I thought I would have to teach my daughter about the world; turns out I have to teach the world about her. They see a girl who doesn't speak,
I see a miracle who doesn't need words.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lots Going On!

September has just been a crazy month!  I keep wanting to sit down each night and blog but there literally are not enough hours in the day!

Starting school and getting back on a routine is challenging enough but we've had a lot of appointments on top of that.  Hopefully I will get to blog about each one individually, but here's a real quick recap:

  • Alex got a new wheelchair - it's AWESOME!  Love it - so much easier to maneuver and it looks more like a hybrid between a stroller and a wheel chair - I need to post pictures.
  • Since my last blog post Alex has had more seizures.  One of them actually woke her up out of a dead sleep at about 10PM one night.  We took her to see her neurologist and we are going to up her medication one more time twice a day.  If she's still having episodes on the higher dose, the Dr. is going to admit her to MCV to their Epilepsy Monitoring Unit for few days to get better data on what's actually going on. (oh, and a blood draw was a seperate trip for her liver level functions for her seizure meds).
  • Zach went to see the allergy/asthma specialist and he failed his lung capacity test.  When he was tested a year and half ago his lung functions were 85% - he's now down to 50%.  He is on a special inhaler of steroids at night for ONE MONTH.  Hate that he has to have steroids for a whole month.  We go back in 30 days to see if he's improved and come up with a long term plan after that. 
  • Alex is having a lot of issues with two bones in both of her feet so we see Ortho in a week to address that.
  • Tomorrow they both go to the dentist - can't wait to hear what good news comes out of that :)
Throw in homework every night, blending 4 meals a day for Alex, Physical therapy, Speech therapy, piano lessons (another blog post!)  and the 4,000 other normal and not so normal every day to day things, it's been hard to blog!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9-11

It was February 26, 1993.  I was 21 years old and working at my very first job out of school working in the HR department for Guy Carpenter, a Reinsurance Company, located in 2 World Trade Center.  It was about 12:15 and I was sitting at my desk talking to my sister who also worked in downtown Manhattan a few blocks from me and we were making lunch plans.   All of a sudden all of the lights went out and my chair had shot back about a foot from where I was initially sitting.  I told my sister something strange had just happened and I would have to call her back.  Little did I know when I hung up what the next 8 hours, or the next three months for that matter, lay ahead.

Lots of phone calls were made to the security desk and we were initially informed that lightning hit the building.  It was snowing out our windows, but given how high up we were, it wasn't uncommon to see snow when it was actually raining down at the street level.  Initially we were told to take a long lunch... until we got to the elevators to find they weren't working - we could actually hear the people yelling who were trapped inside the elevators.  We all filed to the stair wells only to find that it was jammed with all of the people from the 50+ floors above us trying to get out as well.  There was no emergency lighting in the stair wells and you literally could not see your hand in front of your face.  To say it was scary would be an understatement.

1993 was not the age of cell phones or social media so by the time I got out of the building, 6 hours later, I still had no clue that I had actually experienced the first attack on the World Trade Centers.  My parents were living in Virginia, and they actually knew what happened before I did.  They hadn't heard from me, so they had no idea if I was ok or not. 

By the time I finally made it back to where I was living on Staten Island it was hours later because tunnels, public transportation and the ferries had all been shut down.  It wasn't until I got home and looked in a mirror that I realized the true impact of the day.  I was completely covered in black soot.  I had been wearing a white sweater that was completely black.  For weeks after, every time I washed my hair or blew my nose, there was the black sooty reminder of that day.

I think I was in shock in the first few days.  I cried a little when I saw the footage on TV or heard the President talk about it, but for the most part I kept everything bottled in.  Our company had to be relocated to temporary office space until the building was reopened.  Some people did not return to work for fear of what else was to come.  I did go back to work in 2 World Trade for another year and a half, but I don't think I truly dealt with all of my emotions from that day until I had actually moved to Virginia and saw the footage on TV from the 1995 Oklahoma bombing.  I remember just staring at the TV and sobbing.  I didn't know anyone in Oklahoma, it didn't directly impact me, but I could relate, and that's when it all hit me.

Fast forward to 2001.  I am somewhat of a newly wed and ecstatic to be 7 months pregnant with our first baby.  Again, I was at work, the company I still work for now, and someone came running back to the back offices where I was and said that planes had hit the World Trade Center.  We had no TV's in our office at the time so I was scrambling to find a radio to hear what was going on.  I couldn't for the life of me comprehend what I was hearing.  The towers had fallen, how could that be?  They fell after only hours after the initial impacts.  Knowing how long it took me to get out of the building that day back in 1993 I knew the devastation and amount of lives that were lost was going to be huge - but in retrospect I really had no idea.  I remember my boss arriving to work and asking me why I was crying so uncontrollably.  He sent me home.  When I got home and saw over and over again the towers crumbling down all I could think about was thank God it was the beginning of September and there were no class trips to the Observation Deck - trips I had taken numerous times as an elementary school student.  I kept thinking somewhere in all of that ruble was the desk I sat in.  The shops in the concourse I used to shop in.  The newspaper stand I used to buy my magazines.  The Ben and Jerry's I used to get my afternoon treat from.  The subway station I used to catch my train.  They showed papers flying all around and all I could think was somewhere in all of that was my personnel file.  There were people that I knew that were still inside that building.

Today I went to church and before the preacher started his sermon the lights dimmed and a screen with with words September 11, 2001 appeared.  I didn't even have to see the horrible images that followed before I started crying.  It's been 10 years now and one would think that maybe seeing those images, or hearing the stories from the people who had lost their whole lives that day when a loved one didn't make it home, or stories of the survivors or hero's would get easier.  For me though, each passing year seems to get just a little bit harder. Maybe it's because I was born and raised in New York, maybe it's because of all my memories, maybe it's because I'm a mom now and I know that my children will never know the world I knew before it became such a scary place.  Maybe it's because I'm older and I've come to the realization that I'm not as immortal as I used to think I was.  Either way - September 11 - I will not forget....I will always remember.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Family Photos

A couple of months ago we had some family photos done with Paige Stevens Photograpy.   The last time we had pictures done was a little over 2 years ago and it amazes me just how much the kids have changed and grown.

Here are some of my favorites:


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Day Of School!

Yesterday was the first day back to school and well, let's just say someone was REALLY happy about that!

Unfortunately for my pictures, it was absolutely pouring, lightening and thundering when her bus came.  I can guarantee you though, I am almost positive my entire neighborhood was woken up by the sounds of her happy screams.  She was so excited to see her bus and I an so happy that we have the same awesome bus driver and aide that she had last year.  She and Tabitha had a great first day and I know she's thrilled to be back with all of her friends and back in a routine.

Zach was super excited to get to school as well.  My big second grader!

He picked this outfit out all by himself when we went school shopping.  He looks so grown up.

Because we were on vacation we missed Open House - which is when the kids get to meet their teacher, find their desk, put all of their supplies in the appropriate places, etc. so he got a little anxious and nervous once we got to his classroom.  All of the kids were sitting down working on an assignment and waiting for the bell to ring and we were trying to get his desk organized, but by the time I left he was fine.  When I got him off the bus I asked how his day went and he said "GREAT" - "Second grade is so easy!"  Ha ha - just wait my love :)

Today Alex had therapy at 5PM so rather than dragging Zach and Ronica with me in the rain, I asked Ronica if she minded staying with Zach and working on his homework.  I was SO impressed when I got home and he showed me his homework...for a boy, I think his penmanship is pretty great!

My day starts at 5:30AM now with the new routine with me having to get ready for work and the kids having to be out of the house at the same so I'm not a fan of that, but I am looking forward to this school year and all of the exciting things that await them!

Monday, September 5, 2011

OBX - Summer 2011

Despite missing two days of our vacation because of Hurricane Irene, we still made it to the Outer Banks and had a great week.

Alex had her BFF Miss Jennifer...

Zach had his buddy Jeff...

And we had our friends Leslie and Scott...

There was a lot of fun pool time...

Even the dog got to swim :)


The boys went crabbing and fishing... 


Alex LOVED - I mean LOVED the hot tub!  I' think Santa needs to bring her one for Christmas!

We had fun at the beach...


So much fun a nap was in order :)

We relaxed...

And we smiled a whole lot and enjoyed each other's company!

 We wished we had the two days that we missed because of the storm, but we crammed a lot in and it was a great way to spend the last week of summer vacation.  We ate AMAZING dinners every night, played corn hole, enjoyed the kids and each other.  Once again, it was SO nice to have Jennifer with us.  She left her brand new hubby at home to be with us and Aaron and I truly had the opportunity to relax (I actually read a WHOLE book - 522 PAGES!!) and Jennifer was always doing something with Alex - swimming in the pool, going on walks, playing in the hot tub - she even gave Alex a pedicure with fancy purple nail polish! :)  I love how Jennifer has remained a part of our family - I don't think that will ever change and I love the love she has for our girl.  We're already planning next year's trip!

Well, lots to do for the FIRST day back to school tomorrow.  The kids are definitely excited.  Zach's got his clothes all laid out and every time I mention the bus coming for Alex tomorrow she squeals and gets super excited!