October 31, 2012

••Happy Halloween••

As I was stuffing 24 popcorn hands at 10:30 last night ... (by number 20 I think I was shoving, rather then stuffing) I asked Dan why I couldn't be the Mom who just bought the cookies pre-made at the store? The reality is I love being creative, I just don't have the time ... so I continued stuffing ... wishing I was enjoying it more ~ all worth it in the end for the cuteness!
I extended my lunch hour today to attend Caden's, aka - Wall•E's Halloween Party at school. I failed at getting the perfect picture of Wall•E in his costume.  There's a fine line between embarrassing the kid in front of his peers and asking him to pose for a picture.  
After school/work we headed down to the little train. Can you say "tired eyes".  A little too much sugar and fun at school today.

I love my yearly collection of pictures of Caden on the porch~
... however, this year I don't have a picture of him in his costume on the porch.  He refused to put on his Wall•E Costume at home because he already wore it at school (whatever, what kind of answer is that?!).  I even offered to pay him five bucks to put on his costume. Nope! Hard headed little sh**! wouldn't budge. In his most sheepish, sympathetic voice he puts his hand on my shoulder and says, "Sorry, Mom, I just cant do it this year, it will be okay". (ack!)  So, this year you get him in his Halloween shirt. 
Caden didn't want to go Trick'o Treating this year.  We didn't push him. ... and clearly he had tons more fun being silly at home with Dad and Uncle Abe.  I could post a bunch of blurry dark photos but the video below lays out the fun. He would run outside to look to see if anymore trick o'treaters were coming, then run back in and hide.
It's amazing how many of the kids from school (all ages) that came to our door knew Caden, by name. In just two months, he clearly has made an impression and is well known. So cute!
As we were ending our evening Caden says, "I like Halloween, it just cracks me up".

Happy Halloween!!!

October 30, 2012

::Punkin Carvin' Time ::

 Seriously ... could the smile be any more fake?  I despise that Caden has acquired this fake smile.  I almost like the phase of choosing to ignore the camera better then the fake smile. Goofy Kid!
Caden would have rather cut/mutilated the pumpkin this year then to carve a face on it. He had more fun hacking at the mouth pop out then carving a face on the jack o' lantern .... It's not very often he gets full reign with a knife.
.. the perks of being little. His bone jammies from two years ago still fit :o)
Enjoy Your Halloween!

October 17, 2012

- Thank You - Fresh Air - Fall -

Thank You to each of you that passed my Dwarfism Awareness Post on to a Friend .... That post received over 350 hits of which 274 were first time visitors to our blog. THANK YOU! You helped bring awareness to a few more "friends".  Sincerely the Best Gift for Caden!

I am happy to report that the SMOKE is GONE!  We had a bit of rain over the weekend and then a serious sideways torrential down pour Monday morning and now we have Blue Skies (with a few clouds). I Love it!  I will never take our blue skies, clean air and pretty views for granted again! The kids were trapped inside school for five weeks with no recess or outside activities. That's equals a lot of hyped up kids and patient teachers on their last nerve.
There's a part of me that despises fall ~ because I know those dark cold winter days are shortly behind the beautiful fall days.  But there is just something about Pumpkin Cupcakes and all things pumpkin that make fall  a okay!
Since we were shorted a month of our traditional fall weather, I need to get outside and take in  these days as much as possible! Old man winter will be here soon enough!

::A 'Lil Kinder Update::

No one told me this Kindergarten business was so serious ~
Caden has homework each night ... granted, it should only take 10-15 minutes, but Caden chooses for it to take 30 minutes plus because he likes to whine and complain the whole way through it. Seriously, last nights task was draw 10 pumpkins and number them 1 through 10 ....
.. once he puts his mind to it, he can do it. But getting him to that point ... oh my goodness. I know ~ pick my battles!
He is also expected to "read" his books each night. They cycle through two books each week ... as well as his math packet/game that we play throughout the week.

Dan and I attended Caden's conference with his teacher Monday afternoon. By the end of the school year a few of the things they expect of these kinders is: to identify the first sound of at least 10 words a minute, separate the sounds that make up a word, read two or three words with short vowel sounds, count to 100, compare sets, solve addition and subtraction using objects and story problems.  WHOA! what ever happened to making friends, sharing, and learning common sense? Clearly that's out the door. It's all academics.

Later in the evening I said to Dan, "I cant believe all they require of these little guys" and he said, "I was thinking that same thing" - we're definitely on the same page.

Caden's conference went okay.  Socially/Citizenship wise Caden is doing well.  She has no concerns, he stays on task and follows the expectations (amazing). She did admit she may be a little more lenient with Caden because he is so darn cute. She adores him. Yes, clearly he has stolen another teachers heart.  I fear what happens the year he gets a teacher who doesn't admire his charm and silly little personality - ikes!

Academically Caden is struggling with his first word sounds.  He's behind where they expect him to be.  I was a bit discouraged leaving the conference.  However after talking with the principals at the school I work at I feel a little better. Both assured me that it is still way early in the year and he will catch up.  It's a little alarming seeing on paper that your kid is "Well Below Benchmark" - I thought those two years of preschool were supposed to help?!

Now I'm walking around the house asking Caden, "what sound does p make? what starts with p? what sound does w make? what starts with w?" I think he's thinking Mom's fallen off her rocker? :o)  Gotta get him caught up.

This morning I had a student study meeting with several of the staff members at his school (Principal, teacher, school psychologist, speech therapist, special ed teacher, counselor, reading interventionist & physical therapist) Caden doesn't receive support from all of these departments ~ however they all attend to interject where needed. It was an awesome opportunity to make sure Caden is receiving all the services he may need to make his Kindergarten as well as the rest of his school years the best they can be.

We spent the most time talking about Caden and his hearing. I am still uncertain what to do regarding hearing accommodations for Caden.  Caden is on the borderline for needing hearing assistance - we have another ENT appointment in a month and I need to walk in to the appointment with a "plan" whether I want to push for Caden to have an FM system in class or a hearing aide.
It is hard to know  if he is "behind" with his sounds because of his hearing or because he just is.  Caden always keeps us guessing.
We also talked about his coloring and if he needed fine motor assistance ... and again I had to educate about his "floppy wrist".  I suggested a shorter pencil ... any less weight (although minimal) will help him control his pencil better.
The restroom and other topics were also addressed.  The counselor said he sees Caden zooming around at recess like a little tornado keeping up with his buddies - he's doing well and overcomes the hurdles presented to him!

I left the meeting feeling overwhelmed yet at peace.  At peace because I am so lucky to have a school staff that supports Caden and wants what is best for him ... but overwhelmed because this LP Mom stuff is exhausting.  Caden doesn't fit in a "mold" they've had before.  It's my job to educate them ... and sometimes I forget pieces or I'm just too tired!!!

As I was driving back to work I realized Caden has been through SO much in just five and a half years. I'm over it ... so what if he doesn't know his sounds ... what's the worse that can happen? He does Kindergarten again? and that's okay ....

I guess I better hold on and enjoy the ride ~ I think Harvard will be here before we know it :o)

*A Quick Adventure*

We went to check out the "lake" .... but realized all too soon that these shoes weren't going to cut it ...
So we headed back up to the house to grab our rain boots ~ then headed back down ....
We took two steps ... and plop on our buns ...
... and two more steps ~ head first .... hands caught him .... but it was game over ... one boot stuck in the mud :o(  

Last Friday we headed up to Suncadia ~ Met my parents as well as Aunt & Uncle, and rented a house.  It was a quick 36 hour trip. I wanted to be home to get chores done on Sunday.

The guys golfed Friday & Saturday while us girls and Caden hung out (or Caden decided to fall in the mud*above*).

After the guys were done golfing they headed back across the street because Caden wanted some tee time.

We checked out the harvest festival
and I took my best attempt of a posed picture in all the cuteness ... he walked the other way. rgh!
Hooray for a fun fall weekend!

October 7, 2012

October IS Dwarfism Awareness Month!

Below is my email to Caden's Teacher & School Counselor I sent last Thursday (**names omitted):

Subject: So it begins.

Hi There …

Last week on the field trip ** was behind Caden in line.  I heard ** calling Caden, "the baby".  As my blood boiled inside, I stayed calm on the outside and chose to observe.  I watched **-the boys mom (who I happened to have as a student at FMS just 9 years ago) stand by and smile.  I watched Caden ignore it.  I didn't say anything to Caden, ** or **-the boys Mom as this was occurring because I wanted to see how Caden would react and if he would handle it himself.

On our way to Seattle that evening, I asked Caden if it bugs him when ** calls him a baby.  Caden said no and that he is small because his bones grow slow.

I talked to Dan a little bit ago and he informed me that when he was dropping Caden off this morning, he witnessed ** saying, "here comes baby Caden as they approached the line". Then once Caden got in line ** was squatting down on his knees (to appear smaller then Caden) and getting in Caden's space, and saying, "Look Caden, I can be littler/smaller then you - I can be a baby too".

I know this is Caden's "life" and these are challenges Caden will have to deal with. However, I am hoping in some way you guys will be able to coach **.  Unfortunately, knowing **-the boys mom's  past and how young she is …. I'm not sure ** is going to receive the guidance of what is right and wrong at home.  I also fear since Dan and I are with Caden and his peers just a small percentage of the school day that **'s behavior is occurring while Dan and I aren't with Caden.

Caden has not mentioned that ** is bothering him. However I am still receiving the questions from Caden of "why do I have to go to school" and "how many more days until a stay home day". I'm not sure if ** could be the underlying reason for these questions? or if these are normal kindergarten questions?

Thank you to both of you for helping us through these life challenges! 


Within fifteen minutes I had a reply from Caden's teacher, asking when would be a good time to call me.  We spoke after school was dismissed. I am so fortunate to have Caden in an awesome Elementary! The support I have received from the staff has been nothing but phenomenal!  Caden's teacher talked to his class the first week explaining Caden's "differences", read the I'm Just Small Book, and a full page letter that I wrote was sent home to ALL (80+) Kindergarten families.

Caden's teacher said she was near tears after reading my email and she immediately changed the end of the day lesson plan. She had Caden come sit next to her in the "special" chair and they talked about Caden as a class. She asked the kids to explain what they have learned about Caden. In which one sweet girl replied, "he can do anything we can do". She also discussed that it isn't okay to call Caden a baby. Babies don't go to school they stay home with their Mommies, so Caden isn't a baby. Could I be any more fortunate?!! His teacher has set the bar high for the remainder of his teachers!

It continues to be my responsibility to educate the "World" on Dwarfism!  Caden is the only little person at his school.  The only little person in our city. This won't be the last time Caden will be called a "baby" - I get that. But I also know we are only one month into Kinder and Caden has the potential of being in class with this boy for many more years - something needed to be said.  Who knows if the boy in Caden's class knows he is being rude? It's the unknown ... all I can do is keep on educating (and refrain from hanging that boy ;o))
This is my Fourth Year (2009, 2010, 2011) bringing Dwarfism Awareness to my blog.  The greatest gift to our family is you, our readers, taking a moment to share CADEN and his "differences".

  • There are over 200 distinct forms of dwarfism and skeletal dysplasias.
  • People with dwarfism are generally not taller than 4' 10" at adult height. The typical height range is 2'8" to 4'5".
  • Eighty percent of people with dwarfism have average-height parents (as is Caden) and siblings.
  • There are an estimated 30,000 people in the United States and 651,000 internationally with a type of dwarfism.
  • In July 2009 the word "midget" was declared inappropriate and offensive. Preferable terms are: having dwarfism, short stature, little person, lp, and the medical terminology use of dwarf. A person's name is always the most preferred.
  • Skeletal Dysplasias affect bone growth, but generally do not affect cognitive abilities.
  • Don't treat people with dwarfism according to their height, instead of their age or ability.  Little people are attorneys, teachers, engineers and doctors.   

The Little People of America (LPA) has a short public service announcement running in Times Square to help raise awareness. You can view it by clicking here: .... how cool is that?! Another great website to check out is Understanding Dwarfism.

I am thankful and lucky to have my LP family! If only geography and miles didn't exist .... and I am thankful to those of you who continue to follow and share our story. Together we are helping raise awareness!

I couldn't imagine having any other Monster (aka child) then Caden.  He keeps us smiling!

October 4, 2012

**Latest Happenings**

Somehow We've rolled into October ...

I was able to take a half day off of work two weeks ago to go with Caden and his class on a field trip to our local college.  The purpose of the trip was "trees", however with the air quality being so poor it was held inside.
It is so fun to see Caden with his class. Again, I am amazed with his teacher to be able to wrangle 20 five year olds ~ and she does exceptional!  At one point the kiddo's were in rows, singing a song, Caden was in the third row back.  Then the kids were asked to stand to sing.  Before I even realized Caden could no longer see, she grabbed Caden and brought him to the front row! Again, so impressed with her - 20 kids yet she still thinks about Caden and his height!  Of COURSE there are several pictures from the field trip, but since the majority of them contain the other kiddo's - I will leave you with just one picture.
After his field trip we headed West to Children's.  Below is the burning they were doing right next to the freeway on Blewett Pass! Absolutely nuts! Traffic was one lane with a pilot car but I was still amazed the highway was open.  Caden was bummed that Mommy wouldn't go on the "fire freeway" on the way home. Sorry kiddo. A little too scary for Mommy-we went home the LONG way!
Checking into the hotel after a day of school (which included a field trip), 3 hour drive, and a little ride through the Bellevue sidewalks on his ride on toy = One tired boy! This was after being on the go for over 14 hours, but he still insisted he wasn't tired. Sorry Bud - the face says it all!
We saw Caden's Sleep Doctor.  They are thrilled that after only two months of consistently wearing his CPAP Caden is averaging 5 hours a night with the mask on.  They adjusted his pressure one notch up ... and we have a sleep study scheduled in a few weeks. He is still snoring with his mask on - which really, he shouldn't be.
Caden's ENT wasn't available for us to see so we saw a NP.  I wanted Caden's ear tubes checked. The tubes look good ... we had his hearing checked as well. It hasn't worsened since January but it hasn't gotten better.  I have a meeting set up with his school in a few weeks about the possibility of using an FM system in the class.
I asked them to review Caden's head CT scan from his concussion in July ... to look for adenoids.  Ugh! Sure enough, Caden's adenoids have grown back :o(  ... a possible reason to his snoring even with his CPAP!!!
I'm waiting for the NP to get back to me.  She was going to talk with the ENT about a plan of action. Whether we will do sleep study, if warranted from the sleep study - adenoidectomy, then another sleep study or go ahead with the adenoidectomy then the sleep study.  It's been a week - guess I have to follow up!  As much as I don't want Caden to endure another surgery ... I think the adenoids need to come back out. Stubborn, Pesty, Muscle Tissue (is that what an adenoid is?!)!

I despise Video Games (for several reasons)!  Never have liked them ... however, I married a man who loves them :o( ... Caden was thrilled several weeks ago when Dad brought home Lego Pirates of the Caribbean for the xBox360.  To sum it up I've had to implement time limits on the game.  With our air quality being awful Caden has been getting way more screen time then he should!
He (with Dan's help) finally beat the game last week. Don't know who was more excited ... the kid or the Dad? Now Caden is having fun replaying all the levels. I had thought once the game was beat Caden would loose interest, so not the case :o(
But I must say it is pretty cute watching those hands hold the controller!
I was determined to get out in the yard last weekend.  The fires started 26 days ago.  So by day 21 (last weekend) our yard was looking very neglected.  I hadn't touched it in 3 weeks. Caden and I "masked" up and harvested the garden. Caden loved that he could dig and whack away and I wasn't hollering to be careful of the plants.
The last of our tomatoes, jalapenos & peppers!
By Saturday afternoon the skies had cleared and we could only see the smoke plume and had awesome blue skies.  That sunshine has never felt so good!
The last of our flowers are blooming out ... and Caden is quick to point out the changing leaves. 
Caden and I headed up to Smallwoods Sunday morning to gather a few additional varieties of pumpkins that we didn't pull out of our garden.
Then headed home ....
Caden had a blast delivering the pumpkins from the garden to me on the porch ...
... and an hour later we had the finished product!
Can't believe "fall" has arrived!  The ridiculous smoke cheated us out of our last few weeks of summer!  I'm starting to think the forecasters are correct, this crappy smoke may be around until the first mountain snow .... the smoke comes and goes, one day its really bad, the next not so bad, then really bad again. I'm hoping our valley doesn't experience a fire season like this one for several more years! Blech!!! I've had enough!