Monday, November 30, 2009


In life, God doesn't give you the people you want. Instead, He gives you the people you need... to teach you, to hurt you, to love you, to make you make you exactly the way you're meant to be.

Sometimes the family you make for yourself is stronger than the family God gives you. In an effort to maintain a positive outlook, I'd like to say thank you to all of the people who make up our amazing family...whether by blood or by the heart :) The last few weeks have been challenging and it's been eye opening to see who really has our best interests at heart and who is too wrapped up in themselves to see beyond their own needs and wants.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Too Much Disney

Just a few minutes ago, my rather self sufficient Bitsy girl walked up to me with an apple and a request: "Mom could you please wash my poison apple?" I couldn't help myself, and began laughing. I asked if she was sure she wanted to eat a poisoned apple and she said yes. I washed her apple and handed it to her, she happily took a bite and thanked me for a clean poison apple. I am happy to report that she is NOT laying on the floor waiting for a prince to wake her up :P We've been on a classic Disney movie kick as of late, must be time to switch out Snow White, huh?

Apparently, Tinkerbell's are impervious to poison apples, who knew?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday-Thanksgiving Edition

Today is the day when Americans traditionally express their thanks and gratitude for everything in their lives that's good...mine comes in the form of pictures this morning! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, enjoy your day!! Warning: This post is VERY image heavy, sorry Greats, it's going to take forever to load!!

Thank God for family and good friends who make life better just by being in our lives

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

you get in, you get done, and then you get gone

Today is our first of two nerve wracking appointments with Gabriel this week. Today we go for our evaluation/consultation at the family therapist, ironically enough WITHOUT Geo because this is one of the busiest weeks of the year for him and he cannot leave work because of it. Thankfully he doesn't actually have be there, it's just an initial consult but after this appt his attendance will be necessary. I've been stressed out about the appointment (more so about tomorrow's though, to be honest. Neuropsychologist is a scary word he he)

The more I think about what's going on with Gabe and everything else, the more I find myself questioning whether there actually is something going on or *if* this is normal behavior for a five year old. I'd like to think that Gabe could tell me what's going on, but he can't, he's only five...but if he could maybe it would go something like this:
I'm five. I know I have other things going on, things I can't barely pronounce let alone explain, but I am five years old. I know I am hyper and bounce and crash into people, but so do other five year olds. I know I don't pay the best attention in school or even when you talk to me, but heck, neither do other five year olds! I'm a kid first and have a disability second. I am not my disability nor can all the things I do/say/have happen pertain to my disability. My "labels" are just that: a label. They mean nothing to me and they shouldn't to you either. You're my mom, you always do right by me, even when it's a tough decision and you should follow your instinct in this situation too. I am five and some times five year olds are pains in the butt (but not as bad as two year olds, right mom?) sometimes we do things we shouldn't, sometimes we act like wild banshees and get into trouble...but we're also five. No one expects five year olds to behave like perfect angels all the time, now do they? I didn't think so. You're always saying this to other people and it makes them feel better, so I'm going to say it to you: Just Breathe.

(thanks Gabe, I needed that)

Monday, November 23, 2009


After a nice long weekend with family, Aunt Katie, Uncle JD and Aubrey are headed back to Michigan! Thanks for a great weekend guys :)

A very happy birthday (yesterday) to my sweetie...and thanks to all of our friends for coming out and celebrating with us on Saturday night!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for family coming to visit. Sure it's a pain to have to actually put away the laundry and clean out the fridge (ha ha) but having family come to visit makes it worth it. Here's to a good long weekend filled with family and fun!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gabe to the rescue!

This afternoon, after a leisurely shower, I helped SarahAnne get dressed. As I was putting on her elmo undiepants (as she refers to them as) I held out her clothes to her so she could get dressed. She put on a pair of black pants then a blue Tinkerbell shirt (standard outfit lately, pants and a tink shirt. We MUST find more tink shirts, I am so sick of washing the same two over and over ha ha) After the tinkerbell shirt was on she looked down at herself, sighed, and said "Oh no, I'm not Batman anymore" and started to get a bit weepy. Gabe, ever the quick thinker, said to her "Your bottom half is still like Batman Bits, it's all black just like Batman! You're HALF Batman and that's still part of Batman!" She smiled and said "oh! half batman, OK" and ran to her bedroom (probably to get her bat-belt, but I can't be sure)

Ah yes, Gabriel has come to Mom's rescue once again...I guess he felt like he owed it to me since all week he's been relentlessly quizzing me (and I've been failing miserably, I might add) on state capitals, state locations, and bones in the body. Thanks for the help buddy, I needed it! :)

It's apparent that I need to get some new pictures of the kiddos on the pc...all of the pics I have are a few weeks old whoops!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Is a day late and a dollar short, per usual.

This week I am thankful that the suggestions our occupational therapist gave us are
working. I'm sure when Gabe went to school and told his classmates and teacher that he had a trampoline in his bedroom they didn't believe him BUT it's true, he has a trampoline in his bedroom to help him get some positive sensory input rather than crashing into people or things to get that "fix" (I don't know how else to describe it; his body NEEDS to crash, bang, bounce, etc to feel normal) So, Miss B, we're thankful for your awesomeness and Gabe, we're thankful this seems to be helping because it helps ALL of us when YOU feel good :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

I come from a long line of veterans; both of my grandfathers, my grandmother, my father, and my uncle all served our country proudly. George's grandfather, sister, and brother in law are also a Veteran--and in honor of all of them, let me say Happy Veteran's Day to all veterans and thank you for ensuring our freedom. God bless you all!
Maxine Patriotic Veterans Day Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Last night, Gabe and Bits decided they wanted to watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (which is probably one of mine and Geo's favorites for Christmas) as we were watching, Gabriel said "Hey Mom, why don't we all have some hot chocolate and watch this together??" So our little family watched Charlie Brown and drank hot cocoa and took a breather from the past week and all that's gone on and man oh man, did we need it. It was nice to just not have to think about all that's going on. No ADHD, Neuropsychologist, omg the car isn't running, nothing, just Snoopy and Chuck and hot cocoa.

I'm hoping last night is indicative of what our holiday season is going to be like; calm, quiet, just the four of us.

Instead of stressing out over my holiday budget (ha, holiday budget) and the fact that this year may be even leaner than last year, instead of being cranky because the other 4488 people at Meijer were rude, instead of focusing on what Christmas ISN'T about, I hope that we'll all be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy ourselves. Enjoy delicious family dinners, enjoy holiday decorating and the Trans Siberian Orchestra (Gabe has requested them twice in the last week) and focus on thanking God for all the gifts and blessings we've received this year. Despite everything else going on, we really ARE blessed, we really ARE lucky, and we really are loved.

Now, in three weeks when I'm belly aching about the jerk in line at Meijer or lamenting the fact that my Christmas budget is gone, someone remind me about this post and hopefully it'll straighten me out :P

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Where's Idaho, Mom?

Gabe has become a geography nut as of late and as of two nights ago, could identify at least 45 of the 50 states by sight, no prompting. He's to the point where he can see states by themselves and know what they are. This has lead to a *bit* of cockiness on Gabe's part, as he demonstrated in the car the other night. We had the following conversation:
Gabriel to Mom: Hey Mom where's Idaho?
Mom to herself, frantically trying to remember where Idaho is
Mom to Gabriel: Uh, it's on the West Coast
Gabriel to Mom: No it's not Mom
Mom to Gabriel: Well it's close enough
Gabriel to Mom: Actually, Mom Idaho is next to Montana; Montana is a big state and Idaho has an odd shape.
Then he laughed to himself, as if to say "My God mom, you are SO clueless sometimes"

Guess who's going to be brushing up on her geography!? Ha ha

Good Ole Idaho

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Time for a Tune Up

After a whirl win day on Friday filled with doctor and therapists appointments, we are a bit closer to some answers with Gabriel's behavior.

First of all, the pediatrician is not convinced Gabriel needs the diagnosis of ADHD; yes he shows symptoms, yes there is a definite correlation between Spina bifida, hydrocephalus, and ADHD BUT he's also a five and a half year old boy going into a social setting like no other for the first time.

Then we went to see Mr. Brian (PT) to see if his braces were fitting alright (they are perfect and so is all of his tone, etc) and to discuss some of his struggles in the classroom physically. Brian suggested a neuropsychology visit to see exactly what was going on, especially concerning the ADHD/Spina Bifida link. We're were supposed to see a neuropsych before kinder, actually, but the one we saw years ago moved to a different hospital/network so we weren't able to get in touch with her.

THEN we saw Miss B, one of Gabe's favorite people in the whole wide world; his occupational therapist. She agreed with the neuropsych eval, so we'll be setting that up next week. Apparently the NP they referred us to is *the* best of the best. She's (Miss B) also going to start seeing him every other week to work on some body awareness issues. She said it's very common for a child like Gabe to not really understand where his body is in relation to the world around him, which makes total sense. For God's sake he didn't even know he had feet for the first year or so of his life. We're going to be starting a program called "How Does Your Engine Run" which is a way for him to learn how to regulate his "engine" or well being when it comes to impulse control and sensory seeking.

Now back to the "tune up" issue. Our pediatrician who has known our family since about a month before we had Gabriel and we trust completely has suggested some family counseling. Every time I've said that to people, they've immediately turned up their nose at the idea and made it sound like Geo and I are completely off of our nut for even ENTERTAINING the idea of getting a little bit of intervention.

Look here, ye scoffers of the Witkowski Clan seeking a bit of outside intervention. Until you've been in our shoes, I would ask you to not judge. Why does the word "counseling" have such a negative connotation? There's absolutely NOTHING wrong with seeking some outside support when you're looking for an outside opinion. There's nothing wrong with saying "ok, what we're doing is not working, so let's see if someone else has a suggestion we didn't think of"

In the last six years, we've dealt with a lot. Gabriel's diagnosis, for one, a nicu stay, two major surgeries in sixteen days. Crippling medical debt and countless specialists. THEN when Gabriel was ten months old, Geo's brother was killed and it shifted our family dynamic completely. Not only were we dealing with having a child with a disability, but we were also dealing with losing a dear member of our family. My father suffered a rather debilitating stroke in Gabriel's first year of life. My pregnancy with SarahAnne was incredibly stressful, I lost my teaching job, we moved to a new home and now we've moved yet again. All the while trying to deal with juggling medical appointments that are often and hour and a half to three hours away (hello Children's Memorial!! ha ha) Through all of this, George and I have been balancing our marriage, among other things. We have so many balls in the air, it was nice to finally hear someone say "Go see this counselor and see if s/he can help you juggle these balls a bit easier"

Even when nothing is wrong with your car, you get regular checks and tune ups, why would your family be any different?

The next few months are going to be hectic and stressful, but like we always do, we'll pull through thanks to the support of friends and family whom we are so so grateful for.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

woohoo!! Thankful Thursday right on time

I just sat down to update the blog and realized, gleefully, that today is Thursday and I am actually going to be on time with Thankful Thursday. Pardon me while I take a deep breath and attempt to quell my (ridiculous) enthusiasm.

*deep breath in* Whew!

This week I am especially thankful for our wonderful family who is always behind us 100% of the way, no matter what. This morning I received a sweet email from my sister congratulating me on my recently published article in an awesome new anthology My Baby Rides the Short Bus found here and then got an email from my father in law about Gabe's possible ADHD diagnosis that was just what I needed to hear. I'm telling you, we're SO blessed to have these people as our family!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ah yes

It's the time of year that students and teachers alike dread; parent teacher conferences. Having sat on the teacher side of the table for years, this year was a whole new experience for me. Here's the good: Gabe is academically right on par for most things and above where he needs to be on the rest. Here's the bad: He's having some difficulties socializing and here's the ugly: Gabe's teacher is pretty sure he has ADHD (attention deficit hyper activity disorder) Here's the even uglier part, all the research I've done today says that more than likely he DOES have ADHD because children with spina bifida are more likely to have it than children without and the ugly uglier part? Children with spina bifida AND shunted hydrocephalus are even MORE likely than kids with just spina bifida to have ADHD. Going over the symptoms check list with Geo was a sobering experience; on Friday Gabe will start the formal evaluation process to see if indeed we are dealing with ADHD. I suppose a part of me has always wondered if that was the case; he has a hard time transitioning, he goes at 1000 miles an hour, and he has trouble focusing on tasks at hand without someone sitting right with him working on it.

It fits, it really does and Geo and I wondered to ourselves out loud, how in the hell we had missed the red flag signs and symptoms.

Here's the thing, I can deal with Spina Bifida and hydrocephalus. I can deal with orthodics and physical therapy, I can deal with tripping and falling, shunts in the head, and latex allergies. I can even deal with open spine surgery, brain surgery, and medical bills totaling over a million dollars in less than five years. I can do that. I can and HAVE dealt with ALL of those things...but adding one new thing to the mix, something as complicated as ADHD? That's a whole new animal in and of itself. Spina bifida or ADHD I could do, no problem. It's the putting them together that I don't know if I can handle.

Friday we go in to start the formal evaluation on Gabriel; I'll know more from there and know what our plan of attack will be. If you are the praying kind, please say an extra prayer for our family as we go forward with the next part of our journey with Gabriel. Thank you

Monday, November 2, 2009

Gobble Gobble

Gabriel came home with a very important assignment; disguise Tom Turkey so no one can eat him on Thanksgiving. Geo and Gabe being the Blackhawks nuts they are decided to turn him into Patrick Kane, stud right wing for the Hawks. Much fun was had by both of the boys as they transformed Tom Turkey into Tom Turkane...see if you can pick the biggest "turkey" out of the bunch (hint, she's wearing Tinkerbell pjs he he)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Late, again

Man oh man, this whole "Thankful Thursday" is rough for me-I'm either early or late, I think I've only been on time ONCE since I started. Oh well, the point was to post something I am thankful for once a week and that's what I've been doing, even if it is late :P

Today, for Thankful Sunday Thursday, I'd like to sing the praises of my wonderful husband, George.

George busts his butt each week at work to provide for us, he's great about taking over the housework when I can't (like today's housework since I've got two papers to write, and just finished a quiz and a test ugh!) He's an excellent father to Gabe and SarahAnne; always putting their interests first and most of all he is a wonderful husband. He always treats me with love and respect and works hard to fulfill all of our wedding vows that we made to one another. After eight years of marriage and nearly 13 years together, I am more and more grateful for his love and companionship that I was before. Geo, you're pretty fabulous and I'm lucky to call you my husband!


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