeting to Happy Hanukkah, Season's Greetings, or Here's Your Stupid Gift.  :)  I can address it the way you want or even leave it blank like the second card and let you hand address it.  I don't even need to know the amount  you donate.  You can be the person who gives the penny and I will still address one of these cards to your Aunt Melba for you.    These are SUCH a great way to give!!!!!!!!  I gave to charity as all of my gifts one year and I think that year was the year I received the most heartfelt thank yous in return.  Plus I didn't have to stand in line anywhere!

Here is the full on nasty sized link if you want to copy and paste it to anyone who is having a hard time coming up with Christmas gift ideas:

or just direct them here to this blog.  I hope ya'll consider giving to the MDA if not for Christmas, then just at some point.  It's such an amazing organization.
$2,098.01 to go!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Black Friday Indeed

So I've been out for a bit, sorry about that.  I took Little to Arkansas to spend Thanksgiving with my parents and some other relatives.  After that the plan was to drive over to Ft Leonard Wood, Mo and spend a few days with Mister, who has been gone since before Halloween.  That didn't quite turn out....   We all ended up catching norovirus and only saw him for a few hours on Saturday, the one day none of us were puking. Little actually started his symptoms in the car on the way to Missouri.  So that was awesome.  Black Friday indeed.

Norovirus is the stomach bug 

Seriously.  I thought I was going to die.  I lost 6.5 pounds.  My spine is sticking out of my back like stegosaurus plates.  It's disgusting.   At one point I was stranded in a hotel room, 15 minutes from being homeless (waiting on reservations to call me back and let me know if I could keep the room), unable to leave the room, with a 2 year old, totally out of food for said 2 year old, unable to hold down water, hadn't eaten in 3 days, without medicine, and without a soul around to help me because Mister was in the field.  *In the field, for those of you not in the military, means exactly that - he was out in the field somewhere and could not come back to civilization to help me.  Although Fort Lost in the Woods hardly counts as civilization.  At one point on day 3, Andrew waddled into the room eating a chicken tender from the night before that he found somewhere...and I was relieved.  How disgusting is that?  That's how dire it was!  I was praising God for letting my child find food on the floor or wherever as if it were manna from Heaven.  I finally forced myself to drive to the commissary to buy Little non floor food and myself a bottle of Pepto later that night and I was so weak that I almost passed out trying to put Andrew into the cart.  I was actually in tears trying to push it down the aisles to find the medicine.  It was the most miserable week ever.  I never get sick.  Ever.  Yes, I have my headaches/migraines and allergies, but those aren't communicable illnesses.  I never catch whatever is going around!  But MAN did this one get me.  I thought I was Coming Home.  Lord was taking me in.  So PSA - I know this virus is in AR, CA, MO, & CO so protect yourself!  It can live on countertops, shopping carts, doorknobs, purses, leather jackets, cell phones, etc - not just person to person contact.  So wash your hands and lysol the crud out of everything you own if you have had it!  Also, you are still contagious for 3-4 days AFTER your symptoms subside.  So please stay home even though I know it is hard and you get stir crazy.  Don't spread this around, it can be deadly to infants, geriatrics, and those with compromised immune systems.  It's only supposed to last 24-48 hours, but for some reason, I couldn't shake it for almost a full week.  Andrew rocked it, though.  The only time I even knew he was sick was when the terrible things were happening and it only lasted 24 hours.  Mister only had it for about 36.

But Thanksgiving was great.  Little got to meet some relatives he hadn't ever seen before, my brother and his wife flew in from Cali, and my Pappaw came in from Tavares, Fl.  There was no bickering, I didn't have to cook anything, and I got to see my friend Dustin whom I haven't seen in 8 years and his equally hilarious wife, Lindee.  They taught me a lovely new phrase, "Every fart's a gamble!"  Classy!  Come to think of's as if they were predicting the future.....

Wrestling his uncle

Marty McFly

Reading a book upside down with Pappaw

I chopped all my hair off - finally got rid of the evidence of my epic fail with boxed color from April 2010.  There's the back.

And there's the front, along with my cousins, my Pappaw, my brother and his wife, and my sister

Learning how to drive with Mammaw

We also got a chance to thank some local Firemen for their participation in the 2012 Fill the Boot campaigns and even stop by one while it was going on.  We stopped by Engine 9 in NLR, of course, and a few of them asked if they could walk with us in March (MDA Muscle Walk 2013)!!!!

This and the picture below are from Engine 1 in Sherwood

And these are with Engine 2, also out of Sherwood at an actual Fill the Boot on Black Friday at Wal-Mart on 107.

Thank you so much to all the firemen in the NLR/Sherwood area!  Ya'll do amazing work and raise so much money for MDA!  Little and the rest of the Palmers and Joneses really appreciate it.

Today's Little's Leaguer is Carson!  Carson is making a muscle for the Little boy who will one day be his cousin.  :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

When the Bubble Bursts

I thought I lived in a sweet little house in Kentucky.  There's a garage and the same front door from Lowe's that adorns every house on my street, a tiny front porch that for 3 years now I've been telling myself will one day hold a set of rockers.  All my furniture fits inside of it.  There are bedrooms and bathrooms and a kitchen that could use a bigger pantry.  It sure looks like a house.  It feels like a house.  But it's not a house.  I recently learned that instead, I've been living in a bubble.

The people who come into this house/bubble are people who focus on the positives - how far Little has progressed, what milestones he's hit.  They are physical and occupational therapists, friends and family members.  All people who are helping him and love him and are genuinely excited with each new step he takes.  This house/bubble is a place of support and reflection on how far Little has come since his diagnosis 26 months ago.  He has gained so many abilities and skills that we were nervous he might never be able to do.  His doctors and therapists are all delighted with where he's at and they should be!  They are the ones who have helped him come so far.  So this house/bubble is a place of joy over everything Little is and can do and we don't worry too much about what he isn't able to do yet.

Now, I'm not blind to the fact that his motor skills are behind the ones in other children his age - heck, I know that he's behind other children who are half his age.  But it's not something I witness every day.  Little and I spend most of our time either alone or with other adults.  He doesn't go to daycare, he's not in preschool yet, I only have one friend with another 2 year old that we socialize with on a regular basis.  When the children your child plays with are older, it's easy to brush off the differences between them with a 'well of course they're faster/nimbler/more coordinated, they're 6, Andrew's 2' shrug.  I am cognizant, though, that he is physically less coordinated, clumsier.  He falls a lot.  And when he does, he lacks the reflexes to throw his arms out to prevent himself from landing on his face.  He can't climb stairs.  He can't jump or run.  He waddles.  Typical Duchenne boy.  Atypical 2 year old boy.  But, thanks to my bubble home,  it isn't always at the forefront of my mind.  He's not "poor little Andrew", he's just my Little.  To clarify, it's not the Duchenne that is not ever present in my mind - that is always there - it's the physical differences between Little and other young children that I don't usually have any reason to have on my radar right now.

So cut to about a month ago at a birthday party for a friend's son who was turning 3.  Adorable little affair.  She really went all out with the decor and theme and it was super successful.  So there we were, surrounded by children of all ages; some Little's age exactly, some a little younger, some a tad older, but who were all literally running circles around him.  He didn't seem to mind or even notice, but I did.  Mister did, too.  We stood back and watched as Andrew joined in and tried to play with the toys that were there - a soccer ball, a fishing pole, a climb through tent, etc - but as we watched these children zipping around and breezing through activities all 2 year olds should be able to do while Andrew just kind of teetered around trying not to get knocked down by excited toddlers streaming past,  it felt like knives going through my heart.  Watching children the same age as my own son doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing, playing and laughing and running and jumping with ease absolutely broke my heart.  About 15 minutes and 2 falls in, Little hit the dirt big time.  He fell so hard that he landed on his stomach with an "uuuummmph", face down in the dirt and I dropped my beloved camera on the ground in order to beat another mom to him (I have to get to him first.  As ya'll know, he can't be picked up by the arm and it's natural instinct for people to pick a toddler up from the ground that way so if you don't know he has DMD I have to beat you to him when he falls or else yell out "Don't pull his arm!" like a crazy person - so I chose to ditch the camera and do a homerun slide to him.  I like to keep it classy.).  When I picked him up, his face was half covered in dirt - I think you could actually hear what was left of my heart shatter against my ribs.   After that Little didn't want to be put down any more.  I don't know if he was afraid to fall again or tired or embarrassed.  He didn't even want to join in on the scavenger hunt.  Luckily the food arrived a few minutes later.  As I stood behind some of the ones who were clamoring for pizza, I was digging my nails into the side of my thumb and my teeth into my cheek in a desperate attempt to stop the tears from spilling out of my eyes.  "Don't you dare cry at this little boy's birthday party, Katherine.  This is not about you, this is a happy day for an innocent 3 year old.  Suck it up."  I was so angry in that moment that I was having that reaction.  I didn't want anyone to know that I was getting upset about my son's genetic condition at another child's celebration.  I felt so ashamed of myself.  How dare I be so selfish?  Watching Little devour pizza always makes me laugh, so that got me through the rest of the time that we stayed at the party.  He eats it like a ravenous wolf, I swear - and so much of it!  I think he ate 3 pieces.  I wonder how many pies I'll have to order at a time when he's a teenager?  So after Little finished eating, we said our goodbyes and got in the car.  As soon as the doors were shut, I lost it.  Totally lost it. When I say "lost it" I am talking about the sobbing, shaking shoulders, crying so hard you don't make a sound except for when you are gasping for breath kind of crying.  I didn't even have to say a thing to Mister, he knew.  He had seen it all and felt it, too.  In fact, just before the food came, he took Little away from the other kids and went up a hill and played with him alone for a few minutes.  So in the car I didn't have to explain my grief to him, he just put his hand on my back and drove.

I couldn't believe I reacted like that.  It was SO unexpected.  I'm telling ya'll it was like a slap in the face - no, more than that.  Like a punch in the gut that takes all your breath away for a few seconds and leaves you just stunned and disoriented.  Like - Where the heck did that come from?   I've been in similar situations before and not left there a blubbering mess.  I've been to Jump Zone with church play group and there are tons of things Little can't do there and I was fine.  I've been to the zoo surrounded by toddlers running around and I was fine.  I've left him in childcare at the Y several times now and we only cry a little.  Yeah, I said we.  So why this time?  Was it because I had Mister with me and had a chance to relax a little instead of being so focused on Little that I got a chance to actually notice what was going on around me?  Was it because I didn't know anyone else there and wasn't totally comfortable since everyone there didn't already know about Andrew?  Was it because I hadn't slept well for a few days and was tired/cranky/emotional?  I guess it was a combination of all of the above plus it was really the first time I've had it smack in my face.  It was right there.  Even Mister saw it, and that's really saying something.  The contrast between Andrew's movements and abilities and those of every other child there were too great to ignore.  No denying it.  Andrew has Duchenne.  His muscles are failing him.

Here's the part of the blog where I want so say that I believe that in time, things like birthday parties and other occasions where we are surrounded by "normal" kids won't trigger such an extreme response in me anymore, but I don't think that will be reality.  I think that it will be more like a roller coaster. It'll happen less frequently over the next few years as he continues to improve but then as Little really starts to deteriorate, it'll happen more frequently, then taper off again once he gets to the non-ambulatory stage and kind of plateaus for a number of years again.  In fact, we have another birthday party this weekend and I'm not anticipating any kind of emotional reaction to it at all.  But I wasn't expecting one last time.  This time, though, everyone there will already know about Little and I will have met most of the people there and it is at my church building so the environment will be familiar.  Sorry about the timing of this post, Whitney.  Love  We also have an office Halloween party centered around the children 2 days after that and Mister won't even be there, so I'm taking Little myself.  I'm getting into a lot of these situations now so they are getting to be less intense.  The hardest ones for me are the ones where no one knows about him - where no one knows not to lead him by the arm or to try and chase him or to say "Oh well the pay off is when he gives you grand babies to spoil" or something else along those lines that they have no idea stings all the way to my core. Those are the situations where I'm most on edge because I have to be hyper aware with Little and what others are doing with him.

But....basically I'm going to be a hot mess forever.  Sorry.  I don't want you guys to tip toe around me or Andrew.  I know that sounds like a contradiction there.  "I'm a basket case but ignore it!"  Bleph.  Please don't exclude Andrew from things because you are afraid that I am too fragile to handle it. I love you all and I love that some of you care enough about me to want to spare my feelings but please don't treat me differently bc you are afraid that you might make me cry.  Newsflash:  I always cry.  I cry when I'm happy, I cry when I'm sad, I cry when I laugh too hard, I cry when I'm angry, I cry when I think about how blessed I am, I cry when I'm overwhelmed, I cry when I'm excited, I cry when I watch tv, I cry when Wayne does the announcements at church, I cry when I find out you tried not to make me cry.  So it's pointless, really, to treat me any differently than you did before Little received his diagnosis. And I'm always going to write about whatever I'm going through - as openly and honestly as I can.  It is how I process and grow. So sometimes it will be tough for you to read my posts, sometimes you'll get a glimpse of how ridiculous I am. Just love us, through it all; that's all I ask.  Then I'll cry because you do.  :)

I also want to note that I did contact my awesome friend who threw the birthday party and let her know I would be posting this, as not to blindside her.  I let her know that her family is special to me and we were so thrilled to be a part of that celebration and to please continue including us in future ones as it was certainly just a fluke that her party just happened to be the one where Mister and I had our first real taste of how different Little is compared to other 2 year olds.

 I guess the point in writing this blog wasn't just to tell you all without special needs children what happened, it was to tell you all who read this who do have special needs children that these moments happen to all of us.  I've had a lot of you tell me that my faith inspires you, as does my strength.  Well I always have faith - but I am NOT always strong.  I have my moments where it is too much for me to keep it to together, just like you do.  Sometimes I am literally biting my tongue until I can run to the car or into the ladies locker room at the YMCA so I can hide for a 3 minute cry session so I can rejoin the world where no one is the wiser - a red blotchy face is easy to hide in a gym full of sweaty flushed people (remember how I said "we only cry a little" earlier?).  Life can be difficult for anyone, but especially so for those of us with special children.  When the life you envisioned for your child (and yourself) gets ripped away from you and replaced with the dreaded move to Holland, you repeatedly find yourself knocked to the floor without warning.  It happens, and I get it.  I will never judge you for it and I will pray for you any time you ask.  Just leave me a comment or FB me or e-mail me at  Leaning on God and each other - that's how you get through.  You can't be afraid or ashamed to ask for help.  I am not.  I am too emotional to tell my stories to everyone in person - I'll just dissolve into tears (shocker!) and not be able to finish, that's why I write them out here. It's also why I puffy heart whoever invented text messaging. But I'm not too proud to ask to for help anymore.  So if ya'll need my help, here I am.

And speaking of needing help - people around me, ya'll know I'm going to need it for about the next 6 weeks, right?  :) Love ya'll!

I cannot wait for ya'll to see this post's Little's League member!!!!!!  This may be our cutest photo yet!  
Meet Kylan!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Why I will never be a professional photographer

I have a new respect for photographers who work with children.  This is my cover photo on Facebook.  It is the Bulltwins and Little with their Peyton Pillows.

 Sweet picture, right?  Well here's how many shots it took to get just one that was usable.

That one on the side in the middle cracks me up - Little has just fallen over backwards and couldn't get up.

So then a few weeks ago I tried to get a shot of all the Gibsonoids in their Little's League's how that went.

1st, as you see, Gracie couldn't even find hers.
 and my personal favorite
Mason's rear.  Awesome.

 I ended up having to kick everyone else out of the shot except for the girls and steal a shirt off of one of the boys to put it on Gracie.

Photographing children = herding cats.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Making Muscles and Memories

For the first time in almost 2 years, Mister actually made the trip back to Arkansas with me and Little.  It's such a different experience when he goes with me.  I get to relax a little more since there is a second set of eyes and arms to watch and hold and change diapers, staying at the in-laws' house is different (I adore my in-laws, I'm very fortunate to have a husband whose parents are open and loving and happy to see their daughter-in-law but c'mon, of course it's different when Mister's not there), I actually got a night "off" to go eat dinner with a friend sans Little and stay out til *gasp* 9!  I got to stay longer at each place and see more of the people I miss when I'm home in Kentucky, I got to meet friends' babies (ok toddlers) for the first time,  and got in a wreck and had my car broken into and let my chiropractor blow up balloons inside my face.  It was a good time.  ******Wait what????????  Did she just say a car wreck, theft, and balloons inside her face?!!  Yes, yes, and yes.  

The first wasn't my fault and the girl behind me barely tapped my rear bumper.
No one was hurt, Andrew didn't even wake up, I barely even felt it.  Just some paint transfer, a few holes, and the bumper became disconnected from the side panel of my car.  I wasn't even mad.  I didn't care, really.  It's just a car.  Had she broken my camera, now that would have been a different story, lol. The poor girl was only 17 and scared out of her mind.  She nearly started crying when she saw the car seat and realized she could have hurt a child.  Then when I told her I'd just call my husband who was a cop and right down the road she almost fainted.  So hopefully - lesson learned and she'll be a little more careful.  

The second was overnight the night before we were going home and the third I will write more about in a later blog.  With the break in, Mister noticed it when he went to pack the car.  Thieves got us gooooood - like a grand in stolen items.  Which, unfortunately is the same amount as our deductable.  Essentially everything expensive that we owned except for 2 of our cell phones and my camera.  So we won't be replacing anything.  Awesome.  They got away with Mister's  iPod, Oakleys, handcuffs (no, not his government ones, his hinge cuffs that he bought himself bc they are meaner and more uncomfortable than the govt issue ones), 
cellphone, my Garmin, some cds (shockingly they left behind my gLee cd) one of Little's diaper bags (which I'm guessing they just grabbed to stuff their haul into) which happened to have his Leapster Leap Pad in it.  
A Leap Pad is a toddler's iPad, basically.  It was a gift from my super cool in-laws I mentioned above.  They bought it for him after Jiffy, his OT, used an iPad with him once for finger isolation exercise. I just have to hope they read this and think "Man, we should get him a new one for Christmas.  I heard that there is a new Leap Pad 2 out now so the original Leap Pad is only $79.00!  What a bargain!"
  *that's just shameful, Katherine.......heehee

The first order of business, though, during our trip to The Rock was The Muscular Dystrophy Association's Show of Strength 2012 (formerly known as the MDA Labor Day Telethon).  It aired on Sept. 2nd and Fox Studios in Little Rock was gracious enough to let us all gather in one of their rooms and have a watch party.  So thank you, Fox!

My little MDA star
 The famjam
 I won! (so they were just free fries from Wendy's, but hey!  I still won!)
 Little's certificate for raising $300 for MDA
 Making a muscle with the gals from MDA Little Rock - Erica, me (duh), my mom, Little, Catherine, and Phyllis

The next day we went a few houses down from my where I grew up in North Little Rock to thank the fire fighters at NLRFD station 9 for their part in Fill the Boot for MDA 2012.

 They were a little embarrassed to make a muscle.  I think they forgot it was MDA's motto.  I found it funny.

 Little loves fire trucks.  This was his 1st time to get to see one up close.
 Cute, right?  This will be one of the pictures I print off and take back with a plate of cookies next month.

We took Little to the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock.  It was really cool.  Lots of scientific stuff for kids to do (and parents - we might have had more fun than he did).  I totally felt like Sid the Science Kid.  We all decided to try out the "pull your own weight" challenge.  Even Andrew got in on it.  And don't try to figure out that tattoo - it's not even close to finished yet.
 I had to do it twice.  Mom was so zoomed in the first time that you couldn't tell I was in the air so I had to pull up again for a second shot.  I was sore the next day bc I am a weakling.  I start at the Y on Monday. WOOT!
My mother's face.  Priceless.
Getting centered on a bed of nails

They even have a room that reenacts the tornadoes that hit the central Arkansas area back in January 1999. I recommend taking your kids to this discovery center if you are in the area - it was really cool.

Then it was off to NWA for time with the in-laws and friends.  Little had a blast with Sadie,

 the chickens, (now the rooster is another story - I want to murder it and eat it for dinner)

the toys and the dirt,

 and his Pops and Didi.  Ok, maybe Pops had more fun torturing him than he had receiving it.......

We also got to spend time with friends.

This was at Cooper's 3rd birthday party
 with Jake

 the chaos that ensued with the Gibsons, Sollers, and Dodds
 sweet Mila

 Getting smooched by Maddie Beth

 doing everything his Gigi does

 swimming with Nathan, Kyle, and Mitchell

I also got a chance to swing by Atlas Apparel in Fort Smith and place the order for our new Little's League tees.  They should be ready soon so I will pick them up when I am in Arkansas again in a few weeks for the Journey concert I am going to with my sister.  

This is the oppossum that moved into our garage when we got back home to Kentucky.  Jiffy is convinced it hopped on to the undercarriage of my car somewhere in Arkansas and clung on for dear life til we arrived back home.  Probably picked it up in Bald knob since we didn't drive through anywhere called Opossum Gulch that I'm aware of.

This week's Little's League stars:  Emily and Gracie!